Saturday, September 4, 2010

Triple Crown Threats Swinging for Glory

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-Digger's Daily-

Baseball hasn't had a Triple Crown batting winner since 1967. Boston legend Carl Yastrzemski was the last player to lead his league in batting (.326), home runs (44) and RBI (121). National Leaguer's haven't had a TC rep since the Cardinals Joe Medwick in 1937.

Is the 43 year drought over? It seems amazing only a few players during this span have challenged especially when considering the black eye steroid era. Plenty of big names seemed like legit challengers ranging from Ken Griffey, Jr, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Jeff Kent, Don Mattingly and a few others.

Fast forward to present day 2010. Three National League players are battling to win the Triple Crown and lead their teams into playoff action....

Three time NL MVP and two time runner up Albert Pujols (career stats) is one of the top hitters in Major League history. His average has slipped recently but he's still within rage. 5th in batting (.311), 1st in HR (35), 2nd in RBI (96). He'll be feasting on weak NL Central pitching. The power and run production will continue. One question remains, can Pujols get a hot streak to up his batting average?

Joey Votto's (career stats) hot bat is one reason Cincinnati has shocked the baseball world (1st in NL Central). 2nd in batting average (.323), 3rd in HR (32), and 1st in RBI (97). He's sitting pretty right now and plays in a very hitter's friendly home stadium. This forth year player keeps getting better. MVP in the works? Triple Crown? Votto has quickly established himself as one of the games best.

Carlos Gonzalez (career stats) has been turning heads lately. NL leading .331 average, 5th with 31 round trippers and 3rd with 93 RBI. He's the hottest of this trio and has been Colorado's main man on offense. He may lose a few MVP votes since the Rockies will probably miss the playoffs.

What makes it so difficult to win a Triple Crown. The debate has raged for years. In my mind winning the batting average title is the hardest. It seems power hitters usually have no problems supplying long balls and producing runs. However, only a few are able to manage high average batting seasons outside of Pujols. Times are changing.

Can the Triple Crown be won? Yes. Carlos Gonzalez is red hot. Playing in Colorado is a monumental plus towards finishing with the leagues top average. Homers and runs batted in can only go up with reaching base safely. How strange will it be if Gonzo pulls off a Triple Crown but doesn't win MVP honors? It's a distinct possibility.

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