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A Great Year for Offense

by Bill Gilbert



Much has been written this year about the increase in offense in 1999 and the numbers back it up. The figures below are for the combined American and National Leagues.
(through 8/9)
Change Record Year

Runs per Game 9.6 10.3 0.7 11.1 1930
HR per Game 2.03 2.29 0.26 2.19 1996
Batting Average .267 .274 .007 .296 1930
On-Base Average .337 .346 .009 .356 1930
Slugging Percentage .420 .438 .018 .434 1930
Players on Target for .300-30-100 14 21 7 21 1996

Of the 21 players on target for .300-30-100 seasons, 13 are in the AL and 8 are in the NL. The interesting thing about the players on target for .300-30-100 seasons is that 13 of them have never done it before.

Player Team Stats as of 8/9 Previous .300-30-100 Seasons

Mike Piazza NYM .312-23-77 4
Ken Griffey, Jr. SEA .308-35-96 3
Jeff Bagwell HOU .308-35-95 3
Juan Gonzalez TEX .307-26-91 3
Larry Walker COL .353-30-91 2
Manny Ramirez CLE .321-28-113 2
Alex Rodriguez SEA .306-27-75 2
Rafael Palmeiro TEX .345-27-97 1
Henry Rodriguez CHC .340-22-77 0
Fred McGriff TB .333-26-80 0
Harold Baines BAL .331-22-71 0
Ivan Rodriguez TEX .330-22-75 0
B.J. Surhoff BAL .319-21-82 0
Shawn Green TOR .316-32-91 0
Magglio Ordonez CHA .313-26-88 0
Matt Williams AZ .309-25-97 0
Jason Giambi OAK .307-24-84 0
Mike Lieberthal PHI .307-22-69 0
Brian Giles PIT .304-24-76 0
Robin Ventura NYM .303-25-90 0
Jermaine Dye KC .303-21-89 0

Texas is the only team with 3 players on the list. The newcomers on the list are an interesting mixture of long-time veterans (McGriff, Baines, Williams), young players (Green, Ordonez, Giambi, Lieberthal, Giles and Dye) and others having career years (H. Rodriguez, I. Rodriguez, Surhoff, Ventura).

McGriff is an interesting case. In the past, he has twice batted .300 years and he has had 7 years with 30 home runs and 4 with 100 RBIs. However, he has never done all three in the same year. However, after two years of declining production, he has rebounded at the age of 35 to have his best year. Baines has never hit 30 home runs in a season and will have to maintain his early season pace to make it this year, which may be difficult at the age of 40.

Some other interesting points. Bagwell and Griffey have essentially identical numbers this year. The list has two players each from disappointing teams, Seattle and Baltimore, but no Yankees or Braves. The list also has three catchers.

A number of players are barely over .300 and could easily disappear from this list before the season is over. Injuries could prevent others from getting 30 home runs or 100 RBIs. However, some other players are close, notably Derek Jeter, Chipper Jones, Robby Alomar and Sammy Sosa, and could be on the list before the season is over.

Bill Gilbert

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