The Ghost of 3,000 Hits Future

12 07 2011

Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit prompted me to do a three-part series on 3,000 hits.  First post was about Jeter’s 3,000th hit, yesterday’s was about the 27 guys who got there before him, and today I’ll look at who could get 3,000 hits in the future.  I kept it to players who could get there in the next 5-6 years, as I don’t want to get into projecting too far down the line.

Alex Rodriguez – 3B, New York Yankees.  2,762 hits in 2,383 games.  Turns 36 in July.

2011 stats – 90 hits in 305 AB / 80 G / .295 Avg. / .366 OBP

2010 stats – 141 hits in 522 AB / 137 G / .270 Avg. / .341 OBP

A-Rod is the easiest choice on here.  He has shown a propensity for getting injured of late, but not significantly enough to keep him from getting 238 hits before he retires.  The decrease from best in the game to All-Star caliber player means he no longer has a chance at 4,000, but 3,000 is a cinch.

99% chance

Ichiro Suzuki – OF, Seattle Mariners.  2,345 hits in 1,677 games.  37 years old.

2011 stats – 101 hits in 370 AB / 89 G / .273 Avg. / .320 OBP

2010 stats – 214 hits in 680 AB / 162 G / .315 Avg. / .359 OBP

Ichiro is the next most likely, though he isn’t the shoe-in that A-Rod is.  He’s had 200 hits in all ten of his big league seasons, though he’s on pace for slightly less than that this year.  I think he’ll come around and end up with about 2450 hits at the end of this year – he always seems to have a stronger 2nd half.  550 hits after age 38 isn’t a guarantee for anyone, but Ichiro is likely to want that milestone and he should be good for at least 4 more seasons after this one.  Injury would likely be the biggest obstacle, but Ichiro has proven himself to be relatively injury-free.  Interestingly, right now he stands at 3,620 hits when you include the base knocks he got in the Japanese Major Leagues.  So if he gets to 3,000 in the U.S., he would have more hits in the two leagues than Pete Rose had in the Majors.

85% chance

Albert Pujols – 1B, St. Louis Cardinals.  1,984 hits in 1,636 games.  31 years old.

2011 stats – 84 hits in 300 AB / 78 G / .280 Avg. / .357 OBP

2010 stats – 183 hits in 587 AB / 159 G / .312 Avg. / .414 OBP

Pujols and Ichiro have swapped the title of active lifetime Batting leader over the last few years, so he’s definitely the next best bet. Albert is having the worst season of his career, but he’s shown he’s beginning to turn the corner and will probably still end up with 30+ HR, around 100 RBI and around a .300 Average.  He’s never once been under those totals in his ten years in the majors.  Even if falls a little short of that, he’ll end the season with just under 2,100 hits.  He’s looking to sign a 10-year deal, but is probably more likely to get something around 7 years.  Not gaining 900 hits in those 7 years (and any additional years) would only be stopped by a combination of a serious injury (or 2) and the large number of walks he’s likely to draw wherever he plays during the second half of his career.  I’d put him just behind Ichiro, if only because he’s far enough away that an injury could derail him.

80% chance

Johnny Damon – DH/OF, Tampa Bay Rays.  2,663 hits in 2,359 games.  37 years old.

2011 stats – 92 hits in 330 AB / 83 G / .279 Avg. / .326 OBP

2010 stats – 146 hits in 539 AB / 145 G / .271 Avg. / .355 OBP

Damon is slowing down a little, but not much.  He’s averaged a little over 155 hits the last five years, and is on pace to have 170 or so this year.  That would leave him with 2,750 at the end of the year.  At 38, 250 should be very doable.

70% chance

Vlad Guerrero – DH, Baltimore Orioles.  2,514 hits in 2,085 games.  36 years old.

2011 stats – 87 hits in 312 AB / 83 G / .279 Avg. / .315 OBP

2010 stats – 146 hits in 593 AB / 152 G / .300 Avg. / .345 OBP

Vlad could get there, or he could be done after this year.  He had a truly great comeback season last year, but he’s slugging less than .400 this year.  That doesn’t bode well for his ability to stay in a starting lineup the next couple years, especially for someone who is exclusively a DH at this point.  He’s still hitting for a good average, and he’s not that old yet – so maybe he can turn it around next year.

45% chance

Bobby Abreu – OF, Los Angeles Angels.  2,343 hits in 2,193 games.  37 years old.

2011 stats – 86 hits in 311 AB / 88 G / .277 Avg. / .394 OBP

2010 stats – 146 hits in 573 AB / 154 G / .255 Avg. / .352 OBP

Abreu had a down season last year, but he is bouncing back nicely.  He appears to still have a few good years left, and that could get him to the plateau.  He’ll be at ~2,425 at the end of the year, but that may be a little too much to go considering he’ll be 38 starting next season.  He’ll be a starter for a few more seasons, but the incredible amount of walks may actually hurt him in the long run.

35% chance

Ivan Rodriguez – C, Washington Nationals.  2,842 hits in 2,538 games.  39 years old.

2011 stats – 25 hits in 117 AB / 39 G / .214 Avg. / .276 OBP

2010 stats – 106 hits in 398 AB / 111 G / .266 Avg. / .294 OBP

Pudge just went on the DL, and that doesn’t bode well for his chances.  He isn’t hitting well, which begs the question – has he hit the end of the road.  I’d give him a better chance of getting more at bats than Vizquel, who is the same distance away but is 5 years older.

25% chance

Omar Vizquel – SS, Chicago White Sox.  2,831 hits in 2,890 games.  44 years old.

2011 stats – 32 hits in 119 AB / 40 G / .269 Avg. / .299 OBP

2010 stats – 95 hits in 344 AB / 108 G / .276 Avg. / .341 OBP

Vizquel hasn’t had over 100 hits since 2007.  He is only playing about every third game or so, and at 44 years old, something would need to change for him to bridge the gap of 170 hits.

15% chance

Others who have an outside shot to get there:

Carlos Lee, Magglio Ordonez, Michael Young

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3 responses

1 02 2012
Robert

Omar Vizquel HoF worthy mentionables as Devil’s Advocate:

Part of a solid Cleveland Indian postseason team year after year from 1995-99 and 2001. Played in two WS during that time. His defensive play would have clearly helped his team towards this postseason worthiness for 6 of 7 seasons. It’s also worth mentioning that this was from ages 28-34 for his consistency. I would also like to highlight a statistic that most people overlook when it comes to your sometimes lighter hitters, or simply in general about hitters. That is the amount of walks they have and compare that with their H+BB to OBP+SB = result of RBI+R.

First let me note that Omar Vizquel was not given the free pass (intentional walk), but was actually pitched to. He batted against quite formidable pitching staffs, being the Red Sox, Braves, Orioles, Yankees (in their steroid era), Marlins, and Braves. I would like to note that Vizquel’s Indians did lose the 1995 pennant to a clearly non-steroid Brave’s great pitching rotation (3 likely eventual HoF players within).

Now to my statistical point that you can’t judge a small hitter by his cover:
Vizquel’s total postseason Dudas’ formula for batter stats from 1995-99 plus 2001 …

H+BB to OBP+SB = result of RBI+R
57+25 to .327+23 = 20+28

Get over just looking at someone’s BA or being enamored with SLG and see how many times a player really got on base and what they did completely around the bases. When you do this, you see that Omar Vizquel was not only just top 5 at his defensive position, but also consistently brought something offensively to his team. Not just in the regular season, but in the postseason as well for an extended period of time.

Take into consideration that on the overall basis, Vizquel played in the heavier SLG hitting, steroid era, but still managed to be an offensive factor. When you look from the true perspective that I devised based on the given/tracked statistics of baseball.

Keep Omar Vizquel within his era and the multiple eras he played within, and he is overall a Hall of Fame player for not just his defensive achievements. Sure, some of those players at his position or that he batted against have championships, but many of those teams also have the stigma of steroid use attached to such championships. And longevity does count when it comes to Omar Vizquel, who is not a steroid user while not being intentionally walked, but survived into and through the steroid era to have a defensive and offensive career.

I would love for someone to take out all of the known steroid users and see where Vizquel would have truly been ranked when it came to MVP, GG and AS votes.

Now I submit Omar Vizquel’s Dudas’ Formula for career from 1989-2011 …

H+BB to OBP+SB = result of RBI+R
2841+1021(3962) to .337+401 = 944+1432(2376)
* Note that Vizquel did not strike out a lot, which

Vizquel will likely end up having …
– On base over 4,000 times in his career.
> Switch-Hitter
> Likely end up between 16-17th all-time in singles.
– Advanced towards becoming a Run over 400 times.
– Been a part of over 2,400 Runs and RBI’s.
> Made contact as a result of his AB 80.2% of the time, which highlights moving runners.
— Whether a Hit or an Out, but put the in field of play.
— Remaining 19.8% is either a BB or SO.
> Currently 37th all-time in Sacrifice Hits & 51st in Sacrifice Flies.
— 4 more SH’s will get Vizquel to a tie for 32nd all-time.

– 11 Gold Gloves within a 14 year period
> From ages 26-39.
> 2nd all-time for SS.
> Tied 8th all-time w/Keith Hernandez against all positions.
– 3-time All-Star (during a heavy burdened steroid era).

At this point, as far as longevity goes, Rusty Staub compares to Omar Vizquel, if both are looked at as relatively modern to each other. Staub isn’t in the Hall of Fame, but in light of the steroid era players already within or to come into the HoF ballot process, I feel Rusty Staub deserves enshrinement. It’s Gold Gloves that Staub lacks, but his offensive capabilities were clean. Almost all players around Rusty Staub and Omar Vizquel, as for longevity, are in the Hall of Fame. Those that are not either have steroids connected to them (Bonds and Palmeiro), have extra circumstances (Rose), or have yet to hit the ballot process (Biggio).

And I don’t want to hear the longevity works against Omar Vizquel argument anymore. Concepcion didn’t play nearly as long and his equal time statistics do not compare to Omar Vizquel’s. I clearly see why Ozzie Smith would be in the HoF, but Concepcion would not. But compare the other longevity and common to Vizquel in statistics players for equal point of career… and you see that Pewee Reese, Rabbit Maranville, and Luis Aparicio are all in the Hall of Fame. Omar Vizquel is clearly between Concepcion’s and Ozzie Smith’s standards set by performance over career. As far as players that played through 44 years old: Bobby Wallace, Sam Rice, Jim O’Rourke, Carlton Fisk, and Johnny Evers are all in the Hall of Fame. Wallace, Fisk, and Evers are near precise as for BA, while Vizquel batted between roughly 2,000 to 4,000 times more.

There are too many players that are Hall of Famers that Omar Vizquel compares to in just batting statistics for him to not be included in the Hall of Fame. And that is without going into the defensive superiority that Vizquel displayed during his career. Julio Franco’s total hits compared with his strike outs work against him, though I am engrossed in his achievements of age. Omar Vizquel is like Rusty Staub, who has hits and amount of walks combined with low strike out total, though Rusty and some of the other similar Hall of Famers have OBP higher. But when you compare to the similar Hall of Fame batters, Omar has 11 defensive Gold Gloves. And that Gold Glove total makes Omar Vizquel tied for 8th best all-time defensively speaking across all baseball positions.

The obvious next question would be why Vazquez and not Hernandez? The roughly 800 or more Hits total difference in the end. Even though the two have the exact amount of Gold Gloves. Even with Hernandez’ two WS rings and 1979 NL MVP award. But Vizquel has 14 seasons with 120+ hits compared to Hernandez’ 10. Because longevity does count for something. Because Hernandez’ last 120+ hits effort was at 33 years old while Vizquel’s was at the age of 40 (95 hits at the age of 43).

Sometimes you have to distinguish between two careers based on longevity over achievements based on a team effort. Hernandez has obvious team achievements and the personal awards, but he simply lacks the overall career total standard of hits for the modern era. Omar Vizquel is close to that crowning accomplishment and his offensive and defensive achievements compare to many already in the Hall of Fame.

2 02 2012
chuckneo

I think he’ll get in – but it won’t be right away. I agree, he deserves to get in, and, yes, his offensive contribution is certainly underrated. I think the fact that he is so well known for his defense will help him, too. If he could get to 3,000 hits, that would probably make him get in a lot sooner, but he’s not going to do that.

8 03 2016
6 years, 1,500 posts, and a lot of baseball cards | Lifetime Topps project

[…] for guys who’d already made it into the club.  And another for my expert predictions on who would make it in the future.  I gave Alex Rodriguez a 99% chance.  I got that one right, though it did kind […]

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