How impressive is a 100-RBI season? Is it as big an accomplishment as it used to be? Back in the 1950’s-60’s it was a big feat for a player to hit that century mark in runs batted in. I personally think it is still very impressive but with all the analytics, sabermetrics and new stats out now, it seems that we try to discount how good a season a player really is having.
Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez had his first career 100-RBI season last year with exactly 100 runs driven in. That was the good news — the bad news was that he had just a .233 average on the year and led the league with 186 strikeouts. He’s your typical “power” guy — will drive in runs but strike out a ton, it’s just what they do.
This year Alvarez hasn’t been as lucky, with only 56 RBI’s on the season and a .232 average to go along with it. In fact, most of the guys who drove in 100 last year are kind of going through a setback season in 2014:
We know about Baltimore Orioles First baseman (third baseman lately) Chris Davis‘ struggles this season after that monster year last year when he kept Miguel Cabrera from winning his second consecutive triple crown by driving in 138 runs and winning his first Silver Slugger award. This season has been rough on him, as he’s only driven in 63 runs and sporting a low .188 average. His average hasn’t been this bad since 2010 with the Texas Rangers.
Davis’ teammate Nelson Cruz seemed well on his way to becoming the first player to reach 100 RBI’s with 75 at the All-Star break, but a .179 average since the break has him limping towards the finish line. He’s still only 2 RBI’s away from his 2012 career high and 12 away from his first career 100-RBI season.
Paul Goldschmidt (125 RBI’s last year) and Prince Fielder (106 last year) have had injuries kill their chances at a repeat performance. While Goldschmidt (69 RBI’s in 109 games) had a shot, Fielder was struggling mightily (just 16 RBI’s in 42 games) and it would have taken some monster months to reach the milestone again.
Cincinnati Reds teammates Jay Bruce (knee surgery) and Brandon Phillips (thumb) both had their first career 100-RBI seasons in 13′ but injuries this year will definitely keep them from reaching it this season.
Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano, and Orioles outfielder Adam Jones are all having great years, but for some reason the century mark might be out of reach.
Now, when we talk about who will reach the plateau first, it seems the obvious choices would be Chicago White Sox “rookie” Jose Abreu and Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, both tied at 97. Both of them could reach the century mark by the end of the weekend considering they both play division teams that they are very familiar with — the White Sox play the Tigers and the Marlins face off with the Braves.
Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout is only six RBI’s away from his first 100-RBI season, which I’m sure will be the first of many in his career. Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz is tied at 94 with Trout — this would be Ortiz’ eighth of his career.
Teammates Miguel Cabrera (90) and Victor Martinez (85) seem the most likely to be the first pair to reach the mark but Trout and Albert Pujols (81) have a shot also. Yoenis Cespedes had 67 RBI’s with the Oakland Athletics and has added 20 with the Red Sox to give him a chance at his first 100-RBI season.
His former teammate Josh Donaldson also is on the verge of his first with 88 on the year. There are a couple of teammates that could do what Chris Davis and Adam Jones did last season.
Toronto Blue Jays teammates Jose Bautista (79) and Edwin Encarnacion (76) both need monster months to get it done, but both have proved they can get hot.
Braves outfielder Justin Upton is looking to reach the feat for the first time — he has 88 currently and his teammate Freddie Freeman is way behind with 69. It seems like a pipe dream to think that Freeman could reach the century mark, but never doubt a guy that has done it before.
Philadelphia Phillies teammates Ryan Howard (81)and Marlon Byrd (77) also have an outside shot.
Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez probably has the quietest 90-RBI season ever, as he is not as flashy as his teammates Yasiel Puig or Matt Kemp. Either way you look at it, an 100-RBI season is still very impressive and should never be taken for granted no matter the situation.
– Khristian Peel