Friday, September 10, 2010

Falling Franchise Records, Part 2: National League

By Bill

On Wednesday, I wrote about the plethora of franchise records set to fall in the AL. Short on time to do the whole shebang, I promised that the NL would come later in the week. I also noted that it probably wouldn't be as interesting; and as it turns out, it's really not that interesting at all. The thing is, most National League teams are really old, and the ones that aren't have generally had incredible performances in the past (Rockies) or don't have any particularly noteworthy performances this year (Diamondbacks). There are no Tampa Bay Rays here.

Here are a few records that could, conceivably, fall this year:

Andres Torres: Giants Doubles
It amazes me, but neither the New York nor the San Francisco Giants has, at least since 1901, had a player hit 50 or more doubles. The record is Jeff Kent's 49 in 2001, and no one else has ever topped 46. Sure, the young Willie Mays never did it only because he (a) was strong enough to clear the wall 30-50 times and/or (b) was fast enough to continue on to third 12-20 times, but still, it's pretty amazing that nobody has done it.
Torres has 43 doubles, and is on pace for just about exactly 49. It's entirely conceivable that, of the 85 players to have hit 50 or more doubles since 1901, Torres could become the first Giant. Which would be a pretty big accomplishment for a 32 year old whose previous career high was 75 games.

Prince Fielder: Brewers Walks
Hard as it is to believe (if you didn't happen to hear it a year ago), the Brewers have had just one player in their entire history draw 100 walks (but three with either 98 or 99). That player was Prince Fielder, last year. He's at 92 right now and on pace for about 105, which makes it pretty difficult for him to top his 2009 record of 110. But he's got a very, very good chance to have the second 100-walk season in team history.

Adam Dunn: Nationals/Expos Strikeouts
As with Fielder, Dunn already holds this team record; in his first year with the Nationals, he struck out 177 times. So far in 2010, he's already taken over the number 2 spot, with 171. With 22 team games remaining, he's all but assured of crushing that record. Bizarrely, Dunn's strikeout rate is way up, and his walk rate is way down, but his WAR is hugely higher than in 2009 (3.6 vs. just 0.9), thanks to improved extra base power and, most importantly, what all the advanced metrics agree is vastly improved first-base defense.

Dexter Fowler: Rockies Triples
So there is one offensive record the Rockies are young and unaccomplished enough to give up. Fowler's 12 triples already hold the franchise record; four Rockies had hit 11 (Uribe, Pierre, and Neifi Perez twice). It would be kind of shocking that Fowler had done it in only 418 plate appearances, had not Juan Uribe hit his 11 in just 283 PA. What is shocking is that despite all the triples, Fowler's slugging just .402.

Ubaldo Jimenez: Rockies Wins
Of course, the Rockies aren't nearly so accomplished on the pitching side of things. With 18 wins, Jimenez, like Fowler, already holds the team record. Three previous poor saps have somehow managed 17.

Ubaldo Jimenez: Rockies Strikeouts
Pedro Astacio had 210 in 1999; Jimenez has 178 in 2010. That gives him five starts to get 33 more strikeouts. He's been averaging  6.4 per start, which is just below that pace. Certainly possible.

Mat Latos: Padres ERA
In 1971, Dave Roberts posted a 2.10 ERA. Latos' is currently at 2.20 (in 100 fewer innings). He'd have to be pretty incredible the rest of the way to get there, but it's possible. It is, of course, much more likely that he drops to fourth or fifth (Kevin Brown sits in 5th at 2.38 in 1998).

Brian Wilson: Giants Saves
Wilson has gotten a save in 51.9% of the Giants' wins, totaling 41. The team record is 48, by Robb Nen. With 21 games left at the Giants' current winning percentage, you'd expect him to finish with 47 (the team goes 11-10 and Wilson saves six of those). It's clearly possible that Wilson ends up with 48 or more.

1 comment:

Professor Longnose said...

An addition: David Wright is projected to break the Mets' team record for striking out. He's got 147, and the record is 156, shared by Tommie Agee and Dave Kingman. Wright is projected to 167 by