Monday, September 5, 2011

Double Trouble.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I like to throw out cool stats that I come across from time to time. But occasionally I come across a really cool stat, one that I think deserves its own column. This is one of those occasions.

Over the weekend I was looking at the Royals’ stats, and something stuck out at me. Jeff Francoeur, who continues to defy his detractors, has 44 doubles – tying Jermaine Dye’s franchise record for doubles hit by an outfielder.

Behind Francoeur and Dye on the all-time list of doubles hit by a Royals outfielder is Carlos Beltran, with 41 – a place he now shares with Alex Gordon. And not far behind them is Melky Cabrera, who has 39 doubles this season, ranking him among the Royals’ top ten outfielders for doubles in a season.

And it’s still Labor Day.

All three members of the Royals’ outfield have hit 39 or more doubles. In the history of baseball, only two teams have ever had all three of their outfielders hit 39 doubles.

The 1998 Angels did it with Darin Erstad (39), Jim Edmonds (42), and Garret Anderson (41).

The 1932 Philadelphia Phillies did it with Kiddo Davis (39), Chuck Klein (50), and Hal Lee (42).

You might notice that both of those teams had one outfielder who stopped at 39 doubles. So let me put this bluntly: with Melky Cabrera’s next double, the Kansas City Royals will be the first team in major-league history to have all three outfielders hit 40 doubles. We’ve already seen an outfield of .400 hitters – the 1894 Philadelphia Phillies – but never an outfield of 40-double hitters. We’re one two-bagger away.

But that’s not it. Because you see Billy Butler has also hit 38 doubles this year. Which means the Royals are a couple of doubles away from having four different players each hit 40 doubles this year.

Only three teams in major-league history have accomplished that feat. They are:

- The 2006 Texas Rangers, with Mark Teixeira (45), Michael Young (52), Gary Matthews (44), and Mark DeRosa (40).

- The 1929 Detroit Tigers, with Dale Alexander (43), Charlie Gehringer (45), Harry Heilman (41), and Roy Johnson (45).

- And the aforementioned 1932 Philadelphia Phillies, who along with Klein and Lee also had Dick Bartell (48) and Don Hurst (41). Kiddo Davis was one double short of giving the Phillies five separate 40-double hitters, but before you’re too impressed remember that the Phillies played in the Baker Bowl, where it was about 280 feet to right field, and the wall was about 45 feet high – it was the Green Monster on steroids. That year the Phillies hit 204 doubles at home – and just 126 doubles on the road.

The Royals are about to become the fourth team in major-league history to have four different players hit 40 or more doubles. What’s more, with Alex Gordon hitting his 42nd double of the season in Oakland this afternoon, the Royals need three more doubles from Cabrera, and four more doubles from Butler, to become the first team in major-league history with four players that hit 42 or more doubles.

The thing about naming your team the “Royals” is that it leaves unsaid what kind of Royals they are. The 1985 team were Kings, obviously; the 2005 team were Court Jesters, or possibly (with a nod to Mel Brooks) the Pissboys.

It’s pretty clear who the 2011 Kansas City Royals are. They’re the Earls of Doublin’.


Brent said...

It is nice to have good stats, even if strange ones, to talk about this year.

Unknown said...

But has there been any outfields where on top of the doubles, they lead the league in assists? This would make them 1 of a kind if they were the first.

Unknown said...

And the best thing is that all are so young, back-to-back years are a possibility.

Keith R.A. DeCandido said...

That was a loooooooooooooooong way to go for that pun..... *laughs*

Anonymous said...

Doubles? Rany, you're thinking way too small.

Do you realize that with almost a month left to the season, the Royals have 5 players who could finish with 20 or more home runs? (one of whom already has reached that mark)

Last time the Royals had as many as 3 was 2002.
Last time the Royals had as many as 4 was 1987, and the only other time they had 4 was 1977, the year the Royals had their best record ever.

It's not nearly a lock, but this year's squad could be the first Royals team ever with 5 20-HR hitters.

kcghost said...

I think I would call this a statistical oddity rather than a statistic.

LastRoyalsFan said...

Nice job Rany, but lots of work to pen that whole column just to work in the Earl of Doublin' reference at the end...

Phil said...

Baseball Prospectus

Smart, ambitious, inventive. Yes.

Funny. No.

Love you just the sme.

Tampa Mike said...

@Chaim - Don't undervalue doubles. They can be more productive than homeruns in putting together rallies. It's also called writing about what has happened rather than what MIGHT happen. It is hardly certain how many of those guys will finish with 20 HRs. It's nice to think about, but I'm not getting too excited until these guys get a little closer.

Antonio. said...

He wasn't undervaluing HRs. And doubles are worth half as much as HRs. And they don't always occur twice as often. And I can't think of a time where a batter has been up and I hoped for a double over an HR.

Fast Eddie said...

I wonder what the list is of players who, in a season which they were 21 years old (all season), had an OPS+ of at least 121, like Eric Hosmer has? I think he will be the Royals' next superstar and an all-star.

Royals said...

You know what I want? A column about starting pitching targets. Either about free agent pipe dreams like Wilson or Darvish and how we could/should pull that off; or more likely trade targets. And if the trade route is the one taken, who is/should be the bait? The window is opening and I don't want to piss away year one messing around with re-signing Francis or going for some reclamation project.

First Baptist Church, Stephens said...

And this from an outfield that could have been disastrous (and many people fully expected to be disastrous).

From This Seat.Com said...

Franceour has never been a flashy player which is why fans have never been a big fan of his. (Nationals, Mets) He is just a good baseball player that knows how to play the game.

Antonio. said...

Frenchy was a Brave, not a National. And he did have supporters when he first came up. But the reason people aren't "fans" of his, which isn't exactly true, is because of the approach to hitting that he's always taken, which has been the anti-OBP approach, not understand that walks directly correlate to strike zone management, that OBP more directly correlates to runs scored more than something like BA.

Something that I'm worried about is trading prospects in order to open the window. I get that it's been forever since we've even been legit, non-fluke contenders...but in trading away Myers/Monty/Cain/Cuthbert/Adam/Odorizzi, I'm afraid that we're going to open the window early an inch, but close it several years earlier than we otherwise would. Can we forever assume that Moore will be forever able to pull top prospect after top prospect after top prospect out of his magical prospect farm hat? Is this a nothing concern?

Kenneth said...

What were the home run totals of those teams with doubles versus the 2011 Royals home runs ? I think it definetly proves the Royals are making solid contact with the ball and there is no reason to think this can't continue into next year.

Every year someone writes about Billy's doubles turning into HR's next year. With a bunch of 27+ guys can we expect any doubles to turn to HR's next year ? Are doubles up over the entire league or is this a Royals anommally ?

McGoldencrown said...

Antonio, doubles are worth half as much as homers? Wow. Your logic of simply counting the # of bases a player stepped on after a hit, is tragically flawed. If a team hits ten consecutive homeruns to start and inning, they score 10 runs. If a team hits 10 consecutive doubles, they score 9 runs.....@Royals, I will give you a primer in your desire for a post on offseason SP aquisitions. This fall, Kansas City will trade Wil Myers in a package of players to Atlanta for Mike Minor. It just makes too much sense.

Michael said...

Um, Wil Myers PLUS a package of players for Mike Minor??? I'd hope not. I wouldn't offer another legitimate prospect on top of Myers. Maybe someone of organizational fodder type, like Irving Falu, but no one else of real consequence. Now, Tommy Hanson or Julio Teheran, I'd give up Myers and another legitimate prospect for.

Antonio. said...

I hope to someday come up with a good "never-to-happen" analogy to defeat logic.

Bases empty: HR or double?
1 on: HR or double?
2 on: HR or double?
3 on: HR or double?
Bases loaded: HR or double?