Big League Stew - MLB

We all have questions about the 2010 season and Alex Remington luckily has some answers. The Stew's resident stats guru will address three per week as Opening Day approaches.  

The Situation: Power and speed. Yin and yang. There's nothing more exciting than seeing the two together in a burner who can wallop the ball or a big strong guy who happens to be deceptively fast. If they're really good and a little lucky, they might hit at least 30 homers and steal at least 30 bases and join the 30/30 club.

(Or, as we should call it, the Bonds Club. Of the 54 30/30 seasons in history, 10 of them came from the Bonds family — five apiece for father and son.)

If you like power and speed, you're getting spoiled these days. Of the 35 members of the 30/30 club, 13 applied for membership in the 2000s, the most of any decade ever. Twelve different men, meanwhile, joined in the '90s, so there have been more 30/30 seasons over the last 20 years than had ever occurred before in baseball history.

Reaching those numbers, however, is harder than it looks. Even in this past decade, there were twice as many 25/25 seasons (35) as 30/30 seasons (17).

The Question: Who are the most likely players to reach 30/30 in 2010?

The Analysis: Any list of the likeliest people to do it has to start with the people who have done it before. The only 30/30 player in 2009 was Ian Kinsler(notes), but Grady Sizemore(notes) and Hanley Ramirez(notes) both joined the club in 2008. Meanwhile, Brandon Phillips(notes), Jimmy Rollins(notes), and David Wright(notes) go there in 2007.

A few points to consider ... 

• Kinsler, Sizemore and Ramirez seem much likelier to repeat than their 2007 counterpoints. Phillips and Rollins have never again come close to hitting 30 homers, while David Wright's power stroke totally deserted him last year. Even if some of the homers come back, he's a long shot at best while playing half of his games in spacious Citi Field.

• There have been only six 30/30 players in the last three years, but there have been 37 players in the 20/20 club over the same time. There were 14 last year, a class that includes Troy Tulowitzki(notes), Shin-Soo Choo(notes), Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz(notes), Matt Kemp(notes), Mark Reynolds(notes), Justin Upton(notes), Jayson Werth(notes), Curtis Granderson(notes), and Chase Utley(notes).

• The nearest '09 miss at 30/30 was Kemp, who swiped 34 bases and slugged 26 homers and may have established himself as the best center fielder in baseball. He's only 25, his speed is well-established and his home run power is quickly developing. Based purely on performance last year, he may be the likeliest new member of the club. (Of course, that doesn't mean he's likely — ZiPS projects him for 24 homers and 21 SB and CHONE projects him for 20 HR and 27 SB. Then again, CHONE doesn't have a single 30-30 player projected for 2010, and with 21 of 30 clubs complete, neither does ZiPS.)

• Arizona's Justin Upton is another possibility, and, if not for the injuries, his brother B.J. would be as well. Upton is only 22, but he already hit 26 homers and stole 20 bases last year, and in a lineup without much going for it other than Mark Reynolds, he may be given a free pass to generate as much excitement as he can. Reynolds himself stole 24 bases last year after having never stolen more than four in any season in the minors, but I think it's a fluke. (Remember when Corey Koskie(notes) stole 27 in 2001?)

The Forecast for 2010: There has been at least one 30/30 player in every full baseball season since 1987, so odds are good there will be at least one. From my roll-the-dice viewpoint, I'd pencil in Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp as the two likeliest to get there.

Related Articles

Big League Stew

Add to My Yahoo RSS

Related Photo Gallery

Y! Sports Blog