Last night Brian Roberts smacked his 50th double of the year, joining Hall of Famers Stan Musial, Tris Speaker, and Paul Waner as the only players in baseball history with 50-plus doubles in at least three seasons.
Of course, while most fans can cite the significant homer records few people pay much attention to doubles. As a quick primer, here are the career, active, and single-season doubles leaders:
CAREER ACTIVE SINGLE SEASON
Tris Speaker 792 Ivan Rodriguez 546 Earl Webb 67
Pete Rose 746 Manny Ramirez 527 George Burns 64
Stan Musial 725 Ken Griffey Jr. 518 Joe Medwick 64
Ty Cobb 724 Garret Anderson 511 Hank Greenberg 63
Craig Biggio 668 Todd Helton 506 Paul Waner 62
Roberts is 31 years old and has averaged an impressive 45 doubles per 162 games during his career, leading the league in two-baggers twice and ranking second two other times. However, he’s not particularly close to being among the all-time doubles greats. He ranks just 352nd on the all-time list with 312 career doubles, tied with the immortal trio of Doug DeCinces, Kent Hrbek, and Stuffy McInnis.
Even looking at the doubles leaders through the age of 31, Roberts ranks just 87th, although this time he’s tied with some guy named Babe Ruth. Roberts has been on a torrid doubles pace over the past half-dozen years, with annual totals of 50, 45, 34, 42, 51, and now 50, but he didn’t land an everyday job in the majors until the age of 25 and didn’t have his first big doubles total until 26.
All of which makes it tough to pile up historically great totals, but since Roberts became a regular for the Orioles in 2002 he leads baseball with 294 doubles, followed by Albert Pujols at 292. And despite his relatively late start Roberts is one of just 15 players to have five or more seasons with 40-plus doubles through the age of 31. The only guys with more than five such seasons by his age? Musial, Joe Medwick, and Lou Gehrig with seven and Wade Boggs and Joe Cronin with six.
It was only a matter of time before Mike Trout courted another all-time record, and on Saturday, he found himself in elite company with his 25th and 26th home runs of the season. He put the Angels on the board with a 429-foot blast in the first inning, depositing an 0-1 fastball from the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman into the left field bleachers:
In the third inning, with the Angels up 2-1, Trout returned to tack on another insurance run. He targeted Gausman’s slider for his second solo shot of the evening and cleared the center field fence with a 418-footer to bring his total to 26 home runs on the year.
Trout has mashed at a staggering .339/.471/.596 clip since his return from the disabled list last month, and Saturday’s totals helped mark his sixth consecutive season with at least 25 home runs. That’s a record few have matched before their age-26 season; in fact, only Hall of Fame sluggers Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson have ever pulled it off.
Assuming he continues to rake in hits and plate appearances over the last six weeks of the regular season — and there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t — Trout is in line to join elite company of a different kind. The 26-year-old entered Saturday’s game with a 206 OPS+ (park-adjusted on-base plus slugging). According to MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, that means Trout’s hitting at a better clip than the average Major League player by a full 106 percent. Should he finish the year with a 200 OPS+ and 502 plate appearances or better, he’ll be the first player to do so since Barry Bonds obliterated the competition with his 263 OPS+ in 2004.
The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Tom Koehler from the Marlins in exchange for minor league right-hander Osman Gutierrez and cash considerations, the clubs announced Saturday. Koehler is in his sixth year with the Marlins and stands to make $5.75 million in 2017. He’ll be arbitration eligible in 2018 and is set to enter free agency by 2019.
The 31-year-old right-hander struggled to a 7.92 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 55 2/3 innings with Miami in 2017. He was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in late July, where he rebounded with a 1-1 record in seven starts and whittled his ERA down to a 1.67 mark. The Blue Jays have yet to establish Koehler’s role within their organization, but are hoping to see a turnaround from the righty when he breaks back into the big leagues.
Gutierrez, 22, was assigned to Single-A Greensboro on Saturday. He has yet to find his footing in the minors, and exited a 78-inning stint with Single-A Lansing after racking up a career-worst 7.85 ERA and 8.2 SO/9. His lack of control is particularly alarming, with a 6.2 BB/9 that dwarfs the 2.0+ BB/9 of seasons past, but he still has plenty of time to figure out his mechanics before reaching the Show.