For most of baseball history hitting 30 homers and stealing 30 bases in the same season was a pretty big deal.
From the beginning of time through 1982 the only players in the 30-30 club were Ken Williams (the 1920s outfielder, not the current White Sox general manager), Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Bobby Bonds, and Tommy Harper.
Beginning in 1983 the club started to expand rapidly, adding Dale Murphy, Darryl Strawberry, Eric Davis, Howard Johnson, Joe Carter, Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Ron Gant, and Sammy Sosa during the next decade.
And since the players returned from their strike in 1995, at least one player has joined the 30-30 club every year for an influx of 21 new members and 31 total 30-30 campaigns in 15 seasons.
Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler became the club’s newest member Friday with the 54th 30-30 season in baseball history, and it’s also one of the least impressive 30-30 campaigns. Kinsler’s current .250 batting average would be the lowest by any 30-30 player, his .323 on-base percentage would be the fourth-lowest, and his .480 slugging percentage would be the ninth-lowest.
Here are the best and worst adjusted OPS+ totals from a 30-30 season:
BEST YEAR OPS+ WORST YEAR OPS+
Barry Bonds 1992 205 Joe Carter 1987 104
Barry Bonds 1996 188 Brandon Phillips 2007 105
Hank Aaron 1963 179 Raul Mondesi 1999 108
Larry Walker 1997 178 Alfonso Soriano 2005 109
Willie Mays 1957 174 Preston Wilson 2000 109
Barry Bonds 1997 170 IAN KINSLER 2009 110
Barry Bonds 1990 170 Sammy Sosa 1993 111
Jose Canseco 1988 170 Dante Bichette 1996 112
Howard Johnson 1989 169 Shawn Green 1998 116
Barry Bonds 1995 168 Jimmy Rollins 2007 118
This Bonds guy must have been pretty good, huh? Actually, of the 54 instances of a 30-30 season Barry and his father Bobby account for 10 of them. Anyway …
In terms of offensive production Kinsler is having one of the worst 30-30 seasons of all time, but a 110 adjusted OPS+ is better than it looks coming from a middle infielder. On the other hand, Carter’s adjusted OPS+ of 104 in 1987 is the lowest by any 30-30 player and he split time between first base and left field. That season the average adjusted OPS+ was 125 at first base and 112 in left field, so Carter was actually a significantly below-average hitter for his positions.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.