This morning I suggested that hitters finishing “a triple short of the cycle” isn’t nearly as noteworthy as baseball writers like me seem to think, as it’s happened 172 times already this season.
I figured that alone was stretching the limits of reader interest, but apparently not. A few of you actually asked about the all-time leaders in “a triple short of the cycle” games. As always I turned to the amazing “Play Index” on Baseball-Reference.com for the answer:
Lou Gehrig 42
Babe Ruth 38
Alex Rodriguez 38
Ted Williams 35
Barry Bonds 35
Stan Musial 32
Billy Williams 32
Juan Gonzalez 32
Jimmie Foxx 31
Willie Mays 30
Rogers Hornsby 30
Al Simmons 30
Not a whole lot of surprises on that list, although Billy Williams and Juan Gonzalez are in the midst of a little better company than usual. Lou Gehrig finished “a triple short of the cycle” 42 times, which is an average of once every 51.5 games for the Hall of Famer. Alex Rodriguez is the active leader with 38, followed by Magglio Ordonez with 26 and Albert Pujols with 25.
And now, let’s never speak of this again.
UPDATE: OK, maybe not never again. For a whole lot more on this subject, check out the research done by Wrigleyville23.com. Good stuff.
Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.
I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.
I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.
As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.
There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.
Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.
With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.