Brett Lawrie broke a tie with a two-run homer in the top of the eighth as the Blue Jays bested the Orioles 8-6 on Thursday.
It was Lawrie’s fourth homer during his current nine-game hitting streak and seventh in 26 games since his callup. He’s also knocked in 21 runs, but perhaps his most impressive stat so far is that he has 17 extra-base hits already (four triples, six doubles). Since 1960, that’s tied for the most of any player in his first 26 career games:
1. George Scott (1966): 17
1. Mitchell Page (1977): 17
1. Albert Pujols (2001): 17
1. Jeff Francoeur (2005): 17
1. Chris Davis (2008): 17
1. Chris Dickerson (2008): 17
1. Brett Lawrie (2011): 17
8. Alvin Davis (1984): 16
8. Stephen Drew (2006): 16
8. Brennan Boesch (2010): 16
Ryan Braun, Carlos Gonzalez and Carlos Santana are among those that had 15.
Lawrie is hitting .340, and he’s also gone 4-for-4 stealing bases. His big-league attitude may rub some people the wrong way, but so far, he’s definitely walking the walk.
Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.
But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.
To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).
According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.