The Tigers are on fire and a big part of that is Victor Martinez, who has done nothing but rake this year. He hit another homer last night and now stands at .329/.379/.605 with 11 homers and 26 RBI. He leads the AL in average, slugging and OPS.
But what may be the most remarkable number he’s posted so far is 9. As in, he has struck out only nine times which, according to math, means that he has two fewer Ks than he has homers.
While always impressive for a person who hits a lot of homers, there was a time in baseball when such a thing was not necessarily a crazy-historic feat. Joe DiMaggio did it seven times in a 13-year career. Yogi Berra did it five times in the 1950s alone and had the same number of bombs and strikeouts another time. Ted Kluszewski did a few times — these days it’s a pretty rare feat. Heck, having, like, 100 more strikeouts than homers would get at least some people talking about your decent plate discipline in our free-swinging age. Only one player has done it with as many as 30 home runs since the 1950s and his name was Barry Bonds, who hit 45 homers and struck out 41 times in 2004.
I don’t expect Martinez to keep this pace up all year — he’s never been a guy who has struck out that much but in full seasons he has never had fewer than 50 — but for now it’s pretty darn impressive.