10 Players Who Could Win the Triple Crown
The Triple Crown of hitting in baseball is the most coveted individual trophy awarded behind the MVP because it requires a player to lead the league in three statistical categories: home runs, runs batted in, and batting average.
Since 1967 only one player has won the MLB Triple Crown for hitting, Carl Yastrzemski. Prior to that, 13 players had won it with two of them repeating, Ted Williams and Rogers Hornsby. It isn't easy to win the Triple Crown.
With all the new technology teams are using these days, it might never happen again. The better you hit, the more likely you are to see cautious pitching forcing some hitters to get frustrated and push the envelope to get a hit. But that's baseball.
If it happens, who are the 10 players most likely to win it?
10. Bryan LaHair
David Banks/Getty Images
Career Batting Average: .282
Career Home Runs: 15
Career RBIs: 37
Welcome to the world of the wacky. Before the season began, Bryan LaHair would not have even been discussed as a top ten candidate for the Triple Crown. However, much like the real world, things change.
Call me crazy but this kid has the size to hit for power, the speed to get on base, and the intelligence to make it happen. Who knows?
Besides, we are just guessing, right?
9. Andre Ethier
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
Career Batting Average: .292
Career Home Runs: 117
Career RBIs: 482
Over the past three seasons, Andre Ethier's production has decreased on an even rate. He has become less of a threat for the Triple Crown each season but that does not mean he can't climb back into the hunt.
All it takes is one great season. He has the tools, he just needs to put them all together.
8. Bryce Harper
Greg Fiume/Getty Images
Career Batting Average: .244
Career Home Runs: 2
Career RBIs: 7
It was never a matter of if Bryce Harper will ever win the Triple Crown in baseball. The only question is when he will win it.
He has the best chance to win the Triple Crown since Alex Rodriguez missed it by back in 2002. The hype is drowning this kid right now but if he can manage the pressure he can wind up one of the best to ever swing a bat.
7. Jose Bautista
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
Career Batting Average: .252
Career Home Runs: 167
Career RBIs: 463
Jose Bautista showed up to the party about six years too late. Where did the power come from? He was once a .250/15/50 hitter.
Now? He is one of the most dominant bats in the majors. If he can get his batting average up to around .330, he can win this award. The more hits he gets, the more HRs and RBIs will follow. That is just common sense.
6. Miguel Cabrera
Leon Halip/Getty Images
Career Batting Average: .316
Career Home Runs: 285
Career RBIs: 1018
Every time we count Miguel Cabrera out, he proves us wrong. He has become the most consistent bat in Major League Baseball. He always hits above .300 and he is now in a position with the Detroit Tigers to increase his production.
He won't be a free agent until 2016 but that does not mean he can't play like a player in the last year of his contract.
5. Matt Kemp
Harry How/Getty Images
Career Batting Average: .296
Career Home Runs: 140
Career RBIs: 485
No one has been so successful in such a short period of time than Matt Kemp. He flew through the minor leagues and found his way into the starting lineup for the LA Dodgers within his first three years as a professional.
He had his best career numbers last season and if he can get healthy, can do it again in 2012. The sad news is that hamstring injuries are never an easy thing to bounce back from so we might not be seeing those type of numbers from him this year. Maybe next.
4. Ryan Braun
Mike McGinnis/Getty Images
Career Batting Average: .313
Career Home Runs: 172
Career RBIs: 559
Now that the drug testing problems are behind Ryan Braun he can go back to focusing on playing baseball and being the most dominant bat in the National League.
He has 25 or more HRs and 100 or more RBIs each season over the past five years. His batting average has jumped around but has stayed solidly above .300.
If anyone from the NL was going to win this award, it will be Ryan Braun.
3. Curtis Granderson
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
Career Batting Average: .267
Career Home Runs: 180
Career RBIs: 508
Where did this guy come from? Curtis hit 41 HRs in 2011 with an additional 119 RBIs. He had a contract season but he did it one year too soon.
If his numbers can stay consistent, he will find himself in the mix. But if last year was just a figment of our imagination, this might be the last time we talk about Granderson.
I just hope he can increase his average than he will become the player everyone in New York was hoping he would be.
2. Albert Pujols
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
Career Batting Average: .326
Career Home Runs: 448
Career RBIs: 1347
You already know this guy can hit for average. You already watched him destroy the National League with his bat. Now all we need to do is sit back and enjoy the show.
Sure, he is struggling this season but he is doing nothing wrong. I watched him play. It is a mental thing, not a physical thing. Once he realizes it, he will be fine.
He might not take the Triple Crown in 2012 but he will be playing through 2021 so we will have a chance to see him attempt it.
1. Josh Hamilton
Rick Yeatts/Getty Images
Career Batting Average: .313
Career Home Runs: 136
Career RBIs: 472
Josh Hamilton could win the Triple Crown in 2012. It could happen. He is destroying the American League with 18 HR and 47 RBIs, now all he needs to do is hit for a high average.
Oh wait, he is batting .389 for the season. As of now, it looks good. But the odds of him staying consistent and being healthy are not in his favor. He has already missed a few games more this season than he should have from a back injury.
But who knows. This guy could do something that hasn't been done in over 40 years. And just in time for a new contract too.