7 MLB Records Most Likely to Be Broken in Second Half
As the 2013 Major League Baseball season barrels towards toward the All-Star break, the second half of the season lurks, promising to provide intense pennant chases, blockbuster trades and one of the most unpredictable September finishes in recent memory.
Along the course of every MLB campaign, first-half stars ignite record-chasing finishes. Naturally, fans flock to projected statistics around the halfway point of every season, signalling a slew of players capable of tearing the record book apart with repeat performances down the stretch.
In the late '90s and early 2000s, that formula seemed to work, especially when it came to the rewriting of the home-run record on a yearly basis.
Of course, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa no longer suit up as active players, so the single-season home-run record remains safe at 73.
The following seven records are in danger, however.
Here is a list of single-season records most likely to fall in the second half of the 2013 season.
1. Most Doubles in a Season
Record-holder: Earl Webb, 67 doubles in 1931
With 39 doubles through 90 games, Manny Machado is projected to smash 70 for the season, surpassing Webb's total from 1931.
Amazingly, the record has stood for over 80 years, becoming one of baseball's most difficult marks to smash.
While it feels like few players have even come close in recent memory, Reds slugger Joey Votto was on pace to break this record just last summer before a knee injury cost him most of August and early September.
If Machado stays healthy, his swing and ability should give him a shot at the mark entering September.
2. Most Home Runs Hit Past the Age of 40
Record-holder: Ted Williams, 29 home runs in 1960
Amazingly, Mariners outfielder Raul Ibanez continues to get better with age. After blasting his 22nd home run of the season on Monday evening, the 41-year-old left-handed hitter is on pace for a staggering 40 home runs this season, easily enough to surpass the legendary Ted Williams for tops among 40-plus sluggers.
Even if Ibanez cools off considerably in the second half of the season, eight more long balls is more than realistic for the veteran. While Safeco Field hasn't been an impediment to his power, the possibility of a trade to a contender with friendlier outfield dimensions could boost his chances even more.
3. Most Extra-Base Hits in a Season
Record-holder: Babe Ruth, 119 extra-base hits in 1921
Chris, now affectionately known in Baltimore as "Crush," Davis, has opened eyes around the sport during a remarkable first half, garnering more All-Star votes than any player in the sport, leading the world in home runs and being selected by Robinson Cano as an AL representative for the Home Run Derby at Citi Field next week. Heck, when there are baseless steroid accusations thrown your way, it's a sign of fame.
While debate could center around Davis as the "true-and-clean" home-run king if he continues his march toward 60-plus homers in 2013, an actual record may lay victim to his bat: The all-time extra-base hits record, held by George Herman Ruth.
Through the end of June, Davis posted 31 home runs and 25 doubles, becoming the first player in history to hold those numbers that quickly.
Currently, Davis is on pace for 47 doubles and 59 home runs, leaving him short of Babe's record, but another hot streak or two could vault him back into the discussion.
4. Most RBIs in a Season
Record-holder: Hack Wilson, 191 RBIs in 1930
As B/R MLB writer Zachary Rymer pointed out earlier this season, this record is really, really difficult to break in today's game.
Yet, if anyone can surpass Hack Wilson, it's Miguel Cabrera.
After years of excellence, Cabrera has moved into baseball's spotlight as the greatest hitter on the planet and may be enjoying the spoils of a better year at the plate than his 2012 Triple Crown campaign.
With 90 RBIs on July 9, Cabrera is "only" on pace for 166 for the season, leaving his projection 25 short of Hack Wilson's figure, but here's a reason not to count him out: Batting average with runners in scoring position.
Normally, this kind of stat would be used to predict future success, but Miggy is having an outrageous campaign with runners on base, feeding into his chase for a record.
If the great Cabrera continues to hit .441 with RISP, there's a chance we'll be treated to a chase of Hack Wilson in September.
5. Most Strikeouts in a Season
Record-holder: Mark Reynolds, 223 in 2009
As Astros slugger Chris Carter climbs up the all-time single-season strikeout lists, don't be alarmed if few care to give noticed. Much like the home-run records falling on a year-by-year basis in the late '90s and early 2000s, the individual strikeout crown has been changing hands on a constant basis over the last decade.
Strikeouts are up, yet few care. This season, Chris Carter is on pace for 218 Ks, slightly below Reynolds' mark, but not out of reach for a hitter with many, many holes in his swing.
Of course, he's also on pace for 30-plus home runs and an OPS around .800. As the game has changed, so goes the way we evaluate players.
Carter can break the record while having a decent season for Houston. So it goes.
6. Best Defensive WAR in a Season
Record-holder: Terry Turner, 5.4 in 1906 (Ozzie Smith holds the modern day record with 4.7 in 1989)*
If WAR, especially when it pertains to defensive numbers, isn't your thing, don't expect to be impressed by the following assertion: Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons is having, by the numbers or naked eye, one of the greatest defensive seasons in the history of the sport.
While arguing the merits of Turner's great defensive year in 1906 may feel strange, using Ozzie Smith's modern record as a baseline is fair.
Through the first 90-plus games of 2013, Simmons' defensive WAR stands at 3.2, putting him on pace to post the most valuable defensive season ever.
It may not stand out or be easy for the average fan to calculate, but it's amazing nonetheless.
*WAR courtesy of baseball-reference.com
7. Best Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio in a Season
Record-holder: Bret Saberhagen, 11.00 K/BB in 1994
While Matt Harvey's fastball and photo shoots get all the publicity in New York and Clayton Kershaw's curveball and impending payday garner the headlines in Los Angeles, the best pitcher in baseball may reside in the Midwest.
Not only is Adam Wainwright great, but he's on the path to an historic season.
Through his first 117 innings in 2013, the Cardinals ace has posted a 117/13 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In other words, he's struck out nine men for every one that he's walked.
That ratio is currently good for fourth best of all-time, behind the aforementioned Saberhagen in 1994, Cliff Lee in 2010 and Curt Schilling in 2002.