Where Alfonso Soriano Stands Among MLB's Greatest All-Time Power/Speed Combos
Alfonso Soriano continued his hot play since joining the New York Yankees with a two-home-run game against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night.
With that, he became just the sixth player in baseball history to tally 2,000 hits, 400 home runs and 250 stolen bases, and despite an up-and-down tenure with the Chicago Cubs, it is hard to argue that Soriano ranks among the best power/speed players of all time.
Here is a look at the other all-time greats to eclipse those milestones, to give you a little better idea of the company that Soriano joined on Tuesday night.
|Barry Bonds||2,935 H||762 HR||514 SB|
|Andre Dawson||2,774 H||438 HR||314 SB|
|Willie Mays||3,283 H||660 HR||338 SB|
|Alex Rodriguez||2,922 H||651 HR||320 SB|
|Gary Sheffield||2,689 H||509 HR||253 SB|
|Alfonso Soriano||2,022 H||400 HR||285 SB|
That group features some of the greatest to ever play the game, with a pair of Hall of Famers in Willie Mays and Andre Dawson and a trio of players with the numbers to be enshrined but PED clouds hanging over them in Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield.
The 37-year-old Soriano does not have the same power or speed that made him a 30/30 man four times and a 40/40 man while playing for the Nationals in 2006, but he should continue to add to those numbers.
Is Alfonso Soriano one of the 10 greatest power/speed threats in MLB history?
On the year between Chicago and New York, he's hitting .259/.294/.494 with 28 home runs and 15 steals. That is the most bases he's stolen since the 2008 season, and it may be a testament to the fact that his knees are healthier than they have been the past few seasons.
The aforementioned six guys are not the only great power/speed players in MLB history, and the fact that they reached those milestones is as much a testament to their sustained level of success as it is to their overall power/speed abilities.
It's fair to say that if a player ranks in the top 200 all time in both home runs and stolen bases that they demonstrated a great mix of power and speed throughout their careers, and those specifications net a much larger list than the above-mentioned guys.
Career totals of 253 home runs and 267 steals are enough to place a player in the top 200 of all time. Here is a look at the guys aside from the six above who fall into that category.
|Bobby Abreu||287 HR||399 SB|
|Don Baylor||338 HR||285 SB|
|Carlos Beltran||357 HR||308 SB|
|Craig Biggio||291 HR||414 SB|
|Bobby Bonds||332 HR||461 SB|
|Mike Cameron||278 HR||297 SB|
|Eric Davis||282 HR||349 SB|
|Steve Finley||304 HR||320 SB|
|Kirk Gibson||255 HR||285 SB|
|Rickey Henderson||297 HR||1,406 SB|
|Derek Jeter||256 HR||348 SB|
|Joe Morgan||268 HR||689 SB|
|Vada Pinson||256 HR||305 SB|
|Ryne Sandberg||282 HR||344 SB|
|Reggie Sanders||305 HR||304 SB|
This paints a bit better picture of the greatest power/speed guys in MLB history, and while a lot of these guys were compilers who had decent power and speed and enjoyed long careers, three guys stand out as elite power/speed options.
Carlos Beltran has seven 20/20 seasons under his belt, and even with knee injuries costing him time and robbing him of his elite speed, he is still one of just eight players to reach the 300/300 mark. He's topped both 40 home runs and 40 steals in a season, and in his prime he was the definition of a five-tool guy.
Second is Eric Davis, who was even more influenced by injuries in his career. He stole as many as 80 bases in a season early on in his career as a speedy leadoff type, and then he developed into one of the league's more prolific power hitters later on in his career.
Finally, you have Bobby Bonds, who is also a member of the 300/300 club and did virtually all of his damage over a 10-year span from 1969-1978. During that stretch, he averaged 29 home runs and 39 steals per season, reached the 20/20 mark all 10 seasons and eclipsed 30/30 five different times. A ton of strikeouts and a low career batting average keep him from being mentioned with the game's elite, but he had power to spare and speed to burn.
In my eyes, those three guys alongside the six mentioned at the beginning of the article are the elite class of power/speed threats in baseball history.
Long before he hit his 400th home run on Tuesday night, Soriano was already a member of that elite class, and while he is more of a home-run hitter with good baserunning instincts than a real power/speed threat at this point, there were few better at piling up home runs and steals than he was in his prime.
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