Ranking MLB's Top 6 Candidates for 30-30 Seasons in 2014

Karl Buscheck@@KarlBuscheckContributor IIIApril 17, 2014

Ranking MLB's Top 6 Candidates for 30-30 Seasons in 2014

0 of 7

    David Zalubowski

    In the process of ranking MLB's top candidates for 30-30 seasons in 2014, there's just one word that comes to mind: exclusive. 

    The 30-30 club is about as exclusive as it gets. A season ago, 16 players stole 30 bases or more, and 14 hit at least 30 home runs. However, exactly zero players accomplished both. What follows is a ranking of MLB's top six candidates to enter, or in certain cases re-enter, the prestigious club. 

    So let's take a look at the 30-30 candidates for 2014. 

Honorable Mentions

1 of 7

    Lenny Ignelzi

    Before we get started with the top six, let's take a look at a couple of the players who just barely missed the cut. 

    Ian Desmond, SS, Washington Nationals

    The 2012 All-Star has been a member of the 20-20 club in back-to-back seasons. Considering that 2014 is Ian Desmond's age-28 season, this year could just prove to be the first time that the shortstop goes 30-30. 

    Ian Kinsler, 2B, Detroit Tigers

    Ian Kinsler has done this before—two times to be exact. Back in 2009, while still a member of the Texas Rangers, Kinsler slugged 31 home runs and stole 31 bases. Then in 2011, the right-handed hitter finished with 32 homers and 30 steals.

    Kinsler has only totaled a combined 36 steals over the past two seasons, but in 2014 the second baseman for the Detroit Tigers appears to be revitalized with his new club. 

6. Jason Kipnis, 2B, Cleveland Indians

2 of 7

    Mark Duncan

    2013 Stats: 17 home runs, 30 steals

    Why He'll Join the Club:

    Jason Kipnis definitely has the speed to steal 30 bases; he did it just a season ago.

    The question is whether the second baseman, who just inked a six-year, $52.5 million extension, has the pop to club 30 home runs. Last year, Kipnis went yard a career-high 17 times. While working his way through the Cleveland Indians' farm system, the left-handed batter topped out at 16 home runs. 

    Playing in his age-27 season, Kipnis will need to go on quite the power surge to go 30-30 in 2014. For that reason, he remains anchored in the No. 5 spot on the list. 

5. Andrew McCutchen, CF, Pittsburgh Pirates

3 of 7

    Gene J. Puskar

    2013 Stats: 21 home runs, 27 steals

    Why He'll Join the Club:

    It's almost a surprise that Andrew McCutchen, the reigning National League MVP, has never put together a 30-30 season since breaking into the big leagues in 2009. 

    The three-time All-Star cleared the 30-stolen base plateau back in 2010 when he swiped 33 bags and slugged 31 home runs in 2012 when he finished third in NL MVP Award voting. So, clearly McCutchen possess the wheels and the power to post a 30-30 season. 

    In 2014, the 27-year-old has already tallied three steals, but has so far yet to connect on his first home run. 

4. Carlos Gomez, CF, Milwaukee Brewers

4 of 7

    Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    2013 Stats: 24 home runs, 40 steals

    Why He'll Join the Club:

    Carlos Gomez is the first of two Milwaukee Brewers to earn a spot on the list. 

    There's no question that Gomez will steal 30 bases in 2014. Last year, the center fielder racked up 40 steals. His career high as a professional came back in 2005, when Gomez totaled 64 steals as a 19-year-old while in the New York Mets' minor league system.

    It's in the power department that the 2013 All-Star could come up short. Last year, Gomez swatted a career-best 24 home runs. However, in 2014, the 28-year-old is off to a blazing start as he's already homered four times in his first 15 games. 

3. Carlos Gonzalez, LF, Colorado Rockies

5 of 7

    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    2013 Stats: 26 home runs, 21 steals

    Why He'll Join the Club:

    There aren't many players who can do what Carlos Gonzalez does on the diamond. 

    In 2013, the left fielder for the Colorado Rockies hit .302/.367/.591 with 26 home runs and 21 steals. The three-time All-Star's home run and stolen base totals are simply remarkable when you consider that Gonzalez only appeared in 110 games. 

    Of course, therein lies the problem. Gonzalez simply can't stay on the field. Entering the 2014 season, the Venezuelan had only totaled 600 plate appearances on one occasion in six big league campaigns. During the 2010 season, the one time he did, Gonzalez hit 34 home runs and stole 26 bases. 

    In his first 15 games in 2014, Gonzalez has already hit four home runs and stolen two bases. If the 28-year-old didn't have such a difficult time remaining in the lineup, he would have ended up even higher on the list. 

2. Ryan Braun, RF, Milwaukee Brewers

6 of 7

    Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

    2013 Stats: 9 home runs, 4 steals

    Why He'll Rejoin the Club:

    Ryan Braun is already a two-time member of this club. 

    The right fielder for the Milwaukee Brewers is actually one of just 13 players in the history of MLB who has produced multiple 30-30 seasons, per MLB.com. In 2011, Braun went for 33 home runs and 33 steals. Then a season later, the No. 5 overall pick from the 2005 MLB draft finished with 41 homers and 30 stolen bases. 

    However, since then, Braun has endured quite the downfall. Last year, MLB slapped the 2011 NL MVP with a 65-game ban for using PEDs. While playing in just 61 contests a season ago, Braun ended the suspension-reduced and injury-riddled campaign with just nine home runs and four steals. 

    In the opening weeks of 2014, though, Braun appears to be back on track with a .500 slugging percentage, three home runs and two steals. If the 30-year-old goes 30-30 again in 2014, he'll become one of just five players in the history of the sport with three such seasons, as noted by MLB.com.

1. Mike Trout, CF, Los Angeles Angels

7 of 7

    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    2013 Stats: 27 home runs, 33 steals

    Why He'll Rejoin the Club:

    There was never any question as to who would claim the top spot on this list. 

    After all, Mike Trout became the youngest-ever member of the club back 2012 when he hit 30 home runs and swiped 49 bases as a 21-year-old. In 2013, the Los Angeles Angels' outfielder finished just three homers short of accomplishing the feat in back-to-back campaigns. 

    This year, Trout has already gone yard five times, but has only recorded one stolen base. Still, the 22-year-old remains the leading contender to produce a 30-30 season in 2014 and to become the 14th player in MLB history with multiple such seasons. 

    Note: All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

    If you want to talk baseball, find me on Twitter @KarlBuscheck.