Power and speed—two of the five essential “tools” or skills that baseball players are said to possess, and they are lethal when combined.
Players like Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Bobby Bonds, Dale Murphy, Barry Bonds*, Daryl Strawberry, Alex Rodriguez, Alfonso Soriano, and Hanley Ramirez all have used their unique combination of power and speed to join one of the most elite fraternities in Major League Baseball: the 30/30 Club.
A player who hits 30 homers and steals 30 bases is said to have joined the 30/30 club. The 30/30 club has been achieved 54 times in the modern era of baseball. Barry and Bobby Bonds combined have accounted for 10 of them.
The more elite and rare club is the 40/40 club, which has been achieved by Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Alfonso Soriano. The 50/50 has never been reached, but Rodriguez is said to have come closest in 1998 when he went 42/46 as a member of the Seattle Mariners.
Ian Kinsler was the only player in MLB to achieve 30/30 in the 2009 season with 31 jacks and 30 stolen bags. Unfortunately, Ian started off the 2010 season on the disabled list, likely keeping him from back-to-back seasons in the 30/30 club.
The following have the best chance to join the elite 30/30 club in the 2010 season:
Ryan Braun (OF-MIL)
This kid is legit. Through 67 games, Braun has put 10 balls in the seats and swiped 11 bags. Projected over the course of an entire season, Braun should reach the 30/30 plateau.
Last year, Braun didn’t steal his sixth base until mid-June, so he was a month ahead of schedule in that category. He has since slowed down a bit.
My Guess: 34/31
Matt Kemp (OF-LAD)
Like Braun, Kemp is one of the brightest young talents in the big leagues. In 2009, Kemp came very close to joining the 30/30 fraternity, finishing the season with 26 HR and 34 SB. While he finished just shy in the HR category in 2009, he sure is off to a nice start this year, as he currently has 11 HR in 69 games.
This pace, projected over the course of a full season would put him in the 30-plus HR range. In 2008 and 2009, Kemp stole 35 and 34 bases respectively. Expect Kemp to join the elite 30/30 club in 2010.
My Guess: 32/34
Nelson Cruz (OF-TEX)
In 2009, Nelly went 33/20 in just 128 games. He got off to a fast start in 2010 with 10/7 in just 32 games. However, Cruz hit the disabled list with an aggravated hamstring, putting his potential bid for a 30/30 or even a 40/40 season in jeopardy.
I hope this kid gets healthy soon; he’s one of the most exciting players in the game.
My Guess: 35/26
Next in Line: Carlos Gonzalez (OF-COL)
CarGo, as he’s well known throughout the media, fits the same mold as Braun and Kemp. Although CarGo doesn’t have a full MLB season under his belt yet, he did manage to hit 13 HR and steal 16 bags in 86 appearances in 2009 for the Rockies.
While I don’t think he will be able to achieve 30/30 this season, I believe he’s only one year away. The fact that three former Rockies are 30/30 members (Walker, Burks, and Bichette) leads me to believe that playing home games at Coors Field will enhance his chances.
My Guess: 28/32.
Is it any coincidence that Braun and Kemp were probably drafted in the first round of your fantasy baseball draft? I think not.
There is no evidence to support that the first two will slow down and the latter two won’t continue to get better. Get them on your team any chance you get. They will lead you to the “Fantasy Promised Land!”
Do you have any other potential 30/30 candidates?
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Article by Alan Harrison exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com. Check back weekly for more great fantasy insight, analysis and occasional nonsense from Alan.
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