Stephen Strasburg Will Break This MLB Record: Fantasy Baseball Roundtable

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Stephen Strasburg Will Break This MLB Record: Fantasy Baseball Roundtable
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MLB records are broken almost every year. Some big, some small. Some take longer than others. It took 38 years before Roger Maris's 61 in '61 was broken, and then only another two years after for the record to fall again.

Some records may just be etched in stone forever since the game is forever changing, like Cy Young's 511 wins. The bottom-line is that not only do the fans crave for them to be broken but the players do too. 

So we asked our writers: Of current players, who has the best chance of breaking a modern era MLB record before their career is over? Will anyone every beat Rickey Henderson's 130 swipes or Dimaggio's 56 game hitting streak? We sure hope so...

 

MOST DOUBLES IN A SEASON: EARL WEBB 67

PREDICTION: BILLY BUTLER

The record for doubles in a season was set by Earl Webb in 1933 with 67. Among current major leaguers with five years or less experience, the most likely candidate to surpass that mark is the Royals Billy Butler.

 

Butler doesn't discriminate against any one section of the baseball diamond. He hits from foul pole to foul pole, from gap to gap. Taking a look at his spray chart, here's the breakdown of his 20 doubles (on pace for 49) thus far in 2010: five to LF, five to left center, two to CF, two to right center and six to RF. Butler hit 51 two base hits in 2009, and has 116 in 440 career games.

 

Kauffman Stadium is a spacious park (330, 375, 410, 375, 330) and very accommodating to an all-field hitter like Butler. He has power, but is more of a pure line drive hitter than a long fly ball guy. His legs are certainly not a strong suit, so he won't be legging out many triples (three career).

 

Quite simply, Billy Butler was born to hit doubles, and all the confounding variables seem to be in his favor for a special run. 67 is a reach, but Todd Helton's 59 (highest total since 1936) is not out of the realm of possibility.

Written by Adam Ganeles for thefantasyfix.com

 

HIGHEST STRIKEOUT RATIO PER 9: RANDY JOHNSON 13.4

 

PREDICTION: STEPHEN STRASBURG

 

In modern baseball, only Randy Johnson, Kerry Wood, and Pedro Martinez have averaged over 10K/9 for their career.  The single season mark is held by Randy Johnson's 13.4 K/9 effort from 2001. 

 

In his first four starts, Stephen Strasburg has started off with a 14.6 K/9 rate.  So what if it's so early into Strasburg's career to begin speculating about how things will go, there is no reason to believe that he's going to slow down. 75 of the 95 pitches he threw in his last start were strikes and through every level he's kept his WHIP under one. 

 

He throws strikes at an amazing percentage and hitters can not put the ball in play, sounds like a recipe for Ks to me.

Written by James Weston for thefantasyfix.com

 

MOST HOME RUNS IN A MONTH: SAMMY SOSA 20

PREDICTION: RYAN HOWARD

 

Slamming Sammy holds the record but of course he played when taking steroids was the norm. The legitimate winner was Rudy York with 18 (1937) and runner-up Babe Ruth with 17 (1927).

 

Although off to a slower start this year, Ryan Howard is still a home-run machine. Howard only has 15 right now and has historically been a second half player, with not only better power numbers but a batting average 40 points higher. Even though there are plenty of other big sluggers out there, I feel Howard has the best chance for owning this record.

 

Since his first full season in 2006 he hasn't hit less than 45 in a year. He's hit over 10 in a month 11 times and reached a high of 14 in August '06. Ryan Howard was born to hit souvenirs into the bleachers!

Written by Evan Marx for thefantasyfix.com

 

MOST CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH A HIT BY A SWITCH-HITTER (AL only): JOSE OFFERMAN 27

 

PREDICTION: MARK TEIXEIRA

 

It’s difficult to find a record in baseball that doesn’t seem ridiculously out of reach. With the difficult task at hand, I have combed through the archives for one that may fall.  Something interesting jumped out at me while I was exploring current and past hitting streaks. 

 

As usual, after an April to forget Mark Teixeira is currently riding a nine game hitting streak.  Being a switch hitter you would think that a consecutive game hitting streak would be easier because one would be able to take advantage of favorable matchups. Especially in the AL where you get considerably more protection in the lineup because you don’t have to bat the pitcher. Apparently, this is where I was mistaken. 

 

Jose Offerman (known mostly for his chasing after pitchers with bats & punching umpires), currently holds the AL record for consecutive games with a hit as a switch hitter at 27 while playing with the Kansas City Royals in 1998. 

 

Nobody in baseball has a better chance to beat this record than Teixeira, who historically is a VERY streaky player. He is already 1/3 of the way there, and hitting in the Yankee lineup he will see plenty of good pitches. 

 

Mark has some great matchups the next 18 games as well with seven vs. Seattle, three vs. Toronto, three vs. Oakland, three vs. TB, two vs. LAA, & the recorder breaker home against KC where Offerman played when he set the current record. 

 

Hopefully, the layoff of the All Star Game doesn’t cool off his hot bat.

Written by Dan Pollak for thefantasyfix.com

 

MOST STRIKEOUTS IN A SEASON BY A BATTER (MARK REYNOLDS 223)

PREDICTION: MARK REYNOLDS

 

To me, the most likely record to be broken by a young player is strikeouts by a hitter in a single season.  Not a difficult to predict, you say, and you'd be right.  After all, its a record that has been broken four times in the past seven years.  But the tricky part is who will break it in the coming seasons. 

 

Will it be Mark Reynolds, who seems to have a lock on this record?  Or will it be Justin Upton, who has only seven fewer K's this year? Or maybe even Ryan Howard, who set the record himself two years ago?  Or perhaps dark horse contenders Rickie Weeks and David Wright?

 

After much back-and-forth, I'm gonna have to be boring and stick with Reynolds.  The man strikes out so much - and is actually finding a way to do it more and more often - that its going to be virtually impossible for anyone to catch him.  I expect Reynolds to break it twice in the next four years and eventually lose playing time because of it - that strikeout rate is just not sustainable even if he does hit a ton of home runs.

 

GUEST WRITER

Jesse Mendelson, Partner and Senior Writer for www, fantasybaseball101.com ,has been playing fantasy baseball almost as long as Ron Shandler with a long history of both tremendous successes and spectacular flameouts. Be sure to follow Jesse's writing on www.fantasybaseball101.com and on Twitter @fb101.

 

MOST GIDP BY A SWITCH HITTER IN A SINGLE SEASON (NL): Ted Simmons (STL-1973)/Dave Philley (PHI-1952) 29 

Prediction: Pablo Sandoval

 

The double play is a pitcher’s best friend, a batter’s worst enemy and more often than not, an inning killer. Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants will break the record for grounding into the most double plays by a switch-hitter in a single season, this year.

 

Technically, the switch-hitting batter is said to have an advantage over the pitcher, being able to strategically shift from one side of the plate to the other to counter the pitcher’s delivery. Additionally, It is not uncommon for the switch-hitter to achieve a higher batting average from one side of the plate and hit for more power from the other. Neither has been the case for Pablo Sandoval thus far in 2010 leaving fantasy baseball owners and stat geeks scratching their heads.

 

Despite hitting for a higher average (.297) and more power (all six of his home runs) from the left side of the plate versus right handed pitching, Pablo has also grounded into 12 double plays. From the right side of the plate versus left handed pitchers, Sandoval is hitting .211 with zero home runs and has grounded into five double plays.

 

Just 11 games before the All-Star Break, Kung-Fu Panda has grounded into eighteen double plays. This puts him on pace to surpass the current record by 10, for a season total of 39. 

 

In comparison, the greatest switch-hitter to ever play the game, Mickey Mantle, never grounded into more than 11 double plays in a single season. Additionally, despite not being a switch-hitter, Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers has yet to ground into a single double play through 320 plate appearances in 2010.

 

Written by Alan Harrison for thefantasyfix.com

 

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