Photo Credit: Federal Baseball
Up until five years ago, no MLB player had won the Batting Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. It was in the year 2012 when Miguel Cabrera put an end to the 45-year Triple Crown drought by leading the American League in batting average (.330), home runs (44), and runs batted in (139).
But looking more closely at the Triple Crown trend, one thing really sticks out. In fact, while that 45-year drought was ended and now sits at just five years, there is still an active drought of 80 years. That drought is among National League players. Dating back to Ted Williams in 1942, the six batters to earn the Triple Crown have come from the American League.
Joe Medwick, a left fielder that played for the St. Louis Cardinals, was and still is the latest National League batter to win the Triple Crown having done so in the year 1937. But if there was ever a good time for that 80-year drought to end, it’s now.
Two words: Ryan Zimmerman.
Washington Nationals’ first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, 32, hasn’t played in more than 115 of the 162 games in an MLB season since 2013. He is constantly dealing with injuries, and while he is extremely talented, this makes him unpredictable from a production standpoint.
This season, the 13-year veteran hasn’t left a single trace of doubt of what he is capable of doing when healthy. And that’s probably a huge understatement.
Here’s a list of statistics that Zimmerman leads the MLB in through May 8th.
Batting Average*: (.420; next highest in MLB and NL is .385)
Hits: (47; next highest in MLB is 44; next highest in NL is 43)
Home runs*: (13; tied for MLB lead, next highest in NL is 12)
RBIs*: (34; next highest in MLB and NL is 29)
Slugging Percentage: (.875; next highest in MLB is .772; next highest in NL is .755)
OPS: (1.334; next highest in MLB and NL is 1.261)
*=denotes Triple Crown category
Triple Crown in the National League? How about a Sextuple Crown in the entire MLB! And some of these categories aren’t even close right now. Zimmerman is 35 thousandths higher than the next best batter from a batting average standpoint, 103 thousandths higher than the next best batter from a slugging standpoint, and 73 thousandths higher than the next best batter from an OPS standpoint. Amazing.
Let’s not forget, though, that there is a long way to go this season. The Nationals own the best record in the NL at 21-11, meaning they have played just 32 games and have 130 to go. But the flat-out dominance that Zimmerman has put on display so far this season has made a statement that if he can stay healthy, look out MLB.
Look out, Joe Medwick.