Yesterday on Root Sports they flashed a graphic showing the best 1-2 punch offensively in baseball. Strangely enough Root Sports strictly judges a player’s performance based on batting average, home runs and RBI. No wonder they think Dexter Fowler sucks – he only has 34 RBI! While listening to FOX Sports on Saturdays isn’t usually a LOT better, it was nice to hear Eric Karros acknowledge Chris Iannetta’s on-base average.
I believe these were the five duos Root Sports showed and the stats they displayed:
Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson: 71 HR, 202 RBI, .260 BA
Teixeira: 35 HR, 99 RBI, .244
Granderson: 36 HR, 103 RBI, .277
(I was thinking it was best 3-4 hitters, but I am nearly positive they used Granderson who has batted second for the Yankees a lot this year, not fourth.)
Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia: 40 HR, 174 RBI, .330
Gonzalez: 23 HR, 103 RBI, .345
Pedroia: 17, 71 RBI, .308
(They didn’t include Youkilis even though he has been their #4 a lot in 2011. He is currently on the DL.)
Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder: 54 HR, 189 RBI, .315
Braun: 25 HR, 87 RBI, .332
Fielder: 29 HR, 102 RBI, .298
Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday: 50 HR, 145 RBI, .296
Pujols: 31 HR, 78 RBI, .288
Holliday: 19 HR, 67 RBI, .305
(Hard not to include Lance Berkman but if they expanded to trios the Cardinals would be tough to beat.)
Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki: 52 HR, 179 RBI, .302
CarGo: 24 HR, 86 RBI, .295
Tulo: 28 HR, 93 RBI, .308
With those stats everyone is pretty even. Gonzo and The Midget have the highest combined average but it is hard to ignore those HR totals in New York. It is also amazing to look at the year Phat Albert is putting up because I thought he was having a bad season? By his standard, he is. Might be the first year of his career in which he doesn’t bat .300, hit 30 home runs and drive in 100.
What if we take away some of the numbers that are based largely upon who else is in the order (RBI)? Just look at the duo’s triple slash? AGon has had 188 plate appearances in 2011 in which he has come to the plate with runners in scoring position while Tulowitzki has had 162. Gee, I wonder why AGon has more RBI? And only 10 more at that!
Tex/Grandy Man: .260/.359/.547
Gonzo/Laser Show: .330/.402/.517
Hebrew Hammer/Lil Cecil: .315/.408/.570
The Machine/Big Daddy: .296/.380/.538
Looking at those numbers you would have to take Braun and Fielder. We all should know by now that runs and RBI are products of those who hit around the player, not solely a contribution of that said player. I would take the slight drop in average for the slightly higher on-base average and much higher slugging percentage over the boys in Boston.
Purely, offensively, I think any of these combinations are great but right now the best is in Milwaukee. If you want to add in the rest of the game, well, we would come up with something different.
Not only does Tulo play one of the most important defensive positions on the field he also plays that position very well. CarGo could also just as easily play the most important outfield position for the Rockies if asked (center). AGon and Big Tex in Boston and New York play a very good first base but first base is the least important defensive position on the field (maybe left field). Braun routinely is below average in the field and that is why the Brewers moved him from third base as fast as they could. His teammate isn’t great at first, either. Pujols is a great fielder, but again, plays first base and Holliday is OK in the outfield. Granderson played a great center field in 2010 but that looks like an outlier as he has been below average every other year since 2008. Lastly, Pedroia is the only counter to the Rockies Tulowitzki. Playing a premium position at second base and playing it well adds to Pedroia’s value.
Lastly we can look at WAR to get an idea of the combo’s complete game (because they do play defense, right?). To even it out a bit I will take the WAR total from the past two seasons for each player and then divide by four to get a total. There is probably a more fair way to do this, but, I don’t care, this makes sense to me.
Tex/Granderson: 3.65 WAR
Even with the missed playing time this year by both Pujols and Holliday they are the best duo to have on your team when taking into account batting, base running and fielding. Hard to beat Pujols in any way.
Even with all the numbers above and my bias, give me Tulo and CarGo right now and for years to come over any of these other combinations. I am still not quite sure why CarGo rates so poorly with the advanced defensive metrics but after watching him play daily I cannot imagine a better defensive outfielder in all of baseball.
Who do you think is the best combo in baseball? Let me know below.