The biggest news Tuesday was not about the Houston Astros hitting five home runs in one inningOff Nathan EovaldiOr even the Boston Red SoxFan sitting in the Green Monster Seats who caught two of those home runs.
It's not true, but it is the best news: Daniel VogelbachYou hit a triple.
Let's start with the basics: Pittsburgh PiratesThe designated hitter isn't the slowest major league player. Ernie Lombardi was probably the one causing this, as he had a remarkable lack of speed. Bill James once described Ernie Lombardi as a large man with big, oak-trunk feet, huge legs, huge hands, and a promontory that protruded from his lumpy face. As he grew older, he gained a big belly that he was able to carry around with great effort. His knees were too low and his center gravity was four feet below him. He was not gifted with enough speed by nature. He slowed down as he grew older and became the slowest major league player.
Lombardi also hit 27 triples over his career, nine of which were in his first full season as a majors player.
Vogelbach isn't the slowest active player. These things can now be measured thanks to Statcast. Vogelbach's sprint speed for this season is in the third percentile among all players. This means that 97% of players have a faster top speed. He was marginally faster than seven catchers. Albert Pujols Miguel CabreraAnd… this is strange… Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton's behavior is not clear to me. He doesn't seem to be running anymore. I don't know if he is still running. IncapableYou can run even moderately fast, or just Choose fromDo not run.
Stanton looks professional, regardless of whether he's speeding around the bases. Vogelbach is built as a kid who was right guard for your high school football team or as a sumo wrestler who is undersized or as a truck driver who has eaten too many unhealthy meals at the all night diner. He is 6′ tall (which could be generous) but he weighs in at 270 pounds. His legs are too short and his torso is too big for his legs. He struggles to maintain momentum from a standing start. His arms spin like a salmon swimming downstream, if salmon had arms. He is determined to run fast.
Vogelbach, who was taking the bats for the Pirates in Tuesday's fourth inning at Wrigley Field on Tuesday, had 1,023 career at-bats and never hit a triple. This is the longest streak of active major leaguers. This wasn't his longest current at-bat. stretchA triple is not possible. Stanton has, for instance, gone 1,347 at bats since his 2018 season's last triple. Yadier MolinaCabrera last made a triple in 2017 and 2016 respectively. Pujols has now played 3,276 innings since his 2014 triple.
(I looked up the videoThat was it. Pujols hit the grounder above the first-base ball, and the ball went into the corner. Texas RangersRight fielder Michael Choice was seen laughing after the ball. Highlight: A smiling Mike Trout(The play was scored by a player who couldn't believe that Pujols had made a triple.
Vogelbach was thus batting against Chicago Cubs starter Keegan ThompsonIn the fourth inning of Tuesday's game, he lifted a routine fly ball to deep right field. Ian HappI drifted back and… well. here's the highlight.
For speed demon Dan Vogelbach, stand up TRIPLE😮💨pic.twitter.com/cZ3eZH0h95
— Diamond Digest (@Diamond_Digest) May 18, 2022
Vogelbach didn’t even need to slide.
It is likely that you are aware that the triple is in danger of disappearing. In 2022, there are 0.13 triples per team (per game), which is the same as 2020 and the lowest ever. The number of triples vs hit batters is more than three times that of triples. This may be indicative of the state and future prospects for baseball in 2022. In 1980, when there was 0.26 triples per match, which is twice today's rate of play, there were 64% more triples that hit batters. Last season Shohei Ohtani, David Peralta Bryan ReynoldsThe majors saw eight triples from the leader, which is the lowest total major-league-leading total (other that 2020) since 1872 when Charlie Gould, of the Boston Red Stockings, paced the National Association's performance with eight three-baggers in 45 games.
These days, there are three main ways to hit a triple:
1. A batter who is fast or moderately fast hits a long fly ball above an outfielder's heads, usually in the gap. This happens in parks with larger power alleys. Comerica park has the largest triple factor, which is logical considering the huge gap in right center. Curtis Granderson was a resident of Comerica Park in 2007 when he made a record 23 triples. That's more than the 16 teams who hit it last season. Wrigley is next and then Coors. Here, the odd configurations can cause some wild ricochets.
2. The ball is thrown into a corner. It can either stay there with the fielder playing well off the line or it can go into the corner and bounce away from the fielder. For this triple, the batter must be fast but not always.
3. The fielder is unable to accurately play the ball. Perhaps it's an outfield collision. He might lose it in the sun. He might mistime a leap at a wall. Vogelbach's triple was an example of this. Statcast estimated that it would have a batting average of.480. It wasn't a typical play but it was certainly catchable. Vogelbach didn't even try to get it out of his batter's box. However, Happ was able to make it into third with relative ease, as the ball bounced so far away.
You don't see the line drive in the gaps or a hard-hit grounder all the way to wall as much as you did a generation ago. There are three reasons why this is so:
1. Outfielders need to be more aggressive to stop fly balls from flying over their heads. There are now more hitters who can hit the ball over the fence. (And more hitters are trying to hit the ball high to hit home runs.
2. The new parks have less outfield space overall than their predecessors, particularly the multipurpose stadiums Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati and Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia that had deeper power alleys. This makes it easier for outfielders and reduces the chance of a ball hitting the wall.
3. No artificial turf. The ball could hit the turf and bounce off the fence much faster.
There are many other factors to take into consideration. There are other reasons to consider. Perhaps there are fewer speedy players in the game. Perhaps they have fewer Willie Wilson/Lance Johnson speedsters who can hit double-digit triples. From 1991 to 1996, Johnson averaged 14 triples per year and hit only 25 home runs in those six seasons. This type of player is rare today. Many of the fastest players, such as Ronald Acuna Jr.Oder Ohtani or Tyler O'Neill or Byron BuxtonTrout or Trout are big-time sluggers. Maybe players aren't as hustle-y as they used to — partly because teams don’t want players making outs at the bases and so they take fewer chances on the bases.
Vogelbach's three-pointer was, however, not the most memorable Vogelbach moment of the evening. Because it was after the triple this happened.
So, you decided to run on Seiya Suzuki: pic.twitter.com/9vBKIPWDQj
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 18, 2022
It's an incredible highlight. It is hard to watch but it's so addictive that you keep replaying it. It's amazing, from Vogelbach’s mad dash to the end. Seiya SuzukiVogelbach Pushing: A great throw from the non-collision collision. Willson ContrerasHe shook off his disgust at the slight stumble he made trying to get up to the bump, and exchanged words. All of which led to the benches being empty.
Vogelbach has been having a great season at the plate. He is hitting.252/.336/.486 and has six home runs. His 137 OPS+ is also noteworthy. He was a regular at the top of the order for most of April. It was one of the more funny things we will see this season. He's the Pirates' best hitter. (I know, it's hard to believe that a team has been shut out twice in its previous three games. no-hit in the other game). He could end up being the Pirates' All-Star Game representative. Jose Quintana David BednarThey have pitched well.
Vogelbach would make his second All-Star appearance at Dodger Stadium if Vogelbach makes it. Seattle MarinersHe had 21 home runs during the All-Star break in 2019 before giving up in the second period. He has been a slugger since Seattle. Toronto Blue JaysThe Milwaukee BrewersNow to the Pirates. He is a fan favorite everywhere he goes. Let's just hope that he doesn’t get another 1,000 at-bats until his next triple.
Oh! You're up Victor Caratini. Brewers catcher, Corey Brewers, has 954 at-bats without a triple-bagger.