Stats & Info: Carl Yastrzemski

Move over Yaz, here comes Miggy

September, 19, 2012
Gregory Shamus/Getty ImagesMiguel Cabrera hit his 40th home run of the season, a new career high.
It’s been 45 years but we could finally have our first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski.

Miguel Cabrera leads the American League in RBI and batting average and is tied for second in home runs, just two behind Josh Hamilton.

Cabrera’s two homers on Tuesday give him 40 for the season, a new career high. He’s the first Tigers player with 40 homers in a season since Cecil Fielder in 1991.

Cabrera’s first homer went 446 feet, his ninth home run of 440 or more feet this season, the most in the majors.

The home run came off a pitch in the "middle-middle" part of the zone, an area in which he has feasted on pitches this season. Cabrera is 39-for-65 (.600 BA) with 12 HR in at-bats ending with a "middle-middle" pitch, both bests in the majors. In addition, the homer came off a 68 MPH curveball, the slowest pitch he has hit for a home run in the last four seasons.

His second homer was a grand slam, the Tigers' first of the season. They were the only team yet to hit one this season.

His six RBI give him 129 for the season, also a career high. Cabrera is the second player in Tigers history with three separate seasons of at least 125 RBI, joining Hank Greenberg, who had six such seasons.

Assuming his .333 BA doesn’t drop below .300, Cabrera will become the first Tigers player to hit .300 with at least 40 HR and 125 RBI since Norm Cash in 1961.


Justin Verlander
Justin Verlander takes the mound for the Tigers on Wednesday at 7 ET on ESPN.

With a win, Verlander would become the only pitcher with at least 15 wins in each of the last four seasons.

Verlander has more wins and strikeouts in September than any other pitcher since 2010. He is 10-2 with a 2.64 ERA and 103 strikeouts in those starts.

While most pitchers decrease in velocity late in the season (the league average fastball velocity for September is the lowest for any month this season among pitchers with at least 100 fastballs), Verlander has not. Verlander’s average fastball velocity was between 93.6 and 94.1 MPH in each calendar month this season through August. In September, his fastball is averaging 95.8 MPH, the highest of any pitcher with at least 150 pitches.

His fastball has averaged at least 95 MPH in only five starts this season. Three of them were his last three starts.

In Verlander’s only start against the Athletics this season, he allowed one run on two hits in seven innings with eight strikeouts and one walk in a win on May 13.

Friday's First Pitch

April, 1, 2011
Today’s Trivia: For the first time since 2002, Roy Oswalt will not be the Opening Day starter for the Houston Astros. Who was the Opening Day starter for the Astros in 2002?

Quick Hits: A quick look at more Opening Day longevity.

* With Vladimir Guerrero gone, the Texas Rangers will have a different Opening Day designated hitter for the 12th straight season. The last to go back-to-back was Rafael Palmeiro in 1999-2000.

Carl Crawford
* The most storied position in franchise history, the Boston Red Sox may have finally found their man in left. Carl Crawford will be the fourth different Opening Day starter in as many years. That hasn’t happened in Boston since 1973-76 when the team was transitioning from Carl Yastrzemski to Jim Rice.

* The Chicago White Sox appear set to start the same outfield trio that began the 2010 season. In the past 35 years, the White Sox have had the same Opening Day outfield in back-to-back seasons just once. That was in 2003-04 with Carlos Lee, Aaron Rowand and Magglio Ordonez.

* Here's a glimmer of hope for New York Mets fans: the Mets have won five straight games on Opening Day, the longest active Opening Day win streak. Of course, Friday starter Mike Pelfrey may not evoke memories of Johan Santana or Tom Glavine, the starting pitchers in those five Mets wins.

* Conversely, no team has a worse recent Opening Day history than the Oakland Athletics. The A's have lost six straight times on Opening Day, the longest current streak in baseball. Oakland's most recent win was 2004, which was the last Opening Day start that Tim Hudson made in an A's uniform.

* Apart from first base, the entire Minnesota Twins infield falls into this category. In its Opening Day lineup, Minnesota will have its fifth second baseman in five years and eighth shortstop in eight years. It also will be the ninth straight year that the starting third baseman is different from the year before.

* Evan Longoria will be the only player in the Tampa Bay Rays lineup who started each of the last two opening days.

* Yunel Escobar will be the Toronto Blue Jays sixth different Opening Day shortstop in six years. Russ Adams was the last to start back-to-back openers in 2005-06.

* Similarly, Josh Willingham will be the A’s 12th Opening Day leftfielder in 12 years. Ben Grieve was the last to go back-to-back.

* Carlos Beltran is expected to be the 13th different person to man right field on Opening Day for the Mets in the past 15 years. Only Ryan Church and Jeromy Burnitz managed two such starts in that span, which included the likes of Eric Valent and Butch Huskey.

* The Colorado Rockies have only had two Opening Day first basemen: Todd Helton and Andres Galarraga. Jose Lopez will be the 14th to start at second in the opener. The last to do so in back-to-back seasons was Mike Lansing (1998-2000).

* Kevin Correia will be the 15th different Opener Day starter for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 19 years. That’s the period since Doug Drabek left via free agency.

Trivia Answer: Wade Miller was the last Astros pitcher not named Roy Oswalt to start on Opening Day.
Less than three years after replacing future Hall-of-Famer Brett Favre in Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to a fourth Super Bowl title. His performance earned him the No. 1 spot in this week's Cross-Sport Power Rankings.

Aaron Rodgers
Since taking over in 2008, Rodgers ranks among the league leaders in passing yards (fourth), touchdown passes (fourth) and passer rating (third). More importantly, he's matched Favre in the most crucial stat of all: championships.

Is Rodgers on his way to having the best career by a player or coach who faced the tough task of replacing a legend? The Stats & Information Group has compiled a list of 10 worthy contenders for that title. Do you disagree with anyone on our list? Feel free to comment below.

10. Kevin Harvick
He replaced Dale Earnhardt for Richard Childress Racing following Earnhardt’s death in the 2001 Daytona 500. Just weeks after the tragedy, Harvick won at Atlanta in only his third career Sprint Cup start. Harvick has won 13 other NSCS races in a career that's spanned 10 seasons. In 2010, Harvick's third-place finish in the points race was the best of his career.

9. Leroy Kelly
After Jim Brown completed arguably the greatest career by a running back in NFL history in 1965, Kelly faced the nearly impossible task of replacing the Browns legend. Kelly, who had just 43 rushes in the two seasons he played alongside Brown, rushed for more than 1,100 yards in 1966, leading the league with 5.5 yards per rush. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994.

8. George Seifert
Taking over for three-time Super Bowl champion Bill Walsh in 1989, Seifert and Joe Montana led the 49ers to a Super Bowl win over the Denver Broncos, joining Don McCafferty as the only head coaches to win the Super Bowl in their first season. (Seifert added a second ring five years later with a different starting quaterback, Steve Young.) During his eight seasons in San Francisco (1989-96), the 49ers won 98 games, 13 more than any other franchise.

7. Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo
The 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year took over the storied No. 7 jersey for Manchester United in 2003, following in the footsteps of George Best, Eric Cantona and David Beckham. Ronaldo scored more than 80 goals in the Barclays Premier League and led the Red Devils to three straight league championships (2007-2009).

6. Jimmy Johnson
Dallas went 1-15 in 1989, Johnson's first season after taking over for Tom Landry, the head coach of the Cowboys for the team’s first 29 seasons. Things improved quickly for Johnson after drafting Emmitt Smith in 1990. The team won back-to-back Super Bowls following the 1992-93 seasons.

5. Sidney Crosby
The 2007 Hart Trophy winner and Stanley Cup champion benefited from playing with the man he replaced as the face of the Penguins franchise when Mario Lemieux came out of retirement in 2005. Since his one season with Lemieux, Crosby has led the league in points (2006-07) and goals (2009-10 along with Steven Stamkos). He also took the Penguins to consecutive Stanley Cup Finals, beating the Red Wings in 2009.

4. Carl Yastrzemski
Yastrzemski had more to worry about than playing left field in the shadow of the Green Monster during his 1961 rookie season with the Boston Red Sox. He was replacing Ted Williams, arguably the greatest hitter in the history of baseball. Yaz hit .266 as a rookie, but finished his 23-year career with a .285 batting average, 452 HR and more than 1,800 RBI. The Hall of Famer was a near-unanimous choice for the 1967 AL MVP Award after winning the Triple Crown, a feat no other major leaguer has accomplished since.

3. Tim Duncan
Duncan was lucky to land on a Spurs team just one season removed from seven straight playoff appearances. The Spurs also featured an established post presence in 1994-95 NBA MVP David Robinson.

Tim Ducan
They quickly formed one of the league’s best defensive duos, leading the Spurs to NBA titles in 1999 and 2003. Duncan won consecutive NBA MVP awards playing alongside Robinson in 2001-02 and 2002-03, and continued to dominate following Robinson's retirement. To date, the four-time NBA champion is one of just 13 players in league history with 21,000 points and 11,000 rebounds.

2. Mickey Mantle
Mantle replaced Joe DiMaggio in centerfield for the Yankees in 1952, the second season for the 20-year-old. That summer, Mantle earned the first of 14 straight All-Star selections. Overall, the three-time American League MVP finished his career with 536 HR, third-most in MLB history at the time of his retirement in 1968.

1. Steve Young
He finally took over as the 49ers starting quarterback in 1991, after serving as an understudy to Hall-of-Famer Joe Montana from 1987-90. In 1992, he was named the league MVP and started a stretch of seven straight Pro Bowl selections. Young added another MVP Award in 1994, guiding the 49ers to their fifth Super Bowl title.

Young was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005, and entered the 2010 season as the top-rated passer in league history among qualifiers. However, Young no longer holds that distinction, having been dislodged atop the career passer rating list by none other than Aaron Rodgers.