Is the 3,000 hit club over?

CaptainLaddie

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Nobody is losing more than 315 games, but unlike the 511 wins, people in the modern era have gotten relatively close. Pitchers with extraordinarily long career have sniffed it. Ryan lost 292 career games, Niekro lost 274, Gaylord Perry lost 265.
I agree with you that people have got relatively close -- Ryan, Niekro, and Perry. But with specialization going the way it has over the last 20 years, it's only going to get harder. They're both impossible records to break, but losses feels harder to me only because you have to be good and injury-free enough to pitch for 25 years but also be on enough bad teams where you don't get the decision for being good. Wins you just have to be good and injury-free enough to pitch for 25 years on great teams -- win 20 games a year for 25 years. Easy to do that, right??
 

Bozo Texino

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Didn't we have a thread about unbreakable sports records a while back? I seem to recall a lot of discussion about MLB wins and losses in it.

And Gretzky's points and assists records.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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Biggio is like, Bill James' favorite player and James was adamant in the late-90s/early 2000s that Biggio was the best player in baseball. I know when he came up people on here pushed back against the notion that he was a HoF player. He also took three ballots to get in, even with the 3,000 hits. I didn't look up what ballot each guy was on but the exception of Palmeiro and the ineligible guys, I imagine most of them were first-ballot slam dunk guys. I guess Anson/Lajoie/Speaker were not technically first ballot now that I think of it.
Huh? If anything, Bill James' voice was gospel back then. Much more than it is now.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I think the only way anyone is getting to 300 wins is if they change the rules on how they assign wins to pitchers, specifically the requirement for a starter to go five innings to get credit. If they remove that and simply assign the win to the pitcher of record when the lead was taken, modern pitchers might have a shot at 300.
 

ookami7m

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I still think the most unbreakable record in baseball isn't career wins -- but losses. I bet we see someone throw back-to-back-to-back no hitters before a pitcher loses 316 games in a career. Maddux had 227 (he's the most recent retiree on the top 25), and he's still 90 behind sole possession of first place. Greinke is the current leader, and he's at 132 -- 185 losses behind first. Even someone like MadBum, who's only 31, is only at 106. I guess he will eventually pass Greinke?
No one is ever throwing 3 consecutive no-hitters. Vandermeer has that one tied up for life at 2.
 

Gdiguy

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No one is ever throwing 3 consecutive no-hitters. Vandermeer has that one tied up for life at 2.
Eh, I disagree - that one is completely random, there's plenty of pitchers in MLB that are capable of throwing a no-hitter 3 straight games (DeGrom the past few years has had 3 game stretches where his stuff was good enough). So essentially that's just 'will someone hit in roulette 3 straight times' - sure it's very low probability, but it can happen by random chance

300 wins won't happen by random chance - the game has changed to such a degree that it's just not possible the way it's played now
 

Danny_Darwin

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I mean, how many people would have pegged Adrian Beltre as a future member of the 3,000-hit club at the end of his time in Seattle, even though he had 1700 hits at age 31? You never know.

On the flip side, CC Sabathis had 176 wins at age 31 and I would have bet money on him reaching 300. So, see above.
 

johnmd20

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Eh, I disagree - that one is completely random, there's plenty of pitchers in MLB that are capable of throwing a no-hitter 3 straight games (DeGrom the past few years has had 3 game stretches where his stuff was good enough). So essentially that's just 'will someone hit in roulette 3 straight times' - sure it's very low probability, but it can happen by random chance

300 wins won't happen by random chance - the game has changed to such a degree that it's just not possible the way it's played now
Come on.

3 straight no hitters isn't like hitting 3 straight numbers in roulette. It's got a 0% chance of actually happening.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Eh, I disagree - that one is completely random, there's plenty of pitchers in MLB that are capable of throwing a no-hitter 3 straight games (DeGrom the past few years has had 3 game stretches where his stuff was good enough). So essentially that's just 'will someone hit in roulette 3 straight times' - sure it's very low probability, but it can happen by random chance

300 wins won't happen by random chance - the game has changed to such a degree that it's just not possible the way it's played now
I think the three consecutive no-nos is unlikely for the same reason that 300 wins won't happen. Pitchers don't throw complete games anymore. There were 50 in total all year. Fifty years ago, there were over 1000 complete games thrown and 20% fewer teams.
 

Joe Sixpack

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I think the three consecutive no-nos is unlikely for the same reason that 300 wins won't happen. Pitchers don't throw complete games anymore. There were 50 in total all year. Fifty years ago, there were over 1000 complete games thrown and 20% fewer teams.
Even aside from that, take Max Scherzer, who has the lowest H/9 in the majors this year. Batters are hitting .185 against him. So he has a 81.5% chance roughly of retiring a batter as opposed to allowing a hit with each plate appearance (ignoring walks for the moment). That results in basically a 0.4% chance of getting 27 outs without allowing a hit, or about 1 in 250.

Odds of doing that twice in a row, 1 in 62,500.

Odds of doing that 3 times in a row, 1 in 15,625,000.

Again this doesn't even factor in fatigue or the fact that pitchers don't throw complete games as you mentioned, so likely even worse odds than that.
 

Hank Scorpio

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Re: 300 wins.

If I squint, I can see a world where guys like Houck and Whitlock work as openers every 3-4 games.

If I squint REALLY hard, I can see MLB removing the 5 IP minimum for starting pitchers to get wins.

What’s a realistic workload for an “ace” opener?

50 two inning appearances? 40 three inning appearances?

Increasing opportunities for decisions is probably the only way it could happen.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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i wonder who history forgot about if the 3000 hit club turned into something closer to representing a great career OBP?
Same with wins for pitchers…
 

Archer1979

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Come on.

3 straight no hitters isn't like hitting 3 straight numbers in roulette. It's got a 0% chance of actually happening.
Yeah. You've got a better chance of hitting a double-fizzbin than having two no hitters, much less three at this stage in the game's evolution. It would require a perfect storm of circumstances, starting with a dominant pitcher being allowed to go nine full innings three times straight; against three vastly weaker opponents; and a complete breakdown of the laws of chaos.

For the 3,000 hit club... the math never really worked which makes the current members all that more special. To get 3,000 hits, you need to have an extraordinary long career (at least 15 - 20 years); outstanding production over an extended period of time (averaging between 150 - 200 hits a year); and a willingness to go through those last few years as the aging veteran (with a front office willing to support you in the quest).
 

CaptainLaddie

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Yeah. You've got a better chance of hitting a double-fizzbin than having two no hitters, much less three at this stage in the game's evolution. It would require a perfect storm of circumstances, starting with a dominant pitcher being allowed to go nine full innings three times straight; against three vastly weaker opponents; and a complete breakdown of the laws of chaos.

For the 3,000 hit club... the math never really worked which makes the current members all that more special. To get 3,000 hits, you need to have an extraordinary long career (at least 15 - 20 years); outstanding production over an extended period of time (averaging between 150 - 200 hits a year); and a willingness to go through those last few years as the aging veteran (with a front office willing to support you in the quest).
The way the b2b2b happens is massive expansion, watering down the talent pool immensely?
 

allmanbro

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Presumably, in time, trends will shift again and we will see more hits. Maybe not.

I have been mulling the thought that "On Base" is terrible branding. For instance, Wander's "on base streak" doesn't really capture the imagination. So why not just rename it. Define a new stat, like a "reach" or something like that where a Reach = H+BB+HBP = times On Base. Then you can talk about "reach streaks" and "reach percentage" and so on. So then if hits remain relatively rare and BB common, maybe we start talking about members of the 4,000 reach club, or whatever (the "4,000 times on base club" sounds awful).

This probably sounds like giving up on the 3,000 hit club, but I don't see why we couldn't have both.
 
Aug 2, 2010
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I mean, how many people would have pegged Adrian Beltre as a future member of the 3,000-hit club at the end of his time in Seattle, even though he had 1700 hits at age 31? You never know.

On the flip side, CC Sabathis had 176 wins at age 31 and I would have bet money on him reaching 300. So, see above.
This is where the Favorite Toy can be fun, as it works retrospectively.

After 2009, coming off five uninspiring years in Seattle, Beltre was still seen as having a 13% chance at 3,000 hits. One year later, after his great year with the Sox, his chances had more than doubled to 27%. Getting an early start is very important in chasing down 3,000 hits.

As for Sabathia, after the 2011 season, with 176 wins under his (not insubstantial) belt, his chance of reaching 300 was estimated at only 45%.
 

Archer1979

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The way the b2b2b happens is massive expansion, watering down the talent pool immensely?
I had to go look this up as I was curious to see the actual year that Vander Meer had his two no-hitters (curious if it was the war years). It was 1938 and he was technically still a rookie (meaning no one really had seen him yet). First no-hitter was against the Boston Bees (AKA Braves). The team that year had a stellar batting average of .250. With no no DH obviously (another factor in this), you obviously had a pitcher hit.

Second no-hitter was the first night game ever played at Ebbets Field with no hits and eight walks. Not sure how hard he threw, but between playing under the lights and being fairly wild, not sure how many batters dug in on him. But we'll give him a mulligan on the walks since he was pitching on three days rest.

https://www.baseball-almanac.com/boxscore/06111938.shtml

https://www.baseball-almanac.com/boxscore/06151938.shtml

At any rate, it seemed like a perfect storm in that an unknown commodity was pitching against a weak hitting team, followed by pitching against a team unaccustomed to playing under the lights.

When you factor in that you have pitchers like Clemens and Pedro who have never thrown a no-hitter, I would be stunned if I ever live long enough to see someone throw two in a row, especially if the DH is involved.



But to your point, you would almost need something like a catastrophe or war to set up conditions where someone that good would do the b2b2b no-hitters.
 

Cesar Crespo

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What age did the other pitchers reach 300 wins? This conversation came up about 300 wins before and then Clemens, Glavine, RJ and Maddux all won 300.

It's unlikely any pitcher wins 300. It was also unlikely most of the 300 win pitchers would win 300 games.
 

SumnerH

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I still think the most unbreakable record in baseball isn't career wins -- but losses.
It's gotta something where rules and usage have made it just completely impossible without rules changes that are inconceivable—career wins/losses would require a huge shift, for sure, but still seem slightly more plausible* than breaking the franchise record for triple-headers (Pittsburgh: 2) or single-season wins by a pitcher (60: Hoss Radbourne), or shortest outside-the-park HR (197' by Ned Williamson); in the latter case, even in the 1880s they only counted the Lake Front short porch as a HR for 1 season. Before and after it was a ground-rule double.

A team getting more than 5 wins in one World Series (a record shared by the Red Sox, Reds, Indians, and Giants) seems modestly more likely to happen than those 3, though still wildly improbable.

*Maybe a TB12-type breakthrough or gene therapy extends careers, letting players perform well until they're 50.
 

8slim

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What age did the other pitchers reach 300 wins? This conversation came up about 300 wins before and then Clemens, Glavine, RJ and Maddux all won 300.

It's unlikely any pitcher wins 300. It was also unlikely most of the 300 win pitchers would win 300 games.
The issue is that the game has changed radically since those guys retired. Clemens averaged 6.7 innings per start in his age 40, 41 & 42 seasons. Scherzer last did that when he was 33, and it seems incredibly unlikely that he’ll ever do it again. The volume of innings, and even starts, just doesn’t exist today in a way that can support 300 wins.

I suspect we’ll see more join the 3,000 hit club, but the 300 win club is almost certainly closed.
 

SumnerH

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The issue is that the game has changed radically since those guys retired. Clemens averaged 6.7 innings per start in his age 40, 41 & 42 seasons. Scherzer last did that when he was 33, and it seems incredibly unlikely that he’ll ever do it again. The volume of innings, and even starts, just doesn’t exist today in a way that can support 300 wins.

I suspect we’ll see more join the 3,000 hit club, but the 300 win club is almost certainly closed.
It's only 12 years since the last time it happened. We've seen several longer gaps in the past: 17 years between 1924–41, 20 years from 1941–1961, 19 years from 1963–1982, 14 years from 1986–1990, and 13 years from 1990–2003.

It sure seems unlikely at the moment, but things change. We might see a 1960s swing toward pitching happen, or see useful careers get much longer because of medical advances, or see pitcher usage switch so that long relievers can pick up a ton of wins, or something.
 

Bergs

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It's only 12 years since the last time it happened. We've seen several longer gaps in the past: 17 years between 1924–41, 20 years from 1941–1961, 19 years from 1963–1982, 14 years from 1986–1990, and 13 years from 1990–2003.

It sure seems unlikely at the moment, but things change. We might see a 1960s swing toward pitching happen, or see useful careers get much longer because of medical advances, or see pitcher usage switch so that long relievers can pick up a ton of wins, or something.
Once all athletics become an AI simulation, I'm sure it'll happen again. Ignoring that, no human being will do it again.
 

LogansDad

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In the 1980s, Bill James had a method for estimating this, which he called the Favorite Toy. Basically, you use the player's age, career hit total, and "established hit level" to estimate the "projected remaining hits". Then you compare the projected remaining hits with the hits needed to reach 3,000. If they're equal, James called that a 50% chance of reaching the goal. I'll give the full formula below. He's probably updated this formula in recent years, but this is the version I had at my fingertips (from the 1985 Baseball Abstract).

I ran a few likely candidates through the formula. Ranked in order of their estimated chance of reaching 3,000 hits, they are:
18.7% Vlad Jr. (372 hits, established hit level of 167, estimated remaining hits 1806)
18.5% Freddie Freeman (1296 hits, established hit level of 185, estimated remaining hits 888)
18.3% Rafael Devers (598 hits, established hit level of 171, estimated remaining hits 1641)
14.5% Jose Altuve (1777 hits, established hit level of 146, estimated remaining hits 789)
14.4% Trea Turner (839 hits, established hit level of 194, estimated remaining hits 1393)
11.7% Xander Bogaerts (1239 hits, established hit level of 165, estimated remaining hits 1086)
This system doesn't think Trout or Goldschmidt have any chance of reaching 3,000 hits.

There are other possible candidates, but these are the ones whose numbers I ran.

Here are the details if you care.
The formula looks at:
Hits
Needed hit (3,000 - hits)
Years remaining - estimated by the formula 24 - (.6* current age)
Established hit level (3 times most recent + 2 times previous season + season-before-last) divided by 6 [Because of the shortened season last year, I prorated everyone's 2020 hit totals to a 162 game season. So the formula ended up being (3*2021 hits + 2*2.7*2020 hits + 2019 hits)/6 ]
Projected remaining hits are years remaining * established hit level
Once you've calculated those, you do (projected remaining hits/needed hits) - .5
This is my new Favorite Toy.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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In the 1980s, Bill James had a method for estimating this, which he called the Favorite Toy. Basically, you use the player's age, career hit total, and "established hit level" to estimate the "projected remaining hits". Then you compare the projected remaining hits with the hits needed to reach 3,000. If they're equal, James called that a 50% chance of reaching the goal. I'll give the full formula below. He's probably updated this formula in recent years, but this is the version I had at my fingertips (from the 1985 Baseball Abstract).

I ran a few likely candidates through the formula. Ranked in order of their estimated chance of reaching 3,000 hits, they are:
18.7% Vlad Jr. (372 hits, established hit level of 167, estimated remaining hits 1806)
18.5% Freddie Freeman (1296 hits, established hit level of 185, estimated remaining hits 888)
18.3% Rafael Devers (598 hits, established hit level of 171, estimated remaining hits 1641)
14.5% Jose Altuve (1777 hits, established hit level of 146, estimated remaining hits 789)
14.4% Trea Turner (839 hits, established hit level of 194, estimated remaining hits 1393)
11.7% Xander Bogaerts (1239 hits, established hit level of 165, estimated remaining hits 1086)
This system doesn't think Trout or Goldschmidt have any chance of reaching 3,000 hits.

There are other possible candidates, but these are the ones whose numbers I ran.

Here are the details if you care.
The formula looks at:
Hits
Needed hit (3,000 - hits)
Years remaining - estimated by the formula 24 - (.6* current age)
Established hit level (3 times most recent + 2 times previous season + season-before-last) divided by 6 [Because of the shortened season last year, I prorated everyone's 2020 hit totals to a 162 game season. So the formula ended up being (3*2021 hits + 2*2.7*2020 hits + 2019 hits)/6 ]
Projected remaining hits are years remaining * established hit level
Once you've calculated those, you do (projected remaining hits/needed hits) - .5
Bo Bichette seems pretty interesting. He is almost exactly a year older than Vlad Jr and 91 career hits behind him. I don't think this kind of way to calculate "established hit level" is going to help him that much compared to Vlad Jr, but he has had more hits on a per PA basis than Vlad over the last three years so I think there is a case for his "true hit level" being a bit higher.
 
Aug 2, 2010
11
Bo Bichette seems pretty interesting. He is almost exactly a year older than Vlad Jr and 91 career hits behind him. I don't think this kind of way to calculate "established hit level" is going to help him that much compared to Vlad Jr, but he has had more hits on a per PA basis than Vlad over the last three years so I think there is a case for his "true hit level" being a bit higher.
Right now the Favorite Toy gives Bichette just a 3.9% chance at 3,000 hits (there's some fine print in the formula that says the "established hit level" can't be less than 75% of the most recent season, so that helps him a little). I agree that this method probably underestimates his true hit level. If he repeats his 2021 totals next year, his chances at 3,000 would jump up to 17%.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Right now the Favorite Toy gives Bichette just a 3.9% chance at 3,000 hits (there's some fine print in the formula that says the "established hit level" can't be less than 75% of the most recent season, so that helps him a little). I agree that this method probably underestimates his true hit level. If he repeats his 2021 totals next year, his chances at 3,000 would jump up to 17%.
Thanks! Hit level seems much harder to estimate well for guys at the beginning of their careers who have partial seasons in the prior three years (on top of the Covid year issues as well). More qualitatively, Bichette seems to me like a guy with the tool set to make a run if he can have a long and generally healthy career - doesn't walk very much, consistently hits the ball hard (although his hard hit ball percentage is slightly lower than Vlad its still excellent), and uses the whole field well.
 

Kliq

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Looking at the guys in the 3,000 hit club, almost all of them have the same build (tall and lean). Anson was fat by the end of his career, as was Gwynn. Biggio was shorter. Cabrera would be the only guy I would consider built like Vlad Jr., which might be an interesting career comp for him.
 

grimshaw

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Curious if the diminishing number of wins would affect arbitration numbers. I remember reading somewhere that the reason labor lawyers still go with the traditional counting stats is because they aren't all versed in sabermetrics. The fact that some are and some aren't is ridiculous to me.

I really hope there are some serious top to bottom changes in the new CBA to get rid of all these dated concepts.
 

cannonball 1729

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Looking at the guys in the 3,000 hit club, almost all of them have the same build (tall and lean). Anson was fat by the end of his career, as was Gwynn. Biggio was shorter. Cabrera would be the only guy I would consider built like Vlad Jr., which might be an interesting career comp for him.
BP pointed out years ago that big-body sluggers usually age horribly in their 30's; they generally hit a cliff somewhere in their 31-33 seasons. Cabrera is no exception - his last good season was at age 33, and he's been below replacement-level ever since. If he weren't on a gigantic contract and weren't on a terrible team, he'd probably be a part-time player or a pinch-hitter somewhere in the National League. He just lucked into a situation where he can go for 3,000 hits because the Tigers have had no reason to move him off of first base. If Miggy is a Vlad Jr. comp, it makes me a bit skeptical of Vlad's chances.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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There is no one in the game right now that has a realistic shot at 300 wins. Verlander is at 226 and is 38. Grienke at 219, Lester at 200 etc. That's a club that we won't see any new members on anytime soon.
Hell, the 200 win club is in serious danger after we get past the current crop of guys who have already made it or are close. Most career wins for players 30 and under are
Cole (117), Bauer (83), Teheran (78), Nola (67), Gausman (64), EdRo (64).
 

azsoxpatsfan

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Hell, the 200 win club is in serious danger after we get past the current crop of guys who have already made it or are close. Most career wins for players 30 and under are
Cole (117), Bauer (83), Teheran (78), Nola (67), Gausman (64), EdRo (64).
Martin Perez just missing the list (63)
 

Minneapolis Millers

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For 3,000, you need talent, health, and a desire to keep playing. I don't like the chances of the bad body types, so predicting young talented guys like Vladito and Devers seems super risky to me. But someone halfway+ there, like Freeman? I could see that. Or Cano if he's healthy and DHs. He only needs 2 and 1/4 seasons.

Absent rules changes, I agree that 300 wins are gone, unless Scherzer goes all Tom Brady on us. Teams are much more interested in maximizing inning-by-inning performance, avoiding the 3rd time through the lineup, and preserving arm health. We hardly let guys throw 7 anymore, let alone CGs.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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For 3,000, you need talent, health, and a desire to keep playing. I don't like the chances of the bad body types, so predicting young talented guys like Vladito and Devers seems super risky to me. But someone halfway+ there, like Freeman? I could see that. Or Cano if he's healthy and DHs. He only needs 2 and 1/4 seasons.
Seems optimistic that a guy who got dinged for PEDs for a second time is going to come back from a year off and, at age 38-39, resume his career hit pace in order to reach 3000.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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Seems optimistic that a guy who got dinged for PEDs for a second time is going to come back from a year off and, at age 38-39, resume his career hit pace in order to reach 3000.
Yeah. A-rod only lasted another 1.5 seasons, coming back in similar circumstances, although his 2015 season was solid enough. Cano would need two of those seasons. In general, Papi was good through age 40. Nelson Cruz is still hitting. If the eye-hand coordination and bat quickness are still there, Cano won't have to be hitting a steroid-assisted 35+ bombs a year to get enough playing time to make it.
 

mauf

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In the 1980s, Bill James had a method for estimating this, which he called the Favorite Toy. Basically, you use the player's age, career hit total, and "established hit level" to estimate the "projected remaining hits". Then you compare the projected remaining hits with the hits needed to reach 3,000. If they're equal, James called that a 50% chance of reaching the goal. I'll give the full formula below. He's probably updated this formula in recent years, but this is the version I had at my fingertips (from the 1985 Baseball Abstract).

I ran a few likely candidates through the formula. Ranked in order of their estimated chance of reaching 3,000 hits, they are:
18.7% Vlad Jr. (372 hits, established hit level of 167, estimated remaining hits 1806)
18.5% Freddie Freeman (1296 hits, established hit level of 185, estimated remaining hits 888)
18.3% Rafael Devers (598 hits, established hit level of 171, estimated remaining hits 1641)
14.5% Jose Altuve (1777 hits, established hit level of 146, estimated remaining hits 789)
14.4% Trea Turner (839 hits, established hit level of 194, estimated remaining hits 1393)
11.7% Xander Bogaerts (1239 hits, established hit level of 165, estimated remaining hits 1086)
This system doesn't think Trout or Goldschmidt have any chance of reaching 3,000 hits.

There are other possible candidates, but these are the ones whose numbers I ran.

Here are the details if you care.
The formula looks at:
Hits
Needed hit (3,000 - hits)
Years remaining - estimated by the formula 24 - (.6* current age)
Established hit level (3 times most recent + 2 times previous season + season-before-last) divided by 6 [Because of the shortened season last year, I prorated everyone's 2020 hit totals to a 162 game season. So the formula ended up being (3*2021 hits + 2*2.7*2020 hits + 2019 hits)/6 ]
Projected remaining hits are years remaining * established hit level
Once you've calculated those, you do (projected remaining hits/needed hits) - .5
Running a couple of names mentioned above through the Favorite Toy:

Manny Machado 19% (1425 hits, established hit level of 165, estimated remaining hits 1087)
Mookie Betts 3% (1152 hits, established hit level of 148, estimated remaining hits 980)
So there’s half a dozen guys in the 15-20% range. If you believe in the tool, that means there’s a good chance one of them gets there, even if the odds of any particular one of them getting there are fairly long.
 
Last edited:

Chainsaw318

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It’s funny how a player like Votto is a sort of blind spot for me - a player I know has had a long career and largely been successful.

If you had asked me to think of a guy with a shot at 3000 hits, he would have maybe been my favorite.

If you then asked me to guess how old he was, or how many career hits he has, I would have put him at least 2 years younger than 38, and closer to 2200-2300 than his current 2000.

He’s just a little too old and a little too far away.
 
Aug 2, 2010
11
So there’s half a dozen guys in the 15-20% range. If you believe in the tool, that means there’s a good chance one of them gets there, even if the odds of any particular one of them getting there are fairly long.
Yeah, I think that's how the method is intended to work. The sum of all the percentages should give an estimate of how many active players will reach the goal. When Bill James developed the formula, he tested it by looking at how it would have worked in the past.

In the 1990 Baseball Book, he wrote about the 3,000 hit candidates of the era. I'll quote it here:
"On the list of current players with a chance to get 3,000 hits in their careers, Molitor's name is the big surprise. The top ten are Robin Yount (94%), George Brett (58%), Eddie Murray (46%), Kirby Puckett (44%), Wade Boggs (39%), Don Mattingly (33%), Paul Molitor (33%), Tony Gwynn (32%), Carney Lansford (29%), and Steve Sax (28%). It is likely that about seven active players will get to the 3,000 hit standard. Other players with a ten percent chance or better include Cal Ripken, Mike Greenwell, Dwight Evans, Rickey Henderson, Julio Franco, Harold Baines, Ruben Sierra, George Bell, Tony Fernandez, Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson, Tim Raines, and Will Clark."

In retrospect, there were actually 11 active players who made it to 3,000: Molitor, Murray, Ripken, Brett, Yount, Gwynn, Boggs, Henderson, Palmeiro, Biggio, and Winfield. The last three of those names didn't make James' list of likely candidates. At the time, Palmeiro was 24 and had a total of 411 hits; Favorite Toy estimated his chance at 4%. Biggio was 23 with 140 career hits; Favorite Toy didn't see any chance of him reaching 3,000. Winfield was at the opposite end of the spectrum: 37 years old, with 2,421 career hits. Favorite Toy didn't see Winfield as a good candidate because he'd just missed the entire 1988 season with an injury, which dropped his established hit level all the way down to 86.

It's interesting to watch a player's chances wax and wane.