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Kelly Johnson, Robinson Cano, and most HR by a 2B

Posted by Andy on April 30, 2010

Kelly Johnson and Robinson Cano have both gotten off to incredible starts this season.

Johnson has 9 HR, 18 RBI, and 59 total bases in the D-backs' first 22 games. That projects to 434 total bases in a season which would nearly break Rogers Hornsby's 1922 record for 2B of 450. (For a little perspective, Hornsby got to 450 total bases by hitting 46 doubles, 14 triples, and 42 homers while batting .401....think about that for a minute.)

Oh, and Cano? Well he's got 8 HR, 17 RBI, and 64 total bases in the Yanks' first 21 games. That projects to 493 in the season. Umm, yeah. I'll just point you to the overall record for total bases in a season for comparison.

Amazingly, despite their fast starts, neither guy holds the record for most HR by a second baseman in his team's first 22 games:

Rk Player Year PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI
1 Chase Utley 2008 Ind. Games 36 31 16 1 0 10 15
2 Kelly Johnson 2010 Ind. Games 32 26 13 0 0 9 15
3 Robinson Cano 2010 Ind. Games 27 24 12 1 0 8 12
4 Jeff Kent 1994 Ind. Games 27 26 14 2 0 8 16
5 Ian Kinsler 2009 Ind. Games 33 29 16 2 1 8 17
6 Chase Utley 2009 Ind. Games 31 27 11 0 0 8 13
7 Ian Kinsler 2007 Ind. Games 34 30 12 0 0 8 14
8 Alfonso Soriano 2003 Ind. Games 44 40 19 2 0 8 18
9 Jay Bell 1999 Ind. Games 28 24 12 1 1 7 13
10 Brian Roberts 2005 Ind. Games 35 29 13 0 1 7 16
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/30/2010.

I don't think anyone has ever bested Utley although keep in mind the box score search doesn't include 1940-1951 and prior to 1920.

Also, the Yankees play their 22nd game tonight so Cano has a shot to tie Utley if he hits 2 bombs as he did yesterday.

Once again, though, we are reminded that "Chase are the man!" RIP HK

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that our friend Raphy came up with the ideas for this post. He may not be writing for the blog anymore but he still knows his stuff 🙂

7 Responses to “Kelly Johnson, Robinson Cano, and most HR by a 2B”

  1. jon Says:

    That's pretty impressive for both Johnson and Cano. On the topic of Cano, he has the chance to be the first Yankee to hit .400+ for the month of April. Is there any way to see other players with .400+ Aprils? Sort of an interesting historical comparison I guess.

  2. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Joe Gordon came to mind as a guy from the missing years who might have bested Utley if he got off to a quick start one season. But from skimming his HR log, it doesn't look like he ever came close. Incidentally, I wonder if there is some way the HR log could be integrated into the PI, so you could still do HR-oriented searches during the "missing" seasons, since that data is here.

    That's very surprising no other Yankee has ever hit .400 in April. The season used to start later -- Ruth or Gehrig or even some lesser light never hit .400 over the first 10-15 games? ...... aha, first guy I checked: Ruth hit .439 in April 1921 (12 games). Maybe whatever source you got that from was using some minimum G or PA which he couldn't reach.

  3. jon Says:

    I read it on ESPN; they didn't really give their method's for selection. It's also possible I misread, as I went back and checked the exact line:
    Can Robinson Cano become the first Yankee to hit .400 with eight homers in April? Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle never did it.

  4. Andy Says:

    ahh "with eight homers" makes a little difference 🙂

    I don't think there is a way to search for performance in given months. Splits are available so you can look it up for any given player, but I don't think there is any way to search all players on splits.

  5. Baseball In-Depth Says:

    The record for most HR in a single season by a 2nd Baseman is only 43 by Davey Johnson in 1973. Chase Utley could clearly take a run at that every year. I don't see Cano or Johnson hitting 43 home runs, but they're in a nice groove right now, so it might be possible.

  6. Phil Haberkorn Says:

    Interesting that the entire "Top Ten" occurred during the steroid era, but half of them after MLB started "cracking down" on the steroid problem with drug tests and suspensions. I think it's more likely that they're just feasting on minor-league quality pitching, but you might check on how many times the wind was blowing out, and whether they are playing in more hitter-friendly newer parks. I almost wish somebody would build a modern version of the Polo Grounds, just to get to playing baseball instead of Home Run Derby. . . . .

  7. Gerry Says:

    The Polo Grounds was ultra-deep in many directions, but had some of the shortest foul lines in baseball. Look at Mel Ott's home/road HR splits. If you're trying to avoid Home Run Derby, what you want is a reincarnation of Griffiths Stadium in DC.