September 30, 2009

Gotham's "Dynamic Duo"

Earlier in the week, in an effort to give my "followers" a cool fun fact, I re-tweeted the following: "Jeter and Cano are the only SS/2B teammate duo in history to each collect 200 hits in same season".

I was wrong.

Until now!

You see, when I sent out that errant tweet Monday night, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was at 207 hits (199 at shortstop...seven at DH). Second basemen Robinson Cano was at 200 (199 at second and, you guessed it...one as a pinch hitter).

So, yeah...wrong.

Well, since the Yankees apparently saw the need to NOT rest most of their players against the hapless Royals this week...Jeter and Cano have cemented their place as the best hitting middle infield tandem in the game.

I know, I know, I'm not going THAT far out on that limb, but, seriously...can you point out a better one?

After tonight's contest (and no, I'm not going to sort out their stats as DH, PH, etc.)...the Yankees combo has COMBINED for 412 hits (the most by any two players on ANY team), 75 doubles and a startling .328 batting average.

But just how good are their 200 hits?

Considering there is only one other player in the Majors this season that has eclipsed the mark (Ichiro Suzuki)...I'd say damn good.

Anyway...back at the task at hand.

Prior to this season (and Michael Young's move to third), you could say that the Rangers combo of Ian Kinsler and Young would be a formidable match to the Bronx duo. But, given newly minted shortstop Elvis Andrus is no Young...sorry Texas.

What about Philadelphia?

Chase Utley held up his end of the bargain (31 home runs, .286 batting average), but the 2007 National League MVP Jimmy Rollins was very un-MVP like. With a .249 batting average (second worst in his nine year career) and a Major League leading 517 outs MADE...you're going to have to look elsewhere.

Philadelphia's closest rivals (the Mets and Marlins) have two great shortstops (Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez), but with Reyes missing most of the season with an injury and Ramirez having to rely on Dan Uggla...you won't find any more competition in the National League.

So back to the American League.

What about the Yankees neighbors in the American League East, the Red Sox and Orioles? Surely, last year's American League MVP, Boston's Dustin Pedroia and Baltimore's Brian Roberts could carry some numbers into their favor, right?

Wrong.

Pedroia played alongside six different shortstops and the best Roberts can bring to the equation is 50-plus doubles. Again.

Staying in the American League East, let's look at Toronto.

Yeah...seriously. The Blue Jays probably have the best middle infield duo outside of the Yanks and they are probably the two LEAST known guys out of any of the players mentioned above.

Meet Aaron Hill and Marco Scutaro. They're not household names south of the Canadian border, neither has a flashy story and you won't find them in the tabloids. Heck, one is married to his long-time girlfriend (boring!) and the other is Marco Scutaro.

On the other side of the Great Lakes, Robinson Cano was named after Jackie Robinson and reminded former manager Joe Torre of Hall of Famer Rod Carew. And Derek Jeter, well...he's Derek Jeter.

The headlines write themselves!

Back at the plate, the two duos ARE comparable. All four players have more than 100 runs scored apiece, combine for more than 70 doubles (75 for Cano and Jeter...71 for Hill and Scutaro), 40 home runs and an average of close to 80 RBI apiece.

As an aside, Hill leads the pack with 36 long balls while Jeter and Cano bring batting averages of .335 and .322 to the party...but here's the rub. Jeter and Cano have been playing off one another for the last five seasons.

This is the first year for the Toronto tandem.

Perhaps the better question is "how good are Hill and Scutaro going to be" rather than "how good are Cano and Jeter".


BallHype: hype it up!

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