6 MLB Players Who Could Have A 30-30 Season In 2016
The 30-30 season in baseball was a rarity before it was a common occurrence.
And now, it's a rarity again.
Prior to the 1987 season, there had been only 11 seasons in which a player hit at least 30 home runs and stole at least 30 bases in a season. Bobby Bonds was responsible for five of those seasons, and Willie Mays tallied two of them.
Then, in '87, the floodgates opened. Four players that season alone -- Joe Carter, Eric Davis, Howard Johnson and Darryl Strawberry -- joined the 30-30 club. In 1988, 30-30 wasn't cool anymore, with Jose Canseco becoming the first member of the 40-40 club.
From 1987-2012, there were 49 different 30-30 seasons and four 40-40 seasons. Barry Bonds did it five times, and Alfonso Soriano did it four, with players like Dante Bichette, Ron Gant, Shawn Green, Preston Wilson, Jimmy Rollins, Jose Cruz, Jr., and Grady Sizemore all managing to pull off the feat.
So will this year be any different? Here are the leading candidates to join the 30-30 Club in 2016.
There was a time when Trout was a true stolen base threat.
But over the last few seasons, as Trout traded speed for power, his homers have increased while his stolen base totals have dropped. Of course, he is one of the last two players in baseball to have had a 30-30 season, and still at just 24 years old, is certainly capable of stealing 30 bases again. Trout said last month that he was committed to stealing more bags this year, and do you really think he can't do it if he puts his mind to it?
I would be very surprised if Trout doesn't have his second career 30-30 season this year.
Houston's George Springer certainly has the tools to join the club. Here he is showing the wheels.
And here's the 26-year-old going yard twice in a game last season.
Last year, in 102 games, he hit 16 bombs and stole 16 bags in just his first full season as an everyday player. If he can stay healthy, which is no guarantee, Springer has the power and the speed to join the 30-30 Club.
Raise your hand if you knew Ryan Braun hit 25 homers and stole 24 bases in 140 games last season for Milwaukee. Most people have been so focused on not liking the guy (understandably so) that they overlook the fact that he was a very productive offensive player last season. Even at 31 years old, he still managed to get relatively close to the 30-30 barrier, and along with Trout, is one of the last two players to pull off the feat.
In fact, he's done it twice in his career, but that was a long time ago while he was under the cloud of performance enhancing drugs, slugging 33 taters and stealing 33 bases in 2011 and hammering 41 homers and swiping 30 bags in 2012.
Braun was hurt by back problems at the end of last year, and it is those back woes that could keep him from reaching the 30-30 Club once again. But he still apparently has the power and wheels to at least come close.
Machado already has the home runs, slamming 35 last year in 162 games. He also stole 20 bases, and at just 23 years old, is primed to put it all together.
Interestingly, those 20 stolen bases seem to have come out of nowhere, and it's fair to wonder if that kind of production on the bases will be repeated. But the power is real and, if the stolen bases are real too, he is an obvious candidate to join the 30-30 Club.
It would be unlikely for a first baseman to steal 30 bases in a season, but Paul Goldschmidt is not your typical first baseman. He's a guarantee to slug 30 long balls, but those stolen base numbers keep on creeping up. He stole 18 in 2012, dropped to 15 in '13, only had nine in an injury-shortened 2014 and then swiped 21 last year while hitting 33 dingers.
It's not a normal thing for a big first baseman to move like that. And while I don't think he's going to get to 30 steals this year, it's not impossible, either.
Mookie Betts has just one season under his belt so far, but the 24-year-old has the chance to join this elite group.
In 145 games last year he hit 18 homers and stole 21 bases. Betts is probably the longest shot on this list, simply because he's never been known as a power hitter. Before last season, the most homers he'd hit in a full season was 16, in 2014, between Double-A, Triple-A and the Majors.
So it would be quite a leap to predict a 30-homer season for Betts, but we're talking about one of the most talented players in the league who has the ability to go yard when he wants to.
If Mookie decides he wants to hit for more power, he will hit for more power.