A few weeks ago, I asked a #TriviaTues question about the 300/300 club and former Chicago Cubs who are members. The club refers to players whom have accumulated 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases during their careers.
Currently, there are only 8 members, two of whom have Cubs ties: Andre Dawson and Bobby Bonds (it should be noted, however, that Bonds only picked up 5 steals with the Cubs well after he joined the 300/300 club).
There is one current Cub whose career totals are close to the 300/300 club, and that is outfielder Alfonso Soriano. Coming into 2013, Soriano already met the HR requirement – 372 and counting – and was 30 away from the SB threshold.
Soriano was coming off of his third 40-steal season prior to joining the Cubs. He was entering his age 31 season with 210 stolen bases. He was getting older but had averaged 30 steals during his previous three seasons.
Soriano stole 19 bags in 2007 and 19 more in 2008 (if you’re counting along at home, we’re at 248 now) and hasn’t reached double-digits since. He would steal 22 bags over the next four years.
It looks bleak, but does the old man in left have a chance to join the club? Let’s take a look at a few “on pace” estimates, with the caveat that these can be inaccurate, especially the smaller of a sample you examine.
From the 2009 to 2012 seasons, Soriano stole a bag once every 25 games, roughly. He averaged 138 games played per year. Soriano is set to be a free agent after the 2014 season. Judging by this pace of playing, Soriano would steal about 11 bases throughout the duration of his contract.
This would put him at 19 away after his walk year. Although Soriano has made some $140 million in his career, he’s made no comments of retiring. I doubt he plays 2015 with the Cubs (if he plays in ’15), but it’s still possible he latches on somewhere else if he’s hitting. Again, at this pace, it would take Soriano just over three more years to reach 300 steal mark.
But what about Soriano’s new pace? In 2013, Soriano has 4 steals in just 31 games – a much higher average than originally discussed. Soriano has 9 steals in the last calendar year. Nine steals over 158 games cuts his SB-per-GP down to 17. Take this pace from this point forward (still keeping his 138 GP average) and Sori finished 2013 with 10 steals and 2014 with 8 steals. That leaves him a dozen away from 300 once he’s done with the Cubs, and 300 another year and a half beyond his current contract.
Let’s stretch this a little further. What if Soriano stays healthy and plays 151 games per year in ’13 and ’14 like he did in ’12? He’ll still need about 10 more bags after 2014 is over.
Either way you slice it, by any stretch of the imagination, it looks like Soriano will not make the 300/300 club during his current contract. All of these “on pace” remarks don’t take into account his continually climbing age, either.
You probably could have guessed this beforehand, but I wanted to see if there was any sort of reasonable number crunching that would say “Yes, perhaps Soriano can do this!” There is not. The only way this works is by shredding the ‘on pace’ sample even further to month-by-month. In April, Soriano has three steals. If he plays 12 more months in the big leagues (two full seasons), he’ll finish with 306.
I’ll be very surprised if that happens.