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Where did all of the doubles go?

Jun 28, 2012, 6:18 PM EDT

Does this look like a doubles swing to you? Getty Images

It’s still early enough to turn around, but there are a lot of hitters this year with many more homers than doubles:

Jose Bautista – 25 HR, 9 2B
Adam Dunn – 24 HR, 10 2B
Curtis Granderson – 21 HR, 9 2B
Carlos Beltran – 20 HR, 9 2B
Dayan Viciedo – 13 HR, 4 2B
Matt Kemp – 12 HR, 6 2B
Mike Napoli – 12 HR, 6 2B
Justin Smoak – 11 HR, 3 2B

That’s the list of players with at least 10 homers and no more than half as many doubles. There’s also Ryan Braun at 20 homers and 12 doubles, Edwin Encarnacion at 22 homers and 14 doubles and Josh Hamilton at 24 homers and 15 doubles.

Some of these are going to even out a bit, but it seems like a given that at least one or two guys here will become the first player(s) since 2008 to finish with at least 20 homers and have twice as many homers as doubles. Napoli (20 HR, 9 2B) and Marcus Thames (25 HR, 12 2B) both did it that year.

It’s also possible that someone will have at least 20 homers and three times as many homers as doubles since Frank Thomas finished with 39 homers and 11 doubles for the A’s in 2006. Viciedo and Smoak are both on such a pace at the moment, and Bautista is barely off.

Still, it seems safe to suggest no one is touching Mark McGwire, who had 29 homers and four doubles in his final season in 2001. He also had 32 homers and eight doubles the year before in 2000. He finished his career with 583 homers and 252 doubles, so he was pretty much the king of this stat.

  1. cur68 - Jun 28, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    Could it have anything to do with that shift the defence throws out there against these guys? Anything on the ground gets snagged and thrown in pretty quick since the D knows where they tend to hit them. Hard to double with that going on.

    • brewcitybummer - Jun 28, 2012 at 6:33 PM

      And the no doubles defense is among the most common alignments at this point. Every game I watch the announcers are commenting on how deep outfielders are playing. It seems like we are approaching the point where what is now called the no doubles defense is just the standard outfield alignment.

    • proudlycanadian - Jun 28, 2012 at 6:36 PM

      I agree with Cur. Teams are employing shifts against hitters a lot more this season. Teams have easy access to data that shows where hitters tend to hit the ball and are positioning their defenders accordingly. The best way to beat a shift is to hit the ball out of the park.

      • Francisco (FC) - Jun 28, 2012 at 10:01 PM

        The best way to beat a shift is to hit the ball out of the park.

        Ryan Howard’s problems with the shift are SOLVED!

      • proudlycanadian - Jun 28, 2012 at 10:11 PM

        LOL FC! Howard was 2 for 4 in his first rehab game. Both singles. No idea if they used a shift against him or if he is yet able to run fast enough to get a double.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jun 28, 2012 at 6:49 PM

      Great points, guys. I tend to agree.

      Its ironic that the most shifted against player of the last several years, David Ortiz, actually has 23 doubles at the moment. The Green Monster probably has a lot to do with that, though. Ortiz had 18 doubles at home and only five on the road.

      • cur68 - Jun 28, 2012 at 9:03 PM

        They showed Papi’s spray chart during the Beaver Men series. I do believe he has nearly as many hits to left as to right field this season. Its probably unwise to shift against him.

  2. dowhatifeellike - Jun 28, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    The only way to double against the shift is to place one down the opposite-field line. Not easy considering you’re going to be pitched into the shift as well.

  3. jaydeebee21 - Jun 28, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    well if its a matter that doubles are harder to hit because of shifts then explain why Joey Votto has 32 doubles and is on pace to break the single season record for doubles.

    • hermanbates - Jun 28, 2012 at 8:33 PM

      Ha, beat me to it. But correct.

      • cur68 - Jun 29, 2012 at 2:35 AM

        No. See below.

  4. hermanbates - Jun 28, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    Two words: Joey Votto. Done and done.

    • cur68 - Jun 29, 2012 at 2:34 AM

      Thanks for playing fellas, but Votto hits all over the field:

      Can’t shift on a guy who does that. Same argument I had for Ortiz.

    • brewcitybummer - Jun 29, 2012 at 10:23 AM

      The lack of doubles is a trend. Joey Votto is a Case Study. Case Studies have severe limitations and generally cannot prove or disprove anything. They are generally intended to stimulate thinking and provoke further research.

      So no, not done and done.

  5. jwbiii - Jun 29, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    Well positioned outfielders picked them, ev’ry one.

  6. bigleagues - Jun 29, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    I’ll just interject this for conversational purposes (not making any claim one way or the other) . . .

    There’s also the old theory, from a by-gone era, that some players with more HR than Doubles were PED abusers.

    Perhaps . . . just perhaps . . . there is a new wave of undetectables out there gaming the system?

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