Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The March to 160

Kelly Johnson struck out for the 159th time in the 2012 season on Tuesday, October 2nd. That strikeout tied a franchise record that was set back in 1998 by Jose Canseco. Here's a head-to-head of their, for lack of a better term, mutual accomplishment.

Jose Canseco set the level of futility in a season that featured an extra game on the calendar due to a rain-out in Chicago, and he did so in 583 at bats. Kelly Johnson matched Jose's 'effort' with one game left on the schedule, and in 75 fewer at bats. Not only that, he reached the century mark in 18 fewer games, hitting 100 strikeouts (see what I did there? Hitting? Ha!) in his 91st game played. Impressive.

While Canseco and Johnson were both saddled with the Golden Sombrero, (Canseco once and Johnson three times), only Jose four strikeouts in four at-bats. Kelly had five at-bats in each of his four-strikeout games.

One final comparison between the two: Jose Canseco finished the season with a slash line of .237/.318/.518, 46 HR and 1.6 fWAR. Kelly Johnson? .224/.313/.359, with 16 HR and 0.6 fWAR. That 16th home run was hit in the same game he reached 159 strikeouts. Good job, good effort.

One has to wonder, with one game left and John Farrell giving the ol' bag'o'bones overpaid bench coach one last kick at the can, will Mr. Johnson have an opportunity to take sole possession of the record? Probably not, but I'll be rooting for a pinch-hit strikeout in the seventh inning, believe you me.

Speaking of Omar Vizquel: if he doesn't hit a home run on Wednesday night, he will be one of eleven players to not homer in a season with the Jays, with a minimum of 160 plate appearances. Yes, I know that's the number of PAs he has going into the game, but hey. How else can I articulate his futility without setting my own endpoints?

Interesting to note: two players had multiple non-homer seasons, Luis Gomez in '78 & '79, and Alfredo Griffin in '81 & '92

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