Lopez Putting Himself In The History Books
Last night, Jose Lopez hit his 25th home run. One reason that this is notable is that he now has more homers than walks, of which he has 24. Historically, this is fairly unique. There are only thirty players in baseball history who have finished a season with 25 or more homers and fewer than 25 walks. If interested, here’s the list.
Want to be really encouraged? There are some great players at early stages of their careers on this list. Want to be really depressed? There are some really terrible players on this list, too.
What is most interesting to me is how few infielders there are. The list is almost entirely strong athletic outfielders who had a ton of power but hadn’t figured out how to play the game yet. That’s the Albert Belle/Juan Gonzalez/Sammy Sosa/Bo Jackson kind of player type, and Lopez just isn’t that kind of player.
The only other guys on the list who played second base during their season with 25+ homers and less than 25 walks were Alfonso Soriano (who soon moved to the outfield, where he probably should have been all along) and Jorge Cantu, a 1B/DH type who has played out of position for most of his career.
One of the reasons we constantly hear talk about Lopez moving to third base is that he has the kind of offensive skillset that we just don’t see in a middle infielder. He’s not a good defensive second baseman by any means, but it’d be interesting to see if there was a similar groundswell to move him to a corner infield spot if he was more of a traditional offensive middle infielder with the same defensive skills.