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Derrek Lee Triple Crown Chances

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A reader e-mailed me a question recently (I love when that happens, free content ideas!):

There was an interesting article over at MLB.com about Derrek Lee a week or
so again, concerning his run for a first Triple Crown since 1967. Do you
reckon he'll make it? I mean, AVG wise he seems to have it in the bag right
now, but I can't see him keeping up with A-Rod in the home run ranks. Maybe
he could be the first NL Triple Crown winner since 1937, then? I think it
was Mickey Mantle who became the last MLB wide Triple Crown winner.

Would this make an interesting article, looking at whether Lee can keep up
with the stats and make history by the end of the season? AVG shouldn't be a
problem for this guy, but, like I said, I can see homers and RBIs being hard
to crack especially with A-Rod playing like he is.

Derrek Lee is currently leading the entire major leagues in VORP (Value Over Replacement Player):

Derrek Lee: 52.9
Brian Roberts: 41.6
Bobby Abreu: 39.9
Miguel Tejada: 39.6
Alex Rodriguez: 38.3

As far as the dual league Triple Crown goes, Derrek has his work cut out for him. ARod currently leads the majors in homeruns, and he is a more established homerun threat than Lee is, so I have to give him the benefit of the doubt for now. Brian Roberts is only .015 points of average behind Lee for the league leading average; that can change quickly with one cold week for either player. I do not think Lee has a shot at winning the dual league Triple Crown, but the NL one seems realistic:

Batting Average Leaders

  1. Derrek Lee, ChC .377
  2. Rob Mackowiak, Pit .347
  3. Miguel Cabrera, Fla .339
  4. Nick Johnson, Was .330
  5. Clint Barmes, Col .329
Homerun Leaders
  1. Derrek Lee, ChC 17
  2. Bobby Abreu, Phi 16
  3. Carlos Lee, Mil 16
  4. Andruw Jones, Atl 16
  5. Adam Dunn, Cin 16
RBI Leaders
  1. Carlos Lee, Mil 56
  2. Pat Burrell, Phi 55
  3. Derrek Lee, ChC 53
  4. Jeff Kent, LAD 50
  5. Albert Pujols, StL 49
I feel dirty even mentioning RBI's, and I feel even worse when I see it is the one statistic Derrek Lee is not leading the NL in. Another Lee, Carlos Lee of Milwaukee, is leading the charge there. Obviously D-Lee is not far behind C-Lee in RBI's, but he is also not far ahead of Bobby Abreu in homeruns either. Abreu is breaking out in so many ways this year, which is insane because he already had a Hall of Fame caliber peak.  Carlos Lee also looms on the homerun front, with 16 longballs of his own compared to Derrek Lee's 17. If Derrek Lee can keep doing what he has been doing, he has a shot at winning the NL Triple Crown. Either Carlos Lee or Bobby Abreu will need to cool off to give him that shot though. Let's look at the more saber-oriented Triple Crown stats to see where Derrek Lee rates on those:

Derrek Lee
AVG: .377 (1st)
OBP: .462 (1st)
SLG: .693 (1st)

And just for kicks...

SB: 9 (20th)
VORP: 52.9 (1st)
WARP1: 6.0 (1st)
MLVr: .673 (1st)
EqA: .374 (1st)
EqR: 61.8 (1st)

Quite the year so far huh?

Update [2005-6-14 12:17:50 by Marc Normandin]: Richard B. Wade has some information about RBI's that makes me feel slightly less dirty using them

Derrek Lee should have approx. 66 RBI. I base that on the following formula: (AB with Runners on) / (AB) * (TB). Carlos Lee should have 74. By the way, Carlos Lee is getting more opportunities, but slugging less. It's roughly based on the Runs Created formula.