The hottest hitter in Major League Baseball right now is Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor.
In Saturday’s 6-2 win against the Kansas City Royals, Lindor extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a first-inning double. That was just the beginning of a performance that was more productive than a cycle, and we dare say much cooler too.
Before the day was done, Lindor would add a second double and a pair of solo home runs. The four-hit game was the third of Lindor’s career. It’s the first time all four were extra-base hits, and the combination of those hits put him a category that’s quite rare over the last 100 years in MLB.
Just how rare was Lindor’s performance?
Last 100 seasons, entering today:
– 108 games by players with 2 HR and 2 2B.
– 255 cycles.
Francisco Lindor would like to push that 2-HR, 2-2B games total to 109.
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) May 13, 2018
Based on those numbers, you might see a two-double, two-homer game once a season.
Of course, this is baseball we speak of. So of course this feat was achieved twice in a span of two days. On Friday, the Cubs Willson Contreras had a two-double, two-homer game himself, which included a grand slam and seven RBIs. Nonetheless, it’s still plenty rare.
Though there have been no cycles so far this season, you’re bound to see two or three each season. There were actually seven last season. Each one was accompanied by a great deal more fanfare than Contreras’ was or Lindor’s game will be, which is more fanfare than each deserved.
What is a cycle?
For the casual fans out there, a cycle is when a batter notches a single, double, triple and home run in the same game. They don’t have to be in order.
Why was Lindor’s performance better than a cycle?
Aside from being a rarer event, the simple math tells us that a pure cycle adds up to 10 total bases, while a two-double, two-homer games, adds up to 12. Of course, some cycles come with additional hits that raise the base total. We’re not ignoring those, but when putting a pure cycle and a two-double, two-homer game side-by-side, there’s no comparison.
Cycles are interesting. They’re fun to track when a player needs a home run, or a really slow player needs that most unlikely triple to complete it. But let’s face it, more bases and home runs are way better.
Has anyone had a better offensive performance than Lindor’s?
Some have, but not many. First, you have to include all 17 players who have hit four home runs in a single game. Beyond that, there are numerous players who have hit three homers in a game with additional extra-base hits.
In terms of games that included at least two doubles, only one game truly topped Lindor’s over the last 105 years. On June 27, 2016, Cubs’ slugger Kris Bryant became the first player since 1913 to hit three homers and two doubles in the same game. Bryant would go on to win the National League MVP that season.
How hot is Francisco Lindor?
During his 13-game hitting streak, Lindor’s hitting .464/.491/1.036 with 14 RBIs. His eight home runs in May lead all of MLB. His 15 extra-base hits are tops too. Even though the Indians are struggling right now, Lindor is starting to build his case for American League MVP.
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