Monday, April 24, 2006

Gourriel Watch: A Season for the Ages

The 45th National Season has concluded and the MVP is all but a sure thing for Yulieski Gourriel. The young man has led his Sancti Spiritus Gallos to the Group B title, winning the final 29 of 31 games, including 25 consecutive victories. Gourriel homered in 5 of the last 6 games, including the last 4 in a row. His 57 extra base hits broke the single season record by a wide margin, and he became the first player in Cuban history to go 20/20. Did I mention that he's only 22 years old?

Gourriel appears on the leaderboard of virtually every important offensive statistic, and is notable for the following statistical accomplishments this season:

Runs - 1st (89)
Triples - 1st (11)
Home Runs - 1st (27)
RBIs - 1st (92)
Total Bases - 1st (236)
Stolen Bases - 2nd (21)
Slugging % - 3rd (.676)

Remember, the Cuban season is only 90 games long, so we need to look at his numbers as they are and pro-rated to a 162 game season to put them into proper perspective. Click below to view his 90 game stats:

One further note on the numbers you see above. Gourriel added a .484 OBP to his .676 slugging, for an OPS of 1.160. That is virtually the identical figure that Babe Ruth put up for his career, and matches the single season numbers for Ted Williams in 1946, and Todd Helton in 2000. Let's look at the pro-rated 162 game stats(click below):

Setting a 160 run, 166 RBI pace is insane. Put that together with 20 triples and 49 home runs, and you have something resembling Lou Gehrig's 1931 season. 38 stolen bases on top of all that is unheard of. To put it in perspective, Gourriel would account for 446 total bases, good for 4th place on the all-time single season list behind Ruth (1921), Hornsby (1922), and Gehrig (1927). It's best if we just leave it at that. At 22 years old, Yulieski Gourriel has just set the equivalent of a Joe Dimaggio, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig mark in the Cuban ranks. It's been a pleasure to follow, and I look forward to seeing what he can do in the upcoming playoffs.