SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Monday, March 31, 2008

How Likely was Joe DiMaggio's 56-Game Hitting Streak?

Not as unlikely as you might think, according to a few applied mathematics professors at Cornell, who ran 10,000 simulated seasons on a computer to determine the probability of the Yankee Clipper's memorable streak. What was particularly interesting about this article was that the professors found that during the history of baseball, the model predicted that there should have/could have been a 109-game hitting streak.

In any event, read the whole thing, especially if the pre-season reviews of your hometown team have you confused or if you have been so busy preparing for your fantasy league drafts that you just need a good change of pace from the other baseball news that you've been staring at.

So, if you agree with the professors' proposition, which players would be the most likely to go on a long hitting streak? Here are a few to consider (in no particular order):

1. Ichiro Suzuki -- he sometimes makes a game looking his own personal pepper exhibition.
2. Howie Kendrick -- because folks say that he was born swinging a bat.
3. Albert Pujols -- elbow injury and all, he's a premier hitter.
4. Chase Utley -- consummate pro, outstanding contact hitter.
5. Manny Ramirez -- Hall of Fame hitter in great shape in a contract year.
6. David Wright -- as great as the Phillies' outstanding top three are, many rate Wright better, and he can flat out hit.
7. Alex Rodriguez -- Best all-around hitter in the game.
8. Michael Young -- Rangers' SS gets tons of hits and has better lineup around him.
9. Vladimir Guerrero -- getting older, yes, but another outstanding hitter.
10. Matt Holliday -- Rockies' LF had great year in '07, hits in excellent lineup.

Hitting streaks are very fun to watch, and both Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins gave us a lot to watch over the past two seasons. Perhaps the professors' predictions will come true, or perhaps we'll keep waiting for the consummate hitter to go on that very long streak.