During yesterday’s game, in Paul DeJong’s offensive explosion, Derrick Goold brought a particular stat to everyone’s attention on Twitter.
The Pauls Batted In, or PBI, kept coming.
The best people weren’t available, so I decided to do some research.
A five-PBI game is definitely the team record for the season. It’s also the major-league record in 2019.
There are only five Pauls in the major leagues this season. Aside from DeJong and Paul Goldschmidt, the other three are the Athletics’ Paul Blackburn, the Orioles’ Paul Paul Fry and the Mets’ Paul Sewald. All three are pitchers and have understandably scored no runs this season.
To some, that might mean the Cardinals have a monopoly on the PBI market and an MLB leaderboard would be unfair. I just say that’s a team built to dominate a particular statistic.
So the Cardinals have the whole share of the the majors’ PBI in 2019. What’s the team breakdown? With Goldschmidt having 21 home runs and DeJong having 18, you might think they’d be the far-and-away team leaders. it’s a bit closer than that.
Pauls Batted In Leaders, 2019
DeJong is at the top with 28. He has fewer self-PBI than Goldschmidt, but benefited from hitting behind Goldy for some time. Next is Goldschmidt, with 25, which fits the expectation.
But Marcell Ozuna is in third, narrowly behind the other two with 24 PBI. And the totals are deceiving, because Ozuna has 326 PA to DeJong’s 425 and Goldschmidt’s 428.
That means Ozuna was on track to easily becoming the team’s clear PBI leader before he was sidelined by injury.
Ozuna also leads the team in multi-PBI hits, with six on the season. There are just six other multi-PBI hits in total: three from Goldschmidt, two from DeJong and one from Yadier Molina.
Both DeJong and Goldschmidt are both on track to break the record of most PBI by a Paul in a single season.
Strangely enough, most Pauls in MLB history have been pitchers. Of those who were position players, there have been eight seasons in which a Paul has totaled more PBI than DeJong’s 28. Most of them came from the south side of Chicago:
Most Single-Season PBI by a Paul since 1900
Paul Konerko has been the undisputed champ since the early 2000s, but his totals will be easily eclipsed by DeJong and Goldschmidt. No two Pauls with the offensive potential of those two have played together in the major leagues since at least 1900.
But that also means that Marcell Ozuna is in line to break those numbers as well, if he returns to his pre-injury form.
It’s hard to say if Ozuna is in line to break the record of single-season PBI by a non-Paul.
We’re limited by the data available, and I suppose I’m not committed enough to comb through the box scores for every season.
The highest number of potential PBI from a Paul were 136 from Paul Waner on the 1928 Pirates, but resources are slim for tracking there.
More recently, Paul Molitor had 116 potential PBI on the 1991 Brewers.
Without those numbers, we can look at the fact that Ozuna had 23% of Goldschmidt’s 45 runs before he went on the IL, and had 14.7% of DeJong’s 52 runs. If he returned today, that would put him on pace to collect 18 more PBI by the end of the season, given the Pauls’ projections, which would give a total of 42 on the season.
Either way, the Cardinals currently have more than 120 PBI, when removing runs scored on errors by the pair. With the single-season record sitting at 142, the 2019 Cardinals are – barring injury – on track to break that mark with ease.