Baseball fans who prefer modern stats tend to eschew the RBI as an old-fangled metric -- one dependent largely upon circumstances beyond a hitter's control, and therefore of less use than other measures.
To those folks, we apologize. We're only going to use RBI to note the growing peculiarity in Trevor Patrick "Babe" Plouffe's season.
With two more solo homers Sunday, Plouffe has hit 16 of his team-leading 18 bombs with the bases empty. Combine that with the fact that he entered Monday with a .482 OPS with runners on base and a 1.226 OPS with the bases empty, and factor in that he only has 33 hits all season that didn't leave the yard, and you get 18 home runs with just 33 RBI.
It's a pretty small sample size, and we do buy into the idea that RBI are somewhat circumstantial (though we never will fully discard the idea that some hitters are better in the "clutch" than others, i.e. able to put aside external pressures to produce during the task at hand).
In any event, at the very-near midpoint of the season, if you simply doubled Plouffe's totals, he would finish the year with 36 homers and 66 RBI. If that seems like an odd stat line, well, it is. But it's more than that. The pace is downright historic.
Based on research gleaned from baseball-reference.com, Plouffe, if we simply double his numbers, would finish the year with among the fewest RBI in history of any player to hit more than 30 homers.
Also: Barry Bonds is the record-holder in terms of lowest ratio of RBI to HRs of anyone with at least 20 homers in a season, getting "only" 137 RBI to go with his record-setting 73 HRs in 2001. That works out to 1.88 RBI per homer. Plouffe, going into Monday, had 1.72 RBI per home run, easily on pace to break that record.
Logic would dictate that Plouffe will start hitting some of those three-run homers favored by sluggers Josh Willingham and Drew Butera -- and that he will also start getting some non-homer RBI, which he did Monday (two). It's stunning that Plouffe has just one less RBI on solo homers, 16, than on every other type of hit, 17.
It wouldn't be crazy to think Plouffe could end the year with 30-35 homers and 80-85 RBI. For now, though, he is on pace to make a strange kind of history.