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Yuli Gurriel and what could be a historic season

At 37 years old, the Cuban star is on pace to finish with numbers that we’ve almost never seen before.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Although there were more doubts than certainties in Yulieski Gurriel’s environment last year due to his bad season in 2020, the Astros’ first baseman turned things around this Major League Baseball season. Gurriel is among the most valuable players on the team right now and is carrying the lineup with great offensive numbers.

To this point, through Monday, Yuli has 77 total hits, 17 doubles, and 10 home runs in 66 games (279 plate appearances). Besides, he’s registered 50 RBIs, 34 runs, 30 walks, and only 27 strikeouts. All this is accompanied by a robust line of .322/.387/.519/.906 (except for the slugging percentage, those are the best averages of his MLB career).

If the Cuban star can keep it going, he could finish the regular season with a campaign to remember, especially because of his age (37 years old). Among the feats Yuli could accomplish, there’s a pretty special one he’ll achieve if he records 60 extra-base hits and 110 RBIs. Currently, his projections suggest that he will get 61 XBHs and 113 ribbies.

Should Gurriel achieve those stats, he would be just the eighth player to do so in their 37-age campaign (player’s age on June 30). And the best or most special thing is that this group includes plenty of legends of the game: Edgar Martínez (who did it twice), Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, Andrés Galarraga, David Ortiz (last to do it, in 2016), Mike Schmidt, Tony Gwynn, and his countryman Rafael Palmeiro.

Everything could be even better and more historic for Yuli if he fulfills his projection in hits, which is at 173 for the season so far.

If he gets at least 170 hits, along with 60+ XBHs and 110 RBIs, Gurriel would become the third player in Major League history to achieve this feat at his age. So far, only Martínez and Gwynn, both members of the Hall of Fame, have achieved that milestone. Gwynn did it in 1997, while Martínez followed three years later (2000).

Fortunately, Yuli’s offense rhythm hasn’t slowed down at all. While it’s true that he experienced a slight decline in terms of averages in May (.273/.313/.466), he rebounded in great form in June and is now among the hottest hitters on the team, which has won eight games in a row (through Monday). In June, Gurriel has posted a .361/.405/.541 slash line, with three homers and 12 runs batted in. In fact, he’s carrying a five-game hitting streak, with a .375 batting average during that span (6-for-16).

It remains to be seen whether Gurriel can keep things going in the long run not only to help the Astros win more games, but also to round up a brilliant season.