Kansas City Royals Paulo Orlando is a Triple Machine


The first few weeks of baseball are an interesting time. It is a time filled with interesting statistical anomalies, such as when Carlos Delgado hit eight home runs in his first 13 games of the 1994 season, but only hit one more home run for the rest of the year until he was banished to the minors on June 8th. It is a time when one can see a player like Tuffy Rhodes hit three home runs on Opening Day (also in 1994 – what a strange year that was), but only hit five more in the majors and, after 1995, spent the rest of his career overseas.

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The Kansas City Royals Paulo Orlando is another statistical anomaly at this point. Having played only seven games, Orlando has managed to hit five triples, a record for the most triples in a player’s first seven games. The only other player in the American League with more than one triple heading into last night’s action is Sam Fuld, who had three triples on the season. To make this run of triples even more remarkable, Orlando has only two hits that did not go for a triple, both singles.

This spate of triples is certainly not new for Orlando. In his ten year minor league career, he did hit 63 triples, and hit 14 triples during the 2008 season. Orlando’s track star speed was also on display during that time, as he has 200 career minor league stolen bases, stealing fewer than twenty bases in a year only twice.

Paulo Orlando’s ability to hit triples even started before his minor league career. He stated that when he was originally scouted by the White Sox when he played in Brazil, a scout told him that all he did was hit triples and not home runs. Since the White Sox sent Orlando to the Kansas City Royals back in 2008 for Horacio Ramirez, the triples that we have come to love and expect did not seem overly impressive.

Obviously, there are a few factors at play here as Orlando has embarked on this other worldly pace. The large gaps and spacious outfield of Kauffman Stadium are conducive to Orlando’s knack for being a triples machine. Add in his excellent speed, and suddenly, the player who essentially was nothing more than the 25th man on the Opening Day roster has become a sensation overnight.

Can Paulo Orlando continue on this current run and lead the American League in triples by the end of the season? Considering he is really in the starting lineup until Alex Rios comes back, and is currently on pace for a ridiculous 62 triples, that is extremely unlikely. However, it may not be out of the realm of possibility that Orlando can get close to ten triples this year if he gets enough playing time. Ten triples, incidentally, would have tied for the American League lead last year.

Given his track record, this run of triples may be far more than an early season anomaly. The Kansas City Royals may have themselves a bona fide triples machine.

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