Let’s start with the easiest one to place: RBIs.
This one is easiest to predict only because Martinez has a solid lead over the rest of the league in this category. Martinez’s 89 RBIs top his closest competitor’s total, Khris Davis‘ 84 ribbies, by five.
So here’s what we are going to do. We are going to look at the AL and NL RBI leader on July 31 each year since 2002 (FanGraphs splits leaderboards only goes back that far). We will take note of the margin the player is leading his league by and whether or not he won the RBI crown. To avoid opening a can of worms we will throw out all years that involved a tie at the top of the leaderboards at the trade deadline.
|Year||League||Leader on 7/31||Margin||Did he win?||League||Leader on 7/31||Margin||Did he win?|
|2017||AL||Nelson Cruz||3||Yes||NL||Nolan Arenado||10||No|
|2015||AL||Kendrys Morales||1||No||NL||Nolan Arenado||1||Yes|
|2014||AL||Jose Abreu||2||No||NL||Giancarlo Stanton||2||No|
|2011||AL||Adrian Gonzalez||10||No||NL||Matt Kemp||1||Yes|
|2010||AL||Miguel Cabrera||4||Yes||NL||Ryan Howard||7||No|
|2009||AL||Justin Morneau||5||No||NL||Albert Pujols||3||No|
|2008||AL||Josh Hamilton||17||Yes||NL||Ryan Howard||7||Yes|
|2006||AL||David Ortiz||8||Yes||NL||Carlos Beltran||1||No|
|2005||AL||Manny Ramirez||5||No||NL||Carlos Lee||1||No|
|2004||AL||Miguel Tejada||1||Yes||NL||Scott Rolen||7||No|
|2003||AL||Carlos Delgado||12||Yes||NL||Preston Wilson||4||Yes|
|2002||AL||Alex Rodriguez||3||Yes||NL||Lance Berkman||8||Yes|
So of the 28 data points not invalidated by ties, the league leader in RBIs finished first 15 times. Further, if we want a closer picture to our current leaderboard we can consider only seasons when a player led his league by five or more RBIs (again, Martinez currently leads by five). In these cases, the league leader at the trade deadline went on to win six out of twelve times.
We could go in further depth, but the numbers seem to be pointing to about an even split for Martinez.