Is 150 RBI a Realistic Goal for Andre Ethier in 2012?

Christopher BenvieCorrespondent IIMay 8, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 04: Andre Ethier #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers bats against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 4, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Dodgers 5-4. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Dodgers have played 29 games thus far this season.

In those games, Andre Ethier has managed to drive in 30 runs. Not only does that lead all Dodgers, it also leads the National League and is the best number in Major League Baseball.

To recap, that's more RBI than Matt Kemp AND Josh Hamilton.

That would be as many as Prince Fielder (14), Albert Pujols (9) and Ryan Zimmerman (7) combined.

The season is barely 18 percent of the way through, which means that if Ethier should somehow be able to maintain the torrid pace he is on, he could plausibly finish with 168 RBI.

That figure is based on the fact that in his first 29 games, Ethier has averaged 1.03 RBI per game. 

Hitting 150-plus RBI is not an unprecedented feat by any stretch of the imagination. Forty four other players in Major League Baseball history have accomplished as much.

The most RBI in a single season came from Hack Wilson, a right-handed batter in the National League in 1930.

With the pace Ethier is on, he could very well be sandwiched between Jimmie Foxx and Joe DiMaggio in and around the 10th and 11th spot respectively on this list.

What would be impressive, should Ethier happen to drive in that many runs, is he would be the first player in the modern era of baseball to do so cleanly, without suspicion of performance enhancing drugs.

As I look at the list, names like Manny Ramirez, Albert Belle, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Miguel Tejada are the only ones from the 1990s forward. Prior to 1996, the last player to come close was George Foster in 1977 with 149.

The talent is on the Dodgers' roster to afford Ethier all the opportunity he may need to do so.

This team has proven itself to be quite fun to watch this season, and with Matt Kemp chasing the Triple Crown, Ethier's chase for 150 RBI should prove to be just as compelling.