2013 Weird and Wacky Team Highlights – NL Edition

Following up from the AL version, here’s a collection of statistical tidbits for last year’s NL teams that you probably won’t find anywhere else.


Braves – Atlanta became the 9th franchise in the expansion era (but all have come since 1996) to have consecutive seasons with only one pitcher (Craig Kimbrel) recording multiple saves. San Francisco is the only franchise to do this with two different pitchers (Rod Beck 1995-96, Robb Nen 2001-02). Roberto Hernandez  is the only pitcher to do this with two different franchises (Devil Rays 1998-99, Royals 2001-02).

Brewers –  Milwaukee had its first pitcher (Brandon Kintzler) since 1980 to record HR/9 under 0.3 in 75 or more IP. 2013 was the twenty-first consecutive season with fewer than 5 such pitchers in the majors. Previously, the longest such streak of seasons was 9 years, from 1955 to 1963.

Cardinals – For the first time since World War II, St. Louis had 7 players (Carlos BeltranMatt CarpenterAllen CraigDavid FreeseMatt HollidayJon JayYadier Molina) qualify for the batting title in consecutive seasons. Of the original 16 teams, the Cubs, Pirates and Tigers still have not had back-to-back post-war seasons with 7 players qualifying for the batting title. The Rockies, Rays and Diamondbacks still have not had even one such season.

Cubs – For the second time in franchise history, Chicago had two players (Starlin CastroAnthony Rizzo) with 125 strikeouts who slugged under .425. The first time was in 2002 when the Cubs became only the fourth such team ever. This year’s Cubs brought that total up to 16 teams, including two clubs with 3 such players.

Diamondbacks – For the first time in its history, Arizona had 4 relievers (Heath BellWill HarrisJ.J. PutzBrad Ziegler) with a .700 winning percentage in 4 or more decisions. The D-Backs were just the eighth such team since 1901, but the 6th since 2004, including three in 2013 (this one’s got me stumped – can anyone think of an explanation?).

Dodgers – For only the second time in its history, Los Angeles posted a .750 winning percentage in two different months (min. 25 games in month), joining the Cardinals (5), Yankees (4) and Athletics (3) as the only franchises with at least two such teams. The Dodgers were the 17th team since 1916 with such a season, but only the fourth to also have a month with a winning percentage below .400.

Giants – San Francisco was the first team ever with two pitchers (Barry ZitoRyan Vogelsong) having an ERA+ below 60 in 15+ starts. For only the second time in franchise history, the Giants had 3 pitchers (add Tim Lincecum) with ERA+ below 77, and 4 pitchers (add Matt Cain) below 84, both also in 15+ starts.

Marlins – Miami became the first NL team since 1942 with only two players (Giancarlo StantonChristian Yelich) having an OPS+ over 95 in 100 PA. In contrast, there have been 7 such AL teams over the same period, including the 1943 Athletics and 1948 Senators who each had only one such player.

Mets – New York was the first NL team since 1980 to get 10 saves and 70 IP from a 40+ year-old reliever (LaTroy Hawkins). Hawkins matched the profile of 16 of the 17 such earlier seasons (all since 1944, and none by Mariano) by posting an ERA+ of 119 or better.

Nationals – For the first time in franchise history, Washington had 5 players (Ian DesmondBryce HarperAdam LaRocheJayson WerthRyan Zimmerman) with 20 home runs, and also marked a franchise first by having 4 players with 20 home runs in consecutive seasons. Since the Expos/Nats franchise began in 1969, 5 franchises (Pirates, Mets, Royals, Padres, Rays) still have not had a season with 5 players having 20 homers.

Padres – San Diego became the 10th team of the expansion era (including 3 teams in the 1971 season) to have an outfielder (Chris Denorfia) record 502 PA while playing at least 40 games at each of the outfield positions (only four pre-expansion teams had such a player with 477 PA). Detroit is the only one of the expansion era teams to do this more than once, both times with Jim Northrup (1967 and 1971).

Phillies – For the first time since 1925-27, Philadelphia had 3 consecutive seasons with 3 or more players aged 33 or older having 300 PAs (enough 3’s for you?). The Phillies also had 5 such players (Ryan HowardJimmy RollinsCarlos RuizChase UtleyMichael Young) in back-to-back seasons, only the 17th such team (5th in the NL) since 1901, but all of them since 1983.

Pirates – Pittsburgh was the first team since 1992 to have 5 pitchers (A.J. BurnettGerrit ColeFrancisco LirianoJeff LockeCharlie Morton) with HR/9 under 0.667 in 100 or more IP. It was the first time for a Pirate team since 1976.

Reds – Cincinnati became just the fourth team ever with two players (Shin-Soo ChooJoey Votto) having 110 walks, a .420 OBP and an OPS+ higher than walks. The only one of those teams to win a pennant was the 1993 Phillies, the only team ever with 3 players (Darren DaultonLenny DykstraJohn Kruk) having 110 walks and a higher OPS+.

Rockies – For the first time in its history, the Rockies had 3 starting pitchers (Jhoulys ChacinTyler ChatwoodJorge De La Rosa) with a 125 ERA+ in 100+ IP. Over the 21 seasons of the Rockies’ existence, there have been 23 other such teams, including 8 Braves’ teams (the Athletics and Expos/Nats, each with two teams, are the only other franchises to do this more than once in the period).

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31 Comments on "2013 Weird and Wacky Team Highlights – NL Edition"

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John Autin

Re: the D-backs relievers — Just thinking out loud: The modern trend of reliever usage tends to create a group of them who mostly pitch when the team is behind, which gives them a better shot at good winning percentages. Not saying that applies specifically to those 4 Snakes, but … Will Harris pitched 61 times and pitched well, yet he only had 5 save/hold chances.

John Autin

The mention of Kintzler reminded me that his teammate, Tyler Thornburg, gave up just one HR in 67 IP, after serving 8 in 22 IP last year. That sent me to his game log, and here’s his 4-HR debut from June 2012 — quite the slugfest:

Voomo Zanzibar

That Mets stat got me wondering.
Though maybe Hoffman might have come close.
But he got his saves in very few IP.

Looking at Lee Smith’s career shows how the closer role changed.
His first full season getting saves was 1983

29 saves in 103 IP

His last two full seasons were 1994-1995

33 saves in 38 IP
37 saves in 49 IP

The 1st sets the record for fewest IP with 30 saves.
The 2nd sets the record for most saves with under 50 IP


Doug, following up on your note on the Blue Jays having 4 players with 125 OPS+ and 450 PA: the 2013 Cardinals had 5 players turn the trick this year (Holliday, Carpenter, Molina, Craig, Beltran). St. Louis also had 5 such players last year.

The only team to have 6 players with 125 OPS+ and 450 PA is the 1933 Yankees (Gehrig, Ruth, Dickey, Combs, Lazzeri, Chapman).

David Horwich

LaTroy Hawkins’ career serves as a sort of textbook example of how pitchers are able to be more effective in relief than as a starter. His first 5 years in the bigs he was a starter, with only one game in relief, and the results weren’t too tasty:

1995-1999 521.1 IP, 11.7 H/9, 1.5 HR/9, 3.3 BB/9, 5.2 K/9, ERA+ 79, 0.3 WAR

Since then, he’s been used exclusively as a reliever, and the results have been far more palatable:

2000-2013 853.0 IP, 8.8 H/9, 0.7 HR/9, 2.6 BB/9, 6.5 K/9, ERA+ 134, 16.0 WAR

The Cubs factoid, coupled with your Cleveland factoid from your last post (7 players with 100+ strikeouts and fewer than 25 home runs) has me wondering if we’re going to see at least an attempt made to turn some of these guys into contact hitters. I just don’t see a lot of value in more than 10 strikeouts for every home run you hit. I also saw another fact that also surprised me about an American League team in your National League list and that was the Tigers not having back-to-back seasons with 7 players qualifying for the batting title-… Read more »
I want to drag up some discussion about pitch counts and rather than talk in the older thread I’ll post it here to get more attention so as to not just talk to myself. Sorry Doug. I think there is a lot of truth that pitchers are conditioned to pitch in different ways than they used to be and in that conditioning are physically unable to complete games at the same rates as they used to. The common thought here is that this is a bad thing, that we are somehow holding pitchers back. Is it possible though that we… Read more »
One thing that I was stuck by on the stats that someone put up a little while back was how much more inefficient pitchers were starting the 3rd time thru the lineup- if memory serves the relative measure of a pitchers effectiveness (I don’t remember what actual measurement was used) was something on the lines of 96 the first time thru, 104 the second and then above 110 the third time around with the higher numbers meaning the harder they we being hit. From that perspective I can understand limiting your non-top-tier starters to 4 innings or so (figuring an… Read more »
David Horwich

I think you may be thinking of Mitchel Litchman’s work on the “times through the order penalty”, – there’s an article here:


He also addresses the topic on his blog:


Richard Chester

Hartvig: Those stats,96, 104, and 110, may be OPS+ against the pitcher, I can’t remember exactly.


They’re tOPS+ against splits from this comment:


So it’s 1st time through order OPS+ against vs. overall OPS against, etc.

Richard Chester

Another way of looking at it. OPS per each time through the batting order. I’m posting just a single year here to see how the columns line-up.

Year 1st PA 2nd PA 3rd PA 4th+ PA

1974 0.671 0.698 0.699 0.731

Richard Chester

Another test:

Year/ 1st PA/ 2nd PA/ 3rd PA/ 4th+ PA

1974/ 0.671/ 0.698/ 0.699/ 0.731

Richard Chester

Here’s the list from 1974 to 2013, OPS against the starting pitcher each time through the batting order.

Year/ 1st PA/ 2nd PA/ 3rd PA/ 4th+ PA

1974/ 0.671/ 0.698/ 0.699/ 0.731
1975/ 0.672/ 0.706/ 0.729/ 0.724
1976/ 0.663/ 0.682/ 0.702/ 0.697
1977/ 0.710/ 0.737/ 0.760/ 0.762
1978/ 0.676/ 0.708/ 0.719/ 0.718
1979/ 0.701/ 0.737/ 0.739/ 0.766
1980/ 0.702/ 0.709/ 0.740/ 0.762
1981/ 0.661/ 0.697/ 0.704/ 0.747
1982/ 0.693/ 0.726/ 0.754/ 0.758
1983/ 0.694/ 0.717/ 0.750/ 0.760
1984/ 0.680/ 0.714 0.747/ 0.763
1985/ 0.688/ 0.725/ 0.741/ 0.755
1986/ 0.687/ 0.731/ 0.742/ 0.790
1987/ 0.717/ 0.756/ 0.786/ 0.800
1988/ 0.665/ 0.697/ 0.728/ 0.736
1989/ 0.679/ 0.714/ 0.715/ 0.728
1990/ 0.696/ 0.711/ 0.738/ 0.747
1991/ 0.683/ 0.716/ 0.741/ 0.764
1992/ 0.670/ 0.706/ 0.743/ 0.734
1993/ 0.711/ 0.743/ 0.768/ 0.764
1994/ 0.737/ 0.772/ 0.795/ 0.759
1995/ 0.736/ 0.766/ 0.783/ 0.767
1996/ 0.742/ 0.774/ 0.810/ 0.827
1997/ 0.724/ 0.764 0.798/ 0.772
1998/ 0.720/ 0.770 0.816/ 0.786
1999/ 0.749/ 0.787 0.835/ 0.791
2000/ 0.762/ 0.789 0.824/ 0.822
2001/ 0.727/ 0.777 0.822/ 0.804
2002/ 0.728/ 0.764 0.788/ 0.774
2003/ 0.732/ 0.769 0.797/ 0.804
2004/ 0.734/ 0.777 0.821/ 0.797
2005/ 0.731/ 0.758 0.786 0.754
2006/ 0.745/ 0.787 0.816/ 0.805
2007/ 0.743/ 0.768 0.819/ 0.822
2008/ 0.725/ 0.762 0.801/ 0.793
2009/ 0.727/ 0.766 0.806/ 0.782
2010/ 0.699/ 0.742 0.771/ 0.754
2011/ 0.700/ 0.729 0.774/ 0.743
2012/ 0.709/ 0.745 0.774/ 0.722
2013/ 0.699/ 0.730 0.760/ 0.729

Voomo Zanzibar

The Reds just committed 100 million dollars to a pitcher named Homer.

His high water WAR mark is 3.2.
Also with a top seasonal WAR of 3.2: Taylor Douthit.


Any pitcher a team would actually want to use in the playoffs will be making $15m-$30m a year pretty soon, get used to it.

I dunno… that may be the case for a while, but once this current batch of TV deals expires, I’m not sure this level of contract will continue. Three reasons: – Baseball is losing popularity among youth. This has been happening for a while now and whoever the new commish is must make this the game’s #1 priority. – TV viewership in general. Cable and satellite companies see the writing on the wall; look at the TWC/Comcast merger and read up on some of the reasons. They realize people are getting their entertainment via streaming services and other internet-based technology.… Read more »
I don’t see this picture at all. I see Football starting to emerge from the denial that the foundation of it’s game doesn’t cause permanent harm to it’s players at all levels. I see Hockey dropping off the US purview (at least outside of Minnesota) and basketball unable to market itself as a team game. Baseball is a great TV sport for our new easily distracted world. Sports bars love the scheduling baseball offers providing local entertainment every day for roughly half the year. I see parents saying “I don’t want my son to play football” and barring a huge… Read more »

I think the biggest benefactor with regard to youth play if America’s version of football loses popluarlity is the world’s version of football. I see it all the time where I live. Where I live, soccer and football are both fall sports and kids must choose between them, and increasingly they are choosing soccer, especially if Mom has anything to say about it.

Lawrence Azrin
@27/mosc, Baseball is regional, football is national. Just look at the nature of their respective contracts, where the big TV money is in each sport. That’s why football almost always buries baseball in what are the games that gets the highest TV ratings. I see fooball eventually losing top players due to injury concerns from parents, but this probably won’t show up at the NFL level for 8-10 years. Some of these players will go to baseball, but not most. Baseball has its own problems, in that it is not appealing as much to the younger geerations. I see the… Read more »
John Autin

Voomo, FWIW — Over the last 2 years combined, Homer Bailey is #7 in road ERA (min. 150 IP).

I’m not a huge fan of Homer or of 6-year deals for non-elite pitchers, but his improvement in the last 2 years doesn’t seem flukey.

Voomo Zanzibar

Yeah, I wasn’t commenting on anything but his name.
Can you imagine if they walked into Marge Schott’s office and said “Ma’am, we want to give 100 million to a pitcher named Homer” ?

He’s the only Homer to every play in MLB whose birth name wasn’t actually Homer.

And only two other men have worked from the rubber with the name:


John Autin

Ah, yes … Proving once again that I can escape any subtlety you can dish up, Voomo. 🙂