2016 Team Superlatives – NL Edition

Here’s a rundown of the NL teams, highlighting a statistical quirk to watch for when you see these teams over the rest of the season.

More after the jump.

West Division

The Dodgers have recorded their second consecutive season with 100 games played at first, second and third base by players aged 30 or older (Adrian GonzalezChase Utley and Justin Turner). This has happened just once before in franchise history, in 1979-80 with Steve GarveyDavey Lopes and Ron Cey.

San Francisco has no players slugging .500 in 300+ PA for the fourth consecutive season (Brandon Belt leads the team with a .472 mark). Unless Belt or another Giant regular goes on a big September power binge, this will be the first time in the live ball era that the Giants have strung together four such consecutive seasons.

Colorado has three players (Carlos GonzalezMark Reynolds and Trevor Story) with 100 strikeouts and fewer than 40 walks, putting the team on pace to record a fourth consecutive season having a trio with 100 whiffs and fewer than 50 walks. What’s most remarkable about the four-peat is that none of the individual Rockies players doing this has repeated from one season to the next. A four-peat has not previously been recorded for any team, although it appears the Astros will join the Rockies in doing so this year.

Arizona is on pace to have eight players aged 29 or younger play 100 games, despite having shortstop Nick Ahmed suffer a season-ending injury just shy of that mark. Eight such players would tie the franchise record set last season.

San Diego is on pace to have no players bat .275 in 100+ games (Yangervis Solarte currently leads the team with a .270 average; John Jay is at .296 but will be unable to reach the 100 game mark). It could be the second time in three years that the Padres are unable to field a regular hitting that well, something that hasn’t happened since the franchise’s first three seasons, in 1969 and 1971.

Central Division

The Cubs currently have five qualified pitchers (Jake ArrietaJason HammelKyle HendricksJohn LackeyJon Lester) with a winning record and fewer than 10 losses (Hammel, Hendricks and Lackey currently have the most losses with 7). This has happened just once before in franchise history, in the Cubs’ 1907 world championship season when Mordecai BrownCarl LundgrenOrval OverallJack Pfiester and Ed Reulbach accomplished the feat.

St. Louis has already recorded 14 pinch-hit home runs this season by eight different players (Jeremy Hazelbaker, Brandon Moss, Matt Adams, Greg Garcia, Kolten Wong, Aledmys Diaz, Tommy Pham and Randal Grichuk). Both are franchise records.

Pittsburgh has no qualified pitchers 130 games into this season. If that trend holds (and it seems a certainty unless Jeff Locke returns to the rotation and averages 7 IP over six remaining starts), it would be a franchise first.

It’s hardly been noticed outside Milwaukee, but the BrewersRyan Braun is on pace for his eighth season of 25 home runs, 80 RBI and .850 OPS. Six of those seasons have been in the outfield, the most of any active outfielder, and more than any other Brewer at any position.

The Reds have cooled recently (3-7 over their last 10), but have still improved 29 games relative to .500 since the All-Star break (25 games under before the break, 4 games over since). When playing less than half of the schedule after the All-Star game, the Reds’ highest proportion of season wins after the break is 53.1% in 1962 (after that year’s first ASG), a mark Cincinnati can surpass with only a 14-17 finish over the remainder of the season.

East Division

The Nationals already have six players (Danny EspinosaBryce HarperDaniel MurphyWilson RamosAnthony RendonJayson Werth) with 60 RBI this season. There won’t be any more so Washington will have to be content with tying the franchise record set by the 1982 Expos.

With a month to go in the season, the Mets have already matched last year’s season total of 177 home runs but trail last year’s RBI total by more than 150. At the team’s current RBI:HR ratio of 2.84, the Mets will shatter the franchise record low of 3.56 set in 2004.

The Marlins will likely finish the season with only five qualified batters, but three of them (Martin PradoJ.T. RealmutoChristian Yelich) are now batting .300, a mark which, if maintained, would match the franchise record set in 2005.

Phillies‘ first baseman Ryan Howard will be the team’s only player aged 30 or older to record 300 PA this year, a marked departure from recent seasons when there were at least 5 such players on six consecutive Phillie teams (2009-14). The youth movement also shows on the pitching staff with only four of the team’s games (likely the season’s final total) started by pitchers aged 30 or older; only four Phillie teams since 1913 have had fewer starts by age 30+ hurlers.

Unlike the Phillies, Atlanta management didn’t get the memo about rebuilding with young players. With a month left in the season, this year’s Braves already have the franchise’s 15th highest total since 1913 for PA by players aged 31-35, and will almost certainly crack the top 10 by the end of the year. Oddly, though, of the 14 teams on that list now ahead of this year’s club, the only one with a lower sOPS+ from those age 31-35 players was the Braves’ 1999 pennant-winning club (have to figure out how they did that!).

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Jimbo
Jimbo
5 years ago

I’m shocked by that Ryan Baun stat 8 years of 25/80/.850

I instantly thought of Carlos Beltran, but he fell just short on home runs 4 times (24 twice, and 22 twice), and hit 25 this year as a DH. And one year he missed the OPS threshold by only hitting .847. Throw in some injuries during his career and he falls just short with only 6 such seasons.

no statistician but
no statistician but
5 years ago

Hank Aaron performed this feat 17 times. Aaron is remembered now primarily for being the guy who broke the Babe’s record, while he should be remembered more for his longevity of production. The Braves’ move to the launching pad probably helped pad his stats later on, but his consistency for so long is remarkable.

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
5 years ago

Doug, how many active players have more 25/80/.850 seasons than Ryan Braun? Miguel Cabrera has his 12th such season this year, and Albert Pujols had these totals in his first 12 seasons. David Ortiz has his 11th this year. I couldn’t find any other active players (I’m not including A-Rod with 13 such seasons, because he’s not really “active”) with more. Are there any? Also, perhaps of interest regarding Braun, he’s basically hitting EXACTLY his career averages this year. His slash line this year on top, his career averages below: .312/.374/.544 .305/.367/.544 Obviously, those’ll change a little before the year… Read more »

Doug
Doug
5 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

You’ve got them all.

After Braun with 6 seasons are Texeira and Cano (if he keeps this year’s OPS above .850). Then a large group with 5 seasons.

Artie Z.
Artie Z.
5 years ago
Reply to  Doug

Provided that his OPS doesn’t drop below .850 (it’s at 1.018 right now), Trout will have his 5th such season. Obviously that’s as many as he can have at this point in his career, but I think there are some people (not necessarily those who read this website) who don’t quite get how great of a player Trout is. On other sites I read comments about how Trout gained 0.5 WAR just for showing up on time or some other nonsense comment, which is of course written by people who don’t understand (or don’t care to understand) how WAR is… Read more »

Brett Alan
Brett Alan
5 years ago

Curtis Granderson is leading the way on that Mets HR/RBI record. He has 22 HR, only 3 of which came with anyone on base. One grand slam, 2 2-run shots, the rest solo. He only has 11 other RBIs for a total of 38 RBI. With RISP and 2 outs, he’s 2 for 42 with a grand total of 1 RBI.

Doug
Doug
5 years ago
Reply to  Brett Alan

Granderson’s 3 RBI game on Tuesday was his first in more than 4 months. That game capped a bit of an RBI binge for him, with 7 in a 15 day period.

Jimbo
Jimbo
5 years ago

Bartolo Colon, at 43 and the oldest player in MLB, leads his team in IP and is tied for the lead in wins.

Something in there has be historically unique I would assume. The oldest player in baseball pitching the most innings for his team?

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
5 years ago
Reply to  Jimbo

In 1984 at age 45 Phil Niekro led the Yankees in IP with 215.2.

Jimbo
Jimbo
5 years ago

Wow, Niekro threw 5404 innings and retired in 1987, not exactly a distant era.

I wonder if we’ll ever see another 5000 IP pitcher. I reckon not. Maddux was last to reach it.

I’m not even sure we’ll see any more pitchers reach 4000 IP’s. Jamie Moyer was the last to hit this milestone.

Hartvig
Hartvig
5 years ago
Reply to  Jimbo

“I wonder if we’ll ever see another 5000 IP pitcher. I reckon not. Maddux was last to reach it.”

I remember there being a lot of talk around the time that Niekro (as well as half a dozen others) retired that there would never be another 300 game winner.

But I realize that IP’s is a different story. Nowadays 250 IPs in a season would almost certainly lead the league. And you would have to do that for 20 consecutive years just to join the club.

I think you’re probably right.

Doug
Doug
5 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

Last to reach:
– 250 IP: Justin Verlander, 2011
– 255 IP: Livan Hernandez, 2004
– 260 IP: Roy Halladay, 2003
– 265 IP: Roy Halladay, 2003
– 270 IP: Randy Johnson, 1999
– 275 IP: Dave Stewart, 1988
– 280 IP: Roger Clemens/Charlie Hough, 1987
– 285 IP: Charlie Hough, 1987
– 290 IP: Bert Blyleven, 1985
– 295 IP: Steve Carlton, 1982
– 300 IP: Steve Carlton, 1980
– 325 IP: Phil Niekro, 1979
– 350 IP: Wilbur Wood, 1973
– 375 IP: Mickey Lolich, 1972
– 400 IP: Ed Walsh, 1908

Hartvig
Hartvig
5 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

For a while in the early to mid-70’s lots of guys were throwing 300 IP’s every year. Then you had a few early flameouts and they started to cut back, in part because everyone went to the 5-man rotation. But I don’t think there’s any reason-especially with the number of pitchers on most teams rosters- that they couldn’t go back to a 4-man rotation without imperiling anyones career and that would make 250+ IP seasons much more common place. Yeah, you might not want to give some 22 year old who’s never thrown more than 150 innings in a season… Read more »

Doug
Doug
5 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

I think it would take more than a four man rotation to have pitchers *routinely* reach 280 IP. At 37 or 38 starts, those pitchers would also have to routinely pitch at least one out into the 8th inning, something no pitcher has done since 2011.

no statistician but
no statistician but
5 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

Doug:

It’s not the 38 starts that make the innings mount up. It’s the 19 complete games.
Get 181 innings on the record, and the extra 100 come easy in the other 19 starts.

Doug
Doug
5 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

nsb,
15 or 20 CGs would make it easy. But in a time when even 5 CGs is an extraordinary feat, it could only happen with extra starts and going 7+ innings almost every time.

no statistician but
no statistician but
5 years ago
Reply to  Jimbo

Doug @ 20: Exactly the point. From time to time there’s been comment made here—and elsewhere, no doubt—that the assignment of pitching wins and losses is arbitrary, very often based on the accident of who happened to be on the mound when the go ahead run scored, etc.. Well, that arbitrariness didn’t used to be in play nearly so often, especially with wins, and why? Because the pitcher(s) who started the game lasted long and were much more the parties responsible for success or failure. A twenty game winner in 1975 probably put up over half and maybe most of… Read more »

Mike L
Mike L
5 years ago

NSB, I’d be interested in comparing Wins per IP and Wins per Start across eras to see how the movement away from complete games affected W-L records. I’d put a floor on wins at 250, and maybe start the comparisons with pitchers whose careers were at least majority post-Dead Ball era. The basic theory of staff management has changed–relievers used to be mostly mop-up guys. Now they are at least extensions and often enhancements to the starter’s ability to win games.

Doug
Doug
5 years ago

Charlie Hough, also aged 45, led the Marlins with 204.1 IP in 1993.

Niekro and Hough are the only picthers with 200 IP aged 45+. Niekro did it three times.

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
5 years ago
Reply to  Doug

250+ IP, age 40+:

343 … Denton Young
342 … Niekro

299 … Young
294 … Young

275 … Niekro
269 … Spahn
268 … Alexander
263 … Spahn
260 … Spahn
252 … Hough

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
5 years ago
Reply to  Doug

From 1901-1955 there have been 304 occasions of a pitcher with 300+ IP. 303 of them completed at least 50% of their starts. The lowest value was 45.9%. From 1956 to date there have been 67 such seasons and 43 of them showed a completion rate of at least 50%. The lowest value was 29.3% by Jim Kaat in 1975.

Jimbo
Jimbo
5 years ago

Greg Maddux threw 194 IP or more 21 years in a row, with 155 IP the year before.

I like to think that one of Hernandez/Verlander/Kershaw will reach 4000 innings, it’s a stat I’ll be watching in future. I thought Mark Buehrle had a shot but then he quit baseball.

David P
David P
5 years ago

I mentioned a while ago that Jose Fernandez had only ever lost one home start (this year’s opener against the Tigers).

On July 28th, he finally lost again at home, this time against the Cardinals.

He’s now a mind-boggling 27-2 at home against 8-14 on the road.

David P
David P
5 years ago
Reply to  David P

Jose Fernandez, who had never given up more than two doubles in a game before, gave up 5 doubles to the first 12 batters he faced last night (he also gave up a homerun in that stretch).

Doug
Doug
5 years ago
Reply to  David P

That run for Fernandez of 72 starts from the beginning of a career allowing no more than two doubles is second only to David Palmer (99 starts) since 1973 (complete game log data).

There are a lot of errors with extra-base hits charged to pitchers for older data (mostly under-counting), so Palmer’s streak, which is the longest searchable run, is likely the longest of at least the live ball era.

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
5 years ago

As of today, Billy Hamilton has the same number of PA as last year (454), and the same SB/CS (57/8)
__________

Trea Turner’s current season, extrapolated to 162 games:

126 R
237 H
32 Dubs
21 Trips
18 HR
79 RBI
72/10 SB

21/147 BB/SO (well that’s not so good)

.347 / .367 / .537 / .904

367 Total Bases