As the regular season reaches its conclusion, here’s a look at various statistical accomplishments of the 2018 season for players on each of the 30 teams. You may already know some of them, but for many, I think, you’ll read them here first. More after the jump.
Angels – Shohei Ohtani joined Babe Ruth as the only players to hit 20 home runs in a season with 10 pitching appearances. Kole Calhoun joined seventeen other players since 1908 in slugging under .225 in both Mar/Apr (min. 50 PA) and May (min. 75 PA), with his May mark of .122 the lowest of the live ball era, and second lowest since 1908; happily, Calhoun slugged .473 in 200+ PA over the rest of the season, easily the best of that group.
Astros – Houston had six pitchers aged 30 or older with 50 or more appearances, the most ever for an AL team. The only NL team with that many was the world champion 2014 Giants.
Athletics – Khris Davis recorded his third consecutive season with 40 home runs and 100 RBI, joining Double-X as the only A’s with that three-peat. Jonathan Lucroy caught 40 games for a different playoff team (and 110+ overall) for a third consecutive season, the first catcher ever to do so.
Blue Jays – Kevin Pillar recorded his fourth consecutive season with 30 doubles, 200 total bases and OPS+ below 95, the first player ever with that four-peat.
Braves – Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies both recorded 20 home run seasons, making Atlanta the first team with two such players aged 21 or younger. This is also the 8th Braves team to boast a pair of 20 home run hitters with an “A” surname. Quiz: which are the only two teams, other than Braves clubs, with two such players?
Brewers – Josh Hader recorded 16 straight outs (not batters) via the strikeout over 5 appearances, the longest such recorded streak and a more impressive feat for coming in the thick of a pennant chase. Hader’s strikeout rate of 46.7% is the highest ever in a 75 IP season.
Cardinals – Yadier Molina became the third catcher, and first in the NL, to record a 20 double, 20 HR season aged 35 or older.
Cubs – 37 year-old Ben Zobrist joined Bob Boyd as the oldest players to record a first qualified season with a .300 batting average (Zobrist has had 8 previous qualified seasons compared to none for Boyd).
Diamondbacks – Arizona had been in first place for 125 of the season’s first 157 days before an 8-19 September swoon made the D-Backs just the sixth .500 team since 1908 to compile less than 10% of their season wins in the final month of the season. Quiz; which of those teams still went to the World Series, despite their late season collapse? Brad Boxberger became the 24th closer, and second D-Back, to record a 30 save season with ERA+ under 100. Only one of the others (Brad Lidge) did it twice.
Dodgers – Los Angeles had six pitchers with 20 starts (Walker Buehler, Rich Hill, Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda, Ross Stripling, Alex Wood), including none with 30 or more, tied with four other teams for the most ever. All of the Dodger starters collectively accounted for only 95 decisions, tied with the 1953 Dodgers for the fewest in any full-length season with starters averaging 5 IP per game (the 1953 team recorded 51 complete games, so their relievers got the decision in 57.7% of the remaining games, the highest rate since 1908; only three other teams have a 50% rate, including the 1949 and 1951 Dodgers).
Giants – San Francisco had no players with 60 RBI, a franchise first in a season of 140 or more games (despite finishing the season in New York, Andrew McCutchen led the team with only 55 ribbies). For the eighth straight year, the Giants hit fewer than 150 home runs, tied with the Dodgers (2007-14) for the longest such NL streak since 1995 (the Royals have the longest AL streak at 12 years, from 2005 to 2016).
Indians – 35 year-old Edwin Encarnacion recorded his seventh consecutive season with 30 home runs and 95 RBI, joining Jeff Bagwell (he had 8 straight years) as the only players to do so at the same age.
Mariners – 37 year-old Nelson Cruz recorded his fifth straight season with 35 home runs and 90 RBI, joining Babe Ruth (his run was 7 seasons) and Rafael Palmeiro (8th of 9 seasons) as players doing so at the same age.
Marlins – Miami used 13 different starting pitchers, among them Sandy Alcantara whose strong performance (7 IP, 1 ER) in the final game of the season raised his season ERA+ above 91 (all the way to 107, in fact). That enabled the Marlins to avoid the distinction of becoming the first live ball era team without a starting pitcher having a season ERA+ of 92 or better (instead, they’re the 22nd team, including the ’98 Marlins, with just one such starting pitcher). Quiz: which dead ball era (1901-1919) team had no starting pitchers (actually, no pitchers at all) with an ERA+ above 90?
Mets – Jacob deGrom recorded 24 consecutive quality starts, the longest single season streak of the live ball era. David Wright finished his career as the Mets’ franchise leader in just about every meaningful offensive category save for HR (second to Darryl Strawberry). Wright’s 390 doubles are the third highest total ever (just 9 fewer than leader Babe Herman) in a career of less than 6000 AB.
Nationals – Max Scherzer compiled a record seventh straight qualified season averaging more than 10 strikeouts per 9 IP, one season more than Randy Johnson‘s best run (1997-2002). Scherzer’s 7 such seasons are also the most, consecutive or otherwise, by a pitcher through age 33, again one season more than the Big Unit.
Orioles – Chris Davis batted .168 for the season, the lowest qualified batting average of the live ball era, and the lowest since 1901 for seasons with 3.1 PA per team game. Davis’s 1355 strikeouts over the past 7 seasons leads the majors, over 200 more (a season’s worth plus) than Justin Upton in second place. For his career, Davis has struck out in over 32% of his PA, currently the highest mark ever for a 5000 PA career, and second only to Russell Branyan for 3000 PA careers. Quiz: which player has the highest strikeout rate in a 5000 PA career, among those active before this century?
Padres – San Diego used twelve starting pitchers and all of them finished the season with a losing record, just the 15th such team since World War II and first for the Padres since the franchise’s early days in 1972.
Phillies – Rhys Hopkins became the fifth active player and eleventh all time with 50 home runs in his first 200 career games. Quiz: which two HOFers are in this group? If this is the end of Jose Bautista‘s career, he will retire, at age 37, as the oldest player with two stolen bases in his final game.
Pirates – Pittsburgh boasted three under 30 relievers (Kyle Crick, Felipe Vazquez, Richard Rodriguez) with 60 appearances and an ERA below 2.75, just the 9th such team ever (including the 2014 Bucs), all of them since 2007. Behind the plate, the Pirates had two catchers (Francisco Cervelli, Elias Diaz) with 10 home runs, just the second such team in franchise history.
Rangers – Adrian Beltre passed 1500 runs and 1700 RBI during the season, becoming the 24th player and 1st third baseman to reach those two milestones.
Rays – Blake Snell recorded a 20 win season with fewer than 185 IP, the first pitcher ever to do so. Tampa Bay got two innings or less from their starter (or “opener”) in 61 games, more than twice as many as the next highest team total (that could be a harbinger of a championship season as the NL record belongs to the 1958 Dodgers who won the World Series the next year).
Reds – Jared Hughes was the first Reds’ reliever since Rob Dibble in 1990 to record 200 ERA+ in a 75 IP season. Of 77 such seasons since 1990, Hughes’s is only the 15th (and just the second since 2008) with a strikeout rate below 20%. Hughes is also the only NL pitcher to record 130 ERA+ over 60+ appearances in each of the past five seasons.
Red Sox – Mookie Betts recorded more extra-base hits than RBI, becoming the fourth player to do so in a 30 home run season, but the first in the AL. Betts, though, is the third player (all since 2006) to lead the AL in extra-base hits while posting a lower RBI total, something that hasn’t happened in the NL since Roger Connor in 1882.
Rockies – Nolan Arenado became the 10th third baseman to reach 30 WAR over the first 6 seasons of a career. He also became the 1st third baseman with four consecutive seasons of 30 doubles, 30 home runs and 100 RBI, and only the second with four such seasons, consecutively or otherwise.
Royals – Salvador Perez recorded his fourth consecutive season catching 95 games and hitting 20 doubles and 20 home runs, becoming just the 7th catcher ever to do so. Quiz: which three catchers from this list did not do it? (Jorge Posada, Mike Piazza, Carlton Fisk, Gary Carter, Ted Simmons, Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey, Ivan Rodriguez)
Twins – Minnesota had ten players with 80 strikeouts and fewer than 80 RBI, the second highest number of such players on any team, behind only the 2013 Twins with eleven.
White Sox – James Shields became the 7th pitcher, and first for the White Sox, to record a 200 IP season aged 36 or older with a W-L% below .333.
Yankees – Dellin Betances recorded 44 straight relief appearances with a strikeout, the longest streak in AL history. Betances also logged his fifth consecutive season with 60 appearances and a 130+ ERA+, the only AL pitcher to do so over that period.