2018 Fun Facts

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.

AngelsShohei 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.

AthleticsKhris 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 JaysKevin Pillar recorded his fourth consecutive season with 30 doubles, 200 total bases and OPS+ below 95, the first player ever with that four-peat.

BravesRonald 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?

BrewersJosh 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.

CardinalsYadier 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 BuehlerRich HillClayton KershawKenta MaedaRoss StriplingAlex 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?

MetsJacob 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.

NationalsMax 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.

OriolesChris 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.

PhilliesRhys 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 CrickFelipe VazquezRichard 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 CervelliElias Diaz) with 10 home runs, just the second such team in franchise history.

RangersAdrian 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).

RedsJared 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 SoxMookie 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.

RockiesNolan 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.

RoyalsSalvador 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 PosadaMike PiazzaCarlton FiskGary CarterTed SimmonsJohnny BenchYogi BerraBill Dickey, Ivan Rodriguez)

Tigers – 39 year-old Victor Martinez qualified for the batting title in his final season to join Al Kaline as the oldest Tigers to do so.  Both DH’ed and recorded 20 double seasons.

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.

YankeesDellin 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.

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Richard Chester
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Answer to the Diamondbacks question: 1918 Red Sox and 1998 Padres.

Doug
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Right you are on the Padres. Should have said so, but I excluded the 1918 season from evaluation, for obvious reasons.

Dr. Doom
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Most important fact:

In 2015, Khris Davis batted .247.
In 2016, Khris Davis batted .247.
In 2017, Khris Davis batted .247.
In 2018, Khris Davis batted .247.

If I had to ballpark it, I’d say Khris Davis is about a .247 hitter.

Doug
Guest

And not good enough for the Brewers.

Seriously, though, it would be a tough call to make as to what sort of player (other than a .240 something hitter) that Davis would become after his 2015 season that saw his strikeout rate balloon by 25%, offset by a 50% increase in his home run rate, so I can understand (sort of) the Brewers moving him. Maybe it’s still a tough call – will he be a Chris Davis/Mark Reynolds type, or a step up to an Adam Dunn, or another step up to a poor man’s Jim Thome?

Dr. Doom
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I actually always thought Davis had a lot of potential, particularly that home run rate. If you can make a quarter of your hits into homers, as Davis was clearly capable of doing from his rookie year, you’re a valuable player, even with a league average OBP and a low walk-rate, which is Davis to a T. At the time, of course, the Brewers didn’t know they’d be shelving guys like Eric Thames, Keon Broxton, and Curtis Granderson (btw, those are the backups at all three outfield spots; that’s a starting outfield for a .500 team). Davis would be basically… Read more »
Mike L
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Brewers cut Chris Carter loose after the 2016 season. 41 HR, 94 RBI, .222/.324/.499. Khris Davis is a better player, but a similar type of hitter.

CursedClevelander
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From 1981 to 1984, Eddie Murray’s OPS+ was:

1981: 156
1982: 156
1983: 156
1984: 15…7! You had to ruin it, Eddie! (At least he had the consolation of leading the majors in OPS+ that year)

So we’ve gone from Steady Eddie to…Konsistent Khris? Dependable Davis?

no statistician but
Guest
To carry on a discussion from the previous thread, here is a not-so-fun fact: Major League Baseball in 2018 produced 52 qualifying pitchers total, 1.73 on average per team. Five teams had none at all, and eleven had just one, meaning that fewer than half the franchises had at least two, a fairly minimal number just a few years ago. In 2001, for instance, there were 77 qualifying pitchers, and just three franchises had less than two. The average per team was 2.57. In 1959—picked randomly—the Majors had 55 qualifiers from 16 franchises, an average of 3.45 per team. Three… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest

Just for fun and because I got interested, I decided to randomly pick a dead-ball era year, 1912: 71 qualifying pitchers on 16 franchises, almost four and a half per team. Only one team had fewer than four, Brooklyn with three. The Braves had six.

Mike L
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I’m really old-fashioned about this, but I think this modern permutation lacks a little drama and not only make the game longer but more boring. I liked the tension of the starter going into the 7th or 8th with a small lead. You wondered how many batters would he get, when the closer would start warming up, etc. Bringing a 97MPH thrower in top of the Fifth with a man on and two outs is dull.

Bob Eno (epm)
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I’m going to follow up by repeating a point I made on the last thread (since I may have added it there when people had already shifted to Doug’s new post). The role of starting pitcher as the main bearer of a game’s pitching burden isn’t just a romantic notion of the past; it’s baked into the rules of the game. Only starting pitchers have an IP minimum to qualify for a pitching win. All other pitchers can receive credit for a win with as little as 0.1 IP, but a starter needs 5. That rule means that what we… Read more »
Mike L
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This is a comprehensive manner of looking at things. The one external that might help partially ameliorate the issue would be MLB enacting a rule (they would need the MLBPA buy-in) on the maximum number of pitchers one could carry at any time, or perhaps the maximum eligible to be called on in a 9 inning game.

oneblankspace
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I think it was the 2012 Astros I was looking at when mlb.com listed the team leaders (just checked — wasn’t them). Since the team did not have a qualifier for the ERA title, they included anyone who had pitched… and they had a position player take the mound without yielding an earned run.

Richard Chester
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For the first time in ML history there were more strikeouts than hits. 41207 SO and 41019 hits.

Doug
Guest

And, 50 years ago was the first time a team’s pitchers (the Indians) recorded more strikeouts than hits allowed. They were the only such team until 2003, but now there are 55, more than half of them since 2016, including 15 in 2018.

Dr. Doom
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A team pitching fact: The MLB teams this year averaged 0.00 SHO by their starters, according to baseball-reference (only time in history the pitching table doesn’t at least give you a “0.01”). HOWEVER, team shutouts ranked 42nd in the last 99 years (since 1920)… so, in the top half. There are more shutouts now than there have been in recent years… it just takes more pitchers to get them. While strikeouts were (of course) on the rise, SO:BB ratio was only the 3rd highest in history, due to a (slowly) rising walk rate. 2014 & 2015 still hold the highest… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
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A nice collection. Note that the first item on shutouts represents the worst of both worlds. Shutouts are chiefly interesting as an individual CG accomplishment. When a starter pitches a shutout, the emphasis is on his positive achievement. In staff shutouts, there is no particularly outstanding pitching achievement by any individual pitcher, and the emphasis is negative, on the failure of the opposition to generate any offense.

Richard Chester
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Answer to the Phillies question: Joe DiMaggio and Chuck Klein.

Paul E
Guest

Richard,
Hopkins, Olson, and Bellinger (I guess?) are three of the 5 active guys for the Phillies question? Stanton and Judge are the others?

Richard Chester
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I found Judge, Gary Sanchez, Braun, Hoskins and Bellinger

Paul E
Guest

I guess Olson (of the A’s) failed to hit ’em out at a rate anywhere close to the second half of last season. But, yeah, I do recall Sanchez and Judge; not so much Braun – even though I recall he had a ridiculous slugging percentage that first year
Thanks !

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Snell definitely had the advantage the first two times through the lineup.
Here are his number for first, second, and third time through the order:

.159 / .237 / .247 / .484
.172 / .249 /.283 / .532
.226 / .293 /.436 / .729

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

He also had a 1.08 era on five days rest. 2.95 on four.

Put him on a 75 pitch count and let him play once a week!

Doug
Guest

For comparison, here are all starters for first three times through the order.
.239 / .305 / .395 / .700
.251 / .317 / .414 / .731
.265 / .330 / .453 / .784

So, facing Snell for the third time was like facing everyone else the first time. No surprise his H/9 is historically exceptional.

Paul E
Guest

COLO 2018
.287/.350/.503 at home
.225/.295/.370 roadwork

Doug
Guest

Nice game last night. Congrats to the Rockies for coming through despite playing their third game in as many days in a different city. But, still can’t believe Bud Black removed Charlie Blackmon in a double switch. The pitcher’s spot was probably two innings away so a double switch really wasn’t necessary. Instead, he gives up one of his best hitters so the pitcher’s spot can come up two batters later. Makes no sense to me.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Perhaps it was to improve Defense.
Blackmon was rated at -28 rfield this year.
Though, he was replaced by Dahl, who had played all of 50career innings in center.
And Cargo came in to play right, where he had a -8 rfield this year.

Mike L
Guest

Rockies-Cubs. 4 hours, 55 minutes, 13 Innings, 91AB, 17 hits, 29K, 15 pitchers (9 by Chicago) 371 pitches. Fun Facts?

Paul E
Guest

Mike L
11 minutes, 21 seconds per half inning…..which translates into 3 hours and 24 minutes for a 9-inning game. Not exactly Bob Gibson playing catch with McCarver or Simmons. What’s really odd is the fact that it translates into only 128 pitches (not so egregious) per side for 9 innings. So, basically, it’s taking too long for pinch hitting, defensive changes, and the obvious worst culprit, the pitching change that instigates those defensive changes and pinch hitters

Doug
Guest

You can add a bit of time for those video reviews that Gibson and McCarver didn’t have to deal with, Of course, they had to allow time for managers going at it with the umpires, which has largely disappeared now (except for the pro forma arguments after ejection, mostly for debates about the strike zone).

Dr. Doom
Guest
I would guess that commercial breaks are far-and-away the single largest culprit. There’s at least 30 extra seconds, if not 60, between each half-inning. That’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 8.5-17 minutes per 9-inning game. Pitching changes wouldn’t have to take so long, but the networks insist on commercial breaks. Frankly, it’s kind of part of the deal, because if player salaries were covered primarily by ticket prices, rather than media coverage, baseball games would be so prohibitively expensive that they’d be a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Personally, while I’d rather shorten the games, I’m kind of willing to live with the… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

Answer to the Marlins question: 1904 Senators

Doug
Guest
For the record, here are answers to the remaining quiz questions. – Braves question: the other teams with a pair or “A” players with 20 HR are the 2018 White Sox (Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson) and the 1996 Orioles (Roberto Alomar, Brady Anderson). The seven previous Braves teams are Hank Aaron/Joe Adcock (1956, 1959-62) and Aaron/Felipe Alou (1965-66). – Orioles question: the highest 5000 PA career SO rate among players active before this century belongs to Jose Hernandez who played for 9 franchises, but mostly the Cubs and Brewers, and posted a 27.3% strikeout rate in 5089 PA from 1991… Read more »
Rico Petrocelli
Guest

Yo gents
fun facts for 2018.
Brock Holt hitting for the cycle.
I’ve been away for way too long …but the site looks great! Terrific article here and HHS looks like it’s zooming. Sorry to have missed since last championship and looking forward to the future

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