Category Archives: Baseball

Today’s Sportstat: November 21, 2019

Is Mike Trout making a case to be considered baseball’s greatest player?

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout became the 11th player in baseball history to win a third MVP Award. Trout was the 2019 American League MVP, an award he also won in 2014 and 2016.

In eight years in the majors, Trout has three MVP Awards, has finished second in the balloting for the award four times (2012, 2013, 2015 and 2018) and was fourth in the voting for the honor in 2017. That’s eight Top 5 finish in the A.L. MVP voting in the first eight years of his career, and seven Top 2 finishes in the first eight years of his career. Oh, did I mention, Trout just turned 28 in August of this past year.

These are some pretty staggering numbers. Trout’s third MVP award this past season came in his age 27 year; of the other 10 players who have won three or more MVP awards, only one player, Stan Musial, won his third MVP honor in his age 27 season.

Here is a look at what age each of the 11 players with three or more MVP Awards won their third MVP honor. (Barry Bonds leads this group with seven MVP Awards; the other 10 players listed each won three MVP Awards.)

Age 27: Stan Musial, Mike Trout

Age 28: Barry Bonds

Age 29: Albert Pujols

Age 30: Yogi Berra, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle

Age 31: Alex Rodriguez

Age 32: Joe DiMaggio

Age 33: Roy Campanella

Age 36: Mike Schmidt

Trout won his three MVPs over the course of six seasons. All of the players who have won three MVPs won their first three over the span of four to seven years. Barry Bonds won his first three MVP Awards over the course of four seasons, while Musial, Berra, Campanella, Rodriguez and Pujols each won their three MVPs over a five-year span. Trout and Joe DiMaggio each won their three MVP Awards over a six-season span, while Foxx, Mantle and Schmidt won their three MVPs over seven years.

Here’s three more stats about Trout’s MVP honors:

  • His four second-place finishes in the MVP voting are tied for the most in MLB history. Musial, Pujols and Ted Williams also finished second in the MVP voting four times in their careers.
  • Trout’s seven Top 2 finishes in the MVP Award are tied for second most in baseball history. Bonds tops the list with nine, while Trout is tied for second with Musial and Pujols.
  • Trout’s eight Top 5 finishes in the MVP voting is tied for sixth most all-time. Bonds finished in the Top 5 of the MVP Award 11 times, most in MLB history. He is followed by Pujols with 10 Top 5 finishes, Mantle, Willie Mays and Ted Williams with nine, and Trout and Hank Aaron with eight Top 5 MVP appearances. Trout is the only player in history to finish in the Top 5 of MVP balloting in each of his first eight seasons in majors.

When you consider that Trout is only 28 years of age, the scary thought is that if he stays healthy, he may still have some more MVP seasons ahead of him. Of the 11 men who have won three or more MVPs, eight of them won an MVP in their 30s.

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Today’s Sportstat: October 31, 2019

93-win Nationals make World Series history

Four different teams won 100 or more games in the majors in 2019: Houston, the L.A. Dodgers, the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins. When the ’19 post-season started, the common opinion and baseball wisdom had one of these four, especially either the Dodgers or the Astros, hoisting the championship trophy at the end of the World Series. In fact, many people had penciled in the Dodgers and Astros as the World Series combatants.

So much for common opinion and baseball wisdom. Of course, no one told the Washington Nationals what was supposed to happen.

The Nats, who won 93 games in the ’19 regular season, defeated the Dodgers three games to two in the National League Divisional Series and then won four road games against the Astros to win the title.

The World Series featured the 93-win Nats and the 107-win Astros, who led the majors in regular season victories this past season. That’s a 14-win disparity. In the history of the World Series, there has now been 32 times where the two teams playing in the Fall Classic had a 10-win or more disparity. The team with 10 or more regular season wins has now won the World Series in 20 of those 32 while the team with 10 or more fewer regular season wins have won 12 times, including this year’s Nationals.

This was the 10th time in World Series history that one of the teams had 14 or more regular season wins than their World Series opponent. Here are those ten times:

2019: Houston-107 wins vs. Washington-93 wins (14-win difference)
2018: Boston-108 wins vs. Los Angeles Dodgers-92 wins (16-win difference)
1998: New York Yankees-114 wins vs. San Diego-98 wins (16-win difference)
1961: New York Yankees-109 wins vs. Cincinnati-93-wins (16-win difference)
1954: Cleveland-111 wins vs. New York Giants-97-wins (14-win difference)
1944: St. Louis Cards-105 wins vs. St. Louis Browns-89 wins (16-win difference)
1932: New York Yankees-107 wins vs. Chicago Cubs-90 wins (17-win difference)
1927: New York Yankees-110 wins vs. Pittsburgh-94 wins (16-win difference)
1907: Chicago Cubs-107 wins vs. Detroit-92 wins (15-win difference)
1906: Chicago Cubs-116 wins vs. Chicago White Sox-93 wins (23-win difference)

Of the ten times listed above, in only three of those matchups did the teams with the fewer regular season wins win the World Series: the 1906 Chicago White Sox, the 1954 New York Giants, and the 2019 Washington Nationals.

One final stat: The Astros became only the eighth team in World Series history to enter the World Series with 105 or more regular season wins and then lose the World Series. The eight teams:

2019 Houston (107 wins)
2004 St. Louis (105 wins)
1969 Baltimore (109 wins)
1954 Cleveland (111 wins)
1953 Brooklyn (105 wins)
1943 St. Louis (105 wins)
1931 Philadelphia A’s (107 wins)
1906 Chicago Cubs (116 wins)

 

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Today’s Sportstat: October 22, 2019

Two stats to keep an eye on in this year’s World Series

The 2019 World Series begins tonight as the Houston Astros host the Washington Nationals, who are making the first World Series appearance in franchise history.

Here are a couple of stats to pay attention to as this series plays out.

Home Runs. This year Major League teams hit more home runs than in any other season in baseball history. There’s little doubt that the long-ball plays an important part of today’s game. Washington had 231 home runs in 2019, sixth most in the National League and 13th most in all of baseball; the Astros, on the other hand, had 288 long balls, good enough for third most in the American League and third most in the majors.

Does the number of HRs a team hits in a game make a difference in whether a team wins or loses? In 2019, teams that hit three or more home runs in a game were 635-186, a .773 winning percentage.

Here’s a breakdown of how well MLB teams did when they hit zero, one, two, three, four, and five or more HRs in a game in 2019.

Zero HRs in a game: 360-960 .273
One HR in a game: 746-855 .466
Two HRs in a game: 688-428 .616
Three HRs in a game: 370-135 .733
Four HRs in a game: 164-38 .812
Five or more HRs in a game: 101-13 .886

Looking at World Series games since 2000, these numbers are not that different. Following are the same stats for home runs hit in a game in the World Series since 2000.

Zero HRs in a game: 36-49 .424
One HR in a game: 30-38 .441
Two HRs in a game: 25-15 .625
Three HRs in a game: 10-2 .833
Four HRs in a game: 4-2 .667
Five or more HRs in a game: 1-0 1.000

Starting Pitchers going six or more innings. We have seen a shift in baseball over the past several years where teams seem to focus on making sure their starter gets five innings and then it’s time for the bullpen to take over.

In the World Series since 2000, a starting pitcher has lasted six or more innings 110 times. His team has won 68 of those games and lost 42, a .618 winning percentage.

The trend, however, seems to show less dependence on the starter getting six innings or more. From 2000-2009, starters lasting six or more innings in the World Series happened 66 times with that starter’s team going 39-25 (.609) in those games. From 2010-18, starters lasting six innings or more in the World Series happened 46 times. Those teams did, however, won at a better clip, going 29-17 (.630).

BONUS STAT. This World Series is a matchup between the 107-win Houston Astros and the 93-win Washington Nationals. That’s a 14-win difference in the two teams. This is only the 10th time in World Series history that one team in the World Series had 14 or more regular season wins more than their World Series opponent. In fact, this is the second consecutive year this has happened; last year the 108-win Boston Red Sox defeated the 92-win L.A. Dodgers in the World Series. That 16-win difference was tied for the third-most in World Series history.

The biggest win difference in World Series history? In 1906, the 116-win Chicago Cubs faced off against cross-town rivals the Chicago White Sox, who had won 93 games, a 23-win differential. It’s important to note that the 93-win White Sox won that series. Of the nine previous times where a World Series matchup featured two teams that had a 14-win regular season differential, the team with fewer wins won three times. Most recent was in 2006 when the 83-win St. Louis Cardinals beat the 97-win Detroit Tigers to win the ’06 Fall Classic.

 

 

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Today’s Sportstat: October 10, 2019

Washington Nationals make history

It was an itch that certainly needed to be scratched… especially for their long-suffering fans.

With their win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Divisional Series, the Washington Nationals are going to the National League Championship Series (NLCS) for the first time in the history of the franchise in Washington.

As a point of historical perspective, the Nationals have been in existence since 2005. Prior to that, the franchise called Montreal home where the Expos played from 1969 to 2004. They then left Montreal for D.C. and a new start as the Nationals in ’05.

The Expos made the post-season only once in their history, losing in the NLCS three games to two in 1981. It was the first and only time the franchise had made it to the NLCS until this year, the longest drought of all franchises. In fact, of the current 30 franchises, 26 have played in either an ALCS or NLCS this century. The four teams that had not played in the ALCS or NLCS this century prior to this year were Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, San Diego and Washington.

Here’s a look at the last time each MLB team has played in the ALCS or NLCS with a chance to reach the World Series.

American League
Seattle-2001
Minnesota-2002
Chicago White Sox-2005
Oakland-2006
Tampa Bay-2008*
L.A. Angels-2009
Texas-2011
Detroit-2013
Baltimore-2014
Kansas City-2015
Cleveland-2016
Toronto-2016
Boston-2018
Houston-2018*
N.Y. Yankees-2019

National League
Pittsburgh-1992
Cincinnati-1995
San Diego-1998
Atlanta-2001
Miami-2003
Arizona-2007
Colorado-2007
Philadelphia-2010
San Francisco-2014
N.Y. Mets-2015
Chicago Cubs-2017
L.A. Dodgers-2018
Milwaukee-2018
St. Louis-2019
Washington-2019

*At the time of this post, the ALDS series between Tampa Bay and Houston had not been decided, therefore their years may not be current

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Today’s Sportstat: October 5, 2019

Where are they now? World Series winning managers since 2000

You would think that winning a World Series would give a manager a certain degree of job security. Think again.

Just this year, we saw that three of the last seven managers to win a World Series are no longer with that team: Bruce Bochy, who won three titles with the Giants (2010, 2012 and 2014) retired after the 2019 season; Joe Madden, who guided the Cubs to a World Series in 2016, was fired (or better stated, his contract was not renewed) at the conclusion of this year; and, Ned Yost, who led the Royals to a championship in 2015, decided to retire after the ’19 campaign.

Here’s another take on this: Of the 15 different managers who won a World Series since 2000, only three are now still managing in the majors: Terry Francona (he won two World Series with the Red Sox in 2004 and 2007) who is now the skipper of the Cleveland Indians, and Houston manager A.J. Hinch (he won the title in 2017 with the Astros) and Boston manager Alex Cora (he won with the Red Sox last season), are still with the teams they led to the title.

Here’s a look at the World Series winning managers since 2000 and where they are now.

2000: Joe Torre, New York Yankees (last managed in 2007). Now MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer

2001: Bob Brenly, Arizona (last managed in 2004). Broadcaster

2002: Mike Scioscia, Anaheim (last managed in 2018). Stepped down after the 2018 season

2003: Jack McKeon, Florida (last managed in 2005). Retired in 2011 after a short stint as San Diego interim manager.

2004: Terry Francona, Boston (still managing… current Cleveland skipper).

2005: Ozzie Guillen, Chicago White Sox (last managed in 2011). Broadcaster

2006: Tony LaRussa, St. Louis (last managed in 2011). Vice-President of the Boston Red Sox

2007: Terry Francona, Boston (see above-2004))

2008: Charlie Manuel, Philadelphia (last managed in 2013). Phillies hitting coach in 2019

2009: Joe Girardi, New York Yankees (last managed in 2017). Broadcaster

2010: Bruce Bochy, San Francisco (last managed in 2019). Retired in 2019.

2011: Tony LaRussa, St. Louis (see above-2006)

2012: Bruce Bochy, San Francisco (see above-2010)

2013: John Farrell, Boston (last managed in 2017). Broadcaster

2014: Bruce Bochy, San Francisco (see above-2010)

2015: Ned Yost, Kansas City (last managed in 2019). Retired in 2019

2016: Joe Madden, Chicago Cubs (last managed in 2019). Fired/Contract not renewed in 2019

2017: A.J. Hinch, Houston (still managing the Houston Astros)

2018: Alex Cora, Boston (still managing the Boston Red Sox)

A couple of men on the above list are being mentioned as candidates for managerial openings that are (or will be) available; Girardi could wind up with the Cubs, a team he played seven seasons for in two stints. Madden, a former Angels minor leaguer, has been mentioned as a strong candidate for the Angels opening, and there has been talk that Farrell is ready to get back into the dugout as a manager.

So… stay tuned.

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp