Category Archives: Baseball

Today’s Sportstat: October 3, 2019

Four stats you may not know about Christian Yelich’s 2019 season

The Milwaukee Brewers 2019 season ended with their Wild Card loss to the Washington Nationals, but we’ll never know if things might have been different had Christian Yelich not missed the last 15 games of the season (and the Wild Card contest) due to a fractured right knee cap he sustained in a September 10 game against the Cardinals.

Yelich ended the season with a .329 batting average and had enough plate appearances at the time of his injury to qualify for the National League batting title, his second consecutive N.L. batting crown. He also had 44 home runs and 30 stolen bases. It will also be interesting to see how much support Yelich gets for the N.L. MVP Award; will missing the last 15 games of the season cost him a legit shot at a repeat MVP honor? My guess is that the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger will win the honor; he was the best player on a team that had the best record in the National League. Yelich will certainly receive a lot of support for the award and will likely finish in the Top 3.

All that being said, Yelich had a memorable 2019 campaign. Here are four stats you may not know about his 2019 season.

40-30 Player: Yelich and Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. both had 40 or more HRs and 30 or more stolen bases in 2019, making them the first pair of 40-30 players in the majors since 1997. Acuna ended the year with 41 homers and 37 steals, while Yelich reached 40-30 with 44 HRs and 30 swipes. Acuna and Yelich were the first 40-30 players since Yelich’s current teammate, Ryan Braun, had 41 home runs and 30 stolen bases in 2012. (Acuna became the youngest 40-30 in MLB history at age 21.)

Acuna and Yelich became the 10th and 11th players to reach 40-30 in a season. It has been done now 13 times in baseball history with Barry Bonds and Jeff Bagwell doing it twice in their careers.

The first player with a 40-30 season? There’s another Milwaukee connection… Hank Aaron did it for the Milwaukee Braves with 44 home runs and 31 steals in 1963.

Back-to-Back Batting Titles: Yelich became the 26th player in MLB history to win back-to-back batting titles. It has now been done 12 times in the National League; the last time was Larry Walker in 1998-99. There have been 14 back-to-back batting title winners in the American League; the last time was in 2016-17 when Houston’s Jose Altuve won consecutive A.L. batting crowns.

The back-to-back batting champs: American League… Nap Lajoie, Ty Cobb, Al Simmons, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Ferris Fain, Tony Oliva, Carl Yastrzemski, Rod Carew, Wade Boggs, Nomar Garciaparra, Joe Mauer, Miguel Cabrera, Jose Altuve; National League… Honus Wagner, Jake Daubert, Rogers Hornsby, Stan Musial, Tommy Davis, Roberto Clemente, Pete Rose, Bill Madlock, Dave Parker, Tony Gwynn, Larry Walker, Christian Yelich.

Forty or more HRs, less than 100 RBIs: Although Yelich had 44 home runs for the season, he fell short of the 100-RBI mark, finishing with 97 RBIs for the season. He became the 23rd player in MLB history to have 40 or more HRs in a season with less than 100 RBIs. Four players did it twice in their careers: Adam Dunn, Hank Aaron, Joey Gallo and Mickey Mantle.

Alfonso Soriano holds the Major League record for most home runs in a season with less than 100 RBIs with 46; he had 46 HRs and 95 RBIs in 2006. Barry Bonds in 2003 and Harmon Killebrew in 1963 each had 45 homers with less than 100 RBIs in a season; Yelich is tied with two other players with 44 homers in a season with less than 100 RBIs.

Joey Gallo holds the MLB record for fewest RBIs in a season with 40 or more home runs; in 2017 Gallo had 41 HRs and only 80 RBIs for the Texas Rangers.

The Brewers have another member of this club… former first baseman Chris Carter had 41 home runs and 94 RBIs for the Brew Crew in 2016.

Back-to-Back seasons with a .325 batting average: Yelich became the first Brewers player in team history to hit .325 in back-to-back seasons (must have had enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title to be on this list). He also became the third Brewers player with enough qualifying plate appearances to have two seasons with the Brewers with a .325 or higher batting average. The others: Jeff Cirillo (1996 and 1999) and Paul Molitor (1987 and 1991).

Ty Cobb and Cap Anson hold the MLB record with 19 seasons with a .325 or higher season batting average. They are followed by Tris Speaker (14 seasons), Stan Musial (13 seasons) and Ted Williams, Eddie Collins and Honus Wagner (12 seasons each).

Most of the above players ended their careers well before 1960 (Musial ended his career in 1962). There are four players who had eight or more seasons with a .325 (or higher batting average) since 1960: Wade Boggs and Rod Carew had nine seasons each, while Albert Pujols and Tony Gwynn had eight seasons each where they hit .325 or higher in a campaign.

 

 

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Today’s Sportstats: September 12, 2019 (Bonus)

Brewers Mike Moustakas hits two HRs on his birthday

Mike Moustakas was the hero in the Brewers’ 7-5 win over the Miami Marlins on September 11. He hit a pair of two-run home runs in the contest. What made it all the more celebratory for “Moose” was that the two long balls came on his 31st birthday.

Moustakas became the 43rd player in MLB history to hit two or more home runs in a game on his birthday. He was the second player to do so this season; the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson hit a pair of home runs on his 27th birthday, April 21, versus the Brewers. Moustakas also became the second Brewers player to hit two or more HRs in a game on his birthday… Jose Hernandez did it for the Brew Crew on July 14, 2002 against the Pirates on his birthday.

Three of the 43 players in this group have hit two or more homers in a game on their birthday twice in their careers: Duke Snider, Justin Morneau and Kirk Gibson each hit a pair of home runs on their birthdays in two different seasons.

Nomar Garciaparra holds the MLB record for most home runs in a game on a birthday with three. He did that on July 23, 2002 as a member of the Boston Red Sox. Garciaparra had three home runs and eight RBI in Game Two of a doubleheader against Tampa Bay on his 29th birthday.

Back to Moustakas… previous to his two HRs on his birthday this season, he had not had much success on his birthdays in previous years. Prior to the 2019 season, Moustakas was 3-for-17 (.176 batting average) with no home runs on his birthday.

 

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Today’s Sportstat: September 4, 2019

Gavin Lux’s MLB debut is one for the ages

Kenosha, Wisconsin native Gavin Lux made his Major League debut on September 2 and it was a memorable one. Lux started at second base in the Dodgers’ 16-9 win over Colorado and had two hits, including a double, and scored three runs in five at-bats.

He became the 28th player in Major League history to have two or more hits and score three or more runs in his MLB debut; he was also the first Dodgers’ player to do so.

Here’s a few more stats from that game that you may not know:

  • Lux’s current manager, Dodgers’ skipper Dave Roberts, is also one of the 28 players in MLB history to have two or more hits and score three or more runs in his first career game. Roberts did it on August 7, 1999 as a member of the Cleveland Indians. Roberts had three hits (including a double) and scored three runs in his MLB debut.
  • Lux is the seventh player to have two or more hits and three or more runs in his MLB debut this century. The others: Kevin Frandsen (San Francisco, 2006), Andrew McCutcheon (Pittsburgh, 2009), J.P. Arencibia (Toronto, 2010), Jonathan Schoop (Baltimore, 2013), Joey Gallo (Texas, 2015) and Cedric Mullins (Baltimore, 2018).
  • Another member of this select group of 28 is former NBA star Danny Ainge. He made his baseball debut on May 21, 1979 and had three hits and scored three runs for the Toronto Blue Jays.
  • Another member of the 28 is Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio. He had three hits and scored three runs in his MLB debt on May 3, 1936.
  • The first player to have two or more hits and score three of more runs in his MLB debut was Carson Bigbee on August 24, 1916.
  • The 28 players in this group saw their team win the game where they accomplished this rare feat 26 times and lose only twice in these games.
  • Twenty of these 28 occasions occurred at home for the record-setting players.
  • Lux was the sixth second baseman to accomplish this feat, tied with center fielders for the position that has accomplished this feat most often..
  • If we consider that Lux also had an extra-base hit (a double) in addition to his two hits and three runs scored in his first career game, he becomes the 19th player in MLB history to have two or more hits, score three or more runs, and have at least one extra-base hit in a Major League debut.

 

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Today’s Sportstat: September 2, 2019

Brewers may need a 20-win September to reach playoffs this season

The Milwaukee Brewers got off to a good start in the last month of the 2019 season with a 4-0 shutout of the Chicago Cubs on September 1. The Brew Crew remains three games behind the Cubs for the second Wild Card spot and a return to the post-season.

The Brewers will need an outstanding September to make the playoffs this year. With 27 games in the month, the Crew may need to put together a 20-win month to take one of the two Wild Card spots in the National League (or even overtake the Cards and Cubs and win the N.L. Central).

Fortunately for the Brewers, September has been a good month for the team over the past three seasons. In fact, they have the third-best September record in the majors over the past three seasons (2016-18) and have the best winning percentage of all National League teams over that same period. The Brewers had a .619 winning percentage in September games from 2016-18.

Here’s a look at the September/October regular season winning percentages for each of the 30 MLB teams over the past three seasons.

Cleveland .667, Houston .647, Milwaukee .619, Boston .614, Chicago Cubs, .609

New York Yankees .581, Washington .565, Los Angeles Dodgers .563, New York Mets .558, Atlanta .547, Oakland .536, Seattle .524, Tampa Bay .518, Colorado .517, St. Louis .512

Kansas City .483, Los Angeles Angels .476, Minnesota .465, Pittsburgh .464, Toronto .459, Arizona .452, San Diego .440, Chicago White Sox .437, Texas .429, Philadelphia .407, Cincinnati .400

Miami .398, San Francisco .378, Baltimore .369, Detroit .353.

The Brewers pitching staff started September on a high note as four pitchers combined to shutout the Cubs on September 1. It’s interesting to note that the Brewers pitching staff had the best ERA of all 30 teams in September/October regular season games in the past three seasons. The Crew’s pitching staff ERA was 3.19. The Cleveland Indians staff was second at 3.25. The Brewers pitching staff also allowed the fewest HRs and opponents’ batting average was the fifth lowest in the majors in September/October regular season games from 2016-18..

Can this year’s much-maligned pitching staff rise to the occasion in this season’s final month?

 

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Today’s Sportstat: August 29, 2019

Back-to-back post-season appearances have been rare for the Brewers

Before reading the rest of this article, see if you can answer this trivia question: Of the current 30 baseball franchises, can you name the two that have never played in the post-season in back-to-back seasons? (The answer is contained in the article.)

Brewers’ fans certainly enjoyed the team’s pennant run last season that ended one game short of an appearance in the World Series. Sitting here on the morning of August 29, the Brewers have a lot of work to do if they want to get back to the post season… they are 5½ games behind the first-place Cardinals in the National League Central, and are 3½ games out of the second Wild Card spot in the N.L.

Making the playoffs in back-to-back seasons has not happened very frequently for the Brew Crew. In fact, the team’s only back-to-back post-season appearance was back in 1981 and 1982; and that was when the franchise played in the American League, meaning the National League version of the Brewers has never played in the post season in back-to-back seasons.

Of teams that have played in the post season in back-to-back seasons, the Brewers have the longest drought for repeating that accomplishment. There are, however, two current MLB franchises that have never played in the post season in back-to-back years. It’s not surprising that Miami, which began as a MLB franchise in 1993, is one of those teams. What is surprising is the other team: the Chicago White Sox. Think of this, the White Sox began as a MLB franchise in 1901 and have never played in the post season in back-to-back years.

Here’s a breakdown of the last time each of the 30 MLB franchises played in the post season in back-to-back seasons.

Never: Chicago White Sox, Miami

1982: Milwaukee (as members of the American League)

1997: Baltimore

2001: Seattle

2002: Arizona

2003: San Francisco

2006: San Diego

2009: Los Angeles Angels

2010: Minnesota

2011: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay

2013: Atlanta, Cincinnati

2014: Detroit, Oakland

2015: Kansas City, Pittsburgh, St. Louis

2016: New York Mets, Texas, Toronto

2017: Washington

2018: Boston, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland, Colorado, Houston, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees

 

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