Category Archives: Baseball

Today’s Sportstat: March 4, 2019

Can Christian Yelich repeat his 2018 season?

One of the most frequent questions you will hear throughout Miller Park during the early months of the 2019 MLB season is… Can Christian Yelich have another big season?

Yelich won the National League MVP last season with a .326 average, 36 home runs and 110 RBI. While reaching these numbers again this season might be asking for much, it does beg the question… Can Yelich, statistically speaking, match his 2018 output?

To answer that question, let’s take a journey over the past five seasons and see how the last five MVPs in each league did the year following their MVP season.

For the record, here are the MVPs for each league from 2013-17:

American League: Miguel Cabrera (2013), Mike Trout (2014), Josh Donaldson (2015), Mike Trout (2016) and Jose Altuve (2017).

National League: Andrew McCutchen (2013), Clayton Kershaw (2014), Bryce harper (2015), Kris Bryant (2016), Giancarlo Stanton (2017).

As you can see, nine of the 10 MVPs prior to 2018 were everyday players (the only exception was Kershaw in 2014). To get a take on what has happened to previous MVPs and how it might answer the question about whether or not Yelich will match his 2018 MVP season, let’s see how the previous nine everyday MVPs did statistically when it comes to comparing the batting average, HR and RBI numbers from the MVP season to the following year.

Here’s what we find… of the nine non-pitcher MVPs from 2013-17:

  • Only three of the nine increased their season HR totals the year after the MVP season;
  • All nine saw their RBI totals the season after their MVP campaign decrease the following season;
  • Only two of the nine increased their season batting average the year after the MVP year.

Here’s another stat using these year-after-the-MVP numbers… of the nine non-pitchers MVPs from 2013-17:

  • Their season home run totals dropped by an average of 7.8 home runs from their MVP season to the following year;
  • Their season RBI totals dropped by an average of 21.8 RBI from their MVP season to the following year;
  • Their season batting average dropped by an average of 19.7 points from their MVP season to the following year.

If we apply the above numbers to Yelich’s totals from 2018 to project what he might do statistically (batting average, HRs and RBIs) in 2019, we would project Yelich to end 2019, the year after his MVP, with a .306 average with 28 home runs and 88 RBI. Again, this would be based on what we’ve seen from the past five MVPs in each year and what they did the year after their MVP campaign.

Those projected 2019 numbers would not be all that bad for Yelich, but certainly not where he ended the year in 2018. A World Series appearance for the Brewers in 2019 would certainly carry more weight than Yelich reaching his 2018 stats in 2019.

One more quick note: Looking at Clayton Kershaw’s MVP numbers the year after his MVP season, we see that in 2014 (the year Kershaw won the N.L. MVP) he had a 21-3 record with a 1.77 ERA and a WHIP of 0.857. Using those stats as a comparison, Kershaw dropped in each category the year after his MVP; in 2015 Kershaw had a 16-7 record, a 2.13 ERA, and a 0.881 WHIP. Very respectable numbers, but, again, he did not reach the numbers he had in his MVP season.

Will Yelich have a “successful” 2019 season? It all depends on how you want to define successful. History, however, may be telling us that Yelich may not reach the major stats he had in 2018. Are the Brew Crew faithful okay with that?

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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Today’s Sportstat: March 2, 2019

Who’s on first… for the Brewers on Opening Day?

If you are a diehard Brewers fan, you may find it hard to believe the following stat.

Did you know…

… from 2011-18, eight straight seasons, the Brewers have had a different starting first baseman on Opening Day. Yes, the Brew Crew’s Opening Day lineup has featured a different starter at first base for the last eight consecutive seasons.

Go back to 2011; Prince Fielder was the starting first baseman that season, the sixth straight year he was the Opening Day starting first baseman for the Brewers. After that, however, the Opening Day starting first basemen has looked like this…

2012: Mat Gamel

2013: Alex Gonzalez

2014: Lyle Overbay

2015: Adam Lind

2016: Chris Carter

2017: Eric Thames

2018: Ryan Braun

Conventional wisdom is that Jesus Aguilar, last year’s regular at first base for the Crew, will hold that spot on Opening Day in 2019… that is baring any injury that would prevent him from that honor.

So… if Aguilar mans the first base spot on Opening Day in late March this season, we could see yet another different first baseman on Opening Day for the Brewers, the ninth straight year that has happened.

Prior to this season, that longest stretch where the Brewers had a different Opening Day starting first baseman was 1998-2001. John Jaha was the Opening Day starter at first in 1998; the following year it was Sean Berry, followed by Kevin Barker in 2000 and Richie Sexson in 2001.

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Today’s Sportstat: February 21, 2019

Can the Brewers finally post back-to-back playoff seasons?

The beginning of 2019 Major League Baseball’s spring training is a time for most of the 30 MLB teams to start the chatter of a potential championship this season. Yes, title hopes run rampant in February.

Just making the playoffs is a key first step to any professional team’s championship run. It’s interesting to note that baseball probably has the most difficult path for teams to take towards a title, especially if you go by the numbers: Of the four professional sports (MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL), baseball has the fewest teams that make the playoffs after their regular season with 10 (and that’s after adding two additional teams to the post-season format just a few short years ago). The NFL is next with 12 of their 32 teams qualifying for the playoffs, and the NBA and NHL each have 16 of their teams advance to the playoffs.

The Brewers took that all-important first step last year when they made the playoffs and finished one game short of reaching the World Series. The question this year is: Can they repeat the 2018 season and make a return appearance in the ’19 post-season? Considering that the Brewers have not made the playoffs in consecutive seasons since 1981-82, Brew Crew faithful have their fingers crossed that their team can do something this season that hasn’t happened in almost 40 years… back-to-back playoff seasons.

Last season seven of the 10 MLB teams that played in the post-season also played in the 2017 playoffs: Boston, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland, Colorado, Houston, L.A. Dodgers and the N.Y. Yankees. The Brewers, Oakland and Atlanta were the three teams that made the playoffs in 2018 after not making the post-season the previous campaign.

Of the 30 current MLB franchises, 26 have made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons at least once this century. Two franchises, the Miami Marlins and Chicago White Sox, have never made the MLB post-season in back-to-back seasons in their histories. Two other teams, the Brewers and the Baltimore Orioles, have previously appeared in the post-season in back-to-back seasons, but not this century (the White Sox failure to make the playoffs in back-to-back seasons is quite amazing considering they have been around as a franchise since 1901!). The Brewers, as mentioned above, last made the post-season in back-to-back years in 1981 and 1982, while the Orioles last made the post-season in consecutive years in 1996 and 1997.

Here’s a look at the last time each of the 30 MLB teams made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons.

Never: Chicago White Sox
Never: Miami Marlins
1981-82: Milwaukee
1996-97: Baltimore
2000-01: Seattle
2001-02: Arizona
2002-03: San Francisco
2005-06: San Diego
2008-09: L.A. Angels
2009-10: Minnesota
2010-11: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay
2012-13: Atlanta, Cincinnati
2013-14: Detroit, Oakland
2014-15: Kansas City, Pittsburgh, St. Louis
2015-16: N.Y. Mets, Texas, Toronto
2016-17: Washington
2017-18: Boston, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland, Colorado, Houston, L.A. Dodgers, N.Y. Yankees

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Today’s Sportstat: February 11, 2019

Players with the most games in a Brewers uniform

Let’s start with a quick quiz:

There have been 12 players who have played in 1,000 or more games with the Brewers. Can you name them? (The answer will appear towards the bottom of this article… don’t cheat; try to name the 12 before you continue reading the rest of this article.)

Before we get to the 12, did you know that Prince Fielder fell just two games short of having played in 1,000 games with the Milwaukee Brewers? Fielder ended his career with the Brewers with 998 games played. He is one of four players who played in 900 games with the team but fell short of the 1,000-game milestone. The four:

Prince Fielder, 998 games with the Brewers
Jeff Cirillo, 978 games with the Brewers
Corey Hart, 945 games with the Brewers
Greg Vaughn, 903 games with the Brewers.

As you might expect, there are no pitchers on the list of the players with 1,000 or more games in a Brewers uniform. There are, however, four pitchers who appeared in 300 or more games with the Brewers: Dan Plesac (365), Jim Slaton (364), Bob McClure (352) and Chuck Crim (332).

Current Brewers reliever Jerremy Jeffress is the active pitcher with the most games with the team, 253. That puts him in a tie for 11th place with Bill Wegman on the all-time list for most appearances by a Brewers pitcher.

Ryan Braun is the active player on the Brewers roster who has played in the most games for the team. He ranks fourth on the all-time list with 1,583 games played for the Brew Crew. Do you know which player on the current roster is second in this category with 481 games played with the Brewers? (Answer at the bottom of the article.)

As you might expect, Robin Yount tops the list with 2,856 games played for the Brewers. Following are the 12 played who have played in 1,000 or more games in a Brewers uniform.

Robin Yount, 2,856
Paul Molitor, 1,856
Jim Gantner, 1,801
Ryan Braun, 1,583
Cecil Cooper, 1,490
Charlie Moore, 1,283
Geoff Jenkins, 1,234
Don Money, 1,196
Ben Oglivie, 1,149
Rickie Weeks, 1,142
Gorman Thomas, 1,103
B.J. Surhoff, 1,102

Hernan Perez ranks second behind Braun in most games played by an active Brewers player; he has appeared in 481 games with the team.

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Today’s Sportstat: January 24, 2019

Which team will be the winningest MLB team this decade?

Will it be the New York Yankees? The Los Angeles Dodgers? The St. Louis Cardinals? Or could the Boston Red Sox make a run at this title? And, do the Washington nationals have a shot?

This year will be the final year of this decade and that means it’s the final season of the baseball decade. Entering 2019, there are three MLB teams which have won 800 or more games this decade: the Yankees with 818, the Dodgers with 813, and the Cardinals with 808. The Red Sox are a distant fourth on this list with 788 victories since 2010. Washington is fifth on the list with 786 wins.

With a 30-game lead over the Red Sox, the Yankees appear to be a lock for the winningest A.L. team this decade. The N.L., on the other hand, appears to be a two-team race with the Cardinals only five games behind the Dodgers. The Nationals are still in the picture, but trail L.A. by 27 games.

Here’s a look at the number of wins each franchise has this decade. It’s is broken down by each league (current city is listed for each team).

American League
New York Yankees, 818
Boston, 788
Texas, 765
Tampa Bay, 764
Cleveland, 762
Anaheim, 750
Oakland, 742
Detroit, 735
Toronto, 727
Baltimore, 701
Kansas City, 699
Seattle, 690
Chicago White Sox, 671
Minnesota, 664

National League
Los Angeles Dodgers, 813
St. Louis, 808
Washington, 786
Atlanta, 746
San Francisco, 744
Milwaukee, 735
Chicago Cubs, 733
Pittsburgh, 723
Arizona, 708
New York Mets, 707
Philadelphia, 706
Cincinnati, 700
Colorado, 681
San Diego, 669
Florida, 650

The Houston Astros, who spent time in both leagues this century, have 682 wins since 2010. That places them 25th overall.

By the way, how many of you would have thought that the Brewers have more wins this decade than the Cubs?

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp