With pitchers and catchers reporting this week, the start of baseball in 2017 is upon us. Here’s just a small taste of some baseball analytics to get you ready for the upcoming season.
Two interesting elements of the Chicago Cubs success last season was their dominance at home (57-24) and a 15-5 record in interleague play. Let’s, however, focus on their winning ways at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs last year became the 36th team in MLB history to win 57 or more games at home in a season. They were the first team to reach 57 wins at home since the 2011 Milwaukee Brewers won 57 games at Miller Park that season.
Of the 36 teams that have reached 57 or more wins at home in a season, 23 went on to play in the World Series that year with 12 winning the championship (the Cubs became the 12th team to do so.) That means that 13 of the 36 did not reach the World Series in the season they won 57 or more games at home. The aforementioned 2011 Brewers were the last team to fail to reach the World Series in a season where they won 57 or more games at home..
Here’s a look at the 12 teams to win the World Series in the same year they won 57+ games at home.
Year, Team, Home Wins in that title season
2016 Chicago Cubs, 57
2009 New York Yankees, 57
1998 New York Yankees, 62
1975 Cincinnati Reds, 64
1970 Baltimore Orioles, 59
1961 New York Yankees, 65
1942 St. Louis Cardinals, 60
1937 New York Yankees, 57
1932 New York Yankees, 62
1930 Philadelphia A’s, 58
1929 Philadelphia A’s, 57
1927 New York Yankees, 57
The 1961 Yanks top the list with most wins at home in a season, 65. The ’75 Big Red Machine is next with 64 wins at home. Ten of the 12 teams that won 60 or more games at home in a season eventually made it to the World Series that year with only five winning that crown that year (1932 Yankees, 1942 Cardinals, 1961 Yankees, 1975 Reds and the 1998 Yankees).
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Have the New England Patriots been the best NFL team this century? Which NHL team has been the best since in the beginning of the 21st century? Which NBA team has the best winning percentage since the 1999-2000 season began? Which baseball franchise has won the highest percentage of games since 2000?
The answers to the above questions in a second.
As we get ready to close the book on 2016, I started thinking about which franchises in the four pro sports (MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL) have the worst winning percentages since 2000, or in this century… 17 years’ worth of seasons.
If we go based strictly on winning percentages, the NFL’s Cleveland Browns are the “worst” pro sports franchise this century. The Browns, through games of December 21 (their recent victory over San Diego is not included in these totals) were 85-185, a .315 winning percentage.
Following are the two franchises in each of the four pro sports leagues with the lowest winning percentages since 2000 (for the NHL and NBA, I started with the 1999-2000 seasons).
NFL: Cleveland 85-185, .315; Detroit 96-174, .356.
NBA: Washington 579-827, .412; Minnesota 594-812, .422
MLB: Kansas City 1233-1521, .448; Pittsburgh 1247-1503, .453
NHL: Atlanta .428; Columbus .432.
So how about those with the best winning percentages? As you might have expected, the New England Patriots have been pro sports best team this century, based on winning percentage, compiling a 199-71 record (through games of December 21), a .737 winning percentage. The NBA’s San Antonio Spurs are the only other sports franchise over .700… they are 1002-404, .713.
Here’s a look at the two franchises in each of the four pro sports leagues with the highest winning percentages since 2000.
NFL: New England 199-71, .737; Indianapolis 175-95, .648.
NBA: San Antonio 1002-404, .713; Dallas 886-521, .630.
MLB: New York Yankees 1592-1158, .579; St. Louis 1550-1203, .563.
NHL: Detroit .586; San Jose .557
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This week Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout won the American League MVP Award for the second time. He became the 31st player in baseball history to win the MVP more than once, and at the age of 25, he could join an even more select group should he in the future win his third… or more!
The players who have won baseball’s MVP Award three or more times: Barry Bonds (7), and Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez and Mike Schmidt, all who won it three times.
Of the 31 players who have won the award multiple times, 23 are in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Included in this list of eight multiple MVP Award winners who are not in the Hall are three active players and five others who may (or may not) get in. Here’s a brief look at these eight players and the likelihood they will join the group of 23 who are already in the Hall of Fame.
Barry Bonds: Last played in 2007. Career batting average of .298, 762 HRs, 2,558 RBI. Little doubt his numbers get him into the Hall, but the steroid suspicions will likely keep him out until the voters take a different attitude about his belonging in the Hall.
Miguel Cabrera: Active. Career .321 average, 446 HRs and 1,553 RBI. Good chance at the Hall. He is only 33 and had a .316 average this year with 38 HR and 108 RBI… still playing at a high level which could see him increasing his impressive stats.
Juan Gonzalez: Last played in 2005. Career average of .295, 434 HRs and 1,404 RBI. Solid career but probably not Hall worthy. Dropped off the ballot in 2012 after not receiving the required five percent.
Roger Maris: Last played in 1968. Career average of .260, 275 HRs and 850 RBI. Two fantastic seasons really catapulted his career, but his career numbers are just not good enough.
Dale Murphy: Last played in 1993. Career average of .265, 398 HRs and 1,266 RBI. A classy, hard-nosed player who played 15 of his 18 years with the Braves in Atlanta. Good career, but not Hall worthy.
Albert Pujols: Active. Career average of .309, 592 HRs and 1,817 RBI. Probably as close to a sure thing of today’s players.
Alex Rodriguez: Last played in 2016. Career average of .295, 696 HRs and 2,086 RBI. A mirror case of Barry Bonds; the numbers get the door open, but the steroid whispers will probably keep him out until the writers change their tune.
Mike Trout: Active. Career average of .306, 168 HRs and 497 RBI. Two MVP Awards in five years, and he’s barely 25. Today’s top player who will, prevent of injuries, win more awards in his career. His career trajectory seems to be securely planted in a visit to Cooperstown.
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp
Eight MLB teams in 2016 finished the season with 90 or more losses. Of those eight, four did it for the second straight year: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Oakland and Philadelphia.
Of the other four teams, Tampa Bay last had a 90-loss season in 2007; San Diego last lost 90 in 2011; and Arizona and Minnesota both last lost 90 games in 2014.
In looking at the other 22 MLB teams, it’s interesting to note that three of those teams, Angels, Yankees and Cardinals, have not lost 90 or more games in a season in the 21st century. In fact, the Cards have the longest time since a 90-loss season… the last time they lost 90 games was in 1990.
Following is a look at the last time each of the 30 current MLB franchises lost 90 games in a campaign.
1990: St. Louis Cardinals
1991: New York Yankees
1999: Los Angeles Angels
2004: Toronto Blue Jays
2005: Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers
2008: San Francisco Giants
2009: New York Mets
2010: Washington Nationals
2011: Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates
2012: Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals
2013: Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Seattle Mariners
2014: Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, Texas Rangers
2015: Colorado Rockies, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers
2016: Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Minnesota Twins, Oakland A’s, Philadelphia Phillies, San Diego Padres, Tampa Bay Rays
If you were to look at a major league baseball team’s stats and noticed a pitcher was 0-0 with no saves, you’d think that pitcher had not gotten in to too many games, right?
But what if on further analysis, you noticed that pitcher had appeared in 30 or more games and had a very respectable ERA. You’d think differently, right?
The evolution of MLB pitching over the past 50 years has certainly changed the roles that starters and bullpens have within a pitching staff. Years ago, there were starters, spot starters, and maybe a closer. Today, there are starters, middle relievers, set-up men, and closers.
Also in today’s game, you can have a pitcher or two who pitch quite often but yet never figure in the decision of the game or receive a save. These are typically the middle relievers who pitch an inning and whose sole responsibility is to not lose a lead and hold it for the seventh, eighth and ninth-inning pitchers to finish the job.
That’s where many of these pitchers who have no wins, no losses and no saves are coming from. Many of them are not household names, but they are very important to a pitching staff.
This season there are currently four pitchers who have appeared in 25 or more games yet do not have a win, a loss or a save to their credit. The four: Antonio Bastardo (N.Y. Mets, 46 games), Matt Belisle (Washington, 27 games), Nick Goody (N.Y. Yankees, 26 games) and Jhan Marinez (Tampa Bay and Milwaukee, 26 games).
Last season, Texas reliever Sam Freeman set an MLB record with 54 appearances with a 0-0 record and no saves. Milwaukee bullpen pitcher Corey Knebel last season appeared in 48 games for the Brewers without a win, a loss or save, tying Scott Aldred for second on this list. Aldred pitched in 48 games for Tampa Bay in 1998 without a win, a loss or save. For the record, Freeman, who is now in the Brewers organization, has pitched in 142 career games in the bigs with a record of 3-2 and no saves. Knebel, who is in the Brewers major league bullpen, has a 0-1 career record with no saves in 70 games pitched.
If we expand our look to pitching careers, there have been a handful of pitchers who spent their entire MLB career without collecting a win, a loss or save. Two pitchers pitched 48 games in the majors without recording a win, loss or save. Matt Stites and Mike Kinnunen (I told you they weren’t household names!) each have 48 career games pitched without figuring in a decision or getting a save. They top this unique list.
Here’s a look at the five pitchers who have 35 or more career games without a win, a loss or save to their credit.
Matt Stites, 2014-15, Arizona, 48 games
Mike Kinnunen, 1980-87, Minnesota, Baltimore, 48 games
Greg Jones, 2003-07, Angels, 38 games
Allen McDill, 1997-2001, Kansas City, Detroit, Boston, 38 games
Ryan O’Rourke, 2015-16, Minnesota, 36 games