Tag Archives: MLB

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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Today’s Sportstat: July 17, 2019

MLB’s best second-half teams over the past three seasons

For those teams hoping to make a run at a post-season appearance, getting off to a good start after the All-Star break is important.

Looking at the past three seasons (2016-18), the Chicago Cubs have been baseball’s best second-half team in that time period. The Cubs compiled a record of 139-78 (.641 winning percentage) after the All-Star break in the past three seasons, tops in the majors. Over in the American League, the Cleveland Indians were the league’s best second-half team the last three seasons with a .633 winning percentage. The Cubs and Indians were the only teams to win 60 percent or more of their games in the second half of the three seasons from 2016-18.

Here’s a look at the winning percentages of each MLB team after the All-Star break over the past three seasons.

Chicago Cubs, .641
Cleveland, .633

Boston, .599
L.A. Dodgers, .581
N.Y. Yankees, .571
Washington, .566
St. Louis, .556
Houston, .555
Milwaukee, .531
Colorado, .519
Oakland, .517
Seattle, .510
Tampa Bay, .509
N.Y. Mets, .500

L.A. Angels, .499
Atlanta, .488
Toronto, .486
Texas, .483
Kansas City, .477
Arizona, .476
Pittsburgh, .474
Minnesota, .468
Philadelphia, .435
Miami, .427
San Diego, .424
Baltimore, .421
Chicago White Sox, .421
Cincinnati, .418
Detroit, .417

San Francisco, .399

The Cubs have had two of the three best second half winning percentages over the last three campaigns. In 2016 the Cubs had a winning percentage of .685 the second half of the season; in 2017 their second-half winning percentage was .662. The only team with a better second-half winning percentage over the past three seasons were the 2017 Cleveland Indians who had a .733 winning percentage after the All-Star break that season. The Oakland A’s had the best second half winning percentage last season at .646; the Brewers were second with a .631 second-half winning percentage in 2018.

For the record, the Boston Braves hold the MLB record for highest second-half winning percentage at .792… they were 61-16 after the All-Star break in 1914. Thirty-three different teams had a winning percentage of .700 or higher in the second half of the season. Five of those happened after 2000: Oakland-2001, .773; Cleveland-2017, .733; Oakland-2002, .716; Seattle-2001, .707; and N.Y. Yankees-2009, .703.

 

 

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Today’s Sportstat: July 8, 2019

TODAY’s SPORTSTAT-July 8, 2019

National League Central Division could be headed for historic pennant race in 2019

If you are a baseball fan, do yourself a favor and check out the standings as we head into the All-Star break. Did you notice the large disparity between the first place teams and the last place teams in five of the six divisions?

In the A.L. East, the first place team is 30.5 games ahead of the last place team; in the A.L. Central, the gap between the first place and last place teams is 27 games. In the A.L. West the gap is 20 games; in the N.L. East the first place team holds a 19.5 game lead over the last place team; in the N.L. West that margin is 17.5 games.

Over in the N.L. Central, however, the first place Cubs have a 4.5-game lead over last place Cincinnati, quite a contrast to the other five divisions. There are still a lot of games yet to be played this season and it’s unlikely that at the end of the season the first place team will outdistance the last place team by less than 10 games… at least that’s how history has played out.

In 1994 Major League Baseball went to three divisions in each of the two leagues. Since then, there has been only one season in the last 25 years where the first place team that year won the division by less than 10 games over the last place team. In the ‘94 season, which ended on August 11 due to a strike, the Texas Rangers were leading the American League West when the season abruptly ended. In last place in that division were the California Angels who were only 5.5 games behind the division-winning Rangers.

Here are the 12 times since 1994 where first place and last place in a division were separated by 15 games or less.

1994 A.L. West, 5.5 games
1995 N.L. West, 11.0 games
1995 A.L. West, 11.5 games
2006 N.L. West, 12.0 games
1994 N.L. West, 12.5 games
1998 A.L. West, 14.0 games
1997 N.L. West, 14.0 games
2008 A.L. Central, 14.5 games
1996 N.L. Central, 15.0 games
2005 N.L. West, 15.0 games
2006 A.L. West, 15.0 games
2015 A.L. East 15.0 games

With the Cubs holding a 4.5 games lead over the Reds on July 7, let’s look back over the past 25 years and see if there has been a closer race top to bottom on July 7 in the league since 1994…

… this N.L. Central race (top to bottom) is tied for the second closest race (as of July 7) in the last 25 years. In 2006, the first place Oakland A’s had a four-game lead over the last place Los Angeles Angels. Including this season, there have now been six divisional races where the margin between the first and last place teams in a division has been five games or less on July 7. Here are those six races:

1995: A.L. West, first place Texas had a 5-game lead over last place Seattle

1995: N.L. West, first place Colorado had a 4.5-game lead over last place San Diego.

2006: A.L. West, first place Oakland had a 4-game lead over last place Los Angeles.

2006: N.L. West, first place San Diego had a 5-game lead over last place Arizona.

2015: A.L. East, first place New York Yankees had a 5-game lead over last place Boston

2019: N.L. Central, first place Chicago Cubs had a 4.5-game lead over last place Cincinnati.

 

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Today’s Sportstat: July 1, 2019

Which teams are getting hits in the All-Star Game?

The Brewers will have three everyday players represented at this year’s All-Star Game (ASG): Christian Yelich, who will be a starter, Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas.

Milwaukee’s AGS reps have provided some of the National League’s offense over the past decade. Since 2010, Brewers hitters are 10-for-31 (a .323) average in the All-Star Game. The 10 hits are tied for the most for N.L. clubs and the .323 batting average by Brewers players are one of only seven teams that have a .300 or better batting average by its players in the ASG since 2010.

The Boston Red Sox have the most hits by their players in the ASG since 2010 with 11. Here is a look at the number of hits in the ASG each team has had since 2010.

11: Boston

10: Milwaukee, St. Louis

7: Kansas City, L.A. Angels

6: Colorado, Detroit, N.Y. Yankees, Texas

5: N.Y. Mets, Washington, Cleveland, Houston

4: Atlanta, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati, L.A. Dodgers, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Baltimore, Minnesota

3: Oakland, Seattle, Toronto

2: Arizona, San Diego, Tampa Bay

1: Miami, Philadelphia, Chicago White Sox

The team with the highest batting average in the ASG since 2010 is the Minnesota Twins. Their players are hitting .500 with four hits in eight ASG at-bats from 2010-18.

Following are the ASG team batting averages for each of the 30 teams from 2010-18, the last nine All-Star Games.

.500-Minnesota

.400-St. Louis

.357-N.Y. Mets, .333-San Diego, .324-Boston, .323-Milwaukee, .318-L.A. Angels

.292-Kansas City, .286-Tampa Bay, .250-Oakland, .235-Pittsburgh, .231-Detroit, .231-Texas, .227-Washington, .227-Cleveland, .214-N.Y. Yankees, .211-Atlanta, .208-Houston, .200-San Francisco

.188-Seattle, .182-Chicago Cubs, .182-L.A. Dodgers, .176-Toronto, .171-Colorado, .167-Philadelphia, .133-Baltimore, .114-Cincinnati, .100-Arizona

.083-Chicago White Sox, .071-Miami

 

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Today’s Sportstat: June 6, 2019

Seven years without hitting the baseball

I came across this quote a couple of weeks ago. It is attributed to Yankees great Mickey Mantle. According to the “Mick”:

“During my 18 years (in the majors) I came to bat almost 10,000 times. I struck out about 1,700 times and I walked maybe 1,800 times. You figure a ballplayer will average about 500 at-bats a season. That means I played seven seasons without hitting the ball.”

Think about that for a second…. seven years without hitting the ball.

It got me thinking about whether or not Mantle was the only player who might fall into this category. To establish the standard, I looked to see how many players, like Mantle, had more than 1,500 strikeouts and 1,500 walks in their careers. There are six players on this list:

Barry Bonds (1,539 strikeouts, 2,558 walks)

Jim Thome (2,548 strikeouts, 1,747 walks)

Harmon Killebrew (1,699 strikeouts, 1,559 walks)

Mike Schmidt (1,883 strikeouts, 1,507 walks)

Mickey Mantle (1,719 strikeouts, 1,733 walks)

Rickey Henderson (1,694 strikeouts, 2,190 walks)

(Note: Tally up Thome’s strikeout and walk numbers and it adds up to 4,295. Using Mantle’s example, that’s eight and a half seasons without hitting the ball!)

I also wondered how many players had seasons “without hitting the ball,” specifically, how many players had a season where they had more than 150 strikeouts and 150 walks. There is only one player that fits into this category: In 1998, Mark McGwire ended that season with 155 strikeouts and 162 walks, just about a strikeout and a walk each game that season.

If we drop the numbers down to 125 strikeouts and 125 walks in a season, there have been a dozen players who have reached the 125-125 milestone in a season. Three did it in two seasons… Jack Clark, Joey Votto, and McGwire. The other nine players who have done it once: Aaron Judge, Adam Dunn, Bryce Harper, Frank Howard, Jeff Bagwell, Jim Thome, Jim Wynn, Mike Schmidt, and Tony Phillips.

For the record, only one Brewers player ever had a season with 100 or more strikeouts and 100 or more walks in the same campaign, and he did it in three consecutive seasons; Prince Fielder in 2009 had 138 strikeouts and 110 walks, in 2010 he had 138 strikeouts and 114 walks, and in 2011 he had 106 strikeouts and 107 walks.

 

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