Have you ever been watching a baseball game, and suddenly someone in the broadcast booth will make mention of a random statistic or milestone that leaves you saying, “What?!” or “Is that real?” In a sport which relies so much on quantifiable, tangible numbers and (in recent years) advanced analytics, crazy stats appear more often than not.
Keeping track of these stats is not only helpful for your overall knowledge and acumen, but they can also assist in fantasy, especially when it comes to playing matchups and making (or not making) potential waiver wire pickups.
We know, it’s still very early in the season and we could forget a lot of these by June, but, hey, they’ll probably be replaced by even crazier stuff.
With that said, let’s run down some of the wildest stats of the week.
Note: All stats derived before Sunday night’s Braves-Indians game
Christian Yelich is doing his best Thanos impression
It would seem like Christian Yelich is trying to prove something. Trying to prove that his MVP season wasn’t a fluke. Trying to prove that his MVP season won’t be his best season. Well, what he did this past week helps his case.
Just in time for the release of “Avengers: Endgame,” Yelich snapped on his opponents to the tune of eight home runs, 16 RBI and just four strikeouts this past week. It moved his RBI total to 31, which is pretty hilarious at this point in the season.
Yelich is the fastest Brewer to reach 10 home runs in history, and the fastest Brewer to reach 30 RBI in history as well. He owns a ridiculous .353/.456/.859 slash line to go along with a 1.315 OPS. He also tied a Brewers franchise record this week with seven RBI in one game. All that, while his BABIP stands at just .293. How do you pitch to this guy?
Chris Sale: 0-4, 8.50 ERA, .316 BABIP, 4.92 xFIP
Is it time to be worried? This is NOT the start fantasy owners predicted when they drafted Chris Sale. Those numbers above look more like those of a journeyman starter on the Orioles, not Sale. And yet, here we are. In his latest outing, Sale was pulled after five innings, four runs and six strikeouts. If there was any positive to that outing, it’s that his velocity was back up.
A glaring negative, however: Sale’s BABIP stands at .316, so it’s not like he’s been supremely unlucky; simply put, hitters are hitting him. Don’t even get me started on that ugly 4.92 xFIP (but hey, it’s better than 8.50, right?)
Sale’s suffering speaks to a larger storyline in baseball right now: Batters are simply dominating starting pitchers. Take Gerrit Cole (1-3, 5.22 ERA) on April 20, for example. Sure, he racked up eight strikeouts, but he was also tagged for eight earned runs and yet another loss. Cole, Max Scherzer (1-3, 4.45 ERA), Jacob deGrom (2-2, 3.68 ERA), and Sale are just a few of the big starting names who just aren’t having the early seasons we expected (or hoped for).
Felipe Vázquez: Untouchable
Edwin Diaz. Kenley Jansen. Blake Treinen. Aroldis Chapman. Roberto Osuna. Brad Hand. These were all the closers drafted ahead of Felipe Vázquez this season, earning him an ADP of 91. Talk about living up to your draft price, because guess which of those closers has yet to allow a run this season?
Yep, after Sunday’s loss against the Giants, Vázquez’s ERA remains a pristine 0.00. This past week alone he earned two saves (nine total on the year), pitching two innings and allowing one hit while striking out four batters. He has 18 strikeouts in 10 2/3 IP, good for a ridiculous 15.2 K:9.
The powerful Eddie Rosario?
Rosario has always possessed an intriguing combination of size and speed, but he’s not a player who usually comes to mind when one thinks of a “power hitter.” Well, there are signs that could change this season, and Rosario’s past week at the plate strengthens those signs. Rosario hit SIX home runs this week, raising his SLG to .693 and his OPS to 1.018. He hit two home runs in two different games, boosting his total to nine on the season.
Upon closer inspection, this power surge isn’t too surprising. Rosario has now hit more than 20 home runs in two consecutive seasons, and with nine already this year he has a chance to obliterate his career-best 27 in 2017. The Twins’ outfielder currently boasts a 49.1 Fly Ball percentage, and while fantasy owners should expect regression — Rosario holds a career mark of 40.2 FB% — his BABIP at the time of this writing is .235, so even better things could be in store for him.
Clint Frazier: Red Thunder steps up
It’s been a nightmare season for the New York Yankees thus far. Not in terms of wins and losses, but with the laundry list of injuries they’ve accumulated. The latest gut-punch: Aaron Judge (oblique). With all the injuries to the team, other players must step up. Enter: Clint Frazier, and what an entrance it’s been.
Going into Sunday’s game against the Royals, Red Thunder ranked sixth in BA in the AL, eighth in SLG. After Sunday, Frazier finished the week 10 for 25 and added to his RBI total which now stands at an impressive 17. He now boasts a .339/.358/.661 slash line and he’s owned in just 47% of Yahoo leagues.
Cubs pitchers: Shutout streak finally ends
Before first pitch on April 19, Chicago Cubs pitchers owned an MLB-best 1.29 ERA. Considering the question marks surrounding their bullpen and the lack of a true dominant ace in their rotation, it’s pretty impressive. Even more impressive, however, is that Cubs pitchers were quietly holding onto a 31-inning shutout streak this past week.
That streak ended on April 19, when reliever Brad Brach allowed a run. Yet, from the moment Yu Darvish allowed his second run on April 15 to that Brach run on April 19, Cubs pitchers were impervious to damage. That was no doubt good news for Darvish, Jose Quintana, Pedro Strop, Cole Hamels and Kyle Hendricks’ fantasy owners.
Jorge Soler “leads” the league
Baseball pundits and fantasy owners alike have long been waiting on Jorge Soler to reach his potential. The 27-year-old showed promise during his time with the Cubs, but he’s never been able to live up to his apparent physical capabilities. And fantasy players no doubt took notice at his intriguing start to the season. By April 6, Soler had a slash line of .296/.345/.556 with a .900 OPS. Then the strikeouts started coming in bunches.
This past week alone he whiffed 12 times (five on Sunday). All told, Soler has now struck out a whopping 36 times on the season, ahead of the second-place Mitch Haniger (32 at the time of this writing). Soler is now batting .214, and the last time he went a game without a strikeout was April 2.
Kyle Freeland: 30-6
In our first crazy stats piece of the season, we discussed the amazing streak that Jacob deGrom was on. The first-five-innings UNDER bet was 25-3-1 whenever deGrom was on the mound, going back to 2018. Well, this particular tidbit of info might be just as impressive.
Kyle Freeland is another intriguing Rockies pitcher that unfortunately has to play in the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field. In 2018, Freeland dazzled with a 17-7 record and a 2.85 ERA. He was surprisingly great at home too, where he held opposing hitters to a .228 batting average in 346 at-bats.
Things have gone a little rougher in 2019 to start, but Freeland still holds claim to an excellent stat: the UNDER bet is 30-6 throughout Freeland’s career ... AT HOME. Considering how dangerous of a place Coors Field is for pitching, that is pretty incredible.
Which wild stats stood out to you this week?