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.
With that said, let’s run down some of the wildest stats of the week.
Note: All stats derived before Sunday night’s Cubs-Dodgers game
Zona and Philly break the record
It comes as no surprise to anyone that the home run ball is especially prevalent this year (and in the past few seasons). Hitters are swinging for the fences with aplomb; launch angles and exit velocities are being dissected at a minute level. A pitcher who is able to keep the ball in the ballpark is proving to be incredibly valuable in fantasy. The June 10 game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Philadelphia Phillies is a prime example of the new world order in MLB.
The Phils and D-Backs combined for a new NL record with 12 home runs in the game. And then, in the ninth inning, right after hitting the 12th HR, they decided that wasn’t enough. Jay Bruce followed up with the 13th homer in the game, a new MLB record (H/T: @MLBRandomStats). Eduardo Escobar, Ildemaro Vargas, and Scott Kingery all had multiple home runs in the game.
It seems like Yordan Alvarez is ready
If you’re reading this, I sincerely hope you were able to beat the rush and snag Yordan Alvarez in your fantasy league. If you missed out, I’m sorry. The Alvarez hype reached atmospheric levels this season after he went nuts in the PCL: .343/.443/.742 with a 1.184 OPS and 23 home runs (that homer total led the minors). The 21-year-old left-handed slugger made his MLB debut this week, and what a debut it has been. To put it plainly, Alvarez is must-see TV (or must-see Twitter highlights).
Let’s just take a brief look at what he’s done in his first six MLB games:
He’s reached base in 12 of his first 21 plate appearances.
Four of his first six hits were homers. He has two multi-hit games already and is slashing a cool .381/.519/.952 with a 1.471 OPS.
He has eight RBI in six games.
He is just the fourth player since 1908 to hit four HRs in his first five games, and the only Astros player ever to hit two in his first two career games (H/T: @MLBStats)
Of course, we have to expect some kind of regression with Alvarez, but we’ll take it at this point. Imagine what he’ll do surrounded by a fully healthy Astros lineup. Alvarez is rostered in 75 percent of leagues right now, and I expect that number to reach the 90s soon.
Call it a Bicycle: Shohei Ohtani and Jake Bauers
There have been three cycles hit in 2019 already, which is pretty impressive considering how huge of a feat it is to hit a single, a double, a triple and a home run all in the same game. Jorge Polanco, he of the Minnesota Twins and of the breakout year, hit the first one this season. Shohei Ohtani and Jake Bauers hit the second and third, respectively. Incredibly, their cycles were hit within one day of each other — the first time it’s happened since 1912 (H/T: @MLBStats).
“The Japanese Babe Ruth” delivered his cycle (Ohtani is the first Japanese player to accomplish the feat) on Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays, and he saw his slash line blast up in the process: BA went from .256 to .281, SLG from .444 to .512, and OPS from .775 to .863. He now has eight home runs and is rostered in 64 percent of leagues.
The very next day, Bauers hit for the cycle against the Detroit Tigers, hitting his homer in his last at-bat of the game. Even with the cycle, however, Bauers has been struggling immensely in his first season with Cleveland. He does have eight home runs, but should probably be left on waivers in most mixed leagues. Nonetheless, it was a week to remember for both hitters.
Charlie Blackmon loves Coors (as he should)
If you ever needed (more) proof of the power of Coors Field, look no further than what Charlie Blackmon has done the past few games. The outfielder reminded everyone who may have forgotten that he is one of the most consistent fantasy producers in MLB, a legitimate 20-20 threat who provides excellent batting average to boot. Blackmon is currently riding a five-game multi-hit streak, and he hit six homers this past week alone. There’s no place like home.
From Thursday to Saturday, Blackmon collected four hits per game — the first player in Rockies history to accomplish the feat. In his past seven games (before Sunday’s game against the Padres), Blackmon hit .529 with a whopping 12 RBI. After Sunday’s game, his RBI total for the week was 15.
Bryan Reynolds’ streak ends in pinch-hit fashion
Lost in the highlights and headlines of all the impressive rookies who have emerged in MLB this season is an outfielder in Pittsburgh who deserves a lot more attention than he gets. Bryan Reynolds was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 2016 and then subsequently traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates as part of the Andrew McCutchen deal. At this point, MLB.com ranked him as the sixth-best prospect in the Pirates system. The ranking was warranted. Reynolds hit under .300 only once in four minor league seasons; his OBP was under .350 just twice during that time.
Reynolds finally got the call-up this season after injuries to the Pirates outfield, and he has not disappointed. By June 9, Reynolds had reached base in 24 straight games — the longest Pirates’ on-base streak since the 1950s. Unfortunately, the streak ended at 26 games on Wednesday, when Reynolds was summoned as a pinch hitter and went 0-for-2. Nonetheless, Reynolds remains an on-base machine who is proving he can hit anything at the major league level (he’s slashing .361/.416/.562 with a .978 OPS). He is rostered in just 30 percent of Yahoo leagues.
This is how good Justin Verlander is
Justin Verlander is so good that when he reached a new career high in strikeouts this week, many of us were left thinking, “I thought he would have had more.” Yet, on Wednesday against Milwaukee, JV went seven innings and struck out 15 batters — the most ever in one game of his career. Check out how awesome the feat was:
-Records the 5th game, since pitch tracking began in 2008, to record 15+ swinging Ks.
-Is the oldest player to record a 15+ K game since Randy Johnson in 2005.
-Is the 2nd @Astros pitcher to record 15+ Ks, 0 BB (Randy Johnson, 1998). pic.twitter.com/nOzccyKqFl
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) June 13, 2019
Hyun-Jin Ryu ... again
I’m running out of words to describe what Hyun-Jin Ryu has done this season. Just when I think I’ll be done mentioning Ryu, at least for a while, he goes and does something else that’s crazy and worth noting. This ... this is just nuts:
Hyun-Jin Ryu has allowed no more than 2 runs and 1 walk in 13 consecutive starts.
No other pitcher in the last 110 years has done that in more than 10 straight starts.
— Jeremy Frank (@MLBRandomStats) June 11, 2019
We’ll see if Ryu can keep it up on Sunday night against the Cubbies.
Which other crazy stats stuck out to you this week?