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 relatively 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 Cubs-Nationals game
Ryan Pressly owns the record
Sure, the Houston Astros offense gets a lot of publicity (and well-deserved, too), but that pitching staff is ripe with fantasy goodness. Minute Maid Park has actually been silently climbing the ranks of pitcher’s parks the past few years, and the pitchers themselves have been run-stopping with the best of them. With all the star power on the Astros pitching staff, Ryan Pressly might be the one impressing the most so far this season.
Pressly has not allowed a run in his last 39 appearances. Let me repeat that: Ryan Pressly — the setup man for the AL West-leading Houston Astros, who are 9-1 in their last 10 games — has an ERA of zero the last 39 times he’s appeared. He’s allowed no home runs in his last 48 innings (H/T Inside Edge). Pressly now owns the MLB record for consecutive appearances without a run.
Josh Bell’s breakout is here
Somehow, Josh Bell is 85% owned on Yahoo. I say that to say this: Why isn’t he owned higher? Sure, he’s attached to a weak Pirates team, but man, is he having a season. In his last seven games alone, Bell has hit FIVE home runs with 15 RBIs. For the season, he owns a slash line of .333/.404/.697. His OPS of 1.101 at the time of this writing (it’s May 19) is behind only Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger, the two obvious NL MVP candidates. At age-26, we could be witnessing the rise of a new star in Pittsburgh.
George Springer campaigning for AL MVP
If Josh Bell is having a breakout, then George Springer is making his case to be the best hitter in the American League in 2019. Springer accumulated nine RBIs this past week, thanks in no small part to the four homers he hit. He’s now tied for second in MLB with 17 homers, and he owns a lovely slash line of .313/.396/.654 with an OPS of 1.050. Springer also owns a 2.7 WAR so far, surrounded by stud hitters on the Astros lineup.
Dodgers/Marlins: A tale of two pitching staffs
The Los Angeles Dodgers are 31-17 — NL West leaders and owners of the best record in the NL. The Miami Marlins are 13-31; bottom of the barrel in ALL OF BASEBALL. Yet, let’s take a look at the week both teams’ pitching staffs had:
— Yahoo Fantasy Sports (@YahooFantasy) May 19, 2019
The best team in the NL — one of the very best teams in baseball — and the worst team were actually very close this week in regards to pitching. The performances of Jose Urena (4% owned on Yahoo), Caleb Smith (83% owned), Trevor Richards (9% owned), Pablo Lopez (8% owned), and Sandy Alcantara (5% owned) just go to show you that even in wastelands, fantasy value can be found in any given week.
Freddie Freeman hit dingers this week
Freddie Freeman is old reliable for fantasy owners; a hitter who contributes quality numbers in multiple counting categories. Yet, during the first two months of the season, Freeman only hit five homers. Fears of a power regression in his age-29 season began to creep up, especially since his home run totals the past three years have been dwindling: 34-28-23.
Well, Freeman put all that to rest this past week. He hit four home runs in four straight games since May 16, bringing his season total up to 10. Another 20+ HR season seems all but certain at this point, as well as a sure investment in the early round pick it took to draft Freeman.
Chris Sale (Again): 17Ks and a trip to history
I know, I know — last week, I said I don’t like to repeat names on this list in order to give props to as many players across fantasy baseball as possible. With that said, it would be remiss to not acknowledge Chris Sale’s unreal performance this week.
On Tuesday, May 14, Chris Sale squared off against the Colorado Rockies and delivered this final line: 7 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, and 17 Ks.
Thankfully, fantasy owners weren’t saddled with a Sale loss, although the Red Sox ultimately fell. Sale is the first pitcher ever to accumulate 17 punch-outs in seven innings or less. To think, there were fears of a Sale regression early in the season.
Which crazy stats stood out to you this week?
More from Yahoo Sports: