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. Shoot, one of my favorite recent stats is Khris Davis ending the last four seasons with a .247 batting average (his career BA is .248, btw).
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.
Oh, and a lot of them are entertaining as hell (here’s to hoping for another 40+ homer, .247 season, Khrush!)
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 ever 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 Dodgers-Rockies game
Cody Bellinger: .425/.452/.950, 1.402 OPS, etc., etc ...
I think it’s safe to say that Cody Bellinger is off to a pretty good start this season. If we’re talking crazy stats, let’s run down some of Bellinger’s so far this year. He’s currently top-five in the league in the following categories: BA, SLG, OPS, Runs Scored, Triples, Total Bases, Home Runs, XBHs, Hits, and RBI. The 23 year old’s revamped swing has treated him well so far — he currently owns a ridiculous 58.8 hard-hit percentage. This week alone he went 7-for-20 with 9 RBIs. Of course it’ll be impossible to keep this up, but if there are any signs of slowing down (he has a .393 BABIP so far in 2019, and he’s struck out just six times in 40 at-bats), they haven’t appeared yet.
Trevor Rosenthal: Infinity ERA
No, that’s not the name of a special move in a fighting video game; Trevor Rosenthal’s earned run average is literally infinity right now. To quote a legendary film, “The limit does not exist.” How does one get an ERA of infinity, you might ask? Well, before Sunday, April 7, Rosenthal faced seven batters and allowed seven runs. He couldn’t get an out. It is not hyperbole to say that this is one of the worst starts for a pitcher in history.
He pitched on Sunday in a victory against the Mets, hitting a batter and walking another before being pulled in favor of Wander Suero. Once again, no outs. Rosenthal hadn’t pitched since April 3 before that outing, which was probably for the best. He’s only 2% owned on Yahoo, and that’s unlikely to change in the near-future even though he started the season as the primary setup man behind the oft-injured Sean Doolittle.
Josh Hader: 96.8FB%, 0.00 ERA, 0.26 WHIP — 1 Hit
What Josh Hader is telling opposing batters is pretty straightforward: “I am going to throw my fastball. Hit it — I dare you.” So far, just one batter has been able to manage a hit off of the Brewers reliever. This is pretty ridiculous, but it speaks to how dominant of a pitcher Hader is. Called upon to shoulder a bigger workload with injuries to fellow relievers Corey Knebel and Jeremy Jeffress, Hader has been the epitome of lights-out thus far, fearlessly challenging hitters with an overpowering fastball that can reach 99 mph — and he’s been winning.
In fact, Hader had thrown 47 straight fastballs (!!!) before throwing a changeup that ended up called a ball on April 2 against the Reds. Most recently, Hader celebrated his 25th birthday by getting a two-inning save on Sunday against the Cubs, his fifth save of the season (currently tied for second in the league with Kirby Yates, behind league-leader, the resurgent Shane Greene).
Chris Davis (and Daniel Palka): .000 Batting Average
Yikes. It seems like forever ago that Chris Davis was one of the most popular players in baseball, leading the league in homers in 2013 and 2015. Yet, here we are now, with Davis batting a cool .000 this season. He’s actually 1% owned on Yahoo, so somebody still has faith (or no other choice). Davis now has 15 strikeouts in 27 at-bats. No hits.
The Chicago White Sox’s Daniel Palka shares in the .000 batting average title (minimum 10 at-bats), albeit without the same pedigree as Davis. Jesse Winker was in the .000 club too, earlier in the week, but exactly one hit later, he’s now batting a mighty .042.
Matthew Boyd: 3rd in Ks, 1st in K/9
Max Scherzer. Jacob deGrom. Matthew Boyd. At first glance, which of these does not belong? Yes, Matthew Boyd — 5.02 career-ERA Matthew Boyd — is now among the league leaders in strikeouts. Shoot, deGrom is only 2nd by ONE punch-out (he has 24; Boyd has 23).
The Tigers pitcher has delivered some filthy production through two starts this season. He struck out 10 batters in his first start of the season against the weak Blue Jays and then, as if to prove he’s no fluke, he struck out 13 Yankees in his second start. Armed with an improved slider, Boyd’s next start is scheduled on Tuesday opposite Trevor Bauer against a Cleveland lineup that’s been a shadow of its former self. Oh, and he’s still only 53% owned on Yahoo.
Willians Astudillo: Everything
Let’s make one thing clear. Willians Astudillo does not care for your three true outcomes. The man seems to defy all regular baseball logic: he plays everywhere, he doesn’t strike out, nor is taking a free pass on his to-do list. Astudillo is about the action, and each of his at-bats are must-watch TV. He’s practically the human epitome of crazy stats. So far this season, La Tortuga is hitting .500/.529/.929 with a 1.458 OPS. He has walked once and has not struck out. He struck out just 81 times in 2,461 plate appearances in his entire minor league career.
You can’t help but let out a disbelieving laugh at his production. Unfortunately, his playing time handicaps his fantasy value — he’s only 42% owned on Yahoo as of this writing, and has only 14 at-bats in 2019 thus far. Astoundingly, Astudillo is third in the Twins catcher depth chart behind Jason Castro and Mitch Garver. To quote the human sports encyclopedia, Scott Pianowski, Astudillo needs a regular gig.
Tampa Bay Rays pitchers: 19 ER in first 10 games
Tampa Bay’s pitching staff now leads the league in ERA (1.90). They’ve only allowed more than two runs twice this season, which is crazy considering the main issue with the Rays pitching staff — outside of reigning AL Cy Young winner, Blake Snell — in regards to fantasy is that you can’t confidently project who will get a valuable amount of innings, not with their continued use of openers.
In fact, their rotation has only three true “starters” in Snell (13 IP this season), Charlie Morton (11 IP), and Tyler Glasnow (11 IP). Neither Glasnow nor Morton has gone beyond six innings in their first two starts. The team has averaged 4.5 pitchers used per game since Opening Day — not ideal.
The innings aren’t great for fantasy, but you can’t really blame the Rays in reality, when you consider how dominant their bullpen has been. Jose Alvarado (78% owned on Yahoo), Diego Castillo (19% owned), and Chaz Roe (7% owned) have combined for just one earned run, 21 strikeouts, and four saves. Yonny Chirinos — another reliever/starter hybrid the Rays are becoming popular for — has started two games thus far and has been great as well.
Jacob deGrom: 25-3-1, 26 and 26
No, that’s not deGrom’s record. Those numbers don’t pertain to fantasy as much as they do betting, but they’re insane nonetheless. For the uninitiated (wrote that in my best Bane voice, btw), a prospective bettor can choose to put a wager on the total of a baseball game, but instead of placing it on the full game, you can do it for the first five innings; basically, you can bet the “half.”
Going back to the 2018 season and all the way up until his most recent outing, the first-five innings UNDER bet is 25-3-1 when deGrom is on the mound. deGrom has also put together 26 straight quality starts along with 26 straight scoreless innings pitched. I wouldn’t argue with anyone who says he’s the best pitcher in baseball right now.
Which wild stats stood out to you this week?