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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.
All stats derived before Sunday night’s Yankees-Red Sox game
Yankees vs. Twins: WOW
The Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams played a game last season that many consider the best regular-season game in NFL history. The New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins did their best to deliver the MLB version of a game like that on Tuesday.
Ten innings. Seventeen changes on the scoreboard. Six total home runs. Eleven total hitters with at least one RBI. Eleven total hitters with at least two runs scored. Fourteen pitchers used. The game ended 14-12 in favor of the Yanks, but it was a game where both teams gave their absolute all — a game that started spectacularly and ended spectacularly. A game for the record books.
There were heroes on both sides, as well. Jorge Polanco and Miguel Sano nearly put the game away for the Twins, but Didi Gregorius and Aaron Hicks wouldn’t stand for it. Didi became the first Yankee since Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig to have multiple four-hit, seven-RBI games in their careers. Aaron Hicks’ otherworldly grab in the 10th inning to end the game was the stuff dreams are made of. The entire Yankees-Twins series, in fact, was crazy, with 57 total runs scored.
Baseball has been criticized of late as being unable to market itself the way other sports have, but this game just felt different. Seems like everyone was talking about it that night and the next day. A game to remember, indeed.
Take a bow, Trea Turner
Trea Turner has been his usual speedy self since returning from injury, collecting 21 total stolen bases to go along with his helpful .286/.344/.475 slash line. Yet, on Tuesday, he reminded everyone why he’s a fantasy first-rounder, hitting for the second cycle of his career. Turner collected his home run, single and triple all before the end of the fifth inning, but had to wait until the seventh for a chance to get his double.
Also of note: Turner became the first player to hit a cycle against the Colorado Rockies ... and not have it be in Coors Field! (H/T: @MLBRandomStats)
The Houston Astros and the number 11
According to the Skeptic’s Dictionary, numerology is “the study of the occult meanings of numbers and their influence on human life.” Whether you take stock in such things is up to you, but on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, the Houston Astros and numerology became intertwined. A summary:
Starting pitcher Gerrit Cole collected 11 strikeouts and his 11th win of the season.
The Astros scored 11 runs.
The 11th run was scored by the 11th batter of the third inning.
The 11th hit of the game drove in the 11th run.
Rookie outfielder Yordan Alvarez hit his 11th home run of the season.
The only way this could have been crazier is if Apollo 11 had launched from Houston 50 years ago.
Oh, and speaking of Astros ...
Yordan Alvarez continues to be ridiculous
The Houston Astros called up Yordan Alvarez in early June and the kid hasn’t disappointed. In fact, to say that he’s impressed would be selling him short. In just 35 major league games, Alvarez has hit an eye-popping .333/.415/.698 with 12 home runs.
This past week, Alvarez added another notch to his belt, tying and then subsequently breaking the rookie record for RBI in a player’s first 30 career games set by Albert Pujols in 2001. Pujols hit 34 in his first 30 games; Alvarez hit 35. The rookie now has 36 on the year.
Alvarez’s numerology running mate, Gerrit Cole, had a pretty good week too ...
Just saying Gerrit Cole’s name = 1 strikeout
Cole is not only one of the top pitchers in fantasy — he’s one of the top pitchers in baseball, period. To think that both he and Justin Verlander are at the top of the Astros rotation is mind-boggling. Cole currently leads the league in strikeouts by a pretty wide margin, with only Max Scherzer’s 189 second to Cole’s 212.
This past week, Cole reached the 200-strikeout mark in the second-fewest amount of innings; Randy Johnson did it the fastest in 2001. Cole also became the first Astros pitcher to have back-to-back 200K seasons since Darryl Kile. Cole’s season line now stands at 12-5 with a 2.94 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. Talk about living up to a Round 3 ADP.
The ball continues to want to leave stadiums
We’ve been hearing the chants of, “THE BALLS ARE JUICED!” all season. Now, I don’t know if the balls themselves are actually “juiced,” but there’s merit to the belief of a change in baseball. It’s becoming an all-or-nothing league. This MLB season could very well obliterate the previous single-season total home run record set in 2017. The Twins became the fastest team in history to reach 200 home runs this week. And this happened this week, too:
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) July 27, 2019
Speaking of home runs ...
The Orioles are having (some) fun
Yes, the Baltimore Orioles are not the best of teams. As of this writing, the team stood a whopping 31 games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East. Only the Detroit Tigers had a worse divisional mark as of this writing. Yet, even amid all the negativity, the Orioles have had their memorable moments. Stevie Wilkerson — a position player — earned a save this week; first time it’s ever happened. Scott Pianowski highlighted the efforts of Anthony Santander. Trey Mancini, Hanser Alberto and Pedro Severino have all been fantasy viable this season.
The Orioles also achieved a new MLB record this week. They are the first team in league history with multiple home runs in 10 consecutive games (H/T: @MLBStats). To quote a legendary film, “It can’t rain forever.”
What crazy stats stood out to you this week?