Craziest stats of the week: Power meets power

Yahoo Sports
There were some powerful performances on display this week. Photos by Corey Perrine/Ron Vesely/Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
There were some powerful performances on display this week. Photos by Corey Perrine/Ron Vesely/Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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.

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With that said, let’s run down some of the wildest stats of the week.

Note: All stats derived before Sunday night’s Cubs-Brewers game

It was a GRAND week

Feel bad for the baseballs. So far in 2019, there have been 35 (and counting) grand slams, and, incredibly, nearly half of them were hit this week! Yes, FIFTEEN grandys were mashed during the past seven days.

In fact, there were 10 grand slams hit between May 5-8 — the most over that stretch of time in MLB history (H/T @EliasSports). Everyone from Bryce Harper to Hunter Pence got in on the fun. Just goes to show that we now live in the world of home runs and strikeouts; power versus power. At the very least, offenses are beginning to wake up with the weather getting warmer and hitters getting more at-bats under their belts.

Joey Gallo is not a man of regular hits

Joey Gallo is currently in the midst of a career year. If the season ended today, his .248 average would be the highest it’s ever been. He already has 12 homers on the season and his 20.3 BB% shows improved plate discipline (he’s still gonna strike out a ton, but he’s walking more too). But forget all that — Joey Gallo hits home runs. It’s what he does. And this week, he continued to prove that.

Gallo reached the 100-home run milestone on May 8. Now, 100 career homers for a slugger of his caliber isn’t too crazy. What is crazy is that he has more home runs than singles (93) in his career. But hey, he has 11 singles on the season, one under his HR total, so there’s that. Fantasy owners aren’t complaining.

Mike Fiers repeats himself

Three no-hitters (including one combined no-no) were thrown in 2018: Sean Manaea, Walker Buehler-Tony Cingrani-Yimi Garcia-Adam Liberatore, and James Paxton. The first no-hitter of 2019 was thrown by Oakland A’s starting pitcher, Mike Fiers; the 300th no-hitter in history.

Fiers is 3-3 with a 5.48 ERA and 1.24 WHIP this season, so it’s no surprise why he’s only 16% owned on Yahoo even after he utterly dominated the Cincinnati Reds this week.

It took 131 pitches for Fiers to complete the no-no. The last pitcher to throw that many pitches for a no-hitter? The Houston Astros-version of Mike Fiers in 2015, when he threw a whopping 134 pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He might not help in fantasy but hey, just goes to show you that you never know who might dominate on a given night.

Tommy Kahnle: The streak ends

It’s no surprise that the New York Yankees own one of the best, if not the best, bullpen in baseball. That bullpen took a huge blow with Dellin Betances’ injury and Chad Green’s struggles, but if there was any reliever crew built to withstand losses, it’s the Yanks’. And it’s easier to withstand losses when you have relievers like Tommy Kahnle. Lost in the shuffle of bigger names like Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, and Adam Ottavino, Kahnle has been quietly having an elite season, and he’s been quietly enjoying a truly dominant stretch as well.

On May 7, Kahnle finally allowed his first hits (three) and runs (two) since April 10. That’s a whopping 11 appearances on the mound where Kahnle hadn’t allowed a single hit. In fact, he’d only induced two baserunners (via walks) during that stretch.

The streak might have ended this week, but in his two appearances since, he’s allowed zero hits/walks and struck out three batters in two IP. Unless the Yankees suffer another injury in the bullpen, the chances of Kahnle getting a save chance are few and far between, but as long as his dominance lasts, however, he can help with ratios and provide serious value if your league counts holds. Kahnle is owned in just 3% of Yahoo leagues.

Welcome back, Chris Sale

Much was written about Chris Sale’s start to the season. Was he pushing himself too hard? Was he pitching hurt? Was there a hint of decline? In his first four starts, Sale allowed 17 earned runs and collected just 14 strikeouts. Panic ensued.

If there was ever an example of the phrase, “Patience is a virtue,” it’s Chris Sale.

In his last four starts, Sale has allowed five ER with a whopping 42 strikeouts. In his latest outing, he completely dominated the Baltimore Orioles en route to his ninth game with 14 or more strikeouts. That outing put Sale in the top-10 all-time list of pitchers with the most games with 14+ Ks. Number one on the list is Randy Johnson, who has 47 such games, which makes me want to take a second to breathe.

Jorge Polanco’s year?

As a Polanco owner, there’s been an anxious part of me that’s been waiting for this mirage to disappear. For the hot start to the season to fall by the wayside. Yet, to my most pleasant surprise, he just continues to hit, hit, hit. This week alone, Polanco went 11-for-26 with six RBI and two home runs. He also became the first Twins hitter since 2010 (when Joe Mauer did it) to have multiple five-hit games in a season. Polanco has two such games already and it’s not even the middle of May yet. He’s now slashing .324/.393/.607 with a 1.000 OPS on the year.

Of course, these numbers aren’t truly sustainable and sure, he’s been a bit lucky (.357 BABIP), but thanks to just a 13.9 K% and a wRC+ of 172, it’s safe to say we’re in the midst of Polanco’s potential breakout year at age-25. Somehow, he’s only 65% owned on Yahoo.

The Machine builds on his HOF legacy

Just as we honored CC Sabathia in last week’s column, we’ll take the time to acknowledge another living legend this week. Congratulations to Albert Pujols for entering a uniquely elite club.

Pujols is only the third player (post-1920, when RBI officially became counting stats) with 2,000 RBI, joining Hank Aaron (2,297) and Alex Rodriguez (2,086) at the top. He’s also a member of the 3,000 hit club. Pujols went on to have arguably his best week of the season as well, with three home runs and four total RBI. If that’s not enough, Pujols needs just nine round-trippers to reach 650 home runs. If he decides to return in 2020, he has a shot to join the 700-HR club. The Machine, indeed.

Which crazy stats stood out to you this week?

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