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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.
Swashbuckling sluggers: Josh Bell and Adam Frazier
Josh Bell is probably the breakout player of the year, if not of the first half. Not many expected his power outburst this season — he hit 12 home runs last year, and 26 in 2017 — but it’s here to stay. Bell already has 27 home runs at the end of the first half, and he’s pretty much on pace to destroy all of his offensive career-highs. This week, he became the first switch-hitter in Pirates history to hit three HR in one game. HIs 26th homer, hit on July 3, gave him 60 extra-base hits on the season and broke the previous NL record for XBH before the first half, held by Albert Pujols (59) (H/T: @MLBStats). All told, Bell’s slash line is up to .302/.376/.648 with a 1.024 OPS.
While Bell has enjoyed an incredible season, his teammate, Adam Frazier, however, has not — until the calendar switched to July, that is. Frazier has hit a whopping seven doubles this week. He hit four alone on July 1, tying the MLB record for doubles in a game. It was the first time a Pirates hitter has done that since Paul Waner in 1932 (H/T: @Pirates). To put Frazier’s hot streak into further perspective, he hit four doubles in 25 games in June. He’s hit seven total in seven games in July, bringing his overall slash line to .287/.341/.416 (it was .254/.311/.361 on June 30).
The San Diego Padres have hit home runs
If before the 2019 MLB season began I would have told you that by the halfway point the San Diego Padres would be top-10 in home runs, would you have believed me? Well, with 139 total home runs this season, that’s exactly where they stand. And this is with playing their home games at Petco Park, whose park factors have it 30th in runs and 20th in home runs in 2019.
But the Padres have been so far undeterred. They are the first team in MLB this season with two players who have reached the 25-home run mark: Franmil Reyes (25) and Hunter Renfroe (27). They also have four other players who have reached the double-digit homer mark, including prized free agent acquisition, Manny Machado (20) and upstart rookie, Fernando Tatis Jr. (14). Oh, and the Padres franchise record for home runs in one season is 189, in case anyone was wondering.
And so have the Yankees
Yes, the Yankees have hit many a long ball, but sadly for them, their preposterous home run streak came to an end this week. After a ridiculous offensive explosion in England, the Yankees began July carrying a streak of 31 straight games with a home run. That historic streak — the longest in MLB history — ended on July 2 in a loss against the crosstown New York Mets. And while the streak may have ended, the Yankees have been and remain a fantasy bounty this season, with quality options for fantasy gamers at pretty much every position. Not to mention, they’ve fielded seven hitters who have reached double-digit home runs this season.
Yuli Gurriel won’t let little bro outshine him
Much has been made about the resurgence of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. this season, and well-deserved. After a demotion to the minors earlier this year, Gurriel Jr. has returned to the majors with a vengeance, showing off a power burst that wasn’t there at the start of the season.
Well, it seems like the older Gurriel does not intend on being left in his younger brother’s dust, as he has been on fire of late. Yuli has gone five straight games with a homer. In total, Yuli hit six home runs and collected 13 RBI while continuing on an 11-game hitting streak this past week alone. His season slash line is now up to .277/.314/.482 with a .796 OPS. Before the streak, he was hitting a paltry .258/.293/.389. The spike in his rostered percentage in fantasy certainly reflects his recent hot stretch.
Bryce Harper: One swing is all it takes
Bryce Harper is on a modest five-game hitting streak, but he achieved a career benchmark this past week in a very Bryce Harper sort of way. On July 3, Harper hit his 200th home run and his 1000th hit, all in one swing — that home run will definitely be one to remember. Unfortunately for fantasy gamers rostering Harper, it hasn’t been the greatest season overall.
He’s slashing .253/.370/.470 with a .839 OPS and 16 home runs, wholeheartedly overshadowed by his fellow NL outfielders, Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger. Suffice it to say, Harper hasn’t exactly lived up to his late-first round/early second round ADP, but maybe the second half will bring better results.
Obligatory Mike Trout blurb
We’re getting to the part of the season where it becomes increasingly more difficult to not include Mike Trout in this column every single week. I try to shed light on a wide variety of players in this game of fantasy baseball but this guy is just ridiculous. I am convinced Trout wanted to end the first half with an exclamation point, because that’s exactly what he did this past week:
Trout is now only the second player in MLB history to hit 25+ home runs in eight consecutive seasons (H/T: @StatsBySTATS) before turning 28 years old. He has 28 as we head into the All-Star Break.
His season slash line now stands at a preposterous .301/.453/.646 with a 1.098 — which is higher than the highest first-half OPS in Angels franchise history (also set by Mike Trout, also set this week — H/T: @MLBStats).
He homered four times from July 3 to July 5 and collected 10 RBI this past week, entering the All-Star Break with 28 home runs and 67 RBI.
I’m certain this won’t be the last time we’ll find Trout here this season.
Which other crazy stats stuck out to you this week?