Late, Great Power Hitting Years

Ted Williams, Roy Campanella and Mickey Mantle had three seasons after age 28 with at least 30 home runs and a 150 OPS+...

Toronto Blue Jay Jose Bautista also has three such late, great power hitting years under his belt.

The all-time record is far out of reach at eleven seasons (Barry Bonds).

Chasing History: Jonathan Lucroy Update

Jonathan Lucroy now has 44 doubles hit this season as a catcher.  He stands one double away from tying the all-time mark set by Ivan Rodriguez in 1996.

See this post from last week for the full list of catchers with 40+ two-baggers in a single season.

 

The Power Outage of 1988

 

You think we don’t have home runs today.  Think about baseball fans of 1988.  The entire National League saw just two players hit 30 long balls.  No team averaged one HR/game that season.

This was on the heels of a record-setting 1987 when 19 teams averaged one homer per night.

Twenty-eight players hit thirty bombs in ’87 including:

Read the rest of this entry

All-Time F.I.P.’er Greats

All-time, MLB, single pitching seasons with the following parameters:

  • 220 strikeouts
  • 4.50 K/BB
  • HR/9 allowed < 0.66

 

Rk              Player Year  SO SO/W  HR9  Tm GS  FIP ERA+
1    Christy  Mathewson 1908 259 6.17 0.12 NYG 44 1.29  168
2             Ed  Walsh 1908 269 4.80 0.04 CHW 49 1.42  162
3       Walter  Johnson 1913 243 6.39 0.23 WSH 36 1.90  259
4         Sandy  Koufax 1963 306 5.28 0.52 LAD 40 1.85  159
5           Tom  Seaver 1971 289 4.74 0.57 NYM 35 1.93  194
6        Roger  Clemens 1988 291 4.69 0.58 BOS 35 2.17  141
7        Randy  Johnson 1995 294 4.52 0.50 SEA 30 2.08  193
8       Pedro  Martinez 1997 305 4.55 0.60 MON 31 2.39  219
9          Kevin  Brown 1998 257 5.24 0.28 SDP 35 2.23  164
10      Pedro  Martinez 1999 313 8.46 0.38 BOS 29 1.39  243
11      Pedro  Martinez 2002 239 5.98 0.59 BOS 30 2.24  202
12          Mark  Prior 2003 245 4.90 0.64 CHC 30 2.47  179
13        Zack  Greinke 2009 242 4.75 0.43 KCR 33 2.33  205
14        Roy  Halladay 2011 220 6.29 0.39 PHI 32 2.20  163
15     Clayton  Kershaw 2011 248 4.59 0.58 LAD 33 2.47  161
16        Corey  Kluber 2014 223 4.85 0.62 CLE 30 2.60  152

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/7/2014.

Zach Britton Pitching to His Defense

The closer version of Zach Britton is shooting for a batted ball record.  78% of the balls in play against the Orioles relief ace this year are being hit on the ground.

Thanks to a great defense behind him only 22% of batted balls are falling for hits.

As per FanGraphs since ’02 the highest ground ball rate against was posted by Brad Ziegler in 2012 (76%).

Jonathan Lucroy Chases History

The Milwaukee Brewers’ Jonathan Lucroy leads the National League in doubles this season with 47.  In addition he is chasing history because 40 of his two-baggers have come while playing catcher.

Here are the all-time single-season doubles leaders hit as a catcher:

  1. Ivan Rodriguez, 45, 1996

  2. Yadier Molina, 44, 2013

  3. Mickey Cochrane, 42*, 1930

  4. Jonathan Lucroy, 2014, Terry Kennedy, 1982. Jorge Posada, 2007. Brian McCann, 2008 tied at 40

*season total (pre play-by-play data)

Young, Run Producing Centerfielders

All-time, Major League Baseball first-year center fielders with:

  • 100 Hits
  • .300 Batting Average
  • 100 OPS+
Rk             Player OPS+   H   BA Year Age  Tm
1        Earl  Averill  136 198 .332 1929  27 CLE
2       Danny  Santana  131 105 .317 2014  23 MIN
3         Homer  Smoot  130 161 .311 1902  24 STL
4        Hunter  Pence  129 147 .322 2007  24 HOU
5        Joe  DiMaggio  128 206 .323 1936  21 NYY
6       Wally  Judnich  126 157 .303 1940  24 SLB
7    Johnny  Frederick  126 206 .328 1929  27 BRO
8         Roy  Sievers  125 144 .306 1949  22 SLB
9      Richie  Ashburn  123 154 .333 1948  21 PHI
10       Cesar  Cedeno  114 110 .310 1970  19 HOU
11         Wally  Moon  110 193 .304 1954  24 STL
12       Dom  DiMaggio  110 126 .301 1940  23 BOS
13        Lloyd  Waner  109 223 .355 1927  21 PIT
14        Irv  Waldron  106 186 .311 1901  29 TOT
15    Chris  Singleton  105 149 .300 1999  26 CHW
16     Barney  McCosky  102 190 .311 1939  22 DET
17         Al  Simmons   98 183 .308 1924  22 PHA

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/6/2014.

Houston’s Tradition at Second Base

As you may be aware Jose Altuve is leading the AL in hits, batting average and stolen bases this season.  You may also understand that the Houston Astros have had some incredible second sacker’s over their half century existence.  Art Howe, Bill Doran, Phil Garner and Jeff Kent all posted really good seasons for the Astros.

But the franchises first great middle-infielder was future hall-of-famer Joe Morgan.  Before being traded to the Reds prior to the 1972 season Morgan was named to two All-Star teams.  According to FanGraphs “Offense” his two best run producing years in Houston were ’65 & ’67.  These were two of the eight best years ever posted by an Astros 2B.

As you can probably guess Craig Biggio dominates the list with six of the top nine years.  That leaves one great season by a Houston second baseman.  If he doesn’t slump in September Altuve will finish with a better run producing year than Morgan ever had during his first nine years in the big leagues.

 

Long Ball Supressing Relief Aces

Tampa Bay Rays reliever Jake McGee has allowed zero home runs in 62 innings pitched this year. The lefty has totaled 80 strikeouts.

This zero HR’s thing is quite impressive even with scoring levels down sharply from historic heights. It turns out that another AL reliever has bettered McGee in 2014. His name is Wade Davis. Ned Yost‘s setup man in KC has whiffed 90 opposing batters and kept every batted ball against in the park.

So who has the most strikeouts in a single season while not surrendering a single long ball*? Terry Forster for the 1972 White Sox. The twenty year-old sent down 104 batters on strikes that year in just 62 relief appearances and a very impressive 100 innings pitched.

Forster’s set-up man in Chicago that year….rookie Rich Gossage.

*Live ball era (since 1920)

Those Walkin’ Mets

Despite being four games under .500 the New York Mets have outscored their opponents through 108 games this season.  By pure run differential the Mets are better than the Yankees, Cardinals, Rays, Pirates and Reds in 2014.

So how have the team from Flushing been able to score runs?  The Base-On-Balls.

NYM lead the National League in walks.   Terry Collins‘ lineup features five players with on-base percentages over .330.  Lucas Duda, Curtis Granderson, Daniel Murphy, Ruben Tejada and David Wright have all been very good at reaching base this year.  Only St. Louis has as many high OBP guys as the Mets.

 

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