November 13, 2018

Looking at Statistical Leaders at the Half-Way Point

June 30, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Most teams are at or around the 81-game mark, so the 2018 regular season is essentially half way over at this point. It is always fun to scan the leaders in various categories at this point in the season and do the easy math to see what we are on pace for.

Some things don’t change: Jose Altuve led all of baseball last year with a .346 average, and so far this year he is the leader with a .340 average. Last year Joey Votto and Mike Trout were the top two in OBP, and this year it is the same, though the order is flipped with Trout ahead of Votto.

Edwin Escobar of the Twins has been hitting a lot of doubles — 33 and in a comfortable lead over Jose Abreu and Alex Bregman tied for second with 27. Last year Jose Ramirez led with 56, so even a slow down Escobar could conceivably eclipse that.

Doesn’t look like we’ll see as high a HR leader as Stanton’s 59 from last year, as J.D. Martinez has 25 and so is on pace for 50. Overall HRs are a bit down from last year as well: 2.28 vs. 2.51 per game. Runs per game are also down: 8.74 vs. 9.29.

We might see a new record for strikeouts though, as Joey Gallo has 116 and Yoan Moncada has 115. The record is 223 by Mark Reynolds in 2009. Last year Aaron Judge led the majors with 208. And overall strikeouts per game are up a bit as well: 17.05 per game vs. 16.50 last year.

We aren’t see strong SB leaders, with Michael Taylor at the top with only 23. Last year Dee Gordon had 60 and Billy Hamilton had 59. There hasn’t been a MLB leader in SB as low as 46 since 1963, when Maury Wills led the NL with 40 and Luis Aparicio led the AL with 40. (even the strike shortened 1981, 1994, and 1995 seasons had higher SB leaders). Overall SB are also slightly down, at 0.98 per game vs. 1.04 last yaer.

Last year there were no 20-game winners — the highest was 18 by four different pitchers. So far this year Luis Severino is in the lead with 12 wins, Corey Kluber has 11, and then six others have 10. Likely most of these hurlers will not reach 20, but perhaps one or two will, or perhaps one or two of the seven guys who have 9 wins.

Last year Chris Sale led the majors with 308 strikeouts, with Max Scherzer coming in second with 268. So far this year Max Scherzer has 165, Sale has 153, Gerrit Cole has 151, and Trevor Bauer has 148. So we might reasonably see two guys top 300 this year.

And last year continued the trend of fewer and fewer complete games. Corey Kluber and Edwin Santanta had 5 each, but then no other pitcher even had 3. So far this year only Carlos Carrasco, Jose Berrios, and John Paxton have 2 each. In total last year there were only 59 complete games… but so far this year we have seen only a paltry 23. Even accounting for pitchers being pulled early during the beginning of the season, I doubt we’ll get to last year’s modest total.

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