Welcome to this week's edition of Marty's Musings, my weekly column of numbers summarizing the past week in Major League Baseball. I am your guide for taking an analytic look at the prior week and the upcoming matchups to watch, identifying numbers that are generally not found in a standard box score.
This week we saw two sluggers hit milestone home runs and another continue to blast dingers into the stratosphere and a young pitcher continue to make his case for a potential breakout Cy Young season. It's this week's installment of Marty's Musings.
Here are this week's Numbers Beyond the Box Score:
Third base coach Dave Clark Congratulates Miguel Cabrera on his 400th Home Run. Credit: Scott Kane - USA Today Sports
400 - Both Miguel Cabrera and Adrian Beltre rocked out their 400th blast of their respective careers. They are tied for fourth among all active players and sit at 52nd on the all-time home run list. Miggy set the record for most home runs by a Venezuelan and Beltre continues to make his case for the Hall of Fame. Beltre currently holds sixth place on the all-time third baseman JAWS list behind Hall members Mike Schmidt, Eddie Matthews, George Brett, Wade Boggs, and soon to be inductee Chipper Jones.
-0.2 - Joe Mauer's current Wins Above Replacement Player per Baseball Prospectus. Mauer is playing first base full time and through the first six weeks and 153 plate appearances this season has yet to hit his first home run. Mauer only has ten extra base hits on the year and for the second year in a row his defense at first is costing the Twins runs. More bad news for Minnesota is that he is signed through the 2018 season. The fall from grace has not been pretty.
32 - Number of wins the Pirates have in 49 Major League starts by pitcher Gerritt Cole. Cole has allowed more than three earned runs only five times in all of his starts with the Pirates and continues to improve and show he can truly be an ‘Ace' and potential Cy Young candidate. Cole has a 2.40 ERA, 2.44 FIP and 2.77 xFIP. Cole's 4.08 strikeout to walk rate is the best of his professional career and he's striking out over a batter per inning so far in 2015 (9.80 strikeouts per nine).
116.2 - Current off the bat miles per hour for Giancarlo Stanton home runs per ESPN's home run tracker. Stanton has hit some moon-shots of late and leads the majors in exit velocity per baseball savant with at 97.35 MPH. Stanton has 11 home runs on the year including this moon-shot from last week when he hit a ball clear out of Dodger stadium. The LA faithful just stood and applauded. Stanton has three home runs over 465 feet while the rest of the Majors has only two combined.
2 - Number of Madduxes (nine-inning complete game shutout in 100 pitches or fewer) by Braves pitcher Shelby Miller in his last three starts. Miller came over in the Jason Heyward trade last winter and has been exceptional with a 1.33 ERA and 3.79 xFIP. The last pitcher with two Maduxxes in a three-start span was James Shields in 2008. Miller has benefited greatly by a .183 batting average on balls in play including 19 in-play outs on Sunday before Miller lost his no-hit bid against the Marlins.
3 - Speaking of Miami, they are currently paying three managers. This is the last year of Ozzie Guillen's ill-fated four-year deal, Loria fired manager Mike Redmond after the game on Sunday and a new skipper will be installed Monday. Miami is currently a half game ahead of the last place Phillies in the National League East; both teams have only 16 wins on the year and site six and six and a half games behind the first place Mets. And yes, you read that last part correctly.
209 - wRC+ for Nationals' Bryce Harper. Harper continues to dominate at the plate having reached base in 47.3 percent of his plate appearances and driving 13 home runs out of the yard. Harper has a 2.6 fWAR and leads all Major Leaguers with a .478 wOBA.
2.7 - Fangraphs Wins Above Replacement for Miami second baseman Dee Gordon. Gordon's .420/.444/.513 slash line, combined with above average defense and 12 stolen bases makes him an unlikely leader atop the Fangraphs WAR leaderboard. Gordon has been caught stealing seven times and his. 473 BABIP is bound to regress, but it's nearly Memorial Day and Gordon has been a welcome addition in Miami.
What to Watch
I suggested everyone watch Kluber in his last start and boy, he did not disappoint. In an eight-inning 18 strikeout affair, Klubot dominated the league leading St. Louis Cardinals (Michael Bradburn broke it down here). On a light Monday slate, Kluber versus Sale is the quintessential divisional matchup all fans should enjoy. Although both starters have struggled, their underlying numbers make me think they will quickly turn it around --- Sale's 5.09 ERA belies his 3.51 xFIP.
Tuesday, May 19
Sonny Gray (OAK) v. Roberto Hernandez (HOU)
Oakland continues to struggle and they trail the Astros by 12 games in the American League West. Gray has been the one sunny spot for the Athletics as he is fourth in baseball in ERA (1.61) and is fifth in FIP (2.40). He is also top five in swinging strikes so going up against an Astros lineup that strikes out in a quarter of their at bats. The A's are in really bad shape but a series win against the ‘stros in Houston into Memorial Day weekend would be a welcome sign of change.
Thursday, May 21
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) v. Madison Bumgarner (SF)
This is the third time these two have faced one another this season and the first afternoon game they have faced off. Kershaw's numbers seem to be mostly human [GASP] but he is still in the top five in swing and misses (13.8 swing and miss percent). These are two of the best pitchers in the National League, don't take it for granted.
Friday, May 22
Noah Syndergaard (NYM) v. Gerrit Cole (PIT)
Syndergaard held his own against the Cubs last week and goes up against the Pirates ace on Friday night. The Mets held an 8.5 game lead over the Nationals entering May but have floundered of late and now only lead D.C. by one. The Pirates, meanwhile, continue to underwhelm and just got swept by the Cardinals. The Pirates have been involved in an incredible six walkoff losses so far this year.
Saturday, May 23
Cole Hamels (PHI) v. Max Scherzer (WAS)
Scherzer has been pretty spectacular for the Nationals so far and currently has a 1.75 ERA, 2.04 FIP, and a 2.94 xFIP. His home run and walk rate are far below what they have been in previous years and he's providing the Nats with exactly what they expected when they paid him this past offseason. Hamels meanwhile is walking more people than he has his entire career and with each start affects his trade value for Ruben Amaro, who is likely hoping for a big haul this summer.
Sunday, May 24
Trevor Bauer (CLE) v. Johnny Cueto (CIN)
A battle for Ohio, Bauer has a fantastic strikeout rate K'ing 44 in 41 innings and his walk rate continues to improve. He's thrown two clunkers this year but five of his seven starts he has gone six innings or more and struck out at least seven. Cueto is in a similar spot to Hamels in that with each start, he may be getting closer to the end of his tenure with his current team.
*As an aside, I'll be at the Mets / Cardinals game on Wednesday night for anyone who would like to stop and say hello.