Welcome to ‘Marty's Musings', my weekly column of numbers summarizing the past week in Major League Baseball and looking forward to this week’s key matchups. I am your guide for taking an analytic look at the previous week in MLB and previewing some of this week's key matchups, identifying numbers that are generally not found in a standard box score.
In this week’s edition, we celebrate the best player in baseball and mourn his far too early October departure, look at the awfulness of the Reds pitchers, and put some numbers behind the return of the longball.
5 - Years in a row that Mike Trout led the Majors in fWAR. Trout posted a 9.4 fWAR this season, following up on a 9.0 fwin season in 2015. He finished one full Win ahead of second place Kris Bryant. The last player to lead the league in WAR in five consecutive seasons was Babe Ruth. August Fagerstrom wrote about just how good Trout has been in an historical context.
1005 - Career hits for Buster Posey who went over the thousand mark on Tuesday night. Post launched number 1,000 against the Rockies at Coors Field. The Giants prepare for Wednesday night’s winner-take-all wildcard game against the Mets.
4 - Earned runs given up by Zach Britton all season including only one at home. Britton is [somehow] in the Cy Young race for his exceptional performance through 67 innings. His sinker has become one of the most lethal pitches in any bullpen. The O’s would be wise to get the ball to Britton as quickly as they can on Tuesday night in Toronto.
24 - Consecutive seasons of at least .500 baseball for the New York Yankees. The Yankees are just never bad. They are at worst, on the fringe of the playoffs, playing meaningful games well into September. Despite selling seemingly every player on their roster over the age of 25, New York was still alive just a few weeks ago (until the Red Sox soul-crushingly beat them four-straight at Fenway).
0.725 - Clayton Kershaw’s WHIP through 149 innings. It’s a record for any MLB pitcher who threw over 100 innings. He also put up a 172:11 strikeout to walk ratio (one was an intentional base on balls). Kershaw missed a good portion of the season due to injury but should be healthy going into the playoffs.
43 - Home runs hit by Mariners journeyman Nelson Cruz. Cruz joins only Babe Ruth and Mark McGwire as the only players to hit 40+ homers in their age-33 / 34 / 35 seasons. His 4.2 fWAR was the third best of his career and so far he’s already amassed 10 Wins in two seasons for the M’s. Although the signing was roundly mocked last year, Cruz has been excellent for Seattle and the Mariners barely fell short of the wildcard this year.
36 - Number of one-run wins for the Rangers, who finished 36-11 in one-run games, a .765 winning percentage. While it’s shy of the Brooklyn Bridegrooms .778 record, Brooklyn was only 14-4. The Rangers won the AL West and cemented the top AL playoff seed via some unlikely sequencing but they are healthy and well-positioned to make a postseason run with the AL winner having to go through Arlington.
111 - Players that hit at least 20 home runs in 2016. Last season only 64 players hit the mark. This year’s list includes unlikely players such as Ryan Schrimpf, Adam Lind, Tommy Joseph, and Gary Sanchez (who hit 20 in only 229 plate appearances).
38 - Home runs for David Ortiz in his last season. He set the record for the most homers in a swan-song season, and finished the year with a 4.5 fWAR, his best mark since 2007. The Red Sox celebrated the slugger with weekend long ceremonies at Fenway and look forward to continued postseason heroics over the next few weeks.
7th - Brian Dozier’s place on the all-time Twins leaderboard for home runs in a season. Unsurprisingly, Harmon Killebrew holds the top six spots (as well as eight through ten) as Dozier’s career year puts him in elite company. It was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise abysmal season for the Twins.
103 - Losses for the Twins, setting another franchise record. Dozier had a great year, the rest of the team...not so much. The worst record in team history was 60-102, but this year’s squad eeked out the win...er loss….at least they had Dozier and Byron Buxton.
-.05 - The combined fWAR for all Cincinnati Reds pitchers. The Reds ranked 30th well behind the 29th ranked Angels, who posted nearly six Wins. Jeff Sullivan wrote about just how bad Cincy was on the mound this season. The Reds also set the record for the most homers given up in a season at 258. The record previously was held by the 1996 Tigers at 241.