15 things you might not know about the American League so far in 2018

When you spend yours days looking through MLB stats for various things you start to find some  stats about a few players and teams that are quite interesting. Most of these aren’t enough to flesh out into full articles but I have kept note of these so here comes a list. I have given one per team and the National League list will follow.

Please note that a qualified players have to have played the following amounts of time during a season.

Starters – 1 IP per Team game, i.e. 162 IP by the end of this season to qualify

Reliever – 0.25 IP per Team game, i.e. 40.5 IP by the end of this season to qualify

Batters – 3.1 PA per Team game, i.e. 502 IP by the end of this season to qualify

AL East

Red Sox – Craig Kimbrel has now got 30+ saves in 8 consecutive seasons, this places him 2nd on the all time list behind Mariano Rivera who had 9 in a row from 2003-2011. His 8th 30+ save season puts him joint 6th all-time with Mariano Rivera once again leading that with 15.

YankeesLuis Severino looks set to be the only Yankee qualified starter who has played the whole season with the Yankees (J.A Happ looks set to qualify but spent is majority of the season with the Blue Jays). This will only be the 6th time in Yankees history that only one pitcher has reached enough innings to qualify, playing just for the Yankees.  But before you think that puts a massive doubt on their postseason chances, the Astros last year had no qualified pitchers beyond Justin Verlander who only started 5 games for them.

Blue Jays – Teoscar Hernandez is on pace to become the Blue Jay who has the highest strikeout rate ever in one season, his strikeout rate of 30.8% is higher than the current record of 28.1% from Michael Saunders in 2016. His strikeout rate minus walk rate, 23.3%, is also on course for being a Blue Jays records. Despite this he has a wRC (Weighted Runs Created Plus) + of 107 so is still on for an above average season with the bat.

Rays – Beyond my previous article about the Rays, Blake Snell is within touching distance of the “best” win-loss record for a Rays starter. His current record of 17-5 puts him 3rd for most wins ever in a season every by a Ray starter behind David Price who had 19-6 in 2010 and 20-5 in 2012. Also if he doesn’t lose a game before the end of the season he will match the loss record as well with Price in 2012.

Orioles – Where to start here, I will avoid Chris Davis as he has been discussed plenty elsewhere. The Orioles look set to have 3 qualified starters, they all have losing records and they all have less than 10 wins. The last team to manage this was the Chicago Cubs in 2013 and only 5 teams have managed this since the expansion to a 162 game season.


AL Central

IndiansCorey Kluber and Trevor Bauer have both pitched enough innings to be qualified for 2018, this will be the 4th season in a row which they have both qualified pitchers for the Indians.  The Indians haven’t had a pair of pitchers get to four qualified seasons in a row in the last 50 years since Sam McDowell and Sonny Siebert did in 1968. They are still 7 seasons off the MLB record set by John Smoltz and Tom Glavine between 1989-1999 at the Atlanta Braves and tied for the most in MLB right now with Gio Gonzalez and Max Scherzer of the Nationals.

TwinsJoe Mauer is on course to qualify for his 12th season with the Twins this means he will equal Kirby Puckett (1984-1995) for the most seasons qualified at the Twins by a player. He needs to pick up 49 PA in the final 23 Twins games to qualify for the season. Additional he is the only Joe to be a qualified batter for the Twins, which is interesting as it is the most popular first name for qualified batters in MLB with 356 qualified seasons.

Tigers – With Matt Boyd set to be the only qualified starter for Tigers, he will become the fourth different solo qualified starter for the Tigers in the last 4 season. Following on from Michael Fulmer in 2017, Justin Verlander in 2016 and Alfredo Simon in 2015.  This is the longest season streak ever in MLB history for a team to have only one qualified starter and each season the starter being different.

White SoxTim Anderson has already stolen 25 bases so far in 2018, which is the most for a White Sox player since Alexi Ramirez in 2013. The White Sox as an organisation have already stolen 93 bases (72% success rate) which 22 more that the whole of last season when they 71 with a 70% success rate.

Royals –  Whit Merrifield has become the fourth Royal to hit 10+ home runs and steal 30+ bases in back to back seasons solely as a Royal. Carlos Beltran did this 3 seasons in a row between 2001-2003, Johnny Damon did it in 1999-2000 and Amos Otis did it in 1978-1979. Merrifield’s wRC+ is 123 which is well above average, he looks like he will be the only qualified Royals batter with and above average wRC+


AL West

Astros – As I talked about above the Astros had no solely qualified pitchers but in 2016 they had 4 (Collin McHugh, Dallas Keuchel, Mike Fiers, Doug Fister). This season they are on course to have 4 qualify (Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton), if they achieve this they will the first team in the MLB ever to 4+ qualifying pitchers in one season, 0 in the one after and 4+ in the one after that.

Athletics – Most A’s fans will be worrying about the fitness of Sean Manaea and if he is going to be available for them before the end of the season or in the postseason. I am looking at him wondering if he is going to pitch the 1 1/3 innings he needs to get to 162 IP and become a qualified starter because if he doesn’t the Athletics will have had back to back seasons with no qualified starters. This has occurred only once since 1950 and that was by the Athletics (1996-1997).

Mariners – At the time of writing Edwin Diaz has 53 saves which puts him =5th on the all time single season list but what is even more interesting about his record is that he has 0 wins. In all of the other top 25 seasons for saves the pitcher picked up at least one win along the way. There have been 8 seasons where a pitch has got more than 40+ saves but no wins and all of them have come in this century and of the seasons with 20+ saves but no wins only 1 of them occurred before the 90’s (Tom Henke 1987). This clearly shows a change in the using of ‘closers’ in recent times.

Angels Mike Trout is an amazing baseball player and all of the teams in MLB know that. He is currently on a walk rate of 20.6% which if he finishes the season on would make him the man with the highest walk rate by qualified starters since Barry Bonds in 2004 (37.6%) and the highest by an Angels batter ever. He has also hit 30+ HR and has 20+ SB for his second season in a row, last player to do this was Ryan Braun 2011-2012.

Rangers – Currently all 5 qualified Rangers’ batters have above average wRC+, Joey Gallo (113), Shin-Soo Choo (130), Rougned Odor (117), Nomar Mazara (108) & Jurickson Profar (114).  The last time the team had 5+ above average batters was back in 2011 when Nelson Cruz, Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, Adrian Beltre and Michael Young helped the Rangers a 96 win season and trip to the World Series. The big difference between then and now is that in 2011 they had 5 qualified starters of which four had and ERA of less than 4, compare that to 2018 where they have no qualified starters and the teams ERA from its starters is 5.45.



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