Early season stat leaders

You know that Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger lead MLB with 16 and 14 home runs respectively. Without doubt, it is an incredible tally this early in the season, but you might not realise that Twins’ outfielder Eddie Rosario or Astros’ superstar George Springer are only just behind having both launched 13 long balls.

Bellinger has also scored the most runs (34) and leads the league with 38 RBI, but here are a few other stat leaders that you may not know.

Stolen bases
White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson has swiped 12 bags and looks well on course to eclipse his career-high of 26. Mariners’ Dee Gordon and Royals’ Adalberto Mondesi are the only other players with double-digit stolen bases.

While Anderson is perfect in 12 out of 12 stolen base attempts, at the opposite end of the scale is Mets’ Jeff McNeil who has been caught stealing in all four of his attempts.

No-one has more hits than Bellinger’s 53, but Diamondbacks’ outfielder David Peralta is surprisingly in second place. Tigers’ Mikie Mahtook is 0-for-23 and still awaiting his first hit of the season.

Batting average
If you take Bellinger (.396 AVG) and Yelich (.356 AVG) out of the equation, then Jeff McNeil leads the league with .356 AVG. Phillies’ Scott Kingery is actually hitting .406, but that is only in 35 plate appearances.

Despite just a .250 batting average, Mariners’ first baseman Ryon Healy leads the league with 16 doubles, one more than former top prospect Byron Buxton of the Twins.

Pitcher walks
With another uncontrolled start, Rangers’ Yu Darvish leapt ahead of Royals’ starter Brad Keller and Blue Jays’ Aaron Sanchez with the worst walk rate in the game. It is a staggering 8.10 BB/9.

The best stats are from Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu who has allowed just two walks in 44⅓ innings.

Hitter walks
With 34 walks, Mike Trout is on-pace to set a career high. He won’t come close to breaking the MLB record of 232 walks by Barry Bonds in 2004, but Bonds was gifted many of those as intentional free passes.

Pitcher strikeouts
Astros’ starter Gerrit Cole leads all pitchers with 74 strikeouts, just ahead of Max Scherzer (72) and Stephen Strasburg (68). Brewers’ Josh Hader has the best strikeout rate of over 59 K% (which equates to 20.1 SO/9).

Batting strikeouts
Royals’ Jorge Soler and Mariners’ Mitch Haniger are the only two players in the game to have already racked up 50 strikeouts. Unsurprisingly, social media’s heartthrob Willians Astudillo has the best stats of just one strikeout in 53 plate appearances.

Royals’ Alex Gordon has been hit eight times, one more than Jeff McNeil (who features in several of these categories) and Anthony Rizzo. It is no surprise that the Cubs first baseman appears on this list. He has been hit 90 times over the last four seasons, significantly more than any other player.

Despite his 2.31 ERA over seven starts, Tigers’ Spencer Turnbull has already hit five batters to go with his three wild pitches. The leader, however, is Chris Sale who has plunked six hitters.

Plate discipline
Considering the league average is 11%, outfielder Tyler O’Neill‘s 27.5% swinging strike rate is easily the worst. Veteran Matt Kemp has the second worst rate. It is no coincidence that neither O’Neill or Kemp are in the big leagues anymore, with one having been optioned by the Cardinals and the other released by the Reds.

At the opposite end of the scale, the contact leaders include three Angels (Mike Trout, Tommy La Stella and David Fletcher), plus Eric Sogard, Michael Brantley and, of course, Willians Astudillo.

Fielding errors
Mariners’ shortstop Tim Beckham has already accumulated 11 errors, but teammate Domingo Santana has the league-worst fielding percentage. In eighth place is Ryon Healy, so, defensively, it has not been a good start for the Mariners.

WHIP (min seven starts)
Rangers’ Shelby Miller (1.92 WHIP) and Cardinals’ Dakota Hudson (1.77 WHIP) have the least impressive stats. Padres’ rookie phenom Chris Paddack has been unworldly with a WHIP below 0.70 in his seven starts.

ERA (min seven starts)
Mike Fiers had the worst ERA until he threw a no-hitter against the Reds. Now the unwanted accolade goes to Shelby Miller (7.48 ERA) and Ivan Nova (7.04 ERA).

Tyler Glasnow (1.47 ERA) is the best starter just ahead of Chris Paddack (1.55 ERA), Zach Davies (1.56 ERA) and Luis Castillo (1.97 ERA). A special mention goes to Jon Lester with 1.41 ERA over six starts.

As an evaluation statistic ERA has flaws, so using FIP (Fielding independent pitching) Max Scherzer is off to an even better start than Glasnow or Paddack.

Although they only made two starts, Indians’ Mike Clevinger and Tigers’ Matt Moore will both have a 0.00 ERA when they return from the Injured List.

Home runs allowed
In 110 innings for the Athletics last season, Trevor Cahill only allowed eight home runs. In just over 33 innings for the Angels in 2019, he has already been tagged for league-leading 12 dingers.

Phillies’ Jerad Eickhoff has pitched the most innings without allowing a homer.

With 1.1 WAR, Padres’ Kirby Yates is the best reliever this season and also tops the closers lists with 15 saves. His teammate in San Diego Craig Stammen leads the league with nine holds.

Pirates’ Keone Kela has four blown saves to his name and Reds’ closer Raisel Iglesias has already been tagged with five losses.

Chris Paddack recently trolled Pete Alonso about his position as Rookie of the Year favourite, but that overlooks Rays’ Brandon Lowe who is currently the best rookie with 1.6 WAR.

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