Isiah Kiner-Falefa not Dua Lipa is the decade’s singles superstar

Foolishly, I thought Dua Lipa had the most singles since the start of 2020, but I was wrong. It is Isiah Kiner-Falefa. The 2021 season is now about as long as the one in 2020, so we have enough data to see who are the best (and worst) players in MLB over the last 120ish games.

We all know that Freddie Freeman and José Abreu won the MVP award for their respective leagues in the shortened 2020 season. And most of us know that Luke Voit hit the most homers (22), Adalberto Mondesi swiped the most bags (24) and, among qualified hitters, Juan Soto had the best OPS (1.029).

The leaders for 2020 and 2021 combined are …

Home runs: Fernando Tatís Jr. (34)

I didn’t realise that FTJ had hit the most homers. 17 in each season demonstrates his impressive consistency. Do you remember only a few weeks ago when we thought his status as one of the best players in the game was in jeopardy?

RBI: José Abreu (108)

This is not a surprise. Abreu was the only player to reach 60 RBI in 2020, and he is the only player to reach 100 over the course of the last two seasons combined.

Stolen bases: Whit Merrifield (29)

Seeing Merrifield at the top of the leader board is not a surprise, but it is unexpected that 29 bags over two seasons leads MLB. Especially considering that the 2020 leader (Adalberto Mondesi) swiped 24 last season alone.

Batting average: Trea Turner (.319)

Although the Nationals’ lead-off hitter’s level has slipped slightly from last season, he joins his teammate Juan Soto and fellow shortstop, Xander Bogaerts, as the only players hitting over .310 for the last two seasons combined.

Runs: Ronald Acuña Jr. (96)

Nothing surprising here. The Braves superstar is the only player to reach 50 runs this season. More surprising to me was to see Mark Canha in sixth place over the last two years.

Runs leaders – Seasons 2020-2021 combined

OPS: Mike Trout 1.029

Among qualified hitters, the three-time MVP is the only player slugging over .600 for the last two seasons combined. Add this to his .419 OBP (second-best) and .301 AVG (joint 10th), and you really have to question why last season was his worst when measured by MVP voting. Fifth!

Singles: Isiah Kiner-Falefa (104)

With only 13 career home runs, the Rangers former-catcher/current-shortstop doesn’t have much power. And, with a career 5.8 BB%, he seldom walks. But, when he gets to the plate, the Hawaiian star has a knack for hitting singles.

Doubles: Rafael Devers (35)

According to Baseball Savant’s data on expected home runs, the Red Sox third baseman should have more dingers this season than home run leader, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Hot take: He hits the ball hard.

Triples: Kyle Tucker, Garrett Hampson (7)

Triples production always seems random to me. You probably think speed is the most important quality for a triples hitter. Hampson, Amed Rosario, Ozzie Albies and Nick Madrigal form a quartet of speedsters in joint-second with four triples this season, behind 34-year-old Diamondbacks sluggish slugger, David Peralta.

Walks: Carlos Santana (90)

Only four active hitters have taken more than 1,000 walks: Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto and Santana. The Royals first baseman has avoided injuries better than the other three plagued superstars since the start of 2020.

Intentional walks: Juan Soto (18)

I love the fear that the youngster strikes into opposing teams. The MLB-leading 18 intentional walks is despite playing far fewer games over the last two seasons than Freddie Freeman in second or Bryce Harper in third.

Strikeouts: Miguel Sanó (162)

Unfortunately for the Twins slugger, he has accumulated the most strikeouts and he has the worst strikeout rate of anyone with more than 150 plate appearances since the start of 2020. It seems unsustainably bad.

Ground into double play: Anthony Rendon (19)

Rendon is one of my favourite players to watch, but this isn’t a great accolade for him. He has a way to go before he catches former teammate, Albert Pujols, who holds the all-time career record by grounding into double plays 406 times.

Featured image: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

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While we have you. Plese make sure you check out the two awesome interviews that John McGee has recently conducted with White Sox ace Lucas Giolito and former slugger Chris Colabello. Hit the LATEST PODCAST link at the top of the page.

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