So, the votes are in and Freddie Freeman is the 2020 Most Valuable Player in the National League. That took me a little by surprise, though. Every time was saw him play this year (against the O’s, Nats, or Yankees, because that’s who we watch in our house), he was hitting home runs. But I woulda thought it would have been Mookie Betts or someone else.
So, let’s look at that stats, shall we? In the table below I’ve compiled some of the tops stats we always hear about, as well as my favorite stats: games played, batting average, hits, home runs, runs batted in, WAR (wins above replacement), OBP (on base percentage), slugging percentage (SLG), and on-base-plus-slugging percentage (OPS). Here’s how the top five vote-receiving players compared to one another:
Numbers in bold and italics are lead leading stats.
Freddie did fare pretty well on several of the categories – with the most hits (73) and RBI (53). But Juan Soto was league leader in four categories: batting average (.351), OBP (.490), SLG (.695), and OPS (1.185). So what put Freddie over the top? Was it the number of games played (even though they both started the season in COVID quarantine, Freddie played 13 more games than Juan did), his age (he’s way older than Juan), or something else?
Today is Stat-urday, so we won’t go into the players’ impact on the team, camaraderie, etc. In fact, I’m sure there are a lot of intangibles that go into the voting. It’s the Baseball Writers’ Association of America that casts the votes, and their only guidelines for voting are to consider:
Actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense.
Number of games played.
General character, disposition, loyalty and effort.
Former winners are eligible.
Members of the committee may vote for more than one member of a team.
So, congrats Freddie! But I’m sure Juan will be MVP soon enough!
Tom Seaver passed away on August 31, at age 75. Seaver is probably best known for his time with the Mets (1967-1977). He was the 1967 Rookie of the Year, a member of the 1969 World Series champion Mets, a 12-time All-Star, a 3-time Cy Young Award winner, and pitched a no-hitter on June 16, 1978. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992. Check out his stats below, from Baseball Reference.
MLB announced the latest COVID-19 testing results yesterday. The press released noted that “covered Individuals are now in Monitoring Testing.” Whatever that means. Anyway, the testing stats as of August 13 are as follows:
12,301 tests were performed during the most recent testing period. Four tests came back positive, two of whom were players. All were from the same team.
66,127 tests of been taken since MLB started testing. 75 were positive, including 51 players.
19 clubs have had at least one person test positive.
As I said a few days ago, the numbers just don’t add up. The difference here is probably whatever they mean by “Monitoring Testing.” As of July 16, 80 players had tested positive (though it added up to about 97 when you look at actual news reports). Is it those 80 that were monitored? So, 51 were still positive?
For an industry that relies on stats, you’d think they’d do a better job of reporting these stats – which are the most important of all.
As the Orioles-Nationals game entered the 9th inning yesterday, I looked at the clock at realized it wasn’t quite 9:00 pm. Of course, the game started at 6:05, but it seemed like a pretty fast game. So that got me thinking, are games any faster and have all these changes made a difference?
According to the calendar section of Baseball-Reference.com, today marks the 100th anniversary of the shorted baseball game ever played. According to the website, on August 8, 2020, the Detroit Tigers defeated the New York Yankees 1-0 in a one-hour and thirteen-minute game.
Of course, depending on which websites you believe, that game 100 years ago may only be one of the shortest baseball games in history. There appear to have been a few others:
The Los Angeles Times notes that there was a 51 minute game on September 28, 1919. In that game, the New York Giants beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-1 behind pitcher Jesse Barnes who threw a complete game.
The Baseball Almanac says that in addition to that 1919 game, there was a 55 minute game on September 26, 1926. In that one, the St. Louis Browns beat the New York Yankees, 6-2.
The Baseball Almanac notes that the shortest night game occurred on August 10, 1944, with the Boston Braves beating the Cincinnati Reds 2-0 in a one-hour and 15-minute game. A year earlier, on May 21, 1943, the Chicago White Sox beat the Washington Senators 1-0 in 1 hour and 29 minutes.
So what have the average game times been? Baseball Reference has that, too. So far, the average game length (over nine innings) has been three hours and 5 minutes, which is what it was last year as well. Just a decade ago, the average time was just under three hours at 2 hours and 51 minutes. Fifty years ago, the average game time was only two and a half hours. So, maybe there is something to this longer game time after all… not that it should matter to most baseball fans!