In the numbers-driven sport of Major League Baseball, these are the leader board stats to watch in the 2015 season.
It’s been a busy offseason for Major League Baseball. There’s a new commissioner and new rule changes aimed at speeding up the game, but probably the biggest thrill early in the season comes from predicting what baseball records will be broken this season.
According to STATS LLC, this year “there are no long-standing records that could be broken.”
But even if that’s true, STATS has calculated that there are plenty of notable milestones that are achievable this season.
Fans love baseball because it’s filled with ever changing statistics about how players stack up against one another, past and present. The game is captivating and thrilling because there are so many leaderboards and potential records that could be broken.
If we are to take STATS assertion that this will not be a record-breaking year, it helps to look at some of the seemingly unbreakable records in baseball.
Recently retired New York Yankee Derek Jeter was an all-time great, but he fell a thousand swings short of surpassing Pete Rose’s 4,256 career hits.
The best base runner in baseball today, Juan Pierre, hasn’t even reached half of Ricky “Man of Steal” Henderson’s career record 1,270 stolen bases.
When it comes to no-hitters, it appears that Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan’s seven no-hit games may never be beat.
Even if top records aren’t broken this year, STATS data shows that there are many milestones across the league worth watching.
Jose Reyes is 45 away from 500 for career (37 players all-time have 500); Jimmy Rollins has 453 career (3 more moves him into top 50); Carl Crawford is 30 away from 500 (last had 30-plus stolen bases in 2010).
David Wright is 61 away from 1,000 (would be the 1st player with 1,000 RBI with the Mets); Alex Rodriguez is 27 away from tying Barry Bonds for 3rd all-time (26 from Gehrig at 4th); Albert Pujols is 97 away from becoming 24th player all-time with 1,700; David Ortiz is 103 away from tying Ernie Banks for 30th all-time (assuming Pujols moves into Top 30).
Alex Rodriguez is 40 away from tying Stan Musial for 8th all-time (currently 10th); Albert Pujols is 86 away from 1,600 (would go from 63rd all-time to 47th); Chase Utley is 74 away from 1,000.
Albert Pujols is 35 away from 555, tying him for 14th all-time with Manny Ramirez (currently 21st); Miguel Cabrera is 10 away from 400, 22 away from tying Alfonso Soriano for 50th all-time (but Beltre could pass Soriano first); Adrian Beltre is 5 away from being the 6th third baseman with 400 (A Rod, Mike Schmidt, Eddie Matthews, Chipper Jones, Darrell Evans); David Ortiz is 9 away from moving into Top 30 (would be tied with Stan Musial and Willie Stargell for 29th).
Alex Rodriguez is 61 away from becoming the 28th player with 3,000, 161 away from 3,100 (would rank 20th all-time; currently sitting at 33rd); Matt Holiday is 63 away from 2,000; Jimmy Rollins is 94 away from 2,400 (would be the 13th SS all-time); Adrian Beltre is 96 away from 2,700 (would be the 6th 3B all-time) and if he reaches 2,781 he would tie Ken Griffey Jr. for 50th all-time, overall; Dustin Pedroia is 129 away from becoming the 10th player all-time with 1,500 as a Red Sox player.
Alex Rodriguez is 59 away from Andre Dawson at 35th all-time and is 119 away from Darrell Evans at 30th all-time; Adrian Beltre is 93 away from Bill Buckner for 50th all-time and is 126 away from 2550 and 45th all-time (sole possession).
Alex Rodriguez is 15 away from 50th all-time (1,255, Rusty Staub) and is 43 away from 45th all-time (Edgar Martinez, 1,283).
Alex Rodriguez is 21 away from 540 and tied 33rd all-time with Joe Medwick and Dave Winfield and is 31 away from 550 (would have sole possession of 25th place all-time); Albert Pujols is 39 away from becoming the 15th player with 600 doubles (currently ranks 23rd); David Wright is 25 away from being first player to record 400 while with Mets; David Ortiz is 2 away from tying Chipper Jones for 26th, 30 away from sole possession of 20th all-time (depends on Pujols); Adrian Beltre is 32 away from tying Eddie Murray and Jeff Kent for 24th all-time (560) — this depends on Ortiz and Pujols (ranking). Jimmy Rollins is 21 away from 500 (would be the 6th SS: Honus Wagner, Cal Ripken Jr., Robin Yount, Derek Jeter, Joe Cronin) Miguel Cabrera is 36 away from 500.
Mark Buehrle is 1 win away from 200 career (would be 29th left-handed pitcher all-time with 200+ wins, would be the 4th active pitcher with 200+ wins); Clayton Kershaw is 2 wins away from 100 career (would be the 10th LA Dodger to reach 100 wins and the 4th left-hander); David Price is 14 wins away from 100 career; Johnny Cueto is 15 wins away from 100 career.
Joe Nathan is 24 saves away from 400 career; Huston Street is 25 saves away from 300 career; Craig Kimbrel is 14 saves away from 200 career; Jonathan Papelbon has 325 career saves, currently 16th most all-time, 23 more would make him 11th on the all-time list (saves official since 1969).
CC Sabathia is 63 strikeouts away from 2,500 career — would be the 9th left-hander all-time with 2,500-plus strikeouts (his 2437 strikeouts are currently most among active pitchers); J. Burnett is 30 strikeouts away from 2,500 career; Felix Hernandez is 49 strikeouts away from 2,000 career, would be the second Mariners’ pitcher with 2,000-plus strikeouts (Randy Johnson had 2,162); Jon Lester is 43 strikeouts away from 1,500 career; Clayton Kershaw is 55 strikeouts away from 1,500 career
Francisco Rodriguez is 1 appearance away from 800 career, all in bullpen (0 starts). He would be 36th pitcher all-time with 800-plus relief appearances. Latroy Hawkins has 1,000 career appearances and needs 36 more to jump into top 10 in all-time appearances (Trevor Hoffman, 10th at 1,035).
A few more all-time stats to keep in mind as the 2015 MLB season gets underway:
Strikeouts are up in baseball. Way up. A new strikeouts per game record has been set in each of the last seven seasons.
And naturally, when strikeouts go up, offensive numbers go down. This has compelled a significant increase in defensive statistics. Two of the three highest league-wide fielding percentages of all-time were set in the last two seasons.
One more area to focus some statistical attention this season is on the bunt. Baseball is a balanced ecosystem. If one aspect of it changes then it has a ripple effect throughout the rest of the game.
STATS says that due to the uptick in defensive shifts that are a result of increased data analysis on batter’s pull tendencies, bunts will go up dramatically, including left-handed power hitters bunting to the left side.
As the game of baseball evolves, more stats will reflect the different styles and strategies of play. Some of STATS’ new items to focus on this season will be based on the new pace-of-play rules implemented in the off season, including fines for players holding up play.
Soon, statistics will tell us who’s the slowest player to leave the dugout, what pitcher lollygags the most, and who owes MLB the biggest chunk of change.