The Bill Chuck Files of September 29, 2019

Each Sunday, in remembrance of my friend Nick Cafardo, I post “the Bill Chuck Files” (named by Nick in his Sunday Baseball Notes column)

Going into the final day of the season, Matt Chapman and Max Kepler lead the majors with 36 homers each and no intentional passes. In 1961, when Roger Maris set the single-season record for most home runs in a season with 61, he did not receive a single intentional walk. Alex Rodriguez (42 HR in 1998) and Khris Davis (42 in 2016) hold the record for players who did not hit in front of Mickey Mantle in the batting order.

Speaking of Roger Maris, Babe Ruth (apologist) biographer Ford Frick wanted to put an asterisk (*) beside Maris’s home run record of 61. This season, records will indeed have an asterisk, in the form of “2019.”

C’mon, even Dodgers fans are rooting for the Giants today as Bruce Bochy ends his 13-year managerial careers with the Jints. His record entering his final game is 1052-1053.

Here’s a fun one for the last day of this rather mundane season: the Dodgers lead the NL with 105 wins and the Marlins lead the NL with 105 losses, who will have the higher number at the end of the day?

The Dodgers and Marlins are the only two teams in the NL who broke the century mark, while in the AL, the Astros, Yankees, and Twins will have triple-figure wins and the Tigers and Orioles will have over a hundred losses. The AL has 11 of the 15 teams with either 90+ wins or 90+ losses. The NL has eight.

In the less competitive AL, eight teams dropped in attendance, some precipitously:

Tm 2018 G 2018 Attendance 2019 G 2019 Att YoY Diff YoY Diff/G
MIN 81 1,959,197 81 2,294,152 334,955 4,135
OAK 81 1,573,616 81 1,662,211 88,595 1,094
CHW 79 1,566,179 79 1,630,241 64,062 811
BOS 80 2,859,374 80 2,889,200 29,826 373
TBR 81 1,154,973 81 1,178,735 23,762 293
TEX 80 2,075,838 80 2,085,850 10,012 125
LAA 80 2,983,324 80 2,984,319 995 12
HOU 81 2,980,549 81 2,857,367 -123,182 -1,521
NYY 81 3,482,855 81 3,304,404 -178,451 -2,203
KCR 80 1,645,417 80 1,461,784 -183,633 -2,295
CLE 81 1,926,701 81 1,738,642 -188,059 -2,322
BAL 81 1,564,192 81 1,307,807 -256,385 -3,165
DET 81 1,856,970 81 1,501,430 -355,540 -4,389
SEA 80 2,278,343 80 1,774,869 -503,474 -6,293
TOR 80 2,302,453 80 1,724,406 -578,047 -7,226

In the more competitive National League, nine teams are up in attendance and of the six that are down, only the Nationals and the Giants, both who got off to horrible starts, are the only teams with siginificant drops.

Tm 2018 G 2018 Attendance 2019 G 2019 Att YoY Diff YoY Diff/G
PHI 80 2,123,922 80 2,695,616 571,694 7,146
SDP 81 2,168,536 81 2,396,399 227,863 2,813
NYM 80 2,196,649 80 2,411,009 214,360 2,680
CIN 81 1,629,356 81 1,808,685 179,329 2,214
LAD 81 3,809,684 81 3,974,309 164,625 2,032
ATL 81 2,555,781 81 2,655,100 99,319 1,226
MIL 81 2,850,875 81 2,923,333 72,458 895
STL 80 3,362,943 80 3,433,181 70,238 878
PIT 80 1,465,316 80 1,467,822 2,506 31
MIA 81 811,104 81 811,302 198 2
COL 80 2,968,047 80 2,956,473 -11,574 -145
CHC 81 3,142,639 81 3,094,865 -47,774 -590
ARI 80 2,211,546 80 2,090,064 -121,482 -1,519
WSN 80 2,500,924 80 2,223,017 -277,907 -3,474
SFG 80 3,114,905 80 2,665,851 -449,054 -5,613

For the third straight season, major league baseball set a record for most players hitting at least one homer; this year there were 547, the fifth straight year with over 500 different players. Name the 547 players. Okay, you don’t have to do that, but can you name the six non-pitchers who had at least 100 PA and did not hit a homer?

Player PA HR Tm Lg G AB Pos
Billy Hamilton 352 0 TOT ML 118 315 *8H/D
Lewis Brinson 247 0 MIA NL 74 225 *89/H
Jon Jay 182 0 CHW AL 47 165 *97/HD
Humberto Arteaga 132 0 KCR AL 40 119 *6/H415
Myles Straw 123 0 HOU AL 55 104 6H8/74D9
Zack Cozart 107 0 LAA AL 38 97 *5/H64

According to mangameslost.com, through Sept. 18, the Yankees led the majors with 2367 games missed by players due to injury, and Pittsburgh (1906) lead the NL in total games missed by players to injuries and the injured list.

Starting pitchers ERA/ Overall team winning pct.

The Yankees will be trying to prove that this postseason, starting pitching won’t matter. Amongst teams with a record of .500+ only the Red Sox and the Phillies have starters with a worse ERA than the Yanks and both of those teams next week will be playing golf.

Team W L Win% ERA WHIP BA
HOU 106 55 .658 3.62 1.09 .218
LAD 105 56 .652 3.12 1.07 .225
NYY 103 58 .640 4.52 1.29 .254
MIN 101 60 .627 4.18 1.29 .257
OAK 97 64 .602 4.01 1.24 .248
ATL 97 64 .602 4.19 1.33 .258
TB 96 65 .596 3.63 1.13 .230
CLE 93 68 .578 3.78 1.19 .237
WSH 92 69 .571 3.54 1.19 .232
STL 90 71 .559 3.81 1.30 .251
MIL 89 72 .553 4.43 1.34 .256
NYM 85 76 .528 3.84 1.24 .247
ARI 84 77 .522 4.24 1.28 .252
CHC 84 77 .522 4.11 1.30 .260
BOS 83 78 .516 4.96 1.38 .263
PHI 81 80 .503 4.61 1.36 .262
SF 77 84 .478 4.73 1.33 .258
TEX 77 84 .478 5.41 1.48 .278
CIN 74 87 .460 4.14 1.23 .236
LAA 72 89 .447 5.58 1.39 .259
CWS 71 89 .444 5.31 1.45 .275
SD 70 91 .435 4.67 1.29 .251
COL 70 91 .435 5.88 1.52 .287
PIT 69 92 .429 5.42 1.44 .277
SEA 67 94 .416 5.22 1.43 .284

The Orioles played an MLB-leading 59 games decided by five or more runs, they went 18-41 in those games with -188 run differential. The Padres had the fewest such games going 13-23 in 36 games with -71 RD.

Top four teams in blowouts

TmGWLW-L%RdiffRSRA
LAD524012.769215405190
HOU483612.750209419210
MIN483513.729155404249
NYY473215.681118353235

The Twins have set a new MLB record with 11 games with at least five homers (and they went 10-1). The Yanks can tie them today having gone 9-1 in 10 games. The Astros hit 5+ homers in seven games and are the only team this season who lost twice when going deep five times.

On the other hand, the Astros will lead the majors this season with (at least) 27 games in which they scored 10+ runs going 26-1 in those games. The Padres scored 10+ times in just nine games and were the only team with as many as three losses.

Heading into the last game of the season, Ronald Acuna Jr., Pete Alonso, and Miguel Sano are tied with 17 games each with at three whiffs; they are nowhere near Joey Gallo and Mark Reynolds‘ record of 26 games. In 1944, Frank McCormick of the Reds hit 20 homers and struck out a total of 17 times. Last season, MLB had a record 1848 games with a player with at least three strikeouts. In this climate-change-like season of extremes, that record was destroyed with 2113 games.

Brewers’ pitcher Aaron Wilkerson had three PA this season, he went 1-3 with one homer, one strikeout, and two RBI. Despite being the only batter in baseball with the same number of homers hit and strikeouts, Wilkerson was sent outright to Triple-A San Antonio because he allowed four homers in 16.0 IP and had an ERA of 7.31.

Most players with 10+ HR on teams in MLB history: The 2019 Yankees followed by the 2019 Blue Jays

Yankees 14 Edwin Encarnacion / Mike Ford / Clint Frazier / Brett Gardner / Didi Gregorius / Aaron Hicks / Aaron Judge / DJ LeMahieu / Cameron Maybin / Gary Sanchez / Mike Tauchman / Gleyber Torres / Gio Urshela / Luke Voit
Blue Jays 13 Bo Bichette / Cavan Biggio / Brandon Drury / Freddy Galvis / Randal Grichuk / Vladimir Guerrero Jr. / Lourdes Gurriel Jr. / Teoscar Hernandez / Danny Jansen / Billy McKinney / Justin Smoak / Eric Sogard / Rowdy Tellez

Two final thoughts as we enter the postseason: first I think there will be upsets and many upset fans.

Secondly, and this is an inconvenient truth: this was not a good baseball season and baseball, like the climate, is suffering from too many extremes. Greta Thunberg, the 16-year old climate activist has very quickly become a hero to many of us (me too!). She spoke truth to power at the UN and I use her words here to baseball’s ownership and leadership out of respect, not parody because she was more articulate than I could ever be. Her words about the climate can be applied to baseball as well:

“There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with these figures here today, because these numbers are too uncomfortable. And you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is.

“You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.

“We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.

“Thank you.”