MLB's Craziest Statistics from the First Half of the 2012 Season
The second half of the MLB season is about to kick off, and I can honestly say that some things went down in the first half that probably not even the oddsmakers in Vegas saw coming. From certain players breaking out to others just seeming lost, the first half was absolutely full of surprises.
Take Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee, for example. Not only is his team in last place after finishing with the best record in baseball last year, but his normally consistent production is anything but that. He didn't even win his first game until July 4!
That said, let's recap the first half of the season and have a look at some crazy numbers that, to be honest, I'm still having a hard time digesting.
No. 10: Ryan Dempster's Wonky Season
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It isn't easy playing for the Chicago Cubs, and Ryan Dempster probably knows that better than anyone this year. After going just 10-14 with a 4.80 ERA in 2011, the Canadian righty has turned things around this season as he is leading the NL with an astounding 1.99 ERA.
However, the Cubs' anemic offense has stabbed Dempster in the back as he only carries a 4-3 record entering the second half. Though he has the numbers of a Cy Young contender, his lack of support is just heartbreaking.
No. 9: Adam Dunn an All-Star with Those Numbers?
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Dunn had a simply awful 2011, hitting just .159 with 11 homers and 42 RBI in 122 games. This year, however, he seems to have found his familiar power stroke again and has 26 long balls to go with 63 RBI in a season that saw him go to the All-Star Game.
And yet, he managed to make the Midsummer Classic with just a .208 batting average!
No. 8: Carlos Beltran's Offensive Resurgence
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Going into this season, I pegged Beltran as an aging outfielder looking for one last hurrah. Knee problems robbed him of his speed, and his power seemed to be slowly disappearing on top of that.
However, though Beltran is now 35 years old and playing on a two-year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals, his numbers look like those of someone quite a few years younger.
You see, he is leading the NL in RBI with 65 and is second in home runs with 20. At his current pace, he is set to finish the year with 37 dingers and 121 RBI.
For someone his age and given his injury history, those numbers are just plain incredible.
No. 7: Josh Hamilton's Freakishly Just Plain Great Season
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Hamilton hits free agency after this season, and it's clear that he's playing to earn a big contract. This year alone, he is hitting .307 with an MLB-leading 27 homers and 75 RBI. At his current pace, he is set to hit 50 home runs with 140 RBI.
Ready for the crazy part? The injury-prone Hamilton hasn't been on the disabled list once this year.
No. 6: The Legend of Chris Sale
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Before the start of the season, the Chicago White Sox turned heads when they announced plans to insert hard-throwing lefty reliever Chris Sale into the starting rotation.
Prior to 2012, the 23-year-old had never started a game on the major league level, nor in the minors. He was just a strikeout pitcher out of the bullpen.
Yet, he has defied the odds this season and has pitched to a 10-2 record with 98 strikeouts in 102.2 innings and an astounding 0.95 WHIP entering the second half. Sale also is second in the AL with an ERA of 2.19.
No. 5: R.A. Dickey Defies Age
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Even though he has done a great job since coming to the New York Mets in 2010, it can be argued that 37-year-old knuckleballer R.A. Dickey is just an average pitcher who happens to be on a team that plays in a pitcher-friendly ballpark.
However, this year is different.
You see, Mets management moved the outfield walls in this year and despite the smaller dimensions, Dickey is looking like the favorite for the NL Cy Young award. He is tied for the major league lead in wins with 12, made the All-Star team and has lost just one game thus far. His ERA is an astounding 2.40 and he leads the NL with an 0.93 WHIP.
Considering his age, that's pretty crazy.
No. 4: Tim Lincecum's Lost First Half
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Entering the 2012 season, two-time NL Cy Young award winner Tim "The Freak" Lincecum owned a 69-41 record with a 2.98 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. In a nutshell, he was a great pitcher on a team that provided him little run support.
This year, however, though the Giants have looked good as a whole, The Freak has been having a freakishly awful season. Entering the second half, he is just 3-10 with a horrific 6.42 ERA and leads the majors with 69 earned runs allowed.
No. 3: Cliff Lee's Lost Consistency
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Like Lincecum, the normally consistent Cliff Lee is also having a bad 2012 campaign. After going 17-8 with a 2.40 ERA and remarkable 1.03 WHIP last year, Lee has been stabbed in the back by a lack of run support this year.
In the first half of the season, he went just 1-5 with a 3.98 ERA and didn't earn his first win until July 4. Instead of building off that momentum entering the second half, he ended up losing his first start back, making his record 1-6.
Given the consistency we've grown accustomed to from Lee in recent years, the numbers are just plain shocking.
No. 2: Mike Trout for MVP?
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Considering how he's only 20 years old, Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout has had a simply phenomenal season. In just the first half, he led the AL with a .341 batting average and 26 stolen bases.
Call me crazy, but he seems like a rock for the AL Rookie of the Year award, and depending on how the Angels do the rest of the season, he could very well be named MVP.
No. 1: No-Nos, Anyone?
Shutdown pitching seems to have been making a comeback as of late, and this season is no exception.
Remember how MLB saw a total of six no-hitters over the course of the 2010 season? The second half is just beginning, and five no-hitters (including two perfect games) have already happened.
I don't know about you, but that's a pretty insane number given how every position today is virtually one that requires a big bat.