MLB Past and Present: How the MLB Has Changed Over the Year

Patrick StapletonContributor IIJuly 12, 2010

A lot has changed from a year ago.  When baseball was headed into the All-Star break last season, Albert Pujols led the league in Home Runs (32), RBIs (87), and Runs (73).  Joe Mauer lead the league with a .373 average.  

Fast Forward a year and Jose Bautista, whose career high in HRs was 16 in '06, leads the league in Home Runs (24), Miguel Cabrera is an MVP-favorite as he leads the league in RBIs (77), and Carl Crawford, who will be a free agent this off-season, is the Runs leader (70).  

One constant from last year to July of this year though: Mark Reynolds was leading the league in strikeouts in '09 (123) and is now in '10 (122).

Here are some other interesting tidbits:

*The Dodgers, with a record of 56-32, lead the NL-West by a Major League-best 7 games and also had the best record in the game.  Now in 2010, they are tied for 2nd with the Rockies at 49-39, and chasing the Padres.  The same Padres who were 36-52 and 20 games out of first place at this time last season.

*The NL-Central was being lead by the Cards (49-42), 2.5 games ahead of the Brewers, and 5 games ahead of the 2010 division leading Cincinnati Reds.  The Reds lead the NL in runs (437), which is a vast improvement over the 356 runs they had scored at this time last season.

*Just like Mark Reynold's constant K's, the cellar dweller of the NL-Central was none other than the Pittsburgh Pirates.  It is sad to say that the '09 Pirates (38-50) were better than the '10 version, but it's true.  The '10 Pirates are 30-58 entering the break and have only scored a measly 284 runs.  They are only the second team in baseball with less than 300 runs (Seattle has 298).  The Pirates of this season make the '09 Pirates look like Murderers Row! The '09 Pirates had scored 374 runs and had allowed 385, which is almost 100 runs better than the 478 this year's Pirates squad has allowed.

*The NL-East was being lead by the defending World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies (48-38).  The Phils held a 4-game lead over the Florida Marlins.  The team that currently leads the division, the Atlanta Braves, have not only scored 33 more runs than their '09 squad, but have also allowed 42 less runs.  They also dominate at home with a 30-10 home record.

*The biggest change in the NL-East comes at the hands of the improved Washington Nationals.  Their bullpen is much improved and having a guy named Stephen Strasburg in your rotation doesn't hurt either.  They are still in last place, just like this time last season, but their record clearly shows an improvement.  They are 39-50 (last season: 26-61) and have allowed an immense 71 less runs (489 to 418).  The only problem is that they've scored 15 less runs than at this point last season (381-366).  But, as you can see by their record improvement from last season's All-Star break to now, they have gotten better. 

*So, let's take a look at that: All three divisions are being lead by three different teams than in 2009.  Not to mention that all three of those teams were no better than in third place last season.  A big change in the three divisions to say the least!

Pitching Statistics (2009/2010):

Wins: Wakefield, Beckett, Marquis (11) / Jimenez (15), Sabathia (12)
Innings Pitched: Wainwright (130.1), Millwood (130) / Halladay (148), Hernandez (137.2)
ERA: Haren (2.01), Greinke (2.12) / Johnson (1.70), Price (2.42)
Saves: Fuentes (26), Rodriguez (23) / Soria (25), Cordero (24)
Strikeouts: Verlander, Lincecum (149) / Weaver (137), Lincecum (131)

Team Hitting Statistics (2009/2010): 
Runs: Yankees (495), Phillies (460) / Red Sox (478), Reds (437)
Home Runs: Yankees (132), Phillies (122) / Blue Jays (135), Reds (108)
AVG: Angels (.284), Dodgers (.275) / Royals (.282), Reds (.272)
OBP: Yankees (.358), Dodgers (.354) / Yankees (.354), Braves (.344)
SLG: Yankees (.471), Phillies (.452) / Red Sox (.469), Reds (.443)
OPS: Yankees (.828), Phillies (.793) / Red Sox (.820), Reds (.781)