Stats That Will Blow Your Mind About the 2022 MLB Season

Zachary D. RymerSeptember 9, 2022

Stats That Will Blow Your Mind About the 2022 MLB Season

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    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 07:  Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees celebrates his fourth inning home run during game one of a doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins in the dugout with his teammates at Yankee Stadium on September 07, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    However hot you think Aaron Judge is, he's actually kinda-sorta hotter than that. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

    It's going to be hard to say farewell to Major League Baseball's 2022 regular season when it wraps up on Oct. 2. It's been a wild one.

    As for how wild it's been, let's put some numbers to it.

    Ahead are 10 statistics* from the 2022 season—the asterisk is there because there are 10 slides but many more than just 10 individual statistics—that are liable to blow your mind.

    This next part is where we normally spell out the rules and standards for how a given list was put together, but not this time. This was as simple as seeking out statistical oddities that made us go, "Wow."

    Now then, let's literally get off to a fast start.

Behold, the Democratization of 100 MPH

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    Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Jhoan Duran throws against the Colorado Rockies in the eighth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 26, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)
    AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King

    At one or more points during the 2022 season, perhaps you've found yourself wondering: "Is it just me, or does everyone throw 100 mph now?"

    The answer, more or less, is yes. Though the average fastball is up just 0.1 mph from 2021, the frequency of fastballs in triple-digit territory has skyrocketed into a previously unknown stratosphere:

    Graph via Google Sheets

    Though Minnesota Twins right-hander Jhoan Duran's 350 heaters of 100-plus mph lead the way, that's also just 12.6 percent of the whole pile. A total of 61 pitchers have touched 100 mph at least once, with just about half of them (30, to be exact) doing so at least 10 times.

    This is to say that things have come quite a long away from 2008, when Joel Zumaya accounted for 29.9 percent of that year's 100 mph fastballs.

Edwin Díaz Dials It Up to 100

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    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 13: Edwin Diaz #39 of the New York Mets reacts after pitching the final out during the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on August 13, 2022 in the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets won 1-0. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
    Sarah Stier/Getty Images

    Now that we've mentioned 100 mph fastballs, we're bound by law to revisit that 103 mph heater that New York Mets closer Edwin Díaz used to punch out Gavin Lux last week:

    MLB @MLB

    103!!! 🔥🔥🔥 <a href="">@SugarDiaz39</a> <a href=""></a>

    That was one of a career-high 93 fastballs of at least 100 mph that Díaz has thrown in 2022, and all that heat—not to mention a devastating slider—has pushed his dominance to new heights.

    The right-hander is already up over 100 strikeouts for the season, with that high-powered whiff of Lux accounting for No. 101. This is over just 53.1 innings, so he's averaging just a hair under two strikeouts at 1.90 per inning.

    Because Aroldis Chapman put up 1.96 strikeouts per inning in 2014, Díaz isn't quite in record territory. He's nonetheless where a bunch of starters probably wish they could be, specifically the 26 that don't even have 100 strikeouts even after having thrown over 100 innings.

Sandy Alcántara Is an Underrated CG Machine

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    MIAMI, FLORIDA - AUGUST 03: Sandy Alcantara #22 of the Miami Marlins is congratulated by catcher Jacob Stallings #58 after throwing a complete game shutout against the Cincinnati Reds at loanDepot park on August 03, 2022 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
    Eric Espada/Getty Images

    The Miami Marlins have an ace out of time atop their starting rotation in the person of Sandy Alcántara, who works fast, throws hard and works deeper into games than anyone else.

    He leads the majors with 196.2 innings pitched, and he's gotten much of those in bulk through four complete games. As noted by ESPN Stats & Info, no other team has that many in 2022:

    ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

    Sandy Alcantara has 4 complete games this season.<br><br>That's more than any other TEAM in the league. <a href=""></a>

    What's really remarkable, though, is that four complete games is sort of an undercount for Alcántara. He also went nine innings on June 8, though he didn't get credit for a complete game because the contest between the Marlins and Washington Nationals went to extras.

    All told, the right-hander has faced 21 batters in the ninth inning. That's more than the next two starting pitchers on the list (Aaron Nola with 10 and Adam Wainwright with seven) put together, and the fourth-most of any starter in the last decade.

Justin Verlander's All-Time Old-Timer Season

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    Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander throws against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
    AP Photo/David J. Phillip

    Justin Verlander was still going strong when he won his second Cy Young Award after his age-36 season in 2019, but then Tommy John surgery cost him basically all of 2020 and 2021.

    Of all the things he could have done in his return this season, it's doubtful that anyone expected him to rip off a 1.84 ERA through 24 starts before the Houston Astros put him on the injured list with a calf strain on Aug. 30.

    As it stands, that ranks here among the lowest ever for pitchers age-39 or older:

    1. Cy Young, 1908: 1.26
    2. Justin Verlander, 2022: 1.84
    3. Roger Clemens, 2005: 1.87

    So, right between the literal namesake of the Cy Young Award and a guy who won seven of them. And while Verlander's 152 innings don't really compare to the 211.1 that Clemens pitched in '05 or especially to the 299 that Young pitched in '08, they're more than twice as many as the previous high for a 37-or-older Tommy John survivor in his return season.

Could J.T. Realmuto Throw Out J.T. Realmuto?

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 28: J.T. Realmuto #10 of the Philadelphia Phillies looks on against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park on August 28, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Pirates defeated the Phillies 5-0. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    Switching gears to the position player side of things, here's video evidence that it remains a bad idea to run against Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto:

    Philadelphia Phillies @Phillies

    That's our catcher 🥹 <a href=""></a>

    And now for the statistical evidence to go with it: Realmuto has caught 27 runners attempting to steal, which leads MLB.

    Ah, but could Realmuto, the catcher, throw out Realmuto, the baserunner? That's something that no backstop has managed to do yet. He's 17-for-17 in stolen base attempts, making him the only foolproof thief among those with at least 15 steals this season.

    As Realmuto is presently the first catcher in history to go at least 15-for-15 in stolen bases in a season, we feel confident that this is the best "running game" season a player has ever had on both sides of the ball.

Aaron Judge Is Even Hotter Than You Think

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    New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) reacts while rounding the bases after hitting a home run against the Minnesota Twins during the sixth inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 5, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)
    AP Photo/Noah K. Murray

    Jeez, where to even begin with the season Aaron Judge is having?

    He's sitting on 55 home runs through 134 games, which, as you might have heard, gives him a real chance of breaking Roger Maris' American League record of 61 from 1961. He needs to hit just seven more in the New York Yankees' final 24 games.

    And yet, dare we say that Judge has already accomplished the feat of besting Maris?

    Exactly one year ago on Sunday, he began a run in which he clubbed nine home runs over his last 21 games of the 2021 season. He's thus hit 64 home runs over a 155-game span, which in itself is something that even Maris never did.

The Yankees' Falling Out with Good Company

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    ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 04: Aaron Boone #17 of the New York Yankees argues with umpire Vic Carapazza #19 before getting ejected in the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on September 04, 2022 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
    Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

    As Judge makes his case for all-time fame, the team he plays for is trying to avoid all-time infamy.

    Through July 8, the Yankees were sitting on a 61-23 record the likes of which had rarely been glimpsed before. Only nine times before had a team racked up that many wins through 84 games to start a season, with the most recent being the 2001 Seattle Mariners.

    In ascending order, here's how many losses the 10 teams in this club incurred after the fact:

    • 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates: 16
    • 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates: 19
    • 1939 New York Yankees: 22
    • 2001 Seattle Mariners/1929 Philadelphia Athletics: 23
    • 1907 Chicago Cubs: 24
    • 1912 New York Giants: 27
    • 1998 New York Yankees: 28
    • 1928 New York Yankees: 30
    • 2022 New York Yankees: 32

    In other words, it's kinda-sorta too late for the '22 Yankees to avoid all-time infamy. They've already collapsed the hardest of any team that's ever started with as many as 61 wins through 84 games. And there's still close to a month's worth of baseball left to be played.

Nobody Has Ever Come Back Like the '22 Orioles

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    CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 31: Adley Rutschman #35 and Gunnar Henderson #2 of the Baltimore Orioles celebrate the team's 4-0 win over the Cleveland Guardians in Henderson's Major League debut at Progressive Field on August 31, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)
    Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

    Elsewhere in the American League East, teams just don't do what the Baltimore Orioles are doing this season.

    Though it perhaps wasn't as painful as the club's 115-loss catastrophe from 2018, the Orioles nonetheless made it to the 110-loss threshold once again in 2021. In so doing, they joined a short list of 20 teams to ever lose that many games in a season.

    Now they're over .500 at 72-65, which is where no team that had lost 110-plus games the prior year had ever gone before:

    Graph via Google Sheets

    What's more, the Orioles have truly had to earn this. Albeit with 44 losses to go with them, their 39 wins against other winning clubs are tied with the Astros and Mets for third-most in baseball this season.

The Tigers Might Have the Worst. Offense. Ever.

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    Detroit Tigers' Spencer Torkelson plays during a baseball game, Wednesday, June 1, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
    AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

    With a 52-85 record through 137 games, the Detroit Tigers are bad but not the worst team in MLB this season. That distinction belongs to the 49-89 Washington Nationals.

    But, hey, at least the Nationals can hit. The Tigers' average of 3.3 runs per game is the lowest in the majors, and they likewise have the league's lowest OPS at .623.

    Such is life when you're a team with an on-base percentage of only .285 and just 84 home runs. The Tigers wouldn't be the first team to post a sub-.300 OBP and fewer than 100 homers in a season, but they would be the first to do so with the benefits of both the designated hitter and a full 162-game season.

    Worst offense ever? Look, all we're saying is that Comic Book Guy shouldn't be dismissed out of hand if he makes that argument.

The Dodgers Really Are That Good

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 06: Max Muncy #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates his two-run home run with Trea Turner #6 and Justin Turner #10 in the third inning against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on September 6, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    No matter how you spin it, the Los Angeles Dodgers are a juggernaut.

    Simply for starters, their 94-42 record has them on pace to win 112 games. That would be the fourth-most in history, and the second-most for a National League team behind only the 116-win Cubs of 1906.

    This is even though the Dodgers are actually underachieving relative to their 98-38 Pythagorean record. That's based on their run differential, which at plus-298 is already the 10th-best mark among all-time modern teams.

    And this, of course, is with 26 games still to go. If the Dodgers can maintain 2.2 runs as their average margin of victory, they stand to end this season with a plus-356 run differential the likes of which has only ever bested by the Babe Ruth- and Lou Gehrig-led Yankees of 1927 (plus-377) and the Joe DiMaggio-led Yankees of 1939 (plus-411).