MLB Oddities: Early 2019


Josh Calloni, Reporter

Every season there are a few stats around major league baseball that are very odd, and stand out in a particular way. The first month of 2019 is no shortage exception.

Besides the obvious 0-51 streak Orioles first baseman Chris Davis had, many other players have felt similar slumps that were outshined by Davis. White Sox designated hitter Daniel Palka was batting .029 before he was optioned to AAA. He is joined by Indians shortstop Eric Stamets and Phillies outfielder Aaron Altherr as the only qualified hitters that are batting under .050 so far in 2019. Additionally, Altherr has an wRC+ of -69, meaning his 69% below league average, again, the lowest among all qualified players through the first month of the season.

Brewers starter Corbin Burnes has struck out 27 hitters through five games, which is good for a 12.4 strikeout per nine, however, Burnes has not shown success. He carries a 10.98 ERA, thanks in part to the fact that he has allowed 11 home runs, which leads the league in that category. His pace this season has him allowing 66 home runs, which would be well past the 2018 record of 41, held by Orioles righty Dylan Bundy.

“Burnes has been really bad, but from the Cardinals standpoint, it’s nice to have a pitcher who struggles with the long ball face you 19 times a season,” sophomore Ben Hostetter said.

On the plus side, Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger and Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich have been off to hot starts. Both have hit 14 home runs this season, but Yelich’s are unique. Thirteen of his 14 have come at home in Miller Park, and on top of that, eight of them have been against the Cardinals. The other home run that he hit outside of Miller Park was in Citi Field against Noah Syndergaard and the New York Mets. His pace is currently set at 84 for the season, which would be the most in MLB history. For Bellinger, the lefty is batting .425 through his first month with 48 hits. His current pace, much like Yelich, would see him hit 288 times, 84 of them being home runs, both of which would break records.

“Bellinger is going to have a historic season. He’s kept it up to this point, and even though the season is long, I feel like they’ll be able to pull it out,” junior Tommy Flores said.

Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman stands alone in a category himself. Stroman is the only qualified pitcher to not allow a single home run yet. The lack of the long ball through Stroman’s first 41 innings seem to have improved his overall game, as he is pitching with a 2.20 ERA through his first seven starts in the big leagues. Keeping with the Blue Jays, their lead off man, Eric Sogard, has hit the most leadoff home runs to start the season with two, which is nearly all of the home runs he has hit all year, the only other one coming in the sixth inning in a game against the San Francisco Giants.

While these players are on pace for some unique seasons, baseball does change quickly, and any one could have a drastic change by the end of 2019.