You can put a number to just about anything in baseball. And sometimes those numbers are worthy of a spit-take.
Here are 22 weird, wild numbers from the 2022 season. We can’t promise you we have included every bonkers stat from this season (baseball is pretty bonkers, after all). But these are some of our favorites.
All stats are through Wednesday’s games, and special thanks to MLB.com researcher and reporter Sarah Langs for her help with this list.
The gap between Aaron Judge’s Major League-leading home run total of 60 and his next-closest competitor -- the Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber, with 40. As Judge continues his unstoppable trek toward breaking Roger Maris’ American League home run record, this stat is common knowledge at this point. But that doesn’t make it any less bonkers. The only other player in history to lead the rest of the Major League field by at least 20 home runs was Babe Ruth (the Bambino’s largest margin was 35). The biggest margin for anyone not named Babe Ruth was Jimmie Foxx’s 17-homer lead atop the MLB rankings in 1932.
In fact, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, prior to Judge earlier this month, there had never been a player to finish so much as a calendar day with a 20-homer lead on the rest of the MLB field since Ruth finished the 1928 season with a 23-homer lead on Jim Bottomley and Hack Wilson.
The Astros’ Yordan Alvarez is second in the AL with 37 homers, or 23 behind Judge. The only players other than Ruth to lead their league by at least 20 homers were Mickey Mantle (52 to Vic Wertz’s 32 in 1956) and Giancarlo Stanton (59 to Cody Bellinger’s 39 in 2017).
A few bonus bonkers Judge stats (because his 2022 is the definition of bonkers):
54: The number of different pitchers Judge has taken deep. That is already an AL record (breaking Ken Griffey Jr.’s mark of 52 in 1998, but Mark McGwire’s National League record of 65 from that same ’98 season appears safe.)
11: Multi-homer games. That ties Sammy Sosa (1998) and Hank Greenberg ('38) for the most in a single season.
48: Homers in victories. That's second-most in AL/NL history, with an eye on Ruth’s all-time record of 51 in '27.
Where the Dodgers rank in the NL in runs scored (799) and in (fewest) runs allowed (474). If they can remain in that position the remainder of the year, they will become the first team in history to lead a league in both categories for five straight seasons, topping the previous mark of four that was set by the 1936-39 Yankees.
But in 2022, the Dodgers actually lead all of MLB in both categories. They could become just the seventh team to do that, joining the 1902 Pirates, '06 Cubs, '27 Yankees, '39 Yankees, '44 Cardinals and 2001 Mariners.
The above puts the Dodgers on pace for a plus-325 run differential, which would be one of the best ever, trailing only the 1939 Yankees (plus-411), '27 Yankees (plus-376) and 1902 Pirates (plus-334) in the modern era.
Yes, you heard it here first: The Dodgers are good.
This is the ratio of extra-base hits Shohei Ohtani has collected at the plate over the past two seasons to extra-base hits he has allowed on the mound in that same span.
OK, so this is not a commonly cited stat, because, well, prior to Ohtani, there was never any need to look up such a ridiculous thing. But it’s just another way of explaining how awesome these last two seasons have been for quite possibly the greatest baseball talent of all-time.
In the two seasons in which his health and schedule have freed him up to be the two-way star he was envisioned to be, Ohtani has logged 147 extra-base hits as a batter (only Judge has more, at 150) while allowing just 76 extra-base hits as a pitcher (only six guys with at least 270 innings in that span have allowed fewer). So if you’re scoring at home, yes, that’s nearly twice as many extra-base hits collected as allowed.
By the way, Ohtani’s 148 OPS+ for 2022 is just points behind that of Juan Soto -- ranking tenth in MLB. And his 165 ERA+ is one point better than that of Max Fried to rank sixth in MLB. Judge will probably win the AL MVP, and he deserves it. But ... jeez.
Homers for Kris Bryant at Coors Field. Granted, injuries have limited Bryant to only 42 games played this season (26 at Coors), but we can think of 182 million reasons why the Rockies didn’t expect this.
Only 16 other times has a player had as many Coors plate appearances in a season as Bryant has this year (111) without a home run: Juan Pierre (2000, '01, '02), Walt Weiss (1995), Willy Taveras (2008), Tony Wolters ('17, '19), Cory Sullivan ('06), Aaron Miles ('05), Jonathan Herrera ('10, '13), Alex Ochoa ('01), Desi Relaford ('05), Cristhian Adames ('16) and Eric Young Jr. ('10, '11).
How many of those guys are former MVPs? Uh, none.
Bryant is not alone this year in having a strange Coors experience. Teammate José Iglesias has hit .333 on the road but just .264 at his hitter-haven home. It’s the largest home/road differential ever for a Rockies player with at least 450 plate appearances.
The Orioles’ winning percentage. Last we checked, that means they have a winning record. And if the O’s can finish the season with just such a record, they will be the first of their kind. Because never in history has a team lost 110 games or more (as the 2021 Orioles did) and posted a winning record the very next year. The only other teams to win at least 70 games a year after losing 110 or more were the 1936 Boston Bees (71), the '70 Montreal Expos (73), the 2004 Tigers (72), the '05 D-backs (77) and the '14 Astros (70).
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the O’s are already the first team ever to win more than 70 games after losing 100 or more in each of the previous three full seasons.
That’s Justin Verlander’s ERA+, which means he has been 117 percent better than league average. It is -- incredibly -- the highest ERA+ of Verlander’s Hall of Fame-worthy career, 38 points higher than his previous best, in his last full season in 2019.
Here’s another bonkers Verlander stat: 13,737. That’s how many days (37 years, seven months, 10 days) Verlander was when he had Tommy John surgery on Sept. 20, 2020. No one has had the procedure that old and returned to be a dependable starter, let alone to have a Cy Young Award-worthy season.
By the way, the Astros’ pitching staff, in case you haven’t noticed, isn’t all about Verlander. Framber Valdez set a single-season record with 25 consecutive quality starts. And as a group, the Astros have limited opponents to a .612 OPS -- the lowest in a full season since the 1975 Dodgers (.612).
Speaking of old dudes getting it done, this is Albert Pujols’ OPS+, 42% better than league average. Not only is it his highest since his previous season with St. Louis -- way back in 2011 (148) -- but it is the second-highest of any player with at least 200 plate appearances in a season in which he was 42 (Pujols’ age) or older. The only better offensive season by a player that old was when Bonds put up a 169 OPS+ in his final season in 2007.
Bonds’ 28 home runs that year are also the only higher total for a player 42 or older than Pujols’ 19 this year.
Complete games for NL Cy Young favorite Sandy Alcantara of the Miami Marlins. Sure, that’s not a bonkers number if you’re comparing Alcantara to pitchers from, say, the Dead Ball Era. But you might have noticed pitchers don’t typically go as deep into games as they once did. There aren’t any MLB teams other than Alcantara’s Marlins with four complete games this year, let alone individuals with five. In fact, 16 teams don’t have any complete games at all.
Alcantara has 212 2/3 innings this season -- 19 1/3 more than the next-closest pitcher in MLB (the Cardinals’ Miles Mikolas, at 193 1/3).
This is the MLB-leading stolen-base total for the Marlins’ Jon Berti. Unless he (or somebody else) goes crazy down the stretch, this will be the first time no one in MLB swipes 40 bags since way back in 1958, when Willie Mays led with 31.
The good news? Major Leaguers have never been more efficient at stealing bases. The league-wide stolen base success rates in the last three seasons all rank in the top three all-time (2021 is first at 75.7%, followed by '22 at 75.3 and '20 at 75.2). Anyway… bring on those 2023 pickoff limits!
Sacrifice bunts this season. That is the fewest ever -- by a long shot -- in a non-"shortened to 60 games because of a pandemic” season. A new record has been set in each of the last three full seasons. But this time, the total is less than half of last year’s mark (766). Turns out, when you stop having pitchers hit, you get fewer bunts. Who knew?
The number of rookies this season -- the Mariners’ Julio Rodríguez and the Royals’ Bobby Witt Jr. -- with at least 20 homers and 20 steals. Only one other season in history had two such rookies, and that was in 1987 (Ellis Burks of the Red Sox and Devon White of the Angels).
The Braves’ Michael Harris II, who currently has 18 homers and 18 steals, could make the 2022 season unprecedented. And speaking of unprecedented, Rodríguez is the first player ever to have at least 25 homers and 25 steals in his debut season.
Speaking of debuts…
The number of players who have made their debut this season, blowing past the previous record of 268, which was set last year. The Rangers’ Josh Jung was the record-breaker, on Sept. 9, and 17 more players have debuted just since then.
Prior to 2021, the previous high was 262, set in 2017.
Pitchers who have debuted this season with a scoreless start of at least seven innings. Drey Jameson and Ryne Nelson both did it.
The bonkers part is that they both pitch for the D-backs, and they both did it against the Padres. It had been three years since anybody debuted with such a game, let alone two pitchers on the same team and against the same team. There have only been two previous pairs of teammates to debut with seven-plus scoreless innings -- John Neuer and King Brockett with the 1907 Yankees and Andy Van Hekken and Mike Maroth with the 2002 Tigers. But in neither of those previous pairs did both outings come against the same team.
How many innings Braves rookie Spencer Strider needed to reach 200 Ks this year. That’s the fastest of any pitcher in AL/NL history, besting Randy Johnson’s record of 130 2/3 in 2001. Strider is just the 29th rookie with a 200-strikeout season.
Teams for whom Dallas Keuchel allowed seven-plus runs in a start this season -- the White Sox (April 20 at Guardians), D-backs (July 12 at Giants) and Rangers (Aug. 27 vs. Tigers and Sept. 2 at Red Sox). That had never happened to any previous pitcher, let alone a Cy Young Award winner.
Times the Mets have been hit by a pitch -- the most in the Majors by 16 and a modern-era record. With 11 games remaining, the Mets could become the first team to be hit by 110 or more pitches since the 1899 Baltimore Orioles (no, that’s not the current O's franchise) and 1899 Brooklyn Superbas. The Mets have been hit by at least 94 pitches each of the last three full seasons, so this is what you’d call a trend. And a painful one, at that.
Runs per game for the Tigers. The only other teams that had a designated hitter spot in a full season who had a lower average were the 2010 Mariners (3.17) and the 1978 A’s (3.28).
Outs above average ... against Guardians center fielder Myles Straw. Granted, we don’t have a lot of history to this stat. OAA only goes back to 2016. But in that time, no hitter has had better defense played against him than Straw. Previously, no one had more than 15 OAA recorded on balls they put into play. While that doesn’t explain everything baked into Straw’s MLB-worst .564 OPS, at least it shows he’s had some bad luck. And what makes this more interesting is Straw is a terrific defender. His 10 OAA rank second among center fielders.
Extra-base hits for Nationals first baseman/outfielder Joey Meneses. The Nats made the biggest trade of the year when they sent both Juan Soto and Josh Bell to the Padres, and Meneses -- a 30-year-old journeyman Minor Leaguer -- was one of the players they called up to fill out the lineup. Turns out, 40 games later, Meneses has more extra-base hits than Soto and Bell have for the Padres -- combined (18)!
Figure baseball out. We dare you.
The A’s on-base percentage. The franchise that taught the broader baseball world to pay attention to this stat now is tied for the second-worst single-season OBP in the Live Ball Era. Only the 1965 Mets (.277) got on base less frequently.
Position players pitching has become weirdly commonplace, thanks in part to the 13-pitcher roster max that went into effect in June. And no position player has toed the rubber more than Dodgers infielder Hanser Alberto, whose eight appearances are a new record for a position player pitching, besting the old record of six that was set by Chris Gimenez in 2017 and matched by Sandy León last year.
The Dodgers are 7-1 when Alberto pitches, and he has a respectable 3.38 ERA.
Players who have worn a jersey number in the 90s this season. That is a record, and a continuation of a 90s trend that has nothing to do with fanny packs, chain wallets or capri pants.
2017: 4 players in the 90s (all wearing No. 99)
The Yankees, who now have 22 jersey numbers retired after honoring Paul O’Neill earlier this year and are basically running out of numbers, lead the way with five guys in the 90s: Estevan Florial (90), Oswald Peraza (91), Oswaldo Cabrera (95), Ron Marinaccio (97) and Judge (99). And what do you want to bet Judge’s heroics this season inspire another wave of 99s? Eight of 30 teams have had a player wear 99 this season.