Stats of the week: Huge HRs, stellar starts & of course, Ohtani

May 19th, 2023

Here’s our weekly look at 10 mind-blowing notes from the last week in baseball (May 11-17).

Two gavels: Aaron Judge hit a 462-foot, 114.9 mph home run on Monday for his second of the game. He now has 21 career home runs of at least 450 feet, including playoffs, all since the start of 2017. That’s the second most in MLB since the start of 2017 (including playoffs), behind only Giancarlo Stanton’s 22. The multi-homer game was his 30th, fifth-most in Yankees history behind only Babe Ruth (68), Mickey Mantle (46), Lou Gehrig (43) and Joe DiMaggio (35).

Miller continues to impress: In his third career start on Saturday, the Mariners’ Bryce Miller went seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits and no walks. He’s allowed just eight baserunners total, the fewest in a pitcher’s first three career appearances since at least 1901 (min. 15 IP). In fact, his consecutive outings of at least six innings and no more than three baserunners is tied for the longest such streak since at least 1901, at any point in a career – with 2021 Blake Snell, 2021 Corbin Burnes, 2015-16 Jake Arrieta, 2015 Clayton Kershaw and 2008 Cliff Lee.

Naylor time: It was a familiar script for the Guardians over the weekend with Josh Naylor, as he hit a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning in each game in Cleveland's series against the Angels. He became the first player in the expansion era (since 1961) to hit a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning or later in three straight games, as well as the first player to do so in Cleveland franchise history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Naylor has eight go-ahead home runs in the eighth inning or later since the start of 2021, two more than anyone else in MLB in that span.

Magnificent Mitch: Mitch Keller threw seven scoreless innings on Sunday, striking out 13 and not issuing a walk. His 13 strikeouts tied Francisco Liriano on July 21, 2016, for second most by a Pirates pitcher in a game with no walks since at least 1901, behind only Jose DeLeon’s 14 on April 16, 1985. Keller is the first Pirates pitcher with back-to-back scoreless outings of at least seven innings since Charlie Morton in June 2015.

In this week’s edition of Ohtani: Shohei Ohtani made his ninth pitching start of the season on Monday and helped his own cause with a 456-foot, 114.6 mph home run. It’s the second-longest homer hit as a pitcher tracked by Statcast, behind only Jon Gray’s 467-foot blast on July 5, 2017, at Coors Field. It’s also the third-hardest-hit home run as a pitcher in that span, and Ohtani occupies the top two spots on the list as well (115.2 mph on 4/4/21; 114.7 mph on 9/10/21). He now has three three-hit games as a pitcher this year, tied for the most in a single season in the expansion era (since 1961). It’s May.

Home runs abound for Rays: On Tuesday, Isaac Paredes became the 10th Rays player to reach five home runs. Later in the game, the Rays’ 43rd of the season, Jose Siri became the 11th. That’s two more hitters with at least five home runs than any other team had ever had in its first 45 games. Through 45 games, the Rays have hit 87 homers and allowed just 40. That plus-47 differential is the largest for any team through 45 games since 1900.

Long homers for Acuña, again: Each of Ronald Acuña Jr.'s last nine home runs, including a 429-foot shot Wednesday, have been at least 420 feet. That's tied for the longest streak of 420-plus-foot homers tracked by Statcast (since 2015), with 2021 Jorge Soler and 2016 Giancarlo Stanton, per research by MLB’s Jason Bernard. On Tuesday, Acuña hit a 455-foot homer as part of that streak. He now has 18 450-plus-foot homers in his career, including the playoffs, tied with C.J. Cron for most in MLB since the start of 2018 (including playoffs).

Scoreless Bassitt: On Friday, Chris Bassitt threw a shutout – the Blue Jays’ first individual shutout in a nine-inning game since Mark -Buehrle on June 3, 2015, at the Nationals. That snapped two Toronto streaks: 889 consecutive games without a nine-plus-inning complete game and 1,176 consecutive games without a shutout of that length. Both of those streaks were the longest in MLB history, per STATS. With his start Wednesday, Bassitt has turned in three straight scoreless outings of at least seven innings. That’s tied for the longest such streak in Blue Jays franchise history, with 1998 Roger Clemens and 1988 Dave Stieb.

Strong-armed rookie: We need to talk about Giants rookie infielder Casey Schmitt. A college reliever and infielder, that arm has shown up in a big way so far in the Majors. On Wednesday, he had three assists at 91 mph or faster, tied for the most by an infielder in a game tracked by Statcast with Sergio Alcantara on May 3, 2022. One of those was 94.1 mph, the fastest tracked infield assist in MLB this season and the fastest tracked infield assist by a Giants player under Statcast. For both marks, he passed his own 92.9 mph throw from Sunday.

Homer-happy Mets: The Mets hit game-tying home runs in the seventh and ninth innings on Wednesday from Mark Vientos and Francisco Álvarez before Pete Alonso crushed a walk-off homer in the 10th. The Mets scored eight runs in the game, all via home runs. For games in which the Mets only scored via the long ball, it was the third-highest run total in franchise history, behind only April 19, 2016, when they scored 11, and Oct. 5, 1986, when they had nine.