Soto, Shohei show off to highlight stats of the week

June 2nd, 2023

Here’s our weekly look at 10 mind-blowing notes from the last week in baseball (May 25-31).

Soto is back: ’s home run at Yankee Stadium on Friday had a 114.1 mph exit velocity. That’s tied for the hardest-hit homer of Soto’s career, with one on Aug. 26, 2021. It was his fifth career game at the park and his fourth home run there. Soto’s four home runs in his first five career road games at the Yankees trail only Matt Williams’ five for most in a player’s first five games visiting the club.

The Sho continues: With 10 strikeouts on Saturday,  now has 14 games with at least 10 strikeouts since the start of last season, three more than anyone else in MLB in that span. He’s also hit 49 home runs in that span. He stole a base Saturday, too, marking the second time in his career Ohtani has had at least 10 strikeouts and stolen a base in a game. That’s tied with Max Scherzer and Nolan Ryan for the second-most such games since at least 1906, behind only Bob Gibson’s three.

Braves’ good starts: The Braves’ seven-run first inning on Sunday was emblematic of their season so far, when they are dominating that initial frame. They’ve hit 17 first-inning home runs, tied for the most by any team in any inning this year with the Yankees in the fifth inning. The Braves’ 52 first-inning runs are the second-most by any team in any inning this year, just behind the Angels’ 53 in the third. And their 80 first-inning hits lead the way among all teams in any frame.

Making strides:  reached 100 strikeouts on the season in that Sunday game, totaling nine in the outing en route to 106 on the year. He got to 100 strikeouts in just 61 innings, the fewest innings pitched to reach 100 strikeouts by a starter in a season since the mound was moved to its current distance in 1893, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He surpassed 2021 Jacob deGrom, who got there in 61 2/3 innings.

High velocity: caught up to some serious velocity on Monday, singling off a 103.6 mph Jhoan Duran pitch. That’s the fourth-fastest pitch anyone's had a base hit on in the pitch-tracking era (since 2008, including postseason). The three faster were all off Aroldis Chapman at 104.2 mph – a single by Francisco Cervelli on Aug. 31, 2016, a single by Stephen Vogt on Aug. 7, 2016, and a double by Carlos Ruiz in 2010 NLDS Game 3.

And high exit velocity: In that same Monday game,  hit a go-ahead home run in the 10th for the Twins. But it wasn’t just any homer, it had a 117.4 mph exit velocity. That's the Twins' hardest-hit homer tracked by Statcast (since 2015). In fact, Jeffers' 117.4 mph home run is the Twins' hardest-hit batted ball of any kind in that span.

Ghost Fork season:  notched nine strikeouts on Tuesday, bringing his season total to 70 – 39 of them on his heralded Ghost Fork pitch. Those 70 strikeouts tied 2012 Matt Harvey for the third-most strikeouts in a player’s first 10 career appearances in Mets history. Only 1984 Dwight Gooden, with 80, and 1966-68 Nolan Ryan, with 74, had more.

Who else but Trout and Ohtani: The Angels hit five homers on Wednesday, including two from Ohtani and one from . Trout’s went 461 feet and Ohtani’s second went 459 feet. It was the first time the Angels had multiple home runs of at least 450 feet in a game tracked by Statcast (since 2015). Of course it was Trout and Ohtani to combine for the feat.

Leadoff Mookie:  hit his 40th career leadoff home run on Wednesday, tying Charlie Blackmon for ninth-most all-time. Then, in the eighth, he added another homer. It was his 21st career multi-homer game out of the leadoff spot. That’s two more such games than anyone else in MLB history, ahead of George Springer and Alfonso Soriano with 19 each.

Naylor for six: The Guardians won a high-scoring game in Baltimore on Wednesday, thanks in part to a big day from . He was 4-for-5 with a home run and six RBIs. It’s his second game with at least six RBIs since the start of last season, after he drove in eight on May 9, 2022. He’s one of just six players with two games with at least six RBIs in that span, along with Rowdy Tellez, Matt Carpenter, Alec Bohm, Bryan Reynolds and Francisco Lindor.