The 2020 MLB season was always set up to be a strange one. The entire season is a small sample size, and a week’s worth of games isn’t nearly sufficient time for meaningful trends to develop.
Thankfully, this is still baseball, so we’ve already had ample opportunities for statistical quirks to pop up. In Week 2 of SI’s Power Rankings, we’ll take a look at one statistical oddity per team that has stood out during the season’s early goings.
30. Baltimore Orioles (Last Week: No. 30)
Baltimore’s 8-6 loss to New York Thursday night marked the Orioles’ 18th consecutive defeat against the Yankees. That’s the franchise’s longest losing streak against one opponent since 1927. The Yankees have outscored the Orioles 183-76 in that span.
29. Pittsburgh Pirates (Last Week: 27)
Third baseman Colin Moran has hit 11 and 13 home runs in his two full MLB seasons. With three homers in six games so far (compared to just two singles), he’s on pace to hit 30 in this shortened season. The Pirates are collectively, meanwhile, hitting .171 with a .241 on-base percentage and a .280 slugging percentage during their 2-4 start, all MLB-worst marks.
28. Seattle Mariners (Last Week: 28)
On Saturday, outfielder Kyle Lewis homered for the second straight day, bringing his career total to eight in 20 career games. The only Mariners player to have more home runs through their first 20 games is Alvin Davis, who homered nine times in his first 20 games in 1984 en route to winning the American League Rookie of the Year award.
27. San Francisco Giants (Last Week: 24)
Outfielder Mike Yastrzemski is the only National Leaguer who’s played a full week of games (sorry, Miguel Rojas) and is hitting above .400. Too early to start Ted Williams watch? Yes.
26. Kansas City Royals (Last Week: 25)
Heading into Thursday, Royals hitters had walked a combined 11 times all season, the fewest of any team that’s played at least six games.
25. Miami Marlins (Last Week: 26)
As the team grapples with a COVID-19 outbreak, everything else seems rather trivial. By playing only three games the club is technically leading the NL East, a position they have never been in before on July 31.
24. Detroit Tigers (Last Week: 29)
The Tigers lead the American League with 15 home runs. That pace would have them hitting 347 over 162 games, which would easily top Minnesota’s record of 309 from last season. These are, essentially, the same Tigers who finished last in the AL with 149 home runs in 2019.
23. Texas Rangers (Last Week: 23)
The Rangers opened Global Life Field with a 1-0 win over the Colorado Rockies. In the 26 seasons they spent in their previous ballpark, they had only a dozen 1-0 wins, including just two in their first 14 years.
22. Arizona Diamondbacks (Last Week: 18)
Arizona pitchers have issued an MLB-high 42 walks in seven games, 10 more than any other team.
21. Boston Red Sox (Last Week: 20)
Boston scored 13 runs in its Opening Day victory over Baltimore, the most for the franchise on Opening Day since 1973. The bats have gone quiet since then, though, as the Red Sox have scored only 23 runs in six games since.
20. Los Angeles Angels (Last Week: 19)
On Sunday, Mike Trout did something he hadn’t done since Sept. 26, 2016: He swung at a 3-0 pitch. The result? His first home run of the season. Prior to that at-bat, Trout had swung with a 3-0 count just 15 times in his career, and none had resulted in a homer.
19. Chicago White Sox (Last Week: 15)
White Sox rookie Luis Robert lined a single in his first at-bat on Opening Day with an exit velocity of 115.8 mph. That’s the hardest-hit ball for a player’s first career hit since Statcast began tracking data in 2015.
18. Toronto Blue Jays (Last Week: 21)
Starter Hyun-Jin Ryu has allowed at least three runs in each of his first two starts with Toronto. Last season with the Dodgers, he didn’t allow three runs in back-to-back outings until his 23rd and 24th starts of the season.
17. Philadelphia Phillies (Last Week: 17)
Like the Marlins, the Phillies have also only played three games because of COVID-19 concerns. Yet entering Thursday, Rhys Hoskins was tied for the MLB lead in walks (seven).
16. Milwaukee Brewers (Last Week: 14)
Former NL MVP Christian Yelich is 1-for-37 with one walk entering Friday, which leaves him with the majors’ worst batting average (.037) and OPS (.220) among players with at least 20 at-bats. At least his lone hit is a home run.
15. Colorado Rockies (Last Week: 22)
Colorado boasts the lowest ERA (1.84) in the bigs after recording the NL’s highest ERA (5.56) a year ago. They’ve also allowed just two homers, tied with the Rangers for the fewest in the Majors, a year after allowing the most in the league (270). What Coors Effect?
14. St. Louis Cardinals (Last Week: 12)
St. Louis pitchers have issued only nine walks in five games, while drawing 11 walks, the lowest per-game rate in both cases.
13. New York Mets (Last Week: 13)
Southpaw David Peterson was selected by Boston in the 28th round of the 2014 MLB draft before electing to attend Oregon, where he matured into a 2017 first-round pick for the Mets. By limiting the Red Sox to two runs over 5 2/3 innings on Tuesday, he became the first visiting pitcher to win his MLB debut at Fenway Park since Kyle Davies did it for the Braves in 2005.
12. Cincinnati Reds (Last Week: 10)
Tyler Stephenson became the first Reds player to homer in his first plate appearance since pinch-hitter Ted Tappe rounded the bases on Sept. 14, 1950, against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
11. San Diego Padres (Last Week: 16)
San Diego owns MLB’s highest on-base percentage (.359) outside of Philadelphia, who have only played three games, after ranking 26th (.308) in 2019 and dead last over the last 16 years since Petco Park opened in 2004.
10. Oakland Athletics (Last Week: 9)
The A’s and Angels played the first extra-innings game under the new runner-on-second rules, and the finish did not disappoint. Oakland won on a walk-off grand slam by Matt Olson in the 10th inning, the first to happen on Opening Day since 1986.
9. Chicago Cubs (Last Week: 8)
Chicago’s bullpen ERA (9.64) and walk rate (21.1%) are the worst marks in MLB. Right-hander Dillon Maples, who was sent down Wednesday after walking four hitters without recording an out, is the first player since 1939 to give up at least 20 earned runs and issue at least 25 walks in less than 25 career innings pitched.
8. Atlanta Braves (Last Week: 7)
Atlanta hitters have struck out 82 times, the most in the majors, with Ronald Acuña Jr. leading all players with 14 strikeouts.
7. Washington Nationals (Last Week: 4)
The Nationals allowed seven or fewer hits in each of their first six games, the most to start a season since the 1992 Expos did the same. The last time a different franchise accomplished the feat was in 1965, when the eventual World Series champion Dodgers did.
6. Cleveland Indians (Last Week: 11)
Shane Bieber's season has been its own statistical oddity so far. Through two starts, he's allowed no runs, seven hits, one walk and 27 strikeouts in 14 innings. That's tied for the most strikeouts through two starts since 1901. Cleveland starters have struck out 10 or more batters four times in their first seven games, becoming the first team to accomplish that feat.
5. Houston Astros (Last Week: 3)
Catcher Martin Maldonado is tied for the team lead with six RBI, driving in more runs than he has hits (five). None of his hits have gone for extra bases.
4. Tampa Bay Rays (Last Week: 6)
Before this season, first baseman Ji-man Choi had taken all 855 of his plate appearances as a left-handed hitter. On Sunday, he batted right-handed, and promptly homered off Blue Jays lefty Anthony Kay. Choi had tinkered with switch-hitting in the past, but had never tried it against Major League pitching until this past weekend—perhaps he’s on to something.
3. Minnesota Twins (Last Week: 5)
Rich Hill and Nelson Cruz are the first pair of 40-year-olds to make Minnesota's Opening Day roster. They're both older than manager Rocco Baldelli, 38. Cruz leads MLB with 11 RBI, while Hill, the oldest active starter in the Majors, won his first start with the team by pitching five scoreless innings on Wednesday night.
2. New York Yankees (Last Week: 2)
Giancarlo Stanton’s Opening Day home run was noteworthy for a few reasons. It was his third Opening Day homer as a Yankee (he hit two in 2018), and it was the second-hardest hit home run of the Statcast era (since 2015), at 121.3 mph. (The only one hit harder was, of course, from Stanton, who hit a homered in 2018 with a 121.7 mph exit velocity.)
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (Last Week: 1)
Thanks to MLB’s new extra-innings rule, rookie third baseman Edwin Rios became the first player in MLB history to hit a leadoff two-run homer in L.A.'s win over the Astros on Wednesday night.