Most enjoyable 2022 MLB stat races

September 5, 2022

With about one month remaining within the common season, some particular person statistical races are already determined. No one is catching Aaron Choose in residence runs, for instance.

However many different classes are shaping as much as be a combat to the end, with two or extra gamers jockeying for leaderboard place. Here’s a subjective have a look at the ten most intriguing battles to observe down the stretch.

1. NL residence runs
Prime contenders: Kyle Schwarber (PHI) 36, Austin Riley (ATL) 35, Paul Goldschmidt (STL) 34, Mookie Betts (LAD) 33, Pete Alonso (NYM) 32

Not solely is that this a crowded race, however the stakes are excessive. Goldschmidt is seeking to win the primary NL Triple Crown since fellow Cardinal Joe Medwick in 1937, and he at the moment leads the batting race whereas sitting one forward of Alonso in RBIs. However he’s behind in homers — albeit inside putting distance of Schwarber. Goldy must blow effectively previous his profession excessive of 36 lengthy balls (2013 and ‘17) to get the job accomplished, and he must contend not solely with Schwarber but additionally another stiff competitors.

2. AL WAR
Prime contenders (by way of Baseball-Reference)^: Aaron Choose (NYY) 7.9, Shohei Ohtani (LAA) 7.6

The WAR chase is all the time undercut a bit by the truth that it’s much less clear than your extra conventional classes. There’s a couple of model (Choose is a bit additional forward, in response to FanGraphs), and the formulation is complicated.

However with that being stated, there’s something fascinating concerning the Choose-Ohtani showdown. It’s not simply that they’re clearly the highest two AL MVP candidates. It’s additionally how they’ve arrived at these numbers, with Choose placing collectively a traditionally nice power-hitting season and Ohtani being roughly a top-10 hitter and a top-10 pitcher on the identical time.

3. NL hits
Prime contenders: Freddie Freeman (LAD) 168, Trea Turner (LAD) 164, Paul Goldschmidt 158 (STL)

Turner and Freeman have battled all year in this category, and it’s been enjoyable to observe, particularly for Dodgers followers. This could be the second NL hits title for Freeman, whereas Turner may turn into the primary to win three straight NL crowns because the Reds’ Frank McCormick (1938-40).

4. AL ERA
Prime contenders: Justin Verlander (HOU) 1.84, Dylan Stop (CHW) 2.13, Shane McClanahan (TB) 2.20, Alek Manoah (TOR) 2.48, Shohei Ohtani (LAA) 2.58

It seemed like Verlander was working away together with his second profession AL ERA title, till a calf harm despatched him to the IL final week. Now the query that looms largest just isn’t a lot whether or not the 39-year-old can keep away from a late slide, however whether or not he’ll return in time to pitch no less than 10 extra innings, thereby reaching the 162-inning mark to qualify for the title at season’s finish.

For that matter, the identical applies to McClanahan, who additionally simply hit the IL with a shoulder problem and nonetheless wants 14 2/3 innings to qualify. If neither of the highest two can attain that threshold, it ought to clear the best way for Stop, who is also making a severe, last-minute Cy Younger Award push.

5. NL ERA
Prime contenders: NL ERA: Julio Urías (LAD) 2.29, Sandy Alcantara (MIA) 2.36, Zac Gallen (ARI) 2.42, Max Fried (ATL) 2.48

A few months in the past, this didn’t look to be a lot of a race. On July 10, Urías gave up 5 runs to the Cubs, bloating his ERA to three.01. That very same day, Alcantara blanked the Mets for seven innings, dropping his to 1.73. However in 9 begins apiece since then, these numbers have flipped (1.13 for Urías, 3.73 for Alcantara), with Urías leaping in entrance on Saturday.

Extra contenders lurk. That features the red-hot Gallen and his 41 1/3-inning scoreless streak, in addition to three-time Cy Younger Award winner Max Scherzer, who has a 2.26 ERA however at the moment doesn’t have sufficient innings to qualify (he additionally exited his final begin after 5 innings with facet fatigue). If Scherzer makes 5 extra begins for the Mets, he would wish to common just below 7 innings per outing — solely a bit above what he has accomplished since getting back from the IL in early July.

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6. NL doubles
Prime contenders: Freddie Freeman (LAD) 43, Matt Olson (ATL) 41

Typically, the narratives write themselves: The previous Atlanta cornerstone first baseman and the youthful model introduced in final offseason to interchange him, going face to face. Whereas all that maneuvering brought on a number of emotional upheaval, it additionally has labored out for all concerned, with each gamers having fun with robust seasons and each groups hovering towards one other postseason.

If Freeman can maintain off Olson, he would turn into the primary participant to win no less than three doubles titles in both league over a five-year span since Don Mattingly went again to again to again within the AL from 1984-86.

7. NL saves
Prime contenders: Kenley Jansen (ATL) 31, Josh Hader (SD) 30, Taylor Rogers (MIL) 30, Edwin Díaz (NYM) 29, Daniel Bard (COL) 28

The very first thing you discover right here is that two of those pitchers (Hader and Rogers) had been traded for one another earlier than final month’s Deadline. However that hasn’t accomplished wonders for his or her probabilities on this race, with the pair combining for 3 complete saves with their new groups, and Hader specifically enduring some mighty struggles.

8. AL stolen bases
Prime contenders: Jorge Mateo (BAL) 30, Cedric Mullins (BAL) 29, Randy Arozarena (TB) 27, Bobby Witt Jr. (KC) 26

The Orioles are shaping as much as be one of the vital enjoyable groups to observe down the stretch — an up-and-coming, ahead-of-schedule membership with a nothing-to-lose angle. Considered one of Baltimore’s strengths is baserunning (fourth in MLB in FanGraphs’ baserunning runs metric), and two of its finest are Mullins and Mateo, who additionally ranks within the prime 10 within the Majors in dash pace.

In fact, it’s not only a two-Oriole race. And if Mullins or Mateo winds up tied with Arozarena, it will be paying homage to 2007, when Baltimore’s Brian Roberts and Tampa Bay’s Carl Crawford did the identical.

9. NL strikeouts
Prime contenders: Carlos Rodón (SF) 201, Corbin Burnes (MIL) 200, Aaron Nola (PHI) 190

Even when Burnes would not repeat because the NL Cy Younger Award winner, that is one other field he may verify. That might be important for Milwaukee, which is considered one of 4 franchises (together with the Marlins, Royals and Rockies) to by no means have a pitcher lead the AL or NL in Ok’s. Two of these, Miami and Colorado, are more moderen growth groups.

It gained’t be straightforward, although. Nola is making an attempt to assist pitch the Phillies into their first postseason since 2011, whereas Rodón is sharpening a case to be one of many offseason’s most coveted free brokers, assuming he opts out of his contract.

10. NL on-base share
Prime contenders: Paul Goldschmidt (STL) .417, Juan Soto (SD) .411

This one is fascinating principally as a result of it’s an excessive instance of gamers can arrive at roughly the identical stat in wildly other ways. Goldschmidt has raked this yr, piling up 158 hits — a whopping 51 greater than Soto. However Soto is blowing away the remainder of the MLB area with 117 walks — 48 greater than Goldy. The result’s comparable OBPs, regardless of greater than an 80-point distinction in batting common and practically a 150-point hole in slugging.