Correa the Prodigy

Age_20_Hitters_Carlos_CorreaData via the Baseball-Reference Play Index

Houston shortstop Carlos Correa is having a historic season for his age. Since being called up to the majors at the end of June, the 20-year-old has hit for an OPS+ of 144, which would be 10th best all-time for someone his age (min. 400 plate appearances; Correa is on pace for 425-450). The only players above Correa’s pace are inner-circle Hall of Famers — Cobb, Ott, Kaline, Mantle, Williams, Hornsby, Foxx — and two others who may join them in Trout and Rodriguez.

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Blue Jays’ Bashers

Blue_Jays_Hitting_wRC+Data via Fangrahs

The Blue Jays have won 11 straight games thanks in large part to one of baseball’s most fearsome lineups. After last month’s trade for shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, the Royals have one of this year’s top six hitters by wRC+ at four positions — catcher Russell Martin, third baseman Josh Donaldson, Tulowitzki, and right fielder Jose Bautista. The Jays have scored 5.3 runs per game, best in baseball by half a run, despite little production from second base, left field and center field.

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Lucky Sox

Red_Sox_Reached_On_Error_2015Data via the Play Index

The Red Sox are leading the AL East with a 9-5 record through Tuesday’s games, thanks in large part to a prolific offense that has scored more than five runs per game. They’ve been a bit lucky to do so, however. 14 Red Sox have reached base on error so far, four more than any other team in baseball and more than twice the MLB average. Boston will hit well regardless — and reaching base on error is a skill to some degree — but it can’t count on so many opposing miscues going forward.

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Batted Balls by Velocity, 2015

MLB_Batted_Ball_VelocityData via Baseball Savant

The most common balls in play come off the bat at 85-100 mph, but exit speeds in 2015 have ranged from 30-119 mph, according to MLBAM data compiled by Baseball Savant. (Data excludes bunts and approximately 40% of batted balls for which speed was unavailable.) Not surprisingly, harder-hit balls are more successful; 59% of balls at 100+ mph became hits, compared to just 21% of balls at 75 mph and slower. There are also a few errors in the raw data, such as this Mike Trout homer, which was recorded at a mere 48 mph.

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Giancarlo Stanton’s trajectory


The Miami Marlins recently agreed to a $325 million contract with Giancarlo Stanton, locking him up for most of his career (unless he opts out after the fifth year). Stanton is one of 20 players in MLB history with at least 150 homers in his first five seasons, per the Play Index, putting him in the company of all-time greats Willie Mays and Joe DiMaggio, as well as a couple less-renowned players of recent years, such as Dan Uggla and Mark Reynolds. Stanton has been near the middle of this illustrious pack so far in terms of overall value, closest to Orlando Cepeda and Mark McGwire.

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Series-ending walk-offs


Data via the Play Index

Travis Ishikawa’s game-winning homer won Game 5 of the NLCS and sent the Giants to the World Series — the ninth playoff series-winning home run in baseball history, but the first since four were hit in four years from 2003-06. Ishikawa, a journeyman bench player who the Giants acquired mid-season, was an unlikely hero — but perhaps not the unlikeliest. Six of the previous eight home-run hitters were All-Stars that same season, but that list includes Bill Mazeroski, who was best known for his glove at second base before ending the 1960 World Series. Other walk-off artists include light-hitting catchers Todd Pratt (1999 NLDS) and Chris Burke (2005 NLCS), whose home run rates were well below their peers’.

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Missouri digs the long ball


With the Royals leading the Orioles 2-0 and the NLCS tied 1-1, an intra-Missouri rematch of the 1985 Kansas City-St. Louis World Series is still very much possible. The biggest reason why is a surprising power surge from the Show Me state. In the regular season, both teams finished dead last in their respective leagues in home runs, but things have changed completely in October. The Cardinals have blasted 11 homers in six games, including four in a 5-4 victory over San Francisco on Sunday night, while the Royals have eight dingers so far in their 6-0 playoff run — both at or above their peak regular-season levels.

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