With most teams having played a third of its season, 54 games, we have a pretty good gauge on the numbers that may be put up on an individual basis over the course of the full season.
Of course, this takes nothing more than multiplying the current numbers by three.
Although unlikely we could see a challenge to reaching 60 home runs this season as Nelson Cruz started this week with 20 dingers, one more than Edwin Encarnacion. With 16 home runs Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton is on a pace to approach 50 while the 15 homers hammered by both rookie Jose Abreu and veteran Josh Donaldson project them into the low 40s.
The RBI leader projects to have about 150 as Cruz (52), Stanton (51) and Encarnacion (50) start this week at or above the half century mark with Miguel Cabrera (49) and Donaldson (48) close behind.
The Dodgers’ Dee Gordon, almost out of baseball a season or so ago, is the clear leader in stolen bases with 34. A pace that would project his season total to approach and possible surpass 100. Rookie Billy Hamilton of Cincinnati and Houston’s Jose Altuve (both at 20) are tied for a distant second.
With 10 wins Mark Buehrle is on a pace to approach 30 wins, and while that result is highly unlikely given the way pitchers are handled in the current era it would not be surprising to see him wind up (pardon the pun) with 23 to 25 wins. Several pitchers are on a pace toward a 20 win season with 8 wins through the end of May.
Cleveland’s Corey Kluber is on a pace that would see him strike out close to 300 batters with his 95 Ks to date. Boston’s Jon Lester is on the same pace with the identical 95 fanned batters through Sunday.
These individual projections present more than just interesting water cooler chatter for many bettors as there are sports books that offer proposition bets on these individual achievements with odds adjusted through much of the first two thirds or so of the season.
Baseball, arguably more than any other of the major sport, has been built around the accumulation of and debate about individual player statistics and their contribution, or lack thereof, to their team’s success.
And it just makes following the sport a whole lot more fun (especially when it comes to participation in the fantasy aspect of sports).
Here’s a look at four series to be played this weekend.
LA Dodgers at Colorado: In their only prior series this season Colorado took 2 of 3 games in Los Angeles in late April. The OVER was 2-0-1. At home the Rockies are averaging a solid 6.8 runs per game, nearly double the 3.7 rpg they average on the road. The Dodgers are also somewhat of an anomaly, averaging just 4.0 rpg at home but an increased 4.7 runs per game on the road. This will clearly be the best set of starters the Rockies will have faced at home this season
Plays: OVER 9 in any matchup; OVER 10 not involving the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke or Josh Beckett or Colorado’s Jorge de la Rosa or Jordan Lyles; Colorado +140 or more vs. Kershaw, Greinke or Beckett; Colorado -120 or less against other Dodger starters; Dodgers -150 or less with any starter against Franklin Morales.
Oakland at Baltimore: First meeting. Surprisingly, Baltimore has performed better on the road (17-15, 4.9 runs per game) than at home (11-12, 3.3 rpg). Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir and Jesse Chavez have been the strongest of the A’s starting pitchers, each with ERAs below 2.80 and WHIPs below 1.20. The A’s are 25-9 in their combined starts. Bud Norris is also the only Baltimore starter averaging more than 5.8 innings per start (6.2).
Plays: Oakland as underdogs of any price in starts by Gray or Kazmir against any Baltimore starter. Oakland +125 or more against any Baltimore starter; Baltimore -125 or less not facing Gray, Kazmir or Chavez; OVER 7.5 or higher in any matchup.
Boston at Detroit: In their only prior meeting this season, in mid-May, Detroit swept a three game series in Boston. The UNDER was 3-0. Detroit’s starting pitching has been paced by Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer. Ace Justin Verlander seems to have slipped a notch over the past season and a half and his 3.99 ERA and 1.44 WHIP through 12 starts are ordinary at best. Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello have also pitched well with Sanchez looking especially sharp since his return from the DL. Boston’s starters have been led by Jon Lester and John Lackey while Jake Peavy has slumped since a solid early season start.
Plays: UNDER 7.5 or higher if Detroit’s Scherzer or Sanchez oppose Boston’s Lackey or Lester; The underdog in a matchup of Scherzer/Sanchez against Lackey/Lester; Detroit – 125 or less if Scherzer, Sanchez or Verlander don’t face Lackey or Lester; Boston – 130 or less if Lackey or Lester don’t oppose Scherzer, Sanchez or Verlander; OVER 8.5 or less if neither Lackey or Lester starts for Boston and Sanchez, Scherzer or Verlander do not start.
St Louis at Toronto: The Jays are 11-1 in starts by Mark Buehrle, who has fashioned a 2.10 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. St. Louis pitching has been solid, anchored by Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha, but the offense has performed below expected levels.
Plays: St Louis as underdogs of any price in starts by Wacha or Wainwright against any Toronto starter; St. Louis – 120 or less not facing Buehrle; Toronto – 150 or less in a start by Buehrle not facing Wacha or Wainwright; Toronto – 120 or less if Buehrle, Wacha or Wainwright don’t start; UNDER 7.5 or higher if Wacha or Wainwright oppose Buehrle; OVER 8.5 or lower if Wacha, Wainwright and Buehrle are not involved.
Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to Gaming Today readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Contact Andy at [email protected]