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Insights Weekly: What History Says About the Performances of Two MVPs and One Cy Young Candidate

By: Andy Cooper

During a wild week in MLB, a couple of former MVPs reached eye-opening statistical markers and one Houston Astros right-hander strengthened his position in the AL Cy Young chase.

Stats Perform is using nearly 40 years of research experience coupled with innovative advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence to provide one-of-a-kind storylines before, during and after the world’s biggest sporting events via STATS Insights.

STATS Insights is available to media, broadcasters, companies and anyone else looking to educate and engage sports fans with trends, expert analysis and historical information that go beyond mundane box scores and play-by-play.

As we progress through the summer months, Stats Perform will continue to dig deep on some of MLB’s coolest moments and do the same during the NFL and college football seasons – with the potential to even provide insights for games outside of the Power Five conferences.

As excited as we are for football’s return, we’ll keep our focus on America’s Pastime for the time being. Here are some of the latest top storylines from STATS Insights:

In his ninth season, Trout is continuing to show why he’s one of the game’s elite. The eight-time All-Star hit his 40thcareer home run versus Seattle on Saturday, becoming the youngest since the expansion era to hit that many against a single team. He followed that up by belting No. 41 on Sunday.

The next youngest player to hit 40 against a single opponent was Alex Rodriguez, who was 14 days older than Trout when he reached that mark against the Angels in 2003.

Trout, however, was not the quickest to smash 40 home runs against a single team. In fact, 17 players have accomplished the feat in fewer games than the two-time AL MVP (154). The fastest being Mark McGwire, who hit 43 homers in only 107 games against the Detroit Tigers.

Using STATS PASS, it’s easy to find that in addition to his 60 home runs and 30-plus stolen bases, Yelich led all of baseball with a .350 batting average, 443 total bases, a 1.183 OPS, 143 RBIs and 31 go-ahead RBIs from the 2018 All-Star break through last Saturday.

The ’18 NL MVP has accounted for approximately 23 percent of the Brewers’ homers, 19 percent of their RBIs and 30 percent of their stolen bases in the 156 games he’s played over that stretch. Milwaukee went 41-24 in the second half of last season on the way to the NLCS, but it hasn’t been able to meet high expectations so far this season.

This tweet, however, has played well with a whopping 234,596 impressions, which has led to 538 retweets and 2,300 likes.

Cole has been on a tear, especially when it comes to strikeouts, joining an intimidating Astros pitching staff that includes Justin Verlander and Roberto Osuna.

Cole has placed himself firmly into the AL Cy Young race partly due to his ability to pile up Ks. He leads MLB in strikeouts per nine innings (SO/9) at 13.5, as well as strikeouts per batter faced, sending 37.9 percent of opposing hitters back to the dugout.

In 2001, Randy Johnson was putting on a similar performance for the Arizona Diamondbacks at almost identical rates. Johnson had 13.7 SO/9 while his SO/BFP was also at 37.9 percent upon hitting the 200-strikeout mark in his 19thstart.

“The Big Unit” eventually ended up with 372 Ks in 249.2 innings that season, winning the fourth of his five Cy Young Awards. And we’ll be sure to keep a close watch on Cole down the stretch to see if he can capture his first.

We will be back next week with more of the top storylines from STATS Insights.