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Do Statistics Count in a Shortened MLB Season?

We are now just one weekend series away from the end of an unprecedented MLB season. At the start of the season there was a lot of chatter around unworthy teams making the playoffs in a short season and maybe great teams wouldn’t find their stride. Also was it possible that average players getting hot for a short period of time would have skewed and inflated numbers? So, let’s take a look at how individual statistics have panned out in this shortened season. 


Batting Average:

The top of the leaderboard for MLB Batting Average has remained rather consistent. 2 of the 3 players with the highest Batting Average in 2019, are again in the top 3 in 2020. Last year, Tim Anderson of the Chicago White Sox led the league with a .335 BA and D.J. LeMahieu followed closely in 3rd place batting .327. 

Now in the shortened 2020 season, LeMahieu leads all of baseball batting .360 followed by Anderson in 3rd place batting .346. Fair to say that regardless of how many games are played, these guys are 2 of the best.


Earned Run Average:

The top pitchers in ERA have changed drastically from 2019 to 2020. This year, the pitchers with the lowest ERA are Shane Bieber of the Cleveland Indians (1.63), Trevor Bauer of the Cincinnati Reds (1.73), and Corbin Burnes of the Milwaukee Brewers (1.77).

In 2019, Bieber and Bauer finished top 50 in ERA but Burnes was nowhere to be found posting a 8+ ERA.


All of these numbers suggest that overall the top performers have remained rather consistent, especially in the hitting column. Sure, Bieber and Bauer were not top 3 performers in 2019 but they have both put up consistent numbers over the past 3 years. Would they have lasted as the best in a full 162 game season?

 

So maybe a shortened season and slightly different rules didn’t affect player performance after all. Maybe more importantly, we will soon find out if the World Series Champion is a powerhouse division winner or a team that barely squeaks in the extended playoff in a wild card spot.

 

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