Qualified Innings Pitched & Plate Appearances
If you are wondering why a player who is hitting .340 or has a 1.50 ERA, but are not listed among leaders, that is because leaders are selected from only a qualified field. In order to qualify for awards and also showing up on leaderboards, a player needs to average over three plate appearances per game, which is just a shade over 500 plate appearances. For starting pitchers, you must throw one inning per scheduled team game, so this is going to come out to 162 innings.
This is done so that it separates pitchers and hitters that have had played a more meaningful amount of games. If a hitter hits .370 in the span of 50 games, it is different from hitting .330 over the span of 100. The same goes for starting pitchers if they throw just 92 innings over a season and end up leading the league in ERA. When we look at ERA title and batting title winners at the end of the season, we want names who have played a majority of the year.
Most Hits In A Single Season
Ichiro Suzuki holds the record for most single hits in a season with 262. This was in 2004, and he also finished 10th all-time in 2001 with 242. This was not the only time he finished inside the top 20 in hits for a single season. In 2007 he had 238. Ichiro will go down as one of the best pure hitters in that game. Over that 2004 season he played 161 games, hit .372 and had a .414 OBP. Some other notable names go to George Sisler in 1920, who had 257 hits. He also had 246 hits back in 1946. Seven total players in MLB history have had over 250 hits in a single season.
In more recent years we have sen Jose Aluve really pile on the hits. Back in 2015 and 2014 he had over 200 hits in a season. He also had 216 back in 2016. Looking at 2019, Whit Merrfield and Rafael Devers were two of the top hits leaders, and both had over 200 hits in that season. Mookie Betts, Jacob Ellsbury, and Dustin Pedroia are a few other Red Sox players in the last decade to record over 200 hits in a season.
Highest Batting Average In A Single Season
We haven’t seen a .400 hitter since Ted Williams did it back in 1941, and it is going to be tough to see another one with how today’s game is played. Hugh Duffy hit .439 back in 1894, which is the highest single season record for batting average. We saw a few duplicate names hit over .400 in their career. Rogers Hornsby hit .423 in 1924, and then .402 back in 1925. He wasn’t done, hitting .401 in 1922. Ed Delahanty did it three times as well, alongside Ty Cobb. All three are of course Hall of Famers.
Over recent years, nobody has even come close to sniffing .400. Ichiro Suzuki was the closest lately, hitting .372 in 2004. You also had Chipper Jones who hit .364 back in 2008. Barry Bonds also hit .369 back in 2002. Tony Gwynn had a historical career and hit over .370. In the modern era, we usually see hitters top out around .330, and on occasion we see a hitter hit around .340 or .350. Hitting where Jones and Ichiro did in the last 20 years is the closest we have seen and it might be the closest we get.
Most Home Runs In A Single Season
One of the more obvious records in baseball was Barry Bonds hitting 73 home runs in a single season. The wild aspect of that season was that he was 36 years old. This year was in the range of a real power surge for baseball, which was helped out by steroids. The next five best home run seasons belong to either Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa. Being division rivals with the Cardinals and Cubs, Sosa and McGwire went neck and neck each year in home runs. McGwire is second on the list hitting 70 in the 1998 season.
Going back in time a little bit, Roger Maris hit 61 home runs back in 1961, surpassing Babe Ruth who hit 60 in 1927. Giancarlo Stanton is one of the more recent power bats to nearly get to 60. He hit 59 back in 2017. Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies also hit 58. Names like David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, Jose Bautista, and Ken Griffey Jr are other names we have seen over the last 20-30 years. Aaron Judge and Pete Alonso are two New York power bats who have broke into the top 30 for most home runs in a single season.
Most Stolen Bases In A Single Season
Stolen bases are a lost art. Power has taken over the league and using speed to produce runs just isn’t viewed as optimal anymore. Rickey Henderson will go down as one of the greatest base stealers of all time, but he doesn’t have the record for the most stolen bases in a single season. Hugh Nicol back in 1887 recorded 138 stolen bases. Henderson was second, recording 130 in a season back in 1982. He also had 108 in 1983 and 100 in 1980.
Billy Hamilton was a big stolen base threat back in the late 1800s. Not the Billy Hamilton you may know now. He had 111 stolen bases in a season back in 1889 and 1891. He also had 102 in 1890 and 1000 in 1894. If we want to see more recent names, Jose Reyes had 78 stolen bases back in 2007. This is the highest of more recent years. Jacoby Ellsbury also hit the 70 stolen base mark in 2009.
Most RBI In A Single Season
If you thought you would see those home run leaders in the same department as most RBI in a season, you are going to be surprised. They did not translate into some of the top RBI seasons of all time. Hack Wilson might have a record that never gets taken down. He finished the 1930 season with 191 runs batted in. Lou Gehrig and Hank Greenberg were two names that regularly drove in runs. Gehrig drove in 185 runs in 1931, and then had 173 in 1927 and 1930.
In more frequent years, Manny Ramirez had 165 RBI in 1999. Back in 2007, Alex Rodriguez had 156 RBI. Ryan Howard, David Ortiz, and Todd Helton are a few other bigger names over the last two decades. RBI is also reliant on how the team is around you, and we often saw those big hitters get walked when runners were on base. It limited their chances to drive in runs.
Most Strikeouts In A Single Season
Pitching stats are truly broken up into a few different eras. Some names pitched double the innings of names now, and that is why their strikeouts are different. Throwing 513 strikeouts in an 1886 season just isn’t going to be duplicated for a number of reasons. Looking after the WWII era, we saw names like Nolan Ryan really start to dominate the strikeout department. He had 383 in a 1973 season, which is the highest of anyone pitching outside of the 1900s. Sandy Koufax was right behind him with 382 in 1965.
Randy Johnson was truly one of the best strikeout pitchers in baseball. Back in 2001 he had 372 total strikeouts, and just a few years before he had 364 in 1999. This was an incredible run for Johnson, as he had 347 strikeouts in 2000 as well. He is among names like Ryan in terms of putting together dominant runs where he was easily the best strikeout pitcher in the game at the time. Gerrit Cole in 2019 joined an elite list, where he had 326 strikeouts, which put him 35th all-time in strikeouts during a single season. Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling were also a few notable names that crossed the 310 mark.
Most Wins In A Single Season
Like strikeouts, this is an era different stat. Nobody is touching 40+ wins in a season in this day and age. Pitchers are not even getting to that mark in just overall starts. So looking at names over recent decades, we can still find some 20-25 game winners. Justin Verlander had a 24 win season back in 2011. Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling put together one of the most dominant seasons between any two starting pitchers within a single rotation. They had 47 combined wins between the two of them back in 2002. In that same year, Barry Zito also had 23 wins. Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz had elite years back in the late 1990s.
Best ERA In A Single Season
This is among qualified hitters, and back in 1880 Tim Keefe had a 0.85 ERA. Christy Mathewson is considered one of the best pitchers of all-time, and he had a 1.14 ERA season back in 1909. Bob Gibson was a tough beat, and his 1968 season was one for the ages, where he had a 1.12 ERA. This single season record is filled with a lot of guys before the pre-war era. Names like Cy Young, Pete Alexander, and Walter Johnson dominated in this department.
In more recent years, Jacob deGrom and Blake Snell both posted top 100 ERA seasons in baseball history. Snell had a 1.89 ERA in 2018, and deGrom finished the year with a 1.70. Zack Greinke and Jake Arrieta are also a few names that delivered strong ERA seasons over the last decade. Clayton Kershaw is widely considered the best pitcher in this day and age. He has three seasons of late where he posted some of the lower ERA seasons in the game.
Most Saves In A Single Season
There have been some truly electric closers in our time, and recording saves in a season has a lot of variance because is is reliant on actually getting save chances. Francisco Rodriguez recorded 62 saves back in 2008, which is still the all-time record. In 2018, Edwin Diaz came very close, as he recorded 57 saves, which tied Bobby Thigpen for second who recorded 57 in 1990. Not only was John Smoltz one of the best starters in baseball, he also dominated in saves back in 2002 where he had 22. Dennis Eckersley had a 51 save season in 1992.
Eric Gagne didn’t have a lengthy career, but he was one of the top closers during his prime. For one he had an all-time stretch of not blowing a save. He also had 55 saves in 2003, which is tied with Smoltz for the third most of all time. This was in continuation of his 2002 season where he had 52 saves. Probably the most dominant two year stretch for any closer. It is also no surprise to see names like Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera on this list, who dominated their entire career. Rivera is also the best postseason closer in MLB history. Each year there are more modern day names added to the list. As this stat is more geared towards modern day baseball, where some of the other stat records go back over 100 years.
MLB Player Stats FAQ
Who Leads The League In Home Runs Last Season?
Luke Voit let the league in home runs with 22. Voit is a power bat for the Yankees and led the team in RBIs as well. Voit played a key role given the Yankees had injury issues yet again.
Who Leads The League In Strikeouts Last Season?
Shane Bieber led all pitchers in strikeouts with 122. He edged out Jacob deGrom and Trevor Bauer, who also had strong seasons. Bieber is one of the up and coming top pitching arms and has taken over as the Cleveland ace after they parted ways with Kluber and Bauer over the years.
Who Has Highest Batting Average Last Season?
DJ LeMahieu led the league in average, hitting .364 last season. LeMahieu has really benefitted from the park move to New York, which is not a huge step down from Coors. After testing the market, LeMahieu returned to the big apple to continue with the Yankees.
Has Anyone Ever Batted .400 In A Season?
There have been 28 times a player has hit .400 or higher in an MLB season. The last player to do it was Ted Williams in 1941, where he hit .406. Roger Hornsby and Ty Cobb both hit over .400 in a season three times each.
Who Leads The League In Wins Last Season?
While it was a shortened season so the wins look a little low, both Shane Bieber and Yu Darvish finished the year tied with eight wins. Both had a very strong season and also posted very high strikeout numbers.
Who Has The Best ERA In Baseball Last Season?
Once again, Shane Bieber posted the best number her with a 1.63 ERA. Bieber put in a complete season and was widely considered the best pitcher in the shortened season.
Who Leads The League In Saves Last Season?
Brad Hand was one of the best closers in baseball last season and he led the league with 16 saves. His dominant sinker, mixed with his strikeout stuff, Hand has a proven track record but is now on the move out of Cleveland.
Who Leads The League In RBI Last Season
Jose Abreu led the league in RBI, driving in 60 runs for the Washington Nationals. Marcell Ozuna was a close second with 56. Abreu will look to keep it going with a young White Sox team.
What Does RBI Stand For?
RBI is an acronym for runs batted in. It refers to when a hitter puts the ball in play, and a runner scores on the play. The only time a RBI will not be counted on a ball in play is if the hitter grounds into a double play.