We've reached the unofficial halfway point of the MLB season, so it’s time to take a breath and a look around.
Since the schedule began in late March, 855 batters have combined to score 12,749 runs against 690 pitchers. Surely, there's got to be something interesting buried beneath those mountains of box scores.
So, from the good to the bad, and from New York to San Diego, here is the 2018 Major League Baseball season's first half by the numbers:
161 - Home runs by the New York Yankees
No team has ever hit more home runs in a season than the 1997 Seattle Mariners, who finished with 264. Ken Griffey Jr. belted 56, Jay Buhner chipped in with 40, and a total of nine Mariners reached double digits.
The 2018 Bronx Bombers are coming for that record.
With 161 home runs through 95 games, the Yankees are on pace to hit 274 this season. They have 11 players with at least six home runs at the break, and will get a boost when Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres return.
105.1 mph - Pure heat from Jordan Hicks
When you look at Statcast's leaderboard for the fastest pitches in MLB by season, there's a button labeled "Chapman Filter" to see the rankings with Aroldis Chapman removed. But the Yankees lefty now has some competition on the radar gun.
St. Louis Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks hit 105.1 mph and 105.0 mph during the same at-bat against Odubel Herrera on May 20. He also owns the third-hardest pitch of the season at 104.4 mph, and has thrown seven of the 10 fastest pitches overall in 2018.
Chapman did hit 105.1 mph in 2016, according to Statcast, but the 21-year-old Hicks is leading the new wave of flamethrowers.
489 feet - The (surprising) longest home run
It must have been Judge or Giancarlo Stanton, right? Wrong. In fact, neither player shows up in the top five when you look at homer distances in 2018.
Instead, Franchy Cordero is the man behind the 489-foot blast, which he hit off Matt Koch on April 20. While the Padres slugger only has seven homers this season in 40 games played, he's also hit bombs of 459 and 456 feet.
Overall, the home run distance leaderboard isn't exactly littered with the names you'd expect, as Avisail Garcia (481 feet), Christian Walker (479), Marcell Ozuna (479), and Matt Olson (475) round out the top five.
324 feet - The shortest (over-the-wall) homer
A full 165 feet stand between Cordero's home run and this one - hit by J.D. Martinez off David Hess on May 20. It was a Fenway special, too, traveling just 324 feet to right field before it found the seats.
The Green Monster is 37 feet tall, so if you lay it on its side, Cordero's home run would be separated from Martinez's by 4.46 Green Monsters.
6.5 - Trout, Betts, and Ramirez outproducing entire lineups
In almost any city that pronounces it "ballpark" instead of "ballpahk," Mike Trout is considered the best player in baseball. Boston's Mookie Betts is giving him one heck of a run, though, while Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez is also emerging as one of the game's truly elite players. The three men now sit tied atop the league with 6.5 WAR entering the second half.
That’s not just good - it's better than some entire lineups (all position players combined). The Blue Jays and Tigers just narrowly top the number with a combined 6.6 WAR in their batting orders, but the Mets (5.9), White Sox (5.6), Padres (4.4), Royals (4.0), and Orioles (-1.9) are all still trying to squeeze just one Trout, Betts, or Ramirez out of their entire lineup.
5.1 - Trevor Bauer's WAR
Love him or hate him, Trevor Bauer is baseball's most valuable pitcher at the break. The 27-year-old noted science expert has names like Max Scherzer, Chris Sale, and Justin Verlander looking up at him and his 2.23 ERA over 136 1/3 innings.
Meanwhile, around baseball, a few teams are still looking to find 5.1 WAR from their entire pitching staff (all pitcher's values combined). The White Sox (3.7), Marlins (3.4), Reds (2.1), and Royals (-0.1) all sit comfortably below Bauer’s value as a unit.
-2.4 - Chris Davis's WAR
Not to pile on the Orioles, but their ineptitude as a franchise has reached a point of true fascination. Their most expensive player - Chris Davis - is on pace for one of the worst seasons in the history of Major League Baseball.
With a -2.4 WAR, Davis would already be tied for the 19th-worst campaign in league history if the season ended today. The all-time low is -4.0, set by Jim Levey of the St. Louis Browns in 1933.
Davis is also hitting just .158, which puts him on pace to post the lowest batting average for a qualified player in league history. Rob Deer and Dan Uggla currently own that honour at .179. Beyond this season, the Orioles still owe Davis $92 million over the next four years.
Perhaps this is why teams are growing hesitant when it comes to handing out megadeals to bat-first players nearing 30 ...
47 seconds - The time it took Bryce Harper to blast 9 homer
The 2018 Home Run Derby tried to spice things up. There was an on-field DJ, awkward player introductions, and so much smoke that you couldn’t see the field for a while. In the end, all it needed was Bryce Harper.
Hitting in his own park, Harper reached the finals and was down 18-9 against Kyle Schwarber. Then he went wild.
Harper hit nine home runs on 10 swings, which took just 47 seconds from the time the first one landed. He also earned 30 seconds of bonus time for hitting two blasts farther than 440 feet, and he subsequently walked it off on the second pitch he saw from his dad.
13 - The Happ vs. Mookie battle royale
Betts against J.A. Happ on July 12 at Fenway is the No. 1 contender for at-bat of the first half. With the bases loaded and two outs, Betts fouled off seven straight pitches and then worked the count full before sending a no-doubt grand slam over the Green Monster on the 13th offering.
Going back as far as the data's available (1988), no other Red Sox player has homered on the 13th pitch of an at-bat or later; Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez both did so on the 12th pitch. It was also the first grand slam hit on the 13th pitch of an at-bat since Gary Scott did it for the Chicago Cubs in 1992.
5.68 - Hits per 9 allowed by Gerrit Cole
The numbers are all there for Cole. He's 10-2 with a 2.52 ERA, is eating up innings, and is striking out hitters at a rate well beyond his career norms. But even more impressive is that he's allowed just 5.68 hits per nine innings - one of the best marks in history.
As of now, Cole's rate would rank ninth lowest all time. Scherzer's brilliant 2017 season sneaks in just ahead at 5.64, while Nolan Ryan leads the way with a 5.26 rate that was posted in 1972.
9 & 3 - Slams hit by the Red Sox ... and Xander Bogaerts
The Red Sox failed to hit a single grand slam in 2017 - but they were apparently just saving them for this season.
Boston has already hit nine grand slams in 2018, putting the team just two shy of its franchise record (11). The all-time MLB record for any team is 14 - which is shared by Cleveland (2006) and Oakland (2000) - so the Red Sox have plenty of time to take a run at that, too.
Meanwhile, Xander Bogaerts probably isn't the name that comes to mind when you think of power in Boston, but three of the shortstop's 16 home runs this season have come with the bases full. That puts him within striking distance of the single-season record of six, which is shared by Don Mattingly (1987) and Travis Hafner (2006). Four players have hit five grand slams in a season, while 18 have produced four.
Luck and timing both matter as much as anything else in this record chase, but if there's one team that will load the bases plenty down the stretch, it's probably the Red Sox.
10 - Mark Reynolds' monster RBI day
Of all the players you would have expected to drive in 10 runs in a game this season, Mark Reynolds - who went unsigned until mid-April - surely wouldn't have topped the list.
However, Reynolds accomplished the rare feat on July 7 for the Nationals when he went 5-for-5 with two home runs and a double. The feat might seem more common after Scooter Gennett and Anthony Rendon did it within five weeks of one another last season, but only 15 players in league history have ever reached 10 RBIs in a game.
Meanwhile, just four players have exceeded the number in a single contest: Tony Lazzeri (1936) and Phil Weintraub (1944) both had 11, while Jim Bottomley (1924) and Mark Whiten (1993) each drove in a dozen.
132 - Strikeouts by Aaron Judge and Joey Gallo
Stanton and Yoan Moncada aren't far behind, either, with 130 strikeouts apiece. All four players have a clear path to striking out 200 times this season, which has only happened 10 times in MLB history.
All of the top-10 strikeout seasons have happened since 2008, with Reynolds holding the first, fifth, and 10th positions. His all-time record sits at 223, one more than Adam Dunn had in 2012.
Given Judge's rate of 1.3895 strikeouts per game that the Yankees play (he's appeared in 93, but this accounts for a day or two of rest), he's on pace to strike out 225 times this season, while Stanton is on pace for 221.
Reynolds might want to put some champagne on ice just in case.
934 - Whiffs by the Padres
The Brewers set the all-time record for strikeouts in a season with 1,543 in 2016. Last year, they raised the bar to 1,571. This season, it's San Diego's turn to take a run at the crown.
With 934 strikeouts through their first 99 games, the Padres are on pace for 1,528 as a team. Meanwhile, the Rangers, White Sox, and Phillies are all close behind with fewer games played, and each of those teams is on pace for at least 1,529 strikeouts by the end of 2018.
19: Yangervis Solarte's double-play groundouts
Now, for the most exciting stat in baseball: grounding into double-plays. Blue Jays third baseman Yangervis Solarte is pacing the league right now with 19, already a career high.
There have been 18 players in league history who've grounded into 30 or more double plays in a season. Among them are some all-time greats like Carl Yastrzemski (30 in 1964) and Cal Ripken Jr. (32 in 1985).
The record belongs to Hall of Fame outfielder Jim Rice, who grounded into 36 in 1984 and then 35 the next year. That's probably out of reach for Solarte, but as long as he's in the middle of the order on a slow team, anything's possible.
16.7 - Josh Hader, missing bats
Welcome to the strikeout era, during which the top ten strikeouts-per-nine rates (50-plus IP) in MLB history have all been posted since 2010. Chapman and Craig Kimbrel take up six of those spots, and Josh Hader could soon join them.
The 24-year-old Brewers reliever is striking out 16.7 batters per nine innings this season, which would rank second all time among pitchers who've thrown 50-plus innings. Chapman’s mark of 17.7 in 2014 is the record. Meanwhile, Hader is already at 48 innings over 31 appearances for Milwaukee with a 1.50 ERA and 2.1 WAR.
112 - Boston's win pace
At 68-30, the Red Sox are the best team in baseball. That's due to the all-around brilliance of Betts, the power of Martinez, the dominance of Chris Sale, and the steadiness of Kimbrel in the bullpen. And we're not even at the trade deadline yet.
Boston is on pace for 112 wins, which would land the club just four shy of the all-time record (116), which is shared by the 1906 Cubs and 2001 Mariners. The 1998 Yankees, with 114 victories, are the only other team to win more than 112.
The Red Sox would need to go 46-18 down the stretch to reach 114 wins, which is a tall ask. For context, that's a .719 winning percentage compared to their current mark of .694 - difficult, but not out of the question.
Down the stretch, the Red Sox are on the road in New York and Cleveland before finishing the season at home against the Orioles and Yankees.
2,504,089 - Fewer fans in the seats
Major League Baseball’s attendance is headed in the wrong direction this season. Compared to the same point in 2017, attendance is down more than 2.5 million (1,753 fans per game).
The Astros have bucked that trend, adding nearly 300,000 fans to date, while the Blue Jays and Marlins have both dropped by over a half-million visitors. Beyond ticket sales, that's a lot of $150 jerseys and $12 beers not being sold.
Keegan Matheson is the editor-in-chief of Baseball Toronto, which he founded in early 2018 after previously covering the Blue Jays for MLB.com. He appears regularly across sports radio and television networks in Canada as a Blue Jays and MLB analyst. Now living in Toronto, Keegan is originally from Nova Scotia.
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)