Baseball is a celebration of numbers. Players and teams break game, single season, and career records all the time. New records are set every year just to be knocked down again in the future. Everyone wants a championship season, of course, but that’s not the only thing we get excited about. Here is a team by team list of new records to root for (or against) in 2017. All records are designated franchise or MLB, and teams are listed in reverse alphabetical order simply because no one ever does that (see part 1 for the NL list). There are also predictions on whether or not each record will be broken.


Toronto Blue Jays: Jose Bautista, career rWAR (franchise)

The Blue Jays will hope Bautista is the once and future king of rWAR for position players. His current mark of 37.1 is scarcely behind Tony Fernandez’ 37.4. The problem is Bautista started the season at 37.7 but has a -0.6 rWAR in 2017. With a mutual option likely to be declined, he needs to get hot to reacquire his former record.

Will it break? No.

Honorable Mention: Franchise HR in a season by a switch hitter (34 in 2001 by Jose Cruz Jr., Justin Smoak has 32 so far)


Texas Rangers: Joey Gallo, single season HR/1B (MLB)

Sometimes a player is so unique that neither conventional nor sabermetric statistics can describe him. In that case we must invent new metrics to capture such a special performance. Gallo is a exactly this sort of beast. He is likely to join Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire as the only players to ever have more home runs than singles in a season. He currently has 33 HR and 20 1B, which is a ratio of 1.65. This would break the single season record of 1.49 set by Bonds in 2001 when he hit 73 HR and 49 1B.

Will it break? Yes.

Honorable Mention: Franchise strikeouts in a season (185 by Pete Incaviglia in 1986, Gallo has 143 so far)


Tampa Bay Rays: Chris Archer, single season strikeouts (franchise)

Archer already holds the franchise single season strikeout record, which he set in 2015 with 252. His K/9 that year was 10.7, also a Rays record. This year he is striking out 11.1 batters every nine innings and has 197 in total. He’s averaging 6.4 innings per start with probably 9 starts remaining, so he needs to average only 8.3 K/9 the rest of the way to break his own record.

Will they break? Yes to both the strikeout and K/9 records.

Honorable Mention: Franchise home runs allowed in a season (34 by James Shields in 2010, Jake Odorizzi has 24 so far)


Seattle Mariners: Most starting pitchers used (franchise)

It’s been a rough year for Mariners’ pitching coach Rick Waits. Of the fifteen pitchers to have started for them this season, four are on the disabled list, two have been waived, and five are in the minors. Two others started the year with other teams. The team record for most starters in a season is 17, set in the expansion year of 1977. At the rate they are burning through starting pitching this should be well within reach.

Will it break? No. They won’t get to 18 but they will tie the record of 17.

Honorable Mention: Franchise home runs by a catcher in a season (22 by Mike Zunino in 2014, Zunino has 18 so far)


Oakland Athletics: Jharel Cotton, highest single season FIP (franchise)

Cotton had a stellar-yet-brief rookie season in 2016, but has failed to replicate his success this year. Through 18 starts and 433 batters faced he has allowed 19 HR and 42 BB while striking out 80. That yields a 5.45 FIP. He’s not far off from Matt Keough’s franchise record 5.88 FIP set in 1982. His biggest challenge might be working 65 more innings to reach the minimum to qualify.

Will it break? No. When rosters expand there won’t be reason enough to let him reach the minimum innings requirement.

Honorable Mention: Franchise worst single season ERA by a reliever (minimum 40 IP, 8.83 by Herman Besse in 1940, Francis Martes has a 7.03 ERA through 32 IP so far)


New York Yankees: Aaron Judge, nearly every rookie record (MLB)

Here are the rookie records Judge has in his reach: OPS (1.045 by Ted Williams in 1939), HR (49 by Mark McGwire in 1987), BB (Williams again with 107), IBB (16 by Alvin Davis in 1984), and SO (199 by Kris Bryant in 2015). He’s currently leading all American Leaguers in R, HR, BB, SLG, and OPS. He has also already broken team rookie records in several categories.

Will they break? Yes to BB and SO (he has 87 and 157), no to OPS, HR, and IBB (he’s at 1.028, 36, and 10)

Honorable Mention: Franchise highest K/9 by a reliever (Dellin Betances has 15.8 this season, which would break his own record of 15.3 set last year)


Minnesota Twins: Miguel Sano, single season strikeouts (franchise)

Here’s a record that’s almost certain to fall. Sano set the franchise record for whiffs with 178 in 2016. He’s already up to 162 this year. There’s a good chance he’ll reach this ignominious accomplishment this month.

Will it break? Yes, almost certainly before Labor Day.

Honorable Mention: MLB SB% in a season (minimum 25 attempts, 1994 Brady Anderson and 2001 Carlos Beltran share the record of 31 SB with one CS, Byron Buxton has 20 SB with one CS so far)


Los Angeles Angels: Andrelton Simmons, single season rWAR by a shortstop (franchise)

The Angels already witnessed an all time record set this season when Albert Pujols broke Cal Ripken’s standard for grounding into double plays. On a lesser yet happier scale, Simmons could be having the greatest season by a shortstop in franchise history. He has 6.2 rWAR so far, which puts him less than 2 rWAR away from Jim Fregosi’s record of 7.9 from 1964. Simmons’ current pace would put him at 8.4 by season’s end. For further reading on the greatness of Andrelton, see this fine work by Khurram Kalim.

Will it break? Yes. 

Honorable Mention: Fewest games played by a MVP (When Mike Trout first hit the disabled list the possibility of him winning the MVP was written about in detail by an intelligent, witty, erudite, and handsome writer.)


Kansas City Royals: Mike Moustakas, single season HR (franchise)

Some records are just too bizarre to believe. Steve Balboni has the Royals franchise record for HR in a season (36 in 1985). To put this in perspective, major leaguers have hit 37 or more HR in a season 364 times since the Royals’ inaugural year of 1969, and not one of them played in Kansas City. Fortunately Moustakas already has 35, so there will be a more respectable record by the end of the season.

Will it break? Yes.

Honorable Mention: Franchise SB% (82.7% by the 2013 Royals, 80.9% by the 2017 Royals so far)


Houston Astros: Jose Altuve, single season BA (franchise)

Altuve is all but guaranteed to lead the American League in hitting. He’s up to .363 and way out of reach of teammate Carlos Correa, who is in second place with .320. He’s also got a healthy lead on National League leader Justin Turner (.347). All that’s in front of him is the franchise record of .368 set by Jeff Bagwell in 1994.

Will it break? Yes.

Honorable Mention: Franchise single season hits (225 by Altuve in 2014, he has 165 this year so far)


Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera, worst season by a 1B (franchise)

This is probably not going to happen, but if Cabrera goes into a historic slump we could see the worst season by rWAR for a Tigers 1B ever. That distinction currently belongs to Chris Lindsay, who posted a -2.1 rWAR for the 1906 Tigers. Cabrera is at 0.0. For him to drop more than 2.1 over the remaining ¼ of the season he would have to start hitting like a pitcher (though his baserunning and defense are already sufficiently negative).

Will it break? No.

Honorable Mention: Franchise lowest dWAR by a CF (-2.0 by Ron LeFlore in 1975, Mikie Mahtook has -0.6 so far)


Cleveland Indians: Corey Kluber, Josh Tomlin, and Danny Salazar, single season K/9 and K/BB (franchise)

The Indians’ pitchers are up to something. Kluber (12.4 K/9) is on pace to obliterate Sam McDowell’s franchise record (10.7 in 1965). But there’s a caveat: Salazar may beat him to it. He doesn’t yet have enough innings to qualify, but if he gets there he’s currently at a pace of 12.7 K/9. But wait, there’s more! Tomlin’s 7.2 K/BB would break his own franchise record of 6.7 from 2014. However, he’s on the disabled list and may soon no longer have enough innings to qualify, in which case Kluber (6.4) could threaten the record.

Will they break: Yes, both of them by Kluber.

Honorable Mention: Franchise single season HR by a DH (42 by Travis Hafner in 2006, Edwin Encarnacion has 27 so far)


Chicago White Sox: Avisail Garcia, lowest team-leading rWAR (franchise)

The best player on the 1986 White Sox by rWAR was Harold Baines (2.8). That’s the lowest rWAR for the best player on any White Sox team in history, which is to say every other White Sox team had at least one player better than Baines in 1986. The 2017 White Sox are led by Garcia, who matches Baines with 2.8 rWAR. If Garcia stagnates or gets hurt, his rWAR could slip below Baines and make him the worst team leader the franchise has ever had. This is not out of the realm of possibility; Garcia’s previous career high was 0.8 rWAR so he could easily regress. Although, Jose Abreu (2.3 rWAR) could also catch helium and surpass both Garcia and Baines.

Will it break? No.

Honorable Mention: Franchise worst single season WHIP (1.74 by Jaime Navarro in 1998, Derek Holland is at 1.64 so far)


Boston Red Sox: Craig Kimbrel, highest single season K% by a reliever (MLB)

Kimbrel has struck out exactly half of the batters he has faced this season (92 of 184). Only twice ever has a reliever with at least 50 IP accomplished this feat: Aroldis Chapman in 2014 (52.5%) and Kimbrel himself in 2012 (50.2%). At his current rate, we’ll expect him to face 66 more batters this year. He’ll need to strike out 40 of them to break Chapman’s K% record. That would be a ridiculous 60.6 K% for the remaining 43 team games.

Will it break? No.

Honorable Mention: Franchise single season highest SO and K/9 by a starter (308 SO and 13.2 K/9 by Pedro Martinez in 1999, Chris Sale has 241 SO and 12.9 K/9 so far)


Baltimore Orioles: Ubaldo Jimenez, worst single season HR/9 (franchise)

There is a phenomenon in baseball wherein a player or players can perform so poorly for so long that it actually becomes an indictment on the farm system for not producing a better alternative. Such is the case with Jimenez and Chris Tillman (see honorable mention below). Jimenez has a 6.25 ERA, 1.543 WHIP and 1.9 HR/9, while Tillman has a 7.94 ERA, 2.000 WHIP and 2.2 HR/9. Tillman won’t throw enough innings to qualify for rate stats, so it’s up to Jimenez to top the franchise worst 2.1 HR/9 by Sid Fernandez in 1994. Jimenez would need to throw 46 more innings and give up 15 more homers to break the record.

Will it break? No, eventually the Orioles have to stop letting him pitch so much.

Honorable Mention: Franchise worst single season ERA (minimum 60 IP, 8.29 by Jimmy Haynes in 1996, TIllman has a 7.94 so far)


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