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. There are also predictions on whether or not each record will be broken. The AL list will be presented Friday.


Washington Nationals: Max Scherzer, single season rate stats (franchise)

Scherzer’s current K/9 (12.3), WHIP (0.848), and H/9 (5.4) would all be new single season records for the Nationals if the season ended today. His H/9 is only 0.18 off the MLB single season record set by Nolan Ryan in 1972.  That doesn’t sound like a lot, but if we assume he throws 70 more innings over ten more starts he would have to allow only 37 more hits. That’s just under 4.8 H/9, which is probably asking too much unless he flirts with a couple of no-hitters.

Will they break? The franchise records yes, but Ryan’s record is safe.

Honorable Mention: Franchise wins in a season (98 in 2012, Nationals are currently on pace for 98) and pitcher wins in a season (21 by Gio Gonzalez in 2012, Scherzer has 20 so far)


St. Louis Cardinals: Paul DeJong, strikeout percentage (franchise)

DeJong has continued a long tradition of Cardinals non-prospects who suddenly turn into good players in the major leagues. He has slashed .297/.326/.578 with 18 HR and solid defense up the middle. However, his 80 strikeouts through 261 plate appearances make for an astonishing 30.9 K%. This is currently the Cardinals record (in a bad way), besting teammate Randal Grichuk’s 29.9 K% over his career in St. Louis.

Will it break? No, eventually he’ll lower his K% just a little.

Honorable Mention: Franchise career K/BB by a hitter (minimum 250 PA, 8.8 by Shawon Dunston, 8.0 by DeJong so far)



San Francisco Giants: Most losses (franchise)

What is now the San Francisco Giants began as the New York Gothams in 1883. In all the years that followed they only managed to lose 100 games once. The 1985 Giants finished 62-100 with a team OPS+ of 85. The 2017 Giants have a OPS+ of 80 and are on pace to finish 63-99. It’s within the margin of error that we could be watching the least mighty Giants of all time.

Will it break? No.

Honorable Mention: Worst run differential in franchise history (-211 in 1902, -112 so far)


San Diego Padres: Lowest team batting average (MLB)

The Padres don’t get many hits. They have five position players batting under .180 with at least 50 PA. Their team batting average is a sickly .235. The lowest team average in the expansion era was .217 by the 1972 Texas Rangers, and the National League low is .219 by the 1963 New York Mets. Currently, they are averaging 33.2 at bats per game, and at that rate they will have 1462 remaining this season. To reach the all time record of .217 they would need to bat .168 the rest of the way, and to get to the league record of .219 they would need to bat .176.

Will it break? No. They only have one more series against the Nationals so they won’t be facing Scherzer more than once.

Honorable Mention: Carrying three catchers for an entire season (not a record, but seriously, who does that anymore?)


Pittsburgh Pirates: Felipe Rivero, lowest relief ERA (franchise)

Rivero was acquired last season from Washington for Mark Melancon. He’s having a far better year in 2017 than the player for whom he was traded, and in fact better than nearly any reliever in franchise history. His current ERA is 1.21, which is the lowest by a pure reliever. In 1963, Bob Veale had a 1.04 ERA in 34 games including 7 starts. Rivero is averaging one inning per every two team games. At that rate, he can only allow one more earned run this season to break Veale’s franchise record.

Will it break? No.

Honorable Mention: Franchise home runs allowed in a season (32 by Murry Dickson in 1951, Gerrit Cole has 23 and Ivan Nova has 22 so far)


Philadelphia Phillies: Maikel Franco, most HR in a bad season (MLB)

Franco leads the 2017 Phillies with 17 home runs. In spite of this, he has only managed a 75 OPS+, slashing .224/.276/.392. The all time record for single season HR with a OPS+ south of 75 is 26 (Baltimore’s Tony Batista in 2003). That’s probably out of reach; it would be tough for him to hit 9 more HR while keeping his OPS+ that low. However, if he can lower his OPS+ to 70 or less the HR record is 21 (Toronto’s J. P. Arencibia in 2013). That’s the one for Franco to aim for.

Will it break? No.

Honorable Mention: Lowest franchise win percentage in the expansion era (.378 in 1972, .371 so far)


New York Mets: Michael Conforto, single season SLG (franchise)

After a sophomore slump in 2016, Conforto has raked this year with a .282/.388/.570 slash line. The SLG would be the sixth best in Mets history. Mike Piazza’s record of .614 is not easily reachable but is at least within sight. At his current rate we can expect him to accrue 158 more AB in 2017. He would need 112 more TB to reach .614 for the season, which requires a .708 SLG the rest of the way.

Will it break? No.

Honorable Mention: Franchise highest K/9 (11.4 by Dwight Gooden in 1984, Jacob deGrom has 10.6 so far)


Milwaukee Brewers: Most players with 10 HR in a season (franchise)

Milwaukee have already tied the franchise record of eight players with double digit home runs, held by the 2003, 2007, 2008, and 2013 Brewers. Jonathan VIllar (9 HR) and Manny Pina (8 HR) could put the 2017 team over the top.

Will it break? Yes.

Honorable Mention: Most players in franchise history with .900 OPS in a season (the 1996 and 1999 Brewers had three players north of .900, the 2017 Brewers have Ryan Braun with .918, Travis Shaw with .915, Eric Thames with .887, and Domingo Santana with .839)


Miami Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton, single season rWAR (franchise)

Stanton has already broken the Marlins’ single season HR record, previously held by Gary Sheffield with 42 in 1996. He’s got a good chance at several other marks including SLG, TB, and RBI. His 5.1 rWAR is within striking distance of Hanley Ramirez’ single season record of 7.7 in 2009.

Will it break? Yes. Dude is on fire.

Honorable Mention: OK, this isn’t really a record at all, but this analysis of Stanton’s chances of reaching 61 HR is highly recommended.


Los Angeles Dodgers: most wins in a season (MLB)

The Dodgers are unstoppable. They are 48-9 since June 7.  At 83-34 they are on pace for 115 wins. The record for wins in a season is 116 held jointly by the 1906 Cubs and 2001 Mariners.

Will it break? Yes.

Honorable Mention: Too many to list; Cody Bellinger could smash whatever rookie records are left behind by Aaron Judge, Kenley Jansen could set several reliever records, Justin Turner is having one of the best season ever by a third baseman, and there’s a laundry list of team records that will be set.


Colorado Rockies: Fewest runs allowed per game (franchise)

The Rockies are inarguably the worst pitching franchise in modern baseball history, so this is a relatively low bar to clear. The team record for run prevention is 4.41 RA/G set in 2009. This year they are averaging 4.77 RA/G. If they can manage to yield only 3.42 RA/G for the rest of the season they will be the stingiest pitching staff and defense in team history.

Will it break? No.

Honorable Mention: Franchise single season SV (41 by Jose Jimenez in 2002, Greg Holland has 35 so far)


Cincinnati Reds: Joey Votto, single season BB and OPS (franchise)

Votto is having what could be the best season of his future Hall of Fame career. He has 98 BB and could break his own record of 143 in 2015, and a 1.048 OPS which could beat the record of 1.110 set by Kevin Mitchell in 1994. He is averaging 0.82 BB/G so far, which puts him on pace for 132. To catch Mitchell’s record he’ll need to manage a 1.444 OPS for the remainder of the year.

Will they break? No.

Honorable Mention: Franchise highest rWAR by a SS (7.2 by Barry Larkin in 1996, Zack Cozart has 4.1 so far)


Chicago Cubs: Kris Bryant, highest single season OPS by a 3B (franchise)

The best season by OPS for a Cubs third baseman does not yet belong to Bryant. It doesn’t even belong to Ron Santo. That distinction is held by Heinie Zimmerman, who posted a .989 OPS in 1912. It seems like an inevitability that Bryant will break that record one day, but whether or not it happens in 2017 (.941 OPS so far) is undetermined. He will need to step it up a bit; a 1.292 OPS will be required for the rest of the season to reach Zimmerman’s record.

Will it break? No.

Honorable Mention: Franchise worst single season K% (minimum 350 PA, 32.6% by Bryan Lahair in 2012, Kyle Schwarber is at 31.2% so far)


Atlanta Braves: Freddie Freeman, highest single season OPS by a 1B (franchise)

Freeman is slashing .320/.420/.629 and his 1.049 OPS would easily beat the Braves’ first base record set by Fred McGriff in 1994 (1.012 OPS). As long as he maintains a similar level of production his numbers are in the clear. The problem is he missed significant time with an injury earlier in the season and might not reach the 502 PA necessary to qualify for rate stats. He has 319 PA right now through 73 games played, which is a rate of 4.4 PA/G. The Braves have 45 games remaining. He would need to average at least 4.1 PA/G for the rest of the season to get enough PA to qualify.

Will it break? Yes.

Honorable Mention: A friend, who is a Braves fan, requested I write, “Most amount of confidence crushed for Opening Day starter of several years who was once a young reliable #2 starter.” I’m not sure exactly what that means, but it’s probably related to Julio Teheran allowing 28 HR to date, putting pressure on the team record of 41 HR allowed by Phil Niekro in 1979.


Arizona Diamondbacks: Paul Goldschmidt, several single season records (franchise)

Despite the fact that he is not yet 30 years old, there is little doubt that Goldschmidt is the greatest position player in Diamondbacks history. He is the career leader in nearly every rate statistic and he’s in second place in nearly every counting statistic (including stolen bases). This year he’s threatening several single season records with his 5.8 rWAR (Goldschmidt, 8.8 in 2015), .320 BA (Luis Gonzalez, .336 in 1999), .434 OBP (Goldschmidt, .435 in 2015), 1.033 OPS (Gonzalez, 1.117 in 2001), and 79 BB (Goldschmidt, 118 in 2015).

Will they break? Yes to OBP and BB, no to rWAR, BA, and OPS.

Honorable Mention: Franchise lowest single season ERA by a reliever (1.85 by Brad Ziegler in 2015, Archie Bradley has a 1.33 ERA so far)

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