The first half of the 2021 MLB season is in the books, and it has been filled with some crazy storylines.
From emerging stars to surprising teams, it has been a highly entertaining few months of baseball.
Today, we are going to rank the three most surprising stats from the first half of the MLB season.
These stats could make the list for any number of reasons—maybe because they are odd, alarming, historic, or even just entertaining.
Let’s get started.
3. The Red Sox Are Tied With The Astros For The Best Record In The AL Despite Having Just The Fifth-Best Run Differential
There are some very odd run differential trends in baseball this season, and the Boston Red Sox own one of them.
At the break, the Red Sox are tied with the Houston Astros for the best record in the American League at 55-36.
Boston has been one of the biggest surprises of the 2021 MLB season so far, and by most measures, it seems that the club is a legitimate title contender.
Having said all of that, the Red Sox’s plus-57 run differential is just the fifth-best mark in the American League.
Even odder, it’s just the third-best mark in the AL East, a division that Boston leads by a game-and-a-half.
Both the Tampa Bay Rays (plus-85) and the Toronto Blue Jays (plus-72) have better differentials than the Red Sox.
The other two AL clubs with better differentials than Boston are the Chicago White Sox (plus-117) and the aforementioned Astros (plus-136).
That’s a pretty big margin between Boston and Houston, but it hasn’t stopped the Red Sox from somehow hanging around as one of the best teams in the AL record-wise.
Aside from Boston, some of the other teams with strange run differentials this season include the Seattle Mariners (who are 48-43 despite a minus-50 differential) and the Miami Marlins (who are 39-50 despite a plus-17 differential).
2. We Saw Seven No-Hitters In The First Half
The first half of the 2021 MLB season featured a historic number of no-hitters: seven.
If you want to include unconventional seven-inning no-hitters (which the league does not recognize, for whatever that’s worth) in your count, then we’ve had nine in total.
Not to be biased #Rays fans…
Should MLB count 7-inning no-hitters from a doubleheader?
— Locked On Rays Podcast (@LockedOnRays) July 7, 2021
Let’s run through them all.
- Joe Musgrove of the San Diego Padres threw the first one of the season in early April against the Texas Rangers.
- Carlos Rodon of the White Sox threw the next one just five days later against the Cleveland Indians.
- Madison Bumgarner of the Arizona Diamondbacks threw a seven-inning no-hitter (unofficial) later that month.
- John Means of the Baltimore Orioles threw the third official no-hitter of the year in early May.
- Two days later, Wade Miley of the Cincinnati Reds became the second pitcher this season to no-hit the Indians.
- Spencer Turnbull of the Detroit Tigers threw one against the Mariners on May 18.
- Corey Kluber of the New York Yankees no-hit the Rangers the following day, marking the fourth no-hitter in May.
- The Chicago Cubs threw a combined no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 4, which was the seventh official no-no of the season.
- The Tampa Bay Rays threw a seven-inning combined no-hitter (unofficial) against the Indians on July 7.
The pace has certainly slowed down over the past month or two, but it has been a wild first half full of pitchers making history.
1. Shohei Ohtani Has A 1.062 OPS At The Plate And A 3.49 ERA On The Mound
The 2021 season has been the year of Shohei Ohtani, and no one will ever be able to change that.
Regardless of who wins this year’s World Series, the 2021 season will be remembered by many as the year where Ohtani stole the show.
Ohtani’s two-way abilities have always been well-documented, but this season, he’s finally showing the world that he’s truly a generational talent.
Angels star Shohei Ohtani will be the American League All-Star team starting pitcher and bat leadoff as designated hitter less than 24 hours after competing in the Home Run Derby as the No. 1 seed.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 12, 2021
On the mound, Ohtani has a 3.49 ERA, 3.57 FIP, and 1.20 WHIP over 13 starts.
The Angels are 8-5 when he gets the ball.
At the plate, Ohtani is batting .279 with a 1.062 OPS while leading the league in each of the following categories: home runs (33), triples (4), slugging (.698), and total bases (210).
The AL MVP award is his to lose, and that might be the case for many, many years to come.