Jose Bautista is one long ball away from becoming the 26th player in baseball history–and first since Alex Rodriguez and Prince Fielder in 2007–to hit 50 homers in a season, but he’s also on the verge of joining an even more exclusive club.
Bautista has 95 walks with 13 games left, making it likely that he’ll reach the century mark for the year. In the history of baseball there have been a grand total of 21 seasons of 50 homers and 100 walks produced by 13 different players.
Bautista would be the 14th and definitely the least likely member of the 50-100 club:
Babe Ruth 4
Mark McGwire 4
Mickey Mantle 2
Jimmie Foxx 2
Barry Bonds 1
David Ortiz 1
Sammy Sosa 1
Ryan Howard 1
Jim Thome 1
Luis Gonzalez 1
Hank Greenberg 1
Hack Wilson 1
Ralph Kiner 1
If his current rate stats hold Bautista would have the lowest batting average (.262), on-base percentage (.382), and slugging percentage (.617) of any 50-homer, 100-walk season, but that’s sort of like saying someone is the weakest World’s Strongest Man champion, ugliest Miss America winner, or least annoying Kardashian sister.
Who says no-hitters can’t be just as fun when they happen during spring training?
Angels’ right-hander Bud Norris delivered two perfect innings on Friday night, paving the way for an eight-pitcher no-hitter against the Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Jose Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Austin Adams, Drew Gagnon and Justin Anderson each filed a hitless inning of their own, leaving right-hander Abel De Los Santos to close out the ninth inning with just three pitches — and three game-saving plays by the defense.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Angels were facing a bevy of Mariners’ backups, rather than their starting lineup. In fact, Seattle’s lineup featured just two starting players — outfielder Leonys Martin and shortstop Jean Segura — while the majority of their everyday position players took on the Royals in a 4-3 win elsewhere in the Cactus League. The Mariners managed to reach base twice, first on catcher interference in the fourth inning, then on a four-pitch walk in the sixth, spoiling the Angels’ chances of turning their combined no-hitter into a combined perfect game.
Still, whether it’s executed in spring training or the regular season, against an All-Star lineup or one comprised of minor leaguers, a no-hitter is a no-hitter. The team’s eight-pitcher effort marked the first spring training no-no the Angels had completed since 1996, when they took on the Giants in a 15-0 showdown. Unfortunately for the 1996 squad, their regular season ended with a 70-91 record, good for last place in the AL West. Perhaps this no-hitter will prove a better omen for the coming season.
Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.
Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.
Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.