Ryan Braun was the Brewers #1 player in the 2010s… who do you have at #2?

If we go based on the numbers, there should not be much discussion about who was the Brewers top player last decade, 2010-19. The obvious answer is Ryan Braun.

Throughout the 2010s, Braun led the Brewers in almost every batting statistic. But after Braun, who would you pick as the second best player for the Brewers last decade. In my mind, and based on strictly the numbers, there are probably three candidates for the Number Two spot.

Some of you might pick Christian Yelich as the top player for the Brewers in the last 10 years. There’s no doubt that what he has accomplished with the Brew Crew over the last two seasons in Milwaukee is remarkable. But we’re taking about the total of 10 years, 2010-19. While Yelich has an MVP and a runner-up honor for that same award in two seasons, he does not have the numbers totals to make a dent in the Brewers players with the highest offensive stats over the past 10 years.

Let’s start with offensive totals. Here’s a look at the two players who topped the Brewers in several offensive categories from 2010-19.

Most at-bats: Braun, 4796… Jonathan Lucroy, 2838

Most runs: Braun, 770… Carlos Gomez, 364

Most hits: Braun, 1410… Lucroy, 806

Most doubles: Braun, 297… Lucroy, 157

Most triples: Braun, 29… Gomez, 25

Most home runs: Braun, 241… Rickie Weeks, 88 (how many of you thought Weeks had the second most homers for the Brewers from 2010-19?)

Most runs batted in: Braun, 811… Lucroy, 387

Most stolen bases: Braun, 166… Gomez, 152

Highest batting average (min. 300 games played): Braun, .294… Nori Aoki, .287

Highest on-base percentage (min. 300 games played): Prince Fielder, .408… Braun, .359

Highest slugging percentage (min. 300 games played): Braun, .519… Fielder, .518

I would put either Lucroy or Gomez as candidates for the second best player for the Brewers last decade behind Braun of the everyday players.

Now let’s look at the pitching stats for 2010-19.

Most games pitched: Jeremy Jeffress, 301… Francisco Rodriguez, 263

Most complete games: Kyle Lohse, 4… Yovani Gallardo, 3

Most wins: Gallardo, 67… Wily Peralta, 47

Most saves: John Axford, 105… Rodriguez, 95

Most innings pitched: Gallardo, 969.1… W. Peralta, 704.2

Most strikeouts: Gallardo, 901… Jimmy Nelson, 578

ERA (minimum 200 innings pitched: Josh Hader, 2.42… Jeffress, 2.66

My third candidate for the #2 spot would be Gallardo. Much like Yelich, you could make a case for a pitcher like Josh Hader, but his numbers are limited to only three seasons in Milwaukee last decade.

So who would you choose as the second-best player for the Brewers last decade?

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

(Jerry Tapp is a freelance writer and sports statistics blogger from Racine. Check out his website at statsontapp.com. He is also a featured columnist for Woelfel’s Press Box and is a regular participant in the website’s weekly podcasts. During the baseball season he writes a stats-focused regular column for the Milwaukee Brewers “GameDay” publication that is available free-of-charge for those who attend games at Miller Park.)

Did playing against Michael Jordan motivate Dominique Wilkins to greatness?

Dominique Wilkins is a Hall of Famer, selected in 2006. He averaged 24.8 points per game and was a nine-time All-Star. Based on researching some numbers from his career, he may been one player who when he played against Michael Jordan and the Bulls, really elevated his game when facing basketball’s GOAT.

Jordan played for the Bulls from 1984-95 to 1992-92, and then rejoined the team at the end of the 1994-95 season and retired from the Bulls at the end of the 1997-98 season. During those Jordan-Bulls years, there were 24 times (by 16 different players) when an opposing player tallied 40 or more points in a game versus Jordan’s Bulls. Of those 24 times, Wilkins scored 40+ points against the Bulls five times, most of any rival player.

Here are the players who scored 40 or more points in a regular season game versus the Bulls during the years Jordan played with the team.

Dominique Wilkins, 5 times

Charles, Barkley, Larry Bird, Bernard King and Reggie Miller, each twice

Adrian Dantley, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, Darrell Griffith, Allen Iverson, Jeff Malone, Karl Malone, Moses Malone, Glenn Robinson, Rony Seikaly, Kelly Tripucka, one time each

Wilkins tops the list with the most points scored by a player in a game versus the Bulls with Jordan on the roster. Wilkins scored 57 points in a December 10, 1986 game. Adrian Dantley is second on that list with a 45-point game against the Jordan-led Bulls.

From the 1984-85 season to the 1997-98 season, Wilkins tops the list for most total points scored against the Bulls with 1,492, a 28.7 per game average, also tops on the list. Patrick Ewing was second with 1,154 total points, followed by Isiah Thomas with 1,070 points and Charles Barkley with 1,065 points.

If we look at which opposing players had the most 30-point games versus the Bulls from 1984-85 to 1997-98, again Wilkins tops the list with 23 such games. Barkley and Larry Bird follow Wilkins with 13 games and Ewing had 10.

Only one other opposing player had a 50-point game in a contest with Jordan playing. Kobe Bryant had 55 in a March 28, 2003 game between the L.A. Lakers and Washington Wizards. Jordan was a member of the Wizards and tallied 23 points in that game. Orlando’s Tracy McGrady had 50 points in a March 8, 2002 game against the Wizards, but Jordan did not play in that game due to an injury.

The numbers seem pretty clear… Dominique Wilkins seemed to raise his game to another level when he was on the same court as Jordan. For his career, Wilkins averaged 27 points versus the Bulls in 66 total games, second-most versus any team (he averaged 27.2 points per game against the Kings in 27 contests).

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

(Jerry Tapp is a freelance writer and sports statistics blogger from Racine. Check out his website at statsontapp.com. He is also a featured columnist for Woelfel’s Press Box and is a regular participant in the website’s weekly podcasts. During the baseball season he writes a stats-focused regular column for the Milwaukee Brewers “GameDay” publication that is available free-of-charge for those who attend games at Miller Park.)

Inside some numbers from The Last Dance

With little live sports to watch on TV, the next best thing we have these days is “The Last Dance,” the 10-part ESPN documentary on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls of the1990s and their attempt to win their third straight NBA title (for the second time) in Jordan’s and coach Phil Jackson’s last season with the team.

As a person who tends to watch sports (and listen) with a curiosity towards the numbers in the games, I was interested in a couple of segments in the series where some numbers caught my attention. Here are two of them:

  • In one episode that focused on Dennis Rodman, there was a trivia stat that was sandwiched during commercials. It mentioned that Rodman held the NBA record for most games played (seven) with 20 or more rebounds and zero points in that game. In fact, he is one of only five players ever to have those stats in a game; the others were Marcus Camby (twice), Reggie Evans, Happy Hairston and Clyde Lee (each once).

It’s one thing to not score a point in a game and have 20+ rebounds, but what about playing in a game where you never put up a shot?

Rodman and Wilt Chamberlain are tied for the NBA record for most rebounds in a regular season game, 18, without taking a shot in that game. There have been 47 times that a player has had 10 or more rebounds in a game and did not take a shot in that contest. Rodman leads this group; he did it nine times in his career. Reggie Evans is second on the list; he did it in five regular season games. Four other players did it two or more times in their careers: Chamberlain, Caldwell Jones, Charles Jones and Alton Lister.

In today’s NBA game where shooting and scoring takes precedence, it’s hard to imagine a player being in a game where he doesn’t fire up at least a couple of shots when he is on the court. Well, Rodman played seven games in his career where he played 30 or more minutes in the game and did not attempt a field goal. That tops the league. Charles Jones did it in five games in his career; Ben Wallace did it four games in his career, and Jason Collins is fourth on the list with three such games.

  • In one of the middle episodes, (#5 or #6), a good portion of the episode focused on The Dream Team. Jordan and Dream Team teammate Magic Johnson were shown bantering back and forth about fouls that were (or were not) called in a legendary scrimmage game played by the team. Jordan opined that Magic was always getting the calls in the NBA and had probably never fouled out of a game.

How correct was Jordan?

His comment sent me to the computer to do the research. Of the 12 players on the team, all are in the Basketball Hall of Fame except Christian Laettner. So here’s the question for you: Of the 11 members of the Dream Team who are in the Hall of Fame, which player fouled out of the fewest regular season NBA games in their career?

To refresh your memory, here are the 11 Dream Team members who are in the Hall: Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Chris Mullen, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson, John Stockton.

Well, Michael may have had a point… Magic Johnson fouled out of only five NBA regular season games in his career, the fewest among the 11 Dream Team members in the Hall of Fame.

Here is the list:

Career NBA regular season games fouled out
5-Magic Johnson
10-Chris Mullin
11-Larry Bird
11-Michael Jordan
28-Karl Malone
29-David Robinson
33-Clyde Drexler
35-John Stockton
37-Scottie Pippen
44-Charles Barkley
49-Patrick Ewing

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

(Jerry Tapp is a freelance writer and sports statistics blogger from Racine. Check out his website at statsontapp.com. He is also a featured columnist for Woelfel’s Press Box and is a regular participant in the website’s weekly podcasts. During the baseball season he writes a stats-focused regular column for the Milwaukee Brewers “GameDay” publication that is available free-of-charge for those who attend games at Miller Park.)

No baseball in April. These teams can’t be happy!

We have turned the page on the calendar to May and the Major League Baseball standings show every team with a 0-0 record for 2020. While all teams and fans are upset that the season has not yet started, there may be a couple of teams and their fans who are a little bit more upset than the rest.

There are four MLB teams which won 60% or more of their games in the last two Aprils. The Arizona Diamondbacks have enjoyed the most success in the first month of the season over the past two years. They had a combined 37-21 record (.638 winning percentage) in April 2018 and April 2019, the best record in baseball of the 30 teams. The Houston Astros weren’t too far behind with a combined record of 38-22 (.633) in the last two Aprils.

Here is a look at the winning percentage of each of the MLB’s 30 teams in April of the past two seasons.

Arizona, .638… Houston, .633… N.Y. Yankees, .614…St. Louis, .607

Boston, .586… Chicago Cubs, .585… Tampa Bay, .582… N.Y Mets, .582… Seattle, .576… Cleveland, .564… Philadelphia, .561… Milwaukee, .557… Pittsburgh, .536… Atlanta, .536… L.A. Dodgers, .533, Toronto, .526… Minnesota, .510… Anaheim, .500

Colorado, .467… Oakland, .467… San Francisco, .458… San Diego, .450… Detroit, .444… Washington, .439… Texas, .431…Chicago White Sox, .385… Cincinnati, .328… Florida, .316… Baltimore, .310

Kansas City, .281

Things are not looking too promising for baseball’s opening pitch to happen in May either. There’s a good chance the Yankees and their faithful would not be happy if that was the case. The Yanks compiled a 37-15 record, .712 winning percentage in May 2018 and May 2019. Combining their record in April and May over the last two seasons, the Yankees were an impressive 72-37, a .661 winning percentage in the first two months of the last two seasons.

Following are the five teams with the best winning percentages in the last two Mays and the five that had the worst winning percentage in the last two Mays.

Best: N.Y. Yankees, .712… Houston, .643… Milwaukee, .630… L.A. Dodgers, .611… Boston, .607

Worst: Toronto, .286… Baltimore, .309… Arizona, .345… Florida, .389, San Francisco, .396.

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

(Jerry Tapp is a freelance writer and sports statistics blogger from Racine. Check out his website at statsontapp.com. He is also a featured columnist for Woelfel’s Press Box and is a regular participant in the website’s weekly podcasts. During the baseball season he writes a stats-focused regular column for the Milwaukee Brewers “GameDay” publication that is available free-of-charge for those who attend games at Miller Park.)

No wide receivers in the draft is not common for the Packers

How about one more article on the recent NFL draft?

In addition to the chatter about how the Green Bay Packers used a first round choice on a QB, the other big news for the team was the fact that they did not select a wide receiver early in the draft… truth is they didn’t select any wide receivers among their 2020 selections.

Most experts had the Packers adding a playmaking receiver in the first couple rounds of the draft. When they didn’t select even one over the three days, a lot of people were surprised.

The last time the Packers did not select a wide receiver in any round of an NFL Draft was in 2012, eight years ago. If we check the team’s drafts from the past 50 years, it was only the ninth time since 1970 that the Pack did not choose a wide receiver in the draft.

Let’s go back to the selection of a wide receiver in the first round, again, an expected move for the Packers this season. In some respects, it should not come as a surprise that they didn’t use their first rounder on a wide receiver. Since 1970, only four times have the Packers chosen a wide receiver in the first round. The last time it happened was in 2002 when Green Bay selected receiver Javon Walker in the first round.

The other first round receivers taken by the Packers in the first round since 1970: Sterling Sharpe, 1988; James Lofton, 1978; and Barry Smith, 1973.

Both Sharpe and Lofton went onto great careers with the Packers. Sharpe had 595 catches with the Packers and ranks second behind Donald Driver’s 743 for most catches by a Green bay wide receiver. Lofton grabbed 530 passes as a Packers and ranks fourth on the wide receiver’s most catches list.

Sharpe, Lofton and Walker are the three Packers wide receivers drafted in the first round that had 150 or more career catches with the team. Of the 19 wide receivers who had 150 or more career catches with the Packers, five were selected in the second round, four were taken in the third round, four were taken in the fourth round or later, and two of the players came to the Packers via a trade or free agency, and one, Don Hutson, who ranks fifth on the list with 488 catches, was with the team before the NFL Draft was ever instituted.

Looking at the 22 NFL wide receivers that have 900 or more career catches, 10 were drafted in the first round, two were chosen in the second round, four were selected in the third round, four were taken in the fourth round, and two of those wide receivers with 900 or more career receptions were undrafted.

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

(Jerry Tapp is a freelance writer and sports statistics blogger from Racine. Check out his website at statsontapp.com. He is also a featured columnist for Woelfel’s Press Box and is a regular participant in the website’s weekly podcasts. During the baseball season he writes a stats-focused regular column for the Milwaukee Brewers “GameDay” publication that is available free-of-charge for those who attend games at Miller Park.)