Bryant's 5 extra-base hits, Scherzer's 20 strikeouts among season's top performances
By Andrew Simon
It's a cliche to say that any time you go to a baseball game you could see something you have never seen before. That doesn't mean it's not true. In fact, you just might see something nobody has ever seen before.
That certainly was the case in a 2016 season filled with great games and amazing performances.
Here are 10 stat lines from 2016 -- five at the plate and five on the mound -- that occurred for the first time on record.
Kris Bryant's extra-base barrage June 27 at Reds: 5-for-5, 4 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs
The National League MVP Award winner put on a spectacular hitting show in Cincinnati, not only setting a Cubs record with 16 total bases but also becoming the first player to hit three home runs and two doubles in the same game. They weren't cheapies, either. According to Statcast™, four of the five hits were struck at 105 mph or harder, and all three homers had a projected distance of at least 403 feet. Two made it into the second deck in left field at Great American Ball Park. The Cubs needed Bryant's power, holding on to win an 11-8 slugfest.
Brandon Crawford's hit parade Aug. 8 at Marlins: 7-for-8, R, 2B, 3B, 2 RBIs, SB
Crawford entered the day in a 6-for-35 slump over his previous 11 games. Then he put together these results at the plate: single, double, strikeout, single, single, single, triple, single. The last of those drove home the go-ahead run in the top of the 14th inning as the Giants won, 8-7. When the dust settled, Crawford was the fifth player since 1913 to have at least seven hits in a game and the first since the Pirates' Rennie Stennett in 1975. He also was the first to add a stolen base to the mix.
Freddy Galvis bunts, blasts and whiffs June 23 at Twins: 2-for-3, R, 3B, HR, 5 RBIs, K, 2 sac bunts
It was an odd year overall for the Phillies shortstop, whose home run total soared from seven in 2015 to 20 in '16 but whose OPS+ remained at 79 -- 10th lowest in history in a 20-homer campaign. No single game in that season was more odd than this one at Target Field. Galvis first laid down a pair of bunts, one of them a squeeze that also advanced a runner to second, as the throw home was too late. He followed that up with two deep drives -- a 399-foot triple off the center-field wall and a 406-foot homer to right. Galvis finally came up empty in his last trip, striking out swinging. Previously, only Riggs Stephenson of the 1927 Cubs had combined two sacrifices with a triple, a homer and five RBIs, but Stephenson didn't add the whiff.
Brandon Guyer hits and gets hit April 21 at Red Sox: 2-for-3, 2 R, 3 HBP
Nobody has a knack for getting in the way of pitches like Guyer, who easily leads the Majors in that category over the past two seasons (55) despite just 730 plate appearances. His 2016 masterpiece came in the Rays' 12-8 win at Fenway Park, as he was hit by pitch three times for the second time in two years (nobody else has done it since '13). Two came from David Price, who also hit Guyer twice on July 10 but nailed just three batters in his other 33 starts. Guyer added a pair of singles, joining Matt Carpenter ('13) as the only players to combine multiple hits with at least three HBP, but becoming the first to do it in as few as six plate appearances.
Bryce Harper's free passes May 8 at Cubs: 0-for-0, R, 6 BB (3 IBB), HBP
Harper entered the Nationals' four-game series at Wrigley Field with a 1.021 OPS, leading the Cubs to essentially take the bat out of his hands. In the first three games, Harper went 1-for-4 with seven walks (one intentional) and a sacrifice fly. Cubs manager Joe Maddon and company stepped up their strategy in the finale, a 4-3 Cubs win to complete the sweep. Over 13 innings, Harper stepped to the plate seven times, saw 27 pitches, swung at none of them, watched two called strikes, and took his base each time. He became just the fourth player to draw six walks in a game, the second to do so without recording an official at-bat (Jimmie Foxx, 1938) and the first to also be hit by a pitch. Amazingly, the Nats couldn't make the Cubs pay, and Harper scored just once.
Tyler Chatwood goes wild but escapes July 24 vs. Braves: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 8 BB, 6 K's
Walks come back to bite a pitcher -- usually. Not so for Chatwood on this afternoon at Coors Field. The Rockies right-hander threw only 53 percent strikes and walked a career-high eight batters, or three more than in any of his other 26 starts. Yet Chatwood was "effectively wild," in his words, striking out six and not allowing a hit other than Freddie Freeman's first-inning single. In a 7-2 Colorado victory, Chatwood became only the eighth pitcher and first since 1991 to walk at least eight over no more than five innings without allowing a run.
Danny Duffy deals Aug. 1 at Rays: 8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 16 K's
In 92 big league starts before this one, Duffy's career high in strikeouts was 10, and he struck out a total of 16 over his previous three outings. But the lefty, who began the season in the Royals' bullpen, had it all working at Tropicana Field. Duffy set a franchise record for strikeouts and generated 35 swings and misses to tie Clayton Kershaw for the most since the PITCH f/x era began in 2008. He also had a no-hitter going until Desmond Jennings' leadoff double in the eighth. Just six other pitchers have struck out at least 16 and allowed two or fewer baserunners in a scoreless start.
Joe Musgrove dazzles out of 'pen Aug. 2 vs. Blue Jays: 4.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K's (as a reliever)
The Astros trailed the Blue Jays 2-0 in the fifth inning when starter Lance McCullers left with an injury. Musgrove replaced him, taking the mound in a Major League game for the first time. The 23-year-old righty struck out slugger Edwin Encarnacion to end the inning and took off from there, retiring his first 10 batters before allowing a walk and a single in the ninth. Musgrove tied an MLB record and set a club record for strikeouts as a reliever in a debut.
CC Sabathia racks up whiffs, runs Aug. 17 vs. Blue Jays: 6 IP, 9 H, 7 R (7 ER), 1 BB, 12 K's
The basis for the Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) stat is that pitchers have much more control over strikeouts, walks and home runs than balls put in play. In that sense, Sabathia delivered against Toronto, recording his most K's since 2012, walking just one and giving up one homer. But thanks in part to a shaky defense that was charged with only one official error, the Jays went 8-for-15 (.533) on balls in play. Sabathia joined Curt Schilling (2001) as the only pitchers to strike out 12 or more batters, walk no more than one and allow seven or more runs, although Schilling gave up a whopping 13 hits and three homers.
Max Scherzer makes history May 11 vs. Tigers: 9 IP, 6 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 20 K's
On a special night in Washington, Scherzer joined Randy Johnson (2001), Kerry Wood (1998) and Roger Clemens ('96, '86) as the only pitchers to strike out 20 batters in nine innings. The righty piled up 33 swings and misses and threw nearly 81 percent of his pitches for strikes. Fittingly for a season in which he won 20 games and the NL Cy Young Award but also tied for the NL lead with 31 homers allowed, Scherzer gave up solo shots to Jose Iglesias and J.D. Martinez along the way. That made him the first pitcher to allow more than one run while striking out 20-plus.
Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.