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When the standouts don’t stand out

Sep 30, 2013, 12:30 AM EDT

Paul Goldschmidt AP

Obviously, offense in the year 2013 isn’t what it used to be.

Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt led the National League this year with a .954 OPS and was tied with Pedro Alvarez for first with 36 homers. It’s hardly a knock against him to say that those aren’t the totals we’re used to seeing leading the league.

Goldschmidt’s OPS was the lowest for a first-place finisher in either circuit since 1991, when Barry Bonds topped the NL at .924. The 36 homers is the lowest total to lead a league since the Padres’ Fred McGriff hit 35 in 1992.

Miguel Cabrera led the AL with 37 homers in 2008 and there were a couple other sub-40 leaders since, so it’s not completely shocking to see the 36 homers pacing the NL. Still, it is pretty stunning that just three got to 30 in all. Jay Bruce was third with exactly 30. Domonic Brown, Hunter Pence and Justin Upton all tied for fourth at 27.

Compare that to 2001. The homer totals from Goldschmidt and Alvarez would have tied for 14th in the NL that year.  When Moises Alou, J.D. Drew and Pat Burrell hit 27 homers that year, they tied for 27th in the league, a far cry from fourth.

The AL did quite a bit better in the power department, with Chris Davis‘s 53 homers leading the way. Nine American Leaguers hit 30 homers. Only eight got to 100 RBI, though, and a mere four scored 100 runs, led by Mike Trout‘s 109. In 1999, 30 American Leaguers drove in 100 runs and 28 scored 100 runs. Trout’s run total was the lowest to lead the AL in a non-strike year since 1976.

  1. raysfan1 - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:47 AM

    The times, they are a-changin’

    • Matthew Pouliot - Sep 30, 2013 at 1:42 AM

      Ha, that was very nearly the title I used for the entry.

  2. mattinglystolemypopcorn - Sep 30, 2013 at 1:07 AM

    And for the better, too. Better pitching, more meaningful offensive rallies, fewer blowouts that drag on forever.

  3. hildezero - Sep 30, 2013 at 1:11 AM

    I actually do remember when a lot of players back in that day were getting a lot of runs, RBIs, and home runs. I remember this, because when I used to play the EA Sports baseball video games, I used to wonder how the hell do these guys in real life get 50+ home runs when in video games is actually pretty hard to do.

  4. easywolf - Sep 30, 2013 at 6:23 AM

    MLB without roids lol, what a crappy boring sport to watch in September

  5. deadeyedesign23 - Sep 30, 2013 at 8:32 AM

    What’s interesting is this s just another kind of “not standing out”.

    During the steroid era Sammy Sosa broke Maris’ record 3 times and didn’t lead the league in home runs any of those years. In 99 Larry Walker led the league in all 3 slash line categories and finished 10th in the MVP.

  6. danaking - Sep 30, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    Take a quick look at Baseball Reference. Thi season’s numbers are close to historical norms. It’s first decade of the 21st Century that was skewed. I’ll take this kind of baseball any day over the slow-pitch softball scores of ten years ago.

  7. moogro - Sep 30, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    I would think the juiced baseballs then were more significant than anything. Does anyone know when they were quietly retired?

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