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Under-The-Radar Performances in 2023 MLB Regular Season

Francisco Lindor, recipient of 2016 American League LatinoMVP Award - Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

FLUSHING, NY — Put a bow on it. The 2023 baseball (regular) season is all wrapped up with MLB’s postseason set to arrive this coming Tuesday, October 3rd. But, before we get to win-or-go-home baseball, the most exciting time of the year for baseball fans — let’s go over and note a trio of individual performances from the 2023 regular season that have gone under the radar… 

Jesús Luzardo’s Historic 2023 Campaign

Jesús Luzardo, Miami’s 26-year-old left-hander, and first-ever Peruvian-born player to appear in Major League Baseball, had himself a monumental 2023 season in South Beach — posting a 10-9 record across 32 starts with a 3.63 ERA and 208 total strikeouts. 

Jesús Luzardo, first-ever Peruvian-born player to appear in MLB – Image Credit: Getty Images

Luzardo, who was born in Lima, Peru, and graduated from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, became the eighth different pitcher in Marlins franchise history to reach 200 strikeouts in a given season, and second-ever southpaw, joining Al Leiter. Overall, he is third all-time on the Marlins franchise season strikeout list — below is the full list with additional details: 

Marlins Franchise Season Strikeout Leaders

José Fernández: 253 K – (2016)

Ryan Dempster: 209 K – (2000)

Jesús Luzardo: 208 K – (2023)

Sandy Alcántara: 207 K – (2022)

Kevin Brown: 205 K – (1997) 

A.J. Burnett: 203 K – (2002)

Aníbal Sánchez: 202 K – (2011)

Sandy Alcántara: 201 K – (2021)

Al Leiter: 200 K – (1996) 

Furthermore, in his final start of the regular season last Thursday night against the Mets at Citi Field, Luzardo recorded 10 strikeouts across 7.1 innings, which marked his third outing in 2023 with 10 or more strikeouts and seventh on his career. 

Francisco Lindor joins 30/30 Club

In 2023, Francisco Lindor put up offensive numbers that have only been achieved by three other Mets players in New York’s franchise history, dating back to 1962 — 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in a given season, better known as the illustrious 30/30 club. 

Francisco Lindor, a role model on-and-off the field – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

New York Mets 30/30 Club

Francisco Lindor: 31 HR, 31 SB – (2023)

David Wright: 30 HR, 34 SB – (2007) 

Howard Johnson: 38 HR, 30 SB – (1991) 

Howard Johnson:  36 HR, 41 SB – (1989)

Howard Johnson: 36 HR, 32 SB – (1987)

Darryl Strawberry: 39 HR, 36 SB – (1987)

The 29-year-old Lindor, who is a native of Caguas, Puerto Rico, became the fifth shortstop in MLB history to join the 30/30 club, as there are now only six-total on the coveted list — Barry Larkin in 1997, Alex Rodriguez in 1998, Jimmy Rollins in 2007, Hanley Ramirez in 2008, as well as Lindor and Bobby Witt Jr. in 2023 — Witt Jr. achieved the feat two days after Lindor. 

“I don’t really play for numbers, but it’s really hard to not play for numbers here in New York,” Lindor explained. “Numbers come up a lot here, but it means a lot.”

In 160 games, Lindor slashed .254/.336/.470 with a total of 153 hits while leading the Mets up-the-middle on defense with his consistent Gold Glove caliber play at shortstop. 

José Berríos, Baseball’s Ironman

What would you consider a full season for pitchers in today’s modern game? 30 starts? What about 32? 

José Berríos, recipient of 2019 American League LatinoMVP Starting Pitcher Award – Image Credit: Emma Sharon/Latino Sports

Well, José Berríos, Toronto’s right-hander, from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, has made 32 starts in each respective season since 2018 — in 2020, the pandemic-shortened season (60 games), he pitched in 12 outings, which is the equivalent to 32 starts in a 162-game sample size. 

José Berríos, Baseball’s Ironman? The numbers say so — every fifth day, No. 17 is out there on the mound. 

José Berríos: Pitching Stats from 2018-2023

172 starts 

66-51 overall record with a 3.96 ERA

1,002 strikeouts in 1,009.1 innings (8.9 K/9)

To zone in on this year’s performance, the 29-year-old Berríos, recorded a 3.65 ERA while compiling 11 wins and 12 losses. He struck out 184 batters across 189.2 innings, which was the second-most innings for Blue Jays pitchers in 2023. 

It’s safe to say, without Berríos, aka ‘Mr. Reliable,’ Toronto would not have reached the postseason this year. Essentially, an ironman in today’s modern game.

Robert Rizzo is a journalist and editor of Latino Sports – Email: RobertRiz994@gmail.com

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