MLB Rankings: The greatest hits of the season’s final week

DENVER, COLORADO - SEPTEMBER 28: Sam Hilliard #43 of the Colorado Rockies circles the bases after hitting a home in the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Coors Field on September 28, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - SEPTEMBER 28: Sam Hilliard #43 of the Colorado Rockies circles the bases after hitting a home in the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Coors Field on September 28, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

MLB Rankings: Greatest Hits of the Final Week

2. Kevin Newman, Pittsburgh Pirates, 84 percent

Is Kevin Newman on course to be the game’s best leadoff batter in the near future?

The question is a rhetorical one since, although Newman batted .310 with a .356 on-base average and 16 steals as a rookie, those skills had little to do with his impact on Friday night’s game.

On that particular occasion, rather, it was his work as a “clean up” man that stood out…cleanup in this case referring to cleaning up the entire affair.

Newman came to bat against Reds closer Raisel Iglesias in the ninth inning of a game the Reds led 5-4.  The Reds had assumed that advantage on Michael Lorenzen’s eighth inning base hit, which drove in Jose Iglesias, who had singled.

Iglesias entered in place of Lorenzen – who for the record moved to center field – and promptly surrendered a leadoff hit to Jake Elmore, following that by wild pitching him to second.

But then Iglesias steadied for the moment, retiring both Erik Gonzalez and Melky Cabrera. From the Reds’ standpoint, Newman was to be the game’s final out.

Newman had other ideas. On a 1-1 count, he lifted Iglesias’ pitch into the PNC Park seats in left field, a game-winning walk-off home run.

Although the hit didn’t count for much in the grand scheme – these were, after all, fourth and fifth place teams – it did swing the odds of a Pirate victory from a mere 16 percent to 100 percent, making it statistically among Pittsburgh’s biggest hits of the season.