Ray's Ramblings: Hitting Hero’s?
Teixeria, Votto, Jones, Moustakas, Reynolds, Francisco, Montero - hero or villain?
Superhero themes seem to frequently pop up in my life. Of course, that's because I create scenarios where they come up. Sneaky like that is Ray. What do you know, an article today on some batters that might be wearing the cape of justice or the mask of shame as a villainous boogeyman of death.
MARK TEIXEIRA HEATING UP?
Mark Teixeira has four hits his last two games including two homers and four runs scored. That brings his total to four homers in the month of May and boosts his totals to seven homers, 16 RBIs and 15 runs scored in just 22 games. Truth is, he's been exceedingly productive in limited work. His BB/K rate is normal, ditto the line drive rate, but he has lost some fly ball oomph in the early going. Is that merely a sample size thing (totally possible) or is it indicative of the fact that age and injury have sapped his ability to consistently lift the ball? That thought is mitigated by his fantastic 32 percent HR/F ratio, though know he's only reached 19 percent one of the past six years. All in all he looks really solid, but don't expect the homers to continue at the current pace.
NOTE: Moments after this article was posted came a report that Tex was dealing with a tight left groin. The hope is that he will be back out on the field come Tuesday.
WHY NO LOVE FOR JOEY VOTTO?
Had a better batting average than Edwin Encarnacion.
Had a better OBP than Paul Goldschmidt.
Had a better SLG than Ryan Howard.
Had as many homers as Freddie Freeman.
Had as many runs scored as Freddie Freeman.
I know he has only 12 RBIs. I know he takes too many pitches for some folks liking. But that average is gonna be .300 by years end, and given the struggles of guys like Prince Fielder, Chris Davis and Allen Craig I'm shocked at how much negativity is heaped on Votto on a daily basis.
ADAM JONES NOT VERY GOOD?
I warned everyone in the Adam Jones Player Profile that he may not be as fantastic a player as everyone seemed to think. Though 35 games that's basically been the case – he's been slightly disappointing. Jones has been solid, but he was drafted in the first round on occasion this season so solid isn't good enough. He's currently on pace to fail to reach 20 homers (he has four). He's currently on pace to fall short of 90 RBIs. He's currently on pace to fall short of 80 runs scored. Shocking? Not really. Do you know how many 20-90-80 seasons he's had in his career? The answer is only two. As for the steals he's on pace for under the 15 he averaged the the past two seasons (he has four). He's also hitting a poor .264 with a sickly .280 OBP and .403 SLG. He's got a six year high in his K-rate and he's walked four times... this season. I say it all the time – guys with this approach are very volatile. Jones will likely lock in and be more productive, but this is just the type of start that I foresaw and warned everyone about.
MIKE MOUSTAKAS STINKS
Mike Moustakas is great in spring training, HOF worthy actually. During the regular season though he's atrocious. Are you finally going to believe me know? Moose was great last spring and then he went out and hit .233-12-42-42. When he was great again this spring everyone forgot last season and seemed to think he had finally “figured it out.” He hasn't. He's actually regressed even further this year. Moustakas has been so bad that the Royals are seriously considering sending him to the minors. Moustakas is batting .147 on the year so he has no defense. Get this folks. Over his last 613 at-bats Mike is batting .217 with a .273 OBP and .356 SLG. That's breathtakingly horrible. He's also gone deep 16 times with 56 RBIs and 51 runs scored in that timeframe. Why is he still on your roster? Keep an eye on Johnny Giavotella. Called up to fill in while Omar Infante works his way back, Giavotella is a pretty solid young hitter who was tearing it up in the minors (.352 in 24 games). He's a second baseman, but is there a chance he could see some work at third base and stick with the big league thought? Just a thought, one I would put a low percentage on, but Gia is an interesting add in AL-only leagues.
MARK REYNOLDS A WORTHY PICK UP
Aramis Ramirez is on the DL with a hamstring injury, and that likely means Mark Reynolds is locked into the daily lineup for the next couple weeks with the Brewers. As always a worthy power bat, Reynolds has eight homers in 102 at-bats, which if my math is correct, would equate to about 40 homers in 500 at-bats. Sure he's hitting .235, but you know the drill with him. Just how it is. He's been warming of late with three homers and five RBIs his last eight games.
BE CAREFUL WITH JUAN FRANCISCO
The Blue Jays have stated they will play Brett Lawrie at second base some to keep Francisco's bat in the lineup (Lawrie should return from injury early this week). In 20 games since he was called up Francisco has blasted five homers, driven in 12 runs and scored 14 times. However there's something sobering you need to be made aware of – he's way more Mark Reynolds than Josh Donaldson. In a 780 at-bat big league career Francisco’s slash line (.245.306/.441) is indicative of the player he is. The current line (.268/.361/.535) is likely not sustainable for a player with his skills. It's great to see his walk rate way up, but I don't think he's going to maintain a 50 percent increase over his career rate. I'm also fairly certainly his .368 BABIP will regress. My biggest concern though is the whiffs. Juan has 29 in 71 at-bats this season and per 500 at-bats for his career he's averaging 185 Ks. He's a power bat but there are holes everywhere to exploit.
MIGUEL MONTERO HITTING AGAIN
Miguel Montero is back. After an abysmal 2013 (.230-11-42) he's returned to the guy we saw hit at least .282 with 15 homers and 86 RBIs in both 2011 and 2012. The numbers this season are impressive. Moreno is batting .287, .027 points better than Salvador Perez. He's got give homers, more than Jonathan Lucroy (two) and Joe Mauer (two) combined. He's driven in 22 runners which is three more than Buster Posey. He's also scored 15 times which is one more than Yadier Molina. You go Miguel.