Around The Horn
In this piece Ray flies around the league giving his take on rookies, batters, pitchers, mascots, anything he finds interesting.
Monday is always a day of madness. Slow to start, it often warms up quickly with a variety of angles being needed to accomplish the days tasks. Following that blueprint I'll take a random look around the league. A star pitcher is hurt, one will almost certainly end up injured, and another is pitching as if there might be something wrong with him physically. Another pitcher, the one pictured for this piece, has come out of nowhere. Offensively one former star has regained his luster while another continues to sink toward mediocrity. I'll also take a look at the last 365 days for some interesting numbers.
Andrew Cashner will have his next start skipped due to shoulder soreness (that start was to be Monday). This is yet another reminder that no matter how talented Cashner is, and he oozes it, the dude just cannot stay healthy. Can't. So hard to trust.
Yu Darvish has allowed at least four earned runs in three of his last four starts. Here are his numbers in those four outings: 4.00 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 5.00 BB/9. He's still got 35 Ks in 27 innings, but I'll ask the obvious: is his neck still bothering him? Hard to think it's a real issue given the punchouts but this is as bad as we've seen him look over 4-straight starts.
Curtis Granderson, thanks to @MLBStatoftheDay, has done something pretty impressive and I bet no one noticed. Over his last 138 plate appearance the Grandy Man certainly can as he's posted a .442 OBP and .937 OPS. Hey, it's progress. He's still hit only nine homers with 32 RBIs, and his .399 SLG percentage for the year is awful, but there is still some good news to hang your hat on. Granderson currently has a .358 OBP after two years under .320. He can thank a career best 15.6 percentage walk rate. He's also sporting a four year low in his K-rate. If he keeps that up, success should continue to follow.
Scott Kazmir has been one of the best pitchers in the American League. I can't believe I just typed that, but the fact is that it's true as through 15 starts he he has a 2.08 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. Some perspective though. (1) The last time he had an ERA under 4.00 was 2008. (2) He's never had an ERA under 3.24. (3) The last time he had a WHIP that was below the league average was 2008. (4) The last time he had a WHIP under 1.25 was... well, never. (5) His 7.58 K/9 is more than a full batter below his 8.72 career mark. (6) He's walked 1.89 batters per nine this year, literally half his career rate (3.81). Only once in his career has he had a mark under 3.20 in a season (last year at 2.68). (7) He's on pace to throw more than 200 innings. The last time he threw 160 innings was 2007. You can ride the train all you want, but I'm not buying a ticket until the season is complete. Remember, we're not even halfway to our destination yet.
I'm heading to Hawaii in two weeks. When I come across a story about Hawaii, I read it. When that story also includes aliens... I'm sold.
Matt Kemp might be on the trade market depending who you ask, but it's going to be hard to deal a guy who has a $107 million price tag from 2015-19 given all the injuries he's dealt with that past few year. Overall a .274 average, seven homers and five steals aren't exciting anyone given the cost. But perhaps there is hope in fantasy. Check out his June numbers (20 games): .333-2-13-12. Still not running or really driving the ball, but people that drafted him will certainly live with that level of production the ROTW.
Albert Pujols is back, just ask people. The truth couldn't be further removed from that statement. He's not back. Period. Not only has he hit just .217 since May 7th, but the fact is that all he is doing is hitting homers. I don't know why this is so hard for folks. Here are his year numbers....
I mean, really. Why are people still holding on to a player who is continuing to slide believing that a return in production is just over the horizon?
Matt Shoemaker tossed 7.2 innings Sunday allowing one run to the Rangers. He pitches for the Angels by the way. Through 50 innings this season he's struck out 51, has a 1.98 walk rate per nine and is the owner of a 3.42 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. However, this wasn't predicted by scouts or by his minor league numbers. The 27 year old has thrown 786.2 innings in the minors in his career with a 4.52 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and 7.4 K/9 mark. This year at Triple-A he was terrible (6.31 ERA, 1.68 WHIP over 25.2 innings). Ride the train, but 27 year olds with a 5.38 ERA and 1.48 WHIP over 70 outings at Triple-A (69 starts) don't do what he's currently doing.
THE LAST 365 DAYS
Robinson Cano has hit .339 with 105 RBIs. The 15 homers still play.
Josh Donaldson has hit 32 homers with 104 RBIs and 106 runs scored.
Brian Dozier has gone 26/23 despite a .247 batting average.
Edwin Encarnacion leads baseball with 40 homers.
Carlos Gomez has gone 24/37. He went 24/40 in 2013.
Ubaldo Jimenez has a 9.14 K/9 mark.
Corey Kluber just missed out on the 1-for-1 club. He's got a K/9 mark of 8.97.
David Price leads baseball with a 0.95 per nine walk rate. He also leads baseball with 247.1 innings pitched in that time.
Hanley Ramirez, in 141 games, is batting .304 with 29 homers and 19 steals.
Mike Trout has gone 31/26.
Jayson Werth is hitting, check it, .313-24-96-102-13.
Eric Young leads baseball with 56 steals. Next up is Jose Altuve with 45.