Articles By Charlie Miller

Path: /mlb/2013-mlb-power-rankings-july-22
Each week during the baseball season Athlon Sports looks at the best (St. Louis Cardinals) and worst (Houston Astros) baseball teams and players in the league. Here are our MLB Power Rankings and Players of the Week.
Athlon Sports MLB Power Ranking
 1. Cardinals Two first-place teams meet in Atlanta this weekend.
 2. Red Sox Key four-game set with Rays could set tone for second half.
 3. Rays Have won 17 of 19 and carry confidence into Boston.
 4. A’s Three-game cushion matches largest lead of the season.
 5. Pirates Winnable series at Washington and Miami this week.
 6. Orioles Huge sweep at Texas, host Red Sox this weekend.
 7. Braves Gave up 17 runs to worst offense in AL.
 8. Rangers Curent standings have Rangers missing postseason.
 9. Reds Road struggles may continue with 11-game trip to West Coast.
10. Tigers Still looking for bullpen help.
11. Dodgers Winners of 20 of their last 25 games.
12. Indians Tough decisions whether to buy or sell at trade deadline.
13. Yankees Mariano Rivera gets touching tribute at All-Star Game.
14. Diamondbacks Mustered only six runs against Giants pitching over the weekend.
15. Phillies Challenging week coming up at St. Louis and Detroit.
16. Rockies Still searching for reliable No. 4 and 5 starters.
17. Mariners Needed just one hit to plate four runs in win at Houston.
18. Nationals The season is slipping away fast.
19. Giants Still contenders in the mediocre NL West.
20. Blue Jays Latest team unable to solve Tampa Bay mojo.
21. Angels 13 of next 20 games vs. A’s or Rangers.
22. Royals 12 of next 16 games vs. teams with records worse than K.C.
23. Padres Eric Stults becoming team’s ace.
24. Mets Starting pitching gives team bright future.
25. Cubs Who will be the next player traded?
26. Brewers Held Marlins to 15 hits, six walks, no runs over 31 innings. 
27. Twins Is Rod Gardenhire a lame duck manager?
28. White Sox Had little trouble solving Braves’ pitching.
29. Marlins Long, discouraging season continues in South Florida.
30. Astros Bad start to second half.
AL Player of the Week
Alex Rios, Chicago
With the White Sox going nowhere in the AL Central, it’s likely that Rios will be wearing a different uniform by the end of July. He was tremendous over the weekend, batting .500 with eight RBIs in the three games with Atlanta.
AL Pitcher of the Week
Bartolo Colon, Oakland
Amidst swirling rumors that tie Colon to the Biogenesis scandal, the veteran righthander keeps putting zeroes up on the scoreboard. Colon tossed a complete game at Los Angeles to earn his 13th victory of the season. He allowed just four hits and walked one.
NL Player of the Week
Hanley Ramirez, Los Angeles
The Dodgers’ shortstop is healthy and playing with a renewed spirit of late. In the weekend sweep over Washington, Ramirez logged six hits, including two home runs, scored four times and drove in six runs.
NL Pitcher of the Week
Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles
The Dodgers’ closer pitched two perfect innings to notch a pair of saves in the Dodgers’ sweep of the Nationals over the weekend at Washington. Jansen struck out four and gave up two harmless ground balls.
A look at the best and worst baseball teams in the league.
Post date: Monday, July 22, 2013 - 18:36
Path: /mlb/13-amazing-mlb-stats-week-july-8-14

The Rays’ pitching is stingy, the Mariners’ bats get lively, a Brew Crew starter finally completes a game, the Pirates finally answer the A’s and Tim Lincecum finds his groove with a no-no. These notable numbers and more from the week of July 8-14.

3    Complete games by the Tampa Bay Rays’ pitching staff last week

The Rays' starters completed more games last week than starters of 18 teams have all season.

8:1    Strikeout:Walk ratio of the Rays’ pitching staff last week
The Rays are challenging the Red Sox in the AL East having won 17 of their last 21 and 14 of 16. The pitching dominated the Twins and Astros last week with 64 strikeouts and just eight walks. Rookie Chris Archer made two starts and logged 15 innings without issuing a free pass.

418    Games played by the Milwaukee Brewers between complete games

Milwaukee starting pitchers have taken the hill in 418 games — including 11 in the postseason — without throwing a complete game. Wily Peralta notched the first complete game of his career and the first for the Brewers since Yovani Gallardo tossed a two-hit shutout of the Braves on April 5, 2011. The game was also the first that Peralta’s mom, Miledy Peralta, saw her son pitch in person as a professional.

16-3    Pirates record when scoring two or more runs since June 16
Pittsburgh’s pitching has been dynamite over the past month. It doesn’t take much from the offense for the Bucs to pull out a win. Since the middle of June, whenever the lineup has mustered as much as two runs, the Pirates’ pitching makes it stand up — at least 16 of the past 19 times.

34    Home wins for Tampa Bay
That total is the most in baseball, but the Rays’ 21-22 road record leaves them with the third-best record in the American League, and fifth-best overall. If the Rays don’t win the AL East, it could be important that they host the wild card game rather than go on the road.

.524    Seattle Mariners’ slugging percentage last week
The mark led the majors as the Mariners put up 48 runs over seven games. The team batted .310 with 19 doubles and 11 home runs. The pitching staff wasn’t quite up to the task, which led to a 4-3 record. The Mariners have now homered in 22 consecutive games, raising their slugging percentage from .378 to .401 over that stretch.

74    Starts between complete games for Tim Lincecum
For more than two seasons, the former Cy Young winner has struggled with velocity and command. But last Saturday, The Freak finally put it all together and no-hit the San Diego Padres. Lincecum broke a string of 74 starts without finishing what he started.

24-14    Philadelphia’s record within the NL East
The Phillies own the best record in games within their division. They have just three NL East games (Mets) prior to the trade deadline. All but four of the Phillies’ September games are within their division, which may give them confidence they can win the division this season.

+127    St. Louis Cardinals’ run differential
The Redbirds ended the first half with a +127 run differential, easily the best in the majors. Only three other teams in the majors have a run differential more than half that of St. Louis (Boston +91, Detroit +89 and Atlanta +78).

2    Players in history with 30 home runs and 90 RBIs prior to the All-Star break

Both Chris Davis of Baltimore and the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera accomplished that this season.

11-1    Oakland’s all-time record vs. Pittsburgh
Since Interleague play began in 1997, no team has dominated another across league lines like the Oakland A’s have owned the Pittsburgh Pirates. The teams have rarely met, but when they got together prior to this season, it was all Oakland. The A’s swept three-game series in 2002, ’04 and ’10 before taking the first two of the three-game set this year. But lefthander Francisco Liriano helped the Pirates break the string by leading Pittsburgh to a 5-0 win on July 10, giving the Pirates a 1-11 record against the A’s.

.488    Allen Craig’s batting average with runners in scoring position and two outs
The highest average in any one season in the 2000s with a minimum of 60 plate appearances is .472 by Ichiro Suzuki with Seattle in 2004. At .475, Miguel Cabrera of Detroit also has a chance to top Ichiro’s mark this season.

9    Extra-base hits in last nine games for the Yankees
The Yankees have been anything but the Bronx bombers of late. Over the past nine games, they’ve managed just five doubles and four home runs. All nine games were played at Yankees Stadium, typically a hitter-friendly park for the home team.

The Rays’ pitching is stingy, the Mariners’ bats get lively, a Brew Crew starter finally completes a game, the Pirates finally answer the A’s and Tim Lincecum finds his groove with a no-no. These notable numbers and more from the week of July 8-14.
Post date: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 15:48
Path: /2013-mlb-power-rankings-july-15
Each week during the baseball season Athlon Sports looks at the best (St. Louis Cardinals) and worst (Houston Astros) baseball teams and players in the league. Here are our MLB Power Rankings and Players of the Week.
Athlon Sports MLB Power Ranking 
 1. Cardinals Maintain the best record in baseball through the first half.
 2. Red Sox Finished 5-5 on recent 10-game West Coast trip.
3. A’s Have allowed the fewest runs in the American League.
 4. Pirates Given up more than four runs just once in last 17 games.
 5. Rays Most home wins in the majors, below .500 on the road.
 6. Rangers First team to beat Max Scherzer this season.
 7. Braves Justin Upton back on a hot streak.
 8. Orioles MVP3: Chris Davis, Manny Machado, Adam Jones.
 9. Reds Getting little production from bottom of the order.
10. Tigers Pitching has been shaky of late.
11. Indians Jason Kipnis is Cleveland’s newest young star.
12. Diamondbacks Paul Goldschmidt continues to carry the Arizona offense.
13. Yankees Only nine extra-base hits in seven games last week.
14. Dodgers Could be extremely active once again at trade deadline.
15. Nationals Lost 12 of 19 games vs. NL East.
16. Phillies At 24-14, Phils have best record vs. NL East.
17. Rockies Troy Tulowitzki back in lineup is welcome sight.
18. Blue Jays Haven’t won two in a row since June 23.
19. Mariners Topped the majors with 51 runs and .505 slugging last week.
20. Giants Tim Lincecum went 74 starts between shutouts.
21. Cubs Won a respectable 17 of their last 30.
22. Angels Disappointing sweep by Seattle.
23. Royals Open second half with Detroit and Baltimore.
24. Padres Still saveless in July.
25. Mets Won six of last nine, all on the road.
26. Twins Two six-game losing streaks since June 30.
27. Brewers One of the teams anxiously awaiting possible PED suspensions. 
28. White Sox Played 34 innings in two days at Philadelphia.
29. Marlins Logan Morrison lone recent bright spot in lineup.
30. Astros Chris Carter, leading team in HRs and RBIs, may be traded soon.
AL Player of the Week
Adam Jones, Baltimore
The All-Star center fielder hit .400 last week with four multi-hit games. He scored eight runs with a 1.323 OPS and homered in each of the three weekend games against Toronto with six RBIs.
AL Pitcher of the Week
Chris Archer, Tampa Bay
The Rays’ young righthander produced two outstanding outings last week. Through six innings against Minnesota, he allowed just one unearned run, then followed that with a five-hit shutout of Houston, with no walks in either contest.
NL Player of the Week
Buster Posey, San Francisco
The Giants’ backstop began the week with a 5-for-8 performance in San Francisco’s 16-inning marathon with the Mets. He ended the week with nine hits over five games for a .483 average and 1.191 OPS. He drove in five in one game, then scored three in the next.
NL Pitcher of the Week
Zack Greinke, Los Angeles
San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum was certainly masterful in his no-hitter against San Diego, but Greinke had two superb starts last week against division rivals. He logged seven shutout innings at Arizona and tossed a complete game shutout vs. Colorado.
MLB Power Rankings are a look at the best and worst baseball teams in the league.
Post date: Monday, July 15, 2013 - 18:21
All taxonomy terms: MLB
Path: /mlb/12-amazing-mlb-stats-week-july-1-7
Homer Bailey twirls at no-no over the defending champs, the Cardinals finally get a sweep at home, Brian McCann breaks out, Mike Trout keeps doing his thing and maybe the Marlins aren’t so bad after all. These notable numbers and more amazing MLB stats from the week of July 1-7.
Homer Bailey.021 Batting average for Giants hitters off Homer Bailey in last two starts
It began with a seven-inning, one-hit outing in the playoffs last season. Then Bailey followed that with a no-hitter in his next appearance against the defending champs. Over his last two starts vs. the Giants, San Francisco batters are 1-for-47 with two walks against the righthander.
1 3-Game Sweep at Home for St. Louis
When the Cardinals finished off the Marlins on Sunday afternoon, it marked the first time this season that the Redbirds had swept a three-game series at home.
4.5 Largest Division Lead
The Boston Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks are 4.5 games up in their divisions — the largest leads as of Sunday. Heading into the All-Star break next week, all six divisions are still very much in doubt. As many as 14 teams are within five games of leading their divisions.
.600 Brian McCann’s batting average last week
The Braves have been waiting for their catcher to break out this season, and last week he did just that. Batting an even .600 for the week, McCann raised his average from .250 to .304. He has multiple hits in his last four games.
20 Runs scored by Baltimore in last seven games
The Baltimore offense leads the majors with 121 home runs, but they couldn’t muster many runs last week. They scored four runs in three games, winning two of them. They tallied just two runs in four games, winning one. One of those two-run wins came courtesy of a two-run, ninth-inning home run by Adam Jones off future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera.
16-11 Marlins record since June 8
The lowly Miami Marlins have gotten decent pitching for most of the season. And recently, the lineup has begun to respond with some run support. Beginning June 8, the Marlins are 16-11, good enough for third-best in the National League during that time. However, the Fish still have the worst overall record in the league.
Mike Trout50 Career home runs for Mike Trout of the Angels
With 73 stolen bases in his young career, Trout has accumulated 50 homers and 50 steals in fewer career games than anyone in history. He has done it in just 266 games.
71-10 Texas Rangers’ record in games in which Adrian Beltre homers
The slugging third baseman has 86 home runs since joining the Rangers in 2011, and when he goes deep, good things usually happen for Texas.
55-22 Jered Weaver’s record at Angel Stadium in his career
That mark is the highest winning percentage at the ballpark of any pitcher in history with 60 or more decisions.
3 Players among the 10 highest-paid in baseball who were named All-Stars
That is based on the 10 highest average annual value contracts. Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee are the three players.
1.64 Jeremy Hefner’s ERA since June 4
According to ESPN Stats, the Mets’ righthander has the lowest mark in the majors during that time. He joins Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler to provide fans in New York some hope for the future.
9 Losses to the Baltimore Orioles by the great Mariano Rivera
On Sunday, Rivera gave up a ninth-inning homer to Adam Jones of the Orioles for his second blown save this season. His ninth loss to Baltimore represents the most losses to any team in his career. However, the all-time leader in saves also has 76 saves vs. the Orioles, 13 more than any other team.
Post date: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 - 18:29
Path: /mlb/2013-mlb-power-rankings-july-8

Each week during the baseball season Athlon Sports looks at the best (St. Louis Cardinals) and worst (Houston Astros) baseball teams and players in the league. Here's our MLB Power Rankings and Players of the Week.


Athlon Sports 2013 MLB Power Ranking
 1. Cardinals Earned first home three-game sweep over the weekend.
 2. Pirates Tied with St. Louis and host a five-game series later in July.
3. Red Sox Boston’s 54 wins are most in the majors.
 4. A’s Tough stretch at Pittsburgh and vs. Boston to end first half.
 5. Rangers Yu Darvish should be considered for All-Star start.
 6. Rays Good to have David Price back atop the rotation.
 7. Reds Homer Bailey’s no-hitter highlights the week.
8. Diamondbacks Tied with Boston for the majors’ largest division lead.
 9. Braves Look out below! The Nationals are coming.
10. Orioles Offense struggling; produced just 20 runs in last seven games.
11. Tigers Will face White Sox for the first time this season this week.
12. Indians Michael Brantley only Indian with more RBIs than whiffs.
13. Nationals Making a strong run at the Braves before the break.
14. Yankees Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez finally playing rehab games in minors.
15. Dodgers Officially back in the hunt.
16. Angels Creeping toward contention, but not there yet.
17. Phillies Unclear whether Phillies will be buyers or sellers at the deadline.
18. Blue Jays Need to finish first half strong at Cleveland and Baltimore.
19. Rockies Just 3-6 in last nine games vs. NL West.
20. Giants Team hit just .177 in six games last week.
21. Royals Third-fewest extra-base hits in the majors.
22. Padres Blew a gasket when they reached the .500 level.
23. Cubs Can Cubs find a trade partner for Alfonso Soriano this season?
24. Mariners Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez are 1-2 in ERA in AL.
25. Twins Lost 12 of 16 since June 20.
26. Mets Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jeremy Hefner terrific young trio.
27. Brewers Deserve to have two starters in All-Star Game. 
28. White Sox Should begin unloading players any day now.
29. Marlins 16-11 since June 8, third-best in National League.
30. Astros Six losing streaks of five or more games this season.
AL Player of the Week
Adrian Beltre, Texas
The Rangers’ third baseman led the majors with four long balls last week ending a 22-game homerless streak. Beltre now has a nine-game hitting streak that includes four multi-hit games, as he batted .478 with a 1.607 OPS last week.
AL Pitcher of the Week
David Price, Tampa Bay
The Rays are ecstatic over having their ace back on the hill. Returning from a triceps injury, Price allowed just 11 hits with no walks over 16 innings in wins over Houston and the White Sox.
NL Player of the Week
Brian McCann, Atlanta
The Braves have been waiting for their catcher to break out this season, and last week he did just that. Batting an even .600 for the week, McCann raised his average from .250 to .304. He has multiple hits in his last four games.
NL Pitcher of the Week
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles
The former Cy Young winner and the Dodgers are rolling as Kershaw is the only pitcher in the bigs with a sub-2.00 ERA. Last week he shut out the Rockies on four hits, then followed with a masterful eight innings at San Fran.
A look at the best and worst baseball teams in the league.
Post date: Monday, July 8, 2013 - 22:14
All taxonomy terms: MLB
Path: /mlb/athlon-sports-mlb-all-star-ballot

Tomorrow, MLB will announce the 2013 All-Star teams, and undoubtedly there will be some questions. Anytime you have fans electing players, there’s an overwhelming element of popularity, not necessarily performance. Players have their say as well, with the ability to select a few of the reserves, then the managers — Bruce Bochy of the Giants and Jim Leyland of Detroit — will fill out the enormous rosters of 33 players. I’m pretty sure I’ll disagree with the fans, who will elect the starting lineups, and most likely will disagree with the managers who select the reserves. After that process, and the rosters are announced on Saturday, fans once again will have the opportunity to make the final 34th selection for both teams.  

That’s right. There are 34 players on each All-Star roster. So before we get to my selections, let’s think about that number 34. Of that number, 13 will be pitchers. That leaves 21 position players. If you took the two best players at each position, that accounts for only 16 spots, so if the fans totally screw up and elect a player who is not one of the best two at his position, there is room to cover that mistake, if the managers so choose. And inevitably, there will be the teams that have no true deserving All-Stars, like maybe Houston, Miami and the Cubs, for example. With 21 position players and 13 pitchers, I think there are enough roster spots available to cover that as well.

It’s time to end the argument about having every team represented costing deserving players All-Star recognition. Maybe some players are more deserving, but if players are not one of the best two at their respective position, they have no real argument in my mind. If you take away the rule that every team must be represented, then among the next dominoes to fall should be shrinking the roster to 28 and taking away the fans’ vote.

I like having the fans select the starting lineups. I like having every team represented. I don’t like tying anything about the All-Star Game to where World Series games are played, which is an ill-conceived idea.

But I’ll step off of the soapbox for now. Here are the players who would receive my vote:

American League
(starting lineup and batting order)

LF Mike Trout, Los Angeles

The rising superstar isn’t having quite the season he put together last year, but he’s the best outfielder in the AL.

2B Dustin Pedroia, Boston
There are several reasons the Red Sox quickly erased their struggles from a year ago, but Pedroia has had the biggest impact.

3B Miguel Cabrera, Detroit
There is currently no Cabrera-Trout debate for MVP this season — it’s all Miggy, who has 85 RBIs through the Tigers’ first 84 games.

1B Chris Davis, Baltimore
Actually, the MVP debate may be Davis-Cabrera, if there is a debate. Baltimore’s first baseman leads the majors with 32 home runs.

CF Adam Jones, Baltimore
Acquired in a heist from Seattle for pitcher Erik Bedard, Jones has played at an All-Star caliber level for the past five seasons in Baltimore.

DH David Ortiz, Boston
Big Papi is the best DH alive, perhaps in history. He’s been in the top 10 in the AL in average, homers and RBIs for most of the first half.

RF Nelson Cruz, Texas
The Rangers’ right fielder makes the starting lineup because of his ability to hit in the clutch.

C Joe Mauer, Minnesota
OK, maybe his contract is becoming an albatross for Minnesota, but Mauer can still hit and is solid behind the plate.

SS Jhonny Peralta, Detroit
The candidates at shortstop are few in the American League, but Peralta deserves to start even in a crowded field. Only Cabrera has a higher average on the AL Central leaders.

P Max Scherzer, Detroit
Most fans outside Detroit recognize the name Verlander much more quickly, but Scherzer is the Tigers’ best starter with a 13-0 record.

AL Reserves
Sal Perez, C, Kansas City
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Toronto
Howie Kendrick, 2B, Los Angeles
Jason Kipnis, 2B, Cleveland
Jose Altuve, 2B, Houston
Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay
Josh Donaldson, 3B, Oakland
Manny Machado, 3B, Baltimore
J.J. Hardy, SS, Baltimore
Torii Hunter, OF, Detroit
Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Boston
Jose Bautista, OF, Toronto
Clay Buchholz, P, Boston
Hisashi Iwakuma, P, Seattle
Felix Hernandez, P, Seattle
Chris Sale, P, Chicago
Bartolo Colon, P, Oakland
Yu Darvish, P, Texas
Justin Masterson, P, Cleveland
Glen Perkins, P, Minnesota
Mariano Rivera, P, New York
Joe Nathan, P, Texas
Jim Johnson, P, Baltimore
Grant Balfour, P, Oakland

National League
(starting lineup and batting order)

LF Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado
CarGo is on the short list of MVP candidates in the NL. His production could suffer without Troy Tulowitzki in the lineup for the Rockies.

CF Andrew McCutchen Pittsburgh
Beyond Gonzalez, there are about six outfielders with equal arguments to start. But McCutchen makes the Pirates go and plays terrific defense.

DH Joey Votto, Cincinnati
Many players believe Votto is the best pure hitter in the game.

1B Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona
The NL RBI leader deserves the start ahead of Votto at first this season, but maybe never again.

3B David Wright, New York
Quickly becoming Mr. Met in New York. The hometown fans will love seeing their superstar at the hot corner on the 16th.

C Yadier Molina, St. Louis
Widely considered the best defensive catcher in the majors, Yadi leads the NL in batting and has 45 RBIs. The Cardinals’ leader sits atop the MVP list for the first half.

2B Matt Carpenter, St. Louis
Having never played second in the minors, and with just 18 innings at the position prior to this season, Carpenter leads all NL second basemen in batting average, runs, extra-base hits and OPS.

RF Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee
Surprise! The outfielder representing the Brew Crew is not named Braun.

SS Sean Segura, Milwaukee
In all fairness, Tulowitzki of Colorado deserves to be the All-Star shortstop, having put together a brilliant first half. But being able to take the field is important for an All-Star and Segura is having a stellar season for the Brewers.

P Matt Harvey, New York
Maybe Adam Wainwright is more deserving to start but not by much. But I can’t resist having the Mets’ youngster throw the first pitch in the midsummer classic in his home ballpark.

NL Reserves
Buster Posey, C, San Francisco
Allen Craig, 1B, St. Louis
Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta
Brandon Phillips, 2B, Cincinnati
Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pittsburgh
Everth Cabrera, SS, San Diego
Gerardo Parra, OF, Arizona
Jay Bruce, OF, Cincinnati
Domonic Brown, OF, Philadelphia
Shin-Soo Choo, Cincinnati
Michael Cuddyer, OF, Colorado
Carlos Beltran, OF, St. Louis
Adam Wainwright, P, St. Louis
Clayton Kershaw, P, Los Angeles
Cliff Lee, P, Philadelphia
Patrick Corbin, P, Arizona
Jordan Zimmermann, P, Washington
Travis Wood, P, Chicago
Jose Fernandez, P, Miami
Jason Grilli, P, Pittsburgh
Craig Kimbrel, P, Atlanta
Edward Mujica, P, St. Louis
Jonathan Papelbon, P, Philadelphia
Aroldis Chapman, P, Cincinnati

Tomorrow, MLB will announce the 2013 All-Star teams, and undoubtedly there will be questions. Anytime you have fans electing players, there’s an overwhelming element of popularity, not necessarily performance. I’m pretty sure I’ll disagree with the fans, who will elect the starting lineups, and most likely will disagree with the managers who select the reserves. Here is what my All-Star ballot would look like.
Post date: Friday, July 5, 2013 - 19:39
Path: /node/23355

Cleveland’s Jason Kipnis goes off, no one steals on the Dodgers and Cardinals, Chris Davis is still crushing it and Brandon Phillips loves the bases loaded. These and more amazing MLB stats for the week of June 24-30.

.606    Jason Kipnis’ OBP last week
In addition to batting .478 for the week, the Indians' Kipnis drew eight walks to boost his on-base percentage to .606. He scored nine runs and drove home 10.

.459    Batting average for a Cabrera in June
But it wasn’t Miguel. It was shortstop Everth of San Diego before he injured a hamstring and missed a couple of weeks. The mark was the highest average in the majors for the month.

0    Stolen Bases allowed by the Dodgers
Last week, there were just four stolen base attempts against the Dodgers and none were successful. Ben Revere — otherwise successful 80 percent of the time — was caught twice, Jimmy Rollins — successful 87 percent of the time since 2005 — was nabbed, as was Gregor Blanco of the Giants. Pitcher Stephen Fife was on the mound for three of the attempts, and A.J. Ellis was behind the plate for three.

0    Stolen Base attempts against the Cardinals
Last week, no one even tried to run on St. Louis. In June, the Cardinals allowed just two stolen bases in four attempts.

7    Times a player has finished June with 31 or more home runs
Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles homered twice on June 29 and once on June 30 to finish June with a total of 31 home runs. Barry Bonds has the highest mark with 39 in 2001. Ken Griffey Jr. is the only player to accomplish it twice.

5    Teams Without a 3-Game winning Streak in June
The St. Louis Cardinals claimed the majors’ best record throughout the month of June, but they were among the five teams that never put together a winning streak of more than two games in the entire month. The Mets, Rockies, Giants and Mariners were the others.

12-0    Record for Kansas City in June when the lineup produces four runs
The Royals’ pitchers have shown that they don’t need much support. Last month, when the offense produced four runs, it resulted in a W. The Royals were a disappointing 4-5 when the pitchers allowed exactly three runs.

.299    June batting average for the Boston Red Sox
It was the best in the majors for the month, which helped the Sox increase their lead in the AL East.

.225    June batting average for the New York Yankees
Better than only the lowly Houston Astros, the lack of hitting caused the Yankees to slip to fourth place in the AL East.

7    Hits with the bases loaded for Brandon Phillips of Cincinnati this season
In nine at-bats with the bases full this season, Phillips has six singles, a home run and 15 RBIs.

-Charlie Miller (@AthlonCharlie)

Cleveland’s Jason Kipnis goes off, no one steals on the Dodgers and Cardinals, Chris Davis is still crushing it and Brandon Phillips loves the bases loaded. These and more amazing MLB stats for the week of June 24-30.
Post date: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - 15:58
Path: /mlb/21-amazing-mlb-stats-week-june-10-16

The A’s are hot, the Yankees and Rangers’ bats are not. Competition in the NL West is getting tight and Dustin Pedroia is tough with two. These and more amazing MLB stats are here from the week of June 10-16.

22-7    Oakland A’s record since May 15
The A’s have been smoking hot since the middle of May. With a 22-7 mark from May 16-June 16, the A’s own the best record in the majors during that time, three games better than the next-best mark of the Braves.

.000    Opponents batting average off of Johnny Cueto with the bases loaded
This isn’t that small of a sample. It’s over the past three seasons. Batters are 0-for-29 with three walks against the Reds’ righthander with the bases full.

8-2-3    W-L-T in road series for St. Louis this season
The Cardinals finally lost a road series for the first time since the opening set at Arizona. And it wasn’t to the division rival Reds, or the NL East-leading Braves, or even one of the contenders in the West. The Redbirds’ road series loss came at the hand of the worst team in baseball, the Miami Marlins.

.333    Dustin Pedroia’s batting average with an 0-2 count
That number includes the past two seasons. Not surprisingly, it is the highest among all players with as many as 50 plate appearances down 0-2.

24    Runs scored by the Yankees in their last nine games
Maybe the New Yorkers are missing Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter and — dare we say — Alex Rodriguez — a little bit.

8    Runs scored by the Rangers over six games
Not to be outdone by the Yankees’ pathetic offense, the Rangers hitters took a vacation as well. During a recent six-game skid, Texas was outscored 34-8.

2    Games separating four teams in the NL West
After a few hiccups by division leader Arizona, and a torrid streak by the Padres, the NL West has become a cluster of four contenders. With Colorado losing Troy Tulowitzki for a significant period, the Rockies may struggle to stay in the hunt. With Yasiel Puig doing his thing and Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp set to rejoin the Dodgers’ lineup soon, it may be too early to count the Dodgers out, making this a five team free-for-all in September.

5    San Diego pitchers with saves over a 10-day period
From June 6-15, the Padres won seven games, using five pitchers to get six saves. Lefty Eric Stults didn’t need relief help in a two-hit, 2-1 win over Arizona. But the other wins required bullpen assistance as Brad Boxberger, Dale Thayer and Nick Vincent each notched their first saves of the season. The saves were the first in the careers of both Boxberger and Vincent. Long-time setup man Luke Gregerson notched a pair of saves over this stretch before closer Huston Street returned from the DL to his familiar role and adding a save.

.444    Anthony Rendon’s June batting average
The Washington Nationals’ highly touted prospect has been swinging a hot bat this month. Too bad his teammates haven’t joined the hit parade. They have combined to hit just .216 in June.

5.54    First-inning ERA for Shelby Miller
If hitters are going to get to the Cardinals’ young righthander, they better erupt early. Miller’s ERA is a robust 5.54 in the first inning, then drops to a miniscule 1.58 afterwards. Opponents are batting .357 in the first frame, then just .175 after he settles in.

30    Games since San Francisco has won three in a row (and counting)
You have to flip the calendar all the way back to May 12 to find the last three-game winning streak by the Giants. That was 30 games ago. Since then, the defending champs are 12-18.

.211    Aggregate batting average of White Sox 4-5-6 hitters
Typically, the heart of the batting order is expected to produce runs and set the tone for a team’s offensive punch. Guess this is why the Sox have dropped to last place.

0-for-3    Mets bullpen in save opps in June
I’m not sure what is more startling about this. The fact that the Mets are 0-for save opportunities, or that they have just three chances this month.

1    Games in June in which the Royals have allowed more than three runs
The Kansas City pitching staff has buckled down and been downright nasty this month. Only once in their first 15 games have the Royals allowed more than three runs. That is the definition of keeping your team in the game and giving yourself a chance to win. The Royals are 11-4 in those games.  

.500    OBP of Yasiel Puig through his first 13 games
The rookie outfielder continues to provide amazing stats with each game. Once Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford and Hanley Ramirez join the youngster in the lineup regularly, the Dodgers just may battle back into contention.

2.91    Astros ERA in June
Sure, we’re only half way through the month, but after a 5.55 ERA in April followed by a 5.06 number in May, Houston fans should celebrate any ERA under 4.00 at this point.

.389    Adam Dunn’s batting average last week
With that huge week, the Big Donkey raised his season average from .165 to .189, or still about 96 points below his weight.

11-15    Record for the Texas Rangers without Ian Kinsler
The Rangers’ second baseman returned last week after being out of the starting lineup for 26 games. Kinsler made his last start on May 16, before returning over the weekend. The Rangers were 27-14 prior to his injury.

5    Key number of runs for the Pirates
In June, when the Bucs plate five runs or more, they are 5-0. If the pitching staff coughs up five or more, not good. The Pirates are 0-6 when giving up five or more runs in June.

3-9    New York Mets record in June, worst in the majors

4-11    Texas Rangers record in June, worst in the AL

-Charlie Miller (@AthlonCharlie)

<p> The A’s are hot, the Yankees and Rangers’ bats are not. Competition in the NL West is getting tight and Dustin Pedroia is tough with two. These and more amazing MLB stats are here from the week of June 10-16.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - 16:00
Path: /mlb/2013-mlb-power-rankings-june-18

Each week during the baseball season Athlon Sports looks at the best (St. Louis Cardinals) and worst (Miami Marlins) baseball teams and players in the league. Here's our MLB Power Rankings and Players of the Week.
 1. Cardinals Lost first road series since first of season — at Miami.
 2. Red Sox Rays at home, Tigers on the road this week.
 3. A’s Oakland is smoking hot since middle of May (22-7).
 4. Braves B.J. actually outproduced brother Justin last week.
5. Reds Four-game set with Pittsburgh before a trip west.
 6. Pirates In June, when Bucs score five or more: 5-0, give up five: 0-6.
 7. Orioles Took three of four from Red Sox over the weekend.
 8. Tigers Won 11 of last 15 vs. AL Central.
 9. Yankees Scored a scant 24 runs in last nine games.
10. Rangers Offense produced just eight runs during recent six-game skid.
11. Diamondbacks Swept at San Diego, now four teams within two games in West.
12. Rays Led the majors with 16 homers last week.
13. Rockies Can potent offense continue without Troy Tulowitzki?
14. Padres Five different pitchers have shared last seven saves.
15. Giants June: Lost 2, won 2, lost 2, won 2, lost 2, won 2, lost 2.
16. Nationals Anthony Rendon hitting .444 in June; rest of team .216.
17. Indians Asdrubal Cabrera, Carlos Santana combined .500 vs. K.C.
18. Royals Given up more than three runs just once in June (11-4).
19. Blue Jays Enjoyed four-game sweep at Texas.
20. Phillies Opponents hit .305 last week as Phils dropped five of seven.
21. Twins With bases empty, Joe Mauer batting .340; rest of team, .228.
22. Mariners Desperately seeking starting pitching from Nos. 3, 4 and 5.
23. Angels Team ERA leader? Jerome Williams. Enough said.
24. Dodgers Yasiel Puig has .500 OBP in first 13 games.
25. Brewers June ERA about a run and half better than May. 
26. White Sox Nos. 4, 5 and 6 hitters are combined .211 this season.
27. Cubs Cubs pitchers holding opponents to a .210 average on the road.
28. Mets 0-for-3 in save opportunities this month.
29. Astros Monthly ERAs: April, 5.55, May 5.06, June 2.91.
30. Marlins Calmly took two of three from best team in majors.
NL Player of the Week
Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado
Without running buddy Troy Tulowitzki for the next month or so, it may be difficult for CarGo to maintain his strong season. Last week, he batted .476 with a 1.617 OPS, three home runs, eight RBIs and six runs. His six extra-base hits led the senior circuit.
NL Pitcher of the Week
Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee
After giving up multiple runs in each of his last nine starts, Gallardo found some magic last week. In road starts at Miami and Cincinnati, the righthander didn’t allow a run over 14 innings. He gave up seven hits, walked three and struck out nine.
AL Player of the Week
Adam Dunn, Chicago
Very little has gone right for Dunn this season, and the White Sox have struggled of late. But last week, the Big Donkey socked four home runs and drove home eight. He began the week with a four-hit game, and by hitting .389 he raised his season average from .165 to .183.
AL Pitcher of the Week
Corey Kluber, Cleveland
The Indians are struggling to stay around .500 and Kluber played a huge role last week. He allowed just one run over eight innings in a win at Texas, then shut down Washington over eight frames in a 2-0 win over the Nats. In 16 innings, he gave up 13 hits, three walks and only one run.
<p> <span style="font-family: Arial, Verdana, Helvetica, Tahoma, 'DejaVu Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 11.818181991577148px; line-height: 17.99715805053711px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Each week during the baseball season Athlon Sports looks at the best (St. Louis Cardinals) and worst (Miami Marlins) baseball teams and players in the league. Here's our MLB Power Rankings and Players of the Week.</span></p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - 14:04
Path: /mlb/18-amazing-mlb-stats-week-june-3-9

Puigmania hits Los Angeles, the Redbirds finally win in extras, Cleveland can't win on the road and is Howie Kendrick really the Angels' best hitter? These and more amazing stats from the week of June 3-9.

13    Hits for Yasiel Puig in his first seven games
Not since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981 has a rookie for the Dodgers taken the baseball world by storm like Puig. The rookie totaled 13 hits in just seven games, including four homers and 10 RBIs. That is the most hits for any Dodger in his first six games since 1900. Puig’s accomplishments include four home runs, two outfield assists and 10 RBIs.

.042    Starlin Castro’s June batting average
The Cubs’ shortstop began the month in a 1-for-24 slump. In seven games, he scored three runs and his only hit was a double. His OBP is a sparkling .179 due to a couple of HBPs, but he’s slugging just .083.

1    Extra-inning win for St. Louis in 2013
The Cardinals may have the best record in baseball, but when opponents take them into extra frames the Redbirds struggle. It wasn’t until this past Sunday when the Cards plated seven runs in the 10th inning at Cincinnati that the club won its first extra-inning game this season in five tries.

11    Consecutive road losses for the Indians
Just as manager Terry Francona had his troops charging into contention, the Indians have played miserably on the road. After defeating the Red Sox at Fenway on May 23, the Tribe has dropped three at Boston, two at Cincinnati, three at Yankee Stadium and three at Detroit. Cleveland was outscored 67-35 in those games.

19    Runs allowed by the Braves in their last nine games
Atlanta pitching has been especially stingy of late. The staff has allowed more than three runs just twice over the past 12 games. The Braves are 8-4 in those games.

20-8    Oakland’s record within its division
In order to win a division title, teams must play well against their rivals. The A’s ended the week with the best intradivision mark in baseball.

.542    Howie Kendrick’s batting average last week
The Angels’ second baseman now leads the club with a .317 average for the season and has more total bases then teammates Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton and more RBIs than Hamilton.

11-6    Nationals record in one-run games
Where would the Nats be without a little luck in winning tight games? Washington hitters are struggling and the pitching is keeping the team afloat, especially in close games. The Nationals are the best team in the NL in one-run games.

.184    Pirates batting average last week
The Bucs’ hitters didn’t enjoy the road trip to Atlanta and Chicago at all. Pittsburgh bats were held to a .184 average as the team lost four of six and fell farther behind the Cardinals in the NL Central.

3    Most runs allowed in a game in June by Kansas City
The Royals began the month on a 6-2 tear led by a stingy pitching staff. No opponent has managed more than three runs in any game in June as the Royals have outscored foes 29-15 through the first eight games of the month.

3-10    White Sox record since Memorial Day weekend
Over the holiday weekend, the White Sox swept the Marlins and celebrated reaching the .500 mark for the first time since April 10 when the team was 4-4. Since then, the team has slumped and lost 10 of 13 and sunk to the bottom of the AL Central.

2    Number of batters Adam Wainwright has faced with the bases loaded
In 96 innings, Wainwright has faced just two hitters in a bases-loaded jam. He retired them both.

0    RBIs for Andre Ethier since May 20
The Dodgers’ right fielder last drove in a run on May 20 and is batting .150 with three extra-base hits since then.

1    Day spent above .500 by the Phillies
Last Thursday, the Phillies defeated the Brewers 5-1 to extend their winning streak to five games and push their record above .500 at 31-30. The excitement didn’t last long as the Phils dropped three in a row to the Brew Crew over the weekend.

8    Stolen bases by Everth Cabrera last week
The speedy shortstop for San Diego hit .485 with a .514 OBP last week and stole eight bags, getting caught just once. He managed to score only three runs as the Padres lost four of seven.

.431    Paul Goldschmidt’s average with runners in scoring position
The Diamondbacks’ first baseman, who leads the National League with 58 RBIs, is batting just .283 without ducks on the pond.

.199    Red Sox and Orioles combined batting average vs. each other this season
The two AL East rivals will meet for an important four-game series this weekend. They’ve met just once for a three-game set in early April in Boston this season. During that series the pitchers ruled the day. The two teams combined to hit .199.

6    Pitches into the career of Curtis Partch when he gave up a grand slam
It took seven seasons, 210 games and 702.1 innings in the minor leagues before Curtis Partch reached the major leagues with Cincinnati. The right-handed reliever made his major league debut on Sunday against St. Louis. But in all of his wisdom, Reds manager Dusty Baker decided that facing Matt Holliday in the 10th inning with the bases loaded and one out would be an appropriate spot for Partch to get his feet wet.

-Charlie Miller (@AthlonCharlie)

<p> Puigmania hits Los Angeles, the Redbirds finally win in extras, Cleveland can't win on the road and is Howie Kendrick really the Angels' best hitter? These and more amazing stats from the week of June 3-9.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - 13:00
All taxonomy terms: MLB, News
Path: /mlb/2013-mlb-power-rankings-june-11

Each week during the baseball season Athlon Sports looks at the best (St. Louis Cardinals) and worst (Miami Marlins) baseball teams and players in the league. Here's our MLB Power Rankings and Players of the Week.

1. Cardinals Plated seven 10th-inning runs Sunday for first extra-inning win.

2. Red Sox Only four games left in June vs. losing teams.

3. Braves Given up 19 runs over their last nine games.

4. Rangers Nelson Cruz is batting. 367 with RISP and two outs.

5. A’s At 20-8, A’s have majors’ best intradivision record.

6. Reds Should spruce up record vs. Cubs and Brewers this week.

7. Pirates Bucs batted just .184 last week.

8. Yankees Still don’t seem to be missing any superstars.

9. Diamondbacks Patrick Corbin: 9-0, 1.98; rest of rotation: 13-21, 4.91.

10. Tigers Swept Cleveland to build their biggest lead of the season.

11. Orioles Important four-game series with Red Sox this weekend.

12. Rays Have won nine of 10 against NL foes.

13. Rockies Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez are best 1-2 punch in NL.

14. Giants Buster Posey leads National Leaguers in All-Star votes.

15. Nationals 11-6 record is best NL mark for one-run games.

16. Phillies Spent one day over .500 this season — last Thursday.

17. Padres Everth Cabrera stole eight bases last week.

18. Indians Lost 11 straight (and counting) road games.

19. Angels Howie Kendrick hit .542 for the week.

20. Royals Opponents yet to score more than three runs in a game in June.

21. White Sox 3-10 since reaching .500 on Memorial Day weekend.

22. Twins Bullpen owns 1.14 WHIP and 2.93 ERA.

23. Mariners Jesus Montero batting .250, playing first base since demotion.

24. Dodgers Andre Ethier’s last RBI came on May 20.

25. Blue Jays Jose Reyes’ return on the horizon.

26. Brewers Where would this team be without the late signing of Kyle Lohse? 

27. Cubs Starlin Castro mired in a 1-for-24 slump.

28. Mets Taken seven of eight vs. AL teams.

29. Astros Lucas Harrell looks like a real ace.

30. Marlins Play six of next nine vs. division leaders.

AL Player of the Week

Brett Gardner, New York

The fleet outfielder had the best week of his season with 13 hits last week. The Yankees won six of seven and Gardner batted .520 with a home run, five runs and six extra-base hits. He capped the week with three hits on Saturday and four on Sunday.


AL Pitcher of the Week

David Phelps, New York

The righthander was inserted into the starting rotation in May, and the Yanks have won six of his eight starts, including two last week. Phelps tossed six shutout innings against Cleveland, then allowed only one run over six frames in a 2-1 win at Seattle.


NL Player of the Week

Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles

Not since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981 has a rookie for the Dodgers taken the baseball world by storm like Puig. The rookie totaled 13 hits in just seven games, including four homers and 10 RBIs.


NL Pitcher of the Week

Kris Medlen, Atlanta

The Braves and their fans carried high expectations of Medlen into this season after his terrific showing in 2012. In starts against Pittsburgh and the Dodgers last week, Medlen gave up just one run — which was unearned — over 13.2 innings to earn two wins. He also socked the first home run of his career.

<p> A look at the best and worst baseball teams in the league.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - 12:29
Path: /mlb/16-amazing-mlb-stats-week-may-27-june-2

Dom Brown finally goes off for the Phillies, Nationals can’t support their pitchers and the Tigers and Pirates struggled for runs. Another installment of some amazing numbers from MLB for the week of May 27-June 2.

7    Home Runs by Domonic Brown last week
The long-time, seemingly underachieving, prospect of the Phillies finally had a breakout month. After a .233-3-11 April with a .681 OPS, Brown responded to hit .319-13-29 with a 1.055 OPS over his next 30 games. Could the Phillies finally have the next anchor of their lineup?

17-13    Nationals record when they allow 1, 2 or 3 runs
The pitchers in Washington are getting the job done, it’s just that the team has a little trouble giving them any runs to work with. They are 7-1 when allowing just one run. But that drops to 7-6 when giving up two, and only 3-6 when allowing three runs. Put in layman’s terms, the Nats could maintain a 2.00 ERA and win about 92 games at this rate.

5    Pitchers who made six starts in May with a sub-2.00 ERA
Lefties Cliff Lee of Philadelphia, Jeff Locke of Pittsburgh, Mike Minor of Atlanta and Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers joined righty Stephen Strasburg of Washington to comprise the quintet of hurlers with six starts and an ERA below 2.00 in May. The aggregate record of the group is 14-3 with 13 no-decisions in their 30 starts in May.

11-5     Phillies record vs. Mets and Marlins
With a three-game set against Miami this week, the Phillies have an opportunity to improve that mark. They are 16-25 against everyone else, including 2-4 vs. the Braves and Nationals, their other two NL East rivals.

5    Straight wins for the Astros
Houston finished the week with a five-game winning steak, including a sweep of the Angels in Los Angeles, but remains four games behind next-to-last in the AL.

14    Hits for Chris Davis last week
Lest you believe that Davis’s start this season is somewhat of a fluke, his bat has yet to cool off for the Orioles. He produced 14 hits last week, including four that left the park, and scored a majors-best 10 runs in leading Baltimore to a 5-2 mark for the week.

0-4    Record in May for James Shields
The Kansas City Royals’ righthander was winless in May despite a 1.08 WHIP and 2.92 ERA in his five starts.

3-1    Record in May for Jason Hammel
The Baltimore Orioles’ righthander won three games in May despite a 1.70 WHIP and 6.44 ERA in his five starts.

3    Singles by the Pirates to start an inning but didn’t score
On May 30, the Pirates touched Detroit pitcher Doug Fister for three singles without plating a run in the bottom of the fourth. Neil Walker singled, then was caught stealing. Andrew McCutchen and Garret Jones followed with base knocks before Russell Martin whiffed and Travis Snider flied out to left. No big deal, but…

4    Singles to start the fifth by the Tigers without scoring
The next inning, the Tigers did the Bucs one better. After the speed-challenged Matt Tuiasosopo and Bryan Pena opened with singles, Avisail Garcia lined a single to right and Travis Snider gunned out Tuiasosopo at the plate while holding Pena on second. Pitcher Doug Fister singled, but Pena was held at third. Two ground balls later, and Pittsburgh hurler Jeff Locke was safely out of the inning. Oh, the Pirates won 1-0 in 11 innings.

0    Shutouts by the Brewers this season
The Milwaukee Brewers’ lineup is formidable, but the pitching staff? Well, it’s pretty bad. The Brew Crew is the only staff in baseball without a shutout this season.

5    Walk-off losses this season for the Brewers and Marlins
Milwaukee and Miami lead the majors in being walked-off.

19    Home runs in 169 at-bats for David Ortiz when playing first base since 2005
While the debate over the DH rages, Ortiz continues to produce whether DHing in American League parks or manning first base in NL parks.

8    First inning run support for St. Louis pitchers’ debuts
Three youngsters made their major league debuts in the St. Louis rotation in May, and the Cardinals’ offense staked each to a lead after the first inning. The offense produced three first-inning runs for John Gast against the Mets on May 14. Tyler Lyons was also given a three spot against San Diego on May 22. Then Michael Wacha, the most heralded prospect of the three, was given a pair of runs against the Royals on May 30.

.409-6-21    Average, home runs and RBIs for Wil Myers in last 10 games at Triple-A Durham
The Rays would love to avoid Myers earning Super 2 status with extra service this season, but it’s time to give the prospect a call. Over his last 10 games at Triple-A Durham, he’s batting .409 with six home runs and 21 RBIs.

.433    OBP for Matt Carpenter since being moved to the leadoff
St. Louis manager moved Carpenter to the leadoff spot permanently on May 2 and the former TCU standout is batting .339 with 21 runs in 27 games. He has started at second, third, first and right field during that stretch, and St. Louis is 19-8.

-Charlie Miller (@AthlonCharlie)

<p> Dom Brown finally goes off for the Phillies, Nationals can’t support their pitchers and the Tigers and Pirates struggled for runs. Another installment of some amazing numbers from MLB for the week of May 27-June2.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - 13:55
Path: /mlb/MLB-best-prospects-by-position

Only hard-core baseball junkies are familiar with these names now, but in a few years all baseball fans will recognize these stars. Here’s a brief look at stars of the future who have yet to make their debuts in the major leagues.


Taijuan Walker, Seattle 
With above-average fastball, curve and change, Walker is clearly a future starter, but he must harness control issues. Through 10 starts at Double-A Jackson, opponents are batting just .190, but he has issued 27 walks in 59 innings.

Zack Wheeler, New York Mets
Acquired from the Giants for Carlos Beltran, the righthander possesses a fastball that nears triple digits. Fine-tuning his command and breaking pitches will get him to the majors, and that isn’t far away. In nine starts and 48.1 innings at Triple-A Las Vegas, he has 49 whiffs and allowed only 45 hits.

Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh (pictured)
Last season, his first in pro ball, he progressed from High-A to Triple-A where he made one start. In 10 starts at Triple-A this season, opponents are hitting just .207. Cole owns a major-league ready fastball and curve. He’ll be in Pittsburgh by August.

Jameson Taillon, Pittsburgh
Pitching at Double-A this season, Taillon’s fastball will reach the upper 90s. He has 63 punchouts in 55.2 innings this season with a 2.19 ERA. As soon as he develops other pitches, he’ll join the
Pirates’ rotation, which should be in 2014.

Danny Hultzen, Seattle
The second-best left-handed prospect shined in his first four starts at Triple-A but hasn’t pitched since mid-April due to a rotator cuff problem. Red flag.

Archie Bradley, Arizona
After five tremendous starts at Single-A, Bradley has been even better at Double-A this season with a 0.69 ERA in five outings. He turns 21 in August and is on a fast track to the big leagues, although the Diamondbacks are adamant about not rushing him.

Chris Archer, Tampa Bay
With a fastball that reaches 98 and a tight slider, Archer could end up in the bullpen. Tampa Bay is his third organization and he’ll be 25 before the season ends.

Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets
Obtained in the R.A. Dickey trade over the winter, Syndergaard hasn’t disappointed the Mets. In nine starts at High-A Port St. Lucie, the 6'6" righthander has 52 strikeouts in 50.2 innings and has given up just one home run.

First Base

Jonathan Singleton, Houston
Long considered a top prospect in Philadelphia, Singleton is currently serving a suspension for a drug violation. He’s probably better suited for DH.

Keon Barnum, Chicago White Sox
The strong 20-year-old has prodigious power. The question will be whether he can develop consistency at the plate.

Second Base

Kolten Wong, St. Louis
Nothing about Wong will wow you except that he is a ballplayer. Speed, bat and glove are all just a tad above average, but his instincts, will and work ethic should land him a job in the majors and keep him there a long time.

Delino DeShields, Jr., Houston
Speed is his greatest asset, and the son of the former major leaguer has solid makeup and athleticism. He projects as a sturdy leadoff hitter and if his defense doesn’t cut it at second, he’ll make a solid center fielder.

Jonathan Schoop, Baltimore
Originally a shortstop, Schoop can play all over the infield. Second base seems to be where the Orioles need him most.

Nick Franklin, Seattle
Originally a shortstop, Franklin has split time at both middle infield positions this season. In 2010, he had 23 homers and 25 steals at Single-A Clinton.

Third Base

Miguel Sano, Minnesota
Sano turned 20 a few weeks ago and is tearing up the Florida State League with a .354 average and 23 extra-base hits including 11 homers in his first 40 games.


Francisco Lindor, Cleveland (pictured)
A few years ago, Lindor was the youngest player in the Futures Game. He’s considered the best defensive shortstop in the minors, and is batting .331 at Single-A.

Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs
While not as refined at the plate as Lindor, Baez has more power. It will be interesting to see who eventually moves to third base, Baez or current Chicago shortstop Starlin Castro.

Xander Bogaerts, Boston
If Jose Iglesias ever blossoms for Boston, Bogaerts could move to third, shifting Will Middlebrooks to first.

Carlos Correa, Houston
His glove is well ahead of his bat, but his .410 OBP this season at Single-A isn’t too shabby.

Addison Russell, Oakland
He’s scuffling at .189 this season, but hit .369 across three levels in 2012.

Hak-Ju Lee, Tampa Bay
In the midst of a breakout season at the plate for Triple-A Durham, Lee suffered torn knee ligaments and will miss the remainder of the year.


Oscar Taveras, St. Louis
Without question, Taveras is the highest-prized prospect not yet called up to the big leagues. The Cardinals’ expectation is that he will be a regular in the Redbirds’ outfield next season.

Wil Myers, Tampa Bay
Outside of Jurickson Profar, Myers has received more attention than anyone in the minors this season. Only a matter of time before he’s helping Evan Longoria carry the Rays’ offense.

Christian Yelich, Miami
The 21-year-old has 20 extra-base hits, 23 runs and 23 RBIs in his first 26 games at Double-A.

Byron Buxton, Minnesota
Twins fans have been dreaming of an outfield that includes Buxton and Aaron Hicks. Buxton is still a few years away, and Hicks has appeared overmatched so far this season.

Nick Castellanos, Detroit
Originally a third baseman, he moved to the outfield this season, which is his quickest track to Detroit. Castellanos is a pure hitter with developing power.

Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati
Most fans are familiar with his 155 steals last season. But in his first foray into Triple-A, he’s struggled at the plate with a .228 average and .286 OBP.

Bubba Starling, Kansas City
Drafted in 2011, Starling chose the Royals over the opportunity to play quarterback at Nebraska. He hasn’t exactly exploded onto the scene, hitting just .213 this season at Single-A.

Jorge Soler, Chicago Cubs
The Cubs are excited about the young outfielder, currently hitting .296 and slugging .528 at Single-A Daytona.

Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers
Signed to a seven-year, $42 million deal out of Cuba last year, Puig has raw power and gave the Dodgers a glimpse during spring training just how good he can be.


Mike Zunino, Seattle (pictured)
The third overall pick in 2012 progressed quickly up to Double-A last season hitting .333 in 15 games. Success hasn’t come as easy at Triple-A this season, but the Mariners are convinced he is their long-term solution behind the plate.

Travis d’Arnaud, New York Mets
Multiple knee injuries have prevented d’Arnaud from being in the bigs already. His forte is his bat with some power. He’s worked diligently to improve his throwing. The Mets would love to see him completely healthy and in New York in 2014.

Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees
He won’t turn 21 until December and has serious power. He hasn’t mastered the nuances behind the plate, but he has a terrific arm. He’s currently hitting .279 at High-A Tampa.

Austin Hedges, San Diego
The Padres spent $3 million on their 2011 second-round pick believing he would be a long-term solution behind the plate. Defensively he has all the tools to be one of the best. His bat will probably never grade as high as his glove, but he has 11 walks and only 11 whiffs so far this season at High-A
Lake Elsinore, which lifts his OBP.

Christian Bethancourt, Atlanta
The Panama native’s prowess behind the plate and outstanding throwing arm may alone be enough for him to replace Brian McCann by 2015. If he improves his plate discipline, that could happen sooner.

<p> Athlon looks at the top stars of tomorrow on the baseball diamond.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - 16:30
All taxonomy terms: MLB
Path: /mlb/15-amazing-mlb-stats-week-may-20-26

Each week, Athlon Sports highlights the most important, intriguing and bizarre stats in baseball.

11-4   Indians’ record in one-run games
Last season much was made of the one-run magic that took up residence in Baltimore (29-9) and stayed all season. But Cleveland had a little magic of its own with a 24-12 record in one-run affairs. It appears that this magic has put down deeper roots in Cleveland. This season, the Indians continue to play well in close games with an 11-4 mark in one-run games, making them the best in the majors.
5-0   Indians’ mark in extra-inning games
Cleveland remains the last undefeated team in extra frames this season.
+4   Run total difference between Oakland and Texas
Even after a doubleheader for Texas on Memorial Day, the A’s had outscored the Rangers through the first 51 games. It seems that a lineup that starts with Coco Crisp and features some combination of Jed Lowrie, Seth Smith, Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Moss and Josh Donaldson in the middle is a tad better than Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Lance Berkman, Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz.
14  Wins by Matt Moore and Alex Cobb
The two young studs for Tampa Bay have the most wins this season of any pitching combination in the big leagues.
34 Quality Starts by Philadelphia
Perhaps this item should be in the Meaningless Stats column. The Phillies’ starters have logged the most Quality Starts in baseball this season as defined by MLB. However, the rotation carries a 4.18 ERA (16th in MLB), has only 16 wins (tied for 19th) and opponents are batting .251 (14th). So maybe it’s time to redefine Quality Start.
10-5, 2.43  W-L record and ERA for Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma
When the two hurlers take the mound for the Mariners, good things seem to follow. When others start for Seattle, very little good happens. The rest of the rotation is a combined 6-17, 6.78.
6-33  Houston record when scoring less than six runs
Okay, we know the Astros aren’t very good. In fact, they are really bad. But the pitchers are giving the team no chance to win. Asking the lineup to produce six runs every night is a bit much. And when the offense is missing — as is the case most nights — losing happens.
1 Series win at Tampa Bay for the Yankees in last 10 visits
When the Yankees rallied for two ninth-inning runs and subsequently won in 11 innings on a Lyle Overbay home run last Saturday, it marked the first time in 10 tries that New York has won a series at Tampa Bay.
.500  Prince Fielder’s batting average after an intentional walk to Miguel Cabrera
How tempting is it to intentionally pass Miguel Cabrera, the best hitter in the game? And how important is it for Miggy to have protection in the Detroit lineup? Since joining the Tigers last season, Prince Fielder is batting .500 (8-for-16) with 11 RBIs following an intentional walk to Cabrera.
.667 Pirates’ winning percentage in May
The Pittsburgh Pirates ended Memorial Day with a 16-8 record in May, the third-best in all of baseball. It just so happens, it’s also the third-best in the NL Central, which means that Pittsburgh has lost ground to both St. Louis and Cincinnati this month. #ToughDivision
10-0 Diamondbacks’ record when Patrick Corbin starts
Last week the young lefthander won both of his starts, defeating division rivals Colorado and San Diego. Corbin went the distance against the Rockies allowing just three hits and a walk. He is now 8-0 with a 1.71 ERA on the season and the Diamondbacks have won all 10 of his starts.
57 RBIs for Miguel Cabrera
Miggy has driven home 57 runs in his first 48 games. The only player with more than 162 RBIs in a 162-game season is Manny Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians in 1999.
.000  Lefthanders’ batting average against Francisco Liriano
 Through his first three starts of the season, left-handed batters are 0-for-12 off Liriano, who began the season with five rehab starts in the minor leagues.
13  Consecutive wins by the St. Louis Cardinals on May 21 
The last time the Redbirds lost on that date was in 1998. In that game, Philadelphia manager Terry Francona called on current Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro to pinch-hit.
5  Consecutive road games in which the Orioles’ Manny Machado had three hits
The young third baseman is batting .363 in 27 games away from home this season.
<p> Highlighting the most important, intriguing and bizarre stats in baseball.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - 16:00
Path: /mlb/18-amazing-mlb-stats-week-may-13-19

Matt Cain is giving up bombs, Ryan Howard is wilting in the clutch, James Shields has little to show for his efforts and the consistent Joey Votto just keeps hitting. Here’s this week’s Amazing Stats for May 13-19.

2    Games Braves played with best lineup
Atlanta is in first place in the NL East, but the club has played just two games — last Friday and Saturday — with what manager Fredi Gonzalez expected to be his best eight in the field. Catcher Brian McCann has been recovering from shoulder surgery, and right fielder Jason Heyward missed some time after an appendectomy. The Braves won both games.

.050    Ryan Howard’s batting average with RISP, two outs
Entering this season, Howard carried a career .268 average with runners in scoring position with two outs. So far in 2013, he’s 1-for-20.

3    Teams still perfect this season when leading after six innings
The Texas Rangers blew their first save of the season over the weekend against the Tigers, but won the game anyway to go to 23-0 when leading after six innings. The Yankees (21-0) and Cleveland (19-0) are the other two teams. Coincidence that all three reside in first place?

13    Home runs allowed by Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants this season
The total leads the majors and is four more than Cain gave up in all of 2010, when he logged more than 220 innings.

22    Percent of the Dodgers’ RBIs driven in by Adrian Gonzalez
Earlier this season, Carl Crawford was responsible for an inordinate high percentage of the Dodgers’ runs. Now Gonzalez shows a similar high percentage of the team’s RBIs.  It’s time for Matt Kemp to step up and contribute to the offense.

2    Players to hit three homers in a loss twice since 2000
Players have hit three home runs in a losing cause a total of 16 times since 2000. Two players have done it twice. Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers did it for the second time last Sunday night. Sammy Sosa did it twice in 2001.

.583    Joey Votto batting average for the week
Quietly and consistently, the Reds’ first baseman shows why he is the best hitter in the National League. He hit .583 last week with a pair of home runs, five RBIs and seven runs. He drew five walks to go with his 14 hits over the six games.

.193    Batting average of leadoff No. 1 hitters against Kansas City
Leadoff hitters haven’t fared well against the Royals’ pitching this season. This average is 32 points lower than the next best (Pittsburgh, .225). The Royals are also the only team yet to give up a home run to the first batter in the lineup.

2    First batters of any inning to score off Yu Darvish
Going into his start against the Tigers last Thursday night, Yu Darvish of Texas had not allowed the first batter of any inning to score this season. In fact, just 10 of 53 had even made it the first 90 feet. That changed in the third inning when Don Kelly of Detroit homered off of the Texas righthander. Detroit shortstop Jhonny Peralta led off the fourth inning with a homer as well. Now 12 of 61 have reached base safely, and just two have scored.

16    Scoreless innings for Justin Masterson last week
The Cleveland ace pitched a complete game shutout over the Yankees and followed up with seven shutout innings in a 6-0 win over Seattle. For the week, he threw 16 innings, gave up seven hits, five walks and struck out 20. The surging Indians have won eight of Masterson’s 10 starts this season, scoring a total of three runs in the two losses. Masterson is working on a scoreless innings streak of 19.1 innings.

.509    Miguel Cabrera’s batting average with runners in scoring position
With two outs and RISP, Miggy’s average jumps to .600. It’s no wonder he’s a candidate to win a second Triple Crown this season.

.077    Martin Prado’s batting average with runners in scoring position
Among batters with as many as 35 ABs this season, Prado owns the lowest average. But it’s still early and this is a relatively small sample size, so expect this number to climb. The Diamondbacks are in first place despite this deficiency.

5    Starts of 8+ innings and three or less runs for James Shields
Kansas City’s James Shields continues to get saddled with tough losses. He’s gone eight innings in his last three starts, given up a total of five runs (four earned) and is 0-2 during that time. Shields has pitched eight innings or more five times this season, giving up three runs or less each start. For his efforts, the team has rewarded him with an 0-3 record in those games.

2    St. Louis Cardinals batting .400+ with RISP
There are a scant nine hitters with as many as 35 ABs batting .400 with runners in scoring position. Matt Holliday of St. Louis ended the week at .444. Teammate Allen Craig stood at an even .400. The Cardinals are the only team with two at or above the .400 mark.

14-9    Baltimore’s road record this season
The Orioles ended the week as the only team with a winning record on the road and a losing mark at home (9-11).

15    Times since 2010 Jaime Garcia has left a game with a lead, but didn’t win
The St. Louis lefthander has had the toughest luck of any pitcher in baseball since 2010 with his bullpen holding leads. He’s left with a lead 15 times, only to see the advantage — along with his win — disappear.

.149    Opponents batting average vs. Matt Harvey
The young New York Mets’ ace has held hitters to a .149 average, the best in the majors this season.

.369    Opponents batting average vs. Vance Worley and Joe Blanton
Hitters are feasting on Worley and Blanton this season.

-Charlie Miller (@AthlonCharlie)

<p> Matt Cain is giving up bombs, Ryan Howard is wilting in the clutch, James Shields has little to show for his efforts and the consistent Joey Votto just keeps hitting. Here’s this week’s Amazing Stats for May 13-19.<br />  </p>
Post date: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 12:30
Path: /mlb/2013-mlb-power-rankings-may-20

Each week during the baseball season Athlon Sports looks at the best (Texas Rangers) and worst (Houston Astros) baseball teams and players in the league. Here's our MLB Power Rankings and Players of the Week.

  1. Rangers—Texas survived first blown save and three HRs by Miggy.

2. Cardinals—Young pitchers must step up to replaced injured starters.

3. Yankees—In first place in tough division despite numerous injuries.

4. Red Sox—Would like to have Justin Masterson-Victor Martinez trade back.

5. Reds—Johnny Cueto’s return improves an already strong rotation.

6. Pirates—Tied for second-best record in NL.

7. Giants—Lost four games in which they’ve scored six runs or more.

8. Braves—First time all season best lineup on the field together.

9. Nationals—Sputtering offense has scored just nine runs in last six losses.

10. Indians—Won 17 of 21, but can starting pitching hold up?

11. Rays—Injury to David Price could be devastating to surging Rays.

12. Tigers—Starting pitchers did not enjoy trip to Texas.

13. Diamondbacks—Won nine of 13 to bolt back into first place.

14. Rockies—Plated 31 runs while taking three of four from Giants.

15. Orioles—Winning road record (14-9), losing at home (9-11).

16. A’s—Won three one-run games in sweep over Royals.

17. Phillies—Ryan Howard: .050 with runners in scoring position, 2 outs.

18. Padres—Won 15 of last 20 when not playing at Tampa Bay.

19. Royals—Leadoff hitters are batting just .190 off K.C. pitching.

20. Mariners—No. 9 hitters batting an NL-esque .151.

21. Twins—Tough tests at Atlanta and Detroit this week.

22. White Sox—Offense begins and ends with Alex Rios.

23. Cubs—Would Cubs really consider a move from Wrigley?

24. Mets—David Wright/Daniel Murphy: .307; rest of team: .209.

25. Blue Jays—Batted .303 last week, but team ERA was 5.02.

26. Dodgers—Adrian Gonzalez has 22 percent of team’s RBIs.

27. Angels—This lack of winning isn’t what Albert Pujols signed up for.

28. Brewers—Lineup is too good to be this bad. 

29. Marlins—Suffered four three-game sweeps this season.

30. Astros—Thankfully, Houston and Miami will not meet in 2013.


Al Player of the Week

Miguel Cabrera, Detroit

Miggy continues to separate himself from the rest of the league, much like Barry Bonds did 10 years ago. With four hits, including three home runs, Cabrera raised his major-league leading batting average to .387. He batted .429 with seven RBIs and seven runs for the week.


AL Pitcher of the Week

Justin Masterson, Cleveland

The surging Indians have won eight of Masterson’s 10 starts this season, scoring a total of three runs in the two losses. The new Cleveland ace pitched a complete game shutout over the Yankees last week, and followed up with seven shutout innings in a 6-0 win over Seattle. For the week, he threw 16 innings, gave up seven hits, five walks and struck out 20.


NL Player of the Week

Joey Votto, Cincinnati

Quietly and consistently, the Reds’ first baseman shows why he is the best hitter in the National League. He hit .583 last week with a pair of home runs, five RBIs and seven runs. He drew five walks to go with his 14 hits over the six games.


NL Pitcher of the Week

Homer Bailey, Cincinnati

After a complete game win over Miami, Bailey tossed seven shutout innings at Philadelphia in the Reds’ 3-2 loss. Over his 16 innings last week, Bailey allowed 11 hits, a walk and struck out 13.

<p> A look at the best and worst baseball teams in the league.</p>
Post date: Monday, May 20, 2013 - 15:55
Path: /mlb/12-amazing-mlb-stats-week-may-6-12

Cincinnati can win only against bad teams, Dee Gordon is fast, the Texas bullpen is good and the Astros may have trouble when they play at Texas. Here are these and other amazing stats from the week of May 6-12.

27    Retired Rockies in order by Shelby Miller
The young St. Louis righthander made just one start last week, but what an outing it was. Miller allowed a leadoff single to Eric Young in the first inning, then retired the next 27 Rockies in order. Obviously, he doesn’t get credit for a perfect game, and the one-hitter was the first shutout of his career.

23-4    Giants outscored Braves by 19 over the weekend
After the Braves defeated the Giants 6-3 behind the pitching of Julio Teheran on Thursday night, the rest of the weekend series shaped up for three pitching duels. Matt Cain and Tim Hudson on Friday, Madison Bumgarner vs. Paul Maholm on Saturday with Tim Lincecum and Kris Medlen going on Sunday. However, the Giants’ pitchers were the only arms doing any dueling. San Francisco bashed Atlanta pitching as the Giants outscored the Braves 23-4 in the final three games.

1    Time this season Josh Hamilton has driven home Albert Pujols
When Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno signed former MVP Josh Hamilton last winter for $125 million over the next five seasons, just a year after signing Albert Pujols to a record deal, he probably expected a little more. Fans were excited, too about the prospects of Hamilton hitting cleanup behind Pujols. But through Sunday, Hamilton had driven in Pujols just once this season.

5-11    Atlanta Braves record in their last 16 road games
During that stretch, the Braves’ ERA has ballooned to 5.52. In the team’s first seven away games this season, the club was 7-0 with a 1.41 ERA.

11.2    Seconds it took Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon to score from first
Gordon, on first after a single to right, was off and running on a double by Nick Punto off the Diamondbacks’ Wade Miley. Gordon, whose father was known as Flash, raced around the bases in 11.2 seconds as timed by the media.

4    Fewest home losses, and road wins for any team
The Texas Rangers have lost just four games at home this season, the fewest in the majors. Their Texas brethren in Houston have won just four road games, also the fewest in the big leagues this season. The Astros have yet to visit their division rival this season with nine games to play at Texas.

6-13     Cincinnati’s record against winning teams
The Reds are feasting on the downtrodden this season. The Reds ended the week with a 16-3 record against losing teams, and just 6-13 vs. winning teams. Beginning this week, the Reds’ next 12 games are against losers.

19-3    Detroit’s record when scoring 4+ runs
When the Tigers score three runs or less, their pitchers have little hope. The team is 1-12 when scoring fewer than four runs. Strangely enough, the Tigers have yet to score exactly five runs in a game this season.

15, 10    Home runs and stolen bases by the Blue Jays
Last week the Toronto Blue Jays dominated the power/speed categories. The Jays led the majors with 15 long balls and 10 swipes.

.600        Joe Mauer’s OBP last week
The Twins’ catcher, batting in the No. 2 hole, is batting .465 in May with a .574 OBP. He has scored 13 in the last 11 games.

0    Blown saves by the Texas Rangers
The Texas bullpen has been charged with closing out 12 games and remains the only team in baseball with a perfect record. Texas relievers have been called on a combined 28 times with the game on the line, and each time the pitcher has done his job. Joe Nathan gets most of the ink with his 11 saves. Michael Kirkman has one save, Derek Lowe has one hold and Joe Ortiz has two. However, Robbie Ross and Tanner Scheppers have done much of the heavy lifting. Ross has stranded all 15 runners he has inherited. Scheppers has inherited just three, but left them all on base.

31    RBIs for Brandon Phillips and Troy Tulowitzki this season
The Reds’ second baseman and Rockies’ shortstop are tied atop the National League with 31 RBIs. No middle infielder has led the senior circuit in ribbies since the great Ernie Banks in 1959 when he drove home 143 during the second of his back-to-back MVP campaigns.

-Charlie Miller (@AthlonCharlie)

<p> Cincinnati can win only against bad teams, Dee Gordon is fast, the Texas bullpen is good and the Astros may have trouble when they play at Texas. Here are these and other amazing stats from the week of May 6-12.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 15:25
All taxonomy terms: MLB, News
Path: /mlb/2013-mlb-power-rankings-may-14

Each week during the season Athlon Sports looks at the best (Texas Rangers) and worst (Houston Astros) baseball teams and players in the league. Here's our MLB Power Rankings and Players of the Week.

 1. Rangers Scheppers-Ross-Nathan bullpen is tough to crack.
 2. Giants Matt Cain with back-to-back strong starts.
 3. Cardinals Even with sketchy bullpen, allowed fewest runs in majors.
 4. Yankees Won five straight, four by two runs or less. #MoreCloseGames
 5. Nationals Jordan Zimmermann leads NL with six wins.
 6. Red Sox Lost five of seven at the hands of Twins and Blue Jays.
 7. Orioles Only 6-5 in one-run games this season.
 8. Reds Just 6-13 against teams with winning records.
 9. Pirates Next 13 games vs. Brewers, Astros and Cubs.
10. Tigers 19-3 when scoring 4+ runs; 1-12 when scoring fewer.
11. Braves Justin Upton hasn’t homered since April 27.
12. Diamondbacks Committed just eight errors this season.
13. Rockies Won just seven of last 20 as bullpen innings mount.
14. A’s Recent 3-7 road trip featured .210 batting average, 4.55 ERA.
15. Rays Broke out with 52 runs to lead majors last week.
16. Royals Alex Gordon is carrying the offense.
17. Mariners Bats remain silent hitting just .211 in May.
18. Indians Majors’ best record in May at 9-2.
19. Phillies Right side of infield has 46 of team’s 82 RBIs.
20. Twins Joe Mauer: .600 OBP, 10 runs last week.
21. Padres Headley and Venable hitting .344 in May, rest of team, .176.
22. White Sox Chris Sale toyed with history last Sunday.
23. Cubs Kevin Gregg, yep, that Kevin Gregg, leads team with six saves.
24. Mets Matt Harvey just keeps dealing.
25. Blue Jays Led majors in home runs (15) and steals (10) last week.
26. Dodgers Five of eight losses in May by one run.
27. Brewers Carlos Gomez, Jean Segura are 1-2 in NL batting race. 
28. Angels On pace to lose 100 games.
29. Marlins Have won just one series this season.
30. Astros Opponents are batting .300.
AL Player of the Week
Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay
The Rays are beginning to perk up and it’s no surprise that Longoria has been carrying the offense. Last week he hit safely in all seven games, batting .464 with a 1,496 OPS. He had eight extra-base hits, three homers and drove in 11 runs.
AL Pitcher of the Week
Chris Sale, Chicago
The lanky lefty’s gem on Sunday night against the Angels provided the highlight, but Sale was terrific in both starts last week. In addition to the one-hitter Sunday, Sale allowed just one run in 7.1 innings for a no-decision in a win at Kansas City. In 16.1 innings, Sale had a 0.43 WHIP and 0.59 ERA.
NL Player of the Week
Jean Segura, Milwaukee
The Brewers haven’t been very good recently, but their shortstop has been outstanding in the field and at the dish. Last week he batted .500 with four multi-hit games in the Brewers’ five games. Over the weekend at Cincinnati, he was 8-for-12 with a pair of homers, two doubles and four runs.
NL Pitcher of the Week
Shelby Miller, St. Louis
The young righthander made just one start last week, but what an outing it was. Miller allowed a leadoff single to Eric Young in the first inning, then retired the next 27 in order. The one-hitter was the first shutout of his career.
<p> A look at the best and worst baseball teams in the league.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 11:11
Path: /mlb/blown-home-run-call-exposes-flaw-mlb-replay-system

Last night, Adam Rosales of Oakland launched an apparent game-tying home run in the ninth inning at Cleveland only to have it ruled a double by the umpiring crew. After reviewing the call via replay, the umpiring crew, led by Angel Hernandez, emerged and held Rosales at second base.

MLB, slow to enter the digital age and catch up to the wonders of instant replay with the ability to right wrongs called on the field, still has much work to do to with its replay system.

It’s pretty clear that the three umpires reviewing the play were the only people who believe the ball hit the outfield wall. I’ve watched replays of the Oakland broadcast, the Cleveland broadcast and heard replays of both teams’ radio calls, and every announcer involved felt it was clearly a home run. In every replay I saw it appeared the ball hit the dark railing beyond the wall, clearly above the yellow line marking the top of the outfield fence. I’ve yet to see or hear any reports of anyone saying, “Good call, that ball hit the wall.” And I’m sure we won’t.

So how did Hernandez and his crew miss that? Good question. If you want to give the umpires the benefit of a doubt, there have been complaints from the arbiters in the past that they don’t have access to all the angles that fans see at home. Why that might be the case is unclear, unacceptable and certainly something that should be rectified immediately. But in this case, I’m not sure what angles might be inconclusive. The ball hit the railing. It changed direction above the wall. Unless the umpires were viewing replays on a black and white, 14-inch, non-HD monitor, I don’t understand how they could reach their conclusion.

Now we don’t know that the outcome would have been different. Had the home run counted, the game would have been tied with the A’s batting in the ninth inning. At any rate, this was a pivotal call. And MLB must get these calls right.

MLB’s replay system failed. The system didn’t just fail the A’s, but all of baseball. If the system in place can’t guarantee the right call in this situation, then how do we expect any calls to be right?

-Charlie Miller (@AthlonCharlie)

<p> Adam Rosales launched an apparent game-tying home run...or did he?</p>
Post date: Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 11:14
Path: /mlb/16-amazing-mlb-stats-week-april-29-may-5

There's never a shortage for cool numbers in baseball. Cleanup hitters struggle, a former utilityman goes off and some dude who's never closed games before is perfect. Go figure (which is what we've been doing).

1.150    Bryce Harper’s OPS for April
At age 20, Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals led the National League with a 1.150 OPS in April, becoming the youngest player to lead the NL in OPS after April since 1965 when Ed Kranepool of the Mets batted .418 with a 1.161 OPS. In case you’re wondering, the New York first baseman ended the season at .253/.675. 

12    Saves in 12 attempts for closer Jason Grilli of the Pirates
The 36-year-old righthander had just five saves at the major league level and three in the minors — in his career — prior to closing games for Pittsburgh this season.

16    Home runs for Boston at Toronto this season
In six games at Toronto this season, the Red Sox have clubbed 16 homers. Boston bats have been much quieter in their other 25 games totaling just 17 clouts.

.591    Ryan Raburn’s batting average for the week
The former Detroit utilityman has found a home in right field in Cleveland. Last week, Raburn hit .591 with two four-hit games, a three-hit game and a two-hit game. He homered twice in back-to-back games for his only four long balls of the season. During the week, he raised his season batting average from .214 to .344.

.188    Batting average for Milwaukee cleanup hitters this season
After losing Prince Fielder to free agency prior to last season, the Brewers enlisted third baseman Aramis Ramirez to hit cleanup and protect Ryan Braun in the lineup. Ramirez responded well last season. But the third baseman has spent most of this season on the DL and the Brewers have found no suitable replacement behind Braun.

8    RBIs by the Mets’ Ike Davis this season
It’s not for the lack of opportunity, Davis has come to bat with 37 runners in scoring position this season. He’s 4-for-27 with 13 Ks with ducks on the pond.

12    Stolen base attempts for St. Louis in 2013
These are not your father’s St. Louis Cardinals. The running Redbirds of the 1980s made the stolen base fashionable as Whiteyball turned the Cardinals into one of the best clubs throughout the decade. With just 12 stolen base attempts this season, St. Louis ranks last in the majors. At least the 83 percent success rate is tied for sixth. Two players have more steals than the entire Cardinals team.

14    Strikeouts for Yu Darvish vs Boston
In his last start, Darvish whiffed 14 Boston batters over seven innings. It was the second time this season that the young righthander has struck out 14. He punched out 14 Astros during the first week of the season. Darvish is only the second Texas Rangers pitcher to strike out at least 14 batters in one game twice. The other? Nolan Ryan, of course, who did it seven times.

11    Come-from-behind wins for Kansas City this season
In those 11 comeback wins, 10 different players have driven home the winning run.

6    Pinch-hit home runs for Jordany Valdespin
Jordany Valdespin of the New York Mets has six home runs in 59 career pinch-hitting appearances. The extra outfielder has four homers in 212 non-pinch-hitting plate appearances.

6    Consecutive seasons St. Louis has ended April in first place
The Cardinals’ conversion rate over the past five years for completing the season in first place is just 20 percent.

37.2    Innings pitched by the Oakland bullpen last week
The busy bullpen logged more innings than the starters last week. Of course, it didn’t help that the A’s and Angels played 19 innings on Monday. The starters threw 35.1 innings.

4 and 1    Saves and Wins for Sergio Romo of San Francisco last week
San Francisco’s closer made five appearances last week and notched four saves and a win. He retired 15 of the 18 batters he faced, allowing just three singles. His durability and reliability permit Bruce Bochy to manage games cautiously to the Giants’ advantage.

11    Wins by the Yankees of less than three runs
The Yankees are not afraid to play close games. And why not with Mariano Rivera lurking in the bullpen. Of the Yankees’ first 18 wins, five of them have been one-run games and six of the wins were by two runs.

6    Catcher Interference calls this season
Of the six catcher interference calls in the majors this season, D-backs hitters have been the beneficiaries three times. Can you coach that?

.182    Phillies batting average last week
The Phils surprisingly managed to win two of six games last week with the worst batting average in the majors for the week. Philadelphia defeated Miami twice, but was shutout twice, once by the Marlins and once at Cleveland.

-Charlie Miller (@AthlonCharlie)

<p> Cleanup hitters struggle, a former utilityman goes off and some dude who's never closed games before is perfect.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 11:55
Path: /mlb/2013-mlb-power-rankings-may-7

Each week during the season Athlon Sports looks at the best (Texas Rangers) and worst (Houston Astros) baseball teams and players in the league. Here's our MLB Power Rankings and Players of the Week.

1. Rangers Yu Darvish has strikeout pitch working this season.
2. Red Sox Bats went silent in sweep at the hands of the Rangers.
3. Giants Buster Posey, Guillermo Quiroz hit walk-off HRs in sweep over L.A.
4. Cardinals A 13-6 road record boosts Redbirds to best overall mark in NL.
5. Tigers Miguel Cabrera three home runs shy of Triple Crown position.
6. Braves 10-game roadie on tap against three +.500 teams.
7. Yankees Just one of last eight wins by more than two runs. #CloseGames
8. A’s Busy bullpen logged more innings than starters last week.
9. Nationals Must get Adam LaRoche’s bat going.
10. Royals Five postponements already this season.
11. Rockies Haven’t won two in a row since April 20.
12. Reds Hit just two homers, but won four of six last week.
13. Pirates 16-9 since horrendous 1-5 start.
14. Orioles First team to play 20 road games already this season.
15. Diamondbacks Only team in NL West with winning road record.
16. Rays No Rays hitter has been intentionally walked this season.
17. Phillies Offense bottomed out at .182 over last seven days.
18. Mariners Batting just .223 on the road.
19. Twins Lead-off hitters have majors-worst .248 OBP.
20. Brewers Cleanup hitters batting .188 with no home runs. 
21. Padres Jedd Gyorko making Rookie of the Year push.
22. Indians Batted .338 last week, which led majors.
23. Dodgers 64 extra-base hits rank lowest in majors.
24. Mets Of 37 runners in scoring position, Ike Davis has driven in eight.
25. White Sox Only Miami has scored fewer runs this season.
26. Angels Too talented — and too expensive — to be this far down.
27. Cubs Anthony Rizzo beginning to heat up — .357 last week.
28. Blue Jays Quickly settling in at the bottom of this list.
29. Marlins Swapping places with Houston may happen a lot in 2013.
30. Astros With eight wins, only team stuck in single digits.
AL Pitcher of the Week
Justin Verlander, Detroit
The Tigers’ ace has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last five starts. Last week, in two outings, he pitched 14 innings and gave up just seven hits and four walks with 17 strikeouts. He won both games with an ERA of 0.64 and a 0.79 WHIP.
AL Player of the Week
Ryan Raburn, Cleveland
The former Detroit utilityman has found a home in right field in Cleveland. Last week, Raburn hit .591 with two four-hit games, a three-hit game and a two-hit game. He homered twice in back-to-back games for his only four long balls of the season. During the week, he raised his season batting average from .214 to .344.
NL Player of the Week
Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee
It appears that the fleet center fielder known for his defensive prowess has turned the corner offensively. Last week he hit .462 with three home runs. His eight runs, six extra-base hits and five steals all tied for the best in the majors.
NL Pitcher of the Week
Sergio Romo, San Francisco
San Francisco’s closer made five appearances last week and notched four saves and a win. He retired 15 of the 18 batters he faced, allowing just three singles. His durability and reliability permit Bruce Bochy to manage games cautiously to the Giants’ advantage.
<p> A look at the best and worst baseball teams in the league.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 11:00
Path: /mlb/15-most-indispensable-players-baseball

At the end of the season, the major awards voters will evaluate players in their own way, with a variety of definitions applied to the word “Valuable” in Most Valuable Player. There are the Sabermetricians who will argue each player’s effect on his team winning, commonly using the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) stats. Traditionalists will focus on raw stats that can be calculated without logarithms. But what about the players that teams can ill-afford to lose, the truly indispensable? Some of the players mentioned below will get MVP consideration, others will not. But at this point in the season, these are the 15 most indispensable players.

1. Clayton Kershaw, L.A. Dodgers
The Dodgers’ offense, with all its expensive firepower, has been strikingly anemic this season. With a largely unproven bullpen and starters Chad Billingsley (Tommy John surgery) and Zack Greinke (broken collarbone) out, Kershaw must carry this pitching staff, which gets little offensive support.
2. Yadier Molina, St. Louis
St. Louis pitchers never shake off their catcher. If Yadi puts it down, that’s what they throw. Manager Mike Matheny regularly rotates his lineup to give players an occasional day off, but Molina rarely gets a break, and no one is missed more than the backstop. He’s missed one game this season, a loss naturally. And if that weren’t enough, there’s high praise from the Redbirds’ former manager Tony La Russa, who called Molina the most indispensable player on the Cardinals — and that was when Albert Pujols was still on the roster and in his prime.
3. Buster Posey, San Francisco
When the former Rookie of the Year and the 2012 MVP is healthy, the Giants win the World Series. The lineup is not very deep and Posey hits for average and power as well as drives in runs.
4. Joey Votto, Cincinnati
The Reds’ first baseman drew 24 walks in the first 16 games. That’s Barry Bonds territory. No hitter in Cincinnati’s lineup garners more respect from opponents than Votto, who currently carries a .500 OBP.
5. Justin Upton, Atlanta
The first splash in Atlanta was the signing of center fielder B.J. Upton. The final splash in Atlanta over the winter was the trade for Justin Upton from the Arizona Diamondbacks. While B.J., fellow outfielder Jason Heyward and other Braves struggled, Justin Upton flourished. He has carried the offense with 12 home runs, 11 of them solo shots.
6. Bryce Harper, Washington
Few 20-year-olds are considered among the most indispensable players. For a team bent on winning the World Series, April has not been kind to the Nats. But Harper, bent on being the best player in the game, is hitting .360 while his teammates are scuffling at .225. 
7. Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees
It doesn’t matter that the all-time saves leader is 43 years old. It doesn’t matter that he is returning from a torn ACL suffered last May. Somehow the Yankees are in contention despite being decimated with injuries. Getting nine saves from Rivera in April has been huge, but the intangibles he brings may be even more important. 
8. Austin Jackson, Detroit
Okay, no one in their right mind would take Jackson over Miguel Cabrera or Prince Fielder. But numbers tell us that it’s Jackson who is the offensive catalyst for the Tigers. When he delivers, they win. 
9. Dustin Pedroia, Boston
The mighty mite leads the team offensively, he leads the team on the field and he leads the team in the clubhouse. 
10. James Shields, Kansas City
The Kansas City Royals have been grooming top prospects for a few years now. The club has been asking fans to be patient. Believing that this was the year to go for it, the team acquired Shields over the winter to fill the role of ace as well as mentor a staff of young pitchers. To this point, Shields has earned high marks in both areas. Without him, the Royals are not in first place.
11. Matt Moore, Tampa Bay
With run production almost non-existence and other starters like 2012 Cy Young winner David Price off their game, Moore has been unhittable. He’s credited with five of the team’s 11 wins. The team has enough pitching and guile to stay in the AL East race, but without Moore, the Rays would be closer to fifth than first.
12. Matt Harvey, N.Y. Mets
New York fans are not exactly the most patient. So enduring a rebuilding process is difficult. Difficult for the front office, the players and the fans. So what Harvey has done on the mound — 4-0 with 1.54 ERA, 14 hits, 10 walks and 39 Ks in 35 innings — may not be as important as the lift he’s given fans and the belief he’s instilled in the organization that the future at Citi Field is bright.
13. Adam Jones, Baltimore
Chris Davis is off to a torrid start in Baltimore. But Jones is quickly becoming one of the best players in the game and will be in the AL MVP discussion all season. 
14. Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland
The second-year slugger has struggled out of the gate to the naked eye, but with him in the lineup the A’s are 10-2. Without him, 4-10.
15. Felix Hernandez, Seattle
With King Felix on the hill, the Mariners know they’ll get seven strong innings. What they don’t know is whether they’ll get any runs or not. When they do, they win.
<p> 15 Most Indispensable Players in Baseball</p>
Post date: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 14:45
Path: /mlb/15-amazing-mlb-stats-week-april-22-28

Each week during the 2013 MLB season, we highlight the most important, intriguing and bizarre stats in baseball. 

.516    David Ortiz’s Batting Average
Big Papi is back and the Red Sox are loving it. Already in first place in the AL East, Boston received a lift when Ortiz returned recently. He’s hit safely in all eight games he’s played batting .516 and driving in 11 runs. Dating to last July 2, the slugger has a 20-game hitting streak and is batting .471 during the stretch with a .743 slugging percentage and .558 OBP.

39    Strikeouts by Braves hitters during weekend at Detroit
The Tigers swept the Braves and Detroit pitchers dominated Atlanta hitters. Led by Anibal Sanchez’s 17 whiffs — a single-game franchise record — on Friday night, the Tigers’ pitchers held Atlanta to a .186 average and just five walks in the series.

37:1    Strikeout-to-walk ratio for Adam Wainwright
The Cardinals’ ace set a modern record with 35 strikeouts to start the season before issuing his first walk. Through the week, he had four wins, 37 Ks and just one walk. Not since the dead ball era has a pitcher won 20 games and finished the season with more wins than walks.

.177    Yankees shortstops’ batting average
Just how much do the Yankees miss Derek Jeter? This season Yankee shortstops are batting a combined .177 with just one home run, seven RBIs and seven runs. Last season at the end of April, Jeter was hitting .389 with four homers, 13 RBIs and 16 runs.

12    Homers for the Marlins and Justin Upton
Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins ended his home run drought over the weekend with a clout on Saturday and two on Sunday. Those were his first homers of the season and tied the Marlins with Justin Upton of the Braves with 12 this season.

.151    Cubs batting average with RISP
There must be something about Chicago this season. The White Sox own the lowest mark in the American League at .188.

9    Saves for Mariano Rivera
With three saves last week, Rivera has nine this season. Only once (2011) in his Hall of Fame career has Rivera had nine saves in April prior to this season. The Sandman just keeps going and going and going.

.143    Combined batting average for Adam LaRoche, Adam Dunn and B.J. Upton
The trio will make a combined $37 million this season. They are currently batting a combined .143 with 11 homers and 24 RBIs. The home run and RBI totals would rank second and fourth in the majors, respectively.

34    At-bats with RISP for Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera
Last season’s American League Triple Crown winner is batting .500 with 23 RBIs in those situations. With two outs and runners in scoring position, his average jumps to .615.

14    At-bats with RISP for Paul Konerko of the White Sox
Like Cabrera, Chicago’s first baseman is batting .500 in those situations, but has just 11 RBIs.

.198    Kansas City cleanup hitters batting average
The Royals are one of the most improved teams in the majors this season. While most teams expect their cleanup hitters to produce runs, especially with the long ball, the Royals are getting very little production. At the end of the week, No. 4 hitters for K.C. were hitting .198 with no home runs and just six RBIs.

0    Home runs by cleanup hitters against Detroit pitchers
Through 24 games, Detroit pitchers have given up 12 home runs, but none of them were hit by opposing cleanup hitters in their 88 at-bats.

5    Home runs for Brandon Crawford
Not Buster Posey or Pablo Sandoval, and not even Hunter Pence was leading the Giants in home runs by week’s end. It was shortstop and No. 8 hitter Brandon Crawford who led the Giants with five homers. Crawford had just seven career homers coming into this season.

1.54    ERA for Matt Harvey
The Mets’ Harvey is 4-0, and lest you think this might have something to do with pitcher-friendly Citi Field, the rest of the Mets’ staff is 6-13 with a 4.88 ERA.

3.14    ERA of the Chicago Cubs rotation
While this speaks well for the Cubs’ starters, their 5-12 record speaks volumes about the Cubs’ anemic offense.

<p> Big Papi returns, Mo Rivera keeps saving games, cleanup hitters are failing and NO. 8 are awaiting. All this and more Amazing Stats this week.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 14:25
Path: /mlb/2013-major-league-baseball-power-rankings-april-30

Each week during the season Athlon Sports looks at the best and worst baseball teams and players in the league. Here's our MLB Power Rankings and Players of the Week.

 1.  Red Sox—Big Papi is back and hitting better than .500 so far.
 2.  Rangers—11-5 vs. AL West, but don’t face Oakland for another two weeks.
 3.  Braves—Went 3-7 on painful road trip, now four key games with Nats.
 4.  Rockies—Rox get scare with Tulowitzki shoulder injury.
 5.  Giants—No. 8 hitter Brandon Crawford leads team in homers and OPS.
 6.  Yankees—Shortstops sans Derek Jeter are hitting just .177.
 7.  Tigers—Pitching dominated Atlanta in key sweep.
 8.  A’s—Lost eight of 10 vs. AL East.
 9.  Nationals—Jordan Zimmermann becoming new ace.
10.  Diamondbacks—Won all five of Patrick Corbin starts.
11.  Pirates—Took two of three in St. Louis to move into first place.
12.  Royals—Clean-up hitters batting just .198.
13.  Cardinals—Will get two starts from Adam Wainwright this week.
14.  Reds—Shin-Soo Choo has brought a .492 OBP to the leadoff spot.
15.  Orioles—Own three of the top 10 batting averages in the majors.
16.  Dodgers—Big week coming up vs. Rockies and Giants.
17.  Rays—Five of last six losses have been by one run or in extra innings.
18.  Phillies—Spent just two days at .500 this season, can’t rise above.
19.  Brewers—Facing 19 straight games against winning teams.
20.  Twins—Kevin Correia has revitalized his career.
21.  Mets—Matt Harvey is 4-0, 1.54 ERA. Rest of staff: 6-13, 4.88.
22.  Mariners—Tom Wilhelmsen last 10 IP: 3 hits, 0 walks, 0 runs, 8 Ks.
23.  Angels—Easy to blame superstars, but Angels aren’t getting good pitching.
24.  White Sox—Batting .229, scoring less than 3.5 runs/game.
25.  Padres—Starters must get deeper into games.
26.  Cubs—Starters have a 3.14 ERA, but just a 5-12 record.
27.  Indians—Lost eight of last 12.
28.  Blue Jays—Season falling apart eerily similar to Miami in 2012.
29.  Astros—Have Seattle’s number this season.
30.  Marlins—On pace to rank with all-time worst teams.
AL Player of the Week
David Ortiz, Boston
Big Papi was a welcome sight at Fenway Park last week. The slugger, on the disabled list to begin the season, has hit safely in all games he has appeared including six last week. For the season, he’s batting a robust .516 with six multi-hit games so far. For the week, he hit .478 with a couple of home runs and nine RBIs.
AL Pitcher of the Week
Matt Moore, Tampa Bay
The Rays continue to rely on their pitching to keep the club in the race. Moore has been nothing short of spectacular all season. In 14 innings last week, the lefthander gave up five hits and four walks and struck out 18 to win both of his starts.
NL Player of the Week
Russell Martin, Pittsburgh
The surging Pirates bolted into first place after winning two of three in St. Louis. The Bucs’ catcher raised his season average last week from .216 to a respectable .267 by batting .375 with four homers.
NL Pitcher of the Week
Jeff Locke, Pittsburgh
The young lefthander found his groove last week, tossing 13 shutout innings in road wins over Philadelphia and St. Louis. In 13 innings, he allowed just five hit and four walks. He struck out 10.
<p> 2013 Major League Baseball Power Rankings: April 30</p>
Post date: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 10:15
All taxonomy terms: MLB
Path: /mlb/16-amazing-mlb-stats-week-april-15-21

The Chicago White Sox finally passed Joey Votto in the Walk Chase, but there remain some amazing digits from the Week of April 15-21.

8-of-9    Batters struck out by Greg Holland
After a rough couple of weeks to begin the season, Kansas City closer Greg Holland was absolutely lights out last week. In three appearances, he faced nine batters and struck out eight to notch three saves for the surging Royals.

10    RBIs for Boston’s Mike Napoli
First baseman Mike Napoli is more than earning his $5 million salary so far this season. Last week, he drove home 10 runs in seven games as the Red Sox went 5-2 to move into first place in the AL East. For good measure, Napoli bookended that week with two RBIs on the Sunday before and five ribbies the Monday after for 17 RBIs over a nine-game span from April 14-22. He now leads the AL in RBIs.

6.28    ERA for the Yankees’ fourth and fifth starters
How important are fourth and fifth starters? Presumably a team’s fourth starter will take the mound as many times as its ace. And the No. 5 man only a few less. The Yankees are cruising when CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda take the hill. The trio is a combined 8-3 with a 2.69 ERA. Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes are not pulling their weight just yet. The two are 1-3 with a 6.28 ERA.

.322    Batting average for Baltimore’s first five hitters
Managers expect the top of the lineup to produce runs. They expect the 1-2 hitters to get on base, be able to run and set the table for the run producers at the 3-4-5 spots in the order. The Orioles are meeting all of Buck Showalter’s expectations in that regard. None of the Orioles’ AL East brethren is close to Baltimore’s .322 average. Boston is the next best at .285.

.114    Batting average for Baltimore’s last four hitters
But a successful lineup must have depth. And Baltimore doesn’t. The Orioles are getting very little production from the bottom of the order.

.179    Batting average for Mets cleanup hitters
The Mets’ No. 4 hitters, primarily Ike Davis, are batting just .179. But the news isn’t all bad, the cleanup hitters have produced 12 RBIs, which equates to about 114 over a full season.

27.8    Percent of Dodgers runs scored by Carl Crawford
The former All-Star appears to be returning to form. He’s batting .338 with a .427 OBP and has scored 15 runs (tied for 10th in MLB). His teammates are having trouble touching all the bases. Only the Marlins (43) have scored fewer runs than the Dodgers (54) this season. Just two other players — Austin Jackson of Detroit (23.8) and Desmond Jennings of Tampa Bay (20.5) — have scored more than 20 percent of their teams’ runs.

.232    Pirates batting average
It’s not that the Bucs are the worst hitting team in the majors, there are six teams with lower batting averages. It’s just that, as of the end of the week, the Pirates had outscored their opponents 68-66 in spite of their offensive inadequacies.

4    Hitters below .210
Four Twins with enough qualifying at-bats are hitting below .210. That’s right four. The Braves are the only other team with as many as three below the .210 line and six teams have none. Bottoming out for the Twinkies is rookie Aaron Hicks at .059.

9    Run support for Felix Hernandez – Total
King Felix has toed the rubber for the Mariners four times this season and the offense has produced very little for the ace. Seattle has managed nine runs in the four games. Although Hernandez had a 2.51 ERA, his record stood at 1-2.

.222-2-8    Batting average, home runs, RBIs for Josh Hamilton
The Angels’ right fielder signed a 5-year, $133 million deal over the winter, but has yet to hit his stride with his new team in Anaheim. But let’s wait until May 5 to judge Hamilton too harshly. Last May 4, Albert Pujols’s line looked rather dismal as well at .194-0-5. The Angels were 10-17 at that point last season.

.383/.179    Detroit’s Austin Jackson’s batting averages in the Tigers’ wins and losses
Yes, the Tigers have last season’s Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, who is off to a terrific start this season, and Torii Hunter, who has found happiness to the tune of a .390 batting average, in the lineup. But the Tigers go as their leadoff man goes. In Detroit’s nine wins, Jackson is batting .383 and has scored 15 runs. In the nine losses, he stands at .179 with only four runs.

200    Career wins for Roy Halladay of the Phillies
He joins Andy Pettitte as the only active pitchers with at least 200 wins. But Tim Hudson of the Braves is scheduled to go for No. 200 on Wednesday at Colorado. CC Sabathia of the Yankees is just six wins away from the milestone.

.149    On-base percentage for Jeff Keppinger
 Keppinger has yet to draw a walk this season in 74 plate appearances. With a .153 batting average and two sacrifice flies, Keppinger of the White Sox is the only player of the 189 with enough qualifying at-bats with a higher batting average than OBP.

9    Games the Miami Marlins have plated fewer than two runs
Through 19 games the team is on pace for 77 games with fewer than two runs. The most in a season in the 2000s for any team is 45 by the 2011 San Diego Padres.

7    Players with more home runs than the Marlins
Three of those hitters — Justin Upton, Bryce Harper and John Buck — call the NL East home.

-Charlie Miller (@AthlonCharlie)

<p> The Chicago White Sox finally passed Joey Votto in the Walk Chase, but there remain some amazing digits from the Week of April 15-22.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 13:45