May 28th, 2019
Welcome back, what a great Stanley Cup Game 1!
1. Major League Baseball has an abundance of young superstars.
Mike Trout, the Los Angeles Angels outfielders is the odds on favorite to be the American League Most Valuable Player.Trout is five stolen bases from becoming the 10th AL player ever with 250 home runs and 200 steals. None of them did it before their age-28 season.
The Minnesota Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco, who leads the AL with 67 hits and is second with a .332 batting average. Is slowly becoming on of the elite players in the American League. Polanco is one of five Major League shortstops with two five-hit games in a season since 1998.
Cody Bellinger the National League Most Valuable Player Award poll, Bellinger’s 4.3 fWAR is nearly a full point better than the next-highest player (Trout at 3.4). Bellinger is atop MLB in a slew of offensive categories, including batting average (.383), hits (72), total bases (143) and OPS (1.229). Only Yelich has more home runs. Bellinger is hitting .387 with nine homers and 39 RBIs with runners on base.
Christian Yelich is on pace for 62 home runs, 124 runs, 94 walks and 29 stolen bases, which would better his 2018 totals in those categories.
Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Josh Bell has moved onto the leaderboard. Bell is on an early pace for a 50-homer, 50-double year.
2. Why is closer Craig Kimbrel still unsigned?
Craig Kimbrel is expected to sign after midnight ET on June 2, as teams will no longer need to surrender a Draft pick to sign him at that point (per the rules for players who reject a qualifying offer).
Kimbrel spent the past three years pitching in the American League East with the Red Sox, putting up a 2.44 ERA and averaging 36 saves per season.
The Atlanta Braves would be the logical club to sign back Kimbrel. The Braves’ relief corps are tied for 20th in MLB with a 4.39 ERA.
The Philadelphia Phillies bullpen troubles haven’t been as stark as Atlanta’s, but the club placed Pat Neshek (shoulder strain) on the 10-day injured list Saturday while also transferring David Robertson (forearm strain) to the 60-day IL. Kimbrel could be a perfect fit.
The Tampa Bay Rays continue to see Kimbrel as possibly filling a more significant need. Tampa Bay already has a strong bullpen with a 3.21 bullpen ERA this season, which ranked third in the Majors behind only the Astros (2.91) and Indians (3.15). Adding Kimbrel would give the club more flexibility in deploying Jose Alvarado and Diego Castillo.
The Minnesota Twins look like a playoff contender and more could add Kimbrel and a final piece. His addition to Blake Parker (1.10 ERA), Taylor Rogers (1.33 ERA) and Ryne Harper (1.69 ERA) would make them a legit world Series team.
3. The Athletics are riding the long ball to their longest winning streak in 13 years.
Photo: (Mercury News)
Matt Chapman has homered in three straight games, and Oakland has multiple homers in all but one of its 10 consecutive victories.
The A’s have outscored their opponents 78-31.
The A’s have also out homered its opponents 25-12.
“It can be a relentless lineup,” said manager Bob Melvin. “Top, middle, bottom. If somebody gets an opportunity to play, like Mark Canha, look what he’s doing with it. We have a very deep offensive lineup when we’re swinging well.”
Ryan Buchter between March 20 and April 21 allowed six earned runs, 12 hits, and seven walks in 7 2/3 innings. That translates to a 7.04 ERA and 2.48 WHIP.
On April 22, Buchter was demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas.
A week later, he returned to the A’s a new pitcher. Since April 29, the 32-year-old left-hander has pitched 9 2/3 innings, surrendering just one run, three hits, and five walks for a 0.93 ERA and 0.83 WHIP.
Melvin has certainly taken notice of Buchter’s improvements. “His velocity is better, it seems like,” Melvin said. “He’s got more conviction with what he’s doing out there. I think, sometimes during the course of a season, you go through a tough period and you’ve got to find your way out of it.”
Oakland is 29-25 and tied for the second Wild Card spot in the American League.
4. Major League Baseball facts, figures, news, notes and more…
Sandy Alderson spent eight years with the Mets. He only needed seven words to sum up his time working for the Wilpons. “I appreciate the opportunity they gave me,” Alderson said in an interview with the New York Times.
A week ago at this time, media chatter debated the future of Mets manager Mickey Callaway. A 6-1 stretch against the struggling Washington Nationals and Detroit Tigers helped erase the damage done by five straight losses against the Nats and Miami Marlins.
Cleveland was supposed to run away with the American League Central, but instead it entered Tuesday with a 26-27 record and a 10-game deficit.
Veteran reliever Fernando Rodney has been released, the Athletics announced on Tuesday. Rodney was in the last year of his contract after the A’s picked up his $4.25 million club option in October. Rodney, 42, was torched for 15 runs on 20 hits and 12 walks with 14 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings before being designated for assignment over the weekend.
The White Sox announced today that reliever Ryan Burr has been placed on the 10-day injured list.
The thousands of Dodgers fans who invade Petco Park every season and drown out the “Beat L.A.” chants from the home fans. The Dodgers usually win, and their fans return to Los Angeles wondering why the food at Dodger Stadium cannot be as good as the team that plays there.
Pirates GM Neal Huntington thinks players who suffer head injuries should be allowed to re-enter games if they pass concussion testing.
5. Month of May Playoff Ranking
- Minnesota Twins
- New York Yankees
- Houston Astros
- Tampa Bay Rays
- Oakland Athletics
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- Chicago Cubs
- Philadelphia Phillies
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Atlanta Braves
- San Diego Padres