Last season, Cameron Maybin led MLB with a 14.2 percent infield hit rate. The year before it was Ichiro, with a 15.8 percent infield hit rate. So far this season, eight players have an infield hit rate of over 18-percent. Since it is highly unlikely that these players will continue to see their infield balls in play turn into base hits, it might be a good time to sell high.
I had no idea that Derek Jeter was batting .420 as of April 25th. I didn't now who Michael Saunders was or that Jake Peavy was back.
So after a lot of reading to catch up on things, I'm back too... with lots of coffee.
On Friday, the Anaheim Angels and the Washington Nationals called up the consensus #1 and #2 prospects in the game, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout respectively. At ages 19 and 20, Harper and Trout are the two current youngest players in the major leagues. "Wayne's World" has more experience existing than these two. Writing that bringing these two up from the minors is a "panic move" is hardly an overstatement; it might just be accurate.
The Anaheim Angels call up OF Mike Trout
Trout hit leadoff today. The Angels as a team had a .195 average and .250 OBP out of their leadoff hitter up until this point. Mike Scioscia did not say that they were going to lock him into the leadoff spot, but he's as good a candidate as any. Erick Aybar has been in a funk so far this season as the team's primary leadoff guy, and the team didn't feel comfortable with him as the leadoff guy the season before (he batted first in 55 out of 143 games). We don't need to go into who has the better ceiling for OBP, but Aybar is pretty close to the floor as is. Among qualifying players last season, Aybar did not even rank in the top 100 in OBP. Peter Bourjos hasn't delievered at the plate and the team hasn't had him hitting leadoff anyway to this point. And of course Bobby Abreu, did serve as the leadoff guy for this team, but Trout's arrival led to his departure.
Which leads into the other reason that Trout will probably be with the Angels to stay. For this team not to be in the pennant race in September would be the biggest disappointment of the 2012 baseball season (even greater than the Red Sox not making it). The team is feeling the pressure. That is why Bobby Abreu had to go and Mark Trumbo will become a regular. As great as Trout's future can be, his value to the oranization changed when Albert Pujols signed his contract. He is still a huge part of what they will be trying to accomplish long term, but they need to win now. The present and future of the franchise is the star power of Albert Pujols. Despite the fact that he doesn't have a home run, nobody in baseball is going to say this guy is finished. Having a player with Trout's potential on base with Pujols up will put pitchers in harder positions to get outs and maybe give him a few more pitches.
In terms of Harper, the Nationals have less pressure in the standings, but felt pressure nonetheless to get offense. This move is certainly one that can be scrutinized a lot more than the decision the Angels made because Harper has not exactly torched the pitching in Triple-A. Without Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse, the team needed to get some offense in order to stay on top in the NL East. Zimmerman shouldn't miss more than the 15 days, and the team also has a somewhat capable option (albeit with much less fanfare and potential) in Tyler Moore at Triple-A. The leash on Harper could be a little shorter if he does not have immediate success.
A popular preseason dark horse to win one of the National League Wild Card slots was the Washington Nationals. So far, they've looked the part, and a big reason for that has been their pitching. Their starters have the best ERA in all of Major League baseball at 1.82, the next closest team is the St. Louis Cardinals at 2.63. Their ERA is supported by the best FIP and xFIP in the majors as well. The trio of Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, and Gio Gonzalez garner the bulk of the headlines, and rightfully so, but it is actually Ross Detwiler who leads the staff in ERA at a tidy 0.56. The question becomes, what can be expected of Detwiler going forward, and is this simply a flukey three game stretch?
The end of April is closing in fast and while some pitchers have come out of the gates hot, others have not been as impressive. For fantasy GMs, this represents and opportunity to buy low on some guys who may have had a run of tough luck early on.no comments