Categories
Sports

Major League Baseball Player Of The Week July 18th

For the first time in a couple of weeks it’s not a member of the Los Angeles Angels who gets MLB’s Player Of The Week but a Seattle Mariner, Mitch Haniger, who also plays in the American League West against Shohei Ohtani and company.

Willy Adames of the Milwaukee Brewers grabbed the National League Award.

Is Haniger a Trade Piece Or a Key Piece?

A recent Seattle Times piece talked about whether Haniger would be dealt at the deadline. At that time the Mariners were 33-35 and not close to the AL West lead at all.

Last week though Haniger single handedly almost demolished the Angels and maybe even their playoff hopes with a .455/.533/1.092 slash line. He had five hits in 15 plate appearances, including a double and two home runs last week.

He scored seven runs and drove in six runs while working a pair of walks and getting hit by a pair of pitches. He didn’t strike out in the series.

He has largely helped a Mariners team that shouldn’t really be in contention given their inexperience. Even when Jared Kelenic did come up to the Majors and was subsequently sent down again, Kelenic’s potential was seen but has not yet been realized.

Adames Helps Surging Brewers In The National League Central

Willy Adames was a .197 hitter when the Tampa Bay Rays traded him to the Milwaukee Brewers and since then he has been the Brewers best hitter.

He was a driving force for the Crew’s offense, going 8-for-13 (.615) with seven RBIs, six runs scored and a pair of homers to win Player Of The Week Honours.

Christian Yelich who lost the 2019 National League MVP to Cody Bellinger and was one of the better hitter’s in baseball when winning the 2018 MVP Award hasn’t been the same hitter so far this year.

Adames has picked up a lot of the slack as his Player Of The Week numbers indicate.

Categories
Sports

Major League Baseball Player Of The Week July 12th

David Fletcher continues the Los Angeles Angels run of Player Of Week Honours winning the award as we head into the All-Star Break.

Fletcher won for the American League while A. J. Pollock of the Los Angeles Dodgers won in the National League.

Fletcher is the second consecutive winner after Shohei Ohtani won last week and for the Week of June 14th to June 21.  Max Stassi won it in June as well.

Fletcher Hits In 24 Straight Games Doesn’t Get All-Star Nod

When the Angels signed David Fletcher to the a 5-year $26 million extension before the season started they knew what they had in Fletcher and his ability both at the plate and on the field.

In the pandemic shortened 2020, Fletcher finished the season batting .319/.376/.425 with 3 home runs and 18 RBIs in 49 games.

During the hitting streak, Fletcher has really elevated what is already a remarkable feet with last week’s games where he had five multi-hit games in six, including two four-hit games.

He collected 16 hits in 27 at-bats last week with two home runs and seven RBI. He’s hitting a ridiculous .439/.455/.592 over his hitting streak and has his season batting line up to .309/.336/.381 with two home runs, 32 RBI, four stolen bases, and 52 runs scored.

A.J. Pollock Key Part of Dodgers 22-1 Rout of The Arizona Diamondbacks

The Dodgers haven’t seen a Player Of The Week Award since 2019 when Corey Seager won.

Pollock was a three time winner of Player Of The Week with the Diamondbacks. The outfielder hit .391 with four homers, three doubles and a 1.505 OPS in six games last week. 

Pollock was one of the players who hit two homers last week when the Dodgers annihilated the Dbacks 22-1.

Pollock had battled COVID-19 in 2020 as well as seeing his personal life turned upside down when his daughter was born three plus months premature.

Categories
Sports

Major League Baseball Player Of The Week July 5th

Ozzie Albies of the Atlanta Braves and Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels are the respective winners for the National and American Leagues for Major League Baseball and its Player of the Week Honours.

Ohtani Continues To Dazzle With His Two-Way Play

Ohtani earned his fourth career AL Player of the Week Award and his second in the last three weeks. Mike Trout accomplished the feat during his AL MVP Award-winning 2019 season with the Angels.

For Ohtani he posted a slash line of .286/.400/1.143 with eight runs scored, six home runs, eight RBI, four walks and a stolen base in six games.

Ohtani also received Player Of The Month for the month of June for the American League. He is the first Angels winner since Mike Trout in September 2018.

Ohtani had a .309 batting average with 20 runs scored, six doubles, a triple, 13 home runs, 23 RBI, four stolen bases and a .889 slugging percentage across 25 games.

Albies Nets First Player Of The Week Honours

After receiving his All-Star Game nod on the Sunday, Albies got his Player Of The Week Nomination on Tuesday to give him a great start to the week.

Albies 400 with three homers, 13 RBIs, and a 1.167 OPS in six games last week. 

Albies does not only impress with his bat but also with his glove at 2nd base. On defense in 2019 he had the best fielding percentage of all major league second basemen (.994). He has a .990 fielding percentage so far in 2021 that is tops in the league.

With the 2020 season shortened by COVID-19, Albies also missed a month due to injury. He still managed to have a .271/.306/.466 slash line with 6 home runs and 19 RBIs.

Categories
Sports

Major League Baseball Player Of The Week June 27th

Jake Cronenworth and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. are the respective winners for the National and American Leagues for Major League Baseball and its player of the week honours.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has really been on fire this year after making his debut in 2019. Prior to this season he has lived in his father Vladimir Guerrero Sr. shadow as well as the expectations of being the top international free agent and MLB.com ranking of him as the fourth-best choice in 2015.

Why Has Guerrero Jr. Broken Out This Season?

A large part of his breakout has been a weight loss and fitness regime that saw him drop 42 pounds. The metrics may be harder to find but he has said that he feels quicker, stronger and able to bounce back easier.

He is now in striking distance of the coveted Triple Crown in baseball as he is is second in all of baseball in RBIs (66), tied for second in homers (26) and third in batting average (.336).

Guerrero Jr hit home runs in three consecutive games, drove in seven runs and has a .391/.481/.826 slash line over the week. It was Guerrero’s first Player of the Week nod since August 2019.

Cronenworth Helping To Power The Padres Fight For the National League West Crown

Like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Jake Cronenworth is relatively new to Major League Baseball but has made his presence felt almost immediately in the Padres lineup.

He made his debut in the shortened 2020 MLB season on July 26th and by the time the season wrapped he had garnered a couple of Rookie accolades.

Cronenworth was named NL Rookie of the Month in August 2020 after hitting .356, 17 RBIs and 20 runs over 31 games. He tied with Alec Bohm of the Philadelphia Phillies for second place in NL Rookie of the Year voting.

Cronenworth slashed . 391/. 481/1.000 to go along with 7 runs scored, 4 home runs and 9 RBIs to win the player of the week this past week.

The week raised his slash line to .287/.355/.479 with 31 RBI, 53 runs scored, three stolen bases and a 27:44 BB:K. He has registered a hit in each of his last 10 games and is currently swinging one of the hottest bats in the majors.

Categories
Sports

Major League Baseball Player Of The Week June 20th

Our latest Players Of The Week have dropped in Major League Baseball with Los Angeles Angels two way star Shohei Ohtani and Washington Nationals left fielder Kyle Schwarber given the honours for the American and National League’s respectively.

Ohtani Second Consecutive Angels Winner

With Catcher Max Stassi receiving the American League Honours last week and Ohtani this week, should one have to wonder how the Angels are fairing without Mike Trout?

If anything it speaks to the Angels potential with all these players in the lineup despite their well documented pitching struggles. The Angels currently sit fourth in the American League West with a 36-38 record.

Ohtani posted a slash line of .296/.387/963 with six runs scored, eight hits, six home runs, nine RBI and a stolen base over seven games played. He tossed six innings with five strikeouts in his start on last Thursday allowing one run in the process.

He is also battling Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays for the Major League lead in home runs. They both have 23.

Nationals Kyle Schwarber Named National League Player of the Week

Left fielder Kyle Schwarber led the National League with six home runs and tied for the lead with 11 RBI to earn Player Of The Week Honours.

He also went 10-for-26 with a .414 on-base percentage, a 1.077 slugging percentage and a 1.491 OPS in seven games this week. He hit safely in six of the seven games.

Schwarber is third in the National League with 18 home runs, eighth in slugging percentage (.518) and 12th in OPS (.843). 

The last time a Nationals player won Player Of The Week Honours was August 2019 when then National Anthony Rendon won the award in August 2019.

Categories
Sports

Major League Baseball Player Of The Week June 13th

Our latest Players Of The Week have dropped in Major League Baseball with the Miami Marlins Starling Marte and Los Angeles Angels Catcher Max Stassi given the honours for the National and American League’s respectively.

Angels Stassi A Key For The Team If It Wants To Make The Playoffs

The Los Angeles Angels continue to flirt with the .500 mark and try and get into the playoffs but without Max Stassi and other players in May they really floundered.

Stassi’s impact was immediate when he came back into the lineup after a concussion.

In five games, Stassi went .455 (10-for-22) with three homers, three doubles, eight RBIs and a 1.478 OPS.

The Angels lineup to start the season boasted Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Anthony Rendon, Jared Walsh, and Max Stassi and it showed with a 13-12 April.

Stassi’s value should also be examined not only for his offence but his defence and his ability to handle the pitching staff and frame their pitches well behind the plate.

Trent Rush from the Angels Recap Podcast noted that the Angels record is 14-6 when Stassi starts. Stassi has also boosted the Angels starter win rate from 8 wins earlier in the season to 10.

Marlins Marte Making Rib Injury Look Like A Thing Of The Past

Marlins center fielder Starling Marte was hurt with a rib injury at the end of April and most of May.

In seven games last week, the veteran outfielder posted a .500 batting average (14-for-28) with two homers, one double, five RBIs and a 1.298 OPS. He also stole four bases.

He has a .360/.454/.600 slash line. On top of that, he has hit five home runs, driven in 12 runs, and stolen six bases.

Marte has the third-best OBP in MLB, third-best batting average, and fifth-best OPS.

Defensively he was recognized for two Gold Gloves in 2015 and 2016.

This is his first Player Of The Week win and the same goes for Stassi.

Categories
Sports

Major League Baseball Player Of The Week May 30th 2021

I have written a lot of baseball related content and stories over the past few years for a couple of different websites.

While I am not writing for those sites anymore, I still do enjoy writing baseball and will continue to do so here.

First up is a regular feature of mine I used to write on the American and National League Players Of The Week in Major League Baseball.

Woodruff Wins National League Nod

Brewers starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff grabbed the honours for the National League, not surprising given his Cy Young like numbers to start the season.

Woodruff’s week includes some stunning numbers such as 14 scoreless innings while striking out 18 of the 48 batters he faced. He now has an ERA of 1.27. Woodruff’s opponents’ slash for the week was .109/.146/.109.

Woodruff has been tough all season with a FIP of 2.19 in 76 innings as well as a WHIP of 0.737.

Abreu Nabs Third Player Of The Week For The Chicago White Sox

Like Yermín Mercedes and Carlos Rodón before him this season, José Abreu has been awarded Player Of The Week Honours.

Abreu went 9-for-24 with two doubles, two home runs, and 10 RBIs as his team went 6-1 in its homestand.

Abreu won the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 2014, the Silver Slugger Award in 2014, 2018, and 2020, and the American League’s Most Valuable Player Award in 2020.

This is his sixth win for Player Of The Week.

Categories
Sports

Major League Baseball’s Opening Day Comes And Goes

Major sports leagues like the National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) have been on hold for two weeks with the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing across North America.

When this shutdown happened, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced on March 12th that the season would be delayed a few weeks for Major League Baseball (MLB) as well. 

Today is March 26th, Opening Day for MLB, didn’t happen. 

Social media, particularly Twitter, was full of messages and hashtags regarding #OpeningDay  #OpeningDayAtHome but there were no games. Parks and their stands stood empty with no dramatic fastball’s or swings of the bat that knocked the ball out of the park.

2020 Season Story Lines To Watch

There are still some interesting stories that should unfold when baseball does resume though. Here are a few of those:

Houston Astros

We saw how the Houston Astros sign stealing scandal unfolded after their World Series loss against the Washington Nationals last year.

We wrote about their hiring of new manager Dusty Baker replacing the fired Art Hinch and what effect that move does for the Astro’s image going forward.

The Astro’s faced a barrage of fan feedback and heckling in the games they did play in spring training and that won’t let up in the regular seasons when it starts.

Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals, 2019 World Series Champions, should have a chance to defend their title, albeit in a shortened season. They are without Anthony Rendon, who went to the Los Angeles Angels, a separate story line in itself.

The Nationals have retained the majority of their 2019 team but won’t surprise teams like they did last season. A Wild Card Team that needed a 19-7 August amongst others to stay in contention, their pitching staff Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin should feel fatigue from their innings pitched in October.

Teams will also know what to expect from them now as well both on the mound at at the plate.

Anthony Rendon

Anthony Rendon’s move to the Angels is an interesting one because of the complement he provides to Mike Trout.

The Angels have finally found a piece that can give them a serious one two punch. An aging Albert Pujols is still a threat but not enough.

Trout was the American League MVP in 2019 with 45 Home Runs, and a .291 Batting Average but his OPS of 1.083 was a really telling stat to go along with his WAR of 8.2.

Anthony Rendon’s .319 batting average, 34 Home Runs and 126 RBI’s to go with a 6.4 WAR did not garner him an MVP but he did win the World Series as we mentioned.

With him and Trout in the same lineup, the Angels look dangerous at the plate!

Albert Pujols

We mentioned the aging Albert Pujols and his role on the Angels might be limited, but he is closing in on 700 Home Runs and 700 Doubles. That’s a huge milestone.

He’s already a career .300/.379/.549 hitter with over 3,200 hits and 2,000 RBI. Those are Hall of Fame worthy stats alone.

Pujols has a legitimate chance to be the first 700/700 player in baseball history. It could be tough though as the 2020 season won’t be 162 games as expected. Even with a full 2021 season, his age and health will also play a factor in getting to this accomplishment.

Toronto Blue Jays

As a Canadian, I follow the Toronto Blue Jays naturally and while they aren’t likely to make the playoffs this season, they were scheduled to start their season against the Boston Red Sox today.

https://twitter.com/BlueJays/status/1243260697091465216

The Blue Jays have some of the best young talent in the game in Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, and Bo Bichette. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Danny Jansen also show promise in the outfield and at catcher.

They also signed Hyun-jin Ryu to a monster 80 million dollar four year deal in the off season with the hopes of boosting their pitching staff.

They are in tough in the American League East with The Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees. The Yankees won 103 games last year and Tampa won 96. Tampa lost to the Houston Astros in the divisional round while the Yankees lost to the Astros in the American League Championship.

Categories
Sports

Astros hire Dusty Baker as their new Manager

The sign stealing scandal that has rocked Major League Baseball over the past few months took an interesting turn last week as The Houston Astros hired Dusty Baker to replace fired manager Art Hinch.

Dusty Baker is the new Manager of the Houston Astro’s

The scandal has had far reaching implications for the Astros especially their 2017 World Series win. 

Astros Owner Jim Crane fired Manager A.J. Hinch and General Manager Jeff Luhnow for their involvement despite punishment the team received from Commissioner Rob Manfred. Manfred handed out year long suspensions to both men, took away the organization’s first- and second-round draft picks for 2020 and 2021 and fined them $5 million.

The Boston Red Sox, who were managed by Alex Cora and the New York Mets who hired Carlos Beltran have both parted ways with their managers for their involvement as well. Cora and the Red Sox won the 2018 World Series, leaving many to speculate that that is how Boston won as well. 

Baker’s hiring represents a first step in attempting, and it may be too early yet, to repair some of the damage caused by the scandal. Baker has no connections to the organization and has a long successful resume despite never winning a World Series. 

He has managed The San Francisco Giants, the Chicago Cubs, the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Nationals winning Division Titles and has the 9th best winning percentage among league managers at .532. He has 1896 wins as well.

Baker has the integrity and the respect of league and its players and managers. The Astro’s have little if any left of that and have become a laughing stock. How they move forward with repairing their image will be one of the more interesting story lines of the 2020 Major League Season.