Friday… Baseball’s Mariano Rivera. A one-two-three inning that is awaited by the highly anticipated post-game celebration known as the weekend. And if your week was more like Adam Dunn on the mound down 15-1 in the ninth, I apologize and leave you with this: the Friday Six Pack.
Former Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan finding home in Chicago
There is definitely much pride in taking home Rookie of the Year honors. There is no denying that. You had the best year of any newcomer in the league and are recognized for just that. But earning such honors guarantees you nothing but high expectations moving forward.
Chris Coghlan had a monster first year back in 2009 with the then-Florida Marlins. The former first round pick batted .321/.390/.460 en route to being named the NL Rookie of the Year. Unfortunately, Coghlan couldn’t carry over his performance from his breakout rookie year. In the following four seasons, from 2010-2013, he batted a combined .242/.307/.352 with a mere 12 home runs. Save for two stolen bases more in 2010, Coghlan has yet to amass better numbers in any category since.
But after being granted free agency by the Marlins in December, Coghlan signed with the rebuilding Cubbies of Chicago. Making an appearance in 82 games to this date, he has batted .286/.360/.475 with 6 home runs; all bests since his ROY season. Awards are probably off the menu for the now 29-year-old outfielder going forward, but nevertheless it’s been an unexpected but encouraging surprise to see Coghlan succeed again.
Someone get Adeiny Hechavarria a long ball
If this post was an oral presentation you can bet the house that I would hack the heck out of that pronunciation like B.J. Upton in an 0-2 count (for reference, 73.8 k rate in 0-2 count this season). Hechavarria stands alone as the only player in qualified batters to not stamp his name on a long ball this season. Even Phillies’ outfielder Ben Revere launched one out of the park this year. Ben Revere! (1 HR in 1844 plate appearances). What’s worse is that every other game, Hechavarria bares witness to Giancarlo Mike Stanton crush a ball into the parking lot like it was BP. Alright… so Adeiny Hechavarria is no Giancarlo Stanton, but still, he’s carrying a fat goose egg in the home run column. And he sits alone.
Pitchers with more home runs than Hechavarria. Let me rephrase that, pitchers with home runs in 2014:
Though the Cuban shortstop isn’t having a terrible year (.275/.305/.352), he deserves the substandard recognition for his home run woes.
Wait… Kluber has a higher fWAR than Kershaw?
It took me a couple minutes to process that. But yes, Corey Kluber has a higher fWAR than Clayton Kershaw in 2014. According to FanGraphs, Corey Kluber’s Wins Above Replacement sits at 5.2, just 0.2 points higher than Kershaw’s 5. Kluber and Kershaw currently rank third and fourth respectfully, with Felix Hernandez (6.3) and Jon Lester (5.4) placing higher this season. There’s no shying away from the fact that Kluber has been stellar in his fourth year in the league. His 2.46 ERA sits 7th in the league while his 1.33 is the best mark in baseball since July 1st. Second? Clayton Kershaw.
Kluber vs. Kershaw since July 1st:
Despite Kluber’s higher fWAR on the season and his slight edge on Kershaw since July 1st, it’s hard not to favor the 2-time Cy Young award winner going forward.
Especially when he’s making plays like this:
Appel is killing it! 8+ ERA for the former first round pick.
With back-to-back 1st overall choices in the last two drafts, the Astros have failed to make a favorable impression with their decisions. Mark Appel has been the Anthony Bennett of baseball (If you’re a stranger to Bennett’s miserable rookie season with the Cavs, check out this piece on Sheridan Hoops). Appel had moderate success in his first years in the minors. Between stints in both low and regular A ball, he went 3-1 through 10 games with a 3.79 ERA. This season, however, has been one to forget for the 23-year-old out of Stanford University.
If you looked away, maybe threw in a cringe or two, I feel you. Need I say more? Well yes, I probably should. Appel is still young , remarkably young and the man I just talked about with the fWAR higher than Kershaw made his major league debut at the age of 25. There’s still time.
Is anyone surprised? When Bleacher Report interrupted my Wednesday night with a “Breaking: Troy Tulowitzki will reportedly miss rest of the season due to hip surgery”, I shrugged. Seriously, I wasn’t surprised. Who is? With his season officially over, his 91 games in 2014 brings his three-season, 2012 to 2014 average to 88 games. The Rockies have now paid $34,250,000 million for 264 games of .316/.399/.551 baseball. Sure, impressive numbers. And yeah he was a lock for the NL MVP award. Lock. But when the game is about what happens in October, you can’t have you’re best player not the field. Period. Since his last appearance on July 19th, the Rockies have gone 6-18 and sit last in the NL West. Time for a change in the Centennial State?
Julio Urias has a certain swag to him
Ever since Peter Gammons first mentioned Julio Urias, my baseball man crush for the 18-year-old Mexican bloomed. How can you not like this kid? Last season in A ball, Urias threw 54.1 innings of 2.48 ball. 1.104 WHIP, 11.1 strikeouts per nine. He had top prospect painted across his forehead in Dodger blue. Moving up to high A this season, he continues to perform; 2.86 ERA, 1.217 WHIP, 10.8 K/9. Even when teams attempted to pry him away at the deadline, the Dodgers deemed the 5’11 southpaw untouchable, and rightfully so.
Just check out this kid’s swagger on the mound:
Hat tip to @SportsQuotient for the explosive image of the Klubes.