One of my favorite additions of the year here at FanGraphs is the ability to split data down by time frames on the leaderboards. It makes finding out who has been hot or cold lately very easy, and it’s just a lot of fun. So, let’s take a stroll through the last 30 days of performance together.
Justin Morneau: .345/.468/.690, 1.23 WPA/LI, 87 at-bats, 21 walks, 9 strikeouts.
Despite by praise for Denard Span this morning, Morneau is carrying the Twins offense right now. Minnesota really needed to get a hitter to stick behind him so that opposing pitchers are a bit more willing to pitch to him, because right now, Jason Kubel isn’t a sufficient threat.
Ryan Braun: .358/.397/.745, 1.46 WPA/LI, 106 at-bats, 7 walks, 24 strikeouts.
Braun’s on one of his patented slugfests, launching nine home runs in the last 30 days. He’s still as uber-aggressive as always, but with his raw power, it doesn’t matter. He can really hit a baseball a long ways.
Manny Ramirez: .453/.543/.787, 1.50 WPA/LI, 75 at-bats, 12 walks, 10 strikeouts.
For all the talk about Manny not playing hard for Boston, he was killing the ball when they traded him and he’s killing the ball in Los Angeles. Even with all his defensive issues and antics, it’s important to remember that Manny Being Manny includes him being one of the best hitters in the league.
Jason Kendall: .148/.227/.216, -0.92 WPA/LI, 88 at-bats, 7 walks, 10 strikeouts
Braun is offsetting this miserable performance, as no amount of veteran leadership and game calling can make up for the fact that Kendall hits about as well as a pitcher nowadays. You have to wonder if the Brewers knew Pudge Rodriguez was available, because he would have been a monstrous upgrade for them at the deadline.
Mark Ellis: .188/.250/.259, -0.88 WPA/LI, 85 at-bats, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts
So much for all free agents going bananas in their walk years, as Ellis is struggling mightily as he heads towards a big payday this winter. His calling card remains his excellent defense at second base, but it’s his ability to hit a bit that sets him apart from guys like Adam Everett and John McDonald. Teams don’t value defense as highly on the open market as they do offensive performance, so if Ellis is going to land a big multiyear contract, he’d do well to start whacking the baseball again.
Jacoby Ellsbury: .226/.244/.262, -0.64 WPA/LI, 84 at-bats, 1 walk, 15 strikeouts
After a phenemonal debut last year, expectations for Ellsbury were high, but he’s run into the second year wall. His lack of power has pitchers challenging him in the strike zone, and while he’s making contact, he’s not doing anything with the ball when he puts the bat on it. As the slump has intensified, he’s tried to hack his way out of it, and that hasn’t worked much better. He’ll bounce back, but he’s got some adjustments to make, and right now, Boston can’t afford to have him making outs at the top of the line-up while they try to chase down the Rays.
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