What We Learned In Week Eleven

We’re coming up on the halfway point of the season, and there seems to be a theme – the lessons to be learned over the last seven days are things we already should have known. Here’s what we learned last week.

Albert Pujols is ridiculous.

He only hit .389 for the week, but he made those hits count. Four of his seven hits went for home runs, and he slugged 1.111 over the last seven days. His home run total is now up to 26 for the season, and his power surge has given him a career high .469 wOBA. It’s getting so silly that his intentional walks are close to being even with his strikeouts. The guy is just a pure hitting machine. Barring a strange second half of the season, he should clear out some space on his mantle for another MVP trophy.

Gordan Beckham has adjusted to major league pitching.

After a rough start to his major league career, Beckham has adjusted and is stinging the ball lately. He hit .375/.524/.625 over the last week, drawing four walks against just three strikeouts. His overall line might not look like much, but he’s showing some legitimate offensive skills a year after being drafted. The White Sox have a good one here.

Chris Davis is killing the Rangers.

Jon Daniels gave Davis a vote of confidence a few weeks ago, stating that their commitment to young players required that they stick with them through tough times. That’s going to be tested, as the Rangers offense has fallen apart and the team has stopped winning, while Davis continues to flounder. He was 1 for 20 with 9 strikeouts last week, and that’s just not the kind of performance the Rangers can live with from their first baseman.

Wandy Rodriguez‘s regression has come swiftly.

In his first eight starts of the season, Wandy Rodriguez did not give up a home run. Through eleven starts, he’d only given up one long ball despite allowing 71 fly balls. Everything we know about the predictability of HR/FB rate told us that regression was coming. Man, was it ever. He gave up four home runs last week, in addition to the five he gave up the week before, and nine of his last 28 fly balls have left the yard. From a 1.4% HR/FB rate through 11 starts to a 32.1% HR/FB rate over his last four, Rodriguez is walking proof that getting a lot of fly ball outs is a risky path to success.

The Brewers could use a pitcher or two.

It was an ugly week for the arms in Milwaukee. As a team, they posted a 6.08 FIP, and five of their pitchers had an ERA of 10+ for the week. Braden Looper and Dave Bush got pounded for six home runs in 10 innings of work between them, while Manny Parra was banished to Triple-A due to an inability to throw strikes. Their rotation currently stands as Yovanni Gallardo and cover your eyes for four days. The Brewers have a good team, but Doug Melvin needs to get them another arm pronto.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Basil Ganglia
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Basil Ganglia
7 years 2 months ago

J. Washburn, meet Mr. Brewer. M. Brewer, meet Mr. Washburn.

matthew
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matthew
7 years 2 months ago

Please happen quickly.. before Ned colletti sends andrew lambo and josh lindblom for him

Alireza
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Alireza
7 years 2 months ago

Albert is the most legitimate threat since Tony Gwynn to hit .400. The more he walks, the more he looks like a right handed Ted Williams.

steve shane
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steve shane
7 years 2 months ago

Arent you forgetting about Ichiro and Joe Mauer????

Ichiro has hit .372 in a season, and never gets .400 right now

Dont get me wrong, Pujols is the best hitter in baseball, but no “expert” would dismiss ichiro and mauer and say pujols is the clear cut choice to hit .400.

steve shane
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steve shane
7 years 2 months ago

Something got f’ed up,

it should read [ichiro] never gets < 200 hits in a season and Mauer, a 2x BA champ, is hitting .400 right now

Chico
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Chico
7 years 2 months ago

Albert Pujols reminds me a lot of Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, and Sammy Sosa but even better than the very best those guys had to offer.

Steve C
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Steve C
7 years 2 months ago

I see what you did there.

VidaB
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VidaB
7 years 2 months ago

Sly. But for me, my hope in Pujols dies hard, like only after 70 dingers. That’s when I switch to the creatine defense.

Fresh Hops
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Fresh Hops
7 years 2 months ago

The most impressive thing about Beckham is his contact rate. Having swung at about 100 pitches, he’s made contact with 87 of them. He’s fouling a fair amount, but this is a timing issue that he can certainly straighten out. If he can learn to hit line drives and develop some power, he should be one of the best hitting middle infielders in baseball within a few seasons.

How long before the Rangers give Justin Smoak a call? I’m betting that once he returns from his oblique injury he gets about 1 week more in Frisco and then heads to AAA, where he stays about two to three weeks if he hits well upon arrival, and four to six if he doesn’t immediate hit well against AAA pitchers. But unless he struggles badly after his return, Justing Smoak should be the starting 1B for the Rangers by August 15th.

Fresh Hops
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Fresh Hops
7 years 2 months ago

(If they can wait that long….)

Fresh Hops
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Fresh Hops
7 years 2 months ago

Well, Smoak returned for what I assume was a rehab outing in rookie league ball. He hit two homers and a triple. Looks like he’s healthy. I’m going to go ahead and say Aug. 1st, if not sooner.

Mister Naxal
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7 years 2 months ago

Smoak hit two dingers last night in his first rehab start in the Arizona rookie league. If he lights it up in Frisco when he comes back and then lights it up in OKC, maybe he makes it to Arlington before the season is out.

I don’t think he’s the solution right now, though. I am also not convinced that it is worth it to rent Nick Johnson from the Nats for two and a half months nor giving up more than Adam Larouche is worth to the Bucs to solve the problem. Still, I think this is a problem that is more likely to be solved via trade than by promoting Smoak.

For the time being, as much as I can’t believe I am saying this, I think you play Blalock at first and pray he doesn’t get injured and let Jones DH.

As for the bigger problem, Davis’ woes are the worst of the bunch of Rangers’ hitters. I am not convinced bringing in one guy to hopefully stop Davis’ suck is going to solve the problem of the other four or five guys who are waving the lumber at every ball thrown their way right now.

It’s simply an incredibly frustrating situation.

Fresh Hops
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Fresh Hops
7 years 2 months ago

Davis is in a special class of not hitting among a group of guys that aren’t hitting well. And, whereas for example, I think it’s reasonable to say “Blalock is going to hit better from here on out. He’s a better hitter than he has been this season and I think patience with him is the right move,” Davis even with considerable improvement, does not look like a major leaguer right now.

You may be right about Texas being more interested in trading than in promoting Smoak.

Jason T
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Jason T
7 years 2 months ago

I <3 Ichiro!, but he doesn’t walk nearly enough to have a realistic shot at .400.

Mark R
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Mark R
7 years 2 months ago

I don’t think that has much bearing on the question. It seems like the ability to run consistently high BABIPs, make lots of contact, and hit some balls over the fence would be most important. Ichiro can do the first two very well, but is a little lacking when it comes to the third.

Davidceisen
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Davidceisen
7 years 2 months ago

For real. Ichiro typically gets around 675 AB a year, meaning that he would need 270 hits to have a .400 batting average. The year he set the record for hits he had 762 AB and 262 hits. To have a .400 average that year he would have needed 305 hits.

Pujols and Mauer both are probably the most likely, but most likely in this case isn’t saying much I’m afraid.

Mark R
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Mark R
7 years 2 months ago

I guess your point is that as a player gets more at-bats, it becomes diminishing likely that he’ll continue to benefit from the freakish luck needed to hit .400. Fair enough.

Davidceisen
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Davidceisen
7 years 2 months ago

my ‘for real’ is directed at Jason T. There is no way someone can hit .400 without walking a great deal.

Davidceisen
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Davidceisen
7 years 2 months ago

we need to stop posting at the same time.

Mark R
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Mark R
7 years 2 months ago

Agreed. And I got what you were talking about the first time, and meant my second comment as a corrective to my first.

Per
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Per
7 years 2 months ago

Maybe a dumb question but how do you slug 1.111? Wouldn’t you be slugging 1.000 if you hit a home run in each plate appearance? In other words, isn’t 1.000 the max?

Boomer
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Boomer
7 years 2 months ago

4.000 is max

LeaveEmLoaded
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LeaveEmLoaded
7 years 2 months ago

No, SLG is Total Bases divided by ABs. So if a player hit a HR everytime up he would be slugging 4.000

Per
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Per
7 years 2 months ago

Thanks lol

Kampfer
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Kampfer
7 years 1 month ago

If a player slugs 1.000 consistently, it would be a smart move to just walk that player every time.

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