What We Learned In Week Six

Just as we thought that baseball was returning to normalcy, we have a week like the last one, where unexpected and interesting things occur. Let’s take a look at what we learned in the last seven days.

The Rangers aren’t going away.

Texas is riding a seven game winning streak thanks to some terrific performances from their position players. They continued thumping the ball as always, hitting .277/.352/.505, but those same big bats also continued to flash the leather – the Rangers held opponents to just a .259 batting average on balls in play last week, and they continue to impress with their ability to take away hits and support their pitching staff. Elvis Andrus is the early leader in the clubhouse for American League Rookie of the Year, as he’s playing at a +4 win level through the early part of the season. Not bad for a 20-year-old.

The Tigers role players can hit.

Detroit got some monster offensive performances last week, but it wasn’t Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez, or Curtis Granderson swinging the hot bat. Try Ramon Santiago, Jeff Larish, and Ryan Raburn instead. Those three had wOBAs of .870, .615, and .605 respectively over the last seven days. Santiago, in particular, is trying to prove that last year’s offensive surge was for real. He was one of the worst hitters in baseball during his early career, but he hit .282/.411/.460 in ’08 and he’s followed it up with a .352/.386/.611 line so far this year. This is a guy with a career .353 slugging percentage in the minor leagues, and he racked up six extra base hits in 12 at-bats last week. Baseball is a crazy, weird game.

The Cardinals miss Rick Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick

With two of their regular outfielders on the disabled list, St. Louis needed to get some help from their reserves last week. They didn’t get it. Chris Duncan went 1 for 13. Colby Rasmus went 3 for 16. Nick Stavinoha and Shane Robinson combined to go 6 for 26. Those four gave them a whopping two extra base hits in five games. Albert Pujols is awesome, but he can’t do it by himself. St. Louis is going to have to get some production from positions other than first base while their two starters are on the DL, or they’re going to be digging themselves out of a hole by the time they get back.

Strikeouts are great and all, but home runs are a killer.

The Florida Marlins pitching staff racked up an impressive 9.35 K/9 last week, which isn’t all that surprising considering the talent they have in their rotation. Ricky Nolasco, Josh Johnson, and Chris Volstad are all very good arms capable of making hitters look foolish. Unfortunately, all three made mistakes in the strike zone as well, and they paid dearly for it, as the Marlins also gave up 1.76 HR/9, which was the driving force behind their 6.35 ERA. You can strike out all the batters you want, but if you keep giving up the long ball, you aren’t going to win too many games.

David Wright doesn’t want to be blamed for the Mets struggles.

An early season target for criticism, Wright has shut up those who were picking his game apart to begin the year. Last week, he hit .556/.625/.741 and stole five bases to boot, making him one of the game’s most productive all-around players. The updated ZIPS projection here on the site has Wright hitting 23 more home runs and stealing 19 more bases, which would give him 26 home runs and 29 steals to end the year. He’s got a legitimate shot at 30-30 if he can stay hot, and you don’t get that kind of power-speed production from a corner infielder very often. Wright is legitimately one of the superstars in today’s game, and hopefully people will begin to realize just how good this kid is.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


19 Responses to “What We Learned In Week Six”

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  1. cpebbles says:

    When 4 out of 5 sportswriters pick Wright for the MVP, instead of the current 2 out of 3, have we then begun to realize how good he is?

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    • Matt H. says:

      I may be missing something but he has finished 7th, 4th, 9th, and 19th. He has never received a first place vote.

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      • cpebbles says:

        I meant preseason predictions, my mistake. David Wright is a great player, but he is not the least little bit underrated.

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      • Matt H. says:

        Eh, I’d like to see those. I hear more Wright bashing for his unclutchiness and lack of leadership than anybody in the non A-Rod class. I think he is underrated by his MVP finishes, and by the average BBRAA banter.

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  2. Jason T says:

    Well, considering most sportswriters couldn’t find their ass with both hands I’m not using them for this particular standard. =D

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  3. Bill says:

    That kind of power-speed combo is great and all, but wright is 10/17 in stolen bases, not exactly a great ratio.

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    • Wally says:

      His career success rate 77% though. So maybe he’s been trying to or been told to steal more often this year. Either way, I’d expect those numbers to improve some.

      And at what point do we learn that the A’s really, really suck. I can’t handle watching this team much more. What’s worse is that Holliday isn’t hitting either, so a trading him midseason may not yield much of use, if the team can’t turn this around.

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  4. MPC says:

    Steve Phillips will apparently never realize how good David Wright is. When you make Joe Morgan sound rational and sane, you know you have no business talking about baseball.

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    • B says:

      I don’t really watch Sunday Night Baseball, but since my Giants were on last night I tuned in. Are they always THAT bad? They talked for two straight (half) innings about the “leadership” qualities/potential of the Mets without saying a single interesting thing. They both just rambled on to the point that even Jon Miller looked helplessly bored. I don’t mind talking about the subject – at least it’s baseball related, but you’d think they would actually have talking points thought out ahead of time. There’s also a reasonable amount of time to talk about it – and that amount is definitely shorter than one (half) inning, much less two. The commercial break should have made them realize they needed to move on…

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      • KingKirkpatrick says:

        Yes, this year it has been like that consistently. Morgan quite clearly doesn’t like Phillips and pretty much jumps at every opportunity to disagree with him…and he’s usually on the right side of the argument. Their discussions usually go on and on and they are quite awful.

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      • Wally says:

        As a betting man, I’d say you have maybe 70-30 or even 80-20 chances of being right, if you do nothing other than disagree with Steve Phillips. Then, that 20-30% of the time Phillips is right, its usually along the lines of “getting caught stealing is bad.” Which is to say, he’s only right when a 5 year old could of said the same thing. Which is not to, he never gets anything a 5 year old would know wrong.

        The guy is a moron, and is maybe 60% of the reason I don’t watch BBTN anymore. The other 40% is divided between not having Harold Reynolds anymore, my wife, and Gammons going down hill. Its only redeeming quality is sort of lovable idiot in Kruk.

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      • twinsfan says:

        86.4% of all statistics on the Internet are made up.

        I agree entirely, Phillips is awful. Combined with the awfulness of Morgan it makes the broadcast pretty unwatchable.

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      • Wally says:

        “86.4% of all statistics on the Internet are made up.”

        Haha, very poetic.

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      • Matt H. says:

        Ha, KingK used consistently when talking about Joe Morgan.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        FJM. :( *tear*

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      • MPC says:

        SNBB is completely unwatchable now. I won’t watch it even if the Mets are on anymore. I cannot take Steve Phillips constantly finding a way to bash the Mets, no matter what they do.

        I only watch BBTN for highlights. As soon as they try to “analyze,” the TV’s off.

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  5. Brett C. says:

    oh FJM, now that they’re gone Phillips and Morgan will say whatever they please no matter how ridiculous.. And who will hold them accountable while still making me laugh?? sorry for the rant..

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