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I’d like to talk about Joe Mauer for a moment. With 15 HR, Mauer is currently tied for the 24th most HR in the American League. He hit 11 of his 15 home runs in the month of May, which is the only reason his home run total looks decent. With 15 on the season, he has already surpassed his previous season-high of 13 he had in 2006. I am not debating his ability as a hitter, but if you can sucker somebody in a league into thinking he is a great, power-hitting catcher because of his participation in the Home Run Derby, then you should clean that person’s team out for everything they have.
Raise your hand if you had written Ludwick off as a major bust this season. Hey it’s ok, I did too. Ludwick has been on fire in July and last week he blasted four home runs and a league-leading 15 RBI while hitting .481. He also racked up four doubles in his effort and is hitting .409 in July.
Werth homered in four straight games and drove in 11 runs. He stole a base for good measure and even walked an impressive seven times. Werth is 13th in the Majors with 52 walks and is on pace for 30+ HR and 20+ SB.
Yes, yes, yes, we all know I royally f**ked up with my prediction on Sandoval. You know what, I don’t care, I will admit my decision to drop him after one week in to the season was a bad move. Kung Fu Panda rubbed it in my face last week with three homers and 11 RBI. This brings him to .333, 15 HR, and 55 RBI this season. Enjoy it now, because that catcher eligibility won’t be there next year.
Refusing to slow down, Zobrist collected 10 more hits including his 17th home run of the year and six RBI. The wheels were in full motion as he swiped three bases. His .322 BABIP is a tad bit above normal, but his production won’t dip too much.
Rollins is starting is second half surge already. Week 14 didn’t bring owners power (0 HR), but Rollins did crank out eight runs, 10 hits, five stolen bases, and seven walks. Rollins has hit the ground running in July with a .378 avg and six stolen bases. In fact, he already has more hits this month (17), than he did all of last month (16).
April (7.22 ERA) is a distant memory. Beckett won both of his starts last week to improve to 11-3 and he recorded his second complete game shutout of the season. Beckett has won four of his last five starts with a strikeout to walk ratio of 29:3.
Verlander dominated in his two starts by scoring two wins (10-4 this season) with a K/9 of 13.15 in 13.0 innings. Verlander is still fighting bad luck with a .333 BABIP. So, more improvement is expected if you can believe it.
Soriano had a near perfect week with four saves and no runs allowed in four innings. He also fanned eight batters which brings his career-high K/9 up to 12.23 this season.
Haren leads the Majors in ERA, WHIP, and K/BB. Haren had to earn his 9th win last week by throwing a complete game shutout with 10 strikeouts. However, in his career, his ERA is over one full run higher after the break (3.08 to 4.12).
Oh come on, I had to mention the first no-hitter in the Majors this season. Sanchez, making a start for the injured Randy Johnson, no-hit the Padres and struck out 11 batters without walking one player. It would have been a perfect game, but 3B Juan Uribe had an error in the 8th inning. If I was Sanchez, I wouldn’t invite Uribe to my birthday party this November.
Has anybody else noticed that he is one of the best pitchers in baseball? Yeah, no joke. Washburn is having the best season of his life with a 2.96 ERA in 17 starts. What is the reason? It is his contract year! Yes, Washburn is a free agent after the season and that is why he is so good. In his previous contract year in 2005, Washburn posted a 3.20 ERA. Considering his career ERA is 4.06, I’d have to say that money is a big motivator.
Here is another contract year player. Pineiro is having the best season of his career as a full time starter. His 3.20 ERA is very good in his 17 starts. I can’t attribute his success to JUST a contract year. He allows a very small amount of walks (12) and doesn’t give up home runs (3). Even more impressive is his ground ball percentage which stands at an obscene 61.0%. Basically, he keeps the ball in the park and on the ground which has led to his great numbers.
With Scott Hairston being traded to Oakland, Kouzmanoff has had the pleasure of batting in front of and behind Adrian Gonzalez. When Kouzmanoff hits 3rd or 4th in the order (which he’s been doing lately), he is actually a great hitter with a .318 avg and six home runs in those 22 games.
The 28-year-old rookie is getting the chance to play everyday after Nyjer Morgan was traded to Washington. In 11 games, he is hitting very well with a .310 avg and five home runs. Before his call up, he was hitting .307 with 12 HR, and 49 RBI in 72 games at Triple-A.
Over the past month, Gutierrez has quietly been the best hitter on the Mariners. He has hit .352 (37/105) with seven home runs, and 18 RBI in the past month and he recently came off of a 13-game hitting streak.