The thing about driving a long distance alone is that you have a lot of time to think meanderingly. When you're driving a long distance alone on your way to a baseball event, your thinking tends to bend toward baseball.
During the particular trip I took last weekend to FanFest in Oakland, I saw a sign, I think somewhere near Coalinga, California, a perfectly usual sign, reading "high winds" or something else to that effect that got me joking
Mark Reynolds, the stories said, was born to play baseball. He could hit 40-plus home runs in a season, or he could steal 20-plus bags in a season, or he could even do both simultaneously. He was a Big Bat who could help almost any fan’s team.
"He could be a good player for the Rays to sign," wrote Bleacher Report. "Reynolds will be the only player that could bring that sort of offensive production to the third base position for (the Cubs)," wrote Bleacher Report. Then Bleacher Report added: "If the Yankees were to prefer to add some power to their lineup, Reynolds has that in spades." And, according to Bleacher Report, "There seem to be significant reasons why Boston wouldn't want Reynolds, but his value becomes more apparent upon closer inspection." Finally, writing about the Phillies, the sports web site Bleacher Report wrote that "he hits home runs."
A look at the surprising early season success of Baltimore's hitters
Your computer is not broken. The Baltimore Orioles do indeed lead all of baseball in home runs this season with 56. They were quietly the fourth-best team last year with 191 home runs, trailing only the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rangers. Last season, the Orioles hit 1.18 home runs per game, but in 2012, that pace has spiked to 1.6 per contest… with essentially the same personnel as last year, no less. Nick Johnson—who anointed Joel Peralta his favorite pitcher this weekend when he took him deep twice—is the lone addition to the lineup.
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Albert Pujols may be struggling, but there are major-league regulars doing even worse.
Albert Pujols you know about. The $240 million man has yet to get untracked for the Angels and ended the month of April hitting a paltry .217/.265/.304 without a homer. He's hardly the only hitter who has begun 2012 in a funk, though. In fact, 41 other hitters came into Tuesday with True Averages lower than or equal to that of Pujols' .225 in at least 65 plate appearances, i.e., enough to qualify for the batting title. Sure, those are small samples sizes, but we're 14 percent of the way through the season, with one page of the calendar wadded up into a ball, so it's not like we can't at least gawk at the outliers. What follows is a look at a half-dozen AL hitters—none of them as good as Pujols to begin with, admittedly—who are struggling to an even greater degree than the Angels slugger, and where they and their teams might go from here.
Some off-beat statistical milestones are within reach in the season's finals days.
With four days left in baseball’s marathon season, most eyes will be focused on the two matchups which have a direct bearing on the playoffs: the Padres/Giants pitching festival in San Francisco, and the Phillies/Braves set in Atlanta. Nonetheless, there are 13 other series to be played before we can close the books on the 2010 regular season. Often these late-season contests spark little interest outside of those with game tickets, family members on the team, or the need for a few more Joakim Soria saves to clinch their fantasy baseball championship. To add a little spice to these contests while our early-season heroes play out the string or prep for the postseason, I’ve decided to share with you a few slightly off-beat statistical milestones that could be met in the next few days. None of these numbers are as sexy as .400 or 61*, but they may help you appreciate a few of the more unexpected or unreported achievements of the 2010 season.
The latest update on the saga of the game's reigning all-or-nothing slugger's evolution to something more.
Though the Diamondbacks' year is a lost cause as far as the playoffs are concerned, third baseman Mark Reynolds is having a season for the ages, with numbers that are a statistical freak show unto themselves. Pay a quarter and gawk, because you won't see the likes of them anywhere else.
Mark Reynolds is having a historic season of a different sort.
The focus on the market for players in July can cause you to lose sight of what's happening on the field. This hit home for me Monday, when I happened to look at a television screen and see "Mark Reynolds (32)" scrolling along the bottom. This didn't register initially, because Reynolds wasn't a trade target last month, and he's been playing for a team in Arizona that has been irrelevant pretty much from the moment back in April when Brandon Webb was placed on the disabled list. Reynolds is best known for what he does when he's not hitting homers: striking out. Reynolds set the single-season record for strikeouts in a season last year with 204, and is on pace to shatter that mark, pushing the record into the 220s, this time around.
Has the roving infield prospect found a home at the hot corner in Phoenix?
On the strength of two strong, short stints at Double-A, Mark Reynolds found himself in the majors this year on a team that's now in the NLCS. This surprised many who had followed his minor league career, as Reynolds was never considered to be much of a prospect up until last year, and initially didn't seem to rank too high on the team's depth chart at third base this season.
The Snakes bury John Patterson, the Red Sox sort through a batch of soft tossers, the Marlins vie for a 25-catcher roster, and the Devil Rays solve all their problems by grabbing Al Martin and Damion Easley.