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AL Central: Big Boppers Hit the Skids
Memo to Travis Hafner: Demand a trade. Now.
This is no slight to the first-place Indians -- just my genuine concern for Haf's health and hitting. You see, strange things have been happening to many of the AL Central's marquee sluggers.
Save Hafner, Torii Hunter and Magglio Ordoñez, it's been a rough spell for the big bats of the Midwest:
Chicago's Paul Konerko is hitting .196 with more strikeouts (27) than hits (21).
Teammate Jermaine Dye is sporting a .219 average with a similar strikeout (28) to hits (21) ratio.
Sure, Jim Thome tallied 17 hits and five homers in his first 50 at bats -- and then went on the disabled list with a rib cage injury.
Minnesota's Justin Morneau has been mediocre when measured by his MVP standards: .267 average, six homers, 17 RBIs. And he's suffering through bouts of inconsistency -- a 12-game homerless streak earlier, now working on a similar seven-gamer -- and has just about locked himself in the film room. But take heed, Twins fans, Monreau was batting .208 on this date last year, leading someone (ahem, my brother) to make one of the most disastrous fantasy keeper league trades in recorded history: Morneau for Tim Hudson, vintage 2006. Don't worry, my bro also threw in Preston Wilson. Ouch.
Joe Mauer batted .353 in his first 28 games -- and then went on the disabled list with a left quad strain.
Cleanup hitter Michael Cuddyer got off to a fairly respectable start (.284, 2 HR, 19) -- and then missed all weekend with a bruised back.
Cleveland's Grady Sizemore enjoyed one of the best three-game starts in recent memory (6-14 with three HRs) -- and has hit just .229 since with only two more round-trippers.
Victor Martinez is hitting .333 with 24 RBIs -- but did his own stint on the DL with a quadriceps strain.
Detroit's Gary Sheffield, as detailed in this space last week, was hitting .193 with one homer entering last week's Baltimore series. (He’s 6-18 with three HRs since.)
Pudge Rodriguez has drawn just one walk in 116 plate appearances and is sporting a .267 on-base percentage.
All-world prospect Alex Gordon is the closest the Royals have to a "marquee" bat, and he's been horrible: .175, 2 HR, 5 RBIs in 97 at bats.
The well-documented cold weather that rocked the Northeast and Midwest in April may well be to blame; offensive numbers are down across the majors, and guys are obviously tighter and more injury-prone in the chill.
Maybe Hafner's North Dakota heritage helped him battle the cold through April. But now he needs to worry: he left April with a .338 average, which has dropped 40 points in May's first week. (Maybe he should take pointers from teammate Trot Nixon, who raised his batting average 67 points in 48 hours thanks to an 8-10 weekend.)
Hafner still managed a great start and finish to this past week (that's a Tuesday to Tuesday week, mind you, based on this blog's schedule), though he did go 1-17 in-between. He hit a homer Tuesday, and in the eleventh inning last Wednesday Hafner defeated Toronto's exaggerated shift by chopping a double down the third-base line to score David Delucci from first -- it's about the softest game-winning double you can ever find, but somewhere "Wee Willie Keeler" is smiling as Hafner indeed "hit 'em where they ain't."
There was no doubt, however, about his ninth career grand slam yesterday.
But consider yourself warned, Mr. Hafner -- run away while you still can.
Labels: AL Central
posted by SI.com | View comments |
Don't you just love selective use of statistics to prove, well, whatever he's trying to prove here. For example, I'm going to write a piece called "Look Out Jeter - AL East Isn't Kind to Sluggers." Now we can look around and try to find some numbers to prove a point. We'll start with Abreu who's been struggling all year (.648 OPS). ARod appears to be knocking the cover off the ball, but we can always say something like ARod hasn't hit a HR in 12 games after knocking 14 in 18 games. Manny Ramirez has a .750 OPS. David Ortiz has 2 HR in his last 14 games. Drew has a .757 OPS. Glaus has landed on the DL, Vernon Wells has a .516 OPS the past week, and Tejada has a .653 OPS this month.
See how easy it is to do that? C'mon Joe, surely you're better than this.
Victor Martinez has not spent anytime on the DL this year.
Slight correction, I don't believe Martinez actually went on the DL. He strained his quad but just sat out 5 or 6 games.
I can bet you that Fransico Liriano sucks his first year. Then the Twins extend his contract and he becomes the pitcher he was before Tommy John surgery.
this dude has to be the most retarded person ever... like who seriously think because your on a certain team you have a bigger risk for injury...unless the team has track record of sending runners home to a catcher who has the ball only to get knocked over....and no i dont think any major leauge team does that
'All-world prospect Alex Gordon is the closest the Royals have to a "marquee" bat, and he's been horrible: .175, 2 HR, 5 RBIs in 97 at bats.'
Not true...because they're the Royals, I understand why you media types forget to actually watch their games before saying that.
Teahen, in only 109 games last season, hit .290 with 18 hrs and 69 RBIs. After a slow start, he's heating up again...
Then there's Butler, who is worth watching, and DeJesus...
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AL Central blog (Tuesday)
NL Central blog (Wednesday)
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