Posts Tagged ‘Jeremy Guthrie’
The Cubs have been patient with Darwin Barney. After spending the first two weeks of the season on the DL, he did not perform well at the plate, hitting just .154 in his first 78 at bats (23 games). But when the press asked if Barney would be demoted, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said the team would be patient with him.
Last week that patience paid off, as Barney went 7 for 21 (.333) with 2 rbis and a home run in games against the Rockies and Mets. Since he has hit above .250 in the past two seasons, it seems reasonable to expect that Barney will continue to hit better than he has so far this season.
Barney wasn’t the only one to do well at the plate last week. The A’s backup infielder Eric Sogard was 5 for 11 (.455), scoring three times and earning an rbi last week. Sogard and fellow A’s backup infielder Adam Rosales (also Mormon) essentially share the backup duties, and seem to be trading off who is hot at the moment.
The Oakland A’s Adam Rosales sat down a bit this past week, and it made a big difference. The A’s put him on the bench for much of the week—he only had 12 at bats—but those at bats were profitable. Rosales got 5 hits (.417), walked three times, and would have had a game-tying home run if umpires had made a correct call. The home run was the subject of controversy last week as commentators claimed that Rosales and the A’s had been robbed.
Rosales was almost the only Mormon position player to have a good week, the other exception being Kansas City backup infielder Elliot Johnson, who finally got a chance to start some games. And his batting average promptly rose to .375 for the week as Johnson got 6 hits in 16 at bats, scored twice and stole a base. Even so, its unlikely that Johnson will get a starting spot, at least not yet.
Surprisingly, the Mormon starting pitcher who is most successful this year is not Roy Halladay, the Phillies’ starter who chalked up a perfect game and post-season no hitter in 2010, nor is it Josh Johnson, the Blue Jays’ ace who was part of the teams off-season attempt to build a first-rate pitching staff.
No, its Jeremy Guthrie, who struggled in the first half of 2012 before joining the Royals to help them stay only 18 games below .500. This year’s Guthrie is like the Guthrie of the last half of 2012, but still a bit better. And he is playing for a team that is (so far) remarkably better at 17-10, the 5th best record in the majors. Guthrie is now 4-0 with a 2.40 era in 6 starts. And on Saturday, Guthrie pitched a complete game shutout of the Chicago White Sox.
With the first month of the season drawing to a close, many ballplayers seem to be settling into their habtis, performing at a normal level instead of unexpectedly high or low. Darwin Barney, two weeks back from the DL, might be an example. His first week back, Barney hit an anemic .059, but this past week he’s back closer to his career norm—.240 with a home run and just one strike out in 25 at bats.
Barney isn’t the only one. After causing a stir with his great start, Mets catcher John Buck had another off week last week, which brought his stats down to normal for his career (.250, 17 ks in 80 at bats). Still, the rbis he rang up in the first two weeks of the season have left him in 5th place in MLB (and far ahead of pace for his best season ever, 2010, when he had 66 rbis) and his 8 home runs put him tied for 4th.
Buck isn’t the only Mormon ballplayer among the leaders in the stats race. Jacoby Ellsbury’s 11 stolen bases leads the majors. And, of course, Bryce Harper is near the top in multiple categories. His 9 homers put him tied for 2nd; he is 5th in batting average, leading the majors in ops, 4th in obp, and tied for 2nd in slugging. And in Harper’s case its not hard to imagine him keeping up this level of performance.
While everyone else seems to be cooling down (if they were ever hot this year), Eric Sogard managed to heat up this past week. The Oakland As backup infielder, lodged at second base since regular Scott Sizemore is out with a sprained left knee, went 5 for 15 last week, scoring 4 times and walking once, bringing his batting average up to a respectable .250 in the process.
Sogard was the only Mormon position player on the upswing this past week, but that doesn’t mean that others weren’t also doing well. Bryce Harper hit just as well (.333), but his average was coming down last week from the .400 he it the first week of the season. Harper also hit 2 home runs, earned 5 rbis, scored 4 times and walked 4 times—most of this before the Nationals ran into a stone wall and dropped three in a row to the Braves this past weekend. John Buck also managed to do well this week, hitting 4 home runs earning 10 rbis (!) and scoring 5 times. However, his batting average dropped to .238 for the week.
When the Yankees’ play-by-play radio announcer, John Sterling, says (as he does every game) “You just can’t predict baseball,” I can’t help laughing—because he says it so often. The thing is, though, he’s right.
And in the first week of baseball for 2013 I saw that he is right again. Who would have predicted, even given his strong performance in spring training, that the Mets’ John Buck would have the best batting average among the Mormons in professional baseball? Better than Bryce Harper? Better than Jacoby Ellsbury and Darwin Barney? But here we are, after a week of play, 20 at bats for Buck, he is hitting .400 with 9 rbis and 2 home runs.
Starting the season last week, I thought Harper was the one with the hot bat. He homered in each of his first two at bats for the season (what a hot dog!) and had to endear himself to fans when he checked with his team mates (because he didn’t want to seem cocky) after the second home run to see if it was all right to take a curtain call. Alright? Of course its alright! You just hit back-to-back home runs! when no one else on the team could hit Ricky Nolasco! Yes, Bryce, take the curtain call.
I’ve neglected following the transactions and changing status of the Mormon players for the past several months — a bit of a vacation, I suppose. But with spring training rapidly approaching, I thought I should get the status up to date and start following where everyone is. Today’s update only includes the players who played in the Majors last year.
There are still a couple of players who have played in the majors in previous years whose status is uncertain—Kyle Farnsworth and Brandon Lyon both had strong enough years in 2012 that I think they are likely to be picked up by someone.
One time Baltimore Orioles ace Jeremy Guthrie, a returned missionary who served in Spain, has landed a contract with the Kansas City Royals for the next 3 years. The deal, worth $25 million, inline with the contract he signed last year with the Rockies and inline with his career high.
Even though the post season games are still being played, the post season roster shuffle has already started, and one Mormon player has already suffered a setback. The Kansas City backup outfielder Mitch Maier was released by the Royals on October 5th, leaving Maier looking for a new team. Maier ended the season in the minors, after hitting just .172 at the plate in the majors, down from .263 in 2010.
I don’t normally begin my write-up talking about a minor league player, but this week the stellar pitching of Taylor Cole with the Vancouver Canadians (A short season) kind of demanded front billing. Cole came close to baseball’s ultimate performance, a pitching performance over 7 2/3rds innings marred only by a teammate’s error. Still, Cole was pitching a no-hitter for his 6th win of the season when he was pulled from the game against the Yakima Bears. The Northwest league’s regular season has ended, Cole finishes the year with a stunning (and league-leading) 0.81 era. He will likely pitch in the Canadians’ post-season games, which start today.