Welcome to the Triple Play. In this week’s edition, we look at a new contender for NL Rookie of the Year, a leading contender for Stiff of the Year and more, including the latest bit of gritty idiocy from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Let’s dive in:
Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
In what may be the only time a Mets player makes an appearance on the Who’s Hot list this season, we give you the rookie righty, who has become the best pitcher on their staff. In his past three starts, the wild-haired deGrom has gone 3-0 with a 1.31 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and 18/4 strikeout-to-walk ratio. For the season, he has a 2.76 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 90 strikeouts in 94 1/3 innings (the 6-5 record is more indicative of how bad the Mets are). The rookie class in the National League this year has been remarkably weak this year, but deGrom is twirling his way into contention with his performance over the past month. If he is the real deal, then the Mets are setting themselves up to have an impressive young rotation next season (deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, and don’t forget Matt Harvey). There isn’t much worth watching about the Mets this season, but deGrom is worth the price of admission.
Dan Uggla, free agent
Boy, Uggla had a great run in San Francisco. His career line as a Giant? 0-for-12, 1 BB, 1 run, 6 SO. Given the Giants’ need for some offense with Angel Pagan and Brandon Belt fighting injuries during the month of July, it was a low-risk gamble for San Francisco. Unfortunately, it was also a low-reward one and Uggla’s leash was short. For the season, he sports a ghastly slash line of .149/.229/.213, with two home runs, 10 RBI, 14 runs scored and an OPS+ of 25. Yes, you read that right. Uggla was worth one-fourth of an average second baseman. He struck out in nearly one-third of his at-bats and committed 12 errors in 39 games. The defense was always suspect, but during his prime, Uggla more than made up for that with his bat. That appears to have abandoned him. We may well have seen the last of Uggla in a major-league uniform.
Playing the Name Game
The Yankees have used a franchise-record 29 pitchers this season.
Relievers: David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Adam Warren, Shawn Kelley, Matt Thornton, David Huff, Alfredo Aceves, Preston Claiborne, Matt Daley, Jose Ramirez, Bruce Billings, Esmil Rogers, Jim Miller, Chris Leroux, Jeff Francis, Cesar Cabral, Wade LeBlanc, Dean Anna (a since-released infielder who pitched in a blowout).
— Well, that was the most entertaining trade deadline day in years. Major leaguers being traded for other major leaguers, no blatant salary dumps, lots of surprises. I’d have to go back to 2008 (when Manny Ramirez was dealt to the Dodgers) to find such a fascinating July 31 in baseball.
— And a big high five to me, as NONE of my trade ideas came true for the sixth year in a row. The last time I correctly predicted a trade was 2009, when the Cardinals acquired Mark DeRosa from the Indians, who promptly got hurt within a week and missed the rest of the season. So maybe it’s a good thing I never get these things right.
— So, Jon Heyman thinks that Scott Feldman’s complete game yesterday might kindle some trade interest from a team this month. If that actually turns out to be true, the Astros should take whatever they can get and sprint the other way, laughing hysterically.
— Presented without comment: since taking over as the everyday right fielder last Thursday, Oscar Taveras is 5 for 13 (.385), with a home run, two doubles and five RBI. The man he replaced, Allen Craig, had five RBI in the entire month of July.
— High five to the Rays for showing the classic Baseball Bugs cartoon during the lighting outage at Tropicana Field over the weekend. However, the outage again highlights that a major-league team is playing in a facility that isn’t even suitable for a minor-league team.
— I wonder if Dick Monfort will email me about this too.
— Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson has issues. His decision to plunk Andrew McCutchen in retaliation for Paul Goldschmidt being hit with a clearly accidental pitch was nothing short of petty and moronic.
— He should manage the Rockies. They would be a perfect fit.
— Incidentally, McCutchen’s oblique injury Sunday is probably just an unfortunate coincidence, but it’s probably going to damage the Pirates’ hopes for reaching the postseason for the second straight year.
— A Marlon Byrd reprise in Pittsburgh, anyone?
— Yes, it would be a great lift for the Yankees if Tanaka is able to come back and pitch the final month of the season. But there’s a mighty big difference between feeling no discomfort after playing catch for 50 pitches and throwing pitches in anger during a pennant race. He still has a partially torn elbow ligament. Calm down, you hyper-emotional Yankee fans.
— Last week, Padres pitcher (and former Astros outfielder) Jason Lane completed a remarkable late-career transformation, starting a game against the Braves in Atlanta. At age 37, Lane tossed six innings of one-run ball and made two other relief appearances before being sent back to the minors. Might he be recalled when the major-league rosters expand in September? It’s possible. After all, he does throw left-handed. Lefties are always in demand. Of course, it was only one game, but what a great story if he could advance through the minors a SECOND time and become a starting pitcher. It would be the Reverse Rick Ankiel Story.
— Besides, if guys like Jesse Orosco and Paul Assenmacher can be lefty relief specialists well into their 40s. why not Lane?
— Incidentally, Lane has one other claim to fame in his career: he is the last player to hit a home run at Busch Stadium II (in 2005).
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