Week 4: Beast of the Week & Things to Know

Opening Thoughts: With the close of April, we’re now 1/6th of the way through the season. To see what players are currently on pace for, multiply stats by six to get a quick projection…Offense continues to trend upward, strikeouts are at an all-time high, and now every reliever seems to throw 99 MPH– the game is evolving and it didn’t take meddling by Commissioner Rob Manfred to do so.

Beast of the Week: This award could go to the entire Washington Nationals lineup, but first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and teammate Anthony Rendon are my co-recipients for Beast of the Week honors after their ridiculous assaults on opposing pitchers. In six games, Zimmerman hit five homers, knocked in 13 runs, scored 11, and hit an even .500. He’s currently leading the majors in AVG, HR’s, and RBI’s, and is projected to hit 71 HR’s, with 188 RBI, 143 Runs, and a video-game like .886 SLG%. Not bad for someone who over the past three seasons has averaged 90 games with only 12 homers and 52 RBI’s – let’s call it the Daniel Murphy  improved launch angle effect. Last year, Zimmerman didn’t hit his 11th HR until June 30th. His track record and age will probably limit him from playing 150+ games, but good to see the Nationals lifer dominating in his 12th season.

Rendon Home Run 3PNG
Just before Rendon’s 3rd HR and 23rd run of the game.

As Zimmerman compiled a month of dominant stats, third baseman Anthony Rendon did something that only one other player in the 100+ year history of baseball has accomplished. Despite an overall slow April, Rendon’s accomplishment is historic and to omit him would be a mistake. On Sunday, Rendon went an incredible 6-6 with a Jacksonian three home runs, 10 RBI’s, and five runs scored. It’s been a decade since a single player drove in 10 runs in one game. So who was victimized by Rendon’s fireworks? That would be the same recipient of the Weak Sauce of the Week Award…

Weak Sauce of the Week: The esteemed honor goes to the Amazin’ Mess… I mean Mets organization.  When I told my wife the Mets lost 23-5, her response was, “That’s actually a score?”…yes, even the wife knows it’s shameful. Shame…shame…shame…the carnage was so significant, that backup catcher Kevin Plawecki was summoned to the mound, only to surrender Anthony Rendon’s third bomb of the game. The Mets gave up the highest total of runs in a NL game since last century, dating back to 1999. This beat down alone is worthy of mention, but it’s really the icing on the cake to a horrific week, and more significantly a brutal April for the Metropolitans. The Mets currently sit in last place after going a miserable 3-14 over their past 17 games. Yoenis Cespedes, after only two games, reinjured his balky hamstring. Despite going on the DL, the Mets said the injury isn’t serious, but it’s a nagging injury that constantly plagues Cespedes and should be a serious concern. Additionally, Noah Syndergaard overruled team medical advice on getting an MRI, the latest example in a laundry list of Mets brass mismanagement on injury issues. The Mets offense has been pretty lifeless, so I said it after Week 2, and I’ll say it again – call up top prospect Amed Rosario, who just happens to be hitting .407 at AAA.

Things to Know: There are currently 10 batters on pace for 200 or more strikeouts, but there have only been nine single seasons in over 100 years which reached 200 or more whiffs! Each of these seasons occurred over the past nine years, and the fact that the list could double after this season alone is statistically significant…Aaron Judge has 10 rocket-fueled home runs in his last 17 games, and now leads the AL in Runs, HR, SLG%, and OPS – not bad for a rookie…It’s still early, but Mike Trout’s OPS+ is 47 points higher than his career-high in 2013 and currently leads the AL…Matt Kemp hit three homers on Saturday, and now has 16 RBI in 13 games. He gets a bad rap since he doesn’t have the speed from his Dodger days and is low OBP, but it’s hard to argue with a perennial 25+ HR and 100+ RBI’s…Blink and you might miss him, because slugging first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is third in the NL with seven stolen bases. The Diamondback’s number three hitter quietly stole 32 bases last season, and is currently on pace for 42 stolen bases this year. There’s no reason he couldn’t have his first 30-30 season, and considering no first baseman has ever recorded more than two of those, the underrated 29-year old has a chance to accomplish something very unique down the road… it took an extra year, but Twins third baseman Miguel Sano is finally delivering the big offensive numbers I thought he would. He’s currently leading the AL in RBI’s and BB, while posting a .684 SLG%. It wouldn’t shock me if the 262 pound Sano ended up leading the AL in homers… While Ryan Zimmerman may win NL Player of the Month honors, his teammate Bryce Harper has an equally compelling case while leading the league in multiple offense categories… I’m still trying to figure out why the Cubs are hitting a slow, strikeout machine, with a surgically repaired knee at leadoff and actually think it’s a good idea – unfortunately, Joe Maddon hasn’t returned my calls…Terry Collins needs to play Michael Conforto everyday…the Yankees had an epic comeback down 9-1 Friday night, winning 14-11 behind four homers by Ellsbury, Judge, Castro, and the walk-off by Matt Holliday...

AL Wild Card Game - Houston Astros v. New York YankeesDallas Keuchel leads the majors at 5-0 in April, completing at least 7 innings in every start and officially looking like the same pitcher who won the 2015 AL CY Award…opponents are hitting .175 off Yu Darvish as he also looks like the Darvish of old… My favorite Met starter, Jacob deGrom, has been victimized by poor run support but is pitching like an ace. Having struck out 10+ batters in three straight starts while adding to his league leading 44 K’s, deGrom now ascends to the official staff ace following today’s debacle…After injuring his bicep and refusing an MRI, Noah Syndergaard got ripped for five runs and left after 1 1/3 IP with a right side injury (speculation is it’s a lat strain, but initially looked more like an oblique strain to me). One can only imagine if Syndergaard was pitching hurt, how it may have placed extra strain on his body or slightly altered his delivery, leading to the additional injury. Probably the most indispensable player on the slumping Mets, this is a huge blow for a last-place team that’s 2-8 in their last 10 games…Not to be outdone, Washington Nationals centerfielder Adam Eaton tore his left ACL and Meniscus, effectively ending his season. Eaton was third in the majors with 24 runs scored in 23 games, setting the table for a dynamic Nats lineup. A serious blow, the injury reminds me of when Diamondbacks lost leadoff hitter A.J. Pollock for the 2016 season and never recovered. Luckily for the Nats they’ve got speedster Trea Turner, who hit for the cycle earlier this week, to replace him and keep their juggernaut lineup rolling…blister/finger nail problems could plague Blue Jays ace Aaron Sanchez all season. At a MLB worst 7-17, Toronto’s nine game deficit in the AL East might already be too much to overcome in a very competitive division…interestingly, 10 of 15 NL teams have a .500 record or worse. In the NL, the Nationals, Cubs, Rockies, and Diamondbacks are all currently positioned to make the playoffs, while the Yankees, Orioles, Indians, and Astros are all positioned for the playoffs in the AL. It’s a 162-game season so let’s see how this changes after May.

Diamondbacks Walk Off Win
16-11 Arizona Diamondbacks walk-off win, 4/30/17

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