MLB Week 11: Things to Know

Things to Know: Nolan Arenado, a four-time Gold Glove winner and NL home run and RBI leader in back-to-back seasons, completed hitting for the cycle on Sunday with a walk-off three-run bomb. Arenado is currently on-pace for an incredible 100 XBH while leading the league in defensive runs saved – forget about third baseman, he may be the best infielder in the entire game. It’s a crime that he only came 5th last year in the NL MVP voting, while fellow third baseman Kris Bryant won largely because he was fortunate enough to play on the feel-good Cubs. Let’s see how Arenado fares in this year’s voting with the Rockies finally looking like a playoff bound team… another infielder made news this week, as the Twins took high-school shortstop Royce Lewis 1st overall in the 2017 draft, and quickly signed him to a $6,725,000 bonus. Royce Lewis signs The Reds selected 100-MPH flamethrower Hunter Greene 2nd overall, and some have compared him to a young Doc Gooden…as some careers begin, others must end, highlighted by 40-year old Reds starter Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo, a 1995 3rd round draft pick, saw his ERA rise to a bloated 7.35 with a NL Leading 23 homers allowed after Sunday’s loss. The veteran has been receiving cortisone shots throughout the season, but believes his shoulder is simply too frail to continue much longer, especially after missing the past two seasons to Tommy John…after winning six in a row, the Yankees have now lost six in a row, with injuries exposing a lack of depth in the rotation and bullpen. While the offense hasn’t been the problem, I’m certain GM Brian Cashman is taking note and will be looking to buy come the trading deadline, especially with the farm system being the deepest it’s been in over 20 years. An interesting trade candidate is Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, who can go free-agent at the end of 2017. He’s currently hitting .307 with an .824 OPS, and already has three Gold Gloves to his name. Despite two injury riddled seasons, the Yankees plan is for Greg Bird to handle first, but the lefty Hosmer, a 27-year old “veteran” and 2015 World Series Champion, could fit in nicely with the current young nucleus… the Twins finally fell out of 1st place in the AL Central, and sit only one game above .500 after their current four-game losing streak…the Mets got eight scoreless plus a homer from Jacob deGrom, avoiding a 4-game sweep at the hands of division leader Washington, who now leads by 10.5 games…the NL West has turned into the best division in baseball, with the Rockies, Diamondbacks, and Dodgers all on-pace for a playoff berth. Additionally, the only team in all of baseball with a better record than these three is the Houston Astros…Dodgers rookie 1B/LF Cody Bellinger has now hit seven homers in his last 10 games…not to be outdone, Brewers first baseman Eric Thames went deep in four straight this week and knocked in eight runs. He’s now leading the NL again with 20 taters…another first baseman crushing the ball is the Ray’s Logan Morrison, who hit four homers and knocked in nine runs this past week. Morrison is currently second the Aaron Judge for the AL HR lead, with 21 long-balls, and looks like an incredible bargain at $2.5 million…there definitely isn’t a shortage of first baseman having monster seasons, and Paul Goldschmidt might be having the best season of them all…Red Sox stud Mookie Betts is finally heating up as the Sox move to 0.5 games out of first…despite overall offense being significantly up, Max Scherzer simply doesn’t seem to care. In his latest victory, Scherzer tallied his fifth consecutive 10+ strikeout game, and now owns an incredible 0.84 WHIP…if there is any question about who the Cardinals ace is, Carlos Martinez has officially ended the debate. The 25-year old is third in the NL in ERA, fifth in WHIP, and currently on-pace for 259 strikeouts…don’t look now, but Royals starter Jason Vargas is leading the majors with 10 wins, second in AL ERA at 2.27, and could be prime trade bait…Pirates righty Ivan Nova has walked nine batters in 14 starts and leads the NL with 0.8 BB/9 and two complete games – Ivan, where was this when you were in New York for 6+ years?…a reliever I haven’t given any love to this season is Dellin Betances, who is averaging a career high 17 SO/9 and has only allowed one earned run the entire season… Kenley Jansen 2 we’re around 40% of the way through the season, and Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen still hasn’t walk a single batter. Not only has he not walked a batter, but he’s recorded 48 strikeouts to those 0 walks. When people try to minimize the importance of a closer, it’s almost comical to me…just look at the impact new closer Greg Holland has had on the first place Rockies…the All-Star game is less than a month away, and with so many players having huge offensive seasons, there’s bound to be some unfortunate omissions…will Aaron Judge participate in the home run derby? I actually hope not, because players never seem to recover after altering their swings to purposely hit everything out of the yard – just look at the second half’s Bobby Abreu and Todd Frazier had after their awesome derby sessions. Judge seems to be a man of the people, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he not only knew these risks, but accepted regardless to keep his constituents in a state of frenzy. Let’s see how this one plays out in the coming weeks…

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