As we reach the quarter point of the MLB season, we thought this was a good time to take a second look at the former UVA baseballers plying their trade as professionals. Just as we did last time, we're going to break this into two pieces. Today, we'll look at the guys in the bigs and tomorrow we'll take a look at the minors.
Current Major Leaguers
There are 9 former Hoos currently in the majors. A couple of others are hanging out at AAA hoping for the call.
Javier Lopez, RP, San Francisco Giants - The elder statesman of UVA baseball alumni, Lopez struggled at the beginning of the season. He gave up runs in 4 of his first 6 appearances (one of those was unearned) and at one point had a 13.50 ERA along with more walks than Ks. Since then, however, he hasn't allowed a run and has just 1 walk. He's struck out 5 and given up just 2 hits. His ERA on the season is down to 4.50 and his WHIP is 1.25. This is often the nature of relief pitching. One bad outing can ruin stats for an extended period of time. Lopez is still one of the top LOOGYs in MLB and the Giants still count on him for big outs in key situations.
Ryan Zimmerman, 1B, Washington Nationals - At this point, Zimmerman is basically killing the nationals. This is especially true when you consider his $14M salary. At 1B, you need to be producing at the plate in order to be of value and Zimm simply isn't. He's batting just .228 with a sub-.300 OBP and a sub-.700 OPS. He's been below replacement level this year. He might be the worst 1B in the majors right now. He would probably be best used as part of a platoon. The Nats have a left-handed backup 1B who could play against righties, although he hasn't hit much this year either.
Mark Reynolds, 1B, Colorado Rockies - Maybe Reynolds should've looked to Colorado sooner. The hitter's paradise has been a big boost to him so far. The Rockies are using him as part of a left-right platoon, although Reynolds is getting some starts against righties. So far, Mark is batting .325 (tops among NL 1B), with an 855 OPS (5th). Strangely, he only has 2 HRs and 14 RBI. But he's walked 13 times in less than 130 plate appearances, giving him an OBP of .388. He's been mashing lefties, with a .341 BA against lefties and a .426 OBP. As he continues to get playing time, the HRs should start to come and that could make him quite valuable for the Rockies.
Brandon Guyer, OF, Tampa Bay Rays - Now 30 years old, Guyer is finally beginning to put it all together. In just 28 games, Guyer has already hit 4 HRs and drove in 12 runs. Last year, in 128 games, he hit 8 HRs and had 28 RBI. He's also batting .313 and has a 923 OPS. Put that together with his stellar OF defense and he's been one of the most valuable OFs in baseball this year, even though he doesn't always play every day.
Sean Doolittle, RP, Oakland Athletics - Like Lopez, Doolittle struggled a bit early in the season. He may have a better excuse as he barely pitched last year due to injury. Since those first 2 weeks, Doolittle has been lights out. He's sporting a 3.44 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. He's also got 22 Ks in just 18.1 IP. He has 2 saves.
Phil Gosselin, 2B, Arizona Diamondbacks - Though Phil has been mostly a bench player for the Diamondbacks, he's played in 35 out of the team's 46 games thus far. He hasn't hit much, just a .250 BA and a 618 OPS, but then again he's had just 62 plate appearances. He does have 2 doubles, a HR and 4 RBI. He's appeared as a pinch hitter for 25 of those appearances. He's appeared as a late-innings defensive replacement at 1B, 2B, and 3B and has also played LF.
Tyler Wilson, SP/RP, Baltimore Orioles - Despite moving back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen, Wilson has been a solid pitcher for the O's this year. He's 2-2 with a 3.68 ERA over 36.2 innings. He's got just 18 Ks, but he also has just 10 walks and has given up just 32 hits (for a WHIP of 1.14). You'd like to see more Ks from Wilson, because at some point, some of those balls are going to start falling and his WHIP and ERA will likely go up. Still, it's been a good season for Wilson so far.
Kyle Crockett, RP, Cleveland Indians - Crockett has been up with the big club since the end of April. He hasn't pitched poorly, but he hasn't pitched well either. His ERA through 11 appearances and 3.2 IP is 14.73 and his WHIP is 2345, though much of that damage came this past weekend in mop-up duty against the Red Sox. He was actually unscored upon over his first 6 appearances, and has struck out 4 batters in his 3.2 IP. As mentioned above, this can be the case for relief pitchers. Crockett has mostly done his job.
Chris Taylor, SS, Seattle Mariners - The timing for this article couldn't be better, as Taylor was recalled to the big leagues just yesterday. The Mariners put one of their SSs on the DL and called Taylor up. For his career, Taylor has not hit in the big leagues. His career BA is just .239 and his career OPS is 592. However, he has raked in AAA and continues to do that this year. He's batting .294 with an 838 OPS. He has 2 HRs and 8 stolen bases in 39 games. He'll be the backup middle infielder for the Mariners for a while until Ketel Marte returns.
Here are the guys awaiting their shot in the big leagues.
Jarrett Parker, OF, San Francisco Giants - Like Taylor, Parker has always raked in AAA. Unlike Taylor, Parker has actually hit in the majors as well. Last year, he batted .347 with a 1162 OPS over 55 plate appearances with the Giants. So far this year, he was up in the majors for a weekend, and then sent back to the minors. Over 3 games, and 5 plate appearances, Parker had a hit and a walk and struck out twice. In AAA though, he's batting .278 with a 973 OPS and 13 HRs in 35 games.
John Hicks, C, Minnesota Twins - After struggling at AAA to open the season, Hicks got sent to AA for a while. He raked there, and soon got recalled back to AAA. So far, though he has not hit in AAA. He has just 11 plate appearances in AAA, but he has just 1 hit and 1 walk for a 282 OPS. In AA, though, he has a 936 OPS over 53 plate appearances.
Will Roberts, SP/RP, Cleveland Indians - Though the Indians have been pretty good as a team, the pitching staff has been somewhat disappointing. The back end of the bullpen has been OK, but the rest of them have been terrible. And the rotation hasn't been as good as advertized. Roberts has continued to pitch pretty well in AAA, with an ERA of 3.00 and a WHIP of 1.29. He's striking out just 4.3 batters per 9 innings, which is poor. Without the ability to get strikeouts, Roberts might struggle in the majors. If the Indians continue to get poor results out of their bullpen, it is possible that Roberts will get his shot.