As we reach the 1⁄3 mark of the season, season statistics finally have enough of a sample size to make some real judgements. Sure, things could still change. But the teams with the best records right now are probably the best teams, and the guys with the best stats so far are probably among the better players.
With that in mind, let’s take another look around at all the former Hoos in the majors. This includes the current MLB batting leader, two of the top 3 in RBI and a couple of out-of-nowhere performances from little known rookies.
Tomorrow, we’ll look around the minor leagues.
Ryan Zimmerman, 1B, Washington Nationals – Zim was the talk of the league in April, as he led the majors with 11 HRs and was batting .420. His May wasn’t quite as good, but a .319 average and 906 OPS was still very good. All told, he’s leading the majors in batting average (.362) and is 2nd in OPS (1103). He has 17 HRs (T-2nd) and 49 RBI (3rd). Perhaps most surprisingly, he has played in 56 out of 58 Nats games this year. The 2 games he missed were rest days, as he has not had any injuries so far. That is great news for the Nats.
Mark Reynolds, 1B, Colorado Rockies – Like Zim, Reynolds has cooled off a bit since a hot April. Of course, Reynolds wasn’t nearly as good in April as Zim which makes his regression a bit less noticeable. Reynolds is batting .301 right now, which would represent a career high. He’s got a 946 OPS along with 16 HRs and 51 RBI (2nd in the majors). His K-rate is just 25%, which is low for him and actually right about the league average.
Brandon Guyer, OF, Cleveland Indians – Guyer was struggling badly at the plate this year, batting just .182 with a 528 OPS. Through 21 games and 55 ABs, he had 1 HR, 5 RBI and 15 Ks. He is currently on the DL with a sprained left wrist. Guyer’s struggles at the plate have killed the momentum he’d gained last year with a strong run through the playoffs. It may be that the wrist injury was hurting his performance, which would hopefully mean he’ll improve upon his return.
Sean Doolittle, RP, Oakland Athletics – Doc is also on the DL, dealing with a left shoulder strain. He’s actually due back soon, and is beginning a rehab assignment tomorrow. Prior to the injury, he was pitching well, sporting a 3.52 ERA with a 0.78 WHIP. He had 11 Ks versus just 1 walk in 7.2 IP over 9 games. He had 1 save and 5 holds.
Phil Gosselin, IF/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates – Gosselin is the Pirates utility guy. He’s a pinch hitter who can play all over the diamond, so he’s a useful National League guy for double-switch purposes. He’s playing in 21 games, but has just 32 plate appearances. He’s really struggled at the plate, batting just .129 (4/31) with a 318 OPS. That’s just really bad, and some regression to the mean is expected. Gosselin isn’t a great hitter, but he’s better than that.
Chris Taylor, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers – Speaking of regression to the mean, analysts keep expecting there to be some with Taylor. Since his call-up in mid-April Taylor has simply been one of the best hitters in the NL. He’s batting .305 with a 913 OPS. He has 7 HRs and 24 RBI. He’s also scored 26 runs. Considering Taylor’s career high in HRs in the minors was 7, the power surge is out of character. The question is, how long can he keep it up?
Tyler Wilson, RP, Baltimore Orioles – Tyler has been pitching out of the Orioles bullpen most of the year, and hasn’t been particularly good. He’s got a 7.43 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP. He’s struck out 6 and walked 4 over 13.1 IP. That said, he’s 2-2 on the year. He has 1 start, in which he held the Red Sox to 3 runs on 6 hits over 6 innings and got the win.
Jarrett Parker, OF, San Francisco Giants – Parker hasn’t played since breaking his collarbone on a catch in LF on April 15th. He wasn’t hitting much up to that point, but it was a small sample size of just 21 ABs. He has been able to take some batting practice and could be back around the all-star break.
John Hicks, C, Detroit Tigers – Here is another guy whose Major League performance has seemingly come out of nowhere. Hicks came up in late April when Miguel Cabrera went on the DL, and started doing a very good Cabrera impression. He’s remained with the big league club since Cabrera’s return, though his playing time has been spotty. All told, he’s batting .313 with a 910 OPS over 13 games and 49 PAs. He has 3 HRs and 12 RBI. Even in Low-A ball, Hicks never had a 910 OPS.
Kyle Crockett, RP, Cleveland Indians – Even with the Indians having some bullpen problems, Crockett has remained in AAA for the entire season thus far. He’s tearing it up in in Columbus, throwing 24.1 IP and giving up just 5 ER for a 1.85 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP. He’s struck out 28 versus 8 walks. The Indians already have 2 lefties in their bullpen including Andrew Miller, who might be the best relief pitcher in baseball right now. So Crockett probably isn’t going anywhere any time soon. That said, he’s on the Indians 40-man roster, so all it would take is one injury to get him back to Cleveland.
With 10 guys either currently in the majors, or close to it, the Hoos are showing off just how strong their baseball program has become. There are a handful of guys who aren’t far away from the big leagues, including Derek Fisher and Mike Papi. And with two current Hoos expected to go very early in the ML draft (just 2 weeks away), this number could go up before long.