About those Guardians: I didn’t want to opine about the Cleveland Indians’ name change, because everyone was opining about the Cleveland Indians’ name change. But I’ll say this: Could they have picked any more bland and milquetoast a moniker than Guardians? It inspires absolutely nothing—not fear, nor intimidation; it’s not even remotely assertive. It’s not take-charge or motivating. The Guardians. Bleh.
Edmundo’s breaking out: Cardinals infielder Edmundo Sosa isn’t a well-known name, but the 25-year-old might be soon. Over the past week, he’s 4-for-11 with a home run, 3 RBI and 3 runs scored and since the beginning of this month, he’s batting .350. Sosa had a couple cups of coffee for St. Louis in 2018 and 2019, but didn’t play in the majors at all last year. He began his professional career in the Cardinals system in 2013 at just 17 years old.
Miller time: Owen Miller, a rookie infielder for Cleveland, was hitting just .107 on August 2nd. Though his mark is still an anemic .175, the former third round pick managed to scratch out 11 runs, 10 RBI and 3 home runs over the past month. Even when things are looking awful, you can find something nice to say.
mAkin due with what he has: Orioles’ starting pitcher Keegan Akin’s season has been just like Baltimore’s: Awful. In 19 games (12 starts), he’s 1-8 with a 7.26 ERA; he has allowed 91 hits in 70 2/3 innings. But every dog has his day: The hurler tossed a 7 inning, 3 hit, 6 strikeout gem against the Angels yesterday for his first win of the year. And if you think his ERA is bad, get this—the Orioles have 16 pitchers with marks that are even worse.
You might do well here: Welcome to the majors, Austin Warren. The Angels reliever made his debut on July 29 and has a 1.69 ERA in 11 games since. In his most recent outing, August 24 against Baltimore, all three of his outs were strikeouts. Unfortunately, he was placed on the disabled list today for undisclosed reasons.
It all worked out in the end: How often does it happen that all the prospects in a substantial trade end up working out—if not with the team they were sent to, but at some point down the line? On December 19, 2010, the Royals traded pitcher Zack Greinke and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt to the Brewers for pitchers Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and shortstop Alcides Escobar, the latter four of whom were all young and unproven. Cain spent seven years with Kansas City, earning an All-Star selection and performing as one of the best defenders in the game; Jeffress had a 2.89 ERA in 377 appearances from 2013 to 2020; Odorizzi went on to win 68 games and was an All-Star in 2019; and Escobar averaged 158 games played and 22 steals per year from 2011 to 2017. For their parts, Greinke went 25-9 in 49 starts with Milwaukee and Betancourt played 152 games for the Brewers in 2012, slugging 13 home runs with 27 doubles and 68 RBI.
The goal is to hit the ball: In the 1950s, the most strikeouts a batter had in a season was 138, by Jim Lemon in 1956. In the ‘60s, the high mark was 187, by Bobby Bonds in 1969. With 189 whiffs in 1970, Bonds also paced 1970s hitters in that category. Rob Deer had the highest total in the 1980s, with 186 in 1987. Folks were swingin’ and missin’ less in the ‘90s, with Cecil Fielder leading the pack at 182 in 1990. Then things took off—Mark Reynolds struck out over 200 times twice in the 2000s, in 2008 (204 Ks) and 2009 (223 Ks), and 190-plus strikeouts happened five more times, as well. In the 2010s, there were eleven 200-K seasons, with Adam Dunn leading the pack with 222 in 2012. There were 12 campaigns of 190 to 199 strikeouts.
Jackie was a leader: In his sole year in the Negro leagues, 1945, Jackie Robinson paced the loop with 13 doubles, 4 home runs, a .449 on-base percentage and 72 total bases.
Oh those crazy ‘80s: Talk about one year wonders—in 1884, pitcher Billy Taylor went 43-16 with a 2.10 ERA in 523 innings. To that point, he’d never won more than 4 games in a season; he played three more years and won just one game in each. Even crazier is Bill Sweeney’s 1884. He led the Union Association, a major league that lasted one campaign, with 40 wins, 62 games, 60 starts, 58 complete games, 538 innings pitched and 2,270 batters faced (Royals reliever Greg Holland has been around since 2010 and has yet to face his 2,270th batter). And that was it. He never played in the majors again.
Winning’s easy, and it isn’t: Toad Ramsey, who pitched from 1885 to 1890, holds the record for most wins in a single season by a pitcher who finished with a career losing record. In 1886, he went 38-27 in 67 starts for the Louisville Colonels, and the next year, he had 37 wins. (And after that, he went 8-30). He finished with a record of 113-124.
That’s discouraging: Minor league infielder Tim Barker spent 10 seasons playing professionally, from 1989 to 1998. Six years in a row—1993 to 1998—were at Triple A, but he never received a call to the majors.