Salvador Perez and Joe Musgrove played like Hall of Famers this past week; Trevor Story and Lou Trivino … didn’t.
Offensive stud: Salvador Perez (C, Royals). At this point, Salvador, the Hall of Fame has you on their watch list. With 4 home runs in the past week, Perez sits at 36 on the season—and is all but a shoo-in for breaking the nearly twenty-year-old record of 42 dingers in a campaign by a catcher, set by the Atlanta Braves’ Javy Lopez in 2003. With his knock last night, a grand slam (his second in two games), he broke Ivan Rodriguez’s 22-year-old American League mark of 35, set in 1999 with Texas. The seven-time All-Star also has 10 RBI, a .704 slugging percentage and a 1.059 OPS over the past seven days. He might not be ready for Cooperstown, yet, but he’s building a case.
Honorable mention: Whit Merrifield (2B, Royals; .419 BA; 13 H, 9 RBI, 8 R, 2 SB).
Offensive dud: Trevor Story (SS, Rockies). I don’t like this story, Trevor. Mired in an 0-for-17 slump since August 21, Story has cooled off enormously since rattling off an 11-game hitting streak in late July and early August. With 108 strikeouts in 411 at-bats on the year, his free-swinging ways might not be an issue when he’s making contact—but when things go cold, they become a problem. He has 6 Ks over the past week, equivalent to more than 200 in a 600 at-bat season, which is actually only slightly worse than his career pace of 189 per 162 games. Twice an All-Star, Story is in the middle of his prime, so this slump is likely an aberration. But with free-swingers, you never know.
Dishonorable mention: Aristides Aquino (OF, Reds; 0-for-13, 8 K).
Pitching stud: Joe Musgrove (SP, Padres). Musgrove, formerly a first round compensation pick who Baseball America once ranked a top-100 prospect, never really lived up to the hype. Until this year. After flopping with Houston and Pittsburgh, he found a new home with San Diego and has been nothing short of excellent: In 25 starts, he has 9 wins, a 2.85 ERA, a 133 ERA+, a 0.991 WHIP and a 10.3 K/9 rate. His past two starts, especially his stunning performance last night, helped improve each of those numbers. Tossing a 3-hit, 2-walk complete game shutout against the Angels yesterday, Musgrove is 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA in his past 15 frames; he’s allowed just 6 hits and 4 walks, and just one of those hits left the yard.
Honorable mention: Max Scherzer (SP, Dodgers; 2-0 W-L, 12 2/3 IP, 18 K, 2 BB, 7 H, 0.71 ERA).
Pitching dud: Lou Trivino (RP, Athletics). The bright side: Trivino’s season ERA is still just 2.55 and his ERA+ is still 160. He’s averaged less than 7 hits allowed per 9 innings and he still ranks among American League leaders in saves. The downside: Since August 21, Trivino has blown 2 saves and taken the loss in 3 straight appearances. Opposing hitters have slashed .462/.533/1.000 against him and his ERA is 23.14. Presently, his 7 losses on the season rank third on the team and are 5 more than any other relief pitcher. His recent struggles aren’t unprecedented, as just in 2019, his ERA was 5.25 in 61 games. And they are especially unwelcome in Oakland right now, as there are vying for the postseason. Just remember the bright side, just remember the bright side …
Dishonorable mention: Genesis Cabrera (RP, Cardinals; 2 L, 2 BSV, 2 IP, 10 H, 9 R).