Offensive stud: Salvador Perez (C, Royals). There’s no stopping Salvy. After clobbering another home run last night—that’s five games in a row now, if anyone’s counting—Perez is up to 6 in the past week and 38 on the year. But dingers aren’t all he’s hitting. He’s hitting, period, with a .357/.455/1.000 line, 14 RBI and 6 runs scored over his last seven games. He even has 5 walks, accounting for one-quarter of his season’s total. At this point, all we can do is sit back and watch. If this train ever stops remains to be seen—and it doesn’t look like it will.
Honorable mention: Whit Merrifield (2B, Royals; .323/.382/.710, 4 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI).
Offensive dud: Gio Urshela (3B, Yankees). Looks like he’s still getting back into the groove of things. Urshela, who missed most of the past month with a hamstring strain, went 1-for-13 with 3 strikeouts and 2 errors in four games since his return.
In terms of production, the slump brings the infielder closer to the Urshela of old—this season, he has 11 home runs, 41 RBI, a .266 average and a 99 OPS+; from 2015 to 2018, he hit 8 dingers with 39 RBI, a .225 mark and a 57 OPS+.
If his downward trend continues, Urshela’s 2019-2020 run will prove to be an aberration, as his offense spiked to a combined .310/.358/.523 line with 27 home runs and 104 RBI over that stretch. Even in the minor leagues, he was never much of a hitter, holding a .275/.306/.400 line in 12 seasons there.
Dishonorable mention: Aristides Aquino (OF, Reds; 0-for-14, 8 K).
Pitching stud: Dylan Cease (SP, White Sox). Dylan is back.
After cranking to the tune of a 2.41 ERA through his first 8 starts, then falling to a 4.82 mark over his next 17, the hurler has killed it of late. Over his past 13 innings, he allowed just 8 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 18 batters. His performance resulted in a 1.38 ERA, his best two-game mark of the year, and brings his 2021 line to 11-7 with a 3.82 ERA in a league-leading 27 starts. In 143 2/3 innings, he has 188 strikeouts, which is third in the American League.
Cease was acquired—with Eloy Jimenez, no less—in a 2017 deal with the Cubs for pitcher Jose Quintana. Quintana spent a few years with the Cubs, posting a 4.24 ERA in 439 2/3 frames. If Cease keeps pitching like this, he’ll give the Sox something they can rub in their crosstown rivals’ faces for a long time.
Honorable mention: Jose Berrios (SP, Blue Jays; 10 IP, 17 K, 1 W).
Pitching dud: Daniel Bard (RP, Rockies). Bard retains his crown from yesterday, as no pitcher has done worse than his 0-2, 43.20 line over the past week. Jake Petricka (1 IP, 5 ER), Lou Trivino (1 1/3 IP, 4 ER, 0-2 W-L) and Edgar Garcia (1 2/3 IP, 7 ER) were close, but none matched Daniel’s futility. The Bard had a mastery over the written word; this Bard, well, batters have a mastery over him.
Dishonorable mention: Jake Petricka (RP, Angels; 0-1, 1 BSV, 1 IP, 5 ER, 2 BB).