Offensive stud: Marcus Semien (2B, Blue Jays). Semien had an All-Star-quality 2019 campaign, when he hit .285 with 33 home runs and 92 RBI, but he wasn’t selected to the elite roster.
Well, he finally got that All-Star call this season and has been playing like a veritable MVP over the past week. In 24 at-bats, he slashed .375/.483/1.042 with 5 home runs, 12 RBI and 6 runs scored; he now has 33 dingers, 90 RBI and 99 runs scored on the year as a whole.
The defensively adept 30-year-old has developed into one of the league’s premier middle infielders, with his slugging prowess reminiscent of Alex Rodriguez, Nomar Garciaparra, Miguel Tejada and — now that he is at second base — Jeff Kent and Alfonso Soriano.
If you believe Baseball-Reference, Semien is basically a carbon copy of the Phillies’ Didi Gregorius statistically, per their similarity scores. But, hey, Gregorius has never been an Offensive Stud.
Honorable mention: Frank Schwindel (1B, Cubs; .414/.469/.724, 3 HR, 9 RBI).
Offensive dud: Gio Urshela (3B, Yankees). Urshela was 2-for-9 with 2 errors and 2 Ks over the past week. I have written a poem:
Gio, oh Gio
Your offense makes me ill
I hope each day you won’t mess up
But my heart knows that you will.
A major leaguer, so you’re called;
It’s with New York you play
Though you strikeout and make us shout,
You’re in the lineup every day.
Your fielding is a letdown
Too many errors you commit
So the Yankees won’t release you,
Perhaps then you’ll just quit
Okay, I’m being too harsh
But let’s be honest, bud
Your play leaves me no option—
You’re today’s Offensive Dud.
Dishonorable mention: Daniel Johnson (OF, Indians; 1-for-11, 4 K, 1 E).
Pitching stud: Logan Webb (SP, Giants). Webb is back on top, again, with another week of marvelous pitching performances. This has become a common refrain with the wonderful Mr. Webb, who over his past two starts tossed 14 innings, struck out 16 batters and walked just one. His 2.57 mark over these past couple outings lowered his ERA—yet again—from 3.33 on August 1 to 2.64 now.
The Giants are in a tight race with the Dodgers for dominance in the National League West. Anchored by a pitching staff without any major superstars, it’s Logan Webb and other lesser known names—well, lesser known before 2021—that have elevated San Francisco to such successful heights. The entire staff is a unit, but since Webb’s leading the charge, I guess that makes him the Big Unit. Wait, I think that’s been taking.
Honorable mention: Sandy Alcantara (SP, Marlins; 15 1/3 IP, 20 K, 1 BB, 2.93 ERA).
Pitching dud: J.T. Chargois (RP, Rays). Dang it, J.T., I just said something nice about you the other day, too. In the past week, the Louisiana-native has tossed 2 2/3 innings, surrendered 4 hits, 3 walks, a homer, a couple earned runs, taken a loss and blown a save. It’s not an attractive line, but his campaign has been impressive overall. In 46 innings over 47 appearances, he has a 2.54 ERA and 161 ERA+. Not bad for a hurler who didn’t pitch in the majors in 2020 and had a 6.33 mark the year before. It has taken a while—he is now 30 years old—but perhaps Chargois is finally living up to his second-round draft status.
Dishonorable mention: Andres Machado (RP, Nationals; 0-2 W-L, 3 1/3 IP, 5 H, 5.40 ERA, 1 BSV).