Random notes and musings from the world of baseball, August 20, 2021.

Max Scherzer is a future Hall of Famer. (Wikipedia).

Scherzer 3000 K watch: It’s time to start the countdown to 3,000 Ks for Max Scherzer. He has 2,954 for his career and is just 46 away. Four great starts might get him there, which will all but lock in his Hall of Fame chances. Zack Greinke is getting close, too, but is still a year or two away.

Cabrera is aggravating: As we wait for Miguel Cabrera to finally mash home run number 500 (he’s been sitting at 499 since August 11), one must ask how much sooner he would have reached the mark, and where he would be now, if his offense—and health—hadn’t cratered in 2017. Same with 3,000 hits, he could have joined that pantheon of greats years ago, but he’s still nearly 50 away. He’s never fully recovered from his swoon and that’s aggravating. He’s becoming a what could have been player. Though he’s still going to be an all-time great, a Hall of Famer, he could have been a legend.

Watch DJ Peters: The rookie has struggled to a .175 average this year, but brighter days might be ahead. His average was unimpressive, but over the past week he’s slugged 3 home runs with 7 RBI. He hit as many as 29 homers in the minors.

Zavala watch: I mentioned White Sox catcher Seby Zavala yesterday and decided to check in again. He was 0-for-3 yesterday but has still been the club’s best catcher over the past month (4 HR, 13 RBI).

Mitch White earned the win in his most recent appearance. (Wikipedia).

White got the short end of the stick: To make roster space for pitcher Victor Gonzalez, the Dodgers demoted Mitch White to the minor leagues. Someone had to go, but it’s tough to see White—who’s posted a 3.06 ERA and averaged nearly a strikeout per inning this year—be the one … especially since he’s coming off a 2 hit, 6 strikeout, 7 1/3 inning performance.

Lopez is putting it all together: Reynaldo Lopez has been stellar for the White Sox this year, going 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA in 11 games (3 starts). In 25 innings he’s Ked 26 batters and allowed just 11 hits. Over the past month, his ERA is 0.90. It’s a small sample size, so it might not last, but still … not bad for a guy whose career mark was 4.77 before this year.

Betts—leadoff home run king? What are the odds of Mookie Betts eventually overtaking Rickey Henderson for most career leadoff home runs? He has 28 for his career and 6 this year. Henderson hit 81, so he’s still a bit off in the distance.

Todd Helton hit .316 with 369 home runs over 17 seasons. (Wikipedia).

Happy birthday Helton: It’s former Rockies first baseman Todd Helton’s birthday today. The greatest gift of all would be a belated one—an election to the Hall of Fame. It’s coming, Todd, just be patient.

Drake passes away: Outfielder Solly Drake, who spent two years in the majors in the 1950s, has died at 90 years old. He was a member of the World Series-winning 1959 Dodgers, which now has 11 surviving members. His brother, Sammy, played in the majors in the early ‘60s.

Yamamoto’s rehabbing: The Mets sent Jordan Yamamoto on a rehab assignment. Sorry, New York, Jordan’s not going to save your crashing season.

Sanit made it: Amaury Sanit, remember him? He pitched for the Yankees in 2011 and had to overcome all odds to get there. First, he defected from Cuba. Then he struggled his way through the Yankees farm system—and it was a struggle, as he posted a 6.35 ERA in 2010.  That year, he hurt his own cause by using performance enhancing drugs and earning a 50-game suspension. Such an event would be a career-ender for most minor leaguers his age. But he kept going, and in 2011, the 31-year-old reached the major leagues.

Ayce in the hole: Some parents are really big into using alternative spellings when naming their babies, and some love to use the letter y. Former Dodger Trayce Thompson’s brothers Klay and Mychel have NBA experience, as does their father, Mychal (note the slight difference in spelling). And remember brothers Laynce and Jayson Nix?

Random notes and musings from the world of baseball, August 19, 2021.

Clayton Kershaw hasn’t started more than 30 games since 2015. (Wikipedia)

Kershaw’s greatness is past: Clayton Kershaw remains one of the greatest pitchers of the past fifty years—but Kershaw the superhuman is no more. Granted, pound for pound he’s still among the best in the game, when he pitches. But he hasn’t tossed more than 180 innings in a season since 2015 and has averaged just 138 innings in the six succeeding campaigns. To be among the best, a player has to play. And Kershaw hasn’t done enough of that in recent years.

Chirinos is killing it: Catcher Robinson Chirinos, a career .232 batter, is hitting the cover off the ball. Over the past week, he’s slashed .471/.591/.824 with 3 doubles and a home run. On the year, he has a stellar 166 OPS+.

Giving Zavala some love, too: Catcher Seby Zavala isn’t a household name, and his 2021 season likely won’t make him one, but give credit where credit is due. Over the past month, he’s hit 4 home runs with 13 RBI and scored 12 runs on just 11 hits. The White Sox other catching options, Zack Collins and Yasmani Grandal, have disappointed—but Zavala is cranking along.

Littell is making a name for himself: Reliever Zack Littell is one of the reasons the Giants’ pitching staff is among the best in the league. He has a 2.74 ERA in 44 appearances this year, and didn’t allow a run, while striking out 10 batters, in a recent 6 game, 8 2/3 inning stretch. Two years ago, with Minnesota, he had a 2.68 ERA in 29 games.

Head-ing for greatness? Maybe not, but Rays reliever Louis Head has been an unsung hero on that first place club. In 19 appearances this year, he has a 2.49 ERA; this past month, he’s averaged 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings.

Fargas designated for assignment: Johneshwy Fargas, who the Mets let walk earlier this year, has been DFA’d by the Cubs. Here’s hoping a return to New York is imminent—he hit .286 in his brief showing with the Mets and has stolen 50-plus bags in the minors twice. He could be an asset.

Parra reaches 1, 500 games played: While Joey Votto was stealing the spotlight with his 2,000th career hit, Nationals outfielder Gerardo Parra recently reached 1,500 games played. Cesar Hernandez passed 1,000 this past week, as well.

Milestones galore: Bryce Harper recently blasted his 250th home run, Jose Ramirez eclipsed 500 RBI, Marcus Semien knocked his 200th double, Elvis Andrus reached 50 triples, Freddie Freeman drew his 100th intentional walk (and J.D. Martinez reached 50), Nolan Arenado and Jean Segura passed 5,000 plate appearances and Yadier Molina reached 3,000 total bases.

Jumbo Diaz averaged more than a strikeout per inning for his career. (Wikipedia)

Jumbo earned the nickname: Remember Reds reliever Jumbo Diaz? At the end of 2013, he weighed an astonishing 348 pounds! He managed to drop nearly 70 pounds for 2014, quite an impressive feat. But still, during his time in the majors, he had a listed playing weight of 315.

Moye is a cautionary tale: I’m sure few people remember him, but Andy Moye is a cautionary tale for players drafted by big league clubs. The starting pitcher was taken by the New York Mets in the 11th round of the 2006 draft, but did not sign a contract. Bad choice. His stock fell so much that the next time he was drafted, 2009, it was in the 50th round — the very last round in the draft. He was the seventh to last player taken overall. Ouch. He forged a four-year pro career, but never advanced beyond Double-A.

Garritano dies: I don’t want this to become a death blog, but the baseball fraternity lost another member just a couple weeks ago.  Catcher Arnie Garritano never played professionally, but was drafted by the Tigers in 1983. He died August 8 at 57 years old.