A Met draws my mighty opprobrium.
Offensive stud: Marcus Semien (2B, Blue Jays). Semien continues his hot hitting and defends his Stud status with a .357/.471/.929 line with 5 home runs, 12 RBI and 6 runs scored over the past seven days.
He is something of a rabbit’s foot, with Toronto winning each of the last 8 games he’s played and 11 of the past 12. Or, perhaps rabbit’s foot is the wrong term—they’re not just getting lucky with him in the lineup. Rather, he’s leading the charge. Since September 1, he’s averaged 1.6 RBI and about a run scored per game.
It is very premature to turn on the Hall of Fame watch for the 30-year-old Semien, but he is the sort of player that should everything go right over the next eight-to-ten seasons, he could build a case. Only in his 9th season, he already has 27.9 WAR—just a handful of players his age or younger have at least that many.
Honorable mention: Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (OF, Blue Jays; 8-for-26, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 6 R).
Offensive dud: Kris Bryant (3B/OF, Giants). Even the best struggle sometimes.
Having gone 4-for-20 with 9 strikeouts over the past week, the 2016 MVP continues a campaign that is a bit off from his stellar 2015 to 2017 run, when he averaged 31 home runs, 91 RBI and 106 runs scored per year, while posting a 141 OPS+.
This season, he is hitting .265/.351/.499 with 24 dingers and 65 RBI in 124 games split between the Cubs and Giants. Though still good enough to earn him his fourth All-Star selection, his slash line is depressed relative to his career .279/.376/.507 mark.
Dishonorable mention: Daniel Johnson (OF, Indians; 1-for-11, 4 K).
Pitching stud: Sean Manaea (SP, Athletics). Manaea had a rough August, allowing 31 hits, including 8 home runs, in 20 innings for a 9.90 ERA.
Well, September’s a whole new month. Over his past two starts, Manaea has tossed 14 innings and allowed just a single walk, 10 hits and 3 earned runs, while K-ing 18 batters, for a 1.93 ERA. The hurler began the season with a solid 2.91 ERA through June, but saw his mark rise to 3.97 after his August swoon. It’s back down to 3.79.
He’s again looking like the Manaea of 2018 and 2019, when he went a combined 16-9 with a 3.22 ERA and 130 ERA+ in 32 starts; he missed most of 2019 due to shoulder surgery and returned with a 4-3, 4.50 line in 2020.
Honorable mention: Jose Berrios (SP, Blue Jays; 2-0 W-L, 13 1/3 IP, 15 K, 2 BB)
Pitching dud: JT Chargois (RP, Rays). Because of his recent abominable run in which he allowed 4 hits, 3 walks, a homer, 2 earned runs, blew a save and took a loss—that’s, like, the hexafecta of futility—Chargois is the Dud again. Technically.
Closer Edwin Diaz, who blew a couple saves over the past week, is the runner up. But Diaz, let me tell you something about that guy. As a Mets fan, nothing is more irksome and disenchanting than having such a steaming pile of mediocrity take the mound every night, because I know there is a good chance any lead the Mets have, any chance at victory they might possess, is at risk of disappearing in an instant. New York traded two top prospects, outfielder Jarred Kelenic and pitcher Justin Dunn, for him and the currently suspended Robinson Cano. What a load of hokum and balderdash.
The Mets have a history of picking up disappointing closers, including Armando Benitez, Francisco Rodriguez and Frank Francisco. Even Billy Wagner, despite his outwardly excellent numbers, gave fans headaches.
Anyway, Chargois had a bad week, but his season’s been fine. A 2.54 ERA is nothing to sneeze at.
Dishonorable mention: Edwin Diaz (RP, Mets; 2 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 4 ER, 2 BSV, 2 L).