Studs and duds: August 27 – September 2

Twice an All-Star, Grandal has 167 career home runs. (Wikipedia).

Yasmani Grandal is on a run that would make any catcher jealous … even Salvador Perez.

Offensive stud: Yasmani Grandal (C, White Sox). Grandal missed the better part of two months with knee surgery, and upon his return showed the White Sox how much they missed him.

In 5 games since coming back, the backstop has slashed .529/.636/1.353 with 4 home runs, 11 RBI, 6 runs scored and 4 walks. He’s managed to put up solid numbers despite a weak .217 batting mark overall, as he’s averaged nearly a walk per game with 64 in 68 appearances, giving him a .408 OBP on the year. The last time a player averaged a BB in more than 95 percent of his games was Barry Bonds in 2007, when he drew 132 in 126 matches.

Combined with his slugging mark of .515, which is backed mostly by his 18 dingers (he has only 5 doubles), his OPS and OPS+ are .923 and 154, respectively.

Honorable mention: Salvador Perez (C, Royals; .292/.370/.667, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 1 GS). Sorry Salvador, you’ve been demoted.

Offensive dud: Gio Urshela (3B, Yankees). Despite not playing since August 31, Urshela is back on top of the dud pile with a 1-for-17, 5 strikeout, 2 error showing over the past week. It’s difficult to glean anything positive from his run, but look at the bright side: His sole hit was a double and he managed 5 putouts and 8 assists. This Urshela is a far cry from the April and May edition—from April 18 to May 15, he hit .338/.385/.563 with 3 home runs and 13 RBI in 20 games. He’s slashed .241/.275/.387 since.

Dishonorable mention: Jose Iglesias (SS, Angels; 0-for-3, 1 K, 2 E).

Pitching stud: Gerrit Cole (SP, Yankees). Despite an excellent showing by Logan Webb (7 IP, 1 ER, 10 K) last night, Cole keeps his title after striking out 24 batters in 13 innings over the past week.

It’s crazy to think he is pitching worse now than earlier in the season—since July, his ERA is 2.87 in 53 1/3 innings. Over the first couple months of the year, it was 1.78 in 70 2/3 frames. In June and July, the hurler swooned big time, posting a 4.68 ERA in 59 2/3 innings—it wasn’t all bad, however, as he still Ked 79 batters and men hit just .225 against him. Too many of those hits left the yard, however, as he surrendered 12 of the 18 homers he’s allowed this year in that ten-start stretch. Hoping that’s all in the past, he’ll be carrying a 0.69 ERA over his past two games into his next one.

Honorable mention: Logan Webb (SP, Giants; 14 IP, 16 K, 2 BB, 0.64 ERA).

Karinchak has averaged 14.3 strikeouts per nine innings for his career. (Wikipedia).

Pitching dud: James Karinchak (RP, Indians). One appearance. One horrid appearance in which he didn’t even manage an out is all it took to land Karinchak here.

Pitching in relief against the Red Sox on August 27, the hurler surrendered 3 earned runs on 2 hits, a walk and a home run for the loss. It further sullied what had otherwise been a great first full campaign. He did not allow a single earned run through his first 13 appearances, striking out 25 batters in 11 2/3 innings. He carried a 2.78 mark and 13.9 K/9 ratio into late July, but allowed 11 earned runs in 9 innings over his last 12 appearances.

Karinchak is a strikeout ace, whiffing 12.8 per nine frames this year and an astounding 17.7/9 in 27 appearances last year. But even the best strikeout relievers falter eventually—his numbers remind me vaguely of Kyle Barraclough and Dellin Betances.

Dishonorable mention: Dillon Tate (RP, Orioles; 1 2/3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 0-2 W-L).

Studs and duds: August 26 – September 1

Salvador Perez is slipping, but maintains his title. Gerrit Cole had a week for the ages.

Offensive stud: Salvador Perez (C, Royals). The Perez train might be grinding to a halt, as the catcher went 0-for-5 with 3 strikeouts yesterday, but his performance in the early part of this one-week stretch still elevates him above all other players. Since August 26, he has 4 home runs, 12 RBI and 5 runs scored and is still riding high on those two grand slams he hit. Defensively, he had more putouts than anyone other than Brewers catcher Omar Narvaez. He’s just four shy of tying the single season record for home runs by a catcher, 42, currently held by former Braves backstop Javy Lopez.

Honorable mention: Tommy Edman (3B, Cardinals; .407/.452/.852, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 10 R).

In 2013, Iglesias hit .357 in the ALCS. Ah, those were the days … (Wikipedia).

Offensive dud: Jose Iglesias (SS, Angels). It’s been a swift decline for the 2015 All-Star, who, after hitting .373 in 39 games last year, is down to .259 in 2021. He carried a mark over .280 into late July, but since July 27, he’s hit just .178 in 101 at-bats. His August 27 performance against the Padres was especially bad—going 0-for-3 with a strikeout at the dish, he also committed 2 errors, bringing his season total to 16. When he was on, he was on, hammering out a couple four hit games earlier in the year. But Iglesias’ swift slide into mediocrity mirrors his career descent as a whole—after hitting .300 in his lone All-Star season, he’s batted just .272 with an 85 OPS+ since.

Dishonorable mention: Nick Gordon (SS, Twins; 0-for-9, 3 K, 1 E).

Gerrit Cole is statistically similar to Roy Halladay through age 30, per Baseball Reference. (Wikipedia).

Pitching stud: Gerrit Cole (SP, Yankees). With an unbelievable, 15 strikeout performance last night, Cole has reclaimed the American League strikeout lead from Robbie Ray and now sits at 215 on the season. Over his past two starts, he is 2-0 with 24 strikeouts in 13 innings; he’s allowed just 2 walks and 1 earned run for a 0.69 ERA. The star hurler also leads the AL in wins (14), WHIP (0.968), H/9 IP (6.9), K/9 IP (12.5) and K/BB (6.72). Though it might be a bit premature to start making Hall of Fame proclamations, if he continues pitching as he has the past four seasons through his prime and experiences a standard decline, then he might one day have case. After nine seasons, he already has 31.5 WAR—he’s the youngest active pitcher with at least 30.

Honorable mention: Max Scherzer (SP, Dodgers; 13.2 IP, 19 K, 1 BB, 0 R).

Pitching dud: Joe Smith (RP, Mariners). Smith couldn’t shake the ghost of his past week (2 1/3 IP, 3 ER, 0-2 W-L, 2 BSV), so he holds onto his title. Close on his tail were James Karinchak (0 IP, 3 ER, 1 BSV) and Dillon Tate (1 2/3 IP, 4 ER, 0-2 W-L), but Smith edges them out with the worst performance over the last seven days.

Dishonorable mention: James Karinchak (RP, Indians; 1 G, 0 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 3 ER, 0-1 W-L, 1 BSV).