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).

Studs and duds: August 25 – August 31

Salvy and Ray appear here to stay.

Offensive stud: Salvador Perez (C, Royals). Hunker down, Perez might own this title for a while. Though he went hitless yesterday, he helped his team by getting on base with a hit by pitch and scoring a run.

It’s not a great single-game performance, but still, over the past week, his line is .333/.429/.958 with 5 home runs, 13 RBI and 6 runs scored. And slugging dingers is almost all he’s done: He’s managed no other extra base hits since August 13, smashing 9 dingers since that date.

He might be insulted if you call him this, but Perez is a ball magnet—with 10 HBPs on the year, he currently ranks seventh in the American League in that category.

Honorable mention: Bryce Harper (OF, Phillies; .519/.576/1.074, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 6 2B).

Odor stinks! (Get it?) (Wikipedia).

Offensive dud: Rougned Odor (IF, Yankees). Once upon a time, going on a decade ago, Odor was a top prospect in the Rangers system. He hammered out three 30-plus home run seasons and played all 162 games in 2017.

Ahh, reminiscing. Since 2019, he’s hit .201/.276/.423 with an OPS+ of 81.

For his career, he’s been in the top five in errors committed by a second baseman each year since 2015 and has led the league five times.

In the past week, he added another error and went 0-for-5 with 3 strikeouts at the plate; on the year, he’s batting just .211 with 90 Ks in 299 at-bats.

The only Odor here is a stinky one.

Dishonorable mention: Aristides Aquino (OF, Reds; 0-for-15, 7 K).

Pitching stud: Robbie Ray (SP, Blue Jays). No pitcher matched Ray’s recent performance (14 IP, 24 K, 1.93 ERA)—and that will be difficult to do—so he’s the Stud for another day.

With modern batters swinging wildly and Ray the best at getting them to do it, he now ranks #1 all-time in career strikeouts per nine innings ratio at 11.18. The next-closest hurler is the Red Sox Chris Sale at 11.10. In fact, the top five in that category are all active (as are seven of the top ten), so leadership might fluctuate day to day and month to month.

Honorable mention: Blake Snell (SP, Padres; 14.2 IP, 20 K, 2 BB, 0.61 ERA).

Smith is one of only a handful of players who debuted in 2007 that are still playing. (Wikipedia).

Pitching dud: Joe Smith (RP, Mariners). Smith also retains his title, having taken two losses, blown two saves and posted an 11.57 ERA over his last few games. It is a rough tumble for the hurler who, despite his misstep, still ranks among the best non-closing relief pitchers ever. He leads active hurlers with 823 career appearances and is 48th all-time in that category, one spot ahead of a starter, Nolan Ryan.

Dishonorable mention: Edgar Garcia (RP, Twins; 1 2/3 IP, 7 ER, 3 BB. 4 H, 1 WP).