Studs and duds: September 3 – September 9

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).

Bryant strikes out with the best of ’em, averaging 167 Ks per 162 games. (Wikipedia).

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.

Pre-Mets Edwin Diaz: 2.64 ERA, 156 ERA+. Mets Edwin Diaz: 4.20 ERA, 98 ERA+. (Wikipedia).

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).


Studs and duds: September 2 – September 8

Semien has slugged .511 since 2019. Before then, his mark was .403. (Wikipedia).

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).

Chargois had a 4.53 ERA and 89 ERA+ in 60 games with the Dodgers. (Wikipedia).

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).