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).

Studs and duds: August 28 – September 3

Garcia has 9 stolen bases and 21 doubles this year, as well. (Wikipedia).

Some new faces this time around.

Offensive stud: Adolis Garcia (OF, Rangers). Over the past week, Garcia has put together a tidy line of .333/.462/.667 with 2 home runs (including a grand slam), 6 RBI, 7 runs and 5 walks.

Talk about coming out of nowhere. The 28-year-old outfielder debuted with the Cardinals in 2018, hitting .118 in 17 at-bats. He didn’t play in 2019 and went hitless in a cup of coffee with Texas last year. Then—KABLAM! He burst onto the scene in 2021, leading the Rangers by far in home runs (29) and RBI (77), earning an All-Star selection and being a bright spot on that disappointing 47-87 club.

In 2019, he hit 32 dingers at Triple-A Memphis, so the power has always been there, but to see it show up on the big league stage so suddenly was a surprise.

Honorable mention: Juan Soto (OF, Nationals; .381/.519/.857, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 6 BB).

DeJong’s career average is .242. (Wikipedia).

Offensive dud: Paul DeJong (SS, Cardinals). This just hasn’t been DeJong’s year.

After making the All-Star team in 2019, he’s hit just .198/.289/.383 in 95 games this season, and these past seven days haven’t helped his numbers none. In 5 at-bats, he struck out 3 times; in the field he committed an error. It’s been an unpleasant fall for the slugger who averaged 31 home runs and 89 RBI per 162 games from 2017 to 2019 and just 22 and 75, respectively, since.

Though he’s always been a low-average guy—even in his All-Star campaign, he batted just .233—his mark has dipped to almost intolerable levels. And what’s worse—he’s 28 and supposed to be in his prime.

Dishonorable mention: Gio Urshela (3B, Yankees; 1-for-13, 4 K, 2 E).

Pitching stud: Logan Webb (SP,Giants). If anyone suggested Logan Webb would one day be pitching like a Cy Young Award candidate, I would’ve said they were crazy. But that’s exactly what he’s been doing of late.

In his past two starts, he tossed 14 innings and had 16 strikeouts, while allowing just 1 earned run on 9 hits and 2 walks. The Giants’ lead in the NL West is tenuous, but Webb is doing all he can to keep it from slipping away. Since his ERA peaked at 5.87 on April 20, it has been 2.04; since the beginning of August, it’s been 1.39.

2021 is a crazy year and Webb’s stunning line is part of the craziness.

Honorable mention: Frankie Montas (SP, Athletics; 2-0, 13 2/3 IP, 4 BB, 7 H, 1.98 ERA).

Pitching dud: Dillon Tate (RP, Orioles). It might be hard to believe, but Tate was the fourth-overall pick in the 2015 draft and Major League Baseball once ranked him the 36th-best prospect in baseball.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. In the past week, He has made four appearances and lost his last three; in 2 innings, he’s allowed 4 runs on 6 hits and a walk for an 18.00 ERA. This run makes him 0-6 on the year and 1-9 for his career; his season ERA has risen half a point in this short stretch alone. Perhaps there is a reason he was traded twice before making his major league debut.

Despite his middling 2021 performance, he has been one of the Orioles’ most oft-used relievers, appearing in 51 games.

Dishonorable mention: Andres Machado (RP, Nationals; 2 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 3 ER, 0-1, 1 BSV, 13.50 ERA).

Studs and duds: August 17 – August 23

Ty France began his career with San Diego in 2019. (Wikipedia).

This is one of the few times France is a winner.

Offensive stud: Ty France (IF, Mariners). Just a couple days after ending a five-game hitting streak, France started another. This one, so far, is up to six games, giving the slugger a .393 batting average over the past week. Among his 11 hits, he’s tallied 4 home runs and a double; he’s driven 8 runs home and scored 7 himself. In recent months, France has been surging, batting .361 in August, .319 in July and .319 since his season reached its low-point on May 13, when his batting mark dropped to .213. He didn’t make the All-Star team, but it’s been an All-Star recovery for the 26-year-old who was drafted by the Padres way down in the 34th round in 2015. By 2019, he was hitting .399 with 27 home runs at Triple A.

Honorable mention: Christian Yelich (OF, Brewers; .360 BA, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 5 R, 1 grand slam).

Offensive dud: Gavin Lux (IF, Dodgers). This is getting boring, Gavin. Can’t you do anything to get yourself out of here? I’m trying to find a reason not to do this to you, but why shouldn’t I put you here when the Dodgers think you’re so bad, they can’t even find a reason to put you on the field?

Dishonorable mention: Rodolfo Castro (IF, Pirates; 1-for-9, 3 K, 1 E).

Pitching stud: Logan Webb (SP, Giant). Webb is back on top again. The 24-year-old tossed 13 1/3 innings over the past seven days, allowing just 3 earned runs for a 2.03 ERA. He had 15 strikeouts to just 2 walks and held batters to a middling .280 on-base percentage. Through his seventh start on May 5, he was 1-3 with a 5.34 ERA; since then, he’s gone 6-0 with a 1.63 ERA. In 66 1/3 frames, he’s Ked 72 batters and they’ve hit just .198 against him. Typically, the script is flipped for Webb—he usually gets off to hot starts before eventually slumping. In 2019, he had a 3.52 ERA in his first three starts, but posted a 6.29 mark the rest of the way. In 2020, he had a 2.81 ERA in his first four appearances and a 6.57 mark over his final nine.

Honorable mention: Vladimir Gutierrez (SP, Reds; 1 W, 2.03 ERA, 15 K, 2 BB, 13 1/3 IP) … a near-identical line to Webb, but Gutierrez also took a loss.

Ramirez was selected off waivers by the Diamondbacks on May 22. (Wikipedia).

Pitching dud: Noe Ramirez (RP, Diamondbacks). On August 20, Ramirez returned to the majors after nearly a month away and it hasn’t been pretty. In 2 1/3 innings over 3 appearances, he’s allowed 4 walks, 2 hits and 3 earned runs for an 11.57 ERA. On August 21, he blew a save. It sullies what once was a decent season, as his ERA was 2.95 as late as July 20. Not anymore—it’s up to 3.92, which is more in line with his career mark of 4.16. Prior to 2021, the Angels traded Ramirez to the Reds for closer Raisel Iglesias, who this year has 27 saves, a league-leading 46 games finished and a K/9 ratio of nearly 14. Cincinnati released Ramirez before the season even began. You can tell who got the better of that deal (especially since Los Angeles later re-signed Ramirez!).

Dishonorable mention: Alex Colome (RP, Twins; 1 G, 1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 18.00 ERA, 1 BSV).