Hidden Gems in the MLB by Bob Ryan

mlb logoWe St Louis fans follow our Cardinals…12 months a year…we follow baseball but there are some other MLB players who we miss, ignore, overlook due to our rapt Redbird attention….there are some hidden gems in the MLB….but let’s start right @ Busch III

…a sizzling rookie gem plays for the Nats…Rookie Trea Turner is really shining brightly in his 1st year in the MLB….he’s hitting .345! Turner has stolen 21 bases. He’s only 23 years old but has played a substantial role in the 1st place positioning of the Washington Nationals.

…some gems that aren’t grabbing headlines because they don’t hit HR…..the top 3 hitters in the MLB are 2B….Jose Altuve(Hou), DJ Lemahieu (Col), Daniel Murphy (Wash) and further 5 of the top 7 hitters in the MLB are 2B! Dustin Pedroia (Boston is 5th) and shockingly Jean Segura (AZ) is 7th…amazingly Segura was traded from Milwaukee to AZ and LeMahieu was traded by the Cubs to the Rocks..what a steal… LaMahieu was traded by the Chicago Cubs with Tyler Colvin to the Colorado Rockies for Casey Weathers (minors) and Ian Stewart.

…we are raving..even though he’s in the midst of a massive slump…justifiably …about Brandon Moss’ production… considering its his 6th team in 10 seasons, it’s really amazing….he’s belted 25 HR with a HR every 13.88 AB, 61 rbi…couple other observations…although his fielding is probably C- with high slugging numbers and his contract expiring this year, he’ll command a long-term contract with hefty compensation…the Cards have already passed on a much greater, home-grown talent…remember Albert Pujols…sure he wanted the moon…and got it ..but he’s still a power hitter…even now… he has 29 HR, 110 RBI’s(#3 in the MLB), his OPS is .794 as a 36 year old! He’s still going strong…during the last week he banged out 3 dingers while hitting .404. Chances seem slim to me that Mr. Moss will be wearing a Bird on the Bat next year…..so many expect a home-town discount….come on…how many of you are willing to accept less in salary negotiations….especially when you are looking at you last “big” contract”? Foolishly..at least to me… people moan about him accepting a contact worth an additional $5 million dollars instead of him taking less so he can stay in St. Louis…we have a great city….but so do other cities….it sure wouldn’t take me long to make up my mind…get an extra $5 mil for doing the same work..hmmJ Let’s enjoy this gem for the remainder of 2015

…one gem is buried….he’s buried deep in the murk of Atlanta baseball…Freddie Freeman just keeps playing at a very high level for a really bad team.. He’s hitting .294, 29 HR, 73 Ribbies and 85 runs scored and carries a lofty OPS of .956. Now….he IS getting compensated very well….he just signed a 6 year deal with the Braves for $118mi so he may be overlooked by many baseball fans but at least the Braves realize the value of this gem.

…We all know Yadi…and have for a long time….we appreciate him and know he IS a gym but did u know Yadi is the 4th highest hitting catcher in the MLB right now @ .292….the 3 full time catchers above him are 1st-JT Realmuto .313, 2nd-Wilson Ramos-.304, 3rd Jonathan Lucroy .297….interestingly, Ramos AND Lucroy are both free agents at the end of 2016.

 

..our bullpen has been up & down but Swing When OH has really been a gem….he now has 17 saves and 14 holds…he’s already been in 70 games…he’s on route for 75+ games…that’s a lotta games… considering recent history of pitchers with 75 games…I’m a bit concerned…last year the leaders in appearances were Kevin Siegrest 81 games; Mark Melancon-78; Javier Lopez & Tony Watson-77 games; with 76 games were Jared Hughes, Will Smith, Pedro Strop, Seth Maness and Jeurys Familia….of that long list…only Melancon and Familia seemed to match their sharpness in 2016.. many missed time due to arm issues or their effectiveness has dropped as the season unfolded…overuse catches up to everyone…at some point…let’s hope not to this bullpen gem.

…this next gem has been “around” but has never been quite this good….when you think of 20 game winners…you think of Scherzer, Kershaw, Arrieta, etc…you don’t think of a guy with an average pitch speed of 89 mph…however, the 1st 20 game winner in 2016 is Rick Porcello…he’s 6-0 in his last 7 starts, 12-1 in his last 20 starts as he has kept the Red Sox in the Wild Card race ..this gem isn’t flashy or overpowering…a key…in addition to control within the strike zone, he’s walked only 29 batters in his 193 innings of work in 2016…he won’t win the Cy Young because he doesn’t pile up strikeouts, doesn’t throw 2 or 3 hit games or doesn’t complete games…but he is a gem in 2016

….Miami has some gems that most overlook….while the Fish seemed to have fallen out of the Wild Card race of late two of their steadiest players are way under the radar…Martin Prado has been a consistent, non-flashy, a .315 hitter,OBP .369 and OPS of .796 while playing in 132 games to this point….another player not highly regarded by many is Christian Yelich. He’s at .304, 18 HR, OBP of .379 and OPS .868. The Marlins don’t think he’s overachieving…they signed this 24 year old to a 7 year contract that goes through 2022 for $62mil. It began at $1mil and escalates to $22mil by final year of contract.

…. A brand new gem sparkling bright but with a poor team is Brian Dozier…. Dozier has 38 HR for the Twinkies… who ever heard of this guy? Right away I thought of him juicing…..didn’t you…come on…be honest….that’s if you even heard of him…ya know Minnesota doesn’t get a lot of Sunday night games of the World do they…have there EVER been on Sunday night…anyway… Dozier has improved every year…his 1st regular year(2013)-18, 2014-23, 2015-28 and now 38..he’s 29 years of age…good for him.

…the Cubs have excelled this year…while many of their gems…Bryant, Rizzo, Arrieta, Lester, Chapman are very well known….another gem has shined all year…starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks is 14-7 with a sparkling ERA of 2.07 and an amazing WHIP of 0.99. There are only two other starters in the MLB with a lower whip (Clayton Kershaw & Max Scherzer)…in good years for any team, the expected stars shine and the hidden gems shine…sometimes even more than the stars.

…a gem that has been around the block…maybe the whole city…..for a long, long time is Francisco Rodriguez (FranRod). This 34 year old tipped his toes into the MLB waters for the 1st time in 2002 with a short stint. Since that time he’s been in 908 games, recorded 425 saves and is still ticking… this year he’s piled up 39 saves while most miss his strong efforts in Detroit. Wearing his 7th different uniform, this gem is missed by many…due to his name …how many Rodriguez’s are there in theMLB?…due to his longevity …and maybe due to his location..Detroit ..but he is a reliable gem in the pen

Outside the MLB…there are other gems…

…I loved the Texas-ND football game…it was a real gem of a game…..two powerhouse programs locking horns in game 1…the momentum swayed back & forth. Texas needed the win “more” after their weak season last year.But…if you enjoy college football…it was super!  

….After Wisconsin shut down LSU for an upset victory, many fans from Louisiana were calling for the head of Les Miles…yes…after 1 game….I guess we always have “gems” like that to deal with in life J

…Mother Nature was a gem last night…..she sent lightning across the area forcing many high school football games to halt play. Those games will be resumed today from the point that they were stopped.

….there was a “gem” of a picture last Sunday morning….there was Lovie Smith in line with his players singing the school song of Illinois…I think he’s enjoying working with the college kids

….I’m outta gems….C U next time J

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