So we are at that time in the season when we start to look back. Look back at the disappointments and the triumphs, the status quo and the surprises. The tale of Eugenio Suarez has been a fascinating one to tell. At the All-Star break this year he had 20 HR and a .248 AVG, and since then he’s hit 25 HR with a .300 AVG. Right now he’s sitting on 45 HRs and making a run at the homerun title, behind only Pete Alonso. Suarez, we all know, was acquired from the Tigers for the low low price of only one Alfredo Simon, veteran reliever. That’s right. Since joining the Reds, he has bested his season HR total every season. On top of that, he’s increased his wRC+ and oWAR every year except this one shockingly, 2019 (including fewer RBIs). What does that mean? Well, on the whole, it means he’s not quite as efficient as he was at the dish the year prior. He’s evolved each season, but for some reason, despite the HR surge he’s produced less with it this year. So sports fans, lets dive in and see what we learn.

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Greetings sports fans, this week I want to highlight probably the most under-the-radar rookie campaign in the last 20 years (don’t bother looking it up, I didn’t. Just trust me, winky face). I’m talking of course about our boy Bryan Reynolds. Since he’s arrived in the league as an unheralded prospect, he has done nothing but hit. Hit after hit. BryRey is currently hitting .328 and would be pacing the entire NL. It takes approximately 502 ABs to qualify for the Batting Title, and he is currently at 444 ABs with 27 games left. So if he completes the season he just might sneak into the race, and win the whole damn thing. While we have been admiring Pete Alonzo’s bombs, BryRey just keeps knocking. Alonzo has been great posting a wRC+ of 145, and Reynolds is right behind him at 141. So let’s dive in and check him out:

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At the trade deadline the Cubs acquired Nicholas Castellanos. While I expected to see a bump in his production and counting stats, I did not foresee him going into the subway, transported to another dimension by a wizard (who strangely looks like Harry Caray), and due to the purity of his soul gets imbued with the power to become Ernie Banks. The Wisdom of Solomon also seems to have made him a philosopher, as seen HERE. Now he’s taking everyone deep. On the awful Tigers Castellanos was going nowhere this year; he was barely above MLB average value and through 100 games he only had 11 home runs. Since joining the Cubs, in 20 games he already has 8. Nick is crushing it and just in time for Cubbies trying maintain their lead on the NL Central pennant, so let’s dive in and take a look…

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Back from paternity leave, I got a spicy take for you in the form of Aaron Sanchez. At the trade deadline, he was acquired by the Astros and to the surprise of no one writing this article he went out there dominated his first start wearing the star. He went 6 no-hit innings with 2 BBs and 6 Ks as part of a combined no-hitter, yeah that’ll play. What is it with the Astros and their pitching coach Brent Strom, or should I say King Midas? On the surface, they seem to simply tell their new pitchers to stop throwing their worst pitch, and throw their best pitch more often. Surely it can’t be that simple, and why isn’t everyone doing that? But there’s a bit more going on here. Let’s dive in!

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Yu Darvish has been a veritable enigma (double word of the day). He was horrible in most of the first half, then in mid-June started showing signs of life here and there. Now enter July, Darvish has strung together 3 positive starts and seems to be turning the corner. I watched his game this last Wednesday and felt like I was watching vintage Darvish 2016 and before. His mound presence was full of confidence and he was challenging batters with elite velocity up in the zone (several 97s), and then getting good hard bite on his 2Seamer, Slider, and Cutter. And most importantly, his command looked pretty solid which has been his biggest problem in the last few years. So that leads us into today’s deep dive…

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After the Romans conquered the Greeks, they adopted their mythology to tie them to the past. They wanted a foundational belief in purpose, but one far more practical to their view of the world… The first generation of Moneyball taught us that OBP was equally important as AVG, embodied by Kevin Youkilis, the Greek God of Walks (and Scott Hatteberg). He had plate discipline for days and was not afraid to take a ball, even in the shoulder, that led to a career OBP of .382, yadda yadda, we all know the story. Enter 2019, and the age of Exit Velocity, Launch Angle, and Hard Contact. OBP is still praised, but on top of getting on base, the goal now is maximizing quality contact and focusing on bat path to avoid wasting those OBP runners on base — this, the new the prevailing philosophy in baseball.

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I spent 24 hours, and I wish I had more hours, writing and rewriting this post for you. This is a tough cat to understand. So many things point to positives, but there are still a few underlying issues that make you wonder if it’s real. Since being recalled from minors Lourdes Gurriel Jr., of the Swinging Gurriels, is destroying baseballs at a .355/.401/.739 clip with 14 HRs in 152 PAs. That would roughly pace him for a 60 HR season. No big deal right? He might be the hottest bat in all the land.

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As someone said, Ketel Marte is 170 lbs soaking wet. And being 6’1″, he doesn’t have a particularly big frame (Jose Altuve is 5’6″ and weighs the same). Marte has been a slap-happy hitter that puts the ball in play and legs them out. After a hot stove trade sent our Ketel from Seattle to Arizona he began to get a taste of success. He improved his plate discipline working at AAA and his OBP went from .287 (in 2016 with the Mariners) to a respectable .345 along with a slight uptick in power after being called up in June of the 2017 season. Then in 2018, he put it together for respectable 14 HR with a slash of .260/.332/.437 over a full season. Last year he showed some sneaky HR potential, but nothing like what we’ve seen this season…

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We all know that Shohei Ohtani is amazing, or at least this homer does. After his elbow injury on June 6th, I plunged deep into a nightmare. The water was warm. He missed the remainder of the month and came back a bit slow. After the All-Star Break, his sole purpose was to simply DH. And it was beautiful. Ohtani could be an elite bat if he were to focus just on that. His (hitter) scouting report said he has 70-grade power that’s effortless with a smooth stroke and 45-grade hit tool that is largely due to some swing-and-miss tendencies. But, you have to understand… he’s a top-tier pitcher who obsesses over film. There are few in the league that study more than him; his work ethic is legendary. When can one focus on being a better hitter while you are trying to pitch against 9 other hitters each week?

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Last year Aaron Nola was really good. He posted a 2.37 ERA, 0.97 WHIP with a 3.01 FIP along with a 9.49 K/9 that placed him among the best. He paraded up and down the French Quarter for all to see on Mardi Gras. And then Hurricane 2019 (AKA Katrina) reared its ugly head from across the sea, and has assaulted Nola with utter indiscretion and lack of mercy, destroying his and your ratios. To date, Nola has a 4.58 ERA, 1.49 WHIP and a 4.22 FIP that mostly agrees with the destruction. He was once the Big Easy, set it and forget it, an easy auto-start and reap the reward. This season he’s been the Easy At-bat, bleh.

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