Today in my survey o’ the world of baseball, we will spend some time detailing a couple of big bats in Chicago, a speedster in Cincinnati and the plight of a first round fantasy stud whose season is teetering on the brink of irrelevance due to injury.
Let me get this straight. Jake Fox hit a blistering .424 with 17 home runs and 51 RBI in just 41 games at Triple-A this season doing his best Rogers Hornsby imitation. He was then called up to the Cubs where he went 5-for-12 (.417). His reward? He was sent back to Triple-A Iowa. With Derrek Lee finally starting to turn things around at first base – he has hit .345 with a .457 OBP in his last 15 games – the Cubs just weren’t able to find any room on the diamond for Fox since they don’t trust his glove at third base. If you are Fox, how disappointed are you right now? You’ve knocked in a run a game and are hitting better than Ted Williams ever did yet you cannot even find a way to convince your team to find a bench spot for you. Don’t know about you, but if that was me I would be calling my agent telling him I want the hell out of there immediately.
The White Sox made a distressing announcement today, though I cannot say that it wasn’t somewhat expected. Carlos Quentin, on the sidelines with plantar fasciitis in his foot, will likely be out until at least the All-Star game. For his part, Quentin stated that the injury isn’t really PF, it’s actually a torn tendon in his left foot. No matter what the actual injury, the bottom line is that Quentin will remain sidelined for at least another month. What this likely means is that potential free agent Jermaine Dye (there is a mutual option for $12 million for 2010), and his 15 home runs will not be traded, that is if the White Sox think they can still contend despite a 27-32 record. The White Sox simply need a big right-handed bat in the middle of the lineup to remain competitive, and with Quentin out, Dye is their best option though Paul Konerko hasn’t been bad at the dish with a .295-8-39 line this season.
Grady Sizemore, already on the DL due to a strained elbow, will be held out of baseball activity for another five days at which time an MRI will be performed to determine whether or not the joint has healed sufficiently to allow him to return to the diamond. Don’t know about you, but I’m thinking that he will eventually need arthroscopic surgery. What is clear is that with nine home runs and seven steals, Sizemore won’t be going 30/30 this season like he did last year, and in fact he may be hard pressed to go 20/20, a total he has reach in each of the past four seasons. Actually Sizemore has hit at least 22 home runs, with at least 22 steals and at least 100 runs in each of the last four seasons, and that is the third longest such streak in baseball history (tied with Carlos Beltran and Barry Bonds). Willie Mays is the all-time leader with six straight seasons from 1955-60 while the second man on the list is Bobby Bonds with a stretch of five-straight years from 1969-1973. As for Beltran, he has eight home runs, seven steals and 34 runs putting him on pace for about 23 home runs, 20 steals and 98 runs, so he’ll need to kick things up a notch himself is he wants to move into a second place tie on the list.
Willy Taveras is 0-for-16 and as a result his average has dropped to .250 on the season. Even worse for a leadoff hitter, his OBP is just .307 which has caused the Reds to drop him to second in the order. “Willy is my leadoff man,” manager Dusty Baker said. “It’s temporary.” Apparently the fact that Taveras is hitting .250 with a .308 OBP over his last 663 ABs dating back to the start of last season doesn’t matter to Baker and the Reds as they seem stuck on the fact that Willy T. has posted 80 steals since the start of last season. That’s great guys, but do you really need someone to tell you that steals are wonderful, but they don’t matter if you don’t get on base enough to be an effective weapon out of the leadoff spot?
By Ray Flowers