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Box Score Breakdown 8/12/21

Jake Crumpler | August 13, 2021

On a wild day of baseball that saw Shohei Ohtani pitch and hit in the same game, Aaron Judge hit two home runs, and the first MLB game in Iowa, many other performances went under the radar. Baseball fans were treated to a wonderful night of oddities and firsts and the following is a breakdown of all of the notable performances from every team and every game that occurred on August 12th. 

(50-64) Washington Nationals 1

@ F/7

(58-55) New York Mets 4



Victor Robles, CF: 1-3, RBI, 2B

Robles drove in the Nationals only run in the 6th inning when he rocketed his 19th double of the year down the left field line to score catcher Riley Adams. As he did in this one, Robles has batted leadoff in nine of his last ten games, a streak that began July 31st. Since that date, Robles has batted just .216 with three XBH, though he has gone 6-15 across his last four games (not including the second half of the doubleheader).

Carter Kieboom, 3B: 2-3, 2B

Following the massive exodus of talent from D.C. Kieboom has been given the opportunity to realize his potential with a full-time role. He has finally shown some sustained success after struggling in his first few cups of coffee. Since the calendar flipped to August, Carter has revealed the boom in his bat with a .333/.395/.538 slash line (including the second half of the doubleheader). Hopefully, this is the start of a breakout that bleeds into next season.


Brandon Nimmo, CF: 2-4, R, HR, 4 RBI

Nimmo was responsible for all of the New York offense in this one as his 2nd inning three-run shot and his 4th inning RBI single accounted for all of the runs the Mets scored. The homer, only his 3rd of the year, was a welcome sign considering he has only 17 XBH in 189 AB on the year (not including the second half of the doubleheader). The two-hit performance raised his season-long OPS to .832, which is right in line with his career numbers.

Michael Conforto, RF: 2-3, R

After a career year in 2020, Conforto is having…well, the complete opposite this season. With just a .213 AVG and a .686 OPS, multi-hit games like this one are exactly what he needs to get him back in the groove (he recorded a second multi-hit game in the night-cap). Getting into a groove will be important for Conforto as he will be a free agent following this season. He has been underperforming his xwOBA by a wide margin all year which may point to a return to his career .826 OPS next season, most likely on a new club.



Sean Nolin, (L, 0-1): 3.0 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 51 pitches

Making his Nationals debut after spending many years jumping across different minor league systems, the 31-year old lefty was roughed up by Nimmo and the rest of the Mets lineup. Nolin’s name might sound familiar because he was part of the package the A’s received from the Blue Jays in return for Josh Donaldson. He has pitched to a 3.80 ERA in eleven games (nine starts) for the Nats’ AAA affiliate this year.


Marcus Stroman, (W, 8-11): 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 85 pitches

Wow! A Stroman W? The Mets’ starter has been the victim of the worst run support in the whole league (min. 20 starts) so seeing him come away with a win this season has been surprising. He’s been doing his best deGrom impression (his team must be in on it, too, with this run support) by pitching to a sub-3 ERA while maintaining a losing record. The eight Ks are his most in a start since June 17th. He lines up to face the Giants next Tuesday in a tough matchup against the Majors’ best team.

Aaron Loup, (HLD, 13): 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 15 pitches

Loup continued his breakout season in the first half of the doubleheader Thursday, locking down the 6th after Stroman allowed his first run of the game. He lowered his ERA to a minuscule 1.19 mark to go along with an impressive 42/9 K/BB ratio. The lefty should be available for appearances in the near future as this was just his first appearance since August 6th.

Edwin Diaz, (SV, 25): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 10 pitches

The Mets’ closer made quick work of the Nationals in the 7th, working around a one-out Kieboom double to preserve the lead and keep the team in the playoff race. Diaz has had some blowups this year but he has proven to be a reliable closer and may have deserved better in the ERA department considering his 2.39 FIP entering this game was significantly lower than the 4.03 ERA he showed up with (he exited the outing with a 3.94 ERA). He is not at risk of losing his job again any time soon.

(50-65) Washington Nationals 4

@ F/7

(59-55) New York Mets 5



Adrian Sanchez, 2B: 2-3, 2 R, 2B

The second baseman has been in the Nationals’ minor league system since 2007 and is getting his fourth taste of the majors this year. After batting .336 in 37 games at AAA, Sanchez has played in seven games so far this year recording a .300 AVG in 21 PA. He may just be filling in for the time being as the Nats transition to a new era of their franchise.


Pete Alonso, 1B: 3-4, R, HR, RBI, 2B, SB

Alonso played hero in the second half of the doubleheader by hitting the walk-off dinger in the bottom of the 7th to win it for the Mets following the bullpen implosion. The home run, his 25th of the season, traveled 109 mph off the bat and was paired with his third stolen base of the season to make it a combo meal. Additionally, he notched his 16th double in his first AB against Fedde. Alonso is one of the premier power hitters in all of baseball with a Max Exit Velocity in the top 1% of the league.

Jonathan Villar, SS: 3-3, R, HR, 2 RBI

Villar played the Robin to Alonso’s Batman, crushing his 13th long ball in the 6th off reliever Tanner Rainey to give the Mets a temporary 4-1 lead. Villar has been surprisingly serviceable to his team this year considering he signed for just $3.55 million in the offseason. The 3-hit performance bumped his OPS to .749 but he has been most valuable to the Mets by staying healthy. He’s played in 94 of the Mets’ 114 games making him one of the most consistently available bats on the squad.



Erick Fedde, (ND, 4-8): 4.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 68 pitches

Fedde kept his team in the game but was ultimately unable to last long enough to qualify for the win. He pitched three scoreless before running into trouble in the fourth where he allowed both of his runs. It looks like he’ll pitch against the Blue Jays next.

Kyle Finnegan, (L, 4-4): 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 11 pitches

Nats manager Dave Martinez brought Finnegan in with the game tied in an effort to keep it that way and send it to extras. He looked on track after getting Jeff McNeil to ground out to first but then gave up the Alonso bomb to send the Mets fans home happy. This performance shouldn’t give Martinez doubts about using him as the closer in the future because this was a non-save situation.


Trevor Williams, (ND, 4-2): 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 52 pitches

The former Cub made his first appearance for the Mets since being traded on the day of the trade deadline in the deal that sent Javier Baez to Queens. Williams made a good impression on his new club and with deGrom being out until September, he might become an integral part of this pitching staff down the stretch. 

Trevor May, (H, 10): 0.1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 28 pitches

May loaded the bases in the 6th before being removed and watching the lead fade away from the bench. He was lucky to record a hold, which came via a strikeout of Josh Bell before he walked Gerardo Parra to load the bases. This bad outing is uncharacteristic of May. He had allowed just two ER across his last 12 appearances before this meltdown.

Jeurys Familia, (W, 6-2): 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 17 pitches

Familia was also lucky on Thursday evening, walking away with the W because of Alonso’s heroics after allowing all of the runners he inherited from May to score. He struggled with his command, unleashing two wild pitches and walking a batter. He left the game with a solid 3.83 ERA to go with his 6th win.

(67-48) Oakland Athletics 17


(55-58) Cleveland Guardians* 0



Mitch Moreland, DH: 2-3, 3 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, HBP

The A’s designated hitter proved why he doesn’t have to play the field belting two homers, his eighth and ninth of the season, in the A’s rout of the Guardians*. He was a bit unlucky to hit both of his dingers with the bases empty considering Oakland recorded 14 hits and ten walks, consistently filling the basepaths with green and gold. Moreland has not had consistent playing time for the A’s but when he has gotten in the lineup he’s performed to the tune of a .705 OPS.

Matt Chapman, 3B: 0-1, 3 R, 5 BB

Fielding may be his strong suit, but Chapman showed off his discipline by coming one walk shy of tying the major league record for walks in a nine-inning game. The hot-corner specialist has struggled with the bat this year batting just .214 with a .676 OPS so maybe taking a different, more patient approach can get him on a hot streak just in time for the playoffs.


Amed Rosario, SS: 1-4, 2B

Batting second and playing shortstop, Rosario was the lone bright spot in Thursday afternoon’s drubbing. He tallied Cleveland's only XBH against the Oakland pitching staff when he recorded his 19th double in his first AB. He will continue to be a fixture in the Cleveland lineup with his .276 AVG and the pressure that comes with being traded for a franchise icon.



Chris Bassitt, (W, 12-3): 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 81 pitches

Bassitt continued his All-Star season shutting out Cleveland for six innings before turning it over to the bullpen. He has a 3.06 ERA on the year buoyed by the highest K% of his career. He may not be in the Cy Young conversation but he is definitely in consideration for the ace of the A’s. Over his last three starts, Bassitt has pitched 20 innings and only allowed one earned run with a 21/3 K/BB ratio. He’s scheduled to face the White Sox in Chicago next Tuesday.


Eli Morgan, (L, 1-5): 4.0, 3 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 HBP, 1 K, 72 pitches

After impressing with a 6 IP, 2 ER, 9 K outing against Toronto, Morgan supported his efforts with a 7 IP, 2 ER, 3 K, start against the Tigers five days later. This start was much different as he just didn’t have his best control after walking just three batters total across his last four starts. The A’s capitalized on Morgan’s mistakes and made him pay for all of the free baserunners. He should get a respite in the Twins next week.

(58-56) St. Louis Cardinals 7

(41-74) Pittsburgh Pirates 6



Paul DeJong, SS: 1-5, R, HR, 2 RBI

DeJong launched his 16th homer of the season off Brubaker in the 4th inning following a Matt Carpenter walk. DeJong has struggled to the tune of a below-average 90 wRC+ entering the game and in the process of crushing a bomb against the Pirates, he raised his season-long OPS to .692. He has been much better since the second half started which should help him maintain the grip he has on the starting shortstop role for St. Louis.

Lars Nootbar, PH: 1-1, R, HR, 2 RBI

The man with the incredibly sweet name had himself an incredibly sweet moment when he bashed the first home run of his career shortly after DeJong’s. Nootbar hit his tater in a pinch-hit opportunity which is where most of his future home runs this season will come. With Dylan Carlson, Harrison Bader, and Tyler O’Neill locked into the three outfield spots, Nootbar is going to have to have a lot more exciting nights like this one if he wants to see more than just pinch-hitting opportunities.


Colin Moran, 1B: 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI

“Red Beard” Moran has not had much of an impact for the Pirates so far but on Thursday he showed glimpses of his power, blasting two dingers and driving in four runs. These two brought his season total to six across just 54 games so he has obviously struggled with injuries that have held back his counting stats. On a rate basis, he boasts a .795 OPS and will bat in the middle of a middling lineup in Pittsburgh.

Bryan Reynolds, PH/CF: 2-2, R, HR, 2 RBI

Following his first All-Star selection in July, Reynolds has continued to rake and did so here, mashing a 9th inning homer after coming off the bench earlier in the game. The home run was his 20th, four more than his previous career high. With over a month left of the season, he should continue to build upon his breakout season and perform as the best player on the Pirates.



Wade LeBlanc, (ND, 0-2): 2.0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 30 pitches

It was a bullpen game for the Cards and they turned to LeBlanc as the opener. He was followed by T.J. McFarland, Andrew Miller, Luis Garcia, Genesis Cabrera, and Giovanny Gallegos before Reyes shut it down in the 9th. Everyone recorded a hold except McFarland who was rewarded with the W. Miller was the only one to give up a run but he also recorded three strikeouts in his inning of work.

Alex Reyes, (SV, 27): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 24 pitches

Reyes was able to shut the door on the Pirates in the 9th, but not before giving up a home run to Reynolds to reduce the lead to just one. Reyes has shined in his new role as closer after rising the minor league ranks as one of the top starting pitching prospects. He’s experienced a few hiccups along the way because he walks too many batters but his stuff is just too overpowering.


JT Brubaker, (L, 4-12): 5.0 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, HBP, 4 K, 81 pitches

The 27-year-old right-hander didn’t have his best stuff against the Red Birds. He ruined his outing with a poor 4th inning where he gave up three XBH including both of the Cardinals' homers. He gets an even tougher matchup next time at the Dodgers and if I was a fantasy manager, I would stay away from that one.

(69-46) Los Angeles Dodgers 1


(60-55) Philadelphia Phillies 2



AJ Pollock, LF: 1-3, BB, SB

Maybe having one of the most underrated seasons in 2021, Pollock continued it with a solid showing for the Dodgers. The stolen base was his sixth but he pairs his mediocre speed with an OPS at .900 and a 142 wRC+. Both of those marks would be career highs for Pollock whose major problem is staying healthy. He hasn’t appeared in more than 113 games in a season since 2015.


Bryce Harper, RF: 1-2, 2 R, HR, 1 RBI, 2 BB

Harper continues to absolutely murder baseballs since the All-Star break and has a chance to be in the NL MVP conversation by the end of the season if he can keep up this pace. He’s riding a .981 OPS and 21 home runs after Thursday’s performance but he only has 46 RBI to go along with those impressive numbers. That would be a result of 19 of his 21 home runs being solo shots. Seriously, he has hit 21 homers resulting in just 24 RBI from those hits. 



Mitch White, (L, 0-1): 4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 59 pitches

Despite rostering four former Cy Young Award winners, the Dodgers sometimes have to run mere mortals out to the mound. White is one of those mortals and he pitched well enough to keep the game close. The offense was the bigger problem anyway, so White did the best he could. Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless 8th with one strikeout to get some work in.


Ranger Suarez, (ND, 5-3): 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 82 pitches

Starting is suiting Suarez superbly and as a result, he has only given up one ER in ten innings since moving to the rotation. The lefty took down the mighty Dodgers and increased his pitch count for the third straight start. As he gets stretched out, it will be interesting to see if Suarez can continue to pitch this well. He’s recorded a mediocre 9/6 K/BB ratio since leaving the pen. He gets a wonderful matchup with the Diamondbacks next.

Archie Bradley, (W, 7-1): 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 22 pitches

Bradley has been one of the most consistently good relievers in the cursed Philadelphia bullpen pitching to a 2.52 ERA. The biggest concern with Bradley this year is that he is striking out less than 14% of the batters he faces after being above 24% the past four seasons. Bradley was preceded by Hector Neris who recorded his fourth hold.

Ian Kennedy, (SV, 19): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, HBP, 0 K, 26 pitches

The new Phillies closer did his job by shutting down the dangerous Dodgers in the 9th. He made it interesting by loading the bases but escaped the jam by getting Billy McKinney to fly out. Kennedy obviously didn’t have his best control Thursday but he met the challenge of pitching against a juggernaut and maintained the Phillies grasp on first place in the NL East.

(70-46) Milwaukee Brewers 17

(52-65) Chicago Cubs 4



Luis Urias, 3B: 5-6, 5 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 2B

Holy moly! Urias had himself a day with a monstrous performance tallying 14 total bases across the contest. The multi-homer game brought his total up to 16 putting him on pace to break the 20-homer threshold. The utility infielder is finally acting on some of the promise he showed as a minor leaguer in the Padres organization. He is slashing .249/.342/.453 on the season, good for an above-average 113 wRC+.

Jace Peterson, RF: 5-5, 3 R, HR, 4 RBI, 2B, BB

Being a career-long journeyman can have its perks. You get to travel the country and see how other organizations are run. You get to learn from all different kinds of people. Sometimes, you even get to have a night like this. Peterson is having a career year for the Brewers and this performance was his best yet. The home run was just his fifth of the year but he boasts an .821 OPS alongside those moonshots.

Manny Pina, C: 3-6, 3 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI

The long-time backup catcher joined the home run derby occurring at Wrigley on Thursday with two blasts of his own, the first of which was a grand slam. Pina will consistently sit in favor of the lefty-hitting Omar Narvaez but nights like these will surely make the Brewers consider him more often as the playoffs approach. His .160 AVG is hard to look at but he’s up to nine homers on the season, tying his career high.


Frank Schwindel, PH/1B: 2-2, 2 R, HR, RBI, 2B

The newly acquired Schwindel replaced Matt Duffy once this game got out of hand and tried his best to get his team back in it. He has performed well in the minors across three different organizations and is hoping to catch on with the new-look Cubs. The home run, his third of the season and second since joining Chicago, traveled 382 feet off the bat.

Patrick Wisdom, 1B/3B: 1-5, R, HR, RBI

Wisdom continued his season-long power surge Thursday with his 18th long ball of the year. His power has been impressive and is supported by multiple 30-HR AAA campaigns, though he has struggled with the Ks. In 200 AB, he has struck out over 37% of the time and his AVG has been carried by an abnormally high .354 BABIP. Next year may be tough for Wisdom unless he can make some adjustments to his approach.



Brandon Woodruff, (ND, 7-6): 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 74 pitches

Sadly, Woodruff was removed early from this one with an injury, forcing the Brewers to turn to the bullpen earlier than expected. Woodruff has been a Cy Young contender all season so hopefully, this injury isn’t significant. The Brew Crew are going to need him for the playoffs. Hunter Strickland walked away with the win after picking up where Woodruff left off. Josh Hader pitched a maintenance inning in the 8th. He allowed one hit and struck out three batters.


Kyle Hendricks, (L, 13-5): 4.0 IP, 11 H, 9 ER, 1 BB, HBP, 3 K, 97 pitches

Oof. Hendricks got rocked by the Milwaukee bats but was forced to eat up innings so as to not overly tax the bullpen in a game that was out of reach by the 5th inning. Hendricks was one of the few Chicago stars to stay put at the deadline so he’ll be counted on to mentor the young pitchers coming up from the minors. Here he was showing those pitchers what not to do. He should pitch against the Reds next Tuesday.

(57-60) Detroit Tigers 6

(38-75) Baltimore Orioles 4



Robbie Grossman, RF: 2-5, R, HR, RBI

RoBBie Goatman, as I like to refer to him, rocketed his career-high 18th dinger of the season during Thursday’s contest against the O’s. I call him RoBBie because he sports a 15.1% BB rate, one of the highest in the league, and he showed why I call him Goatman by being the main cog in the Tigers win.

Renato Nunez, 1B: 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI

Nunez was just giving the legend, Miguel Cabrera, a day off by spelling him at first base, but no one told him he had to hit like him too! He launched a ball to left off Means for his third dinger in just eight games for the Tigers. I guess he wanted to show his old team what they were missing after not tendering him a contract last offseason.


Cedric Mullins, CF: 3-5, R, SB

The Orioles' sole representative at the 2021 All-Star Game continued to stay scorching hot on the season. Mullins totes one of the highest batting averages in the AL and this three-hit performance boosted his season-long line to a robust .322/.387/.549. All it took was for Mullins to stop switch-hitting and just focus on batting lefty for his star to shine. His numbers this year dwarf anything he’s done in the past, even in the minors. He’s already recorded a 20-20 season and has a good shot at 30-30 after swiping his 22nd bag with Manning on the mound.

DJ Stewart, RF: 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI

Watch out, DJ Stewart is getting hot. We’ve seen him hit home runs in bunches before and he’s doing it again. After swatting his eighth homer of the season on Wednesday, the bulky right fielder followed up that performance with two more on Thursday. It may be a good time to grab him in fantasy leagues or to stream him in DFS while he’s hot because he could stay hot for a while.



Matt Manning, (W, 3-5): 6.0 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 83 pitches

The rookie right-hander pitched well against the Orioles after a tough outing against Cleveland his last time out. The quality start didn’t dent his ERA much as it still sits at a staggering 6.10 mark. His peripherals suggest he’s been slightly unlucky but when you strike out less than 12% of the batters you face, it’s hard to believe in the peripherals. He gets to face Shohei Ohtani and the Angels next time out.

Michael Fulmer, (SV, 7): 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, HBP, 0 K, 26 pitches

Fulmer may not have a lock on the closer role because of All-Star Gregory Soto pitching well this year but he has been valuable at the back end of the Detroit bullpen. He came up as a starter, winning the Rookie of the Year award in his first taste of the Majors, but he’s fought injuries in the years since then. The move to the bullpen this season has not kept Fulmer healthier but it has allowed him to find the form he had during his rookie season.


John Means, (L, 5-4): 4.1 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 79 pitches

Means became one of my favorite pitchers after I watched him throw a no-hitter against the Mariners a couple of months ago. It was the culmination of an incredible start to the season for the lefty and made me feel so good owning him in ⅔ of my fantasy leagues. Since then, it’s been almost completely downhill. He suffered a shoulder injury a couple of starts after the no-hitter and only recently returned and has performed to mixed results. That could be because he returned to a sticky-less pitching landscape. It might take him a couple more starts to get in a groove again but I hope that we might see a repeat of that wonderful game against Seattle in the future. He faces the Rays next after going 5 IP, 1 ER, 5 K against them in his last start.

(70-45) Tampa Bay Rays 8

(66-51) Boston Red Sox 1



Wander Franco, SS: 1-5, 1 R, HR, 2 RBI

Wander the wunderkind has started to pick up the pace recently, tallying at least one run and one rbi in six straight contests. He struggled after an amazing debut in which he launched a ball over the fence. He seems to have finally started to make much-needed adjustments to succeed against Major League pitching. Over those aforementioned six games, Franco has gone 6-26 (.230) with six runs, eight RBI, and two of his five home runs on the season. He sports a 98 wRC+, revealing his league average batting line thus far.

Mike Zunino, C: 1-4, R, HR, 3 RBI

With his 8th inning blast, Zunino put the Rays up 8-1 to give his team the breathing room it needed heading into the final two innings. The tater was his 23rd of the year, giving him a great chance to break his previous career high of 25 set in 2017 with Seattle. He currently maintains a career high 127 wRC+. Zunino was the third overall draft pick in the 2012 first year player draft, so he came into the league with lofty expectations. Whacking lots of dingers while calling great games behind the plate is a good way to live up to them.


Rafael Devers, 3B: 1-4, R, 2B

After a breakout 2019 season in which Devers recorded 90 XBH, he took a small step back in 2020. Fantasy managers and Red Sox fans that didn’t doubt his potential have been rewarded with a season that might be even better than his ‘19 breakout. So far, the third baseman is up to 60 XBH with more than a month to go and he has made improvements in other facets of his game. Not only has he raised his BB rate 3% compared to ‘19, but he has also hit for a higher percentage of extra bases with a .283 2021 ISO compared to a .244 mark in ‘19. The new Devers is a legitimate MVP candidate.



Drew Rasmussen, (ND, 1-1): 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 50 pitches

Rasmussen intrigues if not for the sole fact that the Rays went out and acquired him. Any pitcher the Rays have their sights on interests me a lot because they seem to know what they’re doing when it comes to finding guys who can throw baseballs. This was just Rasmussen’s third career start as the Rays have been attempting to stretch him out. He’s pitched to a 3.81 ERA and a 2.99 FIP since joining Tampa Bay.

Colin McHugh, (W, 4-1): 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 29 pitches

Prior to JT Chargois, Louis Head, and Ryan Sherriff shutting down the final three innings of the game, McHugh was called upon as the bridge from Rasmussen to the rest of the pen. He succeeded in his task and was rewarded with a W for his efforts. This was McHugh’s second appearance since coming off the IL and he should remain a key component of the Rays bullpen corps as a swingman.


Tanner Houck, (L, 0-3): 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 89 pitches

Being a starter in the AL East is tough, especially when you’re a rookie. Going against that notion, Houck hasn’t had any trouble with the juggernauts on the East Coast. He’s performed admirably to the tune of a 2.93 ERA, but even more impressively he sports a 1.84 FIP, suggesting his sub-three ERA is unlucky. The young righty has struck out 44 batters to just seven walks across 30.2 IP and appears to be the next in line to be crowned the ace of the Red Sox.

(40-75) Texas Rangers 1

(61-55) Seattle Mariners 3



Charlie Culberson, LF: 1-3, R, HR, RBI

Dansby Swanson’s ex-teammate produced all of the offense for the Rangers on Thursday with his fourth home run driving in their only run. The Texas lineup managed just one other hit off Gonzales, so Culberson’s dinger was one of the few good at-bats put up against the Seattle southpaw. Culberson should continue to play a super-utility role for the Rangers going forward because he can play almost every position and is good enough with his bat.


J.P. Crawford, SS: 2-4, R, HR, RBI, 2B

Setting the table has been Crawford’s job all year and with six DRS so far this year, he has also succeeded in his job holding down one half of the double-play combination. On top of his superb defense, Crawford has been a league-average batter with a 101 wRC+. He has never finished a season with a wRC+ above the league average mark of 100. The home run was his sixth of the season while the double he tallied was his 25th.

Jake Fraley, RF: 1-3, R, HR, RBI

Fraley belted his eighth dinger in the bottom of the 7th to push the Mariners’ lead to 3-1, a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Fraley has been a welcome sight for the Mariners who have struggled to find consistency in their outfield from anyone not named Mitch Haniger. When healthy, Fraley has performed to an .807 OPS and while his .227 AVG is uninspiring, he has found a way to get on base at a 39% clip with the help of his crazy 20.6% BB%. He should continue to receive nearly every day at-bats in the Seattle outfield as long as he maintains his amazing discipline.



Mike Foltynewicz, (L, 2-11): 7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 98 pitches

Foltynewicz has had a very up and down season and it has shown with his recent performances. Following back-to-back disasters in which he combined to give up 16 ER in just 5.2 innings against the Blue Jays and Tigers, the right-hander has looked much better across his last three starts. Including this outing, Foltynewicz has combined for 18 IP and just six ER but this was his first outing with more than four Ks since mid-July. He should get a rematch against the Mariners in his next start.


Marco Gonzales, (W, 4-5): 9.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 108 pitches

Gonzales has not looked like the Mariners ace he was the past couple of years but this performance was a throwback to that era. The nine-inning performance was his first CG of the year and dropped his ERA to 4.35 to go with a 1.26 WHIP. He took advantage of a depleted and inexperienced Texas squad and had his best outing. This was the first time all year that Gonzales has struck out more than six batters in a game. Like Folty, he should get a rematch next time out as he’s tentatively scheduled to take on the Rangers again next Wednesday.

(62-54) Cincinnati Reds 12

(59-56) Atlanta Braves 3



Jesse Winker, LF: 3-4, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI, 2B

As one of the biggest breakouts of the 2021 season, Winker has become one of the league’s best hitters. Despite his heavy platoon splits where he sports a .176 AVG vs lefties and a .351 AVG vs righties, Winker launched a grand slam off lefty Kyle Muller in the 2nd inning. The homer was his 24th and the double his 32nd giving him 57 XBH this year including his lone triple. He is the team leader in OPS at .959 and if he can keep up his hot second half where he has hit .333 with five dingers, he may have a chance to get himself in the running for the NL MVP award.

Tyler Naquin, CF: 2-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI

This dinger was Naquin’s first since July 3rd revealing how much he has cooled off since his crazy start to the campaign. The long ball traveled just 361 feet with an exit velocity of 105 mph and was Naquin’s 14th of the season. With players like Mike Moustakas having returned and others, such as Nick Senzel, on the mend, Naquin might have to fight for his playing time going forward. 


Ozzie Albies, 2B: 1-5, R, HR, RBI

2020 was a lost season for the young Braves second baseman as he struggled to stay on the field, appearing in only 29 of the Braves' 60 games. That might be the outlier as he played in 158 and 160 games respectively in 2018 and 2019 and has appeared in 114 of the Braves’ 116 games in 2021. Not only has he played a lot, but he has played well too. The homer was his 20th of the season and brought his RBI total to 76 to go along with an OPS above .800. Albies is clearly one of the premier second basemen in the league.



Vladimir Gutierrez, (W, 8-3): 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 102 pitches

Gutierrez didn’t have to stress too much in this one considering he was staked to a 9-1 lead by the 3rd inning. The Reds hit five homers as a team to back their starter. The run support allowed him to cruise through six frames against an offense that can be dangerous at times. The right-hander worked around seven base runners to record the quality start and, in the process, lowered his ERA below the four mark. He lines up to face the mediocre Cubs next week. 


Kyle Muller, (L, 2-4): 2.1 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 72 pitches

The young southpaw struggled early and often in this one. He allowed too many baserunners in the first few innings which led to him getting touched up by the Winker grand slam. Muller had been really solid across his previous appearances, not allowing more than three ER in any of them. Whether it be because of this performance or something else entirely, Muller was optioned back to AAA following this disaster.

(63-52) New York Yankees 8

(68-48) Chicago White Sox 9



Aaron Judge, RF: 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, BB

The outfielder as tall as the corn stalks at the Field of Dreams, mashed two homers over the wall in the first Major League game played in the state of Iowa. The setting made Judge’s bombs even more dramatic and it was wonderful watching the balls disappear into the green cornfields. After the two home run night, Judge sits with 25 on the season. The homer total may be a far cry from the 52 he hit as a rookie but his 143 wRC+ is his highest since his sophomore season.

Giancarlo Stanton, DH: 1-5, R, HR, 2 RBI

Stanton was the hero for the Yankees for a short amount of time following his go-ahead home run in the top of the 9th off of All-Star closer, Liam Hendricks. The blast was his 18th and would give the Yanks a one-run lead heading into the bottom of the 9th. Stanton hasn’t reached the 25 games played threshold since 2018, so seeing him play in 94 of the Yankees 115 games so far is a good sign. Other than that, Stanton has struggled with a wRC+ that is his lowest since 2016. Let’s all hope for a Stantonian power surge in the final month as he can be one of the most exciting players in the game when he’s hot.


Tim Anderson, SS: 2-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, 2B

Watching Stanton give his team the lead in the 9th must have given Anderson some ideas of his own. The star shortstop hit his own go-ahead home run in the 9th, but this one ended the game altogether. It was Anderson’s 13th dinger of the year and he pairs those with a .300/.330/.457 slash line. Following a couple of seasons in which his BABIP was above .380, Anderson’s batted ball luck has subsided a bit but he has maintained the ability to hit .300 because of his bat-to-ball skills and his speed.

Eloy Jimenez, LF: 2-4, R, HR, 3 RBI

Eloy is back from the dead and hitting like the original ghosts that played at the Field of Dreams. Since returning from a torn pectoral a couple of weeks ago, Jimenez has been on a tear. He’s already tallied six homers in just 13 games with a 1.088 OPS. It seems as though he may be trying to make up for lost time, so a massive surge to end this season wouldn’t be surprising. Especially considering the left fielder is a mere 24 years old and has nothing but time to morph into one of the league’s most dangerous offensive threats.



Andrew Heaney, (ND, 7-8): 5.0 IP, 5 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 77 pitches

The southpaw struggled with the long ball once again, giving up three of the White Sox's four total homers on the night. In three starts since coming over to the Yankees from the Angels at the trade deadline, Heaney has recorded a 4.80 HR/9 compared to a 1.53 mark before the trade. That number is misleading as it is boosted by a 30.8% HR/FB% but because Heaney will be facing tougher offenses and be pitching in smaller parks in the AL East, he will probably continue to struggle with home runs. He’s scheduled to face the rival Red Sox in his next turn through the rotation.

Zack Britton, (L, 0-1): 0.1 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 10 pitches

Britton was called upon to shut down the game in the 9th after Stanton gave his team the lead. The sinkerballer was unable to come through, giving up a walk before allowing Anderson to walk it off. Britton was used as the closer here with Aroldis Chapman out with an injury, but this performance might lead manager Aaron Boone to consider Jonathan Loaisiga in save opportunities going forward.


Lance Lynn, (ND, 10-3): 5.0 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 105 pitches

Lynn clawed his way through five innings, struggling with inefficiency while averaging more than 20 pitches/inning. He should’ve walked away with a W but following the blowup in the 9th, he had to settle with a no-decision. Despite this uninspiring performance, Lynn still holds a 2.26 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP to go along with 137 Ks in 119.2 IP. He was followed by Michael Kopech, Aaron Bummer, and Craig Kimbrel before Hendricks took over. The three relievers that pitched before Hendricks all recorded a hold. Lynn should get the Oakland A’s in his next outing on August 18th.

Liam Hendricks, (W, 7-2): 1.0 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 27 pitches

The Aussie and former Oakland Athletic may owe his teammate, Anderson, some sort of gift after he bailed him out from the L Thursday night in the cornfields. Hendricks was called upon to shut down a three-run lead in the 9th and secure the win for the White Sox. He gave up a two-run shot to Judge before giving up a second two-run shot to Stanton. He was able to finish out the inning but nights like these might give Kimbrel more save chances in the future.

(62-52) Toronto Blue Jays 3

(58-58) Los Angeles Angels 6



Lourdes Gurriel Jr., PH/LF: 1-2, R, HR, RBI

The younger brother of Astros All-Star first baseman, Yuli Gurriel, Lourdes Jr. came off the bench Thursday night when he replaced Corey Dickerson. He hit Toronto’s only long ball of the game, his 14th in 2021. Gurriel didn’t perform well in April and July, but a strong June and a great start to August have helped in turning around his season-long .267/.299/.442 slash line. He still has two more years of contractual control, so he should remain a fixture in the Blue Jays lineup for at least the next couple of years.


Jared Walsh, 1B: 2-4, 2 RBI

In his second game back from the IL, Walsh was slotted into the three-hole in the lineup and knocked his first extra-base hit since recovering. He has been amazing all season even with his struggles against lefties. After Albert Pujols was released, Walsh has had a hold on the everyday first base job in LA and should maintain that if he can build on his .834 OPS.



Jose Berrios, (L, 8-6): 4.1 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 93 pitches

Berrios underperformed for the first time as a Blue Jay, giving up all six of the Angels' runs. The Angels knocked four doubles off the recently acquired righty and forced him out of the game before he could finish the 5th. Trent Thornton replaced him in that inning and gave up an inherited run. He was followed by Cy Snead and Connor Overton. All three didn’t give up an earned run across the final 3.2 frames. Berrios gets the light-hitting Nationals in his next start.


Shohei Ohtani, DH (W, 7-1): 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 99 pitches

1-3, R, 2B, BB

Ohtani did things only he can do against the Jays. He scored on Walsh’s two-RBI single in the second following his walk. On top of batting leadoff, he started the game! He held the dangerous Blue Jays offense at bay with a quality start and an even 1.00 WHIP. By beating Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the baby Jays, Ohtani has proven himself as the clear-cut AL MVP frontrunner because of his efforts on the mound and at the dish. Ohtani exited the outing with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.017 OPS (169 wRC+) and is scheduled to pitch against the Tigers in his next start.

(66-51) San Diego Padres 3

(36-80) Arizona Diamondbacks 12



Jake Cronenworth, SS: 3-4, RBI, 3B

Filling in for the injured Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop, Cronenworth provided one of the lone bright spots in the game for the Padres with his multi-hit performance. Among those three hits was a triple, his sixth of the year. Cronenworth has backed up his breakout 2020 in which he finished third in the race for NL Rookie of the Year with an impressive .831 OPS in 2021 while filling in all across the diamond. What more could you ask for from a trade throw-in?


Josh Rojas, SS: 4-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B, BB

Rojas returned from the IL on Tuesday but didn’t reach base until Thursday. He exploded for four hits including his 23rd double of the year and reached base a fifth time with a walk. Batting leadoff may seem like an awesome lineup spot, but when it’s on the Diamondbacks, run-scoring opportunities are hard to come by. If the DBacks can perform close to the way they did on Thursday, Rojas should benefit greatly from his position in the lineup. He sports a .271/.358/.439 triple slash in 378 PA.

Carson Kelly, C: 4-5, R, 2 RBI, 2B

The other four-hit performance in this matchup came from the Arizona catcher. Kelly was hot out of the gates, batting .340 with six HR in April but has dealt with a myriad of injuries since then. He may finally be heating up again as he has batted .321 with two XBH in August after tallying just six XBH across the last three months.



Yu Darvish, (L, 7-7): 2.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 74 pitches

The Japanese right-hander was removed early against Arizona with lower back tightness after giving up five ER and failing to escape the third inning. The injury obviously bugged him as he struggled to contain a DBacks offense that is possibly the worst in MLB. If he can make his next start, it would be against the Rockies in Coors, so maybe fantasy managers wouldn’t mind if he skipped a turn in the rotation.


Matt Peacock, (ND, 5-7): 1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 29 pitches

Caleb Smith, (W, 4-8): 5.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 78 pitches

Peacock opened for Smith allowing him to face the bottom of the Padres order upon insertion into the game. Smith apparently appreciated having the opener as he was able to shut out the Padres for 5.1 innings on his way to a win, his fourth of the year. It’s unclear whether or not he will remain in the rotation going forward but this outing is a step in the right direction if he wants that job.

(51-64) Colorado Rockies 0

(74-41) San Francisco Giants 7



Connor Joe, LF: 1-3, BB

The former Giant was the only Rockie to reach base twice in the contest. After playing for and failing to stick with four organizations, Joe looks like he might have finally found an organization to stay with, at least for the short term. He’s performed well with limited playing time with an .836 OPS in 124 PA.


LaMonte Wade Jr., RF/LF: 1-4, R, HR, 3 RBI

A ninth-round pick of the Twins in 2015, Wade hadn’t performed up to expectations in the majors or the minors until this season. He latched on with the Giants and they’ve maximized his potential by rarely letting him face left-handed pitchers. He has responded with a 132 wRC+ and 15 home runs. He will remain a fixture atop the Giants lineup versus righties.

Curt Casali, C: 1-3, 2 R, RBI, 2B, BB

Casali filled in for former MVP Buster Posey as he usually does every third day so as to not overwork his catching counterpart. Casali hasn’t done anything exceptionally special, but he handles the pitching staff well and contributed an RBI double on Thursday night. Look for him to be back in the lineup in a couple of days.



German Marquez, (L, 10-9): 4.0 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 81 pitches

Wouldn’t it make sense that a pitcher who can consistently survive Coors Field and the thin air of Denver would pitch even better by the bay in Oracle Park? Well, to Marquez, it makes no sense at all because he has always struggled against the Giants. He has put up a 7.19 ERA in 14 career starts against San Francisco and it just appears that they have his number. Marquez is the ace of the Rockies, so look for him to recover in his next start at home versus the Padres.


Logan Webb, (W, 6-3): 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, HBP, 8 K, 91 pitches

The 24-year old right-hander continued his second-half surge against the Rockies in SF. He didn’t even need all of the run support he got from his offense because he was able to shut out the Rockies for six innings to record the quality start. He lowered his post-All Star break ERA to a minuscule 1.91 mark alongside a 32/9 K/BB ratio in 33 IP. His performance pushed the Giants to five games above the Dodgers for 1st place in the NL West and the Giants maintain the best record in the Majors. Webb is tentatively scheduled to face the Mets on August 17th in his next start.

Breaking Down the Starling Marte Trade to the A's

Jake Crumpler | July 28, 2021

The Oakland A’s swung a major deal for one of the Major League’s top outfield talents early Wednesday morning when they sent young lefty pitcher, Jesus Luzardo, to the Miami Marlins in exchange for former All-Star, Starling Marte. The trade signifies the A’s willingness to go all-in for their upcoming playoff push as they sit six games back of the Houston Astros in the division and only one game ahead of the Seattle Mariners for the second Wild Card spot. For the Marlins, they part ways with a player who will become a free agent at year’s end and land a former top-five overall prospect in return. Let’s see how this trade breaks down for each side and how it might affect these teams and players going forward.

The Deal

Starling Marte + ~$4.6 million to the A’s

Jesus Luzardo to the Marlins

Oakland A’s Updated Lineup

LF Mark Canha

CF Starling Marte

1B Matt Olson

2B Jed Lowrie

RF Ramon Laureano

DH Mitch Moreland / Stephen Piscotty

C Sean Murphy

3B Matt Chapman

SS Elvis Andrus

Marte, 32, comes over from the Marlins after batting .305/.405/.451 with 7 HR and 22 SB in just 64 games this year. He missed a significant amount of time earlier in the season when he was placed on the 10-day IL with a left rib fracture on April 18th. He’s recovered quite well from the injury and was drawing trade interest from multiple teams. Marte found his way to the Marlins during the shortened 2020 season when he was traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for lefty pitcher Caleb Smith, righty Humberto Mejia, and lefty Julio Frias. This came just a few months after the Diamondbacks had acquired Marte via trade from his original team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, for right-handed pitcher Brennan Malone and young shortstop Liover Peguero.

The speedy outfielder should slot right into the top of the Oakland batting lineup as possibly their best hitter not named Matt Olson. Marte owns a career 117 wRC+ (where 100 is league-average) including a 140 wRC+ this year, and is a solid defender in center field with 3 Defensive Runs Saved, a 7.5 Ultimate Zone Rating/150 defensive games, and 5 Outs Above Average, putting him in the 94th percentile among outfielders, according to Baseball Savant. He also owns two Gold Glove awards for his outstanding work with the Pirates in 2015 and ‘16. He makes plays in the outfield using his elite speed where he ranks in the 83rd percentile, according to Baseball Savant, with a Sprint Speed of 23.8 feet per second. Current center fielder, Ramon Laureano, should slide over to right field to accommodate Marte and could fit in well on that side with his elite arm. The realignment of the outfield could lead to more efficiency and effectiveness by having elite fielders at all three positions and allowing Laureano the opportunity to show off his laser arm more often.

The newly acquired outfielder has also made major improvements to his plate discipline this year allowing him to become a better and more complete hitter. After taking a walk in 5% of his plate appearances leading up to this year, Marte has taken a new approach to the batter’s box. By dropping his Chase Rate and his overall Swing Rate by over 5% each, Marte has been able to see more pitches out of the zone and in turn, has upped his Walk Rate to a career-high 11.6%. This newfound plate discipline places him in an elite territory with his Walk % in the 83rd percentile after ranking in the 9th and 4th percentile in 2020 and ‘19 respectively, according to Baseball Savant. Rarely do we see players make such drastic improvements to their plate discipline, especially in their 30s, but these improvements should allow Marte to be even more of a force on the basepaths with his game-changing speed as he gets more opportunities. 

In addition to the outfielder, the Marlins are sending the A’s $4.5 million in salary relief, or the remaining pro-rated salary for Marte in 2021. This sets the A’s up to keep adding to the team with no financial setbacks but forced them to give up greater prospect capital in exchange for the salary relief. They had previously traded for Chicago Cubs lefty reliever, Andrew Chafin, to bolster the bullpen behind Lou Trivino and Jake Diekman. Overall, this trade looks great right now for Oakland as they get a star outfielder who adds depth to their lineup, above-average fielding to their outfield, and game-changing speed on the basepaths. The main concern is that Marte is only assured to remain with the A’s through the final two months of the season and will have the option of signing with other teams in the upcoming offseason. The A’s won't be able to offer Marte a qualifying offer in his first year hitting free agency because of the trade, which makes the loss of Luzardo sting immensely. Marte will likely sign for upwards of $50 million and will price himself out of the A's pay range. Ultimately, this trade will only truly pay off for the A’s if they can make a deep run towards the World Series during this year’s postseason.

Miami Marlins Updated Lineup

SS Miguel Rojas

2B Isan Diaz

1B Jesus Aguilar

RF Adam Duvall

3B Brian Anderson

C Jorge Alfaro

LF Lewis Brinson

CF Magneuris Sierra

The Marlins’ Major League team doesn’t change too drastically with the subtraction of their best offensive player in Starling Marte not only because they are out of the playoff race already, but also because they have so many players ready to fill in. The Marlins are a team on the rise and have many young outfielders looking to take Marte’s spot and perform well enough to remain with the team during their next postseason run. Either way, Miami’s general manager, Kim Ng, got a steal when she swooped Jesus Luzardo, a young left-handed pitcher, from the A’s for an aging veteran and an expiring contract. 

Luzardo, 23, has struggled this year to the tune of a 6.87 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, and 40 Ks in 38 innings of work (6 starts and 7 bullpen appearances). He began the year in the A’s starting rotation and pitched relatively well up until his placement on the injured list (IL) with a hairline fracture in his left pinky finger, an injury that resulted from hitting his hand on a table while playing video games. When he returned, Luzardo wasn’t his old self and wasn’t stretched out to perform as a starter anymore. He worked as a swingman out of the bullpen upon his return from the IL but wasn’t the same pitcher he was prior to the injury. He was demoted to Triple-A at the end of June after posting a 9.90 ERA and 1.70 WHIP in the 10 innings he pitched out of the bullpen after his return. At Triple-A, Luzardo was destined to get stretched out and rejoin the team for the playoff push but continued to struggle mightily with his control and being incredibly hittable, posting a 6.52 ERA in 29 innings across eight starts. The Marlins are hoping a change of scenery can bring out the potential Luzardo has shown in previous seasons.

Speaking of Luzardo’s potential, he reached as high as #12 on MLB Pipeline’s top 100 prospects in 2019 and reached the fifth spot on Fangraphs version of the list. He was selected with the 17th pick in the 3rd round of the 2016 first-year player draft by the Nationals and was traded the following year to the A’s along with Blake Treinen in exchange for Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle. Luzardo’s breakout year was 2018 at Double-A where he pitched to a 2.29 ERA in 78.2 innings with 86 Ks after dominating High-A with a 1.23 ERA across 14.2 innings of work. He made his major league debut in 2019 pitching exclusively out of the pen but performed exceptionally well with a 1.50 ERA and 12 K/9 in 12 innings. He followed up his debut season with his first “full” season in 2020 where he was able to make 12 appearances including 9 starts and pitched to a 4.12 ERA with a 1.27 WHIP in 59 innings. He had been seen as the ace of the future for the A’s entering the 2021 season but has cast doubt upon his fans with his performances and fluky injury history.

His repertoire speaks to success with a mid-90s four-seamer and a sinker that travels just as fast. He utilizes the two fastballs a combined 60% of the time and pairs them with a nasty mid-80s curveball that he throws around 20% of the time. His fourth and final pitch is a changeup that also travels in the mid-80s with a 20% usage but gets soft contact on swings with an Average Exit Velocity of around 82 mph. The Marlins will most likely keep Luzardo in the minors while he stretches back out and figures out his performance issues.

When he does eventually get called back up to the Majors, he will join one of the league’s best up-and-coming pitching staffs. The Miami rotation already boasts multiple exciting young starting pitchers including multiple All-Stars in Sandy Alcantara (2019) and Trevor Rogers (2021). Luzardo will join Alcantara and Rogers, who share the mound with Pablo Lopez and a multitude of young pitching prospects, in a rotation that could be the best in the league in a couple of years. With Sixto Sanchez making his way back from a shoulder injury, the future is incredibly bright for the Marlins. They will not only have star power in the rotation but will have unlimited depth with all of the serviceable young pitchers they have been producing and showcasing in the Majors this year. Luzardo isn’t arbitration-eligible until 2023 and won’t be a free agent until 2026. He is currently being paid the league minimum and has three more minor league options remaining. The Marlin’s return for Marte is exceptional because of the controllability and potential residing in one of the league’s upcoming aces. 

Analyzing My Home League Draft

Jake Crumpler | September 10, 2020

Back in late July, before baseball fans knew of the chaos that was to occur in the upcoming season, my long-awaited 10-Team home league draft took place. I had prepared as much as I could with rankings for every position leading up to the original March Opening Day but had to adjust most of my rankings once the season got postponed. During that time I spent as much time as I could perfecting my rankings and studying up on strategies to help me win my league in this sprint of a season. In the end, I believe my hard work has paid off as I sit in first place with less than 3 weeks to go.

I thought it would be a fun idea to go back and analyze the draft that has me in the position I sit today and to project what my team might have done in a full season. I will be going round-by-round and analyzing each pick for the short season and a long season. Some notes about my home league:

10-Team Total Season Points Redraft League (Snake Draft)

Daily Roster Moves and Player Acquisitions (1-Day Waiver Period)

26 Man Roster: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF (5), CI, MI, UTIL, P (9), BE (4), IL (2)

Batters: R (+1), TB (+1), RBI (+1), BB (+1), HBP (+1), K (-1), SB (+2)

Pitchers: IP (+1/out), H (-1), ER (-2), BB (-1), HB (-1), K (+1), W (+5), L (-5), SV (+5), HD (+1)

Games Started Maximum (85 starts for the shortened season)

Now that we all understand the rules I was working with, let’s dive into the draft.

All player stats as of 9/10

Round 1

Jacob deGrom, P (Pick 4)

48.0 IP, 3-1 W-L, 1.69 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 70 K, 164 Pts (20.5/start)

With my first pick, I knew I wanted to go with pitching unless both Gerrit Cole and deGrom got drafted in the first three picks. Only Cole was drafted, so I didn’t have to think about my pick too hard at the time. Looking back on this first-round selection with 2020 hindsight (ha) I still feel like I made the right choice as deGrom has avoided injury and been a top 10 SP all year. I definitely could have gone with Mookie Betts or Mike Trout, who went with the fifth and sixth picks respectively, but I was scared away from Trout because of the birth of his first child and I wanted to stick to my plan of getting a starter in the first round. They’ve all returned relatively similar value with Trout at 154 Pts and Mookie at 168 coming into today, but with the dearth of starting pitching available, I think deGrom was the correct choice. 

deGrom is easier to project than the following draft picks following his back-to-back Cy Young Award-winning seasons. With his fastball velocity up 1.5 ticks and his Ground Ball% up to 49.5% from 44.4%, he’s looking even more dominant than he has in the past two years. This has led to a FIP of 2.03, which backs up his stellar ERA, and an xwOBA against only .029 points higher than his wOBA, revealing that his low BABIP (.267) isn’t just a case of good luck. With the way deGrom is going right now and considering his recent track record, I would have expected him to finish either #1 or #2 at SP (depending on if Shane Bieber could maintain his outstanding start to 2020), scoring around 600 points (567 in 2019), and winning a third straight NL Cy Young.

Round 2

Bryce Harper, OF (Pick 17)

119 AB, .261/.419/.487, 27 R, 7 HR, 21 RBI, 7 SB, 127 Pts (3.4/game)

Heading into the second round, I wanted to follow up my deGrom selection with an elite outfielder because of my five empty outfield slots and the fact that neither Max Scherzer nor Justin Verlander fell to me here. At the time, I was deciding between J.D. Martinez and Harper with my next best option being George Springer. I chose Harper because I felt as though he had more upside than J.D. in a shortened season because of the peak we’ve seen him produce at back in his 2015 MVP season. This was no knock on J.D. as I had him ranked right behind Harper, but I wanted that top 5 batter upside that Harper brings to the table in an OBP league. Turns out I made the right choice. J.D. has completely lost his ability to hit this year, sporting a .689 OPS with a paltry 70 Pts (1.8), both stats that pale in comparison to Harper’s output.

Looking at Harper’s underlying statistics reveals that his performance has not been supported by luck and that he may even be able to return to his August production once he breaks out of his current slump. His xwOBA sits in the top 6% of the league at .423 which is .046 points higher than his wOBA suggesting his batted ball profile should be leading to better production. He also cut his K-rate by over 8%, upped his BB-rate by 6% and he is walking more often than he is striking out. His improved plate discipline is ideal for an OBP-oriented points league and I think that Harper could have had a monster year if he had gotten the chance to play it out. I would project him for a 500+ point full season (461 in 2019), including his 7th All-Star appearance and possibly a run at a second NL MVP award if he could catch up to Mookie and Fernando Tatis Jr. 

Round 3

Ketel Marte, OF/2B (24)

162 AB, .290/.324/.407, 17 R, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 1 SB, 89 Pts (2.2)

The third round did not reap the same rewards the first two did. I wanted another top-tier outfielder to pair with Harper but Marte just ended up being the wrong choice. His underlying metrics from 2019 painted a picture of slight negative regression but I didn’t expect his power output to revert to his pre-breakout form. Looking at the players drafted after him in the 3rd round, I think I would have rather taken Trea Turner (1.036 OPS, 165 Pts) or Freddie Freeman (1.048 OPS, 171 Pts) and just forgotten about my plan to take only outfielders and starting pitching early. 

Marte’s production hasn’t been horrible, I’ve had him in my lineup every day that he starts, but he wasn’t worth a third-round pick. His metrics on baseball savant also point to his production remaining static through the end of the season. He rarely strikes out (11.0 K%) but he never walks (2.9 BB%) and he hasn’t been pulling the ball nearly as much as he did in 2019. His new approach has kept his AVG close to his 2019 output but the cost is his barrel-rate being cut in half and a nearly 200-point drop in SLG. Marte also just hit the IL making it harder for him to turn his season around with fewer than three weeks remaining. I think Marte has the ability to keep doing what he’s been doing this year but he needs a change in approach to counter the adjustment pitchers have made on him. I think he would have had a similar line to Adam Frazier’s 2019 season if the season had been played out. Frazier batted .278 with 10 HR and 345 points last year and I think Marte would have matched that production if continued to play every day through the end of the season. 

Round 4

Clayton Kershaw, P (37)

41.0 IP,  5-1 W-L, 1.98 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 44 K, 136 Pts (19.4)

I was super pumped to get the opportunity to draft Kershaw here in the fourth because I expected a massive rebound in a shortened season making him the ideal #2 SP. This pick immediately looked like it was going to come back to bite we as Kershaw was scratched from his first start hours before Opening Day. Kershaw returned healthy, though, and his work at Driveline in the offseason paid off as his fastball velocity jumped 1.6 ticks, getting rid of any doubts I had. The three pitchers off the board after Kershaw were Luis Castillo, Patrick Corbin, and Chris Paddack, all pitchers who haven’t lived up to their draft position, making me feel even better about my pick.

Who knows if Kershaw would have been able to stay healthy for a whole season so we’ll disregard any hypotheticals regarding his health. His increased fastball velocity makes me confident he can continue to overwhelm batters with his arsenal and his increased GB% also indicates an ability to get soft contact and trust his defense. On the other hand, Kershaw’s 3.28 FIP is not bad but it hints at possible regression to his ERA while his .194 BABIP and nearly 90% strand-rate suggest he’s been particularly lucky so far. I could see Kershaw posting a very similar line to the one he posted last year but with a slightly lower ERA because of the improved velocity and defense behind him. Last year, Kershaw scored a (nice) 469 points leading me to project him for around 500 points in a full season. 

Round 5

Josh Donaldson, 3B (44)

40 AB, .250/.392/.525, 8 R, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 34 Pts (2.6)

I had Donaldson as a player to target entering the draft so I went out and got my guy when a run of pitchers arrived in the fifth round. To put it simply, it didn’t really go well. Donaldson got injured after just 22 at bats with his new squad and just returned from the IL a week ago. Not the ideal outcome with such a short season but hopefully Donaldson can help me with that final push to the finish line. Batters drafted after Donaldson but before my next pick included D.J. LeMahieu and Whit Merrifield, two players that have performed much better than Donaldson. LeMaiheu would’ve been my choice if I had a do-over but I think the difference wouldn’t be that huge in a 162-game season.

Donaldson’s sample size is too small, even for this shortened season, to analyze his underlying metrics so we’ll move on to the next round.

Round 6

Marcus Semien, SS (57)

148 AB, .216/.275/.358, 19 R, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 3 SB, 66 Pts (1.9)

Semien is in the same bust boat that Donaldson and Marte are in and that means I’ve selected three busts with my first four batters. I was especially in on Semien being from the Bay Area but my loyalty did not pay off. Semien struggled to begin the season, started to turn it around, and then missed about a week while his team had a COVID scare and he struggled with side soreness. Ultimately, this has led to a subpar season after a breakout season last year. Tim Anderson and Corey Seager were selected in the eighth and tenth rounds respectively and I think it would have paid off to wait even longer to select a shortstop. Seager is killing it this year sporting a .960 OPS and 136 Pts while Anderson has 120 Pts in only 140 AB. Carlos Correa, drafted in the ninth round, hasn’t had the best year but even he would’ve been an upgrade over Semien as he currently stands with 85 Pts.

Semien’s production, or lack thereof, seems rooted in the loss of the plate discipline he improved last year. He’s striking out more than he ever has, he’s walking less than he has since 2015, and this has led to him becoming a liability in a points league. His 17th percentile Hard Hit% seems caused by an increase in his launch angle that has led to more pop-ups and weekly hit fly balls. His wOBA is nearly identical to his xwOBA making me nervous to roster him even for the last three weeks expecting a turnaround. It would take a major change in approach from Semien for him to start impacting the ball and making pitchers work. His production in a full 2020 season might be similar to Willy Adames last year when he had a similar plate discipline profile to Semien and finished with 247 Pts.

Round 7

Marcell Ozuna, OF (64)

161 AB, .304/.396/.609, 27 R, 13 HR, 37 RBI, 141 Pts (3.3)

Ozuna has been one of my best batters all season and his draft position was well worth the price. I have been buying into Ozuna for the last couple of years because Ozuna’s underlying metrics suggested he was getting unlucky in his two seasons in St. Louis. This year he has avoided being struck down by batted ball luck and has returned to his Miami Marlins form. He’s batting fourth every day for a deadly Atlanta Braves lineup, continues to rip the cover off the ball, and he even returned a 20 Pt game on September 1st when he blasted three dingers against the Red Sox.

Ozuna is looking even better than he did back in 2017 when he blasted 37 home runs with a 143 wRC+ as he’s already up to 13 homers on the year and a 158 wRC+. He’s backing up his performances by nearly matching his xwOBA with his wOBA and being in the fourth percentile in AVG Exit Velocity. He’s striking out slightly more than his worst season but he’s counteracted that by walking at a career-high 13.4% rate. I think 450-475 points would be in reach for him in a full season at this pace.

Round 8

Sonny Gray, P (77)

42.1 IP, 5-2 W-L, 3.19 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 56 K, 116 Pts (14.5)

I went looking for my third starting pitcher in the 7th round but I got sniped by my little brother when he swooped Corey Kluber from me. Thanks, bro! This allowed me to wait for a round and get Sonny Gray as my SP3. This selection looked like it was going to be one of the best picks in the draft when Gray began the season on a tear but he’s recently cooled off and is looking a lot more hittable. 

He seems to be building off his comeback 2019 season with the Reds by striking batters out at a career-high rate and reducing his HR/9 to his rookie season levels. He’s even underperforming his FIP and making it clear that the changes he’s made since coming to Cincinnati aren’t just a fluke and are here to stay. Gray has the ability to stick at the pace he’s been going at but I expect some negative regression coming as he hasn’t been looking great recently. His 437 points last year seem like a reasonable benchmark for him to match one again in a hypothetical full season.

Round 9

Kenley Jansen, P (84)

18.1 IP, 3-0 W-L, 1.96 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 25 K, 10 SV, 116 Pts (5.8/appearance)

As relievers started flying off the board in the previous rounds (Josh Hader, Kirby Yates, Liam Hendriks) I figured it was time to choose an elite one for myself. Relievers are incredibly valuable in this league because of the games started limit so getting a few solid closers is essential. I owned Kenley last year so I had some reservations on drafting him but his work at Driveline in the offseason gave me some hope so I took the risk...and it paid off big time. Kenley has been one of the top closers this year and the only closer with more points than him right now is Hendriks with 137. Relievers are tough to analyze especially in such a short season but because Kenley has such an elite track record, I expect him to be awesome for the rest of the season. This was definitely a successful round.

Round 10

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B (97)

112 AB, .330/.461/.500, 22 R, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 1 SB, 102 Pts (2.9)

The Cardinals were the second team to face a COVID quarantine this season but that hasn’t stopped Goldy from returning to his pre-St. Louis level of production. I felt great getting Goldy this late in the draft and I feel even better now that he shook off his rough debut season with the Cardinals and has returned to being one of the best first basemen in the league. Jose Abreu was drafted 3 picks before I got Goldy so I didn’t have a chance to get him while Yuli Gurriel went in the 11th Round and neither of these players make me regret getting Goldschmidt where I did.

Goldy’s plate discipline this year has been ridiculous as he is walking almost 5% more than he’s striking which has aided him in his bounceback. On top of that, his performance is backed up by the minuscule .011 difference in his wOBA and xwOBA. He’s not striking the ball like he used to with a diminished exit velocity and Hard Hit% in the 37th percentile but his improved discipline is holding off the regression in his bat. He may have been able to have a 425-450 point full season.

Round 11

Justin Turner, 3B (104)

117 AB, .282/.384/.410, 17 R, 2 HR, 20 RBI, 1 SB, 85 Pts (2.7)

Turner has had a pretty solid season for the Dodgers this year and as my primary third baseman (because of the Donaldson injury) he’s been more than serviceable. I wanted Turner here because he’s been so consistent since breaking out with the Dodgers and he’d be batting in the middle of possibly the deadliest lineup in baseball. He went on the IL as soon as I got Donaldson back and I’m hoping he’ll be at full strength for the stretch run.

He has lived up to the value he’s provided in recent seasons and seems primed to build on his wimpy home run total when he returns from the IL. Turner has severely underperformed the majority of his expected stats so a hot stretch in the second half of a full season isn’t out of question. Turner easily could have matched his 372 point total from a year ago with a full season’s worth of playing time.

Round 12

J.D. Davis, OF/3B (117)

139 AB, .266/.380/.410, 19 R, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 78 Pts (2.0)

Davis was another player I was targeting heading into the draft because of the solid expected stats he had backing up his mini breakout last year. He hasn’t fully lived up to the hype he had going into the season but he has been good enough to remain on my team for the whole season so far. He’s walking a lot and doesn’t strike out too much but he hasn’t been impacting the ball like he did last season. His launch angle has dropped from 10.6 degrees to 4.1 degrees suggesting that Davis hasn’t been getting the ball in the air enough which would explain his low home run total. Although his production has been good enough for me to roster him, I think I would’ve gone elsewhere if I had a redo because he hasn’t been the impact bat I was expecting to get. Cavan Biggio, drafted with pick 129, would’ve have been a much better selection having dual eligibilty at 2B and OF and outperforming Davis by 42 fantasy points. 

Round 13

Zac Gallen, P (124)

55.0 IP, 1-1 W-L, 2.29 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 60 K, 141 Pts (15.7)

Gallen was one of my favorite pitchers after his rookie season so I was on a mission to obtain at least one share of him in my leagues. His electric arsenal, excellent ratios, and ace-like strikeout numbers had me coveting Gallen like a Mike Trout card in MLB The Show. He has continued to perform like an ace this year and has taken my rotation to another level affording me the luxury of not having to worry about my starters too much. Gallen’s pinpoint control has led to him walking just 0.98 batters per 9 innings and has allowed him to take a massive step forward in his progression. He’s outperforming his FIP by more than a full run but I think even with some regression he’d be in for a 400+ point output in a full season.

Round 14

Archie Bradley, P (137)

13.1 IP, 1-0 W-L, 3.38 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 14 K, 6 SV, 60 Pts (5.0)

I was in on Bradley this season because I was under the impression that the Dbacks were going to build off of their 2019 success and because their manager likes to stick with a set closer for the whole season if he can. I really thought the Diamondbacks were going to be good this year...they are not, and that led to them trading Bradley to the Reds. The trade wasn’t because of poor performance by Bradley as he was great for me throughout his 2020 tenure with the Dbacks, but they were out of the playoff race. I dropped him a few days ago once a I realized he wasn’t going to get save opportunities in Cincinnati and picked up Richard Rodriguez who has already netted me 17 points. You served me well, though, Archie.

Round 15

Robbie Ray, P (144)

38.1 IP, 1-4 W-L, 7.51 ERA, 1.98 WHIP, 52 K, 11 Pts (1.2)

Yikes. This pick is definitely in the conversation of my worst pick of the draft. I was enamored with the Summer Camp news of Ray’s new arm angle that was similar to Lucas Giolito. Giolito broke out last season after a rough 2018 by changing his arm angle heading into 2019. I thought the same would happen with Ray but, sadly, it did not. Ray has struggled with command all year sporting an unbelievably bad 8.22 BB/9 and was traded to the Blue Jays at the trade deadline. I dropped him after his third start of the season which means I got -2 points of value out of this round and I definitely realize I reached on this one. Dinelson Lamet, Zach Wheeler, and Dallas Keuchel were all available at the time and would have been much better selections.

Round 16

Alex Colome, P (157)

15.2 IP, 1-0 W-L, 1.15 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 13 K, 9 SV, 87 Pts (5.8)

Time for another reliever as we near the final ten rounds. Colome was another player I drafted last year so I had a level of trust with him that other owners didn’t so I grabbed him here. He has been one of the most consistent closers in the league this year with only one blown save and no home runs allowed and that consistency has been really valuable as I lead the league in saves. All of the elite relievers had been taken at this point so I could’ve done worse than a reliable closer on a first place team.

Round 17

Matthew Boyd, P (164)

43.2 IP, 1-6 W-L, 7.63 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 49 K, 7 Pts (0.8)

My 17th round selection is the other pick in the running for worst pick in the draft as Boyd has been unrosterable this year. I was hoping of a repeat of his first half last year but he has been unable to find the strike zone and hasn’t been able to avoid the home run ball. Knowing that Boyd was a boom or bust pitcher, I jumped ship after his second start and I’m very glad I did. I was able to replace Boyd and Ray with Dylan Bundy, who has been a godsend for me, and a fluid spot for streaming. Bundy has a 2.49 ERA with 137 Pts (17.1/start) this year and I was only able to get him because I dropped Boyd so quickly. My rotation after week two was deGrom, Kershaw, Gray, Gallen, and Bundy so I felt really confident in my pitching the rest of the way.

Round 18

Mark Melancon, P (177)

14.2 IP, 2-1 W-L, 2.45 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 9 K, 8 SV, 74 Pts (4.9)

I hadn’t done much research on Melancon before the draft but I liked that his manager stated that he was for sure going to be the closer and that he was closing for the 2019 NL East champion Braves. He took that closer role and ran with it and hasn’t seemed at risk of losing his job at any point this season. His strikeout numbers leave something to be desired but his ability to lock down saves has really helped me out this year and he’s been much better than any of the relievers taken after him. 

Round 19

Dansby Swanson, SS (184)

170 AB, .306/.372/.482, 42 R, 6 HR, 24 RBI, 5 SB, 127 Pts (3.0)

The boi! I was super in on Dansby before the virus shut down the season back in March because his first and second half splits were so different. It suggested that the injury that forced him to miss time was the root of his poor second half production. This led me to believe that if he was able to repeat his first half performance, he could be a top ten shortstop and be super valuable as a late round pick. I was right! Dansby has killed it all year and was a great replacement for Semien as he struggled to start the season. The Braves let Dansby move up to the 2 hole after Ozzie Albies’s injury and that has led to him being second in the majors in runs. He’s slightly outperforming his xwOBA and his exit velocity is down from the year prior so that has me thinking that he is headed for some regression. Even with some regression, Dansby may have been able to reach 375 points in a normal season.

Round 20

Kyle Tucker, OF (197)

155 AB, .265/.320/.555, 30 R, 8 HR, 37 RBI, 5 SB, 141 Pts (3.3)

I was surprised Tucker fell to me here but I guess the lack of a secure lineup spot scared everyone away. That ended up being a good thing for me. Tucker shook off a cold start and locked up the 5 spot in the Astros lineup by leading the league in triples and living up to his prospect hype. Tucker is tied for 10th in total points among batters making him one of the most valuable picks in the entire draft. He is in the top 17% in exit velocity, has a wOBA that matches his xwOBA, and has been a great fielder. This combination could have resulted in Tucker maintaining this pace, securing his starting right field job, and possibly 425+ point season. This was definitely one of my best picks of this draft.

Round 21

Seth Lugo, P (204)

22.0 IP, 2-2 W-L, 2.05 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 31 K, 3 SV, 80 Pts (6.7)

Lugo is an interesting pick to analyze. I drafted him hoping that he would secure the Mets closer job and he did and pitched well. Then the Mets got hit hard by injuries and underperformance in the pitching staff and Lugo stepped up to fill in, and pitched well. He’s pitched well all season whether it be out of the bullpen or as a starter and I’ve enjoyed it all. He’s seamlessly transferred his elite bullpen numbers to the rotation and is looking like he could be a co-ace to deGrom once he’s fully stretched out. I expect Lugo to be a critical piece of my rotation for the stretch run and would’ve loved to see what he could’ve done in a full season. I’m not sure how to project him, though, because I don’t knw if he would’ve stayed in the bullpen or moved to the rotation eventually so I’m just going to move on.

Round 22

Brandon Nimmo, OF (217)

139 AB, .252/.388/.453, 26 R, 6 HR, 12 RBI, 1 SB, 101 Pts (2.5)

Nimmo is one of those players I took a flyer on last year because of his elite BB/K ratio and it didn’t pay off. Usually I would completely avoid a player like that the next year but I think it’s a good idea to double down on guys like these if you had a reason to like them in the first place. I doubled down with Nimmo and it paid major dividends as he has mostly batted leadoff for the Mets, has remained healthy, and has maintined that amazing plate discipline in a larger sample size. Although Nimmo doesn’t hit the ball that hard, but he’s in the top 9% of the league in BB rate and is only outperforming his xwOBA by .oo6 points which means his solid production is warranted. I always try to target guys who don’t strike out too much and walk a lot and Nimmo is that kind of guy and he has served me well all year long. In a full season, Nimmo could have put up around 350 points which is really solid for a 22nd round pick.

Round 23

Eric Thames, 1B (224)

99 AB, .212/.291/.323, 8 R, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 1 SB, 32 Pts (1.0)

I took a flyer on Thames because I thought he might be able to go on a tear like he did when he first came back from Japan but, alas, he wasn’t able to find the stroke that brought him newfound success in the states. I dropped Thames after a week of poor production but have found replacements in Dominic Smith (111 Pts) and Jesse Winker (99 Pts) who have upgraded my batting big time over the last month.

Round 24

Nick Madrigal, 2B (237)

50 AB, .380/.404/.420, 4 R, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 1 SB, 30 Pts (2.1)

Another late round flyer. I was high on Madrigal because he never struck out in the minors and seeing negative points in your fantasy lineup is really frustrating. I wasn’t patient enough with Madrigal, though, as I dropped him a couple weeks before he got called up. He’s been good so far but his lack of power keeps his ceiling really low. I’ve been playing Nick Solak pretty consistently when I have openings and he’s been solid with 91 Pts and 2.1 Pts/game but hasn’t been a game changer or anything. He’s pretty similar to Madrigal in that he has great contact ability and rarely strikes out but his power potential is a lot higher.

Round 25

James Karinchak, P (244)

20.0 IP, 0-2 W-L, 2.70 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 39 K, 1 SV, 6 HD, 67 Pts (3.5)

Karinchak was so mysterious to me before this season because I had never seen him pitch in the minors. How could someone strike so many people out?! What sorcery was this man using?! I had to take a flyer on him with my second to last pick because who knows, maybe he can do the same thing in the majors. He’s pretty much done just that as he’s tied for the lead for strikeouts by a reliever with Edwin Diaz and he’s been one of the top set-up men in the league in his rookie year. I can’t wait to see what Karinchak can do once he gets a full time closing gig but I’ll take the elite production he’s provided this year.

Round 26

Carson Kelly, C (257)

83 AB, .181/.227/.277, 4 R, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 19 Pts (0.7)

My strategy with catcher was to wait until my last pick and take a catcher with upside because it is rare to find a catcher that puts up enough points to warrant starting them every day. That extra bench slot is much more valuable in a daily moves league than a catcher averaging 1.5 points per game. I dropped Kelly after five days and haven’t looked back. Maybe next year I’ll target J.T. Realmuto so I can have a catcher worth keeping.

Yoga and Baseball: The Dichotomization of Culture Through Orientalism

Jake Crumpler | June 10, 2021

The effects of Orientalism as seen through the lens of the American pastime 

For centuries, Western countries like the United States and Great Britain have subjugated Eastern countries, such as India and China, through conquest and cultural control. The power of these nations over each other has led to tremendous dissension that has yet to be mended. This power was executed through several avenues, but the most important roads relate to philosophy and culture. Western translation and religion enforced, and continue to enforce, Orientalism and the great divide between the Orient and the Occident. I would like to explore this statement by considering, among others, a few questions that pertain to this subject that will aid in the understanding of these ideas. First off, what effect does religion have on enforcing Orientalism, imperialism, and colonialism, and where is this manifested? Do translations play a major part in how Eastern thought is consumed? In what ways does this play out in the modern world? How can the divide between the East and the West be mended?

Before diving deep into the subjects of imperialism, Orientalism, and the forces that divide the East and the West, it is important to define and understand these terms and ideas. The West separated itself from the East through imperialism and colonialism. Imperialism is defined by Merriam-Webster as, “the policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas,” (Merriam-Webster). Colonialism is defined by Merriam-Webster as, “control by one power over a dependent area or people,” and as, “a policy advocating or based on such control,” (Merriam-Webster). Dividing the world by conquering countries led the West to gain more than just imperial, colonial, and military power. The West gained a sort of racial power, in that it could now try to play savior or teacher for all of these countries they conquered. In doing this, the West not only erased cultures and ways of life by forcing them to conform to Western styles of life, but they could now portray the East as needing saving, being underdeveloped, or being, in general, less than the West. The West’s history of dominance over the East is an important concept that will continue to play an essential role in the exploration of other topics pertaining to the enforcement of Orientalism. 

Imperialism and colonialism define the West’s path to power over the East, but do not describe the continued separation and divide between them that survives through the 21st Century. Edward Said, the man who coined the term Orientalism, defined it in his renowned book, Orientalism, stating that, “Orientalism is a style of thought based upon an ontological epistemological distinction made between ‘the Orient’ and (most of the time) ‘the Occident.’ Thus a very large mass of writers, among who are poets, novelists, philosophers, political theorists, economists, and imperial administrators, have accepted the basic distinction between East and West as the starting point for elaborate theories, epics, novels, social descriptions, and political accounts concerning the Orient, its people, customs, ‘mind,’ destiny, and so on,” (Said, 2) This is where the relationship between the East and West continues to disintegrate because Orientalism others anything non-Western. Said also points out that, “Taking the late eighteenth century as a very roughly defined starting point Orientalism can be discussed and analyzed as the corporate institution for dealing with the Orient--dealing with it by making statements about it, authorizing views of it, describing it, by teaching it, settling it, ruling over it: in short, Orientalism as a Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient,” (Said, 3). This definition is more succinct by Said and, most importantly, it implies the historical oppression the Occident has maintained over the Orient. Occidental authority has survived for more than two centuries and is most present in the religious dominance and conformity pertaining to the separation between the East and West. 

Christianity has been the West’s most practiced religion, running for two centuries, which has led to the Church and its followers gaining more power as more people conform to the Western lifestyle. This has been apparent in the way Christianity and Catholicism have been used to not only naturalize imperialized and colonized countries to Western life, but also to gain power in the first place. While countries are dominated and acquired, their religions and cultures disappear and are replaced with Western religions and ideals. The additions to the congregation of Christian and Catholic followers strengthens the unification of those followers. The people believe that their numbers are rising because their religion is the “correct” one and their lifestyle is the “correct” and “preferred” lifestyle, ingraining the idea that the West is better than the East. As Christianity was popularized as the main religion of the West, it simultaneously produced the othering of any non-Christain religion resulting in further separation between the Orient and the Occident. Any religion that wasn’t Christianity became alienated by the West and, in turn, was looked down upon and dismissed. The unification of the West under a single religion, belief system, and lifestyle forced the alienation and separation of not only Eastern religion, but also of Eastern lifestyles and philosophies. Instead of broadening the horizons of the human population that would seem to incur from the increase in Eastern countries being acquired by imperialist and colonialist countries, Western thought was amalgamated under one common way of believing.

The popularity of one belief system in the West directly led to a major and nearly unsolvable problem. The problem that the West faced and continues to face, in terms of solving Orientalism, is the homogenization of thought, ideals, religion, and lifestyle. Homogenization is the process of becoming homogeneous while the definition of homogeneous is, “of the same or a similar kind of nature,” and, “of uniform structure or composition throughout,” (Merriam-Webster). This homogenization is a direct result of the original unification under a single religion. Religion maintains a major influence over the philosophies, ideals, and lifestyles of its followers, and when people are all influenced by the same ideas, their philosophies, ideals, and lifestyles are all similarly influenced. Therefore, the authority of Christianity and Catholicism over the West and conquered colonies forced its followers into one way of thinking, one way of seeing, and one way of being. Western religion essentially homogenized half of the world into one single homogeneous being, one giant mass of people who all believed and thought the same things and lived life in the same ways. Not only did this give this homogeneous being ultimate power over much of the world and give Christianity authority over this being, but it also acted as a barrier blocking any other religions, philosophies, or lifestyles from seeping in. The amalgamation of Western society acted as a barrier because anything different from the mass would not homogenize, forcing it outside the Western bubble. Halting other ways of thought from entering the West allowed for further alienation of the East as its lands and its philosophies became more and more foreign and different. This difference was even supported by the religion itself and not just its imperial power and influence over human thought.

In Bernard Cohn’s, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge, the ways in which Indian history was rewritten, its objects commodified, and its people exoticized are explored. Cohn noted that Britain had decided that, “knowledge of the history and practices of Indian states was seen as the most valuable form of knowledge on which to build the colonial state,” (Cohn, 5) and that, “India was seen by Europeans not only as exotic and bizarre but as a kind of lying museum of the European past,” (Cohn, 78). These quotes reflect the deep-rooted Orientalism in Western society and how long ago it began. It also reveals the purposeful alienation of India by the English and how it affected all of Europe’s views on India. 

Most importantly, Cohn discussed the ways the Bible successfully influenced Europeans’ views of India as well. It was used to condition the West to see India as bizarre and exotic while simultaneously reinforcing the blockade of Eastern culture and the separation of the East from the West. Cohn stated, “The Bible and the medieval patristic literature offered another interpretation of the culture and religions of India for the European travelers: this was the home of traditional enemies of Christianity, Satan and his devils...To have found the devil and Satan in India was not strange and unusual to Europeans, as they knew they were there all along,” (Cohn, 78). Cohn echoes the ideas of Europeans being pre-conditioned through their religion and important texts to despise the Orient and view them as less-than or evil. Anyone not following the church and not homogenizing to the Western norms was considered to be different in a bad way. In other words (or Cohn’s), these people are all considered to be devils by birthplace alone and could never conform to Western life. This is but one example of the process that the West undertook to alienate the East and spread Orientalism.

It would be foolish to suggest that the othering of the Orient and the separation of the West from the East could strictly result from just the homogenization of religion alone. Yes, it played a major role and the ensuing homogenization of philosophy and lifestyle played an equally important role but another essential key to othering the Orient lay in the translation and portrayal of important Eastern texts and philosophies. This was done intentionally by translators attempting to other and exoticize the East while simultaneously spreading false information to readers by deliberately altering translations to fit prefixed stereotypes and ideas about Eastern life and texts. This similarly reflects how the Europeans rewrote Indian history and divided religion by hemisphere. Ovidio Carbonell Cortés of the University of Salamanca elaborated eloquently on these ideas in his essay titled “Orientalism in Translation: Familiarizing and Defamiliarizing Strategies”. This essay supports my previous ideas on the important role translations have played in enforcing Orientalism by exploring the way Oriental texts were exoticized through translation by Westerners.  

Cortés begins by pointing out that, “So-called ‘primitive’, ‘exotic’ or ‘oriental’ texts provide some of the most illustrative examples of cultural bias that usually takes place in translation. It is already well known that the conditions of knowledge production, and therefore also the conditions of the translation process, are deeply inscribed with the politics, the strategies of power, and the mythology of stereotyping and representation of other cultures,” (Cortés, 63). His opening remarks reveal not only the effects translation can have on foreign texts, but also the Occidental authority over the way these texts are viewed. These remarks show the influence stereotyping has on translations and how these translations reinforce those stereotypes in their readers.

The rest of Cortés’ essay contains the processes by which Western translators were able to alter foreign texts to their benefit and to the detriment of the Orient. He explores Lawrence Venuti’s idea of “invisibility” which Venuti defines himself as, “[giving] the appearance that [the work] reflects the foreign writer’s personality or intention or the essential meaning of the foreign text - the appearance, in other words, that the translation is not in fact a translation, but the ‘original’,” (Cortés, 64). Here, Venuti attempts to put into a singular word the process of translating a text to the likings of the translator, with or without the intent, but resulting in the spreading of misinformation to readers. The readers believe the translation is a true and factually correct translation, when in reality it is a whole new story that contains racism and stereotyping and false information about life in the East. These translations ultimately allowed for false truths to permeate most of the West and those false truths allowed for the West to differentiate itself even further from the East by using these mistranslations as facts to back up the othering of the Orient. Cortés also pointed out that, “ the turn of the 18th was widely believed that Oriental literature had a tendency towards the use of overelaborate metaphors and bombastic expression due to the nature of the language, determined in the last instance by the character of these peoples. This character was conditioned, so it was thought, by physical circumstances such as the climate of Eastern lands,” (Cortés, 64) and he continues in the next paragraph, “Of course, a clear concept of social convention was inconceivable at the time, but we should note the survival of old stereotypes, as well as the fact that once Oriental literature was thought to be characterized by these features, the translated work had to reflect the same characteristics in the target language. Therefore, the reader expected the Oriental work to be characterized by these traits,” (Cortés, 64). Here, Cortés is pointing out that not only were Europeans predisposed to believe the elaborate stories told of the East, but Europeans also didn’t question the accuracy of the translations because of that same predisposition -- the predisposition that resulted from how the East had already been portrayed to them. 

Westerners were conditioned to believe the false translations through previous alienation of the Orient, their philosophies, and their texts, and then these ideas were supported by false translations of Eastern texts that seemed to suggest that the Eastern author was representing the Orient the same way the West did. This connects back to the discussion surrounding the European alteration of Indian history and the Bible reinforcing views of the Orient by conditioning Western followers to compare and differentiate themselves from the East by considering anyone non-conformist as a devil. The Bible in itself is a translation and the people who interpret that translation and broadcast their interpretations to congregations are translating a translation. All of these steps of feeding the Bible through different people’s opinions and predispositions cause the real messages to be lost and allow for new false messages to be formed with the authority of this religious text still remaining. This results in the Bible being used to other the Orient and allows for Europeans to be conditioned to foreignize Eastern people and dismiss their philosophies. Oriental poetry, novels, religious texts, or philosophical texts were translated to reinforce predispositions and condition readers to dismiss and foreignize the East in this same way.

Cortés goes on to explore the process of defamiliarization which brings light to how the intentional exoticizing of Oriental texts was achieved. Cortés writes, “Whereas it may be said that ‘naturalness’ stands as the desirable distinction in the majority of translations into English...the fact that fluency, transparency or invisibility should acquire canonical status also determines that non-transparent translation somehow emphasize the ‘foreign’ character of the work translated and the different set of values it is assumed to convey. If fluency as a strategy gradually takes hold as a convenient way of incorporating, for example, classical texts in the corpus of Western knowledge, defamiliarization stands as a common practice when translating exotic texts. Their semiotic character is determined by the differences sought in order to distinguish these texts from canonical texts. The translator therefore orientalizes the ‘Oriental’ text, exoticizes those texts considered exotic, and renders archaic works purported to represent bygone and paradigmatic times…” (Cortés, 65). This lengthy quote reinforces the notions that foreign texts were marginalized with intent, negatively affecting the way Europeans viewed these texts. 

Cortés elaborates further on the conception of defamiliarization by stating, “Defamiliarization or foreignization stands as an attempt to preserve the distinct qualities of the foreign or exotic text - these which make the text, precisely, ‘foreign’ or ‘exotic’-, but this preservation is in fact a rewriting,” (Cortés, 65). Cortés’ ideas about defamiliarization support my previously mentioned thoughts that these false translations are, in fact, not translations at all. They are new stories by themselves that are shaped by a translator’s predispositions about how the East should be portrayed in an attempt to foreignize the Orient. He continues with these ideas writing, “...the norm or convention when translating this type of text will be the alteration or dislocation of what would be considered normal in the language (poetic or other) of the target culture, so as to make it suitable to the convention of what this sort of text is expected to transmit. This is related, on one hand, to the image that the receiver culture has of the original culture and, on the other hand, to the experience of the translator who, conditioned by such an image, seeks to introduce distinctive features into his translation,” (Cortés, 65). This harkens back to the conditioning of European readers to expect differences in Eastern texts even though those differences were placed there intentionally by a Westerner to portray the East as different.

Cortés concludes his relevant thoughts on Orientalism in translation by noting that, “The predominant convention in the translation of Oriental poetry has incorporated many such effects in European versions. Obviously, these effects belong only to the target language and culture, as they result from their differences (real or imagined) from the source language and culture,” (Cortés 65). These final sentences crystallize the impact of creating and reinforcing major differences between cultures from the East and the West. The East was unaffected directly by these translations, but the ensuing views and treatment of the Orient by the Occident is what directly affected them. 

Understanding the background of Orientalism and its links to religion and translation allows us to shift our focus towards the present. Yoga is a modern example of the way orientalism, homogenization, and translation can affect how Eastern cultures are viewed and appropriated in the West. By analyzing the alterations made to yoga during its appropriation process, the underpinnings of Orientalism become more clear. Søren Askegaard and Giana M. Eckhardt, in their research journal article titled, “Glocal Yoga: Re-appropriation of the Indian Consumptionscape”, explore the “...implications of this re-appropriation process for [the] understanding of marketplace globalization,” (Askegaard, 45). Understanding marketplace globalization isn’t necessary for the discussion surrounding Orientalism, but Askegaard and Eckhardt do bring up interesting points about the appropriation of yoga in the West.

First off, they define yoga as, “...a set of physical and mental practices which originated in India between 200 BC and AD 200,” (Askegaard, 47). They follow their definition with a background of Indian yoga. “In its original Indian version, ‘yoga was a philosophically grounded set of practices designed to facilitate spiritual enlightenment’. Yoga emerged from the Sanskritic cultural mould as well as from the three great Indian religious traditions: Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. From a classic perspective, yoga is designed to transcend ‘ignorance and train the embodied mind to experience Truth’ and is thus deeply entrenched in Hindu spiritualism. Yoga has been a dynamic practice, meaning there is tremendous variation in how it is practised,” (Askegaard, 47). This background can be used to compare the ways globalized yoga differentiates itself entirely from classical Indian yoga. 

Askegaard and Eckhardt continue their research article by comparing globalized yoga to its predecessor. Here they write, “Yoga practice has been steadily spreading to the West for more than a has inscribed itself in modern society’s quest for liberatory practices; in particular since the 1960s, where westerners on the ‘hippy trail’ discovered it in India and brought it back home. ‘Yoga in the western context was seen as a way to reconnect with the spiritual world, reduce stress, and regain health and freedom’,” (Askegaard, 47). These views suggest that Western yoga was completely separated from religion, breaking the deep-rooted ties Indian yoga had to its popular religions. “Here we find the fundamental insight into modern yoga: that it is much more about bodily languages than it is about a religious belief. Modern yoga as it is currently practised in the West...tends to have a focus on health and fitness,” (Askegaard, 47). They also point out that, “’s association with health and fitness is what is making it re-appealing to modern India,” (Askegaard, 48). All of this change and the spreading of yoga were not accepted by everyone. They note that, “...many prominent yogis of modern yoga in India are at pains to present yoga as a science, comparable to any western science, to resist the essentialist view of India as the seat of spiritual wealth,” (Askegaard, 48). The yogis' pain is representative of their disapproval of the appropriation, globalization, modernization, and popularization of yoga. Yet in more religious parts of the United States, yoga is not popular, is frowned upon, and is even feared by some.

In Alabama, a ban on yoga in public schools stood for almost thirty years until it was recently lifted in May of 2021. Bill Chappell of NPR reported on the bill that put a stop to the ban. This bill will now allow for yoga to be taught in public schools as an elective, but with certain limitations. Chappell opens his article by reflecting on the sentiments of people that backed the yoga ban, writing, “Christian conservatives who back the ban said yoga would open the door for people to be converted to Hinduism,” (Chappell). This line is jam-packed with talking points that refer back to the discussion surrounding Orientalism and is an ideal opening for this article. Not only does this line connect anti-yoga sentiment back to Chritstianity, but it also notes yoga's connection to Hinduism. Even more importantly (and outrageously), this quote would seem to suggest that being converted to Hinduism is an essentially bad thing. The deep-rooted Orientalism just screams out from the quote as it is clearly anti-Eastern philosophy and culture and is linked to the homogenization of religion.

Diving deeper into Chappell’s article, he denotes the limitations and exceptions that reside within the new bill. He writes, “While it erases a also imposes restrictions on how yoga should be taught. Students won’t be allowed to say, ‘Namaste,’ for instance. Meditation is not allowed. ‘Chanting, mantras, mudras, use of mandalas, induction of hypnotic states, guided imagery, and namaste greetings shall be expressly prohibited,’ the bill states. It also requires English names be used for all poses and exercises. And before any student tries a tree pose, they’ll need a parent’s permission slip,” (Chappell). The Occidental fear of the Orient is apparent here but completely unfounded. It is eerily similar to the discussion surrounding the Bible being used to alienate Eastern religion. The people and lawmakers of Alabama are conditioned to be afraid of yoga and the Orient in general because they do not follow Western and Christian philosophy. It is different and is therefore dangerous if not moderated and restricted. Although it isn’t explicitly noted in the article, except for in the first quote, I believe this phenomenon to be heavily tied to Christianity being so prevalent in Alabama. 

According to a study done in 2014 by the Pew Research Center, a non-partisan American research center, Alabama maintains the second-highest rate of people attending religious services at least once per week at 51% of survey participants, trailing only Utah at 53% (Pew). This study did not reveal what kind of religious services these people attended but looking at the religious composition of adults in Alabama should shed more light. According to the Pew Research Center, we can see that 86% of Alabaman adults identify as Christian which is above the combined percentage across the U.S. of 70.6% (Pew). Following the notion that Christianity implemented fear of the Orient in the mind of its followers, it would suggest that a large portion of the population of Alabama would be subject to the corruption of the Christian church. This conditioned fear was most likely the leading cause of the implementation of the ban in the first place and only reinforced the fear that yoga was bad or evil because it was banned. 

Conservatism can also be linked to Christianity, as 85% of conservatives identify as Christian (Pew). This might explain why, according to Chappell, “The pro-yoga legislation was opposed by conservative groups, including former state Chief Justice Roy Moore’s Foundation for Moral Law, and the Alabama chapter of the Eagle Forum, a conservative group that was founded by activist Phyllis Schlafly in 1972,” (Chappell). According to an article in The New York Times from September of 2016, Phyllis Schlafly was a leader and powerful voice of the conservatives, “...whose grass-roots campaigns against Communism, abortion, and the Equal Rights Amendment galvanized conservatives for almost two generations and helped reshape American politics…” (Martin). Schlafly was definitely influential on right-wing politics, but she did it by spreading hate and fighting against equal rights for minorities, whether that be racial or sexual. Her fights against minorities reveal that the Eagle Forum played a major part in alienating minorities and homogenizing Western lifestyles. This makes the follow-up quote by Chappell even more compelling.

Chappell quoted the Eagle Forum directly when he wrote, “‘Yoga is a practice of Hindu religion,’ the Eagle Forum of Alabama said in an email that urged maintaining the ban. It added, ‘Religious practice in the school’s constitutes a violation of the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment as public schools cannot promote the practice or ideology of religion.’ The group also alleges that each yoga pose was designed not as an exercise but to ‘be an offering of worship’ to Hindu gods,” (Chappell). This email seems to be attempting to strike fear into its readers to get them to reconsider the evilness and detrimentality of yoga being introduced into public schools. Chappel also importantly points out that, “The Eagle Forum played a major role in the ban’s creation…[and] that in 1993, the yoga ban was one of several controversial policy shifts involving religion, including a school prayer bill. Alabama’s prayer law was later struck down...but the ban on yoga and other practices remained,” (Chappell). This quote from Chappell’s article reveals Schlafly’s and the Eagle Forum’s important role in the yoga ban and the inherent bias against Eastern culture in the Alabama legislature. The decision to lift a ban on Christian prayer in school, while simultaneously continuing to ban non-religious yoga (otherwise known as Western yoga), is outright supportive of the Eagle Forum, a clearly racist organization that aimed, whether consciously or not, to spread Orientalism across Alabama. Askegaard, Eckhardt, and Chappell each aided in explaining and exploring the proliferation of Western yoga followers, its separation from religion, and the controversy it spread in the U.S. Eastern practices and West-washed alterations of Oriental practices being alienated in the modern world are also apparent in Western sports.

Major League Baseball (MLB) has always been linked to inclusion and representation. Beginning with the debut of Jackie Robinson and the integration of the league in 1947, baseball has always been at the forefront of the conversation surrounding prejudice and representation. This theme continues today as Kim Ng was named the general manager of the Miami Marlins in 2020 making her the first female general manager of any team from one of the four major American male sports (football, basketball, baseball, hockey). Ng also made history by becoming the first Asian-American general manager in the history of the MLB. Although baseball has always been one of the key players in making progress in the field of inclusion, there are many problems that go unresolved and point to a deep-rooted prejudice against non-American players.

The area where this prejudice is most apparent is in the treatment of players who don’t speak English and, even more so, among players who require a translator or interpreter. This type of prejudice made headlines recently as former Seattle Mariners CEO, Kevin Mather, sat down with the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club on a Zoom call to discuss baseball operations. This conference immediately became newsworthy because of Mather’s comments on service time manipulation of younger players that would keep them underpaid for longer than they should be. This has been a major problem in the financial aspect of baseball but remains unrelated to our current discussion. The comments from Mather that stood out the most and that were the most egregious were his thoughts on foreign members of the Mariners. 

Julio Rodríguez was one of the first players to get called out in a less than politically correct way by Mather and the hints of racism in his quotes are distasteful. Rodríguez is a young prospect who was among the players brought up during the discussion on service time manipulation, but Mather made further comments on the budding star. Mather made sure to point out that, “Julio Rodríguez has got a personality bigger than all of you combined… He is loud, his English is not tremendous,” (Fontana). How the proficiency of someone’s English speaking ability pertains to or affects their ability to hit a 100 mph fastball in the major leagues is beyond me, but Mather’s distaste for players with poor English is obvious. 

Mather continued without undermining his ideas about Rodríguez when he discussed former Japanese-born Mariners’ pitcher, Hisashi Iwakuma. Iwakuma has recently returned as a coach and mentor for the team causing Mather to share his thoughts during this meeting. He ignorantly said, “It frustrates me… For instance, we just rehired Iwakuma, he was a pitcher with us for a number of years. Wonderful human being, his English was terrible,” (Fontana). The first half of his quote reinforces the ideas he expressed about Rodríguez; that his opinions of people and players rely heavily on their ability to speak a Western language. He digs his hole deeper as he continued stating, “[Iwakuma] wanted to get back into the game, he came to us. We quite frankly want him as our Asian scout, interpreter, what’s going on with the Japanese league. He’s coming to spring training. And I’m going to say, I’m tired of paying his interpreter. When he was a player, we’d pay Iwakuma X, but we’d also have to pay $75,000 a year to have an interpreter with him. His English suddenly got better, his English got better when we told him that,” (Fontana). The second half of Mather’s thoughts on Iwakuma are even more detrimental but give us more insight into some of the underworkings of baseball finances and prejudices. This quote also puts the nail in the coffin of any chance that Mather doesn’t have any prejudice against non-English speaking players and staff. It is painfully obvious that he despises the idea that he can’t communicate directly with these players (not that he would have any reason to do so as the CEO) and insinuates that these players are just too lazy to learn English. He insinuates this idea by suggesting that Iwakuma chose to not practice or improve his English because he could just have a translator or interpreter paid for by the team. This idea is entirely off base because foreign players aren’t just dealing with a language barrier when they make the difficult decision to take their talents to the West. Not only do they have to conform and become accustomed to a completely new society and lifestyle, but they are also leaving their family behind and any sense of comfort they used to have. By signing with an MLB team, foreign players are othered right off the bat because of all of these conditions. The most important fact that Mather is missing here is that any foreign player is in a lose-lose situation here. If they don’t get a translator, they can slip up in a bad way in a press conference and get called out or just be criticized for their poor English in general, like Julio Rodríguez. If they do get a translator, players are criticized for being lazy and not attempting to learn English or not trying to become more acclimated to American society. 

This is not just a front office problem though, as back in 2017, Boston Red Sox analyst, Jerry Remy, made comments similar to Mather’s when he opined about a different Japanese pitcher who required a translator. During the local Massachusetts broadcast in early June of 2017, Remy commented on the fact that New York Yankees starting pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka, was allowed a translator during mound visits with the coaching staff or the catcher. “I don’t think that should be legal,” Remy said, referring to the translator at the mound, and continued later saying that Tanaka should, “learn baseball language,” (Phillips). This quote goes beyond the long-lasting rivalry between the Yankees and the Red Sox. These sentiments seem nearly identical to Mather’s as Remy proves his distaste for non-English speakers and states that all players and staff should conform to a common way of communication. 

The hints of racism and anti-translation are apparent in Remy’s comments through his idea that a coach or a catcher should be allowed to visit the mound but someone who is there to translate, and not help at all in a baseball sense, should be illegal. A translator sits in the dugout just like the coaches and has access to all of the same baseball information as anyone else in the dugout, which would lead me to believe that bringing the translator out to the mound does not bring a competitive edge. Furthermore, translators have no reason to access the baseball side of information in the dugout because they are strictly there to help forge language barriers. Being against translators attending mound visits is not only racist, but it also puts foreign players at a disadvantage through their inability to communicate during these meetings. 

Remy is not the only openly racist baseball analyst broadcasting games at the major league level. Former Philadelphia Phillies Hall of Fame third baseman, Mike Schmidt, who was a broadcaster for the team from 2014-2019, made racist comments on a talk-radio show the same day Remy suggested translators on the field should be illegal. On this talk show, Schmidt discussed an up-and-coming player in Venezuelan outfielder, Odúbel Herrera, and whether or not he could be a building block for the team moving forward. He decidedly said, “My honest answer to that would be no because of a couple things. First of all, it’s a language barrier. Because of that, I think he can’t be a guy that would sort of sit in a circle with four, five American players and talk about the game. Or try and learn about the game or discuss the inner workings of the game. Or come over to a guy and say, ‘Man, you gotta run that ball out.’ Just can’t be -- because of the language barrier -- that kind of player,” (Grossman). This is yet another example of people in baseball deciding someone’s worth or legitimacy based on their English proficiency. I’m unsure how Schmidt is able to surmise that Odubel isn’t able to speak with white teammates or that the language barrier could keep him from being a leader in a league with almost 50% non-white players. What I am sure of is that these comments are inherently racist and are what is holding the game back from being more popular amongst non-white fans and being more inclusive of non-white players. 

It is also apparent that Schmidt’s disdain for foreign players goes beyond their English speaking ability. These comments are more of an attack on Herrera’s character than facts being stated about language barriers. His ideas can be considered an attack on Herrera’s character because his comments suggest that Herrera would be unwilling to “learn about the game” or attempt to inspire his teammates. Believing that Herrera is incapable of these actions is far from believing that he would have difficulty communicating with the white players. Additionally, why is it up to Herrera to conform to English instead of the white players learning Spanish? If Schmidt truly believes that Herrera is incapable or unwilling to learn more about baseball or become a leader, then there is more of a problem in the game than a language barrier.

These ideas are not just prevalent among old-school, former baseball players. Just two and a half months before that racist comment filled Tuesday in June 2017, former second baseman (but current at the time of his quote), Ian Kinsler, made headlines for his ideas about foreign teams during the World Baseball Classic (WBC). The WBC is a wonderful event similar to the Olympics in that it occurs every four years and players join teams representing their home countries. These countries include, but are not limited to the USA, Japan, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Israel, and so on. All of the countries that have a history of playing baseball are represented and players take these games very seriously as they play for their homeland. This event is great because not only do we get to see teams and players in a different light, but it is also a wonderful time for bringing the world together through sport. 

Kinsler, a member of Team USA at the time, shared his opinions about the teams and players representing Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Kinsler attempted to represent the whole team when he said, “I hope kids watching the WBC can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays,” (Parco). Kinsler seemingly pointed out that the right way to play is how Americans play and that he hopes that future generations aren’t influenced by foreign players. He also gives himself false support by suggesting that he’s speaking for the whole of Team USA through his use of “we”. He dug his hole deeper when he attempted to explain his reasoning behind these racist opinions. “That’s not taking anything away from them. That just isn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way,” (Parco). It is ridiculous to say that there is a right way to play a game, especially when that way of playing resulted in getting Team USA to the finals of the WBC just that one time in 2017. Emotion and passion have always been driving forces in making players enjoy sports and allowing fans to connect and feel these same things. This is why the MLB has fallen behind in popularity from leagues like the NBA or the NFL because players (and many old-school fans) are completely unwilling to embrace the future of the sport; Young, foreign players making the game more exciting and appealing by playing with unlimited passion and emotion. This goes back to Schmidt’s views on Herrera in that Kinsler has underlying opinions about non-Americans in general that affect his views of how they play the game. 

Kinsler and Schmidt are protectors and defenders of the unwritten rules of baseball. These rules originally attempted to maintain civility and sportsmanship in the game but have evolved into a tool to alienate and criticize foreign players. The unwritten rules of baseball can be used in this manner because they are tied to the way baseball has been played historically: by white men. The unwritten rules are the rules of how to play the game and these rules were “written” by the white men that populated the majority of the teams’ rosters in the MLB. By popularizing the white way to play as the right way to play, anyone that didn’t homogenize was criticized for being different. This tactic is still utilized today to condemn non-white players for not following ancient rules that mute the excitement of the sport. Whether it be denouncing players for swinging in a 3 balls no strikes count and hitting a home run when the team is up big, or condemning players for flipping their bat after hitting a crucial game-winning home run, the unwritten rules are targeted at players that are different from white players. These players just so happen to be the most exciting players in all of baseball and without cherishing them, MLB is going to continue to have an Orientalism problem.

Ultimately, the racism and prejudice against non-English speakers in the MLB stem from Orientalism that is rooted in Western society. Western society is privy to racism and prejudice because of its deep-rooted homogenization of religion, culture, and lifestyle. Despite the bleakness of the state of Orientalism in the West, there is a solution to link the divide between the East and the West. The solution resides in broadening the range of philosophy and culture in the West by implementing Eastern philosophy and culture into Western lifestyles. This may not be easily done because of the conditioning of Westerners to side with Orientalism, but it is necessary for the abolishment of the divide between East and West. Not only would Western society benefit from looking at the world from an Eastern point of view, but the whole world would benefit. 

Eastern and Western philosophy have been separated for so long that philosophy has stagnated. It is entirely possible that a marriage between all different kinds of philosophies could lead to a philosophical renaissance. A marriage between the East and the West and a philosophical revolution might be the only way to bring the world together and advance humanity from this age of hate. Western lifestyle is primed for the incorporation of Eastern culture because it finally seems like the dispersal of culture has finally begun. As evidenced by Alabama lifting its yoga ban after 30 long years, the popularization of Latino and East-Asian baseball players in the U.S., and the transition into a new political regime, change is happening nationwide on a massive scale. People are going to have to accept these changes, and while they’re at it, they should start accepting Eastern philosophy and culture.

In the end, Occidental translation and religion have played the largest role in enforcing, and continuing to enforce, Orientalism and the monstrous divide between the East and the West. The role translation and religion have on enforcing Orientalism is displayed through the unification of the West under a single religion, the ensuing homogenization of thought, and the reinforcement of Orientalism achieved through the Bible. It is also displayed through the effects of translations on Eastern texts, the appropriation and controversy of yoga in the U.S., and the racism and unwritten rules in the MLB. While Orientalism has a wide range of long-lasting effects, it can be eradicated through the unification of Eastern and Western philosophy and culture. This can only be accomplished if Westerners continue to accept new possibilities and new ways of being. The day when Orientalism is abolished and a new age of humanity arises is hopefully closer to the horizon than we think. When this day arrives, the diversity of philosophy and culture, rather than the homogenization of beliefs, will be celebrated. 

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