Welcome to Ronnie’s Run Down! This column looks at some fascinating matchups and facts that might pique the interest of the reader as that day’s games are reviewed. This is just my attempt at creating come compelling thought on any given day. There are nine innings in baseball, and nine points in my daily run down.
- Whit Merrifield has been Kansas City’s best hitter by quite a large margin. On the year he’s accumulated 3.4 fWAR (twice as much as the next best Royal), a 118 wRC+ (11% better than the next Royal with at least 260 PA), and his 16.5 oRAA is nearly 4 times higher than any other Royal (Jorge Soler 4.7). He is particularly noteworthy in today’s matchup against Cole Hamels and the Cubs since Merrifield has performed very well against lefties this year. He owns a .426 wOBA against southpaws in 139 PA with a 33.0% LD. Hamels, for his part, throws two pitches over 20% of the time, a fourseam and a changeup. Opponents have a .417 ISO against his fastball and a .246 ISO against his changeup.
- On the flip side of that matchup, Javier Baez has been a killer over the last two weeks. He has a 185 wRC+ in 49 PA with a .370 ISO. The Royals Jake Junis throws 40.6% sliders and 30.2% fourseam fastballs. His fastball ranks as the 4th worst in the Majors at -10.2 wRAA but his slider is a very effective pitch rating at 6.8 wRAA. Baez hits fastball well with a 9.0 wFA and is just a little better than league average against the slider with a -0.36 wSL/C.
- Matt Carpenter is continuing to make his case for NL MVP in what has been, thus far, the most productive year of his career. The 32 year old Cardinal infielder is leading the NL with 28 home runs, a .591 SLG, a .307 ISO, .409 wOBA, 160 wRC+, and 4.9 fWAR. That is a dominating MVP case. In his last 13 games, he has a 20.6% walk rate, and a 1.032 OPS and a 36.1% LD. In his last 4 starts Wei-Yin Chen has a 5.03 SIERA and is giving up a 46.3% Pull. That pull rate is important since opposing hitters have a .506 wOBA against Chen on pulled BIP. Carpenter has a 44.7% Pull in his last 63 PA.
- Zack Godley has a 3.02 SIERA in his last innings, that’s the 5th best of any pitcher in the NL in the last 30 days. He ranks 2nd in the NL in that time with a 10.92 K/9 and he has a healthy 52.6% GB. Godley takes the hill today at home against Philadelphia. The Phillies currently rank 22nd in the Majors over the last two weeks with a 32.5% HC, and their 22.2% SC in that time is second only to the Padres for the worst in MLB.
- The Los Angeles Angels have an interesting matchup today against lefty Matt Boyd of the Detroit Tigers. Boyd has been the Tigers best pitcher in terms of WAR, leading his team with 2.1 fWAR. In his last 4 starts, Boyd has a 10.02 K/9 and a 3.10 SIERA. The Angels have only 2 players (min 50PA) that have even a 90 wRC+ against left handed pitching, Andrelton Simmons (122) and Mike Trout (193).
- Nick Ahmed leads all of baseball over the last two weeks with a 63.3% HC. The Diamondback shortstop is hitting .421/.488/.825 in his last 43 PA while scorching line drives at a 40.0% rate. Today he faces Jake Arrieta of the Phillies, whos 4.36 SIERA is his worst since 2013. Arrieta is giving up a 39.6% LD over his last 3 starts.
- Dereck Rodriguez is leading all NL starters in the second half, giving up 52.9% HC in 3 starts. His 3.96 SIERA is just above league average despite that very high HC, that’s mostly thanks to some good luck and good defense as evidence by his .200 BABIP. Rodriguez takes the mound tonight at home as the Giants host the Houston Astros. The hottest Astro right now is DH/Catcher Evan Gattis. He is hitting .333/.417/.600 since the All-Star break with a .267 ISO in 36 PA. He also leads the team with a 33.3% HR/FB in the 2nd half.
- Rhys Hoskins leads the Majors in the 2nd half with an astounding .534 ISO. Two big reasons for that huge number are the fact that Hoskins is making 52.2% HC in that time with a 45.7% FB. It should come as no surprise then that he is 2nd in the NL with 8 home runs since the break. Tonight he’ll be one of the few hitters that should see success against the Diamondbacks Zack Godley.
- There are 5 players with at least 40 PA in the 2nd half that have yet to draw a walk. Those players are Miguel Andujar, Jonathan Schoop, Wil Myers, Martin Prado, and Manny Pena. Of those, only Miguel Andujar (152) and Jonathan Schoop (143) have a wRC+ over 78. On the flip side, there are 5 players with a 20+% walk rate since the break, Mike Trout, Aaron Hicks, Jose Ramirez, Joey Votto, and Nick Martini. Non of those players has a wRC+ below 122.