The All-Star break marks the unofficial (if not statistically accurate) midway point of the season, so this seems like a good time to evaluate how the fellas have been performing.
Eleven MOTs have appeared in the Majors this season, although a few have sent to the minors. A few have started off slowly and, to be honest, haven’t performed up to expectations. As a group, JML batters are batting .243, with 70 doubles, seven triples, 54 home runs, and 195 RBIs. JML pitchers are a combined 7-16, with 189.2 innings pitched, 144 strikeouts, 62 walks and a 5.03 ERA.
Ike Davis spent most of the season under the “Mendoza line,” the .200 batting average that separates the merely bad from truly horrible. he batted just .170 over the first two months, with a mere five home runs and 21 runs batted in. There were murmurings of sending him to the minors, but he turned things around dramatically in June, practically doubling up on his statistics with six homers and 24 RBIs while batting .264 and giving the Mets and their fans a lift.
Kevin Youkilis never meshed with new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, who questioned his dedication to the game, even as the popular ballplayer battled injuries. Like Davis, Youkilis struggled from the outset, missing 22 games. His replacement, Will Middlebrooks, performed so well in his absence that Youkilis turned into a man without a position and an actual distraction, the constant subject of trade rumors. Fortunately, he has found new life and popularity with the Chicago White Sox. Since coming over on the June 24 trade, Youkilis has batted .347 (17-49) with two doubles, three home runs, and 14 RBIs in just 13 games. He has been especially potent since the White Sox returned to Chicago from their road trip, driving in the winning runs in a few games and helping move the team from a half-game back in the America League Central Division to three games on top.
Ryan Braun has certainly shut up a lot of people by showing that his talent is pure. His stats are even better than those at a similar point in 2011: he leads the NL in home runs, is second in RBIs, 10th in batting average, and in the top 10 in stolen bases (is another 30/30 year in the cards?), runs scored, slugging percentage, and OPS. That the Milwaukee Brewers are not performing well (40-45, third place in the Central Division) is attributable to pitching woes and the loss of Prince Fielder to free agency, which makes Braun’s success even more remarkable.
Ian Kinsler is having a typical season for the Texas Rangers, who lead the AL West. The feisty second baseman — who, like Braun, was named to his league’s All-Star team — is batting .279 with 26 doubles, three triples, nine home runs, 15 stolen bases, 41 RBIs, and 63 runs scored, which leads the AL. Unless he goes on a home run tear in the second half, it doesn’t look good for a third 30/30 campaign.
Kinsler’s teammate Scott Feldman was given the chance to start but didn’t make the most of it. When the Rangers brought up Roy Oswalt, Feldman was sent to the bullpen, which didn’t exactly thrill him. He’s appeared in 16 games, 10 as a starter, with a 3-6 overall record with an ERA of 5.89.
Philadelphia Phillies reliever Michael Schwimer has been a Jekyll-and-Hyde. In his first stint with the team, he was horrid: five games in April and May, 6.1 innings, six earned runs for an 8.57 ERA, which earned him a demotion. Since his return at the beginning of June, however, Schwimer has appeared in 15 games and allowed just two runs in 13.2 innings.
Craig Breslow has done an good job for the Ariz. Diamondbacks, although he’s struggled of late. Breslow has tossed 37 innings in 34 appearances, all in relief. He’s 2-0 with four holds, striking out 34 batters, with a 2.92 ERA. He has an unfortunate tendency for giving up the long ball, giving up five home runs.
Jason Marquis got a late start with the Minn. Twins because of family health crisis. He was out of sync when he finally joined the team after an extended spring training and never had a chance to work out of his difficulties. He was 2-4 with an 8.47 ERA in seven starts before the Twins released him on May 28. He signed with the San Diego Padres and is 1-5 with a respectable 3.71 ERA since his debut with them on June 7. The Padres have scored just 18 runs in his seven starts, so there’s not a whole lot of support there. With 104 career victories, he’s just three behind Steve Stone for third place among Jewish pitchers.
The Red Sox called up outfielder Ryan Kalish in mid-June. He appeared in 18 games, batting .271 (13-60) with no home runs and five RBIs and was returned to AAA on Saturday.
Unlike Davis and Youkilis, Danny Valencia couldn’t quite come around and the Twins evidently lost their patience. The third baseman was sent to the minors in early May after hitting just .190 with one home run and 11 RBIs, striking out 23 times in 100 at bats.
Josh Satin (Mets) was up for a cup of coffee: he struck out in his only appearance with the team.