Punchless Mets could make history

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Earlier in the week, I highlighted the Mets’ year-long power outage.
Nothing much has changed since then, as they are still dead-last in
home runs with 81 (did you know the Yankees have 220? Yikes.) and Gary
Sheffield still leads the team with 10 home runs despite not actually
appearing in a game since August 28.




While noting the remarkable lack of
punch in the Mets’ lineup on Monday, it got me to thinking of who had
the least home runs in a season, but still lead their team in home
runs. I started on Baseball Reference, but found that exercise pretty
tedious, so I asked for the help of our friends at
Baseball Prospectus, and here’s what they found:



Modern Era, 1900-2008



Three way tie with 1 HR as the maximum:



1918 Senators – Walter Johnson, Joe Judge, Howie Shanks & Nick Altrock – 1

1908 White Sox – Ed Walsh, Fielder Jones & Frank Isbell – 1

1909 White Sox – Dave Altizer, Ed Hahn, Gavvy Cravath & Patsy Dougherty – 1



Retrosheet Era, 1954-2008



1981 Twins – Roy Smalley – 7

1981 Indians – Bo Diaz – 7



Wild Card Era, 1995-2008



1995 Phillies – Mark Whiten, Gregg Jefferies & Charlie Hayes – 11

1995 Expos – Moises Alou, Tony Tarasco & Sean Berry – 14

2008 Nationals – Ryan Zimmerman & Lastings Milledge – 14



This Decade



2008 Nationals – Zimmerman & Milledge – 14

2001 Orioles – Chris Richard & Jay Gibbons – 15

2008 Giants – Bengie Molina – 16



And so, if things stay the same, the
Mets will have the lowest team leader in home runs since Bo Diaz and
Roy Smalley led their respective clubs with seven home runs in 1981.
Right now the Mets have 21 games left with Sheffield at 10, Daniel
Murphy at nine, and Carlos Beltran and David Wright with eight. There
might be a reason to tune into the Mets after all, even if they are
threatening 90 losses for the first time since 2004.




Again, thanks to Eric Seidman, Will Carroll and our friends at Baseball Prospectus. Please pay them a visit.

Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery could share Cubs’ rotation spot in 2017

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 01:  Mike Montgomery #38 of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 1, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).

Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.

Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.

Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.

Michael Bourn to miss four weeks with a broken finger

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 6:  Michael Bourn #1 of the Baltimore Orioles looks out of the dugout as he waits to get on deck to bat during the sixth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 6, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Orioles’ center fielder Michael Bourn is expected to be sidelined for four weeks while he rehabs a broken ring finger on his right hand, according to reports from the Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck. Bourn broke the finger while playing catch with a football after a spring training workout.

The veteran outfielder re-signed with the club earlier this week on a minor league deal and was prepared to compete for a bench role this season. He’s in line to receive a $2 million salary if he makes the major league roster and can make an additional $3.5 million in incentives based on a set number of plate appearances. Now, however, his chances of cracking the roster out of spring training look considerably diminished, as his current timetable gives him an approximate return date of March 25 if all goes well.

Bourn had an impressive, if short-lived run with the Orioles following his trade to Baltimore last August, batting .283/.358/.435 with two home runs and a .793 OPS in 55 PA. While still somewhat removed from the totals that brought him an All-Star nod with the Braves in 2012, his defensive chops should give the Orioles some depth in center once he’s healthy again.