Carlos Guillen’s slower-than-expected recovery from knee surgery forced the Tigers to consider other options at second base and after giving some thought to sacrificing defense for offense with Ryan Raburn manager Jim Leyland has settled on Will Rhymes.
Rhymes actually led the Tigers in second base starts last season with 46 and in giving him the job until Guillen returns they also sent last year’s Opening Day second baseman, Scott Sizemore, back to Triple-A.
Sizemore is in danger of falling out of the Tigers’ plans less than a year after looking like their long-term answer at second base, as injuries derailed him and he failed to turn heads in the minors.
Rhymes hit well in 54 games as a 27-year-old rookie, but based on his modest track record he’s probably not a long-term answer either. He is on Twitter, though.
Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.
But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.
To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).
According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.