Just as the title says, I’m going position by position here to look for the AL’s weakest offensive situations to date. I’ll do the NL tomorrow.
Presented along with the team is the player most responsible.
Twins C – 390 (Drew Butera)
Twins 2B – 451 (Luke Hughes)
Mariners SS – 465 (Brendan Ryan)
Red Sox C – 472 (Jarrod Saltalamacchia)
White Sox 3B – 472 (Brent Morel)
Angels LF – 474 (Vernon Wells)
Rays SS – 483 (Reid Brignac)
Twins SS – 488 (Alexi Casilla)
Royals SS – 494 (Alcides Escobar)
Red Sox LF – 509 (Carl Crawford)
White Sox CF – 512 (Alex Rios)
Athletics 2B – 521 (Mark Ellis)
Tigers 3B – 529 (Brandon Inge)
Mariners 3B – 531 (Chone Figgins)
Blue Jays LF – 539 (Travis Snider)
Tigers CF – 543 (Austin Jackson)
Mariners C – 544 (Miguel Olivo)
Rays 1B – 564 (Dan Johnson)
Indians LF – 564 (Austin Kearns)
Orioles RF – 565 (Nick Markakis)
White Sox LF – 567 (Juan Pierre)
Twins LF – 577 (Delmon Young)
Blue Jays 2B – 577 (Aaron Hill)
Blue Jays 3B – 578 (Edwin Encarnacion)
Twins DH – 580 (Jim Thome)
Orioles 3B – 587 (Mark Reynolds)
Rays 3B – 600 (Felipe Lopez)
Rays C – 601 (John Jaso)
Mariners LF – 604 (Milton Bradley)
White Sox 2B – 607 (Gordon Beckham)
Yankees SS – 609 (Derek Jeter)
Twins 3B – 610 (Danny Valencia)
White Sox C – 617 (A.J. Pierzynski)
Athletics 3B – 625 (Kevin Kouzmanoff)
Athletics SS – 630 (Cliff Pennington)
Tigers SS – 631 (Jhonny Peralta)
Angels RF – 632 (Torii Hunter)
Angels C – 633 (Jeff Mathis)
White Sox SS – 636 (Alexei Ramirez)
Mariners CF – 636 (Ryan Langerhans)
Mariners DH – 640 (Jack Cust)
Royals 1B – 642 (Kila Ka’aihue)
Yankees RF – 646 (Nick Swisher)
Athletics RF – 646 (David DeJesus)
White Sox DH – 647 (Adam Dunn)
– The Rangers are the only team getting at least a 650 OPS out of every position to date. Their low mark is a 671 from center field.
– The White Sox, on the other hand, have seven positions list above: all of them except first base and right field. The Mariners and Twins both have six positons apiece.
– While the Yankees place two on the list, they do lead the AL in OPS at 808. The Rangers rank third at 781. Cleveland is second at 787.
Rays pitcher Chris Archer doesn’t see himself joining Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell‘s protest any time soon, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reports. Archer said, “From the feedback that I’ve gotten from my teammates, I don’t think it would be the best thing to do for me, at this time. I agree with the message. I believe in equality.”
Archer continued, “I don’t want to offend anybody. No matter how you explain it or justify it, some people just can’t get past the military element of it and it’s not something I want to do, is ruffle my teammates’ feathers on my personal views that have nothing to do with baseball.”
Archer did express admiration for the way Maxwell handled his situation. The right-hander said, “The way he went about it was totally, I think, as respectful as possible, just letting everybody know that this doesn’t have anything to do with the military, first and foremost, noting that he has family members that are in the military. It’s a little bit tougher for baseball players to make that leap, but I think he was the right person to do it.”
Maxwell recently became the first baseball player to kneel as the national anthem was sung, a method of protest popularized by quarterback Colin Kaepernick. As Craig explained yesterday, baseball’s hierarchical culture has proven to be a strong deterrent for players to express their unpopular opinions. We can certainly see that in Archer’s justification. Archer was one of 62 African Americans on the Opening Day roster across 30 major league clubs (750 total players, 8.3%).
Last night the Trump Administration announced a new batch of restrictions on people traveling from foreign countries, following up on its previous travel ban on persons from six predominately Muslim countries. The latest restriction could potentially touch on Major League Baseball, however, as it includes Venezuela.
The restriction for Venezuela is far narrower than the others, only blocking visas for government officials on business or tourist travel from Venezuela. There has been considerable uncertainty about the scope and enforcement mechanisms for the previous travel ban, however, and the entire matter is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. With that uncertainty, many around Major League Baseball have asked how and if the league or the union might respond to an order that, while seemingly not facially impacting baseball personnel or their families, could impact them in practice.
To that end, Major League Baseball issued a statement this afternoon, saying “MLB is aware of the travel ban that involves Venezuela and we have contacted the appropriate government officials to confirm that it will not have an effect on our players traveling to the U.S.” It is not clear whether it has, in fact, received such confirmation or if its an ongoing dialog or what.
Again: the ban shouldn’t impact baseball players or their families based on its terms. But based on what we saw with the enforcement of the previous one — and based the unexpected consequences many major leaguers faced when international travel restrictions were tightened following the 9/11 attacks — it’s only prudent for Major League Baseball to make such inquiries and get whatever assurances it can well in advance of next February when players from Venezuela will be coming back to the United States for spring training.