Adrian Gonzalez totaled eight hits in three games while facing the Padres for the first time since they traded him to the Red Sox in December and now leads the league in batting average (.359), RBIs (69), hits (109), and doubles (25) while ranking among the top three in slugging percentage (.609), OPS (1.019), and runs scored (55).
Gonzalez’s raw numbers were severely deflated by playing half his games in San Diego’s extremely pitcher-friendly ballpark, as his road numbers always dwarfed his home production. That has all changed now that Gonzalez is calling Fenway Park home, as he’s hit .380 with a 1.025 OPS in Boston.
Gonzalez has always been one of the truly elite hitters in baseball, but now his home ballpark is actually allowing his raw numbers to show his greatness. In addition to the .359 batting average Gonzalez is on pace for 151 RBIs, which would be the eighth-highest total since 1950. He’s also on pace to join Lou Gehrig, Chuck Klein, and Joe Medwick as the only players in baseball history to hit .350 or higher with 30-plus homers, 50-plus doubles, and 150-plus RBIs. Medwick was the last guy to do it … in 1937.
Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.
I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.
I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.
As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.
There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.
Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.
With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.