Needless to say, they’re not going to fare very well on the following list.
Let’s take a look at each team’s OPS out of the cleanup spot this season. Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera are leading the way.
1. Brewers – .984
2. Tigers – .983
3. Cardinals – .970
4. Dodgers – .969
5. Red Sox – .929
6. Marlins – .919
7. Braves – .895
8. White Sox – .892
9. Yankees – .818
10. Phillies – .816
11. Rockies – .814
12. Diamondbacks – .784
13. Mets – .777
14. Blue Jays – .768
15. Rangers – .761
16. Cubs – .758
17. Indians – .755
18. Angels – .750
19. Twins – .745
20. Astros – .730
21. Royals – .721
22. Pirates – .710
23. Orioles – .697
24. Nationals – .696
25. Giants – .686
26. Reds – .678
27. Rays – .666
28. Athletics – .663
29. Padres – .624
30. Mariners – .549
Mariners cleanup hitters have an OPS worse than Diamondbacks No. 9 hitters and 130 points worse than Seattle’s own No. 9 hitters.
The bulk of Seattle’s cleanup at-bats have gone to Jack Cust and Miguel Olivo. As disappointing as Cust has been, he’s actually been a huge improvement on the rest of the dreck:
Cust – .643 OPS in 159 PA
Olivo – .499 OPS in 131 PA
Justin Smoak – .477 OPS in 70 PA
Adam Kennedy – .469 OPS in 34 PA
Olivo, of course, leads the way in worst performance by a cleanup hitter this year. Here’s the worst, with a minimum of 100 plate appearances:
1. Olivo – .499 OPS in 131 PA
2. Scott Rolen – .553 OPS in 143 PA
3. Hideki Matsui – .576 OPS in 157 PA
4. Ryan Ludwick – .578 OPS in 192 PA
5. Adam LaRoche – .595 OPS in 132 PA
6. Evan Lonforia – .640 OPS in 131 PA
7. Justin Morneau – .642 OPS in 158 PA
8. Cust – .643 OPS in 159 PA
9. Jeff Francoeur – .664 OPS in 152 PA
10. Carlos Pena – .670 OPS in 104 PA
Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:
The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.
The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.
I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.
In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.
The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.
The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.
Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.