I am a much older and wiser man than I used to be and thus I no longer make a big fuss out of the actual vote tabulations when it comes to awards voting and that sort of thing.*
But some things are confusing, such as how Ian Kennedy got a first place vote for the NL Cy Young Award.
Not to slam Kennedy. Not to make a federal case out of it. Just noting that Clayton Kershaw, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee all had, by just about every measure, a better year than Kennedy did and that Kennedy’s lone first place vote certainly seemed like an outlier. And when you see an outlier like that, it’s natural to want to know who cast it.
An Arizona guy, maybe? A bit of a homer vote? It’s happened before.
Not this time, though. The Kennedy voter was John Maffei of the North County Times near San Diego. Maffei doesn’t have a column up explaining his vote — voters certainly aren’t obligated to do so — but it does seem like a strange one.
*Note: this sentence will be deleted prior to the week-to-ten days I spend raging about the Hall of Fame voting.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.