There are 178 players with at least 150 plate appearances against right-handed pitching this season. Michael Young ranks 172nd in the group in OPS:
169. Rickie Weeks (Mil): .580
170. Sean Rodriguez (TB): .576
171. Danny Espinosa (Was): .575
172. Michael Young (Tex): .566
173. Jamey Carroll (Min): .565
174. Orlando Hudson (SD/ChW): .562
175. Brendan Ryan (Sea): .530
176. Alexei Ramirez (ChW): .520
177. Clint Barmes (Pit): .493
178. Kurt Suzuki (Oak): .492
It’s safe to say no one else in that group would be hitting fifth for the Rangers ahead of Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli. Ron Washington keeps batting Young there, though.
Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News supplies some reasons for the Rangers to stick with Young as a No. 5 hitter.
Personally, I’m not buying it. Young is coming off an excellent 2011 season, but he’s 35 and barring a remarkable turnaround, 2012 will be the fourth time in six seasons that he’s finished with a sub-.800 OPS. That doesn’t mean he’s useless. He’s still hitting lefties very well this season (.361/.393/.458), and he seems like a fine choice to bat fifth against them. Versus righties, though, the Rangers are hurting themselves by continuing to bat him in the heart of the lineup. It’s past time for Washington to turn to Napoli.
Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.
More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.
Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)
It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.
Twins’ right-hander Nick Burdi is set to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, the team announced on Friday. Burdi made 14 appearances for Double-A Chattanooga before succumbing to a torn ulnar collateral ligament and is not expected to make his major league debut until mid-2018 at the earliest. A UCL tear doesn’t always require Tommy John surgery — less severe cases can be treated with platelet-rich plasma injections, for example — but Twins’ chief baseball officer Derek Falvey told the press that surgery was unavoidable as Burdi had sustained a “full thickness tear” in his elbow.
Entering the 2016 season, Burdi was widely considered a top ten prospect in the Twins’ system. His exceptional velocity and potent fastball-slider combo made him a fearsome relief option as he came off of his first season in Double-A Chattanooga in 2015. During the 2016 season, however, the 24-year-old experienced a significant setback after a bone bruise cut his season short in late July. Prior to Friday’s diagnosis, he appeared to be staging an impressive comeback with the Chattanooga Lookouts this spring, decorating his efforts with a sparkling 0.53 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.6 SO/9 over 17 innings.
It’s a tough break for the Twins, whose farm system was ranked 21st in the league by Baseball America. “Obviously he’s proven when he’s healthy he’s an absolute premium prospect, and the Twins are treating him that way,” Burdi’s agent, Matt Sosnick, told Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. “We just want to make sure everything we do ultimately leads to the goal of getting him back on the field as quickly as he can.”