Dunn, Granderson have worst ever 40-homer seasons

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By OPS anyway.

Adam Dunn and Curtis Granderson both entered Wednesday’s season finales with .800 OPSs. Dunn didn’t play and thus avoided overtaking Mark Reynolds for the single-season strikeout record (he had 222, Reynolds finished with 223 in 2009). Granderson did play and hit two more homers to finish with 43 homers and an .811 OPS.

Those two marks rank was the worst OPSs ever for a 40-homer guy.

.800 – Adam Dunn (2012, CWS) – 41 HR
.811 – Curtis Granderson (2012, NYY) – 43 HR
.827 – Tony Batista (2000, Tor) – 41 HR
.831 – Tony Armas (1984, Bos) – 43 HR
.833 – Juan Gonzalez (1992, Tex) – 43 HR
.833 – Dick Stuart (1963, Bos) – 42 HR
.836 – Jose Canseco (1998, Tor) – 46 HR
.849 – Rocky Colavito (1959, Cle) – 42 HR
.855 – Adam Dunn (2006, Cin) – 40 HR
.860 – Cecil Fielder (1991, Det) – 44 HR

Going by OPS+ instead, Batista’s season still ranks as the worst, since there was quite a bit more offense back in 2000 than there is now. Batista had just a 102 OPS+, meaning he was barely a league-average hitter with his .263 average and .307 OBP. Dunn’s OPS+ this year is 112, while Granderson was at 113 entering the night (it’ll probably climb to 115 or so as a result of his big game). No one else came in below Dunn’s 112, but the Rockies’ Vinny Castilla also finished at 112 as a 40-homer guy in Coors Field in 1996.

At .204, Dunn also has the lowest batting average ever for a 40-homer guy. Granderson’s .232 is the second lowest, squeezing in below two other Dunn seasons (he hit .234 in 2006 and .236 in 2008 with exactly 40 homers both years).

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.

Manny Machado teaches us to never give up

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The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.

Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.

Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:

Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.