Matt Harvey

April leaders: MLB’s best after one month


Focusing only on the positive, here are a handful of April top 10s for your perusal.

Players by OPS

1. Carlos Santana (Indians): 1.198
2. Chris Davis (Orioles): 1.171
3. Bryce Harper (Nationals): 1.150
4. Justin Upton (Braves): 1.136
5. Travis Hafner (Yankees): 1.104
6. Dexter Fowler (Rockies): 1.032
7. Carlos Gomez (Brewers): 1.031
8. Shin-Soo Choo (Reds): 1.031
9. Wilin Rosario (Rockies): 1.023
10. Mark Reynolds (Indians): 1.019

– Hafner is actually one plate appearance short of being a “qualified” leader, but I’m tossing him on here anyway. Prince Fielder, at 1.009, is the only other player in the 1.000 OPS club at the moment.

Players by rWAR (Baseball-Reference)

1. Matt Harvey (Mets): 2.1
2. Carlos Gomez (Brewers): 2.0
3. Clay Buchholz (Red Sox): 2.0
4. Justin Upton (Braves): 1.9
5. Justin Verlander (Tigers): 1.9
6. Ian Kinsler (Rangers): 1.9
7. Dexter Fowler (Rockies): 1.9
8. Anibal Sanchez (Tigers): 1.9
9. Starling Marte (Pirates): 1.8
10. Jean Segura (Brewers): 1.8

– On a tear of late, Gomez rates as the NL’s seventh most valuable hitter and second most valuable fielder, according to rWAR. Still, that doesn’t overcome Harvey’s league-best 0.818 WHIP and 4.7 H/9 IP.

Players by fWAR (Fangraphs)

1. Adam Wainwright (Cardinals): 2.1
2. Dexter Fowler (Rockies): 1.9
3. Justin Upton (Braves): 1.9
4. Yu Darvish (Rangers): 1.8
5. Carlos Gomez (Brewers): 1.7
6. Anibal Sanchez (Tigers): 1.7
7. Justin Verlander (Tigers): 1.6
8. Chris Davis (Orioles): 1.6
9. Shin-Soo Choo (Reds): 1.5
10. Jean Segura (Brewers): 1.5

– fWAR, on the other hand, isn’t so fond of Harvey’s unsustainable hit rate. It places him seventh among SPs so far. The Tigers claim three of the top five spots on their pitching list, with Max Scherzer trailing Sanchez and Verlander.

Pitchers by ERA

1. Jake Westbrook (Cardinals): 0.98
2. Matt Moore (Rays): 1.13
3. Clay Buchholz (Red Sox): 1.19
4. Anibal Sanchez (Tigers): 1.34
5. Madison Bumgarner (Giants): 1.55
6. Matt Harvey (Mets): 1.56
7. Hisashi Iwakuma (Mariners): 1.67
8. Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers): 1.73
9. Mat Latos (Reds): 1.83
9. Justin Verlander (Tigers): 1.83

– With just as many walks as strikeouts this year, Westbrook is merely fWAR’s 65th ranked pitcher, despite the sub-1.00 ERA. He’s also hurt by the fact that he made only four starts in April, throwing 27 2/3 innings. Everyone in the top 50 made five or six starts.

Teams by winning percentage

1. Red Sox: .692 (18-8)
2. Braves: .654 (17-9)
2. Rangers: .654 (17-9)
4. Yankees: .615 (16-10)
5. Tigers: .600 (15-10)
6. Orioles: .593 (16-11)
6. Rockies: .593 (16-11)
8. Royals: .583 (14-10)
9. Cardinals: .577 (15-11)
10. Athletics: .571 (16-12)

– There are seven AL teams in the top 10, but those are the only seven AL teams over .480 for the season. NL teams take all of the spots from No. 11-17 here.

Teams by run differential

1. Red Sox: +38 (18-8)
2. Rangers: +32 (17-9)
3. Braves: +31 (17-9)
4. Tigers: +27 (15-10)
5. Orioles: +26 (16-11)
6. Rockies: +25 (16-11)
7. Cardinals: +24 (15-11)
8. Reds: +24 (15-13)
9. Athletics: +21 (16-12)
10. Diamondbacks: +16 (15-12)

– In a major surprise, the A’s lead the majors with 158 runs scored, 17 more than the Rockies and 20 more than the Orioles. They’re 27th in runs allowed, however. The Red Sox are fourth in runs scored with 135 and fifth in runs allowed with 97. The Braves have allowed the fewest runs (83).

Theo Epstein on sportswriters: “The life of a sportswriter is pretty lonely. You kind of work by yourself, sit there by yourself…”

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 07:  Chicago Cubs general manager Theo Epstein stands on the field during batting practice before the game between the Chicago Cubs and the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field on October 7, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Rick Morissey of the Chicago Sun-Times published an article on Sunday giving a bit of insight into Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. When Epsten was younger, he dabbled in sportswriting, but quickly realized the trade wasn’t for him.

As Morissey details, when Epstein was 19 years old writing for Yale’s student newspaper, he wrote an article suggesting the school’s football coach should be fired during what would become a 3-7 season. Epstein was told during the meeting that one writer would defend the coach and one would call for his job. “It was a lesson in the way that the world of journalism sometimes works. It was an eye-opener for me. I regret it, and I’ve happily moved on.”

Epstein continued, “I realized I didn’t want to be a sportswriter when I was interning with the Orioles back in ’92, ’93, ’94. I did do a lot of media-relations stuff, and I saw that the life of a sportswriter is pretty lonely. You kind of work by yourself, sit there by yourself in the press box, go back to the hotel bar. Not to generalize.” He added, “But I really respect writing and respect sportswriters.”

He’s not wrong, and he seems to have found his calling as a front office executive. His Cubs are back in the World Series for the first time since 1945.

Jason Kipnis injured his ankle celebrating the pennant with Francisco Lindor

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 17:  Jose Ramirez #11, Francisco Lindor #12, Jason Kipnis #22 and Mike Napoli #26 of the Cleveland Indians celebrate after defeating the Toronto Blue Jays with a score of 4 to 2 in game three of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 17, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis tweeted on Sunday, “Got a little too close to [Francisco Lindor] during the celebration!! Freak accident but should be good to go by Tuesday! #cantkeepmeoutofthisgame!”

Per’s Jordan Bastian, manager Terry Francona said Kipnis is dealing with a low ankle sprain, but he’s expected to be ready to go when the World Series begins on Tuesday. Kipnis went through fielding drills on Sunday.

Kipnis is hitting .167/.219/.367 with a pair of homers and four RBI in eight games this postseason.