Matt Harvey

April leaders: MLB’s best after one month

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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).

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.