Our own D.J. Short passes along this amazing stat:
Mariners shortstops have combined to hit .121 with a .318 OPS this season. National League pitchers have combined to hit .124 with a .323 OPS this season.
So through one-fourth of the season Seattle’s shortstops have been out-hit by pitchers. Think about that.
Brendan Ryan has started 30 times at shortstop, with Robert Andino taking the other 10 starts. Ryan has a great glove, but he’s been one of the worst hitters in baseball for a while now, and Andino has a .611 career OPS.
Meanwhile, shortstop prospect Nick Franklin is hitting .339 with four homers, eight doubles, and a .982 OPS in 30 games at Triple-A. He’d be a downgrade defensively and in fact has been splitting time between shortstop and second base this season, but Franklin ranked among Baseball America‘s top 100 prospects coming into the year and … well, he might at least out-hit a bunch of pitchers.
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.