Mariners shortstops are hitting worse than NL pitchers

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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.

Corey Knebel sets modern record for consecutive appearances with a strikeout

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Brewers closer Corey Knebel set a modern major league record for relievers to start a season, as Thursday’s appearance marked his 38th consecutive appearance with a strikeout. He set down the side in order in the ninth inning, striking Josh Bell out to start the frame.

Aroldis Chapman held the record previously, recording a strikeout in his first 37 appearances of the season in 2014 with the Reds.

Knebel, 25, has flown under the radar despite having an incredibly good season. He moved into the closer’s role in mid-May when Neftali Feliz, now a free agent, struggled. After Thursday’s appearance, Knebel is 12-for-15 in save chances with a 0.96 ERA and a 65/17 K/BB ratio in 37 2/3 innings.

Joey Votto thinks he can win the Home Run Derby, but hasn’t been invited yet

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Despite having hit at least 20 home runs in eight of his 11 seasons in the majors, Reds first baseman Joey Votto has never participated in a Home Run Derby. Currently, he’s tied for the National League lead in home runs with 20, and he hasn’t been invited to this year’s festivities at Marlins Park.

In the event he is invited, Votto said he thinks he can win it, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto likened himself to Ichiro Suzuki, a player known more for his contact abilities and mastery of the strike zone than power. “Just think of me as the Canadian Ichiro — Japan has theirs and Canada has theirs,” Votto said. “I could pull homers into the seats at will.”

Along with the 20 homers, Votto is currently hitting .306/.419/.601 with 53 RBI, and 52 runs scored in 313 plate appearances.

Teammate Scott Schebler also has 20 home runs at the moment and Adam Duvall, who made it to the semifinals of the Derby last year, has 16. Neither of them have been approached about participating in the Derby, either. Per Rosecrans, in the event each was invited, Duvall said he would consider participating if he wasn’t an All-Star and Schebler would participate regardless. Votto said he would only participate if he made the All-Star team.