Pardon me for the incredibly nerdy way of making this point, but the ratio between Michael Cuddyer’s on-field production and the amount of press he’s received is way out of whack. Hardly anyone has talked about the guy, yet he rates as baseball’s fifth-best hitter overall, going by weighted on-base average (.424 wOBA). In fact, there isn’t a better hitting outfielder in baseball and the only ones who come close are teammate Carlos Gonzalez (.410) and Mike Trout (.399).
Cuddyer had three hits in four trips to the dish last night against the Mets, bumping his hitting streak up to 24 games. Dante Bichette had held the club record with a 23-game hitting streak. Cuddyer has also reached base in each of his last 43 games, breaking a record held previously by Todd Helton and Andres Galarraga at 41 games.
It may not be sustainable, but you can’t argue with his .351/.402/.597 slash line right now. The 34-year-old is deserving of his second career All-Star nomination.
Update: Cuddyer hit a two-run home run off of Giants starter Barry Zito in the third inning tonight, extending his hitting streak to 25 games and his on-base streak to 44 games.
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.
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.