Not even mid-November yet and we’re already into the “do they like him or do they like like him?” phase of free agency. With the Red Sox and Tim Hudson, they seem to like like him, reports Jon Heyman. Heyman adds that the Sox are “big admirers” of Hudson and that they “really want him.”
He is attractive. For one thing he’s bald, and bald is beautiful. For another thing he’s a free agent pitcher who neither will require a really long contract nor has a qualifying offer attached to him, thereby not costing a would-be signing team a draft pick. And he’s still a decent pitcher at age 38, having gone 8-7 with a 3.97 ERA in 21 starts last year.
It was only 21 starts because of the broken ankle he suffered in that game against the Mets. On that score, David O’Brein of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Hudson had a screw removed from his ankle today and will be cleared to run in couple of weeks. So all signs point to him being ready for spring training.
Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.
But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.
To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).
According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.