Some must-click linkage today from Dan Lewis over at Amazin’ Avenue. It’s about how Mike Piazza’s power clearly came late and out of a syringe.
Oh, wait. That’s not right. It’s about how that idea — which is widely parroted among Piazza’s naysayers and reported in Jeff Pearlman’s book about Rogers Clemens — is total bunk. Piazza always had power. The fact that he was, quite famously, a 62nd round draft pick instead of a big prospect is not because no one thought he had power, but because he was scouted as a right-handed first baseman who couldn’t field that position too well. As Lewis notes, however, Piazza’s power was noted by the man who scouted him and was manifest even when he was a low-level minor leaguer.
Yes, Piazza was a surprise of sorts. And it’s totally possible that, while we have no evidence of it now, it will one day be revealed that, yes, Piazza took PEDs. But the talking point that has worked strongly against his candidacy — “that guy had no power and was a low draft pick, so he must have been ‘roiding” is totally bogus.
Great job putting this together, Dan.
Note: if you like Dan’s post, you should totally sign up for his daily newsletter, called “Now I Know.” It’s not about baseball. It’s about everything. Neat and amazing fact, feats and scientific and historical events. I read it every morning and it’s almost always stuff I never, ever would have believed beforehand.
It was only a matter of time before Mike Trout courted another all-time record, and on Saturday, he found himself in elite company with his 25th and 26th home runs of the season. He put the Angels on the board with a 429-foot blast in the first inning, depositing an 0-1 fastball from the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman into the left field bleachers:
In the third inning, with the Angels up 2-1, Trout returned to tack on another insurance run. He targeted Gausman’s slider for his second solo shot of the evening and cleared the center field fence with a 418-footer to bring his total to 26 home runs on the year.
Trout has mashed at a staggering .339/.471/.596 clip since his return from the disabled list last month, and Saturday’s totals helped mark his sixth consecutive season with at least 25 home runs. That’s a record few have matched before their age-26 season; in fact, only Hall of Fame sluggers Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson have ever pulled it off.
Assuming he continues to rake in hits and plate appearances over the last six weeks of the regular season — and there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t — Trout is in line to join elite company of a different kind. The 26-year-old entered Saturday’s game with a 206 OPS+ (park-adjusted on-base plus slugging). According to MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, that means Trout’s hitting at a better clip than the average Major League player by a full 106 percent. Should he finish the year with a 200 OPS+ and 502 plate appearances or better, he’ll be the first player to do so since Barry Bonds obliterated the competition with his 263 OPS+ in 2004.
The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Tom Koehler from the Marlins in exchange for minor league right-hander Osman Gutierrez and cash considerations, the clubs announced Saturday. Koehler is in his sixth year with the Marlins and stands to make $5.75 million in 2017. He’ll be arbitration eligible in 2018 and is set to enter free agency by 2019.
The 31-year-old right-hander struggled to a 7.92 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 55 2/3 innings with Miami in 2017. He was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in late July, where he rebounded with a 1-1 record in seven starts and whittled his ERA down to a 1.67 mark. The Blue Jays have yet to establish Koehler’s role within their organization, but are hoping to see a turnaround from the righty when he breaks back into the big leagues.
Gutierrez, 22, was assigned to Single-A Greensboro on Saturday. He has yet to find his footing in the minors, and exited a 78-inning stint with Single-A Lansing after racking up a career-worst 7.85 ERA and 8.2 SO/9. His lack of control is particularly alarming, with a 6.2 BB/9 that dwarfs the 2.0+ BB/9 of seasons past, but he still has plenty of time to figure out his mechanics before reaching the Show.