Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner, who came into this year as a career .138 hitter, smacked his fourth homer of the season last night against the Dodgers.
He’s now hitting .258 with four homers (including two grand slams) and a .755 OPS in 78 plate appearances this season, which is a higher OPS than, among others: Yoenis Cespedes, Bryce Harper, Chase Utley, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Josh Hamilton, Pablo Sandoval, Joe Mauer, Jose Reyes, Evan Longoria, Carlos Gonzalez, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Dustin Pedroia.
Anyway, you get the idea.
Bumgarner is also tied for the most home runs by a pitcher since 2006, when Carlos Zambrano went deep six times. Here are all the pitchers with four or more homers in the past 10 seasons:
Madison Bumgarner 2014 4
Yovani Gallardo 2010 4
Carlos Zambrano 2009 4
Carlos Zambrano 2008 4
Micah Owings 2007 4
Carlos Zambrano 2006 6
Carlos Zambrano hit 24 home runs in 693 at-bats, including at least one homer every season from 2003 to 2012 and multiple homers in five of those years.
The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.
Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.
Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.
The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.