If the game is 90 percent pitching…

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How is .270 with 14 homers and 63 RBI more valuable than 13-6 with a 3.94 ERA or 6-3 with 26 saves and a 1.84 ERA?
I don’t even want to get into the more complicated statistics, because the voters clearly aren’t. But Gordon Beckham has now won AL top rookie honors from The Sporting News and the Players Choice Awards.
Of course, both are voted on by players, so Beckham wasn’t likely to win one and not the other.
I just don’t see how he deserved to win either.
Beckham is going to be a very good regular for a long time, but he didn’t truly set himself apart offensively or defensively this year. His counting stats are completely unremarkable, and an 808 OPS over the course of 103 games isn’t what one expects to see from a serious Rookie of the Year contender.
Niemann was certainly more valuable with his 180 2/3 innings of above average pitching. Bailey was arguably the game’s most valuable reliever. He finished fourth in baseball in relief innings pitched, and he was fourth in ERA and first in WHIP amongst relievers with 60 innings pitched.
I’d also put Elvis Andrus above Beckham with his .267/.329/.373 line in 480 at-bats and his impressive defense at shortstop, but that’s a closer call. Bailey is the rookie most deserving of all of this hardware. He’s not going to have the same kind of career of Beckham, but he was the most effective player this year.

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.