The WAR folks like Yunel apparently. I know this, Bobby Cox hated going to war with this guy.
— Jon Heyman, slamming sabermetrics and Yunel Escobar in one beautifully facepalm-inducing tweet.
I actually see this trade more like Heyman does than like a lot of my friends in the sabermetric community because I have always had this sense that Escobar is something less than the sum of his parts. But a few hours in, I think both the pro-Escobar and the anti-Escobar sides have overplayed their hands a bit. This kind of thing from Heyman — and especially this overheated hit job by the AJC’s Mark Bradley (Really? His English is the issue?) — seem a bit much. At the same time, a lot of the more sabermetrically-oriented analysis of the deal discounts the Braves’ distaste for Escobar a bit too much.
This is a trade that could really go either way. The Braves should be given some benefit of the doubt about their judgment here because they know the guy more than any of us ever will be able to. Likewise, those opposed to the trade from the Braves’ perspective are absolutely right to note that the Braves are selling low and could wind up really getting burned. In light of this currently-unresolvable ambiguity, everyone should probably tone it down a bit.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.