For those who were rooting for Matt Kemp to win the triple crown, know that it’s highly unlikely. After a good weekend from Ryan Braun and a mezzo-mezzo weekend from Kemp, Kemp now stands eight points behind Braun for the batting title.
As Mark Simon of ESPN Stats and Information, pinch hitting on Dodger Thoughts notes (a) the Brewers are likely to rest Ryan Braun in at least one of the remaining three games; and (b) no matter what Braun does in the time he plays, Kemp will have to get a hit in nearly every at bat for him to pass Braun. Simon has a chart that breaks down what Kemp’s average will be based on various hitting performances over his last three games, but the upshot is this:
From that chart, we can note that so long as Ryan Braun maintains his current .333 pace, Matt Kemp would have to go at least 10-for-13 to beat him (and hope that Jose Reyes didn’t have a good 3 games).
Yeah. That’s a tall order.
Dodger Thoughts — which, unlike the rest of us has been on the Matt Kemp Triple Crown Train for weeks now — has all manner of other fun triple crown factoids at his post, so go check it out.
Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that the Pirates have decided to convert outfielder JB Shuck into a two-way player. Recent comments relayed from the club’s director of player development, Larry Broadway, indicated that the outfielder would be coached in developing his pitching skills while working at Triple-A Indianapolis.
Per Broadway, the change would be enacted to help the veteran outfielder develop some much-needed versatility in the majors, where he’s only ever been limited to outfield and DH responsibilities. Well, except for the two games in which he pitched an inning of relief: once, against the Nationals in a blowout 11-4 loss in 2016, then in a similarly painful loss to the Diamondbacks this past April. During the latter outing, he finished the game with a 13-pitch ninth inning after allowing just one hit and one walk.
Add to that one minor-league outing in 2012, and the 31-year-old Shuck has pitched just three times over the course of his 12-season career in pro ball. While he has three years of experience on the mound from his college days, he’ll need quite a bit of preparation to handle the kind of workload expected from a two-way outfielder/reliever: 20+ innings pitched over a season and 20+ games played as a designated hitter or position player.
Still, his lack of experience doesn’t seem to faze Broadway, at least not this early in the process. There’s no word yet on how soon Shuck would be expected to debut his new skillset on a major-league level.