Yankees, Cardinals getting most production from top of the order

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Here’s a look at the production all 30 teams are getting from their top two hitters to date, ranked by OPS.

Yankees – 1.074
Cardinals – .931
Rangers – .851
Mets – .835
Rays – .823
Red Sox – .823
Astros – .789
Braves – .768
Nationals – .751
Giants – .745
Cubs – .738
Orioles – .724
Twins – .709
Tigers – .707
Diamondbacks – .700
Marlins – .687
Blue Jays – .685
Indians – .663
White Sox – .646
Brewers – .642
Reds – .632
Angels – .626
Padres – .624
Royals – .613
Mariners – .607
Dodgers – .605
Rockies – .587
Athletics – .580
Phillies – .550
Pirates – .524

The Yankees, incredibly enough, are getting a 1.080 OPS from Derek Jeter and company in the leadoff spot and a 1.071 OPS from Curtis Granderson and company in the two hole. Likewise, the Cardinals have both the best OPS from No. 1 and No. 2 hitters in the NL, though neither mark quite competes’ with the Yankees.

There are some nice surprises there on the list, as well. The Mets are at .835 despite losing their leadoff hitter to the disabled list. Well, actually, they’re at .835 largely because they lost their leadoff hitter to the DL. Andres Torres was only going to bring that mark down. The Astros are at .789 thanks to Jordan Schafer’s strong start. The Nationals are at .751 despite the struggles of Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa early in the spring.

As you might have guessed, this ranking matches up pretty well with run scoring as a whole. The Yankees, Cardinals and Rangers rank second, fourth and first, respectively, in runs scored to date. The bottom three on the list are also the bottom three in runs scored: the A’s have scored 52 runs, the Phillies 48 and the Pirates 30.

The Dodgers, on the other hand, are an outlier. Needless to say, they’d be leading the way if we were looking at No. 3 and No. 4 hitters instead. They rank ninth in runs scored despite the modest production from Dee Gordon and Mark Ellis to date.

MLB, union resume blood testing after pandemic, lockout

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK – In the first acknowledgment that MLB and the players’ association resumed blood testing for human growth hormone, the organizations said none of the 1,027 samples taken during the 2022 season tested positive.

HGH testing stopped in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing also was halted during the 99-day lockout that ended in mid-March, and there were supply chain issues due to COVID-19 and additional caution in testing due to coronavirus protocols.

The annual public report is issued by Thomas M. Martin, independent program administrator of MLB’s joint drug prevention and treatment program. In an announcement accompanying Thursday’s report, MLB and the union said test processing is moving form the INRS Laboratory in Quebec, Canada, to the UCLA Laboratory in California.

MLB tests for HGH using dried blood spot testing, which was a change that was agreed to during bargaining last winter. There were far fewer samples taken in 2022 compared to 2019, when there were 2,287 samples were collected – none positive.

Beyond HGH testing, 9,011 urine samples were collected in the year ending with the 2022 World Series, up from 8,436 in the previous year but down from 9,332 in 2019. And therapeutic use exemptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder dropped for the ninth straight year, with just 72 exemptions in 2022.

Overall, the league issued six suspensions in 2022 for performance-enhancing substances: three for Boldenone (outfielder/first baseman Danny Santana, pitcher Richard Rodriguez and infielder Jose Rondon, all free agents, for 80 games apiece); one each for Clomiphene (Milwaukee catcher Pedro Severino for 80 games), Clostebol (San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. for 80 games) and Stanozolol (Milwaukee pitcher J.C. Mejia for 80 games).

There was an additional positive test for the banned stimulant Clobenzorex. A first positive test for a banned stimulant results in follow-up testing with no suspension.