Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times gives us the heads up to Clayton Kershaw’s offseason activities: he and his his wife are in Zambia working at an orphanage their charity foundation sponsors:
The small orphanage opened last year, and the Kershaws are there now with a team of 23, bringing additional donations, working on the site and interacting with the first eight orphans … The Kershaws are searching for additional sponsors for the orphans. They wrote that the current eight are sleeping in beds for the first time in their lives.
Kinda puts our complaints about the weather, our post-holidays weight, bowl games, the Hall of Fame and any number of other things in perspective.
If you want to follow the Kershaw’s activities and/or see what you can do to help them with the orphanage, go to their blog here, which is being updated by Ellen Kershaw.
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.