Pardon me for the incredibly nerdy way of making this point, but the ratio between Michael Cuddyer’s on-field production and the amount of press he’s received is way out of whack. Hardly anyone has talked about the guy, yet he rates as baseball’s fifth-best hitter overall, going by weighted on-base average (.424 wOBA). In fact, there isn’t a better hitting outfielder in baseball and the only ones who come close are teammate Carlos Gonzalez (.410) and Mike Trout (.399).
Cuddyer had three hits in four trips to the dish last night against the Mets, bumping his hitting streak up to 24 games. Dante Bichette had held the club record with a 23-game hitting streak. Cuddyer has also reached base in each of his last 43 games, breaking a record held previously by Todd Helton and Andres Galarraga at 41 games.
It may not be sustainable, but you can’t argue with his .351/.402/.597 slash line right now. The 34-year-old is deserving of his second career All-Star nomination.
Update: Cuddyer hit a two-run home run off of Giants starter Barry Zito in the third inning tonight, extending his hitting streak to 25 games and his on-base streak to 44 games.
Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.
Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.
Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”
Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.
Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.