The best-hitting outfielder in baseball right now? Would you believe Michael Cuddyer?

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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.

Astros talking to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole about extensions

Justin Verlander
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It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.

That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.