Giants second baseman Joe Panik had an odd game last night against the Diamondbacks, going 5-for-5 while scoring zero runs and driving in zero runs.
He’s the first player with zero runs and zero RBI in a game with five or more hits since Adam Kennedy in August of 2009. And the only other times that happened within the past 10 years were Aaron Miles in 2008 and Curtis Granderson in 2005.
Panik has hit .327 in 56 games for the Giants as a 23-year-old rookie, but it’s come with just one homer and 14 walks in 214 plate appearances. Of course, empty batting average or not the Giants will happily take a a .369 on-base percentage and .766 OPS at second base after previously being so desperate at the position that they used Dan Uggla there for four games.
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According to Athletics GM David Forst, Major League Baseball has still not informed teams whether or not the proposed three-batter-minimum rule will be in effect for the 2020 season, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The league and the players’ union came to an agreement back in March regarding a handful of rule changes with the three-batter-minimum rule among them. From the way it was discussed, it seemed like it was set in stone. If Forst is unsure, then the league clearly hasn’t done a good job of communicating that.
Slusser notes that the A’s are operating as if the rule will be in effect, as the club non-tendered lefty Ryan Buchter earlier this week. Buchter has a career 2.86 ERA with 235 strikeouts in 214 innings, but the bulk of that success has come against left-handed hitters. This past season 115 of the 198 total plate appearances (58 percent) against Buchter were taken by fellow lefties. He held lefties to a .728 OPS compared to .904 against righties. As a result, despite Buchter’s overall terrific numbers, the A’s felt the roster spot could be more effectively used with a different player given the proposed rule.
Some teams may not make the same assumption as the A’s. What if a team keeps its lefty specialist(s) on the roster or goes out and acquires such a player, not knowing whether or not the rule is in effect for the upcoming season?
Since it has been brought up publicly, the issue will likely be resolved quickly and we should all have clarity on the rules for the 2020 season.