As we head into the All-Star Game and the big league trade deadline, we continue to break down the hottest topics each week. In the lastwe witnessed an event that had never happened before: two innings immaculate in the same game, which we are going to delve into.
We are at a time where the franchise offices decide whether to buy or sell in the next few dates, so we will also be seeing some players who have a high probability of being traded. But first, we will investigate the best historical performances of Cuban baseball players in the month of June. Without further ado, let’s start with the first strike.
Which Cuban players have historically shone the most in the month of June? Can any player in the current season break any monthly record for the West Indians in the sixth month of the year? Let’s go with the first swing.
The first and obligatory reference refers us to June 1998. In that month, not only Windows was released to the world, Rafael Palmeiro was also the Most Outstanding Player in the American League. By the way, do you know how many Cubans had won said reward since it began to be granted in 1958? The list is not very long:
* Tany Pérez (National League/August 1975)
* Luis Tiant (American League/August 1976)
* José Canseco (American League/September 1988 and May 1990)
* Rafael Palmeiro (American League/July 1993)
Perhaps today we see it as something more common because in the recent past Kendrys Morales, Yasiel Puig, José Abreu and Yulieski Gurriel have also won the award, but in the 90s this was something extraordinary.
But let’s go back to Palmeiro and his imposing month of June 1997, in which he left an offensive line (Average/On-Base Average/slugging/OPS) of .357/.413/.739/1.152, with 12 home runs, which represents a record for June among Cubans. By the way, the best towing figures for a West Indian this month belong to the renowned first baseman, who made a career mainly in Texas and Baltimore.
* June 1996: 30 RBIs
* June 1999: 30 RBIs
* June 1998: 29 RBIs
Nor can we forget June 2013, when Yasiel Puig made his Major League debut leaving figures from another galaxy. “The Wild Horse” posted a .436/.467/.713/1.180 offensive line, hitting seven home runs and driving in 16 runs. The best OPS in June belongs to the man who currently plays for the Kiwoon Heroes in the Korean League.
Let’s place that Yasiel month in Dodger history. Which players with at least 105 plate appearances had a higher OPS than Puig in a June with the Los Angeles franchise?
The answer is six in a centuries-old story:
* Pedro Guerrero (1,297 in 1985)
*Duke Snider (1,290 in 1954)
*Gary Sheffield (1,270 in 2000)
* Matt Kemp (1,268 in 2011)
* Mike Piazza (1,228 in 1997)
* Jack Fournier (1,197 in 1923)
The numbers are impressive, which leads us to our next question: Can any Cuban player match some of the previous records in 2022? There are still eight days left in the month, but Yordan Álvarez is showing an extraordinary level and seriously threatening.
Since June 1, he is batting .443/.521/.885/1.401, with seven homers and 23 RBIs. If the month were to end right now, he would be leaving the best marks in all the indicators of the slash line (.AVE/.OBP/.SLG/.OPS), but remember that there are several days left. Similarly, here you can review the performance so far of the best Cuban hitters in the current June:
Nine pitches, nine strikes and three strikeouts. That’s what it takes to make a inning perfect or immaculate. Their history began in the late 1880s, which is to say they are as old as games without hits and runs. Many people find it hard to believe that this feat is more difficult to achieve than a no hitterand to prove it we must look at the historical numbers.
Keep in mind that games with no hits and no runs officially started taking place 14 years before perfect innings. The first No-No was recorded on July 28, 1875 when Joe Borden (Philadelphia Whites) dealt it to the Chicago White Stockings.
In the history of Major League Baseball, there have been 318 no hittersbut, if we take into account those that have occurred since the immaculate tickets were taken, the count would be 275. Instead, they have been released only 106 perfect episodes.
To understand the above definition a little better, we are going to divide them by decades from 1900:
|decades||Number of No Hitters||Number of clean innings|
Observing the previous results, we can argue that in recent times more innings immaculate than ever and that is normal when we are in the strikeout era, but there have never been more than games without hits or runs. Will the chain be broken in the current decade? Time will have the last word.
At the moment, in the past week we experienced something atypical: two immaculate innings in a game for the first time in the annals of the Big Top. As fate would have it, it was June 15 in a clash between the Astros and the Rangers. The protagonists were the Venezuelan starter Luis García and reliever Phil Maton.
Garcia did it in the second inning and Maton in the seventh. To add to the joy, the batters who struck out were the same Nathaniel Lowe, Ezequiel Durán and Brad Miller! Without a doubt, it was a historic moment.
Now, let’s talk about the Houston Astros, the team with the third most innings immaculate in the history of the majors. More than them only have the Dodgers (10) and the Yankees (9). In the case of the Los Angeles franchise, two who achieved it when they were based in Brooklyn are taken into account.
Strikes Three Strikeout!
This season, like last, will not have a change deadline on the usual day (July 31). Commissioner Rob Manfred announced in early April that he would move it to August 2 due to the delay in the campaign.
We are still at a point where teams decide whether they will be sellers or buyers in the coming weeks. Therefore, it is a good time to analyze some players who will surely be good trading chips.
Let’s do something, separate them into three groups: hitters, starting pitchers and relievers, and put two options for each.
Openers: It’s no secret to anyone, before the season started we knew the Oakland Athletics and Cincinnati Reds would be selling teams. The weird thing was that both teams didn’t switch to their best available pitchers before the Opening Day.
Frankie Montás and Luis Castillo have several things in common. Both are from the Dominican Republic, they are the same age (29 years old), although Luis was born 99 days before Frankie and, finally, both will reach free agency in 2024, so they are controllable in the next campaign.
We are in a time where more is paid than ever and when it comes to starting pitchers they are valued as if they were emeralds. Who will take Castillo or Montás? The list of interested teams is long, but take the following for granted: the team that delivers the best prospects will win the bidding.
Castillo began the season on the disabled list, but then returned in early May to post a 3.33 ERA in 48 innings, in which he had 43 strikeouts and 15 walks. Luis is posting his best walk rate since 2018 and lowest hard-hitting rate since 2017. Plus, against teams playing .500 or better, he posts a 2.38 ERA.
In Montás’ case, his ERA is 3.53 in 14 starts, leaving the lowest walk rate of his career. At the same time, he posts a lower-than-average rate of strong connections (37.3% to 38.7%) and a rate of rollings pretty decent (46.1% to 43.6%).
relievers: at the time of bullpen, there are plenty of teams that will be interested in good relievers. We can make a list of them, but I especially prefer David Bednar and Scott Barlow.
Players who trade the Pirates have had success elsewhere lately. Remember the Yankees’ trade for Clay Holmes? Remember the Padres, when they acquired Joe Musgrove? Well, Bednar is the best reliever available to buyers this year.
Since 2021, David has the second-best ERA in the majors among firefighters who have posted at least 90 innings in that span. At the same time, he has the fourth-highest strikeout rate and second-lowest WHIP. The other plus point is that he will hit free agency in 2027.
On the other hand, we have Scott Barlow, who has been one of the best closers since last season. The right-hander, who belongs to the Kansas City Royals, combines for an excellent 2.16 ERA since 2021, also putting up a 1.14 WHIP in that stretch.
Barlow has one of the best breaking mixes in the business. Use your slider 45.8% of the time and opponents are posting a meager .205 against that pitch. As for the curveball, the other weapon in his repertoire that he uses frequently, they hit him a ridiculous .199. He won’t hit free agency until 2025.
Batsmen: If Josh Bell’s first season in Washington was good, the one he’s doing in 2022 is much better. Of course, there is still a long way to go and it will probably be in another city. The former Pirates player is in his last year of salary arbitration, so he will hit the free agent market next winter.
The team that gets him will do so for roughly $5 million, but they’ll only get him for the second half of the season, unless they want to give him an extension before the World Series is over.
Bell is leaving a slash line He is .294/.378/.476/.854 and according to OPS+ has been better than average by 46 points. Here’s how to sum up Josh’s qualities right now: He’s a hitter who can hit both sides of the ball. home plate and he also strikes out less. Lastly, he is putting up good defensive numbers at first base, as he records two runs defended and a out above average.
Perhaps the time has come for the Royals to receive the fruits of a trade they made two off seasons ago. Remember when Andrew Benintendi came to the Royals for Franchy Cordero? Mike Matheny’s management was betting on a “Benny” recovery campaign and in 2022 that is happening.
The former Red Sox player’s cutoff is .298/.363/.396/.759 in 65 games. Andrew is walking at an above-average level and striking out fewer than ever in his career. Also, let’s remember that he’s been a solid defender in left field. Like Bell, he will hit free agency next offseason.