School let out on Friday and I’m amped to get home and get back to the K. I’m planning on seeing 5-7 games before June 5th rolls around because I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.
The regulars are all at about 150 plate appearances and we’ve already got some pretty strong opinions about the direction each player seems to be heading. Let’s just hit the 1-4 hitters based on the lineup card Ned Yost submitted in today’s disappointing game against the Astros and we will tackle the last half of the lineup later this week. (All stats are current through the first 40 games of the season.)
1. Lorenzo Cain – Compare .308/.376/.423/.799 in 40 games to .262/.308/.397/.705 in his first 40 games in 2012. Last season he got hurt early on, so he didn’t make it to 40 games until mid-August. It’s been so nice to have Lorenzo playing regularly despite the fact that I wince when the man sneezes because, who knows? He might injure himself that way. He’s been producing and I hope he does so all season. Stay healthy, Zo!
2. Alcides Escobar – Esky has a line of .250/.278/.345/.624 through 40 games, but has really struggled in the last 15 games where both his average and OBP have dropped over 40 points each. Through 40 games in 2012, Alcides had a line of .301/.342/.418/.760. I think everyone expected Alcides’ offense to flatten out a bit, but he’s better than the line he has at the moment. Hopefully he’ll break out of the slump he’s been in for the past 2 weeks.
3. Alex Gordon – A1* is raking right now with a slash line of .343/.367/.535/.902. Some concern regarding his plate discipline has been voiced as he’s been known to do a good job of working counts the last few years but has swung earlier and more often this year. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re producing like he is, I won’t be upset. I’m not too worried that he’s going to change his approach dramatically. I think it won’t be long before he starts seeing more pitches and taking more walks. As long as he’s driving in runs/getting on base consistently. I have no complaints. Last year, Gordon had a line of .231/.320/.363/.683 after 40 games, so it’s hard for me to really do anything but (very quietly grumble) about how he has seemed to walk less so far this year. WHISPERS: (But just so you know…Alex had 20 walks in the first 40 games of last year but has only 7 in 40 games this year. On the other hand, he already has 29 RBI’s which is 11 more than he had this time last year. Circular reasoning is circular.)
*It’s hard not to gush about Gordon….nothing beats a Scobee gush, of course….but still.
4. Billy Butler – .273/.378/.439/.817 with 8 doubles and 5 home runs. Compare this to .297/.357/.523/.879 with 11 doubles and 8 home runs. Billy had 10 walks in the first 40 games of the 2012 season and has more than doubled that number in the first 40 games of 2013 with 22. I love Billy’s plate discipline, I always have. However, I’m really hoping he will get/take the opportunity to drive in more runs as the season progresses. Especially due to the fact that his getting a walk this year is often nullified by the inconsistencies of his teammates hitting behind him.* If Hosmer and Moustakas can’t produce, his walks won’t mean as much.
*Excluding Sal Perez who is doing well and will be discussed in a follow-up post.
There’s the first half of the lineup. These guys don’t look too bad aside from a slumping Escobar who could easily turn things around with a good week.
However, I’m not looking forward to seeing what the back end of the order has to offer. Until later this week…..