By The Common Man
The new Power Rankings are here! The new Power Rankings are here! But, as usual, there more to say that TCM can't fit into two short sentences, so he's expanded on his thoughts here. Today, TCM talks about how truly awesome Andrew McCutchen has become, and how none of you seem to be noticing, and how dire the situation is in South Florida. So, without further ado, bonus coverage of the Florida Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates!
Pittsburgh Pirates: “If you are a person who has A) filled out an All Star ballot, but B) not voted for Andrew McCutchen, I'm sorry but you filled out your ballot incorrectly. But please, sit back and enjoy watching him elevate his game and become an MVP candidate anyway (.289/.385/.490, and a 3.4 WAR), in spite of your ignorance.”
Andrew McCutchen doesn’t even appear among the top 15 outfielders in the most recent tally of fan votes that MLB released last week, which is a travesty. McCutchen ranks below Martin Prado, Alfonso Soriano, and Raul Ibanez. Raul Ibanez. Who is hitting .250/.300/.419. Who is roughly the 8th worst outfielder in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Seriously, you people are the worst. Start stuffing ballot boxes already for the guy who is almost certainly the second-best outfielder in the league. He’s got 3.5 Wins Above Replacement according to both Baseball Reference and Fangraphs.
Andrew McCutchen is becoming a superstar in front of our eyes and no one is paying attention. He has an OPS+ of 144. He has already contributed more than a win on defense. He’s stolen 11 bases. He’s showing increased power, hitting more line drives, walking more, and playing better in the field. He’s playing like a young Eric Davis, which should be electrifying to watch.
Florida Marlins: “The Marlins are reeling, having won just 2 of their last 11 games, seven of them buy just a single run. This club desperately needs Josh Johnson back, if only so they can put Javier Vazquez, who has given up 13 runs in 7.2 innings in his last two starts, out of his (and South Florida's) misery.”
There’s not too much to add here that we didn’t already know. The Fish are fading and much of it is on their pitching. The sad news is that there’s no real timetable for Johnson’s return. He’s tentatively scheduled to throw a bullpen session this week, but that probably means it will be at least two more weeks before he’s ready to go again, and that’s only if everything goes perfectly.
And as we’ve been saying all year, Javy Vazquez is just a mess. His fastball velocity is under 90 MPH. His walk rate is the highest it’s been in his career, and his strikeout rate is the lowest. In particular, this is because he’s just not generating enough swings and misses outside the strike zone. Batters are apparently done swinging through his pitches and aren’t getting fooled anymore. His ERA in three June starts is 11.20 and he’s allowed 21 hits and 4 homers in under 14 innings. We never appreciated how good Vazquez really was when he was in his prime, but it should be clear how bad he’s gotten. The Marlins desperately need pitching help if they’re going to stay in the NL East hunt.
Finally, good news on one injury front, as Hanley Ramirez looks poised to rejoin the club this week in Philadelphia. As we speculated, he was playing hurt for much of the season, so hopefully a couple weeks of rest have gotten his back and legs back into playing shape. Until pitching reinforcements arrive, the Marlins needs him to step up and lead the way.