Welcome to “Marty's Musings,” my weekly column of numbers summarizing the past week in Major League Baseball. I am your guide to an analytic look at the previous week in MLB and previewing some of this week's starting pitching matchups.
In this week’s Musings, Aaron Judge puts on a show at the Derby, Boston DFA’s one of the worst signings in the history of the franchise, and a big cross-town Chicago trade gets made.
News in Numbers
47 - Home runs for Aaron Judge, who put on a show in Miami during Monday night’s Home Run Derby contest. Judge won each of the three rounds by one home run (as he was going second, so usually with lots of time to spare), besting Justin Bour 23-22, Cody Bellinger 13-2, and Miguel Sano 11-10.
3 - Total runs scored in a 2-1 American League victory in the All Star Game. Despite 17 total hits, the game was relatively uneventful. The AL has won the last five All-Star games.
2 - Number of the top five of Baseball America’s top-100 prospects who now belong to the Chicago White Sox, who traded away Jose Quintana for Cubs outfielder Eloy Jimenez and right-handed pitcher Dylan Cease. Combined with Michael Kopech, Yoan Moncada, and Lucas Giolito, GM Rick Hahn has completely transformed the South Siders’ farm.
0 - Top-100 prospects for the Chicago Cubs, who are looking to catch and overtake the Brewers in the NL Central. With John Lackey’s ineffectiveness, and inconsistency from Jake Arrieta, the addition of Quintana brings a much-needed upgrade to the Cubs rotation. On Sunday, Quintana pitched his best game of the year, going seven scoreless innings and striking out 12 while walking zero.
-2.6 - fWAR posted by Pablo Sandoval in his time with the Red Sox, who designated him for assignment last week. Boston signed Sandoval to a five-year, $95 million deal only a little over two seasons ago. In his 2+ years he hit only 14 home runs and played a horrendous defensive third base. With Rafael Devers tearing up the mirrors, Boston has a longer-term solution, but still has a major hole there in 2017.
.500 - Winning percentage for the Braves, who currently sit in second place in the National League East. The 45-45 Braves are a distant 9.5 games behind Washington, but swept the DBacks over the weekend.
90.1 - Playoff percentage for the Rockies as of June 20th. Since that point, Colorado has fallen off a cliff, with their playoff chances falling below 50 percent. The Rockies are 11.5 games behind LA but still within a game and a half of the second-place Diamondbacks.
6/11-6/12 - The last time the Yankees won consecutive games prior to a 16-inning extra inning win over the Red Sox and a win in the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday. After allowing a disastrous Friday night walk-off walk, in which Boston scored two runs without hitting the ball out of the infield, New York tied Saturday’s game 1-1 in the top of the ninth with a Matt Holliday homer against Craig Kimbrel.
Matchups to Watch
Tuesday July 18
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) v. Miguel Gonzalez (CHW), 8:10 ET
Kershaw remains the best pitcher in the game and will be facing a White Sox team that knows it’s really playing for the future. With trade rumors swirling around names like Todd Frazier, the Sox season is effectively over. Look for Kershaw to dominate the Sox on Tuesday and continue their dominance of the NL West.
Wednesday, July 19
Jacob Faria (TB) v. Sonny Gray (OAK), 3:35 ET
The Rays are trying to keep pace with the Red Sox and Yankees and are well within striking distance to overtake both teams as we head into the dog days of summer. They face the Athletics and ace Sonny Gray, who may not be in an A’s uniform through the end of the month.
Friday, July 21
Max Scherzer (WAS) v. Patrick Corbin (ARI), 9:40 ET
The Dodgers look like they’re going to run away with the NL West, but Arizona is well-positioned for an unexpected wildcard run. They face a huge test next weekend against the Nationals, who are the only team in the East with a record over .500. They start their series against one of the top two pitchers in the NL.
CC Sabathia (NYY) v. Andrew Moore, 10:10 ET
Sabathia has been hot and cold all year, vacillating between a competent six/seven innings and, at times, not being able to get past the third or fourth inning. With Michael Pineda done for the year with Tommy John Surgery, a healthy and effective CC can be the difference between the Yankees contending in East or being relegated to a wild card run only.
Saturday, July 22
Adam Wainwright (STL) v. Jose Quintana (CHC), 4:05 ET
Quintana absolutely dazzled in his north side debut on Sunday when he shut down a potent Baltimore offense. The Cubs are only three games in the loss column out of first place, and face divisional foes St. Louis next weekend at home.
Steven Martano is an Editor at Beyond the Box Score, a Contributing Prospect Writer for the Colorado Rockies at Purple Row, and a contributing writer for The Hardball Times. You can follow him on Twitter at @SMartano