One of the hip books in recent years has been Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. I personally found it a bit of a bore, but who I am to judge public opinion? However, always one to glom on to a pop culture reference, VZbaseball notes that Felix Hernandez had himself a whale of an outlier on Friday, getting beat up for 8 runs in 2/3 of an inning, a debacle which included a throwing error by the King himself and a home run by his countryman Luis Valbuena. The shortest outing of his career, it raised his ERA nearly one whole run. Ouch.
The King may have wobbled, but Elvis is rising in Texas. Shortstop Andrus of Maracay raised his batting average six points last week with five hits in four games; he’s still only at .239 but it’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll. Another TX/VZer with a longer climb to the top is catcher Robinson Chirinos of Punto Fijo–he’s played 41 games for the Rangers and hit 5 homers, but is barely above the Mendoza line at .204. That’s what the Rangers get for paying him the big-league minimum of $518,00 (imagine that!).
Wilmer Flores continues to receive mixed reviews in New York; he hit his 10th home run on Friday to help the ageless Bartolo Colon to his 9th win of the season (tying King Felix, by the way, for the league lead). But Flores’ defense is a work in progress and Mets pundits have pointed out some double play opportunities missed, etc. I say if Wilmer gets to the 25-30 HR level, then the Mets or most other teams will settle for his average defensive play. He was interviewed in the New York Post on Sunday and very professionally deflected any criticism, while underscoring the importance of his family to him and how much he loves the passionate Mets fans–quite a level-headed young man for 23. (This just in: Wilmer got the game-winning RBI in Tuesday’s 11th-inning victory.)
The best hitter of his generation–do I have any nay-sayers?–hit two absolute bombs off the Cleveland Indians this weekend. Miguel Cabrera‘s Sunday moon shot off of Cy Young winner Corey Kluber was hit so hard that the center fielder Jeff Brantley hardly turned around to watch it. (It cleared *two* hedges.) This followed a tape-measure job on Friday night, and Miguel’s total for the season stood at 14 as the weekend ended.
Toronto is the hottest team in baseball but without many contributions from their Venezuelan players. DH/C Dioner Navarro has missed 38 games with a hamstring injury, and light-hitting, lights-out fielding Ezequiel Carrera has batted .280 in 75 plate appearances. Veteran infielder Maicer Izturis of Barquisimeto, who wears the traditional #13 of VZ infielders, is out indefinitely with a muscle tear in his shoulder.
The rather ridiculous ballot-box-stuffing by Kansas City supporters is helping Venezuelans lead the voting at nearly every infield position, including Salvador Perez (C), Omar Infante (2B), and Alcides Escobar (SS). Meanwhile, the Venezuelan who most deserves to start, Miguel Cabrera, is trailing (just barely) Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer at 1B.
If the balloting ended today, 8 of the 9 starters–including the DH–would be Kansas City Royals. This is reminiscent of 1957, when Cincinnati fans voted in 7 of 8 position players, only to have Commissioner Ford Frick replace two of them with Hank Aaron and Willie Mays. Royalists, take note: fans weren’t allowed to vote for another 13 seasons.