Here are some answers to a few of the questions that I recently received at the BaseballGuys'
He's held on much longer than I thought he would, but at the same time there are some troublesome signs. First, he's failed to last more than five innings in three of four starts. Second, over his last four starts he's 1-3 with a 6.61 ERA and 1.71 WHIP. Now you might cite small sample size to brush off that recent run of poor work, but the mitigating factor here is that Ogando has already reached a career-high in innings pitched. In this day and age of pitch and inning counts, just how hard are the Rangers going to push Ogando? For that matter, how will his arm hold up under the increasingly heavy workload? Finally, Ogando owns a middling K/9 rate (6.73), a poor GB/FB (0.88) and there is still no way to explain his .247 BABIP given his over 22 percent line drive rate.
Beltran has been as good as ever at the plate. It's shocking given the physical issues that limited him to 145 games played the last two years. Let's compare his work this season to his career averages.
It's pretty amazing how close those numbers are. How about the counting stats, you ask? He has only 350 plate appearances right now, so I'll give you those numbers and his career averages per 350 PAs.
Career: 14 homers, 52 RBI, 54 runs, 14 steals
Almost everything suggests that Beltran is "back," though the pink elephant in the room is the lack of steals. Given his knee issues the past few years they may never come back, but that doesn't mean Beltran won't continue to be a force with a bat in his hands.
Beltran is the better bet to replicate his first half work in the second half. Beltran could be traded to a team with a better offense and get a chance to ply his trade in a better home park, and that intrigues me. Plus, I'm just not sold that Ogando is (a) going to keep up his current level of performance; and (b) that his arm isn't going to fall off if he more than doubles his previous career-high in innings.
Capps blew a save chance July 2, and then on July 3 he was removed after allowing two hits (it was Glen Perkins and not Nathan who was called in to clean up the mess). Capps was not pleased, and he even got the kiss of death after the game when manager Ron Gardenhire said he was still the closer for the Twins. Capps has been as good as ever with a mere 1.03 BB/9 mark, but his K/9 mark is way down to 5.40 per nine, a terrible mark (career 6.83). That's danger territory. At the same time virtually all the other major indicators point to this being a "normal" Capps effort, which equates to solid without being overly interesting or dominating.
Is that enough to hold off Nathan? There are two things at work here: (1) Nathan is still working his way back to full strength (Nathan's thrown the ball very well since returning from the DL, but we're only talking about four innings); and (2) The Twins continue to be beat down by injuries as much as any club in baseball, and as a result they are in fourth place in the AL Central. They're only eight games out, but there is a chance that when we reach the end of the month the Twins will make the decision to move Capps to another contender. If that occurs then the ninth would be wide open in Minnesota.
For now you have to keep Capps because you won't get much for him on the trade market. There's also the fact that he is still the Twins' closer. But he isn't likely to be picking up saves in August unless it's with another club.
Swisher killed it in June, hitting .326 with seven homers and 23 RBI. As a result he is on pace to go .248-19-92-77 over 533 ABs this season. In his career, per 533 at-bats, Swisher has produced a line of .252-27-84-88. Obviously, he's right back where he should be, and it's clear he shouldn't be on waiver wires.
Guerrero has 442 homers, 1,461 RBI, owns a .318 career average and has more than 2,500 hits in his career. He's also never failed to hit .295 in a season, and every time he has had 500 ABs he has gone deep at least times 27 with 83 RBI. He's aging (36 years old), and his body has been oft-injured the past few years, but it's pretty shocking to find him on pace to go .276 with 11 homers and 53 RBI.
Abreu is another aging vet who has one big advantage over Vlad -- he still steals bases. Abreu has 13 thefts, putting him on pace for a 13th straight season of at least 20 steals. He's also seen his average come up to .285 for the year, and the dude can still get on base with a .395 OBP. His power seems pretty much gone -- even 12 homers will be a surprise this season (he currently has three), but he's still pretty stable at the dish and on the base paths.
In other words, add Swisher at the expense of Bad Vlad.
A first-round selection in 2006, Snider has been up and down more than the superhero genre in movie theaters this year. When he's been in the majors he has struggled, hitting .249 with a .743 OPS in his career, but he kills it in the minors. Snider hit .333 this year at Triple-A as the Jays left him down there a long while to make sure he found his stroke after hitting .184 in 87 at-bats with the Jays earlier in the year. Snider had three hits in his first game back, is just 23 years old, and scouts will tell you his is a 30-homer bat.
Thames hit 27 homers with 104 RBI last season at Double-A to gain everyone's attention. With the Jays recent dump of Juan Rivera, Thames should get ample chance to prove himself in the bigs. He likes to swing at the first pitch, and sometimes struggles with secondary stuff, but there is no disputing that he has talent. However, he will likely have to contend with Corey Patterson and Davis for playing time, which is why I'd prefer Snider over Thames.
What about Davis? It seems like he got the message that his playing time was about to be curtailed. Davis has five hits and four thefts in his last two outings. Despite all his struggles he is still looking at a third straight 40-steal season. It also deserves to be pointed out that Davis loves to hit in the second half as his average is .302, .046 points better than his first half mark, while his OPS goes up to .758, .119 points better than his first half mark.
Davis would be my choice here. His average should come up from his current .237 mark, and his wheels are elite.