Hero & Goat
WPA Leader and Loser
HERO – Jon Lester: +.281 WPA
GOAT – Dexter Fowler: -.056 WPA
Strike One – Lester Gets Overlooked?
Unfortunately, there are downsides to having Jake Arrieta on your team. If you’re in the rotation, a good start by you may look less than stellar because the benchmark it’s being compared to is unworldly.
What are you supposed to do with that? Lester and the rest of the rotation can’t compete with that. It’s not human. Lester turned in a seven inning performance, only allowing one run and even got himself an RBI and it’s not even close. Poor guy.
Strike Two – Squeeze Me
One of my favorite plays in all of baseball is the squeeze bunt. There is something exciting about the fact that the manager always carries it around in his back pocket and can play it at any time when the situation allows. Last night Joe Maddon busted it out not once, but twice with David Ross and Lester. Both executed it perfectly and it generated a pair of runs. It’s been fun to watch Ross this year. The eye test says that he’s been more valuable offensively this year and the numbers certainly bear it out. He’s sporting a nice 114 OPS+ so far, which means he’s roughly 14% above league average. Considering last year he had an OPS+ of 44, I’ll take the new David Ross.
Strike Three – Rizzo Power
Anthony Rizzo appears to have found his power stroke, hitting a home run last night for the third straight game. I am convinced he is going to win an MVP one of these years. Everyone talks about how Kris Bryant has the higher ceiling, but I’m a Rizzo guy. I think he has the highest ceiling and is most likely to reach it. What he can do offensively against lefties is amazing considering where he was when he came into the league. Throw in better defense than Bryant and I think Rizzo will be a better player when all is said and done.
John Lackey - Lackey struck out 11 and held the Cardinals to four hits over seven scoreless innings Monday. The right-hander effectively mixed his pitches, and he’ll have to do so again against the Reds, whom he beat April 13 at Wrigley Field.
Dan Straily – In his first start after three relief appearances, Straily turned in five nice innings with one run and two hits for a no-decision on Monday vs. Colorado. The right-hander threw 52 of his 76 pitches for strikes.