With plate appearances and innings pitched piling up a bit, we can finally start to look -- though there are still small sample size caveats -- at what some of our old friends are up to in their current locations.
So today, we'll catch up with guys like Jason Kubel, Joe Nathan, Michael Cuddyer, and Garrett Jones. We'll also have a peek at what some guys on the minor league side are doing as well, such as Danny Valencia, Clete Thomas, and Sean Burroughs.
Cuddyer - .282/.335/.483 (.359 wOBA/0.4 WAR)
What a difference a couple of days makes. Through Saturday, Cuddyer was hitting .252/.307/.432. In the meantime, he's gone 7-10 with five doubles and raised his OPS by 80 points. He's still struggling defensively, and as a result will struggle to maintain value, but he's overall been alright in the Mile High city. Worth noting: Cuddyer's OPS splits v. LHP and RHP are again hugely disparate (.965/.763).
Kubel - .280/.367/.420 (.340 wOBA/0.2 WAR)
When Kubel left I said he'd be a masher who'd ultimately not have a ton of value. In some ways, I was right; he's only amassed one-fifth of a win of value despite a pretty good triple-slash. But he's not really 'mashing', as he's on pace for a 600 plate appearance mark of about 11 home runs. The biggest thing Kubel has done this season has been boosting his walk rate by nearly four percent over his career mark. As a result, his BB/K mark is .54 -- compared to .37 last season -- and he's just 11 free passes shy of matching last season's 32 walks with 235 fewer plate appearances. Nobody should be crying over missing Kubel or Cuddyer with Josh Willingham (.423 wOBA/1.4 WAR) in the stable, but both have been pretty good in their new digs.
Nathan - 2.41 ERA, 11.1 K/9, 0.96 WHIP, 10 saves
Nathan has been nails in his short time with the world-beating Rangers, amassing a crazy 0.6 WAR -- not an ideal metric for relievers but does help indicate his dominance over 18.2 short innings -- while seeing his fastball reach near-2007 heights. In '07, Nathan averaged 94.8 mph on his heater, and in '12, he's again reaching the high 93s by matching his career mark at 93.8. Needless to say, reports of Nathan's demise were greatly exaggerated. Count me as a skeptic turned, however, because I thought he'd be pretty good -- maybe 75 percent of his old self -- but right now he's as good as he's ever been.
Jones - .221/.242/.411 (.283 wOBA/-0.2 WAR)
While some may have openly lamented the Twins corner outfield situation -- and in lieu of Morneau's injury issues the past couple seasons, the first base situaish as well -- Jones has done little outside of his first year with the Bucs to vindicate his liberation from the Twins. In the three seasons since Jones mashed 21 homers in 358 plate appearances in his first NL cup of coffee, Jones has hit .243/.307/.421 (99 OPS+) and has been worth less than one win (0.9 WAR) in that time frame. To me, he profiles like the kind of guy that could come off the bench and pop a couple homers or a double for a pretty good club, but he's more like a second-division starter. This makes sense, because the Pirates are by far the worst club offensively in the MLB thus far.
J.J. Hardy - .247/.294/.462 (.326 wOBA/1.4 WAR)
Oh, the one that got away. I promise I'm done lamenting the lanky shortstop, but he's been really, really good for Baltimore the last season-plus. He's off to a slow start, though he's gotten hotter in May (.305/.340/.589), pounding six homers and seven doubles since May day. He's also still playing his brand of stellar defense, and has no-doubt been worth the extension the O's handed him this offseason.
Orlando Hudson - .218/.265/.323 (.258 wOBA/0.0 WAR)
Well, he's back in the Twins backyard now, as he's joined the Pale Hose -- ostensibly to play third base -- after scuffling, and presumably babbling his way out of Petco Park. Hudson's bat seems to be slowing, as fastballs are giving him considerable trouble for the second season out of the past three, and he's nobody's prototypical third baseman, even for a team that's employed Brent Morel there the past couple years. It's a decent flyer to take, getting Hudson out of that graveyard in San Diego, but it's not likely to end any better than Manny Ramirez, Ken Griffey Jr., or either of Roberto Alomar's two terms in office on the south side.
Torii Hunter - .256/.328/.413 (.327 wOBA/1.3 WAR)
I remember thinking when the Twins offered Torii Hunter a three-year deal when he was slated to reach free agency that it was a pretty good idea. Chances were, he'd break down and cease to be as good as a player ought to be to justify a $15 million deal ($/WAR be damned). Turns out the Twins -- and I suppose me too -- were right, as Hunter's bat slipped considerably in 2011but was solid up through 2010 (which the Twins contract would have covered). Now I'm willing to let bygones be bygones; after all, if the Twins keep Hunter, chances are they may have given up on Denard Span, who wasn't particularly good in the minor leagues. But nonetheless, Hunter -- who claimed on a recent edition of GameOn! with Rod Simons that he was willing to do whatever it took to stay in Minnesota back then -- has moved onto the part of his career where he's a decent hitting and fielding corner outfielder. He'll be a free agent at season's end, and the Halos have made no public information of their intent to extend him (they probably don't care to). So, with Peter Bourjos, Mike Trout, and the decaying remains of Vernon Wells in Anaheim for the forseeable future, it looks like Torii will hit the market again. Are the Twins interested? Is Torii interested in the Twins? I'm not sure, but a reunion could be fun for both sides. The price should be reasonable, as the market is usually flush with corner types that don't stand out.
A few others, briefly:
Steve Tolleson (BAL) - .313/.353/.625 in 18 PA
Jason Repko (BOS) - .091/.091/.091 in 11 PA (hurt)
Nick Punto (BOS) - .135/.298/.162 in 47 PA
Darnell McDonald (BOS) - .179/.277/.357 in 65 PA
Jesse Crain (CWS) - 1.86 ERA, 13.0 K/9, 1.14 WHIP
Philip Humber (CWS) - 5.31 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 1.35 WHIP
Delmon Young (DET) - .248/.305/.364 in 141 PA
Jose Mijares (KC) - 2.41 ERA, 7.2 K/9, 1.13 WHIP
Brian Fuentes (OAK) - 3.18 ERA, 7.4 K/9, 1.06 WHIP
Wilson Ramos (WAS) - .265/.354/.398 in 96 PA (out for season)
R.A. Dickey (NYM) - 3.45 ERA, 8.0 K/9, 1.17 WHIP
Johan Santana (NYM) - 3.24 ERA, 9.5 K/9, 1.22 WHIP
Jon Rauch (NYM) - 4.26 ERA, 5.2 K/9, 1.21 WHIP
Jim Thome (PHI) - .111/.238/.111 in 21 PA
Kyle Lohse (STL) - 2.91 ERA, 5.8 K/9, 1.17 WHIP
J.C. Romero (STL) - 10.13 ERA, 5.6 K/9, 2.00 WHIP (cut)
Carlos Gomez (MIL) - .276/.311/.448 in 62 PA
Matt Garza (CHC) - 3.72 ERA, 8.0 K/9, 1.12 WHIP
Matt Guerrier (LAD) - 2.70 ERA, 5.4 K/9, 1.20 WHIP
Henry Blanco (ARI) - .207/.207/.241 in 29 PA
Craig Breslow (ARI) - 2.01 ERA, 7.3 K/9, 1.03 WHIP
Jason Bartlett (SD) - .133/.240/.193 in 98 PA (hurt)
And now, let's briefly catch up with a few former Twins down on the farm:
Danny Valencia - .293/.310/.488 (2 HR, just 1 BB in 42 PA)
Chris Parmelee - .333/.481/.524 (7-21, 6 BB/5 K)
Clete Thomas - .270/.308/.438 (9 K in 54 PA)
Sean Burroughs - .273/.304/.295 (1 XBH)
Tsuyoshi Nishioka - .205/.315/.269 (2 XBH)
Brian Dinkelman - .174/.240/.478 (4 hits, 3 XBH)
Joe Benson - .156/.250/.250 (AA stats)
Lester Oliveros - 0 ER in 5.2 IP since promotion, 9:1 K/BB rate.
Anthony Slama - 0.45 ERA, 14.4 K/9.
Liam Hendriks - 1.93 ERA, 6.8 K/9, 0.86 WHIP
Jeff Manship - 3.08 ERA, 5.9 K/9, 1.29 WHIP.
A brief note:
Rochester's staff has a 3.65 collective ERA, and has fanned 7.3 per nine, while the hitters are hitting a combined .250/.319/.346.