Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke have carried the Dodgers into the playoffs for the past two seasons and are likely to do it again this year. They are exceptional at getting wins and not allowing runs over the past three seasons the two have had 160 starts and only once did either one allow more than 5 runs, and in that time over 44% of the dodgers wins have come with one of those two on the mound because together they have had 73 winning %. they also have had a combined 2.14 ERA. Also one of those two has led the league in ERA in the last five seasons and in 6 of the last seven seasons. Dating back to Greinke's time on other teams. The three other unstoppable duo's I chose to compare them to are Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine of the Braves in the late 90s, as well as the 01-03 D-Back's Johnson and Schilling, and the Dodger's hall of famers Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax.
Clayton Kershaw won Cy young in 2013 and 2014 as well as MVP in '14, and this year Zack Greinke seems to be well on his way to a Cy Young and if he keeps his unbelievable less than 1.50 ERA for the remainder of this season not only will he be the first player to do so since Bob Gibson in 1968, but he will also be a definite candidate for MVP (his ERA is currently 1.37). I do understand that comparing these two to 3 pairs of pitchers that include 5 hall of famers (Schilling is not but might be elected in the future) is a hard argument to make, but all the arguments I have made here create a pretty good case for these two who in 160 games started have allowed 1 or 0 runs in 56% of them.
This unexpected deal actually makes a lot of sense.
The Rockies and Blue Jays surprised everyone by swapping shortstops as well as veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins (heading to the Blue Jays) and prospect pitchers Jeff Hoffman and Miguel Castro (Going to the Rockies). This reminds me of another trade the Blue jays made when they upgraded their third baseman from Brett Lawrie to Josh Donaldson in a trade with the A's in which they also had to give up three young players including MLB.com's #85 prospect Franklin Barreto. This time they are upgrading their Shortstop from Jose Reyes to Troy Tulowitzki. The Blue Jays side of these trades is a very clear gain from a left side of the infield that from 2013 until now has been worth a total of 32.3 WAR, and they traded away Reyes and Lawrie worth only 11.8 WAR. Seeing the Rockies and A's side is a little more difficult. I already analyzed the Josh Donaldson trade from both sides here, so we can focus on why the Rockies who were willing to trade their homegrown five time all-star who I would argue when healthy has been the best shortstop in the majors. The rockies needed this trade because although they do have a major loss in hitting ability at the shortstop with close to no change in payroll it gives them a needed increase in pitching potential with prospects Jeff Hoffman MLB.com #69 prospect who will be a phenomenal pitcher as long as he recovers well from Tommy John, and Miguel Castro with a great fastball sitting in the mid-upper 90s. The blue Jays were willing to spend big on pitchers to get Tulo because they already have numerous other young pitchers including 20 year old closer Roberto Osuna who currently has a 2.23 ERA, MLB #12 overall prospect Daniel Norris, as well as top young starting pitchers Drew Hutchison, Aaron Sanchez, and Marcus Stroman. This trade also brings them a veteran reliever in Latroy Hawkins ready to share his experience and advice with these young pitchers. This trade uses the Blue Jays surplus of pitching to fill a need for the rockies as well as supplying the Blue jays with another upgrade to the left side of their infield. Giving the Rockies a hopeful future and the Blue Jays one of the best shots at the division title that they have ever had in the modern AL East (they have not won the division since it became a five team division and the Central was added).
Back in January I made a list of players who I saw as unnoticed stars. This list had eight players who I expected great things out of for 2015 but who most fans had not noticed. Now almost to the all star break here is how they have done so far.
Justin Turner: When I began making this list I had Turner as the second most underrated player but while gathering more evidence for her him I realized he deserved the #1 spot. Turner earned his WAR points in so few plate appearances last season that if that rate was extended to a full year's worth of hitting he would have had a WAR of 8.6 high enough to make the top 10 in every season in history. The most impressive part of this is that so far this year he has continued this rate of production in fact this seasons WAR when adjusted would give him an 8.7 WAR for a full year. Justin Turner has exceeded even my highest expectations for 2015.
Marcel Ozuna has clearly gone the opposite direction of Justin Turner. Last season he was a major reason the Marlins did not have another 100 loss season like they did in 2013. He was turning on inside pitches and crushing one after another to left field however now as pitchers begin seeing him as a major threat the scouting reports have improved. Ozuna doesn't see inside pitches and his ability to go to opposite field on the outside pitch is terrible. That is why he has been sent down to triple A. Hopefully he can work this out and be back strong sometime in the next few months.
Kevin Kiermaier: The decision between Kiermaier and Steve Pearce for 3rd on my list was probably the hardest one I made but I am delighted with how this turned out. So far this year Kiermaier has been one of the best defensive players in baseball with a dWAR of 2.4 well above 2nd place Kevin Pillar whose dWAR is 1.6. He has also been solid offensively. He has gained some power and is leading the league in triples with 9.
This list is of players that are the least well known but still the best batters. The basic order is best players in a ratio of how well they can do in 2015 to how well they are known.
Many of the blog entries require a knowledge of baseball statistics click on the buttons below for descriptions of the stats used in the articles.