Player of the Week: Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks 

If you know nothing about Reynolds, don’t worry, you’re not alone. In a league loaded with talented rookies (see our Rookie of the Year picks below), Reynolds has quietly made a name for himself, mainly by playing great down the stretch for the Diamondbacks. In a recent six-game stretch in which Arizona went 4-2, Reynolds batted 12-for-23 (.522) with three home runs, nine RBIs and seven runs scored. Reynolds is hitting .329 in September and for the season he has 17 home runs and 62 RBIs in just 106 games.

BASEBALL STORY LINES

1. When it comes to the AL Most Valuable Player, there’s not much of a debate. The New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez started the season off with a sublime April that included 14 homers in his first 75 at-bats and never looked back in a yearlong performance that will surely garner him his third MVP award. Detroit Tigers teammates Curtis Granderson and Magglio Ordonez were great, as were the Los Angeles Angels’ Vladimir Guerrero and Boston’s David Ortiz, but no slugger came even close to touching A-Rod’s 53 homers and 151 RBIs. The NL MVP is a much more contested race, with Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder, Philadelphia teammates Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley and Colorado’s Matt Holliday all making good cases to collect the hardware. But, in the end, the one player that trumps them all is the New York Mets’ David Wright. After starting the year slow, Wright has been unstoppable of late, hitting .373 since Aug. 1 on his way to compiling a 30-homer, 105-RBI, 110-run season for the first-place Mets.

2. Cleveland’s C.C. Sabathia deserves Cy Young consideration as the best pitcher on the best team in the AL and teammate Fausto Carmona has rung up the quietest 18-win season ever, but neither has been better than the Red Sox’s Josh Beckett this season. Beckett became the first 20-game winner in the majors since 2005 in his second season with Boston and he has been especially impressive in the clutch. His last three wins (in which he has surrendered just four runs) have all come following Red Sox losses — pivotal victories for a team locked in a tight race in the AL East. Jake Peavy stands out as the best pitcher, and possibly the best overall player, in the National League in 2007. Peavy’s ERA is a gossamer-thin 2.36 and he leads all of the majors with 234 strikeouts. His 19 wins are a career high and his ERA never rose above 2.47 all season.

3. Boston’s Daisuke Matsuzaka baffled hitters with his vast array of pitches early in the season, but he’s been decidedly off-the-mark over the last two months — a setback that has opened the AL Rookie of the Year honors for his Red Sox teammate Dustin Pedroia. Boston’s first-year second baseman may benefit from a weak crop of rookies, but Pedroia deserves recognition for his solid season, highlighted by a .317 batting average — a mark that ranks 10th in the AL. Over in the NL, the Brewers’ Ryan Braun has 33 homers, 94 RBIs and is hitting .325 — now imagine what those statistics would be if he actually played a game in the majors before May 25. Despite sitting out six weeks to start the season, Braun is tied for fifth in the NL in homers with Miguel Cabrera — a feat he achieved in 140 fewer at-bats than the Marlins’ star. Hunter Pence, who seemed like a lock for the NL Rookie of the Year in mid-June, was derailed by injuries, while Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki would also be a deserving choice.

— Will Reisman

KEY SERIES

DIAMONDBACKS AT ROCKIES (Today-Sunday): Thanks to a late-season surge, Troy Tulowitzki and the Rockies find themselves not only in contention for the NL wild card, but also the NL West title, too. The Diamondbacks have managed to hold off a series of charges, but must do so for one final series if they are to make the playoffs.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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