MLB Weekly Wrap Up – Michael Brantley and Andrew McCutchen star

I hope everyone had a very nice father’s day yesterday. I surely did spending time with my dad, the man who taught me great values on how to live my life and to treat one another.  I hope everyone had a father’s day that was truly was good as mine. Saying that, we are already half way through the month of June which means much more exciting baseball is ahead of us as we are winding down towards all star break. With that being said here are this week’s standout players of the week.

AL Standout – Michael Brantley

Cleveland Indians outfielder Michael Brantley had a nice week at the plate for an Indians ball club that’s playing well under expectations from last year. Since the Indians are playing .500 baseball most people would write them off since the start the Detroit Tigers had this season but what a difference a few weeks make. Since Detroit’s sweep of Boston in Boston, the Tigers are playing so poorly that now the AL Central is up for grabs and that includes the Indians. Brantley put together a nice week at the plate with a .538 batting average, .625 OBP, .885 SLG, and has added 2 home runs to 3 RBI. Michael Brantley is this week’s AL standout player of the week.

NL Standout – Andrew McCutchen

Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen put together quite of week for himself with both hitting and power for the struggling Pirates. What a difference a year makes, last year the Pirates made the playoffs for first times since Barry Bonds was in uniform and coming into this season with high hopes, it seems this is the Pirates team were accustomed to seeing. Coming off an MVP season for McCutchen is proving that last year was not a fluke and if this week is any indication then he can make another run towards another MVP trophy. With a .483 batting average, .559 OBP, 1.034 SLG and added four home runs to 13 RBI, Andrew McCutchen is this week’s NL standout player of the week.

Surprise – Joe Mauer

Former Minnesota Twins catcher turned everyday first baseman Joe Mauer is one of the bigger surprises so far this season with his slowest start to a season of his entire career. Since Mauer’s MVP season of 2009, Mauer has been plagued by injuries and a new stadium that has taken a toll both on his numbers and his power. When he became fully healthy and made the official switch to first base, Mauer saw somewhat of a bright spot with a .321/.410/.461 combined state line from the 2012 and 2013 season.

Those stats are pretty close to his career numbers of .320/.401/.461 and though his power numbers are way down, Mauer still has a good overall slugging percentage and to me has always been one of the better pure left handed hitter. However, the 2014 season has not been so kind to Joe Mauer and the number sure do show it. So far this season, Mauer stat line looks like this .257/.335/.328 and has only 2 home runs to 15 RBI. Ouch could be an understatement for how his season as started and gone so far but with his struggles, the Twins like every other team in the AL Central is still not out of the race just yet. There still plenty of time for Joe Mauer to turn things around and end on a good note and if I were a pitcher I would still treat Mauer as a threat every time he steps to the plate.

Disappointment – Joe Nathan

We all know the struggles the Detroit Tigers have had with a shut down closer since Todd Jones of 2006. The position has always been their Achilles heel for the Tigers, minus one good year by Jose Valverde. Then comes 2014 and all of Tigers prayers have been answered when the Tigers announced they signed Joe Nathan. Nathan has been one of the best closers in baseball since 2004 with his first year as a Minnesota Twin. From 2004 to 2009 he was straight dominant in that role completing 90% of his saves. Then came 2010 when he needed Tommy Johns surgery and pretty much he wasn’t the same pitcher and therefore the Twins cut their losses with him.

In 2012, the Texas Rangers took a chance on Nathan and boy did it pay off for them. As the Rangers closer, Nathan completed 93% of his saves in the 2012 and 2013 seasons and both years the Rangers were World Series contenders. In the 2014 offseason, Nathan decides to sign with the Detroit Tigers and be the man they have been hoping for and haven’t seen in many years, to be that shut down closer and no more roller coaster innings Tiger fans have been accustomed to seeing and so far that has not been the case.

While Nathan this season is 13 of 17 in saves, Nathan has not been the Joe Nathan were all use to seeing. As the closer for the Tigers, Nathan has a 6.57 ERA, .276 batting average, 1.62 WHIP, 21/13 strikeout walk ratio, and giving up 18 earned runs The 18 earned runs might not seem like a lot but given that the most his given up in his career in a season as a closer was 24 and given were only in June. As we sit right now, the Detroit Tigers have the worst bullpen ERA in the majors so Nathan is not the only one struggling but if the Tigers want to continue as the best in the AL Central, their entire bullpen needs to wake up and it starts with Joe Nathan.

Another week is in the books in the 2014 season. We saw great play by AL standout Michael Brantley and NL standout Andrew McCutchen and former dominant players in Joe Mauer and Joe Nathan are off to their worst starts of their careers, June is shaping to be yet another exciting month in the 2014 Major League Baseball season.


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