The 6-foot-4, 210-pound junior outfielder from Mercer ranks in the top five in Division 1 baseball in batting average (.419), on base percentage (.547), and slugging percentage (.753). Undrafted and lightly recruited out of high school, Lewis is now considered by many to be the best position player available in the upcoming June amateur draft. Scouting comparisons include Jason Heyward and Adam Jones. The Phillies own the first pick, followed by the Reds and Braves.
The 25-year-old rookie shortstop for the Cardinals has been baseball’s biggest individual surprise thus far. Heading into the 2016 season, Diaz looked to be a backup at best behind Jhonny Peralta. But after Peralta went down with a thumb injury in early March, Diaz was given more playing time. Flash forward to May 18 and Diaz leads all shortstops in batting average, OBP and SLG. After batting in the number 7, 8, or 9 spots for all but one his starts, Mike Matheny finally moved Diaz up to the 5 hole against the Dodgers last Sunday.
Red Sox Offense
Boston is bashing opposing pitchers. The Red Sox lead baseball in SLG (.489) and OPS (.848), headlined by MLB OPS leader David Ortiz (1.101). Beyond Ortiz, five other Red Sox regulars are above league average in both OBP and SLG. Last week alone, the Red Sox scored 73 runs, including a string of 14-13-13-11 against the A’s and Astros.
Cincinnati’s bullpen has been downright awful. According to research by Fangraphs’ August Fagerstorm, the Reds bullpen ranks dead last among all bullpens since 1961 in ERA (6.44), FIP (6.09), and HR/9 (2.04). From April 10 through May 7, Cincinnati relievers allowed at least one run in 23 consecutive games, an MLB record. The most recent example of the Reds putrid pen? After replacing starter Alfredo Simon (who have up 10 ER in 4.1 IP) on Tuesday night, reliever Steve Delabar walked five of six batters, including four with the bases loaded.
Heading into the 2016 season, a supposed good crop of rookie pitchers was ready to burst onto the major league scene. Jose Berrios (Twins), Aaron Blair (Braves), and Michael Fulmer (Tigers) ranked as top 60 prospects in spring training and have each logged at least four starts since being called up in April. But the early returns don’t look great. Jose Berrios (10.20), Aaron Blair (7.59), Michael Fulmer (6.52) rank near the bottom of MLB starters in ERA. There’s obviously still time for these three to figure things out, but starts like Berrios’ on Monday (0.2 IP, 4 BB, 7 ER) and Blair’s on Tuesday (1.1 IP, 9 H, 9 ER) are hard to swallow for fans of baseball’s two worst teams.
Beyond a lukewarm start (18-21 through Tuesday) and a beat writer calling for a roster overhaul, the Tigers are leading the league in ridiculous on-field outbursts. In late April, Tigers outfielder Tyler Collins lost a ball in the lights and reacted to the subsequent home-town booing like a teenager, flipping them the bird and cursing them out. Not to be outdone, manager Brad Ausmus lost his mind on Monday after getting ejected, taking off his sweatshirt and covering home plate with it.