Rounding out our awards, we take a look at the biggest surprise and biggest disappointment of the first half of the season, plus make predictions on who wins the division.
Around The Fog Horn– San Francisco Giants OF Gorkys Hernandez
Who would’ve thought that Gorkys Hernandez would have more homers than Buster Posey at the all-star break? He’s been an offensive revelation with the Giants this year after being DFA’d by Giants Twitter after two months last season. That 113 wRC+ is really interesting for a guy like Gorkys.
Rox Pile- Los Angeles Dodgers OF Matt Kemp
Matt Kemp of the Dodgers. Who would’ve thought he would see this kind of renaissance?
Friars On Base– Arizona Diamondbacks INF Ketel Marte
He isn’t doing anything flashy but he’s improved in a number of areas this season. His strikeout rate, chase rate, and whiff rate are all down. Marte has already set career-highs in home runs (9), triples (8), and is on pace to set a career-high in doubles (now at 16). His average is down due to a much higher ground ball rate, however, he’s hitting the ball harder than ever. He could potentially have a big second half.
Around The Fog Horn- Los Angeles Dodgers SP Clayton Kershaw
When he’s been healthy he’s looked nothing like the Kershaw of old. In fact, it’s been more like postseason Kershaw. The Dodgers have marched on without him, but the fact that their true ace at the moment is Stripling, wasn’t conceivable at the beginning of the year.
Rox Pile– Colorado Rockies RP Bryan Shaw
Bryan Shaw of the Rockies. Brought in from the Indians to be a part of Colorado’s super bullpen experiment and has failed miserably. A 7.57 ERA, including a 12.96 ERA in June, has Rockies fans dreading when he comes in from the bullpen. Colorado fans don’t boo their own often, but Shaw has gotten plenty of boos this season.
Friars On Base-San Diego Padres 1B Eric Hosmer
There’s no denying that the star of the offseason has come out flat as a member of the Padres. He’s capable of quickly turning things around, however, through the first half of the season, his offensive numbers have left a lot to be desired. His strikeout rate (22%) is a career-high and his average/OBP are both well below his normal numbers. I don’t think anyone ever expects Hosmer to be elite but a 95 wRC+ and a -0.5 WAR are disappointing.
General thoughts and predictions
Around The Fog Horn:
The Giants have started to figure things out this summer. While they’re usually akin to June and July swoons, they’ve actually put themselves into the divisional conversation. They’re healthy, and actually, have a decent amount of homegrown talent that’s come into the roster. Coupled with a bench squad that executed every time they get a game, their pitching staff has turned it on once it got healthy. These Giants are the dark horse in the West and have all the talent to pull it off. I can see them doing that with a strong second half.
I think the Dodgers get more talented at the trade deadline and grab yet another division title. (Hello, Manny Machado).
Friars On Base:
As far as the San Diego Padres are concerned, the rest of this season is about seeing what guys on the current 25-man have any future role with this team. Expect a number of moves to be made over the next two weeks that really shake things up. As for a division winner, with the addition of Manny Machado, the Los Angeles Dodgers look like an extremely tough team to beat.
Thanks again to Daniel and Kevin from Around The Fog Horn and Rox Pile for their thoughts. The race for the NL West should be a fun race to keep an eye on. Enjoy the rest of your All-Star break and see you all on Friday night.