Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s okay, though, we’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
* * *
Yoenis Cespedes is great at baseball. He's got an incredible arm, can play center when forced to (as he has been with the Mets), and has enviable power that he's put to good use in New York. He helped sweep the Nationals, putting the Mets up seven games in the NL East, by hitting .429 with two homers, three doubles, and seven RBI, and is batting .312/.357/.675 for New York overall. The most key thing to remember, though, is that he's played in just 36 games: please stop anointing him as the potential National League MVP.
There is some precedent, sure: Manny Ramirez received enough votes to finish in fourth in 2008 after batting .396/.489/.743 with the Dodgers in 56 games, and CC Sabathia, in the same year, threw 130 innings for the Brewers after a midseason trade, finishing sixth in the MVP race and fifth for the Cy Young. If there were one MVP and Cy Young award each year, not one per league, there would be more merit to their cases (and Cespedes'). However, there are two, and Cespedes also unfortunately shares a league with Bryce Harper.
Yes, the Nationals are now likely out of the postseason chase, and that will make Harper's candidacy meaningless for certain segments of the voting class. However, he's still leading the league in all three slash stats, and at 201, has the kind of OPS+ that puts you on all-time best lists with Barry Bonds, Mickey Mantle, and Ted Williams. Harper is only the second 22-year-old ever to produce a season of this quality, with Williams the other in his .406 1941. While that alone should mean little to voters, it does give you an indication of the levels of play Harper is at. Cespedes has been great, yes, but let's not overstate it for dramatic effect at the ballots, okay? Harper is living history, regardless of where the Nats finish, and Cespedes is 100 games behind him.
- With a tweak here and a change there, we see just how close Tim Hudson is to the Hall of Fame -- and just how thin the line between greatness and immortality actually is.
- Sandy Koufax's perfect game was 50 years ago, but it was what came after that people remember him for.
- Yadier Molina broke his bat without even hitting a baseball.
- The Astros downed the A's, and are once again two games up on the second-place Rangers in the AL West.
- Joey Votto was ejected and is apparently a frightening individual when you get him angry.
- The Cardinals started Randal Grichuk in center field even though his arm is a mess, with the solution being "don't throw the ball." It, uh, didn't work.
- This isn't the first time the Cardinals have pulled this kind of thing, either, as back in the day, Albert Pujols played without permission to throw.
- The Frontier Greys are a team without a home field, stadium, or fans of their own, but they put on that uniform because there is no other.
- Just because you slip and fall down and embarrass yourself doesn't mean you're irredeemable, as this catch proves.
- Stephen Vogt is still not in the best condition after taking a foul tip to the beans. He's on pain medication and in agonizing pain even days later. Catching is a thankless job, y'all.