Three Up, Three Down: Parker Bridwell Takes The Lead
Each week, BA will take a look at the trends in major league baseball.
Parker Bridwell | RHP | Angels
Who leads all rookies in ERA this season? That would be Bridwell, the Orioles No. 21 prospect who was sold to the Angels for an undisclosed sum in April. The 26-year-old righthander has gone 7-1, 2.88 to propel the Angels into the second wild-card spot, and keep the rotation solvent despite major injuries to Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs. Bridwell has done it by primarily drawing weak contact off his hard stuff with movement. He primarily uses a 93-96 mph fastball and 90-93 mph cutter to set up his out pitches, a 92-95 mph sinker and 81-85 mph slider that batters are hitting sub-.215 against, per Brooks Baseball.
Brian Goodwin | OF | Nationals
Speaking of unexpected contributions, Goodwin has been integral in helping the Nationals outfield weather injuries to Adam Eaton, Jayson Werth and now Bryce Harper. Goodwin, the Nats’ No. 19 prospect entering the season, joined the Nats in May as a bench player but moved into a starting role in June. In 59 games as a starter Goodwin has posted an .819 OPS with 13 home runs. Those 13 longballs are already nearing his professional career high, when he hit 14 homers in 119 games at Triple-A Syracuse in 2016.
Michael Wacha | RHP | Cardinals
Just when it seemed his best days were behind him, Wacha has re-emerged as a frontline starter. The 26-year-old righthander is 6-3, 2.68 in his past nine starts to help move the Cardinals back into the playoff race. He has held opponents to a .231 average and .612 OPS during the stretch, with 53 strikeouts against just 12 walks in 53.1 innings.
Tim Anderson | SS | White Sox
The White Sox gave Anderson a six-year, $25 million extension before the season, expecting him to be an anchor of their youth movement. While he is still young, the early results have been ugly. Anderson is hitting .242/.262/.386 on the year, and that is even with a red-hot start to August. He has 118 strikeouts against just 11 walks, and his .649 OPS is 10th-lowest in MLB among qualified hitters. Equally disconcerting has been his defense. Anderson’s 23 errors are the most in the American League, and his minus-5.9 Defensive Runs Above Average is worst in the majors among primary shortstops, per FanGraphs.
Rushin: The More The Merrier
For a sport that loves to hand out hardware, baseball could benefit from becoming even more self-congratulatory.
Trevor Story | SS | Rockies
After a taking baseball by storm with 27 home runs in 97 games as a rookie last season, Story has come crashing back to earth in his sophomore campaign. Story is hitting .222/.299/.399 this season, a more than 200-point OPS drop from last season. He has struck out in 40.2 percent of his plate appearances this season, and it’s only getting worse. He is 6-for-53 (.125) in his past 15 games, with 24 strikeouts in 53 plate appearances. While injuries might have played a role—he had a season-ending thumb injury last year and missed time this year with a shoulder strain—the status quo for Story simply won’t do.
Yovani Gallardo | RHP | Mariners
Gallardo was clearly trending toward the downside of his career as he posted a 5.42 ERA in his age-30 season in Baltimore, but the Mariners acquired him in the offseason hoping a move to Safeco Field would help. It has not worked out that way. Gallardo got lit up for nine hits and eight runs in four innings in his last start, raising his ERA to a career-worst 5.84. The Mariners moved him to the bullpen earlier this season in hopes it would help, but it hasn’t. In five starts since returning to the rotation, Gallardo has a 6.75 ERA and .930 OPS against.