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Good morning baseball fans!
Three teams are battling it out to stand tall and be the last team in the American League playoffs.
Giancarlo Stanton is back for the Miami Marlins, but should he be.
St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Randal Grichuk has had success by making an un-adjustment.
Baseball is a game of adjustments. Grichuk went into 2016 with an idea of an adjustment he wanted to make. It’s wonderful that he demonstrated a willingness to make that adjustment and actively tried to improve at the plate, especially given his status as a guy coming off an impressive rookie season. However, that adjustment did not lead to positive results, so he abandoned it. Right now, he’s a masher who strikes out a lot and walks rarely. It’s not a superstar profile, but it is a workable profile. Unfortunately, the concern now is the same as it was entering the 2016 season — namely, that pitchers will be able to adjust to Grichuk’s free-swinging ways and find an approach to effectively neutralize him. The challenge for Grichuk is not to let this bad experience with an adjustment impact his ability to make future adjustments in response going forward.
Here is a roundup of news from around the National League Central.
Robinson Cano left a game with a swollen ankle.
Mike Trout continues to be shunned by the BBWAA.
Why? I can think of two plausible explanations. The first is that MVP voting is weird, and in a given set of five years, someone was going to get denied like this at some point, in the same way that, if you keep flipping a coin, it's bound to come up heads five consecutive times at some point. This is possible, if unsatisfying, so I'm going to ignore it. The second is that Mike Trout has been unique among excellent players, in that his team has let him down. I wrote that article after 2015, another year in which the Angels didn't make the playoffs despite having the very best player in baseball, and 2016 is just adding to that tally and making the pattern even more ahistorical. Most of the players I mentioned saw their teams reach the playoffs numerous times in their stretches of dominance, since, y'know, they're great players. I think this is the most likely, disappointingly mundane reason why Trout has been so uniquely ignored by the BBWAA: The Angels have been crappy.
The MVP matters only because we say it matters, so it's not worth getting too much into knots over. Trout is outstanding, truly excellent in a literally unprecedented way, and that's true whether the BBWAA votes for him or not. If they don't, hopefully it helps people realize that the MVP isn't quite living up to its ideals and shouldn't really be taken seriously.
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Today in Baseball History: In 1995, Cleveland ends a 41-year postseason drought when they clinch the AL Central.