Monday’s Look at the Leaders and Other Bold-Face Names

This is what you should be talking about, writing about, reading about, and sharing in baseball today.

In case you hadn’t noticed, the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp is having a great month. Kemp leads the NL in the Triple Crown categories: batting (.425), homers (11), and tied with teammate Andre Ethier in RBI with 24.  In addition, he leads in slugging (.888), OPS (1.382), runs scored (23), hits (34), total bases (71), and extra base hits (15).

In looking at Kemp and Ethier’s RBI totals, the folks in the newsroom were wondering when was the last time the Dodgers had two players who had 100 RBI in a season. The answer was simple: the last and only time in the Dodgers proud franchise when they had two players with over a hundred RBI in a season was in 2009 when Kemp and Ethier did it. That season Kemp (101) and Ethier (106) combined for 207 RBI.

The NL OBP leader is David Wright of the Mets who is at .506, far above his .386 lifetime on-base percentage. Wright is hitting .397 and is helped by 16 walks, five of which are intentional. Wright had four IBB all of last season.

Derek Jeter leads the AL in hitting at .396. Jeter leads the majors with 36 hits this month, the most prolific April of his career. The best month for hits in Jeter’s career was in August, 2009 when he 46 hits. The only year that Jeter led the AL in hits was 1999 when he had 219. He has never won a batting crown however. He finished second in both 1999 (.349) and 2006 (.343). Jeter is helped this season by a very high BAbip of .421 which does translate into some luck which might be exhibited in his nine infield hits, but you can’t denigrate the fact that with two outs and runners in scoring position the Yankee captain is hitting .556.

Staying with the Yankees a moment, Alex Rodriguez picked up two RBI yesterday to bring his career total to 1904 putting him 10th place all-time as he edged past Willie Mays. Next up for A-Rod, perhaps this season, are Eddie Murray (1917), Jimmie Foxx (1922), Ty Cobb (1938), Stan Musial (1951), Lou Gehrig (1995), and Barry B*nds (1996) (Note to DBB and others, my asterisk for B*nds is symbolic for all steroiders including A-Rod).

Josh Hamilton is the AL leader in homers (9), RBI (25), slugging (.744), OPS (1.182), and total bases (64). He’s also now day-to-day after leaving in the 3rd inning last night against Tampa. BTW: The Rays beat the Rangers in that game and ended the Texas streak of 12 consecutive regular season series wins.

Jake Peavy is baseball’s only pitcher with two complete games, 11 others have one.

Peavy (3-1) also leads the AL with a 0.690 WHIP, but Matt Cain (1-1) leads the majors with a 0.626 WHIP.

On the subject of starters, the White Sox and the Blue Jays have each played 22 games and their starters have gone at least five innings in every one of them. The Rockies starters have done it only 15 times in 21 games and despite a rocky start, Jaime Moyer lasted five innings yesterday for the fifth time of the year, the most for any Colorado starter.

One more White Sox story: Adam Dunn leads the majors having struck out 34 times. He is also hitting .231, a significant improvement over last year’s .159. Yesterday, Dunn hit his fifth homer of the season, a feat he didn’t do until May 24 last season in his 43rd game of the season. By that time he had struck out 60 times. He didn’t hit his sixth homer last year until June 9 in his 55th game of the year. By that point he had whiffed 81 times.

The White Sox beat the Red Sox as Marlon Byrd suffered his first loss since joining Boston. They are 6-1 with him centerfield and  he’s hitting .308 with his new team after hitting .070 with the Cubs.

Joe Saunders of the Diamondbacks has the best ERA in all of baseball allowing just 0.90 runs. The most runs he has allowed in four starts this season is three (two earned) when he suffered his only loss. He’s 2-1 on the year as he’s gotten an average of 3.34 runs support per nine innings.

Tale of two Santanas – Johan Santana left his game yesterday against the Rockies having pitched six shutout innings and holding a 4-0 lead. He got a no-decision as the Mets pen blew it and then won it. Santana has a 2.25 ERA but is 0-2 and hasn’t won since September, 2010. The four runs the Mets scored in the 1st yesterday were the first runs NY had scored while Santana was in a game this season.

On the other hand. Ervin Santana leads the majors having given up 10 homers this season. Already, he is 0-5 this season with a 5.58 ERA. Ervin allowed five homers in his last three starts of the 2011 season which means in eight starts he’s given up 15 gophers. Putting the Dead Ball era in the rear view mirror, Carl Morton of the 1974 Braves and Gaylord Perry of the 1968 Giants each allowed 10 homers in 38 starts.

The two best records in baseball belong to the Dodgers and Rangers, each are 16-6 with .727 winning percentage. But the most popular winning percentage today belongs to the Rays, Braves, Orioles, Nationals, and Cardinals, each of whom is 14-8 with a .636 wp.

The Yankees have committed the fewest errors in baseball with just seven miscues, the Red Sox and the Rangers have just eight each. The Padres have made 27 errors in 23 games. Overall the Padres pitchers have allowed 91 runs, 78 earned. The Rockies, Giants, and the Mets have also allowed 13 unearned runs, but the Royals and Orioles have allowed 14.