4 Biggest Takeaways from This Week's MLB Action
Another week in MLB action has baseball fans closer to the annual Memorial Day tradition of staring up at the standings, projecting forward and making proclamations for the summer.
Of course, as always when it comes to assessing the baseball campaign, there's a ton of season left.
This week did offer particular insights about a certain Angels star, trust in young players, surprises when they fail and the hottest of hot seats in Los Angeles.
Without further ado, the four biggest takeaways from this week's MLB action.
1. Trout isn't done chasing Miguel Cabrera for the AL MVP crown.
Miguel Cabrera's three-homer game on Sunday Night Baseball opened up discussion this week about his place among the greatest hitters of all time, a chase for a second consecutive Triple Crown and what a run at a .400 batting average would mean for his legacy.
Not to be outdone, Angels outfielder Mike Trout, the runner-up in the 2012 AL MVP race, became the youngest player in AL history to hit for the cycle on Tuesday night against Seattle and followed that up with a home run in another victory on Thursday.
Led by Trout, Los Angeles has climbed into third place in the AL West, potentially saving their season.
Despite Cabrera's ridiculous numbers (.391/.467/.701), the debate could rage on again all summer if Trout's May pace (.359/.440/.795) is duplicated throughout the season.
2. In times of trouble, turn to the kids.
Years ago, contending teams with major holes on their roster would look to acquire a proven veteran to fill a need and lift the franchise to greater heights.
Due to a combination of player development improvements, the value of cost-controllable assets and PED's leaving the game on a year-by-year basis, young is the way to go for contending teams in 2013.
No team has shown us that more than the Baltimore Orioles.
While it's easy to say that the Dan Duquette-Buck Showalter led rebuilding project in Charm City is still in its early stages, there is a burning desire to compete in the tough AL East while developing a long-term plan for sustained success and trips to October.
Last summer, when Baltimore rode an improbable run differential and lights-out bullpen into contention, a problem emerged at third base. Simply put, the combination of Wilson Betemit and Mark Reynolds was costing Baltimore games.
In lieu of acquiring a veteran to fill the spot, Baltimore shifted prized shortstop prospect Manny Machado to third base. The kid thrived, helping to solidify the defense and setting the stage for his 2013 All-Star campaign.
This week, Baltimore took the philosophy a step further, promoting their 2012 first-round pick, Kevin Gausman, to step into their beleaguered rotation.
Kevin Gausman looks like he's been pitching in the big leagues for two years, rather than two innings. Completely at ease.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) May 23, 2013
The fact that Gausman brings with him less than 65 innings of professional experience is irrelevant in today's game.
If you can help, you arrive, regardless of age.
3. Young players don't progress in a straight line.
In New York, the immense struggles of the Mets have been overshadowed by the season-long slump endured by first baseman Ike Davis. In a way, he's become a scapegoat for a franchise on the path to a fifth consecutive losing season.
In Seattle, Jesus Montero was optioned to Triple-A, just over a year from his arrival as the savior to the Mariners' problems behind the plate and at the dish.
While Ike blasted 32 home runs in 2012 and Montero looked great in a 2011 cameo with the Yankees, the rise and fall of young, talented players shouldn't come as a surprise.
Ike Davis's .147 BA is worst through 1st 143 AB by a player who hit 30+ HR in previous season since Andre Thornton in 1985 (per Elias).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 23, 2013
Only a handful of prospects like Bryce Harper can arrive at the big leagues, produce at an elite level from the jump and not fall into the abyss of struggles and doubt.
Most young players withstand the ebbs and flows of a career, failing to make adjustments and succumbing to major slumps and drop in production.
4. Don Mattingly's days are numbered in Los Angeles.
From votes of confidence to voicing frustrations through the media, baseball fans are now waiting to see when, not if, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly will be shown the door in Los Angeles.
While his team, 19-26, last in the NL West, has clearly underperformed, the season is still young. If not for injuries to major rotation pieces and Hanley Ramirez, the 2013 Dodgers might be closer to .500, only a few games back in the division and surrounded by far less drama.
Instead, unrealistic expectations have created a culture that isn't tailored to winning at a high level.
Considering the top-heavy nature of the roster, injuries sustained and Matt Kemp's very slow start to the season, allowing Mattingly the full season to show what he can do with a team like this is the fair thing to do.
What was your biggest takeaway from the week in MLB action?
If the losses keep piling up this weekend and in early June, fair won't matter.
Donnie Baseball will be on the way out of his first career managerial gig.
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