MLB: The National League's Silent Assassins
Although my American League Silent Assassins article received very few reads, the National League version still needs to be done.
I'm going to ignore the read count and instead blame it on the fact I wrote the article on a Saturday, which apparently is when no one reads and when editing takes seven hours.
For those of you who are not aware of the American League article, I am going through each team and giving credit to those of whom you will not find in the press and rarely ever spoken about.
Here are your silent assassins of the National League.
Yunel Escobar - .303 BA, 12, 62 RBI, 63 R, .370 OBP
Tommy Hanson - 9-2, 3.12 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 69 K, 86.2 IP
Mike Gonzalez/Rafael Soriano/Peter Moylan - 10-9, 29 saves, 2.67 ERA, 195 K, 168.2 IP
I'm assuming you know the numbers of Javier Vazquez and Jair Jurrijens and ignored the ridiculous fact they didn't make the All-Star team, which is why I did not mention them. Yunel Escobar is proving that he is more than just a glove this season.
The Braves bullpen has been simply fantastic and Tommy Hanson has to be a top candidate for Rookie of the Year.
Cody Ross - .271 BA, 20 HR, 67 RBI, 65 R, .329 OBP
Reynel Pinto/Dan Meyer/Kiko Calero - 7-4, 2.72 ERA, 144 K, 139 IP
Cody Ross is easily having his best year ever and, although they have had some problems with their closer situation, the Marlins have had great bullpen work from Pinto, Meyer, and Calero
New York Mets
Luis Castillo - .318 BA, 1 HR, 34 RBI, 68 R, .411 OBP, 15 SB
Pedro Feliciano - 5-4, 3.10 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 46 K, 49.1 IP
Not much has gone the Mets way, but Luis Castillo's numbers have been pretty impressive, especially the on-base percentage. The Mets are always looking for bullpen help, as we've seen over the last few years, and Feliciano has been just that.
Jayson Werth - .269 BA, 29 HR, 79 RBI, 81 R, .374 OBP, 13 SB
Joe Blanton - 8-6, 3.86 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 117 K, 147 IP
Ryan Madson - 4-4, 4 saves, 2.95 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 62 K, 61 IP
With Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, and Chase Utley, rarely do we hear about Jayson Werth, but he is second on the team in home runs, third in RBI, and third in on-base percentage.
With Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels getting all the press along with Pedro Martinez for some reason, Joe Blanton has been completely overlooked. Ryan Madson has been the best part of a shaky Phillies bullpen.
Josh Willingham (in 100 games) - .292 BA, 19 HR, 50 RBI, 56 R, .398 OBP
Mike MacDougal - 13 saves, 2.08 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 18 K, 34.2 IP
You have all heard of Ryan Zimmerman and I agree it is ridiculous that Adam Dunn's name has not come up in MVP discussion, but Willingham is another name who should be at least said this season. Although Willingham has not played the entire season, in the games he has played he has done extremely well.
Mike MacDougal has finally found the command he could not with the White Sox and has converted 13 out of 14 save opportunities for the Nationals. He is no longer relying on players to strike themselves out, but rather creating a lot of groundballs.
Derrek Lee - .292 BA, 24 HR, 83 RBI, 63 R, .373 OBP
Randy Wells - 9-6, 2.84 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 74 K, 120.1 IP
Lost in this bust season the Chicago Cubs are putting together, are the seasons of these two. Derrek Lee has found his power stroke again after having a terrible wrist injury and Randy Wells has to be a top candidate for the Rookie of the Year award.
Nick Masset - 4-1, 2.78 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 48 K, 55 IP
Francisco Cordero - 2-3, 26 saves, 2.20 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 40 K, 49 IP
It is hard to find players on the Reds having good years, let alone players who are having good years that people haven't taken notice. These two out of the bullpen, however, have been a huge reason the Reds win any games.
Michael Bourn - .291 BA, 3 HR, 30 RBI, 79 R, .366 OBP, 46 SB
Wandy Rodriguez - 12-7, 2.89 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 142 K, 155.2 IP
LaTroy Hawkins - 1-4, 11 saves, 2.03 ERA, 35 K, 48.2 IP
Carlos Lee is doing his usual bashing of pitchers in the most silent of fashions, but you know who he is. Bourn has been a complete catalyst at the top of the Astros' order, while Rodriguez has been the ace, with Oswalt having an off year, and Hawkins has been the perfect set-up man for Jose Valverde, even becoming the closer for an extended period of time while Valverde was hurt.
How Rodriguez wasn't on the All-Star team is beyond me.
Yovani Gallardo - 12-10, 3.51 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 179 K, 164.1 IP
Gallardo has had a tough second half, but was amazing in the first half of the season. Even with his second-half struggles, Gallardo still remains sixth in baseball in strikeouts.
How Gallardo wasn't on the All-Star team is beyond me...oh, nevermind, it was because of Jason Marquis.
Garrett Jones (in 45 games) - .299, 14 HR, 28 RBI, 28 R, .361 OBP, 7 SB
Andrew McCutchen (in 66 games) - .284 BA, 7 HR, 36 RBI, 49 R, .355 OBP, 14 SB
It is pretty sad when a player leads his team in home runs at this point in the season when he has only played 45 games, but that is true when it comes to the 28-year-old Jones. If you don't know of Andrew McCutchen then you do now. He turns 23 on October 10.
Between both players, they have been caught stealing twice.
St. Louis Cardinals
Skip Schumaker - .296 BA, 4 HR, 32 RBI, 67 R, .357 OBP
Joel Pineiro - 12-9, 3.15 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 79 K, 162.2 IP
Schumaker has been a perfect fit getting on base for the big boppers of the Cardinals. You know Chris Carpenter, you know Adam Wainwright, but have you seen the year Joel Pineiro is having? Let me introduce you to him.
Miguel Montero (in 94 games) - .292 BA, 12 HR, 44 RBI, 40 R, .346 OBP
Doug Davis - 7-11, 3.77 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 118 K, 155.1 IP
Montero stepped in for Chris Snyder when he got hurt and has been great for the Diamondbacks. Montero just turned 26 as well. Doug Davis has been very up and down, as any fantasy baseball player will tell you, but he has been pretty solid for a Diamondbacks pitching staff that really only features Dan Haren.
Troy Tulowitski - .275 BA, 23 HR, 67 RBI, 78 RBI, .361 OBP, 15 SB
Ubaldo Jimenez - 12-9, 3.36 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 154 K, 174.1 IP
Brad Hawpe made the All-Star team, Todd Helton never gets talked about, and Dexter Fowler has been talked about enough, so I bring to you the guy we used to talk about, Troy Tulowitski. It would seem as though he has found his stroke again at the old age of 25.
Although people will not stop talking about Jason Marquis, Ubaldo Jimenez has been the best pitcher on the Colorado Rockies. He is also just 25.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Andre Ethier - .282 BA, 25 HR, 83 RBI, 74 R, .369 OBP
Matt Kemp - .312 BA, 18 HR, 77 RBI, 73 R, .371 OBP, 26 SB
Randy Wolf - 8-6, 3.34 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 128 K, 169.2 IP
Ramon Troncoso - 4-2, 5 saves, 2.73 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 42 K, 69.1 IP
Manny, Manny, Manny. That is who we hear about, but it is Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp leading this team. Ethier leads the team in home runs, RBI, and runs. Kemp does everything while playing a great center field. Ethier is 27, while Kemp is just 24 as well.
You know of Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley, but have you seen the year Randy Wolf is having? Finally, Ramon Troncoso has been a great set-up man for Jonathan Broxton.
San Diego Padres
Heath Bell - 5-2, 30 saves, 2.13 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 56 K, 50.2 IP
I honestly could not find anyone on the Padres worth mentioning that is not named Adrian Gonzalez and everyone knows who he is. I was actually contemplating saying Clayton Richard who is 3-0 with a 3.67 ERA in five games.
I had to pick an All-Star as a good player on the Padres who doesn't get recognition; pathetic. Padres' fans, you may have to help me out on this one.
San Francisco Giants
Jeremy Affeldt - 0-1, 1.89 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 40 K, 47.2 IP
The Giants offense is really pathetic. I was looking for someone to mention, but everyone knows who Pablo Sandoval is and Bengie Molina and Aaron Rowand just aren't that good this year. Affeldt is having a tremendous year and although the category is a bit overrated, he is second in holds.
There you have it, folks, the players who can bite your favorite team and leave you saying, "Who the hell is that?"
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