One of the joys of life for dozens of years now has been the consistent state of wonder when looking over box scores and statistics. It is just so much fun to see how players are doing, who is struggling, who is surpassing all expectations, who is having a breakout season, who seems over the hill. It's all there every day in free form deconstruction. While reveling in this daily joy, three infielders have been truly amazing this year: Jason Bartlett, Adam Everett and Adam Kennedy.
Bartlett went three for three Monday night against the A's including a triple and five RBI. He is now batting .385 with an OPS+ over 140. Wow. How did that happen? He has always been a decent offensive guy. His career .343 OBP isn't bad. But he has always been light in the slugging part of things and thus his career OPS of .721. So where did this year come from? He is slugging .563, which is .188 points over his career average. He's already matched his career high in homers with five. He is halfway to his best RBI year ever. He'll never be the greatest fielding shortstop in the majors with average range. But he gets the job done. His offense this year is astounding.
Would it surprise you to know that Adam Kennedy has hit over .300 twice in his career and has also posted OPS+ numbers over 100 twice as well? It would after he posted a .219 clunker two years ago that permanently found him in Tony LaRussa's dog house. And one thing history has taught us is that LaRussa's dog house does not have an ejector seat. He's playing sporadically for the A's this year and is batting .346. He's still an above average second baseman.
Everett has an OPS+ average for his career of 70. That's pretty bad. In fact, his best year with the bat was 2004 when his line looked like: .273/.317/.385. Yes, that was his best year. The years since have not been kind. But this year, he has been right in the middle of the Tiger's resurgence to respectability and his current line is: .306/.333/.424. There has never been a question about his defense. He has always been above average in range and in Total Fielding Runs Above Average. But his bat this year has been a pleasant surprise. If he finishes near his 2004 numbers, the Tigers should be more than happy.