Sunday is the best baseball day of the week. Except for the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, all of the teams play during the day. TBS usually shows a game plus your local team is available on television at a decent hour too. After drinking in a full slate of day games, the following players left brain impressions:
Brent Gardner: This Fan really wanted Gardner to get 500 at bats this season to see what he could do. Then the Yankees got Granderson and the Fan figured that was that. But then it was announced that Gardner would play left. But then the Yankees got Randy Winn and the Fan said that was that. But Gardner has played nearly every day and he's delivered. His current line is: .342/.415/.438. He has 25 hits in 22 games played. He's scored 18 runs and he's stolen 11 bases in 12 attempts. He looks more comfortable at the plate with each passing game. So far so good.
Alfonso Soriano: Two weeks ago, his career seemed dead. He was written off in this space as well. His manager was asked several times why he was still penciling Soriano in the line up. But look at Soriano now. He's had four homers in his last three games and has been red hot. His current line is remarkable considering where he was just a little while ago: .325/.382/.624. His OPS is now over 1. Amazing. Guess we'll have to call him Lazurus.
Eric Byrnes: Poor Eric Byrnes. In a career where it seems he hit one too many walls (he wasn't called, "The Crash Dummy" for nothing), he hasn't been able to come close to producing for three straight years now. After producing only three hits in over 30 at bats for the Mariners, that team pulled the plug and released him today. No doubt his botched squeeze attempt on Saturday night didn't help his cause any. You can't cry too much for Byrnes because he made a lot of money based on two slightly above league average seasons. But his skill really deteriorated and it seems his career is pretty much over.
Phil Hughes: Do you think the Joba/Hughes debate looks silly now? Hughes has been tremendous. He's made four starts and is now 3-0 and after his seven shut out innings today, he's pitched 25 innings and has a WHIP of 0.88 while striking out 24. He's only given up one homer and it looks like an easy game for him right now.
Jhoulys Chacin: Can we just call him Jose based on his middle name? Anyway, Chacin has been touted as the Rockies best prospect and he certainly showed why Sunday. He pitched seven innings and gave up only one hit while blanking the Giants. Before you get all thinking that the Giants weren't much of a challenge, they are a much better hitting team this year. Schierholtz is batting .345. Sandoval has been as good as last year. Downs is doing well at second base and in the line up. Uribe is hitting well and Huff has been very solid with a .485 slugging percentage. Chacin is just that good and the Rockies won't miss a beat with De La Rosa out.
Jason Giambi and Nick Johnson: Two erstwhile first basemen with somewhat checkered pasts are both having really strange seasons. Giambi is batting .100 for the season, but has a .387 On Base Percentage. However, his slugging percentage is only .150. Nick Johnson is batting .149 and his OBP is .368.
Paul Konerko: Konerko has had a really good career. But the Fan has to admit that he wrote right here in this space that Konerko's best years were behind him. Well, now he has 12 homers and an OPS of 1.206. Uhh...the Fan can shut his trap any time now.
Jason Heyward: Heyward has been like a binary switch for the Braves so far. When he hits, he hits big and the Braves win. When he doesn't hit, they don't hit and they don't win. He's on a mini-tear lately which is the on side of that switch for the Braves.
Austin Jackson: The young man is now batting .367 and has 40 hits already. And he has a .420 OBP despite striking out 34 times in 25 games. The Fan still thinks he'll end up in the .290 range. His BABIP is pretty darn high right now.
Andre Ethier: You can't blame the Dodgers' struggles on Ethier who after slugging two homers Sunday, now has nine on the season and has a downright gaudy OPS of 1.161. He's already drivin in 26 runs. He has as many walks as strikeouts (10). Looks like a superstar has arrived.
Andruw Jones: Jones has been given up for dead so many times over the last three years, but he has a whopping OPS of 1.084 thus far with 8 homers. Plus he is playing centerfield every day. Did anyone see this happening? But to show how poorly the White Sox are faring, with 8 homers, Jones has only knocked in 11 runs.
Hanley Ramirez: The Marlins' shortstop has been pretty quiet thus far. But he is six for his last nine with three homers. Look out National League, Mr. Ramirez is back on his game.
Jorge Cantu and Ty Wiggington: These two guys might be the most underrated players in their respective leagues. They always seem to come up big in critical situations and just give solid, professional at bats every time they come up to the plate, particularly when men are in scoring position. Wiggington's at bat against Papelbon today was outstanding and a great case in point.
Prince Fielder: Fielder has been really quiet thus far which somewhat accounts for the Brewers really bad run scoring slump. Even Craig Counsell has a higher slugging percentage right now than Fielder and Fielder has only hit two homers to date.
Jason Varitek: Okay, he's having a fine season thus far. The Fan has to admit it. He hit another homer today and even threw a runner out at second on a stolen base attempt. He looks much better than Victor Martinez these days.
Vernon Wells: The man has been awesome so far. Good for him! After years of abuse, he deserves it.