The latest from around MLB...
- Josh Hamilton, who once appeared superhuman, has emerged as merely human. After April and May saw his OPS near 1.200, in June, it fell to just .754. One of the more notable changes for Hamilton is a drop his contact rate, previously as high as 70%, but now closer to 60%. League average is around 80%, so it was always going to be an issue for Hamilton, but he'd overcome it with insane power and and line-drive ability. The problem for Hamilton? While he whiffs as much as anyone in baseball, he also swings as much as anyone in baseball. Together, that makes for a disproportionately huge number of swings and misses. It will be interesting to see how his numbers trend over the second half, because they'll add another layer to his already tricky free agency, given his age, injury issues, and substance abuse history.
- The injury ward has been busy over the last couple days, with Andre Ethier (oblique strain), Dustin Pedroia (thumb injury), Jonny Venters (elbow injury), Dan Haren (back stiffness) and Dee Gordon (dislocated thumb) all hitting the DL. And Giancarlo Stanton could be close behind after an MRI revealed a loose body in his knee. He'll sit today and see how he feels this weekend, but he could wind up missing the Home Run Derby (which would be a huge bummer, given his sick power), and the All-Star Game.
- Speaking of the All-Star Game, your final vote winners are Yu Darvish in the AL and David Freese in the NL. Pretty understandable why each one - Cardinals fans are nothing if not fiercely supportive, and Darvish had all of Japan voting for him.
- Former top prospect Chris Tillman is getting a lot of attention after his recent dominating start. The tall righty was written by both FanGraphs and Rob Neyer after he took down the Mariners for the Orioles. Even after three mediocre partial seasons in the big leagues, Tillman is still just 24, with plenty of time to develop, even if it felt like he was already washed up. After his dominant start, he was rewarded with a demotion to AA (but it was actually just to keep him on regular rest during the All-Star break).
- Baseball America has released its mid-season top 50 prospect list, which does not include recent promotions, draft picks or international signings. Dylan Bundy predictably tops the list, and the Cubs have just one member - Javier Baez at 25 (though once they're eligible, Jorge Soler and Albert Almora will potentially be top 50 guys).
- Adam Dunn isn't just on pace to break the single season strikeout record, he's on pace to destroy it. Mark Reynolds currently holds the record at 223 strikeouts, but Dunn is on pace for an incredible 254. Given how well he's hitting when he isn't striking out, he might just get there.