You can blame Allen Craig for this.
Well, for the MLB All Value part, at least. I was reading a story this morning in the St. Louis Post Dispatch about how well Craig has performed at first base while filling in for Lance Berkman at approximately 1/60th the cost of the Cardinals’ last first baseman (OK, the story wasn’t really about that, but it was about Craig’s sweetness at the plate).
The haiku part? My coffee-deprived brain at 6:30 a.m. says hello.
The semi-serious explanation: This is a fun way to give a big-picture snap shot of some surprising performances so far this season, or at least put some not-so-surprising performances in their proper perspective.
Last thing: If we did a utility spot, Craig would get it. But we’re not doing a utility spot, and Craig’s not a true utility guy, anyway.
Note: Stats are through May 15, 2012.
* * *
Catcher: Matt Wieters, Orioles
Digits: .322/.455/.500, 8 HR, 1.8 WAR, $500K
Haiku: A long time coming/Wieters’ breakout in B-more/Not Mauer money
First base: Bryan LaHair, Cubs
Digits: .352/.445/.713, 10 HR, 2.0 WAR, $4825K
Haiku: Wrigleyville surprise/Keeping it warm for Rizzo/Cubs fans need something
Second base: Jose Altuve, Astros
Digits: .309/.354/.449, 1.2 WAR, $483K
Haiku: Little man can rake/He wil sure love Arlington/But not King Felix
Shortstop: Starlin Castro, Cubs
Digits: .331/.346/.432, 1.2 WAR, $567K
Haiku: A better Starlin/Who still needs to take a walk/Who picked the soundtrack?
Third base: Mike Moustakas, Royals
Digits: .310/.371/.540, 1.9 WAR, $487,250
Haiku: Fans know him as Moose/Lost in Hosmer-mania/Bright spot in dark days
Right field: Jason Heyward, Braves
Digits: .282/.348/.463, 1.4 WAR, $565K
Haiku: Improved O-B-P/Know he’s still just twenty-two/The forgotten child
Center field: Austin Jackson, Tigers
Digits: .323/.409/.541, 2.5 WAR, $500K
Haiku: No, he ain’t Miggy/Nor the big-bopping Fielder/But boy’s been damn good
Left Field: Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Mets
Digits: .294/.370/.412, 0.9 WAR, Salary Unknown
Haiku: Tongue-twisting last name/Salary number mystery/Did Madoff steal it?
Designated Hitter: David Ortiz, Red Sox
Digits: .353/.417/.633, 8 HR, 1.5 WAR, $14.575
Haiku: You no Big Papi/Great New Era commercial/So ignoring cash
Starting pitcher: Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
Digits: 2.25 ERA, 48 IP, 10.5 K/9, 1.5 WAR, $3M
Haiku: Arsenal from God/To be restrained by limit/Good luck with that Davey
Starting pitcher: Derek Holland, Rangers
Digits: 3.86 ERA, 47.2 IP, 1.2 WAR, $1M
Haiku: He cuts down the walks/Could contend for Cy Youngs, still/World’s best weatherman
Starting pitcher: Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals
Digits: 2.14 ERA, 46.1 IP, 1.2 WAR, $2.3M
Haiku: Nats’ blue-collar arm/Having eye-opening year/Will be huge this fall
Relief pitcher: Aroldis Chapman, Reds
Digits: 0.00 ERA, 32 K’s, 18.1 IP, 1.1 WAR, $2M
Haiku: Great fastballs of fire/Striking fear in hearts of men/Hey Dusty, start him
Relief pitcher: John Axford, Brewers
Digits: 5.56 ERA, 0.6 WAR, $525K
Haiku: Chew on this stat heads/Five-point-five-six E-R-A/But point-nine-three FIP
Money Spent: $26,984,750 + one Kirk Nieuwenhuis
Or: Not one year of Albert Pujols
Raw value: 20.0 WAR