In this blog post, we will take a look at some of the latest news and updates from the teams in the West division of both leagues. We will focus on four players who have been making headlines for various reasons: Joe Musgrove of the San Diego Padres, Joely Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers, Brett Phillips of the Tampa Bay Rays, and Josh Sborz of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Padres acquired Musgrove from the Pittsburgh Pirates in a three-team trade in January, hoping to bolster their rotation with a reliable and durable starter. Musgrove has not disappointed so far, as he has posted a 2.38 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP in six starts, striking out 49 batters in 34 innings.
He also made history on April 9th, when he threw the first no-hitter in Padres franchise history against the Rangers in his hometown of San Diego. Musgrove has been using his slider and curveball more often this season, generating more swings and misses and weak contact.
He has also benefited from the Padres’ strong defense behind him, especially in the outfield. Musgrove is under team control through 2022 and looks like a key piece of the Padres’ rotation as they contend for the NL West title.
The Rangers signed Rodriguez to a two-year, $5.5 million deal in December 2019, after he impressed in Japan with the Chunichi Dragons. The left-handed reliever made his debut with the Rangers in August 2020 and posted a 2.13 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP in 12.2 innings, striking out 17 batters and walking only three.
He also showed a high spin rate on his fastball and slider, which helped him induce more whiffs and groundballs. However, Rodriguez suffered a sprained ankle in spring training this year and started the season on the injured list. He was activated on April 13th and has appeared in four games since then, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks in 3.1 innings, striking out four batters.
He has also seen a drop in his velocity and spin rate, which could be a cause for concern. The Rangers are hoping that Rodriguez can regain his form from last year and become a valuable asset in their bullpen.
The Rays acquired Phillips from the Kansas City Royals in August 2020, adding another versatile and energetic outfielder to their roster. Phillips is known for his defense and baserunning skills, as well as his infectious personality and enthusiasm.
He also delivered one of the most memorable moments of the 2020 postseason, when he hit a walk-off single against the Dodgers in Game 4 of the World Series, scoring two runs on a wild sequence of events that involved an error and a stumble. Phillips has been limited by a hamstring injury this season, but he has made the most of his opportunities when healthy.
He has hit .250/.400/.500 with one home run and three RBIs in 20 plate appearances, while playing all three outfield positions. He has also drawn six walks and stolen two bases, showing his patience and speed on the bases. Phillips is under team control through 2024 and provides the Rays with depth and flexibility in their outfield.
The Dodgers traded Sborz to the Rangers in February 2021, receiving minor league pitcher Jhan Zambrano in return. Sborz was drafted by the Dodgers in the second round of the 2015 draft and made his major league debut in 2019.
He pitched in seven games for the Dodgers in 2020, posting a 6.00 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP in nine innings, striking out nine batters and walking five. He also won a World Series ring with the Dodgers, although he did not pitch in the postseason. Sborz has been a pleasant surprise for the Rangers this season, as he has emerged as one of their most reliable relievers.
He has appeared in nine games and has recorded a 1.93 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP in 9.1 innings, striking out 12 batters and walking only two. He has also earned two saves and two holds, showing his ability to pitch in high-leverage situations. Sborz has been using his fastball and slider more effectively this season, generating more swings and misses and groundballs.
He has also improved his command and reduced his walk rate. Sborz is under team control through 2025 and could become a key part of the Rangers’ bullpen going forward.
Final Thoughts: Four West Division Players Making Headlines
The West division of both leagues has seen some impressive performances from four players recently. Joe Musgrove has been a standout for the San Diego Padres, throwing the first no-hitter in franchise history and showing his reliability and durability as a starter.
Joely Rodriguez has been a valuable left-handed reliever for the Texas Rangers, although he has seen a drop in velocity and spin rate this season after coming off the injured list.
Brett Phillips has provided depth and flexibility for the Tampa Bay Rays’ outfield, showing his defensive prowess and baserunning skills when healthy. Josh Sborz has emerged as one of the most reliable relievers for the Los Angeles Dodgers, despite being traded to the Rangers in the offseason.
Each of these players has shown their unique skills and abilities on the field, and their respective teams have benefited from their contributions. Musgrove has been a key part of the Padres’ rotation, which has been one of the best in the league this season. Rodriguez will need to regain his form from last year and stay healthy to help the Rangers’ bullpen, which has struggled at times this season.
Phillips will be a valuable asset for the Rays’ playoff push, as his defense and baserunning could make a difference in close games. Sborz has been a pleasant surprise for the Rangers, and his performance could give them hope for the future.
Overall, these four players represent the diverse talents and strengths that make baseball such an exciting sport. They also show how a team can benefit from acquiring the right players and using them effectively. As the season progresses, it will be interesting to see how these players continue to perform and how their teams fare in the highly competitive West division.