Here's something to consider in the context of last night's top of the seventh inning, when Ian Kinsler tried -- and failed miserably -- to notch a one-out bunt single with Michael Young occupying first base in a 6-3 game: Not only is the major league bunt hit success rate in man-on-first-and-one-out situations stunningly low (a meager 29.8 percent, from 1970-2006), but Kinsler, whose on-base percentage (.387) ranks second among all qualifying major league second basemen, has a lifetime bunt hit success rate of 32.7 percent, a mark which hardly justifies the forgone power and on-base value.
I understand that there's something to be gained from keeping the opposing defense honest with the "element of surprise" and what not, but (a) the historical data suggests that was an inherently poor game situation for Kinsler to attempt to pull off such a gambit, (b) attempting to bunt for a hit eliminates any prospect of an extra-base hit, which significantly deflates whatever offensive expectations you might have had of Kinsler in that plate appearance, and (c) Kinsler's not that good at bunting for hits anyway. Ron Washington assuredly didn't call for that, but it's time for the manager -- or the bench coach, or somebody -- to figure out a way to curtail such poor in-game tactical decisions by the players:
● 28-year-old Omar Beltre will make his major league debut tonight in Anaheim; Texas has not yet announced the corresponding roster move necessary to clear room for Beltre's placement on the active roster (Richard Durrett, ESPN.com)
[Well, it's a better idea than throwing Matt Harrison or Dustin Nippert at the Angels and watching everything go up in flames. Scout.com's Jason Cole recently observed Beltre sitting at 93-94 mph -- topping out at 96 mph -- at Triple-A Oklahoma City, boasting strong bottom-half command with a heater which he complements with a mid-80s splitter and low-80s slider. Repertoire-wise, this seems somewhat comparable to the arsenal wielded by the Mets' Mike Pelfrey, but such analysis is simplistic, and Pelfrey isn't a swing-and-miss guy in the vein of Beltre. Harrison is probably the odds-on favorite to get optioned to the minors, although Chris Ray still has some dark-horse candidacy in that regard.]
● The acquisition cost for Cliff Lee "should be lower than the last two times he was traded"; however, one front-office official from an unnamed American League team stated Monday night that trading for Lee would require the Mets to part with "three of [their] best prospects" (Ken Rosenthal, FOXSports.com; Matt Pignataro, NYBaseballDigest.com)
[Rosenthal suggests that an offer on the Yankees' end comprising baseball's top "catching" prospect, Jesus Montero (he's likely destined for 1B/DH work), and a "solid pitching prospect" could seal the deal for Lee; interesting timing on that, as ESPN.com's Keith Law dropped his updated top 25 prospects list yesterday and pegged Montero as the No. 6 prospect in baseball ... and Double-A Frisco southpaw Martin Perez at No. 5. The market for Lee hasn't exactly been established beyond a shadow of a doubt, and thus we're really not sure if the Mariners' expectedly high demands are going to be completely out of line with the market, but I have an extremely difficult time fathoming how Texas could swing a deal without including at least one of Perez/T. Scheppers/D. Holland.]