Look beyond the stats for these AL East players

August 8th, 2019

The numbers don’t lie.

They just don’t always tell the entire story.

A few bad days at the plate, a couple of inconsistent outings on the mound and a defensive miscue here and there can overshadow a pretty good year, and that’s just too bad.

Sometimes, a closer look is all it takes to show what’s happening on the field. Here are five players in the AL East who are having a much better season than you might think.

Blue Jays:

The family ties define this season’s squad, and with names like Guerrero, Biggio, Bichette and Gurriel, it’s easy to see why. But Toronto’s real MVP is largely an unknown name outside of his own clubhouse.

A starter for his entire career, Gaviglio has appeared only in relief this season -- and in every situation imaginable for the Blue Jays. The statistics -- 4.72 ERA in 74 1/3 innings -- are not overwhelming, but all of his numbers have been better than his career averages. He’s also accomplished the feat without the comfort of being able to predict when he is going to pitch, who he might face when he does step on the mound, and how many days in a row he’s going to do it.

On Tuesday, Gaviglio gave up three hits in 3 1/3 scoreless innings against the Rays. He struck out three.

The second-year outfielder has really come on as of late, leading the Orioles in hits (59), ranking second in RBIs with 31 and in extra-base hits with 21 in the 50 game since being recalled from Triple-A. He’s also scored 27 runs during that span.

A corner outfielder by trade, Santander has held his own in center field when called upon, and he has made a considerable impact on defense with his arm in left field. His three assists rank third among O's outfielders. For an organization clamoring for young players to establish themselves, the 24-year-old Santander has been a revelation.

Don’t be fooled by his batting average. Adames is hitting just .241, but that’s primarily because he had a rough April that saw him hit .225 with 23 strikeouts in 23 games. Yes, he has committed 13 errors, but he also has 15 home runs, tied for fourth place on the team. He’s been better on defense lately and he has made only two errors since the All-Star break. His 2.5 bWAR ranks fourth on the team and defensive bWAR is 1.6, which is third in the American League behind Oakland’s Matt Chapman and teammate Kevin Kiermaier, who lead the AL with 1.7.

Red Sox:

Boston's bullpen has not lived up to the high expectations placed upon the group and unfortunately, its performance has overshadowed the fact that Workman is having one of the best seasons of any reliever in the AL. He owned a 1.99 ERA and had limited opponents to a .117 batting average entering Wednesday, and he has been solid at the back end of the bullpen.

Remember when everyone assumed Nathan Eovaldi was going to take over the closer role when he came back from the injured list in July? That’s not how it has played out. Workman has been receiving all of the opportunities in the ninth inning the last few weeks and he's taking advantage of them. The only member of the pitching staff left from the 2013 World Series title team, Workman’s season should not be overlooked.


Cessa has been a valuable and unheralded part of the bullpen. He has recorded a 1.11 ERA with 24 strikeouts over his last nine games, a stretch that includes tossing at least two innings in five consecutive games and at least three innings in five of those games.

What’s more, he threw 2 1/3 scoreless last weekend to complete the sweep of Boston and he is pitching with confidence. He’s had a pair of clunkers -- he gave up five runs in one inning against the Red Sox on June second and three runs in one inning against the White Sox on June 14 -- but he’s quietly having a solid season and Cessa will be counted on down the stretch of the regular season.