Bits: Hunter Pence joins 20-20 club
Once upon a time back in March, San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence made my list of players I liked more than my colleagues did, and thus was more likely to end up with on my teams. My argument on Pence was simple: He was an established provider of batting average, power and on occasion sneaky speed, and that his 2012 struggles in a small sample size at AT&T Park (.220 batting average, 109 at-bats) were more fluke than anything else. Well, Pence continued his terrific 2013 season Tuesday with a first-inning three-run homer, his 20th home run of the season. He finished with four hits and six RBIs in a 9-8 loss to the Colorado Rockies.
Pence, who is 18th on the ESPN Player Rater for the season and second to ridiculously hot New York Yankees outfielder Alfonso Soriano for the past 30 days, becomes the third player to reach 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases this season, joining Mike Trout and Carlos Gonzalez. That’s quite the club. It sure doesn’t look like anyone is going to reach 30/30 in 2013, but there are a slew of others (pending NL MVP Andrew McCutchen, Alex Rios, Carlos Gomez, Jason Kipnis, Ian Desmond and Coco Crisp) closing in on 20/20. Still, it’s quite the accomplishment. Pence fell to the 13th round in 2013 average live drafts!