Welcome to the MLB Star Power Index -- a weekly undertaking that determines with awful authority which players are dominating the current zeitgeist of the sport. While one's presence on this list is often celebratory in nature, it can also be for purposes of lamentation or ridicule. The players listed are in no particular order, just like the phone book.
If you know anything about Mrs. Campbell, sixth grade science teacher at Schuyler Colfax Elementary School, then you know that flatulence is vigorously forbidden in her classroom. If the need arises in one of her students, that student is to raise his or her hand, request a "flatulence pass," and repair to the hallway before partaking in those grim necessities. Violators are forced to wear around the neck a sign that reads -- in Mrs. Campbell's flawless calligraphy -- "My breeches are a wasteland," for the remainder of the school day.
So Brutus Daniels was understandably chagrined when his "friend" Joey Kelly punctured the air with his hand and when called upon by Mrs. Campbell announced, "The present aroma? It is the considered labor of Brutus Daniels."
Layered behind this betrayal were tensions arising from the fact that it was Brutus and not Joey who couple-skated with Mallory Lombardo at Macky Gutheridge's recent birthday party (it was at the rink that shares a parking lot with that rendering plant on the frontage road). Prior to all of this, Joey and Brutus had an understanding -- tacit perhaps but presumably inviolable regardless of the specifics -- that one would never break faith with the other when it came to silent violations of Mrs. Campbell's codes. But at Macky Gutheridge's skate party -- when the opening strains of "Free Fallin'" descended upon that broth of large Cokes; nacho cheese purveyed from an old, industrial size Lifebuoy pump jar; lacquered maple hardwood floors; and seeping pre-teen hormones -- the first treachery occurred. As Joey made a diffident and methodical parabola toward Mallory Lombardo while reciting his lines ("May I have this and every skate?"), Brutus cut a direct line for her. By the time Joey drew his deepest breath and looked up, Brutus and Mallory were already breezing around the rink, gazing at each other and lip-synching like two big, fat jerks. Joey's face slipped. At that moment, no pact held him.
A week later, Joey raised his hand in Mrs. Campbell's class and sang his reprisal. Brutus turned to him aghast as Mrs. Campbell yanked him from his desk, yoked him with the sign, and ordered the rest of the class to make flatulence noises at him. Joey met his Brutus' seething eyes and:
Or maybe that was Joe Kelly, Dodgers reliever, dipping into his sixth-grader's toolkit of mockery so as to make the Astros mad. Whatever the case, the point stands.
Christian Yelich is here to remind you that inclusion within the Star Power Index is not necessarily a good thing. Sure, Mr. Yelich is to be praised for accidental property damage, which is to be encouraged on every road trip:
Remember, kids: Damage property without ceasing.
Mostly, though, the National League's best player over the last two seasons is here because at present he's been perhaps the National League's worst player of 2020. Witness:
According to fWAR, Christian Yelich is currently the worst player in baseball— FullCountTommy (@FullCountTommy) July 30, 2020
At this writing, he's 1 for 27 at the plate with, somehow, an OPS+ of -39. Yes, that's a negative figure. Sure the sample size is vanishingly small, but Yelich to the naked eye does look like he's got a slower bat at the moment. Sure, he'll get better, but the 2020 season is of such a smaller scale that a start so miserable may well undermine whatever comes next.
Know who's aware that haters are nothing more than double-agent motivators? Mets cloutsman Yoenis Cespedes, that's who. Here's evidence of this stirring claim:
🤫— Yoenis Cespedes (@ynscspds) July 24, 2020
"Silence, haters," the emoji spake, "lest you keep talking and become motivators."
And here is the occasion for hater silence:
Cespedestruction! That's Cespedes homering on Opening Day and in the process becoming the first DH in an NL-vs.-NL game to go yard. That was also Cespedes' first game in more than two years on account of injuries.
Yo has always been something of a creation myth made man, from the training videos that preceded his MLB career -- training videos that call to mind an off-the-grid running back -- to the fact that he once housed an entire ocean to the fact that, well, this sentence was ever written:
"The Post has learned all involved parties agreed that Cespedes was injured on the ranch stepping into a hole after an interaction with a wild boar."
Needless to say, a player so rich in character traits is to be cherished. That we have Cespedes back in our midst after two-plus years and at age 34 is not to be taken for granted. Maybe he goes on to hit 30 to 50 feral homers this season, or maybe this is one of the last blasts we see off the bat of Yo.
Say this for the absence of fans in ballparks, it's good for acoustics. George Springer, let us hear about it (volume up, people):
Joe Kelly, member in good standing of the 2018 Red Sox, would probably quip something like, "Golly, that sounds like a trash can being banged." No, that sounds like a (metal) trash can being shot out of a .44 Magnum -- imagine it's big enough to chamber a trash can -- directly into a nearby copper alloy gong. Respect this percussion. Respect this percussionist.
Springer is struggling thus far in 2020, albeit not quite to the murky depths of Yelich. That figures to change, but Springer's outputs this season will surely have bearing on how the free agent market treats him this coming winter. In anticipation of all of that, let us revise his current dossier to his advantage.