Sticking Points 2044.5: Pepper and Zhao Set Standard for 2044 Middle Infields

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Sticking Points 2044.5: Pepper and Zhao Set Standard for 2044 Middle Infields

Post by aaronweiner » Sun Sep 27, 2020 1:22 pm

How good have Daniel Pepper and Bing-de Zhao been this year? Well, if your name isn't Wilson Andrade, Marvin Isworth, or Dong-Po Thum, your entire middle infield hasn't been as good as either of these two players this year in terms of WAR. The two are on pace for levels for a double-play combination that few pairs have ever had, and they're driving Rockville's success through June.

"This isn't nearly as surprising as it looks," said Pepper, who gained BBA fame as a second baseman before moving over to the shortstop position. "I came up as a shortstop and people forget that I played that a lot in the minors before joining the Pikemen, so it's not that strange."

Neither of the two is an astonishing defensive player at their position, but both are adequate enough that the Pikemen can use them there to take advantage of their superior bats. Through June, Zhao has a .291 average and 18 homers, while Pepper has hit .303 with 16 knocks.

"The two of them have tremendous ability at the plate, and at their current positions they couldn't possibly be more valuable," said manager Duane Whitely. "We're very blessed to have both of them."

Pepper's ability to play the six and Zhao's ability to play the four was why the Pikemen could let shortstop Pedro Diaz leave as a free agent this offseason. Offensively, the two are in rare air, with some very bold people even invoking Cricket Puckett and Bopper Kengos, still the greatest middle infield of all time (and better than Pepper and Zhao).

"I grew up hearing stories in Michigan about Cricket and Bopper, and I can tell you that they sounded a lot like I'm watching these two play, like they were unstoppable at the plate," said Rockville outfielder Matthew Reilly, who was born in the year Puckett retired. "I feel like they're making history."

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Re: Sticking Points 2044.5: Pepper and Zhao Set Standard for 2044 Middle Infields

Post by Lane » Sun Sep 27, 2020 10:19 pm

there aren't many better ways to spend $1.25 million
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