Crash Course: MLB Weekly Roundup, April 3-9

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The first full week of baseball is in the books! While it was a rather hectic week, it was nice to have meaningful baseball back after such a slow winter. Here is a round-up of some of last week’s highlights including transactions, injuries, performances and more!

Baltimore Orioles

  • The Orioles made a pair of minor moves on Monday, as they shipped right-handed pitcher Jesus Liranzo to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for lefty Luis Ysla, and acquired cash from the Diamondbacks for right-handed pitcher Stefan Crichton. I have Luis Ysla ranked 33rd among Orioles prospects.  While he has struggled mightily in Double-A, don’t be too surprised if he pulls a William Jerez like turnaround. There is upside, however it’s a huge shot in the dark.
  • As I mentioned in a previous article, the O’s signed Michael Saunders to a minor league deal worth $1,500,000 in the major leagues and $3,000,000 in potential incentives.
  • Andrew Cashner looked sharp in a rebound start against the Yankees. Overall, he went six innings of one run ball and struck out five.
  • Michael Kelly cleared waivers and will be assigned to Triple-A Norfolk. Alec Asher, however, was sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers on a waiver claim.
  • Colby Rasmus was placed on the disabled list with a hip strain. That’s certainly not a good sign after Rasmus sat out nearly the entire 2017 season with hip tendonitis. Expect Danny Valencia and Craig Gentry to pick up most of the extra at-bats. Reliever Jimmy Yacabonis was recalled in a corresponding move, however was optioned the next day after being knocked around in his lone appearance. Tanner Scott was recalled in his place.
  • Pedro Araujo went 2.1 innings in relief on Saturday and struck five batter out. While he has had some rough outings, it should not be unexpected seeing as how he had never played about High-A ball. He’s special.

Boston Red Sox

  • Brian Johnson took the ball for the Red Sox Monday, allowing just one run over six innings. Hopefully the former top prospect can keep it up for the Sox who can use all of the rotation help that they can get.
  • Things are going very well for the Sox as a whole, as David Price has continued to impress, the offense as a whole has been good and Bobby Poyner has looked rather sharp since making his major league debut. I have Poyner ranked 24th in the Sox system, calling him a guy who could be a strong lefty set-up man in the long run, but an integral part of the Red Sox bullpen this season.
  • The Red Sox did, however, get some unwelcome news on Friday, as top prospect Michael Chavis was hit with an 80-game suspension. I actually had Chavis ranked first among Red Sox prospects, as I loved the power, arm, and hit tool. It’s an unfortunate situation, and hopefully he can come back and demonstrate the same abilities that made him a top prospect following the suspension.
  • With Eduardo Rodriguez set to return from the disabled list, the Sox sent reliever Marcus Walden back to Triple-A. Walden looked pretty good, pitching three innings of 3.60 ERA ball with five strikeouts. He figures to be one of the main taxi-squad members for the Sox.
  • Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, and Hanley Ramirez are all hitting above .300 and Bogaerts had six RBIs on Saturday.
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New York Yankees

  • The Yanks brought in outfielder Trayce Thompson off of waivers from the Dodgers, however lost him the following day to the Oakland A’s.
  • Cody Asche will also join the Yankees organization and will be assigned to Triple-A Scranton. Asche was a very solid prospect for the Phillies. While at nearly 28 years old, I don’t anticipate him living up to his potential, however I do believe that he is better than he is given credit for. Asche had a raw deal in Philly. Maikel Franco was about one year behind him at the same position, and Asche was tried out all over the place defensively while trying to not only get his own career going, but to get healthy, as he had been dealing with wrist injuries at the time. His plate discipline has developed very nicely and he has double-digit home run power.
  • Brandon Drury and C.C. Sabathia were both placed on the 10-day disabled list on Saturday, while Jonathan Holder was optioned to Triple-A. Infielder Jace Peterson and pitchers Domingo German and Luis Cessa were recalled from Triple-A in corresponding moves. The Yankees needed to add some fresh arms to a bullpen that was heavily taxed on Friday night. As for the injuries, Sabathia underwent an MRI that revealed no structural damage, which is a good sign, however we don’t know too much about Drury’s injury other than the fact that he had been suffering from severe migraines. Hopefully that situation resolves itself soon.
  • In other injury news, relief prospect Ben Heller underwent Tommy John surgery on Friday and will miss the remainder of the 2018 campaign.
  • Giancarlo Stanton is not okay.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • Yonny Chirinos looked very solid for the Rays against the Sox and has been one of the few bright spots on the Rays this season.
  • I ranked Chirinos 17th in a strong Rays system giving him a B rating. Overall, I love the control and the splitter is a plus pitch. I’m happy that he is being given a shot.
  • Otherwise, Daniel Robertston has been very solid, Matt Duffy has shown flashes, and while Rob Refsnyder may not have a hit yet, he has walked in 50% of his plate appearances, which is incredible.
  • Joe Wendle has been very, very good as well coming in with two more extra base hits over the weekend.
  • Brad Miller landed on the disabled list with a groin strain and Ryan Weber‘s contract was purchased in a corresponding move. Ryan Weber was a great signing for the Rays over the offseason. My projections have him at a solid 3.77 ERA over 46.2 innings pitched with a 1.39 walks per nine and a 5.66 strikeouts per nine. He was great with the Tacoma Rainiers last season, who play in the hitter haven PCL.
  • Corey Dickerson, Dan Jennings, and Jake Odorizzi have all looked very good for their teams thus far in 2018, while the Rays have one win.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • Jaime Garcia looked great in his Jays debut striking out seven while walking just two over six innings. He got out of there with just one run charged to him. If the Jays fall out of contention, Garcia could be among the best rental starting pitching options on the market.
  • Aledmys Diaz must have read my latest column, as he has smacked five hits including two doubles and two home runs in the days since. His OPS is now up to 1.126. I’m exceptionally happy for him, as he’s been one of my favorite players in the league since he signed with St. Louis back in 2013. While he was removed from the game due to back spasms, it only sidelined him for a few days.

Chicago White Sox

  • Reynaldo Lopez looked fantastic against the Jays on Monday night, going six strong innings allowing just one earned run. Lopez was one of the trio of pitchers acquired from Washington in the fantastic Adam Eaton deal. He followed that up with a strong start on Sunday.
  • Tim Anderson continues to hit the ball well as he hit his third home run of the season on Tuesday night.
  • The Sox pitching got demolished on Tuesday as Miguel Gonzalez, Hector Santiago, and Gregory Infante combined to allow 14 runs over 7.2 innings. The Pitching has been horrible overall in South Chicago, which is a shame because the offense has looked outstanding.
  • Juan Minaya was sent down to Triple-A to clear room for Bruce Rondon, who went 1.1 innings striking out everybody that he faced. He was lauded as the Tigers “closer of the future” a few years ago, and is still young enough to reach that for the Sox.

Cleveland Indians

  • The Indians will be able to keep Ben Taylor around for the foreseeable future as he cleared waivers on Monday. Taylor was drafted back in 2015, meaning that he can be retained in the Indians system until after the 2021 season unless he is sent outright again or released.
  • Josh Tomlin was absolutely decimated by the Angels. I wouldn’t expect this to be the norm, however he’s been inconsistent throughout his career. Mike Clevinger should keep his phone on.
  • Michael Brantley returned from the disabled list on Friday, which caused for Tyler Naquin to be sent to the minor leagues. Naquin’s stay in Columbus was short, however, as Lonnie Chisenhall was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right calf strain. This is certainly concerning, as Chisenhall missed a considerable amount of time last season with calf issues and is expected to be sidelined for 4-6 weeks.
  • While Naquin was great in 2016, his stats were padded by a .411 BABIP. My projections have him at .223/.289/.440 with seven homers and six stolen bases. He’s a fourth outfielder in my eyes.

Detroit Tigers

  • Johnny Barbato was activated from the 10-Day Disabled List and was immediately optioned to Triple-A. Barbato will probably be the first guy up if the Tigers need some extra help. He looked fantastic in camp, and quite frankly has one of the best chances of any waiver claim/low-cost acquisition to really stick as a viable major league player. The velocity is enticing and, if camp was any indication, he looks as if he’s close to being able to harness it.
  • With Mike Fiers on his way back to the rotation, reliever Warwick Saupold was optioned back down to Triple-A. Saupold looked solid over four scoreless appearances and figures to be back up in short order.

Kansas City Royals

  • The Royals made a head-scratching transaction on Monday designating prospect Miguel Almonte for assignment following the acquisition of Abraham Almonte from Cleveland. I had Miguel Almonte rated as the Royals sixth-best prospect. Almonte was something of a glimmer of hope for the Royals. He has a plus fastball and a plus change that he can control rather well. His stuff plays up very nicely in the bullpen and could develop into a very good back-end reliever soon. They will regret it.
  • Ned Yost made a pair of strange calls in Monday’s game against the Tigers when he intentionally walked Miguel Cabrera to get to Nick Castellanos and Mikie Mahtook to get to Niko Goodrum. The first situation is understandable, however Castellanos is almost as likely to get a hit as Miggy, which essentially just gives him another guy to hit in. Why would you walk Mahtook in any situation?
  • The team requested unconditional release waivers for Kyle Zimmer. It looks like it could be the end of the line for the former top prospect who has been kept out of action by thoracic outlet syndrome over the past few years. While they re-signed him to a minor league contract, I don’t have any expectations. I have not been able to find any T.O.S success stories, as it spelled the end for great pitchers such as Shaun Marcum, Matt Harrison, and Josh Beckett. Best of luck to Zimmer.
  • On a more positive note, Jakob Junis looked phenomenal on Tuesday going seven scoreless throwing 62 of his 87 pitches for strikes (71.3%). Kelvin Herrera continued to find success as well.

Minnesota Twins

  • Lance Lynn could not find the strike zone in his Twins debut, however I would consider this more of a blip on the radar as opposed to a reason for concern. Lynn’s performance on Monday matched his career high in walks.
  • It was reported this past week that the Twins attempted to lock up some of their long-term players over the offseason. If I’m running the Twins, however, Berrios is the only guy who I would even really look into an extension with at this point. Miguel Sano strikes out too much and has the potential weight issue, Byron Buxton just looks like another Billy Hamilton, Ben Revere-esque speed and defense player who doesn’t walk nearly enough, Max Kepler has been rather mediocre in my eyes and Dozier is nearly 31.
  • One guy that I would be interested in pursuing an extension with at some point in the near future, however, is LaMonte Wade. Everybody keeps calling him a fourth outfielder, however that narrative drives me absolutely crazy. Hopefully his spring opened some eyes, but he’s going to be a star. He has power, speed, contact ability and top of the line plate discipline. There is a reason that he was my #1 overall pick in my expansion draft piece.
  • What’s going on with Zach Duke? He has looked absolutely terrible this season.

Houston Astros

  • Fun Fact: Back in 2015, my cousin and I went to Clearwater, Florida to see the Phillies in spring training. Ironically, Charlie Morton was pitching against the Astros, and was hitting 95. At first, we thought the guns were juiced, however Morton continued to do so through his four game stint in Philly before his injury. It’s crazy to think that a 32-year old sinkerballer increasing his velocity average by three miles per hour flew under the radar as much as it did. Luckily for the Astros, the two-year deal that was initially met with question has worked out very well. Morton did a very nice job against Baltimore on Monday pitching six scoreless innings.
  • James Hoyt was activated from the 10-day disabled list and immediately optioned to the minor leagues.

Los Angeles Angels

  • Shohei Ohtani notched his two first major league home runs this week and then proceeded to pitch the lights out on Sunday. He could be the real deal in terms of the first true two-way player in recent memory. The Angels should consider themselves very lucky that they came out on top in the sweepstakes that included about 27 of the 30 teams.
  • There was a lot of movement on the Angels’ roster this week. Matt Shoemaker wound up on the disabled list early in the week, and Parker Bridwell was recalled in his place. After Bridwell struggled in his lone start, he and Nolan Fontana were optioned to Triple-A in favor of Ryan Schimpf and Akeel Morris. On Sunday, J.C. Ramirez wound up on the disabled list, and Akeel Morris was optioned back to the minor leagues after pitching 2.1 innings and allowing one run. In their places, Felix Pena and Eduardo Paredes were recalled from Triple-A.
  • Billy Eppler made a pair of excellent under the radar acquisitions as he acquired Morris from the Braves and Almonte from the Royals, both in exchange for future considerations. In corresponding moves, they lost starting pitcher Troy Scribner on waivers to the Diamondbacks and catcher Juan Graterol was sent outright to Triple-A Salt Lake. Both Morris and Almonte were initially assigned to Triple-A Salt Lake and will be used as taxi squad guys out of the gate. I have Almonte ranked 11th and Morris ranked 15th out of Angels prospects. With Almonte, I’m a huge fan of both the fastball and the change, and I believe that he will be able to control it well enough to be a viable major league closer or high leverage set-up man. With Morris, I like him as an eighth inning guy long-term. While he may frustrate at times due to control issues, he’s the type of guy who I believe could improve over time.
  • In case anybody is keeping track, the Angels acquired Ryan Schimpf from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Carlos Perez last week. The Braves recalled Perez and added Anibal Sanchez on the same day, which made Akeel Morris and Miguel Socolovich the roster casualties. Cutting out the middleman, the Braves pretty much traded Schimpf and Morris to the Angels for Perez and future considerations. Both Morris and Schimpf were recalled from Triple-A on Saturday in the place of Nolan Fontana and Parker Bridwell.
  • Angels’ second round pick Griffin Canning made his professional debut on Thursday night for the High-A Island Empire 66ers. He went four scoreless striking six out. Canning was one of my favorite players in the draft last season, and I believe that he could see his major league debut by the end of 2018, if things break right for him. I have him ranked fourth in the Angels system based on his four pitch mix and above average control.

Oakland Athletics

  • After Trayce Thompson wound up on the waiver wire again following the Yankees claim, the A’s brought him in. Thompson has the ability to play all three outfield positions and I have him at 332 plate appearances with a .249/.300/.410 line to go along with ten home runs, seven stolen bases, and 13 doubles.
  • Infielder Chad Pinder wound up on the disabled list with a hyperextended knee on Saturday. Top prospect Franklin Barreto was recalled to take his place.
  • Barreto is, perhaps unsurprisingly, rated first among A’s prospects. He looks like a jack of all trades at the plate and in the field.
  • Daniel Gossett found himself optioned to Triple-A after being crushed by the Angels in each of his first two starts. Trevor Cahill will take his place, and Gossett will return to Triple-A to continue honing his stuff.
  • Mark Canha was recalled from Triple-A on Sunday in place of Boog Powell, who landed on the 10-day disabled list with a knee injury. Canha brings with him power, however has never been able to hit against righties. Expect him to serve in a platoon capacity.

Seattle Mariners

  • The Mariners sent Cam Perkins outright to Triple-A on Monday. The December waiver claim will continue to function as depth for the M’s.
  • Nelson Cruz was placed on the disabled list, while Taylor Motter was recalled in his place. It’s not considered to be a serious issue.
  • Ryon Healy hurt his ankle in a weight room mishap over the weekend that landed him on crutches. Don’t worry Ryon, whatever happened in there can’t be worse than some of the near death experiences that I’ve had in the weight room.
  • The Mariners have been hitting the ball very well. Dee Gordon, Jean Segura, Robinson Cano, and Mitch Haniger all have an OPS over 900.
  • Tuffy Gosewisch was released by the M’s recently. He will now attempt to catch on to another minor league organization. In his place, the Mariners signed Chris Herrmann, formerly of the Diamondbacks, to a minor league contract. Herrmann will be assigned to Triple-A Tacoma and should see major league time this season if injuries continue to hit the Mariners.
  • Earlier today, Robinson Cano spoke about last winter’s free agent market. As one would expect, he is certainly relieved that was not on the market, however, that relief didn’t come from the money. Cano spoke to Tyler Kepner of the New York Post about how his contract is his motivation to set an example for his family and his fans. This was an exceptionally refreshing piece to read, and it is strongly recommended.

Texas Rangers

  • The Rangers made my Monday much less dreary when they recalled 45-year-old Bartolo Colon, who looked rather solid in his Rangers debut. One of the most fun players to watch, Big Sexy has now pitched in parts of 21 seasons.
  • Delino DeShields is expected to miss 4-6 weeks in recovery from his surgery.
  • Cameron Rupp will join the Rangers on a minor league contract that will pay him $1 million in the major leagues. Cameron Rupp is a Dallas guy, so good for him on being able to play for his home team.
  • Good news, Ranger fans! Martin Perez has been activated from the 10-Day Disabled list. In a corresponding move, Jose LeClerc was sent to Triple-A. It looks as if the Rangers will use a six-man rotation for the 2018 season.

Atlanta Braves

  • As anticipated, the Braves purchased the contract of Anibal Sanchez and activated Carlos Perez on Monday. Josh Ravin was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a viral infection and recently called up reliever Miguel Socolovich was designated for assignment, and later sent outright, in corresponding moves. While Socolovich looked solid in his lone performance for the Braves, he cleared waivers and opted to stick around. He’ll be back.
  • Luke Jackson will get another crack at the major leagues after being called up by the Braves. It turns out Kurt Suzuki will not require a trip to the disabled list, and should return to action Friday. Meanwhile, Chris Stewart hit the waiver wire and cleared.
  • Preston Tucker has continued to find a considerable amount of success for the Braves. He has hit two home runs, eight RBIs, and has been taking outstanding at-bats. As an example, on Tuesday afternoon, the Braves were facing the reigning National League Cy Young Award Winner Max Scherzer. Obviously, Tucker had a great first face-off with Scherzer as he sent the ball into the seats, however it was the second at-bat that really impressed me. Tucker went down 0-2 in the count, and kept his head in their long enough to fight a few off and notch a walk, which later resulted in a run for the Braves. I have been talking about him a lot and I will continue to do so.
  • Another caveat on Tucker, while he has a high BABIP, it’s not substantially higher than his batting average. Obviously, we’re going to see regression, as nobody can hit over .400 throughout an entire season, however I don’t think it’s insane to consider him a potential major-league regular.

Miami Marlins

  • Severino Gonzalez‘s stay in Miami didn’t last very long as he was designated for assignment less than 24 hours following his call-up and was sent outright later in the week. While it’s a minor move, it makes very little sense to me, and seems like a lot of unnecessary paperwork. I feel like it would have been a lot easier for the Marlins to recall Nick Wittgren or Adam Conley who were both on the 40-man roster already.
  • Trevor Richard’s major league debut certainly wasn’t one to remember, as he allowed five earned runs over 4.1 innings. Looking at the bright side, however, he struck out five.
  • The Marlins picked up Orioles cast-off Josh Hart on a minor league deal. At this stage of the game, I have Hart ranked 32nd in the Marlins’ system. “Hart has very good speed, good contact ability and a solid glove. He could potentially be a good fourth outfielder, but he will need to improve his plate discipline.”
  • One thing the Fish have done a lot this season is get into extra-inning games. A pitchers duel between Chris Sale and Jose Urena remained tied at one until the 11th. Each team scored again, until Tayron Guerrero allowed two in the 13th.
  • It was reported that the Marlins had signed reliever Trevor Rosenthal, however it turned out to be a mistake. His agent, Scott Boras, announced that Rosenthal has no intention of signing in 2018, which is the same path taken by Greg Holland, another Boras Client, two seasons ago. Maybe this time around, Boras will be smart and advise his client to take the $17 million player option.
  • Garrett Cooper took a pitch to the wrist the other day and landed on the disabled list. While it’s not considered to be a serious issue, the Fish will give him some rest. Braxton Lee was recalled to the active roster. I have Lee at eight in the Marlins’ system and believe he’s one of the more underrated pieces in the minors. He won a minor league batting title last season.
  • Austin Nola cleared waivers the other day as well. I have him ranked 48th among Fish farm hands, as I don’t think he’s a good bet to reach the majors based on his age and injury history.
  • The Marlins signed Dustin McGowan to a minor league contract on Friday night, and he will report to Triple-A New Orleans. He should be up at some point this season. This is something of a homecoming for McGowan as he spent the past two seasons pitching in Miami. While 2016 was triumphant, he struggled a bit last season. The Marlins are hoping that he can rediscover his 2016 form.
  • After losing 20-1 against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Fish designated right-handed pitcher Jacob Turner for assignment, and purchased the contract of Tyler Cloyd from Triple-A New Orleans. Turner gave up eight runs in a one inning relief outing during Saturday’s shellacking against the Phillies.
  • In other news, top prospect Lewis Brinson has been moved from leadoff to the six hole, as he has hit just .184/.244/.184 in 2018. It’s just a blip on the radar.
  • There were very few bright spots for the Marlins on Saturday night, however Catcher Bryan Holaday struck out Rhys Hoskins.

New York Mets

  • Anthony Swarzak landed on the 10-day disabled list and Hansel Robles was recalled from Triple-A. Robles has been with the Mets for a while now and has continued to show strong velocity, while having difficulty controlling it. I would expect him to remain on the taxi-squad this season.
  • Michael Conforto was activated from the disabled list and in a corresponding move, Phillip Evans was optioned to the minors. This will provide the Mets with a rather nice boost.
  • Don’t look now, but Adrian Gonzalez has quietly been rather solid for the Mets.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • Super Bowl Champion Eagles’ coach Doug Pederson threw out the first pitch at the Phillies home opener wearing a Roy Halladay jersey. Pederson is an amazing guy and has meant a lot to the city over the past year.
  • The Phillies had a new pitcher start against the Marlins on Thursday, who ironically had the exact same name as Nick Pivetta. The difference, however, was the fact that this guy struck nine batters out over five plus innings without allowing a run. I don’t know how we got him, but it sure beats the old Pivetta who ranked dead last in the league in ERA among qualified starters. Hopefully this guy sticks around.
  • The Phillies record isn’t great, however, I have enjoyed watching them thus far. Most of the everyday offensive starters have looked either good or great and rookie Scott Kingery has certainly held his own.
  • Pat Neshek should be back soon. An MRI revealed that there was no structural damage to the pitcher’s elbow.
  • Maikel Franco and Aaron Altherr each hit grand slams in the Phillies 20-1 rout of the Marlins on Saturday night. It’s nice to see Franco finding success.
  • Rhys Hoskins is hitting an absurd .440 and Odubel Herrera is hitting .360. While the consistency hasn’t been there for the team as a whole, there have been some great signs.

Washington Nationals

  • Bryce Harper has continued to set himself up for the richest contract in major league history. Over the past week, he walked four times in a game and has now hit a league leading five home runs.
  • Tanner Roark became the most recent Nats’ starter to look fantastic allowing just one earned run over seven innings. A.J. Cole, on the other hand, may not hold down a rotation spot for long after a shellacking against the Braves in which he gave up ten runs over 3.2 innings.
  • Matt Wieters was placed on the disabled list on Monday and the club recalled youngster Pedro Severino to help Miguel Montero out with catching duties.
  • One thing to note, Max Scherzer did not have his stuff on Wednesday. He was bailed out in terms of ERA by a Wilmer Difo error that essentially deducted the Preston Tucker three run bomb from his earned run total, however he was missing the strike zone at an uncharacteristically frequent rate. Everybody has bad days now and then, however, so I’m not too concerned.
  • The Nats gave Mike Rizzo a deal that will pay him $4 million a year through 2020.
  • Enny Romero hit DFA limbo to clear a 40-man roster spot for catcher Jhonatan Solano. Solano will serve as depth while Miguel Montero and his wife will be celebrating the arrival of a new baby. Congrats to them!
  • Matt Reynolds was recalled as well to fill an additional 25-man roster spot.

Chicago Cubs

  • While things may not have gone the Cubs’ way, record wise, there have certainly been a lot of positives. Furthermore, of the negatives, Anthony Rizzo, Yu Darvish, and Jose Quintana seem likely to turn it around to some extent. It’s way too early to hit the panic button Cubs’ fans.
  • Kris Bryant went 3-3 with two walks, a triple and a homer the other day.

Cincinnati Reds

  • Vance Worley opted out of his minor league contract with the Reds on Tuesday and became a free agent. He was very good with the Phillies, and had successful periods with Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
  • Stuart Turner cleared waivers and should remain in the organization.
  • The Reds announced that Hunter Greene will be used exclusively as a pitcher in 2018. This was surprising, and quite frankly, slightly annoying. The Reds were one of the most aggressive suitors for two-way rookie Shohei Ohtani who has shown the power and the 100 mile per hour velocity in the major leagues, and I believe Greene would be able to as well. They could be wasting a good opportunity.
  • The Reds were given some tough news on Sunday, as Eugenio Suarez has a fractured thumb. Philip Gosselin and Cliff Pennington figure to pick up most of the at-bats in his absence.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • The Brew crew brought in some veteran infield help, as they signed Andres Blanco to a minor league contract. He’s certainly a formidable option in case of injury and has been known to have an incredible clubhouse presence.
  • The Brew Crew has certainly gotten their money’s worth out of Dan Jennings thus far. In a deal that wasn’t even finalized until two or three days into the season, Jennings has seen action in parts of four games (including three in a row from April 4th through the 6th), registering a 1.93 ERA.
  • J.J. Hoover had his contract purchased from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Friday.  In a pair of corresponding moves, the Brewers optioned Brandon Woodruff and designated Tyler Webb for assignment. Hoover will make $1,100,000 in the major leagues.
  • I currently have Webb ranked 28th in the Brewers farm system. I believe he’s a solid LOOGY (Lefty One-Out GuY), but he doesn’t have much of a ceiling. He was acquired in a trade with the Yankees last July that sent Garrett Cooper to the Bronx.
  • The Brewers received some awful news on Sunday, as Christian Yelich was placed on the 10-day disabled list. While the severity of the injury is unknown, Domingo Santana will pick up the slack in right as long as he is sidelined. Righty Taylor Williams was recalled in a corresponding move. He’s a velocity first pitching prospect who will work in relief.
  • Adrian Houser was optioned to Triple-A, however there was no corresponding move announced.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Corey Dickerson got off to a rough start to the season. On Monday, Lance Lynn could not find the strike zone. Prior to Dickerson’s five-spot in the lineup coming up, Lynn had already walked two and allowed a double. Dickerson then proceeded to hit a weak ground ball on the first pitch. To make matters worse, he didn’t see a ball throughout the entire game, and saw his average (and on base percentage) drop to .077. Luckily, he really got going as the week pressed on and became one of the main sources of run production for the Pirates.
  • Jameson Taillon was hitting the upper 90’s with ease in his 2018 debut, striking out nine in five innings. Taillon followed it with a one-hit complete game on Sunday.
  • The Pirates brought in Jesus Liranzo off of waivers from the Dodgers and assigned him to Triple-A. The Dodgers had acquired him from Baltimore earlier in the week. I have him ranked 30th in the Pirates system. “Jesus Liranzo is another guy who throws the ball extremely hard, but has no idea where it’s going. He’s young, so I will give him some more time, however the ceiling is falling.”
  • Kevin Siegrist is in limbo at the moment. He does not want to play for a Triple-A organization despite the fact that his minor league contract stated that he would be given the opportunity to opt out on the condition that another organization would be willing to give him a 25-man roster spot.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • Miles Mikolas didn’t look great in his Cardinals debut on Monday, but that’s okay, because he was able to help himself out a bit by smacking a home run. In case anybody is wondering, Miles Mikolas had more home runs than Aaron Judge as of Monday.
  • Somebody who has more home runs than almost anybody in the league, Paul DeJong, has been hitting very well in the early going. While I’m not ready to ride the DeJong bandwagon based on his high BABIP, I always love to see multi-year contracts work out.
  • Jedd Gyorko was placed on the 10-Day DL and prospect Harrison Bader was recalled in his place. I have Bader as the fifth-ranked prospect in the Cardinals’ system. “Bader looks like he’s ready to start in the major leagues. He’s the type of guy who’s going to hit .270/.340/.420 with 15 home runs and 15 stolen bases while playing solid defense. While he’s never going to be the face of a franchise, he looks like a core player.”
  • Jack Flaherty looked outstanding against Milwaukee, however became the victim of a roster crunch, as Adam Wainwright was activated from the disabled list. Expect to see Flaherty get a rather considerable amount of major league innings as the year progresses.
  • Ryan Sherriff was hit with a comebacker on Thursday and has been diagnosed with a hairline fracture in his toe. John Brebbia was recalled in a corresponding move.

Arizona Diamondbacks

  • The Diamondbacks grabbed taxi-squad reliever Stefan Crichton from the Orioles in exchange for cash. I have Crichton ranked as the no. 30 Diamondbacks prospect, as he’s a taxi squad guy who can limit the damage.
  • Also acquired by the D-Backs was starting pitching prospect Troy Scribner. The Angels had designated Scribner for assignment after acquiring Akeel Morris from the Braves. Scribner is a high-floor, low ceiling starting pitching prospect who has the upside of a four and the downside as a swing. As long as he is in the National League West, I would imagine that he falls closer to the latter based on the fact that he’s more of a soft-tossing fly ball pitcher. I have him ranked 32nd in the Snakes’ system. Jeremy Hazelbaker was designated for assignment in a corresponding move.
  • Third baseman Jake Lamb hit the DL with an AC Sprain. It is not considered to be a serious issue at this time, however Deven Marrero will take the reins at third for the time being. Matt Koch was recalled from Triple-A in a corresponding move, and then optioned in the place of Christian Walker a few days later. While in the major leagues, Koch provided two scoreless innings of relief and figures to be back up in the near future.

Colorado Rockies

  • The Rockies took $108 million that they should have given to Nolan Arenado and gave it to Charlie Blackmon. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of Blackmon, however, as a nearly 32-year-old center fielder with Coors Field boosted stats, I’m not too keen on the deal for the Rockies. I believe Jeff Bridich would have been considerably better off taking the money that they gave to Blackmon and the bullpen and giving it to Nolan Arenado.
  • Be sure to check out my piece on how the Rockies should have proceeded over the winter.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • The Dodgers made a pair of minor moves on Monday. The first move that they made was signing Daniel Hudson to a minor league contract. It’s a relatively straightforward pact that will pay him the pro-rated version of the league minimum. Isn’t it ironic that the Rays (one of the poorest teams in the league) are paying for a reliever on the Dodgers (one of the richest teams)?
  • The other move was acquiring Jesus Liranzo from the O’s for Luis Ysla. Liranzo was designated for assignment a day later and picked up by Pittsburgh. You win some, you lose some.
  • What’s going on with Kenley? According to sources, he’s just working out some mechanical kinks. While I wouldn’t be overly concerned yet, it’s certainly a situation to monitor.
  • The Dodgers purchased the contract of Zach Neal from Triple-A while placing Josh Fields on the paternity leave list. Neal struggled in a single appearance and was designated for assignment on Thursday after the Dodgers grabbed Alec Asher from the O’s.
  • Alec Asher is pretty much an emergency starter at this point, but he has shown flashes of being very solid.
  • Chase Utley managed to hit a double and a home run on Saturday night, and then proceeded to steal a base on Sunday. The veteran second baseman is now hitting .300/.391/.500 for the Los Angeles Dodgers and continues to prove that he is quite simply, the man.

San Diego Padres

  • Tyson Ross was called up to start on Tuesday, and lefty Kyle McGrath was optioned to the minors. Ross looked pretty solid in camp and had once been the ace of the Padres’ staff. If you play fantasy baseball, hold off on grabbing him just yet.
  • Will Myers will miss the next week or so to an arm injury. In his stead, reliever Phil Maton was recalled from Triple-A. Expect Hunter Renfroe and Jose Pirela to pick up the slack for the time being.
  • If Joey Lucchesi didn’t impress you in his first start, he should have in his latest. The rookie lefty went five innings of shutout ball while striking out seven.
  • The Padres made a minor acquisition on Friday by bringing in catcher Brett Nicholas from the Texas Rangers for future considerations. Nicholas had recently been sent through waivers after losing his roster spot to the Tim Lincecum signing. He will function as depth for the Triple-A Friars.

San Francisco Giants

  • The Giants brought in lefty/outfielder Jordan Schafer on a minor league contract. It is unclear what they plan to do with him, however he looked brutal on the mound during spring training.
  • Johnny Cueto has been outstanding through two starts. While he tweaked his ankle the other day, hopefully it’s nothing more than a day-to-day issue.
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