Crash Course: Weekly Round-Up for April 10-16

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Welcome to the newest edition of our weekly round-up, serving as a review of all action in the major leagues from Monday, April 9, through Sunday, April 15.

Before we get started, (#) following a player’s name is where I have them rated in their farm system. If they are a new addition to an organization, I will note a change. Furthermore, hat tip to Matt Eddy of baseballamerica.com on most minor moves, MLB Pipeline’s Twitter for graduations, and, as always, Baseball-Reference, FanGraphs, and MLB Trade Rumors were used in the creation of this compilation.

Baltimore Orioles

  • Early in the week, the Orioles engaged in something of a pitcher shuffle, as they recalled Hunter Harvey (#3) from Double-A Bowie and Yefry Ramirez (#12) from Triple-A Norfolk, optioned Tanner Scott (#2) to Triple-A and designated Rule 5 selection Nestor Cortes (#19) for assignment. Neither one of the new additions saw a game, as both were optioned back to the minors in a matter of days to make room for utility player Engelb Vielma (#27) and lefty Donnie Hart. Hart was sent down in favor of David Hess (#22) despite two rather solid outings.
  • I have Scott rated one place above Harvey based on risk. I believe Scott has the potential to be a top-three closer in the league, while Harvey really hasn’t pitched above Class-A.
  • Andrew Cashner was fantastic against the Jays earlier this week and has done a very nice job shaking off a rough first start, thus far. While Baltimore’s signing of Alex Cobb takes some pressure off of the veteran, he remains an essential piece in the O’s rather inexperienced rotation.
  • Speaking of Cobb, he made his debut over the weekend, and struggled mightily, allowing seven earned runs over 3.2 innings.
  • The O’s bullpen has been a bit polar. Richard Bleier, Darren O’Day, and Brad Brach have done nice jobs thus far, but Mychal Givens has looked terrible. While I doubt that it comes to this, the young set-up man has minor league options remaining and could be sent to Triple-A to work on some things.
  • Jonathan Schoop was placed on the disabled list with a Grade 1 hamstring strain, but it is not considered to be a serious issue.

Boston Red Sox

  • Xander Bogaerts was placed on the disabled list on Monday with a small fracture in his left ankle. Tzu-Wei Lin (#25) was recalled to take his place on the roster. It is not expected to keep him sidelined for much more than two weeks.
  • Bobby Poyner (#24) hit the disabled list on Thursday and Marcus Walden (#33) was recalled. Unfortunately, Walden didn’t find much success in his return, as he allowed three runs (two of which were earned) over an inning of work.
  • The Sox had a pretty tumultuous series with their bitter rivals, the Yankees. The first game, the Sox won convincingly behind Chris Sale‘s scoreless six inning outing and the trio of Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Hanley Ramirez going a combined 8-9 with four walks, nine RBI’s, eight runs, three doubles, a triple and a homer.
  • David Price struggled a bit in the second game, however they have said there was an issue with his hand. He should be good to go for his next start.
  • Joe Kelly, Xander Bogaerts, Marco Hernandez, and Dustin Pedroia were all reprimanded for their roles in the brawl with the Yanks on Wednesday. Kelly received a six game suspension while the other guys were given fines, as they were on the disabled list.
  • The Sox made several minor moves, as they released a few minor leaguers: Pat Goetze, Logan Boyd, Robby Sexton, Marcos Martinez, Alexander Martinez, Steve Selsky, and Granger Studdard.
  • Robby Sexton and Steve Selsky did not remain on the market for very long, as Sexton was picked up by Arizona and Selsky signed with Cincinnati. A few of the other guys are actually rather formidable players.
  • Logan Boyd is actually a very good lefty starter, as the 24-year-old posted a 3.42 ERA over 137 innings pitched last season between Class A and Class A Advanced. He should be scooped up soon. Goetze is a Class A Advanced reliever who finished the 2017 season with a 2.61 ERA over 62 innings with just 15 walks to 44 strikeouts. Martinez is a 21-year-old outfielder who stole 15 bases in rookie league last year while slashing .282/.375/.364. While he could stand to add more power, the speed and the ability to get on base at a reasonable clip are at least noticeable.
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New York Yankees

  • The Yankees made a cross town trade on Monday as they sent outfielder Kendall Coleman to the Mets in exchange for infielder L.J. Mazzilli (now #43). The trade is essentially a swap of non-prospects.
  • Jace Peterson got the boot despite going 3-9 in his brief tenure with the Yankees, and his replacement, Shane Robinson, didn’t last very long either. Robinson, who went 1-3 with a stolen base, hit the waiver wire on Thursday following Aaron Hicks‘ activation from the disabled list. Both players cleared waivers over the weekend, with Peterson electing free agency.
  • The series against the Red Sox was certainly one to forget. While they managed to grab one game, they also lost Tyler Austin to a five game suspension and saw Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray each got lit up. At least Gary Sanchez had a two home run game on Wednesday.
  • Tommy Kahnle has been horrible thus far in 2018. For a team that is a no doubt competitor, it wouldn’t be surprising in the slightest to see the young reliever sent to Triple-A Scranton to work on some things.
  • The Yanks brought in a pair of minor leaguers: second baseman Bruce Caldwell (#44) and Matt McPherson (#39) while releasing Manny Argomaniz, Brian Reyes, and Ryan Krill. Caldwell is an upper minor leaguer who will serve as depth at second base. He brings power, but not much else, while Matt McPherson has considerable speed, but has never shown any plate discipline. Argomaniz is a decent offensive minded backstop who seems likely to catch on elsewhere, and Krill is a 25-year old first baseman who was selected in the ninth round back in 2015. He has great plate discipline, but not the typical power for a first baseman.
  • Hicks came back in grand fashion smashing a pair of bombs on Friday evening. His return provides a huge boost the Yanks lineup.
  • Nestor Cortes (#23 for NYY) was returned by the O’s and was assigned to Triple-A Scranton.
  • Tyler Austin graduated as a prospect earlier this month. His final rating in my database was 19th in the Yankees system. I compared him to a Lyle Overbay type.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • The Rays called up outfielder Johnny Field (#40) from Triple-A and designated Ryan Weber for assignment in a corresponding move. Field is a decent enough replacement outfielder with a good mix of power and speed, however he has a rather underwhelming bat. As for Weber, he cleared and could accept assignment. Weber is a Tampa native.
  • Cade Gotta was released recently after slashing .278/.349/.381 with 40 stolen bases between Double and Triple-A.  Still 26, he should get scooped up. He is a rather solid prospect and probably shouldn’t have been released.
  • On Tuesday night, the Rays brought in just 900 fans. I guess that’s what happens when you get rid of a host of very solid players for little to nothing in return, and watch them find success elsewhere.
  • Yonny Chirinos (#17) and Joey Wendle (#29), however have been very nice surprises. As I noted in my Opening Weekend review, Joe Wendle has shown sneaky tools throughout his minor league career and has been showing them with the increased opportunity. As for Chirinos, had it not been for Shohei Ohtani, he may have been an early favorite for the Rookie of the Year.
  • Jeremy Hazelbaker was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks early in the week. He was assigned to Double-A out of the gate. Jose De Leon (#2) was placed on the 60-day disabled list in a corresponding move.
  • According to reports, the Rays “would love” to talk to the Mets about Wilson Ramos, assuming they were willing to take his “hefty” $8,500,000 salary. The Rays, who have won three games this season continue to tear their roster down despite already having one of the best farm systems in the game.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • The Jays saw Josh Donaldson and Kendrys Morales head to the disabled list throughout the week. While neither of the injuries are considered legitimately serious, they are at least notable. Lefty Tim Mayza (#35) was recalled following the Morales move.
  • At least Steve Pearce really picked up the slack for the Jays’ offense as he hit three home runs over the past few days.
  • In regard to minor moves, the Jays made a very solid signing in Darnell Sweeney (#30). The 27-year old utility player has very good speed and power, as well as defensive versatility. He could certainly hold his own on a major league bench at this moment, and with all of the injuries the Jays’ have seen, he could be up soon.
  • They also signed Tyler Ladendorf and undrafted free agent Sean Rackoski. Both seem like depth out of the gate, however Ladendorf has major league experience with the A’s, and while his bat is anemic, he has defensive versatility.
  • Outfielder Antony Fuentes and Yonardo Herdenez were released this week. Fuentes slashed a rather serviceable .284/.347/.439 in stateside rookie league and could be picked up by somebody soon. The righty Herdenez moved throughout the Jays’ system last season reaching as high as Double-A posting a 3.94 ERA overall, however was considerably much more impressive back in 2016 when he posted a 1.06 ERA in GCL. He could be picked up as well.

Chicago White Sox

  • The White Sox had a pair of prospects graduate, in Carson Fulmer (previously #20) and Aaron Bummer (#19). If I’m being honest, I’m not very high on Fulmer. He has considerable issues with control, and has not looked even relatively close to major-league ready yet. Based on his enticing two pitch fastball/curve mix, I’d be interested in seeing him in the bullpen. Bummer’s name is a waste of an opportunity. He looks like a very good low-level set-up man who I would expect to contribute to the Sox for the next few seasons.
  • Matt Davidson and Tim Anderson have both been on fire thus far. Davidson is never going to hit for much in terms of average, however the power is very real. I expect him to reach the 30-home run mark this season, rather easily.
  • Bruce Rondon is back in the major leagues and has looked rather solid, in terms of velocity. In his 2018 debut, he struck out all four batters that he faced. I think he just needed to get out of Detroit.
  • Chris Volstad earned a call-up this week as well, and Greg Infante was sent down to Charlotte. Infante had something of a breakout season last year, however has not looked good thus far.
  • As for minor moves, the Sox cut ties with first baseman Danny Hayes and lefty reliever Jaider Rocha. Hayes is an upper minors power piece, and as we’ve seen with the power market, the supply is high and the demand is low. I would expect him to land in Indy. Rocha is a solid lefty reliever, however, he’s 24 and has hardly pitched above rookie ball. Unless he can show that he can beat better competition, he’s depth.

Cleveland Indians

  • Corey Kluber went eight shutout innings against the Tigers on Monday night in which he struck out 13 batters compared to a single walk.
  • Josh Tomlin rebounded from last weeks bombing against the Angels, as he got the win after going five scoreless. I’m interested to see how he continues to respond to these extremes.
  • The Indians have struggled offensively thus far, however the lack of success is unsustainable at this point, as everybody who was in their lineup on Tuesday was hitting .200 or below. It looks as if Francisco Lindor is beginning to heat up, however, and Tyler Naquin has found some success since his call-up.
  • Veteran minor-league catcher Jack Murphy was released from the minor leagues.

Detroit Tigers

  • Matt Boyd was dealing on Tuesday night, as he held the Indians to a run over seven innings. Following his start on Tuesday, he held a 1.38 ERA.
  • Scary moment for Jordan Zimmerman who was hit in the head with a comebacker on Wednesday evening. Luckily it seems as if he’s okay.
  • Mikie Mahtook was optioned to the minor leagues to work on some things. He took it like a champ, though, and I commend him for being gracious about it. Many relatively established major-leaguers would not be as cool with it. Reliever Chad Bell was recalled in his place.

Kansas City Royals

  • The first four in the Royals’ lineup have continued to find success, however there have not been many additional bright spots. Jakob Junis, however is the reason that I didn’t say there have been none (and Kelvin Herrera for that matter). Junis allowed one hit over seven innings against the Mariners on Monday.
  • Alex Gordon hit the DL on Tuesday with a groin injury, and Abraham Almonte was recalled in his place. Gordon has struggled mightily in 2018 and has failed to live up to his contract with the Royals, however he remains a strong veteran presence in a transitioning clubhouse. Almonte will share some of the left field time in Gordon’s absence.
  • Brandon Maurer was surprisingly sent to the minors in favor of Kevin McCarthy. Maurer struggled mightily posing a 12.46 ERA over five games, while taking two losses. He should be back later on in the season.
  • Kansas City brought back minor-league reliever Malcom Culver (#38) on a minor league deal, and signed Class-A reliever Jaret Hellinger (#45). Max Bartlett, Jose Sermo, and Felix Familia were all released. Hellinger is really just a lefty swing depth piece, and Culver will serve as depth in Triple-A. Culver has held his own in PCL play and should continue to do so.
  • Eric Skoglund graduated as a prospect, and was previously ranked 14th among Royals farm hands.

Minnesota Twins

  • Lance Lynn had himself a nice rebound start on Monday striking out nine over five innings allowing zero runs.
  • I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned this yet, but Joe Mauer has been on a mission to show the world that last season wasn’t a fluke. At this point, he is hitting .412/.545/.529 and picked up his 2000th career hit over the weekend.
  • Ryan LaMarre (#42) was sent back down to the minors despite going 4-8 and reliever Alan Busenitz was recalled. I was surprised when LaMarre made the roster in the first place, however based on his success (over a short sample size), I’m pulling for him to come back strong.

Houston Astros

  • James Hoyt is back in the major leagues on Tuesday, as Tony Sipp was placed on the disabled list. Hoyt will continue to function as a middle relief taxi guy.
  • Speaking of the Astros’ bullpen, Hector Rondon has looked like a fantastic thus far. As of Tuesday, he has yet to allow a run over four appearances. It’s worth noting that the non-tender deadline has produced many bargains in the recent past, most notably, Justin Turner was cut loose by the Mets prior to signing with the Dodgers. Sometimes, getting cut loose lights a fire under you.
  • Yuli Gurriel is back from the disabled list, and J.D. Davis (#7) was optioned to Triple-A in a corresponding move. Davis struggled mightily early on, however I still love the potential.
  • The ‘Stros signed former July 2nd bonus baby Luis Encarnacion (#31), and 2012 third round pick by the Padres, and Fernando Perez (#32). Both are just minor league depth first basemen with some upside.

Los Angeles Angels

  • Highly rated pitching prospect Jaime Barria (#6) was recalled on Monday to make his major league debut. Barria is a fantastic prospect as everything about him is “above average”. He has an above average fastball and change mix with plus control and a solid curve. Furthermore, he’s only 21 years old. He’s a stud and looks to me like a three. While he pitched very well, allowing just one run over five innings in his major league debut, Barria was optioned back down to the minors along side Ryan Schimpf and Felix Pena later in the week to make room for Andrew Heaney and Ian Kinsler.
  • While Heaney allowed four runs (three earned) over five and a third innings, he did manage to strike seven out to just one walk.
  • Unfortunately, J.C. Ramirez will miss the remainder of the 2018 season due to Tommy John surgery. While this is never an ideal situation for anyone, it is especially tough for Ramirez, as he may be buried on the depth chart in Los Angeles by the time next season comes around, as Ohtani, Tyler Skaggs, Matt Shoemaker, Parker Bridwell, Jaime Barria, Heaney, Griffin Canning, Nick Tropeano and others may jump ahead of him. Maybe a move to the bullpen could be a major plus for him. He’s always had great stuff and has excelled there before.
  • Jefry Marte has really been making the Angels feel good about keeping him on the roster this spring. The young infielder has mashed in the early going posting an OPS of 1.049 as of Tuesday.
  • The Angels engaged in quite a bit of minor league activity, as they signed righty relievers Michael Santos (#24), Marc Brakeman (#47), Ralston Cash (#39) and Jordan Jankowski (#42) as well as lefty reliever Matt Bower (#45). I love Santos and would love to see him moved to a strict relief role. He has had trouble with injuries which has held him back a bit. The other three are essentially depth pieces, with Jankowski and Cash standing a chance to see major league innings with injuries.
  • Cliff Pennington is the latest position player to pitch this season joining Pedro Florimon and Taylor Motter. He allowed a run over one inning. His field work hasn’t been very sharp thus far either.

Oakland Athletics

  • A.J. Puk (#2) underwent Tommy John surgery this past week and will miss the remainder of the 2018 season. I still see him as a potential ace, and have little to no doubt that he will be in the majors once he’s healthy.
  • In injury news, reliever Ryan Dull was activated from the disabled list and will take the place of Liam Hendriks. The A’s certainly hope that they are getting the 2016 version of Dull rather than last year’s. When first called up, Dull posted a 2.42 ERA over 74.1 innings, however scuffled to a 5.14 ERA over 42 last season.
  • Renato Nunez (Formerly #19) is on the move, as he was claimed off of waivers by the rival Texas Rangers. He was out of options and didn’t have a spot on the A’s roster, which is a testament to their depth, as Nunez is a very solid player who I see as a potential major league starter long term.
  • Catcher Jarrett Costa, infielder Nick Noonan and righty reliever Joey Wagman were all released. Noonan is pretty much a depth piece who should continue to bounce around. It’s a shame about Costa, as he was a guy I really liked in his draft class. He really struggled in the minors, throughout his career.

Seattle Mariners

  • As anticipated, Ryon Healy landed on the disabled list with a sprained ankle. Righty reliever Chasen Bradford was recalled to take his place on the active roster. At this point, the M’s first base situation is pretty rough, with Andrew Romine and Taylor Motter likely to pick up most of the slack there. While I thought that they never should have dumped Mike Ford, I think it would make sense for them to add Mark Reynolds or Adam Lind.
  • As for Chasen Bradford, he is actually a very good middle-reliever. An offseason waiver claim, Bradford posted a solid 3.74 ERA with the Mets last season. My projections have him at a 3.66 ERA with a 7.27 K/9, a 2.46 BB/9 and a 54.24 GB% over 44 innings. Bradford looked rather impressive on Monday picking up the slack for Casey Lawrence and Marco Gonzales after the pair allowed nine earned runs over four innings. Bradford went three scoreless with one walk and two strikeouts.
  • Taylor Motter pitched an inning of relief for the Mariners on Monday and allowed a run.
  • Edwin Diaz has been fantastic for the Mariners this season, and is looking like one of the best closers in the league. There’s a lot to be excited about there.
  • In regard to minor moves, the Mariners released former Rockies prospect Tyler Matzek and signed reliever Steve Perakslis (#24). He’s really just depth, but the fact that he ranks #24 is a pretty good indication as to where this farm system is right now.

Texas Rangers

  • The Rangers clubhouse has been bitten by the injury bug so many times this week that they ought to fumigate it. Elvis Andrus, Doug Fister, and Rougned Odor all wound up on the disabled list.
  • In corresponding moves, top prospect Ronald Guzman (#3) and catcher Isiah Kiner-Falefa (#26) were both recalled from the minors, and Tony Barnette was activated from the disabled list. Guzman is a guy with an above average to plus hit tool, solid plate discipline, decent power and passable defense. Overall, I see him as a guy who can hit .280/.360/.440 with 25 home runs. He may not be a franchise player, but he’s a very solid major league regular at the very least. Isiah Kiner-Falefa is a defense first utility guy who can play all throughout the infield and catcher. While he doesn’t bring much to the table offensively, he has decent speed. He’s really just serving as an injury replacement.
  • While the season may not be going as planned for the Rangers, many of their contract year players, namely Doug Fister, Elvis Andrus, Kevin Jepsen, and Adrian Beltre, have all been playing exceptionally well and could be trade chips over the summer, assuming they’re healthy. I personally don’t believe they trade Beltre, but the other three are intriguing.
  • Trevor Plouffe was granted his release as well. He will look to find better opportunities elsewhere.
  • If the Rangers want to compete in the AL Wild Card, Martin Perez really needs to get it together. He allowed eight runs over three innings while walking six. Jesse Chavez didn’t help things either, allowing two more runs over the next three innings.
  • Yovani Gallardo was brought in on a minor league deal to serve as depth. He has been released by both the Brewers and Reds over the past month-plus.
  • Renato Nunez (#15) was claimed off of waivers by the Rangers over the weekend, and Tim Lincecum was placed on the 60-day disabled list. Texas represents a very solid landing spot for Nunez, as his biggest problem in Oakland was not having a place to play. He should see regular to semi-regular at bats at this point, and could play himself into a long-term role.

Atlanta Braves

  • I will always admit when I am wrong, and at this point, it looks like I was wrong about Shane Carle (#24). The young reliever has been phenomenal for the Braves in the early going. While relievers always carry risk in volatility, what he has done in the first week plus has been noticeable.
  • I am a huge fan of Preston Tucker. While he cooled off this past week, he has still shown the ability to be a very solid major league regular. I just wish they didn’t pull him from every game towards the end. Let the man stick around.
  • Luke Jackson hit the waiver wire over the weekend after allowing two earned runs over a third of an inning. In his place, Lucas Sims was recalled from Triple-A to supplement the depth of an already rather solid bullpen. While Jose Ramirez may be struggling, A.J. Minter (#17) and Sam Freeman have not allowed a single run.
  • In minor news, the Braves cut ties with Keith Curcio and Carlos Castro. While Castro may just be a depth guy, Curcio has the potential to be a decent fourth outfielder. While I don’t have any expectations, the talent is there.

Miami Marlins

  • The Fish cut ties with reliever Brian Ellington. Outside of last season, Ellington had previously been a rather decent reliever and has been one of the hardest throwers in the game. At this time, he’s dealing with a bicep issue, however he’s certainly worth a flyer.
  • The Marlins are just 3-7 thus far, however, between Starlin Castro, Junichi Tazawa, Kyle Barraclough, J.T. Realmuto, and Cameron Maybin all have the potential to bring back notable returns over the summer on the trade market.
  • Justin Bour has struggled in the early going, however smashed two homers in a losing effort against the Mets on Tuesday.
  • Braxton Lee (#8) was sent to the minors in favor of JB Shuck. Garrett Cooper was placed on the 60-day disabled list to accommodate the move.
  • The Marlins signed Dustin McGowan to help add some depth to their relief staff. Assuming Tazawa is traded in the next few months, or injuries hit, he’s a much better option than Tayron Guerrero or Chris O’Grady.
  • The Fish made a few minor moves adding Class A Advanced infielder Rodrigo Ayarza (#51) and releasing a collection of minor leaguers headed by outfielder Terry Bennent and pitcher Kenny Koplove. Jacob Turner was also sent outright to Triple-A after clearing waivers.
  • Trevor Richards (#17) looked very solid this weekend as he went seven innings allowing just two hits and walking one.
  • Brian Anderson graduated as a prospect on Friday evening. His final ranking in my database was 7th in the Marlins’ system. I believe the glove is elite and the bat is above average. Overall, he looks like a very legitimate major league regular.

New York Mets

  • As reported in the Yankees section, the Mets acquired Kendall Coleman (#39) from the New York Yankees in exchange for L.J. Mazzilli on Monday. Coleman is above five years younger than Mazzilli, however has struggled thus far since being drafted in 2013 and has never hit above .240 at any level of the minor leagues.
  • The Mets were hit with injuries harder than anybody this past week. Catchers Kevin Plawecki and Travis d’Arnaud both hit the disabled list, which prompted the Mets to recall catchers Tomas Nido (#12) and Jose Lobaton, reliever Jacob Rhame (#32) and outfielder Brandon Nimmo.
  • Nimmo had been optioned earlier in the week to make room for Corey Oswalt (#20). As for Oswalt, he was sent down a few days later to make room for Zack Wheeler, who looked outstanding in his 2018 debut allowing a single earned run over seven innings.
  • The Mets activated Dominic Smith from the disabled list and immediately sent him to the minors. Smith was awful last season, hitting .198/.262/.368 with nine home runs. Adrian Gonzalez will continue to get the lion’s share of playing time at first.
  • Outfielder Jayce Boyd was released from the minor leagues. Boyd was a high draft pick who never really panned out.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • Aaron Nola turned in another gem on Tuesday night as he went eight innings and allowed just one earned runs. His ERA is down to 1.96.
  • J.P. Crawford (#3) has struggled at the dish in the early going, however managed to hit his first two major league home runs this past week.
  • After Sunday’s defeat of the Tampa Bay Rays, the Phillies had won six straight and eight of their last ten. While there have been some exceptionally strong performances, it should be noted that their last three series were against the Marlins, Reds, and Rays who have posted a collective nine wins, which is equal to the Phillies’ win total. Hopefully they can keep the momentum going.
  • The Phillies hold events called “college nights” in which they invite local college students to a networking event and Q&A panel. On Tuesday evening, I attended their session geared toward analytics and everything about it was so classy and well done. It was a great experience and I appreciate all of those involved.
  • Jorge Alfaro graduated as a prospect recently. I had the young catcher ranked 5th in the Phillies system, as I love his power and arm.

Washington Nationals

  • Max Scherzer proved that last week was a blip on the radar after he held the Braves to two hits in a complete game shut out on Monday, while holding the Rockies to two runs over seven innings over the weekend. All told, he struck 21 batters over 16 innings while walking one.
  • Here is a crazy statistic: Bryce Harper has a 20:11 walk to strikeout ratio. No, I didn’t mix it up, Harper has walked nearly twice as many times as he has struck out. He is also up to seven home runs on the season. Harper has been the best player, or pretty close, in the majors in 2018.
  • Miguel Montero returned from the paternity list on Tuesday, and fellow catcher Jhonatan Solano was sent to the 10-day disabled list with a bone spur. Montero has gone 0-11 with two walks thus far in 2018, while Solano didn’t see a single plate appearance in his brief time with the Nationals. Montero’s stay did not last very long, however as he was designated for assignment a day later to make room for outfielder Moises Sierra. Pedro Severino (#15) was slated to handle the majority of the catching duties. Tuffy Gosewisch was signed to a minor league contract earlier in the week. He will eat up innings at the catcher’s position down in Syracuse while Severino backs up Matt Wieters at the major league level.
  • Mark Reynolds finally found a contract, albeit a minor-league deal, as he signed with the Nats on Thursday evening. While there isn’t much of a clear path to playing time, if Ryan Zimmerman gets hurt, he should be called up. Reynolds deserved to get a major league contract over the offseason. I hope he has a huge year this year.
  • Infielder Ryan Jackson was released by the Nats and should be able to land another gig in the near future.

Chicago Cubs

  • Anthony Rizzo landed on the disabled list with a back injury. Personally, I believe this was the cause of Rizzo’s early struggles. Playing through back pain is not a huge deal, but seeing as how the weather this Spring has been considerably colder throughout the United States, and Rizzo plays the majority of his games in Chicago, that had to make it a bit more difficult. Efren Navarro was recalled from Triple-A in a corresponding move. Navarro has a career .243/.306/.334 line over 349 career plate appearances, mainly with the Angels.
  • Javier Baez has been on a tear this week, as he hit four home runs in two days against the Pirates.
  • While it is way too early to press the panic button, Yu Darvish and Jose Quintana have both been terrible thus far this season. Both situations are worth monitoring for the time being.
  • Catcher Victor Caratini graduated as a prospect this season. His final ranking was 5th in the Cubs system. The situation with him reminds me of when the Cubs had Welington Castillo despite already carrying Miguel Montero and David Ross. Caratini is currently blocked by Willson Contreras and while he has been used at different positions to get his bat in the line-up more, the best thing for Caratini would be a trade. He can be an above average offensive catcher.

Cincinnati Reds

  • The Reds were another team that saw a rather considerable amount of roster turnover as the week went on. Out of the gate, Scott Schebler and Eugenio Suarez hit the disabled list, and reliever Zack Weiss (#20) and infielder Alex Blandino (#39) were recalled.
  • The next day, Yovani Gallardo’s brief tenure in Cincinnati came to an end as he was cut in favor of Tanner Rainey (#40).
  • Rainey’s stay was exceptionally short as well, as he was sent down to the minor leagues later in the week to make room for Dylan Floro. Ariel Hernandez (#35) was designated for assignment in a corresponding move.
  • Jesse Winker graduated as a prospect early this season. His final listing was 11th in the Reds system, as he looks as if he can be an average major league regular, despite the fact that he isn’t very toolsy. He has great plate discipline, which could put him in the two hole in the line-up. He has a high floor, and has shown about what I would have expected thus far this season, as he has slashed .250/.400/.250.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • On Wednesday, the Brewers recalled a pair of pitchers in Junior Guerra and Jorge Lopez (#14) from Triple-A. In a pair of corresponding moves, outfielder Brett Phillips (#2), who had been recalled earlier in the week following the Yelich injury, was optioned to Triple-A, and J.J. Hoover was designated for assignment. Junior Guerra got the start on Wednesday and went 5.1 innings allowing just one earned run. Jorge Lopez was recalled to serve as some additional relief depth for the Brew Crew.
  • The Brewers have an excellent problem on their hands, as both Jesus Aguilar and Eric Thames have each continued to find a considerable amount of success. Maybe one could be in play to be flipped for a starter.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Felipe Rivero has legally changed his name to Felipe Vasquez. Vasquez is the surname of his sister Prescilla. It’s a very nice gesture, as the two are very close. His jersey is in the process of being changed.
  • After seeing his batting average drop to .071, Corey Dickerson woke up. After going 3-5 on Tuesday, he saw his average reach an outstanding .342. He has also hit five doubles thus far, while showing solid defense in the field. As I have said before, Dickerson has the potential to be among the best hitters in the league, however he has only drawn two walks this season with one of them being intentional. Adding plate discipline would do wonders for him. Nevertheless, I still can’t believe the Rays essentially just cut bait.
  • The Buccos did a bit of a bullpen shuffle later in the week, as Clay Holmes (#22) and Josh Smoker were each sent down in favor of Richard Rodriguez (#28) and Kyle Crick (#14). This new pair brings with them considerably more upside, as both have the ceilings of high set-up men or even closers.
  • Recently acquired outfield prospect Bryan Reynolds (#15) will undergo surgery on his broken hamate bone.
  • Enny Romero was claimed off of waivers by the Pirates over the weekend. The lefty brings with him intriguing velocity and seems like a Searage Special in his ability to induce ground balls. This could prove to be a very strong pick-up for the Buccos.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • Greg Holland joined the Cardinals on Monday, and Mike Mayers (#32) was sent to Triple-A in a corresponding move. Holland signed a 1-year contract worth $14,000,000 right around Opening Day. His debut, however, was not very encouraging. Over 0.1 innings, he walked four batters (including one with the bases loaded). He threw just six strikes in 19 pitches. Furthermore, his velocity was way down. He was sitting around 92 all night, which is nearly 2 mph less than he was throwing last season with Colorado.
  • Luckily for Mayers, however, his stay in Memphis didn’t last very long, as he was recalled to the major league roster when Sam Tuivailala was placed on the disabled list.

Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Taijuan Walker was placed on the 10-day disabled list with the dreaded “forearm tightness”. That particular injury classification has led to Tommy John surgery in severe cases. Hopefully, that’s not the case here, but while Walker is on the shelf, the D-Backs have some options ready to replace him.
  • Zack Godley struck nine out over seven innings with no walks on Monday. Following his start against the Giants, he held a 0.64 ERA. Godley is a very underrated and probably won’t be available for me to take next time I decide to do a mock expansion draft.
  • Jeremy Hazelbaker was traded to the Rays in exchange for cash on Tuesday. The outfielder was designated for assignment following the Snakes’ claim of Troy Scribner (#35) from the Angels.
  • Paul Goldschmidt got off to something of a slow start, however has began to heat up. If Goldy gets back to what he has done over the past few seasons, the Diamondbacks may well be able to hold off the Dodgers.
  • In a pair of minor moves, reliever Andury Acevedo was released and lefty Robbie Sexton (#31) was signed. Acevedo had been signed back in August. He has shown talent in the past, however has scuffled with injuries throughout his career. Sexton was recently cut by the Red Sox, and has shown the potential to be a solid LOOGY.

Colorado Rockies

  • Jon Gray got lit up against the Padres Monday night allowing seven runs over five innings.
  • The big story for the Rockies was Nolan Arenado kicking off a brawl on Wednesday night after being hit by a pitch from Luis Perdomo. Arenado believed the hit was retribution for Manuel Margot‘s injury the previous night, and took exception to it. German Marquez and Gerardo Parra were both ejected that night as well, with Parra and Arenado landing suspensions.
  • The Rockies signed David Holmberg to a minor league contract, and assigned him to Triple-A. He will serve as depth.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Dodgers fans can let out a sigh of relief, as Kenley Jansen is back. Jansen has been one of, if not, the most effective relievers in the league over the past few years, and it is always nice to see him pick things back up.
  • I wouldn’t be too concerned about Alex Wood being blasted by the A’s on Wednesday night. He was apparently sick, and attempted to pitch through it. I don’t believe the struggles continue.
  • Dylan Baker (#38) was placed on outright waivers on Friday. Baker was claimed off of waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers in the offseason. If claimed, Baker will be joining his fourth team in six months.
  • Catcher Cael Brockmeyer (#51) was picked up on a minors deal by the Dodgers following his release by the Cubs. He will serve as catching depth.
  • The Dodgers faced yet another injury the other day as Logan Forsythe hit the disabled list. While Breyvic Valera (#28) was recalled from the minor leagues, it seems as if Chase Utley will take the lion’s share of playing time at second base. Thus far, Utley has hit .333/.417/.500 with 5 walks to six strikeouts.

San Diego Padres

  • The big news out of San Diego this week is that Dinelson Lamet underwent Tommy John Surgery. The promising young pitcher’s roster spot was taken by lefty Tyler Webb (#38). Lamet will miss the remainder of the 2018 season and possibly part of 2019. As for Webb, I see him as a taxi-squad LOOGY.
  • Kirby Yates wound up on the Disabled List after having to leave an appearance early last week. It is being called right ankle tendinitis. It is not considered a serious issue, and he is expected to return by the end of the month. Lefty Buddy Baumann will take his spot in the Friars pen. Baumann was actually rather solid last season, posting a 2.44 ERA over 23 relief appearances.
  • The Friars have seen excellent production from a trio of rookie pitchers: Adam Cimber (#26), Joey Lucchesi (#3), and Kazuhisa Makita (#25). While Lucchesi is a known commodity, the other two have been somewhat surprising. Matika is a 33-year old reliever signed to a two year contract out of Japan over the offseason, and Cimber came into camp as a non-roster invitee and forced himself into the bullpen picture by dominating Cactus League competition.
  • Manuel Margot hit the disabled list and was replaced on the roster by fellow outfielder Franchy Cordero (#20). Margot sustained the injury after being hit by a pitch, which was the cause of the brawl the following evening.
  • Luis Perdomo was hit with a suspension for his part in Wednesday night’s brawl with the Rockies, as was Buddy Baumann. Baumann, however, was optioned to the minor leagues before he could serve it. Charles Brewer (#30) was the immediate call-up, however was quickly swapped out for Kyle McGrath (#39).

San Francisco Giants

  • Derek Holland turned in a very decent start against the Diamondbacks on Monday going six innings, while allowing two runs with an 8:1 K:B ratio. The Giants have dealt with a considerable amount of injuries thus far this season and need him to keep it up.
  • In yet another blow to the Giants rotation, Johnny Cueto hit the disabled list with an ankle sprain. Lefty Steven Okert was recalled in his place to serve as additional bullpen depth. In a related transaction, prospect Tyler Beede (#11) was recalled to make his major league debut on Tuesday while righty Roberto Gomez (#15) was optioned. I have Beede ranked 10th among Giants farmhands, as I still consider him a potential mid-rotation innings eater despite struggles last season. Beede went 4 innings and allowed two earned runs in his major league debut, however walked five compared to three strikeouts. His second start was considerably less encouraging, as he allowed five runs over three and two third innings. He walked three on the night and struck out six. He was optioned to the minors on Sunday evening to make room for Johnny Cueto who was returning.
  • Andrew Suarez (#5) also made his major league debut this past week going 5.1 innings, allowing four earned runs on four hits, however struck seven out to zero walks. Okert was optioned to make room for him on the roster, and Suarez was optioned to make room for reliever Derek Law.
  • The Giants released Cuban outfielder Daniel Carbonell following a rather poor showing in the minor leagues. Carbonell was signed to a four-year deal worth $1.4 million back in 2014, and never lived up to it. Now 27, it looks unlikely that Carbonell resurfaces anywhere soon.

Indy Ball

  • Here are this weeks notable indy ball signings:
    • Frontier League
      • The Southern Illinois Miners brought in Williams Perez, who had been released by the Cubs following an incident resulting in the accidental shooting of a pitching coach.
    • Can-Am
      • Josh Vitters, former top prospect, signed with the Quebec Capitales.
      • In perhaps the most notable indy ball signing of the week, former major league pitcher Mat Latos inked with the New Jersey Jackals. He will be joined by Kenny Koplove, who was cut loose by the Marlins earlier this week.
    • American Association
      • Former Angels’ top prospect Chad Hinshaw signed with the St. Paul Saints.
      • Tyler Matzek was signed by the Texas Airhogs.
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