Crash Course: Weekly Round-up for April 16th-April 22nd

A few weeks into the Major League Baseball season, we’re beginning to things fall into place within the league standings and player rosters. Nonetheless, there’s still a lot of movement and performance spikes to keep track of.

Here’s your chance to catch up on the events of the past week of baseball in this week’s Crash Course.

Baltimore Orioles

Transactions:

  • Right-handed pitcher David Hess (#22) was optioned back down to the minor leagues on Monday. He had been recalled to serve as additional bullpen depth, however did not see a game in his brief time up. In his place, the Orioles recalled infielder Luis Sardinas. The 24-year old utility player slashed a very strong .319/.348/.419 in 2017 for Baltimore’s Triple-A side.
  • Tanner Scott (#2) was recalled on Friday and took the spot of Engelb Vielma (#26). 

Performance:

  • Alex Cobb and Mike Wright Jr. struggled on Thursday, allowing 12 runs (10 earned) over six and two thirds innings. Through two starts, Cobb has looked horrible.
  • On the bright side, however, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, and Tim Beckham each had three hits that day, five being doubles and two being home runs.
  • Machado hit his eighth home run this week, joining his fellow 2012 rookies Bryce Harper and Mike Trout to the eight home run plateau.

Notes:

  • At the very least, Andrew Cashner and Dylan Bundy have done a nice job out of the rotation. If the O’s begin a rebuild, both could become coveted commodities. A trade for Bundy could be absolutely ground breaking.
  • The O’s really need to start the rebuild right now, as a lot of their best pieces will become free agents at the end of the season. Unless they want to wind up like the Royals, Machado, Jones, and Brad Brach all have to be traded this summer, with Darren O’DayJonathan Schoop, Tim Beckham, Mark TrumboRichard Bleier, Bundy, and Cashner all being traded over the next year or so. They have the chips and the existing young core to build around including Chance Sisco (#6), Scott (#2), and Anthony Santander (#9). 

Minor Moves:

  • n/a.

Boston Red Sox

 Transactions:

  • Drew Pomeranz is back from the disabled list, further strengthening an already outstanding rotation. To make room for him, Marcus Walden (#33) was sent to Triple-A.
  • Despite very solid results, Bobby Poyner (#24) was optioned following his activation. He had a 2.57 ERA in MLB action.

Performance:

  • The Red Sox crushed the Angels on Tuesday and Wednesday night behind rather strong starts from David Price and Rick Porcello and a collection of strong showings at the plate, including an exceptional showing at the plate by center fielder Mookie Betts on Tuesday night, as he hit two home runs, while walking twice bringing his OPS up to 1.221. J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers on Wednesday night each hit home runs, while Martinez had four hits.
  • Pomeranz had something of a shaky season debut on Friday, however, the rest of the team was able to bail him out, as Mitch Moreland hit a grand slam, and Hector Velazquez came in and pitched three innings of scoreless ball.

Notes:

  • n/a.

Minor Moves

  • n/a.

New York Yankees

Transactions:

  • The Yankees brought Jace Peterson back on a major league contract and added him back to the 25-man roster, despite the fact that he had just elected free agency last week.
  • Adam Lind was also brought back by the Yanks, although it was on a minor league contract. The veteran first baseman seems likely to head down to extended spring training or Triple-A to wait for an opportunity with the big league squad. Lind is a noted righty masher and posted a very strong .303/.362/.513 line with 14 homers over 301 plate appearances with the Washington Nationals last season.
  • Tommy Kahnle hit the disabled list on Tuesday with shoulder tendinitis. This would certainly explain the young righty’s recent struggles. Luis Cessa was recalled in a corresponding move.
  • Cessa also hit the disabled list later in the week with an oblique strain. His roster spot went to C.C. Sabathia, who’s back off of the DL after missing a few weeks with a hip strain. 
  • In yet another hit to an already struggling bullpen, Adam Warren hit the disabled list on Saturday while recalling Jonathan Holder.
  • To continue to add depth to the bullpen, the Yankees called up David Hale and cut Jace Peterson loose again on Sunday. They also called up Gleyber Torres (#1) and optioned Tyler Wade to Triple-A.

Performance:

  • The Yankees pounded the Marlins on Monday evening. Offensively, the Bronx Bombers scored 12 runs, including two home runs from Didi Gregorius and one from Aaron Judge as well as a three hit game from Gary SanchezStaff ace Luis Severino did his part as well holding the fish scoreless over six innings, allowing just one hit and one free pass while striking out eight.
  • Miguel Andujar hit his first major league home run on Tuesday night against Brad ZieglerIt was the Yanks only run of the night, as Masahiro Tanaka was blasted once again for seven runs (six earned) over five innings.
  • Sonny Gray hasn’t fared any better than Tanaka as he has posted an 8.27 ERA. Aside from Severino, the rotation as a whole has been horrible.

Notes:

  • n/a.

Minor Moves:

  • n/a.

Tampa Bay Rays

Transactions:

  • More bad news in Tampa as star outfielder Kevin Kiermaier will miss the next 8-12 weeks with a torn ligament in his right thumb. While I would imagine Mallex Smith gets the majority of the reps in center for the time being, Kiermaier’s roster spot was taken by right-handed pitcher Chih-Wei Hu (#26). I am high on Hu, who brings with him the ability to control a solid five pitch mix including a palm ball, while mixing in a plus change. I see no reason that Hu can’t be a starter long term, however, at the very least, he’s a mainstay middle reliever. Unfortunately, Hu struggled mightily on Monday evening and was optioned to make room for Hunter Wood (#35). Wood is a control oriented reliever who could potentially be a decent swing.
  • Matt Duffy followed Kiermaier to the disabled list on Tuesday with a hamstring strain. Brandon Snyder was recalled once Duffy was placed on the disabled list, however he was designated for assignment on Friday when Brad Miller was activated. He went 1-6 with a double in his brief time up with the club.
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Performance:

  • Blake Snell had another fantastic outing on Monday night against the Rangers, as he pitched six and one third innings, allowing a single run while striking out nine with zero walks. The young lefty has lowered his season ERA to 2.95, and has continued to be one of the few bright spots on this Rays’ team.
  • Yonny Chirinos (#17) had a tough night on Tuesday, allowing six runs over five and two thirds innings against the Rangers. He still carries a 2.70 ERA, and it will be interesting to see how he responds.
  • C.J. Cron hit a pair of home runs on Saturday night bringing his total to four on the season.
  • Daniel Robertson had a four-hit game on Sunday increasing his OPS to .997. He was been very solid this season.

Notes:

  • n/a.

Minor Moves:

  • n/a.

Toronto Blue Jays

Transactions:

  • The Jays recalled Joe Biagini to start the second game of their double-header on Tuesday and optioned him back the next day.
  • Anthony Alford (#3) and Dalton Pompey were both activated from the disabled list on Thursday and subsequently optioned to the minor leagues. Both should be up at some point this season, however the Jays are currently dealing with something of an outfield surplus.
  • On Friday, the Jays made a collection of roster moves. The most notable move, however, was Lourdes Gurriel (#25) being recalled from the minors. Just to note, I gave him that rating back in November, and acknowledge that I could regret it later. He’s a very solid player and has looked great.
  • The other three moves were Kendrys Morales‘ activation from the disabled list, and sending Gift Ngoepe (#40) and Tim Mayza (#35) to the minors.

Performance:

  • Teoscar Hernandez had a monster day against the Royals on Wednesday, as he went 4-6 with a double, a homer, and four RBIs.
  • In his major league debut, Gurriel went 2-5 with three RBIs. He played second base and could see regular at bats if the success continues.

Notes:

  • n/a.

Minor Moves:

  • The Jays traded Jon Berti to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for future considerations.

Chicago White Sox

Transactions:

  • The White Sox made a pair of trades on Thursday, as they acquired outfielder Trayce Thompson from the Oakland A’s and sent utility player Tyler Saladino to the Milwaukee Brewers. Thompsonwho was once one of the White Sox’ top prospect, will serve as outfield depth for the Sox.
  • Greg Infante will re-join the Sox bullpen, as Danny Farquhar wound up on the disabled list with a severe brain hemorrhage.
  • Kevan Smith was activated from the disabled list and optioned to Triple-A.

Performance:

  • Reynaldo Lopez allowed just two runs over six innings against the Oakland Athletics on Monday night, while striking out ten. Unfortunately, the bullpen imploded with Luis Avilan allowing three runs (one earned) over an inning and Chris Volstad allowing three over a third of an inning.
  • Miguel Gonzalez was blasted for eight runs over three innings against the Athletics on Tuesday night. It doesn’t look as if he’s going to be around for much longer, as his ERA has climbed to 12.41.
  • The Sox came out on the losing end of a slugfest on Wednesday against the A’s that extended 14 innings and saw a combined 23 runs and 33 hits. Carson Fulmer started the game and allowed four runs over a single inning, while Aaron Bummer, Hector Santiago, James Shields, and Farquhar all allowed runs in relief.
  • Offensively, Jose Abreu and Nicky Delmonico each had three hits, while Yoan Moncada hit his third home run.
  • Lucas Giolito was awful on Saturday night allowing nine runs over two innings. His ERA ballooned to 9.00.

Notes:

  • Baseball has been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember, however there is one thing that has had an equal or greater impact in my life: rap music, or more specifically, 90’s to early 00’s hip-hop. Shakeia Taylor of FanGraphs published an excellent piece on the influence of the White Sox cap in hip-hop culture, mainly referring to N.W.A artists Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, and Ice Cube as well as the more contemporary Chance the Rapper. I definitely recommend it for both hip-hop and baseball fans alike.
  • The White Sox had a scary moment on Friday as reliever Danny Farquhar passed out in the dugout following a relief appearance. It was reported that he was conscious shortly after the incident, but we are wishing him the best.

Minor Moves:

  • The White Sox released former first round pick Courtney Hawkins on Wednesday. Hawkins had slashed a career .222/.284/.397 over 2375 plate appearances. The 24-year-old will look to catch on with a new organization.

Cleveland Indians

Transactions:

  • Outfielder Greg Allen (#12) was recalled on Tuesday to be the 26th man for the double-header against the Twins. He brings with him speed off of the bench, and decent defense. He was optioned on Thursday.

Performance:

  • The Indians’ bats backed up Corey Kluber on Tuesday night, as Michael Brantley went 3-5 with a homer and a double, Bradley Zimmer went 2-4 with a pair of doubles and Francisco Lindor hit his second home run of the season.
  • Mike Clevinger threw a complete game shut out on Saturday against the Orioles allowing just two hits. His ERA now stands at 1.75.

Notes:

  • Mike Napoli suffered a “severe” leg injury chasing down a foul ball on Wednesday for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers. The injury will leave the veteran sidelined for an extended period of time and could very well be the end of his career. Napoli, one of the most popular clubhouse figures in the league, should certainly pursue a coaching career, as his presence and personality makes the players around him better. The veteran was a part of three World Series teams throughout his career, earning a ring with the 2013 Boston Red Sox in the process. If this is, indeed, the end of the line for Napoli, we at Baseball Essential wish him the best of luck with his future endeavors.

Minor Moves:

  • The Indians picked up Jon Berti (#42) from the Jays in exchange for cash. He will provide infield depth for the Tribe.

Detroit Tigers

Transactions

  • Chad Bell was optioned to the minor leagues following Thursday’s game in which he allowed two runs. Warwick Saupold was recalled in his place.
  • The Tigers recalled Mike Gerber (#7) to be the 26th man for the double header on Friday.

Performance

  • Victor Martinez had a very nice night on Tuesday going 3-4 with a home run and two RBIs against the Orioles. The veteran has brought his OPS up to .851.
  • Dixon Machado finished it off for the Tigers on Wednesday against Pedro Araujo (BAL #17), while JaCoby Jones hit one against Brad Keller (#5) on Friday.
  • Jeimer Candelario led the Tigers offense on Thursday with four hits, a homer and a walk. The team had six players with multiple hits, and scored 13 runs.

Notes:

  • n/a.

Minor Moves:

  • The Detroit Tigers signed catcher Kade Scivicque (#28) to a minor league contract on Monday and assigned him to Double-A Erie. Scivicque was originally the Tigers’ fourth round draft pick in 2015, and was traded to Atlanta in August of 2016 with Mike Aviles for Erick AybarI see Scivicque as a back-up catcher who can hit for high average while providing very solid defense.

Kansas City Royals

Transactions:

  • The Royals recalled Scott Barlow (#13) to be a 26th man of a double-header on Tuesday. Barlow was signed as a major league free agent in the offseason and has posted very strong strikeout numbers throughout his time in the minor leagues.

Performance:

  • Danny Duffy turned in a nice start against the Blue Jays on Tuesday, as he held them to two hits over six innings while striking out eight. The same can’t be said for Eric Skoglund who started the first game of the double-header and allowed five runs over five innings.
  • Following Wednesday’s shellacking against the Blue Jays, Justin Grimm held an 18.90 ERA (13 runs allowed over six and two thirds innings). It got even worse after Saturday’s game against the Tigers as he allowed three more runs over a third of an inning. His ERA rose to 21.86 and has a testament to how poor the Royals’ pitching has been, he doesn’t even have the highest ERA in the bullpen, as Blaine Boyer has posted a 22.50 ERA.
  • Jakob Junis has been outstanding this season, as he holds a 2.03 ERA. He went seven innings on Friday against the Tigers and allowed just two runs and four hits.

Notes:

  • n/a.

Minor Moves:

  • n/a.

Minnesota Twins

Transactions:

  • Outfielder Ryan LaMarre (#42) was recalled to be the 26th man of the Twins and Indians double-header down in Puerto Rico on Tuesday. He remained with the team following Byron Buxton landing on the disabled list on Wednesday with migraines.
  • Phil Hughes is back for the Twins and will hope to turn in his first season with an ERA below five since 2015. Gabriel Moya (#20) was sent down to make room for him.

Performance:

  • Eddie Rosario hit a grand slam on Friday night against the Rays.

Notes:

  • n/a.

Minor Moves:

  • n/a.

Houston Astros

Transactions:

  • Tony Sipp was activated from the disabled list on Wednesday, and James Hoyt was optioned to Triple-A in a corresponding move. Hoyt pitched a third of an inning in his brief time with the Astros without allowing a run. He should be up again soon.

Performance:

  • Dallas Keuchel was the tough luck loser on Monday night after pitching an eight-inning complete game allowing just two runs against the Mariners.
  • Gerrit Cole has been absolutely fantastic for the Astros, and continued to cruise on Wednesday against the Mariners, as he went seven innings allowing a single earned run, dropping his ERA to 0.96.
  • If you didn’t think that it could get any better than Cole, take a look at Charlie MortonAfter another seven inning shutout, Morton has an incredible 0.72 ERA. He struck eight Mariners out on Thursday allowing three hits while walking none.
  • Justin Verlander has been the third-best starter for the reigning World Series champions with a 1.10 ERA. Again, the third best. There’s a reason they won the World Series last year.
  • Jose Altuve also had a great game on Thursday collecting three hits, including two doubles and four RBIs and Carlos Correa hit a pair of homers on Friday.
  • Josh Reddick had a pair of home runs on Saturday night against the White Sox bringing his season total to six.

Notes:

  • n/a.

Minor Moves:

  • n/a.

Los Angeles Angels

Transactions:

  • The Angels designated Luke Bard for assignment on Saturday to make room for Eduardo ParedesBard was a Rule V Selection out of the Twins’ organization.
  • Jaime Barria (#6) returned to Los Angeles on Sunday and Paredes went back to Salt Lake to make room. Barria’s stay lasted one day.

Performance:

  • While I may have taken an “L” on Saturday night, Mike Trout certainly did not. He went 3-4 with a pair of doubles and his eighth home run of the season. He’s now tied with Bryce Harper for the most homers in the league. He also stole his third base of the season. Trout then proceeded to pass Harper the following day, while causing his OPS to rise to 1.088.

Notes:

  • Second round pick Griffin Canning (#4) was promoted to Double-A after pitching two scoreless starts in Class A Advanced. It looks as if he has a chance at making his debut this season if he continues to progress.

Minor Moves:

  • n/a.

Oakland A’s

Transactions:

  • Infielder Chad Pinder was activated from the disabled list after ten days, and Franklin Barreto (#1) was optioned to Triple-A Nashville. Pinder will continue to work in a utility role, while we should see Barreto again in the near future.
  • The A’s called Trevor Cahill up to the major leagues on Tuesday to make his 2018 debut. Cahill was signed back in March after Jharrel Cotton needed Tommy John surgery. Reliever Lou Trivino (#26) was called up as well, while Yusmeiro Petit was placed on the Family Medical Emergency List and Trayce Thompson was designated for assignment.
  • The Athletics traded Thompson to the Chicago White Sox for future considerations on Thursday and optioned Lou Trivino to the minor leagues to make room for Josh Lucas (#24). After Petit returned, Lucas went back down.
  • Chris Bassitt was recalled on Friday and Danny Coulombe was optioned back to the minors in a corresponding move. Bassitt has struggled with injuries over the past few years, so it will be interesting to see how he returns.

Performance:

  • Sean Manaea had something of a raw deal on Saturday night. He was up against a team who was 17-2 against one of the best starters in the league in Chris SaleHe responded by throwing a no-hitter, as he walked just two and struck ten out.
  • Jed Lowrie has been on an absolute tear this season, as his average reached .372 with a 1.066 OPS after Friday’s game when he went 4-5 with a pair of doubles. He’s setting himself up for a nice contract next winter.
  • Daniel Mengden looked fantastic on Monday night going eight innings allowing just one run (a Jose Abreu home run).
  • The A’s beat the White Sox 12-11 on Wednesday. While starter Andrew Triggs allowed six runs over one and a third innings, with Coulombe, Blake Treinen, Emilio Pagan and Santiago Casilla allowing runs in relief. 
  • Mark Canha and Jed Lowrie each hit home runs, while Matt Olson went 4-6 with three RBIs.

Notes:

  • There seems to have been a lot of free baseball this season, speaking in regard to extra inning games. The A’s, however are bringing a new meaning to the term “free baseball”, as they are opening the stadium up for a game that is free to the public. I’m certainly interested to see how it works out for them.

Minor Moves:

  • n/a.

Seattle Mariners

Transactions:

  • The Mariners called up Ariel Miranda to start on Tuesday and optioned Taylor MotterMotter was no longer needed following the activation of Nelson Cruzand would have had even more difficulty finding playing time following the return of Ben GamelMiranda was optioned back to Triple-A after Gamel was activated.
  • Mike Zunino has returned from the disabled list, and to make room, the M’s sent Mike Marjama back down to the minors. Zunino’s return will really boost the Mariners’ offense and could put them right into contention with the Angels and Astros.
  • Erasmo Ramirez is back for the M’s, which is a good thing, however they sent down Guillermo Heredia to make room despite a .310/.417/.552 line. Does Wade LeBlanc really deserve a roster spot more than Heredia?

Performance:

  • The Seattle Mariners took the series opener against the Astros on Monday night behind a very strong outing by James Paxtonin which he allowed one run over six innings. Nelson Cruz hit his third home run and Edwin Diaz converted his seventh save.
  • Ariel Miranda looked very good on Tuesday, going five innings allowing a single run.
  • Edwin Diaz allowed his first earned run on Saturday, but still got the save. His ERA now sits at 0.87.

Notes:

  • n/a.

Minor Moves:

  • The Seattle Mariners cut ties with 27-year old righty Pat Light on Tuesday. Once a rather solid prospect for the Red Sox, Light’s issues with control have hindered him. He spent last season between the Mariners’ and Pirates’ organization, posting a 4.58 ERA over 55 innings pitched walking as many batters as he struck out (34).
  • Also cut from the Mariners’ minor league system was lefty Joe Pistorese. The 25-year old reliever was in Double-A and had appeared in three games posting a 9.53 ERA. He’s coming off of a 3.65 ERA last season as a reliever.
  • The Mariners turned some of their excess international spending space into another minor leaguer on Sunday as they picked up righty Edwin Quezada (now #19) from the Diamondbacks. Quezada is actually very solid. He posted a 1.74 ERA in his first professional season in the Dominican Summer League. He’s a 21-year old reliever, which means that he could begin the season in stateside rookie league and could be up by the 2021 season if things go well.

Texas Rangers

Transactions:

  • Outfielder Ryan Rua was optioned to the minor leagues to make room for recent waiver claim Renato Nunez (#15), but was recalled the next day as Tony Barnette wound up back on the disabled list. I absolutely love the Nunez claim by the Rangers. He looks like a seven-hole hitter who can hit for very good power. My projections have him at .266/.319/.443 with 20 home runs over 372 plate appearances.
  • Unfortunately for Rua, his stay after another recall lasted four days, as he was the roster casualty when the Rangers recalled Jose Leclerc.
  • Delino DeShields is finally back with the Rangers after going down with a broken hamate bone, and not a day too soon as Carlos Tocci went down with a hip bruise.

Performance:

  • When I saw that the Rays were beating the Rangers 8-1 on Monday night, I knew immediately that Martin Perez was pitching. Perez now has a 13.14 ERA, and while ordinarily, I would have put some of the blame on the fact that half of the Rangers’ infield is injured, Perez’s ground ball percentage has dropped steadily in each of the past four seasons going from a fantastic 59.9% back in 2015 to a 41.0% in 2018, or a 31.55% decrease. Factor this in with the fact that he has lost two miles per hour on his fastball average from 2017 to 2018, and you have a legitimate reason for concern. I believe it would be in the Rangers best interest to take Perez out of the rotation when Doug Fister returns.
  • Matt Moore, on the other hand, had a very nice outing on Tuesday night against the Rays. He went seven innings and allowed one run, however it was unearned. Isiah Kiner-Falefa (#26) had a rather solid night as well, going 4-5.
  • Alex Claudio was lit up on Saturday night allowing four runs on four hits without recording an out. His ERA is now up to 8.10. I would imagine his roster spot is in jeopardy assuming the struggles continue.

Notes:

  • n/a.

Minor Moves

  • The Rangers added some additional catching depth on Monday when they acquired Tony Sanchez from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for cash considerations. This move simply allows the Rangers to assign Carlos Garay (#33) back down to Class A Advanced. Sanchez will split time with Cameron Rupp in Round Rock. As for Garay, he’s a defense first backstop who has shown the ability to make contact at the lower levels. Overall, he looks like depth at this point, based on his utter lack of power and average to below average on base skills, however if he can continue to make consistent contact, he could make it as a backup.
  • Paolo Espino and Steve Delabar were released from the Round Rock Express roster this week. Espino allowed ten earned runs in six innings while Delabar allowed five runs (three earned) over five and two thirds innings. He also walked five compared to three strikeouts.

Atlanta Braves

Transactions:

  • The Braves made a pretty significant signing on Wednesday, as they brought Jose Bautista in on a minor league contract. The veteran will report to the Braves extended spring training complex where he will take reps at third base for the time being. Bautista represents a nice, low-risk veteran signing. Bautista will make a pro-rated $1 million.
  • Chase Whitley was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday and immediately optioned to Triple-A. It had initially been reported that Whitely was out of minor league options, which means he either had to clear waivers, or had one unreported option year remaining, similar to Keon Broxton.
  • Jesse Biddle (#25) was recalled to the major leagues by the Braves after Jose Ramirez was placed on the disabled list, and is slated to make his major league debut. Biddle underwent Tommy John surgery and missed 2016, however posted a 2.90 ERA as a reliever in Atlanta. As for Ramirez, he struggled mightily over the first two weeks. This injury explains what was going on with him.
  • Anibal Sanchez was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Wednesday following a strained right hamstring. Sanchez had posted a very strong 1.29 ERA over 14 innings pitched. In a corresponding transaction, the Braves activated Johan Camargo from the disabled list.
  • The Braves made a curious move on Thursday, as they designated Lane Adamswho has posted a .793 OPS this season, to make room for Matt Wisler. While Wisler is already on the 40-man roster, Adams is out of minor league options.
  • Lucas Sims was optioned back to the minors on Friday to make room for Josh Ravin who was activated from the disabled list and designated for assignment the following day. Miguel Socolovich is back in the majors in his place.

Performance:

  • Julio Teheran came out on the winning side of a pitchers duel against Aaron Nola and the Phillies on Monday night, striking out nine over six innings. While Teheran’s season has been somewhat polar, he continues to show flashes of what he is capable of. It is whether or not he can succeed consistently that will determine whether or not he is a piece of the Braves’ future.
  • Mike Foltynewicz pitched very well against the Phillies on Tuesday night, allowing just one run over six innings, however was hit with the no decision after Jose Ramirez allowed four earned runs in the tenth inning.
  • Preston Tucker went off again on Thursday going 2-4 with a pair of doubles and five RBI’s. The DFA pick-up is now hitting .281 on the season.
  • In his season debut, Matt Wisler went seven strong innings allowing a single run allowing two hits striking out eight. He got the win, and could be in line to pick up another start.

Notes:

  • n/a.

Minor Moves:

  • Luke Jackson cleared waivers and was sent outright to Triple-A.

Miami Marlins

Transactions:

  • J.T. Realmuto was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday, and Chad Wallach (#27) was optioned to Triple-A. Wallach struggled with the Marlins slashing just .129/.182/.161 with 17 strikeouts in 34 plate appearances, good for exactly 50%. We should see him again if Realmuto is traded in the near future.
  • Chris O’Grady hit the disabled list on Thursday opening the door for pitching prospect Merandy Gonzalez (#6) to be recalled to the majors. The fish acquired Gonzalez in the AJ Ramos trade last summer and he pitched very well down the stretch. His fastball is solid and he has a very nice curve.
  • Odrisamer Despaigne also hit the disabled list this week and Nick Wittgren was recalled to take his place. It is being classified as a right forearm strain, which is a bit scary. Hopefully it’s not an issue requiring Tommy John.

Performance:

  • Caleb Smith (#41) and Tyler Cloyd were pounded for 11 runs over five and two thirds innings at the hands of the Yankees on Monday night. Cloyd left the game with a 12.46 ERA while Smith’s was 6.89.
  • Jarlin Garcia, however, looked very solid against the Yankees on Tuesday allowing just one hit over five innings while lowering his ERA to 0.86. He’s going to need to watch the control, however, as he walked five guys next to just two strikeouts.
  • J.T. Realmuto returned in grand fashion going 2-4 with a home run and four RBIs on the night. He should be a hot name on the trade market this summer.
  • Junichi Tazawa finally showed that he is human, as he allowed six earned runs over two thirds of an inning against the Milwaukee Brewers. His ERA ballooned from 1.69 to 6.35.
  • Lewis Brinson (#1) had a great day on Thursday as he hit two home runs and three RBI’s. While he has struggled in his first go round in the majors, he still has more potential than most.

Notes:

Minor Moves:

New York Mets

Transactions:

  • Hansel Robles was optioned to the minor leagues on Tuesday, while Gerson Bautista (#21) was recalled. Robles actually had pitched very well for the Mets over eight innings allowing just one run while striking out 13 to just one walk. As for Bautista, he has a very high ceiling, however like many hard throwing relievers, he struggles with his control. He was acquired in the Addison Reed deal from last season and looks like a set-up man to me. Bautista was sent down later in the week to make room for Corey Oswalt (#20).
  • The Mets brought in Vance Worley and Scott Copeland on minor league deals on Thursday and released A.J. GriffinBoth players will be assigned to Triple-A Las Vegas and will serve as minor league depth.

Performance:

  • While the bullpen wasn’t able to hold up for him, Jacob deGrom was solid on Monday against the Nationals as he struck 12 batters out over seven and one third innings. While he allowed three runs, two of the three scored as inherited runners on Seth LugoHe was even better on Saturday night striking out ten over seven without allowing a single run.
  • Zack Wheeler took the loss on Tuesday, he pitched rather well, allowing three runs over six innings, while going 2-2 at the plate.
  • Matt Harvey was blasted on Thursday allowing six runs over six innings. His ERA is now up to 6.00, as his value continues to plummet. I don’t think he’s around for too much longer.
  • Jeurys Familia has had a fantastic season, despite a blown save on Saturday night. He carries a very strong 1.50 ERA with eight saves.

Notes:

  • While they may be second to the Seattle Mariners, the New York Mets have had terrible luck with injuries over the past few seasons, and that poor fortune followed them into 2018, as both of their main catchers: Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki both got hurt within a week of each other. While the Mets currently have internal options Jose Lobaton and Tomas Nido (#12) holding down the fort for the time being, the situation has caused the first legitimate trade speculation of the 2018 season, with Wilson Ramos of the Rays, and J.T. Realmuto of the Marlins coming up as the most frequent candidates. If I were Sandy Alderson, however, I would look to the free agent market. At this time, there are a lot of very solid options remaining on the market including Geovany Soto, Miguel Montero and Carlos RuizAnother important incentive in signing either Ruiz or Montero is that both veteran catchers have caught world series winners. The Mets have been very good in the early going, and could benefit in adding either one of those two, as they wouldn’t just help offensively, they would help the young pitchers get through the long and grueling season. A low profile signing like that could go down as one of the most essential moves of the season.

Minor Moves:

  • The Mets released their ninth round selection from last season Cannon ChadwickThe 23 year old righty posted a 1.33 ERA last season with 40 strikeouts and 14 walks over 27 innings. A curious decision, he seems likely to be picked up by another team.

Philadelphia Phillies

Transactions:

  • Tommy Hunter was activated from the disabled list, while Hoby Milner was sent back down. Milner looked pretty good in his month with the organization and should be back soon.

Performance:

  • The Phillies’ six-game win streak ended on Monday night in a pitchers duel with the Braves. Aaron Nola turned in another fantastic outing allowing just two runs and four hits over six innings, and Odubel Herrera (.340 batting average) and Rhys Hoskins  (.341 batting average) continued to find success, with Hoskins reaching base four times, and Herrera accounting for the only run scored by the Phillies.
  • Nick Pivetta looked outstanding once again on Tuesday night, holding the Braves to one run over five innings. His ERA has dropped to 2.49.
  • Jake Arrieta looked outstanding as well blanking the Pirates over seven innings. He struck out ten batters in the process lowering his ERA to 2.04.

Notes:

  • n/a.

Minor Moves

  • n/a.

Washington Nationals

Transactions:

  • Right-handed pitcher Jeremy Hellickson was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse. In corresponding moves, catcher Jhonatan Solano was placed on the 60-day disabled list, while Trevor Gott was optioned to Triple-A. As for A.J. Colehe was designated for assignment on Friday following the call-up of veteran reliever Carlos TorresTorres was signed at the end of spring training as a minor league free agent and will work in middle relief. Luckily for Gott, he was back in Washington on Saturday after Matt Grace went down with a groin strain.
  • Brian Goodwin landed on the disabled list on Tuesday and was replaced by Andrew Stevenson (#11). While Stevenson may be a bench guy on a strong team like the Nationals, he has an excellent reputation in the clubhouse and seems destined to be a fan favorite.
  • Anthony Rendonwho has been out of action for over a week with a toe injury, went to the disabled list and Austin Adams joined the bullpen.

Performance:

  • Jeremy Hellickson didn’t look half bad in his 2018 debut against the Mets, as he allowed two runs over four and two thirds innings, however, it was Bryce Harper who stole the show once again with his major league leading eighth home run.
  • Trea Turner had a big night on Tuesday as he went 3-4 with a pair of doubles and a stolen base.
  • While Tanner Roark pitched seven innings of two run ball, Ryan Madson allowed six earned runs over two-thirds of an inning, en-route to an 11-5 loss to the Mets. Ryan Zimmermanhowever, managed to hit two home runs and a triple.
  • Max Scherzer bested Clayton Kershaw on Friday night, going six innings allowing a run, while striking out eight. His ERA is now 1.36.
  • Michael Taylor had himself a very good day on Sunday as he got on base all four times including his first home run.

Notes:

  • n/a.

Minor Moves:

  • n/a.

Chicago Cubs

Transactions:

  • Anthony Rizzo is back with the Cubs! In a corresponding moves Efren Navarro was optioned to the minor leagues. Navarro went 1-6 in his brief time with the Cubs.
  • Eddie Butler wound up on the disabled list on Friday, and Luke Farrell (#32) was recalled from Triple-A.
  • David Bote (#39) joined the major league roster to replace Ben Zobrist who landed on the disabled list.

Performance

  • Javier Baez has been outstanding this season. He has hit six home runs, four doubles, and 20 RBIs and has a 1.113 OPS.
  • The Cubs pen has looked outstanding this season. Brandon Morrow and Brian Duensing have not allowed a single run, while Steve Cishek and Carl Edwards Jr. both have ERA’s below 1.2.
  • Rizzo had a three hit game on Thursday, that included a walk and an RBI. Hopefully his early struggles were a result of the injury.
  • Yu Darvish took yet another beating on Saturday night as he allowed five runs over four and two thirds innings. He walked four compared to four strikeouts and now has a 6.86 ERA.

Notes:

  • n/a.

Minor Moves:

  • n/a.

Cincinnati Reds

Transactions:

  • The Reds came away with a very nice return for Ariel Hernandez (Formerly #33). The Dodgers sent over first baseman Ibandel Isabel (#24) and Zach NealWhile Neal is really just a depth piece, Isabel could be a very strong major leaguer. I really like the power, as he hit 28 homers over 122 games (492 plate appearances) last season in Class High-A, and could be a solid option in left field for the Reds by 2020.
  • The Reds activated outfielder Scott Schebler off of the disabled list on Friday and optioned Cody Reed to the minors.

Performance:

  • Young reliever Wandy Peralta completed his ninth scoreless relief outing on Wednesday afternoon against the Milwaukee Brewers. One thing to note, however, is that he has walked more guys than he has struck out (10:9). While his peripherals suggest some regression is on the way, it’s an interesting story to follow.

Notes:

  • The Reds fired manager Bryan Price and pitching coach Mack Jenkins on Thursday. Jim Riggleman will be the interim manager, Louisville manager Pat Kelly was called up to be the Reds bench coach and Pensacola pitching coach Danny Darwin joined the major league staff as well. The Reds have gone 3-15 with a (-46) run differential, both dead last in the major leagues.

Minor Moves:

  • The Reds shipped Tony Sanchez to the Texas Rangers in exchange for cash considerations. Tony Cruz and Stuart Turner will handle the catching duties down in Louisville for the time being.
  • Reds prospect Phil Ervin graduated as a prospect this week. He had rated 24th in my listings as I see him as a fourth outfielder long term.

Milwaukee Brewers

Transactions:

  • The Brewers acquired utility player Tyler Saladino from the White Sox on Thursday in exchange for cash. The roster casualty was Alec Asher, who had been acquired off of waivers earlier in the week from the Dodgers. Saladino only saw eight plate appearances with the White Sox this season, and picked up two hits. He will serve as infield and outfield depth.
  • Catcher Manny Pina hit the disabled list with a right calf strain on Monday and was replaced on the roster by Jacob Nottingham (#26). The 23-year old reminds me of an Erik Kratz type back-up with a higher ceiling, based on his age. The power is real, however I question his hit tool. Jett Bandy will see most of the starts in Pina’s absence.
  • Right-handed pitcher J.J. Hoover elected to become a free agent after he cleared waivers over the weekend. Hoover allowed three runs in one and one third innings last week before being designated for assignment.
  • Christian Yelich is back from the disabled list and will provide a much needed boost to the Brewers offense. Jorge Lopez (#14) was optioned to the minor leagues in a corresponding move.

Performance:

  • Jake Nottingham walked twice in his debut and scored a run in what was a losing effort against the division rival Cincinnati Reds.
  • Oliver Drake was blasted for six runs over one inning of relief and saw his ERA spike to 7.00, which is insane to me. There is no reason a manager should leave his reliever out there when he’s getting hit that hard. Drake should have been removed after the Billy Hamilton RBI single. While Drake has not been very good this season, at least in terms of peripheral numbers, an outing like that inflates his ERA and deflates his confidence. The same applies for Junichi Tazawa and Mike Wright.
  • Over the first two weeks of the season, the Brewers have seen two relievers hit doubles. Jorge Lopez (#14) joined Dan Jennings on Monday night with a double against Luis Castillo.
  • Junior Guerra looked great again on Tuesday night, as he held the Reds to a single hit over five and two thirds innings. He struck seven out in the process and now carries a very solid 0.82 ERA.
  • Eric Thames hit his sixth home run of the season on Tuesday night, and his seventh the next day. Thames started off hot last season as well, so it will be interested to see how he progresses through the season.
  • Zach Davies went six and a third scoreless against the Reds on Wednesday afternoon. It was a much needed rebound start that brought his ERA down to 4.84.
  • Jesus Aguilar and Lorenzo Cain each had three hits on Thursday. While both had two doubles, Cain also hit his second home run.
  • Jhoulys Chacin spun six shutout innings against the Marlins on Friday night. While it was the Marlins, it was nonetheless a good sign for the pitching hungry Brewers.

Notes:

  • n/a.

Minor Moves:

  • n/a.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Transactions:

  • The Pirates offense was hit with a big loss on Monday as it was announced that Josh Harrison will miss four to six weeks with a fractured pinkie after being hit by a pitch thrown from Jose Urena. The roster spot will be used to accommodate left-handed pitcher Enny Romero. Sean Rodriguez, and Adam Frazier will split the at bats at second for the time being. The Pirates also announced that Dovydas Neverauskas (#16) was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday after posting a 10.80 ERA over seven relief appearances. While he should be back up in relatively short order, infielder Max Moroff was recalled from Triple-A to serve as depth following the Harrison injury.

Performance:

  • Corey Dickerson has been among the best players in the major leagues this season, and while nobody is expecting him to maintain his .358/.386/.585 slash line, he entered play on Monday with a BABip of .391. Essentially what that means is, even if Dickerson’s BABip plummeted to the league average .300, he would still be hitting .267/.295/.494 (numbers found by subtracting .091 from each average). Overall, that puts him at a .789 OPS, which is 5.2% higher than the league average .750. If Dickerson were to increase his walk rate from 3.5% to a still below average, but better 5% (or going from 2 walks to 2.85 walks, it would increase his current on base percentage from .386 to .401, and his on base percentage with a normalized BABip to .310, making his OPS .804. As I have said before, he has the potential to be one of the best hitters in the league, but needs to work on the discipline.

Notes:

  • n/a.

Minor Moves:

  • The Pirates cut ties with outfielder Kevin Krause. This is a surprising decision as Krause, a ninth round pick back in 2014, has a career .273/.377/.453. He should link on with another team.

St. Louis Cardinals

Transactions:

  • Infielder Jedd Gyorko and right-handed pitcher Luke Gregerson were activated from the 10-day disabled list, and in corresponding moves, infielder Yairo Munoz (#14) and right-handed pitcher Mike Mayers (#32) to Triple-A Memphis. While Munoz had an excellent spring, and looks like a piece for the future, he really struggled going just 2-for-20 over his brief time with the major league club. Adding Gyorko back into the line-up will be a major boost, while Gregerson will provide some much needed assistance in the pen.
  • Greg Holland was lit up again on Tuesday night allowing two runs on a home run without recording an out. His ERA is now up to 11.57, and he threw nine of his 16 pitches for balls.
  • Tyler O’Neill (#10) was promoted by the Cardinals on Wednesday and reliever John Brebbia was optioned to Triple-A Memphis. O’Neil has hit very well in the early going for the Memphis Redbirds and has exhibited a substantial amount of power throughout his career. I expect O’Neil to be the future four hitter for the Cardinals and looks like a guy who can hit 35 to 40 home runs a year despite his risk of hitting for a very low average, based on strikeout issues. As for Brebbia, it is certainly a bit surprising to see him optioned to the minor leagues. The 27-year old was one of the best relievers in the Cardinals pen last season. He has always exhibited strong control and posted a career 2.35 ERA over 53 plus innings. He should be back up soon.
  • Adam Wainwright was placed on the disabled list on Sunday and John Brebbia returned to the Cardinals bullpen.

Performance:

  • Michael Wacha had a very nice start on Friday night as he went six and two third innings while allowing a single run. Wacha’s ERA is now 4.22, although he has three wins on the season.
  • Jose Martinez had a very good night on Friday night, as he went 3-5 with a double, a run and an RBI. Overall, he is hitting .358/.443/.567 with ten walks to just eight strikeouts. It is time he started getting some notoriety.

Notes:

  • n/a.

Minor Moves:

  • n/a.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Transactions:

  • Brian Ellington signed a minor league contract with the Diamondbacks on Friday. The Marlins cut ties with him last month, and while he is still rehabbing from a bicep injury, he could be a good option down the stretch.
  • The Diamondbacks got some horrible news on Wednesday, as Taijuan Walker will undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss the remainder of the 2018 season. Walker had been pitching very well through the first few weeks of the season, posting a 3.46 ERA through his first three starts. The Snakes, however, are fortunate to have such a strong rotation including Patrick Corbin, Zack Godley, Zack Greinke, and Robbie Ray.
  • Pitching in place of Walker, Matt Koch earned the call on Friday.

Performance:

  • Patrick Corbin pitched like an ace on Monday evening throwing a complete game shutout against the Giants allowing just one hit and one walk.
  • Paul Goldschmidt got on base four times on Sunday including two walks and two hits. Both were singles. His OPS has reached .998 after a slow start.

Notes:

  • n/a.

Minor Moves:

  • The Diamondbacks released lefty reliever Anfernee Benitez from Class A on Tuesday. The 22-year old has struggled with his control throughout his career and will look to latch on with a new organization.
  • The Diamondbacks traded Tyler Pill to the Dodgers for cash.

Colorado Rockies

Transactions:

Performance:

  • While I didn’t love the Charlie Blackmon extension, he has done everything that he can to make the Rockies feel good about their decision in the immediate aftermath. Blackmon hit his seventh home run on Monday night, while boosting his OPS to an insane 1.181. As an even more encouraging sign, the 31 year old outfielder has increased his walk rate by nearly 50% and has been posting his batting line despite a BABip more than 30 points lower.
  • Chad Bettis has looked great thus far in 2018. He held the Pirates to five hits over seven and one third innings, lowering his ERA to 1.44.
  • The Rockies may have to make a difficult decision on Jon Gray in the near future. Gray allowed seven runs (five earned) over five innings on Friday and holds a 6.75 ERA.

Notes

  • n/a.

Minor Moves

  • n/a.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Transactions:

  • The Dodgers made their fair share of roster moves on Tuesday. The most notable was the acquisition of Ariel Hernandez (#41) from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for Ibandel Isabel (formerly #21) and Zach NealThey also called up Max Muncy from Triple-A and optioned Breyvic Valera (#27).  Alec Asher was lost on waivers to the Milwaukee Brewers to clear a roster spot. Muncy spent last season in the Dodgers’ minor league system as well and posted a very solid .309/.414/.491 line in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League. He brings with him rather solid power and very strong plate discipline, however has never been able to hit for enough average in the majors. He will function as depth off of the bench. Valera wasn’t really given much of a shot, as he went just 0-1 with a walk over two games in the majors. He should be back up in short order. Personally, I’m not very high on Ariel HernandezHe can throw 100 miles per hour, but so could Henry Rodriguez. He has absolutely no control with a career minor league walk rate of 6.6/9. I don’t like the trade from the Dodgers’ perspective as I am very high on Isabel.
  • The Dodgers placed Rich Hill on the disabled list with inflammation in his right middle finger and recalled lefty Adam Liberatore from Triple-A. Hill allowed seven runs in his latest start, and with the announcement of the injury, it is easy to understand why he struggled. It is unknown how long Hill will be on the shelf for.

Performance:

  • Yasmani Grandal had a very nice game on Monday hitting his third home run, as well as a double, while driving in five of the Dodgers nine runs.
  • We can all agree that Alex Wood‘s poor outing last week was a fluke, as he pitched five and one third innings of two hit ball, allowing one unearned run and striking out seven.
  • The Dodgers crushed the Padres on Wednesday night, as Corey Seager went four for five, Max Muncy hit a home run, and Chase Utley hit another double and drove in two more runs.
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu went seven scoreless striking out eight and lowering his ERA to 1.99 against the Nationals. He allowed two hits and walked three.

Notes:

  • Beverly Hills Sports Council will represent Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig following his release from his former agency, Wasserman. While Puig will not become a free agent until after the 2019 season, this is a rather notable announcement, as Puig looks like an interesting case in free agency. While his results have typically been rather solid, the big question for front offices will be whether or not they believe his success on the field is worth both the money and issues off the field and in the clubhouse.

Minor Moves:

  • The Dodgers made a minor trade with the Diamondbacks earlier this week as they acquired right-handed pitcher Tyler Pill (now ranked #50) in exchange for cash. Pill was assigned to Double-A Tulsa.

San Diego Padres

Transactions:

  • The San Diego Padres optioned Kyle McGrath (#38) to Triple-A El Paso and recalled Tyler Webb (#37). 
  • Webb didn’t remain in the majors for long, however, as he was optioned back to Triple-A to make room for Wil Myers who was activated from the disabled list on Friday.
  • Following his implosion against the Dodgers, Luis Perdomo was optioned to Triple-A to make room for Kirby Yates who was activated from the disabled list. I wouldn’t imagine Perdomo remains in the minors for too long.
  • Manuel Margot returned from his brawl-starting injury on Sunday. He missed just ten days. Hunter Renfroe hit the disabled list in a corresponding move.

Performance:

  • Robbie Erlin struggled on Monday night allowing six runs (four earned) over three innings against the Dodgers. Kazuhisa Makita (#25) also struggled mightily allowing four runs over one inning.
  • Luis Perdomo’s return from his suspension did not go very well, as he allowed nine runs (seven earned) against the Dodgers over three innings.
  • Tyson Ross was outstanding on Friday, as he had a no-hitter into the eighth. Overall, he went seven and two thirds innings, allowed one hit, one earned run, three walks and fanned ten batters. The Padres won 4-1.
  • Franchy Cordero had a great day on Saturday, reaching base three times with a double.

Notes:

  • n/a.

Minor Moves:

  • n/a.

San Francisco Giants

Transactions:

  • Johnny Cueto was re-activated by the Giants on Tuesday.
  • The Giants called up Mac Williamson after Hunter Pence landed on the disabled list with a thumb sprain. Pence has seen his fair share of injuries over the past year.

Performance:

  • Johnny Cueto wanted to make sure that everybody knew that he was back. Over seven innings, Cueto allowed just two hits, while striking out 11 with no walks. Just in case anybody forgot over the course of the week, Cueto threw another shutout on Sunday dropping his ERA to 0.35.
  • Chris Stratton had a great start on Wednesday night going seven innings striking out eight with zero walks. He allowed a single run.
  • Jeff Samardzija had a great season debut, as he went five scoreless allowing just two hits. While he walked four, it’s understandable, as he hasn’t pitched in a few months. It was an encouraging sign for the veteran starter.

Notes:

  • n/a.

Minor Moves:

  • n/a.

Indy Ball

Atlantic League

  • The Sugar Land Skeeters brought in catcher Derek Norris and left-handed pitcher Hunter Cervenka. Norris was in camp with the Detroit Tigers where he slashed a rather impressive .412/.444/.647 over 13 games. He shouldn’t be without a major league club for long. As for Cervenka, he was released by the Marlins in March and quickly caught on with the Orioles, who cut him loose a few weeks later.
  • The Road Warriors also brought in a former big league catcher in A.J. Jimenez. Jimenez saw 13 plate appearances with the Rangers last season and slashed .083/.083/.083.
  • The Lancaster Barnstormers brought in former Braves third base prospect Joey TerdoslavichWhile he has always been known for his power, Terdoslavich has had question marks surrounding his defense throughout his career.
  • The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs signed former Pirates starter Brandon CumptonCumpton posted a 4.02 ERA in just over 100 innings pitched in the major leagues between 2013 and 2014.

Can-Am League

  • The New Jersey Jackals just brought in infielder Carlos TriunfelTriunfel was a top-100 prospect back in 2008 and 2009, but hasn’t played in affiliated ball since 2016, as he played with the York Revolution of the Atlantic League last season. He slashed a pedestrian .271/.314/.427 over 239 plate appearances.

American Association

  • The St. Paul Saints brought in a pair of relatively notable names in catcher Justin O’Connor and lefty Jake EschO’Connor had been a first round pick back in 2010 by the Rays, and ranked among the league top-100 before 2015, however saw his career stalled by injuries. Esch spent the majority of his career with the Miami Marlins, however was claimed off of waivers by the San Diego Padres prior to the 2017 season.
  • The Kansas City T-Bones signed former Twins outfield prospect Adam Brett Walker to a minor league contract. The kid has no doubt power, but has never been able to make consistent contact.
  • The Sioux City Explorers signed the Braves second round pick in 2013, Andrew ThurmanThurman posted a 5.11 ERA over 364 innings pitched in the minor leagues.

Mexican League

  • The Acereros del Norte released former first overall pick Delmon Young and signed center fielder Yefri Perez earlier this week. Young hasn’t played in the major leagues since 2016 with the Baltimore Orioles.

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