Crash Course: Weekly Round-Up for April 23-April 29

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Welcome to another edition of Crash Course. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask them in the comment section! Here is your chance to get caught up on everything that happened this week.

Baltimore Orioles

Transactions:

  • Jace Peterson was claimed off of waivers from the New York Yankees.
  • The O’s placed Tim Beckham on the 10-day disabled list, and Gabriel Ynoa on the 60-day disabled list.
  • Tanner Scott (#2) was optioned back to the minor leagues on Saturday to make room for outfielder Joey Rickard who was recalled from Triple-A. Rickard was sent back to the minors the next day to make room for Mark Trumbo who will be activated from the disabled list on Monday.

Performance:

  • Manny Machado had a huge week. Over his past seven days (beginning last Sunday), he hit .435/.500/.826 with three home runs. He is now up to nine home runs and sports an insane 1.117 OPS. The most impressive thing about his season, however, is his improved plate discipline. Last season, he posted an isolated on base percentage of .051. This season, however, it is .080 early on.
  • Recent acquisition Jace Peterson hit .214/.353/.357 over his first four games with the Orioles.
  • The rotation was polar this week. While Kevin Gausman threw eight innings of two run ball (and an immaculate inning) and Chris Tillman threw seven innings allowing a single hit, Dylan Bundy, Andrew Cashner, and Alex Cobb all struggled.

Minor Moves:

  • N/A.

Notes:

  • Tim Beckham underwent surgery on his core muscles and is expected to be sidelined for about six weeks. Danny Valencia will see the lion’s share of playing time at third in his absence. While his bottom line numbers have been rough, he has shown improvement over the past few days. At the very least, he’s a name to keep an eye on, as he could turn into something of an inexpensive deadline chip.

Boston Red Sox

Transactions:

Performance:

  • Rick Porcello had a rather nice start this week, as he went seven innings allowing three runs. He struck out nine next to three walks.
  • It’s a shame Brock Holt went down when he did, as he had hit .615/.615/.923 over his last four games. Xander Bogaertshowever, certainly picked up the slack in his first two games back, as he hit .500/.444/.625.

Minor Moves:

  • N/A.

Notes:

  • While the Sox have been absolutely outstanding as a whole this season, Blake Swihart has been rather horrible. Luckily, the Sox have been playing well enough where that extra roster spot doesn’t really matter as much, however I wonder how long his leash is.
  • Esteban Quiroz (#17) remains a player who I urge you to keep an eye on. Through his first 15 games in affiliated ball, the 5’7″ second baseman has hit .302/.413/.604 with four home runs and an 8:10 walk to strikeout ratio.
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New York Yankees

Transactions:

  • A.J. Cole was acquired from the Washington Nationals in exchange for cash.
  • David Hale and Jace Peterson were both lost on waivers.

Performance:

  • Offensively, the Yankees had an outstanding week. Didi Gregorius takes the cake, however, as he hit .407/.452/1.00 with five home runs over a seven-day period, putting his total for the year up to ten.
  • Gary Sanchez also was able to hit three this week, bringing his season total to six.
  • The kids were encouraging as well this week, as Gleyber Torres hit a decent .296/.321/.370 to start his career off, while fellow rookie Miguel Andujar slashed .414/.414/.759 with seven doubles.
  • A.J. Cole limited the damage in his first outing for the Yankees, as he pitched two scoreless. He did, however, allow four hits, which is a bit concerning.

Minor Moves:

  • N/A.

Notes:

  • Neil Walker has been horrible this season, and I don’t think the Yankees should wait too long to make a move. Tyler Austin is the everyday guy at this point, and they should recall Mike Ford to be the next guy in line. Ford has hit .276/.349/.421 through his first 20 games in the minors this season.
  • At the very least, Ford should be a very nice secondary trade chip in the Yankees pursuit of a pitcher this summer. I think Kelvin Herrera would be a very nice fit. In a pure guess, Albert Abreu (#6), Mike Ford (#17) and Rashad Crawford (#35) could be a decent deal. Abreu has the ceiling of a three, but he also carries Wily Peralta risk, in that he has the stuff to be an ace, but struggles with control. I would imagine that he has about a year and a half of remaining development. The Royals have Lucas Duda manning first base at this point, however, he’s not a long-term option and could very well be traded this summer. Ford would give the Royals another option at first. Crawford is an underrated outfield prospect with a high floor and a slightly lower ceiling. I compare him to Ezequiel Carrera. While he’s not a piece that would make a deal, he’s the type of player who is essential in a rebuild, as he can do a respectable job eating up some at bats, and giving prospects time to develop.

Tampa Bay Rays

Transactions:

Performance:

  • Blake Snell continued his breakout season pitching seven plus innings of two run ball this week. He walked just one and struck out nine.
  • Yonny Chirinos scuffled on Saturday against, Boston, however looked rather solid against Minnesota. All in all, he’s having a very promising rookie season.
  • In his first major league appearance since 2012, Venters managed to get the only batter that he faced out.
  • Offensively, Joey Wendle and Daniel Robertson each continued their strong starts to the season. They went a combined 17-31 (.548) this week.

Minor Moves:

  • N/A.

Notes:

  • Joey Wendle and Daniel Robertson have each gotten off to outstanding starts for the Rays. While both will almost certainly come back down to earth due to the fact that both of their BABIPs are insane (.420 for Wendle, .425 for Robertson), I don’t think they both totally fall off. Both have shown improvements to their approaches at the plate, both walking more than ever.
  • I believe Robertson turns out to be the every day second baseman for the future Rays, however based on the fact that Wendle is 28 years old, could be a decent trade chip. As I said about Wendle last month, he has sneaky tools that were overlooked in Oakland, and while he’s never going to continue the production that he has shown this season, a regular who hits .265/.340/.410 with about 15 doubles and 7-10 home runs a season does’t seem that crazy to me. While he’s not going to get a ton back via trade, they would still be getting a positive return on him, seeing as how they gave up Jonah Heim for him. Using the Dodgers as an example, just based on the lack of second base prospects in the system, I could see a deal for a C+ type prospect like a Josh Sborz (#19 LAD) with a lottery ticket rookie-leaguer. As with the Herrera deal, it’s just a speculative guess.

Toronto Blue Jays

Transactions:

  • Tim Mayza (#35) was recalled from Triple-A after John Axford was placed on the bereavement list, however was sent back down when he returned.
  • Devon Travis was optioned back to the minor leagues after he hit just .148/.212/.246. Carlos Ramirez was recalled from the minor leagues and will serve as a middle reliever. Lourdes Gurriel should take most of the at bats at second.

Performance:

  • Kevin Pillar and Justin Smoak each had very strong weeks going a combined 15-43 with five doubles, a triple, and three home runs.
  • Curtis Granderson has continued to look like a major bargain, as he is slashing .317/.423/.567 with three home runs.
  • Axford missed some time this week, however pitched four scoreless innings walking just one while striking out five.

Minor Moves:

  • Chad Girodo was released from Triple-A. Girodo, 27, was drafted back in 2013 and has been solid, albeit unspectacular in Triple-A over the past few seasons. He should get picked up to serve as minor league relief depth at some point. He’s a taxi guy, in my opinion.

Notes:

  • At this point, the Jays are still right in the mix for a wild card spot, which will make which direction the Jays want to take this summer, a difficult decision. At this point, I don’t believe the Jays are built for a long playoff run. The pitching as a whole has struggled, as has the middle infield. I believe it would cost a lot, in terms of prospects, to fortify the roster enough to legitimately compete with some of the AL’s best teams such as the Astros, Angels, Red Sox, and Yankees in high stakes games. Based on the fact that the Jays have a collection of very solid prospects that are very close to major-league ready, I would rather be able to compete with the big teams for six to ten years following this season, than go for a Wild Card this season.
  • To be clear, I am not in favor of a complete tear down for the Jays. I would only trade impending free agents, and would only stray from that model if I received an offer that I couldn’t refuse for a guy like Marcus StromanEven if we isolated the Jays trade chips to impending free agents, they could make their already strong farm system elite, as Josh Donaldson, J.A. Happ, Curtis Granderson, Jaime Garcia, Tyler Clippard, John Axford, and Marcos Estrada all fall into that category. If that Jays want to seriously give teams like Boston, New York, Houston, Chicago, and Oakland runs for their money over the next decade, this would be the right baseball decision.

Chicago White Sox

Transactions:

Performance:

  • Carson Fulmer had two very nice starts this week, allowing two runs over 13 innings. One thing to note, however, was that he walked four compared to just six strikeouts. He got the job doe this week, however I’m still not very high on him.
  • Offensively, the Sox have seen a lot of good things from Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson, and Matt Davidson through the first month. The Sox aren’t there yet, but this is just foreshadowing how outstanding this team is about to be.
  •  Daniel Palka (#19) also made a rather solid first impression this week hitting .308/.308/.615. My scouting report on him: “Recently acquired off of waivers from Minnesota, Palka is pretty much major league ready and can be a 20-home run guy for the Sox in a platoon capacity. He could have a huge impact in 2018.”

Minor Moves:

  • The White Sox signed Spencer Moran (#43) and Drew Weston (#38) to minor league contracts and acquired Todd Cunningham from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for future considerations. All of these guys are really depth additions for the time being. Cunningham is an emergency call-up outfielder, who isn’t considered a prospect anymore, but here are my scouting reports on Moran and Weston.
  • Moran: “Moran looks like a guy who will climb to Triple-A based on his ability to limit the damage, however probably won’t be anything more than an emergency call-up based on his lack of stuff. Weston: “Weston has excellent control and as a lefty could make it to the bigs simply based on that fact. It really all depends on how the White Sox feel about him, however there have been similar players who have made it to the majors rather quickly.”

Notes:

  • Bruce Rondon has posted some rough bottom line numbers through the first month of the season as he has posted a 6.23 ERA over 8.2 innings pitched with six walks, however, he actually hasn’t been that bad. First of all, subtract the 0.1 inning outing and his ERA is 2.16, and his velocity has jumped up a full tick from 97.3 to 98.2. He’s still a guy who you should keep an eye on in ChiTown.

Cleveland Indians

Transactions:

  • The Indians signed Melky Cabrera to a minor league contract worth the pro-rated version of $1,000,000, with an additional $1,000,000 in incentives based on plate appearances, and a June 1st opt-out date.
  • Jeff Beliveau was recalled to replace Andrew Miller,who landed on the disabled list. Jack Leathersich (#35) was designated for assignment in a corresponding move.

Performance:

  • Yonder Alonso had a nice week this week hitting four home runs with a .308/.296/.808 line. Michael Brantley also continued his solid start, hitting .375/.360/.667. The plate discipline, however, has to improve from the team as a whole. Of all Indians batters who saw more than 15 plate appearances, only Francisco Lindor walked more than twice.

Minor Moves:

  • The Tribe cut ties with outfielder Taylor Murphy from Double-A. The 25-year old was an 18th round pick back in 2014, and slashed a career .257/.359/.391, while showing very little in terms of tools. He should catch on elsewhere as a depth option, however  I don’t know if he ever makes it to the majors.

Notes:

  • The Indians losing Andrew Miller may have been the worst possible thing that could have happened to the club this season, as Miller had pitched ten scoreless innings with 17 strikeouts and four walks. While it’s not a major issue (hamstring strain), any time without Miller is obviously not ideal.
  • Miller’s contract will expire at season’s end, and despite the fact that he’s going to be 34 years old next season, he seems likely to get a huge deal, as he has been one of the best pitchers in the game since 2012 with peripherals that support him being able to continue for the time being. It will be an interesting situation to follow.

Detroit Tigers

Transactions:

  • Johnny Barbato was recalled to replace Mike Gerber (#7), who had just been recalled on Monday.
  • Drew VerHagen cleared waivers and was sent outright to Triple-A.
  • Artie Lewicki (#23) was recalled as the 26th man for the double-header against the Pirates this week.
  • Daniel Norris will be placed on the disabled list this coming Monday, and Chad Bell was recalled from Triple-A. He will serve as middle relief depth.

Performance:

  • Miguel Cabrera has had himself a very nice bounce-back season, which has trickled down to Nicholas Castellanos and Jeimer Candelariowho now have that additional protection in the line-up.
    • Cabrera this season: .333/.422/.540 with a 14:16 BB:K ratio and 12 extra base hits.
    • Castellanos: .320/.369/.466 with nine extra base hits.
    • Candelario: .270/.348/.510 with 13 extra base hits
  • Michael Fulmer had a vry nice start this week, going six scoreless with one walk to nine strikeouts.

Minor Moves:

  • N/A.

Notes:

  • N/A.

Kansas City Royals

Transactions:

  • In a flurry of roster moves, Salvador Perez and Alex Gordon were activated from the disabled list and Eric Stout (#21) was recalled from Triple-A. In corresponding moves, Cam Gallagher and Paulo Orlando were optioned to Triple-A and Justin Grimm was placed on the disabled list.
  • In preparation for Saturday’s double-header against the White Sox, the Royals called up Trevor Oaks (#15) and Scott Barlow (#13) from Triple-A and optioned Stout (#21) back down to Triple-A.

Performance

  • Oaks (#15) and Stout (#21) all got their first cracks at the bigs this week. Oaks, who started one of the games of the double-header against the White Sox, went five innings and allowed five earned runs with 12 hits. Stout pitched two innings and allowed three earned runs.
  • Alex Gordon looked a bit better since he returned from the disabled list this week, as he hit .348/.400/.435 while Salvador Perez homered in his first game back, despite struggling a bit to a .240/.269/.440 line.
  • Kelvin Herrera remains unscored upon this season through 11 games. He has racked up five saves in that time.

Minor Moves

  • N/A.

Notes

  • Jorge Soler has had himself a nice breakout season, slashing a rather solid .296/.433/.465 showing a much improved approach at the plate, as he has already walked five more times than he did through last season (in a 35 game sample size).

Minnesota Twins

Transactions:

  • The Twins did their fair share of bullpen shuffling, as they acquired David Hale off of waivers from the Yankees, and recalled Tyler DuffeyTo make room for them, Alan Busenitz was optioned to the minors and Tyler Kinley (#39) was designated for assignment.
  • Hale didn’t last long, however, as he was replaced by Matt Magill (#38) about 48 hours later.
  • Aaron Slegers (#25) was up for a day as well, but didn’t see any action.
  • The Angels returned Rule V selection Luke Bard on Friday.

Performance:

  • Tyler Duffey and David Hale each struggled in this week, as Duffey allowed eight runs (seven earned) over two and one-third innings, while Hale allowed four runs over three innings.
  • HITTER PITCHING ALERT: Ryan LaMarre (#42) pitched two-thirds of an inning serving up a home run, while managing to get the other two batters out.  LaMarre struggled with the bat too, as he went 0-8 with two walks this week.
  • Mitch Garver (#22) had himself a very nice week, as he hit .385/.429/.769 with a pair of doubles and a home run.

Minor Moves:

  • N/A.

Notes:

  • The Twins have really been terrible this season, despite some very strong moves this offseason. I’m not ready to give up on them yet, seeing as how I would like to give all of their new acquisitions a little bit of time to get used to Minnesota, however I have not been encouraged. At the very least, most of them are on short-term deals and could potentially be trade chips at the deadline if they continue to struggle.

Houston Astros

Transactions:

  • N/A.

Performance:

Minor Moves:

  • N/A.

Notes:

  • Jake Kaplan of The Athletic had a very interesting Q&A with Charlie Morton early this week, in which they discussed his impending free agency. While he hasn’t closed the door on playing another year, he said that he has achieved what he has hoped to achieve in the major leagues and would be selective in regard to his selection.
  • His wife’s family is from Delaware, which would make the Orioles, Mets, Yankees, Phillies, and Nationals potential landing spots.

Los Angeles Angels

Transactions:

  • In something of a bullpen shuffle, the Angels called up Justin Anderson (#46) and Eduardo Paredes from Triple-A to replace Jaime Barria (#6) and Blake Woodwho had just been placed on the disabled list. Paredes was sent back down to the minor leagues to make room for Akeel Morris (#15). 
  • Luke Bard was returned to the Minnesota Twins earlier this week.

Performance:

  • Tyler Skaggs continued his very strong season going seven scoreless innings this week allowing just four hits.
  • Offensively, Mike Trout and Andrelton Simmons each hit another two home runs, while Simmons’ weekly OPS was 1.682 (.932 points higher than the league average of .750). Trout is now up to ten home runs this season.

Minor Moves:

  • The Angels signed Nick Jobst (#40) to a minor league contract earlier in the week. My report on Jobst: “There’s a major league ceiling for Jobst. He could make it as a reliever, however is too far away to legitimately consider a prospect. I see him as depth with upside right now, but that could change.”

Notes:

  • Griffin Canning (#4) has already reached Double-A, and just pitched give shutout innings, despite struggling with control a bit. He currently holds a 2.08 ERA over 21.2 innings pitched and it’s looking like we’re going to get a look at him in the majors this season.
  • As for Justin Anderson (#46), the reliever who was recalled this week, I’m not very high on him as a whole. He has had one season with an ERA below 5.00 in his career, and it was back in 2015 in Class A.

Oakland A’s

Transactions:

Performance:

  • Marcus Semien had himself a very nice week, as he hit .346/.370/.538 while scoring eight runs.
  • Sean Manaea had a nice follow up to his no-hitter, as he through seven innings of 1 run (unearned) ball with one walk and seven strikeouts.
  • New acquisition Wilmer Font (#22) struggled in his A’s debut posting three earned over two innings. In true Wilmer Font fashion, however, he didn’t walk one despite three strikeouts.

Minor Moves:

  • N/A.

Notes:

  • The big news coming out of Oakland this week was that Opening Day starter Kendall Graveman was optioned to the minor leagues. Graveman struggled to an 8.89 ERA over 28.1 innings. He should be back up in relatively short order.

Seattle Mariners

Transactions:

  • The Mariners picked up Roenis Elias from the Red Sox early in the week in exchange for future considerations.
  • Ryon Healy returned from the disabled list, which prompted Daniel Vogelbach (#5) to be sent to the minor leagues.
  • Dario Alvarez cleared waivers and was sent outright to the minors.

Performance:

Minor Moves:

Notes:

  • The Mariners have two things that they need to do if they want to be a legitimate world series contender. The first is to dump Ichiro Suzuki and recall Guillermo Heredia (who I, personally like more than Ben Gamel) and to acquire one more starter.
  • The question is, however, how are they going to get another starter with what they have in their system. I would shoot for a fortifier as opposed to an ace, mainly looking at Doug Fister of the Rangers, who has been fantastic for the Rangers and is under team control through next season.

Texas Rangers

Transactions:

Performance:

  • Robinson Chirinos only played three games this week, however hit three home runs in that time, bringing his total up to five.
  • There has not been a story in baseball this season (aside from my Phillies playing very well) that has made me happier than seeing Big Sexy, Bartolo Colon, come out as strong as he has.  He has posted a 2.87 ERA over 31.1 innings pitched this season.

Minor Moves:

  • N/A.

Notes:

  • The Rangers could be one of the busiest teams at the deadline with Elvis Andrus, Doug Fister, Kevin Jepsen, Bartolo Colon, and Cole Hamels all representing trade candidates.

Atlanta Braves

Transactions:

Performance:

  • Ronald Acuna (#1) looked very promising in his first week in the majors, as he slashed .375/.412/.688 with his first major league home run. He’s going to be very fun to watch for a long time.

Minor Moves

  • N/A.

Notes

  • One guy who really got screwed this week was Preston TuckerDespite performing very well through the first month, his playing time is going to take a major hit with Acuna’s promotion. He could be an interesting chip for the Braves this summer if they try to pick up a reliever. While he’s not a center piece, he looks like he can continue to be a solid source for run production in the major leagues, who could really fit on a rebuilding team.

Miami Marlins

Transactions:

  • Trevor Richards (#16) was sent down to the minor leagues to make room for Martin Prado who was activated from the disabled list.
  • Wei-Yin Chen returned from the disabled list on Saturday, and Tomas Telis was designated for assignment to make room for him.

Performance:

  • J.T. Realmuto had himself a very nice week hitting three home runs while hitting .375/.444/.750. His days in Miami are numbered, as he will be traded in short order.
  • In his return from the disabled list, Wei-Yin Chen looked pretty solid pitching 5.1 innings of one runs ball. While his peripherals weren’t great (2:3 BB:K ratio) it’s nonetheless a bit encouraging.

Minor Moves:

  • Dillon Peters graduated as a prospect this week. He was last ranked 12th in the Marlins system, as I believe he is a rather safe bet to be a decent back-end starter. He has a pair of decent secondaries, and solid control. The ceiling isn’t that high, but he’s not bad.

Notes:

  • Dan Straily will be activated from the disabled list on Monday to make his 2018 debut.

New York Mets

Transactions:

  • Buddy Baumann was claimed off of waivers from the San Diego Padres on Friday.
  • Jason Vargas returned from his fractured hand on Saturday, and Jacob Rhame (#32) was sent down to the minors.

Performance:

  • Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard each had good starts this weeks, going a combined 14.2 innings allowing two runs (one earned) with 15 strikeouts to three walks.

Minor Moves:

  • N/A.

Notes:

  • The big story for the week in New York, was the fact that Jay Bruce has been taking grounders at first, possibly foreshadowing the end of Adrian Gonzalez in New York. Personally, I think we need to be patient. First of all, Gonzalez has driven in 12 RBIs this month (10.8% of all of the Mets runs) and while RBIs aren’t a great statistic, the fact that he’s a polished hitter with experience in situations with runners on base adds a bit more legitimacy to it. Also, if you look at his metrics, such as how hard he’s hitting the ball, he is actually matching numbers from his productive years. Give A-Gon a few weeks, and I think he turns it around.
  • Furthermore, even though the Mets will not be sellers this season (barring a total turnaround), if Brandon Nimmo and/or Dominic Smith continue knocking down the door, A-Gon could have some trade value to a young American League team in the playoff race, as he’s an inexpensive veteran with experience in high leverage situations and the ability to produce runs. The Yankees make some sense. While he’s not going to get you back anything crazy, I would rather get a minor league flyer than nothing at all.
  • If the Mets want an experienced depth option for behind the plate, Devin Mesoraco could be an option. Yes, Mesoraco isn’t the player that he was supposed to be, however as a veteran who plays good defense and is finally healthy for the first time in years, he makes sense. The Mets could probably get him for nothing, while even getting the Reds to eat most, if not all, of his salary. It would represent a nice low-risk move to give the Mets some depth.

Philadelphia Phillies

Transactions:

  • The Phillies signed Trevor Plouffe to a minor league contract worth $1,500,000 with opt-out provisions.
  • Ben Lively hit the disabled list and was replaced with Jake Thompson.
  • J.P. Crawford (#3) hit the disabled list this week with a forearm strain, and was replaced with Jesmuel Valentin (#23). Crawford had struggled in the early going.

Performance:

Minor Moves:

  • N/A.

Notes:

  • While it’s still early, I owe Gabe Kapler an apology. Being honest, he still rubs me the wrong way, a bit, but he has done a very nice job managing the bullpen since he has gotten Tommy Hunter back. Hopefully, he is able to keep it up.

Washington Nationals

Transactions:

  • Shawn Kelley was placed on the disabled list and Rafael Bautista (#10) was recalled to take his roster spot. The Nationals also announced that Adrian Sanchez would replace Matt Reynolds on the active roster that same day.
  • A.J. Cole was traded to the New York Yankees in exchange for future considerations.
  • In something of a bullpen shuffle, the Nats sent Austin Adams back down to the minor leagues and called up Austin Voth (#10).

Performance:

  • Max Scherzer was great again this week, and in other news, the pope is still Catholic. Over six innings Scherzer struck out ten to two walks.
  • Howie Kendrick continued to find success this week, as he hit .429/.458/.857 this week with two home runs.

Minor Moves:

  • The Nationals signed Matt Hague to a minor league contract on Friday.
  • Andrew Stevenson graduated as a prospect this week, and last checked in at 11th in the Nationals system. His profile is similar to a lesser version of Michael Taylor, and while he may not be a regular on a Nationals team at full health, he would be on two-thirds of the other teams in the game. He also has a great clubhouse presence.

Notes:

  • N/A.

Chicago Cubs

Transactions:

  • Ben Zobrist was activated from the disabled list on Saturday and David Bote was optioned back to the minors to make room for him.

Performance:

  • The big news this week was the encouraging performances from the starters, as Yu Darvish threw six innings of one run (unearned) ball with eight strikeouts, Jose Quintana had two starts in which he totaled 12.1 innings pitched allowing four runs, striking out 14 and walking two, Tyler Chatwood went six innings and allowed one run, and Kyle Hendricks went seven scoreless.

Minor Moves:

  • Joey Martarano was released from the minor leagues earlier this week.

Notes:

  • And just like that, the Cubs are now in second place in the National League Central, a half a game behind Pittsburgh. They have won eight of their last ten and look like they’re back and ready to regain control over the National League.

Cincinnati Reds

Transactions:

Performance:

  • There is some good news out of Cincinnati, as Joey Votto woke up this week. He slashed .346/.500/.846 with four home runs and seven walks compared to four strikeouts. At the very least, he gives Reds fans some incentive to buy tickets.

Minor Moves:

Notes:

  • Rosell Herrera was recalled from Triple-A this week. If you have been following my posts over the past six months or so, you might recall that I am exceptionally high on Herrera. He had slashed a very strong .311/.373/.607 over his first 15 games in Triple-A. He will serve in a utility capacity and could find himself in a regular role once the Reds start selling.

Milwaukee Brewers

Transactions:

Performance:

  • Lorenzo Cain had himself another very solid week, as he hit .300/.462/.500, while walking six times compared to two strikeouts. Ryan Braun also looked great this week hitting .318/.375/.409.
  • Junior Guerra looks like he’s back to his 2016 form, as he had two starts this week and totaled 11 innings pitched while allowing a single run. In case anybody forgot, he was claimed off of waivers from the White Sox back in October of 2015.

Minor Moves:

  • N/A.

Notes:

  • The Brewers really need to trade for another starter if they want to have any shot at competing this season. After this offseason’s transactions, the window has officially been opened. While Guerra’s resurgence has helped, and Jimmy Nelson is still going to return at some point, adding another consistent option would help a lot.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Transactions:

  • Jose Osuna served as the 26th man for the double-header with the Tigers earlier this week.
  • Nick Kingham (#12) was recalled on Sunday to make his major league debut, and Enny Romero was placed on the disabled list. The Pirates were initially going to designate him for assignment. I see Kingham has a mid-rotation guy in the long-term, however he just needs to stay healthy.

Performance:

  • Ivan Nova was very good this week, as he went eight scoreless innings without walking anybody. He has been very important to the success of the Pirates this season.

Minor Moves:

  • Edgar Santana graduated as a prospect this week, after ranking 32nd in the Pirates system. I see Santana as a middle reliever who can be reasonably reliable for the Pirates. His results in 2017 are what I would expect going forward.

Notes:

  • I still can’t figure out if the Pirates are for real, or if it’s just a good start. If it is for real, and by some miracle they win the World Series, the Rays front office all deserve to get rings as well, as they gave the Pirates Corey Dickersonwho has been their best player so far, for free (or pretty close to it).

St. Louis Cardinals

Transactions:

  • Through a lot of bullpen shuffling, Mike Mayers (#32) was recalled from Triple-A, and John Brebbia was sent down. John Gant was up for a day as well.
  • Jack Flaherty (#1) was recalled on Saturday, and Tyler O’Neill (#10) was sent to the minor leagues in his place. Austin Gomber (#6) was recalled to replace Flaherty on Sunday. Gomber is my favorite player in the Cardinals system. I see him as a very good number three with the ceiling of a two. He is coming off of a 16 strikeout performance.

Performance:

  • Jedd Gyorko had a nice week, hitting .333/.455/1.000 with a pair of home runs, while Tommy Pham hit .474/.524/.789.
  • While Jack Flaherty (#1) didn’t do great, he got the job done eating five innings and limiting the damage to three runs. We should expect improvement there.
  • The Greg Holland signing looks worse with every passing day.  The 32-year-old now has a 7.36 ERA over 7.1 innings pitched. At least it’s only a one year deal.

Minor Moves:

  • The Cardinals released a pair of relievers from the Double-A roster in Tyler Bray and Brady BowenBowen is a more attractive option for minor league depth, as he’s a lefty and has performed better, however at 25 years old, he is still in the low-minor leagues which is concerning.

Notes:

  • The Cardinals have done pretty much exactly what has been expected of them this season. They should, however, continue to look for bullpen help, as Greg Holland certainly hasn’t gotten it done to this point.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Transactions:

  • N/A.

Performance:

  • David Peralta had a very strong week, as he hit .368/.435/.895 with three home runs. He brought his total up to five.

Minor Moves:

  • N/A.

Notes:

  • Nothing very notable happened in Phoenix this week. They have done a very nice job maintaining the lead in the NL West and have looked like legitimate threats in the National League in the early going.

Colorado Rockies

Transactions:

Performance:

  • The Rockies had a good week offensively, as Trevor Story, Nolan Arenado, Ryan McMahon, and David Dahl each posted an OPS over .900.
  • Jon Gray and Kyle Freeland were also major highlights for the week, as they posted a combined 13 scoreless innings with 19 strikeouts and three walks.
  • Right now, the biggest weakness is the bullpen, and what hurts is the lack of flexibility that they have with it, as most of their guys are locked under contract at this time.

Minor Moves:

Notes:

  • N/A.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Transactions:

  • Walker Buehler (#3) was recalled to make his season debut this week, which prompted Wilmer Font to be removed from the 40-man roster.
  • Font was traded to the A’s in exchange for lefty Logan Salow (#30).
  • Following Buehler’s start, he was optioned back to the minors to make room for reliever Daniel Hudson.
  • Alex Verdugo (#1) was recalled on Saturday and took the place of righty Scott AlexanderVerdugo will take Yasiel Puig‘s roster spot, as he will be sidelined for a little bit after a collision with the outfield. Brock Stewart was recalled as well.

Performance:

  • Walker Buehler (#3) started twice this week going ten innings allowing just two runs with 11 strikeouts. It was definitely an encouraging showing for the young starter.
  • Alex Verdugo (#1) went 2-3 with a walk in his 2018 debut. He’s expected to take the lion’s share of playing time while Puig is on the disabled list.

Minor Moves:

  • Kyle Farmer graduated as a prospect this week after ranking 14th. I see him as a very solid major league regular down the line. I would imagine after the departure of Yasmani Grandalhe will serve in a similar capacity that Austin Barnes served in last season.

Notes:

  • N/A.

San Diego Padres

Transactions:

  • Eric Lauer (#6) was recalled to make his major league debut on Monday, and to accommodate the move, Buddy Baumann was removed from the 40-man roster and claimed by the Mets.
  • Wil Myers was placed back on the disabled list with an oblique strain and Travis Jankowski was recalled. Jankowski will serve as the fourth outfielder.

Performance:

  • Franchy Cordero hit three home runs this week despite hitting .227 with nine strikeouts over 23 plate appearances.
  • Christian Villanueva has had something of a nice breakout season. He hit two more home runs this week bringing his total up to eight. His OPS is up to 1.206.
  • Eric Lauer (#6) struggled in his MLB debut, allowing seven runs (six earned). I wouldn’t be too concerned, however, as it was his first start. I still see him is a three or a four in the long-run.

Minor Moves:

  • Franchy Cordero graduated as a prospect this week, after checking in at 20th. Cordero looks to me like a fourth outfielder who shows flashes of dominance, but can be frustrating at times. He has the tools to become a legitimate major league regular, however the question is whether or not he will be able to string it all together.

Notes:

San Francisco Giants

Transactions:

  • The Giants completely shuffled their roster on Saturday. Utility player Alen Hanson and lefty D.J. Snelten were recalled from Triple-A, Mac Williamson and Joe Panik were both placed on the disabled list, and Roberto Gomez (#15) was sent back down to the minors two days after being recalled in place of Chris Strattonwho was placed on the paternity leave list.

Performance:

  • HITTER PITCHING ALERT!- Pablo Sandoval threw a scoreless inning of relief for the Giants this week.
  • While the rotation struggled a bit this week, Johnny Cueto continued to lock it down pitching twice, going 12 innings with two runs allowed and ten strikeouts.

Minor Moves:

  • N/A.

Notes:

  • N/A.

Outside League

Atlantic League:

  • Courtney Hawkins was signed by the Sugar Land Skeeters after being released by the Chicago White Sox last week. Hawkins was a first round pick by the White Sox and never panned out. He has the tools to become a major leaguer, however it remains to be seen whether or not he will surface in the bigs.

Frontier League:

  • The Traverse City Beach Bums brought in former Cardinals prospect Kenny Peoples-WallsAside from having an 80 grade name, Walls was a highly touted fourth round selection by the Cardinals back in 2011. He is still just 24 years old, which means he could conceivably put it together based on his athleticism, however he has really struggled with plate discipline and has next to no power.
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2 Responses

  1. Mark Moran

    Hi there. Thanks for the info on this site. Can you tell me who it is that is quoted in your pieces? The remarks with “Quotes” around them don’t appear to be attributed to anyone. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Tom Dorsa

      As far as I (the editor the piece) know, those quotes are from the author’s own independent scouting reports. Joe is incredibly knowledgeable with baseball prospects.

      Reply

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