Crash Course: Weekly Round-Up for June 3-10

It was quite a crazy week in baseball, as over 1100 young men were drafted into the league, two relatively large-scale trades went down and a bunch of other roster moves and deadline chatter occurred. Here’s your chance to catch up on all of the week’s action!

Baltimore Orioles

  • Tanner Scott was optioned back to Triple-A this week to make room for Darren O’Daywho returned from the disabled list.
    • Once the O’s start selling off pieces, he will be back.
  • The O’s grabbed left-handed pitcher D.J. Snelten off of waivers from the San Francisco Giants on Monday. He was optioned to the minor leagues.
    • Scouting Report: Snelten has an elite change and a decent sinker. His fastball hits around 90, and there are no obvious splits. Furthermore, his ground ball rate typically rides in the 60% range. His control is polar, but typically proportional. If he does walk a lot of guys, you can expect him to rack up a hefty amount of strikeouts. I see him as a ceiling set-up lefty, floor taxi guy.

Boston Red Sox

  • Jalen Beeks made his major league debut this week, and Bobby Poyner was optioned to the minor leagues to clear a spot for him.
    • It wasn’t a debut to remember, however, as he allowed six runs over four innings. He was sent down the following day and replaced with former Rule V pick Justin Haley.
  • The Sox lost starter Drew Pomeranz to biceps tendinitis on Tuesday, and recalled Brandon Workman

New York Yankees

  • Masahiro Tanaka landed on the disabled list with a double hamstring strain. While both are considered mild, utility infielder Ronald Torreyes was called-up to take his spot.
    • I’m happy to see Torreyes back up. He should never have been sent down in the first place.
  • Clint Frazier was recalled on Monday to serve as the Yankees’ 26th man for their double-header against Detroit. He was optioned back to Triple-A the following day.
  • The Yanks also activated Adam Warren from the disabled list on Monday, optioning Tommy Kahnle to Triple-A to clear a spot.
    • Kahnle has not been himself this season. He has lost velocity and all of his control. Based on the volatile nature of relievers, I would be hesitant to rely on him very heavily until he is able to prove himself again. He may just be a change of scenery candidate.
  • In regard to minor moves, the Yanks cut a few rookie leaguers this week. While none of them are particularly worth mentioning, here is a link to Pinstripes Prospects who does a good job explaining who they all are.
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Tampa Bay Rays

  • Jake Bauers earned the call to the big leagues and replaced Brad Miller on the active roster.  Miller was then traded to the Brewers in exchange for fellow first baseman Ji-Man Choi.
    • I love this move for both sides. I am a big fan of Choi, as I love his plate discipline and believe that he has the potential to become an above average regular in the major leagues.
    • As for Bauers, the 22-year old has long been a top prospect for the Rays and will try to help them in the fight for a wild card spot.
  • The Rays received some more horrible news on Monday, as Anthony Banda will be sidelined through this season and the majority of next season, as he will undergo Tommy John surgery.
  • The following day, Chris Archer landed on the disabled list with an abdominal strain and was replaced by Diego Castillo.
    • Archer, who was expected to be one of the top trade candidates this summer, struggled early on, but had been starting to get into a rhythm. It remains to be seen whether this will disrupt his momentum.
  • Yonny Chirinos was optioned to the minor leagues after being activated from the disabled list.
    • I don’t like this move. Chirinos has a 3.71 ERA as a starter during his rookie season, and the Rays are using Sergio Romo as a starter. This just looks like another poor judgement move by the Rays.
  • I will, however, give credit where credit is due. The Rays scouting team did a fantastic job on day one of the draft. They had five picks, which were headlined by South Florida left-hander Shane McClanahan and Arizona southpaw Matt Liberatore.
    • Both guys fell well below their expected landing spots, with concerns about Liberatore being financial, while McClanahan struggles with control a bit. Either way, at the time they were drafted, they were very high on the “best available” list. I like the moves a lot and hope they will be able to sign the pair.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • It was a quiet week north of the border, but they did re-acquire Jon Berti from the Indians and Preston Guilmet from St. Louis.
    • Berti was shipped to the Indians earlier this season, which makes this trade a reversal.
    • Guilmet was drafted by Mark Shapiro in Cleveland, therefore, this isn’t a very surprising move. He will serve as relief depth for the Jays.

Chicago White Sox

  • Carlos Rodon is back for the Sox, and he is joined by veteran lefty Xavier CedenoTo make room for the pair, Chris Beck was designated for assignment and Aaron Bummer was optioned to Triple-A.
  • The White Sox shuffled the roster a bit early this week, as Matt Davidson was activated from the disabled list and replaced Matt Skole on the active roster. Kevan Smith replaced Alfredo Gonzalez and Juan Minaya was recalled as well. Minaya was optioned back to the minors the following day, as he was the 26th man for Tuesday’s double-header.
  • The White Sox sent Alfredo Gonzalez outright to Triple-A after he cleared waivers on Wednesday.
  • Robbie Ross was released by the White Sox Triple-A affiliate. He had been struggling mightily, and the Sox brass figured that the roster spot could be used differently.

Cleveland Indians

  • Lonnie Chisenhall returned from the disabled list on Tuesday replacing outfielder Bradley Zimmer on the active roster.
    • Zimmer has struggled mightily this season, especially with strikeouts, but he continues to show flashes of what he is capable of. He seems likely to return to the roster in short order.
  • The Indians had a very strong day one as they took a risk on high-school righty Ethan Hankins in the compensation round and jumped up and grabbed Southern Mississippi right-handed pitcher Nick Sandlin in the second round.
    • Hankins has more upside than anybody else in the draft. I would imagine the only reason he wasn’t taken earlier was because of injury issues and a strong commitment to Vanderbilt. He draws comps to Johnny Cueto based on his insane fastball, as well as his ability to control it. Picking Sandlin helps them create some pool space, as he seems likely to sign an underslot deal. Hankins could be an ace.
    • Sandlin was one of my favorite players in the class. He was underrated by scouts based on his size, but he has amazing control and ranked second in the NCAA in ERA this past season.

Detroit Tigers

  • Alex Wilson was activated from the disabled list and replaced Ronny Rodriguez on the active roster.
  • Reliever Sandy Baez was recalled to be the 26th man for the Tigers on Monday.

Kansas City Royals

  • Jon Jay was sent to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for right-hander Elvis Luciano and left-hander Gabe Speier.
    • Luciano is a major sleeper prospect. He’s equipped with a 95 mph fastball and an above average curve. He will pitch stateside despite turning just 18-years old in February. He’s a guy who should shoot up draft boards in time. I had him ranked eighth for the Diamondbacks at mid-season, prior to incorporating the draft guys.
    •  Speier is a 23-year old lefty relief prospect who is currently in Double-A. He profiles as a taxi-squad reliever and could be ready by the end of the year.
  • I loved the Royals first day of the draft, as they somehow nabbed Florida right-handed pitcher Brady Singerwho was ranked top five by almost every outlet.
  • They then proceeded to sign Jackson Kowarthe guy who pitched directly behind Singer at Florida. He had initially been projected to go mid-first round, but the Royals got him at 33.

Minnesota Twins

  • Zack Littell was recalled to be the 26th man for the Twins’ double-header on Tuesday. Unfortunately, his debut didn’t go very well, as he allowed six earned runs over three innings pitched. He walked four and struck out just one.
    • I would have to imagine nerves got the best of him, as he’s known for his control.
  • Jake Cave was recalled from Triple-A and replaced Tyler Duffey on the active roster. He will serve as an extra bench bat for the time being.

Houston Astros

  • Josh Reddick was activated from the 10-day disabled list on Wednesday and displaced J.D. Davis on the active roster. He needs to begin showing some improvement to help the Astros catch the Mariners, who are somehow in first place in a very strong American League West.
  • Brian McCann was also brought back from the disabled list this week, and Tim Federowicz was designated for assignment to make room for him.
  • They did, however, lose Joe Smith to the disabled list with some right elbow soreness. Reymin Guduan was recalled from Triple-A to take his spot.

Los Angeles Angels

  • Kaleb Cowartwho was recalled last week, was sent down to Triple-A to make room for Eduardo Paredes on Tuesday. Cowart returned the following day to replace Andrelton Simmons who will be out after spraining his ankle. Unfortunately, Cowart was placed on the disabled list a few days later.
  • If you thought that was bad, Shohei Ohtani was placed on the disabled list with a UCL sprain. While there isn’t much detail regarding a potential return date, Anaheim brass are confident Ohtani can avoid Tommy John surgery and continue in both roles this season.
  • Jose Miguel Fernandez and Nolan Fontana were each called up from Triple-A to replace them.

Oakland A’s

  • There was a lot of roster movement for the A’s this week.
  • Early in the week, the A’s lost Matt Joyce on Wednesday to a lat strain. Nick Martini was recalled from Triple-A to take his spot on the active roster. Martini was sent down a few days later to accommodate Chris Bassitt being recalled. Bassitt was replaced the following day by Jake Smolinski.
  • Liam Hendriks was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday, and Daniel Gossett switched places with him, as he is out with a right elbow strain. Josh Lucas was also sent down to make room for Josh Phegley.
    • Hendriks seems likely to resume his set-up role, while Phegley will give the A’s an extra catcher.
  • Santiago Casilla returned from the disabled list and replaced Ryan Dull on the active roster.
  • Edwin Jackson was brought in on a minor league deal with opt-out dates and a pro-rated $1,500,000 major league base salary.
  • The A’s are another team that absolutely nailed day one, in my opinion. They started the night off by grabbing Kyler Murray, quarterback and outfielder at Oklahoma, at ninth overall, and followed that up by bringing in outfielder Jameson Hannahout of Dallas Baptist and Jeremy Eierman from Missouri State.
    • Regarding Murray, the kid was probably the best athlete in the class. He will play football for the Sooners in the fall and will fully commit himself to baseball following the season.
    • Hannah looks to me like an every day center fielder. While he doesn’t have game power, there’s certainly potential, and he is a huge threat on the base paths. He was expected to go in the Compensation Round, and fell to Oakland at 50, probably due to concerns regarding his size.
    • People were saying that Eierman killed his draft status this season, but then I looked on to see his statistics. Eierman hit .292/.383/.533 with 10 home runs and 20 stolen bases. While his plate discipline suffered a bit, that’s something that can be regained. I don’t expect him to stick at short, but he’s an all-star third baseman just waiting to happen. His arm is spectacular.

Seattle Mariners

  • Dan Altavilla and Juan Nicasio were each placed on the disabled list on Friday, as Altavilla has a UCL sprain and Nicasio is dealing with a knee injury. Dan Vogelbach and Mike Morin were recalled.
  • The Mariners signed another Indy player in Williams Perez on Tuesday. The former Braves prospect had been pitching in the Frontier League after being released by the Cubs following the accidental shooting death of one of his coaches over the offseason.
    • This signing is the fourth independent league signing of the month for the Mariners. I guess nobody else wanted to trade yet, so Jerry DiPoto had to find other ways to keep himself occupied. He has done a nice job selecting players in Indy Ball thus far, as Detwiler can help right now, and Perez has some upside. Might I suggest L.J. Kalawaiaa center fielder with great plate discipline and speed or Nick Deeg, a lefty starter?
  • The Mariners made a very solid selection in Stetson’s Logan Gilbert at 16th overall.
    • Gilbert is a durable righty who has huge stuff and can control it reasonably well. He has room to fill his frame in a bit, which could increase his velocity.

Texas Rangers

  • Doug Fister landed on the disabled list for the second time this season with a knee strain and was replaced by Hanser Alberto.
  • The Tim Lincecum experiment is officially over, as he was released from the organization on Tuesday.
    • At this point, I think Lincecum is finished. He hasn’t pitched at the major league level since 2016, and hasn’t posted an ERA+ over 100 since 2011.
    • For a little bit of context, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout didn’t capture Rookie of the Year honors until the following year, and the Philadelphia Phillies won 102 games that season.

Atlanta Braves

  • Julio Teheran landed on the disabled list with a thumb contusion and was replaced by Luke Jackson
    • I don’t understand why the Braves keep recycling these arms. Between Jackson, Josh Ravin and Miguel Socolovich, there are a cumulative eight outright assignments since the beginning of 2018. Jackson and Socolovich have each been removed from the 40-man roster three times while Ravin has been twice. I would be willing to go out on a limb and guess that Jackson may receive his fourth within the next week or so. Why not give Chad Bell or Jason Hursh (who are both on the 40-man roster) a shot?

Miami Marlins

  • Trevor Richards is back up with the Fish as he replaced Tyler Cloyd on the active roster on Thursday. He had seen some action rather early in the season, but struggled.
  • Odrisamer Despaigne was sent to Triple-A by the Fish, and was replaced by Ben Meyer.
    • Meyer is a 25-year old swing prospect who has very strong control, but lacks stuff. He looks like he can be a very good spot starter, as in, one who can see major league action every year.

New York Mets

  • The Mets welcomed Anthony Swarzak and Todd Frazier from the disabled list and sent Gerson Bautista to Triple-A while removing Buddy Baumann from the 40-man roster.
    • While it will be nice to have these pieces, the NL East has turned out to be among the better divisions in the game this season, and has really been a three-horse race with the Mets five games behind the Phillies for third, six-and-a-half behind Washington for second and seven-and-a-half behind Atlanta for first.
  • They did get their fair share of bad news as well, as closer Jeurys Familia landed on the disabled list with some shoulder soreness. It is unclear how long he will be out for.
  • P.J. Conlon is back with the Mets after they reclaimed him from the Dodgers. Phillip Evans was designated for assignment.
    • As I said last week, Conlon is a lefty starter with options, the ability to start and the valuable years of minor league control if sent outright. He’s a no-brain claim.
    • Evans will see the major leagues again this year. First of all, there are plenty of teams who might be able to use some help on the infield, so he could draw a claim. Even if he doesn’t, assuming the Mets trade Asdrubal Cabrera he would probably be the first guy called up to replace him.
  • General Manager Sandy Alderson stated that he doesn’t expect the Mets to sell very much off this summer.
    • I’m going to be honest, this is one of the most preposterous propositions that I have heard in a while. I believe Familia and Cabrera need to be traded, Frazier should be at least considered heavily, Adrian Gonzalez and Devin Mesoraco should be flipped for lottery tickets and, at the very least, they should listen on the aces. The Phillies and Braves have two of the best farm systems in baseball, and don’t appear to be far from reaching fruition, which could leave the Mets in the dirt for a long time. This is really their last chance to try to disrupt that order.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • J.P. Crawford returned from the disabled list on Wednesday and Mitch Walding was sent down in a corresponding move.
    • Crawford really needs to step his game up offensively, as his bat has looked anemic. Hopefully after a brief adjustment period it works out for him as it did in the minors.
  • Also rejoining the slumping Phillies is Rhys Hoskinswho had been dealing with a fractured jaw. Dylan Cozens was placed on the disabled list with a quad strain.

Washington Nationals

  • Adam Eaton is back with the Nationals, and Wander Suero was optioned back to the minor leagues to accommodate the transaction. The Nats also released outfielder Rafael Bautista from Triple-A to make room on the 40-man roster.
    • I’m not going to lie, I think this is a very low move by the Nats, as Bautista just endured a very serious knee injury, tearing his meniscus, ACL and LCL. I am high on Bautista and believe that he can be a very solid fourth outfielder. I would expect him to be out for the remainder of the season, but I would expect him to be ready to go for the beginning of the season next year.
  • Suero was recalled alongside Trevor Gott to replace Stephen Strasburg and Brandon Kintzler who both landed on the disabled list.
  • The Nationals sent Jefry Rodriguez  back to Triple-A to make room for Tim Collins who was activated from the disabled list.
  • Jeremy Hellickson landed on the disabled list on Tuesday and was replaced by Matt Grace
    • It isn’t considered a very serious injury as a it’s just a hamstring strain. Grace will provide the Nationals with some depth in the bullpen.

Chicago Cubs

  • The Cubs have rebounded rather nicely from a rough start to the season, and have placed themselves right in the thick of a three horse race with the Cardinals and the Brewers. It would make sense for them to make a trade for a rental starter at the deadline. While they don’t have a ton of top shelf guys in the minors, there are a few solid players who could benefit in a trade such as Mark ZagunisI would suggest targeting Tyson Rossas he seems like the most reliable rental on the market this season, and won’t cost as much as Cole Hamels would, at least in terms of cash. The Cubs would be better off saving for the offseason.

Cincinnati Reds

  • Anthony DeSclafani returned from the disabled list on Tuesday. Jackson Stephens was optioned to Triple-A, and Kevin Shackelford was released to clear a 40-man roster spot.
    • In his return, DeSclafani allowed four runs over five innings, but posted a strong 5:1 K:BB ratio.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • As I mentioned in the Rays’ section, the Brewers acquired Brad Miller from the Rays in exchange for Ji-Man Choi
    • This move makes sense for both sides, as the Brewers are expecting Eric Thames back soon, who will split time with Jesus Aguilar leaving Choi without a place. Meanwhile, the Brewers’ middle infield has been useless offensively this season, and Miller should provide an upgrade.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Ivan Nova is back from the disabled list and re-joined the active roster alongside Dovydas Neverauskas and Jacob StallingsTo accommodate the moves, Nick Kingham and Adam Frazier were each optioned to the minor leagues while Richard Rodriguez was placed on the disabled list.
  • If the Pirates continue to fall out of the standings, they should trade Corey DickersonWhile he isn’t a long-term piece, he has an extra season of team control and has continued to rip the cover off of the ball this season. He could probably fetch them quite the return.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • Christmas in July came early in St. Louis, as they got Carlos Martinez and Yadier Molina back on Tuesday. Greg Garcia was placed on the paternity list and Steven Baron was designated for assignment.
  • On the same day, the Cardinals announced that veteran minor league reliever Preston Guilmet had his contract purchased from Triple-A, and, as one would expect, Mike Mayers will head back to Memphis. Luckily for Mayers, he was recalled a few days later to replace Tyler Lyons who landed on the disabled list with a left elbow sprain.
    • While Guilmet’s first outing this season didn’t go well, he had posted a 0.93 ERA over 29 innings in Triple-A Memphis (Pacific Coast League!).
  • Alec Kisena joined the Cardinals on a minor league deal this week.
    • Kisena was a ninth round pick by the Tigers back in 2015. He was very good upon being drafted, but sat out all of 2016 due to injury. He struggled in the Independent Leagues last season, but has gained some footing this season and has been exhibiting a strong ability to control very good stuff. He has racked up 14.1 strikeouts per nine compared to 2.3 walks. He’s a name to monitor.

Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Somebody needs to trade for Socrates Brito. The Diamondbacks gave him 17 at bats before sending him down in favor of Kristopher Negron
    • The 25-year old center fielder is hitting .323/.365/.437 in Triple-A Reno this season. He is a contact machine who has hit below .270 just one time in his entire major league career (.264 in A ball back in 2014). He deserves a shot.
  • Negron didn’t last long, however, as he was removed from the roster following the Diamondbacks’ acquisition of outfielder Jon Jay from the Royals in exchange for Luciano and Speier, as mentioned above, in the Royals section.
    • The Snakes will take the rest of Jay’s salary as well as any incentives that he may reach.
    • Jon Jay definitely helps the D-backs, as he’s a consistently productive outfielder, but, I think they gave up a bit too much. I am very high on Luciano, and believe that his prospect status is going to explode by mid-season 2019.
    • At the end of the day though, Jay gives the Diamondbacks a significantly better chance at winning games, while A.J. Pollock is sidelined.
  • In quick taxi swaps, the Snakes sent Jake Barrett back to Triple-A on Tuesday and replaced him with Silvino Bracho while Sunday saw Christian Walker replace Jeff Mathiswho was placed on the paternity leave list.

Colorado Rockies

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Dennis Santana landed on the disabled list with a right rotator cuff strain and is expected to be out for an extended period of time. Adam Liberatore and Pat Venditte were recalled and Brock Stewart was sent down in the same announcement.
  • Venditte was sent down the following day to make room for fireballer Daniel Corcino who is getting his first crack at the majors since 2014.
  • In a bit of mildly shocking news, the Dodgers optioned Pedro Baez to Triple-A despite a rather strong 3.25 ERA. Caleb Ferguson was recalled from the minor leagues and P.J. Conlon was lost on waivers to the Mets.
    • Yes, the Dodgers have a problem with the bullpen, but sending one of the productive relievers to Triple-A is not how to fix it, while Daniel Hudson retains his spot. While I typically trust the Dodgers’ judgement, I strongly disagree with this move.

San Diego Padres

  • It was a quiet week in San Diego, as the Padres begin to gear up for a modest sale this summer. While Brad Hand seems likely to be on the table, I wouldn’t particularly expect to see him traded. As I mentioned earlier, Tyson Ross seems likely to be a rather hot commodity as well.

San Francisco Giants

  • If the Cardinals fans thought Tuesday was Christmas, I would love to hear the streets in San Francisco. Ace Madison Bumgarner was activated from the disabled list and allowed two runs over six innings to start the year off while walking nobody.
  • The Giants also released and re-signed Gregor Blanco and Trevor Brown.

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