Cleat Geeks

Playoff Preparations

 

Playoff season is almost upon us and there a few things you need to be paying attention to for your fantasy season. Players on pitch counts, teams in contention sitting their starters, but always one thing we talk about around this time is going to be: who are the young players who are going to be called up I need to be paying attention to? So let’s get to it.

OFFENSE

Vladimer Guerro Jr. – There’s one name everyone is talking about, and that’s the son of BDV (Big Daddy Vladdy). Vladimer Guerro Jr. has had a historic season, batting .400 (that’s batting average, not obp) with 18 home runs across AA and AAA. He has busted his way into our hearts much like Juan Soto. BUT! I will say I do have one hint of caution with Vlady Jr. He’s been in the minor leagues for just 2 years! That’s such a short amount of time, I’m always very cautious with these players as the minor leagues usually take a bit longer for teams to figure out a player’s weakness. So it can be that it’s not that Jr. doesn’t have weaknesses, but they just haven’t been figured out. Hopefully Jr. turns into the next Soto, but still, for future seasons, I’m a little cautious with Jr. and even still with Soto. I do have some hope for Jr’s future seasons though because of one thing – he’s the son of BDV. And that sort of tutelage can help a struggling player get through tough times. I’m obviously not saying Soto can’t continue his brilliance, but all I’m saying is to be cautious with these players who have such limited time in the minors. Because of Jr’s unique pedigree, I’m going to say, get some shares of him now, as he’s sure to be called up soon!

Eloy Jimenez –  This was my guy for 2018 as far as prospects go. I have more faith in Eloy hitting the ground running even than I do with Vlady Jr… but the problem is… those White Sox. They are trying my patience waiting on him! I know they want to hold off to keep control of him, but he’s batting .330 with 21 home runs! This guy is the real deal, and while I do believe the league will make some adjustments to him for next year, I’m really excited for him this year. Again, you can quote me (for this season only) I think Eloy is going to be as good or better than Vladimer Guerro Jr. stats-wise when he’s called up. They both can be monsters, but Eloy is I believe a bit more polished and I think he’ll adjust immediately to MLB pitching for 2018.

PITCHING

Josh James – James is the expected replacement for Lance McCullers now that Lance has gone down. James has been extremely impressive in the minor leagues with a stat line of 3.27 in 104 innings with 44 walks and 160 ks. However he’s had a few struggles lately giving up 3 earned runs in the last 3 starts. On top of that, the walks are not what you’d like. Consider however, over those 3 starts, his walks weren’t too bad (1, 1, 2) which might indicate his recent struggles are tied to him trying to throw more strikes. That happens sometimes when management says walks are what’s holding them back from the majors. So Josh James is a bit of a mystery, where he could be great, or he could really struggle when promoted. So far, I’ve liked how pitchers have been handled by Houston though as we’ve seen hard throwers such as Verlander and Cole really excel in this system, and Josh James also is a hard thrower. Still, the walks could be a problem, so don’t get too attached, but if you’re looking for a high upside prospect, he’s probably the one.

Taylor Widener – Ahhh, finally a name you may not have heard of. Well, perhaps you should have. Widener has been wrecking the minor leagues with a 2.49 era in 119 innings, 151 ks and only 36 walks! All things being equal, he could be my favorite pitcher to excel once promoted to SP. The only problem is, it’s IF he gets promoted and IF it’s as a SP. He’s with the Diamondbacks, who have also been a great club for improving pitchers, however, there isn’t an obvious spot for him to slide in. Clay Bucholz is probably the most likely choice, but while he’s pitching as well as he is, they’re unlikely to make that move while in a race. All the same, Widener is a great talent and is worth following in case someone struggles or an injury occurs.

*Tyler Glasnow – Yeah, he’s not a rookie, but he’s been reborn! And I wanted to put him in this article as I’ve been a believer in Glasnow for awhile. I was nervous that he’d never be as valuable as he could be when the Pirates moved him to the bullpen, but after being traded, he’s getting stretched out, ironically with Tampa Bay, which says something about how much they believe in this guy. Glasnow has changed his approach with his fastball and it’s made all the difference. He originally was attempting the Pirates philosophy of pitching low in the zone, but you could tell if you watched him, he never had much confidence with that strategy, and that’s what he’s said since moving to Tampa. And if you watch him now, he seems to have all the confidence in the world. But most importantly, he’s not walking guys! That was often considered the biggest issue, and now that he’s seemed to have improved his control, he’s looking like a top tier pitcher. Now Glasnow’s next start may be against Boston, and they’re very good at hitting the fastball, and making pitcher’s pay for their mistakes, so I’m not particularly confident with that start, but if he’s available, pick him up! You don’t have to start him vs. Boston, but his K numbers are too valuable not to take a chance on him even if he struggles down the line.

Good luck in the playoffs!

Royally Yours: Week in Review

The Kansas City Royals played poorly last week losing five of their six games. The week started at home against the Chicago Cubs. The Royals lost the first two games in the series but avoided a sweep by winning the third game. The weekend series was also at home against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Royals were swept in the series. Royals pitching struggled in the series giving up over seven runs per game. The Royals are currently 35-82 this season. Their record guarantees they will have a losing season for the second year in a row.

Heath Fillmyer has played well despite the struggles with the pitching staff this season. He has an ERA of 3.13 and a record of 1-1 since being called up in late June. Fillmyer was traded to the Royals from the A’s this last off-season. He earned the only win for the Royals last week on Wednesday when he pitched seven scoreless innings against the Cubs. Fillmyer has shown a lot of potential in his short time with the Royals.

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Adalberto Mondesi has improved as a hitter this season. He was batting .200 at the end of June but had an impressive month of July and improved his average to .310. He has struggled a bit in August and his batting average is currently .260. Mondesi was a top prospect for the Royals but averaged .170 or under in 2016 and 2017. Mondesi has played better but still has areas to work on as a hitter. He has a walk rate of 1.6%, which is the second worst in baseball of hitters with 120 or more plate appearances. Mondesi has shown his potential this season and could be even better in the future if he improves his plate discipline.

The Royals will wrap up their 10-game home stand this week against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Royals are 0-3 against the Blue Jays this season. Alcides Escobar will be a player to watch in the series. Escobar has a .300 average and one home run in 10 at bats against the Blue Jays this year. The weekend series will be against the Chicago White Sox. The Royals are 5-8 against the White Sox this season. Daniel Palka will be a player to watch in the series. He has a .500 average and three home runs in 26 at bats against the Royals this season. The Royals will have two tough matchups this week with teams they have struggled against this season.

Tomahawks and Touchdowns: Impactful Rookies

Last season the Kansas City Chiefs had one of the top rookies in the NFL. Kareem Hunt was the starting running back week #1 after Spencer Ware suffered a knee injury in the preseason. Hunt went on to lead the NFL in rushing yards. Last season Hunt had 1,327 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns. The Chiefs are looking for another rookie to make a big impact in his first year in the NFL.

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Photo by; AP News

Tremon Smith is a cornerback that could see some playing time on defense and in special teams. Smith was a sixth round pick out of Central Arkansas. The Chiefs have a weak secondary and Smith could see playing time if other players play poorly or get injured. He could also be in consideration on punt and kick returns. Smith has elite speed and he could get a chance to showcase it as a returner. Tremon Smith could be used in many different roles with the Chiefs this season.

Second round pick Breeland Speaks is another player that could see early playing time. Speaks was drafted out of Ole Miss. Speaks is an outside linebacker that is currently listed behind Justin Houston on the depth chart. Houston has only played in 20 games over the last two seasons. Dee Ford is the other starting outside linebacker and he only played in six games last season. Injuries are a big concern at outside linebacker and if Houston and Ford do not stay healthy Breeland Speaks could see a lot of playing time.

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Photo by; ESPN.com

Derrick Nnadi could also make a big impact in his rookie season. Nnadi is a nose tackle that was drafted in the third round from Florida State. Xavier Williams is ahead of him on the depth chart. Williams played in 11 games with the Cardinals last season. Derrick Nnadi could see some playing time in certain packages and potentially share time with Williams.

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The inexperience on the defense could give Chiefs rookies the chance to make a big impact early. The offense appears to be set and it does not seem likely that a rookie will make a big impact this season. On defense there is the potential for a few different players to become starters if injuries occur or they out perform the current starters. Tremon Smith, Breeland Speaks and Derrick Nnadi appear to be the three that are in the best position to see a lot of playing time in their first year in the league.

Royally Yours: Week in Review

The Kansas City Royals struggled last week winning two of their six games. The week started on the road against the Chicago White Sox. The Royals won the first two games but lost the third game in the series. The weekend series was also on the road against the Minnesota Twins. The Royals were swept in the series. Their record is 34-77, second worst in baseball.

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Photo by; Huntsville Item

Ryan O’Hearn had a great start to his MLB career on Tuesday. He had a home run in his first major league game. O’Hearn has a .125 batting average in 16 at bats. O’Hearn was an eight round draft pick by the Royals in the 2014 MLB Draft. He spent the first part of 2018 in AAA Omaha where he had a .232 batting average and 11 home runs in 100 games. O’Hearn could see a lot of playing time at first base for the remainder of the season. He is likely not the long-term solution at the position but he will provide the team depth on the roster.

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Photo by; Kansas City Star

Brett Phillips is another up and coming player that has made an immediate impact for the Royals. Phillips was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers in the Mike Moustakas trade. He only has a .227 batting average as a Royal but has made a big impact as a fielder. On Thursday he threw 100 mph from center field to throw out White Sox Leury Garcia at home plate. Phillips still needs time to develop as a MLB hitter but has already shown potential as an elite fielder.

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Photo by; Kings of Kaufman

Whit Merrifield continues to be the Royals best offensive weapon this season. Last week Merrifield had a .478 batting average, two home runs and three stolen bases. The Royals decided not to trade him at the deadline this season. Merrifield could be a potential trade option in the off-season or be a player the Royals decide to build around in the future.

The Royals will start a 10 game home stand on Monday against the Chicago Cubs. It will be the first time the Royals have faced the Cubs since 2015. Former Royals prospect Mike Montgomery will be a player to watch in the series. Montgomery was drafted by the Royals in the first round of the 2008 MLB draft and was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in the James Shields/Wade Davis trade. Montgomery has a 3.90 ERA and a record of 3-4 this season. He is scheduled to pitch for the Cubs on Tuesday. The weekend series will be against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Royals are 2-1 against the Cardinals this season. Alex Gordon will be a player to watch in the series. He has a .455 batting average and one home run against the Cardinals this season. The Royals will have two match-ups against National League Central teams this week.

MLB Trade Deadline Frenzy!

Take a second to catch your breath; the non-waiver Trade Deadline has officially come and gone.

A flurry of moves are finalized, leaving a whole lot of player movement to digest across the Major Leagues. Powerhouses like the Dodgers and Yankees added significant pieces in Manny Machado and Zach Britton. The Brewers tried to bolster their playoff odds by acquiring powerful infielders Mike Moustakas and Jonathan Schoop, while the upstart Pirates surprised many by acquiring Rays ace Chris Archer. And that’s really just the start of a long list of notable names who will be wearing new uniforms over the season’s final two months.

Before baseball dives into pennant races and the homestretch of the regular season, here’s a rundown of all the major trades completed since the Dodgers’ deal for Machado on July 18 set the dominoes in motion:Image result for mlb trade deadline 2018

 

July 31: Pirates acquire Chris Archer from Rays 
Pittsburgh made one of Tuesday’s biggest splashes when it dealt significant pieces in reliever Tyler Glasnow and outfielder Austin Meadows to Tampa Bay for the Rays’ ace. Archer has pitched well leading up to the Deadline, recording a 2.70 ERA over his last eight starts. The Pirates made a statement that they intend to keep fighting for a postseason spot, having entered Wednesday six games back in the National League Central and 3 games back of the second NL Wild Card position. Archer is also signed to an affordable contract that keeps him under team control through 2021. More >

July 31: Brewers acquire Jonathan Schoop; Orioles acquire Jonathan Villar
Milwaukee continued loading up for a postseason bid by adding Schoop to play second base, though its infield becomes even more crowded with the newly-acquired Moustakas at third base and Travis Shaw at second. Schoop got off to a slow start but has carried a hot bat lately, batting .360 in July and compiling a five-game homer streak last week. Milwaukee hopes the adrenaline of a pennant race will keep Schoop’s hot streak going.

Baltimore continued a busy day as it sent off another veteran piece, but this deal nets the Orioles a veteran infielder in Villar alongside Minor League right-hander Luis Ortiz, the Brewers’ seventh-ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline. More >

July 31: Braves acquire Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day from Orioles
Atlanta acquired a starter for both the stretch run and the future in Gausman, who has two more years of team control before he hits free agency. The right-hander’s numbers (4.43 ERA) could improve outside of the cutthroat AL East; he’s recorded a 3.13 ERA in 12 starts against non-division rivals this season. The submarine reliever O’Day is out for the remainder of the season as he recovers from surgery on his left hamstring. Gausman and O’Day join another former Baltimore pitcher, Brad Brach, as the newest members of the Braves. More >

July 31: Dodgers acquire Brian Dozier from Twins and John Axford from Blue Jays
Los Angeles ultimately decided against the Twins’ asking price for Dozier two winters ago, choosing to trade for Logan Forsythe instead. But the Dodgers came back around to acquire Minnesota’s slugging second baseman Tuesday in a package that, ironically, sent Forsythe to Minneapolis. Dozier’s bat has been sluggish through most of this season, but the Dodgers hope a change of scenery can wake up his power as he provides depth for their infield. Axford adds another right-handed arm to Los Angeles’ bullpen after posting a 4.41 ERA over 51 innings with Toronto. More >

July 31: Cubs acquire Brandon Kintzler from Nationals
Washington kept superstar Bryce Harper in the fold, instead sending an accomplished reliever in Kintzler to the NL rival Cubs for Minor League right-hander Jhon Romero. Kintzler owns a 3.59 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP over 42 2/3 innings in 2018. More >

July 31: Phillies acquire Wilson Ramos from Rays
Ramos was forced to miss the All-Star Game with a left hamstring strain that still has him sidelined on the disabled list, but there’s no question he can bring some needed pop to the Phillies’ lineup if he gets back to full health. Philadelphia already possesses one of the most gifted defensive catchers in Jorge Alfaro, and so this trade makes the club even more dynamic behind the plate. More >

July 31: D-backs acquire Brad Ziegler from Marlins; Jake Diekman from Rangers
Seven years after Arizona acquired Ziegler the first time, the submariner is coming back to the desert for a stretch-run encore. Ziegler was one of the most frequently mentioned names leading up to Tuesday’s Deadline, having compiled a 0.93 ERA over 29 innings with Miami after the calendar flipped to June. Ziegler currently leads MLB pitchers with a 73.9 percent ground ball rate, per Statcast™.

Royally Yours: Week in Review

The Kansas City Royals played poorly last week losing five of their seven games. They started the week at home against the Detroit Tigers. The Royals won one of the three games in the series. The weekend series was on the road in New York facing the Yankees. The Royals won one game in the four game series. They are 32-73 this season, the second worst record in baseball.

The Royals traded third baseman Mike Moustakas to the Milwaukee Brewers for outfielder Brett Philips and RHP Jorge Lopez. Moustakas will join former teammates Lorenzo Cain and Joakim Soria in Milwaukee. The Brewers currently hold the top Wild Card spot in the National League. Moustakas was one of the biggest trade targets at the deadline. The Royals did not get a large return for Moustakas but they did get players who should be able to contribute immediately. Phillips was placed on the Royals roster and Lopez is in AAA Omaha. The trade deadline was Tuesday and the Royals did not make any more high profile trades.

Salvador Perez is having a strong start to the second half of the season. He has five home runs since the All Star Break. Perez struggled to start the season. He has a .237 batting average this season. Perez had a poor start to the season but has improved since the All Star Break.

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Heath Fillmyer has had a great start to his MLB career. He has started in three games and has seven appearances with the Royals this season. His overall ERA is 3.29 and has a record of 0-1. Fillmyer was acquired in a trade with the Oakland Athletics last off-season. He made his major league debut in June. Fillmyer appears to be one of the Royals top young pitchers.

The Royals will start the week on the road against the Chicago White Sox. The Royals are 3-7 against the White Sox this season. James Shields will be a player to watch in the series. The former Royal has started two games against Kansas City this season. He has a 4.26 ERA in 12.2 innings. The weekend series will be in Minnesota against the Twins. The Royals are 6-3 against the Twins this season. Lucas Duda will be a player to watch. He has a .350 batting average against the Twins this season in 20 at bats. The Royals will have two important matchups against division opponents this week.

Orioles Bird Feed; What Does The Future Hold?

This season has brought us historical ineptitude from The Orioles, across all positions and players. Staring at the standings, wins/losses and basement dwelling performance is numbing to the mind.

So, what does the future really hold for this team, management and fans expectations?

According to Dan Duquette, they are, in fact, rebuilding. The problem is, Dan is connected closely to Angelos (team owner) and usually speaks from a cue card he is given. Dan went missing during the weeks of decline where Orioles fans were left wondering if this might be the worst team to run onto an MLB field?

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In recent weeks, we have seen the exodus of Machado, Britton and Brach, with the “promise” of some high-end prospects and building for the future. In the case of Brach, the Orioles actually received an International draft spot, so no physical player was involved at the time of trade.

At the recent meeting of “State of the Orioles”, Duquette stated “I would expect the club would take the payroll down next year and the year after and reinvest those resources in younger ballplayers,” So, that really sounds like a two season rebuild, at a minimum.

Thus far, The Orioles have received eight (8) prospects in the various trades. Again, quoting Duquette “We should be able to do that and get back to competitiveness.” They have received OF Yusniel Diaz, RHP Dean Kremer, IF Rylan Bannon, RHP Zach Pop, IF Breyvic Valera, RHP Dillon Tate, LHP Josh Rogers, and RHP Cody Carroll.

The future of both Duquette and Showalter (manager) is also in question. Personally, I find Duquette to be mentally absent at times and dull in the public eye. He might be a good “baseball man” but he always seems to be an extension of Angelos, and nothing more.

Buck deserves better support from both players and management. He is still one of the best and simply has a roster of either minor league talent or gross underachievers.

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Photo by; Baseball Essentials

Much faith has been lost in “building around” Jonathan Schoop, given his complete collapse this season. More time has been spent talking about this emotional state with the loss of Machado instead of his performance on the field. Friends change teams all the time, that should not be the focus here.

Personally, I expected about 85 wins this season…that dream was gone in May! While I due respect the moves that have been made thus far, I still fear that there are teams out there that work the trade process better than The Orioles. In most scenarios, only time will tell.

In 2019, there will be a “new look” Orioles team. Younger players, less money and management staff TBD….not sure that is worthy of optimism, fear or both.

More Bullpen Help Needed So Two Acquired

With insider’s, Jon Heyman & Buster Olney, reporting that the Diamondbacks are still in the market for relief pitching help, it would make sense for Arizona to try and find themselves an upgrade over Jorge De La Rosa, who has the worst WHIP, FIP, H/9, BB/9 & K/BB ratio out of all the pitchers on the roster, not to mention the highest ERA out of anyone in the bullpen.

While Jorge has been very good at home and against lefties – .206 avg, .635 OPS  at Chase; .214 avg, .714 OPS vs. lefties in 56 at-bats – his splits on the road and against righties this season have been more than troublesome, as opponents have an average of .343 and 1.020 OPS against JDLR on the road, while righties have a .324 BAA & .920 OPS in 74 at-bats entering Wednesdays appearance where he gave up a hit and a walk while letting an inherited runner score over the course of his two out performance.

As evidenced by the fact manager Torey Lovullo has let De La Rosa face nearly 20 more righties than lefties this season, even though his best role seems to clearly be as a lefty specialist, the bullpen would be better served by acquiring a pitcher who has a little more even of splits before the 1 P.M. AZ time trade deadline today.

With that being said, and even though there’s an abundance of relievers on the market this season, here’s a list of six of them who’ve been on the trade rumor mill recently and who would become immediate upgrades:

Brad Ziegler (RHP Miami; FA in ’19) – Looking at just his overall season numbers – 3.98 ERA; 1.27 WHIP – would being doing a disservice to what Brad has accomplished in June and July, considering he’s been one of, if not the best, reliever in the game over that span. In 23 innings prior to June, Ziegler posted an abysmal 7.26 ERA, to go along with a WHIP above 1.70, while giving up 20 earned runs. Since the calendar turned to June the submariner has given up three earned runs over 29 innings, good for a 0.93 ERA and a WHIP of less than 0.90. Rumored to be possibly heading to the Cubs, general manager would have to splurge to pry him away from Chicago. He might be worth it.

Up To The Minute Update

Arizona has reportedly agreed to a trade with the Miami Marlins for RHP Brad Ziegler. The D-Backs are certainly plenty familiar with Ziegler, as he pitched for the organization from 2011 through 2016. He came to the organization at the deadline seven years ago today, then was spun off in a July 2016 deal that paid dividends for the Red Sox down the stretch. Ziegler joined the Marlins on a two-year pact in the ensuing winter. Brad is owed roughly $3.5 Million for the remainder of the 2018 season. Over his time in Arizona, Ziegler worked to a sparkling 2.49 ERA and recorded 62 saves in 335 2/3 innings.

Arizona is sending Minor League right-hander Tommy Eveld to Miami, according to John Heyman. The 24-year-old is 3-2 with a 1.11 ERA in 35 appearances at Class A Advanced Visalia and Double-A Jacksonville.

Jake Diekman (LHP TEX; FA in ’19) – The lefty is currently in the midst of a July where opponents were hitting .152, with an OPS of .573 before throwing a perfect inning last night against the Diamondbacks. On the season, Jake has had only one month where hitters have hit greater than .216 or an OPS higher than .650 against the 31-year-old. With Texas in town to finish their two-game set against the D’backs, a trade with the Rangers would be a perfect match.

Up To The Minute Update

The Arizona Diamondbacks were not done as just minutes before the west coast cut off time of 1pm the snakes struck again. They acquired Jake Diekman from the Texas Rangers in exchange for Wei-Chieh Huang. Not only should the Diamondbacks be happy to have him, but he should be running to the other dugout as the Rangers play tonight at Chase Field in Phoenix. Why should he run, look at his home/road splits as he realizes he only has a two game stint as the Diamondbacks will visit Arlington later this season in Globe Life Ballpark. Home: 21 games, 18 innings pitched, 17 K, 18 BB, 7.50 ERA Road: 22 games, 21 innings pitched, 31 K, 5 BB, 0.43 ERA. Goodbye to that home park!

Huang, a native of Taiwan whom Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com ranked as the Diamondbacks’ 22nd-best prospect, has worked to a sterling 2.00 ERA/2.78 FIP with 10.67 K/9 and 2.33 BB/9 in 27 innings (10 games, two starts) since receiving a promotion to Double-A earlier this season.

Jose Leclerc (RHP TEX; Team controlled through ’19 then arb. eligible through ’22) – With Keone Kela off to Pitsburgh, Leclerc, or Diekman, would seemingly be the next most coveted Ranger. All that really needs to be said about Jose, are his splits before last nights scoreless inning against the D’backs, .149/.237/.230 vs Righties .163/.333/.233 vs Lefties. On the season, the 24-year-old has an ERA of 2.27 and a WHIP of 1.00. He would most certainly be a massive upgrade over JDLR, and would push Andrew Chafin – 1.67 ERA & 1.15 WHIP for being the best lefty in the bullpen.

Jose Alvarado (LHP TB; Team control through ’20 then arb. eligible through ’23) – Alvarado is having a great season for the Ray, making some wonder why Hazen didn’t go after him instead of Matt Andriese last week – Andriese has given up runs in each outing for the D’backs since they acquired him, good for a 9.00 ERA in 4 innings. Back to Alvarado, as he’s sporting a 2.51 ERA with a WHIP of 1.26 and 44 K’s in 43 innings. The 23-year-old’s splits against righties are .178/.274/.218, while his splits against lefties are aren’t as great but still respectable, .255/.359/.309. It’s going to take a nice package to possibly land the southpaw, but considering his age and the fact he’s still five full seasons from free agency, he should be very coveted as the deadline nears.

Rasial Iglesias (RHP CIN; Owed $5M in ’19 & also ’20) – The Reds closer has been dealing this season, as he hasn’t had a month this season where opponent’s have hit greater than .250 or an OPS better than .625 against him. As consistent a pitcher as there is, it’s going to take a king’s ransom to land him, but if the D’backs are serious about shoring up a leaky bullpen, they should be at least inquiring about the dominant righty. On the season, he has an ERA of 2.11, to go along with a 1.00 WHIP, with 49 K’s in 47 i.p., while converting 21 of his 24 save opportunities.

Amir Garrett (LHP CIN; Under team control through ’20 then arbitration eligible until he’s a FA in ’24) – Just like Iglesias, Garrett isn’t going anywhere if the Reds don’t get a hefty haul in return. While it’s seemingly not Hazen’s M.O. to splurge in giving up top prospects at the deadline, Amir would be an integral part of the D’backs for years to come, making sense for Hazen, or any other GM, to at least inquire and toss Cincinnati a respectable offer. A starter (14 starts in ’17) turned reliever, the 26-year-old has a 3.71 ERA &  1.09 WHIP, while striking out 60 in 51 i.p. this season. The biggest difference for Amir since becoming a reliever is his command. Last season, while posting an ERA above 7, the flamethrower walked 5.1 per every 9 innings. He’s lowered that to 3.0 this season. The uber-athletic Garrett played basketball at St. Johns University. Righties have a slash line of .227/.290/.340, while lefties are .200/.293/.424 against him this season.

While the Dodgers and Rockies are currently in the midst of a brutal stretch that will see them endure teams who are a combined 84 games and 65 games over .500, respectively, the D’backs face teams who are a combined 58 games under .500. If the Diamondbacks plan to win the N.L. West and avoid another wild card appearance, it would seemingly behoove Mike Hazen and his staff to go out and add one or two more arms to help make a legitimate run for the franchises second championship in their 20-year-anniversary. The time is now.

 

 

 

OTOGH: Trade Deadline Ranger Fire Sale Everything must GO!

No offer will be refused.
On the trading block:
Keone Kela: 3.28 ERA, has only blown one save, but honestly, that is not saying much with this Rangers team, as save opportunities are hard to come by. Finally, the Rangers have a good closer again, so it makes perfect sense to Ranger management to trade someone away they have been needing for a long time.

Kela has been traded, it happened just a few hours ago and the details are still coming in because this news was not broke unil after 11:00pm last night. But, it does seem as though the Rangers got Taylor Hearn.

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Hearn is a hard-throwing lefty with a premium fastball. He can throw it in the 97-98 mph range with regularity and can reach back for more on occasion. He has a very good feel for his changeup, an offspeed pitch that now flashes plus at times. But his third pitch, a slider, is below average. He has some feel to spin a breaking ball, but has struggled to find the right grip or the right type of shape for it, lacking the confident to throw it often enough. His control is another obstacle. While he misses bats and gets groundball outs, he also can pile up the walks, which limits his effectiveness and leads to questions about whether he can continue to start.

Hearn missed time in 2017 with an oblique injury, but made up for it by throwing well in the Arizona Fall League. His ability to refine his command and his breaking ball might determine his ultimate place in the Ranger’s minor league system. In 104 innings pitched in AA this season Hearn owns an impressive BB/K slash line of 38/107.

Hearn while a high prospect having a good year in Double A as a starter 3.42 E.R.A with 104 IP.A report from Baseball America says he’s having trouble developing a slider which could send him to the bullpen. While this trade is better than Hamels and Chavez deals. It still leaves questions. Why trade someone who is under team control for two years, and who has been performing well? Also now that the Rangers no longer have a closer who is going to take Kela’s place?

Jake Diekman: 3.79 ERA with 38 IP, 46 SO. Diekman would be a wonderful addition to a bullpen; he can come in and pitch a couple of innings or, while not an official closer, could close a game as well. He has been preforming well and has a wonderful story of coming back from a three-part stomach surgery to help heal his ulcerative colitis.

Elvis Andrus: .274/.335/.738. Last year, Andrus was unstoppable, and then the hit to the elbow early this season landed him on the DL. Has he come back fully? No, but his potential is still there. He has grown up as a ballplayer, and the position of shortstop is extremely important.

Adrian Beltre: .292/.342/.747. The man, the legend has an option to nix any trade, but is the call of a World Series ring too great? He’s not talking about it. The important thing to remember with Beltre is you are going to get a player who wants to play, and he is not going to settle for a part-time position, no matter how good the team.

Joey Gallo: .191/.307/.772. Don’t let the strikeouts fool you. He does strike out a lot, but all is forgotten when he hits those absolutely beautiful moon shots that only Giancarlo Stanton can compete with. Though a trade is unlikely, there is honestly no telling what could happen. Gallo’s power is very attractive to prospective teams.

Come check out these prices. The Texas Rangers will sell for 10 cents on the dollar.

Jesse Chavez, 3.08 ERA, 64 IP, went for a Single-A minor leaguer not even ranked.

Cole Hamels went for three players: a Single-A baller; relief pitcher Eddie Butler, 3.86 ERA, with only 18 innings pitched and who was on the DL from April until recently with a groin pull; and a player to be named later. Also, the Rangers are covering a majority of Hamels’ contract, to the tune of $8-10 million.

Come on down, the sale ends Tuesday!

All joking aside, General Manager Jon Daniels and the Rangers owners have shown that they are not about helping this team. I feel this is a cost-cutting measure until the new ballpark opens, scheduled for the 2020 season. Let the young and cheaper players play, along with guys who can’t be traded, such as Rougned Odor and Shin-Soo Choo. Then there will be a major player dump when the new stadium opens, and the Rangers will go after the big names and get a World Series team. This year and next are not rebuilding. They are place fillers.

ANALYZING THE ADAM DUVALL TRADE

​​​​THE REDS HAVE MADE A MOVE

The Reds, at 10:50 PM tonight have made a trade involving Adam Duvall going to the Braves. In Exchange the Reds will receive three players in OF Preston Tucker, RHP Lucas Sims, and RHP Matt Wisler. I have been clamoring all day that the Reds should not be complacent here, and make a move that can benefit this team going forward- and that’s exactly what they did.

Image result for lucas sims braves

According to Dick Williams the Reds see Lucas Sims (24) as the biggest trade chip of the deal. A former top Farm hand for the Braves owns a 3-6 record with a 5.96 ERA in a relatively brief go of it in the majors. Sims is pitching really well this year at AAA and we should see him at some point this season for the Reds in some capacity. He has tons of raw talent, and should factor into the rotation in 2019.

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Photo by; Call To The Pen

Matt Wisler (25) is the other pitcher acquired here and is also a former top farm hand for the Braves. Wisler has had plenty of opportunity to showcase what he can do at the major league level and owns a 16-23 record with a 5.27 ERA over 324 innings pitched. The kid has good stuff, but just has not been able to piece it together and the Reds are hoping a change of scenery to the state where he was raised will help him improve upon those raw tools. He’s basically a 2-pitch guy with a fastball and a slider. This may lend himself more to a bullpen role for the Reds moving forward.

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Photo by; Talking Chop

Lastly the Reds got Preston Tucker from the Braves, who has been a left handed bench outfield bat for the contending team this season. Nobody is entirely sure what the plan is for him, but he has some pop in his bat and and plays a decent left field. The Reds could essentially DFA him, but I am hearing they are going to let the 28 year old factor into the lineup going forward for now.

THIS LEADS TO SOOOOO MUCH SPECULATION

Now what are we to think with this all of the sudden surplus of mostly MLB ready young arms? One can certainly speculate that this means Matt Harvey will indeed be traded by the deadline tomorrow. Does this mean Sal Romano who has pitched better of late will be heading to the bullpen? Or does Tyler Mahle who has struggled lately get sent down. It’s mostly unknown at this point but one thing is for sure, and that is WE NEED TO SEE ROBERT STEPHENSON making starts the rest of the year in Cincinnati and he has easily earned that.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN BEFORE THE DEADLINE TOMORROW? Let me know what you think in the comments below, and feel free to let me know on twitter @thecincyintake.

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