Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the Minor League Ball daily Gameday discussion thread. Some items for your consideration today:
***Contract action in Minnesota today, with the Twins coming to terms with second baseman Brian Dozier on a four-year contact extension worth $20,000,000. Back in December the Twins came to agreement with right-hander Phil Hughes for a three-year extension worth $42,000,000. I will put Dozier on my Prospect Retrospective working list; he is a very interesting case study.
***Denard Span's injury makes it more likely that rookie outfielder Michael Taylor will make the Nationals Opening Day roster. He's hitting .324/.342/.730 in 37 at-bats this spring, showing the anticipated power to go with his speed, although there are some evident contact issues: he's whiffed 11 times and drawn just one walk.
Taylor had a fine season in Double-A last year (.313/.396/.539 with 22 homers, 34 steals) but had contact troubles after moving up to Triple-A (.227/.333/.409 with 14 strikeouts in 44 at-bats) and again in the majors during his September cup-of-coffee (.205/.279/.359 with 17 strikeouts in 39 at-bats). There are no questions about Taylor's fine physical tools and his skills have come along nicely over the last couple of years, but is he ready? Mark Zuckerman at NatsInsider examines the issue.
***Nationals third base prospect Drew Ward got an unexpected start in a spring training game against the Yankees yesterday, unexpected given that he's just 20 years old and spent 2014 in Low-A. Patrick Reddington at Federal Baseball gives us the run-down.
***Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Nick Franklin is out with an oblique injury. Who takes his place? Daniel Russell at DRaysBay looks at some options including veterans Logan Forsythe and Alexi Casilla, Jake Elmore, Tim Beckham, and maybe even Hak-Ju Lee and Ryan Brett if Franklin is out for an extended period.
***Buy the 2015 Baseball Prospect Book! PDF has been released and the paper copies are at the printer.