Injuries, Trades, Promotions, Demotions from July 20 - July 27...
- Blue Jays DFA'd 3B Danny Valencia to make room for OF Ben Revere on the roster.
- Blue Jays acquired SS Cliff Pennington from the Diamondbacks and optioned fan favorite INF Munenori Kawasaki to AAA.
- The Jays also activated RHP Aaron Sanchez, who was serving a 3-game suspension and is pitching out of the bullpen now.
- Orioles recalled RHP Tyler Wilson on Monday to make a spot start with RHP Chris Tillman dealing with a DTD ankle issue. Wilson picked up a win against the Athletics (7.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K).
- Orioles DFA'd disappointing OF Travis Snider and called up OF Junior Lake, whom the O's acquired at the trade deadline from the Cubs for RHP Tommy Hunter. Lake is expected to see playing time versus LHP thanks to a career .346 wOBA versus southpaws.
- Lake, 25, was batting an impressive .315/.404/.472 with 7 HR in 231 PA at AAA with a career best 13% walk rate and 0.57 BB/K ratio. He sports a 4.7% walk rate and 30.7% strikeout rate at the big league level so the O's are hoping the improved discipline in the minors shows up in the bigs this time, along with some of that AAA production.
- Rays claimed OF Daniel Nava off waivers, whom the Red Sox DFA'd earlier in the week.
- Red Sox called up top pitching prospect LHP Henry Owens, who made his MLB debut versus the Yankees on Tuesday and picked up his first MLB win versus the Tigers yesterday, going 5 innings in both outings. Owens, 23, sported a 3.16 ERA (3.68 FIP) in 122.1 IP at AAA this year with a 20.6% strikeout rate and an 11.6% walk rate that ideally should be cut down under 10% going forward to ensure big league success.
- John rated Owens a B+ coming into the year noting the youngster has an 88-94 MPH fastball, an excellent changeup, and an improving curveball. John called him one of the best southpaw pitching prospects in the minors and that he throws strikes with an easy delivery and a loose body that should stay that way.
- Red Sox DFA'd RHP Justin Masterson. The comeback attempt proved futile.
- Red Sox recalled INF Deven Marrero, who's more known for his glove than his bat.
- With Shane Victorino and Daniel Nava gone, opportunity has knocked for Rusney Castillo to receive a bump in playing time. He's batting .333/.375/.444 in his last 49 PA. Promising trend.
- Yankees placed recently acquired OF Dustin Ackley on the 15-day DL and activated 1B/OF Garrett Jones.
- Yankees called up Top 50 pitching prospect RHP Luis Severino to make his first MLB start on Wednesday (5 IP, 2 H, ER, 0 BB, 7 K). Severino, 21, pitched well despite taking a loss to the Red Sox in that outing. Severino blew through the minors this year combining between AA and AAA for a 2.45 ERA in 99.1 IP, 72 H, 2 HR, 27 BB, 98 K, and a .201 opponent average.
- John gave Severino a B+ coming into 2015, noting a 93-97 MPH heater, a plus changeup, and an improving slider. John did note that he needs to prove he can hold up under a full workload, but that his athleticism and pitch efficiency should help him do that. John concluded by saying "ultimate upside is at least a strong number three starter, maybe more, provided he stays healthy and doesn’t backslide with the command of course."
- Indians placed RHP Cody Anderson on the 15-day DL and optioned OF Tyler Holt to AAA. Who are the replacements?
- Indians called up OF Abraham Almonte and RHP Shawn Armstrong. Armstrong, 24, has impressive relief numbers down at AAA (2.25 ERA, 44 IP, 33 H, 22 BB, 69 K, .208 AVG).
- Twins DFA'd C Eric Fryer and recalled C Chris Hermann from AAA.
- Royals optioned 3B Cheslor Cuthbert to AAA and recalled OF Paulo Orlando.
- Tigers optioned RHP Shane Greene and called up LHP Matt Boyd (acquired via Price trade) to take his place in the rotation. Boyd has been a favorite sleeper of mine since his breakout senior season at Oregon State. He dominated the minors this year, pitching to a 1.65 ERA between AA and AAA in 114.2 IP with just 72 hits allowed, 27 walks, and 108 strikeouts.
- John has given Boyd the sleeper alert tag in the past and rated him a Grade C+ coming into 2015. John noted an average four-pitch mix that he locates well, stating he fits the typical finesse lefty 4th/5th starter profile.
- White Sox recalled CF Trayce Thompson and optioned RHP Scott Carroll to AAA. Thompson collected two hits in his MLB debut.
- John gave Thompson a C+ coming into the season, comparing him to Drew Stubbs. He said Thompson remains an excellent athlete with intriguing power and speed and can kill a mistake pitch. But, Thompson's swing mechanics are troublesome, he strikes out a lot, and has trouble keeping a respectable batting average. Has that changed in 2015?
- Maybe. Thompson's .260 average prior to callup, while not standout, is the best batting average he has posted in the minors. Overall, he was batting .260/.304/.441 down at AAA with 13 HR and 11 SB in 411 PA. The plate discipline concerns remain with 23 walks and 79 strikeouts. However, it is worth noting that his 18.9% strikeout rate is by far the lowest he has posted at any minor league level.
- Angels activated RHP Jered Weaver. Good timing with LHP C.J. Wilson set to miss the rest of the season.
- The loss of Wilson could also be mitigated by the impressive performance of rookie LHP Andrew Heaney thus far: 2.45 ERA in 51.1 IP, 44 H, 5 HR, 8 BB, 36, .229 AVG. Worth nothing that his FIP is 3.55 and xFIP is 4.00, though...
- Astros DFA'd RHP Dan Straily, and recalled RHP Asher Wojciechowski from AAA. Woj will pitch out of the 'pen with the Astros rotation currently comprising of Keuchel, Kazmir, Feldman, McCugh, and the recently acquired Mike Fiers.
- Astros also optioned RHP Lance McCullers, Jr. Not a demotion, he's just receiving the "Michael Wacha treatment" to rest his young arm and keep him fresh for the end of the season. Might need him in the playoffs.
- Opportunity has knocked for RHP Chris Bassitt in the A's rotation and he had himself a helluva outing on Tuesday (7 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K), much to my dismay as an O's fan. He then followed up with an even better outing versus the Astros (6.2 IP, 3 H, ER, 2 BB, 10 K). John did this writeup on Bassitt on July 20th that concluded with "if he does breakout, the first indicator would probably be an improved strikeout rate." Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner. I will be doing a separate writeup on Bassitt later this week.
- Athletics claimed 3B Danny Valencia from the Blue Jays. Seasoned daily fantasy vets should know the drill with Valencia now. He's a great cheap source of production whenever a LHP is on the mound (.376 career wOBA versus LHP).
- Mariners have moved LHP Vidal Nuno to the rotation after dealing away LHP J.A. Happ to the Pirates. He was pitching well out of the bullpen (2.52 ERA in 39.1 IP, 9.38 K/9, 2.29 BB/9). We'll see if he can translate that success to the rotation.
- Rangers acquired 1B/DH Mike Napoli from the Red Sox and optioned 1B/OF Ryan Rua to AAA.
- Rangers selected the contract of OF Ryan Strausberger and optioned struggling CF Leonys Martin to AAA. Who is Strausberger?
- He's a 27 year old rookie, former 16th rounder out of Indiana State. He stands in at 6'0, 185, bats from the right side, and was hitting .278/.329/.438 with 10 HR, 24 BB, 66 K in 369 PA. He stole an impressive 27 bases with just five caught stealing attempts as well. He did not make the cut for the 2015 book but the season he is having qualifies as a breakout for him and his speed with some pop combo would likely get him in the C+ conversation.
- Braves swapped bad contracts with the Indians taking on the contracts of OF/1B Nick Swisher and CF Michael Bourn in exchange for the contract of 3B Chris Johnson. It's about freeing up money for 2017. Bourn and Swisher have one more year on their deals whereas Johnson in under contract for two more seasons. Braves also reportedly receiving 10 mil in the deal. Puzzled me at first but it makes sense upon further review.
- Marlins selected the contract of former Brewers starting pitcher RHP Chris Narveson. The 33-year old is expected to work as a long man out of the pen.
- Mets have been giving regular playing time to 2014 1st rounder Michael Conforto in left field with OF/1B Michael Cuddyer still on the mend. He's batting .222/.326/.389 with one HR in 43 PA along with a 11.3% walk rate and 25.6% strikeout rate.
- Nationals have demoted RHP Doug Fister to the bullpen, meaning impressive rookie RHP Joe Ross has staked his claim to a rotation spot. With good reason too: 2.80 ERA in 45 IP, 9.40 K/9, 0.80 BB/9, 52.5% GB rate. Stud.
- Phillies selected the contract of LHP Adam Loewen from the minors. Yes, that Adam Loewen. One time Orioles top pitching prospect. Blew out his arm in 2008. Re-invented himself a hitter. Made it back to the bigs as an outfielder with the Blue Jays. Decided, hmm, my arm doesn't hurt so much anymore during the 2013 offseason. Now, he's back in the bigs a third time as a relief pitcher. Still, just 31 years old too.
- Phillies also activated old man 2B Chase Utley and optioned the other Danks, OF Jordan Danks to AAA. Waiver claim trade candidate?
- Raise your hand if you know who the hottest hitter on the Phillies is right now? I don't expect to see many. It's OF Odubel Herrera (.379/.414/.561 with 2 HR and 2 SB in his last 70 PA).
- Brewers were "craving" some Tyler Cravy in their rotation so they recalled the RHP and sent down RHP Preston Guilmet. Cravy sported a 3.97 ERA in 95.1 IP down at AAA with average component ratios (7.08 K/9, 2.93 BB/9, 42% GB rate).
- OF Shane Peterson is batting .308/.377/.393 in 133 PA. With Carlos Gomez and Gerardo Parra gone, opportunity is knocking for the 27-year old rookie to build off that promising performance with regular playing time.
- I bring more good news for Brewers fans who could use some. Two young starters for the Brewers rank among the top ten in WAR over the last 30 days. Taylor Jungmann (2.08 ERA over last 34.2 IP, 8.83 K/9, 2.86 BB/9) and Jimmy Nelson (1.85 ERA over last 34 IP, 8.74 K/9, 2.65 BB/9).
- Cardinals recalled LHP Tyler Lyons and sent down 2B Greg Garcia. Lyons will serve as a long man out of the pen but has made a couple starts when needed this season for the Cardinals.
- He may fan a ton (31.5% strikeout rate) but it hasn't stopped CF Randall Grichuk from having a quietly impressive rookie season for the Cardinals. He's now batting .286/.332/.569 with 14 HR in 289 PA. That BABIP of .382 may spell trouble for maintaining this success though.
- Cubs optioned OF Matt Szczur to the minors and activated C Miguel Montero. What does this mean for Kyle Schwarber? He's been starting in left field of late. That's what. Gotta keep that bat (.341/.429/.604 in 105 PA) in the lineup.
- Cubs released then re-signed LHP Clayton Richard because why not? "Depth move"
- The results are in and SS Eugenio Suarez has been proving himself a worthy replacement for SS Zack Cozart. The Reds have to be pleased with the 24-year old's .305/.332/.475 slash line at the plate over 189 PA along with generally solid defense.
- Pirates learned that RHP A.J. Burnett will miss 4 weeks with a flexor strain. In the meantime, recently acquired LHP J.A. Happ will fill his spot in the rotation.
- Pirates claimed 1B/OF Michael Morse off waivers from the Dodgers, activated him, and optioned OF Jaff Decker to AAA.
- Giants placed all-star 2B Joe Panik on the 15-day DL with lower back inflammation and called up 2B Kelby Tomlinson. John gave Tomlinson a C, noting he was someone that he scouted in college and liked his speed and baseball instincts and could be a potentially interesting utility guy.
- Tomlinson has had an excellent year at AAA, even accounting for some PCL inflation (.321/.376/.414 with 3 HR in 421 PA, 21 SB). and has likely bumped up to C+ as a prospect. He still hasn't grown into much power as John had hoped but has improved his hit tool at every level, is rated a plus defender at second and passable defender at short, and can steal 20+ bases. I think "potentially interesting utility guy" still fits and at 6'3", 180, it's still possible he could develop more power.
- Here's a well keep secret. Enrique "Kike" Hernandez is sporting a .515 wOBA versus LHP in 57 PA. He's been starting in CF of late versus lefties in place of struggling Joc Pederson as a result.
- Diamondbacks recalled RHP Allen Webster from AAA and optioned RHP Zach Godley.
- Rockies called up the 3rd overall pick of the 2013 draft, RHP Jon Gray who made his MLB debut on Tuesday (4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) versus the Mariners. Gray makes his next start on the road against the Mets tonight. He's expecting "better things" this time. You heard it here first. He's only 4.6 K on Fanduel tonight too.
- John rated Gray an A- despite a 2014 campaign in which he pitched well, but didn't necessarily dominate as expected. Scouts noted his fastball, which often touched upper 90's in college, was more in the 93-95 MPH range last season. Here's John's updated overview of the young righty, whom he still projects as future number two starter.