Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the Monday, July 18th edition of Minor League Ball Gameday. The player spreadsheets are temporarily unavailable but the daily discussion thread for all things rookies/prospects/minors/baseball in general isn't going anywhere.
Items of interest and news points worthy of discussion:
****On Friday the Houston Astros signed Cuban infielder Yulieski Gurriel to a five-year contract worth a reported $47,500,000. At age 32 Gurriel is not subject to international bonus pool restrictions and should be viewed like a veteran free agent signing, not a prospect. He has a long track record in Cuba and was one of the brightest stars in Serie Nacional from the age of 18. He also played 62 games in Japan in 2014, hitting .305/.349/.536 for Yokohama.
Although he's on the downside of his career at age 32, Gurriel is a potent hitter who should provide above-average power with a superior contact hitting approach: he fanned just three times while drawing 38 walks in 174 plate appearances in Cuba in 2015. He's also a very good defensive third baseman. He hasn't played competitively in 2016 and may need some time to gear up, but we'll certainly see him in the majors later in the season. It remains to be seen what impact this will have on other players in the Astros system like Alex Bregman.
****Discussion Point: What do you think of the Gurriel signing? In my view he should make a quick impact (assuming he works the rust off fast enough) but they've committed to him all the way through age 37. Will they regret that down the line?
****At Beyond the Boxscore, Ronnie Socash looks at the future of the Los Angeles Angels, with a thin farm system and an aging roster. What options do they have to improve?
****Discussion Point: Assuming the money would work out, would it have been appropriate for the Angels to go after Gurriel?