International Notes: July 2 Prospects, Garcia, Robert

May 26, 2017 | No Comments

Ben Badler of Baseball America has provided three separate looks at the 2017-18 international free agency period over the past week or so, running down 20 well-regarded prospects as well as their likely destinations once the signing period kicks off on July 2. Badler’s scouting efforts do require a subscription, though I’d highly recommend it for those who are interested in the international market (as well as the upcoming amateur draft, which BA obviously covers extensively as well). Financial details on all of the names within aren’t available, though Badler does report that 16-year-old Dominican shortstop Wander Franco (not to be confused with the Royals prospect of the same name) is expected to sign with the Rays for a bonus just shy of $4MM. Franco also ranked No. 1 on the International Top 30 of MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez — another invaluable resource for those wishing to brush up on the top international prospects on the market in the weeks leading up to the new signing period.  Those seeking a refresher on the new international spending limitations from the most recent collective bargaining agreement can refer back to Badler’s recap from this past December, as well (no subscription required on that one)

Arrieta returns to site of no-hitter on MLB.TV

May 26, 2017 | No Comments

The last time Jake Arrieta pitched at Dodger Stadium in the regular season, on August 30, 2015, he carved his way through the Dodgers’ lineup in a near-perfect performance. Arrieta’s no-hitter that night served as the highlight of his superhuman second half, and all but cemented his status as the eventual National League Cy Young Award winner.

Red Sox set Price’s season debut for Monday

May 25, 2017 | No Comments

David Price’s 2017 season will start with a Memorial Day matinee on Monday in Chicago against the White Sox, the Red Sox announced on Thursday.

Cruz’s 3-run HR in DC halts Mariners’ slide

May 25, 2017 | No Comments

The Mariners had not scored more than one run in any game since May 18, so scoring four runs Thursday afternoon qualified as an offensive outburst. Nelson Cruz hammered a go-ahead three-run homer and Robinson Cano added a run-scoring single, helping Seattle snap a five-game skid with a 4-2 victory against the Nationals at Nationals Park.

Reds Claim Jake Buchanan, Designate Peter O’Brien

May 25, 2017 | No Comments

The Reds announced that they’ve claimed right-hander Jake Buchanan off waivers from the Cubs and designated minor league outfielder Peter O’Brien for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. Buchanan, it seems, will be added to the Major League roster, as Cincinnati also announced that left-hander Amir Garrett has been placed on the 10-day disabled list due to inflammation in his right hip. The 27-year-old Buchanan has seen time in the Majors each year from 2014-16, tossing a combined 50 1/3 innings of 3.75 ERA ball for the Astros and the Cubs. In that time, he’s averaged just 5.2 K/9 against 3.0 BB/9 with a tepid 88.7 mph average on his sinker, though he’s also generated grounders at an excellent 58.5 percent clip. The Astros shifted Buchanan away from the rotation in 2015, but the Cubs have plugged him back into a starting role in the past two seasons. This year, he’s made eight starts (41 2/3 innings) for Triple-A Iowa and posted a 4.75 ERA with 6.3 K/9, 4.1 BB/9 and a 48.9 percent ground-ball rate. O’Brien, meanwhile has now been designated for assignment by his third organization of the past six months. The new-look Diamondbacks front office cut him loose back in December and traded him to the Royals in exchange for minor league righty Sam Lewis. However, O’Brien’s strong Spring Training was followed by a woeful .162/.235/.276 batting line in his first 27 games with Kansas City’s Triple-A affiliate, prompting a second DFA and a waiver claim from the Reds. Through five games with Cincinnati’s Triple-A affiliate, O’Brien hit .200/.333/.450.

Mariners Acquire Andrew Aplin, Designate Chris Heston

May 24, 2017 | No Comments

The Mariners have acquired outfielder Andrew Aplin from the Astros, per a club announcement. Cash or a player to be named later will head to Houston in return. To create room on the 40-man roster, Seattle has designated righty Chris Heston for assignment. [RELATED: Updated Mariners Depth Chart] Aplin, 26, had just been designated for assignment when the ’Stros had a need for a 40-man spot. He’ll now head to the division-rival Mariners, who carry a variety of young outfielders on their 40-man roster — a situation with plenty of competition but also a good bit of opportunity. Seattle is surely intrigued by Aplin’s ability to manage the strike zone, make contact, and get on base. He owns a .375 OBP through thirty games at Triple-A this year. But Aplin has also failed to show much else with the bat at the highest level of the minors, with a composite .245/.341/.329 batting line through 953 total plate appearances over four seasons. He did manage nine home runs in 598 plate appearances at the High-A level back in 2013, however. The 29-year-old Heston, who’s best known for his 2015 no-hitter, has struggled badly in his limited major league opportunities over the past two seasons.

Statcast of the Day: Schwarber’s 470-foot HR

May 24, 2017 | No Comments

Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber launched a home run onto Sheffield Avenue behind the right-field bleachers at Wrigley Field with one out in the first inning Tuesday off the Giants’ Johnny Cueto to spark a 4-1 victory. The home run was the longest of Schwarber’s career at 470 feet and the longest by a Cubs player this season.

Cubs Designate Jake Buchanan

May 22, 2017 | No Comments

The Cubs have designated righty Jake Buchanan, per a club announcement. His 40-man spot will go to lefty Zac Rosscup, whose contract was selected. In a corresponding move, right-hander Dylan Floro was optioned to Triple-A. Buchanan, 27, has seen limited MLB action in each of the past three seasons. He landed in Chicago early last year after he was released by the Astros. Buchanan had been working at Triple-A to open the 2017 campaign, posting a 4.75 ERA with 6.3 K/9 against 4.1 BB/9 over 41 2/3 innings. As for Rosscup, he’ll return to the majors for the first time since 2015. He spent all of 2016 rehabbing after shoulder surgery, but had shown well thus far at Triple-A. Through 15 2/3 innings over nine appearances, Rosscup owns a 3.45 ERA with an impressive combination of 25 strikeouts against just three walks

Astros Designate Andrew Aplin For Assignment

May 22, 2017 | No Comments

The Astros announced that they’ve designated outfielder Andrew Aplin for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for right-hander Jordan Jankowski, whose contract has been selected from Triple-A Fresno. The 26-year-old Aplin was a fifth-round pick of the Astros back in 2012, and while he reached Triple-A for the first time as a 23-year-old in 2014, his career has stalled somewhat at that level. Aplin has now spent parts of four seasons there, hitting a combined .245/.341/.329 with eight homers and 47 steals through 249 games (953 plate appearances). That includes a .250/.375/.345 batting line in 2017 — his age-26 campaign.