Half whiffs: Kimbrel posting historic K rate

Sep 19, 2017 | No Comments

Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel is striking out more than 50 percent of the batters that appear before him — 236 hitters have stepped in, 120 have struck out and only 116 have done anything else.

West Notes: Athletics, Giants, Mariners, C. Seager

Sep 19, 2017 | No Comments

While the Athletics still face an uncertain path to finally landing a new ballpark, the club’s announcement of a target site has gained some support from the business community, Kimberly Veklerov of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. It certainly seems as if there’s some public relations jockeying going on as the ballclub attempts to ramp up its efforts. As Veklerov notes, some of the initial political response was less than fully supportive. More from out west: Across the bay, the Giants have stumbled through a disastrous season. CEO Larry Baer discussed the state of affairs as the campaign comes to an end with Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News reports. It’s an interview you’ll certainly want to read in full, as Baggarly pushed the executive on some interesting subjects

Indians top Power Rankings for second week

Sep 19, 2017 | No Comments

With less than two weeks remaining in the regular season, three division races have been decided — two that never really were races all season (Houston and Washington) and one that we expected to happen but took longer for the crowning team to pull away from the pack (Cleveland).

Sox give extra effort vs. O’s, stay 3 games up

Sep 19, 2017 | No Comments

First, there was the comeback. Then there was the letdown. And then there was one last surge back by the Red Sox, who once again demonstrated their resilience with a 10-8, 11-inning victory over the Orioles on Monday night at Camden Yards.

NL Notes: Hutchison, Plawecki, Chatwood, Lamb

Sep 18, 2017 | No Comments

Following this weekend’s outright of Drew Hutchison, Pirates GM Neal Huntington spoke to Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the decision to move on from the right-hander, who is now very likely to become a free agent at season’s end. While Hutchison was the lone return the Pirates received in exchange for dumping Francisco Liriano’s contract and sending two prospects to the Blue Jays, Huntington indicated that he’s been passed on the depth chart by other arms. “We traded for him with the idea that he was a controllable, young starter that could fill a rotation spot for years to come,” said Huntington. “We just also decided this year that the growth and development of our guys put them ahead of him.” The Pirates have relied heavily upon Chad Kuhl, Trevor Williams, Steven Brault and Tyler Glasnow to make starts behind Gerrit Cole, Ivan Nova and Jameson Taillon this season.

Three Needs: Toronto Blue Jays

Sep 18, 2017 | No Comments

This is the latest edition in MLBTR’s Three Needs series. Click to read entries on the Braves,  Tigers, Reds, Pirates, Giants and Mets. After reaching the ALCS in the previous two seasons, the 2017 Blue Jays stumbled out of the gate to a brutal 2-11 start and simply never got on track.  The team did have some good stretches and was still hanging around the wild card race in late August, so it could be tempting to write the season off as a by-product of some brutal injury luck, as several Jays regulars spent significant time on the disabled list.  It could also be argued, however, that the injuries simply exposed some underlying issues with the roster that would’ve prevented Toronto from contending even at full strength. A rebuild isn’t in the cards given the talent (and big contracts) still on hand, so the Jays are planning for a big rebound in 2018.  Here are a few of the areas that need to be addressed in order for the Jays to return to contention… [Related: Blue Jays depth chart and payroll information at Roster Resource] 1.

Zim’s 2 HRs vs. Dodgers give Nats win No. 90

Zim’s 2 HRs vs. Dodgers give Nats win No. 90

Sep 18, 2017 | No Comments

One swing from Ryan Zimmerman provided the Nationals with more offense Sunday night than they had through the first two games of this series with the Dodgers, as he launched a go-ahead three-run homer in the sixth inning of a 7-1 victory Sunday night at Nationals Park.

Quick Hits: Otani, Syndergaard, Mets, Prospects

Sep 17, 2017 | No Comments

Japanese sensation Shohei Otani is reportedly primed to head to the majors in the offseason, but don’t be surprised if he changes his mind, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times writes. The right-handed ace/left-handed slugger did just that in the past when it looked as if he’d come to North America out of high school, but he instead decided to play professionally in his homeland. Some major league executives wonder whether an agent will talk Otani out of leaving Japan in the offseason, given that the 23-year-old would stand to benefit financially (to an enormous degree) by waiting until he’s 25. At that point, he’d be able to sign a mega-deal that would crush the relatively small contract he’ll land if he makes his way to the big leagues during the upcoming winter. Thanks in part to the international spending limits in the new collective bargaining agreement, where Otani will sign in the offseason is he does emigrate from Japan in the offseason is “shrouded in mystery,” according to Buster Olney of ESPN. “It’s incredible how many unknowns there are,” one evaluator said of Otani, who could consider factors such as geography, market size, friendships, endorsement opportunities and the designated hitter rule when choosing a team, Olney suggests. The Mets have some reservations about using ace Noah Syndergaard again this year, Matt Ehalt of The Record reports (on Twitter)

AL Notes: Red Sox, Rays, Tribe, Yankees

Sep 17, 2017 | No Comments

The Red Sox plan to explore a new deal for utilityman Eduardo Nunez after the season, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reports. Nunez is currently out with a knee injury, but when healthy, the impending free agent has been a valuable addition since the Red Sox acquired him from the Giants in July. The 30-year-old has slashed an excellent .319/.351/.534 with eight home runs and six steals across 171 plate appearances as a member of the Red Sox, with whom he has lined up at second base, shortstop and third base. Nunez’s future may affect fellow utilityman Brock Holt’s, as Mastrodonato relays that he could be a non-tender candidate in the offseason. Holt was a key piece for the Red Sox from 2014-15, but injuries have slowed his career since then. The 2015 All-Star has taken 140 trips to the plate this season and batted a meek .175/.286/.208. Holt, 29, is on a $1.95MM salary this year and is scheduled to go through arbitration for the second time in the offseason. He’s controllable through 2019. More from the American League: Right-hander Alex Cobb’s start on Saturday may have been his last at Tropicana Field as a member of the Rays, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes

Three Needs: Atlanta Braves

Sep 17, 2017 | No Comments

This is the latest edition in MLBTR’s Three Needs series. Click to read versions on the Tigers, Reds, Pirates, Giants and Mets. The Braves were among baseball’s absolute worst teams in each of the previous two seasons, finishing near the bottom of the majors in both wins and run differential. While they’re still below average in those categories (22nd in winning percentage, 19th in run differential), there has been progress this season. At 67-80, the Braves should surpass the 70-victory mark for the first time since 2014. That would obviously be a baby step, but moving forward with a healthy Freddie Freeman and the game’s No. 1-ranked farm system give the Braves legitimate reasons for hope heading into 2018.