Consider this a renewed request not to use "Bae-llinger."
The Situation: Joc Pederson is on the DL with a groin strain and the Dodgers could use a left-handed center field bat to pair with Enrique Hernandez. So they called up…a first baseman? Yes, but this first baseman also plays center (and left) field. And mashes dingers.
The Background: Bellinger was the fourth-round pick of the Dodgers in 2013 as an Arizona prep and signed for $700,000. He was drafted as a first baseman, where he played exclusively for the first two season of his pro career. The Dodgers aggressively assigned Bellinger to Advanced-A in 2015 and started playing him occasionally in center field as well. Bellinger broke out in a big way, socking 30 home runs. He proved it was no Cal League mirage last season, mashing his way through Double-A while spending time at all three outfield spots in addition to first. He got off to a hot start in Albuquerque this year, batting .343/.429/.627 at the time of his call up.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
Eric Thames continues to crush baseballs, Justin Turner makes a baserunning blunder, and the Bears beat the Steelers.
The Monday Takeaway
MLB’s attack on baseballs continued Monday, with Eric Thames leading the charge. The Brewers’ first baseman connected on two more long balls, bringing his season total to 10. And somehow even more impressive than that, they were his sixth and seventh homers against the Reds. Thames is currently on pace to hit 80 home runs. No one is able to keep up that kind of pace, but for now Thames’ at-bats are must-see TV.
Once the home of plodding sluggers, left field is now being treated much differently by managers.
The left fielder has become an endangered species. That's an odd statement to make, but the data say it’s true, and the reasons why tell us some interesting things about where the game of baseball is going. And it starts in this graph right here:
Closing situations in Washington and Anaheim remain fluid. Also: Is it time to worry about Francisco Rodriguez?
Welcome back to the Closer Report. There were multiple changes in the reliever world over the weekend, and some messes yet to be cleaned up. Just a quick reminder that you can keep up with all of the changes at the Closer Grid. As always, the sections that are highlighted represent changes since the last iteration of this column.
Bryce Harper is off to a great start, which is business as usual for one of the best April hitters of all time.
I realize, given the Nationals’ lack of October success, that using a “Mr. April” moniker in relation to Bryce Harper may be viewed as criticism of some sort. That’s not my intention. Harper has hit four career playoff home runs—tied with Miguel Cabrera, Jimmie Foxx, Johnny Bench, Chipper Jones, and Jose Canseco for the 10th-most ever through age 24—and I have no doubt that he’ll put up plenty of big playoff numbers in the future. For now, though, his opening-month numbers are the ones worth drooling over, because few players in baseball history have ever hit like Harper in April.
What if Taylor Motter's season were set to showtunes? Is Chad too Kuhl for the room? Will they write songs about the guys filling in for the Dodgers injury brigade?
Welcome back to The FAAB Review, the weekly series that looks at FAAB bidding in expert leagues to help you, the Baseball Prospectus reader, with your fantasy baseball bidding needs. Every week, I closely scrutinize the expert free-agent bids in LABR Mixed, Tout Wars NL, and LABR AL. As a reminder, LABR uses a $100 budget with $1 minimum bids, while Tout Wars uses a $1,000 budget with $0 minimum bids. LABR and Tout Wars use a bidding deadline of Sunday at midnight ET for all FAAB claims. Any statistics mentioned in this article are through the previous Sunday’s games.
LABR Mixed Trevor Rosenthal $11. Other bids: $4, $3, $1. Tout Auction: $99
Entering 2017, Seung Hwan Oh was considered one of the five or six “reliable” closing options in fantasy. His average ADP of 70th put him behind only Kenley Jansen, Aroldis Chapman, Zach Britton and Mark Melancon. On Opening Night, Oh blew a save in horrific fashion. It was against the Cubs, so no one thought much of it at the time, but ever since Oh hasn’t quite looked like his dominant self. The results have been solid after a rocky first week (in his past six outings, Oh has allowed one run in six innings with one walk, six strikeouts and five saves), but he also has had moments where he looked vulnerable, something we didn’t see much of with Oh in 2016.
Edwin Rios, Spencer Adams, Conner Greene, Daniel Brito and more.
Hitter of the Day:
Edwin Rios, CIF, Los Angeles Dodgers (Double-A, Tulsa): 5-5, 2 2B, 4 RBI
The heartthrob of one Mr. Wilson Karaman, Rios has plus to better raw power and can utilize it in games, but he has a lot of swing and miss and is likely to be a 1B only given his 20 run and lack of quickness at 3B.
Mister Christian / Oh the time has come / And you know that you're the only one...
The Situation: The Giants are rocking a collective .236 TAv, which is 25th in baseball, and while their 69 runs scored entering play yesterday was nice and all, it rated just 23rd. Starting third baseman Eduardo Nunez has been a big ol’ part of that problem, sitting on a .208 TAv his own damn self, and the now-DFA’ed Chris Marrero had failed to plug the hole left behind by left fielder Jarrett Parker’s broken collarbone. Enter number two prospectChristian Arroyo, owner of a ho-hum .446/.478/.692 line through 16 games at Triple-A Sacramento.
The Background: The Giants drafted Arroyo 25th overall in 2013 as a prep shortstop, signing him to a slot deal and sending him to the Arizona Rookie League, where he promptly hit .326 in a 45-game professional debut. Outside of a briefly rude introduction to full-season pitching the following year, he hit everything thrown at him up to Double A, climbing to the organizational top spot heading into the 2016 season. Still just 21, he yesterday became the lucky thirteenth member of the first round of his draft class to step between the lines of a big-league baseball game.
We promise we don't do a "Hu's on first" joke. We make no other promises.
The Situation: Rays long man Tommy Hunter has hit the DL after suffering a calf injury covering first base this past weekend. In his stead the Rays have called up pitching prospect Chih-Wei Hu to take over his role in their bullpen
The Background: Hu was signed out as an 18-year-old of Taiwan by the Minnesota Twins in 2012 for $220,000. He made his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League the following season and proceeded level-by-level from there. Although he never posted big strikeout numbers in the minors, his performance was never anything less than stellar at any extended stop. So yeah, he was basically a Twins pitching prospect. Hu was dealt to the Rays in August 2015 as part of the Kevin Jepsen deal and continued to have success while posting average-ish K-rates. A strong Double-A campaign—that level was always going to be an important test of the profile—in 2016, along with flashes of better velocity, was enough to make him the sixth-best prospect on the 2017 Rays Top Ten list.