Th Cardinals' deep pitching staff has freed them to use Alex Reyes in an interesting way; fun facts result.
Alex Reyes is up to 9 ⅔ innings pitched in the big leagues, and he still hasn’t allowed a run. He made his fifth career appearance Tuesday night, getting seven outs (including four strikeouts) in what ended up being a 7-4 Cardinals loss. In that game, he took over in the fifth inning, after Jaime Garcia struggled through four and put the Cardinals in a 6-4 hole. He threw 33 pitches and faced 10 batters, on three days’ rest. That’s been roughly typical so far. In his first four outings, he faced three, nine, eight, and five batters, threw 11, 51, 37, and 22 pitches, and had two, three, two, and two days’ rest, respectively.
The rookie makes his debut and bails out Jon Niese, plus more from Tuesday's action.
The Tuesday Takeaway
It’s now been three weeks since Jon Niese was traded back to the Mets, and while his return has been lacking on several fronts (namely that of good pitching), it’s at least been interesting. First there were the seven runs allowed in six innings of relief, curious in the ugly way that struggle can often be. Then there was the fact that such a bullpen performance resulted in a promotion to the rotation, even as he was said to be grappling with a sore knee. And Tuesday, there was more frustration to add to the trend.
Justin Verlander is the rare power pitcher who has reversed a downward trajectory late after 30.
As a die-hard White Sox fan in an era when American League Central baseball was known as nearly royalty, it was frowned upon for me to be as awestruck by the Detroit Tigers as I was. Not even that, it wasn’t okay.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Allen Cordoba, Zack Collins, Trevor Clifton, and Ricardo Sanchez.
Prospect of the Day:
Allen Cordoba, SS, St. Louis Cardinals (Rookie Johnson City): 6-8, BB, 5 R, 2B, 3B, RBI, SB, CS.
Evidently Cordoba is a fan of my work, as he keeps smoking line drives all over the place and forcing his way into this column on the nights I’m running it. Yesterday’s outburst in a doubleheader included a walk-off in the first game, and came on the heels of a four-hit night the day before. He’s hitting .500 now over his last 10 games with six walks and just two whiffs, and may just be ready for a new challenge.
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The Dodgers hit a bunch of homers off a guy named Bailey, and more from Monday's action.
The Monday Takeaway
If Homer Bailey never has to see Adrian Gonzalez again, the Reds right-hander would be just fine with that. Gonzalez entered Monday’s series-closing matinee 10-for-23 lifetime with five homers and two doubles against Bailey. Among opponents with at least 20 head-to-head plate appearances, Gonzalez’s 1.632 OPS was tops by more than 250 points. And that was before this:
What's the best way to spend money, given what we know right this minute?
A few years ago, I had a conversation with my brother. We were talking about (surprise!) baseball, but then his finance degree started talking. He pointed out to me that baseball is actually a really bad business model to be trapped in. The majority of your costs are fixed. You will be paying them, no matter what. Unlike the NFL, MLB contracts are largely guaranteed, so once a team signs a big expensive free agent, they are on the hook for paying him, sometimes on the hook several years into the future. On the other side, a lot of the revenue sources that teams have traditionally counted on (attendance, concessions, merchandise)—items that even in the age of huge TV contracts and regional sports networks being big feeders of the bottom line are still important—are variable. Fans usually come out to support a winner and a lot of times it’s hard to know how good you’ll be in three years. Will there be enough revenue to cover the cost of that fancy new second baseman? Teams aren’t completely operating in the dark when it comes to budgeting, but unlike a lot of other industries where if demand slows down, you can simply slow down production (and save money that way), baseball doesn’t let you do that.
The Brewers outfielder has a 1.132 OPS since the All-Star break, but how much of that surge can he sustain?
Rebuilding teams are too often overlooked in fantasy leagues. Their competitive situation brings about inherent obstacles—such as low win totals for starting pitchers or lower-than-expected RBI totals—but their ineptitude also affords them the freedom to experiment with fringe players in hopes of uncovering an unexpected contributor for the following campaign.
Notes on first-rounders Hudson Potts, Taylor Ward, and others.
Hudson Potts, 3B, San Diego Padres (Complex Level AZL)
Selected 24th-overall in June out of a Texas high school, the artist formerly known as Hudson Sanchez has already earned his first professional promotion after a solid debut, especially for a kid won’t be 18 until October. A tall third baseman with very soft hands and fluid motions on the field, Potts swings right-handed, gets the barrel to the ball quickly, and shows the ability (and willingness) to use the whole field. He has good balance at the plate and a swing tailored to hit line drives, but he has the frame to develop power as he progresses. I expect his defensive ability to carry him early on, and there’s a reasonable chance the power eventually comes around to league average. —Matt Pullman
Winston Lavendier, LHP, Los Angeles Angels (High-A Inland Empire)
Lavendier's "windup," if you can call it that, basically consists of him lifting his leg into a tucked coil, tensing every muscle in his body, and hurtling every part of it towards the plate as hard and fast as he can. It is among the highest of high-energy delivery you'll see, and it creates some good (moderate deception and quality extension) along with some bad (I just can't see a reliable command profile coming out of that delivery). He controlled the stuff pretty well, though, generating quality plane and driving the ball into the zone. He was all fastball in this look, piling up three outs on just nine pitches with some electricity and finish at 91-94. He apparently has a relatively deep complimentary arsenal, as well, showing a slider and what appeared to be a splitter in warmups, with both moving at a similar vertical trajectory. —Wilson Karaman
Surveying the ninth-inning situations around the league.
It was something of a slow week in the closer world, with a couple of (former) closers returning from injury but not getting their jobs back. Besides that, the only storylines are clarifications (or a lack of clarity) in some of the most miserable bullpens in the league. Sounds fun! As always, you can keep up with the changes on the closer grid. Now, to the news!