The Padres call up the Texas League's most dominant starter.
The Situation: With Clayton Richard becoming the latest Padres starter to land on the DL, the club is calling up Smith from Double-A San Antonio. He’ll join the rotation and make his big-league debut against Tampa Bay on Saturday.
Background: San Diego’s 14th-round pick in the 2011 draft, Smith was selected out of the University of Oklahoma after beginning his collegiate career at Texas JUCO power Howard College. The right-hander’s velocity has jumped a tick since his college days, and his command continues to improve. Following a solid full-season debut at High-A Lake Elsinore last season, Smith has been the Texas League’s most dominant starter in the early going this year. Through six starts, he has yielded just four earned runs on 17 hits in 31.1 innings, walking six and striking out 37. The Texan did not rank in Baseball Prospectus’ top 10 Padres prospects over the offseason, though he certainly would if they were re-ranked today.
The Padres summon a southpaw prospect to bring some relief to their overtaxed staff.
The Situation: With a piecemeal starting rotation and an overtaxed bullpen, the Padres are in desperate need of arms at the big-league level. Erlin, whom Baseball Prospectus ranked as San Diego’s sixth-best prospect in January, is likely slated for a long relief role in the short term, as long men Thad Weber and Anthony Bass were forced to throw a combined 7.2 innings over the previous two nights. Weber was optioned to Triple-A, clearing the roster space for Erlin’s call-up.
Background: Selected by Texas in the third round of the 2009 draft, the California high school product tore through the lower levels and reached Double-A in May 2011. Erlin was dealt to the Padres at the deadline later that summer, going to San Diego with RHP Joe Wieland in exchange for setup man RHP Mike Adams. Although Erlin pitched well in 11 starts for Double-A San Antonio last season, he was sidelined due to inflammation and tendonitis in his elbow. The injury didn’t require surgery, and he finished with a strong stint in the Arizona Fall League. Prior to Wednesday’s call-up, Erlin had made three starts for Triple-A Tucson, yielding seven runs in 13.1 innings.
Jason Cole catches up with the Padres' top prospect and shows him flashing his skills.
While in Arizona this spring, I caught up with Padres top prospect Austin Hedges to discuss the art of catching and his development as a player. The Southern California native was ranked the no. 1 prospect in the San Diego system and no. 19 in baseball by Baseball Prospectus this offseason. And in our recent look at the top glove tools, we named him the top defensive catcher in the minor leagues, citing his “tremendous footwork, a quick transfer from the glove to his throwing hand, a lightning-quick release and an arm that rated as one of the best in the minor leagues,” in addition to his excellent blocking, framing, and game-calling abilities.
The story of a pitcher who was secretly amazing last season.
Today is the final weekday of the 2013 offseason. On Monday, there will be real stats, living stats that will change by the next day. On Monday, every stat will have to go through the sample-size filter, and even in the final month of the year we will be looking at some team that’s outperforming its pythagorean record, or some pitcher with good BABIP luck, and caveat everything we say with “but regression is likely and things could change.” We don’t have to do that when we’re talking about 2012, because 2012 is over. No matter how lucky or unlucky, no matter how much regression should have happened, it didn’t happen. The numbers are in the books and they’re not changing.
So, on this last weekday of the 2013 offseason, let’s talk about my favorite statistical line of the 2012 season. A line that defies belief, that defies explanation, and that will never, ever, ever change. As of Sunday, that line will no longer be relevant, because we'll care mostly about what's going to happen in 2013. This line will just be a forgotten marvel affecting nobody. But today it’s still relevant, and it’s totally real.
The fourth installment of a five-part series on the pressing questions confronting each team in 2013.
In the week leading up to Opening Day, we're asking and answering three questions about each team in a five-part series ordered by descending Playoff Pct from the Playoff Odds Report. Today, we continue with a look at the group of six teams with the second-worst odds of winning at least a Wild Card. As a reminder, you can find links to our preview podcasts for each team here.
The Reds kept Devin Mesoraco in the majors for the duration of last season, even though the young catcher scuffled in a cup of coffee at the end of 2011 (.180/.226/.360) and was not overly impressive in Cactus League play (.250/.295/.450). Once considered among the top catching prospects in baseball, Mesoraco ranked as the second-best minor leaguer in the Reds system in back-to-back years, according to Kevin Goldstein, who also billed him as the 24th-best prospect across all organizations and positions entering 2012.
The Padres' third baseman had a breakout 2012. If he hadn't settled with San Diego, how might his arbitration hearing have gone?
It's salary arbitration season in Major League Baseball, and here at Baseball Prospectus we're holding mock hearings, arguing for or against the actual team/player filing figures before a three-person panel of certified arbitrators. We've selected 10 of this winter's most intriguing, highest-dollar cases to cover in depth over the first two weeks of February (regardless of whether the players' real-life cases remain unsettled). After each side's opening argument and rebuttal/summation below, we'll give you a chance to vote on what you think the result should be before seeing the panel's decision. For more on the arbitration process, read the series intro by Atlanta Braves Assistant GM John Coppolella, listen to his appearance on Episode 35 of Up and In, or check out the BP Basics introduction to arbitration.
In Part One of this 10-part series, we'll tackle San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley, who (unbeknownst to our arbitrators) settled with San Diego for $8.575 million last week.