Blue Jays blue-chip prospect Anthony Gose has been bad in the big leagues, but has he been so bad that we should start to doubt his skills?
Last month, I wrote an article about 2012 Red Sox draftee Shaq Green-Thompson, who had begun his professional career by going 0-for-16 with 16 strikeouts. I wasn’t sure whether to write it. Baseball players go through slumps, and baseball writers write about them. That’s the way this works. But Thompson was just a couple months out of college, and his struggles were so acute that to draw any extra attention to them seemed cruel. The Red Sox source I quoted was concerned that I was out to “crush the kid.” I wasn’t, but I was worried about what would happen when other sites picked up the story. Ultimately, I decided to write about Thompson, but I tried to do it in a way that dwelt on his strengths, explained his struggles, and focused on what his streak said about baseball. It was still the first and only time I’ve felt bad about writing about a baseball player.
Eleven days later, Deadspin picked up on the story (via some other site, which made me feel a bit better). By then, Thompson’s stat line looked even worse. A flurry of Thompson tweets and articles followed. Not all of them were nice. Thompson went on to finish the short season 0-for-39 with 37 strikeouts. He’ll be better at football, which he’ll play this fall. Maybe he’ll return to baseball next summer. Or maybe he’ll decide not to come back and risk causing any more crises of conscience.
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The Blue Jays came very close to exceeding their bonus allotment for amateur draft picks.
Under the terms of the new CBA, teams that exceed their annual allotment for amateur draft picks signing bonuses by more than five percent forfeit their first-round pick for the following year. That's a pretty harsh penalty. Up to five percent, though, they simply pay a 75 percent tax on the overage. That might come to a few hundred thousand dollars, which isn't insignificant, but it's nothing compared to the expected value of a first-round pick. So, to recap: going over by less than five percent: potentially costly. Going over by more than five percent: potentially really costly.
The Week in Quotes is a feature that ran roughly forever at BP, more or less from the advent of the site until last July, when it was temporarily retired. Since then, it's become the BP equivalent of Arrested Development—you've never stopped asking us to bring it back. Thanks to the hard work of BP interns Hudson Belinsky, Jonah Birenbaum, Andrew Koo, and Matthew Rocco, we are bringing it back, and unlike the new season of Arrested Development, you don't have to sign up for Netflix to see it. For the most part, we're following the old format, but we've also added a section for the week's best tweets by beat writers and players. Please let us know if there's anything else you'd like to see included.—Ben Lindbergh
The Tampa Bay Rays have managed to stay in second place in the AL East despite the second-smallest run differential in the division.
The Wednesday Takeaway
Remember when the Rangers seemed like a juggernaut after starting the season with 17 wins in their first 23 games? Well, 23 days later, Ron Washington’s team is now tied with the Rays for the second-best record in the American League at 27-18, tied in the loss column with the 25-18 Indians, and a game behind the 28-17 Orioles. Since the end of April, the Orioles have gone 14-8, the Indians 13-9, the Rays 12-10, and the Rangers 10-12—including a just-completed 6-7 run while facing the Angels, Royals, Athletics, Astros, and Mariners.
Think that’s confusing? Then try to figure out the American League East.
Brett Lawrie crossed the line when he threw his batting helmet at an umpire.
The Tuesday Takeaway Brett Lawrie can hit, and the 22-year-old is rapidly learning how to pick it at the hot corner. But the questions about his makeup that led the Brewers to ship him to the Blue Jays in a one-for-one deal that brought back Shaun Marcum reared their ugly heads again last night in an incident that is likely to result in a suspension.
At the plate with nobody on and one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, with Toronto trailing Tampa Bay 4-3, Lawrie worked the count to 3-1. Then, home plate umpire Bill Miller clearly gipped him of a walk, calling a Fernando Rodney fastball that crossed the plate at least four inches outside a strike. The payoff pitch was a changeup that threatened the upper fringe of the zone but stayed an inch or so too high. Miller rang Lawrie up, and—moments later—the young third baseman seemed ready to ring the ump’s bell.
Mariano Rivera's injury isn't just a blow for the Yankees.
The Thursday Takeaway Joe Blanton pitched a shutout for the Phillies. Bryce Harper drove home the game-winning run for the Nationals. The Royals won at home for the first time this season.
And none of it matters, because Mariano Riverawrecked his knee. He did not slip off the mound. He was not scrambling to field a bunt. He did not trip while covering first base. Rivera was doing something else that virtually every pitcher does and that he has thoroughly enjoyed doing throughout his career: shagging balls during batting practice.
Michael Pineda's labrum tear doesn't bode well for his future, but it's not the death sentence it used to be.
On Wednesday, the Yankees revealed that Michael Pineda had suffered a torn labrum, a devastating turn of events both for the 23-year-old righty and for the team that acquired him from the Mariners for top prospect Jesus Montero back in January. Pineda will miss the entire season and part of 2013, thinning the Yankees' surplus of starting pitching—and underscoring the fact that you can never have too much—while raising the question of whether they will ever get much value out of him.