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Purchased the contract of RHP Edwin Diaz from Double-A Jackson. [6/5]

Many fans and analysts were surprised when the Mariners shifted Edwin Diaz to the bullpen last month. Just 22 years old, the right-hander had pitched well out of the rotation in his second spin through Double-A. In six starts, he posted 3.10 ERA with 38 strikeouts and just five walks in 29 innings, overwhelming hitters with a firm fastball-slider combination.

But his success and pedigree—he was named to the World’s Futures Game roster last summer and many view him as Seattle’s top pitching prospect—masked legitimate developmental obstacles in his future, had he remained a starter. Diaz’s changeup has long lagged behind his other offerings, and the Mariners player development staff did not see any progress with the pitch in 2016. General manager Jerry Dipoto said as much when announcing the switch: “The changeup has never really been easy for him. It’s not the most conventional arm action and delivery you will ever see. So the likelihood of him picking up that third pitch was maybe a little bit more remote.” The Mariners also had concerns about how his slight, 6-foot-3, 165-pound frame would hold up under a starter’s workload.

Free to unleash his best stuff in short stints, Diaz has taken to relief work like a fish to water. In 11.2 innings, he’s fanned 16 hitters, walking two, and holding batters to a .077 batting average. He attacks hitters with a low-three-quarters arm slot, and his long arms make it particularly difficult for righties to pick up the ball. He flirts with triple digits, regularly sitting in the mid-to-high 90s with plus tailing action on the pitch. His slider isn’t a finished product, but his best ones are plus offerings, with depth and run, and he’s become more consistent with the pitch as he’s developed. Diaz is also difficult to time: As he starts driving towards the plate, he slows his momentum briefly, kicking his front leg out to disturb a hitter’s rhythm before finishing his delivery.

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that Dipoto had an eye on the Mariners' thin bullpen when he decided to move Diaz. With Seattle in contention and two of the Mariners' top relievers on the shelf, Diaz was moved quickly. He’ll be making his debut less than a month after the conversion, without even a cameo at Triple-A. He shouldn’t need it though: As a guy who can throw strikes with a 70 fastball and a 60 slider, he has the tools to thrive in the big leagues right now. —Brendan Gawlowski

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Designated OF-L Carl Crawford for assignment; recalled C/IF-R Austin Barnes from Triple-A Oklahoma City. [6/5]

It’s probably important to get this out of the way first: Crawford was not as bad in Los Angeles as you might have thought overall, but undoubtedly worse than you might’ve imagined these past two seasons. To wit: Crawford earned 5.0 WARP in his first two years in blue, but cost his team -1.2 WARP over the last two seasons. The left fielder has been labeled a disappointment so frequently over the past six seasons that his time with Tampa Bay or even his two seasons of adequacy in L.A seem a distant memory.

Of course it’s the last two seasons–as well as the Dodgers’ vaunted overall depth–that probably set off this chain of events that will end with him finding a new team. The “little things” that added so much value to his bat in Tampa–his speed and defense–have disappeared as he entered his 30s, but Crawford’s bat was supposed to stay strong. It didn’t. In between missing time with a laundry list of injuries, he started swinging at fewer balls in the zone and more out of the zone, and it’s led to a lot of unfortunate contact. His BABIP has dipped quite a bit, and while some of that should regress back to the mean, when he’s not hitting for average Crawford’s simply not a very valuable player.

Perhaps the blame for Crawford’s tenure ending in Los Angeles lies with Trayce Thompson, who has emerged from his brother Klay’s shadow and solidified a role in the Dodgers outfield. I thought that his 2015 power surge may have been a fluke, but he’s gone the other direction: nine homers and a .571 slugging percentage are probably unsustainable, but those numbers are also impressive enough to be the harbinger of a nice big-league career. In short, he needs to play nearly every day, and the Dodgers would much rather have his .340 True Average in the lineup than Crawford’s flaccid .179 mark. In Los Angeles, it isn’t just about the Next Big Thing–which Thompson may or may not be–but it’s about the diminished production of a fading star.

With the high expectations in L.A., there’s just no room for the malaise of an outfielder hired only to hit. Depending on who you believe, the market for corner outfielders is either flush (hi, Joe Sheehan) or barren (hey, Dave Cameron), but either way Carl Crawford will get another look with another team. After all, displaced from his large, long contract–which the Dodgers will likely be on the hook for after the next 10 days–he’ll be an attractive flier for at least a couple of teams.

In his place the Dodgers called up a personal favorite in Barnes–an OBP machine with little prospect pedigree and a lot of positional flexibility. Able to operate as an above-average defender at both catcher and second base, if he can hit at all he could be an upgrade over Howie Kendrick or the suddenly punchless Yasmani Grandal. He’s been incredibly valuable at Double-A and Triple-A over the past two and a half years as an average hitter but plus gloveman. In truth, he’s a better backup than starter, able to slot in anywhere the team needs him in a pinch. He won’t replace Carl Crawford, but his presence will allow the team to mix and match a whole lot better than their little-loved, much-paid left fielder did. —Bryan Grosnick

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Signed RHP Jerome Williams to a minor-league contract. [6/3]

Williams is the type of pitcher no team wants but every team needs. He’s not a league-average pitcher–those guys get $10 million per year and don’t get picked up in June on minor-league deals. He’s replacement level, mostly. Since coming back to the big leagues in 2011, his WARP has hovered somewhere around the 0.0 mark thanks to a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none set of pitches and peripherals. There’s a combination of four-seamer, slider, and changeup without any one of his offerings working as an out pitch; he’s unable to generate massive ground-ball rates, get swinging strikes, or demonstrate pinpoint control … and he gives up too much hard contact.

The one exception to Williams’ history of adequacy was 2015, where he was worth -2.2 WARP in 121 innings with the Phillies. His ERA was a distressing 5.80, but his DRA was even worse at 6.55. There was precious little difference between his time as a starter compared to as a reliever–he didn’t get markedly better in his 15+ innings in the ‘pen, he just gave up fewer home runs. Of course, the Cardinals used to have a habit of rehabilitating lost starting pitchers into something magical, but Williams isn’t a candidate for that kind of “devil magic”–he’s a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency swingman or a Triple-A depth guy. He’s capable of taking the ball every fifth day, but not the ideal choice. He’s still behind Jerome Benton on my worldwide Jerome Power Rankings, but he’s a great pitcher to have in your back pocket when the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh options in your rotation all peter out.

Unless he repeats last season. That would be just awful. —Bryan Grosnick

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Recalled SS-R Trea Turner from Triple-A Syracuse. [6/3]

Perhaps this moment should have come at the beginning of the season, but good things are always better late than never. Even after the team’s acquisition of Daniel Murphy, it seemed as if Turner’s time had come; a terrific prospect with serious speed and nothing left to prove in the minors, he was a dark horse Rookie of the Year candidate and possessed both a high ceiling and high floor. But, as it sometimes happens, a team sided with a proven veteran (Danny Espinosa) rather than “rush” the kid to the bigs.

All Turner has done in Syracuse this year is rake, with 21 extra-base hits in 50 games. He’s stolen 17 bases without being caught. And his minor-league value this year is already up to a very impressive 3.1 WARP. Meanwhile, Danny Espinosa has played solid defense and has a 0.9 WARP of his own, but posted a .241 True Average and has an OBP below the Belanger Line (i.e. .300 or lower) both this season and for his career. As the Nationals try to put some distance between them and the Mets atop the NL East, they can use any upgrade they can get.

If you’re interested in how Trea Turner should adapt to the big leagues over the long or the short term, feel free to check out Christopher Crawford’s excellent Call-Up from last August. The song remains mostly the same. He’s an impact talent with gap power, a solid-plus hit tool, speed for days, and an above-average glove. When I put eyes on him in person during a mid-spring training Nationals-Mets tilt, he looked like the most impressive player on either team (non-Harper division). That’s why PECOTA projects him to already perform at a league-average level, why he’s still a threat for the Rookie of the Year award, and why we could be talking about Turner along with the Lindors, Correas, and Bogaertses (Bogaertii?) of the league for the next decade. —Bryan Grosnick

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Trea Turner is already back in AAA after Ryan Zimmerman got back from paternity leave. I think the Nationals are afraid that he will strike out too much against MLB pitching to take advantage of his speed (the source of his OBP and extra-base hits)and that Espinosa is a better glove with power.
That's absolutely crazy. I mean, I know that Espinosa is hitting okay these days, but if they're THAT in love with his glove, move Murph to first and put Espinosa at second.
Zimmerman is not going anywhere