ELITE PROSPECT CALLED UP
Kolten Wong has been called up. Who is Kolten Wong? According to many he may be the best second base prospect in baseball. So you must add him in all leagues, right? Maybe. Recall what the Rangers have done with their prospect, Jurickson Profar? Middling performances combined with being shuttled in an out of the lineup hasn’t done much for his rookie season (.241-4-19-18-0 in 199 at-bats). It sounds like the Cardinals will use Wong at second at times. ‘But wait Ray, doesn’t Matt Carpenter play second base?’ Yes he does, and Carpenter’s first in majors in runs scored (90) while batting .315. Obviously he’s not losing playing time. The Cards could slide Carpenter over to third base at times to play over David Freese, but that’s the problem for Wong. He’s got two established major league players that he will have to leapfrog for playing time making Wong unlikely to be a big time mixed league contributor this season unless the Cards decide to move on from the struggling Freese (.262 with on e homer over his last 27 games). He probably could be if given a chance. In 107 games at Triple-A this season he hit .303 with 10 homers, 68 runs scored and 20 steals. He can steal a base and has solid plate discipline, though a lack of playing time will likely hold him back.
A LITTLE OF THIS, A LITTLE OF THAT
Jason Castro has had a breakout season behind the dish for the Astros (still gripes me that I was outbid for him by $1 in Tout Wars this season). He’s currently working on a 12-game hitting streak, though his average has only gone up .013 points (he’s had a lot of single hit games). Very concerning is the explosion of strikeouts of late. During his hitting streak he has 15 Ks, and over his last 25 games he’s had at least two strikeouts 15 times. That run of whiffing has pushed his K total up to 112 in 103 games and it’s tough to consistently hit .270 if you have a K-rate over 26 percent as he does. If that .346 BABIP comes down, we’d be looking at at a .250 hitter. Doesn’t take away from his 14 homers, 45 RBIs and 49 run scored of course.
Derek Jeter update – he’s still not running the bases cause of that calf injury. Just end it Jeter. Jeez.
Matt Moore (elbow) could return by next weekend. He allowed eight runs over his final five starts though all eight were over in his three starts. Particularly encouraging was the fact that he walks five over four starts. If he can locate pitches like that, dominating outings will follow.
The Best of Archer… if you haven’t seen the show you are missing out. It’s the best comedy on TV.
What will the Rockies do in the 9th inning? The assumption has been that Rafael Betancourt (appendicitis) will return to the role when he is activated this weekend. Not so fast. Manager Walt Weiss said that he’s not sure if it will be Betancourt or Rex Brothers in the 9th. In his last nine outings Brothers have seven saves, he’s 11-for-12 on the year, and he’s got more than a K per inning while posting a 1.46 ERA. I’d slightly favor Brothers staying in the role.
Tyson Ross is killing it, rather quietly, for the Padres. In eight games as a starter for the Pads this season he’s only 3-2, but he has a 2.06 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 48 Ks in 48 innings pitched. That’s some rather elite work, isn’t it?
Zack Wheeler struck out a career best 12 batters last night. That effort ups his K/9 rate to 8.14, a strong total, and he also lowered his ERA to 3.43 in the outing. On the downside the rookie has walked 4.14 batters per nine leading to a 1.38 WHIP. He’s been solid, but consistency has continued to elude him. Think I’m off? Compare his numbers to those of Tim Lincecum, Mr. Inconsistency – 4.38 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 9.30 K/9, 3.34 BB/9.
Delmon Young was released by the Phillies. The #1 prospect in baseball for multiple seasons, it’s come to this for the 27 year old outfielder. He’s yet another example of an elite level prospect who failed to live up to expectations. Still, his release was surprising. After batting .267 with 18 homers and 74 RBIs last season he went on to hit .261 with eight homers and 31 RBIs this season. It should also be noted that over his last 116 games that he had 15 homers, 54 RBIs, 43 runs scored an a .266 average. Blah is right, but released? Still surprising.
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By Ray Flowers