I’ve been thinking about the pitch clock a lot this week. Went from a huge, over-the-line-smoky deal to oh-yeah-the-pitch-clock in record time. Been wondering if the clock could take center stage again for a moment or two during the playoffs. Also been thinking about what other rule changes could follow that path. The extra inning runner should move to first base, particularly in the new steals-happy paradigm. Fans remember big postseason steals because they’re. Dave Roberts spun a whole managing career out of knowing how to snag that key bag. Even if we wind up with a couple more 14-inning slumber parties, the game would feel more just, which I think fans would appreciate over the long haul. I don’t mind the idea of a shootout type scenario and understand how we got to the ghost runner, but people might prefer a home run derby if we’re doing that, which feels pretty far from quote-unquote real baseball.
The Giants are doing their thing with SS Tyler Fitzgerald, playing the 26-year-old rookie every day this week with all but one of those starts coming in center field. Fitzgerald has brought power and speed to every level since the club selected him in the fourth round of the 2019 draft. This year, he’s up to 23 homers and 32 steals in 127 games across three levels. Strikeouts have been the primary hiccup, but he cut that rate to 23.8 percent in 102 games at Triple-A. Interesting player who’s in the perfect place to earn his keep. If you hit when Kapler plays you, he’ll probably keep you in the lineup.
Athletics RHP Joe Boyle looks like a deadline steal for Billy Beane and company. He’s thrown nine scoreless major league innings, allowing three walks and six hits. If he can keep his walk rate in a reasonable range, the 6’7” 240 lb Boyle has the stuff to excel. Oakland has succeeded with some plus-sized pitchers and figures to give Boyle every chance to hold down a rotation spot.
Angels 1B Nolan Schanuel has gotten on base in 27 straight games to open his major league career. Anyone would be thrilled with a .407 on base percentage in their first 27 games, but it’s all that much more impressive given Schanuel’s accelerated path. He’s slugging just .343, so it isn’t all sunshine and roses, but he’s had an incredible season no matter how you chop up the stats.
Rangers OF Wyatt Langford has probably cemented his spot atop the First-Year-Player Draft for most dynasty enthusiasts, bullying his way through four levels of the minor leagues and posting a .453 on base percentage in High-A and then pushing it above .500 in Double and Triple-A. He struck out 34 times and drew 36 walks in 44 games as a professional, adding ten home runs and 12 stolen bases. Doesn’t get much louder than that.
Anyone who drafted Mets RHP Kodai Senga last year is probably pleased they did, and the high-floor lovers will get another couple chances this year if RHP Yoshinobu Yamamoto and LHP Shoto Imanaga enter the player pool as expected. With Schanuel and Cubs SS Matt Shaw pushing toward the top of the class, this year’s First-Year-Player group runs nine deep with big-name prospects. Gonna be pretty easy to feel good about your haul this year. Good year for trading up into the top ten, especially on draft day when people seek to trade out.
Athletics RHP Gunnar Hoglund made his Double-A debut this week after posting a 1.42 ERA in three starts (12.1 innings) at High-A. I think you can go get him now in most formats. The specter of Las Vegas and a likely hitter-friendly environment hangs over all Oakland arms, but we’re better off living in the now on that front, I think.
Padres OF Jakob Marsee has 16 home runs and 46 stolen bases in 129 games across High-A and Double-A. A six-foot lefty, Marsee takes his walks, controls the zone and plays solid defense across the outfield. He’ll likely play some kind of role with the big club next year. Could be a hard guy to take out of the lineup if he takes advantage of some early chances.
Thanks for reading!