The Cubs are going through some stuff right now, but love is unconditional … right?
To forget the pain, let’s turn our attention elsewhere, with some news from around the league.
- First up, the St. Louis Cardinals – already in third place and 9.0 games behind the Chicago Cubs – may now find themselves without their single biggest offensive contributor for quite some time. After (a failed attempt at) checking his swing in the third inning yesterday, Matt Carpenter clutched his side in pain and was removed from the game. After an receiving an MRI, Carpenter was diagnosed with an oblique strain and sent to the 15-day disabled list. You may not have realized this, but Carpenter has actually been quietly amazing in 2016. In fact, he’s been one of the single best overall hitters in baseball – his 163 wRC+ is best in the NL and fourth best in baseball overall, behind David Ortiz, Mike Trout and Josh Donaldson. Even with the All-Star break coming up, the Cardinals are sure to feel his absence. Oblique injuries vary in severity, of course, but generally take a long time to return from (see Tommy La Stella in 2015 for an extreme, familiar case). After losing the first three (of four) to the Pirates this week, the Cardinals are 4-6 in their last ten games and have moved into third place of the NL Central. Needless to say, this injury might really cost them.
- Speaking of losing three of four to the Pirates: in game four (today), the Pirates have unveiled yet another shiny new toy: right-handed starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow. Although the game is still going on, his day is now finished: 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 3H, 2BB, 5Ks (1 HR). According to MLB Pipeline, Glasnow is the 8th ranked prospect in baseball overall and third ranked pitcher, behind only Lucas Giolito and Julio Urias (both of whom have made their MLB debuts this season). In Triple-A this year, Glasnow has impressed immensely – 1.78 ERA (2.94 FIP) with a 29.8% strikeout through 17 starts – and could represent a stabilizing force to a Pirates rotation that has been their achilles heal. Once their other top pitching prospect, Jameson Taillon, and staff ace Gerrit Cole return from the DL, the Pirates may look like quite a different team in the second half. Heck, they’ve already won seven in a row.
- After a really tumultuous and unsuccessful season, the Mets’ Matt Harvey is headed to the disabled list with discomfort in his right shoulder. According to Anthony DiComo (MLB.com), Harvey will head to St. Louis for further examination from a specialist. The Mets will reportedly update their diagnosis and Harvey’s plan thereafter. You may have missed it, but Harvey has been uncharacteristically bad this season, culminating in a 4.86/3.50/4.15 pitching slash line. To replace him on the roster, the Mets will call up prospect Seth Lugo, who made his ML debut out of the bullpen last week. But Lugo is no Harvey, not even in his injured state. Through 13 starts at Triple-A this season, Lugo has just a 6.55 ERA (4.85 FIP) with a 17.2% strikeout rate. The Mets (currently 4.0 games behind the Nationals) are a few bone chips away (Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz) from a rotational disaster.
- UPDATE from Brett just before this publishes … wow:
Matt Harvey has been diagnosed with "symptoms consistent with thoracic outlet syndrome" and is considering season-ending surgery. #Mets
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) July 7, 2016
- At ESPN, Keith Law created a top 25 players under 25-years-old ranking and a couple of Cubs made the cut. Kris Bryant came in at number five and Addison Russell just makes it at 24th, overall. While that may seem a bit low for Bryant at first (as in, he should be closer to #1), your opinion might shift when you remember that the four guys ahead of him – Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Corey Seager – might make a strong case for the best four position players in baseball, period, let alone of a certain age. I suspect Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber would have been interesting contenders for the list, as well, had either played more baseball at the ML level in 2016. The only other two players from the NL Central are Gregory Polanco (Pirates – 10th) and Carlos Martinez (Cardinals – 15th).
- At Baseball is Fun, we learn of the first two confirmed participants in the 2016 Home Run Derby – MLB home run leader Mark Trumbo, and rookie shortstop sensation Corey Seager. Both are fine choices, and I’m especially excited to watch Seager take his hacks. Perhaps he can finish what Joc Pederson started for the Dodgers in the Derby last year.
- Javy Baez may be the undisputed champion of magic slides, but these two non-slides are pretty magical, too.
- Lastly, top prospect Jorge Mateo was suspended for two weeks, after reportedly expressing displeasure over not getting promoted from Single-A Tampa to Double-A Trenton, according to George A. King at the NY Post. There’s a chance that wasn’t the sole reason for the suspension, but from what I can tell no other explicit reason has been provided. The suspension will overlap with the All-Star Break which means Mateo will not be able to participate in the Futures Game this Sunday in San Diego. Mateo has been slashing .266/.323/.396 with just a .130 ISO and a .332 BABIP through 340 plate appearances. It’s possible he simply wasn’t ready for a promotion.