It’s been an unusually busy week around the league, and the Cubs still have a game to get to tonight, so let’s jump right into the MLBits …
- In case you missed it, Giants’ ace Madison Bumgarner recently hit the disabled list with injuries sustained from crashing while riding a dirt bike. And if your first reaction to that was something like, “WHILE WHY THE HECK WOULD YOU RIDE A DIRT BIKE DURING THE SEASON?!” You’re not alone. Bumgarner himself admitted that it was “definitely not the most responsible decision,” and realizes how much “it sucks.” Presumably he means for himself, the team, and San Francisco fans.
- After all, given the Giants’ bubble-like chances of reaching the postseason (the Dodgers are projected to be MLB’s best, so it would need to be a Wild Card berth for the Giants), Bumgarner’s projected 4.5 wins (ZiPS) are not something they can afford to lose. Fortunately for the Giants, Chris Haft (MLB.com) is reporting that the Giants’ ace will not require surgery on his sprained left shoulder and could begin workouts in four-five days. Even still, there could be two months’ worth of recovery ahead of him before he returns.
- After throwing at Manny Machado’s head on Sunday, Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes has been suspended for four games and fined an undisclosed amount. Good start. You may find that I’m not quite as diplomatic as Brett. I think it’s 100% always wrong to throw at someone, whether you are aiming at their body, their back, or wherever. I’m very much over this entire debate, and no, I don’t think baseball players need to police their own games. I don’t want to see a reliever with ZERO career WAR ending the playing days of someone like Manny Machado, who could be one of the best players we get to watch over the next decade and a half. Obviously that goes for ANY caliber player (on both counts) – I simply thought this was a perfect example of why we should all hate this.
- Washington Nationals speedster Trea Turner went 4-6 last night with 7 RBI and …. hit for the cycle! According to Nationals.com, Turner becomes the second youngest player to hit for the cycle and drive in seven or more runs in MLB history (Joe DiMaggio being the youngest). Overall, Turner is the 24th youngest player to hit for the cycle – in between Cal Ripken Jr. and Goose Goslin. That is all very, very good company (checks if he’s available in my fantasy league).
- Eric Thames can not stay out of the headlines this year. Over at Baseball is fun, we discussed Eric Thames’ perfect (and hilarious) response to his second random drug test in less than two weeks (“I have a lot of blood and urine.”). And at FanGraphs, Dave Cameron asks how much would you pay Eric Thames knowing what you know now? After all, at +1.8 WAR, Thames has already produced “the entire season’s worth of value for which” FanGraphs projected him at the beginning of the year. Would you give him more than the three years/$15 million? I think the answer is an obvious yes, but how much more (and what we can expect from him going forward) is what Cameron tries to ascertain.
- Yesterday, the Dodgers promoted top prospect and outfielder Cody Bellinger to help out an ailing offense. Bellinger, 21, is MLB Pipeline’s tenth best prospect as of today, and he’d been crushing the ball in Triple-A so far this year: .343/.429/.627. The Dodgers are hoping he can help jumpstart an offense with just the 13th most runs in scored in baseball. And if you’re keeping score at home, Bellinger’s eventual graduation (if it happens later this year) would bump MLB Pipeline’s #11 prospect, Eloy Jimenez, into the top 10.
- Speaking of Cubs top prospects, Ian Happ’s ridiculous homer pace may have slowed down, but he hasn’t:
Ian Happ is working on a five-game hit streak in which he's slashing .273/.385/.500. His 7 HRs are second most in the PCL.
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) April 26, 2017
- Reminder: he’s a switch-hitter that can play both up the middle in the infield and in the outfield corners. A player with his all-around versatility and polished approach at the plate is not one with which this front office (or Joe Maddon) is going to be keen on parting ways.
- The Pirates are having a really international week. Last night, a Pirates reliever, Dovydas Neverauskas, became the first native Lithuanian player in MLB history. And then today, Ken Rosenthal reported that they are also promoting infielder Gift Ngoepe, who will be the first African-born player to make his Major League debut. I think that’s pretty awesome.
- You may have heard that Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush (a classic duo like Rachel and Ross, Rocky and Bullwinkle, and Peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches) are leading a group in the purchase of the Miami Marlins from owner Jeffery Loria. HOWEVER, according to the Wall Street Journal, the investment group has not yet lined up the finances for the deal. Apparently, the group was, “calling around Wall Street as recently as Monday afternoon in search of hundreds of millions.” Even still, I don’t suspect this will ultimately prevent the sale from going through. I imagine they’ll find their money and we’ll have a very interesting new ownership group to follow in Miami.
- Anyone remember Space Jam? Well at Baseball is Fun, I had some photoshoppin’ fun with a foul-turned-fair ball that SOMEHOW found Manny Machado’s glove. As far as I’m concerned, Bugs Bunny and a giant baseball magnet is the answer to the question … “But how?!” (That, or it really had some of the craziest spin you’ll see on a grounder):
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) April 26, 2017