MLBits: Top Pitching Prospect Suspended, Rays 4-Man Rotation, Exonerated Man Gets Sox Job Back, More

Another DnD update (you can thank Brett for this): Harshnag the Frost Giant (my character) adventured admirably last night, preventing the town of Waterdeep from being attacked by Hill Giants. He’s now resting in a cave deep under the “Spine of the World” mountain range.

And in other news, I’m expecting a text from Brett that says something along the lines of, “Okay, that’s enough of the DnD, though.” [Brett: I mean, I would never tell you what to write about, but … oh wait, that’s my job … I could actually just edit al of this out … ]

Here’s some news from around the league …

  • Houston Astros pitching prospect Forrest Whitley (#9 overall prospect in baseball) has been suspended 50 games for violation of Minor League baseball’s drug program. There’s not a ton of information out there on the suspension, but the length of the suspension suggests it’s not a PED suspension. Whitley is reportedly remorseful and vows to learn from his mistake. Whitley is the second best pitching prospect in baseball (according to MLB Pipeline), behind only Shohei Ohtani, who’s really more of a Major Leaguer anyway. So this is basically baseball’s best pitching prospect getting a huge suspension possibly for a recreational drug (Cardinals pitching prospect Alex Reyes, also a top pitching prospect, was previously suspended 50 games for marijuana).
  • In 1994, White Sox grounds crewman Nevest Coleman was arrested for a rape and murder he did not commit. This past November – 23 years later – he was released after recently analyzed DNA evidence cleared him of the crime, and the White Sox are doing their part to make the transition easier, offering him his old job back on the spot. That is a *tiny* victory in an otherwise sad story, but I’m glad Coleman got at least that much. He also seems happy for the opportunity, so I hope he gets everything out of it he deserves.
  • While some teams (Rangers, Angels) are gearing up for six-man rotations, either for part or all of the 2018 season, another team is planning for a four-man group. According to Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times), the Rays are planning on using a four-man rotation for at least the first six weeks of the season, because they have enough off days (eight in a 38-day window) to keep everyone on fairly normal rest. Those starters will be Chris Archer, Blake Snell, Nathan Eovaldi, and Jake Faria (Jake Odorizzi was just traded to the Twins). When a fifth starter is unavoidable, the Rays will bring up a spot starter, but otherwise, yeah, four-man rotation. Okay.
  • According to Pedro Moura (The Athletic), Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood plans on pitching out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season, after having an epiphany while watching Stephen Strasburg do it. That’s all interesting and fun on its own, but it was the response on Twitter from the always hilarious Dan Haren (@ithrow88) that really made my day:
  • LOL. And as if that wasn’t enough, Jered Weaver came in and dropped another hilarious tweet:
  • In other funny Spring Training news, new Giants outfielder Andrew McCutchen (still sounds weird to say), took Madison Bumgarner deep during the first live batting practice, and then …
  • Say what you will about the Giants’ chances in 2018, but a team with McCutchen, Bumgarner, Posey, Brandon Crawford, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Hunter Pence, and Evan Longoria is going to be SO MUCH fun to watch. Those are a lotta big personalities.
  • Earlier today, Brett wrote that all 30 MLB teams are planning on donning the caps of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball team (the location of the tragic shooting last week (and Anthony Rizzo’s alma mater)), and here’s an actual look at the hats themselves:
  • At FanGraphs, Travis Sawchik correctly points out that MLB isn’t really addressing it’s pace-of-play problems with the new limitations on mound visits and reduction of commercial break time, because while those changes should shorten the game (relatively speaking), the pace will remain unaffected. But that debate aside, two of Sawchik’s facts really stood out to me. First, only FOUR of the 462 Major League pitchers to throw at least 30 innings last season recorded pitch paces at 20 seconds or less. Four. Four. Are you kidding me? And even if that doesn’t blow your mind, because you think baseball is fine the way it’s always been well then how about this: The average time between pitches jumped up by 0.6 seconds last season to a PITCHf/x era all-time high of 24.3 seconds! So … baseball isn’t even the same as it’s always been! It’s actually slower than it’s ever been. Good stuff.
  • This is cool (I’m sure we’ll address it further as more details come out down the road):
  • Also at FanGraphs, Rian Watt asks what the Cincinnati Reds’ plan is, given that Joey Votto is likely entering the twilight of his career (he still has more quality seasons left, but at 34, it just isn’t going to last forever). Needless to say, the Reds should have some money to throw around next winter, and a free agent class that could support a quick turnaround. Given how long they’ve gone without contending, the beginning of the end for Votto, the big free agent class, their available payroll space, and an improving farm system, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them spend a lot next offseason.
  • At Baseball is Fun, I took a look at three of the memorable “dad-carrying-baby” catches in the stands. I know they’re generally pretty dangerous moves, but I just can’t not love them:
  •  

    written by

    Michael Cerami began covering the Chicago Cubs for Bleacher Nation as a part-time contributor in 2015. One year later, he joined Bleacher Nation full-time, covering the Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball. Today, Michael runs Bleacher Nation, contributing as a writer (Cubs, MLB) and an editor for all sections of the site, including the Chicago Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks, as well as MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL. In 2019, Michael was the co-host of NBC Sports Chicago's Cubs Post-Game Show Outside the Ivy. You can find him on Twitter/X @Michael_Cerami

    more cubs news

    Tennessee Walking Off At the Men’s College World Series Was Incredible! (I was there!)

    I mentioned earlier this week in my Blackhawks bullets that my middle son's travel baseball team is playing in the enormous "Slumpbuster" tournament in/around Omaha this week/weekend and we made a stop to see the beautiful Charles Schwab Field, the...

    Watch A Minor-League Sammy Sosa Hit an Inside the Park Homer Because You Deserve It

    Take it from someone who writes far too many words about the Chicago Bulls – sometimes you need to look into the past to feel any sort of happiness. As the Chicago Cubs continue their remarkably frustrating play, a clip...

    Enhanced Box Score: Cardinals 3, Cubs 0 – June 14, 2024

    The Cubs lost their starting pitcher, barely even threatened to score, wasted a brilliant bullpen day, and lost the game. It's not quite the same 'ole story, but it might as well be. Jordan Wicks injured his oblique in the...

    Jordan Wicks Just Had to Leave with the Athletic Trainer (UPDATE)

    Just two appearances into his return from the Injured List (forearm), and having just taken over the rotation spot vacated by Ben Brown (neck stress reaction), something's not right with Jordan Wicks. And he had to leave today's game after...

    Cubs Farm Report | June 14, 2024: A Day to Forget, Wiggins Solid Again, More

    Cubs Prospects — It was a day to forget for the Cubs affiliates as there wasn't a victory in the lot. Cubs Farm Report | June 14, 2024 Triple-A Iowa Cubs Prospects The Iowa Cubs lost to the Columbus Clippers...

    Pre-Gamin’: Cardinals at Cubs (1:20 CT) – Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

    CUBS LINEUP — Friday. 1:20. Cardinals. Wrigley Field. The Cubs are a mess right now, but that's a combination that still gets me excited. Here's a look at the Cubs lineup for Game 1 in Chicago. Chicago Cubs Lineup: Mike...

    Jose Abreu Released by the Houston Astros

    A former American League MVP is now officially on the market. According to Jeff Passan, the Houston Astros have released first baseman Jose Abreu, despite owing him more than $30 million on the free agent deal he signed with Houston...

    Ben Brown Has a “Stress Reaction” in His Neck

    [ankin_law] The Chicago Cubs today released a little more information the injury that put pitcher Ben Brown on the Injured List, and it's not good. It's also not entirely clear. From Craig Counsell: https://twitter.com/PJ_Mooney/status/1801655985250996310 https://twitter.com/ryan_a_herrera/status/1801654739538460988 Without playing pretend doctor too...

    The Chicago Cubs Have Signed Another – Yes Another – Minor League Pitcher

    Yup. Back again. The Cubs have signed another pitcher to a minor league deal, righty Lisandro Almonte, so we do this dance. The standard intro: The Chicago Cubs are seriously going off on the minor league pitching signings here after...

    Looking Back, the Cubs Kinda Crushed the 2014 MLB Draft

    A decade ago, the Chicago Cubs were just starting to lightly peek out from the weight of a deep rebuild, and the signs for coming success were apparent. I don't feel as confident now as I did then. Also a...

    Latest News

    Blue Jays vs. Guardians: Injury Report, Updates & Probable Starters – June 15

    At Rogers Centre on Saturday, the Toronto Blue Jays (33-36) play the Cleveland Guardians (44-23), with first pitch at 3:07 PM ET.Curious about who's available to play for the Blue Jays and the Guardians? Keep reading to see complete injury...

    Braves vs. Rays: Injury Report, Updates & Probable Starters – June 15

    On Saturday, the Atlanta Braves (37-30) are hosting the Tampa Bay Rays (33-37), at 4:10 PM ET, in the second game of a three-game set.Curious about who's playing for the Braves and the Rays? Keep scrolling to get full injury...

    Nationals vs. Marlins: Injury Report, Updates & Probable Starters – June 15

    The Washington Nationals (33-36) will host the Miami Marlins (23-46), Saturday at 4:05 PM ET, with the Marlins on a three-game losing streak.Curious about who's in and who's out for the Nationals and the Marlins? Keep reading for full injury...

    Brewers vs. Reds: Injury Report, Updates & Probable Starters – June 15

    At American Family Field on Saturday, the Cincinnati Reds (34-35) meet the Milwaukee Brewers (40-29), with first pitch at 4:10 PM ET.Curious about who's available to play for the Brewers and the Reds? Read on to see complete injury reports...

    Mets vs. Padres: Injury Report, Updates & Probable Starters – June 15

    The San Diego Padres (37-36) meet the New York Mets (31-37), who will be trying to build on a three-game winning streak, Saturday at 4:10 PM ET, at Citi Field.Hoping to find out who's available to play for the Mets...

    Orioles vs. Phillies: Injury Report, Updates & Probable Starters – June 15

    In the second game of a three-game set at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the Baltimore Orioles (45-24) meet the Philadelphia Phillies (47-22), Saturday at 4:05 PM ET.Want to see who's in and who's out for the Orioles and the...

    Astros vs. Tigers: Injury Report, Updates & Probable Starters – June 15

    The Detroit Tigers (33-36) will visit the Houston Astros (32-38), in the second game of a three-game series, Saturday at 4:10 PM ET.Hoping to find out who's in and who's out for the Astros and the Tigers? Continue scrolling for...

    Yankees vs. Red Sox: Injury Report, Updates & Probable Starters – June 15

    The Boston Red Sox (35-35) will host the New York Yankees (50-22), in the second game of a three-game series, Saturday at 7:15 PM ET.Looking to see who's playing for the Yankees and the Red Sox? Keep scrolling for full...

    How to Watch Giants vs. Angels: Live Stream or on TV

    On Saturday, Matt Chapman and the San Francisco Giants (34-35) face Taylor Ward and the Los Angeles Angels (26-42), with first pitch scheduled for 4:05 PM ET at Oracle Park.The article below will give you everything you need to know...

    Dodgers vs. Royals: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

    On Saturday at 9:10 PM ET, Mookie Betts and the Los Angeles Dodgers (42-28) face Bobby Witt Jr. and the Kansas City Royals (40-30) at Dodger Stadium.The article below will provide you with everything you need to watch Los Angeles...

    more cubs news