Trying to follow the greatness that is Stirrups in this task is daunting. I pity the guy who takes over after Mike Trout’s career is through. I think I know how he feels.
Speaking of Mike Trout, publications continue to slice and dice the last decade (or was it?) and his greatness reaches more and more pages. Here’s one on the best individual seasons of that time span. Mike trout had six of them.
Countdown to pitchers and catchers reporting is on and currently at 39 days. We are just over 5 weeks away from guys getting assigned lockers and playing catch. Anybody looking to make a trek to Tempe would be well advised to look at the master calendar for the Cactus League. I highly advise visiting mulitple ballparks and trying to do a day/night double header.
And that catchers group got quite a bit better yesterday when Billy Eppler snagged Jason Castro on a one year deal. A .332 on base percentage last year and highly regarded defensively, he’s a huge boost.
Also on the catching front, Robinson Chirinos is apparently nearing a decision. His OPS+ of 105 last year is a whopping 138 better than Max Stassi put us and an Angel. Even a career average year of 92 would be about 150% of Stassi’s usual efforts.
Houston is also looking at losing a very valuable member of their bullpen. Will Harris, fresh off of giving up crushing home runs in the World Series, has been a durable ground ball machine and has offers on the table. I can only imagine what a 50% ground ball rate with Rendon, Simba, and Fletcher behind him would do for our squad. But, alas, he signed with the Nationals after being such a big part of their title run
These might not be huge pieces, but the Astros are nonetheless beginning to lose pieces. George Springer is set to become a free agent after this year. Age might be creeping in, too, with Greinke and Verlander closer to 40 than 30 and Jose Altuve about to hit the big 3-0. The door might be opening, just a bit.
Jeremiah Jackson might be part of that next contention window for the Angels and the 20 year old is getting some attention as a prospect on the brink of a breakout.
Elsewhere in the AL West, the Texas Rangers seem intent on building another hitter’s ballpark. Outfield dimensions of 326 in left, 329 in right will make pull hitters happy and pitchers upset.
The team having the off season the Angels needed, the Chicago White Sox, have inked a promising prospect to a 6 year $50 million deal. Luis Roberto gets financial security for life, the White Sox get cost certainty and an extra year of control.
Promising Yankees right hander Domingo German is suspended for 81 games for domestic violence. I, for one, hope MLB stiffens this process and would like to see a one year suspension for the first offense, lifetime ban for the second. I don’t want MLB turning into the NFL.
And, finally, a day late, but RIP Don Larsen, the only man to throw a perfect game on baseball’s biggest stage.