Cleveland Indians Winning Big

The Cleveland Indians have been on a tear lately and they are slowly gaining momentum in the AL Central and they are becoming contenders. Being in the same division as the defending champions the Kansas City Royals is a challenge, but the Indians are looking like the team to beat right now. Cleveland has great run support for their pitching staff which is a key to any team’s success.

If they can keep up this great pace and continue to put multiple runs on the board they will be able to extend their lead in their division. They are only up by half a game, but they can continue to climb and gain a healthy lead before the all-star break.

In their last six wins only two of those games were decided by 1 run. Their hitting has been great that is why the other four games of those six wins were not in question.

Their division rivals the Royals have been battling with them all season. In their 2 most recent series Cleveland swept the Royals in 4 games, but the Royals would return the favor with a 3 game series sweep of their own. Both of these teams will give problems to each other throughout the remainder of the season, and it will be a battle to the end.

Cleveland swept a series against the Chicago White Sox and they showed that they are a great offensive team in a couple of different ways. In game 1 they held on to the lead till the 9th inning and then won on a walk off hit. In game 2 they outscored the White Sox by 11 runs, and in game 3 another walk off win.

There is one player that has been coming up big for the Indians and that is Mike Napoli. He had 4 RBI’s in those 3 games. He has been producing in his role as DH this season. Napoli is hitting .229 and he seems to be in a great rhythm as his team continues to win.

Stating pitching for Cleveland has been another key to their success. In their last 3 games all starting pitchers have worked through 6 innings. That efficiency can preserve the bullpen and keep everyone healthy which is important especially with the second half of the season coming up.

I think this team has the potential to be one of the best teams in baseball, but they need to continue win more of the series they play. Each series is different and Cleveland has made adjustments to keep winning, but Terry Francona and his coaching staff need to find a way to not get swept as often.

Cleveland is 8 games over .500 and they are trying to pull away from the rest of the pack in the AL Central. They are playing like a team with a purpose and they do have playoff aspirations.

Now that the Cleveland curse has been broken due to the recent NBA Finals victory, the Indians want to bring a pennant back to their fans. If they keep winning they will put themselves in a better spot to become World Series champions.

Chi-Sox Deal For Padres’ Shields

According to SB Nations Chris Cotillo and CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes, the Chicago White Sox have acquired pitcher James Shields via a trade with the San Diego Padres.

Thus far, the Chi-Sox pitching staff has been anchored solely by Chris Sale (9-2/2.58 ERA/78 SO) and Jose Quintana (5-5/2.13ERA/67 SO).

Meanwhile, sophomore starter Carlos Rodon (2-5/4.41 ERA/59 SO), and veteran Mat Latos (6-1/4.02 ERA/31 SO) have struggled of late.

So, the trade for Shields (2-7/4.28 ERA/57 SO) is most likely to bring stability to the rotation.

If nothing else, he’ll eat a ton of innings.

Despite his own recent struggles, Shields has pitched 200-plus innings while earning double-digit wins for nine consecutive seasons (from 2007-2015, with an average ERA of 3.70).

Meaning Shields is durable, and capable of winning his share of games for Chicago.

Considering how close the race for first place in the American League Central has become, Chicago will take any win they can get.

Currently, the White Sox (29-27) are two games behind the Kansas City Royals (30-24), with the Cleveland Indians (29-24) wedged in-between.

(Photo Credit: San Diego Union Tribune/AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

 

It’s also important to note that Chicago will be getting Shields at cost.

Per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale and Bleacher Report’s Adam Wells, the Padres will pay $29 million of the $56 million left of Shields’ four year deal, which dates back to February of 2015.

As for what San Diego received from the deal, per the San Diego Union Tribune’s Dennis Lin, the Padres got minor leaguers Fernando Tatis Jr. and Erik Johnson.

Before this Saturday swap, the 33-year-old veteran was scheduled to start opposite Colorado Rockies pitcher Jon Gray this Sunday.

The White Sox have next Monday off, and Shields could potentially replace Sox pitcher Miguel Gonzalez (scheduled to start Wednesday June 8th), to make his first appearance with Chicago, during the teams interleague series against the Washington Nationals which begins the following Tuesday (June 7th).

Final Thoughts:

All in all, this deal should pan out for the White Sox.

Chicago isn’t investing too much contract wise with Shields, and merely gave up a pair of unproven prospects.

Best case scenario, Shields bounces back to his old form with a new team. Worst case scenario, he fails to reach nine wins this season, and only pitches 175-plus innings of work.

Either way, Shields could be the difference between the Chi-Sox winning their first division crown since 2008, or making the post-season via one of the two AL Wild Card spots.

Week Five In The MLB: Chicago Cubs

It is now week five of the MLB season and The Chicago Cubs are still garnering serious interest across the league. In addition to their recent success, a few developments have recently come out of The North Side.

Recent Results

The Chicago Cubs still lead the overall standings at 25-8 and a .781 winning percentage. The team is still the number one team on ESPN’s weekly power rankings.

At their current pace, the Cubs can win 126 games to go 126-36. According to newsday.com, that record would beat by the next best all-time record, set by the 1906 Chicago Cubs who went 116-36, by ten games.

Despite being the best team in the game, the Chicago Cubs have shown signs of weakness recently. On March 11th, the Cubs lost a doubleheader to the San Diego Padres, a team that most of the baseball world would consider inferior to the star studded Cubs.

The Cubs lost 7-4 in the first game and 1-0 in the second game. Usually the Cubs have no problem putting up runs, but only scored five on Wednesday.

This doubleheader comes on the heels of a four game sweep of the Washington Nationals, one of the best teams in the league.  The Cubs actively avoided Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, walking him repeatedly throughout the four game series, but managed to limit his effectiveness on the bases with solid defense.

The Cubs will play division rival Pittsburg on Friday. As of May 12th, the Cubs lead the Pirates, who are second in the NL Central, by seven games, the largest gap in the MLB.

Extension for Arrieta?

The contract for Cubs ace Jake Arrieta is set to expire after next year. He will be a free agent after the 2017 season if an agreement between Arrieta and the Cubs front office is met.

Arrieta’s 1.13 ERA is the best in the league and he has entered the discussion for best pitcher in the MLB. If he does manage to become a free agent somehow, it will be difficult to replace his production.

How much it will cost to keep Arrieta at Wrigley field is unknown, but according to several sources, he is not willing to take a discount to stay with the Cubs. For reference, Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg recently received a 7-year, 175-million-dollar contract.  Arrieta believes that he is worth more than Strasburg, but how much more?

No Extension For Theo, Yet

The architect behind the Chicago Cubs ascension, Theo Epstein is in the final year his contract. Epstein would be a great pickup for any team’s front office, but he is not expected to leave Chicago anytime soon.

According to CSN Chicago, Epstein believes his contract situation is a nonissue and Patrick Mooney that the players deserve to get paid first. Epstein specifically mentioned Arrieta as someone who should be a new deal before he does.

Cross Town Classic World Series?

The Cubs have the best record in the MLB, but closely behind them is their cross town rival The White Sox. The Sox are currently sitting atop the AL Central at 23-12, the 2nd best overall record in the MLB. The Sox are somewhat of a surprise are finishing 76-86 in 2015.

Just like the Cubs, the Sox have relied on the solid top three pitchers in their rotation. Chris Sale is the team’s ace. He and Jose Quintana have and ERA under 2.00. Signed in the offseason, Mat Latos has been a solid addition to the team posting a 3.40.

While both teams are very good, it is highly improbable that both will make the World Series next fall. If they do both make it, however, it would be the first time that the two teams have played against each other in the World Series since 1906, the year the Cubs posted their 116-36 record. The Sox won the series that year.

Going Forward From Here

The Cubs have only played 32 games. They still have another 130 to go. They must keep winning consistently to have a shot at the postseason. It is far too early to guarantee anyone a playoff spot.

The Cubs biggest free agent addition, Jason Heyward, has .216 average this season. Heyward has started out slow and has done so they past few years. Each time he has been able to get out of the slump. He hasn’t needed to produce superstar numbers yet, but it probably hurt the Cubs if he did.

The Cubs don’t need improvement in any one area on the diamond. They’re the best team in baseball right now and just need to keep winning. More importantly, they need to win come October when the playoffs start.

LaRoche Opts For Early Retirement

Many people were surprised when it was announced on Tuesday that first baseman/designated hitter Adam LaRoche had informed the Chicago White Sox that he was stepping away from baseball. His early retirement was not something the team was expecting.

LaRoche, 36, is reportedly stepping away from the game due to a personal problem. Colleen Kane of The Chicago Tribune first reported the news. LaRoche spoke to his teammates and coaches on Tuesday and told them his decision. No one was expecting this. The announcement really came out of nowhere.

Part of the reason that LaRoche’s retirement is so shocking is that he’s walking away from a lot of money. He would have made $13 million in 2016. The White Sox had signed him to a two-year, $25 million contract back in November of 2014. The fact that he’s turning away $13 million means that LaRoche must really feel that it’s time to leave the game.

Although he was being paid a lot of money last season, he didn’t have a very good year. In fact, 2015 was statistically the worst year of his carer, as LaRoche batted just .207 and hit 12 home runs while collecting only 44 RBIs. He certainly didn’t live up to his contract.

This subpar season could have factored into his decision to retire. However, it seems as though the main reason for his retirement is something that team president Ken Williams said to him. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported on Wednesday afternoon that Williams had told LaRoche that he had to cut down on the amount of time that his 14-year-old son Drake was spending with the team. LaRoche obviously didn’t take too kindly to this. It’s unfortunate that this situation ended in him retiring.

LaRoche was definitely a major power threat in his prime. Over the course of his 12-year career, he hit 25 or more home runs in season six times. His best season came in 2012 with the Washington Nationals when he belted 33 homers and had 100 RBIs. Both were career-highs. That year, he also won the Gold Glove Award for first base, as well as the Silver Slugger Award. Additionally, LaRoche finished sixth in the NL MVP Award voting in 2012.

Last year, the White Sox turned LaRoche into a designated hitter. He stilled played a little first base, but the majority of the games he played in 2015 were as the team’s DH. His offensive numbers declined rapidly, especially compared to what they were in Washington. However, he’d still probably be playing right now had it not been for the argument with Williams. After all, he was set to make $13 million in 2016.

This story surrounding Adam LaRoche’s retirement is extremely bizarre. He had a decent career, and hopefully he’ll enjoy retirement. Clearly, family come first for him.

Which Team Will Finally Decide to Sign Yoenis Cespedes?

When Justin Upton signed a six-year, $132.75 contract with the Detroit Tigers on Monday, many people were stunned about how much money he got. The deal also got everyone around baseball wondering about which team will eventually sign Yoenis Cespedes and how much money they’re willing to pay him.

Realistically at this point, the Cespedes sweepstakes is down to five teams. The Baltimore Orioles recently took themselves out of the hunt for the slugging outfielder when they re-signed power-hitting first baseman/outfielder Chris Davis. Baltimore had been interested in Cespedes, but only as a backup option in case Davis decided to go elsewhere.

Here are the five teams that still have a chance to sign Cespedes.

1. New York Mets

The New York Mets are still one of the teams interested in signing Cespedes. It’s no secret that he had a lot of success in New York during the latter portion of last season. He was the team’s offensive catalyst, and one of the main reasons that they overtook the Washington Nationals in the NL East. Since the Mets are currently lacking a dynamic hitter in the middle of their lineup, re-signing Cespedes would appear to be a smart move. However, they’re not interested in giving him the six-year deal he desires. If no team is willing to give him this type of long-term contract, the Mets could be a fallback option. Cespedes himself has stated that he loves New York and would like to return to the Mets. He’s not going to give the Mets a discount though. Ultimately, it’s going to come down to whether or not Cespedes is willing to accept a short-term contract with the Mets. After the Upton deal however, it’s unlikely that no team decides to give him a long-term, lucrative contract.

2. Washington Nationals 

Another team that has recently expressed interest in Cespedes is the Washington Nationals. The team has already signed a former Met this offseason, second baseman Daniel Murphy. It isn’t really that surprising that it looks like they’ve decided to go all-in on Cespedes. The team has reportedly offered him a five-year, $100 million contract. Ben Revere is currently the Nationals’ starting center fielder. Revere was traded to them from the Toronto Blue Jays just a few weeks ago in exchange for Drew Storen. If they were to sign Cespedes, he would start  in center field over Revere. The reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper is the team’s starting right fielder, while Jason Werth is the starting left fielder. Signing Cespedes would give the Nationals three good outfield power bats. Not to mention that it would really irk the Mets and their fans.

3. Houston Astros 

The Houston Astros are also reportedly interested in Cespedes. Like the Mets, Houston is probably a long shot to sign him. It’s not that they’re not willing to spend money, it’s that the team really doesn’t have room for him. Between Colby RasmusCarlos Gomez, and George Springer, they already have three talented outfielders. Rasmus accepted the Astros’ one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer back in November. Clearly, they think very highly of him. Gomez was acquired by the team back in July. He still has another year left on his contract. Springer is one of the better up-and-coming young outfielders in all of baseball. The only way it would make sense for the Astros to sign Cespedes would be if they traded one of these three players shortly after signing him. However, the team doesn’t really need him. They have three good outfielders, and Cespedes would surely cost them a lot of money. For them, he’s just not worth it.

4. Chicago White Sox 

Another team that has been linked to the Cuban-born slugger is the Chicago White Sox. They’ve been active this offseason, and evidently have interest in Cespedes. The team already traded for power-hitting third baseman and two-time All-Star Todd Frazier back in December. They also acquired second baseman Brett Lawrie from the Oakland Athletics. The White Sox don’t exactly have the outfield that the Astros have. Melky Cabrera is really their best offensive outfielder. They could definitely use Cespedes. The team’s first baseman Jose Abreu is also Cuban-born, and is reportedly very excited over the possibility of the White Sox signing him.

5. Los Angeles Angels 

The Los Angeles Angels are the final team in the Cespedes sweepstakes. For a team that is known for spending a lot of money, they’ve been surprisingly quiet this offseason. The team’s made a few small trades, but haven’t made any big splashes in free-agency. Cespedes would certainly be a major splash. If the Angels had him to go along with Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun, they’d have one very talented outfield, offensively and defensively. Although the Angels have yet to express serious interest in signing Cespedes to a long-term deal, that doesn’t that they won’t. There’s still plenty of time until Spring Training. We don’t know how long the talks with him will drag on for. A lot can change.

Whichever team ends up signing Yoenis Cespedes, they’re getting a very talented player who has a lot of power and a great arm. Eventually, someone’s going to give in and give him the contract he wants. In all likelihood, that team will probably be either the Nationals or the White Sox. Let’s see what happens.

 

 

Yoenis Céspedes Market Heating Up, Deal Possibly Coming Soon

It appears the market for free agent outfielder Yoenis Céspedes is intensifying, according to numerous reports. If a deal comes to fruition, it means that one team is going to be getting a late Christmas gift.

ESPN’s Jim Bowden reports that Cespedes may be close to signing a contract for 2016, but the question remains which team is in the hunt? Teams like the New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels, Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox have all been linked to the slugger. Cespedes is hoping get paid based off his excellent 2015 campaign, but teams are evaluating Cespedes based on his career totals which is likely driving down his offer prices.

The Mets remain a likely destination and there has been talk of a 1-2 year short term contract, which may be appealing to Cespedes since the market has not played out the way he would have imagined. Signing such a deal would allow Cespedes to build on his terrific finish to 2015 and prove that his performance is more of his “norm” as opposed to a fluke.

Reports indicate that the White Sox  have capped their offer at three years and the Baltimore Orioles reportedly had an offer of $90 million in play for Cespedes, but their re-signing of Chris Davis likely takes the O’s out of the race.

One team to watch is the Houston Astros, who many are speculating could swoop in an snatch up Cespedes. The Astros being in play is a bit odd, since they are rather rich in the outfield and don’t have a glaring need for another.

Jon Heyman reports that a short-term deal is not likely for Cespedes, which adds another layer of intrigue in how the market is shaping up.

Then there is always the New York Yankees, who have been trying to unload outfielder Brett Gardner and could use an outfielder to replace his possible departure. Signing Cespedes would also mean the Yankees could sit aging, oft-injured Carlos Beltran who has been streaky at best during his stint in the Bronx.

Regardless of where Cespedes lands, it appears that a resolution is on the horizon but that a clear-cut destination is still a mystery.

 

http://SportsRants.com

Are the Mariners Contending?

The Seattle Mariners are actually contending, I know, the 66-71 Mariners are just going to do what they always do, drop a vital series and this article becomes useless. I probably would agree with you if you thought that, but something is different about this team, maybe it’s the September call ups and this is just a good ride for a short time. Maybe it’s the hot bats of Trumbo, Seager, and Cano combined with a solid closer taking over in Tom Wilhelmsen. Whatever it is; they need to ride what it is that is making them win and take it all the way to October.

They will be opening up a 4 game series against the second place (Wild Card and A.L. West) Texas Ranger tonight, and with the Rangers coming off a series lost in LA, they look to bounce back from that so they can regain some of the ground they just lost. What gives them the sense that they will be fine is just how poor Seattle plays in Safeco Field (29-36) in contrast to just how well Texas plays on the road this year (39-32).

In a recent 13 game stretch, the Mariners have gone 9-4 in that stretch, improving their record to 66-71. The Mariners have not been over .500 since May 26th. With less then a month of baseball left; Seattle doesn’t have any room to lose, but they have the biggest and most unsuspecting chance ahead of them; Seattle will face Texas 7 times, Anaheim 6 times, Oakland and Houston 3 times. Currently, Seattle is 9 games behind Houston, and just beat them in Houston, which is really hard to do, let alone was the first team to take Dallas Keuchel yard in Houston(Mark Trumbo). I’m not saying they are going to money ball their way into 1st place in the A.L. West, but they have a great opportunity to make the post season via the wild card.

It’ the strength of schedule for the remaining wild card teams that start to make you think; Seattle might have the best chance to do something here.

Texas faces Houston and Seattle 14 times between the two, and play two series against Oakland and one against Detroit and finish the season against Anaheim.

Anaheim faces Houston and Seattle 6 times and will open a series against the Dodgers tonight; they will also play against fellow wild card contenders Minnesota for a 4-game series. They will then finish the season against Texas.

Baltimore who is sliding and sliding fast, will have two series against New York, one four game series against Toronto, 2 against Boston, one against Washington and a four game series against Tampa Bay.

Chicago, Cleveland and Minnesota will face off against each other 5 times for the rest of the season, making the change of positions between the three in the wild card race so fluctuating that unless one of them run the table they will just keep beating each other up and remaining where they stand. They also will play Kansas City and Detroit 5 times between the three as well.

When you balance the schedule’s of all the remaining wild card teams, and look at the Mariners, who haven’t lost in September so far, you can’t help but think, something special could really happen if the Mariners don’t cool down.

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Managers Sitting In Hot Water

(Via Athleticsnation.com)

It’s really nothing new. A team struggles, and the first guy to take the blame, and subsequently the fall, is the manager. We’ve seen it time and time again. In fact, we’ve already seen it happen once this 2015 season. The Marlins, after winning 15 more games in 2014 than the year before, giving us all a false hope that 2015 just might be the year that the Marlins regain relevance and do what they do best: win the wild card and eventually win the World Series. That, however, simply hasn’t panned out quite the way we expected, and after starting this season 16-22, the Marlins fired manager Mike Redmond midway through his third season as the team’s skipper.

Redmond was just the first tree in the forest that is MLB managers to fall this season. While Redmond’s firing was much swifter than any other that we’ll see throughout the season and into the offseason, we’d be downright foolish to believe that he’ll be the only skipper fired for a poor 2015 season. Some managers, of course, are in far more danger than others of being canned at the end of the season or before. With that, here’s my take on the current state of a handful of managers currently at the helms for their clubs.

In Some Trouble

Bob Melvin, Oakland A’s

  • Melvin is the first skipper to make the list, but don’t panic too much A’s fans. There’s a reason Melvin is listed in the first category and not the second one that will come later. Yes, Melvin has won with very little in the past, as the Billy Beane scheme has worked for the most part. But let’s take a look at two things. First, Melvin has won fewer games in each of the past two seasons then he did in the previous one, and is on pace to do that again. From 94 to 88 to on pace for just 64 wins this season. Of course, that number should rise by the end of the year, but it’s still another fall for Melvin’s A’s. Second, While he has made the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, he’s yet to win a playoff series, exiting in the Divisional Series twice and the Wild Card round once. If things don’t turn around, Melvin may be updating that resume come October.

Robin Ventura, Chicago White Sox

  • Ventura inherited a team that was downright awful. Outside of his first season, the White Sox have stunk, winning just 63 games in 2013 and 73 games in 2014. But then you ask yourself, why is he on the hot seat if he’s raised that win total from 63 to 73? And now he has his team hovering right around .500 through 50 games? That has to be good enough for another year, right? I’m not so sure about that. Yes, his team was very bad the last two seasons, and yes, he’s made them somewhat better. But, the team he has this year is pretty darn good, at least on paper. They’re simply not playing to their highest standard right now. At 23-27, the Sox are in last in an ever growing AL Central. With a perennial Cy Young candidate in Chris Sale, followed by Jeff Samardzjia, Hector Noesi and Jose Quintana, the White Sox pitching staff is vastly under performing for the most part. The offense is better than what it’s been recently as well. Led by slugger Jose Abreu, this team should be better than what they are. They’re only four games under and 50 games in, but things need to shape up ChiTown soon.

The Water’s Boiling Now

John Farrell, Boston Red Sox

  • You’ve got one Sox team, I guess you have to get the other, right? John Farrell came over to the Boston Red Sox in 2013 in a rare manager trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. What he inherited was a team that finished with just 69 wins the year before and was muddled in controversy about the players drinking and eating too much in the clubhouse. He cracked down, and his team responded, winning 97 games in 2013, going on to eventually win the World Series. A World Series ring usually buys you an extra couple of years as a manager, but not in Boston. Red Sox fans demand victories year after year, and that simply hasn’t happen in Boston the last season and a half. Since winning the World Series, the Red Sox have gone 94-120, and things are starting to look bleak for the organization, as complacency seems to be taking hold. It’s nothing that Farrell has done, per se, but a new face and a fresh perspective may be good for the team as a whole.

Dead in the Water

Ryne Sandberg, Philadelphia Phillies

  • Just like Ventura, Ryne Sandberg overtook a team that really wasn’t any good. A group of aging veterans and young guys who weren’t ready for major league action were what Sandberg had to work with when the Phillies fired Charlie Manuel. What Sandberg hasn’t done that Ventura has, however, is make this team any better. Are they a playoff team? Absolutely not, making things tough some times to judge how good a manager really is. I can’t speak for other teams most of the time. I simply don’t consistently watch them enough to say if the ins and outs are executed well. With the Phillies, however, I can say with certainty that Ryne Sandberg has left the Phils out to dry on more than one occasion. His decision making leaves me scratching my head most times, whether it’s with a pitching matchup or a pinch hitter, Sandberg seems to constantly be making moves that backfire for the Phillies. Jake Diekman should not be coming in against a right handed power hitter with runners in scoring position late in the game. He simply should not. It just spells trouble with a power arm that can’t throw strikes. Sandy, it was nice to see you as the manager to get a reprieve from the same old schtick that was Charlie Manuel, but this season should be your last as the Phillies’ skipper.

 

 

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Joey Gallo Jumps The Shark In His Debut

There will be another episode of Joey Gallo Texas Ranger on Wednesday. It will be hard to live up to Tuesday night’s pilot when he jumped all over Jeff Samardzija’s offerings.

(Photo Courtesy: USATSI)

Tuesday night another top prospect in Major League Baseball made his much anticipated debut. Like Kris Bryant before him it was a player making his debut at the hot corner.

Rangers’ rookie third baseman Joey Gallo is getting an opportunity after a sprained left thumb sent four time all star third baseman Adrian Beltre to the disabled list on Tuesday. Gallo’s initial cup of coffee in the big leagues is allegedly only supposed to last until Beltre is healthy in 2 or 3 weeks at which point he be assigned to Triple-A Round Rock. Gallo was called up to the bigs for his debut in front of the home folks in Arlington from Double-A Frisco.

Gallo actually got a late start to his minor league season after requiring surgery to his left heel. In 34 games at Frisco he had nine home runs and was slashing .314/.425/.636. This comes after a 2014 season where he blasted 42 home runs. It was an evenly split 21 at both Advanced-A and Double-A. Yes, he has 80 power on that 20-80 scouting scale. It comes with one of those mid to upper 30s K% that sets off alarms to those who obsess about strikeouts.

The rookie isn’t going to take Beltre’s job unless Adrian’s hand falls off, but following Gallo’s impressive 3-hit debut that featured his first career homer I think it’s safe to say that any assumptions about his immediate future are not yet facts in his case.

Here’s the Gallo breakdown with no apologies for White Sox starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija who was simply dreadful on Tuesday night. So much for The Shark’s 14-inning scoreless streak. He got bit early and often.

Bottom 1st
Following two out singles by Prince, Mitch, and Elvis, it was time for Joey Gallo to be the rock star with the bases loaded in his first career plate appearance. On a 1-1 count he drives the ball past White Sox first baseman Adam LaRoche. What looked like a potential error was actually a ball LaRoche wasn’t quick enough to spear so it went down as a two-run single for Gallo.

Bottom 3rd
Gallo, who was slotted in the 6-hole behind The King, swats Samardzija’s initial offering into the second deck in right center field scoring Andrus. Statcast tells us that Gallo’s first career home run had an Exit Velocity of 108.5 mph with a Hitting Distance of 444.6 feet. It should be noted, Samardzija also had Exist Velocity issues with Shin Soo Choo in the 4th when he homered.

Bottom 5th
Gallo doubles on a 2-2 pitch, but is stranded. The Shark clearly had no answer for the rookie and left game after five innings after allowing twelve hits, a walk, and 9 earned runs.

Bottom 7th
Dan Jennings, the White Sox reliever, not the Marlins manager records the strikeout of Gallo when he flails at a 1-2 off speed pitch in the dirt. It’s our first sign that Gallo was born on this planet. Seeing his mom and dad in the stands also provides visual evidence to confirm this fact.

Bottom 8th
Gallo draws a walk in the fifth and final at bat of the night and scores on Carlos Corporan’s two-run homer against run creator Hector Noesi. Rangers 15, White Sox 2.

Now for the comparison and superlatives.
Kris Bryant’s Cubs’ debut, which I noted here, was an 0-4, three strikeout effort. It took Bryant 21 games to hit his first career home run. Gallo took care of most his firsts in his debut. OK, he didn’t get the triple to complete the cycle, but he became the first Ranger player to have 4 RBIs in his MLB debut. Dating back to 1920, Gallo is the first player since Ben Grieve on 9/3/97 to reach base four times and drive in four runs in his MLB debut. Grieve was 3-4, BB, 5 RBI. Gallo was 3-4, HR, BB, 4 RBI.

Back to Bryant. The pride of Bonanza High School in Las Vegas is now up to seven home runs with an OPS of .876 through 42 games. Bryant has the potential to be a franchise third baseman, which is one way to avoid the word savior. Like most players his glove will decide his ultimate destination on the ball field. Bryant has dabbled in the outfield for 12 innings, but only when called upon in a time of need.

Gallo is the Rangers’ top prospect so the expectations are quite similar. He has appeared in six games at Double-A as a left fielder, but realistically even if he homers every other day for the next couple weeks the pride of Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas still has Beltre blocking his path.

The Rangers would have to get creative on the trade market or with how they align 1B/DH/LF if they remotely had second thoughts about wanting to keep Gallo around.

Gallo has no experience playing first and a 21-year old isn’t going to DH, but the Rangers have other moving parts. Maybe too many at the moment. Prince Fielder is the DH most days with occasional first base duty. Mitch Moreland is the first baseman as long as a lefty isn’t on the mound. The Rangers outfield on Tuesday was Delino DeShields, Leonys Martin, and Shin-Soo Choo from left to right. That doesn’t even account for Josh Hamilton who has made a huge impact in his first seven games with the club as the mostly left fielder who can slide over to right field. It’s a logjam for playing time even if you want to dismiss Martin and Choo as underperformers and think Hamilton (DTD-left hamstring tightness) will eventually get hurt.

Remember the Cubs? They desperately needed Bryant’s bat and still sent him to Triple-A to hang out for a few weeks before his April 17th debut.

We’ll probably just have to enjoy Gallo’s current stay in the majors as Beltre mends and then look for him again during September call up after he fills the box scores in Triple-A Round Rock. By that time we might also get to also drool over another top third base prospect, the Twins Miguel Sano.

Las Vegas prep stars Bryant and Gallo also have a friend in Bryce Harper. Harper went to Las Vegas High School and played on the same little league team with Joey Gallo. All three of these guys are pretty good bets right now.

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Playing With A Football Mentality In MLB

The Royals and White Sox tango on the South Side.

(Photo Courtesy: CSN Chicago)

Divide the 162-game schedule into increments of sixteen games and Thursday night signaled the unofficial 10% mark of the season for sixteen teams in the league. Barring rainouts, nine other teams will hit the sixteen games played plateau on Friday.*

The point being that a football seasons worth of games have been played. We’ve also seen some play on the diamond turn into football games with lots of blocking and tackling and trash talk that would make a wide receiver and defensive back smile.

With the NFL draft less than a week away why not take time to assess baseball teams and see who would be in the running for Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Amari Cooper and Leonard Williams if they switched leagues, which might be a good idea as baseball is currently too hard for these three teams.

Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers (3-13) are on the clock and could use a quarterback to lead the squad. Winston was 2-2 with 9 saves and 1.95 ERA over 60.1 IP for the Seminoles in 2013-2014 so maybe he could help on the mound.

Thursday, Kyle Lohse finally wasn’t terrible and pitched seven innings to help the beer makers defeat the Cincinnati Reds 4-2. Milwaukee is leading the universe in runs allowed at 5.7 per game. Adam Lind and Aramis Ramirez may have homered Thursday, but Milwaukee is still last in the majors in OPS at. .587. By comparison the Los Angeles Dodgers (.831) and Fightin’ Royals (.811) lead the way in that category.

Philadelphia Phillies
Miami took two out of three against Philadelphia this week so the Phillies (5-11) “win” the tiebreak and get the 2nd pick. They too like the Brewers need a quarterback for the offense. Their .593 OPS sits just ahead of Milwaukee, but Philadelphia is last in the majors in runs scored with 41 or 2.6 runs per contest. By comparison, the Blue Jays are scoring at a 5.9 runs per contest clip to lead the majors.

Miami Marlins
The Marlins are red-hot winning two straight to get to 5-11. Do they go WR or DE? Miami is 12th in runs scored (68), but tied for 23rd in runs allowed (74) so maybe they need some defensive help. Dan Haren, Jarred Cosart and David Phelps – who threw seven scoreless innings against the Phillies on Thursday – have been productive. Tom Koehler and Mat Latos have not. Henderson Alvarez got hurt in his 2nd start, hence the need for Phelps in the rotation. Second baseman Dee Gordon is hitting .348. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is hitting .069 (2 for 29) and losing playing time to J.T. Realmuto (7 for 23). The facemasked Stanton has 22 strikeouts in 58 ABs, but has homered in four of his last seven games.

Halftime
While the Brewers, Phillies and Marlins are the bottom 10% of the league the Mets, Royals and Cardinals are in the top 10%. The Tigers (11-5) have fallen back a bit after losing three straight to the first place Yankees. OK, Boston, New York and Toronto are all 9-7 in the ground and pound AL East. The emphasis is on pound as Baltimore (22), Toronto (22) and New York (21) lead baseball in home runs. Those really old and offensively challenged Yankees are tied for second with the Padres in runs scored trailing the Blue Jays.

New York Mets
The Mets completed their first ever 10-0 home stand on Thursday. They’ve won 11 in a row and at 13-3 have clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Wait, the all star game will decide that. Not sure the Mets maintain an .812 winning percentage during the remaining 90% of the season, but Bartolo Colon is 4-0 and along with his timely hitting he also chases down would be base stealers. The Mets are a middle of the pack offense, but Harvey, deGrom, Niese and Bart have helped allow the second fewest runs in the league. Dillon Gee hasn’t been stellar, but Jeurys Familia will have no problem putting food on the table for his family if he stays perfect out of the pen. 8 for 8 in saves opportunities with opponents hiting .129 against him over 9.2 IP.

Kansas City Royals
Now we come to the Royals (12-4). Yordano Ventura on the mound has become must see TV. Each of his four starts have been, um, unique. Thursday night he hit the White Sox Jose Abreu with a pitch in the 4th inning. In the 7th inning, Adam Eaton got chatty arguing a call while in the batters’ box so Ventura quick-pitched him. Eaton responded with a comebacker that Ventura snagged. Eaton shouted some words at Ventura when running to 1st base. Ventura returned the favor with a seven-letter phrase that wasn’t Familia. Then Yordano threw the ball to first for the final out of end the inning and the benches cleared.

White Sox starter Chris Sale was arguing with Royals manager Ned Yost. It looked like Jeff Samardzija was channeling his inner wide receiver by trying to take out Lorenzo Cain on a quick slant. The Shark had hit Cain and Alex Gordon with pitches on Opening Day. Cain, Edinson Volquez, Ventura, Samardzija and Sale were all ejected. The game was tied at two at the time, The Royals won in 13-innings thanks to an Eric Hosmer RBI double in the top of the inning. These two teams get to play each other three more times this weekend.

The Royals appear to lead the majors in arguing and hitting at .301. They are also tied with the Rangers for the most times being hit by pitches – 17. That has a little bit to do with the short fuse on the Royals dynamite. Despite three errant pitches by Ventura the Royals have only hit five batters. Look out if they decide to play catch up. Otherwise, Kansas City’s pitching has allowed the 3rd fewest runs in the majors.

St. Louis Cardinals 
The Cardinals are 10-4 and lead the majors in ERA with a sensational 2.06 mark. The Mets are second at 2.81. Opponents are hitting just .209 against Cardinals pitching. Michael Wacha (1.33 ERA), Lance Lynn (1.56 ERA), Adam Wainwright (1.71 ERA) and Carlos Martinez (2.08 ERA) are solid, but actually a tick behind the Trevor Rosenthal, Jordan Walden, Kevin Siegrist, Matt Belisle bullpen foursome that has allowed 2 ER over 26.2 IP.

Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday are both hitting in the .380s for the Cardinals, but Holliday has only one extra base hit, while Carpenter has eight doubles and three home runs.

Postgame
Kicking off this weekend is the Subway Series at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are coming off a 7-3 road trip. The Mets only losses have come on the road where they are 3-3. deGrom-Pineda, Harvey-Sabathia and Niese-Eovaldi will be the pitching match ups.

*The Cardinals (10-4) and Indians (5-9) have only played 14 games, while the Padres (10-7), Giants (7-10), and Athletics (8-9) have played 17 games through Thursday 4/23.