The baseball season is long. And we’re here to help: MLB Overnight covers the interesting night-in, night-out goings-on of The Show.
Baby Brewers Growing Up Fast
By this point, Keston Hiura isn’t much of a secret.
Dude can flat out rake.#Brewers No. 1 prospect Keston Hiura is one of just eight players on the Top 100 list with a hit tool of 65 or higher: //t.co/yuQKlqcRbs pic.twitter.com/WFp6w0HK9K
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 1, 2018
That plus bat doesn’t come with even a replacement-level glove in the field right now, so there’s no expectation that Hiura will be a Miller Park regular (yet). Much like another advanced prospect in Brewers history with a plus bat and defensive question marks, Rickie Weeks, the 21-year-old Hiura needs time to develop in the field before being a true impact player at the big league level. Weeks, in supplanting the flailing Junior Spivey, was not afforded that time. The Brewers, with an embarrassment of riches throughout their organization and a Spring Training crew looking regular-season ready, can take their time in letting Hiura develop. But wait, there’s more!
Jacob Nottingham off RHP Kris Medlen – 106.7 mph, 23 degrees (411 ft Double) 84.9 mph Slider#Brewers @ #Dbacks (T9) pic.twitter.com/EWm72UFr5r
— MLBBarrelAlert (@MLBBarrelAlert) March 1, 2018
Jacob Nottingham, acquired in the deal that jettisoned Khris Davis to Oakland, is ostensibly a catcher, but isn’t as defensively-ambiguous as the aforementioned Hiura. That, and he’s raking in his Spring Training audition, including a 411-foot missile of a double that would have gone well over the fence at Miller Park. Nottingham is hitting .375 with a gaudy 1.319 OPS.
With Stephen Vogt sidelined and Jett Bandy still a mostly-unknown quantity sputtering thus far this spring, Nottingham may have an angle to work to earn a spot as Manny Pina‘s alternate.
The Cardinals Are Better Than You Think
Lost in Cubs-mania and the ascendant Brewers and the white-flag waving Pirates are the St. Louis Cardinals.
Mostly an afterthought, the Cards fizzled to an 83-79 record with a pedestrian 196 home runs. Tommy Pham emerged as one of four .280+ hitters, while Matt Carpenter struggled to a .241 average (and a robust .384 OBP.)
It’s not a bad team; it’s a team that was missing bop after years of Carpenter, Matt Holliday, Albert Pujols, Mark McGwire, Larry Walker, Jim Edmonds, Stan Musial…you get the idea. The Cardinals have always had a big bat in their lineup, they didn’t have that last season and it showed.
So they went out and got Marcell Ozuna off the clearance rack at Loria’s.
Marcell Ozuna to the moon. #Crushed pic.twitter.com/fIzSt5mo5D
— MLB (@MLB) March 1, 2018
I’ve said this earlier in the Hot Stove and I’m saying it again now: the Chicago Cubs are not even the second-best team in the NL Central. The Brewers and Cardinals will finish the season in some combination of 1-2, forcing the Cubs’ regression this season and toward the impending fiscal cliff. Amen.
Miguel Andujar is Not Helping Any
My friend and colleague Dan Federico warned you all this was going to be a problem.
Jump on the hype train @Yankees fans, @MAndujarPapa has two homers today and four in #SpringTraining. pic.twitter.com/8mTjEEvJbR
— MLB (@MLB) March 1, 2018
Yeah, yeah, it’s against the Phillies. It’s not exactly Halladay-Lee-Hamels-Oswalt-Steve Carlton–Robin Roberts out there. And yes, it’s March 1. But how do you keep Andujar off the Major League squad? It’s bad enough that the Yankees have Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Didi Gregorius and Gary Sanchez every day; they have the option to add Andujar to that mix. And these aren’t just guys who can slug: These guys can flat-out hit.
Andjuar is jacking to the tune of over 1.700 OPS, with matching .429 batting average and on-base percentage. In an American League that will be the baseball version of Paul Westhead’s system–Nine Innings of Hell, perhaps?–the Yankees, even with their current arsenal, will need all the firepower they can get. I don’t have a dog in this fight–Danny does–but Andujar belongs in the Bronx on Opening Day.
The closer: An injured Ted Williams was still better than nearly everyone ever
#OTD in 1954, @RedSox Ted Williams fractures his left collarbone while trying to make a shoestring catch during #SpringTraining. He will not make his season debut until May 15, but will still hit 29 HR and draw a league-best 136 walks in just 117 games. https://t.co/4UjronlgNL pic.twitter.com/fRxj4B9B64
— Baseball Hall ⚾ (@baseballhall) March 1, 2018
We’ve seen some impressive hitting campaigns over the years: George Brett in 1980, Tony Gwynn in 1994’s strike-shortened season, Ichiro in 2004. The Splinter slashed .345/.513/.635 in 117 games with a bum shoulder.
Any reason we can invoke this is a good enough reason for me.
Brent Sirvio is a co-founder of Bronx to Bushville.