Here I sit in the head-space I visit while creating this content, and I can’t see the prospect world. On a typical Tuesday night, it’s all around me, sometimes filling four screens in between sentences. I’ll have the TV going on two big league games, the laptop going on one minor league game (or vice versa), the desktop screen sliced between research tabs and writing tabs, and the phone screen chirping up at me with pretty lights and chimes. Every dive into the phone means another lap around the box scores for Pavlovian reasons, both majors and minors, and probably a check on the Twitter timeline, where I’ll find any number of highlights, stats and feelings.
Tonight I’m just sitting here seething on the porch, bouncing between laptop and phone, doomscrolling Spider Tack stuff. Soon enough I’ll head up to the desktop and dig in on my plan for tomorrow’s article, but right now, I thought it might be worth our time to tickle the keys with how it feels to be a baseball fan for the moment. Then I realize I don’t even know how to say it. The first several words to mind begin with F and don’t get us to the deconstruction or reverse engineering phases we need to find to ever really articulate ourselves. Actually, fuck that. How else could you say it today? What the blue fuck is going on here? Who handed these hacks the wheel? Were any actual fans bellyaching all day about the shape of a game? Not that I heard. Every baseball friend I have was excited about the season. Most were planning to attend at least one game. Many had already been.
And most of these people, they’re still excited, I think, for now.
But you can’t change the rules of a game in the middle. When kids are playing, that’s the first move toward the end. It’s fine. Games run their course and go poof in the wind. For kids, I mean. They invent on the fly, play a game for a while, then toggle a rule. A timer somewhere begins. The game will see several quick rule changes now as kids embrace every thought for what might happen differently. It’s fine. It’s fun. And then it’s over.
I like how he articulates the proper timing of such a change. I think we can set aside the fact that the baseball itself is always changing for whatever dumbass reason, just for a moment, and look at the preference Glasnow lays out for how baseball could handle this. Just tell us. Just let us know what the rules will be, and then let us play by those rules. Revolutionary. You can change them in the off-season. Hell, the contract between owners and players will have to be resettled this off-season. What better time to restructure the game ever so slightly? I don’t mean to sound like a total jackass here, but you might even want to discuss this Spider Tack issue with the players heading into or as part of the CBA. I dunno. Just spitballing.
I’m sorry. You didn’t come here for this. Decent chance I’ll delete it all before this goes live. I’ll get to the prospects in a minute. It’s just, Grey tweeted something funny about something ridiculous that Olney tweeted, and that made me think about how smart Bud Selig was to turn the other way during the steroid era. Maybe that’s the wrong way to say it: using “smart” in juxtaposing understandable behavior to what we’re seeing from Manfred on a daily basis, but maybe it’s the perfect word. Perhaps only an idiot would freak this much the fuck out about what’s happening in the media-reaction sphere and jeopardize the game itself–not to mention the health of everyone playing–but perhaps it’s gotten harder to ignore the angry clamor from people in search of something to angrily clamor against. And now that describes me. I wasn’t looking for the clamor, I guess, but here I am, stunted by that wild strain of galaxy brain irritation with everything that powers so much of our world.
Let’s talk prospects.
Detroit RHP Matt Manning is being called up to start Thursday’s game in Los Angeles. The Angels without Trout and Rendon aren’t exactly holy rollers, but Manning is not a recommended play in his debut. Perhaps you’ve seen his 8.07 ERA mentioned a few places since yesterday. Pretty odd scenario here. Manning hasn’t been bad. He’s been atrocious. If anything he’s earned a ticket traveling the opposite direction. Like the guy below, his most recent game was good, but the overall quality of his performance has fluctuated. I’ve never been high on Manning and thought he was headed for Tommy John surgery after not throwing in 2020. He’s come back this year with pretty solid stuff despite the results, but I’m not optimistic. Shocker, given the opening here, I know.
Miami waited just long enough for OF Jesus Sanchez to cool off before bringing him back to the big leagues. He did go 3-for-5 with a HR in his final AAA game, which upped his totals over the past 20 games, during which he’s slashing .237/.310/.368. Real pet peeve of mine we see all the time when looking too closely. Would like to think a guy forces the promotion by playing well, and I guess we could say that’s what happened here, in the sense that Sanchez was playing well a month ago, but baseball is a feel game. Feel good play good, kind of thing. There’s a rhythm and a momentum to it, that feel of synchronizing everything for the perfect swing at the perfect time. I just can’t understand why teams let hot streaks fizzle out in AAA and/or promote players who’ve been struggling for a month.
The box score doesn’t sparkle and shine, but San Francisco LHP Sammy Long pitched pretty well Tuesday night against the Diamondbacks, considering the circumstances. Opener Zach Littell didn’t record an out, forcing Long to hurry his warm-up and enter the game 17 pitches after it began with nobody out and runners on base. He wiggled out of that jam but didn’t have his best stuff when he came back out for the 2nd. Battled through that anyway and threw three shutout innings after that three-run 2nd. The Giants went on to win a game that, again, saw them down 4-0 before an out was recorded. More impressive than a lot of seven innings starts I’ve seen. I wonder if the team will just let Long start next time.
New York (AL) RHP Glenn Otto recorded 14 strikeouts over 7 innings last night—his third straight start reaching double digits and fourth total. He had 14 punch outs back on May 20th as well and now has 69 in 41 innings as a 25-year-old in AA. It’s pretty much just fastball curveball, but he’s in command of both right now. You’d see “likely reliever” or something like that pretty much anywhere you’d look for some scouting takes, but I’m less convinced he can’t make it work. Five innings is all he’d need most nights in the current iteration of baseball. He too has a sad ERA at 4.50, but the 1.09 WHIP and 33.8 percent K-BB rate tell a different story. I’m not rushing out to grab him just yet, but I will be if he gets promoted and throws well in AAA. Him being faded in most corners of the prospect world buys some time to watch and wait.
Kansas City 3B Emmanuel Rivera — 4-for-4, HR, BB on Tuesday. Slashing .287/.333/.559 with 9 home runs across 33 AAA games. His previous slugging high was .468 back in 2017, when he hit 12 HR across 122 games in A ball. Clearly made some man strength gains during the shutdown and now looks like a big leaguer with average hit and plus power to go along with solid defense. Nice org depth piece for the Royals who might be a bit more than that if they give him the chance.
Kansas City 1B/OF Ryan O’Hearn isn’t a prospect in the technical sense. He’s 27 and has 729 big league plate appearances. And yet, something with promise seems to be happening in Omaha. The man won’t stop mashing, O’hitting his 11th on Tuesday night as part of a 4-for-5 effort that brought his line to .404/.460/1.035. Probably just a heater in the wrong spot, but who knows. Just something to monitor if he comes up hitting. He’s playing outfield on the farm and could help against righties in KC.
Tampa Bay SS Wander Franco was a home run shy of the cycle, or as we’ll call it in 20 years, the Wander. When’s he coming up? Whenever he finally slumps, perhaps 20 years from now.
Tampa Bay 2B Vidal Brujan is slumping, hitting .200 in June. You know what that means? I’m kidding. Tampa just does the thing where they don’t promote hot hitters. Slumping hitters don’t get promoted either. Unless they sign an extension before playing their first game. Then they can join the team. Otherwise it’s Brett Phillips and Kevin Kiermaier to the World Series!
Pittsburgh 2B Rodolfo Castro hit his 7th HR on a 2-for-4 night. Season line at .301/.351/.534. He’s already gotten some run this season in a pinch and could be coming back up later on when Adam Frazier gets dealt.
Thanks for reading!
I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.