The Rangers just optioned Chris Davis down to AAA and called up Justin Smoak. Davis was hitting only .188 after 15 major league games, and Smoak had a 1.087 OPS after 14 games in the Pacific Coast League.
I still think the Rangers jumped the gun. According to mlbtraderumors.com, if Smoak stays up in the majors for good, he’s almost certainly going to be a super-two, meaning he gets arbitration a year earlier. Also, just in terms of development, I think the Rangers may be rushing Smoak and giving up on Davis too quickly.
Smoak played in 54 AAA games last year and had a feeble (at least for a 1Bman) .723 OPS. He’s hitting well after 14 games this year, but it’s only 14 games. And I still think they should have given Davis twenty starts before sending him down.
Meanwhile, the Indians inexplicably can’t seem to pull the trigger on calling up hot-shot catching prospect Carlos Santana. Santana is 24 this year, and Keith Law recently rated him as the top prospect in baseball after only Jason Heyward and Stephen Strasburg.
In comparison to Smoak, Santana has a 1.178 OPS after 13 games in the International League, which is a much tougher league for hitters than Smoak’s Pacific Coast League. Last year, Santana had a .943 OPS with a .413 on-base percentage at Akron in the AA Eastern League, another pitchers’ league.
Meanwhile, Indians’ receivers Lou Marson and Mike Redmond have been horrendous with the lumber, with neither hitting at the Mendoza Line or with OPS’ close to .500. The Indians’ decision to sign Redmond, who turns 39 on May 5, and really hasn’t been a major league hitter since 2007, was a real head-scratcher for a team that everyone knew would be rebuilding in 2010.
It was an $850,000 mistake, which really isn’t that big in MLB. The Indians should dump Redmond post-haste and go forward with Santana and Marson splitting the catching duties, hopefully for the next six seasons.
Here’s another good link I saw on mlbtraderumors.com this evening. Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus has this to say of super-prospect Bryce Harper’s make-up:
“It’s impossible to find any talent evaluator who isn’t blown away by Harper’s ability on the field, but it’s equally difficult to find one who doesn’t genuinely dislike the kid. One scout called him among the worst amateur players he’s ever seen from a makeup standpoint, with top-of-the-scale arrogance, a disturbingly large sense of entitlement, and on-field behavior that includes taunting opponents. ‘He’s just a bad, bad guy,’ said one front-office official. ‘He’s basically the anti-Joe Mauer.’”
Ouch! It doesn’t get much harsher than that.
The question is how many scouts Goldstein actually spoke to. If it was at least four of the ones who’ve been following Harper closely (and you have to figure that at least one scout from each of the top four or five teams in terms of this year’s Draft Order has been watching him like a hawk), Goldstein is probably spot-on.
It wouldn’t surprise me much if it were true. A guy who has been treated like a superstar in amateur baseball circles for years now, and who was the cover boy on Sports Illustrated at age 16, is probably going to have a swelled head.
In a final note that has nothing to do with prospects, but certainly deserves a mention in this blog, Ray Barton, the St. Paul illustrator who in 1961 designed the enduring Twins logo of two ballplayers shaking hands across the Mississippi River, has died of cancer at age 80. Barton was paid all of $15 for his work all those years ago.
Unfortunately, Barton never got to attend a game at the Twins new Target Field but was reportedly pleased about his image of Minnie and Paul adorning a giant sign in the outfield at the new park. Thanks for the memories, Ray!