First-third awards – AL Rookie of the Year

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Toronto’s Scott Richmond was the AL’s top rookie during April, but he’s
since fallen behind four players, all of whom have a case for Rookie of
the Year honors to date:

Elvis Andrus (SS Rangers) – While Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold, Aaron
Cunningham and others still have plenty of time to make up ground,
Andrus is the only AL rookie position player to already have two solid
months under his belt. The 20-year-old is batting .285/.333/.424 with
nine steals in 10 tries. It’s hardly a spectacular line, especially
considering that it’s being inflated by playing in Arlington. However,
it’s the smaller part of what he’s doing. His glovework at short has
been a difference maker for a team that’s going from a 5.37 ERA in 2008
to a 4.56 mark so fat this year.

Andrew Bailey (RHP Athletics) – With a 2.12 ERA in 34 innings,
Bailey has been one of the AL’s top relievers, and the peripherals back
up the numbers, as he’s struck out 40 and allowed just 20 hits on the
season. Of course, he’ll need to seize the closer’s role on a full-time
basis in order to stay in the Rookie of the Year race. Holds won’t get
it done.

Josh Outman (LHP Athletics) – An uptick in velocity has made Outman
one of the game’s hardest-throwing left-handed starters, and it’s
translated into plenty of success over the last five weeks. He’s 3-0
with a 2.49 ERA in his last seven starts. Command is an issue, so he’s
no lock to stay in the hunt. However, there’s been nothing fluky about
his success so far.

Rick Porcello (RHP Tigers) – Even though he hasn’t been allowed to
throw more than 95 pitches in an outing this season, Porcello has
managed to work deep enough into games to win six times in 12 starts.
He has a 3.70 ERA thanks to his power sinker, and if the Tigers decide
to be a little less restrictive with his pitch count later this season,
he could go after more strikeouts with his curve. The Tigers, though,
will likely be very careful with him all year long, and they’ll likely
shut him down in early or mid-September if they fall out of contention.

First-third AL ROY

1. Porcello
2. Andrus
3. Bailey

Pirates’ Nick Leyva selected as senior advisor of baseball ops

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 17:  Coach Nick Leyva #16 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photo during photo day at Pirate City on February 17, 2013 in Bradenton, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
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Former first base and infield coach Nick Leyva was promoted to senior advisor of baseball operations on Saturday, per a report by Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The Pirates also fired third base coach Rick Sofield, with no named successor as of yet.

Leyva joined the Pirates’ organization in the 2011 offseason as a third base coach under manager Clint Hurdle. He shifted to his role as the first base coach and infield coach in 2014, when first base coach Rick Sofield was reassigned to third base prior to the 2015 season. According to Biertempfel, the swap was made in order to optimize the team’s baserunning strategies, all of which appeared to fall flat during the 2015 and 2016 seasons:

The results this season were awful. The Pirates ranked 13th in the National League with a minus-7.0 BsR — a metric that measures how many runs above or below league average a team gets via its baserunning.

In 2013 and 2014, the Pirates had one of the top five BsR ratings in the NL. In 2015, they were seventh with a 2.8 BsR.

This season, the Pirates made the second-most outs at third base in the league and were last in taking extra bases on singles and doubles. Their baserunners went from first to third base on hits a league-low 63 times.

Sofield, in particular, highlighted the Pirates’ poor baserunning choices in games like this one, when he sent Sean Rodriguez home too early during the last vestige of a ninth inning rally against the Phillies.

Following the announcement, Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington issued a statement elaborating on Leyva’s role within the organization:

We have great respect and appreciation for both men. We thank them for their time and effort as part of our Major League team and the Pirates organization. It was a difficult decision, but we felt it was the right time to make this change on our Major League staff. We look forward to Nick’s continued impact in his future role with the Pirates. Nick has held nearly every coaching position at the major league level and at the minor league level, including Major League manager, in his extensive career and will be a quality mentor for our minor league managers, coaches and players.

Lineups for Dodgers-Cubs NLCS Game 6

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 16:  Kyle Hendricks #28 of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game two of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 16, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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With Game 6 of the NLCS just hours away, the Dodgers will opt for a lefty-heavy lineup against right-hander Kyle Hendricks. Batting leadoff is rookie outfielder Andrew Toles, who made one appearance at the top of the lineup during the 2016 season. The Cubs, meanwhile, will bench Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.. This will be Almora’s first start of the playoffs, and while he has yet to face Kershaw in October, his right-handed bat could play well against the lefty at the bottom of the lineup.

Game time is scheduled for 8 PM EDT; lineups are below.


1. Andrew Toles (L) LF
2. Corey Seager (L) SS
3. Justin Turner (R) 3B
4. Adrian Gonzalez (L) 1B
5. Josh Reddick (L) RF
6. Joc Pederson (L) CF
7. Yasmani Grandal (S) C
8. Chase Utley (L) 2B
9. Clayton Kershaw (L) LHP
1. Dexter Fowler (S) CF
2. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
4. Ben Zobrist (R) LF
5. Javier Baez (S) 2B
6. Wilson Contreras (R) C
7. Addison Russell (R) RF
8. Albert Almora Jr. (R) RF
9. Kyle Hendricks (R) RHP