Rockies set to call up Carlos Gonzalez

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Earlier this week Matt Holliday talked about whether or not the A’s will end up trading him during the next two months, but in the meantime the Rockies are calling up the centerpiece of the deal that sent Holliday to Oakland.

Carlos Gonzalez is expected to join the Rockies in time for tonight’s
game after the 23-year-old, left-handed hitting outfielder batted
.339/.418/.630 with 10 homers, 29 total extra-base hits, and 59 RBIs in
48 games at Triple-A.

Those numbers are inflated quite a bit by the extremely
hitter-friendly environment at Colorado Springs, but .339/.418/.630 is
still damn good and he hit .316/.398/.541 on the road along with
.362/.439/.723 at home. Originally signed by Arizona as a 17-year-old
out of Venezuela in 2002, Gonzalez has already been the main prospect
on the move in trades for Dan Haren and Matt Holliday, which says
plenty about both his long-term upside and current flaws.

He’s hit .291 in 632 games as a minor leaguer and looks capable of
smacking 30 homers annually with Coors Field on his side, but aside
from his time at Triple-A he’s rarely walked and struck out quite a
bit, posting an ugly 446/156 K/BB ratio between rookie-ball, Single-A,
and Double-A. He also struggled mightily with the A’s last season,
hitting .242/.273/.361 with a hideous 81/13 K/BB ratio in 85 games.

On the other hand, Gonzalez has a very solid 73/44 K/BB ratio in 460
plate appearances at Triple-A, along with hitting .312/.385/.526. He’s
never going to draw a ton of walks, but if his control of the strike
zone at Triple-A is for real Gonzalez certainly looks capable of
developing above-average plate discipline and at the very least is
safely beyond the swing-at-everything career path that has doomed so
many promising prospects.

Dexter Fowler’s presence means that Gonzalez won’t be manning center
field in Colorado, but he rated well there last year according to
Ultimate Zone Rating and should be a strong defensive corner
outfielder. In terms of raw talent he’s among the most promising young
outfielders in baseball and if his newfound plate discipline is here to
stay Gonzalez’s second stint in the majors may last for a couple
decades.

The Tigers are trying to convert Anthony Gose into a pitcher

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Tigers’ center fielder Anthony Gose wants to try his hand at pitching, according to comments made by manager Brad Ausmus on Sunday. Gose is poised to start the year in Triple-A Toledo after receiving a midseason demotion to Double-A last summer following an altercation with Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon.

While the experiment won’t detract from Gose’s outfield work in Triple-A, the 26-year-old is expected to take on additional bullpen sessions throughout the year. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the left-handed hitter last took the mound in high school, where his fastball was clocked as fast as 97 m.p.h. Gose ultimately rejected the idea of starting his professional career as a pitcher, despite receiving favorable assessments from scouts.

Ausmus said the idea first surfaced at the end of the 2016 season. It appears to be a fallback option for the outfielder, who has struggled at the plate over his five-year career in the majors. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

Doolittle in Oakland did it and he was in the big leagues a couple of years later,” Ausmus said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s going to have to be a sponge and catch up on experience fast. But we feel it’s worth investigating.

Stephen Strasburg is the Nationals’ Opening Day starter

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Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg will take the mound for the club on Opening Day, manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday. The news is hardly surprising given Max Scherzer’s questionable status this spring, though it had yet to be confirmed by the club.

Strasburg is approaching his eighth run with the club in 2017. He went 15-4 in 2016, finishing the year with a 3.60 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 in 147 2/3 innings. This will mark his fourth Opening Day assignment with the Nationals.

Scherzer, the Nationals’ Opening Day starter in both 2015 and 2016, is scheduled to make his season debut sometime during the first week of the season. The right-hander is expected to take things more slowly this spring as he finishes rehabbing a stress fracture in his finger.

The Nationals will open their season against the Marlins on April 3.