While the baseball world awaits word on elite Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman’s next move, another prominent player who defected from the island last year has apparently signed.
Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reports
that 19-year-old shortstop Jose Iglesias has agreed to an $8 million
deal with the Red Sox and “official word is expected later this month.”
Here’s a scouting report on Iglesias from Kiley McDaniel of Baseball Prospectus:
Drawing attention for his flashy glovework at shortstop, with one
scout grading his fielding as an 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale. His
arm is enough to stick at shortstop, but his range is somewhat limited
by his fringe-average speed. Iglesias makes the most of his ability,
with instincts that enhance his tools and excellent makeup. He bats
from the right side and while his overall offensive package leaves a
bit to be desired, most scouts agree Iglesias will hit enough to allow
him to profile as a big league regular.
He has decent pop in his 5-10 frame, at a maxed-out 180 lbs., though
he can get pull-happy at times. An international scouting director
called Iglesias’ total package, “Ryan Theriot with better hands.”
Iglesias is a defensive-oriented overachiever and executives say he
would be more of a 2nd-3rd rounder if eligible for the recent draft.
“Ryan Theriot with better hands” and “a second or third rounder” is
hardly what you’d expect to hear about a teenager who reportedly just
signed for $8 million, and for a similarly low-upside comparison John
Manuel of Baseball America quotes a scout calling him an “Orlando Cabrera clone.”
It was only a matter of time before Mike Trout courted another all-time record, and on Saturday, he found himself in elite company with his 25th and 26th home runs of the season. He put the Angels on the board with a 429-foot blast in the first inning, depositing an 0-1 fastball from the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman into the left field bleachers:
In the third inning, with the Angels up 2-1, Trout returned to tack on another insurance run. He targeted Gausman’s slider for his second solo shot of the evening and cleared the center field fence with a 418-footer to bring his total to 26 home runs on the year.
Trout has mashed at a staggering .339/.471/.596 clip since his return from the disabled list last month, and Saturday’s totals helped mark his sixth consecutive season with at least 25 home runs. That’s a record few have matched before their age-26 season; in fact, only Hall of Fame sluggers Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson have ever pulled it off.
Assuming he continues to rake in hits and plate appearances over the last six weeks of the regular season — and there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t — Trout is in line to join elite company of a different kind. The 26-year-old entered Saturday’s game with a 206 OPS+ (park-adjusted on-base plus slugging). According to MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, that means Trout’s hitting at a better clip than the average Major League player by a full 106 percent. Should he finish the year with a 200 OPS+ and 502 plate appearances or better, he’ll be the first player to do so since Barry Bonds obliterated the competition with his 263 OPS+ in 2004.
The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Tom Koehler from the Marlins in exchange for minor league right-hander Osman Gutierrez and cash considerations, the clubs announced Saturday. Koehler is in his sixth year with the Marlins and stands to make $5.75 million in 2017. He’ll be arbitration eligible in 2018 and is set to enter free agency by 2019.
The 31-year-old right-hander struggled to a 7.92 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 55 2/3 innings with Miami in 2017. He was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in late July, where he rebounded with a 1-1 record in seven starts and whittled his ERA down to a 1.67 mark. The Blue Jays have yet to establish Koehler’s role within their organization, but are hoping to see a turnaround from the righty when he breaks back into the big leagues.
Gutierrez, 22, was assigned to Single-A Greensboro on Saturday. He has yet to find his footing in the minors, and exited a 78-inning stint with Single-A Lansing after racking up a career-worst 7.85 ERA and 8.2 SO/9. His lack of control is particularly alarming, with a 6.2 BB/9 that dwarfs the 2.0+ BB/9 of seasons past, but he still has plenty of time to figure out his mechanics before reaching the Show.