Jay Bruce received
some good news and some bad news on his fractured right wrist this
afternoon. The good news is that he won’t need season-ending surgery
after an MRI exam revealed no damage to tendons or ligaments. The bad
news is that he’s still expected to be sidelined for 6-8 weeks and
could miss the remainder of the season without going under the knife.
Bruce was hitting just .207/.283/.441 in 83 games before the injury,
which is production that Chris Dickerson and Jonny Gomes should be able
to at least match if platooned. However, the ugly .207 batting average
masked the fact that Bruce was showing more power and plate discipline
than he did as a rookie and missing two months with a wrist injury puts
a major damper on the 22-year-old’s development.
Among the 112 outfielders in baseball history with at least 750
plate appearances through the age of 22, Bruce ranks 14th in Isolated
Power with Miguel Cabrera, Andruw Jones, and Barry Bonds directly in
front of him and Hank Aaron, Jose Canseco, and Justin Upton right
behind him. He’s already got the power-hitting part down and has also
improved his patience significantly as a sophomore, upping his walk
rate by 23 percent.
He’s posted a modest .749 OPS through his first 191 games in the
majors, but 39 homers, 71 total extra-base hits, and 63 walks in 785
plate appearances show that Bruce definitely has superstar potential if
his batting average rises. He’s whiffed in 22 percent of his trips to
the plate, which helps explain the lowly .235 career mark, but Bruce
hit .308 in the minors and should cut his strikeouts with more
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.