Stat of the Day: Triple-A OPS leaders

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PCL Top 10
1. John Bowker (Giants) – 1047
2. Sean Rodriguez (Angels) – 1017
3. Mitch Jones (Dodgers) – 1015
4. Randy Ruiz (Blue Jays) – 976
5. Allen Craig (Cardinals) – 921
6. Brandon Wood (Angels) – 910
7. Chris Shelton (Mariners) – 905
8. Dee Brown (Dodgers) – 905
9. Adam Heether (Brewers) – 902
10. Prentice Redman (Mariners) – 900
– Bowker’s season was truly exceptonal, as he finished with a 64/74 K/BB ratio to go along with his 21 homers and 83 RBI in 366 at-bats. Also, he wasn’t helped by his home park quite as much as some of the others here (he had a 1080 road OPS). For the Giants, though, he hit .205/.238/.385 with a 12/1 K/BB ratio in 39 at-bats. He was more impressive as a 24-year-old rookie in 2008, hitting .255/.300/.408 in 326 at-bats. There’s little doubt that he’s one of the Giants’ best hitters, though that’s not saying much. He deserves a real crack at the starting job in left field or at first base next year.
– They couldn’t crack the top 10 because of mediocre power numbers, but infielders Ruben Gotay (429), Esteban German (419) and Mike McCoy (.405) finished second, third and fourth in the league in OBP behind Bowker. Gotay worked a remarkable 102 walks in 371 at-bats and finished at .272/.429/.450. The Diamondbacks didn’t call him up, though. He’ll be a minor league free agent this winter, and one of the teams more focused on OBP could look at him as a potential backup. He’d make a lot of sense in Oakland. German is currently helping the Rangers at third with Michael Young out, and McCoy was also rewarded for his fine performance, though there’s little for him to do with the Rockies.
– Other notables: Jesus Guzman (Giants) – 885, Jeff Clement (Mariners-Pirates) – 871, Eric Patterson (Athletics) – 870, Jai Miller (Marlins) – 870, Kila Ka’aihue (Royals) – 825, Mike Carp (Mariners) – 818, Eric Young Jr. (Rockies) – 817, Brett Wallace (Cardinals-Athletics) – 815, Blake DeWitt (Dodgers) – 775, Alcides Escobar (Brewers) – 762, Julio Borbon (Rangers) – 753, Brian Bogusevic (Astros) 707, John Raynor (Marlins) – 687
International League Top 10
1. Kevin Barker (Reds) – 927
2. Matt LaPorta (Indians) – 917
3. Shelley Duncan (Yankees) – 916
4. Brian Myrow (Pirates) – 915
5. Jordan Brown (Indians) – 913
6. Jeff Fiorentino (Orioles) – 896
7. Chris Richard (Rays) – 885
8. Jon Weber (Rays) – 879
9. Michael Restovich (White Sox) – 871
10. Don Kelly (Tigers) – 869
– LaPorta is the only player here currently up and playing regularly in the majors. Fiorentino, though, has a chance to audition for a bench spot in Baltimore with Adam Jones out and now Felix Pie sidelined as well.
– That Brown, the league batting average leader at .336, was passed over for a callup had a lot to do with the Indians wanting a look at Andy Marte at first base. Still, the 25-year-old deserved better. He was the Carolina League MVP in 2006 and the Eastern League MVP in 2007. He’s not nearly a top prospect, but he should be able to hold his own against right-handers in the majors.
– Next on the list were the Yankees’ Juan Miranda, at 866, and the Rays’ Matt Joyce, at 855. It was stunning to see the Rays decline to give Joyce a September callup. He hit .252/.339/.492 in 242 at-bats for the Tigers last season, causing Tampa Bay to trade Edwin Jackson for him, yet the Rays have given him just 32 major league at-bats this season.
– Other notables: Jeff Frazier (Reds) – 792, Neil Walker (Pirates) – 791, Austin Jackson (Yankees) – 759, Reid Brignac (Rays) – 744, Drew Stubbs (Reds) – 713, Michael Brantley (Indians) – 711, Chris Valaika Reds – (615)

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.

David Price’s season debut could be pushed back to May

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David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.

Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:

[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.

The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.