Sure, it was at a very hitter-friendly park in a very hitter-friendly league, but Koby Clemens hit the cover off the ball last season:
Say what you want about the Astros’ eighth-round pick of the 2005
Draft, that he’s a product of a hitting league and a very friendly
ballpark, but it’s difficult to look past the fact that he finished the
season with the most RBIs in all of the Minor Leagues, won the
California League batting title with a .345 average and led the Class A
Advanced circuit in RBIs (121), doubles (45), slugging percentage
(.636) and OPS (1.055).
Clemens was an 8th round pick by in 2005, he tends to have to repeat levels before he does anything solid and he isn’t even the Astros’ top-rated catching prospect (that would be Jason Castro). Still, he has power and some patience at the plate and may just manage to make it to the bigs someday if the stars align just so.
Not bad for someone who seemed like a nepotism pick at the time.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.