I’m still not sure what to make sure of these “Team X is scouting Player Y” reports we’ve seen so many of this summer, simply because we don’t really have a baseline for judging how much scouting happens in the normal course.
Maybe some teams have guys at everyone’s games, at least periodically, to fill out their Massive Scouting Database of Doom. Maybe if a team has a scout at a certain game they are looking at a different player than everyone thinks they’re looking at. Even if the reporter talks to a scout and asks him who he’s looking at, maybe the scout lies to create misinformation. I mean, scouting is recon, and why would a team want the other guys to know what they’re, um, reconning?
Which isn’t to say those “Team X is scouting Player Y” reports are wrong. I’ve been running them if they come from reporters who usually get things right. I just don’t know what to think about them yet. Maybe I’d feel better if the reporter were to actually say “a scout from Team X said he’s scouting Player Y.” That requires a lot more commitment on everyone involved. Maybe it makes no difference. I’m just thinking out loud here.
Anyway, Ed Price is one of those guys who usually get things right, so I’ll pass it along when he says things like the Mets are scouting the Orioles’ Jeremy Guthrie. I don’t think I buy his source who says that the Mets think Guthrie could be a better bet than Ted Lilly — or maybe the Mets do think that and they’re just crazy — but there you go.
For what it’s worth, Guthrie is 3-10 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 63/35 in 118 innings. He is not, in short, anything approaching a difference maker. But hey, maybe the scout has noticed that he’s tipping his pitches, which is another unverifiable thing that befuddles me almost as much as the “Team X is scouting Player Y” reports.
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.