The Astros have promoted prospect right-hander Jordan Lyles to Triple-A Round Rock, according to Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle.
Lyles, a former supplementary first-round pick in 2008, has a 3.36 ERA over parts of three seasons in the minors, including a 3.12 ERA and 115/35 K/BB over 21 outings with Double-A Corpus Christi this season. He was ranked as the organization’s top pitching prospect by Baseball America this winter and cracked the publication’s top 50 overall prospects in last month’s midseason list.
Astros general manager Ed Wade hedged when asked if Lyles could pitch in the major leagues as soon as this season.
“There’s always a chance,” Wade said. “In a perfect world, we don’t have
any more need for starting pitching at the big league level. I’d just
like to see him go out every fifth day whether it’s here or AAA or the
big leagues, and just take the same approach.”
I think it would be needlessly aggressive to promote Lyles to the majors this season, especially because he will reach a career-high in innings pitched sometime in his next four starts, but be sure to file this name away for next season.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.