Brad Ausmus announces retirement after 18 seasons

2 Comments

As expected, Brad Ausmus announced his retirement yesterday after 18 seasons in the majors and over 15,000 innings logged behind the plate, saying: “I’m ready to stop playing. I just don’t feel like I cant contribute every day.”
Ausmus struggled to stay healthy in two seasons as Russell Martin’s backup with the Dodgers, but was once among the most durable catchers in baseball. He started at least 100 games and caught at least 1,000 innings every season from 1997 to 2006, winning three Gold Glove awards and making his lone All-Star team in 1999.
A former 47th-round pick and Dartmouth graduate, Ausmus earned a reputation for being one of the smartest players in baseball and has long been viewed as a potential manager. He served as the Dodgers’ acting manager Friday and told Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times that he may have managerial aspirations at some point.
Ausmus ranks 13th all time among catchers with 7,101 plate appearances spread over 1,971 games for four different teams, with his best seasons coming for the Tigers in 1999 when he hit .275/.365/.415 while setting career-highs in on-base percentage (.365), slugging percentage (.415), OPS (.779), homers (9), doubles (25), and RBIs (54).

Yankees sign top two draft picks

Getty Images
1 Comment

The Yankees signed first-round draft pick Clarke Schmidt and second-round pick Matt Sauer on Saturday, per a team announcement. Schmidt, a right-hander from the University of South Carolina, is set to earn a signing bonus of $2,184,300. According to MLB.com’s Oliver Macklin, that’s much lower than the typical $3+ million allocated for a No. 16 overall pick. The opposite is true for Sauer, whose projected $2.5 million signing bonus tops the suggested $1.2 million reserved for a No. 54 pick.

Schmidt, 21, boasts an impressive four-pitch repertoire and profiles as a front-end or mid-rotation starter, according to reports from Yankees’ VP of Domestic Amateur Scouting Damon Oppenheimer and ESPN’s Keith Law, among others. He carried a 4-2 record through nine starts in 2017 and turned in a 1.34 ERA before undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery last month to repair a torn UCL in his right elbow. While the Yankees won’t see him pitch at any level until late 2018, they seem confident in his makeup and ability to rebound over the next couple of years.

Fellow right-hander and Righetti High School senior Matt Sauer is a different story altogether. The 18-year-old hurler appears destined for the bullpen with a polished fastball-slider combo and a promising curveball and changeup. He dazzled on the mound this year, going 9-1 with an 0.98 ERA and two shutouts over 78 1/3 innings. While the Yankees seem most interested in his pitching skills, Sauer showed some pop at the plate as well, touting a .427 average with 24 RBI through 135 plate appearances.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

Getty Images
3 Comments

The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.