Super prospect Bryce Harper made his professional debut in Scottsdale last night. The results: interesting. According to Keith Law, he was 1 for 4, with one of those outs being a ridiculously high fly ball. The hit was a double that was scorched. He apparently put on a show in batting practice. The raw power of this kid is amazing. He’s 18. He’s going to get stronger. He already can hit the ball 500 feet. Mercy.
The concern: he was super aggressive, first-pitch swinging and getting out ahead of pitches, even in batting practice. That’s going to be noted soon and he’s going to get so much junk thrown his way it’ll make his head spin. Based on his recent interviews, he seems impossibly eager to go out and run through brick walls and stuff. You have to assume a lot of this is a function of basically not playing baseball for five months. You also have to assume he’ll get over it soon and start putting on a real show.
The Blue Jays announced on Friday that the club acquired outfielder Randal Grichuk from the Cardinals in exchange for pitcher Dominic Leone and minor league pitcher Conner Greene.
Grichuk, 26, became expendable when the Cardinals acquired Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins. With veteran Dexter Fowler in right field and Tommy Pham — who finished 11th in NL MVP Award balloting last season — in center, Grichuk was effectively pushed to the bench. He will get a shot at regular playing time in an outfield corner with the Jays. Grichuk has had solid numbers since debuting in 2014, but he hasn’t been able to recapture the magic of his 2015 campaign. Last year, he hit .238/.285/.473 with 22 home runs and 59 RBI in 442 plate appearances.
Grichuk will earn $2.8 million this season and will be eligible for arbitration for two more years before becoming a free agent.
Leone, 26, posted an impressive 2.56 ERA with an 81/23 K/BB ratio across 70 1/3 innings last season. The right-hander will earn $1.085 million this season and then will become arbitration-eligible for the next three years. Leone certainly helps bolster the Cardinals’ bullpen and may work his way up to high-leverage innings behind closer Luke Gregerson.
Greene, 22, was selected by the Blue Jays in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. This past season, with Double-A New Hampshire, Greene compiled a 5.29 ERA with a 92/83 K/BB ratio in 132 2/3 innings. He throws hard, but control has been a big issue for the right-hander throughout his minor league career. The Cardinals may think they can help turn him around.