ArizonaFallLeagueLogo

Previewing tonight’s Rising Stars Game in the Arizona Fall League

1 Comment

Already missing real-live baseball? Of course you are. Well, fear not, as some of the game’s best prospects will be on display in the Arizona Fall League’s annual Rising Stars Game, which will be broadcast live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 9 p.m. ET tonight.

According to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, 28 of last year’s 50 Rising Stars played in the major leagues during the 2010 season, including Buster Posey, Ike Davis, Mike Leake and Starlin Castro, just to name a few. In other words, here’s your chance to catch some of next year’s sensations right now.

Manny Banuelos, a prospect in the Yankees’ organization, will start for the East while Mike Montgomery, a prospect in the Royals’ organization, will pitch for the West.

Banuelos, who turns 20 in March, posted a 2.51 ERA and 85/25 K/BB ratio over 15 starts between three different levels in the minor leagues this past season, reaching as high as Double-A Trenton. The left-hander was named as the Yankees’ No. 3 prospect by Baseball America this week. Montgomery, a 21-year-old southpaw, compiled a 2.61 ERA and 88/31 K/BB ratio over 20 starts between three different levels this season, including 13 starts with Double-A Northwest Arkansas. The former 2008 supplemental first-round pick was ranked as the team’s No. 1 prospect by Baseball America coming into the season.

Rising Stars East lineup: CF, Trayvon Robinson (Dodgers), 2B Charlie Culberson (Giants), 1B Brandon Belt (Giants), LF Brandon Laird (Yankees), C Austin Romine (Yankees), RF Marc Krauss (Diamondbacks), DH A.J. Pollock (Diamondbacks), 3B Ryan Adams (Orioles), Tyler Pastornicky (Braves)

Rising Stars West lineup: CF Ben Revere (Twins), LF Caleb Gindl (Brewers), 2B Dustin Ackley (Mariners), 1B Eric Hosmer (Royals), C Ryan Lavarnway (Red Sox), RF Leslie Anderson (Rays), DH Eric Thames (Blue Jays), 3B Zack Cox (Cardinals), Jose Iglesias (Red Sox)

I know, I know. Where’s Bryce Harper? Unfortunately, he is ineligible for tonight’s game because he is a member of the “taxi squad.” Bummer. Still plenty of reasons to tune in, though. I’m mostly looking forward to watching Brandon Belt and Dustin Ackley play, as I have only seen a handful of at-bats from either until this point.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
Duane Burleson/Getty Images
1 Comment

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.

What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.

The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.

Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.

Spring training will be slightly shortened in 2018

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 15:  General view of action between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants during the spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium on March 15, 2014 in Scottsdale, Arizona. The A's defeated the Giants 8-1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
1 Comment

The Associated Press is reporting that the spring training schedule will be shortened by two days starting in 2018. That change comes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last month.

Specifically, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and injured players has been changed to 43 days before the start of the regular season, down from 45. For the rest of the players, the reporting date is 38 days before the start of the regular season, down from 40.

The change goes hand-in-hand with allowing teams 187 days, rather than 183, to complete their 162-game regular season schedule.

While just about everyone seems to be in agreement that the spring training exhibition schedule is too long, team owners are likely very hesitant to shorten that part of the spring schedule because it would cost them money. So they’re just allowing players to arrive to camp a couple of days later.