There are a lot of competing prospect rankings out there — I’m personally partial to Keith Law’s, which will come out today, I gather — but MLB.com puts a good one out every year too. They did yesterday, and they rank the Angels’ 19-year-old outfield prospect Mike Trout as the toppermost of the poppermost:
Trout, one of two Angels first-round choices in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, turned 19 on Aug. 7 in the midst of an eye-popping 2010 season. After hitting .362 with 45 steals and a .526 slugging mark at Class A Cedar Rapids, where he would be named the Midwest League MVP, he appeared in the All-Star Futures Game preceding the MLB All-Star Game at Angel Stadium …
… Moving up to advanced A Rancho Cucamonga after the break, he batted .306 and slugged .434, hitting .367 with three homers in the California League playoffs. Trout will experience big league camp for the first time in Arizona this spring. He was an instant hit last spring in Cactus League play, slashing a double and triple to each gap in his first three at-bats, showcasing his blazing speed.
Of course, since he’s an Angels property, I presume that he’ll soon be traded to the Indians along with Kendry Morales for
Lance Travis Hafner.*
*Sorry! Had old school sim-baseball on the brain!
The Red Sox have more or less withdrawn from the Edwin Encarnacion sweepstakes, with Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald noting that much of their reluctance hinges on the likelihood that they’d exceed the new $195 million luxury tax threshold by locking the DH into a lucrative deal. That doesn’t leave them without options, however, and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the club could be interested in 29-year-old corner infielder Pedro Alvarez, as well as fellow free agents Mike Napoli and Matt Holliday.
After playing just 10 games at DH from 2010 to 2015, Alvarez suited up as the Orioles’ primary designated hitter and part-time third baseman in 2016. His defense is sub-par, to say the least, but he batted .249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs for Baltimore in 2016.
According to Heyman, the Red Sox envision using Alvarez in much the same way the Orioles did. He’d have a place as the team’s DH with the occasional infield start, while Hanley Ramirez would keep his post at first base. Whether the Red Sox make offers to Napoli, Holliday or Alvarez, they’re expected to pursue a short-term deal in order to stay under budget.
The Braves signed left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren to a one-year deal, according to a team announcement on Sunday.
Lindgren, the Yankees’ top draft pick in 2014, was nicknamed “The Strikeout Factory” after blowing through four levels of New York’s farm system in 2014. He started the 2015 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was called up for his major league debut only two months into the 2015 season. The 22-year-old lasted seven innings with the club before succumbing to bone chips in his elbow, and underwent bone spur surgery in June before trying his luck again during spring training in 2016.
In August, the Yankees shut Lindgren down for the remainder of the season so the lefty could undergo Tommy John surgery. With a projected return date of 2018, Lindgren was non-tendered by the Yankees on Friday.
While the Braves won’t get the benefit of Lindgren’s top prospect skill set in their bullpen anytime soon, he will remain under club control if they keep him on their 40-man roster beyond the 2017 season (per ESPN’s Keith Law).