My uncle and cousin spent the past week in Arizona checking out a bunch of spring training games–they didn’t arrive until after Craig had gone home, just to be safe–and sent me a slew of text messages while watching Indians prospect Drew Pomeranz pitch Sunday.
My uncle, a high school baseball coach, and my cousin, a high school pitcher, both said Pomeranz was the most impressive young pitcher they saw, which isn’t surprising for the No. 5 overall pick in last June’s draft.
They raved about his “devastating” fastball-curveball combination–which Jordan Bastian of MLB.com wrote a good article about today–and wondered if the 6-foot-5 left-hander might make it to the majors this season, which is probably a stretch considering he’s 22 years old and hasn’t even officially made his pro debut after signing too late to join a minor-league team last year.
Bastian writes that Pomeranz is likely to begin the season at Single-A and “could be fitted for an Indians uniform as early as 2012.” In addition to various members of my family, Indians manager Manny Acta has also been very impressed with Pomeranz early in camp, telling Bastian: “When you’re that talented you can make it look that easy. He’s got a very nice arm and he’s effortless. That ball just sneaks up on hitters.”
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.