If you asked most baseball experts, they’d tell you that Angels prospect Tyler Chatwood is not ready for the big leagues. He made just one appearance above the Double-A level last season and turned 21 years old in December. There’s still an awful lot of polishing on the docket for the youngster.
But he didn’t play that part on Saturday evening against the White Sox. In fact, he looked like an experienced veteran.
Chatwood allowed only one run and five hits over seven innings in below-freezing temperatures at Chicago’s U.S Cellular Field, shutting down a powerful White Sox lineup by mixing a high-90s fastball and mid-70s curve. He walked only two and struck out three, needing only 92 total pitches to earn his first career major league victory in Anaheim’s 7-2 win.
The Angels are only relying on Chatwood here in mid-April because both Scott Kazmir and Joel Pineiro have landed on the disabled list. The young right-hander isn’t going to be guaranteed a rotation spot for the rest of the season, or even the rest of this month, but he can sure make things interesting if he continues to have success against quality major league lineups.
If Chatwood is doing the job and Kazmir continues to look lost when he returns, the Halos will have a big decision to make. And upside usually rules when it comes to such things.
1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Indians early last month. The 34-year-old had spent the last seven and a half seasons with the Blue Jays, but his future elsewhere appeared to be written on the wall when the Jays signed Kendrys Morales in November to essentially occupy Encarnacion’s role.
Encarnacion spoke about testing free agency for the first time in his career and the situation that led to him leaving Toronto for Cleveland. Via Jorge L. Ortiz of USA TODAY:
“Toronto was always my first option, but I had never been a free agent, and anybody who gets to free agency wants to find out what’s out there,’’ he said. “I think they got too hasty in making their decision, but now I’m with Cleveland and I’m happy to be here.’’
Encarnacion last season hit .263/.357/.529 with 42 home runs and an AL-best 127 RBI. He’s now on the team that defeated his Blue Jays in the ALCS to advance to the World Series. Encarnacion effectively replaces Mike Napoli, who returned to the Rangers.
I’m on record saying that Sammy Sosa has been rather hosed by baseball history.
The guy did amazing things. Unheard-of things. He was truly astounding at this peak and was incredibly important to both his franchise and Major League Baseball as a whole. His repayment: he’s a pariah. His club won’t claim him and his greatness, by any measure, has not just been overlooked but denied by most who even bother to consider him.
Yes, he had PED associations, but they were extraordinarily vague ones. He’s in the same boat as David Ortiz as far as documented PED evidence against him, but Ortiz will be a first ballot Hall of Famer while Sosa barely clings to the ballot. He hit homers at the same cartoonish rate as Mark McGwire, but while Big Mac has been embraced by baseball and has coached for years, Sosa can’t get into Wrigley Field unless he buys a ticket and even then the Cubs might try to hustle him out of sight. The man has been treated poorly by any measure.
Yet, it’s still possible to overstate the case. Like Sosa did in this interview with Chuck Wasserstrom:
It’s like Jesus Christ when he came to Jerusalem,” Sosa told chuckbloggerstrom.com. “Everybody thought Jesus Christ was a witch (laughing) — and he was our savior. So if they talk (bleep) about Jesus Christ, what about me? Are you kidding me?”
At least he was basically joking about it. Still, it’s a totally unfair and almost offensive comparison.
I mean, anyone who watched Sosa’s career knows that he had trouble laying off breaking stuff low and away. In contrast . . .