The latest arrival in Kansas City’s season-long influx of young talent is second base prospect Johnny Giavotella, who was called up from Triple-A last night.
While not among the Royals’ historic stockpile of elite prospects, Giavotella would be one of the top few prospects in plenty of other organizations. He hit .322 with an .855 OPS in 134 games at Double-A last season and batted .339 with an .872 OPS in 109 games at Triple-A this year to earn the call-up.
Giavotella’s modest power matches his 5-foot-8 frame, but along with the .309 career batting average he’s struck out just 212 times in 1,967 plate appearances while drawing nearly as many walks (192) as whiffs. If things go well for Giavotella he projects as a potential leadoff man and if his development stalls a bit he should be a solid contributor at the bottom of the lineup.
And either way he almost can’t help but be an upgrade over the man he’s replacing at second base, Chris Getz, who’s hit just .247 with a measly .309 on-base percentage and .281 slugging percentage in 168 games since the Royals got him from the White Sox for Mark Teahen in November of 2009.
After letting rumors of the deal percolate for the last week, the Athletics officially announced their two-year, $11 million contract with right-hander Santiago Casilla on Friday (and threw a little bit of shade at the Giants, too). As previously reported, the contract includes an extra $3 million in performance bonuses.
Casilla, 36, got his major league start with Oakland back in 2004, racking up a 5.11 ERA and four saves over six seasons in the A’s bullpen. After picking up a minor league deal with the Giants in 2010, the righty flitted in and out of the closing role with varying degrees of success. Notwithstanding a slight downturn in his production rate during the 2016 season, he earned 123 saves and a 2.42 ERA during the past seven years in San Francisco. Securing another closing role might be a little tougher across the Bay, however, with a bullpen that includes fellow closers Ryan Madson, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle.
Why is this man smiling? Man, I wouldn’t be smiling if I read what I just read.
This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility.
For the second straight year, Law ranks the Braves as the best system in baseball. Number two — making a big leap from last year’s number 13 ranking – is the New York Yankees. Dead last: the Arizona Diamondbacks, which Law says “Dave Stewart ritually disemboweled” over the past two years. That’s gotta hurt.
If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone.