This one went down right at the midnight deadline. Or maybe even after. But we’re not ones to tattle.
According to Jane Lee of MLB.com, the Red Sox have sent right-handed relief prospect Jason Rice to the A’s for outfield-first baseman Conor Jackson.
Jackson, 29, has batted just .249/.315/.342 with four home runs and 38 RBI in 368 plate appearances this season for Oakland. He doesn’t play great defense, but he has experience in right field, left field, and at first base and third. The Red Sox are expected to use him as a super utilityman down the stretch.
Rice, a 25-year-old former 11th-round draft pick, has posted a 3.69 ERA and 89/42 K/BB ratio in 85 1/3 innings this year at the Triple-A level. He doesn’t have great control, but his fastball velocity is strong and he has the potential to become a decent middle reliever if he can develop a secondary pitch.
Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.
But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.
To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).
According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.