It was odd enough that the Royals chose washed-up veteran Yuniesky Betancourt over promising prospect Johnny Giavotella for the starting second base job this spring, but now Betancourt has been placed on the disabled list with an ankle injury and Giavotella didn’t even get the call to take his spot.
And it’s not because Giavotella has been struggling at Triple-A, as he’s hitting .301 with an .820 OPS in 25 games after hitting .338 with an .871 OPS in 110 games there last season. He’s also 24 years old, so it’s not as if the Royals want to avoid rushing him to the majors.
Instead they called up Irving Falu, a 28-year-old non-prospect in his fourth season at Triple-A who’s hit just .282 with a .697 OPS in 376 career games at the level. And apparently Chris Getz will take over as the primary second baseman despite being 28 years old with a .631 career OPS.
What good is the Royals’ impressive collection of prospects and young players if they’d rather give jobs to guys like Betancourt, Getz, and Falu?
When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.
The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.
Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.
It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.
Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.
The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.
Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.
Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:
Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.