Kansas City’s next wave of young talent is now just one step from the majors, as the Royals promoted top prospects Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi from Double-A to Triple-A.
Myers struggled at Double-A last season, hitting just .253 with eight homers in 99 games, but the outfielder still ranked 28th on Baseball America‘s annual prospect list coming into this season and annihilated Texas League pitching while repeating the level. He hit .343 with 13 homers and 11 doubles in 35 games, producing an incredible .731 slugging percentage and 1.146 OPS to force the promotion at age 21.
Odorizzi ranked 68th on that same Baseball America list coming into the season and the 22-year-old right-hander made seven starts at Double-A with a 3.32 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 38 innings, showing the promise that made him a first-round pick in 2008.
So far the Royals’ historic prospect collection hasn’t resulted in big-league wins, but Myers and Odorizzi both project as impact players and the major leaguers have shown some signs of life recently by winning six of their last seven games.
Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.
I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.
I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.
As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.
There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.
Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.
With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.