Chipper Jones has been teammates with future Hall of Famers Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz and he got to see plenty of Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Kevin Brown during their heydays. Stephen Strasburg, though, might outclass them all:
“He has the best stuff, the best repertoire of pitches that I’ve seen on any one single pitcher,” Jones said Friday.
It’s a lofty statement, but it hardly seems completely out of line. The 23-year-old Strasburg has used his 94-98 mph fastball, curve and changeup to great effect this year, amassing a 4-1 record, a 2.21 ERA and a 64/13 K/BB ratio in 53 innings.
Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.
When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.
Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.