Grading Friday’s waiver claims

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Royals claim RHP Guillermo Moscoso from Rockies and C Brett Hayes from Marlins

Moscoso had a nice 3.38 ERA in 21 starts and two relief appearances for the A’s in 2011 before being sent to the Rockies in last winter’s Seth Smith deal. Like most everyone else on Colorado’s pitching staff, he was a bust last season, finishing with a 6.12 ERA in three starts and 20 relief appearances. Back in a pitcher friendly ballpark in Kansas City, he has a chance to reemerge as a useful swingman. He’ll make just over the minimum, so he’s a nice grab. Grade: B

Hayes, 28, is a very generic backup-type. He gets pretty good marks for his defense, but he’s hit .217/.266/.361 in 332 major league at-bats. The Royals shouldn’t be content to let him play behind Salvador Perez next season. Grade D

Indians claim RHP Blake Wood from the Royals

Wood had a 3.75 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 69 2/3 innings for the Royals in 2011 before Tommy John surgery, but Kansas City didn’t think it was worth paying him $1 million or so to stick around for another year. It’s the Indians’ gain. Wood throws in the mid-90s and has a decent enough slider. I doubt he’ll take another step forward, but the price was certainly right. Grade B+

Orioles claim 2B Alexi Casilla from Twins

At 28, Casilla might yet have a future as a utilityman. Still, he’s had plenty of chances already and it’s gotten him a lifetime .250/.305/.334 line in 1,580 at-bats. The Orioles would have to pay $1.5 million-$2 million to keep him through the arbitration process, and there’s a real chance they could have gotten him on a minor league contract had they been more patient. Grade D

Twins claim RHP Josh Roenicke and INF Thomas Field from the Rockies

Roenicke is another case of a team throwing away a useful reliever simply because he’s eligible for arbitration. Roenicke, though, doesn’t stand to make much more than $1 million, and that’s a bargain for a guy who had a 3.25 ERA in 88 2/3 innings out of the pen for the Rockies last season. Yes, 88 2/3 innings. His peripherals weren’t good, and I do wonder if the heavy workload will take its toll next year. But for $1 million, there’s hardly any risk. Grade A

Field, on the other hand, isn’t very likely to be useful. He strikes out plenty, and his still-modest minor league power numbers were amplified by the hitter’s parks in the Rockies system. The way I see it, he doesn’t have the glove to make it as a full-time shortstop or the bat to be useful as a utilityman. But at least he’ll fit right in on the Twins. Grade D

Cubs claim RHP Zach Putnam from the Rockies

Exclusively a reliever since mid-2010, Putnam has been only a modest success in the minors with his 89-92 mph fastball-splitter combination, never finishing with a sub-3.00 ERA at any level. It seems doubtful that he stands much chance of surviving in a major league bullpen. Grade D

Brewers claim RHP Arecnio Leon from the Astros

Leon turned 26 in September, and he spent last season amassing a 4.52 ERA as a Double-A reliever. He has a big fastball, but he’s never been a real prospect. Grade D

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: