Albuquerque’s elevation is actually 32 feet higher than Denver. So, yes, the ball flies there. Just ask any PCL pitcher and they’ll tell you. So a lot of those PCL pitchers gotta be happy with this development: the Dodgers have put in a humidor to moisten/deaden baseballs at Isotopes Park. From the Santa Fe New Mexican:
With the 2013 Pacific Coast League season set to launch Thursday when the Isotopes play host to the Iowa Cubs, it was an offseason decision by the parent Los Angeles Dodgers that will undoubtedly have the biggest impact on the season.
The humidor is intended to mute the effect dry air has on a baseball, which makes the ball feel harder and bounces off a bat with greater power.
That, in turn, leads to skewed numbers for hitters and pitchers alike.
I know geography and gate matter, so if you’re a west coast team it makes sense to have your farm teams out west too, and in places where fans will actually show up. But boy howdy it has to be hard to evaluate players in places like Albuquerque, Colorado Springs, Salt Lake City and the like.
Adding this to the Coors Field humidor is a good step. But it’d be nice if all of the teams, majors and minors, who play at elevation would do this so we could at least attempt to get some sort of standardization of this stuff.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.
ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported over the weekend that the Cubs and reliever Pedro Strop agreed to a contract extension. He’ll remain with the Cubs through 2018 and the new deal includes a club option for the 2019 season as well. Per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Strop will earn $5.85 million in 2018 and the club option is worth $6.25 million with a $500,000 buyout. The two sides already avoided arbitration earlier this month, agreeing on a $5.5 million salary for the 2017 season.
Strop, 31, has been a very reliable reliever for the Cubs over the last three years. He has a combined 2.65 ERA with 212 strikeouts and 69 walks over 176 1/3 innings in that span of time.
The Cubs replaced Aroldis Chapman with Wade Davis, so Strop and Hector Rondon will be bridging the gap to Davis this coming season.
Strop joined the Cubs along with Jake Arrieta in the July 2013 trade that sent Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman to the Orioles. That trade panned out well for the Cubs.