Seattle shortstops are just barely out-hitting National League pitchers this season and the Mariners have finally decided to do something about it. Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that they’re calling up Triple-A shortstop Nick Franklin.
Franklin ranked as a top 100 prospect by both Baseball America and MLB.com coming into the season and has been fantastic at Triple-A, hitting .324 with a .440 on-base percentage and more walks (30) than strikeouts (20) in 39 games.
He’s actually played more second base than shortstop in Tacoma, which suggests the dropoff defensively compared to slick-fielding Brendan Ryan would be pretty huge, but Ryan has hit just .198 in 181 games since the beginning of last season. It’s also possible that Franklin will play second base because …
To make room for Franklin on the roster Divish says the Mariners are demoting former No. 2 overall pick and one-time stud prospect Dustin Ackley to Triple-A. Ackley had a promising rookie season in 2011, but has hit just .221 with a .599 OPS in 198 games since then while serving as Seattle’s regular second baseman.
MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports that umpires Bob Davidson, John Hirschbeck, Jim Joyce, and Tim Welke have retired.
Davidson, 64, was known as “Balkin’ Bob” for his tendency to call pitchers for balks. Davidson has also made a name for himself picking fights with players and managers, as well as unnecessarily escalating situations.
Hirschbeck, 62, didn’t quite have the reputation Davidson had, but he had a couple of notable incidents on his profile as well. Last year, when ejecting Twins slugger Miguel Sano, Hirschbeck said, “Get the [expletive] out of here.” In 2013, he threw a drum of oil on a fire that very easily could’ve been snuffed out with Bryce Harper.
Joyce, 61, was a well-liked and well-respected umpire who will go down in history for one mistake. On June 2, 2010, Tigers starter Armando Galarraga was one out away from a perfect game. Indians second baseman Jason Donald hit a weak grounder about halfway between first and second base. Miguel Cabrera went to his right to field it and flipped to Galarraga covering first base. It was a close call, but Joyce incorrectly ruled Donald safe, ruining Galarraga’s perfect game. To both Joyce’s and Galarraga’s credit, both handled the mistake with the utmost class.
Craig also wrote in detail about Joyce a few years ago. It’s worth a re-read.
Tim Welke, 59, actually announced his retirement last year, but I guess it wasn’t made official until recently. He underwent a left knee replacement procedure in January last year and then had his right knee replaced five months later.
CNBC, citing Reuters, reports that Facebook and Major League Baseball are in discussions to stream one game per week.
Streaming is becoming more and more ubiquitous as it’s a more convenient way for people to access media they like. MLB Advanced Media, which handles MLB’s streaming service, is worth several billions of dollars. Last year, Disney paid $1 billion to purchase a 33 percent stake in BAMTech, the independent company MLBAM launched for its streaming.
Millennials and “Generation Z,” in particular, are driving the streaming trend. Forbes, citing the Digital Democracy Survey in 2015, reported that 56 percent of millennials’ media consumption was done via computer, smartphone, tablet, or gaming device. Those 30 years and older rely on television to watch film and TV shows at a clip higher than 80 percent.
Twitter is already in the sports streaming arena. It streams MLB, NFL, and NHL games as well as the PGA Tour.