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.
The Diamondbacks announced on Tuesday afternoon that former major leaguer Dan Haren has been named the organization’s new pitching strategist. The role will include working with the front office, the major league coaching staff, and the analytics department.
Haren, 36, ended his 13-year playing career after the 2015 season. He finished with a 153-131 record and a 3.75 ERA across 2,419 2/3 innings.
Since retiring, Haren has been one of the more enjoyable players to follow on Twitter. He promised to teach his disciples how to tweet as part of his new responsibilities.
For a guy who won a World Series MVP Award and has been to a couple of All-Star Games, it’s amazing how many stories have been written about Pablo Sandoval‘s off-the-field exploits compared to his on-the-field exploits. Specifically, stories about his conditioning. Or lack of conditioning. Of him getting into shape, falling out of shape and getting back into shape again. It’s been this way since he emerged as an everyday player in 2009.
And it continues anew:
There is no claim here that Sandoval is, in fact, in The Best Shape of His Life. However, longtime BSOHL fans know that the claim is not about the magic words being used. The idea is that, in the offseason, players with something to prove will routinely make an effort to create the impression that they are a new man. Often it is from claiming that one is in The Best Shape of His Life. Often it comes from surrogates talking about how many pounds of fat one has lost or pounds of pure muscle one has added. Sometimes — as here — it comes in the form of showing post-workout photos.
Whatever the purpose of the photo, Sandoval is certainly looking good compared to where he was last spring:
Or at the end of the 2015 season:
Even if this is part of a plan to get Sandoval some good press heading into the 2017 season, I’m happy to see that he appears to be recovered from shoulder surgery and appears to be taking good care of himself and is thinking about his baseball futrue.
Either way, expect the Panda Weight Watch to continue at Red Sox spring training come February.