Jose Iglesias

So, someone is going to have to be the AL Rookie of the Year, right?

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The AL fired off all its rounds with a 2012 rookie class that featured Mike Trout, Yu Darvish, Yoenis Cespedes, Jarrod Parker, Hisashi Iwakuma, Matt Moore, Tommy Milone and many others. This year, the strong rookie class is in the other league, with Shelby Miller, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Julio Teheran leading the way and Yasiel Puig potentially putting in a charge.

The AL class, on the other hand, is extraordinarily weak 40 percent of the way through the season.

Here are all the AL rookies with 100 at-bats:

Aaron Hicks (CF Twins): .179/.249/.326, 6 HR, 19 RBI, 4 SB in 190 AB
Conor Gillaspie (3B White Sox): .248/.313/.360, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 0 SB in 161 AB
J.B. Shuck (OF Angels): .278/.324/.349, 0 HR, 13 RBI, 0 SB in 126 AB
Brandon Barnes (OF Astros): .282/.341/.419, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 4 SB in 117 AB
Robbie Grossman (OF Astros): .198/.310/.243, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 2 SB in 111 AB

Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias, hitting a completely unsustainable .446/.494/.581 in 74 at-bats, has been the league’s top position rookie so far. Still, the true rays of hope come in the form of the Rangers’ Jurickson Profar (.258/.315/.379 in 66 AB), the Twins’ Oswaldo Arcia (.255/.318/.449 in 98 AB) and the Mariners’ Nick Franklin (.250/.353/.455 in 44 AB).

The pitching side isn’t much better. Six AL rookies have made at least five starts so far:

Nick Tepesch (Rangers): 3-5, 3.92 ERA, 45/16 K/BB in 62 IP
Justin Grimm (Rangers): 5-3, 5.25 ERA, 51/20 K/BB in 60 IP
Dan Straily (Athletics): 3-2, 4.67 ERA, 44/15 K/BB in 52 IP
Brandon Maurer (Mariners): 2-7, 6.93 ERA, 32/17 K/BB in 49 1/3 IP
Pedro Hernandez (Twins): 2-1, 5.85 ERA, 17/10 K/BB in 32 1/3 IP
Brad Peacock (Astros): 1-3, 8.07 ERA, 23/17 K/BB in 29 IP

Those last three are all back in the minors now.

And while some relievers have enjoyed moderate success (Ryan Pressly, Preston Claiborne, Cody Allen and Alex Torres most notably), none of them are threatening for closing gigs. There doesn’t seem to be an Addison Reed or a Sean Doolittle in the bunch.

A couple of rookies will emerge as the year goes on. Tampa Bay’s Wil Myers should debut soon. Seattle called up Mike Zunino today. Profar and Arcia could force their teams to play them regularly. Baltimore’s Kevin Gausman and Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer could start fulfilling their potential, and maybe Bruce Rondon will yet factor into the closing mix for Detroit. Still, as of June 11, we’re probably looking at either Nick Tepesch or Jose Iglesias as the AL Rookie of the Year and that’s pretty hard to fathom.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.