Randy Galloway of the Star-Telegram declaring Jurickson Profar not ready for prime time:
A year ago, Profar was ranked the No. 1 prospect in baseball. Number One. So said such national media outlets as Baseball America and ESPN … As late June approaches, and as the 20-year-old Profar surpassed the 100 mark this week in plate appearances for the season, and as he plays now as a lineup regular, the early verdict is what?
Galloway tries to lay this at the feet of unnamed scouts who believe this, but he’s writing it because he too believes it. Which is nuts, of course, considering that Profar has a grand total of 121 major league plate appearances, 104 of which have come this year. Kinda makes me wonder what kind of scouts he’s talking to.
He also tries to play this as “hey, maybe it’s not fair, but in the world of Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado prospects are held to a different standard these days.” What he doesn’t mention: in his 135 plate appearances Trout hit .220/.281/.390. In his first 202 plate appearances Machado hit .262/.294/.445. At the moment Profar has a line of .272/.327/.380. Not too terribly different than those guys.
Which isn’t to say Profar will be as good as those guys have become. Hardly anyone would, and if they’re your standard your standard is pretty damn high. But the fact that Profar is holding his own in the majors at about the same point into his career as they were says some pretty good things about him.
But hey, if you want to play the “overrated” game when a kid’s career has hardly begun, by all means go ahead and do it.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.