Pirates call up minor league home run leader Andrew Lambo

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Pirates prospect Andrew Lambo leads the minor leagues in homers with 31, going deep 14 times in 58 games at Double-A and 17 times in 59 games at Triple-A. And now the 24-year-old outfielder is headed to the majors for the first time.

Pittsburgh has called up Lambo, who hit .284 with a .926 OPS in 117 total games this season. He was originally acquired from the Dodgers in the mid-2010 trade for Octavio Dotel and missed most of last season with a shoulder injury.

Obviously the power potential gives Lambo a chance to make a significant impact down the stretch, but he also struck out 123 times in 491 plate appearances and had relatively modest career numbers before this year’s breakout. He has experience in both corner outfield spots as well as first base, so Pirates manager Clint Hurdle could mix and match his lineup choices.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.

Angels demote C.J. Cron to Triple-A

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Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.

Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).

While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.