Chris Nelson powers Angels to victory with eighth-inning grand slam

10 Comments

Chris Nelson hit two home runs and drove in five, proving to be the difference as the Angels defeated the Yankees this afternoon. Nelson took Yankees starter Phil Hughes deep for a solo shot to right-center in the fourth inning, boosting the Angel lead to 3-1. In the eighth against lefty reliever Boone Logan with his team leading 4-1, Nelson put the proverbial nail in the coffin, hitting a grand slam to left field. The Yankees rallied in the bottom of the ninth, scoring three runs, but the added insurance provided by Nelson’s grand slam was the margin of victory as the Angels won 8-4.

The home runs were Nelson’s first and second of the season as he has had a rather bumpy road. Nelson initially started the season as the third baseman for the Rockies, but was quickly displaced by Nolan Arenado. The Rockies traded him to the Yankees on May 1 for a player to be named later. Nelson posted a paltry .521 OPS in ten games with the Yankees, so they put him on waivers. He was selected by the Angels on May 18. Prior to this afternoon, Nelson had compiled a .630 OPS with the Halos after spending time between June 17 and July 30 with Triple-A Salt Lake.

Yankees sign top two draft picks

Getty Images
1 Comment

The Yankees signed first-round draft pick Clarke Schmidt and second-round pick Matt Sauer on Saturday, per a team announcement. Schmidt, a right-hander from the University of South Carolina, is set to earn a signing bonus of $2,184,300. According to MLB.com’s Oliver Macklin, that’s much lower than the typical $3+ million allocated for a No. 16 overall pick. The opposite is true for Sauer, whose projected $2.5 million signing bonus tops the suggested $1.2 million reserved for a No. 54 pick.

Schmidt, 21, boasts an impressive four-pitch repertoire and profiles as a front-end or mid-rotation starter, according to reports from Yankees’ VP of Domestic Amateur Scouting Damon Oppenheimer and ESPN’s Keith Law, among others. He carried a 4-2 record through nine starts in 2017 and turned in a 1.34 ERA before undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery last month to repair a torn UCL in his right elbow. While the Yankees won’t see him pitch at any level until late 2018, they seem confident in his makeup and ability to rebound over the next couple of years.

Fellow right-hander and Righetti High School senior Matt Sauer is a different story altogether. The 18-year-old hurler appears destined for the bullpen with a polished fastball-slider combo and a promising curveball and changeup. He dazzled on the mound this year, going 9-1 with an 0.98 ERA and two shutouts over 78 1/3 innings. While the Yankees seem most interested in his pitching skills, Sauer showed some pop at the plate as well, touting a .427 average with 24 RBI through 135 plate appearances.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

Getty Images
3 Comments

The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.