Previewing Saturday’s Fall Stars Game in the Arizona Fall League

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Feeling lost without live baseball in your life? Worry not, as some of the game’s top prospects will be on display in tonight’s Fall Stars Game in the Arizona Fall League. The game will begin at 8 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on MLB Network and MLB.com.

Formerly known as the “Rising Stars” game, this is the eighth annual edition of the exhibition contest, which essentially functions as the fall edition of the “Futures Game” like we see during MLB’s All-Star Game festivities. As Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com notes, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Ryan Braun, Craig Kimbrel, and Buster Posey have participated in the game and gone on to win Rookie of the Year Awards. Counting the past four editions of the game, 93 players have reached the majors the very next season, so consider this an early sneak preview for 2014.

This year’s class is highlighted by Byron Buxton of the Twins and Kris Bryant of the Cubs. Buxton, 19, is coming off a monster season in which he batted .334/.424/.520 with 12 home runs, 77 RBI, and 55 stolen bases in 125 games between Class A Cedar Rapids and High-A Fort Myers. Bryant was Chicago’s first-round pick this past June and after mashing nine homers in his first 32 pro games, he leads the Arizona Fall League with six homers and 17 RBI.

Toronto’s Aaron Sanchez will make the start for the East team while Minnesota’s Alex Meyer will get the ball for the West, though they are unlikely to throw more than a couple of innings. Below are the lineups for tonight’s contest:

Fall Stars East: LF – James Ramsey (Cardinals), CF – Brian Goodwin (Nationals), 3B – Kris Bryant (Cubs), 1B – C.J. Cron (Angels), 2B – Taylor Lindsey (Angels), DH – Stephen Piscotty (Cardinals), RF – Jorge Soler (Cubs), C- Peter O’Brien (NYY), SS – Addison Russell (Athletics)

Fall Stars West: LF – Delino DeShields, Jr. (Astros), DH – Tyler Naquin (Indians), CF – Byron Buxton (Twins), 3B – Colin Moran (Marlins), RF – Jorge Bonifacio (Royals), SS – Corey Seager (Dodgers), C – Austin Hedges (Padres), 1B – Brett Nicholas (Rangers), 2B – Mookie Betts (Red Sox)

Cardinals place Dexter Fowler on the disabled list

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The Cardinals announced on Tuesday that outfielder Dexter Fowler has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left forearm. Outfielder Harrison Bader was recalled from Triple-A Memphis to take Fowler’s spot on the roster.

It’s not clear when Fowler suffered the injury, but he went 0-for-12 since a three-hit performance last Friday. He’s hitting .241/.333/.452 with 14 home runs and 37 RBI in 333 plate appearances this season.

Bader, 23, is the Cardinals’ No. 6 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. This season, with Memphis, Bader hit .297/.354/.517 with 19 home runs and 48 RBI in 381 PA.

Dodgers, Cubs could be interested in Justin Verlander

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.

The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.

Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.

We wait see.