General manager Sandy Alderson just announced that 23-year-old pitching prospect Rafael Montero is on his way to New York to join the Mets’ rotation for the Subway Series against the Yankees.
He’s scheduled to start Wednesday versus Masahiro Tanaka at Citi Field after posting a 3.67 ERA and 41/18 K/BB ratio in 42 innings at Triple-A. While not considered quite an elite prospect because he lacks overpowering raw stuff, Montero was excellent between Double-A and Triple-A last season with a 2.78 ERA and 150/35 K/BB ratio in 155 innings at age 22 and projects as a potential mid-rotation starter long term.
And in a corresponding move the Mets have decided to shift Jenrry Mejia from the rotation to the bullpen after giving the 24-year-old right-hander a grand total of 18 starts spread over parts of four different seasons to “prove” himself as a starter.
Mejia has a 4.75 ERA in those starts, compared to a 3.23 ERA in 32 career relief appearances, so perhaps he’s better off in the bullpen, but it would have been nice to see him get a little more of an extended opportunity before the shift to a 70-inning role was made at such a young age.
Josh Hamilton is not and never was a key part of the 2017 Texas Rangers plans. He was in camp and under contract and had at least a chance to make the team, but the Rangers fate as a ballclub did not depend on him. It would merely be nice for them if he revealed that he had a bit left in the tank and if he could, like a lot of other superstars in baseball history, give them one last season of decent production in part time play as a matter of depth and flexibility.
As such, this development is more unfortunate for Josh Hamilton and those who root for him than it is for the Rangers as a club, but it is unfortunate all the same:
That’s the fourth surgery he’s had on that knee in less than two years and the 11th knee surgery he’s had overall in his baseball career. It’s sad to say but safe to say that Hamilton’s days in baseball are numbered if not over completely. At some point an athlete’s body can only take so much.
Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.
I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.
I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.
As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.
There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.