Twins pitching prospect Jose Berrios had an uninspiring debut last season, posting an 8.02 ERA with an equally ugly 49/35 K/BB ratio in 58 1/3 innings across 14 starts last season. But the 22-year-old has been utterly dominant at Triple-A Rochester so far this season, compiling a minuscule 1.13 ERA with a markedly better 39/8 K/BB ratio in 39 2/3 innings spanning six starts.
As Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press reports, however, the Twins are in no rush to promote Berrios to the majors. Chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said, “I think Jose’s done a really nice job. Clearly he’s performed. We feel he’s taking steps in the right direction.”
Berardino notes that if the Twins wait until June 27 to promote Berrios, the team will be able to control him for another year. That means he won’t become eligible for free agency until after the 2023 season assuming he stays in the majors for good after his next promotion.
The Twins, of course, are not breaking any new ground by manipulating a player’s service time. Hopefully, though, the practice comes to an end the next time the owners and players’ union negotiate the next collective bargaining agreement. As it stands now, teams are incentivized to keep their best players in the minors, which is bad for all involved, except the journeyman pitchers like Nick Tepesch who wind up getting extra starts. The fans are deprived of seeing one of their favorite players, the player himself has his earning potential artificially depressed, and the team isn’t able to put its best 25-man roster together.
The Seattle Mariners and the St. Louis Cardinals have made a minor trade. Seattle has acquired lefty Marco Gonzales from the Cardinals in exchange for outfielder Tyler O’Neill.
Gonzales, the Cardinals’ first round pick out of Gonzaga back in 2013, is in his first season back from Tommy John surgery. It’s been a good season, in which he has posted a 2.78 ERA and 64/17 K/BB ratio over 74.1 innings across two minor league levels. He’s pitched one game for St. Louis this year and got shelled, but we’ll leave that go.
O’Neill is a third rounder from 2013. He has hit .269/.344/.505 in five minor league seasons. He’s holding his own in Triple-A this year, smacking 19 homers in 93 games.
I’ve been out of the baseball card game for a good long time, but despite this — maybe because of this — I enjoy the posts from SABR’s Baseball Card Committee. A lot of that is old time stuff that old men like me enjoy — check out the airbrushing on the “Traded” cards! — but they talk about new cards too. Definitely worth your time if cards are now or have ever been your bag.
Today there’s an interesting post, pointing out something most of us wouldn’t have otherwise noted: Topps has dropped Chief Wahoo from Indians card designs. They’re doing it for the old Braves “screaming Indian” logo as well, though the Braves no longer use that themselves.
They’re not airbrushing these logos out of photos of players — that would be Orwellian even for my extreme Wahoo-hating tastes — but in card designs which have team logos, Topps is using the block-C logo, not Wahoo, and the Braves “A” logo in place of the old logo. This includes throwback issues like the Heritage sets which put modern players on card designs from the 1950s-1960s and on simple retro designs like their 1987 variations. Any cards which once featured Wahoo on the border or on the back now features the block-C.
As you may or may not know, Topps is now the official card producer for Major League Baseball. As such, I take their doing this as a sign that MLB is continuing the slow process of de-Chiefing in whatever areas it has ultimate say.
Now if only the Indians themselves would get on board.