Baseball America announced its annual minor league player of the year award and the winner is Rays prospect Blake Snell, a 22-year-old left-hander and 2011 first-round draft pick who dominated three different levels this season.
Snell began the season at high Single-A Charlotte, got a quick promotion to Double-A Montgomery, and then finished the year at Triple-A Durham. Combined at all three stops he went 15-4 with a 1.41 ERA and 163 strikeouts in 134 innings.
Snell is the fourth Rays prospect to win the BA award, following Rocco Baldelli, Delmon Young, and Jeremy Hellickson. Last year’s winner was Cubs prospect Kris Bryant, who’s the favorite to be this year’s NL Rookie of the Year.
Veteran first baseman Carlos Pena is calling it a career at age 37 and Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he will sign a one-day contract with the Rays in order to officially retire as a member of the organization.
Pena had two different stints with the Rays totaling five seasons, during which time he made his lone All-Star team, led the league in home runs once, and posted an .843 OPS in 726 total games.
The practice of signing a one-day contract in order to retire as a member of your old team is typically reserved for upper-echelon stars, but Pena was a good, solid player and certainly ranks among the best hitters in the Rays’ abbreviated team history.
Pena struck out a ton and hit just .232 for his 14-year career, but he still had big all-around value thanks to 30-homer power, 100-walk patience, and outstanding defense at first base.
Jesse Chavez‘s season-ending rib injury convinced the A’s they needed some extra pitching help down the stretch and they’ve called up 37-year-old left-hander Barry Zito for his first big-league action since 2013.
Zito came out of retirement in an attempt to make the A’s out of spring training, but failed to grab a spot on the pitching staff and spent all season in the rotation at Triple-A Nashville.
He wasn’t particularly good at Triple-A, posting a 3.46 ERA and 91/60 K/BB ratio in 138 innings, and when rosters expanded for September the A’s said they had no plans to call up the 37-year-old former Cy Young winner.
Chavez’s injury opens up a spot for Zito and with the A’s in last place this at least gives fans a little something to be interested in. Zito spent the first seven seasons of his career in Oakland, making three All-Star teams and winning one Cy Young award while going 102-63 with a 3.55 ERA in 222 starts. He left as a free agent following the 2006 season, signing a massive, ill-fated long-term deal with the Giants.