Author: Aaron Gleeman

Travis d'Arnaud Getty

Travis d’Arnaud has been one of MLB’s best catchers since returning from Triple-A


When the Mets demoted rookie catcher Travis d’Arnaud to the minors in early June he was hitting .180 and had a career batting average of .189 in 66 games.

He went down to Triple-A, destroyed Pacific Coast League pitching for three weeks, and has returned a completely different player. d’Arnaud is hitting .286 with 10 homers, 15 doubles, and an .839 OPS in 57 games since rejoining the Mets in late June.

Even including his horrendous pre-demotion numbers in his season totals d’Arnaud has posted a .728 OPS in 96 games. For some context the average MLB catcher has a .695 OPS this season, so he’s been solidly above average as a 25-year-old despite a terrible start and plenty of people writing him off as a bust.

d’Arnaud ranked among Baseball America’s top-40 prospects in four consecutive seasons and is a career .344 hitter with a 1.045 OPS in 101 games at Triple-A. Sometimes it just takes a little patience.

Danny Duffy diagnosed with rotator cuff inflammation

Danny Duffy

Royals left-hander Danny Duffy exited his Saturday start in obvious discomfort following just one pitch and after undergoing an MRI exam he’s been diagnosed with rotator cuff inflammation.

Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports that Duffy will miss his next scheduled turn in the rotation, at which point the Royals will re-evaluate his status for the remainder of the season.

He’s not out of the woods yet and it could be a very sad end to a tremendous bounceback season for Duffy, who returned from Tommy John elbow surgery to post a 2.42 ERA in 141 innings as a 25-year-old.

Pedro Alvarez’s foot injury “has stopped improving”

Pedro Alvarez

Pedro Alvarez’s throwing problems caused the Pirates to stop playing him at third base and now a foot injury is keeping him from playing, period.

Alvarez has appeared just once, as a pinch-hitter, since injuring his foot on August 26 and general manager Neal Huntington told Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that the injury “has stopped improving.”

Because the Pirates had already given up on Alvarez playing any third base down the stretch and because Ike Davis is arguably a superior option at first base anyway his playing time would have been limited regardless of the foot injury.

Alvarez has big-time power, but he’s hit just .231 with a .717 OPS, which is lower than Davis’ mark this season and includes a vastly inferior on-base percentage.

John Jaso will be limited to pinch-hitting after returning from concussion

John Jaso AP

John Jaso was a big part of the A’s offense at the time of his concussion in August, posting the same OPS that Yoenis Cespedes had in Oakland, but now that he’s almost ready to return it’ll be in a much more limited role.

Joe Stiglich of reports that Jaso “will probably be utilized solely as a pinch-hitter” because the A’s don’t want to jeopardize his health by playing him at catcher and they acquired Adam Dunn from the White Sox to be their primary designated hitter.

Jaso can certainly make an impact in that role–all it takes is one big hit in one big spot–but it’s a shame because he’s batted .270 with a .372 on-base percentage and .796 OPS in 277 games since 2012.

He’s hoping to come off the concussion disabled list later this week.

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Angels pick up GM Jerry Dipoto’s option for 2015

scioscia and dipoto angels

Last year at this time Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto was on the hot seat, but now with the team in first place and headed for a 15-20 game improvement owner Arte Moreno has picked up his 2015 option.

Alden Gonzalez of reports that Dipoto actually got the news in July, but decided to keep things quiet. His contract also includes a team option for 2016, but that has not been picked up yet.

Dipoto took over for Tony Reagins in October of 2011 after previously serving as the Diamondbacks’ interim GM.  His big free agent signings (Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, C.J. Wilson) haven’t really worked out, but having Mike Trout–who was drafted in 2009–around makes up for a lot of that and the Angels have a 251-212 (.542) record under his control.