One of the reasons you don’t get so hung up on how homer-friendly a ballpark is in its debut year: it might not be so friendly in its next year. That appears to be the case with new Yankee Stadium in the early going. Last year there were 21 homers hit in the first five games at the new yard. This year: 11 in the first five games.
The weather? Maybe. It’s been under 60 degrees at game time for three of those first five games this year and was only 62 for a fourth, so maybe it’s just a matter of the ball not carrying like it will later. But it may also be a function of pitchers adjusting to the shorter-than-expected porch in right and pitching accordingly.
Just another reason not to make any pronouncements about a park until it’s been played in for a good while.
The Braves released veteran infielder/outfielder Jose Bautista on Sunday, per a team announcement. Right-hander Lucas Sims was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett in a corresponding move.
Bautista, 37, was recruited by the Braves in mid-April as a potential third base option. He inked a minor league deal with the club and lasted just 12 games in the majors, during which he batted a meager .143/.250/.343 with three extra-base hits and a .593 OPS across 40 plate appearances. While he isn’t too far removed from his last productive season in the big leagues — he collected 40 home runs, a .250 average and 5.3 fWAR with the Blue Jays in 2015 — his power has been noticeably declining over the last three years, and it’s clear the Braves don’t have enough time or opportunity to wait for him to get his groove back.
Without Bautista, Johan Camargo is expected to handle the hot corner on a daily basis. The 24-year-old infielder is working through his sophomore season at the major league level and entered Sunday’s game batting .226/.368/.403 with six extra bases and a .772 OPS in 76 PA. General manager Alex Anthopoulos acknowledged that top infield prospect Austin Riley could also get a shot at playing third base sometime in 2018, though the club has no current plans to promote him from Triple-A at the moment.