Figuring they’ve had so much luck with Eric Hosmer, the Royals have decided to try another top prospect, calling up Mike Moustakas after Thursday’s game.
There are a couple of differences here, though. With a .287/.347/.498 line, 10 homers and 44 RBI, Moustakas wasn’t tearing up PCL competition quite like Hosmer did before his promotion. Plus, Moustakas isn’t likely to be an asset defensively and may move to the outfield at some point.
That’s not to say that Moustakas isn’t an excellent prospect. He hit .322/.369/.630 with 36 homers and 124 RBI between Double- and Triple-A last year, and he’s just 22 years old now. He doesn’t quite have Hosmer’s ceiling, but few do.
The Royals wouldn’t call up Moustakas for a bit role, so expect him to supplant Wilson Betemit as the team’s everyday third baseman. What that means for Betemit in the short-term is hard to say. He’s slumped of late, but he’s still been one of the Royals’ better players this year with his .289/.348/.411 line and 23 RBI. Also, turning him into a bench player would wreck his trade value.
A trade does seem assured. Hopefully, it comes soon. There are plenty of NL teams in need of help at third base, and Betemit has earned his opportunity to play regularly.
Giants reliever Hunter Strickland has been activated from the 60-day disabled list, the club announced Saturday. In a corresponding move, third baseman Pablo Sandoval was shifted to the 60-day disabled list, where he’ll remain for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his right hamstring. Right-handed reliever Dereck Rodriguez has also been placed on the 10-day disabled list after suffering a hamstring strain during Tuesday’s brawl against the Dodgers.
Strickland, 29, had been shelved with a fractured right hand since mid-June. The right-hander sustained the injury after punching a door and underwent surgery to repair the fifth metacarpal in his pitching hand. He only missed the minimum after making a speedy recovery, however, and finished his recent rehab stint with 5 2/3 innings of two-run, 10-strikeout ball for the Giants’ rookie, High-A and Triple-A affiliates.
Prior to the incident, Strickland logged 13 saves in 28 opportunities with a 2.84 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 in 34 appearances. According to comments from club skipper Bruce Bochy, the Giants don’t plan on wasting any time before deploying their former closer, but will make him available in high-leverage situations as soon as possible. It’s worth noting, too, that the team still has a viable closer in lefty reliever Will Smith, who picked up 10 saves and engineered a 3.10 ERA, 1.8 BB/9 and 12.8 SO/9 in 20 1/3 innings since Strickland landed on the DL this summer.