I mentioned this in the recaps, but this is worth its own post: Giancarlo Stanton’s homer off Jamie Moyer last night was something to behold. For a couple of reasons.
First, it was a freaking shotgun blast. It left the bat at 122.4 miles per hour according to ESPN’s home run stats thingy. That’s the fastest since they began keeping track six years ago.
Second, it knocked out some lights on the scoreboard, as you can see in the pic to the right. Yes, it’s an LED thing and not old school light bulbs so it’s not exactly the same thing — it’ll probably be fixed with a simple reboot or something — but it’s still pretty impressive.
The official distance was 438 feet, but that’s just because it was stopped by an immovable object. One wonders what kind of distance the ball — which was still rising according to those who watched it — would have made had it been hit in a park with an open left field.
The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.
Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.
Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.