Henderson Alvarez avoids DL, Jamie Moyer to make two Triple-A starts

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And now your hourly Blue Jays injury update:

The team announced this afternoon that tests revealed only mild inflammation in the elbow of Henderson Alvarez, and that he is scheduled to make his next start this weekend.

It was also revealed that the Jays’ deal with Jamie Moyer calls for him to make two starts at Triple-A Las Vegas before his status is reevaluated. He’ll likely be promoted to the majors or released afterwards.

It’s disturbing that the Jays haven’t chosen to be more careful with Alvarez. He’s just 22, and in the wake of all of their arm injuries, the last thing they need is to see him join Kyle Drabek and maybe Drew Hutchinson in being lost for the season.

As for Moyer in Triple-A, well, what could their possibly be to see? Everyone already knows exactly what he brings to the table, and he just made three Triple-A starts for the Orioles in which he amassed a 1.69 ERA and a 16/0 K/BB ratio in 16 innings. Whether he gave up two runs or 20 runs in his Triple-A starts isn’t going to change a thing about him.

MLB’s juiced baseball is juicing Triple-A home run totals too

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There has been considerable evidence amassed over the past year or two that the baseball used by Major League Baseball has a lower aerodynamic profile, leading to less drag, which leads directly to more home runs. If you doubted that at all, get a load of what is happening in Triple-A right now.

The minors have always had different balls than the majors. The MLB ball is made in Costa Rica at a Rawlings facility. The minor league balls are made in China. They use slightly different materials and, by all accounts, the minor league balls do not have the same sort of action and do not travel as far as the big league balls. Before the season, as Baseball America reported, Major League Baseball requested that Triple-A baseball switch to using MLB balls. The reason: uniformity and, one presumes, more accurate analysis of performance at the top level of the minor leagues.

The result, as Baseball America reports today, is a massive uptick in homers in the early going to the Triple-A season:

Last April, Triple-A hitters homered once every 47 plate appearances. As the weather warmed up, so did the home run rate. Over the course of the entire 2018 season, Triple-A hitters homered every 43 plate appearances. So far this year, they are homering every 32 plate appearances. Triple-A hitters are hitting home runs at a rate of 135 percent of last year’s rate.

Again, that’s in the coldest, least-homer friendly month of the season. It’s gonna just get worse. Or better, I guess, if you’re all about the long ball.

Which you had better be, because if they did something to deaden the balls and reduce homers, we’d have the same historically-high strikeout and walk rates but with no homers to provide offense to compensate. At least unless or until hitters changed their approach to become slap hitters or something, but that could take a good while. And may still not be effective given the advances in defense since the last time slap hitting was an important part of the game.

In the meantime, enjoy the dingers, Triple-A fans.