As soon as the Brewers designated George Kottaras for assignment last week the clock was ticking on a trade and sure enough it’s now official: Milwaukee has sent the veteran catcher to Oakland for reliever Fautino De Los Santos.
Kottaras makes up for a low batting average with good power and excellent plate discipline, so it’s not surprising that the A’s viewed him as a solid pickup. And given how poorly starting catcher Kurt Suzuki has played this season–and really, dating back to 2010–Kottaras has a chance to work his way into more than a typical backup role.
Milwaukee essentially chose Martin Maldonado over Kottaras as Jonathan Lucroy’s backup and getting De Los Santos in return is solid value. Injuries have sidetracked his career, but the 26-year-old former top prospect has 46 strikeouts in 36 innings as a big leaguer and has the potential to be a late-inning bullpen option.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.