Yesterday the Red Sox acquired reliever Pedro Beato from the Mets to complete the Kelly Shoppach trade and to make room for Beato on the Triple-A roster today they released Mark Prior.
Prior had impressively racked up 38 strikeouts in 25 innings as a reliever for Pawtucket, holding opponents to a .172 batting average. So why would the Red Sox release him from Triple-A? Because he couldn’t throw the ball over the plate, walking 23 batters in those 25 frames.
That includes a 15/13 K/BB ratio in 15 innings over his last 10 appearances, during which time Prior coughed up seven runs.
Obviously with nearly 14 strikeouts per nine innings and a sub-.200 batting average against there’s still some juice left in Prior’s oft-injured arm and he’s still only 31 years old, but he hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2006 and clearly wasn’t going to get an opportunity with the Red Sox.
Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.
Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.
Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.