Yunel Escobar had a homer, three doubles and five RBI Wednesday in the Blue Jays’ 8-5 defeat of the Yankees.
The final double, which scored two runs in the ninth, came on a ball that Andruw Jones should have caught. He had it in his glove as he attempted the sliding catch, but he lost it in contact with the ground.
It was Escobar’s third career five-RBI game. The previous two came in 2010, one for the Braves and the other after he was traded to Toronto. His 10 total bases topped his previous high by two.
Escobar became the sixth player this year to deliver four extra-base hits in a game. Josh Hamilton actually had five in his four-homer game back in May. Ryan Braun, Carlos Beltran, Joey Votto and Alfonso Soriano all had games with four apiece.
Escobar’s big day sent CC Sabathia to his first loss in 10 starts and fourth of the season. Sabathia allowed five runs — two earned — in seven innings of work.
The Atlanta Braves selected high school pitcher Carter Stewart with the number eight overall pick in the 2018 draft. Then, after the draft, they gave Stewart a below-slot signing bonus offer, claiming that they found problems with his wrist in his post-draft physical. Stewart ended up rejecting the offer and the MLBPA filed a grievance against the Braves on Stewart’s behalf.
The grievance sought to make Stewart a free agent it was considered a long shot at the time of its filing and, in fact, the grievance was rejected. Stewart, unable to attain free agency, enrolled at Eastern Florida State College, a two-year school that would’ve made him eligible for the 2019 draft.
Now, Ken Rosenthal reports, Stewart has pulled a crazy Ivan and is heading to Japan, having signed with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League. The terms of the deal aren’t known, but Rosenthal says Stewart was looking for a $7 million guarantee.
It’s a fascinating turn of events for Stewart who, this time last year, was considered perhaps the best amateur pitcher in baseball. Being lowballed and having his health questioned by the Braves may have been a wakeup call to Stewart, however, about his chances of finding a quick path the bigs in the U.S. If the shine did come off of his prospect status in the past year here, there’s every reason to believe that $7 million and a path to the bigs in Japan is a much better deal than several million less and a path to the bigs in America.
He’ll be worth watching over the next few years, that’s for sure. Both for his own sake and to see if, in this era of Major League Baseball’s capping of amateur bonuses and teams’ habit of manipulating service time, going overseas becomes more attractive to American high schoolers and college players.