Justin Upton traded to the Padres for three prospects

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The Padres are close to trading for Braves outfielder Justin Upton. Jeff Passan and Ken Rosenthal led the way on these reports this morning, which have now been confirmed by multiple reporters.

At the moment it appears as though the Padres will get Upton for a package of prospects. Jim Bowden says the Braves will receive pitching prospect Max Fried and infielder Jace Peterson. Jeff Passan says Mallex Smith will be included as well. It is unclear if anyone else will be involved. Such a package does seem much lighter than what the Braves had been reportedly requesting for Upton, however.

Fried underwent Tommy John surgery in August but was one of the game’s top pitching prospects before blowing out his elbow. If he recovers he could be a top prospect once again. Peterson, the Padres’ first round pick in 2011, was overmatched in a small handful of at bats with the Padres last season. He has been a pretty effective hitter in the minors, however. Smith is a speedster — he had 88 steals across two levels last year — and a nifty line of .310/.403/.432. He has a .383 OBP in 1217 minor league plate appearances. He’ll turn 22 in May.

For the Padres part, they’ll get Justin Upton for one year before he hits free agency. They’ll also, presumably, get a first round draft pick for him in the event they make a qualifying offer to him next fall and he leaves via free agency.

If and when this trade is completed, it will just be the latest of a zillion Padres moves in the past several days. They’ve added Wil Myers in an 11-player trade. They’ve added Matt Kemp. They’ve acquired Derek Norris. They’re re-signing Josh Johnson. They signed Brandon Morrow.

Now Upton. It’s a total makeover for San Diego under new general manager A.J. Preller. Particularly in the outfield, where they’ll have added three bats in Upton, Kemp and Myers with the potential (potential in Myers case anyway) to be game-changers for the team’s perpetually-suffering offense. Of course, it’s possible Myers could play some first base too, allowing Kemp to move to a corner (where he belongs, frankly) to better manage the vast dimensions of Petco Park. In that case Cameron Maybin could cover center and, in turn, be expected to provide way less offense than they asked him to give in the past.

Astros fan logs trash can bangs from 2017

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A fascinating and no doubt time consuming research project was released this morning. An Astros fan by the name of Tony Adams went through every Astros home game in the 2017 season and logged trash can bangs. Which, as you know, was the mechanism via which Astros players in the clubhouse signaled to hitters which pitch was coming.

Adams listened to every pitch from the Astros’ 2017 home games and made a note of any banging noise he could detect. There were 20 home games for which he did not have access to video. There were three “home” games which took place at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida due to the team being displaced by hurricane Harvey and for which, obviously, the Astros’ camera setup from Minute Maid Park would not have been applicable.

Adams logged over 8,200 pitches and found banging before over 1,100 of those pitches. He graphed which players got the most bangs during their at batsMarwin Gonzalez got the most, with bangs coming before 147 of 776 pitches seen, followed by George Springer, who got bangs on 139 of 933. José Altuve had the least among regulars, with only 24 bangs in 866 pitches. One gets the sense that, perhaps, he felt that the banging would interfere with his normal pitch recognition process or something. Either way it’s worth noting that a lack of banging was also signal. Specifically, for a fastball. As such, Astros hitters were helped on a much higher percentage of pitches than what is depicted in the graphs themselves.

Adams reminds us that Commissioner Manfred’s report stated that the Astros also used hand-clapping, whistling, and yelling early in the season before settling on trash can banging. Those things were impossible to detect simply by watching video. As it is, Adams’ graphs of bangs-per-game shows that the can-banging plan dramatically ramped-up on May 28.

It’s hard to say anything definitive about the scope and effectiveness of the Astros’ sign-stealing scheme based on this study alone. Adams may or may not have been hearing everything and, as he notes, there may have been a lot more pitches relayed thought means other than trash can banging than we know. Alternatively it’s possible that Adams was marking some sounds as bangs that were not, in fact, Astros players sending signals to the batter. It’s probably an inexact science.

Still, this is an impressive undertaking that no doubt took a ton of time. And it at least begins to provide a glimpse into the Astros’ sign-stealing operation.