Phillies prospect and No. 7 pick in last year’s draft Aaron Nola is headed to the big leagues and will make his MLB debut Tuesday against the Rays in Philadelphia.
Nola was billed as being close to MLB-ready coming out of LSU and has pitched well in the minors, but it’s interesting timing considering he had a clunker of a start last time out at Triple-A. He failed to make it out of the fourth inning, allowing six runs.
Prior to that ugly outing Nola had a 2.03 ERA and 89/16 K/BB ratio in 106 innings between Double-A and Triple-A this year. Nola projects as a potential mid-rotation starter with excellent command. He’s the fourth 2014 first-round pick to reach the majors after Brandon Finnegan (17th pick, Royals), Carlos Rodon (3rd pick, White Sox), and Kyle Schwarber (4th pick, Cubs).
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.
Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.
As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.
Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.
The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”