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Brewers acquire Jonathan Schoop from Orioles

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Brewers acquired infielder Jonathan Schoop from the Orioles ahead of the 4 PM ET non-waiver trade deadline. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Orioles will receive infielder Jonathan Villar and minor leaguers Luis Ortiz and Jean Carmona.

Schoop, 26, is owed the remainder of his $8.5 million salary for this season and is arbitration eligible for one more year. He hit .244/.273/.447 with 17 home runs and 40 RBI in 367 plate appearances for the Orioles this season.

The second-place Brewers are only a game behind the Cubs in the NL Central and are clearly trying to stay on even footing with their division rival. The Brewers already added Mike Moustakas and Joakim Soria.

Second base has been an issue for the Brewers this season. In fact, Travis Shaw has drawn two starts at second base in the club’s last three games. The Brewers could also try Schoop at shortstop to displace Orlando Arcia, who has a pitiful .488 OPS in 233 plate appearances this season.

The Orioles, meanwhile, capped off their fire sale with the Schoop trade. They previously traded Manny Machado, Kevin Gausman, Darren O'Day, Zach Britton, and Brad Brach.

Ortiz, 22, is ranked No. 7 in the Brewers’ system by MLB Pipeline. In 68 innings with Double-A Biloxi this year, Ortiz posted a 3.71 ERA with 65 strikeouts and 18 walks.

Carmona, 18, is ranked No. 14 in the Brewers’ system. With Helena in the rookie league, the infielder hit .239/.298/.406 in 172 plate appearances.

MLB’s juiced baseball is juicing Triple-A home run totals too

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There has been considerable evidence amassed over the past year or two that the baseball used by Major League Baseball has a lower aerodynamic profile, leading to less drag, which leads directly to more home runs. If you doubted that at all, get a load of what is happening in Triple-A right now.

The minors have always had different balls than the majors. The MLB ball is made in Costa Rica at a Rawlings facility. The minor league balls are made in China. They use slightly different materials and, by all accounts, the minor league balls do not have the same sort of action and do not travel as far as the big league balls. Before the season, as Baseball America reported, Major League Baseball requested that Triple-A baseball switch to using MLB balls. The reason: uniformity and, one presumes, more accurate analysis of performance at the top level of the minor leagues.

The result, as Baseball America reports today, is a massive uptick in homers in the early going to the Triple-A season:

Last April, Triple-A hitters homered once every 47 plate appearances. As the weather warmed up, so did the home run rate. Over the course of the entire 2018 season, Triple-A hitters homered every 43 plate appearances. So far this year, they are homering every 32 plate appearances. Triple-A hitters are hitting home runs at a rate of 135 percent of last year’s rate.

Again, that’s in the coldest, least-homer friendly month of the season. It’s gonna just get worse. Or better, I guess, if you’re all about the long ball.

Which you had better be, because if they did something to deaden the balls and reduce homers, we’d have the same historically-high strikeout and walk rates but with no homers to provide offense to compensate. At least unless or until hitters changed their approach to become slap hitters or something, but that could take a good while. And may still not be effective given the advances in defense since the last time slap hitting was an important part of the game.

In the meantime, enjoy the dingers, Triple-A fans.