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Tigers select top prospect Christin Stewart

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The Tigers have selected the contract of top outfield prospect Christin Stewart, per a team announcement on Sunday. Stewart likely won’t make his first start until Monday at the earliest, but he’s available off the bench for Sunday’s game and may get his first taste of major league action as the Tigers try to complete a sweep against the Cardinals this afternoon.

Stewart, 24, was taken 34th overall during the 2015 amateur draft and is currently ranked no. 6 in the Tigers’ system by MLB Pipeline. The club’s highest-rated position player prospect, Stewart was promoted to Triple-A Toledo at the start of the 2018 season and batted .264/.364/.480 with 23 home runs and an .844 OPS through 522 plate appearances for the team.

Given that the young outfielder grades poorly on defense, it’s not immediately clear how the Tigers plan to utilize him in the long run. Still, his undeniable power and improved control at the plate (2018 saw 108 strikeouts from Stewart, a significant improvement over the career-high 138 whiffs he accumulated at Double-A Erie in 2017) should make him a viable substitution in late innings, at least for the time being.

A.J. Hinch responds to Ken Giles’ negative comments about Astros

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On Sunday, Blue Jays closer Ken Giles spoke to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star. Giles said, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston.” Giles won a World Series with the Astros last year, but talked about communication issues with the Astros and compared them unfavorably to the Blue Jays. Giles described the communication as having been “lost” and credited the Jays for staying patient with him.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch responded to Giles’ comments on Monday. Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Hinch said:

I think he’s wrong and I’m disappointed that he would go down that path given how much work and time and energy and communication that our front office, our coaching staff, me, we all went through this with him. And I understand, there was some disappointment in his tenure as an Astro because of the turbulent way things went about. We gave him every opportunity, we communicated with him effectively, we have an incredible culture where every single player will tell you it’s one of the best cultures they’ve had, one of the best communication envrionments they’ve had. They all know their roles. They all know their situations. To have one person out of all the guys in our clubhouse come out and claim otherwise is flat wrong.

While Giles certainly could be embellishing or deliberately misconstruing his time there, Hinch’s rebuttal doesn’t actually disqualify anything Giles said. Giles certainly could have had a negative experience in Houston even if everyone else was enjoying the “incredible culture” and “one of the best communication environments.”

Given how the Astros — including Hinch — responded to criticism about their acquiring an accused domestic abuser, they’re not in the best position to boast about an “incredible culture” anyway.

At any rate, this is a he-said, he-said situation. If anything more comes of it, it will be Giles further torching a bridge.