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Roster Roundup: July 30-August 5

Below you’ll find a roundup of notable moves from the past few days, as well as future expected moves and a Minor League Report, which includes a list of recent major league debuts, and top prospect promotions. For this column, any lineup regulars, starting pitchers, or late-inning relievers are considered “notable,” meaning that middle relievers, long relievers, and bench players are excluded. You can always find a full list of updated transactions here.

Lineup Regulars

Chicago Cubs
8/4/19: C Willson Contreras (strained hamstring) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to August 3.

Contreras will likely be out until early September. Victor Caratini, who has an .803 OPS in 140 plate appearances, will be the starting catcher with Taylor Davis serving as his backup. Nick Hundley and Jonathan Lucroy are free agents who the Cubs could consider signing.

Roster Resource

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Sunday Notes: Zack Britton Bought an Edgertronic

Zack Britton bought himself an Edgertronic earlier this month. He’s pondering purchasing a Rapsodo, as well. The Yankees southpaw boasts a 2.57 ERA — and MLB’s highest ground-ball rate, to boot — but that doesn’t mean he’s satisfied. Once the offseason rolls around, Britton plans to fine-tune his arsenal even more.

If you’re a hitter chagrined by this news, blame his nerdiest teammate.

“I bought all the [Edgertronic] equipment, and wired it up in my house,” Britton told me yesterday. “Talking with Adam Ottavino about what he’s been doing the last two off-seasons is what really piqued my interest. It’s a way to keep up with how we’re being evaluated now, and it allows us to make adjustments faster.”

While a primary driver, Ottavino’s influence wasn’t the sole selling point. Britton hasn’t had a chance to put his new purchase to use, but the 31-year-old former Oriole has thrown in front of an Edgertronic before.

“The Yankees have high-speed cameras at the Stadium,” explained Britton. “I’ve noticed differences with both my breaking ball and my sinker. I can see where my hand position is when I throw a good pitch. Rather than just feeling my way through an adjustment, I can get instant feedback on the adjustments I need to make.”

Britton had the winter months in mind when he went shopping. While details still need to be worked out, the plan is to link his Edgertronic — and perhaps a Rapsodo — with ones used by the Yankees.

“We can communicate back and forth during the offseason,” said Britton. “[Pitching coach] Larry Rothschild can see the numbers and know the things I’m doing. And if there’s anything they want to see, I can try it and then send them the data. We have the technology to where we can do that.” Read the rest of this entry »


Jose Leclerc, Evan Marshall, and Tony Watson Discuss Their Atypical Changeups

Pitchers learn and develop different pitches, and they do so at varying stages of their lives. It might be a curveball in high school, a cutter in college, or a changeup in A-ball. Sometimes the addition or refinement is a natural progression — graduating from Pitching 101 to advanced course work — and often it’s a matter of necessity. In order to get hitters out as the quality of competition improves, a pitcher needs to optimize his repertoire.

In this installment of the series, we’ll hear from three pitchers — Jose Leclerc, Evan Marshall, and Tony Watson — on how they learned and developed their changeups.

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Jose Leclerc, Texas Rangers

“I was around 10 years old when I started throwing it — 10 or 12 — and I thought it was a regular changeup. When I was playing Little League, nobody told me that it wasn’t really a changeup. I just kept throwing it, kept throwing it, and when I signed my contract with the Rangers, the pitching coach told me, ‘That’s not a changeup.’ I said, ‘That’s how I hold my changeup.’ He said, ‘No, that’s a slider.’ But I kept throwing it, kept throwing it, and it was good.

Jose Leclerc’s changeup grip.

“It’s a changeup grip, but I throw it like a football and it moves kind of like a slider. I don’t know why. I’ve tried to show it to my compañeros — to my teammates — and they can’t do it. Sam Dyson; he asked me to show it to him. A few others did, as well. Some of them could kind of throw it, but they couldn’t command it like I do.

“I throw it the same now as when I was a kid. Everything is the same. It is better, though. I throw harder now, so there’s more movement. But what it is … I call it a cut-change. It’s just something natural that I have. I don’t how I do it. For real.” Read the rest of this entry »


Sunday Notes: Robert Stock Stimulates His Nervous System (And Hits Triple Digits)

Robert Stock is following a breakthrough season with a rocky season. Last year, the right-hander broke into the big leagues at age 28, and logged a 2.50 ERA in 32 appearances out of the Padres’ bullpen. This year he’s spent the bulk of his time with San Diego’s Triple-A affiliate, and scuffled in his smattering of opportunities in The Show. Currently on the IL with a bicep strain, Stock has a 10.13 ERA in 10-and-two-thirds innings of work.

There’s more to the Robert Stock story than his late-bloomer status and overall pitching prowess. When I talked to the former Los Angeles-area prep at Petco Park recently, I learned that he’s a converted catcher with an unorthodox workout routine.

“I use a training system called EVO UltraFit,” Stock told me. “It involves electrodes, and obscure ways of lifting weights. You’re doing things like jumping off of stuff, and catching things that are falling.”

Watching an ESPN feature on a former NFL safety was the catalyst. Learning that Adam Archuleta “found success through this weird training system,” he decided to try it himself. Just 13 years old at the time, Stock traveled to Arizona, “where the guru is,” and proceeded to adopt the program. He’s been a disciple ever since.

An electrodes apparatus was charging at Stock’s locker as we spoke. Read the rest of this entry »


Roster Roundup: June 18-21

Below you’ll find a roundup of notable moves from the past few days, as well as future expected moves and a Minor League Report, which includes a list of recent major league debuts and a few players who are “knocking down the door” to the majors (Mondays only). For this column, any lineup regulars, starting pitchers, or late-inning relievers are considered “notable,” meaning that middle relievers, long relievers, and bench players are excluded. You can always find a full list of updated transactions here.

Lineup Regulars

Baltimore Orioles
6/20/19: OF Dwight Smith Jr. activated from 10-Day IL.

Smith had been struggling since a strong start, posting a .638 OPS in 111 plate appearances before a concussion knocked him out of action for two weeks. Batting in the cleanup spot on Thursday, the 26-year-old went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. He should continue to see regular at-bats as the starting left fielder, but he’ll have to get back on track soon. With his next home run, Smith will surpass his father’s career-best total when he hit 11 for the Cubs in 1993.

Depth Chart | Roster Resource Read the rest of this entry »


Sunday Notes: Nationals Prospect Rhett Wiseman Knows Baseball is a Business

Rhett Wiseman didn’t sign when he was drafted by the Chicago Cubs out of a Cambridge, Massachusetts high school in 2012. Instead, he attended Vanderbilt University. The reasons were twofold. Education was a priority — he’s since completed his studies and earned a business degree — and the new-at-the-time CBA had squelched any chances of his being coerced with a well-over-slot offer. As I wrote in the hours following that draft, Wiseman was viewed a second-to-fourth-round talent, and fell to the 25th round for just those reasons.

While signing was never a viable option, Wiseman did engage in dialogue with the Theo Epstein-led Cubs.

“We talked a little bit,” Wiseman told me recently. “I spoke to Theo, who I respect greatly, but just like the article you wrote at the time said, it was a situation where teams couldn’t come remotely close to the number that it would have taken to pull me away from the commitment to Vanderbilt. Looking back, I’m glad the slotting system changed in the way that it did, because it made my decision easy.”

The 24-year-old outfielder considers the three years he spent at Vandy “the experience of a lifetime,” but there were still dreams to chase. One year after being part of a team that won the 2014 College World Series, he was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the third round. This time he signed.

Pro ball has proven to be a challenge. Wiseman raked during his final collegiate season — 15 jacks and a .980 OPS — but he hasn’t come close to those numbers in the minors. There have been hot stretches, including this past April when he earned Eastern League player-of-the-month honors, but sustained success has eluded him. Even with his scalding start, he’s slashing .237/.325/.479 in the current campaign.

Wiseman knows as well as anyone that he needs to up his game if he hopes to reach the pinnacle of his profession. Baseball is, after all, a business. If you don’t perform, you’ll all too soon find yourself behind a desk, staring at a computer screen rather than at a man holding a baseball, 60 feet, six inches away.

In terms of truly understanding the ins and outs of the professional game, Wiseman might as well have been a million miles away when he turned down his first chance to sign.

“When you’re in high school, and looking at this whole process, it so isn’t what it seems,” said Wiseman. “You’re living at home and not playing every day. You have school commitments and are thinking about college. You’re still coming into full maturity. So even if you think you know what it’s like, you really don’t. It’s not until you’re in pro ball that you really understand how much of a business this is. It’s a livelihood, and it’s treated as such.” Read the rest of this entry »


2019 MLB Draft Signing Bonus Pool and Pick Values

We got a hold of the bonus slot values and, it follows, each team’s total pool amount for the upcoming 2019 MLB Draft. The PDF we acquired from an industry source was missing Washington’s comp pick for Bryce Harper at 138 overall, so we added that and manually recalculated each team’s pool total (which were incorrect on the PDF because of this missing pick).

(Update: After receiving additional clarification, it appears that Washington will not receive a comp pick for Harper; the pick that would have received as Harper compensation became the pick they gave up to sign Patrick Corbin.)

What follows is, first, the total draft bonus pool amounts for all thirty teams, followed by the individual slot values for each pick in the first ten rounds of the draft. Picks labeled “COMP” are compensatory selections for players lost via free agency or from last year’s unsigned draft picks. Picks labeled “CBA” or “CBB” are competitive balance picks (rounds A and B) allocated to teams in the spirit of parity. These can be traded, and several have been. In both the compensatory and traded competitive balance picks, we note the players for which the picks were received. The tables here will be updated if competitive balance picks change hands or if teams receive comp for a yet-to-sign free agent who received a qualifying offer, like Dallas Keuchel or Craig Kimbrel.

2019 Draft Bonus Pools
Team Aggregate Bonus Pool
ARI $16,093,700
BAL $13,821,300
KC $13,108,000
MIA $13,045,000
CWS $11,565,500
ATL $11,532,200
TEX $11,023,100
SD $10,758,900
DET $10,402,500
TB $10,333,800
PIT $9,944,000
MIN $9,905,800
CIN $9,528,600
SF $8,714,500
TOR $8,463,300
NYM $8,224,600
LAD $8,069,100
LAA $7,608,700
SEA $7,559,000
NYY $7,455,300
COL $7,092,300
STL $6,903,500
PHI $6,475,800
CLE $6,148,100
WSH $5,979,600
CHI $5,826,900
OAK $5,605,900
HOU $5,355,100
MIL $5,148,200
BOS $4,788,100

2019 Draft Signing Bonus Slot Values
Overall Pick Round Team Slot Amount
1 1 BAL $8,415,300
2 1 KC $7,789,900
3 1 CWS $7,221,200
4 1 MIA $6,664,000
5 1 DET $6,180,700
6 1 SD $5,742,900
7 1 CIN $5,432,400
8 1 TEX $5,176,900
9 COMP (Carter Stewart) ATL $4,949,100
10 1 SF $4,739,900
11 1 TOR $4,547,500
12 1 NYM $4,366,400
13 1 MIN $4,197,300
14 1 PHI $4,036,800
15 1 LAA $3,885,800
16 1 ARI $3,745,500
17 1 WSH $3,609,700
18 1 PIT $3,481,300
19 1 STL $3,359,000
20 1 SEA $3,242,900
21 1 ATL $3,132,300
22 1 TB $3,027,000
23 1 COL $2,926,800
24 1 CLE $2,831,300
25 1 LAD $2,740,300
26 COMP (Matt McLain) ARI $2,653,400
27 1 CHI $2,570,100
28 1 MIL $2,493,900
29 1 OAK $2,424,600
30 1 NYY $2,365,500
31 COMP (J.T. Ginn) LAD $2,312,000
32 1 HOU $2,257,300
33 COMP (Patrick Corbin) ARI $2,202,200
34 COMP (A.J. Pollock) ARI $2,148,100
35 CBA MIA $2,095,800
36 CBA TB $2,045,400
37 COMP (Gunnar Hoglund) PIT $1,999,300
38 CBA (via CIN, Sonny Gray trade) NYY $1,952,300
39 CBA MIN $1,906,800
40 CBA (via OAK, Jurikson Profar trade) TB $1,856,700
41 CBA (via MIL, Alex Claudio trade) TEX $1,813,500
42 2 BAL $1,771,100
43 1 (tax threshold penalty) BOS $1,729,800
44 2 KC $1,689,500
45 2 CWS $1,650,200
46 2 MIA $1,617,400
47 2 DET $1,580,200
48 2 SD $1,543,600
49 2 CIN $1,507,600
50 2 TEX $1,469,900
51 2 SF $1,436,900
52 2 TOR $1,403,200
53 2 NYM $1,370,400
54 2 MIN $1,338,500
55 2 LAA $1,307,000
56 2 ARI $1,276,400
57 2 PIT $1,243,600
58 2 STL $1,214,300
59 2 SEA $1,185,500
60 2 ATL $1,157,400
61 2 TB $1,129,700
62 2 COL $1,102,700
63 2 CLE $1,076,300
64 2 CHI $1,050,300
65 2 MIL $1,025,100
66 2 OAK $1,003,300
67 2 NYY $976,700
68 2 HOU $953,100
69 2 BOS $929,800
70 CBB KC $906,800
71 CBB BAL $884,200
72 CBB PIT $870,700
73 CBB SD $857,400
74 CBB ARI $844,200
75 CBB (via STL, Paul Goldschmidt trade) ARI $831,100
76 CBB (via CLE, Carlos Santana trade) SEA $818,200
77 CBB COL $805,600
78 COMP (Yasmani Grandal) LAD $793,000
79 3 BAL $780,400
80 3 KC $767,800
81 3 CWS $755,300
82 3 MIA $744,200
83 3 DET $733,100
84 3 SD $721,900
85 3 CIN $710,700
86 3 TEX $699,700
87 3 SF $689,300
88 3 TOR $678,600
89 3 NYM $667,900
90 3 MIN $657,600
91 3 PHI $647,300
92 3 LAA $637,600
93 3 ARI $627,900
94 3 WSH $618,200
95 3 PIT $610,800
96 3 STL $604,800
97 3 SEA $599,100
98 3 ATL $593,100
99 3 TB $587,400
100 3 COL $581,600
101 3 CLE $577,000
102 3 LAD $571,400
103 3 CHI $565,600
104 3 OAK $560,000
105 3 NYY $554,300
106 3 HOU $549,000
107 3 BOS $543,500
108 4 BAL $538,200
109 4 KC $533,000
110 4 CWS $527,800
111 4 MIA $522,600
112 4 DET $517,400
113 4 SD $512,400
114 4 CIN $507,400
115 4 TEX $502,300
116 4 SF $497,500
117 4 TOR $492,700
118 4 NYM $487,900
119 4 MIN $483,000
120 4 PHI $478,300
121 4 LAA $473,700
122 4 ARI $469,000
123 4 WSH $464,500
124 4 PIT $460,000
125 4 STL $455,600
126 4 SEA $451,800
127 4 ATL $447,400
128 4 TB $442,900
129 4 COL $438,700
130 4 CLE $434,300
131 4 LAD $430,800
132 4 CHI $426,600
133 4 MIL $422,300
134 4 OAK $418,200
135 4 NYY $414,000
136 4 HOU $410,100
137 4 BOS $406,000
138 5 BAL $402,000
139 5 KC $398,000
140 5 CWS $394,300
141 5 MIA $390,400
142 5 DET $386,600
143 5 SD $382,700
144 5 CIN $379,000
145 5 TEX $375,200
146 5 SF $371,600
147 5 TOR $367,900
148 5 NYM $364,400
149 5 MIN $360,800
150 5 PHI $357,100
151 5 LAA $353,700
152 5 ARI $350,300
153 5 WSH $346,800
154 5 PIT $343,400
155 5 STL $340,000
156 5 SEA $336,600
157 5 ATL $333,300
158 5 TB $330,100
159 5 COL $327,200
160 5 CLE $324,100
161 5 LAD $321,100
162 5 CHI $318,200
163 5 MIL $315,400
164 5 OAK $312,400
165 5 NYY $309,500
166 5 HOU $306,800
167 5 BOS $304,200
168 6 BAL $301,600
169 6 KC $299,000
170 6 CWS $296,400
171 6 MIA $293,800
172 6 DET $291,400
173 6 SD $289,000
174 6 CIN $286,500
175 6 TEX $284,200
176 6 SF $281,800
177 6 TOR $279,500
178 6 NYM $277,100
179 6 MIN $274,800
180 6 PHI $272,500
181 6 LAA $270,300
182 6 ARI $268,200
183 6 WSH $266,000
184 6 PIT $263,700
185 6 STL $261,600
186 6 SEA $259,400
187 6 ATL $257,400
188 6 TB $255,300
189 6 COL $253,300
190 6 CLE $251,100
191 6 LAD $249,000
192 6 CHI $247,000
193 6 MIL $244,900
194 6 OAK $243,000
195 6 NYY $241,000
196 6 HOU $239,000
197 6 BOS $237,000
198 7 BAL $235,100
199 7 KC $233,000
200 7 CWS $231,100
201 7 MIA $229,700
202 7 DET $227,700
203 7 SD $225,800
204 7 CIN $224,000
205 7 TEX $222,100
206 7 SF $220,200
207 7 TOR $218,500
208 7 NYM $216,600
209 7 MIN $214,900
210 7 PHI $213,300
211 7 LAA $211,500
212 7 ARI $209,800
213 7 WSH $208,200
214 7 PIT $206,500
215 7 STL $204,800
216 7 SEA $203,400
217 7 ATL $201,600
218 7 TB $200,100
219 7 COL $198,500
220 7 CLE $197,300
221 7 LAD $195,700
222 7 CHI $194,400
223 7 MIL $192,900
224 7 OAK $191,500
225 7 NYY $190,100
226 7 HOU $188,900
227 7 BOS $187,700
228 8 BAL $186,300
229 8 KC $184,700
230 8 CWS $183,700
231 8 MIA $182,300
232 8 DET $181,200
233 8 SD $179,800
234 8 CIN $178,600
235 8 TEX $177,400
236 8 SF $176,300
237 8 TOR $175,000
238 8 NYM $174,000
239 8 MIN $173,000
240 8 PHI $172,100
241 8 LAA $171,200
242 8 ARI $170,300
243 8 WSH $169,500
244 8 PIT $168,500
245 8 STL $167,800
246 8 SEA $167,000
247 8 ATL $166,100
248 8 TB $165,400
249 8 COL $164,700
250 8 CLE $163,900
251 8 LAD $163,400
252 8 CHI $162,700
253 8 MIL $162,000
254 8 OAK $161,400
255 8 NYY $160,800
256 8 HOU $160,300
257 8 BOS $159,700
258 9 BAL $159,200
259 9 KC $158,600
260 9 CWS $158,100
261 9 MIA $157,600
262 9 DET $157,200
263 9 SD $156,600
264 9 CIN $156,100
265 9 TEX $155,800
266 9 SF $155,300
267 9 TOR $154,900
268 9 NYM $154,600
269 9 MIN $154,100
270 9 PHI $153,600
271 9 LAA $153,300
272 9 ARI $152,900
273 9 WSH $152,600
274 9 PIT $152,300
275 9 STL $152,000
276 9 SEA $151,600
277 9 ATL $151,300
278 9 TB $150,800
279 9 COL $150,500
280 9 CLE $150,300
281 9 LAD $150,100
282 9 CHI $149,800
283 9 MIL $149,500
284 9 OAK $149,300
285 9 NYY $148,900
286 9 HOU $148,400
287 9 BOS $148,200
288 10 BAL $147,900
289 10 KC $147,700
290 10 CWS $147,400
291 10 MIA $147,200
292 10 DET $147,000
293 10 SD $146,800
294 10 CIN $146,300
295 10 TEX $146,100
296 10 SF $145,700
297 10 TOR $145,500
298 10 NYM $145,300
299 10 MIN $145,000
300 10 PHI $144,800
301 10 LAA $144,600
302 10 ARI $144,400
303 10 WSH $144,100
304 10 PIT $143,900
305 10 STL $143,600
306 10 SEA $143,500
307 10 ATL $143,200
308 10 TB $143,000
309 10 COL $142,700
310 10 CLE $142,500
311 10 LAD $142,300
312 10 CHI $142,200
313 10 MIL $142,200
314 10 OAK $142,200
315 10 NYY $142,200
316 10 HOU $142,200
317 10 BOS $142,200

Sunday Notes: Chuck Cottier’s Memorable Pro Debut Was 65 Years Ago

Chuck Cottier made his MLB debut in a star-studded environment. Playing second base, he was in the Milwaukee Braves lineup alongside the likes of Hank Aaron, Del Crandall and Eddie Mathews. The first ground ball he fielded on that April 1959 afternoon came off the bat of Roberto Clemente, on a pitch thrown by Warren Spahn. Harvey Haddix, who a month later would take a a perfect game into the 13th inning against the Braves, was on the mound for Pittsburgh.

Cottier’s first professional game was also memorable. Just 18 years old at the time — he’d signed at 17 out of a Grand Junction, Colorado high school — Cottier was playing for the Americus-Cordele Orioles in the Georgia-Florida League. It was 1954, and the minor league landscape was different than it is today.

“The lowest league was class D,” explained Cottier, who is now 83 years old and a special assistant to the general manager with the Washington Nationals. “From there it went to C, B, A, Double-A, Triple-A, and many of the organizations had two teams in each classification. We had three Triple-A teams at one time.”

Displaying a sharp-as-a-tack memory, the venerable baseball lifer told me that his first-ever game was played in Fitzgerald, Georgia, in a ballpark with a skinned infield. One play in particular stood out. Cottier remembers a “big left-handed hitter named Thompson” smashing a one-hop line drive that hit him just above the wrist, caromed over his shoulder, and rolled all the way to the fence.

Several hours later, his ride stopped rolling. Read the rest of this entry »


Sunday Notes: The Orioles Newest Pitcher Evokes Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Fans of prog rock are well familiar with Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s “Karn Evil 9.” The song, which is on the seminal 1973 album Brain Salad Surgery, includes the line, “Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends.” Nearly 30 minutes long, Karn Evil 9 has been described, thematically speaking, as a battle between humans and computers.

Which brings us to the first major league free agent signed by the Orioles new-and-geeky front office regime. On Thursday, Mike Elias, Sig Mejdal and Co. welcomed Nate Karns back to The Show, inking him to a reported $800,000, one-year deal.

Karns has been a good pitcher when healthy. He hasn’t been healthy very often. The righty had labrum surgery back in 2010, and more recently he’s had thoracic outlet surgery and elbow issues. He didn’t pitch at all in 2018, and in 2017 he was limited to just 45-and-a-third innings. In the two years preceding the more recent of those, ahem, evil injuries, he showed plenty of promise. Pitching with Tampa Bay and Seattle, he went 13-7 with a 4.25 ERA and a 4.17 FIP.

My colleague Rain Watt will have more on Karns’s comeback tomorrow, so I’ll keep the rest of this look contained to the 31-year-old’s curveball. It’s his primary secondary, and a pitch he refined while going through a shoulder program after having his labrum repaired. Read the rest of this entry »


Sunday Notes: Payton Henry Pins His Hopes on Brewers Catching Job

Payton Henry grew up in a wrestling family in a wrestling town. That’s not the sport he settled on. The 21-year-old native of Pleasant Grove, Utah cast his lot with baseball, and went on to be selected in the sixth round of the 2016 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. He’s seen by many as the NL Central club’s catcher of the future.

His backstory is one of Greco-Roman lineage. Henry’s paternal grandfather, Darold, won 10 state championships as a coach, and is a member of Utah’s Wrestling Hall of Fame. The patriarch coached 65 individual champions, including his son Darrin — Payton’s father — who captured a pair of titles. And while it eventually rolled away, the greenest of the apples tumbled from the same tree.

“I was kind of born to grow up a wrestler,” said Henry. “But then I fell in love with baseball. Once I realized I had a future in it, and started traveling a lot for baseball tournaments, I stopped wrestling. I didn’t have the time for it anymore.”

Being physically strong — weight training has long been part of his workout routine — and well-schooled in the sport’s technical aspects, he probably could have followed in his father’s footsteps. The coaches at Pleasant Grove High School certainly thought so. At the start of each year they would approach him and say,“Are you sure you don’t want to come out and wrestle?” Read the rest of this entry »