We’re Not Gonna Hold You, But It’s Time For The Angels To Bring Up Jo Adell

We’re Not Gonna Hold You, But It’s Time For The Angels To Bring Up Jo Adell

On Sunday the Los Angeles Angels announced that right fielder Dexter Fowler was officially lost for the season with a torn ACL. Initially, it was thought that Fowler sprained his knee after he fell awkwardly last Friday in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays. 

 

 

But when Fowler’s MRI revealed the need for season-ending surgery, optimism and reality had a head on collision as the 35-year old was placed on the 60-day DL.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the Angels brought another outfielder, Jon Jay, over from their alternative site to fill Fowler’s spot on the roster. A bro for a bro. 

Jay isn’t going to move the needle for the Halos, but he’s a World Series champion (2011 St. Louis) and brings nearly 1200 games of major league experience and a career .283 average to the table.

Los Angeles signed Jay to a minor-league deal prior to the season, and he had some moments during spring training.

 

The Angels have to be hoping that Jay can help hold down the fort as they deal with injuries across their outfield. Juan Lagares was placed on the 10-day DL, and Black Knight Justin Upton has been dealing with back stiffness.

He was thrust into action against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday night, going 1-for-4 in a 3-2 loss that dropped the Angels to 7-4.

Even when they have been healthy, Fowler, Lagares, and Upton had been struggling. The trio has combined for a .190 batting average, with only 12 hits in 63 at-bats, and produced just eight runs and six RBI with 19 strikeouts.

With that in mind and Jay’s limitations, the Angels may have to look deeper into their talent pool to keep their offense going.

Angels fans are already clamoring for Jo Adell. Adell filled in last season for Los Angeles but wasn’t ready for the big leagues just yet. His batting average hovered below .200 and more than 44 percent of his at-bats ended in strikeouts.

There were also moments like this, where Adell turned the momentum of games singlehandedly. If Real Deal Akil Baddoo can make the leap from Class A Ball to starting centerfielder for the Detroit Tigers, then Adell (who has a similar skillset) is ready to rock out as well. 

 

This spring, manager Joe Maddon spoke highly of Adell’s development before sending him to AAA for more seasoning.

“I think he’s made a lot of progress actually,” Maddon said. “At the plate, his swing is so much shorter, his strides so much more under control. Because his foot is getting down sooner, the bat’s not moving around and wrapping as much. He looks so much better on defense, he’s been working really hard.”

The Angels haven’t been in a rush to promote Adell, their highest-rated prospect since Mike Trout, but his timetable may be accelerated if the club can’t get some consistent production from its bench.

“He just needs to play baseball,” Maddon said. “He needs nine innings of baseball on a consistent basis. He needs to take all the stuff he’s learned and put it into a game. That’s the next step for him. Because I have a lot of faith in him and I like what he’s doing. He needs to play and doesn’t need to be on anybody’s bench right now.”

Keep an eye out, because Jo Adell could be getting those innings very soon. The Angels have nothing to lose and everything to gain. 

Barry Bonds’ Strange Love Affair With April 12th

Barry Bonds’ Strange Love Affair With April 12th

There’s something about MLB Homer King Barry Bonds and April 12th.

While Bonds’ incomparable bat created more memories than we can remember, several of his career-defining moments occurred on this date.

MLbbro.com contributor David Grubb takes us to school on Bonds’ love affair with April 12th.

 

Top Prospect CJ Abrams Can Boost Padres Offense

Top Prospect CJ Abrams Can Boost Padres Offense

Heading into Saturday’s interleague matchup with the Texas Rangers, the San Diego Padres were off to a 5-3 start, just a game behind the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

The team’s winning record can largely be attributed to some great pitching.

Before exploding for 14 hits and seven runs on Saturday night, the Padres offense had been underwhelming.

The absence of Fernando Tatis Jr., for more than one-third of the schedule is a big reason, but that doesn’t explain why a team with so much talent struggled to scratch out only 30 runs over the eight games played prior to Saturday’s breakout.

If they’re going to unseat the Boys in Blue 121 miles up I-5, the Padres have to be able to put crooked digits on the board. LA is second in the NL in runs scored and San Diego likely won’t have a 1.73 team ERA come September.

A big problem for San Diego has been the play of centerfielder Tommy Pham. Playing in all nine games so far, he ranks last or next to last on the team in batting average, on base percentage, runs, hits, and RBIs. He hit into two key double plays on Saturday

Let’s put it like this…He’s neither batting nor pulling his weight right now.

The solution to the Padres’ woes may be a 19-year old who doesn’t have 50 minor league games to his name yet.

Currently working at San Diego’s Alternate Training Site, CJ Abrams is one of the top prospects in baseball for a reason. He came into the season ranked ahead of rookie standout Ke’Bryan Hayes by MLB.com because of his “elite blend of athleticism, speed, and pure hitting ability.”

Athleticism?

Check.

Speed? Okay, let’s pause for a moment on this one. Abrams has an 80 grade for speed from scouts. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Check. Check.

And yes, he can hit too. At 6’2” and 185 pounds, Abrams hasn’t filled out yet, but he can produce some pop.

In 32 games of rookie league ball in 2019, he batted a mere .401 with 23 extra-base hits while grabbing 14 stolen bases. After spending the 2020 season at the alternate site, he showed up and showed out during Spring Training; outplaying some of the veterans who made the Opening Day roster.

“Playing against the higher level, you’re obviously going to get better faster,” Abrams said this Spring. “It’s just a lot of fun playing against good competition.”

Check. Check. Check.

Though he was drafted as a shortstop, Abrams has spent time at second base and in the outfield. With his ability to cover ground, his strong arm, and solid veterans surrounding him, it shouldn’t take long for CJ to make the adjustment.

“We think he’s a shortstop,” said Padres manager Jayce Tingler. “The development of that — what we believe is that shortstops can play other positions.”

So, it already appears that San Diego has some alternate plans for Abrams. With Tatis locked in for the next 14 years, it’s not likely that there will be a hole at short anytime soon.

But there is one in centerfield, right now. If it gets too much larger, CJ Abrams could be a full-time big league bro very soon.

 

 

Play-By-Play King Dave Sims Is A Five-Tool Practitioner Of His Profession

Play-By-Play King Dave Sims Is A Five-Tool Practitioner Of His Profession

MLBbro.com reporter David Grubb had an in-depth conversation with one of the very best broadcasters in the business, Seattle Mariners play-by-play announcer Dave Sims.

 

 

If Sims were a ballplayer (and he was up to a point) he’d be described as a “five-tool” practitioner of his profession. He’s done everything from print to radio and television, covering some of the biggest events across the sports world.
..the play-by-play color palette remains essentially the same all across baseball, the lead voices who narrate the game remain almost entirely white and male, devoid of both racial and gender diversity.
And for the past 15 seasons, the Philly kid, who started as a Daily News sportswriter and elevated to a 68-year-old preeminent play-by-play talent, has been one of the few exceptions as the voice of the Seattle Mariners
Part I of their discussion covers Sims’ inspirations and career path in broadcasting, including the challenges. He also provides some insight for aspiring broadcasters and journalists.
In Part II, Sims breaks down the Mariners, including its exciting core of young, Black talent. Finally, he remembers some of his favorite moments on the mic.

Marcus Semien & George Springer: Toronto Blue Jays Invested In Soul To Fill The Holes

Marcus Semien & George Springer: Toronto Blue Jays Invested In Soul To Fill The Holes

The Toronto Blue Jays’ 32-28 record last season earned the franchise its first postseason appearance in four years, and some lofty expectations for 2021. 

Adding 3x All-Star outfielder George Springer along with veteran shortstop Marcus Semien has only bolstered them. 

Semien didn’t waste any time making his impact felt, by homering on Opening Day, and then again on Monday. 

 

After seven years with the Houston Astros, a six-year, $150M contract lured Springer (2017 World Series MVP) to the AL East. Springer’s debut was delayed due to a Grade 2 oblique strain that put him on the IL to start the season, though the Jays expect him to join the lineup any day now. 

 

So the multi-tooled Soul Patroller can do more of this…

 

There aren’t too many questions about Springer’s durability. From 2016-20 he played in almost 90 percent of the Astros’ games. He’s known for being one the toughest players in the sport. 

 

He remains one of the most productive hitters in the game too. During last season’s shortened schedule, Springer finished in the American League’s top ten in home runs, runs batted in, and runs scored. 

READ MORE: Black Knights: Astros’ George Springer And The Evolution Of The Leadoff Hitter

We mentioned Toronto’s baby-booming infield, but Springer also has some outfield mates who can cause damage. He’s a seamless fit in an outfield that returns Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Teoscar Hernandez, and Randal Grichuk. The trio combined to bat .289 with 39 homers, 102 RBI, and scored 99 times. 

Springer is excited to be joining the Blue Jays young core, he and Semien will be the only players over 30 years old in the regular rotation. 

The Astros lost 92 games in Springer’s first year in the majors. Surrounded by another collection of rising stars, he was holding a World Series trophy three seasons later. 

He sees something familiar with Toronto. 

 

Brought to the Great White North on a one-year, $18 million deal, Marcus Semien has both a new team and a new position in Toronto. 

With Bo Bichette holding it down at short, Semien slides over to second base. The Jays instantly get better defensively, good news for a team that finished in the bottom third of the AL in fielding.

Semien led all American League shortstops in fielding % in 2019 (.981). Last season, his numbers took a slight dip, but the move to second provides a great opportunity for a bounce back campaign. 

The addition of Semien deepens the roster. As much as the Blue Jays may value Semien’s defensive acumen, what Toronto and its fans are really hoping that they get the 2019 Marcus Semien at the plate. 

After his best season in the bigs, Semien finished third in the voting for AL Most Valuable Player, and second in Wins Above Replacement (8.6). 

He led the Jays with three homers during Spring Training, though those accounted for one-third of his hit total. 

 

If Toronto is getting the Semien that played all 162 games for the Oakland A’s while batting .285 with 33 home runs, 92 RBI, 123 runs scored, and an .892 OPS, the Blue Jays could have one of the elite offensive middle infields in all of baseball. 

Last season was more of a struggle for the 30-year-old, some of which has to be attributed to the disjointed nature of the COVID-inflicted season. He did get better as the season went along, raising his OBP by 28 percent and his OPS by 23 percent from July to September and still finishing with a positive WAR figure. 

If Toronto is to reach its potential, Marcus Semien and George Springer should be major catalysts. 

For a Blue Jays franchise that hasn’t been to the World Series in almost 30 years, and that spent nearly $200 million in free agency, they have to be.