The Nationals are 12 games over .500 for the first time since July 23, 2005 after sweeping the Red Sox at Fenway Park over the weekend. The 2005 Washington squad would go on to finish the season 81-81 with a starting lineup featuring the bats of Vinny Castilla and Brad Wilkerson. Here's the latest odds and ends from around the league…
- The emergence of rookie Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo's increased presence in the outfield has cost Peter Bourjos significant playing time, but that doesn't mean the Angels center fielder is in danger of losing his spot on the roster or being traded, writes Trey Scott of MLB.com. Count manager Mike Scioscia among Bourjos' supporters as he believes the second-generation big leaguer can aid the team even while playing in a limited capacity. "It's difficult for a young player that has the ability to play every day but isn't in there," Scioscia said. "But Peter is going to help us win games."
- The starting point for recently signed draft picks in the Cardinals organization is less about potential and more about current ability, says Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. While not all of the 44 players drafted by the Cardinals will ultimately sign with the franchise, the ones who do will begin their careers across three Class-A short-season affiliates. It's not unheard of for a top pick to make it to a full-season club in his first year like Kolten Wong in 2011, but the likelihood of doing so stems from how quickly the player signs his contract after being drafted.
- The subtle, confident nature of new Astros owner Jim Crane should prove to benefit both his franchise and the city of Houston, contends Chris Baldwin of CultureMap Houston. Crane's decision to hire Jeff Luhnow as the Astros' general manager has paid immediate dividends as the team signed first overall pick Carlos Correa for $2.4MM below slot value, giving them a stronger chance to sign Lance McCullers, selected 41st overall. The decision to draft Correa was a surprise to many and speaks to the organization's belief system in which the Astros will take calculated risks that are swiftly executed once a decision is reached.