There's a chance that the two Texas clubs could find themselves on the opposite ends of the standings come season's end. As the MLBTR reverse standings tell us, the Rangers entered today four games behind the Braves for the best record in baseball, while the 39-81 Astros have a firm grasp on the league's worst record. The Astros are on pace to become the first team in baseball history to select the No. 1 overall pick in three consecutive amateur drafts.
Here are some news items out of the Lone Star State...
- Astros prospect George Springer will remain in minors through the end of the Triple-A season and their playoffs, general manager Jeff Luhnow tells MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. The center field star could be brought up by mid-September if the club feels it would make sense. Springer, 23, has a combined .303/.411/.605 line and 33 homers in 520 PA between Double-A and Triple-A this season. Baseball America tabbed Springer as the 20th-best prospect in the sport in their midseason prospect rankings after ranking him 37th before the season; he was also highly-touted by both ESPN's Keith Law (43rd) and MLB.com (58th) in preseason ratings.
- The Astros will make relief pitching a priority this winter, manager Bo Porter told reporters (including McTaggart). Houston will likely try to obtain at least one veteran reliever to aid their young relief corps, McTaggart speculates.
- The Rangers and Lance Berkman are trying to decide if they will wait until the rosters expand on September 1 to activate the veteran slugger from the DL. Berkman played four games on a rehab assignment but told reporters (including Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News) that he has "concerns about competing at the level I think I am capable of. If I can’t do that, I’m not sure, I can be a positive piece for the team. There is no doubt I can compete. I just don’t know about the level.” Berkman has a .732 OPS in 282 PA with Texas this year but he has been on the DL for over two months with hip and knee injuries and even considered retirement earlier this summer.
- Adam Rosales could be a factor in the Berkman situation, MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan explains. The infielder would likely be the one designated for assignment to make roster space for Berkman and the Rangers don't want to lose him again. Rosales has already been designated four times since July 8 and has bounced back and forth between the Rangers' and Athletics' rosters over the last few weeks.