The Astros are “expected to call up top prospect Alex Bregman as early as this weekend,” reports Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link). Bregman, selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft, has obliterated minor league pitching all season long and recently moved up to Triple-A without missing a beat. The 22-year-old is hitting .389/.421/.889 with five homers in eight Triple-A games and a combined .309/.416/.603 with 19 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A this season. The 22-year-old is a natural shortstop but has been playing third base as of late. As MLBTR’s Jason Martinez speculated yesterday in his latest Knocking Down The Door installment, Bregman could slot into third base for the Astros, with Luis Valbuena shifting across the diamond to first base and A.J. Reed moving into a platoon at DH with Evan Gattis. If he does indeed get the call this coming weekend, Bregman would be the first first-rounder from last year’s draft to make his MLB debut and could provide a jolt in the arm of an Astros club that has surged back into both the Wild Card and AL West race.
More from the West divisions…
- As Kenley Jansen hopes to get the opportunity to pitch in tonight’s All-Star Game, Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times looks a bit further into the future and writes that the Dodgers’ closer is in line for a record-setting payday relative to his relief-pitching peers. Multiple executives to whom McCullough has spoken consider Jonathan Papelbon’s current record — a four-year, $50MM contract — to be “the floor” for Jansen in the offseason. As McCullough notes, Jansen has better marks in ERA, WHIP, K/9 and K/BB ratio than either Papelbon or David Robertson had in their three-year platforms to free agency. We’re inclined to agree at MLBTR, as Tim Dierkes has noted throughout the year in his free-agent power rankings. Jansen has a legitimate case for five seasons on the free-agent market, and he shouldn’t have to sacrifice much in the way of average annual value to achieve that height. A guarantee in the vicinity of $70MM seems plausible for Jansen, who currently boasts a 1.16 ERA with 11.9 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 38 2/3 innings.
- Dodgers president of baseball ops Andrew Friedman tells McCullough that his “hope and expectation” is that Jansen will be wearing a Dodgers uniform for a long time. McCullough notes, in fact, that the Dodgers could pursue both Jansen and Aroldis Chapman this winter, though that comment comes in seemingly speculative fashion.
- Drew Pomeranz, who just entered the All-Star Game in relief for the National League, wouldn’t have had a rotation job this spring at all if he hadn’t initiated a conversation with Padres manager Andy Green, writes MLB.com’s A.J. Cassavell. Pomeranz saw early in camp that he wasn’t in the same workout group with the team’s starting pitchers and made the bold move to go to his new manager and tell him that he’d been working on a third pitch and wanted a crack at the rotation. Pomeranz said that Green appreciated how straightforward he was and gave him a chance to earn that job. The rest, of course, is history, as Pomeranz is now the Padres’ best starter, having turned in a 2.47 ERA in just over 100 innings this season.
- There’s been “no sign so far” that the Rockies and manager Walt Weiss are discussing an extension, per Nick Groke and Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post in their midseason Rockies podcast. Saunders notes that while Weiss is well-liked by his players overall, there are some within the clubhouse that wish he was a bit tougher and demanded more from his team. Weiss’ current contract runs through the end of the 2016 season. Groke is later joined by Benjamin Hochman from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and the two discuss the possibility of the Rockies and Cardinals matching up on a trade for Charlie Blackmon.