Here’s the latest from the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo:
- Cafardo asked a variety of MLB players, managers, coaches and front office personnel who the best managers in the game were and compiled his annual ranking of the 30 skippers. Topping the list is Joe Maddon of the Cubs, whose sabermetric strategies have “revolutionized” managing much in the way Tony La Russa’s tactics did a generation ago, according to Cafardo. Maddon is followed by Bruce Bochy of the Giants and Buck Showalter of the Orioles.
- The Padres could potentially wait to trade James Shields until this summer’s deadline, Cafardo writes. While Shields’ first year in San Diego was not terrible, he might have spooked potential suitors with the 33 home runs he allowed last season. If he were to get off to a good start in 2016, that might rebuild his trade value.
- Chris Lee will be one of the Orioles’ “must-see” pitchers this Spring, Cafardo writes, noting that Lee throws 97 MPH with a good changeup and slider. The Astros traded Lee to the Orioles last May for only a pair of international bonus spots. However good his stuff might be, Lee’s statistics don’t yet indicate that he’s a top prospect — in 145 innings last year, he only struck out 98 batters. It should perhaps be noted, though, that the Orioles promoted him very aggressively, and he was quite young for Double-A by the time he reached that level.
- Nippon Ham Fighters pitcher Shohei Otani has been training with his team in Arizona, and as we noted yesterday, he’s been generating a lot of buzz. As Cafardo notes, the 22-year-old isn’t likely to be posted anytime soon, although US-based scouts feel he could be a star in the Majors, either as a hitter or a pitcher. “He can do both,” says a scout from the American League. “He’s going to have to make a choice. Either way he’s going to be an All-Star-caliber player as a hitter or pitcher.” With his triple-digit fastball, Otani will likely remain a pitcher.