Good health is usually a backbone for any contending team, though it’s not an absolute. As Jonah Keri notes in his weekly MLB power rankings for Grantland, the Brewers and Indians have been amongst the league leaders in fewest DL days, yet Milwaukee’s season has been a disaster and the Tribe has just a .500 record (though they’re making a late run at a wild card spot). The Cardinals, meanwhile, have the best record in baseball despite numerous key injuries, though a 4-8 record in September could indicate these missing players and some slumping regulars are starting to take their toll. Here’s more from both the AL and NL Central…
- Part of the Indians’ recent turn-around has been due to a greatly improved defense, including Lonnie Chisenhall’s spectacular play since moving to right field. As Zack Meisel of the Northeast Ohio Media Group notes, Chisenhall’s glove may have saved his 2016 roster spot. Chisenhall, a former top prospect, earned $2.25MM this season and is eligible for arbitration for the second time this winter. Even with an arb raise, Meisel figures Chisenhall is worth keeping for the Tribe, who can use him in a right field platoon with a right-handed hitter.
- In an outstanding piece about the modern state of baseball in the Dominican Republic, J. Brady McCollough of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette examines how children are trained, scouted and developed from a young age with the dreams of being signed by a Major League club before they even hit their late teens. The focus is on the Pirates’ Dominican organization and how the club scouted and signed Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco in recent years. McCollough looks at all facets of the process, from how teams operate academies in the Dominican to the somewhat controversial influence of the buscones, who often act as trainers and middlemen between the players and teams at the price of a share of a player’s eventual signing bonus.
- Mike Maroth will not return as the Tigers’ Triple-A pitching coach in 2015, the Detroit News’ Lynn Henning reports, though Maroth will take another job in the organization. This is the latest in a series of moves the Tigers have made and are expected to make in their minor league (and Major League) coaching ranks
- Ron Gardenhire has been linked to the Tigers manager’s job in rumors, and Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press feels an experienced skipper like Gardenhire would be an ideal choice to lead the team if Brad Ausmus is replaced (as many expect). Rick Renteria or Lloyd McClendon could also be fits, Fenech opines, as both were finalists for the job before Ausmus was originally hired. McClendon, of course, currently manages the Mariners, though it’s possible the new Seattle GM could make a change in the dugout.