Since the Rockies are lacking in frontline pitching, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post predicts that right-hander Chad Bettis will emerge as the team’s “quasi-ace” in 2016. Youngster Jon Gray is still adapting to the bigs and Jorge De La Rosa’s age and injury history make him a question mark, and if De La Rosa does pitch well, he may end up leaving in a deadline trade. That leaves the 26-year-old Bettis perhaps in the best position to become Colorado’s top starter. The righty posted a 4.23 ERA, 7.7 K/9, 2.33 K/BB rate and 49.3% grounder rate over 115 innings last season, his first extended taste of Major League action. There’s a lot to like about Bettis’ potential, though time will tell if he can consistently produce in the notoriously hitter-friendly Coors Field. Here’s more from around baseball…
- Major League Baseball will likely announce any discipline for Aroldis Chapman, Yasiel Puig and Jose Reyes before Spring Training camps open and no later than March 1, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter links). The three players all face possible suspensions for recent domestic violence incidents, as per the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy instituted by MLB and the MLBPA last August. The league’s rulings will be closely watched as possible precedent-setters under this new policy. As Rosenthal notes, the policy doesn’t set any minimum or maximum penalties, and it also doesn’t state whether a suspended player would still be eligible to play during Spring Training.
- Sixteen-year-old Cuban outfielder Lazaro Armenteros held a showcase for scouts on January 8th and “early returns…have been mixed at best,” ESPN.com’s Eric Longenhagen tweets. Several sources described Armenteros as “unable to play center field” and “too muscular & stiff,” though he did receive a very good grade of between 6-7 (based on the scouting grading scale of 2-8) on his running. Between 150-200 scouts were expected to attend his showcase, and one veteran scout even cited such names as Willie Mays and Bo Jackson to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale last month in terms of comparable power and speed, though the caveat that Armenteros was still quite “young and raw” in his ability. There has been quite a bit of speculation about the phenom known as “Lazarito,” as this was the first time MLB scouts had been able to see him in any sort of baseball activity since the summer of 2014. It isn’t yet known if Lazarito will be cleared to sign with a Major League team during this international signing period or the next (which begins on July 2).
- “Nobody wants to do a small trade. They only want to talk about big trades,” an executive tells ESPN’s Buster Olney (Twitter link). This observation about the current trade market is followed up by Olney in his latest subscription-only column, as he notes that teams are looking to acquire big-name players now since the next two free agent markets are pretty thin on elite talent. As such, Olney lists several big names that executives feel could be major trade targets this summer.
- The White Sox made the single biggest position upgrade of any team this offseason when they dealt for Todd Frazier, MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell writes. Using the Steamer projection system, third base for the White Sox projects to improve by 3.5 WAR from its sub-replacement total in 2015. While Frazier is a fine player, this may be more an indictment of Chicago’s long-time struggles at the hot corner. as Cassavell notes that White Sox third basemen have a cumulative -0.5 WAR over the last five seasons.