In Aaron Judge, the Yankees have a cornerstone right fielder. In Mookie Betts, the Red Sox have a cornerstone right fielder. The 6-foot-7, 272-pound Judge is radically different than the 5-9, 180-pound Betts, but the two American League All-Stars are among the majors’ premier players. To find out who’s the superior building block, Scott Lauber of ESPN.com polled two AL executives, three NL scouts and an AL scout. Each player ended up receiving three votes. One Judge supporter, an NL scout, said of the 25-year-old: “He has gotten shorter and quicker with his swing, more selective and disciplined. I understand that Dave Winfield has really helped him, as they are similarly tall and great athletes. Winfield talked to him about not striking out as much and thinking about RBIs, not home runs.” Meanwhile, an AL executive who prefers Betts, 24, reasoned: “Given the track record of Betts and positional value that likely tracks better during the aging curve, I’d lean in his direction slightly. There’s clearly more upside in Judge if he keeps up this pace and retains such elite value for a longer term of control. But if I had to take one tomorrow, I’d take Betts.”
More reading material from around the majors as you contemplate Judge versus Betts:
- The trade the Nationals and Athletics made on Sunday looks like a win-win, opines ESPN’s Keith Law (subscription required and recommended). In acquiring Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle, the Nationals managed to land a pair of quality relievers who possess excellent control without giving up any of their absolute best prospects. On the other hand, Law writes that the rebuilding A’s cleared salary, got back a capable big league reliever in Blake Treinen and a couple promising young players, both of whom were high selections in the 2016 draft. Nineteen-year-old Jesus Luzardo, the 35th choice, had the upside of a No. 2 starter before undergoing Tommy John surgery a summer ago, per Law, who notes that the right-hander seems to be bouncing back well from the procedure. Infielder Sheldon Neuse, the 58th pick, boasts “an above-average hit tool and excellent instincts on both sides of the ball,” and could have a future in the middle infield (likely second base), at third base or at a combination of those positions.
- Pittsburgh, which sits seven games back of NL Central-leading Milwaukee, will begin a four-game series with the Brewers on Monday. The outcome of that set could have a major impact on the Pirates’ deadline plans, general manager Neal Huntington acknowledged Sunday (via Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). “Obviously an 0-4 changes the dynamic pretty significantly,” said Huntington. “We go 4-0, it changes the dynamic in a much more positive direction.” While Huntington’s focused on his team’s performance, his own future is murky, as the club still hasn’t exercised his option for 2018. “They’ve expressed interest in having us continue,” he revealed. “I’ve expressed interest in continuing. I’m sure at the appropriate time, we’ll get down to business and put something together.”
- Major League Baseball’s deadline to sign draft picks this year was July 7, yet the Orioles didn’t ink 26th-rounder Cameron Bishop until Sunday, as Ken Rosenthal of MLB Network reported. While the Orioles submitted the deal (worth $605K) five minutes past the 5 p.m. ET deadline on the 7th, Bishop actually agreed to it on the 5th and passed a physical on the 6th, relays Rosenthal. With that in mind, the league determined that it would be unfair to punish the left-hander because of a delay by the O’s, so it signed off on the pact.