Seven different players have started games at shortstop for the Blue Jays this season, with catcher Russell Martin being the latest (and most unusual) addition to that list on Saturday. With Troy Tulowitzki and Aledmys Diaz both on the DL, the Jays have been strapped for answers at short, Sportsnet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith writes, as the likes of Yangervis Solarte, Martin, or Gio Urshela aren’t really suited to the position, while young shortstops like Richard Urena, Gift Ngoepe, or Lourdes Gurriel Jr. aren’t yet MLB-caliber hitters. Solarte might end up being the best short-term answer, provided that Devon Travis can regain any of his old hitting form as a regular second baseman. As for Martin, he has already expressed a willingness to see more time around the infield as a way of helping alleviate Toronto’s infield depth problems, and it isn’t out of the question that he’ll again make an appearance at shortstop given the Jays’ lack at the position. “Really, we don’t have a true shortstop on the team right now. Russell’s got good range, he’s got a good arm. He’s got everything. He’s got good hands,” manager John Gibbons said.
Some more from around baseball…
- The Cardinals’ ability to develop from quality pitching from within has long been a strength, The Athletic’s Bernie Miklasz writes (subscription required), as St. Louis has struck gold time and time again with homegrown starters and relievers, some of whom were longshot draft picks. This ability to identify unconventional pitching talent has also extended to signings like Miles Mikolas, who is posting superb numbers after spending the last three seasons in Japan. “For years now, everyone in baseball has looked at the St. Louis organization and asked, ’How do they keep doing this?’ Their people see attributes that others don’t,” one rival executive told Miklasz. “They’re really good about projecting what a pitcher can become….They turn out better than many in our business envisioned. The Cardinals do a fantastic job. Better than anyone, really. It’s not like the Cardinals are sitting there every year, drafting in the top 10.”
- Once Hanley Ramirez passes through the DFA process, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune argues that the White Sox should sign the veteran slugger as a short-term boost for the DH spot and for the lineup as a whole. Essentially, it would be a “what’s the worst that could happen?” signing for the team, Sullivan admits, and it may not necessarily make sense for a team that is prioritizing young players. I’d also add that if Chicago did sign Ramirez, he could potentially be flipped at the deadline or in August if he heats up at the plate.
- Massachusetts high schooler Mike Vasil has announced that he is attending the University Of Virginia this fall and has thus withdrawn his name from draft consideration, MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo reports (Twitter link). Vasil provided a fuller explanation of his decision on his own Twitter feed. The right-hander was a well-regarded member of this year’s draft class, with high placements on pre-draft rankings lists from MLB.com (which had Vasil 25th) and Baseball America (37th). He had already committed to Virginia, though it’s very common for high schoolers to forego college and begin their pro careers after being drafted.