Every team has regrets about giving up on a player who breaks out elsewhere, though in the Astros’ case, it’s a bit tougher to watch since Ramon Laureano is blossoming for a division rival, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle writes. Laureano (a 16th-round pick for the Astros in 2014) showed some flashes of potential over his first four pro seasons, though it wasn’t enough to make him part of Houston’s long-term plans, especially considering the organization’s outfield depth. “We loved him, it wasn’t a lack of affection for him, it was just that we ran out of a lot of opportunity for him,” manager A.J. Hinch said. Rather than protect Laureano in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft, the Astros instead dealt the outfielder to the Athletics in November 2017 for minor league righty Brandon Bailey.
After hitting well for Oakland’s Triple-A affiliate, Laureano got the call to the big leagues last August and hasn’t looked back. He has become the Athletics’ everyday center fielder thanks to both a potent bat (.284/.344/.469 over 215 career PA) and some excellent defense, including earning the nickname of “Laser Ramon” thanks to his powerful throwing arm. “I don’t think we quite had the defense rated as well as its played in the big leagues,” Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said. “That was an underassessment on our part….We had a feeling (Laureano) was going to be a pretty good big league player, but he’s gotten off to a faster start in his career than we thought. So, yeah, he’s one that I’d love to have back.”
Here’s more from the AL West…
- Rangers first baseman Ronald Guzman left today’s game due to hamstring tightness, and MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan tweets that Guzman will receive an MRI to determine the severity of the problem. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News looks at the ripple effect that a potential Guzman IL stint would have on the Texas roster, including whether or not it would lead to top prospect Willie Calhoun receiving a promotion. Calling up Calhoun, however, would require Joey Gallo to be moved to first base, a move that Rangers manager Chris Woodward said he was hesitant to make, back in Spring Training. If not Calhoun, the Rangers could promote Patrick Wisdom or Matt Davidson, though Texas would have to clear a 40-man roster spot for Davidson.
- Elbow problems have delayed Andrew Heaney’s start to the season, and the Angels southpaw was open with his frustration about his continued injury woes in a conversation with Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register and other reporters. “I would love to be standing here telling you guys about my first start of the season and not (expletive) talking about injuries. Trust me. I don’t want to talk to you guys about this (expletive),” Heaney said. “But I’m trying to be honest, as honest as I can be with what I’m willing to put forth….I would love to scream from the mountaintops everything that’s going on, but it’s not going to help anybody.” Tommy John surgery kept Heaney out of action for much of the 2016-17 seasons, and he also experienced elbow soreness last spring before receiving a cortisone shot that seemed to solve the problem. Heaney went on to post a 4.15 ERA over 180 innings for the Angels, apparently putting his injury issues behind him before more soreness resurfaced during this year’s Spring Training. Once Heaney begins to feel better, it will still be some time before he is able to ramp up in order to rejoin the Halos’ rotation.