After signing a one-year, $13MM contract with the Braves last week, left-hander Dallas Keuchel made his first minor league tuneup with their Single-A affiliate Monday. Unsurprisingly, the accomplished Keuchel looked too advanced for the level, throwing seven shutout innings and 77 pitches of one-hit, one-walk ball with nine strikeouts. The soft-tossing 31-year-old’s fastball sat in the high 80s and maxed out at 89, per Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Afterward, Keuchel suggested he could return to the majors following one more minor league start. Braves manager Brian Snitker said that “we’ll talk to [Keuchel] to see where he’s at” after he takes the mound one more time. Barring setbacks, though, Keuchel does seem likely to end up in Atlanta after that outing.
More from around the majors…
- Red Sox pitching prospect Darwinzon Hernandez will make his first career start Tuesday against the Rangers, Christopher Smith of MassLive.com relays. MLB.com ranks the southpaw as the Red Sox’s best pitching prospect and No. 3 overall farmhand. The 22-year-old Hernandez got his first taste of the majors earlier this season with 2 1/3 scoreless innings out of Boston’s bullpen. Hernandez has been a mixed bag in 2019 at the Double-A level, where he has averaged a hefty 13.17 strikeouts per nine but has offset that with an untenable walk rate (7.14 BB/9) and a 5.13 ERA in 40 1/3 frames.
- White Sox third baseman Yoan Moncada left the team’s game Monday with upper back tightness, James Fegan of The Athletic was among those to tweet. Moncada’s day-to-day, though he seems optimistic it’s not any kind of serious injury (via Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times). The 24-year-old has arguably been the White Sox’s foremost position player this season, having slashed .295/.348/.506 (128 wRC+) with 12 home runs and 2.1 fWAR in 274 plate appearances.
- With the Tigers out of contention and their top hitter, Nicholas Castellanos, not signed past this season, he has largely checked out from a leadership role, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press observes. However, that doesn’t mean Castellanos isn’t working hard. As Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic explains (subscription required), Castellanos has made a real effort to ameliorate his much-maligned defense. A former high school shortstop, Castellanos struggled at the outset of his big league career at third and has continued to have difficulty since moving to the corner outfield in 2017. Castellanos’ defense still isn’t a plus, as Stavenhagen notes, but the metrics have liked the 27-year-old’s work better during his platform season. So has manager Ron Gardenhire, who told Stavenhagen, “He’s on a mission to become a good outfielder, and I think he’s made a ton of improvement.”