Right-hander Hansel Robles has been a bright spot in what has become another disappointing season for the Angels, writes Maria Torres of the Los Angeles Times. Robles boasts a 1.25 ERA over his past 40 games — tops among AL pitchers with at least 40 innings in that time — and recently set down 27 consecutive hitters over one particularly dominant stretch. Considering that the Angels acquired him via waivers last year, Robles’ emergence as a dominant arm in the ’pen is a particularly positive development. The Mets designated Robles for assignment last June, with manager Mickey Callaway explaining at the time that the “adjustments” Robles needed to make to find consistency were “looking more and more difficult.” With the Halos, however, Robles has refocused on a split-changeup that the Mets pushed him away from. “The movement he gets on it, the shape that he gets on it, his ability to locate it pretty consistently,” pitching coach Doug White said to Torres, “guys have to be ready for 98 and then the changeup comes and it’s really hard to hit.”
Robles leads the Angels with 21 saves and has pitched to a 2.36 ERA with 9.0 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 0.66 HR/9 and a 38 percent ground-ball rate. He’ll get a nice raise on this year’s $1.4MM salary in arbitration over the winter and can is under team control through the 2021 season.
More from the division…
- Jeff Mathis has had a nightmarish season at the plate, hitting just .158/.209/.224, but the Rangers don’t appear to have any plans to move on from the veteran backstop, per Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Texas signed Mathis to a two-year deal due to his superlative defensive reputation, and manager Chris Woodward lauded the 36-year-old’s work behind the plate and his clubhouse presence. “I would definitely speak up if they were thinking about not bringing him back,” said Woodward. “I would speak against that because what he means to the clubhouse is a lot.” While there’s no quantifiable measure of Mathis’ impact on the clubhouse, the defensive metrics that have long suggested he’s an elite backstop have trended in the other direction. Mathis received negative pitch-framing grades for the first time in 2019, and his -1 Defensive Runs Saved is his only negative mark since 2006. His 17 percent caught-stealing rate is well below the 27 percent league average. At the plate, no player with 200-plus plate appearances has posted a wRC+ lower than Mathis (2). The Rangers owe him $3MM next season, but one could hardly fault them for contemplating a change even if Woodward were to protest.
- The Astros are sending slugger Colton Shaver to the Arizona Fall League to work as a catcher, Jake Kaplan of The Athletic reports (subscription required). Houston’s 39th-round pick in 2017, Shaver ascended to Double-A this season despite that lackluster draft status, and his power and walk rate were hard to overlook. While Shaver’s average suffered because of a 32 percent strikeout rate, he still hit .223/.357/.500 with 15 home runs in an extremely pitcher-friendly Texas League. Shaver has played primarily first base in the pros and was a frequent designated hitter in college at BYU, but he played catcher up until college and approached the Astros about working at the position this past spring. He caught 29 games in the minors this season and will attempt to continue the transition in the AFL. Houston’s system is thin on catching prospects, so a successful transition would be a notable boost for both Shaver and the Astros organization.
The Rangers need a catcher. The top guy available now is Evan Gattis, but I think the Rangers will wait till the offseason to get their catcher.
Gattis has ZERO value behind the plate.
Gattis the complete opposite of Shaver.
Shaver is horrible at catcher
For sentimental reasons he is a Dallas guy a product of Bishop Lynch HS back in the late 90’s, but I think his days as a productive player has long past him. If Astros thought he had anything – they would have resigned him to a one year contract.
Fire Jon Daniels
Jon should be fired just based on the thinking behind the Mathis signing alone.
Hope he has some interest in the Boston opening!
Mathis is already under contract and the rebuild isn’t fully done yet so a no harm in bringing back a veteran who could be a good influence on the young pitching.
Daniel Palka for Mathis straight up.
Mathis is out hitting him.
Dump Mathis ASAP. When Woodward complains, dump him too.
Bring in Don Mattingly.
Another great decision by the Mets
LOL, and now most fans and management want to run Thor out of town because he prefers to be caught by Nido!! Ramos is a horrible catcher and should be a DH in the AL….i continue to shake my head at this ownership and the kool aid drinking fans….
They did it for RA Dickey, you’d think they could just use Nido for 6 innings and let Ramos work the last 3-4 and boom happy SP
one stupid move after another by the Mets!! next year they will be relying on deGrom, Stroman and Matz after Wheeler walks away and they run Thor out of N.Y….4th place next year
Here’s where everyone suggests their team’s bad or unwanted catchers.
Mathis: shades of Billy Martin complaining in the early 1970’s
when the Rangers let Duke Sims go…..
I watched Colton Shaver catch Forrest Whitley for the AA Corpus Christi Hooks on Labor Day. He’s horrible. Fans were booing him. Whitley was tagged for 5 WPs in 2 innings when it was clearly PBs. Oddly, Shaver was the only catcher on the roster that day.
I know the guy has oodles of talent, but he is getting slammed in the higher divisions. Astros maybe should have peddled him off to some unsuspecting team and got something worthy in return.
Nah, just call him up and let Strom work his magic.
Robles has been a bright spot. He is one of the few Angels pitchers I would keep over the winter, if I was the king.
If Mathis is such a good clubhouse presence, sign him up as an assistant.
Why don’t the Rangers make him a coach?