Let’s check in on a few NL East clubs…
- In his two years in the majors, Braves superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. has divided his time between the corner outfield and center. He’s slated to open 2020 in right field – the OF position he has played the least during his career. But the Braves are bullish on Acuna in right – particularly because of his arm – and he’s more than happy to play there, Gabe Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. The 22-year-old told Burns that right’s “a position I feel more comfortable at.” That’s good news for Atlanta, which expects Acuna to line up there not just this year, but for the majority of his career, per Burns.
- As was reported in December, Nationals right-hander Erick Fedde has a fourth minor league option. Fedde found out that’s the case from his father, Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com writes. “Hey, I was reading an article online saying you have a fourth option,” Fedde’s father said in a text message. “Dad, don’t be dumb. Fourth options are not a thing,” Fedde replied. But they can be “a thing” if you’ve used your three options and totaled fewer than five professional seasons as a major or league leaguer. That applies to Fedde, a 2014 first-round pick who didn’t make his pro debut until June 2015 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Fedde called it “maybe an unfortunate bounce” that he’ll be optionable for another year, but he told Zuckerman he’s pleased he’ll at least get to stay in the Washington organization. While Fedde could still end up as part of the Nationals’ rotation sometime this season, he has struggled as a major leaguer so far. Despite a 51 percent groundball rate, the 26-year-old has put up a 5.39 ERA/5.32 FIP with 6.39 K/9 and 3.95 BB/99 in 143 2/3 innings.
- Mets right-handed pitching prospect Jordan Humphreys underwent Tommy John surgery in August 2017 and has since thrown just two innings, both at the rookie level last year. Still recovering from the procedure last summer, Humphreys considered calling it a career, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com relays. However, as DiComo details, Mets rehab pitching coordinator Jon Debus encouraged Humphreys to keep going. He listened, and after an encouraging showing in the Arizona Fall League, he’s now on the Mets’ 40-man roster and in big league camp. “I’m glad to be here. I’m finally healthy,” Humphreys, MLB.com’s 22nd-ranked Mets prospect, told DiComo.