It’s not quite a Cy Young Award, but Rays southpaw Blake Snell captured another unique honor by winning the MLB The Show Players League championship today. (MLB.com’s Mandy Bell, Adam Berry, Do-Hyoung Park and Juan Toribio have the details.) The tournament featured one player from each team competing in a round-robin regular season of games of MLB The Show, with the top performers advancing to the postseason. Snell dominated play in both the regular season and playoffs, including a three-game sweep of Lucas Giolito in the best-of-five World Series.
Snell’s victory clinched an extra donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast. Each of the 30 players represented a different local Boys & Girls Club, with every Club receiving charitable donations from the league, the players’ union, and Sony Interactive Entertainment. Full details on the tournament are available here.
Some more notes from around the non-virtual baseball world…
- There seems to be an increasing expectation that the Tigers will take Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson with the first overall pick in the amateur draft, according to both Lynn Henning of the Detroit News and Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. While nothing will be certain until Torkelson’s name is called, the slugger is considered the top prospect available by many pundits, and is perhaps something of a safer pick. Perfect Game national director Brian Sakowski tells Fenech that the lack of spring baseball created less opportunity for any prospect to showcase new skills or have a breakout performance, so while Vanderbilt’s Austin Martin may not necessarily be behind Torkelson on Detroit’s draft board, the lack of clarity about Martin’s future defensive position might inspire the Tigers to just go with Torkelson’s more obvious power potential. Henning is even more straight-forward in his assessment, writing “the Tigers are all but certain to take Torkelson,” as he would immediate become the headline bat in a Detroit farm system that is rich in quality young arms but short on blue chip hitting prospects.
- Yadier Molina raised some eyebrows by recently saying that he was open to play for another team besides the Cardinals when he reaches free agency, though Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch still feels Molina will ultimately remain with the Redbirds. “The Cardinals need Molina more than any other team needs him, and no other team would appreciate him like the Cardinals do,” Frederickson writes, and a reunion should eventually happen “as long as sanity and reason remain at the heart of the conversation.” That said, if another team could emerge as a potential suitor for the veteran catcher, Frederickson speculates the Angels could be a possibility, given Molina’s ties to Albert Pujols and Tony La Russa (who was hired in November as a special advisor to the Halos’ baseball operations department).
- Jefry Rodriguez started eight of his 10 games with the Indians last season, though Cleveland.com’s Joe Noga feels the right-hander could be a swingman option for the Tribe if the 2020 season gets underway. It was an open question as to whether or not Rodriguez would have made Cleveland’s Opening Day roster under normal circumstances, but his ability to work in multiple roles and pitch multiple innings could be helpful in a shortened season, given a compressed schedule and the likelihood that regular starters would be on a reduced workload. The 26-year-old Rodriguez came to Cleveland from Washington as part of the Yan Gomes trade in November 2018, and he posted a 4.63 ERA, 6.4 K/9, and 1.57 K/BB rate over 46 2/3 innings last season.