With the All-Star break in the rear-view, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:
1. The second half begins:
All 30 teams are set return to action today as MLB’s second half begins. With just over two weeks left until the trade deadline on August 1, it seems as though the majority of teams in the league are positioned as potential buyers with only a select few clear sellers. Of course, the standing of a number of teams could still change significantly in the run up to the trade deadline.
The Red Sox and Cubs are two such teams that have yet to set a clear course for the trade deadline, providing additional intrigue to today’s start to a three-game set between the clubs at Wrigley Field. Meanwhile, Anaheim welcomes the Astros to Angel Stadium as they look to make up ground and remain competitive in their last season with superstar Shohei Ohtani under team control. Perhaps the most impactful series set to begin today is the one between the Reds and the Brewers, who will play each other six times before August 1 in a pair of three-game sets that could separate one club from the other in a tight NL Central race.
2. A’s promotions expected:
The A’s are in the midst of an abysmal 2023 campaign that’s seen the club go just 25-67 while ownership works to relocate the team to Las Vegas. With so few reasons for fans in Oakland to get excited over the team this season, the club is providing one today as they are poised to call up both top prospect Tyler Soderstrom and infield prospect Zack Gelof before today’s home game against the Twins. While the club has an open spot on the 40-man roster, with neither Soderstrom or Gelof currently on the roster, they’ll need to make a corresponding move to clear out additional space.
Soderstrom is a consensus top-100 prospect who ranked as highly as 35th on Baseball America’s list entering the 2023 campaign. In 78 games at the Triple-A level between this season and 2022, Soderstrom has slashed .259/.304/.521 with 21 home runs in 342 plate appearances. While those numbers certainly appear impressive on the surface, they’re inflated by the heightened offensive environment of the Pacific Coast League to the point that they’re actually below league average. That’s not a concern with Gelof, who has impressed with a .304/.401/.529 slash line in 69 games this season that’s good for a 122 wRC+, though the 23 year old doesn’t have the excellent prospect pedigree of Soderstrom.
3. Marisnick signing to be made official:
The Dodgers reportedly have agreed to a major league deal with outfielder Jake Marisnick, which figures to be made official as soon as today. A 40-man roster move will be required to accommodate Marisnick when the deal becomes official. A career .228/.281/.385 hitter, Marisnick spent most of his early career with the Astros in Houston but has bounced between a variety of teams in recent years. Since the start of the 2020 campaign, Marisnick has suited up for the Mets, Cubs, Padres, Pirates, White Sox, and Tigers, with the Dodgers poised to be his seventh team in four seasons.
While Marisnick doesn’t provide much value at the plate, he sports a solid outfield glove and some power against left-handed hitters as evidenced by his career .181 ISO against southpaws. That should make Marisnick a strong complement to the club’s heavily left-handed outfield mix that currently includes David Peralta, James Outman, and Jason Heyward while Mookie Betts has spent increased time on the infield dirt.