Scouts from the Yankees, Orioles, Royals, Angels, Blue Jays and Cardinals were in Colorado watching White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana pitch on Saturday, according to Scott Merkin of MLB.com. Some of those teams likely don’t have the prospect capital to assemble a package for the on-the-block Quintana, so observing his outing may have been due diligence in certain cases (or those clubs could’ve been on hand to scout other players). Regardless, Quintana didn’t disappoint, striking out 10 over 5 1/3 innings, after which he indicated that his preference is to remain with the White Sox. At the same time, Quintana acknowledged that the decision is up to team brass. “Absolutely. I want to stay here,” he said.“But they know what’s the best for us, so I just try to do my job and that’s it.”
More from the American League:
- Royals right-handed pitching prospect Ashe Russell, 20, “is going through some personal things” and has taken a “mental break” from baseball, assistant general manager J.J. Picollo told Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star earlier this week. Russell’s agent, Steve Canter, addressed his client’s status Saturday, telling FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that the 2015 first-round pick “absolutely loves the game” and will return to it. “Ashe Russell hasn’t quit baseball,” said Canter. “He’s having trouble with his pitching mechanics. He’s made tons of progress but needed a change of scenery away from the complex in Surprise.”
- At the major league level, the Royals have gotten stunning production this season from soft-tossing left-hander Jason Vargas, who has managed an AL-best 2.62 ERA over 106 1/3 frames in his age-34 campaign. The first-time All-Star hadn’t eclipsed the 100-inning mark since 2014, as he underwent Tommy John surgery in August 2015 after accruing just 43 IP that year and only racked up 12 frames in his return last season. As Dodd details, it seems Vargas is actually benefiting from having suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. While Vargas was rehabbing, Royals pitching coach Dave Eiland noticed that his release point had dropped roughly 2 inches. That arm slot adjustment has helped the impending free agent’s change-up go from good to dominant, writes Dodd, who notes that FanGraphs ranks Vargas’ change as the most valuable in the league this year. “They don’t see it,” Eiland said of hitters. “The arm speed. The delivery. They can’t pick it up.”
- GM Erik Neader spoke with Mark Feinsand of MLB.com about the Rays’ 2017 success and suggested that the playoff contenders will attempt to upgrade around the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. “I think it’s important to never take situations where you’re in it competitively for granted,” stated Neander, whose 46-43 team is tied with Minnesota for the AL’s second wild-card spot. “The way the standings are right now, we’re definitely in the mix. You always have to balance; there’s always a premium to adding immediate contributions to your Major League team, and that typically comes at a cost to the future of your organization beyond the current year.” While it doesn’t seem as if a significant move is coming, the Rays will look to address their bullpen, reports Feinsand. Rays relievers rank toward the bottom of the majors in both ERA (22nd) and fWAR (18th), though Brad Boxberger’s recent return from injury should help their cause.