What was supposed to be Opening Day across baseball may as well have been called Optioning Day. As seen on this site, several teams cut down their rosters Thursday. Here are several that we haven’t covered yet:
- The Red Sox made their minor league signing of utilityman Yairo Munoz official, assigning him to Triple-A Pawtucket, and sent down pitchers Colten Brewer, Chris Mazza, Matt Hall and Jeffrey Springs. Brewer’s the most notable name among the pitchers. The 27-year-old ranked fifth among Red Sox relievers last season in innings (54 2/3). Brewer recorded a passable 4.12 ERA with 8.56 K/9 and a 50.3 percent groundball rate along the way, but he also walked 5.6 batters per nine.
- The Twins optioned right-handed reliever Sean Poppen and outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr., Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. Poppen had a rough 8 1/3-inning major league debut last year, but he logged solid production as a member of Triple-A Rochester, with which he pitched to a 3.84 ERA, struck out just over 10 hitters per nine and induced grounders at a 57 percent clip. The disciplined Wade impressively drew more walks than strikeouts at both the Triple-A and big league levels last season, though low batting averages and a lack of power limited his impact.
- The Astros optioned infielder Jack Mayfield, catcher Garrett Stubbs and lefty Blake Taylor to Triple-A Round Rock, according to Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. Mayfield and Stubbs posted subpar production last year during their MLB debuts, though they only combined for 104 plate appearances. Taylor, 24, spent most of 2019 as a member of the Mets’ Double-A affiliate, with whom he managed an excellent 1.85 ERA with 10.38 K/9, 2.77 BB/9 and a 50.5 percent GB rate in 39 innings. He joined the Astros in the package they received for outfielder Jake Marisnick over the winter.
- The Rangers sent down southpaw Taylor Hearn and outfielder Scott Heineman. The 25-year-old Hearn endured an injury-limited 2019, but he was seen as one of the Rangers’ top pitching prospects before then. While Heineman raked in Triple-A ball (.340/.412/.553 in 182 plate appearances), he slumped to a .213/.306/.373 line in 85 PA with the Rangers.
- The Cubs optioned hard-throwing reliever Dillon Maples to Triple-A Iowa, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Despite great strikeout totals, the 27-year-old righty has gotten knocked around to the tune of an 8.06 ERA in 22 1/3 frames as a Cub since 2017. Walks have been a major problem for Maples, who has doled out almost 8.5 free passes per nine in the bigs. He wasn’t much better in that department in Triple-A last year, when he walked more than 7.5 hitters per nine. Nevertheless, thanks in large part to a whopping 16.53 K/9 and a tremendous GB percentage of 62.1, Maples pitched to a respectable 3.77 ERA in 43 innings.