- The Padres continue to feature numerous possibilities and numerous questions in their outfield mix, as AJ Cassavell of MLB.com writes. The certainties? Per Cassavall, Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe can be written into the lineup for 2020 … on the short side of the platoon, at least. Needless to say, that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of stability. Wil Myers, Josh Naylor, Franchy Cordero, Travis Jankowski, and Nick Martini represent options, but only that. It’s possible to imagine any number of possible roster maneuvers over the course of the coming winter; it’s equally plausible that most or all of the existing slate of candidates will simply do battle in camp.
- Franchy Cordero has suffered another setback while rehabbing a quad injury, Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes. Padres manager Andy Green told Sanders and other media members that Cordero’s bothersome left leg “just doesn’t feel as explosive as the other leg,” and that Cordero has “been slowed down to hopefully ramp him up again in a couple days, but I think we know where the clock is on this season. It’s ticking. I don’t know if he or isn’t going to get back.” Elbow and quad problems have limited Cordero to only nine games in 2019, and since Green said that the club’s priority is to get Cordero healthy for the offseason, the outfielder likely won’t be brought back for a few token appearances if there’s any hint he might not be 100 percent.
- In more promising Padres health news, Green is hopeful that both Garrett Richards and Jacob Nix will be able to get onto a Major League mound before the 2019 campaign is out. Richards is working his way back from Tommy John surgery, while Nix has been working through a small UCL tear in an attempt to avoid his own TJ procedure.
- Padres southpaw Adrian Morejon will not make it back to the bigs in 2019, Dennis Lin of The Athletic tweets. That’s not to say that the widely hailed 20-year-old isn’t making progress. His injured shoulder is in good enough shape to allow Morejon to resume throwing. Though he struggled quite a bit in limited MLB action, Morejon has generally shown all the skills that made him a consensus top-100 leaguewide prospect. He’ll likely again factor into the San Diego plans next season, though he’ll do so without much of an innings base to work from. Morejon has not yet thrown more than 65 1/3 frames in a given campaign and fell shy of that mark this year.
The Padres announced prior to tonight’s game that they’ve selected the contract of infielder Seth Mejias-Brean from Triple-A El Paso. San Diego also recalled right-handers Eric Yardley and Gerardo Reyes.
It’ll be the first call to the big leagues for Mejias-Brean. The 28-year-old was originally selected by the Reds in the eighth round of the 2012 draft and also spent the 2017-18 seasons with the Mariners before inking a minor league pact with the San Diego organization this winter.
In 117 games with El Paso, Mejias-Brean turned in a strong .316/.371/.455 line with 11 home runs, 18 doubles, three triples and four stolen bases. Beyond those offensive contributions, he provided the Chihuahuas with some versatility, lining up at both shortstop and third base in a roughly even distribution. Brean hasn’t previously performed at such a lofty offensive level, but he’s a career .269/.334/.382 hitter through 1471 Triple-A plate appearances and also has ample express at first base, so he’ll give San Diego some fairly versatile bench depth in the season’s final month.
The Padres announced Monday that they’ve selected the contract of right-hander Ronald Bolanos from Double-A Amarillo. Southpaw Jose Castillo was moved to the 60-day injured list to open a spot on the 40-man roster.
Bolanos, who turned 23 just 10 days ago, was a fairly high-profile signing by the Padres, securing a bonus worth a bit more than $2MM when he left his native Cuba. Listed at 6’3″ and 220 pounds, Bolanos is generally regarded as one of the more promising arms in a loaded San Diego farm system. MLB.com tabs him 15th among Friars farmhands, and he’s listed at No. 17 on Baseball America’s midseason update and No. 39 over at Fangraphs.
Bolanos opened the season in Class-A Advanced and posted a 2.85 ERA through 10 starts before jumping to Double-A. His 4.23 ERA there isn’t as impressive, but Bolanos has upped his strikeout rate, improved his walk rate and maintained his strong 47.7 percent grounder rate since moving up to face more advanced competition. He’s still relatively young for the Double-A level and will face considerably more experienced pitching in making his big league debut.
The Padres have kept Bolanos in a starter’s role throughout the bulk of his minor league career, though scouting reports note that there’s a definite chance he ends up in the ’pen. He draws praise for a clean delivery and a fastball that sits 93 mph while occasionally touching 96-97mph. His slider, curveball and changeup are less polished offerings, and the development of those offerings will likely determine whether his future is in the San Diego rotation or bullpen. For now, he’ll get his first experience at the MLB level in hopes of convincing the club that he can be a part of the staff early in the 2020 campaign.
We’ll track the flurry of notable callups as roster expand on September 1.
- The Mets promoted left-hander Daniel Zamora and right-hander Tyler Bashlor from Triple-A, and also selected the contract of second baseman Sam Haggerty. (The club posted a fun video on its Twitter account of the players receiving the news.) A 24th-round pick for Cleveland in the 2015 draft, Haggerty came to the Mets last winter part of the trade that sent Kevin Plawecki to the Indians. Haggerty began the year at low-A ball and worked his way up to the Show after posting a .907 OPS over 49 plate appearances at the Triple-A level.
- The Diamondbacks announced a slew of callups today. Most notably, the club has selected the contract of outfielder Abraham Almonte and recalled right-hander Jon Duplantier. Almonte, 30, has logged time as a reserve each of the past six seasons, to the tune of a career .237/.294/.367 slash (79 wRC+). Duplantier, one of the club’s top pitching prospects, has battled injury issues in recent years but offers a high-upside bullpen piece for the stretch run.
- The Rays’ September additions include a number of notable players, with Nate Lowe headlining a group of five call-ups. He’ll be joined by Peter Fairbanks and Daniel Robertson, among others.
- The Braves announced they’ve recalled utilityman Johan Camargo. Camargo was optioned after the club signed Adeiny Hechavarría to replace the injured Dansby Swanson at shortstop. Swanson’s back now, and Hechavarría is still on hand, so it’ll be a tough climb for Camargo, who’s mired in a dreadful season. He’s only a year removed from a productive age-24 campaign, though.
- The Padres will select the contract of right-handed reliever David Bednar, reports Jon Heyman of the MLB Network (via Twitter). The 24 year-old gets a little lost among the Padres’ loaded system, but he boasts a pair of plus offerings in his fastball and curveball, opine Kiley McDaniel and Eric Lognenhagen of Fangraphs. Despite a less-than-stellar reputation for his command, Bednar has dazzled in the Texas League this season, pitching to a 2.95 ERA with elite strikeout (35.8%) and walk (7.5%) numbers.
- The Indians announced today they have selected the contracts of Ryan Flaherty and James Hoyt. They’ve also recalled Eric Haase. Flaherty’s solid Triple-A work this year has earned him his seventh consecutive big league season, where he’ll serve as infield depth for the club down José Ramírez. Hoyt logged 72.2 innings with the Astros from 2016-2018 and offers right-handed bullpen depth, while Haase, 26, is a power-hitting catcher with contact issues.
- The Yankees announced they have selected left-hander Tyler Lyons. The veteran reliever just signed a minor-league contract with the organization a few weeks ago and adds depth to a loaded bullpen. Right-hander David Hale was transferred to the 60-day injured list to clear 40-man space. The Bombers also recalled right-handers Ryan Dull and Chance Adams and outfielder Clint Frazier.
- The Cardinals have selected catcher Joe Hudson, per a team announcement. The 28 year-old got into eight games last year with the Angels. He’s had a tough season offensively with Triple-A Memphis, slashing .223/.293/.411. Outfielder Lane Thomas was transferred to the 60-day injured list with a season-ending wrist injury. Anne Rogers of MLB.com tweets that veteran backstop Matt Wieters is day-to-day with a calf strain, so the club elected to bring Hudson and Andrew Knizner aboard to bolster their catching depth.
- The Brewers announced they have selected the contract of first baseman Tyler Austin. A former Yankee, Twin and Giant, Austin has a strong minor-league track record and brings some right-handed power, but has mustered only a .220/.288/.451 line in 556 career MLB plate appearances thanks to untenable strikeout rates.
- Top Astros prospect Kyle Tucker isn’t up yet, but he will be shortly, tweets Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. Houston’s additional reinforcements will be announced tomorrow, Rome adds. The 22 year-old corner outfielder has again laid waste to the Triple-A Pacific Coast League and has nothing left to prove at the minor-league level, but opportunities have been few and far between in the Astros’ loaded lineup.
- Just-acquired first baseman Ryan McBroom will be selected to the Royals’ active roster shortly, tweets Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com. As Flanagan notes, the 27 year-old was likely to be added to the 40-man this offseason to protect him from the Rule V draft regardless, so there’s little harm in giving him his first taste of MLB action in the meantime. The former 15th-rounder has put up strong offensive numbers throughout his minor-league career, culminating in a .315/.402/.574 line in the Triple-A International League this season.
- San Diego Union-Tribune writer Kevin Acee says it “sounds like” the Padres are set to promote relief prospect Javy Guerra when rosters expand tomorrow (link). That a 23-year-old Double-A reliever would receive a September cup of coffee on a losing team is hardly an earth-shattering development–except for the circuitous route that Guerra has taken to this point. When the club acquired Guerra in 2015 as part of the Craig Kimbrel deal, he was seen as the second key piece in a four-player package headlined by outfielder Manuel Margot. Of course, Guerra was a shortstop at the time–and one highly touted enough to slot in immediately as San Diego’s third-ranked overall prospect following the deal. Several years of putrid offensive production followed before Guerra finally started pitching full-time this season. Early results are promising: his first taste High-A yielded a 3.71 ERA and 12.18 K/9, and Double-A results through 4.1 innings included a 2.08 ERA and 14.54 K/9 mark.
Mejia is said to be dealing with an oblique strain. The severity isn’t yet apparent, but it seems likely to put the remainder of his season in jeopardy. While the youngster is optimistic of a quick turnaround, as AJ Cassavell of MLB.com tweets, the club will surely exercise caution. With just a month left to go, Mejia would have to bounce back rather quickly in order to see any further action in 2019.
If this is the end of the line for the current campaign, it’ll still go down as a reasonably successful one. The 23-year-old has bounced back from a dreadful start to the year with a strong second half, leaving him with a solid .263/.315/.439 slash over 222 plate appearances. He has graded well enough behind the plate.
Clearly, there’s still room to improve for a player who once rated as one of the game’s top prospects. But it seems fair to say that things have been headed in the right direction. Just how the Friars will handle the catching position for 2020 isn’t yet clear. The club could continue to platoon Mejia and Austin Hedges, though the latter has endured a miserable offensive campaign. It’s also possible that Mejia could be handed the reigns to the starting job with a veteran backup brought in to supplement him.
- Garrett Richards returned to the mound after a setback slowed him for three weeks in his rehab from Tommy John surgery. The 31-year-old allowed four runs and walked four hitters in 1 2/3 innings of work for Class-A Advanced Lake Elsinore. Signed by the Padres to a two-year, $15.5MM deal in the offseason, Richards is eyeing a September return to the big league mound and told the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Jeff Sanders last night that he considered yesterday’s outing a positive step — even if the bottom-line results were ugly. Fewer than half of Richards’ 53 pitches were strikes, but the former Angels righty explained that he felt his delivery was consistent, his pitches moved well and that he could’ve kept pitching. Richards hit 95 mph in the first inning of the start, per Sanders, and he’ll join the Friars today to discuss the next steps in his journey back to a Major League mound. Signing Richards was always a move geared toward 2020, but the Padres would assuredly love to get a look at him this year as they begin to map out their plans for next year.
- The Padres are anticipating a heated second base competition next spring between Luis Urias and Ty France, per AJ Cassavell of MLB.com. Urias is the more hyped player of the duo, as he’s not far removed from a run as an elite prospect, but San Diego doesn’t want to simply hand him a starting job. The 22-year-old has recorded weak offensive totals since he debuted in the majors last season, having logged a .191/.302/.289 line through 202 trips to the plate, though Urias has been much more productive this month. He also laid waste to Triple-A pitching earlier this season. France, 25, has been even better this season at that level, where he has performed like one of the premier hitters in the minors with a jaw-dropping .399/.477/.770 line and 27 home runs over 348 PA. However, like Urias, France hasn’t done much at the big league level to this point.