Welcome back to the Daily Bernie! It’s the best dance in the game, so let’s get rolling once more!
- With his closer Wade Davis on the disabled list, manager Ned Yost will have to decide which reliever he will add to the All-Star roster in his spot. According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, there are “rumblings” that Yost could give the spot to A’s closer and former Royal Ryan Madson. Madson has been solid this year for the A’s, pitching to a 2.83 ERA and picking up 16 saves. However, Slusser notes that Madson, if chosen, would pass the spot on to rookie Ryan Dull. Dull has been phenomenal, posting a 2.11 ERA and wiggling the A’s out of every jam they’ve asked him to, stranding all 36 runners he has inherited this season, setting a new MLB record. This would be a very respectable move for the veteran Madson, as Dull is certainly deserving of a spot.
- Also per Slusser, scouts from five clubs looking for pitching - the Blue Jays, Orioles, Cardinals, Marlins, and Royals - were in attendance on Wednesday to watch A’s pitcher Sonny Gray and Twins starter Ervin Santana, both trade candidates to varying degrees. Each pitched well, with Gray only giving up one run over six innings and Santana firing a complete game shutout. However, the biggest news is that according to Slusser some executives believe the A’s may in fact move Gray. This is definitely a major update, as previously the A’s had marked Gray as entirely unavailable. While none of the five clubs in attendance are a perfect match as far as trade partners go, if Gray is available, then teams will certainly be lining up to bid for him.
- Some injury updates from around the league: A’s righty Fernando Rodriguez has been shut down indefinitely with a rotator cuff strain; Mets right-hander Matt Harvey has hit the DL with very concerning right shoulder soreness, possibly due to thoracic outlet syndrome; Cubs catcher David Ross has been placed on the 7-day concussion DL after being struck in the mask with a foul ball on Tuesday; Mariners starter Taijuan Walker has been diagnosed with right foot tendinitis and has been placed on the disabled list.
Bernie’s Daily Deal: Rich Hill to the Kansas City Royals for Jake Junis, Jorge Bonifacio, and Bubba Starling
The Royals have been scouting Hill and could definitely use some help in their rotation, as two of their top veteran starters, Yordano Ventura and Edinson Volquez, have posted ERAs of 5.26 and 4.87 respectively. Kansas City will need to act fast if they want to defend their title, as they are currently seven and a half games behind the first place Cleveland Indians. The Royals certainly aren’t strangers to moving prospects for rentals, as they sent the A’s talented youngster Sean Manaea in exchange for two months of Ben Zobrist last July, and he was certainly a factor in their World Series victory.
Jorge Bonifacio and Bubba Starling are both high-upside wild cards. Bonifacio is having the better season of the two by far, with a .296/.362/.511 slash and 13 home runs at Triple-A. However, the right-handed hitter could really benefit from lowering his strikeouts, and if they increase much further they could be a cause for concern. The 23 year-old has a bit of speed, and profiles as an average corner outfielder. Starling, on the other side, has great tools and huge potential, but has been downright awful this year. A superb defender in the outfield, Bubba has never really figured it out at the plate throughout his entire minor league career. Almost 24, time is running out for Starling, so perhaps a change of scenery could help.
Jake Junis is one of my favorite underrated prospects. The righty has pitched very well in Double-A this season, posting a 3.19 ERA, 2.23 BB/9, and 9.14 K/9. He is enjoying a breakout season as far as strikeouts go, and despite receiving no real prospect attention, I see him as a very interesting arm with real potential. He has an above average fastball/curveball combination, a decent changeup, and strong command. Also of interest within the Royals system is catcher Chase Vallot. Only 19, he has hit very well at Single-A, despite an uncomfortably high 34.7% strikeout rate. He could become an average defender behind the plate, but if not, his bat should be good enough to give him value elsewhere. He still has plenty of time to develop, and the upside is enticing.
That’s all for today. The A’s, in what could possibly be Hill’s final start for the team, will take on the Houston Astros and the resurgent Doug Fister. See if you can catch me on TV at the game! I’ll be the one wearing A’s gear in an sea of orange obnoxiously cheering for the green and gold. Feel free to dump any links in the comments below. Until next time - lean on, A’s fans!