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Friday 23rd Feb 2018

Greetings all. I am just back from a somewhat isolated week near California's Russian River, playing rock'n roll but largely without any internet access. Although truth be told, during this vacation week each year, I kind of enjoy being isolated from the world--which even means baseball--for a few days.

So, all I can offer is an abbreviated Hotpage as it is indeed Sunday night and I am just home. And, a lot of goofy stuff happened while I was gone, like Johnny Damon, Yorvit Torrealba, and Derek Lee were all released. On the other hand the Orioles brought forth their top prospect, Manny Machado, for a look.

A first round pick in 2010, the now 20-year old Machado has pretty much held his own this year at AA Bowie, hitting .266-11-59, with 26 doubles and a pretty good 48 walks to 70 strikeouts over 402 at-bats this year. As a minor leaguer, Machado has .263-24-114 totals over 219 games, with 47 two-base hits and 24 steals. Machado has adjusted well with his first foray in the majors, hitting .417-1-2 over his first three games, and, well, he is as serious a prospect to grab and if nothing else stash for next year as there is. He should be a good one.

I think this might be the third time I have written about Danny Valencia this year, first early in the season before he failed miserably, then a few weeks ago when he was recalled by the Twins following Trevor Plouffe's injury. Well, now Valencia is in Boston, with a full time chance as Will Middlebrooks is now out for the season. With a .293-61-304 totals as a minor leaguer, Valencia has always been able to hit at the minor league level, although it appears this year is a mulligan (.255-7-39 i8n the minors; .198-2-17 in the majors) but I would keep an eye on him in Boston, where despite the team struggles, Valencia will have some actual bats around him. I know it is a man-love thing, but I am just saying, you know?

The Brewers are obviously checking out the options for 2013, and with aging and injured incumbent shortstop Alex Gonzalez out of the way for the year, and Cody Ransom likely not a future choice, watch Jean Segura, signed as a free agent by the Angels in 2007, then swapped ten days ago to the Brew-crew as part of the Zack Greinke swap. With .313-26-207 totals and 139 stolen bases to go with a pretty good .349 OBP (126 walks to 210 strikeouts) and kind of like Machado, the 22-year old is a pretty good gamble for the bulk of this year, and for sure down the line.

Houston, who grabbed high hope/hype-low delivery Fernando Martinez, formerly of the Mets, has advanced the potential power source to the Show. Still just 23, Martinez hit the majors first as a 20-year old after going .271-4-21 at Double-A Binghamton over 260 at-bats. At Oklahoma City this year Martinez has hit a pretty good .314-13-62 with 23 doubles this year, although the 24 walks to 85 strikeouts suggest Martinez will simply prove to be a lot closer to Steve Pearce than Yoenis Cespedes. Pass. Forever, I fear.

Maybe the most interesting call-up this week was Cleveland, who brought for pitcher Frank Herrmann, a free agent signing by the Tribe in 2005. The thing that makes Herrmann special to me is that he went to Harvard, and without trying to be snobby, what that tells me is the player is at least smart, and that is something that is generally a good thing in ballplayers.

And, while Herrmann does not have overwhelming numbers in the minors (430 strikeouts over 612.2 innings) in some ways, he can sniff out a win as his 35-25, 3.79 numbers suggest. Herrmann does have pretty good control with 161 walks and a 1.299 WHIP in the minors, along with 4-1, 4.62 totals over 101.1 minor league innings. Herrmann is a reliever, and 28-years old, but something tells me to keep an eye on him. Could be one of those late bloomers.

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