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Friday 15th Dec 2017

As we plow into May, a handful of more than interesting prospects were promoted during the week, and there were even a couple of veterans who deserve a look, starting with the ever goofy life of Steve Pearce.

The Baltimore first sacker, whose week was worthy of one of my "Life and Death in the Transactions" Mastersblog pieces, was released by the Orioles Sunday, claimed by the Jays (he declined) on Tuesday (which he declined) and then signed the same day back with the Orioles.

Over the week, Pearce, filling in for the obliquely injured Chris Davis, hit .313-0-2 since his return to Camden, and if you need to fill a corner slot in an AL-only format, he is as good a guy as you will get. True, Pearce has a big swing and is streaky, but he also put up a decent enough .261-4-13 line last year over 119 at-bats, and is hitting a similar .261 now after his past week's toiling. That will not hurt should you need to fill a slot.

I like the Brewers' Caleb Gindl, up to spell the outfield with Ryan Braun ailing, although I confess Gindl is puzzling. I say this about a player who has 335 minor league walks to 638 minor league punch-outs, good to help post a .366 OBP thanks to a .293 batting average. Yet last year, over 57 games, the former fifth-round selection in 2007 walked 20 times to 25 whiffs, posting a .340 OBP with a .242 average. Weird. Anyway, again, in a deep NL, Gindl offers some speed and will probably function as the #4 guy.

At our Passover Seder, Richard Kweller asked me why no one had claimed Sam Fuld off waivers after the Athletics ran out of slots and had to offer the outfielder up to the world. Well, a day later the Twins did indeed grab Fuld. A pretty good role player, he is hitting .286 with six swipes this year, and with Aaron Hicks hurt, Fuld will get to start pretty much every day till Hicks returns. The Twins might find themselves in the same pickle as the Athletics when Hicks and Josh Willingham and Oswaldo Arcia return, but for now he can give you some speed.

Sticking with the Twinkies, another speed source could well be shortstop Danny Santana, whom the team brought up to help with some middle infield production. Santana is largely of the Ben Revere/Jonathan Villar ilk of less than powerful hitters, but he makes decent enough contact with a .274 average over 2,138 minor league at-bats, having 432 strikeouts, but just 122 walks. Santana has 117 swipes in the Minors, but just a .318 OBP, so he could be a bit of a risk, but steals are still steals.

Grant Green is one of those puzzles: a guy who can totally rake in the Minors (.309-57-308 over 507 games) but with a .255 average over 151 at-bats, it makes the former first-rounder (in 2009) a bit more puzzling. Although Green did hit .280-1-16 last year with the Angels and with so many Halos injured, Green could see some serious playing time. Plus, he is one of those guys who once he gets the hitting hang, could be really good in a Michael Young kind of way.

And, while we are with the Angels, the hospital squad has also promoted first sacker C.J. Cron to help add a little pop. Cron, the Angels' first-round pick in 2011, out of the University of Utah, has an excellent .289-60-273 line over 325 minor league games, having advanced a level a season since signing. Before his call-up this week, Cron was hitting .319-6-26 over his first 28 games. Cron does like to swing the bat (.332 OBP) but like Green, on a generally aging Angels team, the first baseman could help pave the way for a new generation. He does make for an interesting pick in an AL-only, but I fear that swing might be outmatched at this point.

Speaking of first-rounders, the Jays promoted Marcus Stroman, a first-round selection of the Nationals in 2009, whom Washington swapped for Denard Span in 2012. Stroman is on the small side at 5'9", but he still manages to generate a lot of torque thus movement on his offerings. Stroman has 188 whiffs over 157.6 innings, with a 14-7, 3.03 ERA. Before his call-up, Stroman was 2-2, 1.69 at Buffalo, with a 1.088 WHIP (26.6 IP, 22 hits, seven walks, 36 whiffs, and no homers) and though he will start his Major League life in the pen, don't figure that will last too long.

Finally, I am not sure why there is something about Nate Karns, drafted by the Nationals in 2009, then traded last off-season to the Rays, for this is a guy with an 0-1, 7.50 mark over 12 big league innings, and a guy who is 2-2, 8.20 this year with six homers allowed over 26.3 innings. I guess it is because as a minor leaguer, he is 26-14, 3.11 over 330.3 innings, with 395 whiffs to 146 walks and 238 hits allowed (1.162 WHIP) and that includes those awful 2014 totals. He may not be ready for prime time yet, but Karns is surely worth watching.

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