Mining the News (11/20/19)

Today’s “news” is a combination of recent and old. Some of the information was reported over a month ago, but with little to nothing happening in the game, it still relevant.

Trea Turner had surgery on his index finger and should be 100% by the start of spring training.

Steven Souza Jr. is back to “running at 100%”.

I’ll be him adding late in drafts when possible for the chance of a 20/20 season.

Miguel Andújar will not start the season at third base for the Yankees.

Third base is Urshela’s job to lose going into the spring, but Andújar’s presence would provide an alternative. Andújar has been working out in Tampa, Fla., and while the club has not officially told him to prepare for possible duty at first base or in left field, he has tweaked his offseason workouts in order to increase that versatility.

He’s a tough player to roster with so many possible playing time outcomes.

Hunter Harvey could be the Orioles closer next season.

It certainly looks like it would be in relief, so I can definitely see Hunter Harvey eventually assuming that ninth-inning role. He has the mentality for it, and it’s not like there are a ton of other guys back there with better credentials. Manager Brandon Hyde said repeatedly how he wanted to give Harvey a taste of closing before the reliever was shut down last September. It never happened, in part because the Orioles didn’t have many late-inning leads when Harvey was active during that final month.

While the role isn’t set, he might be a nice pick for early draft-and-holds.

• Keep an eye on the Yankees first base job as Mike Ford might be an option.

Ford is in position to take advantage of the uncertainty surrounding both Bird and Voit, as Bird’s injury history makes him a non-tender candidate and Voit will be returning from core surgery that impacted his second half. Assuming another first-base candidate is not added and LeMahieu takes the majority of his reps at second base, Ford should get regular at-bats early in the spring as Voit is eased into action.

• The Royals are looking at platooning players at first base and center field.

In fact, club officials have talked internally about the possibility of a platoon system with Phillips and Bubba Starling in center field, and Ryan McBroom and Ryan O’Hearn at first base.

Yeah.

• The Mariners outfield playing time is a nightmare to figure out.

It’s definitely fun to ponder when and where the Mariners will play their promising prospects once they’re all ready for the big leagues, which isn’t that far away now as Lewis and Fraley have a chance to make the club this spring and Kelenic has a shot to at least be in the picture at some point next year as well.

The Mariners will tell you that one of the great things about this group is they’re all capable of playing center field, which speaks to their athleticism. The same is true of returning outfielders Mitch Haniger and Mallex Smith as well as Braden Bishop, and those players must be factored into the mix as well.

Trader Jerry better get busy.

Tommy Edman doesn’t really have a position going into 2020 but the role as a utility player could cut into DeJong’s playing time.

Figuring out Edman’s role for ‘20 should be on the Cardinals’ to-do list. If they reposition him as a utility player, one that plays a different position every day, he could give DeJong at least a few more days off, perhaps spurring some consistency.

Tucker Barnhart overhauled his swing midseason resulting in improved numbers.

Barnhart made a change to his hitting approach that allowed him to better read the ball and see it longer. That also enabled him to make his decisions a little later and be more selective with his swings.

In the second half, Barnhart batted .273 with an .815 OPS and six homers while cutting down on his strikeouts — 33 in 177 plate appearances.

“For me, I would consider it a swing overhaul in the middle of the season,” Barnhart said. “When I came back from the IL, it’s been a tale of two seasons for me, really, going from the way I used to hit to the way I hit now.”

Sleeper.

Justus Sheffield developed a decent third pitch, a change, last season.

Sheffield, who needs to continue developing his changeup as a third weapon in his arsenal, felt he made large strides with that in his final starts. Now he knows what to expect and will come to Spring Training in February with an expectation of picking up where he left off, starting every fifth day and seeing what he can do with the opportunity.

He threw it 112 times last season with a 15& SwStr% and 70% GB%. It’s a nice third offering after his sinker (57% GB%) and slider (24% SwStr%).





Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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Hey, I like this a lot.