Mining the News (12/14/20) by Jeff Zimmerman December 16, 2020 American League Athletics • A.J. Puk is expected to be part of the rotation. A.J. Puk is progressing well from surgery. Forst counts him among the A’s starting rotation members along with Montas, Luzardo, Bassitt and Manaea. — Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) December 9, 2020 The A’s are going to need to get their rotation 10 deep with that injury-prone group. And those replacements could get hurt and/or underperform so 10 might not be enough. • As of right now, Jake Diekman is the closer. Lefty Jake Diekman looks like A's current top internal option for closer, plus: David Forst on the free-agent market for relievers, Chapman and Puk rehab updates and more: https://t.co/UDnM3hG4fw — Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) December 9, 2020 There is a good chance the role will be relinquished before the season starts, but Diekman’s stats should be acceptable in draft-and-hold leagues when the starter options are undesirable. Indians • Nolan Jones may move to the outfield. The Indians have hinted that they prefer not to shift José Ramírez to second base, and Jones played some outfield during instructional camp in Arizona in October. Antonetti said the Indians will “continue to explore positional flexibility” for Jones, which is code for: As long as he can handle the outfield — and the team is confident he can, given his athleticism — that’s probably his most convenient and swiftest route to the majors. Whatever it takes for the organization’s top prospect to get to the majors Royals • The Royals are hoping a swing adjustment by Michael A. Taylor will pay off. “More recently I made some mechanical changes to my swing to try to make more contact and be more consistent,” Taylor said. “A lot of it is timing… before I had a leg kick. It gave me a lot of rhythm and a leg kick can bring some good things. But I felt like it made me a little streaky as far as timing. So getting rid of that is an effort to make more contact.” The image shows his batted ball profile and some of the changes seem legit like a higher Hard Hit Angle and Contact%. The problem was that he must have been topping the ball more and hence the low BABIP (.217). Even his expected batting average from BaseballSavant is only .231. Here is my stance: he’s changing his approach, but it’s unclear if it’s an improvement. Not someone to count on but a late-round dart throw. Yankees • Gio Urshela just had elbow surgery. Yankees third baseman Gio Urshela underwent surgery Friday to remove a bone chip from his right elbow, the team announced. He’ll need three months to recover. The only issue I see is that Urshela may take a while to get going since he’ll miss some ramp up time. Dodgers • Brusdar Graterol could see some high leverage situations with the Dodgers. I’m no soothsayer, nor an expert, but the consensus among the actual experts I consult is that Brusdar Graterol is the Dodgers’ most talented reliever. I’ll go with him, but it would help his chances if he figured out how to strike out some more batters. Sure. Even though he has a 99 mph fastball, he just has a 6.3 K/9 in 33 MLB innings. No reliever is elite with sub-Kyle Hendricks strikeout numbers. Giants • Matt Wisler signed with the Giants. Right-hander Matt Wisler passed his physical, that one-year $1.15 million deal is official. He can make an additional $500,000 in performance bonuses. — Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) December 9, 2020 The initial excitement has passed on the near million dollar deal, but how can someone not be giddy about someone who throws 83% sliders. While he had some walk issues (5.0 BB/9), the strikeout rate (12.4 K/9) and ERA (1.07) were elite. I’d not be surprised one bit he worked himself into some Saves. Phillies • Bailey Falter is a prospect on the rise. Bailey Falter was a slight surprise addition to the 40-man roster last month because he hasn’t pitched in an actual game since July 6, 2019. But the 2015 fifth-round pick had a strong showing during the instructional league scrimmages. The team’s analysts liked Falter’s profile. It helped that the lefty’s fastball sat 93-95 mph during the scrimmages, according to video the Phillies shared with other teams. Falter was previously viewed more as a lefty with deception, but the velocity jump made him more intriguing. Minor league news has come to shared video and velocity readings. At least it is something.