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Kevin Cron Jersey

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On May 24, the Arizona Diamondbacks called up Kevin Cron to the big-league club. At the time the 26-year-old led all minor leaguers with 21 home runs. He was called up to help an offense that needed a boost. On June 6, he hit his first big-league home run. Since then, he was sent down when Arizona needed another pitcher, then returned to provide pinch hitting duties and some occasional time at first base. He is also being utilized as the DH when the team is in an American League city.
Arrival to Arizona

Cron attended high school in Phoenix. He was originally drafted out of high school by the Seattle Mariners in the third round of the 2011 draft but decided to attend Texas Christian University instead. A catcher in high school, he was moved to first base at TCU. In 2014, after his junior season, the Diamondbacks selected him in the 14th round of the MLB draft. He signed with them on June 23, 2014.

Playing in the Minor Leagues

Cron made his professional debut with the Missoula Osprey of the Rookie-level Pioneer League, and quickly moved up to the Hillsboro Hops of the Class A-Short Season Northwest League. He finished 2014 with a combined .291 batting average along with 12 home runs and 45 RBIs.

He spent 2015 with the Visalia Rawhide of the Class A-Advanced California League in 2015 where he hit 27 home runs and had 97 RBIs. In 2016 he was with the AA Mobile BayBears. He added 88 RBIs and 26 home runs to his stats.

After the 2016 season, he played in front of the local Arizona fans when he was assigned to the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League. In 2017, Cron played for the AA Jackson Generals. He was named the league’s most valuable player after batting .283 with 25 home runs and 91 RBIs. Cron spent last year with the AAA Reno Aces, improving his batting average to .309 while hitting 22 home runs and adding 97 RBIs to his lifetime totals.
Improved his Power Swing Potential

We know that since he came out of college Cron has a ton of power. At 6-foot-5, and around 245 pounds, his strength is obvious. His swing power is above average.
However, while he hit all those home runs in his three full seasons, he also struck out more than 130 times each year as well, leading some to question if he could make enough contact to tap into his power at the highest level.

He worked persistently with each minor league hitting coach on swing-and-miss issues and on the lack of plate discipline, two things that previously held him back and a key indicator on why he played Double-A ball in 2017. The work has paid off. His pitch recognition has improved. That has led to increased walks helping to offset what will always be a big strikeout total.
Baseball Family

Kevin Cron’s life has revolved around baseball, the game and the clubhouse. His father, Chris Cron, was an MLB player with both the then California Angels and Chicago White Sox. Currently, he is the manager of the AAA Reno Aces. Kevin’s brother, C. J. Cron, plays for the Minnesota Twins and their cousin is former Diamondbacks catcher Chad Moeller. Being around pro baseball at a young age certainly goes along way to help learn the ways players handle themselves and what it takes to be a professional. Not only that, but hanging around the players and managers and hearing their stories and their game breakdowns, you learn the in-outs of the game that are often overlooked or missed by those without this experience. This, too, has helped Cron.

Future in MLB

Since being recalled by the Diamondbacks, he has been limited mostly to pinch-hit duty. Jake Lamb’s return from injury and Christian Walker have pushed Cron’s to a limited role. But, we could see him get more playing time in the second half of the season if the Diamondbacks decide to become sellers and trade Lamb. A lot of that will depend on the team’s playoff chances. Stay tuned.

Roberto Alomar Jersey

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For most of his career, the only time the word “second” appeared in the same sentence as Roberto Alomar was when someone was describing his position in the field.

At the plate, with the leather or in the final standings, Alomar was usually on top.

Born Feb. 5, 1968 in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Alomar had baseball in his blood. His father, Sandy Alomar Sr., was an All-Star second baseman in his 15-year major league career. Like his father, Roberto played second, threw right-handed and switch-hit. Alomar’s brother, Sandy, Jr., also made it to the big leagues as a catcher.

At 18, Roberto Alomar signed with the San Diego Padres and won the California League batting title in his second year in the minors with a .346 batting average. By 1988, he was with the parent club, making a splash with his defense and speed and finishing fifth in National League Rookie of the Year voting. He earned his first All-Star selection in 1990.

Following that season, Alomar was traded to Toronto – where his offense took off. Alomar raised his average over .300, helping the Blue Jays to back-to-back World Series titles in 1992-1993 while finishing in third in the AL batting title race in 1993. He hit a combined .354 in four postseason series in those two championship seasons.

“Everybody can see the skills on the field,” said teammate Dave Winfield, himself a Hall of Famer. “He’s acrobatic, flamboyant, he’s got his style.”

Following the 1995 season, Alomar signed with the Baltimore Orioles. Forming a Hall of Fame double-play combination with Cal Ripken Jr., helped his team get back to the playoffs – advancing to the ALCS in 1996 and 1997. Following the 1998 season, Alomar signed with the Cleveland Indians and played with his brother Sandy for the first time.

“He reminds me of some of the great players that I’ve played with, who seem like they write their own script,” said Davey Johnson, who managed Alomar with the Orioles. “Frank Robinson’s one, Henry Aaron was the other.”

It was in Cleveland that Alomar had two of his best seasons. In 1999, he hit .323 with 24 homers, 120 RBI and 37 stolen bases. He finished third in MVP voting and led the league in runs scored (138) and sacrifice flies (13). In 2001, he hit .336 with 20 homers, 100 RBI and 30 stolen bases.

Teamed with Omar Vizquel, the double-play combo won three consecutive Gold Gloves together. The Indians advanced to the postseason in both 1999 and 2001.

Alomar was traded to the Mets in 2002 before later stops with the White Sox and Diamondbacks. He retired after the 2004 season.

In 17 major league seasons, Alomar tallied 2,724 hits, 210 home runs, 1,134 RBI, a .300 batting average and .984 fielding percentage. He made 12 consecutive All-Star appearances.

Craig Counsell Jersey

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The Milwaukee Brewers will test you. Look at their roster, look at their pitching staff, and tell me how they’ve put together this September run. They were supposed to crumble like an MVP with a broken kneecap.

It’s easy to fall in love with this Brewers team right now. I maintain that it would be a supreme bummer to see a Brewer squad sans Christian Yelich reach the promised land, but dang it if they aren’t the most fun team in the league right now.
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Take a look at Craig Counsell’s speech after clinching a playoff berth, and tell me you don’t wish he were your boss/husband/dad:

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Counsell’s leadership skills are off the charts. He’s generous with credit, from the owners to the GM to the training staff. Listen to the cheer let out in that room when he mentions the trade deadline acquisitions. You’d think they traded for Robin Yount. No, sir, that cacophonous howling was for Drew Pomeranz, Ray Black, and Jordan Lyles.

Brent Suter got a shout out. Suter has pitched all of 17 ⅓ innings on the year – great innings, like, double-take great – but Counsell makes a special point to thank the training staff and, implicitly, laud Suter’s efforts in coming back from injury.

Counsell credits the player development staff, which, uh, heck yes, specifically for their work with Trent Grisham, the former top prospect tasked with filling the shoes of Christian Yelich. Grisham’s star had faded, but a return to a unique golf grip helped get his swing back on track to the tune of .250/.345/.450 across 165 plate appearances.

It’s not that the Brewers don’t have stars – they have stars. Yelich should probably win his second consecutive MVP Award. Ryan Braun might be the most celebrated superstar in franchise history by the time it’s all said and done. Keston Hiura will get some consideration for the Rookie of the Year award for his .300/.365/.576 effort.

But Counsell understands organizational relationship dynamics. His understanding of system coherence bleeds through that speech. He knows the big guns will get their due. He knows that confidence matters in this game, and as in all workplaces, he understands the importance of recognizing and appreciating the efforts of his employees. Those aren’t hollow words on Counsell’s part. He sees the big picture with this team.
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Brent Suter is not Clayton Kershaw. He’s not Max Scherzer. But he’s 4-0 with a 0.52 ERA at the most important time of the year. Part of what makes Kershaw and Scherzer so incredible is their ability to perform the way they do year-in and year-out. Counsell has created an environment of belief where players without those preternatural abilities can perform like superstars.

I don’t know how else to explain an 89-win team with a +9 run differential.

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As a diehard Arizona Diamondbacks fan, I try to make it a point every night to peruse their minor league box scores to get a glimpse at the future of the franchise.

One farmhand who has been jumping off the page all season is former Arizona Wildcats pitcher Kevin Ginkel, who currently plays for the Reno Aces, the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate.

Combined with his numbers at Double-A Jackson, where Ginkel began the 2019 season, the 25-year-old right-hander has recorded a 1.80 ERA in 35 innings this year, holding opposing hitters to a .157 average.

You think that’s impressive? How’s this: Ginkel has fanned 63 batters, giving him a ridiculous strikeout rate of 16.2 Ks per nine innings. That is roughly the same strikeout rate as Milwaukee Brewers reliever Josh Hader, who leads the MLB in Ks/9, is posting.

Even in the hitter’s paradise that is the Pacific Coast League, Ginkel is dominating. The Lakeside, Calif. native has logged 16.1 innings for the Aces, allowing just three earned runs with a whopping 36 strikeouts.

At one point, Ginkel had a four-game stretch in which he struck out the side in every outing. He recently became Reno’s closer and has recorded a save in four straight appearances.

“What helps me and what makes me successful is working the top and bottom of the strike zone,” he told our sister site AZ SnakePit. “I try to work north to south and that plays with my fastball and slider combination. Using that to my advantage and changing eye levels is critical in my game, so being able to execute your pitches is the whole entire thing.

“I know that Colorado, the ball flies and even at Chase Field the ball can fly some times, and other big league parks you can see on TV. It all comes down to pitch execution and watching the Zack Greinkes and Clayton Kershaws of the world, watching their start and watching them pitch efficiently down in the zone. When they need to elevate, they will and watching those guys work is a thing of beauty. I really appreciate watching those guys and seeing what makes them work. Pitch execution is critical in this league.”

A 22nd-round pick, Ginkel pitched for the Wildcats for one season—2016, the year UA reached the College World Series championship series—after transferring in from Southwestern College. He split time between the bullpen and the starting rotation, compiling a 2.80 ERA in 64.1 innings.

While those are good numbers, his strikeout rate at Arizona (6.3 Ks per nine) was nothing like it is in the minor leagues.

After struggling in A-ball in 2017, Ginkel’s second year in the minors, he made some mechanical changes and has been virtually unhittable ever since.

“I saw a pitching coach independently, away from the Diamondbacks, a couple seasons ago. I struggled in 2017 with injury and overall command, my velocity was down, and I needed to see someone,” he said. “I got in touch with a player and he told me about this coach and I went into his facility and we talked about what needs to work to get my velocity back up to where it once was and he got me on a lifting program, throwing program and I started to see some results right away.

“I knew I was always able to throw hard, in college I could throw mid 90s and so I was just trying to figure out how to get that back. Seeing him has helped evolve my game. I’ve always wanted to be aggressive, I just never knew the right way to do it. I found mechanically I’ve made some tweaks, incorporating my lower half more, which has helped my arm feel better day in and day out and overall command. Developing that and finding what works for me has made a huge adjustment in my game and I didn’t expect to be this successful quickly. Overall, I’m just happy where I’m at in my career and looking to keep progressing and moving forward and I’m excited for what lies ahead.”

It seems the only thing that can prevent Ginkel from making his MLB debut is the injury bug. He missed all of June with an arm injury, and said recently that he is still trying to get back to 100 percent.

But the Diamondbacks just dealt Zack Greinke, are quickly falling out of playoff contention, and their bullpen has been a disaster all season, so it seems like it’s only a matter of time before Ginkel gets a shot to shine on the big stage.

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Outfielder Steven Souza Jr., who remains on the rehab trail following major surgery on his left knee, will be making his first road trip of the season this week.

Souza is traveling with the Diamondbacks to Cincinnati, where he will be examined on Friday by Reds team physician Dr. Tim Kremchek, who performed Souza’s surgery in April.

While he is hoping Kremchek clears him to ramp up activities, Souza made it sound like a return to the field this season remains a long shot.

“I think we’ll get a better idea after this road trip of where we’re at,” Souza said. “I think ultimately I don’t want to risk something this year to hurt something for next year. I think that’s the risk/reward.”

Souza said the equation could change if the team remains alive into October, but he also didn’t want to get too far ahead of himself until he hears how Kremchek feels the recovery is going.

Souza slipped on home plate and tore up his knee in the Diamondbacks’ second-to-last exhibition game prior to Opening Day. Souza tore his ACL and LCL, partially tore his PCL and tore his posterior lateral capsule.

Given the severity of the injury Souza said things couldn’t be going better in rehab.

“We haven’t had any setbacks,” he said. “Everything has been amazing. We had an MRI at four months and, straight from Kremchek’s words, all the ligaments look pristine. The healing looks like it’s taking place. I’m not sore after doing everything; nothing really swells up. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome at this point.”

Souza has been doing “running drills,” which he said falls somewhere between jogging and sprinting. He hasn’t begun making cuts or turns. He also hasn’t started to swing the bat.

Assuming he doesn’t make it back this season, Souza said he is weighing his options when it comes to ways to get at-bats in the fall or winter, saying the instructional league as well as professional leagues in Latin America could be possibilities.

Short hops

Lovullo said right-hander Taijuan Walker will throw a bullpen session on Friday, his first since suffering a shoulder capsule injury in May as he neared a return from Tommy John surgery. Walker is hoping to return from the injured list at some point this month to at least log an inning in relief.

*Right-handers Luke Weaver and Yoshihisa Hirano also threw bullpen sessions on Wednesday, Lovullo said.

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The Arizona Diamondbacks are starting Triple-A Reno pitcher Alex Young on Thursday, manager Torey Lovullo announced after Tuesday’s loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The D-backs finalized the roster move before the game Thursday by selecting Young’s contract and optioning reliever Stefan Crichton to the Aces. Outfielder Steven Souza Jr. was transferred to the 60-day injured list to open room on the 40-man roster for Young.

“I remember a couple of his outings, I remember a couple things that he did in spring training,” Lovullo said Wednesday of Young. “I was impressed with the short looks that we got. And that’s what spring training’s all about: make a positive impression on the staff. You know you’re not going to make the team, you’re there just for a quick shot.”

Young had been expected to be called up by the D-backs, as 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station‘s John Gambadoro said Tuesday. As of Wednesday, he was still not on the roster, but he had joined the team.

“We wanted to get him here and just get him close to the guys, some new faces,” Lovullo said. “He hasn’t spent a lot of time around a lot of these guys. So just to use that as a comfort day just to get in here and get his feet on the ground.”

Young is a 25-year-old left-hander who has yet to make his MLB debut since being drafted in the second round by Arizona in 2015.

Arizona could use another arm as it has struggled to get quality starting pitching from their fifth spot in the rotation. Top pitching prospect Jon Duplantier has been hurt, as has Luke Weaver. Lovullo told Burns & Gambo on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Tuesday that Zack Godley will go back to the bullpen.

Young owns a 6.09 ERA in 20 appearances in Reno this year, eight of those appearances being starts. He has thrown 54.2 innings and has a 1.683 WHIP. In fairness to Young, the Aces play in a hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
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His ERA in eight starts this season is 5.79 in 32.2 innings pitched.

The Illinois native attended Texas Christian University and had a 1.29 ERA in his first season of professional baseball. In nine starts with Double-A Jackson last season, Young had an ERA of 3.91. It was 5.96 in Reno last year.

Crichton, a 27-year-old right-hander, has made eight appearances for Arizona this season and has a 4.50 ERA over 10 innings. This was his second stint of the season with the D-backs.

He was originally acquired from the Baltimore Orioles in April of 2018 for cash before being released in June of that year. He was then signed to a minor-league contract by Arizona and pitched in Triple-A to wrap up last season and begin 2019.

Danny Bautista Jersey

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Daniel Bautista Alcantara (born May 24, 1972 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) is a MLB baseball player who plays for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is more commonly known as Danny Bautista.

Bautista was signed by the Detroit Tigers in 1989. In 1993, he joined the major leagues with the Tigers. Although he hit for an average of .331 his first season as a Tiger, his power numbers there were not spectacular, and his batting average as a member of the Tigers decreased considerably over the next four seasons. In 1996, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves. He played three seasons there, but he also failed to produce good offensive numbers, his best batting abverage as a Brave being .250 in 1998.

He produced somewhat better offensive numbers as a member of the Florida Marlins in 1999, hitting for an average of .288. In 2000, he continued his improvement in offensive numbers, hitting double digits in home runs for the first, and so far only, time in his career (11), while hitting for an average of .317 after a midseason trade to the Diamondbacks. He ended that year hitting a combined season average of .283.

Bautista won a World Series championship ring when the Diamondbacks beat the New York Yankees in seven games at the 2001 World Series.

It wasn’t until 2004, however, that he became a household name and caught the eye of major sports-news shows (such as SportsCenter), after he embarked on a twenty one game hitting streak. This streak ended during a game in which the Diamondbacks beat the Philadelphia Phillies, six to four. Bautista went hitless in two official at-bats, but he was able to bat in two runs.

Bautista had, at the end of the 2003 season, 531 hits at the major league baseball level.

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A previous regime considered Arizona shortstop Nick Ahmed too stubborn to succeed at the plate. He still bristles at the memory. It is a good thing he never paid it much attention.

“I always have been convicted in knowing what I wanted to do,” Ahmed said last week. “It just took me longer that I would have liked to be able to do it.”

Ahmed, who won his first Gold Glove in 2018, is having his second consecutive career year on the offensive side. He has career highs with 17 homers and 73 RBIs with a month left in the season, besting the 16/70 RBIs he had a year ago. He ranks third among NL shortstops in RBIs, his OPS has risen from .701 to .768, and his 4.1 WAR trails only the Cubs’ Javier Baez at the position.

Health has had something to do with it. Ahmed is on pace to have more than 550 plate appearances for the second year in a row after being limited by season-ending injuries the previous two, a right hip impingement in 2016 and a fractured metacarpal in 2017.

More than anything, however, his success can be traced to a commitment to a hitting approach that through trial and error he came to embrace. If it works, don’t fix it.

“The old school way of teaching hitting was what I got taught from a really young age — swing down on the ball, use your hands, hit the ball on the ground. I got taught that my whole life, and I wasn’t very good,” Ahmed said.

“So when I got past that a little bit and started to do some of my own thing, it was unconventional to a certain degree. People didn’t like how it looked and how I practiced. They thought I was stubborn. I was like, ‘No, I know what is right, and I’m going to keep working at it.’ I guess in a way it is gratifying to work through that. The old jargon that is well out of date now. It has been a long process. It’s going to keep coming.”

Ahmed, 29, was acquired from Atlanta as part of the Justin Upton trade in 2013, and he always was considered among the best defensive shortstops at every level on his way through the Arizona system. His offensive production lagged, however, raising concerns in the organization about his ability to fit at the major league level despite Gold Glove-caliber defense.

“The nuts and bolts of it is trying to create a swing where I can load to see the ball, make a good decision, and get a swing that is on plane for as long as possible, creating margin for error,” Ahmed said.

“People can believe what they want, but there are cases, guys all around the league, who have turned themselves around. Guys who weren’t very good to guys who are playing very well. Nothing is fixed. Everything can grow and get better. That’s the way I like to think about things.”

Ahmed did not name names, but players such as Dodgers infielder Max Muncy and Boston’s J.D. Martinez are examples of hitters who have had success as their careers progressed.

The Diamondbacks have noticed. The front office had preliminary discussions with Ahmed’s camp last offseason about the viability of a contract extension, and momentum for an extension certainly will pick up this winter as Ahmed approaches his final year of arbitration eligibility.

“He has grown into a very, very good hitter, and that’s not stoping either. He continues to show no satisfaction with where he is at,” said Arizona manager Torey Lovullo, who also alluded to Ahmed’s leadership and clubhouse presence.

“Those decisions (about his future in Arizona) are obviously not in my area, but I can talk about what he means to this team and this organization and certainly say that he has shown us how important he is every single day.”

The trade of Zack Grienke left the D-Backs with plenty of money to spend moving forward — the principle reason for the trade — and a long-term extension for Ahmed appears both affordable and wise. He makes $3.66 million this season and would be due a bump to perhaps $6 million-$6.25 million in his final year of arbitration, if it comes to that.

Minnesota shortstop Jorge Polanco signed a five-year, $25.75 million contract this spring, a deal bought out his three arbitration years. Ahmed could expect any long-term deal he signs to have a greater average annual value since he is closer to free agency.

“I like it here. I like the group here. I like the players. I like the way this organization is run. I like the coaching staff,” Ahmed said.

“If (a long-term deal) is an option, we’ll explore it at the end of the year. Right how I’m focused on baseball.”

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In his first 8 games as interim manager after the firing of Andy Green, Rod Barajas led the Padres to a 1-7 record.

Not a great start to one’s managerial career.

However, a small sample does not a season make, and those eager to dismiss Barajas as a candidate for the team’s permanent manager position would be ill-advised to argue that those 8 games—at the end of a disappointing and long season—really represent anything more than a whimpering epilogue to a lost season.

For the Padres, those were a sorry 8 games. But there are far more important factors that support a Barajas offseason hire.

Because he fits the market; because he brings continuity to the org; because he would be the perfect mentor to a building-block player: these are the reasons why Rod Barajas should be San Diego’s next skipper.

He’s A Local(ish) Guy

Let’s be honest: as a guy who grew up in Santa Fe Springs, CA, Barajas was likely a Dodger fan growing up. We might forgive him for that, because, far more importantly, Barajas’ So Cal roots give him a chill demeanor that will fit well in this environment.

Here’s a quote from Barajas taken from a September 27th article from the Union-Tribune’s Kevin Acee, regarding his transition into the San Diego manager’s seat:

“I reached out to a couple people. Every single one of them said, ‘Be yourself.’ They said, ‘People love you because of how you go about things. Your players like you because you’re Rod Barajas, man.’ I thought about it for a couple seconds, and I’m like, ‘Dude, you’re right.’ From that point, the anxiety, the nervousness subsided.”

Did you hear that? The Padres current manager just said ‘Dude’.

That may seem like a small deal, but can you imagine Andy Green saying ‘Dude’? After years of Green’s steel-gazed intensity, that kind of bro is exactly who this city needs in the dugout.

Many are clamoring for the Padres to hire big name, experienced managers with World Series resumes and All-Star pedigrees. The club has already been connected with names of that shape, including Joe Maddon, Mike Scioscia, and Tim Wallach.

In other words, names with virtually zero connection to the Padres organization.

After hiring Bud Black and Andy Green for their last two managers—two guys with zero previous connection to the organization—the Padres would this time do well to bring in someone already within the fold.

Barajas has several years of experience as a manager with our Triple-A and Double-A clubs—meaning he has worked personally with Ty France, Travis Jankowski, and Eric Lauer. We can presume that he has shared grimy, interstate fast food with Hunter Renfroe. No doubt, late-night bus rides have seen the cherubic head of Francisco Mejia nod off to sleep on Rod’s meaty, dad-like shoulder. That’s the kind of personal history that will make players fight for him.

Mejia Will Need The Help

About Mejia—Barajas, as a former veteran, MLB catcher, should be the right guy to mentor him.

In 8 separate seasons of his career, Barajas posted Caught Stealing percentages above the league average. In 5 separate seasons, he posted DRS figures above league average. He wasn’t Brad Ausmus behind the dish, but he should have valuable tutelage to share with the Padres’ young catcher.

“Since the moment I was traded here, he was a big help,” Mejia said this week to Acee. “… Everyone here has respect for him. It’s his personality. It’s who he is. It’s how he talks to people. He’s always trying to help people.”

If the Padres are going to achieve their championship aspirations, Mejia is going to be a big part of things. He is likely the team’s starting catcher moving forward. After Machado and FTJ, he may very well be the team’s third-best hitter. They need him to improve on defense—why not put him under the instruction of a guy who carved out a solid career at that position, and with whom Mejia already feels a great deal of kinship?

For Barajas, it’s clear that respect is something he will not have to work from Day 1 to earn, as it often seemed with Andy Green. For Barajas, respect within this organization is a long time coming.

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Diamondbacks reliever Silvino Bracho will undergo Tommy John surgery, knocking him out for the entirety of the season, tweets the Athletic’s Zach Buchanan. Bracho left his last spring outing with elbow discomfort, and this represents the worst-case scenario.

Bracho will miss not only the entirety of the 2019 season, but potentially some of 2020 as well, MLB Trade Rumors reports. The injury comes just as Bracho seemed to cement himself as part of the Diamondbacks bullpen picture. He was out of options, which helped his cause, but it was a strong finish to the 2018 season that gave Bracho the inside track to a prominent role in the 2019 pen.
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What’s next for Brewers prospect Zack Brown?

On a personal level, the injury is nothing short of heartbreaking for Bracho. He won’t return to game action until close to his 28th birthday – and that’s if he is ready in the first half of next season. He appeared in 31 games with the big league club last year, and with a 93.5mph heater, he struck out 9.9 batters per nine innings against 3.5 BB/9. A 3.19 ERA stuck very closely to a 3.26 FIP, good for an impressive 137 ERA+.

If there’s any silver lining for Bracho, it’s the commonplace nature of Tommy John surgery in this era. There is no shortage of examples for whom he can look for inspiration as he rehabs. Still, it’s a blow.

From a team perspective, the injury doesn’t move the needle much for the Diamondbacks, though it does remove the safety net from under back-end righties Archie Bradley, Greg Holland and Yoshihisa Hirano. I hate to say this because of the heartbreak facing Bracho, but his absence does open up a development spot in the bullpen that will benefit the club long-term.

Yoan Lopez, 26, will likely get the first crack at Bracho’s roster spot. He has given up one run in three innings thus far this spring. Veteran lefty Marc Rzepczynski is a good option to soak up some innings in April and May if the Dbacks don’t want to tease their youngsters out into the bright lights of the big club before they’re ready.

Given the long-shot nature of the coming season, my personal hope is that Torey Lovullo and Mike Hazen will trust an unproven arm like Jimmie Sherfy over someone with more ML experience like Rzepczynski or Matt Andriese. The Diamondbacks expected Silvino Bracho to take on primary responsibilities in the middle innings (with T.J. McFarland), but instead they’ll need to call the first audible of the 2019 season.

Hopefully, Bracho can work his way back into the mix sometime during the 2020 season. For the time being, he’ll be placed on the 60-man injured list, opening a spot on the 40-man roster.