Ten years ago today, the Indians traded All-Star pitcher Bartolo Colon to the Montreal Expos (I miss those guys) for Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore (Lee Stevens was also involved in the deal, but mostly to offset some of Colon's salary), each of whom was among Montreal's top prospects. The trade was a disaster for the Expos. They were vaguely in contention at the time (9 games out from the wildcard, so very vaguely), but while Colon pitched well for them for the next three months, it was nowhere near enough to push them into the playoffs. Meanwhile, Lee eventually became one of the best pitchers in baseball, Phillips became one of the best 2B in baseball, and Sizemore was one of the best players in baseball for four years, until injuries took a massive toll on him.
Tuesday evening the Midwest League All-Star Game took place out in whatever distant suburb the Kane County Cougars play in (don't blame me for not knowing which one, once you're outside of Cook County, it's all downstate as far as I'm concerned, even if it's a northern suburb). None of my friends were able to make the trip with me, but I'll be damned if I was going to miss the chance to see the Indians' top prospect, 18-year-old shortstop Francisco Lindor in action, so I made the 40 mile drive out to the country on my own, to see what I could see.
Adam Dunn had one of the worst seasons in baseball history in 2011, this year he's bounced back in a big way and is currently leading the American League in home runs. He's also on top in walks and strikeouts. Those three categories are together known as the "three true outcomes," they're the possible results of a plate appearance that don't involve any of the other players on the field (well, I guess the catcher is still involved, but you get the idea). Just how often does one player lead the league in all three of those categories?
Last night San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain pitched the 22nd
perfect game in Major League history, laying waste to the Houston Astros at AT&T Park. Cain recorded 14 strikeouts, tying Sandy Koufax's 1965 gem
for the most Ks in a perfect game. The Giants put up 10 runs last
night, easily breaking the previous record of 6 runs in a perfect game
(done by the Phillies in Jim Bunning's 1964 perfecto and by the Yankees during David Cone's 1999 game).
Cain was in on the offense too, becoming the first pitcher since Dennis
Martinez in 1991 to get a hit in his perfect game and the first pitcher
ever to score a run in his perfect game!
Yesterday afternoon, after much speculation over the last few months, Cuban outfielder and highly sought prospect Jorge Soler signed a deal with the Chicago Cubs. The contract specifics have not been officially announced, but reports have it at $30 million over nine years. Nine years is a major commitment in professional baseball, something few players ever receive, but Soler is viewed as a potential All-Star and $30 million is a lot less than it usually takes to acquire such talent in the free agent market. That said, $30 million is also a lot more than it usually takes to acquire a 20-year-old prospect, no matter his talent.
Bryce Harper is only 19 years old, making what he's accomplishing
this season very impressive. After all, not many players make it to the
big leagues in their teen years. You don't have to go back very far to
find the last teenage Major League player though, because the Angels'
Mike Trout did it last year. Trout is 20 now, which by my quick
calculations means he is a full decade older than Harper. Maybe that's
why no one is talking much about Trout, he's just another
twenty-something baseball player and there are hundreds and hundreds of
those around the big leagues. He's put together a great season so far
though, even better than Harper.