|Received On: 02/13/2017|
My first return of this post is from Scott Fletcher.
Scott Fletcher was originally drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the first round (sixth overall) of the 1979 secondary MLB player draft. The infielder went on to have a 15 year career playing for the Cubbies, Rangers, White Sox, Brewers, Red Sox and Tigers. After his playing career ended he became a coach and was a coach for the Atlanta Braves until 2014.
|Received On: 02/13/2017|
Next up is Orioles prospect Jon Keller.
Jon Keller was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 22nd round of the 2013 MLB Player Draft. The brother of top Pirates prospect Mitch Keller, Jon Keller's has his fair share of ups and downs as a reliever in the minors. Keller had a great 2014 that ended prematurely due to injury but he made up for lost time in 2015. In 2015 he was a top 30 Orioles prospect on MLB.com's ranking. Armed with a fastball, slider and change up, Keller may be up in Camden Yards soon.
|Received On: 02/15/2017|
Here are a couple of returns from Rockies southpaw, Jack Wynkoop.
Jack Wynkoop was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the sixth round of the 2015 MLB Player Draft. The lefty is armed with a fastball that sits in the high-80's, change up, slider and curveball. I've seen Wynkoop get a lot of praise and be touted as having potential due to how he doesn't rely on a fastball to just fly past hitters (which would be disastrous in a park like Coors anyway), but because he can pitch. His delivery is said to be solid and offers Wynkoop good results. His career in the minor leagues to this point shows as such. Whether or not he finally becomes the 2nd pitcher to ever work in Coors remains to be seen but, hey, anything's worth a shot for the Rockies.
|Received On: 02/27/2017|
Here's a return I gave up on a long time ago, from Barves prospect Alex Jackson.
Alex Jackson was originally drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the first round of the 2014 MLB Player Draft. Seen as a top tier high school catcher going into the draft, Jackson was taken sixth overall and moved to the outfield by the M's so his development would go a lot quicker. It did not work out as the M's had hoped. After M's GM Jack Zduriencik got fired and Jerry DiPoto came in, the new M's front office purveyed what they had and used Jackson as a trade chip rather than keep him. Jackson was traded to the Atlanta Braves last year in exchange for Rob Whalen and Max Povse. The Braves are planning on moving Jackson back to catcher to try and get some more value out of the 20 year old. He's still young enough to be able to turn into something. In the meantime, he's just another piece of depth for the 100% tanking Barves.
|Received On: 02/28/2017|
My first Spring Training return from this year came from Mets infielder Neil Walker.
Neil Walker, the son of former MLBer Tom Walker, was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first round of the 2004 MLB Player Draft. Drafted as a catcher, Walker was a beacon of hope for an incredibly bad Pirates org in the mid 2000's. Walker earned high praise as one of/the top Pirates prospect for most of the decade and finally made his MLB debut in 2009. In order to limit his chances of injury the Buccos moved Walker to second (although he wouldn't really settle in a position until a year later) and for the most part that has worked out nicely. Walker had some nice moments for the Pirates as a hometown favorite (Walker was born in Pittsburgh for the record) but ultimately his Pirates tenure ended (at least his only one to date) when he was traded for Jon Niese in late-2015. Walker's walk year ended up being marred by a few injuries, enough to have him take a qualifying offer and see what he could get another year. Supposedly the Mets are interested in signing him to a long term deal, but the last negotiation failed. We'll see how things play out there in the next 12 months I'm sure.
|Received On: 03/03/2017|
Next up is Keith Hessler.
Keith Hessler was originally drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 28th round of the 2010 MLB Player Draft but he didn't sign. Hessler was signed as free agent one year later after going undrafted in the 2011 MLB Player Draft. Hessler spent the next few years as a member of the D-Backs org and made his MLB debut in 2015. After which Hessler was largely yo-yo'd up and down the big leagues as the D-Backs tried putting together a bullpen. In 2016 Hessler was with the D-Backs for a month before he was cut in late April. The San Diego Padres picked up Hessler off of waivers and have also yo-yo'd Hessler up and down the big leages/triple-A as they scrambled to make their bullpen as well. The lefty presents a relief option (LOOGY) going forward for the Padres. According to Brooks Baseball Hessler is armed with a low 90's fastball and a slider. Can Hessler reinvent himself as a member of the Padres? We'll see.
|Received On: 03/04/2017|
My last return during this time frame was another spring training TTM return, this time from Tribe righty Shawn Armstrong.
Shawn Armstrong was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 18th round of the 2011 MLB Player Draft. Armstrong is a career reliever who will likely end up as a key bullpen arm for the Naps going forward. Armstrong is armed with a mid-to-high 90's fastball, a slider and a curveball. His long term role various from middle reliever to set-up man. Will Armstrong step up and be the one to bridge the gap between the middle relief and Andrew Miller? We'll know by 2019.
And those were my returns during the past month.
Big thanks to Mr. Fletcher, Keller, Wynkoop, Jackson, Walker, Hessler and Armstrong for the autographs.
And as always, thank you (the readers) for stopping by. Take care :).
2017 TTM Count: 16