Mar 21, 2014; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Sanchez (41) throws a pitch in the first inning of the spring training exhibition game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Several of baseball’s top prospects headline the list of players sent to the minors this week despite some impressive spring numbers. The biggest name on the list is probably Chicago Cubs’ shortstop, Javier Baez who was sent to Triple-A Iowa. The 21-year-old Puerto Rican impressed by hitting .310 with five home runs in just 42 plate appearances. Despite those eye-popping numbers, he struck out 13 times without any walks. Baez has also taken some reps at second base and the Cubs figure that he will have to move off of shortstop because Starlin Castro has a long term deal to remain the incumbent.
The Toronto Blue Jays reassigned their top prospect, right-handed pitcher Aaron Sanchez to their minor league camp. Not yet on the 40-man roster, Sanchez is expected to start the season in Double-A New Hampshire but has been impressing in major league camp by throwing 12 1/3 innings without allowing a run, giving up nine hits and six walks while striking out eight facing opposition that Baseball Reference calculates as being slightly above the Triple-A level.
The Dodgers moved Joc Pederson and Zach Lee to the minors. We’ve had some coverage of both of these players here at Grading on the Curve with a “Prospects on the Verge” article on Pederson by Clinton Riddle and a First-hand Report by our very own Shaun Kernahan. This spring, the 21-year-old outfielder hasn’t hit much, with a .188 average but has walked seven times to 11 strikeouts. Lee gave up four runs (three unearned) in four and two-thirds innings with just two walks and five strikeouts.
In other news, Jake Odorizzi has been named the Tampa Bay Rays’ fifth starter after a strong spring that has seen him post a 3.75 ERA with six walks and eight strikeouts in 12 innings (almost the exactly same numbers as Aaron Sanchez). Odorizzi winning the starting role has resulted in Erik Bedard, the loser in the competition, to opt out of his contract.
Finally, in a trade that’s resonating a lot more in Canada than in the U.S., Cubs’ minor leaguer Trevor Gretzky (yes, the son of Wayne) was traded for Angels’ minor leaguer Matt Scioscia (yes, the son of Mike). You can check out a great Q&A that MiLB.com did with Gretzky the Younger.