Central Notes: Phillips, Verlander, Royals, Cardinals

Posted: June 5, 2017 in Uncategorized
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The Brewers announced that third baseman Travis Shaw has been placed on the paternity list, with center field prospect Brett Phillips getting his first MLB promotion to temporarily take Shaw’s roster spot. Phillips is just a year removed from being a consensus top 100 prospect throughout the game, but a rough 2016 campaign in which he batted just .229/.332/.397 caused his stock to drop a ways heading into the ’17 season. He’s done well to restore some of the hype this year, however, hitting a robust .297/.369/.589 with 11 homers, 10 doubles and four triples, albeit in the hitter-friendly environs of Colorado Springs. Phillips’ first big league look seems likely to be brief in nature, given that he’s replacing someone on paternity leave, but his strong play could force him into the Brewers’ plans later this summer. Those interested in getting to know a bit more about Phillips can check out his 2015 appearance on the MLBTR Podcast.

More from the Central divisions…

  • The Tigers announced today that an MRI on Justin Verlander came back clean, and he’ll be reevaluated as the week progresses. (Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press first reported that there was no structural damage revealed by the MRI.) Verlander exited his most recent start early due to discomfort in his groin, though it seems that he’s at least managed to stave off a serious injury. His next start, however, remains TBD according to the Tigers (though Fenech noted that he’s expected to make that outing). Verlander has had an up-and-down season, as his ERA presently rests at 4.63 through 70 innings of work. Outside of 2016 Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer, the Tigers have seen their rotation struggle. Verlander, Jordan Zimmermann, Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris have combined for a 5.18 ERA on the season, and of the four, Norris’ 4.47 ERA is the best mark.
  • Although Eric Skoglund’s second start with the Royals wasn’t pretty, he’ll still likely remain in the rotation for the time being, manager Ned Yost told reporters (link via Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star). Danny Duffy will likely remain sidelined through the All-Star break, and Dodd notes that Nate Karns’ recovery from an extensor strain is progressing rather slowly. “I need starters,” Yost said flatly. “I don’t have Karns. I don’t have Duffy. So I imagine [Skoglund’s] going to get another start. That’s not a fair judge right there (on Sunday).”
  • The Cardinals’ decision not to add an impact bat this offseason is biting the team, writes Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, but Ortiz also argues that at this point it’s too late to make a significant play for a bat. Adding the necessary caliber of player would be too costly to a farm system that has routinely produced quality big leaguers that help to build a sustainable contender in St. Louis. The fact that the NL Central is weaker than expected could still allow the Cards to sneak into the postseason via the Wild Card and hope that their pitching can carry them, Ortiz concludes, adding that the offense and improved defense should once again be offseason priorities.

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