Which professional athletes and organizations are supporting those affected by Roe v. Wade decision?

As the effects of the overturning of Roe v. Wade ripple throughout the nation, notable professional athletes and teams speak out while many remain silent. 

There’s an intersection between social justice and sports not because people are changing, but because platforms are.

In 1969, Olympic gold medalist Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in the air for Black power. That iconic moment set a precedent at the Olympics — no political demonstrations are currently banned — and it changed the lives of these two athletes forever.

“From that moment, the two athletes would be vilified, threatened and, in some circles, celebrated,” wrote The History Channel’s Nadra Kareem Nittle in how this moment changed sports history.

A few years removed from Colin Kaepernick’s similar protest in the NFL, athletes and organizations use social media platforms to demonstrate their values. Athletes have recently spoken out against gun violence in America, the increased violence against Black and Asian American communities, laws targeting trans and queer youth, and a multitude of intertwined facets of American society that harm its citizens.

On June 24, 2022, the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, removing a 49-year protection for anyone in America who would become pregnant. Immediately, millions became vulnerable as they face a future where they could be prosecuted for murder for a miscarriage.

While many professional athletes and organizations in women’s sports quickly spoke out against the lacking legal protections for their athletes, many men’s professional sports teams were notably silent. For example, the Cleveland Cavaliers have tweeted about their newest draftees, the St. Louis Cardinals have tweeted injury updates, and the New York Jets shared snapshots from Tight End U. As of yet, none of these professional men’s sports teams, in addition to many others, have said anything about a decision that affects over half of the U.S. population and a considerable portion of sports fans.

That being said, there were athletes and teams in men’s professional sports who spoke in solidarity with those who are affected by the overturning of Roe v. Wade. These individuals and teams said something at a time when men’s sports remains largely silent on the issue, but as NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman said, “reproductive rights are human rights.”

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – MARCH 27: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers stands on the court prior to the start of an NBA game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center on March 27, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Here are the professional athletes in men’s sports speaking out against Roe v. Wade decision

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers forward

Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets point guard

Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies point guard

Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals quarterback

Josh Hart, Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard

Juan Thornhill, Kansas City Chiefs safety

Damien Harris, New England Patriots halfback 

Jakob Johnson, Las Vegas Raiders fullback 

Johnny Stanton, Cleveland Browns fullback

Mark Canha, New York Mets first baseman/outfielder

Jerry Blevins, former Oakland A’s/Washington Nationals/New York Mets/Atlanta Braves pitcher

Robert Griffin III, former NFL quarterback 

Jeff Allen, former Kansas City Chiefs/Houston Texans guard

Kyle Long, former Chicago Bears/Kansas City Chiefs guard

Athletes like Seattle Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs reshared tweets that criticized the Supreme Court decision.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – MAY 22: Megan Rapinoe #15 of OL Reign looks on during the first half against the Washington Spirit at Lumen Field on May 22, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Here are the professional athletes in women’s sports speaking out against Roe v. Wade decision

Megan Rapinoe, OL Reign and NWST winger

Lindsay Horan, Olympique Lyonnais Féminin forward/midfielder (loan from Portland Thorns FC)

Sue Bird, Seattle Storm point guard

Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm power forward

Brianna Turner, Phoenix Mercury power forward

Stefanie Dolson, New York Liberty center

Nikki Stanton, OL Reign midfielder

Madison Packer, Metropolitan Riveters forward 

Gabby Williams, Seattle Storm power forward

Muffet McGraw, former Notre Dame women’s basketball coach and professional athlete

Kaiya McCollough, former Washington Spirit Defender 

Athletes like Las Vegas Aces small forward A’ja Wilson and Phoenix Mercury point guard Skylar Diggins-Smith reshared tweets that criticized the Supreme Court decision.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – MAY 20: Sue Bird #10 of the Seattle Storm gathers with her teammates after beating Los Angeles Sparks 83-80 at Climate Pledge Arena on May 20, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Here are the professional women’s sports teams speaking out against Roe v. Wade decision



WNFC (Women’s National Football Conference)

Seattle Storm

OL Reign

Angel City FC

Washington Spirit

NJ/NY Gotham FC 

Portland Thorns FC

San Diego Wave FC

Racing Louisville FC

Here are the professional men’s sports teams speaking out against Roe v. Wade decision

Premier Lacrosse League 

Oakland Roots SC

San Diego Loyal

While women in sports are collectively reflecting on how this law targeting the reproductive rights of those who can become pregnant, there are men in sports who stand in solidarity with them. Sadly, there aren’t enough of them.

Published at Fri, 24 Jun 2022 22:03:24 +0000

Fuentes Suffers Multiple Fractures in Canterbury Fall

[unable to retrieve full-text content]In the fifth race at Canterbury Park June 23, jockey Ruben Fuentes was pitched to the ground when his mount Malintent broke down at the top of the lane. Fuentes suffered multiple fractures in his skull, vertebrae, and collarbone.
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UMC Fatal Knifing Leads to Arrest, Jailed Suspect Refuses to Go to Court

Posted on: June 24, 2022, 03:12h. 

Last updated on: June 24, 2022, 06:43h.

A man who allegedly fatally stabbed one patient and injured another Thursday at University Medical Center (UMC) is now in jail, according to a published Las Vegas news report. The suspect was also a UMC patient. All three had psychiatric diagnoses and were in a dedicated emergency room area for those with emotional illness.

University Medical Center entrance,
University Medical Center entrance, pictured above. The Las Vegas hospital was the site of a double stabbing on Thursday. A suspect was apprehended, reports said. (Image: Nevada Current)

The Las Vegas Review-Journal identified the suspect as Michael Dion Earl, 48. He was booked Thursday at Clark County Detention Center for murder, and assault and battery with a deadly weapon, the newspaper reported, citing jail records.

Earl allegedly refused to appear in Las Vegas court on Friday. He remained in the jail as of late Friday.

As a result of his defiance, Las Vegas Hearing Master Daniel Westmeyer said the suspect would be held without bail, the report said. He is scheduled to appear again in court on Tuesday.

The deceased patient, age 29, was in restraints when he was stabbed, police said. The second victim, age 24, was on a gurney when he was stabbed, but was able to flee to safety.

It is unknown how the suspect was able to possess a knife while in a dedicated psychiatric area in the hospital, KSNV, a local TV station, reported.

There was some kind of dispute between the suspect and first victim before the stabbing. Police did not release their identities. They also did not release the name of the suspect to the media.

Described as Tragedy

In a statement released on Thursday, UMC CEO Mason Van Houweling called the stabbings a “tragic incident.”

Our entire team feels the weight of this tragedy, and words cannot express the profound sympathy we feel for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one following this senseless act of violence,” he said.

 Michael Dion Earl
Michael Dion Earl, 48. pictured above. He allegedly fatally stabbed one patient at UMC and injured another. (LVMPD)

In many cases, acute care hospitals, like UMC, “are not the correct setting for behavioral health patients,” Van Houweling said. “Unfortunately, every hospital in Southern Nevada faces similar challenges, as we all care for a growing number of patients with acute mental health needs.”

He adds that the Southern Nevada region has an “urgent need” for additional mental health services. These include psychiatric emergency rooms, as well as crisis stabilization and outpatient mental health services.

Prior Incident

Last month, an unnamed man fell from outside of a railing on a pedestrian bridge in downtown Las Vegas on May 15. He later died at UMC from his injuries.

The man was standing by the railing on the bridge over Fremont Street that links the third level of Neonopolis and a parking garage. Neonopolis is a 250,0000-square-foot shopping mall and entertainment complex.

It appeared the man was suicidal, KLAS, a local TV station, reported. Initial reports did not say if the man ever told police he wanted to jump to Fremont Street below.

Officers tried to negotiate with the man so the incident could end safely and peacefully, according to the Review-Journal. They tried to get him to voluntarily come down from the bridge, KSNV reported. But the man fell later in the day.

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Published at Fri, 24 Jun 2022 22:12:31 +0000

Grizzlies trade De’Anthony Melton to 76ers, trade up for Jake LaRavia

During the 2022 NBA Draft, the Grizzlies traded De’Anthony Melton to the 76ers, and they also traded up with the Timberwolves to land Jake LaRavia. Of course, Memphis also received the No. 23 pick of the 2022 NBA Draft, David Roddy, and Danny Green after the 76ers acquired Melton. In 2018, 76ers president Daryl Morey drafted Melton while he was managing the Rockets. But he was then traded to the Suns.

Additionally, when the Grizzlies traded up for No. 19 pick Jake LaRavia, No. 22 pick Walker Kessler and the No. 29 pick were sent to the Timberwolves. LaRavia is 6’9″ and weighs 228 lbs. The 20-year-old guard played two seasons at Indiana State and one season at Wake Forest. In his junior year, LaRavia averaged 14.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game in 33 games played with Wake Forest.

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Furthermore, Jake LaRavia finished his junior season with a total of 55 steals, averaging 1.7 per game and ranking sixth in the ACC. In 2022, the forward was selected second-team All-ACC. On Jan. 22, in Wake Forest’s 98-76 win over North Carolina, he ended his performance with a career-high 31 points, 10 rebounds and 4.0 assists.

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De’Anthony Melton, Danny Green and David Roddy

As for the 76ers, De’Anthony Melton played 73 games with the Grizzlies in the 2021-22 regular season. He averaged 10.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. The guard shot 40.4% from the field as well. Plus, he finished with a total of 104 steals, ranking 13th overall in the NBA.

His steal percentage (3.0) also ranked second-best in the league. On Nov. 22, 2020, Melton signed a four-year, $35 million contract with Memphis. He is set to earn $9,062,500 for the 2022-23 season.

Meanwhile, the Grizzlies are in good hands with David Roddy. In three seasons at Colorado State, the 6’5″ guard averaged 15.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. His average field goal shooting percentage was 52.2%. Though, his junior year was statistically his best season in the NCAA. Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins will find a way to work the 21-year-old into their offensive schemes.

Danny Green could serve as a mentor in Memphis

Moreover, in a total of 31 games played last season, Roddy averaged 19.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He sank 57.1% of his shots from the field. The guard had the best Player Efficiency Rating (PER) in the MWC (30.3). With a rating of 121.9, he led his conference in offensive rating, too. Roddy went on to win Mountain West Player of the Year in 2022.

Danny Green was another notable addition. In the 2021-22 regular season, Green averaged 5.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.0 assist per game in 62 games played. On Aug. 7, 2021, he signed a two-year, $20 million contract with the 76ers. While his offensive performances have declined these past couple of seasons, he’s still a great defender. He averaged at least one block per game last season.

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Published at Fri, 24 Jun 2022 15:41:03 +0000

AJ Green agrees to a two-way contract with the Bucks

AJ Green has officially agreed to a two-way contract with the Milwaukee Bucks. Green is 6’4″ and weighs 190 lbs. In four years of playing at Northern Iowa in the NCAA, he averaged 17.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. Also, in a total of 31 games played last season, the senior averaged 18.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.

Not to mention, Green led the MVC in free throw shooting percentage (91%), made 3-pointers (93), total free throws made (140) and 3-point field goal attempts (240). During his freshman year, he averaged 15 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. Green went on to win MVC Freshman of the Year in 2019. Plus, he was selected third-team All-MVC.

Seth Tuttle was the last guard for Northern Iowa to win MVC Freshman of the Year back in 2012. So, this two-way contract will only benefit Milwaukee.

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Moreover, as a sophomore, he averaged 19.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Green led the MVC in points per game that season. In Northern Iowa’s 69-64 win over Bradley on Jan. 4, 2020, he scored a career-high 35 points. As a result, the guard won MVC Player of the Year in 2020. And he was named first-team All-MVC.

After the 2019-20 season, Green declared for the 2020 NBA Draft. Nonetheless, he thought it was in his own best interest to play another season with the Panthers. But the following season complicated his future plans. He had to undergo hip surgery after playing only three games in the 2020-21 season.

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AJ Green and the Bucks’ NBA Draft Picks in 2022

During his high school years, Green was a consensus four-star recruit. On the Recruiting Services Consensus Index (RSCI) top 100 list, he ranked 79th overall in 2018. As a senior at Cedar Falls High School, the young star averaged 26 points per game. Of course, he led the Tigers in scoring.

Furthermore, regarding the 2022 NBA Draft, the Bucks selected NBA G League Ignite player MarJon Beauchamp at pick No. 24. In the 2021-22 season, Beauchamp averaged 15.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game with the Ignite.

And Hugo Besson was selected 58th overall by the Pacers in yesterday’s draft, but his draft rights were then traded to the Bucks. While playing in the LNB Pro B, Besson led the league in scoring in 2021, and he was selected LNB Pro B All-Star Five. To add to these accomplishments, the guard won LNB Pro B Best Youngster as well.

The Bucks can bounce back next season

The Bucks may have had a down year last season, but the team finished 51-31 (.622) and ranked third overall in the Eastern Conference. It’s difficult for any team to repeat in the NBA. The defending champs had a target on their backs all season long. Needless to say, it was a strange season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some would say that Milwaukee plays the best when facing adversity. That’s not always the case.

One of the biggest factors that led to their defeat during the playoffs was Khris Middleton’s injury. The forward averaged 20 points per game in the regular season. Maybe next season they’ll be healthy for the playoffs. Middleton is projected to earn $37,948,276 for the 2022-23 season. He has a player option worth $40,396,552 for the 2023-24 season.

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Published at Fri, 24 Jun 2022 16:54:39 +0000

Salvador Perez Undergoes Thumb Surgery

5:25pm: Perez’s surgery was performed today, manager Mike Matheny tells reporters (Twitter link via Alec Lewis of The Athletic). Doctors expect he’ll need eight weeks to recover. Perez will also surely require a minor league rehab assignment before returning to the Royals. A return in late August or early September seems possible, based on the timeline provided by Matheny.

12:15pm: The Royals announced today that franchise catcher Salvador Pérez will undergo surgery to repair a ligament tear in his left thumb. He’s headed to the 10-day injured list, retroactive to June 21, but the club noted he’s expected back at some point this season. Outfielder Edward Olivares has been reinstated from the IL to take his spot on the active roster.

It’s the second time this season that Pérez heads to the IL because of problems with his left thumb. He lost 11 days in May with what the team called a thumb sprain but returned to play for a bit more than three weeks. The seven-time All-Star reaggravated the issue on Tuesday, and this time his recovery will require surgical repair. The team hasn’t specified a timetable beyond noting that Pérez should return in 2022, but he’ll certainly miss multiple weeks and it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s eventually transferred to the 60-day IL.

This has been a down year for Pérez even when he’s been healthy enough to take the field. He’s hitting .211/.254/.426 through 236 plate appearances, well shy of the .284/.323/.561 mark he posted between 2020-21. Pérez has popped 11 home runs and posted a top-ten slugging figure for a catcher, but his on-base percentage ranks among the bottom 20 hitters leaguewide.

Last March, Pérez signed a four-year contract extension that took effect this season. He’s making $18MM this year, followed by successive $20MM salaries in 2023-24 and a $22MM mark in 2025. The deal also contains at least a $2MM buyout on a 2026 club option. The 32-year-old remains an integral part of the franchise’s future, and there’s little reason for the club to rush him back. The Royals enter play Friday with a 25-43 record that has them at the bottom of the AL Central.

While Pérez is out, highly-regarded rookie MJ Melendez will assume the bulk of the catching time. The 23-year-old entered this season among Baseball America’s top 50 overall prospects after a breakout 2021 showing in the upper minors. Melendez led all minor leaguers with 41 longballs between Double-A and Triple-A. He reached the majors last month and is off to a nice start, hitting .234/.333/.421 with an excellent 13.1% walk rate and a manageable 22.6% strikeout percentage through his first 43 games.

Melendez has seen time in right field and at designated hitter while sharing time with Pérez, but he figures to move to his typical catching position regularly now. Longtime K.C. backup Cam Gallagher is on the active roster as the #2 option, while Sebastian Rivero is on optional assignment to Triple-A Omaha as upper level depth.

Published at Fri, 24 Jun 2022 22:25:06 +0000

Angels Designate Juan Lagares For Assignment

Angels outfielder Juan Lagares has been designated for assignment, per an announcement from the team. His spot on the active and 40-man rosters will go to fellow outfielder Monte Harrison, whose contract has been selected from Triple-A Salt Lake.

Selected to the big league roster late last month for his second stint with the Halos, Lagares has appeared in 20 games this year but managed only a .183/.210/.250 batting line. While he’s always been a defensive-minded outfielder, Lagares’ production at the plate has taken a major downturn over the past several seasons; dating back to the 2019 campaign, he carries a .222/.267/.341 output in 674 trips to the plate.

The Angels will have a week to trade Lagares, pass him through outright waivers or release him. He’d have the ability to reject an outright assignment to Salt Lake if he clears waivers.

Harrison, 26, once rated as one of the best outfield prospects in all of baseball. One of four players traded from Milwaukee to Miami in the lopsided Christian Yelich blockbuster, he made his MLB debut in 2020 but has yet to make much of an impact in the big leagues, where he’s batted .175/.230/.263 in a tiny sample of 62 plate appearances.

Harrison’s prospect sheen began to fade as he faced mounting strikeout concerns in the upper minors. He’s fanned in a whopping 35.1% of his plate appearances at the Triple-A level, including exactly 35% of his 200 trips to the plate this season. Harrison is only hitting .213/.305/.368 in Salt Lake this season, but he’s nevertheless gone 20-for-23 in stolen base attempts and will bring some speed, defense and a right-handed bat to the Angels’ bench. Scouting reports on Harrison, at his peak, praised his plus raw power, but he’s never topped 21 home runs in a single season.

Published at Fri, 24 Jun 2022 22:49:04 +0000

Big Hype Prospects: Cruz, Abrams, Volpe, Veen, Wiemer

This week, we investigate a mix of prospects at a wide range of levels.

Five Big Hype Prospects

Oneil Cruz, 23, SS, Pirates (MLB)
(AAA numbers) 247 PA, 9 HR, 11 SB, .232/.336/.422

When Tim Dierkes suggested I run this column, Cruz was his first example of the type of player he wanted to see covered. I’d previously written a fantasy column about “Peripheral Prospects” in this same format covering lesser-known guys like Ken Waldichuk and Brett Kerry. It’s only fitting to touch upon Cruz one more time. While his Triple-A numbers don’t jump off the page, he eventually settled in to the level. Since early-May, he’s batted .280/.374/.520 with an 11.4 percent walk rate and 17.7 percent strikeout rate. Reportedly, he was disappointed by his initial demotion, and it contributed to his April-long slump.

Since rejoining the Majors, Cruz is 4-for-18 with a stolen base. In four games, he’s already hit four balls over 100-mph, including two lasers over 110-mph. This is consistent with his track record. Cruz is built like a young Aaron Judge, and he hits the ball nearly as hard. His typical angle of contact is geared towards ground ball and line drive contact which could limit his home run production. When he does lift the ball, you can expect to see it soar. Anytime he’s in the lineup, Cruz is one of the most fascinating players in the league.

C.J. Abrams, 21, SS, Padres (MLB)
(AAA numbers) 151 PA, 7 HR, 10 SB, .314/.364/.507

Like Cruz, Abrams had a previous brief taste of the Majors and recently returned for four games. He’s 2-for-15 with one strikeout. Unlike Cruz, his exit velocities have been outright poor – just 81.8-mph. Abrams’ selection to the Padres roster followed on the heels of a particularly torrid multi-week stretch. He hit .398/.442/.519 over his last 95 Triple-A plate appearances. Included in the fun were four home runs, a 5.3 percent walk rate, and an 11.6 percent strikeout rate.

Such production indicated immediate readiness, especially for a prospect of Abrams’ caliber who scouts adore. If there’s a shortcoming in his profile, it’s that he doesn’t walk. It’s not necessarily an issue of discipline. He expands the zone in part because his speed has allowed him to still reach base in the minors. It’s possible he’ll learn to lay off marginal pitches in the Majors to improve his outcomes. If he does, he’ll flower into a high-quality leadoff hitter. There are still questions about his eventual defensive home – and not only because he has to share a field with Fernando Tatis Jr.

The worst-case scenario for Abrams is as an over-aggressive, contact-oriented slasher who plays all over the field. Between injuries and his incredible talent, we haven’t seen Abrams make many adjustments as a professional.

Anthony Volpe, 21, SS, Yankees (AA)
270 PA, 9 HR, 25 SB, .233/.326/.427

Over the offseason, I was virtually cornered by several Yankees fans who not-so-calmly explained that Volpe was the best prospect since Mike Trout. To the glee of everybody who loves to hate the Yankees, he performed particularly poorly until mid-May. Through May 17, he slashed a meager .170/.297/.330. Optimists cited four reasons he would rebound. First, the talent remained evident. He was working counts (13.8 percent walk rate). His .195 BABIP indicated poor luck. Lastly, he wasn’t the first prospect to wilt in chilly early-season weather.

As the calendar has heated up, so too has Volpe. He’s slashing .292/.356/.517 since May 18, a span of 132 plate appearances. He’s also putting more balls in play (6.8 percent walk rate, 15.9 percent strikeout rate) with a normal .319 BABIP. Volpe is on the shortlist for top prospect remaining in the minors. He’s also making a strong case for promotion to Triple-A – possibly by the end of this month.

Zac Veen, 20, OF, Rockies (A+)
258 PA, 8 HR, 25 SB, .259/.368/.440

The Rockies don’t exactly have an illustrious reputation with prospects. It’s nice to see Veen continue to perform to his draft pedigree. Scouting reports uniformly express concern about his hit tool playing against elite competition. While he possesses considerable raw power, his swing has qualities that some might describe as grooved. Such hitters can still succeed in the Majors. Billy Wagner once ridiculed Pat Burrell’s one-path swing (after allowing a home run). Joc Pederson might be a more relevant groovy comparison as a left-handed hitter with a pretty, loopy swing.

In any event, Veen is on track to spend some time in Double-A this season and debut either late in 2023 or early 2024. He works counts (14.3 percent walk rate) though he is also whiff prone (23.6 percent strikeout rate, 14.3 percent swinging-strike rate). While he’s 25-for-26 on the basepaths this season, it’s not clear if Veen will continue to run as he moves up the organizational ladder.

Joey Wiemer, 23, OF, Brewers (AA)
267 PA, 15 HR, 20 SB, .272/.348/.531

A divisive prospect, Wiemer is gaining steam as one of those guys who might succeed – perhaps even thrive – despite glaring flaws. He changed his mechanics heading into 2021 and unlocked massive in-game power. He launched 27 home runs in 472 plate appearances last season before tearing through the Arizona Fall League – one home run and a .467/.568/.667 triple-slash in 30 plate appearances.

There’s question if the hit tool will play in the Majors, but the power is evident enough to easily support a low-average approach. A worst-case scenario might look something like Adolis Garcia with plate discipline. Or Adam Duvall with discipline and an eagerness to run. He sells out for pull-side, fly-ball contact. He’s posted high BABIPs at every level, but this is a hitting profile that usually yields low BABIPs due to a cacophony of pulled grounders and easy fly outs. We should see him tested in Triple-A before long. Milwaukee might even need his help in the Majors late in the season if they don’t add outfield depth at the trade deadline.

Having watched him play several games, the energy he gives off evokes Bryce Harper.

Five More

Gunnar Henderson, Orioles (21): Last week’s lead BHP (that’s Big Hype Prospect), I noted Henderson would soon jump from around the 50th prospect to somewhere in the Top 10 as listmakers prepare their midseason updates. Since then, Baseball Prospectus’ Jarrett Seidler indicated Henderson might be the top prospect left in the minors. A highly-placed source at another major industry outlet confirmed Henderson is on a shortlist of about five players for their top prospect. As I understand it, this excludes all prospect-eligible players currently in the Majors like Michael Harris, Oneil Cruz, and C.J. Abrams.

Eury Perez, Marlins (19): Currently shredding Double-A hitters, Perez is perhaps the most-precocious pitching prospect since Julio Urias. While Urias’ development was eventually delayed by injuries, Perez remains both healthy and effective. Most of what I would say about Perez was gleaned from the Marlins system update posted to FanGraphs earlier today. So, I’ll let you read what Eric Longenhagen has to say directly.

Jeter Downs, Red Sox (23): Downs made his debut recently, struck out three times in four plate appearances, and was promptly optioned back to Triple-A. Once a fairly well-regarded prospect, he’s fallen off the map since joining the Red Sox in the Mookie Betts trade. He still possesses tantalizing power and speed along with decent plate discipline. Unfortunately, there’s a ton of swing-and-miss in the profile; the kind that’s readily exploitable by seasoned pitchers. The best-case scenario these days is a sort of Dylan Moore-like outcome.

Brett Baty, Mets (22): Baty was, for me, the most visibly impressive prospect in the Arizona Fall League. Like Volpe, he had a chilly start to his Double-A campaign – his second visit to the level. He currently has a 14-game hitting over which he’s tamed his strikeout rate and pulled his season-long batting line up to an above-average .282/.372/.450 performance. Like the most of the other Double-A bats we’ve profiled today, he’s seemingly on the cusp of a promotion.

Noelvi Marte, Mariners (20): Two weeks ago, I noted some in the scouting biz had indicated Marte’s early-career dominance might be linked to physical traits that won’t necessarily scale as he advances to higher levels. In plain English, the boy got big young. Last week, I issued something of a retraction because I’d misplaced my source. Since then, I rediscovered the initial note, and it comes from a highly reputable source with access to dozens of scouts. All of this is to say that Marte doesn’t seem to be the second-coming if you buy into this early-development narrative. Not everybody does! This has been the most contentious take to appear in BHP. I look forward to fomenting more discussion about Marte. For what it’s worth, his June-long slump has continued. He hit .214/.241/.250 over the last week and is at .191/.257/.324 for the month.

Published at Fri, 24 Jun 2022 23:50:08 +0000

Nate Pearson Diagnosed With Lat Strain

Blue Jays righty Nate Pearson, who’s been on a minor league rehab assignment after a lengthy bout with mononucleosis, exited his most recent rehab appearance due to an injury and has now been diagnosed with a lat strain, tweets Sportsnet’s Arash Madani. The Jays don’t have a timeline yet for when Pearson might be able to return.

It’s the latest setback in a career that has, to this point, been full of unfortunate injuries and health troubles for the ultra-talented Pearson. A former first-round pick who ranked as the sport’s top overall pitching prospect just a couple years ago, Pearson has dealt with elbow, groin and shoulder injuries since making his MLB debut in 2020.

Pearson enjoyed a scintillating MLB first start that year, firing five scoreless frames against the Nationals and regularly hitting triple digits with his vaunted heater. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been healthy enough to follow up with more outings along those lines. Pearson did have an impressive run with the Toronto bullpen down the stretch in 2021, pitching 12 2/3 innings of 2.84 ERA ball with a 20-to-7 K/BB ratio with a fastball that was averaging 98.5 mph in short relief.

If Pearson can get healthy in 2022 or at any point down the line, the 25-year-old clearly has the ability to serve as a key piece of the Toronto pitching staff, be it in the rotation or out of the bullpen. The timing of his current setback is unfortunate, as it comes just a week after the Blue Jays learned that they’ll be without Hyun Jin Ryu for the rest of the year (and much of next year) following Tommy John surgery. Pearson probably wouldn’t have been built up as a rotation option right off the bat, but he’d likely have returned as a multi-inning option out of the ’pen that could help to absorb some of Ryu’s lost innings — perhaps in a role similar to the one Ross Stripling had before stepping into Ryu’s rotation spot.

The other unfortunate aspect of Pearson’s injuries, at least from the team vantage point, is that he’s still racking up service time and working through his six years of club control, because the majority of the injuries he’s incurred have happened while he’s been on the big league roster. Pearson is currently on the Major League 60-day IL, and despite having appeared in just 17 big league games, he’s all but certain to finish out the 2022 season with more than two years of service time. The Blue Jays still control him for four years beyond the current campaign, but needless to say, this isn’t how they hoped the promising young righty’s first two years of service would play out.

In the short term, what figures to be another absence of some note figures to only further the Toronto front office’s search for pitching on the summer trade market. The Blue Jays’ bullpen currently ranks 24th in the Majors with a collective 4.38 ERA, and while the rotation is sound with Alek Manoah, Kevin Gausman, Jose Berrios, Stripling and Yusei Kikuchi, the loss of Ryu has already thinned out the depth a bit.

Published at Sat, 25 Jun 2022 02:35:22 +0000

Daniel Hudson Suffers Season-Ending ACL Injury

The Dodgers’ bullpen was dealt a massive blow Friday, as setup man Daniel Hudson was diagnosed with what is very likely a season-ending injury to the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, manager Dave Roberts announced to reporters after tonight’s game (Twitter link via Juan Toribio of Hudson will undergo an additional wave of testing to confirm the diagnosis, but the team believes he’s suffered a tear of the ligament. Hudson sustained the injury when he attempted to field a grounder but instead collapsed at the front of the mound.

Hudson’s loss is a gut-punch for a Dodgers club that will already be without right-hander Blake Treinen until after the All-Star break due to shoulder troubles. Hudson has stepped up and filled Treinen’s role as the team’s top setup option, pitching to a brilliant 2.22 ERA with a 30.9% strikeout rate against a 5.1% walk rate. He’s turned in a career-high 53.2% ground-ball rate as well, due in no small part to throwing his slider at a career-high 42.3% clip. A massive 80 percent of the sliders put into play against Hudson have been grounders so far this year.

The injury is extra difficult for Hudson due to the nature of his contract. The 35-year-old righty inked a one-year, $7MM contract with Los Angeles that contains a $6.5MM club option for the 2023 campaign. Based on how Hudson had pitched in the season’s first few months, that option looked like a lock to be picked up. Now, coming off a major knee injury, that seems considerably less likely. The contract also allowed Hudson to boost the value of that option based on his number of games finished, and with eight already under his belt, he had a decent chance of pumping up that option value a bit.

Even with Treinen out for much of the season, Dodgers relievers have still combined for a 3.40 ERA that ranks ninth in the Majors. They’ve been even better by measure of FIP, ranking third in the game at 3.25 entering play Friday. Nevertheless, with Hudson out of the picture, the Los Angeles bullpen is now primarily composed of inexperienced arms with minimal big league track records.

Righty Evan Phillips has been brilliant in 2022 (1.95 ERA in 27 2/3 innings) but entered the season with a 6.68 ERA in 67 career frames. It’s a similar story with right-hander Yency Almonte. The Dodgers have again received strong results from righty Phil Bickford and lefty Alex Vesia, but each is only his second full big league season. Brusdar Graterol is having a fine season but doesn’t miss bats at the level one might expect for someone with his velocity. Former Cy Young winner David Price has been solid in a relief role this year, and former division rival Reyes Moronta has shown promise as he looks to reestablish himself after a pair of injury-ruined seasons.

That group all leads to multi-time All-Star Craig Kimbrel, who hasn’t gotten the results he or the Dodgers hoped for at the time of the trade that saw the Dodgers and White Sox swap AJ Pollock for Kimbrel. The 34-year-old Kimbrel fired a scoreless inning tonight and boasts a 33.3% strikeout rate against a 10.4% walk rate in 23innings. However, after a strong start to the season, Kimbrel has given up runs in eight of his past 15 appearances. Tonight’s outing dropped his ERA to 4.30, and it should be pointed out that he’s currently plagued by a sky-high .404 average on balls in play (despite a very low 30.9% hard-hit rate). Kimbrel is probably due for some positive regression, but with him in something of a slump and the team’s top two setup options derailed by injury, the bullpen appears more questionable than expected.

Of course, this year’s Aug. 2 trade deadline is still more than five weeks away, so the Dodgers will have no shortage of time to address the issue, should they see fit. And with Walker Buehler, Andrew Heaney and Dustin May all currently on the injured list, the Dodgers could also be on the lookout for rotation reinforcements once the trade market heats up, too.

Published at Sat, 25 Jun 2022 03:06:01 +0000