Tag:Wandy Rodriguez
Posted on: July 17, 2011 3:02 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 8:50 am

Rockies need 'Herschel Walker' deal for Jimenez

Ubaldo Jimenez

By C. Trent Rosecrans

It seems Ubaldo Jimenez is this season's hot name that could go nowhere.

Last week it was the Reds who popped up as a possible landing spot for Jimenez, but now it seems more are involved. Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reports the Rockies have been in contact with the Yankees about Jimenez. Heyman said later on MLB Network that 12 teams have contacted the Rockies about JImenez, adding the Red Sox and Rays as possible bidders. Troy Renck of the Denver Post adds the Tigers, Rangers and Phillies as teams with interest in Jimenez.

It's easy to understand why teams would want Jimenez -- he's one of the top talents in the game, even if he's not putting up the dominant numbers he did a year ago when he was 15-1 with a  2.20 ERA in the first half. This season he's 5-8 with a 4.08 ERA, but most of his struggles have been at Coors Field, where his ERA more than three-and-a-half runs higher than it is on the road -- .5.89 at home and 2.28 on the road. His strikeout rate (8.1 per nine innings) is down slightly (8.7 last season), but so are his walks (3.5 walks per nine innings in 2011 and 3.7 in 2010).

And it's not just Jimenez's presence on the mound that makes him attractive, he's a relative bargain, signed through next season and he makes just $4.2 million in 2012 and has team options for both 2013 ($5.75 million) and 2014 ($8 million), but the 2014 option is voided if he's traded. Evan at $8 million, Jimenez is a bargain -- for comparison, Colorado's Aaron Cook is making $9.25 million this season and enters today's start with an 0-4 record and 5.82 ERA. Another team won't benefit from the 2014 option, but any team trading for him would get Jimenez for the next two seasons for less than $10 million.

As a comparison, perhaps one of the other top names on the trade market is Houston left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who is in the first year of a three-year, $34 million contract.

Jesus MonteroThe Rockies have spent their entire existence searching for an ace pitcher that's not bothered pitching at Coors Field, in Jimenez, they've finally got him. So, why would the Rockies trade him? That's a pretty good question. The short answer is that it doesn't cost anything to listen.

"We would have to be absolutely overwhelmed," Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd told the Denver Post. "It would have to be a Herschel Walker deal."

In 1989 the Dallas Cowboys sent Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings along with four draft picks in return for five players and eight draft picks. The Cowboys turned those draft picks into Emmitt Smith, Alvin Harper, Darren Woodson, Dixon Edwards and more draft picks, including the one that led to the first overall pick in 1991 (Russell Maryland). That trade laid the foundation for the Cowboys' three Super Bowl titles in the mid-90s.

In a baseball equivalent, you could call it a Mark Teixeira trade. In baseball, you can't trade draft picks, but prospects are the equivalent of NFL draft picks. In 2007, the Rangers sent Teixeira and Ron Mahay to Atlanta for Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. That's a pretty good haul -- and that's for a player that was scheduled to be a free agent. Jimenez could cost more because of the extra years of team control with a very team-friendly contract.

The market has changed in reaction to that trade, with fewer teams giving up that much for rentals, but Jimenez won't be a rental, so he could command a king's ransom.

What are the Rockies looking for? Mainly they want young pitching talent that can be under team control for a long time, but that's major league ready. They'd also want a top-notch position prospect, as well. The Yankees would likely need to give up catcher Jesus Montero (right) and a top pitching prospect such as Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances in addition to other prospects. Heyman said on MLB Network that the Rockies have asked for not just Montero, Banuelos and Betances, but also Ivan Nova. The Reds could spare first baseman Yonder Alonso, but would have to send some pitching such as Mike Leake and/or Travis Wood to the Rockies in addition to other players.

There have been reports that Jimenez is unhappy with being on the trading block, but he denies that's the case.

"I won't be bothered by trade rumors. I am mentally strong," Jimenez told Renck. "Don't forget that about me."

It would be foolish for someone like O'Dowd not to listen, but in the end, if the Rockies do trade him, it will have to be for a massive collection of talent.

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Posted on: July 17, 2011 12:07 pm
Edited on: July 17, 2011 7:04 pm

On Deck: Rookie looks to keep Indians on top


By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jeanmar GomezFILLING IN, HOLDING ON: The Indians called up right-hander Jeanmar Gomez to take the place of Mitch Talbot, who was put on the disabled list after the All-Star break. Gomez has made three starts for Cleveland this year in late April and early May, getting better each time out. He allowed five earned runs in his first start, three in his second and one in his last start, a 5 1/3 inning stint against the A's on May 5 in a no decision. At Triple-A Columbus, the 23-year-old Venezuelan is 9-3 with a 2.40 ERA. His opposite number, Mitch Atkins, has made starts in three levels of the minors and two starts in the big leagues, allowing one run in six innings in his first start, but six runs on seven hits in just 1 2/3 innings against the Red Sox on Sunday. Indians at Orioles, 1:35 p.m. ET (Watch live)

Kevin CorreiaLOOKING TO REBOUND: Pittsburgh starter Kevin Correia went to the All-Star Game last week, but he was coming off his worst performance of the season, allowing five runs in just 3 2/3 innings in a loss to the Cubs. In his last start, Astros starter Wandy Rodrgiez gave up five runs in 5 2/3 innings with five walks in a loss to the Marlins. Pittsburgh started Saturday in first place, only to lose to the Astros and see the Cardinals beat the Reds to regain the top spot in the NL Central. Pirates at Astros, 2:05 p.m. ET (Follow live)

Shaun MarcumHOME WRECKER: While the Brewers have struggled on the road to the tune of a 17-31 record away from Miller Park, Sunday's starter, Shaun Marcum, has been better away from Milwaukee. The right-hander has a 2.26 ERA on the road, but just a 3-2 record. At home his ERA is more than two runs higher at 4.35, but he has a 4-1 record thanks to more run support. The Rockies look to take three of four from Milwaukee behind Aaron Cook, who is 0-4 with a 5.82 ERA this season. Brewers at Rockies, 3:10 p.m. ET (Follow live)

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Posted on: July 5, 2011 2:01 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 10:36 am

Astros in limbo as trade deadline nears

By Evan Brunell

The Houston Astros are in a bit of a sticky situation.

Incoming owner Jim Crane has yet to officially assume control of the club, and until he does, cannot and will not be publicly involved in the team's maneuvers, as Fox Sports reports. That approval is not likely to come until the next owner's meetings, which take place Aug. 17-18.

“The owner definitely will have a voice at the deadline regardless of whether they have transferred [ownership] officially,” a rival executive said. “No way he won’t have a voice. [Outgoing owner Drayton] McLane will make sure of that. He will want the guy who is buying the club to have a voice.”

That leaves Houston in limbo for the trade deadline, as Crane rightly deserves to influence the team's future. Despite the ability to make his opinions known privately, Crane will be working with one hand tied behind his back. In addition to being unable to wield complete power over the trading deadline, Crane has to work with a GM that he did not hire. While Crane is widely expected to fire Ed Wade eventually, that won't come until he can both assume control and evaluate Wade's work. Wade is in a sensitive situation, as he has to pull off the best possible deal he can for his incoming owner to save his job.

McLane has resisted for years the call to rebuild, hoping to recapture the glory of winning the 2005 NL pennant. The 'Stros have been in need of a rebuild for a few years, so they're already behind the eight-ball and boast no true superstar on the team, several solid players and a farm system ranked No. 26 by Baseball America. That's a tall task that no one trading deadline can fix, but Wade and Crane can begin the process.

The Astros' best player, Hunter Pence, isn't expected to go anywhere. While his current stature as an important part of Houston's future can always change, the fact remains that he is currently the face of the franchise and is under control for two more seasons. It would not make sense for the incoming owner to kick off his tenure in the eyes of fans by trading Pence; at least not yet.

That leaves Wandy Rodriguez as the next-best player available, although Michael Bourn, Brett Myers, Jeff Keppinger and anyone not named Pence and starting pitchers Bud Norris and Jordan Lyles will be considered. Rodriguez has quietly become one of the best left-handed starters in the league and boasts a long-term deal through 2013 with a club option that converts to a player option upon trade. With a total package of $34 million due Rodriguez from the start of 2011, it's an affordable deal for a big impact that many teams can take on.

How big of an impact can Rodriguez have, though?

A pretty big one. As Ken Rosenthal points out, Rodriguez's 2.44 ERA since June 23, 2010 is the second lowest in the majors behind Felix Hernandez's 2.36. Trailing Rodriguez are Jered Weaver and Roy Halladay at 2.45 apiece, with Cole Hamels rounding out the top five at 2.49. What team wouldn't like to have an affordable left-hander who ranks among the best in the game?

You can bet the Yankees are interested. GM Brian Cashman likes to talk game about how he doesn't need to upgrade his rotation. At first blush, you can't blame him. CC Sabathia, All-Star selection or not, is an ace. A.J. Burnett has a big-money deal and big upside. Phil Hughes could be the ace of the Yankees in a couple years, so he gets a spot. Bartolo Colon, thanks to a stem-cell rejuvenated shoulder, is pitching the best he has in years while Freddy Garcia somehow is on pace for a career-low ERA. Heck, they're deep to the point that Ivan Nova was just demoted to Triple-A despite a 4.12 ERA in 16 starts.

But let's look at that list again. Sabathia is fine. Burnett runs hot or cold and posted a 5.26 ERA last season. Hughes just got past a baffling case of decreased velocity, and it's anyone's guess if he can last long-term, while Colon and Garcia were scrap-heap pickups for a reason. Also, and there's a reason that the Yankees chased Cliff Lee so hard and really want a second left-hander. That's crucial in a division stacked with imposing left-handed hitters, especially in Boston.

If the Yankees see a deal for Rodriguez, they will pounce. There are plenty of other suitors chasing starting pitching, though, starting with the Tigers but extending to virtually every other team in the majors. Houston won't have a problem moving Rodriguez, but may find the going a bit tougher with Brett Myers.

Myers joined the Astros last season after eight up-and-down years with Philadelphia. He broke out last season with a 3.14 ERA in 223 2/3 innings, but an increased allowance in home runs has mostly accounted for this year's backsliding to a 4.67 ERA. All told, Myers is who he is, which is a solid No. 3 capable of putting up an ERA in the 4.00-4.50 range. He does have value as he makes $7 million this season, $11 million the next and then the club can pick up a $10 million option if they so choose. He simply has less value because he's being paid commensurate value and it's a lot easier to find a No. 3 or 4 starter than it is a No. 1 or 2, which Rodriguez is.

Another player that could be on the move in Houston is Michael Bourn, who has a rising price tag, is a free agent after 2012 and boasts Scott Boras as his agent. Bourn's value is probably at its highest right now; he's been consistent the entire year and boasts a career-best .290/.354/.402 line at age 28, leading baseball with 35 stolen bases. Even better, he's only been caught four times, so he has serious value on the basepaths. Add in being perhaps the best defensive center fielder in the game and you have a knockout package for a team looking for the perfect leadoff man.

The Nationals are seeking a long-term center fielder and need a leadoff hitter in the worst way. Bourn fills both categories, and the specter of Boras as agent won't bother the Nats; the team has a close working relationship with Boras and often drafts or signs his players. Other teams that could use Bourn to varying degrees are the Athletics, Blue Jays, Braves, Brewers, Dodgers, Marlins (yeah, right), Padres and Rangers. Of that list, the teams that seem to have the best fit are the Jays, Braves and Brewers.

The Astros are in a challenging situation moving forward, as they clearly need to be rebuilt. Even an incoming owner with public relations issues to be concerned about has to see the situation in Houston for what it is. That makes it extremely important for Crane to communicate his intentions clearly, for Wade to not only see through Crane's wishes, but to extract a deal that solidifies both Houston's and his future.

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Posted on: July 1, 2011 9:48 am
Edited on: July 1, 2011 12:36 pm

Pepper: Royals gearing up for trades

With interleague play heading into the last week, is it still a good idea? What can you expect from the return of Rich Harden? Danny Knobler joins Adam Aizer with the latest.

By Evan Brunell

The Royals are preparing for trade season, but caution that they won't just start dealing players if it doesn't make sense.

"We won’t move forward in any direction that doesn’t fit long term with what we’re trying to do,” GM Dayton Moore said. "We’ll always look for ways to improve our baseball team and be open-minded. There are a lot of potentially creative ideas that could exist"

Moore is expected to listen to trade offers for veteran players such as Jeff Francouer, Bruce Chen and the like, plus bigger pieces like Joakim Soria and Billy Butler. While K.C. would charge a high price for Soria, scouts are intrigued by Billy Butler and believe the DH could play in the NL.

“Have you watched Prince Fielder or Ryan Howard play defense?” one scout asked. “I don’t think they’re any better [defensively] than Butler. The bigger concern is he’s not driving the ball like he did in the past.”

Scouts also believe that the most interest will likely come for Wilson Betemit, Melky Cabrera and Mike Aviles. Betemit is being squeezed out but has still put up productive numbers that any team could use in the infield, while Cabrera is hitting for significantly more power than in his forgettable 2010. Aviles, meanwhile, is at Triple-A after being optioned recently, but that may only serve to boost his value.

“Teams love those guys with options,” one scout said. “You stash them away until you need them, and Aviles is one of those guys who has shown he can hit. He’s the type of guy who can really help a good team.” (Kansas City Star)

ON THE HUNT: The Tigers are looking around for starting pitching, as behind Justin Verlander there hasn't been much production in the rotation. Phil Coke just lost his spot to Charlie Furbush, but that appears to be nothing more than a Band-Aid. The problem is that many teams are still in the postseason hunt, shrinking the available candidates. Detroit could use a left-handed starter, which plays well in their park. That could lead to the Royals' Bruce Chen or Astros' Wandy Rodriguez being moved to the Motor City. (Fox Sports)

WAITING: Chris Davis has torn apart Triple-A and is proving he has nothing left at that level to prove. Davis has 19 home runs and a .363 batting average in just 24 games. Both manager Ron Washington and GM Jon Daniels admit that Davis is ready for the majors, but the slugger will have to wait for a spot to open. (ESPN Dallas)

: The White Sox are headed to Wrigley Field for a weekend series and Adam Dunn has to be hoping a return to friendly grounds will spark his season. Dunn's 1.061 OPS is the highest mark he's registered in any stadium with at least 25 at-bats, an OPS he can only dream of given his current .619 showing. (Baseball-Reference's Dunn page)

HEAD-FIRST: Elvis Andrus will not be diving head-first into bases for some time after spraining the wrist last week on such a slide. "I have to," Andrus said. "I don't want to be in between on that play again. For now I feel comfortable if I go feet first. I used to do it a lot last year every time so it won't be that hard. I just mentally focus and try to protect my wrist for a little while and then when I feel comfortable I will [slide head first] for sure." (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

DREW BOOED: J.D. Drew was roundly booed Thursday when he entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, marking the first time he played in the Philadelphia series. He would go on to knock a single in the ninth, which he mentioned was his "only source of revenge." Drew also noted he is not booed when out of uniform and doesn't think he is recognized. In the same story, several Red Sox react to the news of Mike Cameron's designation for assignment. (Boston Herald)

THANKS FOR THE HELP: Marcos Mateo shut out the Giants for five innings Thursday, but Chicago needs fresh arms thanks to a makeup game Monday, doubleheader Tuesday and 13-inning gamer Thursday. While Mateo may deserve to stay in the bigs, he could be jettisoned to make room for a fresh arm, which could end up being Kerry Wood, who is ready to come off the DL. (Chicago Tribune)

REHAB SET: Dustin McGowan hasn't pitched in a big-league game since 2008 and already saw his rehab bid set back with forearm stiffness. But now, McGowan will graduate from extended spring training to Class A. He will have 30 days before he must be activated from the DL or put him back on. (MLB.com)

FIRST PITCH: Carlos Zambrano left Thursday's game with lower back soreness in the second, but threw out the first pitch for the National Pro Fastpitch Bandits' softball game later that night. Outrage or no big deal? You decide. (@CSNBoyle)

BEER DROPPING: A combination of both the Cubs and White Sox playing poorly along with less than optimal weather has seen what Rich Harris, a vendor for both teams, says is a 30 percent less load. That's a lot of money for beer vendors, who get paid on commission, to miss out on.  "The best thing baseball-wise that could happen from here on out on both sides of town is win, win, win," Harris said. "That would make everyone happy -- the teams, the fans and us." (Chicago Tribune)

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Posted on: June 27, 2011 7:09 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2011 7:22 pm

Rockies looking at starting pitching market


By Evan Brunell

The Rockies were supposed to have a deep rotation with Ubaldo Jimenez, Jorge De La Rosa and Jhoulys Chacin all playing integral roles with Jason Hammel and Aaron Cook serving as capable back-of-the-rotation starters.

Except Jimenez has been touch-and-go, De La Rosa was lost to Tommy John surgery earlier in the season and despite Hammel's strong 4.13 ERA, his peripherals have taken a step back. That's required Cook and Juan Nicasio to play more prominent roles and to no one's surprise, they aren't quite delivering. That's led Colorado to start poking around the starting pitching market, the Denver Post reports.

If Cook and Nicasio can turn their seasons around, Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd could dial back his pursuit of a starter, but that's unlikely. The problem facing Colorado is that the market is thin. There are many teams still in the hunt for a postseason spot which narrows the pool of candidates. That jacks up the prices of pitchers who could be traded.

The Post names Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers as two pitchers the Astros will discuss. Affecting Houston's flexibility is the fact that new owner Jim Crane is not expected to take over the team by the trade deadline. That's a tough job for GM Ed Wade. The Astros need to rebuild, but can the club really engineer a rebuilding effort before Crane officially takes over?

Carlos Zambrano remains perpetually available, but the most attractive pitcher on the market has to be Anibal Sanchez. While the 27-year-old isn't available just yet, the thinking is that he could be traded if the Marlins continue sinking into the abyss. The right-hander makes $3.7 million and will enter his final year of arbitration after the season. No wonder he's available from the tightfisted Marlins club.

If Sanchez does indeed become available, he'll likely be the best pitcher available, more so than Rodriguez. While shoulder issues have plagued Sanchez over his career, he's also posted a 2.62 ERA over 16 starts and made a full 32 starts last season with a 3.55 ERA. His health may be a risk, but he's got 300 1/3 innings over the last year and a half that speaks to his recent durability. The chance to acquire a frontline ace is rare, and Sanchez is pitching like one this season. There won't be any shortage of contenders, and the Yankees especially would likely love to get their hands on the ex-Red Sox prospect.

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Posted on: June 24, 2011 4:59 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 5:07 pm

On Deck: Battling for division superiority

On Deck

By Evan Brunell

ZonaIndiansWORST TO FIRST: The Diamondbacks and Indians were supposed to be two of the worst teams in baseball. Instead, both top the division. Arizona is just a half-game ahead of the Giants, who will battle -- surprise -- the Indians tonight. (Carlos Carrasco v. Jonathan Sanchez.) As the Indians attempt to do 'Zona a favor, the D-backs will do the same, taking on the Tigers, who are one game behind Cleveland in the AL Central. It's a battle of lefties, with Phil Coke taking on Zach Duke. Diamondbacks vs. Tigers, 7:05 p.m. ET (Watch live) and Indians at Giants, 10:10 p.m. ET (Watch live)

NatsNEW BEGINNING: Washington will take its first step forward in the post-Riggleman era when the Nationals take on the White Sox behind Jordan Zimmerman, one of Washington's most promising young arms. He'll be guided by interim manager John McLaren, who may or may not remain interim skipper after the series. What will be interesting to see is how the team reacts to the resignation of Riggleman -- having won 11 of its last 12 and pushing to one game over .500, can the Nats keep it up? Chicago's Edwin Jackson hopes not. Nationals vs. White Sox, 8:10 p.m. ET (Watch live)

ShieldsRodriguezBEST MATCHUP: James Shields (2.40 ERA, 2.91 xFIP) and Wandy Rodriguez (2.88, 3.48) will duel in a matchup of aces. Shields, who already has five complete games on the season including two in his last two games, will battle lefty Rodriguez, who is also hot in his own right with 12 scoreless innings over his last two outings after coming off the disabled list. Rodriguez will have the luxury of Hunter Pence in the lineup, as he's missed the last five games. Both teams have scored a similar amount of runs on the season, but what's done Houston in is the performance of the pitching staff. Rays vs. Astros, 8:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

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Posted on: June 18, 2011 5:17 pm
Edited on: June 18, 2011 5:48 pm

On Deck: Scoreless streakers face off

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Paul MaholmCarlos CarrascoSomething has to give: Pittsburgh's Paul Maholm and Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco enter Saturday's matchup with scoreless innings streaks -- 15 1/3 for Carrasco and 13 for Maholm. Maholm hasn't allowed a run in three of his last four starts, including seven scoreless against the Mets on Monday and a shutout against the Cubs on May 28. Carrasco has been a good omen for the Indians during a rough streak, winning his last two starts as the team has struggled. He's won five of his last six starts, allowing two runs or fewer in four of those starts. Pirates at Indians, 7:05 p.m. ET (Follow live here)

Dan HarenHaren ready to hit: Much of the time when interleague play comes around, the thought of American League pitchers getting their chance at the plate is a joke. Maybe not so much for the Angels, as Dan Haren takes the mound -- and his spot in the lineup -- on Saturday at Citi Field in New York. When Haren was traded from the Diamondbacks to the A's last season, he was hitting .364/.375/.527 -- good for an OPS+ of 136, including a homer in 57 plate appearances. Oh, and he's also 6-4 with a 2.54 ERA this season. Haren's gone at least six innings in all of his starts, but has been burned by poor run support. Since improving to 4-0 on April 17, Haren has allowed two rearmed runs or fewer (going at least 6 2/3 innings each time) five times with just an 0-1 record to show for it. That's something Mets starter Mike Pelfrey can identify with. He's allowed two or fewer earned runs in four of his last six starts, going 0-1 in those games. Angels at Mets, 7:10 p.m. ET (Follow live here)

Rubby De La RosaWandy RodriguezRubby vs. Wandy: While most will remember Rubby De La Rosa and Wandy Rodriguez for their unusual first names, the two add up for a pretty strong pitching matchup. Rodriguez, the Astros' lefty, came off the disabled list on Monday to pitch six scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and four walks in a victory against Atlanta. The Dodgers rookie right-hander left his last outing after five innings with a forearm cramp, but still picked up the victory over the Rockies. In two starts, De La Rosa is 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA, striking out 10 and walking eight in 10 innings, while allowing seven hits and four earned runs. Astros at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. ET (Follow live here)

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Posted on: May 28, 2011 4:31 pm
Edited on: May 28, 2011 4:44 pm

Astros place Rodriguez on DL, Lyles gets call

By Matt Snyder

Friday night, the Astros announced that starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez would not make his scheduled start on Saturday. Less than 24 hours later, they have placed him on the disabled list with fluid in his left (throwing) elbow. Jordan Lyles has been called up as a corresponding move and will take the mound Tuesday for Houston (Alyson Footer via Twitter).

The injury comes at a pretty bad time for Rodriguez. While there's never a good time, he's been dealing of late. In his last five starts, Rodriguez is 2-0 with a 1.75 ERA and 26 strikeouts. On the season, he's 3-3 with a 3.41 ERA and 1.33 WHIP and is arguably the Astros' best pitcher.

At this point, there is no further information on how long Rodriguez might be out.

Lyles, 20, is one of the top prospects in the Astros' rather depleted farm system. He was the Astros supplemental first-round pick in 2008 out of high school and is ranked in the top 50 prospects in baseball by several outlets. He's currently 3-3 with a 3.20 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 41 strikeouts in 59 innings at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Keep in mind, those numbers are in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

Lyles' debut will come in Chicago against the Cubs.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com