Not much really to write about the Red Wings 1-5 trip to Norfolk, so instead, this week I’ll focus on four things I’m keeping an eye on in the coming months of the season:
- Will Darren Baker continue his hot streak? Although hardly a non-prospect (non-prospects don’t get invited to Futures Games and the Arizona Fall League), he isn’t usually regarded as one of the main up-and-comers in the Nationals system. MLB.com doesn’t have him in their top 30, for example, while Keith Law had him only as one of the “others of note” on his list. And yet, there is little question that Baker has been the best young player on the Red Wings roster, especially at the plate. Through 76 at-bats as I write this, the second baseman is slashing .355/.402/.447, for a very good .849 OPS. And while his fielding leaves something to be desired (he has three errors in his 17 games thus far for a .948 fielding percentage), it’ll be hard to argue against giving him a shot if he’s still hitting well come mid-season. The question is… where? The Nationals, after all, have Luis Garcia and C.J. Abrams up the middle as possible infielders of the future. That is perhaps a bridge that they’ll have to cross if they come to it.
- The coming of the robot-umpires. This, at least right now, is not a concern for people in MLB, but as I speak, the first games being played with a “robot-ump” are occurring. Games on Monday through Thursday (in practice Tuesday through Thursday, since there are a few Monday games in MiLB) will have full robot umpires, while games on Friday through Sunday will have a challenge system. Which one will work better? Will either make that much of a difference? In the Red Wings press box this season, a lot of room has been taken by the people who are working on it- and now it’s show time.
- Will Matt Adams go up? A member of the 2019 World Series team, Adams has been hitting well in Rochester, leading the team with five home runs. MLB veterans rarely spend the whole season in AAA, so it feels like he will eventually either get called up or be let go. The only question is… what will happen with Matt Adams?
- Will the big prospects arrive? For the most part, the top Nationals prospects are in the lower minors. Of the top 20 prospects in the system according to MLB.com, only two (Cole Henry and Jake Irvin) are in AAA. However, prospects can move up quickly if given the opportunity and if they can prove themselves. So I think it’ll be interesting to find out if the James Wood, Elijah Green, and Robert Hassell of the word might find themselves in Rochester by the tail-end of the season.
I’ll be at the Red Wings games three times this coming week (weather permitting). You’ll hear more about that next week.