Things have drastically changed for Lourdes Gurriel Jr over the course of the 2019 MLB season.
Heading into this year with optimism and hope to establish himself as a star, he struggled out of the gate at both the plate and on the field. High strikeout rate, lack of hitting, and an embarrassing trend of unforced errors at second base forced the Blue Jays to send him to Triple-A Buffalo to work on his issues in mid-April. He stayed down there for a a little over a month, until eventually being called up in late May due to injuries. To say he has excelled since his return is an understatement.
Since May 24, the 25-year old Cuban has posted a .327 batting average, and a 1.034 OPS to go a long with nine homers, and 18 RBI in 28 games. It may be a limited sample size, but those are All-Star numbers for a player many feel has had All-Star potential since signing a deal with the Jays as an international free agent back in November 2016.
A move from second base to left field has also paid dividends for Gurriel. He has limited his errors, and shown off his arm with five outfield assists in 27 games out in left field.
“Lourdes is unreal out there. Man, I can’t put it into words. He looks like he’s been playing left field for years,” said his Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman.
“It’s pretty shocking. And it’s exciting. It’s awesome to see how quickly he was able to adjust from infield to outfield. It’s been almost seamless.”
Gurriel Jr looks to continue with his hot bat as the Blue Jays travel to New York to face the Yankees in a three-game series starting Monday at 705pm/ET.
Nationals have “made it clear” they are not trading Juan Soto
Washington Nationals fans can breathe a sigh of relief…for now.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo squashed recent rumours suggesting Juan Soto’s time in the Nation’s capital could be coming to an end, saying during an interview with a local radio station that the team will not be trading their superstar slugger under any circumstances.
“We are not trading Juan Soto…We have made it clear to his agent and to the player. … These journalists have to fill a blank sheet of paper every day. It’s a good thing to get some attention on a story. But we have every intention of building this team around Juan Soto.” said Rizzo.
“We’ve spoken to his agent many, many times (and) recently sat with him when he was in Washington, D.C. Made it clear to him that we are not interested in trading him, and I guess the rest of the world just doesn’t believe it.”
Lets face it: the Nationals are in rebuild mode and Soto’s contract expires in a few years. He reported turned down a massive 13-year, $350-million contract extension over the summer, and is in the prime of his career. Adding this all up, you would think the Nationals would at least explore the idea of trading him and getting a kings ransom for him in order to set themselves up nicely for their next contention window.
But if you believe in Rizzo’s words, the team feels they still have a chance at convincing him to stay and believe he will be able to still contribute in a big way once they get good again.
The 23-year old has amassed .294/.426/.539 slash line to go along with 107 homers and 328 RBI in just four-plus seasons in the majors. He has also won two Silver Slugger Awards, an NL batting title, a World Series title, and was recently a runner-up for NL MVP in 2021.
Veteran lefty JA Happ retires from baseball after 15 MLB seasons
Longtime MLB pitcher JA Happ is calling it quits after an exceptional career.
The 39-year old lefty officially announced his decision to retire from baseball during an appearance on the ‘Heart Strong Podcast’.
“I didn’t maybe feel what I needed to feel in order to think I wanted to keep doing this. I felt like that was a sign, like ’OK, it’s time to go,'” said Happ.
“I think I’m still processing it, but I do wake up feeling good about it, and I’m happy to start the process of being a full-time dad, for the time being, at the very least.”
Happ pitched 15 seasons in the MLB with eight different teams, most notably the Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees and Houston Astros.
During his career, he posted an 89-63 record, 4.23 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 1095 strikeouts and 397 walks over a span of 1226.2 innings pitched.
He was noted for being a reliable and consistent back of the rotation type of starter who peaked later in his career, making his lone MLB All-Star appearance in 2018.
MUST WATCH: Aaron Judge wins it for the Yankees with a walk-off three-run blast!
The Toronto Blue Jays were up by two runs heading into the bottom of the 9th with one of the best closers in the game in Jordan Romano taking the mound.
You would think it was almost a 100% certainty that the Blue Jays would end up with the win.
Unfortunately for them, New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge had other plans!
Surprisingly, this was the first walk-off bomb in Judge’s career.