When the Rays acquired injury-plagued outfielder Austin Meadows and inconsistent right-hander Tyler Glasnow from the Pirates in exchange for veteran ace Chris Archer, it certainly didn’t feel like a potential franchise-altering swap. There was no question that Meadows and Glasnow possessed immense raw talent, but it was fair to wonder if they would ever reach their full potential. Less than a year later, Meadows has tapped into his immense talent, blossoming into one of the most electrifying young outfielders in baseball, hitting .341/.420/.659 with six runs scored, four homers, 13 RBI and a pair of stolen bases in 50 plate appearances. Meanwhile, Glasnow has managed to sustain the remarkable control gains he made with Tampa Bay in the second-half of last season, posting a microscopic 0.53 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and sublime 21/3 K/BB ratio in 17 innings of work across three starts this season. It’s extremely difficult to discern signal from statistical noise in early April, but there is reason to believe that the Rays have landed a pair of assets who are rapidly evolving into potential franchise cornerstones.
The dynamic young duo was instrumental in the Rays’ 9-1 blowout victory over the rebuilding White Sox on Wednesday. Glasnow racked up a career-high 11 strikeouts, and did not walk a batter, over six scoreless frames. He generated an eye-popping 16 swinging strikes, including seven whiffs on eight sliders and five on 17 curveballs. At 6-foot-8, Glasnow has always boasted a impressive arsenal, pairing a mid-90’s heater with a hammer curveball and a hard-biting slider. However, omnipresent mechanical issues due to his size have been the primary cause of his massive control issues, throughout his professional career. After his inability to locate nearly derailed his promising career in Pittsburgh, he’s solved those issues in Tampa Bay. It’s too small of a sample size to draw any firm conclusions, but walk rates are one of the fastest stabilizing metrics for pitchers, and Glasnow appears to be sustaining the massive control gains that he made in the second-half of last season. If he continues to throw strikes, it increases the overall effectiveness of his breaking pitches and gives him a chance to morph into a legitimate fantasy ace.
On the offensive side, Meadows has been the Rays’ catalyst in the early stages of the year. He went 3-for-5 with a solo homer, three RBI and a pair of runs scored on Wednesday. He singled and scored in the first, reached on an error in the second, clubbed a solo bomb in the fourth, hammered a two-run double in the fifth and walked in the seventh before striking out in the ninth. Meadows has been on an absolute tear, reaching base safely nine times with two homers, seven RBI and a stolen base over his last two games. “I'm feeling good up there.” he told Josh Tolentino of The Athletic after the win over the White Sox on Wednesday. “That's what we strive for as hitters each and every day. I'm going to try to take advantage of this opportunity and just continue to roll.”
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It’s easy to see why Meadows is tearing up the junior circuit because of his prospect pedigree. If you were tasked with creating the prototypical outfield prospect in a Jurassic Park-style laboratory, there’s a high degree of probability that the final product would look a lot like Meadows. The 23-year-old profiled as a potential five-category fantasy stud, showcasing an elite hit tool, while also consistently tapping into his raw power without sacrificing his on-base skills. He also displayed an affinity for stealing bases throughout his minor-league career. However, his persistent struggles with injuries, often of the fluke variety, were the lone bugaboo in an otherwise sterling profile. After years of failing to live up to his immense potential, things are finally starting to fall into place for Meadows. It’s too early for a victory lap, but this deal is rapidly transforming into one of the biggest steals of the last decade for Tampa Bay.
Cards Ink Carpenter
The Cardinals signed third baseman Matt Carpenter to a two-year, $39 million contract extension with an $18.5 million vesting option for 2022 on Wednesday. The deal also includes a $2.5 million buyout on the vesting option. The 33-year-old veteran was in the final year of a six-year, $52 million deal, which included an $18.5 million team option for the 2020 campaign. Rather than test the free agent market, or risk playing under the cloud of a one-year contract again next year, this deal has the potential to run through his age-36 season and virtually ensures that he will finish his playing career in St. Louis. When he’s fully healthy, he remains one of the elite fantasy producers at the hot corner. He posted a robust .257/.374/.523 triple-slash line with a career-high 36 home runs, 111 runs scored, 81 RBI and four steals in 156 games last year. With several key components of their veteran core, most notably first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, shortstop Paul DeJong and Carpenter locked up long-term and a pitching staff anchored by Jack Flaherty and a plethora of talented youngsters, the Cardinals are going to be serious contenders in a loaded NL Central division for the next few years.
AL Quick Hits: Mike Trout (groin) may not be ready for Friday's game against the Cubs. … Shohei Ohtani (elbow) told reporters on Wednesday that he physically feels good enough to play right now. He’s expected to meet with doctors soon and could be ready to return to the big-leagues by early May. … Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported Wednesday that the Athletics have signed free agent right-hander Edwin Jackson. … Jay Bruce left Wednesday's game with tightness in his left Achilles. … CC Sabathia (heart) will make his first start of the season on Saturday against the White Sox. … Giancarlo Stanton (biceps) has resumed swinging a bat. … Aaron Hicks (back) has resumed throwing, running and hitting soft toss. … Miguel Andujar (shoulder) was able to make 25 throws from 60 feet away on Wednesday. … Gary Sanchez was held out of the Yankees’ lineup Wednesday and also told reporters that he's dealing with tightness in his legs. … Francisco Lindor (ankle, calf) ran in the outfield Wednesday morning in Detroit. … Astros manager A.J. Hinch told reporters on Wednesday that he believes Alex Bregman's hamstring injury is “minor”. … MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reported Wednesday that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (oblique) is headed to Triple-A Buffalo. … Shane Greene worked a scoreless ninth inning to record his league-leading eighth save Wednesday in the Tigers’ victory over the Indians. … Trevor Bauer allowed multiple home runs for the first time since the 2017 campaign, surrendering four runs on 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings in the loss. … Khris Davis went 3-for-5 with a pair of homers and four RBI to lead the Athletics to a blowout win over the Orioles. … Matt Chapman went 3-for-4 with a solo homer, three RBI and three runs scored in that one. … Tommy Pham launched a pair of homers to propel the Rays to a win over the White Sox. … Reynaldo Lopez was lit up for eight runs on 10 hits over 4 1/3 innings in the loss. … James Paxton was touched up for five earned runs over four frames in a loss to the Astros. … Jose Altuve went deep twice, Collin McHugh posted nine strikeouts over six innings and Ryan Pressly notched a four-out save in the Astros’ win over the Yankees. … Mallex Smith went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a steal in the Mariners’ win over the Royals. … Adalberto Mondesi went 2-for-4 with a pair of stolen bases in the loss. … Terrance Gore went 3-for-4 with a triple, double and two steals in that one. … Yusei Kikuchi allowed three runs over six innings before exiting Wednesday's game against the Royals with leg cramps. … Hansel Robles tossed a scoreless ninth inning to record his first save of the season in the Angels’ win over the Brewers. … Rangers closer Jose Leclerc was pulled from a non-save situation after allowing one run on two hits, while also hitting two batters, issuing one walk and recording one out against the Diamondbacks.
NL Quick Hits: Wednesday's scheduled game between the Braves and Rockies was postponed due to a blizzard warning in Colorado. … Max Scherzer threw off flat ground while having a wrap around his right ankle on Wednesday. There’s a chance he could miss his next scheduled start on Saturday. … Travis Shaw was diagnosed with a contusion in his right hand after being hit by a pitch and leaving Wednesday's game against the Angels. … The Padres announced that 22-year-old righty Pedro Avila will start Thursday’s game against the Diamondbacks. Chris Paddack will start on Friday. … Jameson Taillon (head) continues to pass concussion tests and is still on track to start against the Nationals on Sunday. … Chris Archer is appealing his five-game suspension for his role in the benches-clearing brawl on Sunday against the Reds, and is on track to start on Saturday against the Nationals. … Cubs placed Jon Lester on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain. … Tyler Chatwood will get the start for the Cubs on Sunday against the Angels. … Jeremy Jeffress (shoulder) allowed a homer in one inning of work in his rehab appearance on Wednesday for Triple-A San Antonio. … Hyun-Jin Ryu (groin) threw off flat ground on Wednesday. … Rich Hill (knee) will throw a simulated game on Friday. … Manny Machado went 1-for-4 with a go-ahead solo homer in the Padres’ victory over the Giants on Wednesday. … Nick Margevicius allowed just one run over six innings to pick up the win and Kirby Yates spun a scoreless frame to record his seventh save of the season in that one. … Jack Flaherty struck out eight batters over six frames in the Cardinals’ win over the Dodgers. … Jordan Lyles tossed six innings of one-run ball and whiffed 10 batters in a win over the Cubs. … Felipe Vazquez struck out four batters to record a four-out save in that Pirates’ victory. … Starling Marte finished 2-for-5 with a homer and a steal in that contest. … Jason Heyward went 3-for-4 and connected on his fourth homer of the season in the losing effort. … Michael Conforto went 1-for-3 with three RBI to lift the Mets’ to a win over the Twins. … Anthony Rendon went 2-for-4 with three RBI in the Nationals’ lopsided win over the Phillies. … Jeremy Hellickson spun six shutout frames to pick up the win in that one. … Nick Pivetta was shelled for seven runs over 3 2/3 frames in the loss. … Jesse Winker homered for the second consecutive game to lead the Reds to a win over the Marlins. … Trevor Richards fired six scoreless innings, allowing only one hit, but settled for a no-decision in that contest … Brandon Woodruff struck out seven over six innings in a loss to the Angels/ … Nationals manager Dave Martinez told reporters that Tony Sipp left Wednesday's game with soreness in his left shoulder. … Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo confirmed Wednesday that Jon Duplantier was sent down to Triple-A Reno to continue his development as a starter.