Juan Soto is putting up nearly identical numbers to last year, batting .289/.400/.524 with a .924 OPS, 20 homers and 70 RBIs. Last year, he hit .292/.406/.517 with a .923 OPS, 22 homers and 70 RBIs. Besides being incredibly consistent, that's tremendous production for a 20-year-old. Washington's talented phenom won't turn 21 until October 25. In his first 924 plate appearances over 214 games, his batting line is .291/.403/.520, which is 42 percent better than league average based on FanGraphs' wRC+ stat.
Before Friday afternoon's game against the Brewers, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein revealed more about the plan to have Ben Zobrist build back up to game shape. On Friday, the 38-year-old will begin a Minor League assignment with Class A South Bend before being re-evaluated on Monday. Zobrist, who has been on Major League Baseball's restricted list since May 8 in order to focus on a family situation, will continue to rise up the Minor League ranks throughout August. He will get a few at-bats as a designated hitter before logging innings at second base and in the outfield.
Dustin May was called up on Friday to start against the San Diego Padres. The 21-year-old May has some of the best stuff among the game's top pitching prospects, which was on display at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game last month. He pitched a perfect eighth inning, hitting 98 mph with tremendous life on his fastball. He was ranked No. 35 on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 prospects. May's stuff has improved as he has added weight to his still-lanky 6-foot-6 frame. His fastball is top notch, sitting at 92-97 mph with great run and sink, which elicits a lot of swings and misses. His curveball also generates a lot of empty swings and groundouts, and his cutter tops out in the low 90s. He possesses exceptional control and provides deception with his slingy arm action and the extension in his delivery. He also earns high marks for his feel for pitching and his mound presence.
Trevor Bauer is set to make his Reds debut Saturday night against the Braves. Bauer's eight-run start against the Royals last Saturday -- in which he threw a ball over the wall in center field -- was an aberration, as he went 7-2 with a 2.82 ERA over his nine prior outings with a 76:19 strikeout to walk ratio that more closely resembled the Cy Young contender he was in 2018. Bauer will bolster a Cincinnati rotation that already ranks third in the National League with a 3.86 ERA. He also said Thursday that he wants to learn how to throw Luis Castillo's changeup, which could make him even more devastating in his transition to the NL.
Marcus Stroman will make his Mets debut Saturday against the Pirates. Stroman compiled a career-best 2.96 ERA across 21 starts with the Blue Jays before being traded to the Mets, where he'll look to keep flourishing. His 56.3% ground-ball rate ranks fifth among regular starters, per Statcast, and his .357 slugging percentage allowed is tied for the 11th-lowest of any pitcher with at least 15 starts. Now that he's out of the AL East, he could perform even better down the stretch, especially since he's shown a penchant for pitching well during big games in the past.
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