Yordan Alvarez versus Kyle Tucker: Who is of more value?

The good news about this particular post is that while we, as fans, can argue whether Yordan Alvarez or Kyle Tucker provide more value to the Astros, the team does not have to make that decision. Yet. Yet, because if both of these fine young players are still playing at a high level down the line, they both will hit free agency in the same off-season leading into the 2026 season. Now, that could be avoided by signing one or both to extensions along the way, but it could also set up a “choice” for the team at that time.

So, how do these two line up? Similarities? They are both left-handed hitters. They are both fairly stoic figures on the ball field. The broadcasters noted it when Tucker finally semi-smiled after a big hit last season. They are both 24 years old (Tucker about 5 months older), and they are both a big part of the Astros present and future plans.

Differences? Well, Yordan looks like an Adonis, a large sculpted mass of a human being, who could knock you down by just being in your vicinity. Kyle looks like one of those skin and bones lanky guys you meet in a friendly pick-up basketball game, who can drill the three-pointer, but gets easily boxed out on the rebounds. Yordan generates a super-powerful swing with a short address to the ball. Kyle has one of those longer looping with a bit of an uppercut swing. Tucker can move, though his long loping strides can be a bit deceiving at times. Yordan can move pretty decently (now his knees are repaired) for someone who should have his own zip code. Tucker got here by way of a fifth overall draft pick in 2015. The Dodgers signed Alvarez out of Cuba in the summer of 2016 but sent him to Houston six weeks later under the radar trade for reliever Josh Fields. Can you say Jeff Bagwell for Larry Andersen?

After Alvarez’s 2019 Rookie of the Year season, the question about relative value would not have been a real question.  Alvarez set the world on fire in that half-season and was “Must See TV” throughout the year. Tucker had just finished his second cameo with the team, a much more successful one than his 2018 disaster, but still a small sample to judge his worth. But in 2020, Alvarez missed all but two games of the season, and Tucker established himself as a big-time run producer for the team. That has continued into 2021 as both Tucker and Alvarez have become big parts of a top-notch offense.

Comparing them for their careers…

  WAR ABs Runs HRs RBIs SBs BA OBP OPS
Alvarez 5.7 635 117 46 145 1 .298 .381 .967
Tucker 4.8 665 110 31 115 23 .259 .318 .804

Well, no doubt that Alvarez, to date in his career, is the dominant hitter, both in power and in just plain hitting. But if we look at 2021….

  WAR ABs Runs HRs RBIs SBs BA OBP OPS
Alvarez 1.8 314 57 18 63 1 .283 .350 .866
Tucker 2.9 325 52 18 58 9 .274 .330 .843

Looking at this season to date, the hitting gap between them has closed significantly, with Alvarez barely ahead. Pile unto this the fact that Tucker is rated highly as a right fielder. At the same time, Alvarez is barely passable as a part-time left fielder and the fact that Tucker is a stolen base threat (23 steals against only 3 caught stealing in his career), and Tucker is the better player in 2021.

So, a couple questions for you….

  1. Who do you think is the better long-term player for the Astros?
  2. Would you try to work out an early extension with either of them to buy out a year or two of free agency?  Which one? Both?

121 comments on “Yordan Alvarez versus Kyle Tucker: Who is of more value?

  1. That’s a good question. The league (so far) has adjusted to Yordan, somewhat anyway. His OPS is down .200 from 2019. That’s significant. Getting pitched off the plate and umpires willing to call pitches off the plate has certainly been a source of frustration for him. He’s still the most valuable DH this club has ever had. And I think he’ll figure out a way to get the OPS up in the 1.000 range again too, not in 2021, but going forward.

    Tucker has adjusted to the league. He keeps getting better. He’s turning into a 5 tool guy. He hits, he plays defense, he runs, and he runs smartly. His arm is accurate if not remarkable.

    Tucker is the better, more versatile, long term player. I think he’ll be healthier too.

    Yordan is the DH we want to keep around as long as possible. But he’ll never be a full timer playing both ways. And I don’t think the Astros will want to pay him J.D. Martinez money at any point. Tucker will see a significantly better payday.

    I’d try to extend both guys. But if Yordan leaves in five years, we might go back to not having a full time DH. As a side note, it will be interesting to see how Yordan handles leftfield out on the West Coast this week.

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    • While Yordan is adjusting to playing left field on the West Coast this week, I have to adjust to being a fan of the team playing on the West Coast. The Astros have not played out there in more than two months and that was just three games in Oakland in mid-May – one of which was a day game.
      Before that, all the West Coast road games were way back in the first few weeks of April.
      We get a lot more games and a lot less sleep going forward – 8 games this week (5 late night), 5 more in the rest of August (4 late night), and 13 more in September (9 late night).

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  2. Fangraphs said last week that they are both of great value, with Alvarez above Tucker in their evaluations.
    It’s my contention that their sum total value is greater than their individual talent. These two together could carry the Astros for the next five to six years on the field and let their dollar value establish itself as we get closer to the end of the Altuve/Bregman contracts.
    Winning in the postseason will go a long way to paving the way to pots of gold for all of the Astros meaty lineup.
    Until we see the Astros of 2022, I’m not thinking about extensions for these two.

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  3. It is so good to have both Yordan and Kyle in the same line-up – especially with the guys we have hitting in front of and behind Yordan and the guys we have hitting in front of Kyle. I wonder what kind of numbers Kyle would be putting up if he had a little more protection behind him the way Yordan does.

    I have a grand-daughter who likes to play the either/or game – i.e. given only two choices [say, ice cream vs. ribeye steak] which would you choose? This post is kind of like that. Pushed to make a call, I guess I would choose Kyle Tucker, [a] because of Yordan’s injury history and the wear and tear his size puts on his already damaged joints, and [b] because Kyle can play in the field on a major league level, and Yordan should never touch green grass except when he’s mowing a yard full of Houston’s finest St. Augustine.

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    • I keep wondering if Yordan, once Gurriel moves on could be a first baseman. Of course modern first basemen are no longer built like Harmon Killebrew.

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      • It’s certainly a question that needs to be asked. It is pretty clear that Yordan is never going to be even a passable outfielder. So it sure would be beneficial if Yordan could focus on learning to maneuver around the gateway square. I have to say, though, watching Abraham Toro – who seems far more agile and athletic than Yordan – struggle at first base yesterday reminds me how much harder playing first base in the major leagues is than it looks.

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  4. Another issue to be considered in comparing the relative long-term importance to the club of Yordan vs. Kyle is who is next up behind them in the system. Right now I see Bryan de la Cruz [listed as an RF] and Jake Meyers [listed as a CF] both slashing insanely and Jose’ Siri coming on behind them like a freight train, though still striking out way too much. Then, of course, there is Pedro Leon [and also in the running, Ronnie Dawson, and Matthew Barefoot]. Having not seen any of these guys – including de la Cruz – actually play RF, in my minds eye I see each of them more likely to step into Yordan’s DH spot than to steal away Kyle’s RF position.

    I would love to hear anyone who knows these prospects better than I do [it doesn’t take much to meet that threshold!] comment on how good any of them are defensively and at what level their ‘speed’ and ‘arm’ tools might be.

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    • If we include prospects who play 1st base in the analysis, we have to consider the potential of players like Taylor Jones, JJ Matijevich, Scott Manea, and Luke Berryhill.

      And should I perhaps have given CJ Hinojosa or Zach Daniels – or someone else in the system – a mention in the previous post relative to potential outfield/DH replacements?

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  5. Tucker Alvarez, I had them No.1 and No. 2 when Fangraphs Longenhagen McDaniels had Alvarez #6. He’s turned out to be generational, and as I wrote here back in the day, Tucker was just nervous his first call up, because he tore up AAA on a Bellinger rate, it was inevitable & he’s special for a #5 pick.

    This is my deadline proposal:
    Adam Wainwright
    Cards eat his $2.5M Cards get Dawson Papierski McKee
    Reunites Strom,
    Has 9.2 wCB value,2.0 (FG) fastball
    Playoff mettle.

    Greink LMJ Framber Odo Wainwright Garcia Urquidy
    Javier Abreu Taylor Stanek Pressly (and one more piece)

    A Starling Marte deal would push us overtop in the playoffs, and then to re-sign him for ’22 which allows Leon to get online. Re-sign Wainwright to 1/$15M, re-sign Greinke to 2 @$24M AAV (leads MLB in GS), and you have the makings with Odorizzi to have the greatest collection of pitching mind and experience ever assembled on top of Framber LMJ Urquidy Garcia javier.

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    • For many years I have wished that Houston had Adam Wainwright in our rotation. I would have liked for it to happen before he turned 40 years old [on August 30] – but for the players you mentioned, and the cash consideration you referenced, I would pull the trigger on that deal in a heartbeat. But shhhh! – don’t tell the Cards’ management team that Colin McKee’s 2021 ERA is 5.34, that his WHIP is 1.55, that he is averaging 4.75 walks per nine innings, that he has given up 14 extra base hits [6 homers] in 30 innings, and that he’s not getting very many ground balls.

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    • Marte is having his career year. GoStros1, you think he’d be interested in re-upping with us for one year in 2022? Coming off 8 years at 53, I’m thinking he’ll be wanting to get his retirement deal done. I’d like to have both him and Wainwright on our roster at the end of this week for the stretch run, but as we get into 2022 I’d like to see us get younger as I get older. I’d hate to pay a 40 year old guy 15 million when we’ve already got a couple of guys in the pen that might ultimately be better suited in the rotation. And I’m feeling pretty good about our in house outfield options too.

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  6. Looks like the Mariners are sending out a 25 y/o kid named Darren McCaughan, who they just called up from Tacoma last week, to face us tonight. I had to look him up. He is a 25 y/o righty from Long Beach State, drafted by Seattle in the 12th round of the 2017 draft. He has one appearance [in relief] but it was a doozy of a debut. He pitched 5.0 innings in relief in that appearance, striking out no Rockies, and walking 3, but giving up zero hits. [in his minor league work this year, he had a 3.90 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP, and averaged allowing almost just about one hit per inning. Remarkably, 69 % of the pitches he threw in the minors this year were strikes]. Against the Rockies, in the Colorado air, got a lot of ground ball outs and two GIDPs.

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    • He pitched for the Arkansas Travelers in 2019, and was named Pitcher of the Year. Abraham Toro and Chaz McCormick, both of whom played for the Hooks then, probably faced him in those days.

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  7. Well that was one of the worst cups of coffee I’ve had in quite awhile. Just another reminder that we don’t have the pitching we need to go deep into the playoffs. And Raley throwing at someone just further ignites the flame. He’s not just a bad pitcher, he’s a detriment to our club. The M’s can’t wait to get back to the park tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He was pretty bad before joining the Astros for 2020. He had a solid season for us, but it was also a weird year where we basically played the same teams over and over. I didn’t watch, so maybe someone can fill me in on why the moves happened. After Stanek walked Kelenic was he removed because Dusty thought the Mariners would let Raley face the lefty? When a guy is below the Mendoza line and the winning run is on base you have to expect the Mariners will counter with a PH. Gamecast shows Stanek was still throwing 98. I would have asked him to go out and overpower one more hitter.

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  8. I called it a night after it was 8-6. Woke up later and saw we lost 11-8. What a piece of KA-KA. I watched a few videos yesterday on You Tube (Sports Map) one being bull pen HELP. It’s obviously needed and last night just reinforced that opinion.

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  9. In the Good News Department (we hope). Bregman played in Sugar Land last night. O for 2 with 1 walk and 1 run scored. Baez pitched one clean inning. He pitched July 15, 18, 23 & 26.

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  10. I’ve already made too many posts today, but thought I should add one more. Brooks Raley did not give himself his job. Really, his employer is responsible for putting him in a position he’s proven he should not be in.

    But most importantly, that game last night is on my favorite Astro pitcher, Luis Garcia. He came out to the mound in the 4th with a 7 zip lead and suddenly got tentative. Then he threw away a double play ball. Then he grooved a fastball to a kid with 24 at bats hitting .125. And still the Astros got a run back for him in the 5th. He had a 5 run lead. And then again a fastball down the middle to Seger on a 1-2 count with 2 outs when he was making him look bad with his breaking stuff. I’m not sure why Maldonado let him throw that pitch. And then our real weakness reared its ugly head. The Pen finished giving the game back. We’ll get a better pen. And Garcia won’t look like a rookie next time he’s in a similar position.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You hit the nail on the head about Garcia’s pitch to Seger. He made him look bad with breaking stuff on the first two strikes, had him lay off a breaking pitch on a ball one and then grooved one for the 3 run dinger. That is when Dan P headed to bed.

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  11. Let’s hope that is all they are doing with goats. I think it was 1OP that posted a few weeks back about the pen not having a “put away” pitch. I went back and speed watched last night’s game. It was amazing to the point of almost being unbelievable how many 2 strike batters were never put away. A lot were 0-2 counts that ended up as walks or hits. If Stanek got the call on his third strike, the game would have probably ended different. But to continually go 0-2 and then walk the batter will kill any team.

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    • AC, that has been a big beef with me bringing it up on here. No one can put anyone away after being up 0-2 in the count. The pitchers begin to nibble at the corners when in that count. Even my Mrs. can see that herself and comments on it. We need JV and Cole now.

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  12. Got to give credit where credit is due. The Mariners didn’t quit. They just kept fighting. Our guys started strong but folded like a tent. We flat-out Yankee-ed.

    Can we right the ship tonight?

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  13. The reason I haven’t said anything is because I’m afraid I might call one of those two teams gutless and say that the other one wanted to win the game at any cost.
    So, I’ll just go watch an old John Wayne movie, so’s I don’t offend nobody with what I’m thinkin’.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m flabbergasted. Kendall Graveman for Abraham Toro? Now? And Joe Smith too? And we take Rafael Montero? I can’t believe that Seattle would help us get better. They must think highly of Toro.

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  15. Astrosdaily.com had some great twitter videos on Graveman, I was VERY impressed with his answers about this trade. You should go and see them.
    The one guy I felt bad about leaving Houston was Joe Smith. You remember when I told you about him carrying the gene for Huntington’S disease . He and his wife have been working to have a baby, using a renowned doctor who specializes in Huntington’S and trying to keep their baby from inheriting it.
    I feel really bad for Joe and his wife.
    Top of the 4th we’re leading 7-2 think they can hold that lead?

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  16. Better cup of coffee this morning. At least we’ve owned their starting pitching two nights in a row. Be very nice to win the series today. It’s time for Odorizzi to have a big game. At first glance, Lance did not impress, but if a Straw fly ball could reach the track in right center, the ball must have been flying out of that park. Both Seattle homers just made it out. I’m wondering if Pressly is a bit arm weary at this point. That was an important win.

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  17. Pressly and others have played twice as many games/innings as last year so I would imagine fatigue is setting in. Please remember that Mariano Rivera gave up 71 homers and Pressly sits at 43. So he has a way to go to be as good as Super Mario.

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    • It was nice to see a HR by Toro and a clean inning from Joe Smith and it not cost us anything. We have to wish both of them well. Smith because of his family history and Toro because he provided the offense for Verlander to win his no hitter.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Interesting about Toro and Smith. Toro I think will be an above average player in the coming years. But Smith didn’t do squat for us but pitches well against us. Perplexing to say the least.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Any other suspicious folks like me considering the crazy possibility this entire series – the trades and the wild, fan-pleasing drama of each game, not to mention both Toro home runs and the great inning from Joe Smith – were agreed to between the Astros and the Mariners’ FOS before the series ever started? A conspiracy to help the Mariners FO sell the trade to its fan-base and guarantee them they won’t lose any ground to the Athletics while the Astros are in town? With the players – and the umps – in on it?

        Nah. Forget I even mentioned it!

        But if the ‘Stros lay down/take an obvious dive in the late innings again today, allowing the Mariners to win a series the Astros don’t desparately need but the Mariners do, we can revisit this crazy idea then.

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  18. Pedro Leon sat out the last two games. Not sure why. But his is playing in about 80% of his teams games. Or it would equal about 129 games in an MLB season. Yuli talked about how hard it was for him the first year due to the “professional” attitude of the MLB clubs compared to the laid back attitude in Cuba.

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  19. Toro is the first player in MLB history to hit a homerun for his club, and a homerun for the team he was traded to the next day. He’ll be sending something to Cooperstown town for that! By the way he’s playing 2nd base for the M’S today. The 9th was a nail biter for Presley last night, and we MIGHT see Graveman today. Rumor mill has the Astros still in the mix for Scherzer. When do you think Click will finally DFA Raley can’t come soon enough for me.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. The good news . . . and the bad news

    Alex Bregman is now two games into a rehab stint with Sugar Land

    Unfortunately, he is following the familiar Bregman pattern of starting as slow as cold molasses – he is 0-6 so far with one walk.

    Oh well, he had to start somewhere. Diaz is keeping his 3B position warm for him while he is getting back on track.

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    • I did hear that Bregman hit one to the fence for one of his outs.
      Let’s face it – he was not hitting when he went down – so he is picking up where he left off.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. ZZ Topp bassist Dusty Hill died today – he was one of two Toppers with Keuchel beards along with Billy Gibbons, but Frank Beard did not have a beard.

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      • I saw him back in the 70’s walking into Memorial City Mall – he was wearing blue jeans a top hat and a cane and he had a beauty on his arm – think it was his wife

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    • A quick one here. In ’74 or ’75 I was working at a hotel here in Greensboro. I had the pleasure of checking in the “Little ‘Ol Band” from Texas as they were staying with us. They were the opening act for Alice Cooper if I recall correctly. The concert was on Saturday night and they were staying over and not leaving till Monday. I was working the afternoon and late shift Sunday night and there were probably not 15 rooms occupied in the hotel. At about 9PM a member of our lounge band asked for the keys to the lounge and said they were going to practice. They said come on back when I could to listen (they were pretty good). I went back and they were jamming with ZZ Top and I was treated to a “private concert” so to speak. Spent the next 3 hours going back and forth until midnight when guests started complaining about the noise. It was to say a memorable experience.

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    • I went back and re-watched the game. In the 7th inning, he slid into second on a stolen base. He had the glove on his right hand, but slid headfirst with his left hand out front. Looks like he jammed the bag. And on the next couple pitches you can see he is flexing his left hand and looking down at it.

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  22. Well, has the ‘dive’ started? After a mound visit, Odorizzi gives up a 2 RH HR to new Seattle hero Abraham Toro. Well, well, well!

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  23. In looking at the bullpen additions, and the stat of walks per 9 innings.
    Stanek 5.6, Abreu 4.5, Javier 4.2, Raley 3.0. Now Graveman 2.2, Montero 3.1, and Yimi 3.2. I think I will be able to cut down on my blood pressure medicine.

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  24. We should always be pleased with two out of three on the road, right? Except we should have swept a far inferior club. We gave one game away in spectacular fashion. We almost gave away another. And we spent four and a half hours today giving them all the runners they needed to make a game of it. Thankfully, half their line up should be playing minor league ball and thankfully we put up 11. In spite of the fact we scored 27 runs in the series, I have not seen such uninspired, lethargic baseball in quite awhile. If we don’t play a different game against the National League West we’re going to be embarrassed.

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  25. -You were meant to win the game if Raley, Abreu and Bielak all pitched and didn’t give up a run.
    – I was fairly sure the Astros would try to stay away from having to pitch Graveman, when I saw how emotional he was about the trade.
    – Wonder if Yimi Garcia will be ready to join us in San Fran. I was pretty sure somebody wanted De La Cruz.
    -Meyers, Siri and Dawson still in the outfield for Sugarland.
    – After all the rotten balls and strikes called against the Astros in the three game series, it just seems so weird that Servais is the guy to get kicked out of the game.
    – Diaz comes back off the IL and really establishes himself in that lineup.
    – One day it’s Javier and the next time it’s Jekyll.
    – Astros win the series. That’s the ticket.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Back to the theme of this post before Dan replaces it with something new about our trades!

    WAR HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+

    3.2 20 63 .276 .330 .526 .856 132

    1.9 19 67 .284 .351 .515 .867 137

    It’s pretty much a toss up right now, except one guy plays a solid right field and has generated that 3.2 WAR.

    If both guys average pretty much the same numbers over the next 3 to 5 years, Tucker wins the value award easily. But I’m hopeful Yordan will get back to a 4 digit OPS in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. With the report that the Astros are not a team he would ok a trade to, the Astros now know that Scherzer is probably not a guy they should waste time or energy on in the offseason as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Tampa Bay wiped the floor with Gerritt Cole and the Yankees today, 14-0.
    Washington Nationals seem to be adding nails to the Phillies coffin today, too. Won the first game and are leading late in the second game.

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  29. I am not sure how much Click’s trades will really improve our bullpen’s record in real games, of course, but on paper anyone in their right mind would prefer both Graveman and Yimi Garcia over any or all of Joe Smith [2021 version], Brooks Raley, Blake Taylor, Rhyne Stanek, Brandon Bielak, Bryan Abreu [2021 version], or Austin Pruitt.

    Graveman, with the 0.82 ERA and .070 WHIP and ability to save games when Pressly is unavailable is the one we are really going to expect great things from. Yimi looks like he still promises a few blown holds, but not nearly as many as Raley, Smith, Bielak, B. Taylor, Stanek, Paredes, Garza, or 2021’s version of Abreu. Montero appears to be a ‘needed a change of scenery and a whole new approach to pitching’ throw in. Can Strom perform a miracle and make him not horrible in a blow-out game mop-up role?

    Liked by 2 people

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