Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though. We’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
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The Reds are in first place in the NL Central right now, but that's not something even the most optimistic fan in Cincinnati is expecting to last. Much of what there is to be excited about with the Reds involves looking down the road, when their current young players and prospects are all up and, Cincinnati hopes, productive. One of those players is already up, however, and he's thriving early on. Amir Garrett pitched his third game of 2017 on Wednesday, striking out 12 Orioles while limiting them to two runs over seven innings.
It's not his first good start of the year, but it's certainly his finest. The 6’5 lefty has struck out nearly 10 batters per nine on the year and is punching out seven times as many hitters as he's walking. We are just talking about three starts and just under 20 innings, so don't get too excited just yet, but Garrett is showing off the potential that made him the No. 32 prospect in baseball before the season began, at least by Baseball Prospectus' reckoning.
Garrett is a former college basketball player, as he was a forward for St. John's University. Baseball ended up being his game, though, and while it took some time to make it to the bigs — Garrett made his professional debut at 20 years old in 2012 — he seems like he's worth the wait. There is a whole lot of season left, of course, but if Garrett is successful, the Reds are going to be a better team both now and going forward. Maybe you don't need to keep up with them everyday, but Garrett's starts could end up being a reason to tune in to Cincy baseball.
- Starling Marte is an All-Star, and he was suspended for PED use. None of this is very surprising, but baseball has already done what it can do to curb use.
- No one knows when Ichiro Suzuki will actually retire, so we have to consider any home run the National League outfielder hits at his original home, Safeco Field, to be his last one there. Until, with any luck, he hits another in Seattle.
- Aaron Judge sent a baseball into orbit on Wednesday.
- Ben Lively knew he wanted to play for the Phillies back in fifth grade, and now he does!
- This umpire smelled a barbecue wrapper mid-game. You know, as you do.
- Eric Thames was nicknamed "god" in South Korea, and he's certainly playing like some kind of deity now that he's back in MLB.
- It's 4/20, so you know what that means ... it means you should read Spencer Hall's feature on smoking legal weed at a Rockies' game.
- While we're on the subject: 69 percent of Americans think it's cool if athletes smoke weed.
- Here's former MLB great Luis Tiant on the plan he had to deal with racism when he came to America from Cuba to pitch. It's depressing that people didn't treat him like a human until they saw how well he could pitch, but, that's how things were in the ’60s.
- [looks around] OK and also now. Do better, people.
- Mookie Betts went 129 plate appearances without striking out before that streak came to an end on Wednesday. Ben Lindbergh writes that Betts is actually better when he's striking out.