Appel No. 1 in final mock.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
This feels more like a scenario to me than a projection -- if Houston takes someone else at No. 1, then most of the picks succeeding it will change as well, and as of early Thursday it did not appear that the Astros had decided on their selection.
As of now, this is my best projection for the top 33 picks in the draft -- the formal first round, plus the six compensatory picks that teams received for losing free agents who received qualifying offers this offseason. I'll add relevant info and buzz as it comes in throughout the day.
Other recent content: For mock draft 3.0, click here. Version 2.0 can be found here. For my first mock draft, click here. And here is my ranking of the top 100 draft prospects.
1Mark AppelPOS: RHPHT: 6-5WT: 215School: StanfordAnalysis: So the last rumor of the night Wednesday … or the small hours of Thursday morning, had the Astros trying to nail down a price from Appel so they could take him with the first pick and still ensure that they had enough savings to exceed MLB's bonus recommendations with picks 40 and 74. They could still take Colin Moran, or Jonathan Gray, or (least likely) Kris Bryant.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO
2Jonathan GrayPOS: RHPHT: 6-4WT: 239School: OklahomaAnalysis: Appel or Gray here, with money probably a major variable as the Cubs seem to view the two guys as very close. They may not have a choice if the Astros take one of the two, in which case Chicago will take the other.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO
3Kris BryantPOS: 3B/OFB/T: R/RHT: 6-5WT: 215School: San DiegoAnalysis: The Rockies have been linked to Bryant all spring. Rumor of the week has the Rockies shocking everyone here with Dominic Smith, although I get the sense that they like Smith a lot but not with this pick.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO
4Kohl StewartPOS: RHPHT: 6-3WT: 190School: St. Pius X (Houston)Analysis: They have considered Reese McGuire, and I think they'd take Gray or Appel if either one got here, assuming they knew either player would sign.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO
5Colin MoranPOS: 3BB/T: L/RHT: 6-3WT: 215School: North CarolinaAnalysis: They'd take any of the four college guys I have going in the top five, with Clint Frazier as the backup option if all four are gone.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO
6Braden ShipleyPOS: RHPHT: 6-3WT: 190School: NevadaAnalysis: I'm also hearing them linked to Austin Meadows and Hunter Renfroe.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO
7Austin MeadowsPOS: OFB/T: L/LHT: 6-3WT: 200School: Grayson (Ga.) HSAnalysis: They'd love Moran or Bryant, but I can't make either of those things work in a realistic scenario. Also hearing them with Stewart, Frazier and Ryne Stanek, as well as an outside shot at a deal with Alex "Chi Chi" Gonzalez, although that seems to be dead.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO
8Trey BallPOS: LHP/OFHT: 6-6WT: 180School: New Castle (Ind.) HSAnalysis: Stewart doesn't get past here. Ball and Shipley are their choices over Phil Bickford, who I had them taking in my last mock and is still a consideration here, but he put out such a huge bonus demand this week that some teams are scared off.
9Reese McGuirePOS: CB/T: L/RHT: 6-1WT: 190School: Kentwood HS (Kent, Wash.)Analysis: This one has seemed locked in for a while. If the Twins do end up taking McGuire, I'd guess D.J. Peterson here, over guys like Dominic Smith, Hunter Renfroe, and Clint Frazier.
Note: A compensation pick for failing to sign Mark Appel with No. 8 overall pick in 2012.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO
10J.P. CrawfordPOS: SSB/T: L/RHT: 6-2WT: 175School: Lakewood (Calif.) HSAnalysis: Hearing them with Ball, McGuire, and Crawford, but not Meadows and Frazier. Also heard one rumor they'd take Bickford and tell him to take less money or go to school.
11DJ PetersonPOS: 3B/1BB/T: R/RHT: 6-1WT: 205School: New MexicoAnalysis: Have heard them on Peterson or Smith for weeks now. Gonzalez is another name that has gained some traction here.
12Hunter RenfroePOS: OFB/T: R/RHT: 6-1WT: 216School: Mississippi StateAnalysis: Seattle is being linked to a slew of names here, including Peterson, Bickford, and Crawford.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO
13Clint FrazierPOS: OFB/T: R/RHT: 6-1WT: 190School: Loganville (Ga.) HSAnalysis: Other possibilities here include Renfroe, Gonzalez and Hunter Dozier, who has moved up draft boards with a strong spring at Stephen F. Austin. Dozier is also helped by the fact that this draft is bereft of college shortstops, and he is probably the best one.
Update (11:50 a.m. ET): Hearing that Renfroe is their clear second choice if Frazier is off the board.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO
14Dominic SmithPOS: 1BB/T: L/LHT: 6-0WT: 195School: Serra HS (Gardena, Calif.)Analysis: Gonzalez is also in play here, as well as the other names I mentioned at No. 9 should they fall this far.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO
15Alex GonzalezPOS: RHPHT: 6-3WT: 200School: Oral RobertsAnalysis: If Renfroe or Smith are still on the board, it's unlikely they'll get past here. Another name I've heard is Fresno State outfielder Aaron Judge, who is built like a defensive end and has one of the more unique scouting profiles you will ever see.
16Austin WilsonPOS: OFB/T: R/RHT: 6-5WT: 245School: StanfordAnalysis: I've heard them on a weird mix of players, but they seem to be locked in on bats. They're one of the teams linked to J.P. Crawford, and I've heard them connected to Judge, probably because they love high-upside athletic players even if their probability is low.
17Chris AndersonPOS: RHPHT: 6-4WT: 225School: JacksonvilleAnalysis: Other possibilities here include Gonzalez and juco shortstop Tim Anderson.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO
18Ryne StanekPOS: RHPHT: 6-4WT: 190School: ArkansasAnalysis: Heard a number of names here, including Nick Ciuffo, Hunter Harvey, Eric Jagielo and Gonzalez. Stanek was seen as a possible top-five pick coming into the spring, so some might see this as great value here.
19Tim AndersonPOS: SSB/T: R/RHT: 6-1WT: 180School: East Central CCAnalysis: Hearing they're more likely to go college than prep here.
20Jonathon CrawfordPOS: RHPHT: 6-3WT: 200School: FloridaAnalysis: Heard them linked to a lot of power arms -- a profile Detroit loves -- but not to anyone specific other than Crawford.
21Nick CiuffoPOS: CB/T: L/RHT: 6-1WT: 200School: Lexington (S.C.) HSAnalysis: Ciuffo seems to be the one name they'd really love to get here, with Dozier, Jagielo and Devin Williams other possibilities.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO
22Hunter HarveyPOS: RHPHT: 6-3WT: 175School: Bandys HS (Catawba, N.C.)Analysis: I've also heard them with Travis Demeritte, Josh Hart, and Alex Balog (but probably at pick No. 37 in competitive balance round A).
23Travis DemerittePOS: SSB/T: R/RHT: 6-1WT: 195School: Winder-Barrow HS (Winder, Ga.)Analysis: If the Cardinals really do go college at 19, that probably means Demerritte gets here, and Texas has been linked to him for a while.
24Rob KaminskyPOS: LHPHT: 6-0WT: 190School: St. Joseph HS (Montvale, N.J.)Analysis: Oakland has been linked to Hunter Harvey as well.
25Matt KrookPOS: LHPHT: 6-2WT: 190School: St. Ignatius Prep (Hillsborough, Calif.)Analysis: Linked to a lot of prep arms, with Krook earning particular attention from their pitching guru, **** Tidrow, as well as Ian Clarkin.
26Eric JagieloPOS: 3BB/T: L/RHT: 6-3WT: 215School: Notre DameAnalysis: Hearing they will go college here, with Jagielo edging out Wilson on their board.
27Jon DenneyPOS: CB/T: R/RHT: 6-2WT: 205School: Yukon (Okla.) HSAnalysis: Also heard them with Billy McKinney and Wil Crowe, the latter probably in the comp round (No. 38 overall pick).
28Devin WilliamsPOS: RHPHT: 6-3WT: 172School: Hazelwood (Mo.) West HSAnalysis: Williams is a local kid, which makes him an obvious fit. I've also heard them with Ian Clarkin here.
Note: This pick is compensation for Kyle Lohse signing with the Brewers.
29Hunter DozierPOS: SSB/T: R/RHT: 6-4WT: 220School: Stephen F. AustinAnalysis: Other targets are the guys I mentioned at No. 21: Dozier, Jagielo and Williams.
Note: This pick is compensation for B.J. Upton signing with the Braves.
30Kyle SerranoPOS: RHPHT: 6-0WT: 185School: Farragut (Tenn.) HSAnalysis: If I had to say there was one pick I knew the least about, it would be this one. I've heard names such as Hunter Green, Hart and Clarkin, but don't feel like any of them was a particularly strong link.
Note: This pick is compensation for Josh Hamilton signing with the Angels.
31Hunter GreenPOS: LHPHT: 6-5WT: 220School: Warren East HS (Bowling Green, Ky.)Analysis: They'd love Krook but he likely won't get here. Cal catcher Andrew Knapp is also in play.
Note: This pick is compensation for Michael Bourn signing with the Indians.
32Billy McKinneyPOS: OFB/T: L/LHT: 6-2WT: 195School: Plano (Texas) West HSAnalysis: Have also heard them on Kaminsky, Andrew Thurman (although that was a little while ago), Dustin Peterson and Cody Reed, as well as …
Note: This pick is compensation for Nick Swisher signing with the Indians.
33Ian ClarkinPOS: LHPHT: 6-2WT: 190School: Madison HS (San Diego)Analysis: Probably worth mentioning that the last time they picked down here in 2010, they shocked everyone by taking prep shortstop Cito Culver, who was considered a pretty big reach.
Note: This pick is compensation for Rafael Soriano signing with the Nationals.
Time gets in the way of draft rebuilds.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
A smart baseball executive talked the other day about how difficult the new rules have made it for teams to build through the draft. Under the old rules, organizations could divert funds into their draft spending and aggressively pay players in the later rounds -- usually talented high schoolers who had thoughts of going to college -- and build their pool of prospects.
But under the new rules, with a slotting system, that really isn’t possible anymore without rule-bending. And remember, there are also new restrictions on signing international free agents.
“The teams that already have a good group of prospects are in an incredibly strong position,” said the executive, naming the Cardinals, Rays and Pirates among those clubs. “But on the other hand, if you don’t have that kind of talent in your organization, it’s become much more difficult to get it.”
Which is saying something. It has taken Pirates GM Neal Huntington many years (and many losses) to rebuild the organization through the draft, and similarly, Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore took over the Royals in the spring of 2006. The Royals are perceived to have a good group of prospects, in spite of this year’s results in the big leagues, but think about that: It required six or seven years to get there, and that's under the old rules.
So while the day of the draft provides hope, it is also a sobering time for teams that are talent-starved and face a long, long road to rebuild in the way they want to -- a journey probably lengthened by the new rules.
The Brewers don’t even have a first-round pick today. Neither do the Angels. Same for the Nationals.
It’s really easy to say you’re going to devote time to rebuilding a franchise through the draft, and through development. But that strategy doesn’t guarantee success, and requires a sustained effort over a period of time that may span more than one general manager.
• Keith Law talked about the draft, how negotiations take place and who might get picked where in Wednesday’s podcast. Cubs GM Jed Hoyer spoke about the team’s work on the second overall pick on Tuesday’s podcast.
• The likelihood of the Cubs taking Mark Appel is growing, writes Paul Sullivan.
• The Astros will start the dominoes tonight, when they pick the first guy in the draft.
• The Rockies may get third baseman Kris Bryant in the draft, writes Patrick Saunders.
• The Pirates have two picks near the top of the draft. They’re looking for impact guys.
• The Rays hope to change their draft stories, writes Marc Topkin. They have a strategy, writes Roger Mooney.
• The Marlins are going back to their roots today with their draft approach, writes Clark Spencer.
• Pitching is a focus in the draft, writes Zach Braziller.
• First-round picks are crucial to building a winner.
• The Royals are striving for organizational balance, writes **** Kaegel.
• Roch Kubatko writes about the Orioles’ draft.
• Athleticism is a high priority for the Diamondbacks in this draft, writes Steve Gilbert.
• The Mariners must be creative in the No. 12 spot, writes Todd Dybas.
The latest scandal
• Torii Hunter called the latest PED news “a witch hunt,” but I really think, after talking with some players Wednesday, that Hunter’s opinion is in the minority. Players are saying privately -- and even some publicly, such as Matt Holliday -- that they wanted cheaters rooted out, and that they feel no allegiance to cheaters.
Which is how it should be. I’ve written this here before and it’s worth repeating now: In 1995, the players used as replacements during the MLBPA’s strike were treated as scabs thereafter, because they were perceived to be a threat to the union’s stance, and to the other players’ ability to make a living. Well, in 2013, players who choose to take performance-enhancing drugs to gain a competitive advantage over other union members are a far greater threat than the replacement players ever were, and worthy of much harsher treatment from their brethren. Because the players who choose to cheat have effectively chosen to try to take jobs and money illicitly from other union members.
Alex Rodriguez is the sizable shadow that won’t go away for the Yankees, writes Tyler Kepner. The response within the Yankees organization to the latest news was basically one collective shrug: They have no control in this situation, almost certainly no ability to get out of the onerous contract despite Rodriguez’s past transgressions, no real way to know what Rodriguez might be as a player as he comes back from a second major hip surgery, and above all else, A-Rod’s actions continue to perplex many of them. From Kepner’s story:
“I think it’s embarrassing,” [Mark] Teixeira said, speaking generally about the report. “This is all speculation, but if it is true, then I don’t think it’s good for the game. We’re supposed to be good examples for kids, for fans. It’d be one thing if we didn’t have a policy. We’ve had a very tough policy for a long time. If that many guys are still cheating, it’s just very disappointing.”
From the Yankees’ perspective, Joel Sherman writes, why worry? Rodriguez’s biggest allies will be his lawyers, and not players, writes Bob Klapisch. Rodriguez declined to pay Tony Bosch, reports the Daily News.
The conversation on drugs will never end, writes Sam Mellinger. This is a short-term pain that is a long-term gain for baseball, writes Richard Griffin. I agree with him completely.
It seems like Bud Selig’s work is never done, writes Patrick Reusse. The union says judgment should be withheld.
Losing Nelson Cruz could cost the Rangers the AL West, writes Tim Cowlishaw. Bartolo Colon is back in the center of the PED storm, but he won. Clint Hurdle says he’s not going to worry about it. Tom Haudricourt wonders: Is Tony Bosch going to be credible enough to take down Ryan Braun and others?
If Major League Baseball officials entered into their agreement with Bosch without having some sense of whether he could provide corroborating evidence, it would be a major mistake. But I don’t think that’s the case; I think they know most of what they’re going to get, and would never have made their deal with him without knowing they are going to get a lot of stuff from him, whether it be FedEx receipts, hotel receipts, surveillance video, text messages, emails, phone records, etc.
Braun was out of the lineup because of a thumb issue.
• Cargo and Tulo put on a show, as Troy Renck writes.
From Elias Sports Bureau: Carlos Gonzalez hit three home runs and Troy Tulowitzki went 5-for-5 with two homers in the Rockies' win over the Reds. It's the first time in major league history that one player had a three-homer game while a teammate had at least five hits including two homers in the same game.
• How desperate were the White Sox to win and end their losing streak Wednesday? Enough so that closer Addison Reed threw 55 pitches over three innings.
The Mariners rallied from five runs down in the 14th inning, incredibly, only to lose. What a crusher.
Elias: The Mariners-White Sox game is the first game in major league history in which each team scored 5-plus runs in a game that was scoreless through nine innings. Kyle Seager is the first player in MLB history with a game-tying grand slam in extra innings.
• Watching Julio Teheran pitch Wednesday, I thought he was going to finish his no-hitter. He had tremendous stuff, and the Pirates seemed to be a little sluggish, in a day game after a night game.
From ESPN Stats & Information, how Teheran dominated:
A. Teheran threw a career-high 41 sliders, a pitch he just added to his repertoire this season. Pirates hitters put only 3 of the 19 sliders they swung at in play and none left the infield.
B. Teheran induced 22 swings-and-misses, nine more than any other start of his career and the most by a Braves starter in the last two seasons.
C. All 11 of his strikeouts were swinging (five fastball, four slider, one curveball, one changeup). There have been 52 double-digit strikeout games this season, but Teheran's is only the third in which all strikeouts were swinging.
D. Teheran started 23 of 28 (82.1 pct) hitters with a first-pitch strike, the highest percentage of his career. Ten of his 11 strikeouts came after getting ahead 0-1.
E. Teheran’s no-hit bid lasted 7 2/3 innings. That is the most no-hit innings by a Braves pitcher since Kent Mercker completed a no-hitter in 1994.
• It turns out Yasiel Puig is not going to get two or three hits in every game. But as long as he continues to produce, he will continue to play, even after Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp return from the disabled list. At this stage, with the Dodgers well back in the standings, they don’t have any choice but to play their best lineup every day, regardless of salary or resume.
• CC Sabathia continues his march toward 200 career victories.
Moves, deals and decisions
1. Yadier Molina dropped his appeal, writes Rick Hummel.
2. Anthony Rendon started at second base.
3. Roy Oswalt could be promoted soon.
Dings and dents
1. Johnny Cueto has a sore arm.
2. Mitch Moreland hurt his hamstring and it didn’t look good.
3. Daniel Hudson had a setback, as Nick Piecoro writes.
4. A Dodgers pitcher is having Tommy John surgery.
5. Stephen Strasburg landed on the disabled list.
6. Jake Peavy may not be able to pitch again before the trade deadline, as Mark Gonzales writes.
1. After home plate umpire John Hirschbeck went down, so did the Marlins.
2. The Rays rallied for a nice win.
3. A strong outing by Joe Kelly was wasted.
4. Alexi Ogando was "the man" for the Rangers.
5. R.A. Dickey bounced back.
6. The Orioles were blasted.
7. Jason Marquis flirted with the first no-hitter in Padres’ history.
• Jim Leyland raved about a Rays reliever.
• For a night, Koji Uehara disappointed.
• The Royals’ long nightmare is over.
• The Tigers are concerned about Avisail Garcia’s habit of lunging to the first-base bag, writes Tom Gage.
• Chris Perez is subject to a drug investigation, as Bud Shaw writes. A package sent to his home was intercepted.
• The Indians were shut down by CC Sabathia, and swept.
• Six Astros -- count 'em, six -- hit home runs against the Orioles, as Jesus Ortiz writes.
• The Braves continue to be in a strong position relative to the Nationals, writes David O’Brien, in a June 1 post. This race feels like an NBA game: At some point, you figure that the Nationals will make a strong run, and we’ll see how the Braves respond to that.
• A Marlins rookie made his little brother cry, writes Joe Capozzi.
• Marlon Byrd clubbed a couple of homers.
• Davey Johnson shaved his beard.
• For the Nationals, the struggles continue, writes Amanda Comak.
• Cole Hamels rebuilt his confidence, and Domonic Brown clocked another home run.
• The Cubs lost, but are hopeful today for other reasons.
• Pete Kozma got a needed day off.
• Starling Marte tried some added protection, then opted to ditch it.
• Paul Goldschmidt: Ridiculous.
Crime still pays in MLB.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Melky Cabrera was suspended for the use of performance-enhancing drugs in 2012 and lost about a third of his salary, or about $1.8 million of the $6 million that he made. Then, when he went into free agency, he signed a two-year, $16 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.
According to "Outside The Lines," Cabrera now faces a 100-game suspension, meaning that he could lose about $4.4 million in salary. So in the end, Melky Cabrera could be busted twice in two years -- and still walk away with $15.8 million for his work in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Does crime pay in Major League Baseball?
Heck yeah, it does.
And this will continue to be the case until the Major League Baseball Players Association steps up and aggressively pursues tougher penalties for those caught. Many players want this to happen, and have talked about making it happen -- and it may well happen for next year.
It’s very possible that Cabrera, Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez and others will have to do the perp walk of public shame -- and along the way, they’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.
• It’s worth remembering this: A lot of players in a lot of sports have used performance-enhancing drugs, in following their competitive instinct to get an edge. Through the years, the methods have evolved, from scuffing a baseball to corking a bat to wide receivers and defensive backs covering their hands with stickum to hockey players bending their sticks, and finally, to athletes taking drugs.
So if MLB develops the information necessary to determine, once and for all, that Braun used performance-enhancing drugs, Braun’s name can be added to the legions of rule-breakers.
But if suspended, Braun will forever own a special place among the cheaters: He will be the Lance Armstrong of baseball. Being a cheater, well, that’s like being part of a graduating class: Everybody gets a diploma. But if Braun is suspended, he will be baseball’s valedictorian of illicit behavior.
Because not only did he deny the use of performance-enhancing drugs -- as Rafael Palmeiro and many, many others did -- but Braun’s defense was to attack those in the system. It’s one thing to say I didn’t take steroids, but Braun’s side went after those within the chain of custody, most notably attacking the professionalism of Dino Laurenzi, the collector.
Braun had a public defense when he tested positive prior to the 2012 season, and there also was a vicious private defense aimed at Laurenzi. And think about all the people that Braun may have lied to along the way, in the Brewers’ organization, to other players.
It’s worth reviewing what Braun said on the day he spoke (here’s the videotape of a portion of that statement).
Here's a of full transcript of Braun's comments on the day he won his appeal in spring training 2012, and I've pulled out another key section that was not included in the video above.
In my [testing] case there was an additional third person, the son of the collector, who just so happened to be the my chaperone on the day that I was tested. The day of the test we had a 1 o’clock game. I provided my sample at about 4:30. There were two other players who provided their samples that day within 10 minutes of mine. The collector left the field at about 5 o’clock. There were at least five FedEx locations within five miles of the stadium that were open until 9 p.m. and an additional FedEx location that was open for 24 hours. There were upwards of 18 or 19 FedEx locations that were open between the ballpark and his house that he could have dropped the samples off at.
When FedEx received the samples, it then creates a chain of custody at the FedEx location where he eventually brought my sample to. It would have been stored in a temperature-controlled environment, and FedEx is used to handling clinical packaging. But most importantly, you then would become a number and no longer a name. So when we provide our samples, there is a number and no longer a name associated with the sample. That way there can’t be any bias -- whether it’s with FedEx, while it’s traveling, at the lab in Montreal, in any way -- based on somebody’s race, religion, ethnicity, what team they play for, whatever the case may be. As players, the confidentiality of this process is extremely important. It’s always been extremely important, because the only way for the process to succeed is for the confidentiality and the chain of custody to work.
Why he didn’t bring it in, I don’t know. On the day that he did finally bring it in, FedEx opened at 7:30. Why didn’t he bring it in until 1:30? I can’t answer that question. Why was there zero documentation? What could have possibly happened to it during that 44-hour period? There were a lot of things that we learned about the collector, about the collection process, about the way that the entire thing worked that made us very concerned and very suspicious about what could have actually happened.
The key words in that statement are there at the end: "There were a lot of things that we learned about the collector ... that made us very concerned and very suspicious about what could have actually happened."
If Ryan Braun was lying when he uttered those words -- if it’s proved that he was a user -- well, he has earned a special kind of scorn.
Braun, who is making $8.5 million this year and guaranteed $117 million from 2014 through 2021, stands by his spring training statement.
• Alex Rodriguez has made a lot of poor career decisions -- a lot of them -- but if Major League Baseball confirms the details in Tuesday’s Biogenesis story, then this would be the worst of them. Most superstar players are welcomed back for reunions, for Old-Timers Day, that sort of thing, but it’s hard to imagine teams ever welcoming back Rodriguez into their big tent without the passage of a whole lot of time. Because it means that he lied, and then lied again and again and again.
From ESPN Stats & Information, a timeline of Rodriguez's PED-related events
2003: Reportedly tests positive for steroids
February 2004: Traded to Yankees
April 2004: Samples seized from Las Vegas laboratory
December 2007: Denies using steroids in "60 Minutes" interview
February 2009: Sports Illustrated reports he tested positive for steroids in 2003
February 2009: Admits to PED use
January 2013: Linked to Biogenesis clinic in reports in Miami New Times
April 2013: New York Times reports Rodriguez purchased documents from Biogenesis clinic
Tuesday: ESPN reports MLB seeking to suspend Rodriguez, others
The Yankees owe Rodriguez at least $118 million over the next five years. The thing that complicates that total number is his $10 million signing bonus -- $6 million of it has already been paid, leaving $4 million to be paid over 2013 ($1M) and 2014 ($3M), so the actual guaranteed total is $118 million remaining on his contract.
This doesn’t include the potential $30 million he could earn by reaching various home run milestones. He’ll earn an additional $6 million for tying Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds on the all-time home run list, as well another $6 million for passing Bonds.
• Jhonny Peralta may face a lengthy suspension. A couple of Padres are in the middle of this, writes Chris Jenkins.
Rivera won't reconsider retiring.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Mariano Rivera is almost perfect as a reliever this season, with 19 saves and a 1.77 ERA, the sort of numbers that don’t square with the fact that he is 43 years old and announced his retirement back in March.
This isn’t quite Gale Sayers walking away from his sport, or Jim Brown, because those guys were much younger when they retired, but it is unusual for someone to quit while at the top of his profession, which is why he was asked again Sunday, in conversation, if there is any chance he would reconsider. His explanation was classic Rivera.
He is devout in his faith, and he said that before this year, he asked for the Lord’s blessing for his final season -- to go through the year with his health, and with the kind of grace for which he prayed. Inspired by the show "Undercover Boss," Rivera and Yankees media relations man Jason Zillo came up with an idea that they hoped would work, something different, in which Rivera would arrange meetings with fans and employees of other teams.
That has gone as he had hoped it would, and he has been touched by the people he has spoken with, he said.
So he has received precisely what he asked for from God, he explained. And he does not want to take that blessing for granted. He feels as if there is a compact in place -- in return for what he asked for, he will walk away -- and he will honor it.
“I don’t care if I get 100 saves,” he said. “I don’t care if they offer me $50 million. That’s it.”
• Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman sat for the Sunday Conversation, and talked about Alex Rodriguez, among other topics.
• What scared folks last night at Yankee Stadium was a lightning strike. After this, a lot of the stoic security personnel who line the field during rain delays rushed off; they had had enough.
• The other day, I asked David Ortiz what his thinking is at the plate, and he had a simple answer: “Away.” He looks for something to take to left field or left-center field. And this chart shows he’s having a lot of success with that.
Around the league
From ESPN Stats & Information, more on Domonic Brown and Patrick Corbin, two young players who are starting to put up impressive numbers lately. Corbin is having a lot of success in this, his second season, while Brown’s story is that of a top prospect who took four seasons to reach his potential.
BIO BLAST: CORBIN
• Age 23, Born in Clay, N.Y.
• Drafted by Angels in second round of 2009 amateur draft
• Acquired on July 25, 2010 from Angels a part of Dan Haren trade
• 6-8, 4.54 ERA in 22 games (17 starts) as a rookie last season
• First pitcher to nine wins this season
• From Elias: Corbin improved to 9-0 with a 2.06 ERA on Sunday. He is the fourth pitcher in the past 75 years to go 9-0 or better with such a low ERA through his first 11 starts of a season. The others were Juan Marichal in 1966 (10-0, 0.80 ERA), Sonny Siebert in 1971 (9-0, 1.77 ERA) and Roger Clemens in 1997 (10-0, 1.85).
• Corbin’s win streak of nine straight decisions to start the season matches the best streak by a pitcher to start the season in Diamondbacks history (Brandon Webb, 2008). The Diamondbacks have won his past 12 starts dating back to last season.
• Corbin is the first lefty, age 23 or younger, to start a season 9-0 or better since 1973 (Roger Moret started 11-0 for the Red Sox).
Best pitch: slider
• 43 strikeouts with his slider is most among NL starters.
• Miss percentage of 52.1 is most among NL starters.
• In play percentage of 17.1 is lowest among NL starters.
• Chase percentage of 44.2 is tied for third among NL starters.
BIO BLAST: BROWN
• Age 25, Born in Zephyrhills, Fla.
• Drafted by Phillies in 20th round of 2006 draft.
• Phillies top prospect 2008-10
• This season set career highs in at-bats (202), hits (57), HR (16) and RBIs (40).
• In May, became first player in MLB history with at least 10 homers in a calendar month without a walk.
• Leads NL in HR (16).
• First Phillies player since Ryan Howard in 2006 to hit at least eight homers in a nine-game span.
• From Elias: Seven homers during current seven-game hitting streak. The only other Phillies players to hit safely in seven straight games while homering seven or more times are Chuck Klein (July 1929 and September 1930), Mike Schmidt (April 1976 and July 1979) and Chase Utley (April 2008).
Best hitting zone
Brown was once one of the most highly touted prospects in baseball and appears to be delivering on his almost-forgotten promise. How is he doing it? By a distinct adjustment -- handling pitches up in the zone more effectively and being more aggressive in swinging at those pitches.
Through 2012, he had hit .200 and slugged .323 on pitches "up" in the zone. This year, those numbers are .350 and .875, respectively. He's swinging at 53.5 percent of such pitches, which is the 11th-highest rate in the majors.
• The Phillies shut down the Brewers Sunday, led by Cliff Lee. From ESPN Stats & Info, how Lee won:
A. His seventh double-digit strikeout game without a walk since the start of 2010, the most in the majors in that span.
B. He threw strikes: 81 of 105 pitches were strikes. His strike percentage of 77.1 was his highest of the season and fifth best since 2009.
C. His fastball was out pitch: seven of 11 K's were from that pitch (tied for his third most since 2009).
D. He got batters to miss: They took 21 swings and misses (his most since 2009).
• I think Yadier Molina really cares and really wanted a hit in this situation, and 95 percent of the reason why he slammed down his helmet was because he was frustrated that he had grounded out. I think if the umpire had paused just a beat he would’ve realized this, too.
• The Dodgers are fully cognizant of all the possible downside in Yasiel Puig at this stage in his career, as he ascends to the big leagues. His understanding of simple fundamental defense and baserunning is lacking, or he just hasn’t placed a priority on it. He had issues with elementary stuff such as calling off other fielders on pop flies and showing up to work on time.
But as one of the Dodgers’ folks said in spring training, the intangible impact of Puig is so great that it’s tangible. His energy rubs off on other players, and his enthusiasm will naturally nudge others to play hard; he attacks the game like a linebacker. There’s probably a pretty good chance this is not going to work out, given his overaggressiveness at the plate -- pitchers will take advantage of that, in all probability -- but he has the kind of raw, Bo Jackson-type talent that makes it worthwhile for the struggling Dodgers to give it a shot.
B.J. Upton's new approach.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Just before last Sunday night's game, Atlanta Braves hitting coach Greg Walker stood at the mouth of the dugout and talked about B.J. Upton's complicated, dysfunctional swing. Upton's front foot wasn't getting down quickly enough -- toes and heel -- and as he moved to attack the many pitches he missed, his front hip tended to turn out, like a door swinging open, far too soon before the ball got to home plate. And because of that, his bat followed, dragging out of the strike zone.
This is largely the reason why Upton has struggled so badly against anybody with a decent fastball in the past couple of years. His swing has probably been in the strike zone a minimal amount of time for a majority of his at-bats. Upton had been working on repairing his swing in the days leading up to his benching last week, and when he did side work and took batting practice, it would all look better. But once the games started, the adrenaline of the competition was added in and broke down everything.
Walker raved about Upton's work to fix the swing, to fix all of these various issues. "He'll get it," Walker said. "He'll get there."
So it was interesting to see Upton's game-winning, walk-off hit in Saturday's victory over the Nationals. Upton, with a slightly open stance, gets his front foot down with something of a double-tap, and while he doesn't anchor his heel to the ground -- something he has been working toward -- Upton's front side stays in place, and doesn't turn out too early. He's in position to take the ball to right field.
It's a better swing; it's a better at-bat. It's a sign that Upton could be getting better, as Walker predicted.
This Sunday, we've got the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, with Clay Buchholz pitching against Hiroki Kuroda.
CC Sabathia's clubhouse impact.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
A few hours before the Yankees beat the Red Sox, New York general manager Brian Cashman sat down for the Sunday night conversation, and, among other topics, he talked about CC Sabathia and what he has meant to the franchise. Cashman recounted the conversations he had with Sabathia before signing him: Not only did he want Sabathia because he is a really good pitcher but he wanted Sabathia to help alter the Yankees' clubhouse dynamic, which he felt was very sterile.
Sabathia is now four wins from 200 for his career, and, no matter what happens going forward, he’ll be remembered as one of the better pitchers of his generation. But if there was a Teammate Hall of Fame -- for guys like Dale Murphy, Tim Raines -- Sabathia would be a first-ballot inductee.
He treats everybody from the clubhouse kids to the highest-profile teammates the same, with geniality and generosity. His personality in dealing with others is consistent: Nobody has to navigate around his moods. He does everything he can to help others. He blames no one. He is always accountable.
I was once told a story about a situation earlier in his career in which one of his teammates' failures seemed to pop up constantly. Another teammate asked him about it in confidence, to empathize with the pitcher, to give him a chance to vent a little, if he wanted to -- but even in that private setting, Sabathia wouldn't entertain the topic. "I need to pitch better," he said, saying those words in such a way that ended that vein of conversation.
It’s little surprise, then, that Sabathia took his recent slump so hard, so personally; he thought he was letting down everybody else. On Friday, he picked up his teammates.
From ESPN Stats & Information:
CC Sabathia tied Al Downing for the third-most 10-strikeout games in Yankees history.
Ron Guidry -- 23
David Cone -- 21
CC Sabathia -- 17
Al Downing -- 17
****** Ford -- 14
How Sabathia won:
A) His 27 sliders netted nine outs (six strikeouts), and he allowed only one base hit with that pitch.
B) His average fastball velocity was a season-high 91.4 mph; he has averaged 90 mph or better with his fastball in eight straight starts.
C) He kept his fastball out of hitters' hot spots. Of his 62 fastballs, only 20 were in the middle third of the batter's strike zone heightwise. In his previous start, 29 of his 54 fastballs (54 percent) were in that area.
Elias: Sabathia is the first Yankees pitcher in more than 100 years to end a drought of at least five straight team losses with a 10-strikeout/zero-walk performance. That had last been done in 1910 by Russ Ford, who threw a complete-game shutout with 10 strikeouts and no walks against the St. Louis Browns, a decision that ended New York’s run of seven straight defeats.
Sabathia was able to punch up his velocity when needed, as Mark Feinsand writes. Joe Girardi was ejected and admitted he was wrong.
The Yankees got back Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis, as Dan Martin writes. The Yankees are relying on players of old, writes Joel Sherman.
Top 100 draft prospects.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The Rule 4 draft is almost upon us, and I've updated my ranking of the top 100 prospects in advance of Thursday night's proceedings. (For the previous version of my draft prospect rankings, click here.)
This is not a projection or mock draft -- my latest mock is here -- but a ranking by talent and upside based on my own scouting of players (live and off video) and conversations with scouts from all over the country.
As with my ranking of the top 100 pro prospects, I use the 20-80 grading scale in these comments to avoid overuse of the terms "average" and "above average" across the 100 player comments. On that scale, a grade of 50 equals major league average, 55 is above average, 60 is plus, 45 is fringy or below average and so on.
Now, on to the rankings.
1Mark AppelPOS: RHPHT: 6-5WT: 215School: StanfordAnalysis: He's a polished, athletic college right-hander with three above-average to plus pitches, clearly the top talent in this year's class.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO | PREVIOUS RANK: 1
2Kris BryantPOS: 3B/OFB/T: R/RHT: 6-5WT: 215School: San DiegoAnalysis: Bryant's kind of right-handed power is very hard to find, and even if he ends up in right field he's athletic enough to be good there.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO | PREVIOUS RANK: 3
3Jonathan GrayPOS: RHPHT: 6-4WT: 239School: OklahomaAnalysis: Shows two plus pitches and had much better conditioning and fastball command this year, although it remains to be seen if his positive test for the amphetamine Adderall hurts his stock at all.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO | PREVIOUS RANK: 2
4Kohl StewartPOS: RHPHT: 6-3WT: 190School: St. Pius X (Houston)Analysis: He has been up to 97 mph with a plus slider and two other workable pitches, as well as a scholarship to play quarterback at Texas A&M once Johnny Football departs. That football scholarship gives him a little bit more leverage than your typical prospect in contract negotiations.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO | PREVIOUS RANK: 5
5Austin MeadowsPOS: OFB/T: L/LHT: 6-3WT: 200School: Grayson (Ga.) HSAnalysis: A huge raw talent, bringing football size and athleticism to baseball, but he hasn't exploded on the diamond the way you'd expect given his tools.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO | PREVIOUS RANK: 4
6Braden ShipleyPOS: RHPHT: 6-3WT: 190School: NevadaAnalysis: A converted position player who didn't start pitching full time until 2012, Shipley is up to 97 mph with a plus changeup and a chance for an above-average curveball.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO | PREVIOUS RANK: 6
7Clint FrazierPOS: OFB/T: R/RHT: 6-0WT: 190School: Loganville (Ga.) HSAnalysis: Frazier has the best bat speed in the draft, bar none -- some of the best ever for a draft prospect, in fact -- but he's a sub-6-foot right-handed hitter who'll end up in a corner outfield spot. That's not a profile typically associated with All-Stars.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO | PREVIOUS RANK: 7
8Trey BallPOS: LHP/OFHT: 6-6WT: 180School: New Castle (Ind.) HSAnalysis: Ball could be drafted as a hitter or pitcher and is in contention for the draft's best athlete. He's a little better on the mound, where he's up to 94 with feel for a breaking ball.
SCOUTING REPORT | PREVIOUS RANK: 14
9Colin MoranPOS: 3BHT: 6-3WT: 215School: North CarolinaAnalysis: The best pure hitter among college bats, Moran should stay at third because of his hands and arm, but hasn't performed well on Friday nights when he's typically facing opponents' best starters.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO | PREVIOUS RANK: 9
10Sean ManaeaPOS: LHPHT: 6-5WT: 235School: Indiana StateAnalysis: A huge wild card, Manaea starred last summer in the Cape Cod League but fought a sore hip nearly all spring, walking off the mound in pain at the Missouri Valley Conference tournament, and could fall out of the first round depending on what his medicals say.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO | PREVIOUS RANK: 8
11Dominic SmithPOS: 1BB/T: L/LHT: 6-0WT: 195School: Serra HS (Gardena, Calif.)Analysis: A pretty left-handed swing and a plus arm will go a long way even if you're "only" a high school first baseman, typically a risky class of player in the first round because you are already on the low end of the defensive spectrum.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO | PREVIOUS RANK: 10
12Hunter RenfroePOS: OFB/T: R/RHT: 6-1WT: 216School: Mississippi StateAnalysis: Huge tools, comparable to Austin Meadows', but in a college player with no track record of performance prior to this year.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO | PREVIOUS RANK: 11
13Ryne StanekPOS: RHPHT: 6-4WT: 190School: ArkansasAnalysis: Came into the year as a potential top-five pick, and still has the same stuff, including a fastball up to 99 mph, just with mediocre performances exacerbated by Arkansas jerking him around their weekend rotation.
SCOUTING REPORT | PREVIOUS RANK: 13
14J.P. CrawfordPOS: SSB/T: L/RHT: 6-2WT: 175School: Lakewood (Calif.) HSAnalysis: In a draft with few true shortstops, Crawford stands out as the most likely to stay at the position, also bringing some feel for hitting but looking like a long-term prospect who might be five years out.
SCOUTING REPORT | PREVIOUS RANK: 12
15Austin WilsonPOS: OFB/T: R/RHT: 6-5WT: 245School: StanfordAnalysis: He suffered a stress reaction above his right elbow on opening day and never fully recovered; he still has the size and easy power to merit a first-round pick.
SCOUTING REPORT | PREVIOUS RANK: 15
16Alex GonzalezPOS: RHPHT: 6-3WT: 200School: Oral RobertsAnalysis: Gonzalez sits 90-93 with his fastball but has the best cutter in the draft and a very high ground ball rate, making him appealing to teams who value that specific skill as well as overall tools.
SCOUTING REPORT | PREVIOUS RANK: 16
17Aaron JudgePOS: OFB/T: R/RHT: 6-7WT: 255School: Fresno StateAnalysis: The definition of high-risk, high-reward, as Judge has few physical comparisons in the history of the majors, but if a team can unlock the power in his size and strength, he's a potential 30-homer bat who can play solid defense in an outfield corner.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO | PREVIOUS RANK: 17
18Nick CiuffoPOS: CB/T: L/RHT: 6-1WT: 200School: Lexington (S.C.) HSAnalysis: The best receiving catcher in the draft, Ciuffo has the potential for above-average power down the road and plays with a tremendous amount of energy.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO | PREVIOUS RANK: 18
19Reese McGuirePOS: CB/T: L/RHT: 6-1WT: 190School: Kentwood HS (Kent, Wash.)Analysis: A plus-plus throwing catcher who should help cut down the running game, McGuire has caught and hit better this spring than he did on the showcase circuit last summer.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO | PREVIOUS RANK: 19
20Devin WilliamsPOS: RHPHT: 6-3WT: 172School: Hazelwood West HS (Hazelwood, Mo.)Analysis: Williams is one of the top prep arms in the country, with an athletic build and delivery reminiscent of Mariners prospect Taijuan Walker's and a chance for three above-average or better pitches.
SCOUTING REPORT | PREVIOUS RANK: 20
21Kyle SerranoPOS: RHPHT: 6-0WT: 185School: Farragut (Tenn.) HSAnalysis: Kyle is the son of Tennessee coach Dave Serrano and is slated to be the Vols' Friday night starter in 2014, but his plus curveball might never make it to Knoxville except as a spectator.
SCOUTING REPORT | PREVIOUS RANK: 21
22Jon DenneyPOS: CB/T: R/RHT: 6-2WT: 205School: Yukon (Okla.) HSAnalysis: The best offensive catcher in this solid crop of high school backstops, Denney hasn't caught or thrown as well this spring as he did on the showcase circuit but still has the highest upside at the plate in that group.
SCOUTING REPORT | PREVIOUS RANK: 22
23Marco GonzalesPOS: LHPHT: 6-1WT: 185School: GonzagaAnalysis: A low-upside, high-probability left-hander with a plus changeup and above-average breaking ball but a lack of size and a fastball that might end up in the upper 80s when he pitches every fifth day.
SCOUTING REPORT | PREVIOUS RANK: 23
24Hunter HarveyPOS: RHPHT: 6-3WT: 175School: Bandys HS (Catawba, N.C.)Analysis: The son of former big league reliever Bryan Harvey, Hunter has an easy low-90s fastball and the chance for a plus breaking ball as well as a very athletic frame.
SCOUTING REPORT | PREVIOUS RANK: 24
25Chris AndersonPOS: RHPHT: 6-4WT: 225School: JacksonvilleAnalysis: An up-and-down spring spurred by overuse at Jacksonville knocked Anderson out of top-10 contention, but his velocity perked up near the end of the year and he's flashed a plus slider as well.
SCOUTING REPORT | VIDEO | PREVIOUS RANK: 25
Click on hyperlinks for full scouting reports.
RANK PLAYER POS SCHOOL
26 Eric Jagielo 3B Notre Dame
27 Andrew Thurman RHP UC Irvine
28 Billy McKinney OF Plano (Texas) West Senior HS
29 Connor Jones RHP Great Bridge HS (Chesapeake, Va.)
30 Matt Krook LHP St. Ignatius Prep (Hillsborough, Calif.)
31 Cody Reed LHP Northwest Miss. CC
32 Aaron Blair RHP Marshall
33 Rob Kaminsky LHP St. Joseph's HS (Englewood Cliffs, NJ)
34 DJ Peterson OF New Mexico
35 Andrew Mitchell RHP TCU
36 Wil Crowe RHP Pigeon Forge (Tenn.) HS
37 Tim Anderson SS East Central CC
38 Hunter Dozier SS Stephen F. Austin
39 Dustin Peterson SS Gilbert (Ariz.) HS
40 Blake Taylor LHP Dana Hills (Calif.) HS
41 Travis Demerritte SS Winder-Barrow (Ga.) HS
42 Hunter Green LHP Warren East HS (Bowling Green, Ky.)
43 Ian Clarkin LHP Madison HS (San Diego)
44 Ryan Boldt OF Red Wing (Minn.) HS
45 Jacob Brentz LHP South HS (Ballwin, Mo.)
46 Garrett Williams LHP Calvary Baptist Academy (Shreveport, La.)
47 Jonathon Crawford RHP Florida
48 Jason Hursh RHP Oklahoma St
49 Michael Lorenzen RHP/OF Cal St Fullerton
50 Josh Hart OF Parkview HS (Lilburn, Ga.)
51 Trevor Williams RHP Arizona St
52 Jordan Paroubeck OF Serra HS (San Mateo, Calif.)
53 Cord Sandberg OF Manatee County Private (Bradenton, Fla.)
54 Phil Ervin OF Samford
55 Phil Bickford RHP Oaks Christian HS (Ventura, Calif.)
56 Andrew Knapp C Cal
57 Dustin Driver RHP Wenatchee (Wash.) HS
58 Rob Zastryzny LHP Missouri
59 Ryan Eades RHP LSU
60 Tom Windle LHP Minnesota
61 Teddy Stankiewicz RHP Seminole State College
62 Kevin Ziomek LHP Vanderbilt
63 Bobby Wahl RHP Ole Miss
64 Alex Balog RHP San Francisco
65 Colby Suggs RHP Arkansas
66 Jake Johansen RHP Dallas Baptist University
67 Cavan Biggio 2B St. Thomas HS (Houston)
68 Myles Smith RHP Lee University
69 Matt McPhearson OF Riverdale Baptist HS (Columbia, Md.)
70 Terry McClure OF Riverwood HS (Atlanta)
71 Mason Smith OF Rocky Mountain HS (Meridian, Idaho)
72 Clinton Hollon RHP Woodford County HS (Lexington, Ky.)
73 Ryan McMahon 3B Mater Dei HS (Yorba Linda, Calif.)
74 Jan Hernandez SS Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy (San Lorenzo, PR)
75 Andrew Church RHP Palo Verde HS (Las Vegas)
76 Andy McGuire SS James Madison HS (Oakton, Va.)
77 Adam Plutko RHP UCLA
78 Mike O'Neill OF Michigan
79 Scott Frazier RHP Pepperdine
80 Chad Pinder 3B Virginia Tech
81 Carlos Salazar RHP Kerman (Calif.) HS
82 Kent Emanuel LHP UNC
83 Trey Michalczewski SS Jenks (Okla.) HS
84 Jared King OF Kansas State
85 Chris Rivera SS El Dorado HS (Fullerton, Calif.)
86 Ivan Wilson OF Ruston (La.) HS
87 JaCoby Jones 2B LSU
88 Jake Sweaney C Garces Memorial HS (Bakersfield, Calif.)
89 Trey Masek RHP Texas Tech
90 Riley Unroe SS Desert Ridge HS (Mesa, Ariz.)
91 Casey Meisner RHP Cypress (Texas) Woods HS
92 Victor Caratini C Miami Dade College
93 Kyle Finnegan RHP Texas State
94 Zane Evans C Georgia Tech
95 Corey Knebel RHP Texas
96 Stuart Turner C Ole Miss
97 Corey Littrell LHP Kentucky
98 Garrett Hampson SS Renon (Nev.) HS
99 Christian Arroyo SS Hernando HS (Spring Hill, Fla.)
100 Jeremy Martinez C Mater Dei HS (Fountain Valley, Calif.)
Rumors.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
June, 6, 2013
Jun 611:44AM ETBy Jason Catania | ESPN.com Recommend0Tweet0Comments0EmailPrintReigning American League Cy Young winner David Price has been out for a while. What's the latest on the lefty?
Price is set to throw a bullpen session Friday, his first since injuring his left triceps and leaving his May 15 outing early, according to a tweet from Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune.
Price had been throwing on flat ground over the past week, and since he hasn't had any setbacks, this is the next step in the progression.
It's still too early to put a timetable on Price's return, and it's also unknown if he'll need a rehab start or two. Assuming everything were to go just right from here on out, he could perhaps make it back in late June.
Rookie Chris Archer is holding Price's rotation spot and will give it up once the veteran is ready to go.Tags:Tampa Bay Rays, David Price, Chris Archer
Royals rotation reinforcement
June, 6, 2013
Jun 611:12AM ETBy Jason Catania | ESPN.com Recommend0Tweet0Comments0EmailPrintThe Kansas City Royals could be getting a young arm back soon.
Former top prospect Danny Duffy, a left-hander who is returning from last season's Tommy John surgery, is set to move to Triple-A Omaha, as Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star tweets. His next start is scheduled for Monday.
So far, Duffy has made three starts in his rehab assignment, all at Double-A, allowing 12 hits and five runs in 10.2 innings, with a 15-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
While the Royals five-man had been an asset early in the season, there have been some kinks exposed lately, namely Wade Davis (6.16 ERA) and Luis Mendoza (4.76). Fellow righty Jeremy Guthrie, so good for the first month, has also struggled at times since.
Duffy is still a few weeks from being ready, but the 24-year-old could be an option for the back of the rotation by the end of June.
The likeliest candidate to be bumped to the bullpen would be Mendoza or Davis, both of whom have experience in a relief role.Tags:Kansas City Royals, Luis Mendoza, Wade Davis, Jeremy Guthrie, Danny Duffy
If Moreland is out
June, 6, 2013
Jun 610:41AM ETBy Jason Catania | ESPN.com Recommend0Tweet0Comments0EmailPrintThe right side of the Texas Rangers infield suffered suffered what looks like another injury.
Already without second baseman Ian Kinsler, the Rangers may be losing first baseman Mitch Moreland, too. Moreland hurt his right hamstring and had to leave Wednesday's game immediately after hitting a leadoff double in the seventh inning, per T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.
For now, Moreland is day to day, but he did miss 31 games last year with a strained left hammy. The Rangers sent him back to Texas to have the injury evaluated, and if it's deemed more serious, the club will have to figure out how to replace him.
The two options on the current 25-man roster would be Lance Berkman or Jeff Baker, who replaced Moreland Wednesday, but if a stint on the disabled list is in Moreland's future, Texas may consider bringing up prospect Mike Olt. Olt, though, only recently returned to action at Triple-A after missing a month with blurred vision.Tags:Texas Rangers, Mitch Moreland, Jeff Baker, Mike Olt, Lance Berkman
Who takes Strasburg's turn?
June, 6, 2013
Jun 610:21AM ETBy Jason Catania | ESPN.com Recommend0Tweet0Comments0EmailPrintThe Washington Nationals were hoping to avoid having to put Stephen Strasburg on the disabled list. They held out that hope as long as possible.
The right-hander officially went on the DL Wednesday with a sore lat muscle in his right side, per Tom Schad of MLB.com.
The 15-day stint is backdated to May 31, meaning Strasburg could be back by June 15. The move to the DL happened after Strasburg felt discomfort while playing catch prior to a scheduled bullpen session Wednesday.
Strasburg's next turn would have been Saturday, and Washington's options to replace him are somewhat limited, as they're already without lefty Ross Detwiler, who's out with an oblique strain.
Manager Davey Johnson did not reveal who would take the turn, but he did say he has an idea of who it will be. Schad speculates that could be either journeyman right-hander Ross Ohlendorf or lefty Danny Rosenbaum, both of whom are at Triple-A.Tags:Washington Nationals, Stephen Strasburg, Danny Rosenbaum, Ross Ohledorf
June, 6, 2013
Jun 69:54AM ETBy Jason Catania | ESPN.com Recommend0Tweet0Comments0EmailPrintThe Cincinnati Reds have experienced life without ace Johnny Cueto already this season. They'll have to do so again.
The right-hander was placed on the disabled list for the second time this season due to the same injury -- a sore muscle behind his pitching shoulder.
The injury is expected to keep Cueto out for a few starts, per of Jeremy Warnemuende MLB.com. Given that this is the second stint for the same injury, though, and Cueto missed a handful of outings last time, that timetable may be optimistic.
Cueto hit the DL before his scheduled outing Wednesday, so minor leaguer Pedro Villarreal was called up for the spot start, which didn't go well: 10 hits and six earned runs in 3.2 innings.
The question now becomes whether the Reds will turn again to rookie Tony Cingrani. The left-hander, who's continued to dominate at Triple-A since going back down, made six mostly successful starts in place of Cueto earlier in the season and would be a better option going forward.
Problem is, Cingrani threw seven innings on Sunday, so he's not synced up with Cueto's turn in the rotation.Tags:Cincinnati Reds, Johnny Cueto, Tony Cingrani
Impact of Peavy's injury
June, 6, 2013
Jun 69:31AM ETBy Jason A. Churchill | ESPN.com Recommend0Tweet0Comments0EmailPrintRight-hander Jake Peavy left his Tuesday start with what was described as rib pain on his left side. The news got worse Wednesday.
Peavy will be out for four-to-six weeks with a non-displaced rib fracture on his left side.
The veteran righty will be replaced by Hector Santiago, who filled in for Peavy last month.
The White Sox, who finally won in a crazy, extra-inning affair Wednesday night, are eight games under .500 and seven back in the American League Central. As such, they could be moving closer to sell mode if they don't turn things around dramatically over the next month or so. That task is now tougher sans Peavy.
Making matters worse, Peavy recently admitted that he would "go play anywhere" for a chance at a ring, meaning he's open to a trade to a contender. Of course, the fact that he's now unlikely to make it back before the All-Star break severely decreases the chances that another team would be willing to acquire him.Tags:Chicago White Sox, Donnie Veal, Hector Santiago, Simon Castro, Jake Peavy
June, 5, 2013
Jun 52:31PM ETBy Jason A. Churchill | ESPN.com Recommend0Tweet0Comments0EmailPrintRoy Oswalt, who signed a minor league deal with the Colorado Rockies this spring, has made three start for the Double-A Tulsa Drillers, producing solid results in each, perhaps suggesting he's not all that far off from being physically ready to help the big club.
The veteran went seven innings Tuesday and struck out five. He allowed three runs on seven hits, and it's worth noting that his home park, where he's made two of his three starts, is a hitter's environment. All four of the long balls he's allowed have come in Tulsa.
Thing is, Denver isn't exactly forgiving to the fly ball pitcher, so Oswalt will have to live down in the zone if he's to survive in Colorado. He's slated for start No. 4 Sunday versus Springfield, the Texas League affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. It's another home game for Tulsa.
The Denver Post reports that Oswalt has out clauses in his contract dated June 18 and June 28, which means he's about three starts from the first one.Tags:Colorado Rockies, Roy Oswalt
Myers making case for call-up
June, 5, 2013
Jun 51:11PM ETBy Jason A. Churchill | ESPN.com Recommend0Tweet0Comments0EmailPrintTampa Bay Rays outfield prospect Wil Myers started the season a bit slow, piling up some strikeouts, failing to hit for average or power and justifying, at least in the short-term, the club's decision to send him to Triple-A to begin the year. Myers rebounded to finish strong in April, then had a mediocre first three weeks of May. Since then, however, Myers has been torching the baseball, perhaps suggesting he'll be ready for the call sometime this summer.
Since May 25, Myers is batting .422 with five home runs and five doubles, and has seven multi-hit games in his last 10. He leads the International League in extra-base hits during that span, and while the strikeouts are still there he's been as productive as one can hope with his other plate appearances.
The Rays don't have a big need for offense right now and are likely to wait out Myers, so I'm not expecting a call-up before the All-Star break, but sometime after makes a lot of sense. Myers will be beyond the Super Two threshold and come September any time he spend with the big club is a bonus toward his 2014 campaign to make the club out of spring training.Tags:Tampa Bay Rays, WIl Myers
Could Utley be dealt?
June, 5, 2013
Jun 511:39AM ETBy Jason A. Churchill | ESPN.com Recommend0Tweet1Comments1EmailPrintI've brought up the idea on a couple of occasions this spring that the Philadelphia Phillies may be a popular shopping center for contending clubs come June and July. Left-hander Cliff Lee and closer Jonathan Papelbon could be among those discussed by GM Ruben Amaro. What about Chase Utley?
Utley's contract expires after this season and while I don't have privileged information on the future plans of either Utley or the Phillies, it's certainly not a slam dunk that they bring back the 34-year-old. Utley, who has battled back from three injury-marred seasons, has produced as usual in 2013. He;s also, as usual, been hurt.
Should the veteran get healthy and be made available, contenders that could show serious interest include the Los Angeles Dodgers, Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles. The Toronto Blue Jays also could be a fit if they jump back in the thick of things in the east, as could the Chicago White Sox, if they, too, get back on track.Tags:Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, Chase Utley
Checking Nolasco's trade stock
June, 5, 2013
Jun 510:58AM ETBy Jason A. Churchill | ESPN.com Recommend0Tweet2Comments0EmailPrintRicky Nolasco could be traded this summer. While earlier this spring there's was little to no interest, as Nolasco had producing mixed results, he's been much better of late, and most recently he's been pretty good.
Nolasco is a free agent at the end of the season and is by far the Marlins' highest paid player at $11.5 million. The 30-year-old has made four straight strong starts since a blip May 14 and despite a 3-6 record, boasts a 3.61 ERA and 67-20 K/BB ratio in 82 1/3 innings.
The list of clubs that could use a reliable arm in the middle of their rotation is long, but the Los Angeles Dodgers may top that list with injury and severe struggles to a few veterans holding them back as a staff. Nolasco isn't much of a ground ball pitcher, so the smaller ballparks in Arlington and Cincinnati, and the thin air of Coors Field don't seem to be fits, but Dodger Stadium has always favored the pitcher. The Angels, Orioles, Giants and Mariners could also be fits.Tags:Miami Marlins, Ricky Nolasco
Twins to draft future ace?
June, 5, 2013
Jun 510:22AM ETBy Jason A. Churchill | ESPN.com Recommend0Tweet7Comments2EmailPrintThe First-Year Player Draft is in three weeks (June 6-
and ESPN Insider's Keith Law released his first Mock Draft this week, projecting the Minnesota Twins, who have the fourth overall pick, to go with Jonathan Gray of Oklahoma.
Gray has the best fastball in the class, earning an 80 grade on the 20-80 scale, and the right-hander also employs a slider and changeup that are above average at present. His timetable to the majors could get him in a big-league uniform inside of two years.
Gray tested positive for Adderall, but the industry may or may not feel that warrants Gray sliding down drat boards. The Twins' rebuild could be shortened a bit by getting a talent like Gray in their system to team with Alex Meyer and Kyle Gibson.Tags:Minnesota Twins, Kyle Gibson, Alex Meyer
Ethier the odd-man out?
June, 5, 2013
Jun 58:57AM ETBy Jason A. Churchill | ESPN.com Recommend0Tweet7Comments1EmailPrintOnce Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford return from the disabled list, the Los Angeles Dodgers may have a tough decision on their hands. Rookie Yasiel Puig is off to a roaring start to his major league career, and veteran Andre Ethier continues to struggle. Considering the club's problems in the win-loss column, shipping out Puig may not be viewed as an option.
Ethier went 0-for-2 Tuesday and is batting just .234 with a .356 slugging percentage in 55 games. He's 1-for-14 in June and offers little to not value on the bases or in the field. A trade is one possibility, but it may be difficult to move Ethier and around $70 million guaranteed owed to him. It may make more sense for the club to continue to try and extract some value out of him, even if it means a part-time role.
The club has several outfield options after the starting three, including Scott Van Slyke, Jerry Hairston and Skip Schumaker, so they're covered in any case, but Puig is believed to be the future in right field for the Dodgers. If that future starts now, Ethier's days could be numbered.Tags:Los Angeles Dodgers, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, Skip Schumaker, Jerry Hairston, Yasiel Puig, Scott Van Slyke
June, 4, 2013
Jun 43:19PM ETBy Jason A. Churchill | ESPN.com Recommend0Tweet0Comments0EmailPrintWith Marco Estrada's injury and word Tuesday that he isn't likely to make his next start, the Milwaukee Brewers have a decision to make when Estrada's spot comes up again later this week.
It does appear to be a short-term issue, so the club could call on Tom Gorzelanny for a start. The left-hander spent most of his career starting and didn't jump to a permanent relief role until last season. He's made just one start since July of 2011, however, and his longest stint this season is the two innings he threw Sunday.
Barring Gorzelanny or another reliever jumping to the rotation for a start or two, the club will have to make roster space to call up an arm from Triple-A Nashville. If Estrada needs a few weeks for the hamstring, he'll likely hit the disabled list, creating that room.
The candidates for recall include Mike Fiers, Johnny Hellweg and Tyler Thornburg -- all three are on the 40-man roster. Rehabbing left-hander Chris Narveson has made but one start and does not appear ready to give the club innings. He's slated to go again Tuesday night.Tags:Milwaukee Brewers, Marco Estrada, Chris Narveson, Mike Fiers, Tom Gorzelanny, Tyler Thornburg, Johnny Hellweg
June, 4, 2013
Jun 42:44PM ETBy Jason A. Churchill | ESPN.com Recommend0Tweet0Comments0EmailPrintIt's been a little while since we checked in on Toronto Blue Jays centerfielder Colby Rasmus, and while we were out he's flipped the switch a little bit.
Since the middle of May or so, Rasmus has found some consistency and over the past three weeks he's flat out been on fire, batting .353/.382/.608 to raise his season line to .261/.320/.457, a much more respectable triple-slash than he tossed up in April.
He ended up with very solid numbers in May and any talk, from me or anyone else, that Rajai Davis may get more time in place of Rasmus are now invalid suggestions. Rasmus has always had the physical tools to perform at a high level. He's 26 now, so perhaps this is the year he does so. The recent and somewhat lengthy stretch may be the turning point.Tags:Toronto Blue Jays, Colby Rasmus
June, 4, 2013
Jun 42:00PM ETBy Jason A. Churchill | ESPN.com Recommend0Tweet7Comments0EmailPrintWe've checked in on struggling third baseman Mike Moustakas, regularly this season, and the numbers remain ugly. I keep this running entry, by the way, because it's baffling that a player like Moustakas is scuffling in this manner. His weakness was supposed to be defense at third, and he's managing quite well there, but all the while tossing up a goose egg with the bat.
Moustakas, battling a quad injury f late, and is now batting .186/.257/.304 for the season. Oddly, he has just 19 singles all season, despite a solid contact rate. Some worrisome statistics attached to Moustakas' resume this season is a line drive rate that has sunk more than three percent and a big spike in fly balls, up to 51 percent after finishing 2012 at 49.8 percent, which led baseball. Too many fly balls, however, are certainly going to impact the batting average.
ESPN Insider's Keith Law checked in on Moustakas and suggests a few fixes might help him get things going:
Swing fix for Moustakas?
"I wish I could offer such a concrete opinion on Mike Moustakas' struggles, but there's nothing so glaringly different about his swing today. He's taking a much longer stride -- he used to have a minimal stride, just a short step forward that was more about having a trigger than transferring his weight -- and rather than whipping the bat through the zone as he used to do, he's almost dragging it behind him. It's possible that shortening his stride would help restore the lost bat speed, or at least keep him a little more closed through contact. He always rolled over his lead foot a little, but that's more pronounced today than it was when he was in the minors. Hosmer can at least get by now because his plate discipline is so strong, but that's always been a weak point of Moustakas', and he needs to hit to justify his place in the lineup, and right now his line is .180/.252/.309. I'd at least start by shortening his stride, if only to see if that can produce some short-term benefits."