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2016 MLB thread. THE CUBS HAVE BROKEN THE CURSE! Chicago Cubs are your 2016 World Series champions. - Page 52

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MLB Draft: Best, Worst and Who's Left.

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Day 1 of the 2011 MLB draft was full of surprises, with the Mariners shocking everyone by going pitcher (surprise No. 1) and making that pick Virginia lefty Danny Hultzen (surprise No. 2), probably scorching the Royals' long-held plan to grab a college pitcher with the No. 5 pick. But there were plenty of intriguing moves through the remainder of the evening, some I loved, some that had me scratching my head. I've also listed my top remaining players as the draft moves to Day 2.


Moves I liked


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Tampa Bay Rays


The picks: Taylor Guerrieri (24), Mikie Mahtook (31), Jake Hager (32), Brandon Martin (38), Tyler Goeddel (41), Jeff Ames (42), Blake Snell (52), Kes Carter (56), Grayson Garvin (59), James Harris (60)
Summary: When you pick as often as Tampa Bay did, you're bound to do something I can praise. And I did like the majority of the Rays' picks. Their first pick, Taylor Guerrieri, has top-half-of-the-round stuff but fell on some signability and makeup questions -- however, the Rays did their homework on the latter and are satisfied with what they learned. Mikie Mahtook fell because ... well, I have no idea why he fell, maybe "profit-taking." He's a balanced player who'll contribute on offense and defense and move quickly through the system, and he plays like his hair is on fire. Tyler Goeddel is an athletic, projectable bat who should end up in left field and provide average and power. Brandon Martin is a shortstop who should stay at the position and has a short swing to produce line-drive contact. Grayson Garvin is a polished left-handed starter whose velocity ticked up at year's end, and he comes from Vanderbilt, one of the country's best college programs for developing arms. The Rays took probability, they took ceiling, they took tough signs, they took quick signs. They built a portfolio among their picks, taking advantage of the control they had with all of those selections in a short period of the draft. By August, if they sign most of these guys, that farm system likely will be the best in baseball.


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Minnesota Twins


The picks: Levi Michael (30), Travis Harrison (50), Hudson Boyd (55)
Summary: Levi Michael is a 20-year-old switch-hitting shortstop who can run; unless the ankle is somehow worse than I've heard, it makes no sense to me that he fell out of the top 20, and the Twins are very fortunate that they could grab him. Travis Harrison was in play in the late first/early sandwich as one of the better pure bats in the high school class but might have fallen on signability and concerns he will end up at first base, where I still think the bat will profile. The Twins also got a personal favorite of mine in Hudson Boyd, a big kid with two above-average pitches and outstanding makeup.


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Arizona Diamondbacks


The picks: Trevor Bauer (3), Archie Bradley (7), Andrew Chafin (43),
Summary: I mean, is this cheating, since the Diamondbacks picked twice in the top 10? They sure didn't go cheap with Archie Bradley at No. 7 -- I liked him more than their first pick, Trevor Bauer. And they added Andrew Chafin in the sandwich round, a reliever-turned-starter on the way back from Tommy John surgery who was apparently "disgusting" (that's good) in his last outing prior to the draft.


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San Diego Padres


The picks: Cory Spangenberg (10), Joe Ross (25), Michael Kelly (48), Brett Austin (54)
Summary: The pick at No. 10 was unprotected, and the Padres did what they had to do, taking a signable player there in Cory Spangenberg. But they still got some upside because the kid can fly and has a great left-handed swing; if he had a set position, he might have been projected to go there even without the signability. They also added a high-upside arm in Joe Ross, a guy who adds athleticism to their system.


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Boston Red Sox


The picks: Matt Barnes (19), Blake Swihart (26), Henry Owens (36), Jackie Bradley (40)
Summary: I hinted at this on Twitter, but some of the credit for Boston's draft is just that the right guys fell to the team. However, the Red Sox do deserve the rest of the credit for actually taking them (and, presumably, paying them). They got Blake Swihart, who I think will be an impact hitter and has a chance to do it as a catcher, with their second pick after preseason top-10 guy Matt Barnes -- whose velocity was fine but didn't show great command this year -- fell to them at No. 19. Henry Owens was spot on in the sandwich round as a projectable lefty who already hits 93 mph and has great deception, and they took a flier on Jackie Bradley's recovery from injury much as they did last year with Anthony Ranaudo.


Moves I question


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Atlanta Braves


The picks: Sean Gilmartin (28)
Summary: Sean Gilmartin as your lone pick of the day? I like Gilmartin for what he is, an athletic, competitive, back-end starter, but there were a number of higher-upside guys on the board, and the last thing Atlanta needs is a low-ceiling starter.


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Colorado Rockies


The picks: Tyler Anderson (20), Trevor Story (45)
Summary: Tyler Anderson was going in the first round, so it wasn't a reach by comparative standards, but I see no out pitch here, just a lefty with some command who'll probably be a pitch-to-contact guy at higher levels, not a great fit for the Rockies' park. Trevor Story can pick it at short with a plus arm, but I don't buy the bat and the consensus from scouts I talked to down there was the same.


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Los Angeles Dodgers


The picks: Chris Reed (16)
Summary: I actually don't mind the Chris Reed pick as much as some of my sources -- it's a reach, but put him back in the rotation and it could look very shrewd in a year or so. I'm more concerned about what it means for the club, as my pre-draft report that the Dodgers couldn't go over slot looks like it's probably accurate. That's too bad, especially in a year in which it looks like two dozen clubs might throw the commissioner's slot recommendations out the window.


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Texas Rangers


The picks: Kevin Matthews (33), Zach Cone (37),
Summary: Zach Cone has big tools, but they just don't play, exacerbated by a bad leak out front at the plate, and he was wildly overmatched in the Team USA trials last summer and on the Cape the year before (his only real experience hitting with wood). Kevin Matthews is a tough-sign high school lefty who projects as a reliever because of his frame. That seems the opposite of what you'd expect from a nascent, big-market club such as the Rangers, especially since they were linked to several big-ticket, high-ceiling high school kids.


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Seattle Mariners


The picks: Danny Hultzen (2)
Summary: I'm not criticizing Hultzen in the least here, but I think drafting at No. 2 overall is a rare chance to go for ceiling, and the Mariners didn't do that. They took a very safe, very good college pitcher who will move quickly but doesn't have No. 1 starter upside. And I admit I like my left-handers to have better breaking balls than Hultzen, whose best off-speed pitch is a changeup.


Best players remaining

The number denotes the player's ranking in my final Top 100 ranking.

1. Josh Bell, OF (ranked No. 15 overall)
2. Dillon Howard, RHP (18)
3. Anthony Meo, RHP (25)
4. Andrew Susac, C (27)
5. Austin Hedges, C (31)
6. Daniel Norris, LHP (35)
7. Alex Dickerson, OF (37)
8. Charles Tilson, OF (38)
9. Nick Delmonico, C/1B (39)
10. Johnny Eierman, SS (44)



Full analysis of the first round.

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And now, on to the picks.


Churchill: We expected this and Keith Law has been projecting this pick for weeks. I saw him twice and he was so-so both times, but with a plus changeup, big-time velocity up to 100 mph and a promising breaking ball, it's difficult to pass on Cole. The Pirates do not have such a player in their system and the UCLA product could see the big leagues after very little time in the minors. Seattle is looking at Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon here and prep center fielder Bubba Starling is still an outside possibility. I have been told shortstop Francisco Lindor is not the pick for the M's

Churchill: Hultzen is a surprise pick here, as the expectation was Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon or prep center fielder Bubba Starling. Hultzen is expected to move quickly and reach the majors within two years, but he does lack the upside of other college pitchers in the class. He did perform well and has above-average stuff including a 90-94 mph fastball and two above-average off-speed pitches. The rumored asking price was high, but perhaps there was a pre-draft deal in place here or strong indications that Hultzen would sign for what Seattle was willing to spend on the pick. Arizona is likely to tab UCLA right-hander Trevor Bauer at No. 3, but with Rendon still on the board, anything goes from this point forward.

Churchill: Bauer, also a potential quick-mover like Hultzen, is not a surprise here as the D-backs have been linked to the right-hander for some time. The plus curveball, consistency and 91-95 mph velocity overrule the concerns on workload -- he averaged around 130 pitches per start this season -- and the unconventional throwing program he follows diligently. Rendon may not be strongly considered by Baltimore at No. 4, and the O's are said to be considering righty Dylan Bundy from Owasso HS in Oklahoma.

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Dylan Bundy, RHP, Owasso (Okla.) HS

Churchill: Bundy is a tremendous talent, and despite the lack of ideal size at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, he profiles as a No. 1 starter and could hit the big leagues as quickly as many of the college arms in the class. The big fastball -- up to 98 mph -- is just the beginning as he also offers a plus curveball, a potentially useful changeup and a cutter that may be his best secondary offering. He's a workout freak and breaks the mold that scouting director Joe Jordan generally sticks to, but he stays on top of his pitches and is a great competitor. Kansas City has the next pick and it could be Starling or a college arm such as Matt Barnes or Alex Meyer.

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Bubba Starling, OF, Garner-Edgerton (Kans.) HS
Churchill: Starling may be the best talent in the class, starting with his plus raw power and tremendous all-around tools. Despite standing 6-foot-4 he profiles well in center thanks to good instincts and perhaps 60 speed on the 20-80 scouting scale. He's drawn comparisons to Josh Hamilton, but may be more like 2009 first-round pick and top prospect Mike Trout. The Royals farm system just added another high-ceiling talent with superstar potential. Plus, he gives Kansas City the one thing its farm system lacks: an impact up-the-middle player.

Churchill: This was the next spot for Rendon to go after Seattle passed on him at No. 2, and it's clear the Nationals went for best player available, ignoring the fact Ryan Zimmerman is one of the best third baseman in baseball and under contract long term. Rendon's injury concerns may or may not have had something to do with the fall, but the Nationals get a hitter here who could join them on the 25-man roster as early as next season. Where he plays in D.C. remains to be seen, but there has been some chatter about him moving to second base. The Nationals' next pick is at 23 and since they were linked to a lot of college players at No. 6, getting Rendon instead may change their efforts later this round.

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Archie Bradley, RHP, Broken Arrow (Okla.) HS

Churchill: The Diamondbacks ignored the fact this pick is unprotected after failing to sign Texas A&M's Barret Loux a year ago (he failed a post-draft physical) and took the best player on their board in Bradley. With velocity into the mid-90s and the best curveball among prep arms in the class, the upside is huge for Bradley, and he could end up at the top of the rotation. His college commitment may cost the D-backs here, but it's a gutsy pick and a great move if they get him signed. If they don't sign him, they don't get a compensation pick next year, hence the phrase "unprotected."

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Francisco Lindor, SS, Montverde (Fla.) Academy

Churchill: Lindor was considered by Seattle and Arizona, and the Indians get a potential five-tool player who won't turn 18 until November. He's a switch-hitter with pop -- he won the home run derby at the Aflac All-American game last year at age 16 -- and scares opposing coaches from all angles. He's a wizard on defense and projects to not only stick at shortstop but thrive there. The Indians could be in a position to have to trade budding star Asdrubal Cabrera in a few years as he gets more expensive, and now Lindor is set as the successor. The question on Lindor is how real the power is, but scouts generally agree it's above-average relative to the position. Lindor isn't going to be a cheap sign so it appears the Indians are not looking for a slot signing with this pick, which should make Tribe fans happy.

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Javier Baez, SS, Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, Fla.)

Churchill: Baez is one of the best prep bats in the class, with power and a chance to hit for average as well. He played shortstop in high school but is believed to be headed for third base as a pro. The swing is a bit long but there's bat speed to spare and the Cubs are big on upside talent.

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Cory Spangenberg, 3B, Indian River State College

Churchill: Spangenberg, who player third in college, can run and has a plus hit tool with a chance for some power. This pick is unprotected so the Padres needed a signable player, but if Spangenberg can play up the middle somewhere he's a potential All-Star. He's not expected to play shortstop, his natural position, and doesn't profile to hit for the power generally reserved for third basemen but his athleticism suggests center field is a legitimate option. The Padres called him as a second baseman when they made the pick, so we can assume that's where he will begin his pro career.

Churchill: Springer came into the season as a potential top-5 pick, but showed some mechanical flaws that have scouts concerned that his swing is not sound and will delay his path to the big leagues. There's plus power and speed and he throws well. There is a chance he plays some center field but he has the arm to move to right, and the bat will play there if he fixes the swing.

Churchill: Jungmann has good stuff, sitting 91-95 mph with the fastball and offering two breaking balls of which the slider is the better pitch. He has some delivery concerns -- he throws across his body -- but he's been as consistent as any arm in the country this season and may not need much time in the minors to help the Brewers, and their farm system lacks just about everything. He's big and physical, and could pitch behind Yovani Gallardo and Zack Greinke with No. 2 upside.

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Brandon Nimmo, OF, East HS (Cheyenne, Wyo.)

Churchill: Nimmo is a high-upside play here and a refreshing pick for the Mets. He's a good athlete and could hit for plus power down the road, but his left-handed bat profiles to play in a corner outfield spot, where his arm fits, too. Nimmo brings a good work ethic to the table and he squares up fastballs regularly. His lack of competition -- his high school does not have a team -- made it difficult for him to get seen by scouts, but he's found a way to get noticed, including an impressive display on the showcase circuit last summer.

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Jose Fernandez, RHP, Alonso HS (Tampa, Fla.)

Churchill: The Marlins continue to go upside and get Fernandez, a Cuban defector, who offers a plus fastball into the mid-90s. He's 19 years old but fits the profile of the kind of pitcher The Fish like to work. However, the lack of a polished breaking ball could keep him in the minors for four or five years. It's no shock that the Marlins took a kid from Florida, as they were linked to just about every prep player in the state. Fernandez joins 2009 first-rounder Chad James (a southpaw) in a farm system that has produced pitchers Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco in recent years.

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Jed Bradley, LHP, Georgia Tech

Churchill: This is a protected pick but the Brewers get another college arm that could hit the big leagues inside of three years. He's a tall southpaw that has touched 97 mph but generally sits 91-94. His breaking ball needs work and his changeup often goes unused, which suggests he could land in the bullpen. He does throw strikes and he has an uncanny ability to avoid the sweet spot of the bat, but his inconsistencies kept him out of the top 10. The Brewers now have two legit rotation candidates out of this draft.

Churchill: We knew this was going to be a slot pick with the current financial situation in L.A. and Reed was mentioned as a possibility by Law on Sunday and as the favorite here earlier today. There's big league ability here and his changeup and slider are his two best pitches, but this was a pick to make sure they landed a player with probability and signability, rather than upside.

Churchill: Cron possesses perhaps the best power tool among college bats in the entire class. A natural catcher, Cron played first base this season due to a shoulder injury, but that is likely where he ends up as a pro. He makes a lot of contact, too, but doesn't generally work the count all that much. He generates leverage and loft consistently and is believed to have a strong enough ability to hit for average that he'll skate through the minors in a couple of seasons. The Halos need bats, and Cron gives them one.

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Sonny Gray, RHP, Vanderbilt

Churchill: Gray has terrific stuff and could have gone in the top 10. Because he's 5-foot-11 or maybe 6 feet tall, there are concerns about his durability, but his command and delivery became bigger concerns late this spring. The velocity is firm in the 92-96 mph range and his curveball is already a plus pitch. With Oakland's present starting rotation, the rich project to get richer, though Gray could end up in the bullpen down the line.

Churchill: The Red Sox getting Barnes here is a coup. He's a potential No. 1 or 2 starter and already possesses a 93-97 mph fastball and potentially plus curveball. He holds his velocity late into games and could get to the majors quickly, especially if he gets his feet wet out of the bullpen. Boston has more picks coming on later this evening, but this is a tremendous start as most didn't believe Barnes would get this far.

Churchill: Anderson lacks the stuff and upside of other available college arms, including Kentucky's Alex Meyer, but he's athletic and polished and could be in the majors by the end of 2012 or early in 2013. He has a funky delivery but also a loose arm and when he commands his fastball he's tough to square up. He has two breaking balls, though both are inconsistent and he generally induced swings and misses from the change in speed more than a sharp, late break. If he can add to one of them -- more likely the curveball since he likes to pitch up in the zone a bit -- and find a better feel for a changeup, he could be a mid-rotation starter. More likely he's a back-end arm or a reliever, but one that helps the Rockies sooner than later.

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Tyler Beede, RHP, Lawrence Academy (Groton, Mass.)

Churchill: The Blue Jays have extra picks but went with some upside with Beede, who could be a tough sign due to a strong commitment to Vanderbilt. He sits in the low-90s and improved his breaking ball this season, which now profiles as an above-average pitch in time. Toronto took righty Aaron Sanchez last year and now add Beede to its crop of young pitchers. It appears Toronto drafted for value here as many of the top college arms are already off the board, except for Kentucky's Alex Meyer.

Churchill: The Cardinals passed on Alex Meyer (the best available college pitcher) and prep arms Taylor Guerrieri and Dillon Howard to take Wong, a second baseman with an above-average hit tool. He lacks power, however, so he comes with limited upside. He's an average runner and an average defender but has good hands and could develop into a plus glove. St. Louis went for probability here rather than best player available.

Churchill: They tabbed Rendon at No. 6 and went pitching here with the best available college starter in Meyer. He brings big upside with a plus fastball-slider combo. He's 6-foot-9 and when he keeps his delivery together is dominant and uses the slider to put batters away. There's a chance he's a closer in the future but he holds his velocity well despite some inconsistencies with his command. The Nationals, if we dream for a second, could have four perennial All-Stars out of the past three first rounds in Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Rendon and Meyer, with an above-average closer in Drew Storen.

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Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Spring Valley HS (Columbia, S.C.)

Churchill: The Rays have 10 of the next 37 picks and certainly didn't go signability here with Guerrieri, who has a commitment to South Carolina. Keith Law ranks him as the No. 3 prep arm in the class, and a scout I spoke to early this season called him a prototypical starter in today's game thanks to a 92-95 mph fastball that has reached 97. His curveball is plus and he's got some athleticism. Tampa got the best player available here, a good start to its busy day.

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Joe Ross, RHP, Bishop O'Dowd HS (Oakland, Calif.)

Churchill: Ross may have been the best player on the board. He's not as projectable as his brother Tyson -- who pitches for the A's -- was at the same age, but comes with better command and mechanics. Scouts rave about his delivery and arm action, which suggests he's a safe bet to develop his pitches and progress through the minors. San Diego, having tabbed Spangenberg at No. 10, lands a potential No. 2 starter in Ross.

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Blake Swihart, C, Cleveland HS (Rio Rancho, N.M.)

Churchill: The Red Sox get perhaps the top catcher in the class in Swihart, though there are some questions about his defense. The tools are there and his bat may play in a corner outfield spot if he can't cut it behind the plate. The Red Sox farm system now has a little bit of everything by adding Swihart, a switch-hitting catcher.

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Robert Stephenson, RHP, Alhambra (Calif.) HS

Churchill: With many of the college arms off the board, the Reds dug into the prep ranks for Stephenson, who touches 94 mph and complements his heater with a promising curveball. There's some effort in his delivery but he's a good athlete and a smart kid on and off the field. His commitment to Washington is strong, but he's considered signable and gives the Reds a young arm with upside.

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Sean Gilmartin, LHP, Florida State

Churchill: Gilmartin gets by with average velocity touching the low 90s by relying on an advanced feel for pitching. His changeup is a plus offering but his curveball is soft, prompting some scouts to compare him to Mariners lefty Jason Vargas. In other words, a No. 4 starter. The Braves have Mike Minor, Julio Teheran and Arodys Vizcaino nearing the big leagues, so their pick of Gilmartin was all about drafting a player that would sign for MLB's recommended bonus for this slot.

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Joe Panik, SS, St. John's

Churchill: Panik may have to move to second base due to a below-average arm, but projects to hit for some average as he works counts and shows good pitch recognition. There's not much future power in the bat, however, which could make it difficult for him to crack the starting lineup in San Francisco. The Giants appear to have gone for a slot signing here and several players rank ahead of Panik on Law's Top 100.

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Levi Michael, SS, North Carolina

Churchill: Michael is the top college shortstop in the class and the Twins may be pairing him with import Tsuyoshi Nishioka in the middle of the infield in a few years. Michael runs well and handles shortstop, but his bat is his best tool and he projects to hit for average and get on base thanks to an ability to use the whole field. The Twins passed on some prep arms but didn't reach for the college pitcher as some expected.

Churchill: Mahtook's "slide" ends with the Rays, who now have two strong picks with eight remaining tonight. Mahtook can play center field and has a good arm and his power ticked up this season in a strong conference despite the change in bats at the college level. He was generally projected to go in the top 20 and Law had him as high as No. 14 to the Marlins and No. 9 to the Cubs in previous mock drafts. The Rays may have drafted B.J. Upton's replacement, depending on the future status of Desmond Jennings.

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Jake Hager, SS, Sierra Vista (Nev.) HS

Churchill: The Rays reached here for Hager, a shortstop that most scouts believe needs to go to school and make another run at it in a few years. He's a shortstop with a chance to stay there, but the bat lacks polish and he's merely an adequate overall athlete for the position.

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Kevin Matthews, LHP, Richmond Hill (Ga.) HS

Churchill: The Rangers dig for Matthews, a left-hander committed to the University of Virginia who may very well choose school, despite a seven-figure bonus in the offing. He's likely a reliever in the future, but he has athleticism and above-average velocity. The Rangers have a pick in the compensation round and may choose to go over slot for the right talent with that selection.



Analysis of the compensation round.

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Picks 34 through 38

The Nationals, at No. 34, get Brian Goodwin, an athletic outfielder with plus speed and the ability to square up line drives and even hit for some power. ... The Red Sox's pick of prep lefty Henry Owens is another strong selection for the club. Owens is projectable and might have front-line upside. ... The Rangers get the toolsy Zach Cone, who has yet to turn his physical skills into baseball performance. ... Tampa's selection of Brandon Martin adds another potential future shortstop to its system along with Tim Beckham and first-round pick Jake Hager. ... Toronto, at No. 35, reached for Jacob Anderson, but the team has several picks Monday and there is some upside in the outfielder's right-handed bat.

Picks 39 through 43

The Phillies love toolsy players but their top pick two years in a row has been off that trend. Larry Greene has plus power and should be adequate in a corner outfield spot. He's considered an easy sign. ... Jackie Bradley could be the next All-Star center fielder in Boston, and might have gone in the top 20 had it not been for an injury and some stuggles at the plate this spring. ... The Rays get Tyler Goeddel, who profiles better in the outfield than at third base, but there's some upside at the plate, including the potential for above-average power. ... Jeff Ames is a junior college kid with some upside, and at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, he has the size to profile in the rotation for the Rays. ... Andrew Chafin, who returned from Tommy John surgery to have a strong season, could be a mid-rotation starter and adds to the crop of legitimate pitching prospects the D-backs have added on Day 1.

Picks 44 through 48

Michael Fulmer gives the Mets another prep kid, but his fastball velocity -- up to 96 mph -- might make him a difficult sign with his commitment to Arkansas. Daniel Norris is still available at this point but might want more than the Mets want to spend, despite the belief that they'd be willing to go over slot at 44. ... Trevor Story, who has a commitment to LSU, could be a tough sign for the Rockies, but he is a solid defender at shortstop and has some strength to offer at the plate, although the questions about the hit tool remain. ... Joe Musgrove gives the Jays a big right-hander with a heavy sinker and a solid delivery, but he currently lacks a breaking ball. ... Keenyn Walker is an upside play for the White Sox and can switch hit with some raw pop. ... Michael Kelly is a projectable right-hander the Padres can pair with first-rounder Joe Ross down the line.

Picks 49 through 53

The Giants go back to the prep ranks after adding a college infielder in the first round. Kyle Crick is a solid, mid-rotation candidate with a plus fastball, but his secondary stuff needs work and he might be a long-term project. ... The Twins get a solid bat in Travis Harrison. He has power and had a chance to go in Round 1, but fell likely because his future is at first base. ... The Yankees added Dante Bichette, whose father of the same name played in the big leagues. He has good makeup and is a future outfielder with a strong arm and some power potential. The hit tool is a question, however. ... Blake Snell is a projectable lefty who touched 94 mph late this spring and is considered a signable player, hence his selection a little higher than his grades suggest. The Rays, however, love the Pacific Northwest, having taken Josh Sale and Drew Vettleson out of the area last spring. ... Dwight Smith, the son of former Cubs outfielder Dwight Smith Sr., is stronger than his father and might have more natural power. He profiles as a left fielder.

Picks 54 through 60

Brett Austin has a solid swing from both sides and a decent chance to stick at catcher for San Diego. He's athletic, so the outfield is also a possibility. ... The Twins get Hudson Boyd, who has touched the mid-90s with his fastball, and he's shown a feel for a slurvy breaking ball that is above average when he stays on top of it. Many believe he's a reliever in the end. ... Kes Carter is among the top smaller-college talents in the country, has some tools and profiles well defensively in a corner outfield spot. The Rays could afford to take a chance on his upside with their plethora of picks. ... The Jays snagged Kevin Comer, a Vanderbilt commit who might be tough to sign. He sits in the 90-93 mph range with his fastball and throws both a slider and curveball, but his command is below average. ... The Padres went for a college shortstop in Jace Peterson, but scouts worry about his ability to hit for average going forward, and the power grades below average. ... At No. 59, the Rays get Grayson Garvin, a 6-foot-6 left-hander with some projection left and a strong recent track record of progress and performance. ... With their 10th pick of the day, the Rays complete the sandwich round by selecting James Harris, an athletic outfielder from the Bay Area. He has all the tools, including above-average bat speed, but is considered raw at the plate. The Rays, considering they couldn't come in and spend $30 million on their first-day picks, have done well to spread out their selections among upside talent in filling gaps in their farm system.



Seven days rest theory.

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Trevor Bauer's 3-1 win over Fresno State on Saturday looked no different than any of his other starts this year. The UCLA right-hander fanned 14 batters, walked two, yielded just six hits, hiked his season record to 13-2, dropped his ERA to 1.25 and tallied his ninth straight complete game. The skinny 20-year-old flashed another number, though, that was right in line with his season average, one that has MLB draft hounds wincing even as Bauer looks ready to be a top-10 pick: 133 pitches.

The rise in pitch count awareness across all levels of baseball makes people panic when they see a college pitcher racking up 130-plus pitches per start; doubly so when the guy doing it skews much closer to Tim Lincecum than Roger Clemens at 6-foot-1, and only 175 pounds. But Bauer's situation is different. He pitches just once a week, taking the mound every Saturday for the Bruins. Meanwhile, the benefits to his team are huge: Every Saturday, UCLA knows it has one of the nation's best pitchers ready to go nine innings and give the bullpen a day off.

All of which makes us wonder: Why doesn't a major league team try that? Mostly because it's hard, and looks risky.

"The team trainer and pitching coach have to know the pitcher's quality of strength, quality of conditioning, what kind of a workload he can handle," said Glenn Fleisig, research director for the American Sports Medicine Institute and an expert in pitching biomechanics. "You have to choose the right guy, then monitor him very closely."

Nobody knows his body better than Bauer, and he has shown a unique ability to carry the burden of a heavy workload while at UCLA. He's a rabid student of pitching, learning the value of pitch sequencing, as well as effective velocity (a pitch looks faster when released a couple of feet closer to home plate, making a long-striding delivery and big arm extension advantages for pitchers who can pull it off). Like Lincecum, Bauer relies on flexibility and athleticism more than brute strength to generate velocity and movement on his pitches. He works out with medicine balls and resistance bands, and steers clear of the weight room.

"Bauer is trained to do this," said UCLA manager John Savage, "this" referring both to his pitcher's unique workout habits and his ability to throw complete games nearly at will. "He can handle the baseball better than anyone. You'll see him playing Hacky Sack with a baseball like it's connected to his toe. I compare him to Pete Maravich."

If anyone would know about developing elite pitchers, it's Savage. Another Savage pupil, Bauer's teammate Gerrit Cole, is likely to be the No. 1 overall pick in Monday night's draft. Another Savage protege, Mark Prior, held the Pac-10 strikeout record for a decade with 202 K's … until Bauer rang up his 203rd batter of the season Saturday.

Not just any pitcher can successfully adopt the Bauer model of 130 pitches once a week, Savage said. Using Inside Edge's statistical analysis, Savage found that Bauer's fastball velocity often increased in the later innings of games; you'd want a big league pitcher to show a similar tendency, or at least maintain similar velocity throughout his start. The other thing that helps Bauer go deep into games is his six-pitch repertoire. Even the third or fourth time through the lineup, opposing hitters still don't know what they'll see from Bauer. If a pitcher can't throw that many pitches for strikes, he'd better have one pitch -- think Mariano Rivera's cutter -- that hitters might know is coming but still can't hit.

A pitcher able and willing to take on the Bauer model of pitching could help his team in multiple ways. Giving the bullpen a night off once a week would not only keep relievers fresher, but also allow a team to lean more heavily on its better arms the rest of the week, with less risk of shoving lesser pitchers into high-leverage situations. An open-minded team with weak back-end starters could get even more creative. Assuming a now-typical seven-man major league bullpen, that team could limit starts for its crummy fifth starter and run out, say, three rested relievers for three innings each, every fifth day.

Many caveats apply, though.

Since the last few major league teams transitioned from four-man to five-man rotations in the 1980s, we've seen very little experimentation with that model. Any team that tried to break the mold would face heavy scrutiny, and any manager who tried something radically different would need a general manager willing to back his decision. Also, even the best pitchers have a bad day once in a while; a manager might have to occasionally pull his once-a-week ace, both to give his team a better chance to win and to avoid a lousy day turning into a 180-pitch nightmare.

Then there are salary considerations, which already contribute to managers leaving in struggling starters through five innings, and using closers only in save situations. Would a starting pitcher embrace a system that might limit him to 26 starts a season, giving him fewer opportunities to win games? Or would teams worry that a system which encourages a pitcher to throw 20-plus complete games a season might lead to higher asking prices during salary arbitration and free agency discussions?

The biggest concern would be managing workload and preventing injuries. A starter who throws 26 nine-inning starts in a season would total 234 innings, around what aces like Roy Halladay and CC Sabathia typically produce already. Would spacing out those innings differently make injuries more likely? More broadly, are five-man rotations the best way to handle a pitching staff?

"There's no science or medicine that says every fifth day is the answer -- it's really just trial and error over the years," Fleisig said. "Pitch counts shouldn't be used as a rule, either, but rather as a guide for when a guy might be running out of steam. There's no rule that says you can't try things, no rule that says every team has to do the same thing."

What you want to watch, Fleisig said, are microtears. Every time a pitcher pitches, a weekend warrior goes for a three-mile run, or a bodybuilder bench-presses, he develops soreness -- the body's way of alerting you to little tears in your ligaments and tendons. The body recovers, repairs those tears, and gets stronger between workouts, or in a pitcher's case, between starts. If you work out too hard, you can develop tears too big to repair. But there's no rule that says that point should be 100 pitches, Fleisig said; some pitchers might need to be pulled earlier; others a lot later.

Savage closely tracks each inning Bauer throws, looking for high-stress innings or even high-stress batters who potentially create the kind of fatigue that could prove harmful down the road. So far, pushing to 130 pitches or more hasn't resulted in injuries or ineffectiveness for Bauer.

That might be doable for certain big league pitchers too, Fleisig said. "You could get those microtears from 130 pitches and be good to go five, six, or seven days later, sure."

But?

"With some guys, 130 pitches might take you well past the point of fatigue. You develop tears that are too big. After that, you can wait five, 10, 20, even 100 days and still not be recovered."

If fortune really does favor the bold, maybe we'll see a major league team go this route one day. Who knows? Maybe the guy who'll make it work will be the prototype: Trevor Bauer himself.



The Freak II

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A word of advice: See this kid now. See him while he's still double-hopping across the front of the mound to throw the first warmup pitch of every inning as hard as he can. See him while he's still free to play catch at 380 feet -- nearly foul pole to foul pole -- while singing along to the music in his headphones. See him while he's still playing Hacky Sack with the baseball as part of his pregame routine and wearing a bleached-out, three-year-old, salt-and-sweat-stained cap and not the pristine alternate version his big league team mandates for road Fridays. See him before the codes and constraints of professional baseball squeeze every last one of his idiosyncrasies into conformity.

Trevor Bauer
Dustin Snipes for ESPN The MagazineBauer ended his season with a streak of nine consecutive complete games.

You've never seen anything like UCLA junior righthander Trevor Bauer. He throws a seemingly endless variety of pitches. He subscribes to several theories of pitching and training that challenge baseball's established ideas of how to develop and maintain a hurler. He is statistically the best college pitcher in the country, a surefire top-10 pick in the amateur draft, a ridiculously talented 20-year-old with a 95 mph fastball whose main fault -- yes, fault -- seems to be that he has an arsenal of pitches that nobody in amateur baseball can hit.

So why can't many of baseball's decision-makers, those stoic guardians of the status quo, shake the queasy feeling they get from Bauer? Why would a major league front office exec, watching Bauer strike out 15 Oregon State hitters one week after striking out 17 at Stanford, say, "With the stuff he has, I've got to wonder why he has to throw so many pitches to put away college hitters." True, Bauer averages roughly 130 pitches per start, but is it his fault that he has swing-and-miss stuff and rarely gets the benefit of outs on the first or second pitch of an at-bat?

By the statistical measures that portend professional success, Bauer is the best pitcher on the board for the June 6 first-year player draft. He leads the country in strikeouts with 203 in 136 2/3 innings and had a 1.25 ERA in the Pac-10, one of college baseball's toughest conferences. His name has been on a steady rise up draft boards, from potential first-rounder at the beginning of the year to potential top five in June. Yet this kid, the most dominant college pitcher since Stephen Strasburg, whose style and stuff evoke legitimate comparisons to Tim Lincecum -- isn't even in the mix to be the top pick. Why not? It seems baseball still doesn't know how to handle guys who march to their own drum.

Here's a story: During one of Bauer's three years at Hart High in Valencia, Calif., before he left for UCLA halfway through his senior year because he was too mature to deal with another semester of high school silliness, he had an off-season routine of taking a bucket of baseballs to a local park to throw long toss as part of his arm-strengthening regimen. He walked to the park alone because he couldn't find anyone to throw with him. "I didn't have any friends," he says with the emotion of someone reading a grocery list. He threw baseballs from one side of the park to the other, each ball smacking a wooden fence surrounding a tennis court. He did this for close to a year, until a tennis coach decided to hold lessons on that court while Bauer did his throwing.

This was a problem. The tennis coach told him to stop. He refused. The tennis coach sent a letter to his baseball coach, who suggested Bauer stop. He refused. He told his coach, "Sorry if I wasn't taught to be blindingly allegiant to authority."

But that wasn't Bauer's main gripe with the tennis coach. The letter to the baseball coach included the phrase, "The unexpected repetitiveness of the ball hitting the fence." This upset Bauer's sense of order. His eyes widen, his voice rises. "How could something be repetitive and unexpected at the same time?" he asks. "If it's repetitive, don't you come to expect it?"

Enter the world of Trevor Bauer, where nothing is taken at face value.

He is a devotee of the teachings of Perry Husband, a former hitting coach who devised a theory of pitch sequencing called Effective Velocity. EV is complicated -- Husband calls it "the theory of relativity but with baseball" -- but it relies on a pitcher's ability to make each pitch look the same for the first 20 feet, at which point a hitter has to decide to swing. The deception relies on a pitcher's throwing each pitch through the same "tunnel." Bauer was not content to merely understand the concept of tunnels; he wanted to put it into practice.

[+] EnlargeTrevor Bauer
Crystal LoGiudice/US PresswireBauer helped lead the Bruins to the 2010 College World Series as a sophomore, and he was even more dominant as a junior.

According to Husband's research, a normal strike zone, when extrapolated to 20 feet from a pitcher's release point, measures 13 inches by 10 inches. So Trevor and his father, Warren, an engineer, built a metal contraption with a 13 by 10 opening. It is placed 20 feet from the mound, and Bauer throws bullpen sessions through it. In theory, each pitch that travels through the Bauers' homemade tunnel will not only be a strike but will also look the same beyond the point where the hitter must decide to swing. "I call them the Bauer Engineering Crew," says Ron Wolforth, the director of the Texas Baseball Ranch, the training academy where Trevor has spent many summers. "The stuff they do isn't in any manual. It's Effective Velocity 501."

It's not enough for Bauer to execute a pitch. He has to understand it, dissect it, improve upon it. He has to turn it sideways tilt his head and examine it from all angles. Performance is simply a by-product of process. UCLA coach John Savage calls him the Mad Scientist of Pitching. Wolforth, who clocked Bauer at 102.7 mph last summer, says, "Trevor always has a million questions. Some of them are ethereal, but they're all insightful." Alan Jaeger, whose long-toss program is part of Bauer's training, says, "He pitches with the wisdom of Greg Maddux at 33."

Bauer entered UCLA at 17 as an engineering student but has changed majors to computer science, and he leaves nothing to chance. For instance: Believing he needed a pitch that would run away from lefthanded hitters, Trevor invented a "reverse slider," which differs from a screwball in that it's thrown 87 to 88 mph, about 10 mph faster than a screwball.

For many baseball executives, evaluating Bauer is a blind leap into the unknown. Subscribing to his regimen is almost like a dare. One scout watched Bauer run over the mound to fire his first between-inning warmup pitch and said, "He's got great stuff, but I'm not Freud."

Bauer's atypical approach will likely scare off certain high-picking clubs -- such as the Pirates and Royals -- that prefer pitchers who fit the traditional archetype. Of course, it's that kind of logic that caused Lincecum to fall to the Giants at No. 10 in the 2006 draft. Bauer's response to the critics is typically direct: "Just let me do my thing, and I'll be good for a long time. When I meet with some baseball people, I see their eyes glaze over when I try to explain what I'm doing. It's like I'm a heretic going against the Church of Baseball."

And yet, the results are impossible to ignore, even for some of the highest-ranking members of the game's clergy. Start by start, inning by inning, batter by batter and pitch by pitch, Bauer has given them reasons to believe.

Sometimes, even heretics win converts.



Washington rebuilding.

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The best way to judge a draft is to look back, rather than forward, because with the benefit of hindsight, we know now that the Joe Mauer was definitely the right choice over Mark Prior, and that Tampa Bay's extraordinary record for drafting and developing would be even more impressive had the Rays chosen Buster Posey over Tim Beckham.

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Getty ImagesRendon's bat is close to ready, where he'll play isn't locked in.

By looking back, we know that the teams that have most closely adhered to the slot recommendations of the commissioner's office in the past -- the Astros, Padres and Mets, for example -- have had some of the worst farm systems. This is why Justin Verlander pitches for the Tigers, rather than in Petco Park.

But it's always interesting to wonder, immediately after the picks are made, how drafts will impact the bigger picture in the years ahead. Some thoughts:

1. We don't yet know exactly what Washington's plans for Anthony Rendon are, but right after the Nationals took the guy widely considered to be the best hitter in the draft, there was immediate speculation in rival front offices that he could be shifted to second base. Indeed, some of the other teams that had looked at Rendon viewed him as a second baseman in the future, because of his body type and because of the shoulder issues he's had this spring. There is debate about how much power he'll hit for, and about whether he can stay healthy -- but there is not any question, some executives say, about whether or not he's going to hit at the big league level.

Mike Rizzo says within this Dave Sheinin piece that the Nationals think third base is Rendon's best position "right now."

Which means: Stay tuned.

Rendon and the two other Washington picks on Day 1 were Scott Boras clients. Stephen Strasburg is a Boras client, and so is Bryce Harper, and so is Jayson Werth. So little wonder that there is growing industry speculation that Prince Fielder could be a target of the Nationals in the fall, when he becomes a free agent.

What follows is speculation: Imagine what the 2013 Washington Opening Day lineup could look like, if Rendon is moved to second base, Danny Espinosa is switched to shortstop (a move that some advance scouts believe should happen) and Ian Desmond becomes a Mark DeRosa-like super utility guy:

CF TBD
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Prince Fielder
LF Jayson Werth
2B Anthony Rendon
C Wilson Ramos
SS Danny Espinosa
P Stephen Strasburg

Little wonder that some of the Braves players chatted the other day, as they looked ahead toward the draft, about how Washington is stockpiling an enormous cache of talent and could be a team to be reckoned with very, very soon.

By the way: Harper blew a kiss to a pitcher after hitting a home run, writes Reid Cherner. From the video that's included in this piece, it looks like the pitcher who gave up the home run wasn't thrilled that Harper stood and watched his home run and stared Harper down, and Harper responded.

2. The Diamondbacks had two picks among the first seven and took one guy who could help them this year, Trevor Bauer, and one guy who could help them in years to come, in Archie Bradley. Bauer has had a heavy workload this spring and the Diamondbacks will measure his innings count very carefully for the rest of the calendar year, but Arizona has a chance to win; if Bauer shows he can help at the big league level in a very precise and limited role, they will let him do that.

From Nick Piecoro's story:

"They were saying this is a guy with the body of (Tim) Lincecum, the stuff of (Roy) Oswalt and the mind of (Greg) Maddux," Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall said.

Kevin Towers is making the right moves for the Diamondbacks, writes Scott Bordow.

3. The Seattle Mariners took Danny Hultzen with their No. 2 pick. The Mariners weren't sure, in their internal evaluations, whether Rendon's strengths as a hitter would be mitigated by Safeco Field. On the other hand, they do know that the skills of a pitcher as polished as Hultzen could be enhanced by their home field. The Mariners wanted Hultzen for a long time, writes Jerry Brewer.

4. The Tampa Bay Rays began their Herschel Walker draft and loved their haul, starting with Taylor Guerrieri, as Marc Topkin writes; he throws really, really hard, as Joey Johnston writes.

5. The Brewers are gathering momentum in the NL Central chase, and it's possible that their No. 1 pick, Taylor Jungmann, could help them this year. Milwaukee grabbed a couple of pitchers in the first round, a badly needed injection of talent for their minors. Jungmann could be a bullpen piece in 2011. "It was not part of the discussion while drafting him," Brewers GM Doug Melvin wrote in an email, "but you never know."

6. Some executives think Dylan Bundy is the greatest pure talent in the draft, and now the Orioles can look to a day when their rotation might include Brian Matusz, Zach Britton and Bundy. (By the way: Buck Showalter raised some eyebrows by mentioning Monday that Matusz may never regain his velocity).

7. The Pirates continue to stockpile pitching.

More draft links


• The Jays took some guys who might be tough to sign. It was a wait-and-see approach, writes Richard Griffin.

• Gerrit Cole was the first player taken, as Gary Klein writes.

• The Cardinals' pick is undersized, they acknowledge.

• The Royals took a local kid, after Dylan Bundy was taken one pick before they selected. This could be the start of something big for Starling.

• The Phillies' No. 1 pick recently lost his mother, as John Finger writes.

• The Rockies drafted an Oregon pitcher.

• The Red Sox took a UConn pitcher with their first choice, as Michael Silverman writes.

• The Padres seemingly had a really good day, as Bill Center writes.

• Oakland drafted a Vanderbilt guy, and its full intention is to use Sonny Gray as a starting pitcher, and not a reliever.

• The Giants drafted a shortstop, writes John Shea.

• The Braves drafted a lefty.

• The Astros took an outfielder.

• The Twins took a North Carolina shortstop, writes Phil Miller.

• The Reds took a high school pitcher, writes Jim Fay.

• The White Sox grabbed an outfielder.

• The Indians took an athletic shortstop, writes Terry Pluto.

• The Mets took a high school kid.

Notables


• Few teams have declared themselves as sellers, but as Oakland's injuries keep mounting, the Athletics move in that direction; Oakland has dropped seven straight games, and with Brett Anderson going down, Oakland now has lost four starting pitchers in the past three weeks. This could accelerate the possible exodus of parts like Grant Balfour (who might be a perfect fit for Texas) or Josh Willingham (at a time when a lot of clubs are looking to add a bat, like the Phillies or Braves). Kevin Kouzmanoff was sent to Triple-A.

• The Cubs' situation is awful right now, with the losses mounting -- on Monday, they lost their seventh consecutive game -- and manager Mike Quade feeling compelled to meet with Carlos Zambrano. Look, it's not a big deal that Zambrano said the team's play is embarrassing, a general statement of frustration, but the fact that he directly questioned Carlos Marmol's pitch selection is, in itself, embarrassing. Can you imagine how Zambrano would react if his teammates publicly ripped the choices he made in his starts, or his execution? They could maintain a filibuster in Congress, if they chose. But they don't do it because they know it's wrong and counterproductive. Zambrano doesn't know what the big deal is.

Moves, deals and decisions


1. The Rockies ran out a new-look lineup, as Troy Renck writes.

2. Ichiro was used as a designated hitter, again.

3. Chris Narveson will stay in the Milwaukee rotation.

4. The Twins are using Ben Revere in right field, as La Velle Neal writes.

5. The Dodgers called up Dee Gordon, son of Tom Gordon.

Dings and dents


1. Brad Lidge had a setback, but Jimmy Rollins seems to be improving.

2. Jason Kendall took batting practice.

3. Dexter Fowler is hurting.

4. Jake Peavy is dealing with a mild groin strain.

5. Matt Harrison is dealing with a kidney stone.

6. Scott Rolen has strep throat.

Monday's games


1. The Phillies are hurting, but they hung on to beat the Dodgers, as David Murphy writes.

2. The Giants just keep winning one-run games, and along the way, Tim Lincecum racked up his 1,000th strikeout.

From Elias: Tim Lincecum had five strikeouts Monday to push his career total to 1,000. He became the eighth major league pitcher since 1900 to record 1,000 strikeouts within his first five seasons. That's been done in modern major league history by Grover Cleveland Alexander (1911-15), Tom Seaver (1967-71), Bert Blyleven (1970-74), Mark Langston (1984-88), Dwight Gooden (1984-88), Hideo Nomo (1995-99) and Kerry Wood (1998-2003). Wood missed the entire 1999 season. And of the pitchers who faced the fewest batters en route to 1,000 K's since 1900:

Billy Wagner: 3,022
Octavio Dotel: 3,478
Kerry Wood: 3,609
Tim Lincecum: 3,692
Trevor Hoffman: 3,759

3. David Price was The Man for the Rays, writes Marc Topkin.

4. Brennan Boesch got to some high fastballs from Colby Lewis, as ESPN Stats & Information details: Three of Boesch's hits and both of his home runs came on pitches up in the zone. Entering Monday, Boesch had just one home run on high pitches in his career. Both of his home runs Monday were on Colby Lewis fastballs clocked at 88 mph. His only other home run on a high pitch entering Monday was also on a sub-90 mph fastball. Before Monday, that was 917 pitches seen up, with one homer, and on Monday, he saw seven pitches up and hit two home runs.

5. Zack Greinke shut down the Marlins, and the Brewers just keep on winning on the road, as Tom Haudricourt writes. From ESPN Stats & Info, how Greinke beat the Marlins:

• Marlins hitters were 1-for-14 in at-bats ending with a Greinke off-speed pitch. Greinke kept his off-speed pitches low, with 47 of his 51 (92.2 percent) down in the zone or below it, his highest percentage in a start in the past three seasons. The Marlins struck out four times against a Greinke off-speed pitch and put 10 in play, seven of which they hit on the ground.

• All four of Greinke's off-speed strikeouts were with his slider, and all 25 of the sliders he threw were down in the zone. The Marlins chased 11 of Greinke's sliders out of the zone, the second-highest total against Greinke in the past three seasons. The highest was in Greinke's previous start, when the Reds chased 13 sliders out of the zone.

6. The Marlins got swept.

7. Eric Hosmer got a big hit.

8. The Mariners got shut down.

9. The Twins won again.

10. The Indians lost again.

11. The Padres had their bubble burst.

12. John Danks won for the first time this season, as Mark Gonzales writes.

13. Colby Lewis got pummeled.

14. Jonny Gomes and the Reds had a really good day.



Rumors.

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Another day at DH for Ichiro

10:37AM ET
Ichiro Suzuki | Mariners
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Ichiro Suzuki served as the designated hitter for the second time in less than a week on Monday, but Mariners manager Eric Wedge insists it is not a trend.

"First and foremost, it's just to get him off his feet," Wedge said via the Seattle Times. "We're still in the middle of this stretch here, trying to spread out and give guys some time off."

Ichiro has just 12 hits in 71 at-bats (.169 average) dating to May 19. The move also enabled Wedge to get both Greg Halman and Mike Wilson starts in the field against lefties. Ichiro is likely to return to right field Tuesday when the M's face White Sox righty Philip Humber.

- Doug Mittler

Could Bauer be promoted this season?

10:14AM ET
Arizona Diamondbacks
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The Arizona Diamondbacks already have a farm system that boasts pitching depth, and the talent pool got even deeper Monday when they selected UCLA right-hander Trevor Bauer with the No. 3 pick and Oklahoma high school right-hander Archie Bradley at No. 7.

Bauer is known for his unconventional approach (check out this piece by ESPN The Magazine's Tim Keown), but Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic says the D-backs won't try to change his long-tossing habits, nor will they alter his approach to pitching or his six-pitch repertoire.

Bauer has a solid chance of cracking the Diamondbacks rotation sometime next season, but our Buster Olney says there is a possibility of a quicker call-up under the right circumstances:

- Doug Mittler

olney_buster_30.jpg
Buster Olney

Quick promotion for Bauer?

"Bauer has had a heavy workload this spring and the Diamondbacks will measure his innings count very carefully for the rest of the calendar year, but Arizona has a chance to win; if Bauer shows he can help at the big-league level in a very precise and limited role, they will let him do that."


Could Boras steer Prince to DC?

9:50AM ET
Prince Fielder | Brewers
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Many teams run for the hills when it comes to dealing with Scott Boras, but the super agent doesn't scare away the Washington Nationals. Monday's draft was another example, adding to speculation that the Nats could be a serious player for Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder this fall.

ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney connects the dots in Tuesday's blog after the Nats selected Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon, a Boras client, on Monday night. Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, two other Day One picks, are represented by Boras, as are Jayson Werth and Fielder.

Olney says there is "growing industry speculation" that Fielder could be a target of the Nats, in part because they are comfortable dealing with Boras. One thought: if Werth could get $126 million, what is Fielder's price tag?

Last week, we mentioned the Orioles as a team that could have interest in Fielder.

- Doug Mittler

Another setback for Lidge

9:21AM ET
Brad Lidge | Phillies
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It's a good thing for the Phillies that Ryan Madson has comfortably moved into the closer's role. Injured closer Brad Lidge suffered yet another setback Monday, pushing back the timetable for a return.

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Lidge had elbow soreness while throwing a bullpen session in Florida. Lidge will return to Philadelphia to be examined by team doctor Michael Ciccotti.

Lidge, who has yet to pitch this season, is on the 60-day disabled list with a torn rotator cuff.

If the Phillies do seek bullpen help at the deadline, it would likely be for middle relief. Madson has converted all 13 of his save opportunities and has finally earned the confidence of manager Charlie Manuel.

- Doug Mittler

Speedy return for Hanley?

8:55AM ET
Hanley Ramirez | Marlins
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UPDATE: Hanley Ramirez finally landed on the disabled list and is eligible to be reinstated June 14. Monday was the most confident Ramirez has sounded about a speedy return.

Ramirez says he likely won't need any rehab games, but that may depend on how he feels over the next week. In the meantime, Emilio Bonifacio remains the starting shortstop.

--

We have a plausible explanation for the dramatic fall in production this season by Hanley Ramirez, and it may result in the first-ever trip to the disabled list for the Florida Marlins shortstop.

Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald reports Ramirez, barring a miraculous recovery, is headed to the disabled list. Ramirez has not played in a week because of continued stiffness in his lower back that forced him to leave last Sunday's game in Los Angeles.

Ramirez told Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel that he's felt discomfort for about a month, adding that it was the worst pain he ever experienced.

Emilio Bonifacio has started at shortstop in place of Ramirez.

- Doug Mittler

Making room for Mazzaro

8:38AM ET
Vin Mazzaro | Royals
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When we last saw Vin Mazzaro in a big league uniform, the righthander was enduring a public flogging courtesy of the Cleveland Indians. Mazzaro was tagged for 14 runs over 2 1/3 innings on May 16 and the Royals promptly shipped him to Triple-A Omaha.

Mazzaro has seemingly worked out his problems in the minors and will be recalled in time to face the Blue Jays on Tuesday night. The Royals did not announce a corresponding move to clear space for Mazzaro, but the Kansas City Star says they seem likely to option reliever Jesse Chavez to Omaha.

- Doug Mittler

A step forward for Kendall

8:28AM ET
Jason Kendall | Royals
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The Kansas City Royals still have no concrete timetable on a return for Jason Kendall, but the veteran catcher took a step forward Monday when he took batting practice for the first time since undergoing shoulder surgery.

If things proceed as planned, Kendall should be ready to head out on a rehab assignment by the end of the month, manager Ned Yost tells the Kansas City Star.

The 36-year-old Kendall is the final year of a two-year, $6 million deal, so he may be in his final months with the organization. Matt Treanor and Brayan Pena have shared the catching duties in Kendall's absence.

- Doug Mittler

Scutaro completes rehab stint

8:08AM ET
Marco Scutaro | Red Sox
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UPDATE: Scutaro completed a rehab stint Monday and is expected to the join the Red Sox in time for Tuesday's game against the Yankees. Righthander Scott Atchison will be sent back to Pawtucket to make room for Scutaro, who was 5-for-11 in three games for the PawSox.

--

Veteran infielder Marco Scutaro will start a rehab assignment for Triple-A Pawtucket Saturday, and could be activated from the disabled list sometime within a week, reports the Boston Globe.

But how much Scutaro will play once he returns remains to be seen. Jed Lowrie is hitting .304/.349/.406 and is handling shortstop defensively. Furthermore, one of Scutaro's potential advantages -- his ability to hit left-handed pitching as a pure right-handed hitter -- is of no advantage in the end, with the switch-hitting Lowrie hitting .431/.443/.690 versus southpaws.

Scutaro has flashed well above-average defense at shortstop in the past, but at 35 those days may be behind him. He could instead serve as a utility reserve, spelling Lowrie, Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis around the infield.

- Jason A. Churchill

Johnson not close to a promotion

7:55AM ET
Nick Johnson | Indians
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Nick Johnson was in the Indians' clubhouse before Monday night's game against the Twins, but that doesn't mean the veteran first baseman is close to a big league call-up, manager Manny Acta tells MLB.com.

The injury-plagued Johnson, who has played in all of 24 games last season, was signed in early March and has played in a pair of games at Double-A Akron. He is headed for Triple-A Columbus and Acta wants him to get plenty of at-bats before any decision is made on a promotion.

- Doug Mittler

Pettitte happy in retirement

7:42AM ET
Andy Pettitte | Yankees
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Any talk of a possible return by Andy Pettitte to the New York Yankees seemed to be quelled Monday when the 240-game winner said he perfectly content in his retirement in Deer Park, Texas.

"I'm not dying to be playing baseball right now," Pettitte said on the Michael Kay Show on ESPNNewYork1050. "I'm absolutely loving being home."

Pettitte's comments were far from a surprise, but it is a plausible scenario that he could be a solid late-season contributor after having a few months off, just as Pedro Martinez did with the Phillies in 2009. But Pettitte doesn't seem to have the same itch to return.

"I'm just telling you right now, I don't think I will ever pitch again," Pettitte said.

- Doug Mittler

Peavy avoids DL

7:05AM ET
Jake Peavy | White Sox
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The decision of the Chicago White Sox to go with a six-man rotation now looks like a prudent one after Jake Peavy was removed from his start against the Tigers Sunday with a strained right groin.

While there was plenty of speculation Peavy would land on the disabled list Monday, no roster move was made after he underwent an MRI examination that revealed a light sprain of his right groin.

Manager Ozzie Guillen already had planned to go with a six-man rotation until the All-Star break, an indication they were concerned with Peavy's past history of injuries. Now the struggling White Sox will go back to the conventional rotation with Philip Humber as the fifth starter.

post #1534 of 77453
Thread Starter 
MLB Draft: Best, Worst and Who's Left.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
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Day 1 of the 2011 MLB draft was full of surprises, with the Mariners shocking everyone by going pitcher (surprise No. 1) and making that pick Virginia lefty Danny Hultzen (surprise No. 2), probably scorching the Royals' long-held plan to grab a college pitcher with the No. 5 pick. But there were plenty of intriguing moves through the remainder of the evening, some I loved, some that had me scratching my head. I've also listed my top remaining players as the draft moves to Day 2.


Moves I liked


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Tampa Bay Rays


The picks: Taylor Guerrieri (24), Mikie Mahtook (31), Jake Hager (32), Brandon Martin (38), Tyler Goeddel (41), Jeff Ames (42), Blake Snell (52), Kes Carter (56), Grayson Garvin (59), James Harris (60)
Summary: When you pick as often as Tampa Bay did, you're bound to do something I can praise. And I did like the majority of the Rays' picks. Their first pick, Taylor Guerrieri, has top-half-of-the-round stuff but fell on some signability and makeup questions -- however, the Rays did their homework on the latter and are satisfied with what they learned. Mikie Mahtook fell because ... well, I have no idea why he fell, maybe "profit-taking." He's a balanced player who'll contribute on offense and defense and move quickly through the system, and he plays like his hair is on fire. Tyler Goeddel is an athletic, projectable bat who should end up in left field and provide average and power. Brandon Martin is a shortstop who should stay at the position and has a short swing to produce line-drive contact. Grayson Garvin is a polished left-handed starter whose velocity ticked up at year's end, and he comes from Vanderbilt, one of the country's best college programs for developing arms. The Rays took probability, they took ceiling, they took tough signs, they took quick signs. They built a portfolio among their picks, taking advantage of the control they had with all of those selections in a short period of the draft. By August, if they sign most of these guys, that farm system likely will be the best in baseball.


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Minnesota Twins


The picks: Levi Michael (30), Travis Harrison (50), Hudson Boyd (55)
Summary: Levi Michael is a 20-year-old switch-hitting shortstop who can run; unless the ankle is somehow worse than I've heard, it makes no sense to me that he fell out of the top 20, and the Twins are very fortunate that they could grab him. Travis Harrison was in play in the late first/early sandwich as one of the better pure bats in the high school class but might have fallen on signability and concerns he will end up at first base, where I still think the bat will profile. The Twins also got a personal favorite of mine in Hudson Boyd, a big kid with two above-average pitches and outstanding makeup.


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Arizona Diamondbacks


The picks: Trevor Bauer (3), Archie Bradley (7), Andrew Chafin (43),
Summary: I mean, is this cheating, since the Diamondbacks picked twice in the top 10? They sure didn't go cheap with Archie Bradley at No. 7 -- I liked him more than their first pick, Trevor Bauer. And they added Andrew Chafin in the sandwich round, a reliever-turned-starter on the way back from Tommy John surgery who was apparently "disgusting" (that's good) in his last outing prior to the draft.


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San Diego Padres


The picks: Cory Spangenberg (10), Joe Ross (25), Michael Kelly (48), Brett Austin (54)
Summary: The pick at No. 10 was unprotected, and the Padres did what they had to do, taking a signable player there in Cory Spangenberg. But they still got some upside because the kid can fly and has a great left-handed swing; if he had a set position, he might have been projected to go there even without the signability. They also added a high-upside arm in Joe Ross, a guy who adds athleticism to their system.


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Boston Red Sox


The picks: Matt Barnes (19), Blake Swihart (26), Henry Owens (36), Jackie Bradley (40)
Summary: I hinted at this on Twitter, but some of the credit for Boston's draft is just that the right guys fell to the team. However, the Red Sox do deserve the rest of the credit for actually taking them (and, presumably, paying them). They got Blake Swihart, who I think will be an impact hitter and has a chance to do it as a catcher, with their second pick after preseason top-10 guy Matt Barnes -- whose velocity was fine but didn't show great command this year -- fell to them at No. 19. Henry Owens was spot on in the sandwich round as a projectable lefty who already hits 93 mph and has great deception, and they took a flier on Jackie Bradley's recovery from injury much as they did last year with Anthony Ranaudo.


Moves I question


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Atlanta Braves


The picks: Sean Gilmartin (28)
Summary: Sean Gilmartin as your lone pick of the day? I like Gilmartin for what he is, an athletic, competitive, back-end starter, but there were a number of higher-upside guys on the board, and the last thing Atlanta needs is a low-ceiling starter.


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Colorado Rockies


The picks: Tyler Anderson (20), Trevor Story (45)
Summary: Tyler Anderson was going in the first round, so it wasn't a reach by comparative standards, but I see no out pitch here, just a lefty with some command who'll probably be a pitch-to-contact guy at higher levels, not a great fit for the Rockies' park. Trevor Story can pick it at short with a plus arm, but I don't buy the bat and the consensus from scouts I talked to down there was the same.


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Los Angeles Dodgers


The picks: Chris Reed (16)
Summary: I actually don't mind the Chris Reed pick as much as some of my sources -- it's a reach, but put him back in the rotation and it could look very shrewd in a year or so. I'm more concerned about what it means for the club, as my pre-draft report that the Dodgers couldn't go over slot looks like it's probably accurate. That's too bad, especially in a year in which it looks like two dozen clubs might throw the commissioner's slot recommendations out the window.


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Texas Rangers


The picks: Kevin Matthews (33), Zach Cone (37),
Summary: Zach Cone has big tools, but they just don't play, exacerbated by a bad leak out front at the plate, and he was wildly overmatched in the Team USA trials last summer and on the Cape the year before (his only real experience hitting with wood). Kevin Matthews is a tough-sign high school lefty who projects as a reliever because of his frame. That seems the opposite of what you'd expect from a nascent, big-market club such as the Rangers, especially since they were linked to several big-ticket, high-ceiling high school kids.


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Seattle Mariners


The picks: Danny Hultzen (2)
Summary: I'm not criticizing Hultzen in the least here, but I think drafting at No. 2 overall is a rare chance to go for ceiling, and the Mariners didn't do that. They took a very safe, very good college pitcher who will move quickly but doesn't have No. 1 starter upside. And I admit I like my left-handers to have better breaking balls than Hultzen, whose best off-speed pitch is a changeup.


Best players remaining

The number denotes the player's ranking in my final Top 100 ranking.

1. Josh Bell, OF (ranked No. 15 overall)
2. Dillon Howard, RHP (18)
3. Anthony Meo, RHP (25)
4. Andrew Susac, C (27)
5. Austin Hedges, C (31)
6. Daniel Norris, LHP (35)
7. Alex Dickerson, OF (37)
8. Charles Tilson, OF (38)
9. Nick Delmonico, C/1B (39)
10. Johnny Eierman, SS (44)



Full analysis of the first round.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

And now, on to the picks.


Churchill: We expected this and Keith Law has been projecting this pick for weeks. I saw him twice and he was so-so both times, but with a plus changeup, big-time velocity up to 100 mph and a promising breaking ball, it's difficult to pass on Cole. The Pirates do not have such a player in their system and the UCLA product could see the big leagues after very little time in the minors. Seattle is looking at Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon here and prep center fielder Bubba Starling is still an outside possibility. I have been told shortstop Francisco Lindor is not the pick for the M's

Churchill: Hultzen is a surprise pick here, as the expectation was Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon or prep center fielder Bubba Starling. Hultzen is expected to move quickly and reach the majors within two years, but he does lack the upside of other college pitchers in the class. He did perform well and has above-average stuff including a 90-94 mph fastball and two above-average off-speed pitches. The rumored asking price was high, but perhaps there was a pre-draft deal in place here or strong indications that Hultzen would sign for what Seattle was willing to spend on the pick. Arizona is likely to tab UCLA right-hander Trevor Bauer at No. 3, but with Rendon still on the board, anything goes from this point forward.

Churchill: Bauer, also a potential quick-mover like Hultzen, is not a surprise here as the D-backs have been linked to the right-hander for some time. The plus curveball, consistency and 91-95 mph velocity overrule the concerns on workload -- he averaged around 130 pitches per start this season -- and the unconventional throwing program he follows diligently. Rendon may not be strongly considered by Baltimore at No. 4, and the O's are said to be considering righty Dylan Bundy from Owasso HS in Oklahoma.

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Dylan Bundy, RHP, Owasso (Okla.) HS

Churchill: Bundy is a tremendous talent, and despite the lack of ideal size at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, he profiles as a No. 1 starter and could hit the big leagues as quickly as many of the college arms in the class. The big fastball -- up to 98 mph -- is just the beginning as he also offers a plus curveball, a potentially useful changeup and a cutter that may be his best secondary offering. He's a workout freak and breaks the mold that scouting director Joe Jordan generally sticks to, but he stays on top of his pitches and is a great competitor. Kansas City has the next pick and it could be Starling or a college arm such as Matt Barnes or Alex Meyer.

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Bubba Starling, OF, Garner-Edgerton (Kans.) HS
Churchill: Starling may be the best talent in the class, starting with his plus raw power and tremendous all-around tools. Despite standing 6-foot-4 he profiles well in center thanks to good instincts and perhaps 60 speed on the 20-80 scouting scale. He's drawn comparisons to Josh Hamilton, but may be more like 2009 first-round pick and top prospect Mike Trout. The Royals farm system just added another high-ceiling talent with superstar potential. Plus, he gives Kansas City the one thing its farm system lacks: an impact up-the-middle player.

Churchill: This was the next spot for Rendon to go after Seattle passed on him at No. 2, and it's clear the Nationals went for best player available, ignoring the fact Ryan Zimmerman is one of the best third baseman in baseball and under contract long term. Rendon's injury concerns may or may not have had something to do with the fall, but the Nationals get a hitter here who could join them on the 25-man roster as early as next season. Where he plays in D.C. remains to be seen, but there has been some chatter about him moving to second base. The Nationals' next pick is at 23 and since they were linked to a lot of college players at No. 6, getting Rendon instead may change their efforts later this round.

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Archie Bradley, RHP, Broken Arrow (Okla.) HS

Churchill: The Diamondbacks ignored the fact this pick is unprotected after failing to sign Texas A&M's Barret Loux a year ago (he failed a post-draft physical) and took the best player on their board in Bradley. With velocity into the mid-90s and the best curveball among prep arms in the class, the upside is huge for Bradley, and he could end up at the top of the rotation. His college commitment may cost the D-backs here, but it's a gutsy pick and a great move if they get him signed. If they don't sign him, they don't get a compensation pick next year, hence the phrase "unprotected."

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Francisco Lindor, SS, Montverde (Fla.) Academy

Churchill: Lindor was considered by Seattle and Arizona, and the Indians get a potential five-tool player who won't turn 18 until November. He's a switch-hitter with pop -- he won the home run derby at the Aflac All-American game last year at age 16 -- and scares opposing coaches from all angles. He's a wizard on defense and projects to not only stick at shortstop but thrive there. The Indians could be in a position to have to trade budding star Asdrubal Cabrera in a few years as he gets more expensive, and now Lindor is set as the successor. The question on Lindor is how real the power is, but scouts generally agree it's above-average relative to the position. Lindor isn't going to be a cheap sign so it appears the Indians are not looking for a slot signing with this pick, which should make Tribe fans happy.

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Javier Baez, SS, Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, Fla.)

Churchill: Baez is one of the best prep bats in the class, with power and a chance to hit for average as well. He played shortstop in high school but is believed to be headed for third base as a pro. The swing is a bit long but there's bat speed to spare and the Cubs are big on upside talent.

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Cory Spangenberg, 3B, Indian River State College

Churchill: Spangenberg, who player third in college, can run and has a plus hit tool with a chance for some power. This pick is unprotected so the Padres needed a signable player, but if Spangenberg can play up the middle somewhere he's a potential All-Star. He's not expected to play shortstop, his natural position, and doesn't profile to hit for the power generally reserved for third basemen but his athleticism suggests center field is a legitimate option. The Padres called him as a second baseman when they made the pick, so we can assume that's where he will begin his pro career.

Churchill: Springer came into the season as a potential top-5 pick, but showed some mechanical flaws that have scouts concerned that his swing is not sound and will delay his path to the big leagues. There's plus power and speed and he throws well. There is a chance he plays some center field but he has the arm to move to right, and the bat will play there if he fixes the swing.

Churchill: Jungmann has good stuff, sitting 91-95 mph with the fastball and offering two breaking balls of which the slider is the better pitch. He has some delivery concerns -- he throws across his body -- but he's been as consistent as any arm in the country this season and may not need much time in the minors to help the Brewers, and their farm system lacks just about everything. He's big and physical, and could pitch behind Yovani Gallardo and Zack Greinke with No. 2 upside.

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Brandon Nimmo, OF, East HS (Cheyenne, Wyo.)

Churchill: Nimmo is a high-upside play here and a refreshing pick for the Mets. He's a good athlete and could hit for plus power down the road, but his left-handed bat profiles to play in a corner outfield spot, where his arm fits, too. Nimmo brings a good work ethic to the table and he squares up fastballs regularly. His lack of competition -- his high school does not have a team -- made it difficult for him to get seen by scouts, but he's found a way to get noticed, including an impressive display on the showcase circuit last summer.

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Jose Fernandez, RHP, Alonso HS (Tampa, Fla.)

Churchill: The Marlins continue to go upside and get Fernandez, a Cuban defector, who offers a plus fastball into the mid-90s. He's 19 years old but fits the profile of the kind of pitcher The Fish like to work. However, the lack of a polished breaking ball could keep him in the minors for four or five years. It's no shock that the Marlins took a kid from Florida, as they were linked to just about every prep player in the state. Fernandez joins 2009 first-rounder Chad James (a southpaw) in a farm system that has produced pitchers Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco in recent years.

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Jed Bradley, LHP, Georgia Tech

Churchill: This is a protected pick but the Brewers get another college arm that could hit the big leagues inside of three years. He's a tall southpaw that has touched 97 mph but generally sits 91-94. His breaking ball needs work and his changeup often goes unused, which suggests he could land in the bullpen. He does throw strikes and he has an uncanny ability to avoid the sweet spot of the bat, but his inconsistencies kept him out of the top 10. The Brewers now have two legit rotation candidates out of this draft.

Churchill: We knew this was going to be a slot pick with the current financial situation in L.A. and Reed was mentioned as a possibility by Law on Sunday and as the favorite here earlier today. There's big league ability here and his changeup and slider are his two best pitches, but this was a pick to make sure they landed a player with probability and signability, rather than upside.

Churchill: Cron possesses perhaps the best power tool among college bats in the entire class. A natural catcher, Cron played first base this season due to a shoulder injury, but that is likely where he ends up as a pro. He makes a lot of contact, too, but doesn't generally work the count all that much. He generates leverage and loft consistently and is believed to have a strong enough ability to hit for average that he'll skate through the minors in a couple of seasons. The Halos need bats, and Cron gives them one.

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Sonny Gray, RHP, Vanderbilt

Churchill: Gray has terrific stuff and could have gone in the top 10. Because he's 5-foot-11 or maybe 6 feet tall, there are concerns about his durability, but his command and delivery became bigger concerns late this spring. The velocity is firm in the 92-96 mph range and his curveball is already a plus pitch. With Oakland's present starting rotation, the rich project to get richer, though Gray could end up in the bullpen down the line.

Churchill: The Red Sox getting Barnes here is a coup. He's a potential No. 1 or 2 starter and already possesses a 93-97 mph fastball and potentially plus curveball. He holds his velocity late into games and could get to the majors quickly, especially if he gets his feet wet out of the bullpen. Boston has more picks coming on later this evening, but this is a tremendous start as most didn't believe Barnes would get this far.

Churchill: Anderson lacks the stuff and upside of other available college arms, including Kentucky's Alex Meyer, but he's athletic and polished and could be in the majors by the end of 2012 or early in 2013. He has a funky delivery but also a loose arm and when he commands his fastball he's tough to square up. He has two breaking balls, though both are inconsistent and he generally induced swings and misses from the change in speed more than a sharp, late break. If he can add to one of them -- more likely the curveball since he likes to pitch up in the zone a bit -- and find a better feel for a changeup, he could be a mid-rotation starter. More likely he's a back-end arm or a reliever, but one that helps the Rockies sooner than later.

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Tyler Beede, RHP, Lawrence Academy (Groton, Mass.)

Churchill: The Blue Jays have extra picks but went with some upside with Beede, who could be a tough sign due to a strong commitment to Vanderbilt. He sits in the low-90s and improved his breaking ball this season, which now profiles as an above-average pitch in time. Toronto took righty Aaron Sanchez last year and now add Beede to its crop of young pitchers. It appears Toronto drafted for value here as many of the top college arms are already off the board, except for Kentucky's Alex Meyer.

Churchill: The Cardinals passed on Alex Meyer (the best available college pitcher) and prep arms Taylor Guerrieri and Dillon Howard to take Wong, a second baseman with an above-average hit tool. He lacks power, however, so he comes with limited upside. He's an average runner and an average defender but has good hands and could develop into a plus glove. St. Louis went for probability here rather than best player available.

Churchill: They tabbed Rendon at No. 6 and went pitching here with the best available college starter in Meyer. He brings big upside with a plus fastball-slider combo. He's 6-foot-9 and when he keeps his delivery together is dominant and uses the slider to put batters away. There's a chance he's a closer in the future but he holds his velocity well despite some inconsistencies with his command. The Nationals, if we dream for a second, could have four perennial All-Stars out of the past three first rounds in Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Rendon and Meyer, with an above-average closer in Drew Storen.

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Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Spring Valley HS (Columbia, S.C.)

Churchill: The Rays have 10 of the next 37 picks and certainly didn't go signability here with Guerrieri, who has a commitment to South Carolina. Keith Law ranks him as the No. 3 prep arm in the class, and a scout I spoke to early this season called him a prototypical starter in today's game thanks to a 92-95 mph fastball that has reached 97. His curveball is plus and he's got some athleticism. Tampa got the best player available here, a good start to its busy day.

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Joe Ross, RHP, Bishop O'Dowd HS (Oakland, Calif.)

Churchill: Ross may have been the best player on the board. He's not as projectable as his brother Tyson -- who pitches for the A's -- was at the same age, but comes with better command and mechanics. Scouts rave about his delivery and arm action, which suggests he's a safe bet to develop his pitches and progress through the minors. San Diego, having tabbed Spangenberg at No. 10, lands a potential No. 2 starter in Ross.

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Blake Swihart, C, Cleveland HS (Rio Rancho, N.M.)

Churchill: The Red Sox get perhaps the top catcher in the class in Swihart, though there are some questions about his defense. The tools are there and his bat may play in a corner outfield spot if he can't cut it behind the plate. The Red Sox farm system now has a little bit of everything by adding Swihart, a switch-hitting catcher.

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Robert Stephenson, RHP, Alhambra (Calif.) HS

Churchill: With many of the college arms off the board, the Reds dug into the prep ranks for Stephenson, who touches 94 mph and complements his heater with a promising curveball. There's some effort in his delivery but he's a good athlete and a smart kid on and off the field. His commitment to Washington is strong, but he's considered signable and gives the Reds a young arm with upside.

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Sean Gilmartin, LHP, Florida State

Churchill: Gilmartin gets by with average velocity touching the low 90s by relying on an advanced feel for pitching. His changeup is a plus offering but his curveball is soft, prompting some scouts to compare him to Mariners lefty Jason Vargas. In other words, a No. 4 starter. The Braves have Mike Minor, Julio Teheran and Arodys Vizcaino nearing the big leagues, so their pick of Gilmartin was all about drafting a player that would sign for MLB's recommended bonus for this slot.

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Joe Panik, SS, St. John's

Churchill: Panik may have to move to second base due to a below-average arm, but projects to hit for some average as he works counts and shows good pitch recognition. There's not much future power in the bat, however, which could make it difficult for him to crack the starting lineup in San Francisco. The Giants appear to have gone for a slot signing here and several players rank ahead of Panik on Law's Top 100.

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Levi Michael, SS, North Carolina

Churchill: Michael is the top college shortstop in the class and the Twins may be pairing him with import Tsuyoshi Nishioka in the middle of the infield in a few years. Michael runs well and handles shortstop, but his bat is his best tool and he projects to hit for average and get on base thanks to an ability to use the whole field. The Twins passed on some prep arms but didn't reach for the college pitcher as some expected.

Churchill: Mahtook's "slide" ends with the Rays, who now have two strong picks with eight remaining tonight. Mahtook can play center field and has a good arm and his power ticked up this season in a strong conference despite the change in bats at the college level. He was generally projected to go in the top 20 and Law had him as high as No. 14 to the Marlins and No. 9 to the Cubs in previous mock drafts. The Rays may have drafted B.J. Upton's replacement, depending on the future status of Desmond Jennings.

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Jake Hager, SS, Sierra Vista (Nev.) HS

Churchill: The Rays reached here for Hager, a shortstop that most scouts believe needs to go to school and make another run at it in a few years. He's a shortstop with a chance to stay there, but the bat lacks polish and he's merely an adequate overall athlete for the position.

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Kevin Matthews, LHP, Richmond Hill (Ga.) HS

Churchill: The Rangers dig for Matthews, a left-hander committed to the University of Virginia who may very well choose school, despite a seven-figure bonus in the offing. He's likely a reliever in the future, but he has athleticism and above-average velocity. The Rangers have a pick in the compensation round and may choose to go over slot for the right talent with that selection.



Analysis of the compensation round.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

Picks 34 through 38

The Nationals, at No. 34, get Brian Goodwin, an athletic outfielder with plus speed and the ability to square up line drives and even hit for some power. ... The Red Sox's pick of prep lefty Henry Owens is another strong selection for the club. Owens is projectable and might have front-line upside. ... The Rangers get the toolsy Zach Cone, who has yet to turn his physical skills into baseball performance. ... Tampa's selection of Brandon Martin adds another potential future shortstop to its system along with Tim Beckham and first-round pick Jake Hager. ... Toronto, at No. 35, reached for Jacob Anderson, but the team has several picks Monday and there is some upside in the outfielder's right-handed bat.

Picks 39 through 43

The Phillies love toolsy players but their top pick two years in a row has been off that trend. Larry Greene has plus power and should be adequate in a corner outfield spot. He's considered an easy sign. ... Jackie Bradley could be the next All-Star center fielder in Boston, and might have gone in the top 20 had it not been for an injury and some stuggles at the plate this spring. ... The Rays get Tyler Goeddel, who profiles better in the outfield than at third base, but there's some upside at the plate, including the potential for above-average power. ... Jeff Ames is a junior college kid with some upside, and at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, he has the size to profile in the rotation for the Rays. ... Andrew Chafin, who returned from Tommy John surgery to have a strong season, could be a mid-rotation starter and adds to the crop of legitimate pitching prospects the D-backs have added on Day 1.

Picks 44 through 48

Michael Fulmer gives the Mets another prep kid, but his fastball velocity -- up to 96 mph -- might make him a difficult sign with his commitment to Arkansas. Daniel Norris is still available at this point but might want more than the Mets want to spend, despite the belief that they'd be willing to go over slot at 44. ... Trevor Story, who has a commitment to LSU, could be a tough sign for the Rockies, but he is a solid defender at shortstop and has some strength to offer at the plate, although the questions about the hit tool remain. ... Joe Musgrove gives the Jays a big right-hander with a heavy sinker and a solid delivery, but he currently lacks a breaking ball. ... Keenyn Walker is an upside play for the White Sox and can switch hit with some raw pop. ... Michael Kelly is a projectable right-hander the Padres can pair with first-rounder Joe Ross down the line.

Picks 49 through 53

The Giants go back to the prep ranks after adding a college infielder in the first round. Kyle Crick is a solid, mid-rotation candidate with a plus fastball, but his secondary stuff needs work and he might be a long-term project. ... The Twins get a solid bat in Travis Harrison. He has power and had a chance to go in Round 1, but fell likely because his future is at first base. ... The Yankees added Dante Bichette, whose father of the same name played in the big leagues. He has good makeup and is a future outfielder with a strong arm and some power potential. The hit tool is a question, however. ... Blake Snell is a projectable lefty who touched 94 mph late this spring and is considered a signable player, hence his selection a little higher than his grades suggest. The Rays, however, love the Pacific Northwest, having taken Josh Sale and Drew Vettleson out of the area last spring. ... Dwight Smith, the son of former Cubs outfielder Dwight Smith Sr., is stronger than his father and might have more natural power. He profiles as a left fielder.

Picks 54 through 60

Brett Austin has a solid swing from both sides and a decent chance to stick at catcher for San Diego. He's athletic, so the outfield is also a possibility. ... The Twins get Hudson Boyd, who has touched the mid-90s with his fastball, and he's shown a feel for a slurvy breaking ball that is above average when he stays on top of it. Many believe he's a reliever in the end. ... Kes Carter is among the top smaller-college talents in the country, has some tools and profiles well defensively in a corner outfield spot. The Rays could afford to take a chance on his upside with their plethora of picks. ... The Jays snagged Kevin Comer, a Vanderbilt commit who might be tough to sign. He sits in the 90-93 mph range with his fastball and throws both a slider and curveball, but his command is below average. ... The Padres went for a college shortstop in Jace Peterson, but scouts worry about his ability to hit for average going forward, and the power grades below average. ... At No. 59, the Rays get Grayson Garvin, a 6-foot-6 left-hander with some projection left and a strong recent track record of progress and performance. ... With their 10th pick of the day, the Rays complete the sandwich round by selecting James Harris, an athletic outfielder from the Bay Area. He has all the tools, including above-average bat speed, but is considered raw at the plate. The Rays, considering they couldn't come in and spend $30 million on their first-day picks, have done well to spread out their selections among upside talent in filling gaps in their farm system.



Seven days rest theory.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

Trevor Bauer's 3-1 win over Fresno State on Saturday looked no different than any of his other starts this year. The UCLA right-hander fanned 14 batters, walked two, yielded just six hits, hiked his season record to 13-2, dropped his ERA to 1.25 and tallied his ninth straight complete game. The skinny 20-year-old flashed another number, though, that was right in line with his season average, one that has MLB draft hounds wincing even as Bauer looks ready to be a top-10 pick: 133 pitches.

The rise in pitch count awareness across all levels of baseball makes people panic when they see a college pitcher racking up 130-plus pitches per start; doubly so when the guy doing it skews much closer to Tim Lincecum than Roger Clemens at 6-foot-1, and only 175 pounds. But Bauer's situation is different. He pitches just once a week, taking the mound every Saturday for the Bruins. Meanwhile, the benefits to his team are huge: Every Saturday, UCLA knows it has one of the nation's best pitchers ready to go nine innings and give the bullpen a day off.

All of which makes us wonder: Why doesn't a major league team try that? Mostly because it's hard, and looks risky.

"The team trainer and pitching coach have to know the pitcher's quality of strength, quality of conditioning, what kind of a workload he can handle," said Glenn Fleisig, research director for the American Sports Medicine Institute and an expert in pitching biomechanics. "You have to choose the right guy, then monitor him very closely."

Nobody knows his body better than Bauer, and he has shown a unique ability to carry the burden of a heavy workload while at UCLA. He's a rabid student of pitching, learning the value of pitch sequencing, as well as effective velocity (a pitch looks faster when released a couple of feet closer to home plate, making a long-striding delivery and big arm extension advantages for pitchers who can pull it off). Like Lincecum, Bauer relies on flexibility and athleticism more than brute strength to generate velocity and movement on his pitches. He works out with medicine balls and resistance bands, and steers clear of the weight room.

"Bauer is trained to do this," said UCLA manager John Savage, "this" referring both to his pitcher's unique workout habits and his ability to throw complete games nearly at will. "He can handle the baseball better than anyone. You'll see him playing Hacky Sack with a baseball like it's connected to his toe. I compare him to Pete Maravich."

If anyone would know about developing elite pitchers, it's Savage. Another Savage pupil, Bauer's teammate Gerrit Cole, is likely to be the No. 1 overall pick in Monday night's draft. Another Savage protege, Mark Prior, held the Pac-10 strikeout record for a decade with 202 K's … until Bauer rang up his 203rd batter of the season Saturday.

Not just any pitcher can successfully adopt the Bauer model of 130 pitches once a week, Savage said. Using Inside Edge's statistical analysis, Savage found that Bauer's fastball velocity often increased in the later innings of games; you'd want a big league pitcher to show a similar tendency, or at least maintain similar velocity throughout his start. The other thing that helps Bauer go deep into games is his six-pitch repertoire. Even the third or fourth time through the lineup, opposing hitters still don't know what they'll see from Bauer. If a pitcher can't throw that many pitches for strikes, he'd better have one pitch -- think Mariano Rivera's cutter -- that hitters might know is coming but still can't hit.

A pitcher able and willing to take on the Bauer model of pitching could help his team in multiple ways. Giving the bullpen a night off once a week would not only keep relievers fresher, but also allow a team to lean more heavily on its better arms the rest of the week, with less risk of shoving lesser pitchers into high-leverage situations. An open-minded team with weak back-end starters could get even more creative. Assuming a now-typical seven-man major league bullpen, that team could limit starts for its crummy fifth starter and run out, say, three rested relievers for three innings each, every fifth day.

Many caveats apply, though.

Since the last few major league teams transitioned from four-man to five-man rotations in the 1980s, we've seen very little experimentation with that model. Any team that tried to break the mold would face heavy scrutiny, and any manager who tried something radically different would need a general manager willing to back his decision. Also, even the best pitchers have a bad day once in a while; a manager might have to occasionally pull his once-a-week ace, both to give his team a better chance to win and to avoid a lousy day turning into a 180-pitch nightmare.

Then there are salary considerations, which already contribute to managers leaving in struggling starters through five innings, and using closers only in save situations. Would a starting pitcher embrace a system that might limit him to 26 starts a season, giving him fewer opportunities to win games? Or would teams worry that a system which encourages a pitcher to throw 20-plus complete games a season might lead to higher asking prices during salary arbitration and free agency discussions?

The biggest concern would be managing workload and preventing injuries. A starter who throws 26 nine-inning starts in a season would total 234 innings, around what aces like Roy Halladay and CC Sabathia typically produce already. Would spacing out those innings differently make injuries more likely? More broadly, are five-man rotations the best way to handle a pitching staff?

"There's no science or medicine that says every fifth day is the answer -- it's really just trial and error over the years," Fleisig said. "Pitch counts shouldn't be used as a rule, either, but rather as a guide for when a guy might be running out of steam. There's no rule that says you can't try things, no rule that says every team has to do the same thing."

What you want to watch, Fleisig said, are microtears. Every time a pitcher pitches, a weekend warrior goes for a three-mile run, or a bodybuilder bench-presses, he develops soreness -- the body's way of alerting you to little tears in your ligaments and tendons. The body recovers, repairs those tears, and gets stronger between workouts, or in a pitcher's case, between starts. If you work out too hard, you can develop tears too big to repair. But there's no rule that says that point should be 100 pitches, Fleisig said; some pitchers might need to be pulled earlier; others a lot later.

Savage closely tracks each inning Bauer throws, looking for high-stress innings or even high-stress batters who potentially create the kind of fatigue that could prove harmful down the road. So far, pushing to 130 pitches or more hasn't resulted in injuries or ineffectiveness for Bauer.

That might be doable for certain big league pitchers too, Fleisig said. "You could get those microtears from 130 pitches and be good to go five, six, or seven days later, sure."

But?

"With some guys, 130 pitches might take you well past the point of fatigue. You develop tears that are too big. After that, you can wait five, 10, 20, even 100 days and still not be recovered."

If fortune really does favor the bold, maybe we'll see a major league team go this route one day. Who knows? Maybe the guy who'll make it work will be the prototype: Trevor Bauer himself.



The Freak II

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

A word of advice: See this kid now. See him while he's still double-hopping across the front of the mound to throw the first warmup pitch of every inning as hard as he can. See him while he's still free to play catch at 380 feet -- nearly foul pole to foul pole -- while singing along to the music in his headphones. See him while he's still playing Hacky Sack with the baseball as part of his pregame routine and wearing a bleached-out, three-year-old, salt-and-sweat-stained cap and not the pristine alternate version his big league team mandates for road Fridays. See him before the codes and constraints of professional baseball squeeze every last one of his idiosyncrasies into conformity.

Trevor Bauer
Dustin Snipes for ESPN The MagazineBauer ended his season with a streak of nine consecutive complete games.

You've never seen anything like UCLA junior righthander Trevor Bauer. He throws a seemingly endless variety of pitches. He subscribes to several theories of pitching and training that challenge baseball's established ideas of how to develop and maintain a hurler. He is statistically the best college pitcher in the country, a surefire top-10 pick in the amateur draft, a ridiculously talented 20-year-old with a 95 mph fastball whose main fault -- yes, fault -- seems to be that he has an arsenal of pitches that nobody in amateur baseball can hit.

So why can't many of baseball's decision-makers, those stoic guardians of the status quo, shake the queasy feeling they get from Bauer? Why would a major league front office exec, watching Bauer strike out 15 Oregon State hitters one week after striking out 17 at Stanford, say, "With the stuff he has, I've got to wonder why he has to throw so many pitches to put away college hitters." True, Bauer averages roughly 130 pitches per start, but is it his fault that he has swing-and-miss stuff and rarely gets the benefit of outs on the first or second pitch of an at-bat?

By the statistical measures that portend professional success, Bauer is the best pitcher on the board for the June 6 first-year player draft. He leads the country in strikeouts with 203 in 136 2/3 innings and had a 1.25 ERA in the Pac-10, one of college baseball's toughest conferences. His name has been on a steady rise up draft boards, from potential first-rounder at the beginning of the year to potential top five in June. Yet this kid, the most dominant college pitcher since Stephen Strasburg, whose style and stuff evoke legitimate comparisons to Tim Lincecum -- isn't even in the mix to be the top pick. Why not? It seems baseball still doesn't know how to handle guys who march to their own drum.

Here's a story: During one of Bauer's three years at Hart High in Valencia, Calif., before he left for UCLA halfway through his senior year because he was too mature to deal with another semester of high school silliness, he had an off-season routine of taking a bucket of baseballs to a local park to throw long toss as part of his arm-strengthening regimen. He walked to the park alone because he couldn't find anyone to throw with him. "I didn't have any friends," he says with the emotion of someone reading a grocery list. He threw baseballs from one side of the park to the other, each ball smacking a wooden fence surrounding a tennis court. He did this for close to a year, until a tennis coach decided to hold lessons on that court while Bauer did his throwing.

This was a problem. The tennis coach told him to stop. He refused. The tennis coach sent a letter to his baseball coach, who suggested Bauer stop. He refused. He told his coach, "Sorry if I wasn't taught to be blindingly allegiant to authority."

But that wasn't Bauer's main gripe with the tennis coach. The letter to the baseball coach included the phrase, "The unexpected repetitiveness of the ball hitting the fence." This upset Bauer's sense of order. His eyes widen, his voice rises. "How could something be repetitive and unexpected at the same time?" he asks. "If it's repetitive, don't you come to expect it?"

Enter the world of Trevor Bauer, where nothing is taken at face value.

He is a devotee of the teachings of Perry Husband, a former hitting coach who devised a theory of pitch sequencing called Effective Velocity. EV is complicated -- Husband calls it "the theory of relativity but with baseball" -- but it relies on a pitcher's ability to make each pitch look the same for the first 20 feet, at which point a hitter has to decide to swing. The deception relies on a pitcher's throwing each pitch through the same "tunnel." Bauer was not content to merely understand the concept of tunnels; he wanted to put it into practice.

[+] EnlargeTrevor Bauer
Crystal LoGiudice/US PresswireBauer helped lead the Bruins to the 2010 College World Series as a sophomore, and he was even more dominant as a junior.

According to Husband's research, a normal strike zone, when extrapolated to 20 feet from a pitcher's release point, measures 13 inches by 10 inches. So Trevor and his father, Warren, an engineer, built a metal contraption with a 13 by 10 opening. It is placed 20 feet from the mound, and Bauer throws bullpen sessions through it. In theory, each pitch that travels through the Bauers' homemade tunnel will not only be a strike but will also look the same beyond the point where the hitter must decide to swing. "I call them the Bauer Engineering Crew," says Ron Wolforth, the director of the Texas Baseball Ranch, the training academy where Trevor has spent many summers. "The stuff they do isn't in any manual. It's Effective Velocity 501."

It's not enough for Bauer to execute a pitch. He has to understand it, dissect it, improve upon it. He has to turn it sideways tilt his head and examine it from all angles. Performance is simply a by-product of process. UCLA coach John Savage calls him the Mad Scientist of Pitching. Wolforth, who clocked Bauer at 102.7 mph last summer, says, "Trevor always has a million questions. Some of them are ethereal, but they're all insightful." Alan Jaeger, whose long-toss program is part of Bauer's training, says, "He pitches with the wisdom of Greg Maddux at 33."

Bauer entered UCLA at 17 as an engineering student but has changed majors to computer science, and he leaves nothing to chance. For instance: Believing he needed a pitch that would run away from lefthanded hitters, Trevor invented a "reverse slider," which differs from a screwball in that it's thrown 87 to 88 mph, about 10 mph faster than a screwball.

For many baseball executives, evaluating Bauer is a blind leap into the unknown. Subscribing to his regimen is almost like a dare. One scout watched Bauer run over the mound to fire his first between-inning warmup pitch and said, "He's got great stuff, but I'm not Freud."

Bauer's atypical approach will likely scare off certain high-picking clubs -- such as the Pirates and Royals -- that prefer pitchers who fit the traditional archetype. Of course, it's that kind of logic that caused Lincecum to fall to the Giants at No. 10 in the 2006 draft. Bauer's response to the critics is typically direct: "Just let me do my thing, and I'll be good for a long time. When I meet with some baseball people, I see their eyes glaze over when I try to explain what I'm doing. It's like I'm a heretic going against the Church of Baseball."

And yet, the results are impossible to ignore, even for some of the highest-ranking members of the game's clergy. Start by start, inning by inning, batter by batter and pitch by pitch, Bauer has given them reasons to believe.

Sometimes, even heretics win converts.



Washington rebuilding.

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Spoiler [+]

The best way to judge a draft is to look back, rather than forward, because with the benefit of hindsight, we know now that the Joe Mauer was definitely the right choice over Mark Prior, and that Tampa Bay's extraordinary record for drafting and developing would be even more impressive had the Rays chosen Buster Posey over Tim Beckham.

ncaa_u_rendon1x_200.jpg
Getty ImagesRendon's bat is close to ready, where he'll play isn't locked in.

By looking back, we know that the teams that have most closely adhered to the slot recommendations of the commissioner's office in the past -- the Astros, Padres and Mets, for example -- have had some of the worst farm systems. This is why Justin Verlander pitches for the Tigers, rather than in Petco Park.

But it's always interesting to wonder, immediately after the picks are made, how drafts will impact the bigger picture in the years ahead. Some thoughts:

1. We don't yet know exactly what Washington's plans for Anthony Rendon are, but right after the Nationals took the guy widely considered to be the best hitter in the draft, there was immediate speculation in rival front offices that he could be shifted to second base. Indeed, some of the other teams that had looked at Rendon viewed him as a second baseman in the future, because of his body type and because of the shoulder issues he's had this spring. There is debate about how much power he'll hit for, and about whether he can stay healthy -- but there is not any question, some executives say, about whether or not he's going to hit at the big league level.

Mike Rizzo says within this Dave Sheinin piece that the Nationals think third base is Rendon's best position "right now."

Which means: Stay tuned.

Rendon and the two other Washington picks on Day 1 were Scott Boras clients. Stephen Strasburg is a Boras client, and so is Bryce Harper, and so is Jayson Werth. So little wonder that there is growing industry speculation that Prince Fielder could be a target of the Nationals in the fall, when he becomes a free agent.

What follows is speculation: Imagine what the 2013 Washington Opening Day lineup could look like, if Rendon is moved to second base, Danny Espinosa is switched to shortstop (a move that some advance scouts believe should happen) and Ian Desmond becomes a Mark DeRosa-like super utility guy:

CF TBD
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Prince Fielder
LF Jayson Werth
2B Anthony Rendon
C Wilson Ramos
SS Danny Espinosa
P Stephen Strasburg

Little wonder that some of the Braves players chatted the other day, as they looked ahead toward the draft, about how Washington is stockpiling an enormous cache of talent and could be a team to be reckoned with very, very soon.

By the way: Harper blew a kiss to a pitcher after hitting a home run, writes Reid Cherner. From the video that's included in this piece, it looks like the pitcher who gave up the home run wasn't thrilled that Harper stood and watched his home run and stared Harper down, and Harper responded.

2. The Diamondbacks had two picks among the first seven and took one guy who could help them this year, Trevor Bauer, and one guy who could help them in years to come, in Archie Bradley. Bauer has had a heavy workload this spring and the Diamondbacks will measure his innings count very carefully for the rest of the calendar year, but Arizona has a chance to win; if Bauer shows he can help at the big league level in a very precise and limited role, they will let him do that.

From Nick Piecoro's story:

"They were saying this is a guy with the body of (Tim) Lincecum, the stuff of (Roy) Oswalt and the mind of (Greg) Maddux," Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall said.

Kevin Towers is making the right moves for the Diamondbacks, writes Scott Bordow.

3. The Seattle Mariners took Danny Hultzen with their No. 2 pick. The Mariners weren't sure, in their internal evaluations, whether Rendon's strengths as a hitter would be mitigated by Safeco Field. On the other hand, they do know that the skills of a pitcher as polished as Hultzen could be enhanced by their home field. The Mariners wanted Hultzen for a long time, writes Jerry Brewer.

4. The Tampa Bay Rays began their Herschel Walker draft and loved their haul, starting with Taylor Guerrieri, as Marc Topkin writes; he throws really, really hard, as Joey Johnston writes.

5. The Brewers are gathering momentum in the NL Central chase, and it's possible that their No. 1 pick, Taylor Jungmann, could help them this year. Milwaukee grabbed a couple of pitchers in the first round, a badly needed injection of talent for their minors. Jungmann could be a bullpen piece in 2011. "It was not part of the discussion while drafting him," Brewers GM Doug Melvin wrote in an email, "but you never know."

6. Some executives think Dylan Bundy is the greatest pure talent in the draft, and now the Orioles can look to a day when their rotation might include Brian Matusz, Zach Britton and Bundy. (By the way: Buck Showalter raised some eyebrows by mentioning Monday that Matusz may never regain his velocity).

7. The Pirates continue to stockpile pitching.

More draft links


• The Jays took some guys who might be tough to sign. It was a wait-and-see approach, writes Richard Griffin.

• Gerrit Cole was the first player taken, as Gary Klein writes.

• The Cardinals' pick is undersized, they acknowledge.

• The Royals took a local kid, after Dylan Bundy was taken one pick before they selected. This could be the start of something big for Starling.

• The Phillies' No. 1 pick recently lost his mother, as John Finger writes.

• The Rockies drafted an Oregon pitcher.

• The Red Sox took a UConn pitcher with their first choice, as Michael Silverman writes.

• The Padres seemingly had a really good day, as Bill Center writes.

• Oakland drafted a Vanderbilt guy, and its full intention is to use Sonny Gray as a starting pitcher, and not a reliever.

• The Giants drafted a shortstop, writes John Shea.

• The Braves drafted a lefty.

• The Astros took an outfielder.

• The Twins took a North Carolina shortstop, writes Phil Miller.

• The Reds took a high school pitcher, writes Jim Fay.

• The White Sox grabbed an outfielder.

• The Indians took an athletic shortstop, writes Terry Pluto.

• The Mets took a high school kid.

Notables


• Few teams have declared themselves as sellers, but as Oakland's injuries keep mounting, the Athletics move in that direction; Oakland has dropped seven straight games, and with Brett Anderson going down, Oakland now has lost four starting pitchers in the past three weeks. This could accelerate the possible exodus of parts like Grant Balfour (who might be a perfect fit for Texas) or Josh Willingham (at a time when a lot of clubs are looking to add a bat, like the Phillies or Braves). Kevin Kouzmanoff was sent to Triple-A.

• The Cubs' situation is awful right now, with the losses mounting -- on Monday, they lost their seventh consecutive game -- and manager Mike Quade feeling compelled to meet with Carlos Zambrano. Look, it's not a big deal that Zambrano said the team's play is embarrassing, a general statement of frustration, but the fact that he directly questioned Carlos Marmol's pitch selection is, in itself, embarrassing. Can you imagine how Zambrano would react if his teammates publicly ripped the choices he made in his starts, or his execution? They could maintain a filibuster in Congress, if they chose. But they don't do it because they know it's wrong and counterproductive. Zambrano doesn't know what the big deal is.

Moves, deals and decisions


1. The Rockies ran out a new-look lineup, as Troy Renck writes.

2. Ichiro was used as a designated hitter, again.

3. Chris Narveson will stay in the Milwaukee rotation.

4. The Twins are using Ben Revere in right field, as La Velle Neal writes.

5. The Dodgers called up Dee Gordon, son of Tom Gordon.

Dings and dents


1. Brad Lidge had a setback, but Jimmy Rollins seems to be improving.

2. Jason Kendall took batting practice.

3. Dexter Fowler is hurting.

4. Jake Peavy is dealing with a mild groin strain.

5. Matt Harrison is dealing with a kidney stone.

6. Scott Rolen has strep throat.

Monday's games


1. The Phillies are hurting, but they hung on to beat the Dodgers, as David Murphy writes.

2. The Giants just keep winning one-run games, and along the way, Tim Lincecum racked up his 1,000th strikeout.

From Elias: Tim Lincecum had five strikeouts Monday to push his career total to 1,000. He became the eighth major league pitcher since 1900 to record 1,000 strikeouts within his first five seasons. That's been done in modern major league history by Grover Cleveland Alexander (1911-15), Tom Seaver (1967-71), Bert Blyleven (1970-74), Mark Langston (1984-88), Dwight Gooden (1984-88), Hideo Nomo (1995-99) and Kerry Wood (1998-2003). Wood missed the entire 1999 season. And of the pitchers who faced the fewest batters en route to 1,000 K's since 1900:

Billy Wagner: 3,022
Octavio Dotel: 3,478
Kerry Wood: 3,609
Tim Lincecum: 3,692
Trevor Hoffman: 3,759

3. David Price was The Man for the Rays, writes Marc Topkin.

4. Brennan Boesch got to some high fastballs from Colby Lewis, as ESPN Stats & Information details: Three of Boesch's hits and both of his home runs came on pitches up in the zone. Entering Monday, Boesch had just one home run on high pitches in his career. Both of his home runs Monday were on Colby Lewis fastballs clocked at 88 mph. His only other home run on a high pitch entering Monday was also on a sub-90 mph fastball. Before Monday, that was 917 pitches seen up, with one homer, and on Monday, he saw seven pitches up and hit two home runs.

5. Zack Greinke shut down the Marlins, and the Brewers just keep on winning on the road, as Tom Haudricourt writes. From ESPN Stats & Info, how Greinke beat the Marlins:

• Marlins hitters were 1-for-14 in at-bats ending with a Greinke off-speed pitch. Greinke kept his off-speed pitches low, with 47 of his 51 (92.2 percent) down in the zone or below it, his highest percentage in a start in the past three seasons. The Marlins struck out four times against a Greinke off-speed pitch and put 10 in play, seven of which they hit on the ground.

• All four of Greinke's off-speed strikeouts were with his slider, and all 25 of the sliders he threw were down in the zone. The Marlins chased 11 of Greinke's sliders out of the zone, the second-highest total against Greinke in the past three seasons. The highest was in Greinke's previous start, when the Reds chased 13 sliders out of the zone.

6. The Marlins got swept.

7. Eric Hosmer got a big hit.

8. The Mariners got shut down.

9. The Twins won again.

10. The Indians lost again.

11. The Padres had their bubble burst.

12. John Danks won for the first time this season, as Mark Gonzales writes.

13. Colby Lewis got pummeled.

14. Jonny Gomes and the Reds had a really good day.



Rumors.

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Another day at DH for Ichiro

10:37AM ET
Ichiro Suzuki | Mariners
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Ichiro Suzuki served as the designated hitter for the second time in less than a week on Monday, but Mariners manager Eric Wedge insists it is not a trend.

"First and foremost, it's just to get him off his feet," Wedge said via the Seattle Times. "We're still in the middle of this stretch here, trying to spread out and give guys some time off."

Ichiro has just 12 hits in 71 at-bats (.169 average) dating to May 19. The move also enabled Wedge to get both Greg Halman and Mike Wilson starts in the field against lefties. Ichiro is likely to return to right field Tuesday when the M's face White Sox righty Philip Humber.

- Doug Mittler

Could Bauer be promoted this season?

10:14AM ET
Arizona Diamondbacks
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The Arizona Diamondbacks already have a farm system that boasts pitching depth, and the talent pool got even deeper Monday when they selected UCLA right-hander Trevor Bauer with the No. 3 pick and Oklahoma high school right-hander Archie Bradley at No. 7.

Bauer is known for his unconventional approach (check out this piece by ESPN The Magazine's Tim Keown), but Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic says the D-backs won't try to change his long-tossing habits, nor will they alter his approach to pitching or his six-pitch repertoire.

Bauer has a solid chance of cracking the Diamondbacks rotation sometime next season, but our Buster Olney says there is a possibility of a quicker call-up under the right circumstances:

- Doug Mittler

olney_buster_30.jpg
Buster Olney

Quick promotion for Bauer?

"Bauer has had a heavy workload this spring and the Diamondbacks will measure his innings count very carefully for the rest of the calendar year, but Arizona has a chance to win; if Bauer shows he can help at the big-league level in a very precise and limited role, they will let him do that."


Could Boras steer Prince to DC?

9:50AM ET
Prince Fielder | Brewers
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Many teams run for the hills when it comes to dealing with Scott Boras, but the super agent doesn't scare away the Washington Nationals. Monday's draft was another example, adding to speculation that the Nats could be a serious player for Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder this fall.

ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney connects the dots in Tuesday's blog after the Nats selected Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon, a Boras client, on Monday night. Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, two other Day One picks, are represented by Boras, as are Jayson Werth and Fielder.

Olney says there is "growing industry speculation" that Fielder could be a target of the Nats, in part because they are comfortable dealing with Boras. One thought: if Werth could get $126 million, what is Fielder's price tag?

Last week, we mentioned the Orioles as a team that could have interest in Fielder.

- Doug Mittler

Another setback for Lidge

9:21AM ET
Brad Lidge | Phillies
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It's a good thing for the Phillies that Ryan Madson has comfortably moved into the closer's role. Injured closer Brad Lidge suffered yet another setback Monday, pushing back the timetable for a return.

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Lidge had elbow soreness while throwing a bullpen session in Florida. Lidge will return to Philadelphia to be examined by team doctor Michael Ciccotti.

Lidge, who has yet to pitch this season, is on the 60-day disabled list with a torn rotator cuff.

If the Phillies do seek bullpen help at the deadline, it would likely be for middle relief. Madson has converted all 13 of his save opportunities and has finally earned the confidence of manager Charlie Manuel.

- Doug Mittler

Speedy return for Hanley?

8:55AM ET
Hanley Ramirez | Marlins
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UPDATE: Hanley Ramirez finally landed on the disabled list and is eligible to be reinstated June 14. Monday was the most confident Ramirez has sounded about a speedy return.

Ramirez says he likely won't need any rehab games, but that may depend on how he feels over the next week. In the meantime, Emilio Bonifacio remains the starting shortstop.

--

We have a plausible explanation for the dramatic fall in production this season by Hanley Ramirez, and it may result in the first-ever trip to the disabled list for the Florida Marlins shortstop.

Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald reports Ramirez, barring a miraculous recovery, is headed to the disabled list. Ramirez has not played in a week because of continued stiffness in his lower back that forced him to leave last Sunday's game in Los Angeles.

Ramirez told Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel that he's felt discomfort for about a month, adding that it was the worst pain he ever experienced.

Emilio Bonifacio has started at shortstop in place of Ramirez.

- Doug Mittler

Making room for Mazzaro

8:38AM ET
Vin Mazzaro | Royals
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When we last saw Vin Mazzaro in a big league uniform, the righthander was enduring a public flogging courtesy of the Cleveland Indians. Mazzaro was tagged for 14 runs over 2 1/3 innings on May 16 and the Royals promptly shipped him to Triple-A Omaha.

Mazzaro has seemingly worked out his problems in the minors and will be recalled in time to face the Blue Jays on Tuesday night. The Royals did not announce a corresponding move to clear space for Mazzaro, but the Kansas City Star says they seem likely to option reliever Jesse Chavez to Omaha.

- Doug Mittler

A step forward for Kendall

8:28AM ET
Jason Kendall | Royals
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The Kansas City Royals still have no concrete timetable on a return for Jason Kendall, but the veteran catcher took a step forward Monday when he took batting practice for the first time since undergoing shoulder surgery.

If things proceed as planned, Kendall should be ready to head out on a rehab assignment by the end of the month, manager Ned Yost tells the Kansas City Star.

The 36-year-old Kendall is the final year of a two-year, $6 million deal, so he may be in his final months with the organization. Matt Treanor and Brayan Pena have shared the catching duties in Kendall's absence.

- Doug Mittler

Scutaro completes rehab stint

8:08AM ET
Marco Scutaro | Red Sox
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UPDATE: Scutaro completed a rehab stint Monday and is expected to the join the Red Sox in time for Tuesday's game against the Yankees. Righthander Scott Atchison will be sent back to Pawtucket to make room for Scutaro, who was 5-for-11 in three games for the PawSox.

--

Veteran infielder Marco Scutaro will start a rehab assignment for Triple-A Pawtucket Saturday, and could be activated from the disabled list sometime within a week, reports the Boston Globe.

But how much Scutaro will play once he returns remains to be seen. Jed Lowrie is hitting .304/.349/.406 and is handling shortstop defensively. Furthermore, one of Scutaro's potential advantages -- his ability to hit left-handed pitching as a pure right-handed hitter -- is of no advantage in the end, with the switch-hitting Lowrie hitting .431/.443/.690 versus southpaws.

Scutaro has flashed well above-average defense at shortstop in the past, but at 35 those days may be behind him. He could instead serve as a utility reserve, spelling Lowrie, Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis around the infield.

- Jason A. Churchill

Johnson not close to a promotion

7:55AM ET
Nick Johnson | Indians
4240.jpg

Nick Johnson was in the Indians' clubhouse before Monday night's game against the Twins, but that doesn't mean the veteran first baseman is close to a big league call-up, manager Manny Acta tells MLB.com.

The injury-plagued Johnson, who has played in all of 24 games last season, was signed in early March and has played in a pair of games at Double-A Akron. He is headed for Triple-A Columbus and Acta wants him to get plenty of at-bats before any decision is made on a promotion.

- Doug Mittler

Pettitte happy in retirement

7:42AM ET
Andy Pettitte | Yankees
3171.jpg

Any talk of a possible return by Andy Pettitte to the New York Yankees seemed to be quelled Monday when the 240-game winner said he perfectly content in his retirement in Deer Park, Texas.

"I'm not dying to be playing baseball right now," Pettitte said on the Michael Kay Show on ESPNNewYork1050. "I'm absolutely loving being home."

Pettitte's comments were far from a surprise, but it is a plausible scenario that he could be a solid late-season contributor after having a few months off, just as Pedro Martinez did with the Phillies in 2009. But Pettitte doesn't seem to have the same itch to return.

"I'm just telling you right now, I don't think I will ever pitch again," Pettitte said.

- Doug Mittler

Peavy avoids DL

7:05AM ET
Jake Peavy | White Sox
5019.png&w=65&h=90&scale=crop&background=0xcccccc&transparent=false

The decision of the Chicago White Sox to go with a six-man rotation now looks like a prudent one after Jake Peavy was removed from his start against the Tigers Sunday with a strained right groin.

While there was plenty of speculation Peavy would land on the disabled list Monday, no roster move was made after he underwent an MRI examination that revealed a light sprain of his right groin.

Manager Ozzie Guillen already had planned to go with a six-man rotation until the All-Star break, an indication they were concerned with Peavy's past history of injuries. Now the struggling White Sox will go back to the conventional rotation with Philip Humber as the fifth starter.

post #1535 of 77453
Thread Starter 
Brett Anderson might need TJS. But keep throwing a slider every other pitch, Brett.
post #1536 of 77453
Thread Starter 
Brett Anderson might need TJS. But keep throwing a slider every other pitch, Brett.
post #1537 of 77453
post #1538 of 77453
post #1539 of 77453
Am I the only one who likes the fact that Harper is a douche?
post #1540 of 77453
My boy Nick just got drafted by the Brewers pimp.gif
"Nothing is wrong with letting the girls know that you're money, and you wanna party"
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"Nothing is wrong with letting the girls know that you're money, and you wanna party"
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post #1541 of 77453
Am I the only one who likes the fact that Harper is a douche?
post #1542 of 77453
My boy Nick just got drafted by the Brewers pimp.gif
"Nothing is wrong with letting the girls know that you're money, and you wanna party"
Reply
"Nothing is wrong with letting the girls know that you're money, and you wanna party"
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post #1543 of 77453
I mean, that's an automatic fastball in that porn stache of his, ain't it?  Next plate appearance, that things gettin shaved off by some heat if I'm callin the shots. 

And he'll stay douchey til he hits the big leagues, none of that stuff will happen up there. 
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post #1544 of 77453
I mean, that's an automatic fastball in that porn stache of his, ain't it?  Next plate appearance, that things gettin shaved off by some heat if I'm callin the shots. 

And he'll stay douchey til he hits the big leagues, none of that stuff will happen up there. 
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MIAMI DOLPHINS
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post #1545 of 77453
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleJs07

Am I the only one who likes the fact that Harper is a douche?

smiley: laugh I love it.

He's gonna get one in the ear-hole the first time he blows a big league pitcher a kiss though.
post #1546 of 77453
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleJs07

Am I the only one who likes the fact that Harper is a douche?

smiley: laugh I love it.

He's gonna get one in the ear-hole the first time he blows a big league pitcher a kiss though.
post #1547 of 77453
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleJs07

Am I the only one who likes the fact that Harper is a douche?


Nah, I'm in the same boat. So many of the greats played the game with a certain swagger that it's almost necessary to have a kind of arrogance about yourself. Especially since baseball is such an individualistic game, though it's classified as a team sport. Now he can't be blowing kisses at pitchers, that would incite a bench-clearer in the majors, but some ego is a good thing.
post #1548 of 77453
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleJs07

Am I the only one who likes the fact that Harper is a douche?


Nah, I'm in the same boat. So many of the greats played the game with a certain swagger that it's almost necessary to have a kind of arrogance about yourself. Especially since baseball is such an individualistic game, though it's classified as a team sport. Now he can't be blowing kisses at pitchers, that would incite a bench-clearer in the majors, but some ego is a good thing.
post #1549 of 77453
Aramis Ramirez won't accept a trade.  smiley: indifferent
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post #1550 of 77453
Aramis Ramirez won't accept a trade.  smiley: indifferent
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post #1551 of 77453
laugh.gif I knew I wasn't the only one...

I don't even like the Nats, but Harper has me interested. He's got an ego like this @ 18....just wait till he's in his mid-20's laugh.gifroll.gif

I'm all for it tho.

I just wonder if some career minor-leaguer will try to do something stupid to Harper??
post #1552 of 77453
laugh.gif I knew I wasn't the only one...

I don't even like the Nats, but Harper has me interested. He's got an ego like this @ 18....just wait till he's in his mid-20's laugh.gifroll.gif

I'm all for it tho.

I just wonder if some career minor-leaguer will try to do something stupid to Harper??
post #1553 of 77453
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleJs07

Am I the only one who likes the fact that Harper is a douche?


I love the kid smiley: laugh

And I feel like there may be more to the story than we're being fed TBH.  Hopefully he doesn't overreact when someone puts one in his ribs because it's coming smiley: laugh.
post #1554 of 77453
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleJs07

Am I the only one who likes the fact that Harper is a douche?


I love the kid smiley: laugh

And I feel like there may be more to the story than we're being fed TBH.  Hopefully he doesn't overreact when someone puts one in his ribs because it's coming smiley: laugh.
post #1555 of 77453
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleJs07

Am I the only one who likes the fact that Harper is a douche?

Nah man luv it anything that makes old baseball people mad I love it, he should bring back the war paint.smiley: pimp

That mustache however is not swag.
Instagram. | just my art and photography. #NT will follow back. Also Flickr.
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Instagram. | just my art and photography. #NT will follow back. Also Flickr.
Reply
post #1556 of 77453
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleJs07

Am I the only one who likes the fact that Harper is a douche?

Nah man luv it anything that makes old baseball people mad I love it, he should bring back the war paint.smiley: pimp

That mustache however is not swag.
Instagram. | just my art and photography. #NT will follow back. Also Flickr.
Reply
Instagram. | just my art and photography. #NT will follow back. Also Flickr.
Reply
post #1557 of 77453
Marc Wik...pimp.gif

605th by the Orioles, Thats my boy!!
post #1558 of 77453
Marc Wik...pimp.gif

605th by the Orioles, Thats my boy!!
post #1559 of 77453
Pujols hit the train tracks in Houston again?

Brad Lidge just died. Again.

Ichiro finally wearing down?
post #1560 of 77453
Pujols hit the train tracks in Houston again?

Brad Lidge just died. Again.

Ichiro finally wearing down?
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