Around The World Of Major League Baseball

June 8, 2010

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Strasburg – It is FINALLY HERE
The hype is almost over … well it is still going on for a few more hours until the highly touted pitcher makes his debut for the Washington Nationals tonight at home in D.C. against the Pittsburgh Pirates. You have seen numerous articles mentioning Strasburg here on the Casual Observer, everything from talent to sports card prices. The place is sold out tonight, which is great for the home team. Here is hoping the kid has a good outing and does not get chased early.

Speaking of Nationals …
They also had the first overall pick in the “Live” draft that was conducted on Major League Baseball Network last night. Bryce Harper was not surprisingly taken as the #1 pick. He graduated high school early and spent this past year in Junior College where he tore the cover off the ball. Harper, according to an ESPN article, hit . 443 with 31 home runs, 98 RBIs and 20 stolen bases in 66 games, That is video game type of numbers. Looks like we have another super hyped Washington Nationals player to keep an eye on over the next couple years.

Speaking of Draft …
The draft coverage last night was definitely the worst coverage of such a type of even I have ever seen. Of course Bud Selig is about as exciting as reading the white pages in the phone book. The real disappointment was twofold. First of all, the “in studio experts” really did not add anything to the equation at all, and secondly the “ticker” at the bottom of the screen showed more historical information about a team’s draft pick from something like 8 years ago and rarely did they actually show the picks that had made THIS year. For reference when the NFL draft is run, the pretty much have the continuous crawl at the bottom of the screen, so if you happen to run to the fridge or the bathroom, you can come back and actually see who was picked over the last couple of minutes. MLB network only updated this what seemed like 4 times an hour … poor job MLB Network. Maybe you can learn from this next year.

Speaking of MLB ….
It is shaping up to be another exciting year in baseball. We have already had a number of events happen. Griffey Retiring, Ubaldo Jimenez winning 11 games and being pretty much unhittable, and what seems like everyone in the American League East winning most all of their games (except the Orioles)

So for you baseball aficionados out there … grab your favorite beverage, and a snack and kick back tonight and see what the kid can do … a lot of people will be watching.

Baseball Draftermath

June 10, 2009

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OK, 3 rounds (plus sandwich) in the books.

The draft started very predictably with the National signing San Diego State pitcher Stephen Strasburg, easily the best player in the draft.  The Pittsburgh Pirates made the first “reach” on the draft, taking Boston College catcher Tony Sanchez at #4, far above his projected slot.  This was apparently a case of the Pirates choosing a signable player (there was reportedly an agreement in place before the draft) rather than a player with a high ceiling.  Pirates Nation (if such a term is still accurate) probably let loose a collection groan with this pick.  This is one of the reasons why I wish baseball teams could trade picks.  The Pirates could have easily traded down 10-20 spots and still been able to nab Sanchez.

A few guys slipped more than I expected

Aaron Crow was the first round pick of the Nationals last year (#10) overall and could not agree to a deal with Washington.  He spent a season with the independent Forth Worth Cats and went back into the draft this year.  Some folks had his stock dropping, but I really expected someone to nab him in the top 5.  Instead, he dropped to #12, where he was signed by Kansas City.  This is the second time the Royals have signed a former Cat, as Luke Hochevar followed the same path after he was drafted #6 overall by the Dodgers in 2005 (he was drafted #1 overall by the Royals in 2006).  Contrast this style with the Pirates choosing a lower ceiling player to save money.

A couple other guys were drafted later than I expected due to injury concerns  Pitcher Kyle Gibson of Missouri seemed like a lock for the top 10 before being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his pitching arm.  He dropped to the Twins at #22.  If the Twins can get a good comfort level by the August 15 signing deadline, they could end up with a very good pitcher with this pick.

Perhaps the most intriguing drop was Tanner Scheppers.  Scheppers was a lock for the top 10 last year out of Fresno State before suffering an injury to his rotator cuff and labrum.  He dropped to #48 last year, and the Pirates were unable to sign him.  To be fair to both sides, the negotiations had a risk/reward aspect related to the injury.  This year he was pitching for the independent St. Paul Saints and appears to be fully healed from the injury.  However, some doubts apparently still exist, as Scheppers dropped to the Texas Rangers at #44.  

Scheppers would have actually made a lot of sense at the tail end of the first round.  He is the equivalent of a college senior, and teams would not have been subject to the August 15 deadline to sign him.  They could have waited until right before the 2010 draft to make a really serious offer.  If he was recovered, sign him.  If not, don’t sign him.  Teams who can’t sign a first or second round pick receive a pick one spot lower in next year’s draft (if you can’t sign the #1 overall pick, you’d get the #2 pick in 2010).  Worst case scenario for a team at the tail end of the first round would be not signing Scheppers and getting an equivalent pick in 2010.  The Rangers actually took more of  a risk.  The sandwich picks are not protected.  If they don’t sign Scheppers, they do not get any sort of replacement pick.

How did my Rockies do?  I’m pretty happy.  The Rockies has 3 picks in the top 34.  At #11, I really wish we would have grabbed Aaron Crow.  Instead, we picked flamethrowing high school lefty Tyler Matzek, who already has a fastball in the mid to high 90s.  Matzek has really good upside potential.  The big knock on his was money, as he reportedly wants about $7 million to sign.  At #32 I was hoping we’d go after Scheppers, but took Sacramento State outfielder Tim Wheeler instead.  Wheeler has good speed, and question marks about his power and his ability to stay in center field.  If he can stay in center and show good power, this could be a very nice pick.  At #34, we went for another lefty pitcher with good power, Rex Brothers out of Lipscomb University.  Brothers throws in the high 90s.