Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Tuesday, June 13.
The baseball draft began last night and will go on for the next 2 days. There will be but 40 rounds, compared to the 100 rounds there were in times past. From there, college seniors and others need to hope to be taken as non-drafted free agents. While few of these get close to the bigs, the organizations need depth at all levels. Even the best, the earliest draft picks aren’t guaranteed to make the majors even for a “Cuppa coffee.” But the teams draft them, hope to sign them and pray.
While I can’t say which of the 75 men drafted among 30 teams will make it, I know a team and a man each of whom made catastrophic choices. The man is obvious-Luke Heimlich of Oregon State. Until last week when it became know that he’s a child molester, he could have punched his own ticket following a sterling career at Oregon State. Now, he wasn’t drafted at all yesterday and any team that drafts him today or tomorrow will be crucified for signing a man who belongs playing on a team for State Pen as opposed to Penn State. Yesterday’s team that lost bigtime was the Yankees. God only knows what their scouts were thinking when they signed former_ pitcher Clark Schmidt of University of South Carolina. He was pitching like Superman until his elbow blew out, turning h im into Clark Kent. He had Tommy John surgery before_ the draft, so it shouldn’t have been a secret to the Yankees. There’s no justification for wasting your only first-round pick on a man who won’t throw a ball with intent until very late 2018. For every Jacob DeGrom or Zack Wheeler who succeeds after Tommy John surgery, there’s a Matt Harvey or a Bobby Parnell, both of whom have had endless trouble since going under the knife. If the Yankees (or frankly anybody else) want to see what Clark Schmidt can do after his rehab, they should have let him try out and signed him as a free agent. The Yankees, needing future pieces particularly in the starting rotation didn’t need a man who won’t even face Rookie League hitters until say 2018 barring a miracle. Alex faedo (University of Florida,) David Peterson (Oregon) and Alex Lange (LSU) were all pitchers they could have grabbed who could have begun their pro careers before this summer is out. Instead, Faedo went to the Tigers, the Mets got Peterson who might be MLB-ready in two years by the time Matt Harvey goes elsewhere, and Lange went to the Cubs. The first 3 picks of the night went to high school kids-the first time this has happened since 1990. We could have a new President before any of them are in the bigs if they make it at all.
Some draftees should be remembered for their unusual names even if their talents are raw. The Reds drafted Hunter Greene-isn’t that a color for pants? By the by, Green won’t turn 18 until August. The Padres whose history has been gory drafted one MacKenzie Gore, a high school pitcher. The Brewers took one Keston Hiura, a utility man from the Irvines of U.C. Irvine in California. The Angels drafted one Jordon Adell whose name contains the name of an NBA great and a singer of renown. The Orioles took DL Hall who needs to lose the nickname since the oft-injured Yoenis Cespedes needs it.
Numerous draftees can’t go pro until their teams are out of the College World Series. For starters, the Rays took Brendan McKay of Louisville whose Cardinals are bound for Omaha. Alex Faedo’s Florida Gators are Omaha-bound after a brutally long day yesterday clinching the last spot. The Cubs’ Alex Lange pitches for LSU and will do so in Omaha. The Rays took Drew Rasmussen of Oregon State whose team at 53-4 will have the top seed in Omaha. Among others Corbin Martin stands out. I heard his game with Texas A&M against Davidson, the game which got the Aggies to Omaha. Davidson knocked Martin around but the bats and the bull pen bailed him out. He goes to the Astros, meaning if he makes it he’ll play some 95 miles from his alma mater. Two Little Leaguers who became high school teammates in Huntington Beach, CA were taken on day 1. Nick Prado went 14th to the Royals and Hagan Danner 61st to the Jays. In 2011 their Little League team beat Japan to win the Little League World Series. Who drove in the winning run on a walk-off? Nick Prado, who after getting drafted went to hang with Danner hoping his call would come, which it did.
While the buzz was all about the draft, the Braves and Nationals played an amazing game at Nationals Park. The teams went back and forth all night long, with the first-place Nats up 9-8 as the visiting Braves stepped up in the 9th. In that frame Tyler Flowers hit a 3-run home run, one of 8th bombs bursting in air above the nation’s capital. Two were by recently-acquired Braves’ first baseman Matt Adams, filling in for the injured Freddie Freeman. Atlanta hit 5 out of the lot, 3 off Nats’ starter Stephen Strasburg. The Nats registered 3 long bombs of their own but it wasn’t enough. The Braves’ bats and bull pen buttressed starter Mike Foltynewicz. He was beaten like a rented mule, giving up 11 hits and 8 runs while only getting one man out in the 4th inning. It took 4 Braves relievers and a terrific rally to steal the win.
Today features an unusual midweek day game in St. Louis. This would be the usual in Chicago, but not so in the city of their closest rival. The Brewers face the Cardinals at 2:15 PM today. The Brewers’ Brandon Woodruff makes his first solo flight if you will, his MLB debut. He was an 11th-round draft choice in 2014. He faces a much more experienced foe in the Cardinals’ Lance Lynn. The two teams meet again at 8:15 tonight in game 2 of a day-night doubleheader. The Cardinals will try their luck with Marco Gonzales, who was off to a good start on a promising career until Tommy John surgery in April, 2016. The Pirates host the Rockies tonight. In their game last night the Pirates’ Jameson Taillon won his first start following cancer surgery. The Rays’ Jacob Faria hopes to do as well in his second start as he did the first time around when he beat the White Sox. The Jays’ however carry a more potent lineup than the White Sox. If the Cubs’ John Lester should beat the Mets’ Zack Wheeler and company, Lester would reach 150 wins. A cancer survivor himself, he’s one of the tiny few men who ever played for the Red sox that I rooted for while he wore their colors. Former teammates Zach Greinke and Clayton Kershaw both pitch tonight against American League foes. Greinke faces the Tigers wearing his chosen colors, those of the Diamondbacks. Kershaw meantime wears Dodger blue as he faces the Indians tonight at what should still be Jacobs Field. The Phillies, who lost to the Red Sox in extra innings last night face them again tonight. Their starter Ben Lively has lasted 7 innings in his first two MLB starts. No Phillies’ starter has done such a thing since the last year of Ronald Reagan’s presidency–1988. The rookie Lively faces David Price, a name he has seen on baseball cards. The Yankees start CC Sabathia in Anaheim against the Angels. Neither Babe Ruth nor Roger Maris at their best has hit as many home runs at this point as Aaron Judge has. CC has won his last 5 starts, channeling the CC Sabathia of, say 2008.