MLB Draft – Picks No. 17-24

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Diamondbacks selected Notre Dame outfielder A.J. Pollock with the 17th pick in the draft.
It was thought the Diamondbacks would probably take a hitter and a
pitcher with their back-to-back picks, but they’ve gone offense on
both. Pollock, a converted shortstop, shows potential in center field.
His power will be primarly in the form of doubles. Arizona probably
could have done better here, but saving money to sign all of the team’s
early picks likely was a factor.

Marlins selected high school LHP Chad James with the 18th pick in the draft.
James has plenty of upside with his low-90s fastball and hard curve. He
has a ways to go from a command standpoint, but he was a nice choice at
No. 18. On potential alone, he ranked as the top high school lefty in
the draft.

Cardinals selected high school RHP Shelby Miller with the 19th pick in the draft.
Miller has one of the fastballs in the draft, as he’s been known to top
out at 97-98 mph. He needs to tighten up his curve, come up with a
change and improve his command, but that’s what the minor leagues are
for.

Blue Jays selected Kennesaw State RHP Chad Jenkins with the 20th pick.
Jenkins has a sinking low-90s fastball and a plus slider. He’s also
displayed some potential with his changeup. He probably doesn’t have
more than third-starter upside and he may be more of a No. 4, but he
has the build and arsenal of a 200- or 220-inning guy.

Astros selected high school shortstop Jiovanni Mier with the 21st pick in the draft.
Mier is questionable to last at shortstop, and he probably won’t
possess the bat to be a major asset anywhere else. He’s probably not
more than a future 12-homer guy at best, and plate discipline is an
issue. He shouldn’t have gone in the first round.

Twins picked Missouri RHP Kyle Gibson 22nd overall.
A big surprise. Gibson was thought of as a top-10 pick before being
diagnosed with a stress fracture in his forearm. If it’s a one-time
injury, the Twins could have themselves a steal here. Gibson has No. 2
starter potential with his low-90s fastball, slider and changeup.

White Sox selected LSU outfielder Jared Mitchell with the 23rd pick in the draft.
Mitchell might have 20- or 25-homer ability, but his long swing could
lead to low averages. Also, he’s no sure thing to last in center field.
He has the raw speed, but he’s not a great defender right now and his
arm is below average. If he moves to left, he may not have the bat to
make it.

Angels selected high school outfielder Randal Grichuk with the 24th pick in the draft.
No one was expecting Grichuk to go in the first round. He has ample
power potential and could potentially be a 30-homer guy, but he may not
make a lot of contact and he’s limited defensively. The Angels will
likely stick him in left field.

Cubs sign Brett Anderson to a $3.5 million deal

Brett Anderson
AP Photo/J Pat Carter
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.

Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.

When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.

What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.

The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.

Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.