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.

Alex Dickerson to miss 2017 season after undergoing back surgery

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Padres’ outfielder Alex Dickerson won’t see PETCO Park anytime soon — at least, not as its starting left fielder. The 27-year-old was diagnosed with a bulging disc in his lower back prior to the start of the 2017 season, and hasn’t made any kind of substantial progress in the months since. According to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune, he suffered a setback in his recovery process last week and is set to undergo a season-ending discectomy next Wednesday.

Over 285 plate appearances, Dickerson batted .257/.333/.455 with 10 home runs and a .788 OPS for the Padres in 2016. He missed several days with a right hip contusion last July, but hasn’t experienced any substantial health problems since undergoing surgery in 2014 to repair a torn ligament in his left ankle.

The expected recovery period for lower back surgery is 3-4 months, according to Lin, which puts Dickerson’s estimated return just a few days before the end of the regular season. The Padres aren’t scraping the bottom of the NL West, but their 29-44 record doesn’t bode well for a postseason run this year. Assuming Dickerson rehabs his back in a timely manner, he should be in fine form to enter the competition for left field next spring.

Video: Hanley Ramirez’s No. 250 career home run barely left the field

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Hanley Ramirez played a pivotal role during the Red Sox’ 9-4 win over the Angels on Friday night, crushing a two-run homer off of Alex Meyer to bring the Sox up to a four-run lead in the fourth inning.

Well, crushed might be the wrong word. The ball cleared the right field fence with a mere 350 feet, landing just beyond Pesky’s Pole to bring Ramirez’s career home run total to an even 250.

According to the ESPN Home Run Tracker, Ramirez’s milestone blast wasn’t the shortest home run of the year — not by a long shot. That distinction currently belongs to Rays’ outfielder Corey Dickerson, who skimmed the left field fence at Rogers Centre with a 326-foot homer back in April.