MLB Draft – Picks No. 17-24

Leave a comment

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.

The Yankees are paying $86 million for a one-inning reliever

chapman
Leave a comment

OXON HILL, MD — The Yankees signing of Aroldis Chapman late Wednesday night came as something of a surprise. And the money — $86 million — was something of a shock. Yes, we knew that Chapman was going to break the bank and likely set a record as the highest paid relief pitcher in history, but seeing it in black and white like that is still rather jarring.

In the coming days, many people who attempt to analyze and contextualize this signing will do so by pointing to the 2016 playoffs and the unconventional use of relievers by Terry Francona and the Indians and Joe Maddon of the Cubs. They’ll talk about how the paradigm of bullpen use has shifted and how relief pitchers have taken on a new importance in today’s game. Chapman’s astronomical salary, therefore, will be described as somehow more reasonable and somewhat less shocking than it first seems.

Don’t buy that jive for a second.

Yes, Andrew Miller and, to some extent, Chapman himself were used unconventionally in the 2016 playoffs, but not long into the 2017 season we will see that as an exception, not the rule. And not just because Chapman showed himself unable to hold up to that level of use in the playoffs. It will be the exception because the Yankees have shown no inclination whatsoever to deviate from traditional bullpen usage in the past and there is no reason to expect that they will do so with Chapman in the future.

As you no doubt remember, the Yankees had Chapman, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller for the first half of 2016. Such an imposing back end of a bullpen has rarely been seen in recent history. All of them, however, were used, more or less, as one-inning-a-piece guys and no real effort was ever made to break any bullpen usage paradigms or to shorten games the way many applauded Terry Francona for doing in the playoffs.

Miller pitched 44 games for the Yankees, totaling 45.1 innings. He pitched more than a single inning on only three occasions. Chapman pitched 31 games for the Yankees, amassing 31.1 innings. He was used for more than one inning only twice. Betances worked in 73 games, totaling 73 innings. On 11 occasions he pitched more than one inning.  It was unconventional for a team to have three relievers that good, but they were not, in any way, used unconventionally. Nor is there any reason to expect Chapman to be used unconventionally in 2017, especially given that Miller is not around and Chapman has shown no real ability to be stretched for multiple innings for a sustained period.

None of which is to say that having Chapman around is a bad thing or that he is any less of a closer than his reputation suggests. It’s merely to say that the Yankees paying Chapman unprecedented money for a closer should not be justified by the alleged new importance of relief pitchers or that changing role for them we heard so much about in the playoffs. Indeed, I suspect that that changing role applies only to pitcher use in the playoffs. And I do not suspect that this transaction alone pushes the Yankees into serious playoff contention, making that temporary unconventionality something of a moot point in New York for the foreseeable future.

It is almost certain that the Yankees are paying $86 million for the same one-inning closer Aroldis Chapman has been for his entire seven-year career. His contract may or may not prove to be a good one for New York based on how he performs, but don’t let anyone tell you now, in Decemeber 2016, that it’s better than you think because Chapman will somehow transform into a 1970s-style relief ace or something.

Report: Yankees sign Aroldis Chapman to a five-year, $86 million deal

gettyimages-577291896
Getty Images
9 Comments

Update (12:02 AM EST): Rosenthal adds that Chapman’s contract includes an opt-out clause after three seasons, a full no-trade clause for the first three years of the contract, and a limited no-trade clause for the final two years.

*

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Yankees have signed closer Aroldis Chapman to a five-year, $86 million contract. Mark Melancon recently set the record for a contract earned by a reliever at $62 million over four years. Chapman blew that out of the water and many are surprised he didn’t fetch more.

Chapman, 28, began the 2016 season with the Yankees but he was traded to the Cubs near the end of July in exchange for four prospects. The Cubs, of course, would go on to win the World Series in large part due to Chapman. The lefty finished the regular season with a 1.55 ERA, 36 saves, and a 90/18 K/BB ratio in 58 innings between the two teams.

Chapman was the best reliever on the free agent market and, because he was traded midseason, he didn’t have draft pick compensation attached to him.

The Yankees don’t seem to be deterred by Chapman’s domestic violence issue from last offseason, resulting in a 30-game suspension to begin the 2016 regular season.