MLB draft – Picks No. 25-32

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Angels selected outfielder Mike Trout with the 25th pick in the draft.
Unlike
Randal Grichuk, Trout was expected to go at least this high. It’s
expected that he’ll start switch-hitting in the pros, and he’s
displayed 15- or 20-homer power as a right-handed hitter. He has the
range to play center and a great arm. He’s a nice pick.

Brewers chose Indiana RHP Eric Arnett with the 26th pick in the draft.
Arnett,
a 6-foot-5 right-hander, has a strong low-90s fastball that should
generate grounders. He doesn’t have a second above average pitch yet,
but the Brewers will work with him on his slider and changeup. 26th
overall seems about right.

Mariners selected high school shortstop Nick Franklin with the 27th pick.
The
switch-hitting Franklin doesn’t stand out when it comes to tools, but
he has enough range to be a major league shortstop and he should be
able to hit singles and doubles from both sides of the plate. He’s a
fine pick for a Mariners team that needs a shortstop of the future.

Red Sox selected high school outfielder Reymond Fuentes with the 28th pick.
It
figured that Boston would go with a signability player, but Fuentes
doesn’t really qualify. An outfielder from Puerto Rico, Fuentes is a
Jacoby Ellsbury-type and he could be another leadoff hitting center
fielder for the Red Sox.

Yankees selected high school outfielder Slade Heathcott with the 29th pick in the draft.
This
is the Yankees’ compensation pick for failing to sign their first
rounder last year. Heathcott projects as a right fielder with 25-homer
power. He may not hit for average, and he has had injury issues,
including a torn ACL that limited him this year.

Rays selected infielder-outfielder LeVon Washington with 30th pick in the draft.
Washington
was viewed as a center fielder by most, but the Rays have drafted him
at second base. They figure to have more of a need there than in the
outfielder by the time he’s ready. A true burner, Washington could be a
40- or 50-steal guy. He won’t hit for much power.

Cubs chose California outfielder Brett Jackson with the 31st pick in the draft.
Jackson
hit .321/.407/.564 with 11 steals in 16 attempts for California this
season. He has a solid all-around game, but he doesn’t offer vast
amounts of power and, if he can’t last in center, he may be a tweener
fourth outfielder rather than a major league regular.

Rockies selected Sacramento State outfielder Tim Wheeler with the 32nd and final pick of the first round.
Colorado
picked up this pick from the Angels as compensation for losing Brian
Fuentes. Wheeler, a left-handed hitter, is a legitimate center fielder
with leadoff potential and doubles power. For where they picked, the
Rockies, who selected left-hander Tyler Matzek 11th overall, had an
excellent first round.

See analysis of picks 17-24, 9-16, and 1-8.

Report: MLB approves new rule allowing a dugout signal for an intentional walk

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 29:  MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred laughs during a ceremony naming the 2016 winners of the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award and the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award before Game Four of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
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ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.

MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.

Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.

Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this:

Tony Clark responds to Rob Manfred’s claim that union had a “lack of cooperation”

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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Earlier, Craig covered Rob Manfred’s comments in which he accused the Major League Baseball Players’ Association of “a lack of cooperation” concerning some proposed rule changes. The union would need to agree to any such changes, which have included automatic intentional walks, limiting mound visits, pitch clocks, and swapping batting practice times for home and visiting teams.

Manfred went on to say that MLB will impose those rule changes unilaterally next year as allowed in the latest collective bargaining agreement.

Tony Clark, the executive director of the MLBPA, responded to Manfred’s comment. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:

“Unless your definition of ‘cooperation’ is blanket approval, I don’t agree that we’ve failed to cooperate with the Commissioner’s office on these issues.”

“Two years ago we negotiated pace of play protocols that had an immediate and positive impact. Last year we took a step backward in some ways, and this off season we’ve been in regular contact with MLB and with our members to get a better handle on why that happened.”

“I would be surprised if those discussions with MLB don’t continue, notwithstanding today’s comments about implementation. As I’ve said, fundamental changes to the game are going to be an uphill battle, but the lines of communication should remain open.”

“My understanding is that MLB wants to continue with the replay changes (2min limit) and the no-pitch intentional walks and the pace of Game warning/fine adjustments.”

Clark’s response isn’t anything too shocking. Manfred’s accusation was pretty baseless, but it’s behavior to be expected of a commissioner who comes down on the side of the owners over the players almost always.