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.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Thursday’s action

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 16: Starting pitcher J.A. Happ #33 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch in the seventh inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on June 16, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
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Did you know J.A. Happ is in the thick of the American League Cy Young Award race? Of all the contenders, he may be the biggest surprise, even ahead of Drew Pomeranz. Happ leads the league with 17 wins and only has three losses to go with it. He’s holding a 3.05 ERA and a 133/44 K/BB ratio in 150 1/3 innings.

It wasn’t all that long ago that Happ was struggling to stay in a starting rotation. In 2011, his first full season with the Astros, he finished with a 5.35 ERA. In 2012, he put up a 4.79 ERA with the ‘stros and Blue Jays. The next year? 4.56 followed by 4.22, both with the Jays. Then, with the Mariners, he continued the mediocrity with a 4.64 ERA before he was traded to the Pirates.

Under the tutelage of Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage, Happ turned his career around. In 11 starts in Pittsburgh, the lefty had a microscopic 1.85 ERA. That came with significant improvements in his strikeout and walk rates. Even the ERA retrodictors like FIP and xFIP, which had so often agreed with his uninspiring ERA’s, agreed that he had thrown like an elite hurler. So that’s how we arrived at J.A. Happ, Cy Young Award contender.

Among AL starters, Happ is fifth-best in ERA behind Cole Hamels, Jose Quintana, Aaron Sanchez, and Steven Wright. However, his 17-3 record is equaled only by Rick Porcello. As there are still a significant number of voters in the Baseball Writers Association of America who consider won-lost record, Happ is sitting in a good position and will be even better if he can cross the coveted 20-win threshold. He’ll get a bit of a boost as well if he can help the Jays return to the postseason for a second consecutive season.

Happ’s Jays will host the hapless — and Happ-less — Angels on Thursday evening. He’ll take on veteran Jered Weaver in a 7:07 PM EDT start.

The rest of Thursday’s action…

Baltimore Orioles (Ubaldo Jimenez) @ Washington Nationals (Max Scherzer), 7:05 PM EDT

Kansas City Royals (Edinson Volquez) @ Miami Marlins (Tom Koehler), 7:10 PM EDT

New York Mets (Seth Lugo) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Adam Wainwright), 7:15 PM EDT

Cleveland Indians (Josh Tomlin) @ Texas Rangers (Cole Hamels), 8:05 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Pirates (Chad Kuhl) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Wily Peralta), 8:10 PM EDT

Seattle Mariners (James Paxton) @ Chicago White Sox (Anthony Ranaudo), 8:10 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves (Matt Wisler) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (Robbie Ray), 9:40 PM EDT

San Francisco Giants (Matt Moore) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (Ross Stripling), 10:10 PM EDT

Let’s play the “how long has it been since the Cubs won the World Series?” game!

1908 Cubs
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It started with a no-good St. Louis Cardinals fan being a troublemaker. That no-good Cardinals fan was Drew Silva, who began things innocently enough, noting that, despite their dominance this season, any team can theoretically beat the Chicago Cubs in a short series because that’s just how baseball goes:

Cubs fans started giving him guff for that, so Drew gave some back:

And with that it was on like Donkey Kong (a super old video game which was not invented for another 73 years after the Cubs last won the World Series). I tweeted this:

And with that, my followers went crazy. Here’s a sampling of some of the best ones:

And, for that matter . . .

Too soon. Unlike the last Cubs World Series title.

Like I said, this was just a sampling. I’ve retweeted a ton more on my timeline and those I didn’t retweet can be seen in the replies here. My favorite one may have been “literally the invention of sliced bread,” which debuted in 1912, but I can’t find that tweet.

Please, Cubs fans, have a sense of humor about this. You have a wonderful ballpark that is not named after a third tier mortgage company, a grand history that is fantastic even if it hasn’t featured any championships and a future that is as bright or brighter than any other team out there. Maybe even come up with some of your own in the comments! History is fun! As is self-deprecation! What I’m saying is don’t be salty about this sort of thing. Salty is a bad look.

In other news, the Morton Salt Company was incorporated in 1910, two years after the Cubs last World Series victory.