MLB Draft – Picks No. 9-16

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Tigers selected high school RHP Jacob Turner with the ninth pick in the draft.
Turner has a quality fastball that shows up in the mid-90s at times,
but his slider is soft and he doesn’t have much of a changeup yet. The
upside is there, but he seems like a reach in the top 10.

Nationals selected Stanford RHP Drew Storen with the 10th pick in the 2009 draft.
The Nats weren’t going to go for another big upside guy at No. 10, not
when they’re going to have to spend so much of Stephen Strasburg.
Storen is an excellent relief prospect, and the Nationals figure to
bring him along that way, though he does have the stuff to start. His
low-90s fastball and big-breaking slider could make him a closer, and
like Strasburg, he could contribute next year.

Rockies selected LHP Tyler Matzek with the 11th overall pick in the draft.
On talent alone, Matzek looked like the top high school pitcher
available. His bonus demands, however, caused some to shy away. If the
Rockies can get him signed, they’ll have made one of the best picks of
the first round. Matzek throws 91-94 mph, and both his curve and slider
are potential strikeout pitches.

Royals chose RHP Aaron Crow with the 12th pick in the 2009 draft.
Crow, a Missouri product, was drafted ninth overall last year. His
bonus demands remain quite high or else he might have went in the top
five this time around. Crow has a strong fastball-slider combination,
and reports indicate that his changeup has improved over the last year.
He could develop into a second or third starter.

Athletics selected USC shortstop Grant Green with the 13th pick in the draft.
The A’s may well have gone with Mike Leake if he was still sitting
there, but Green provides solid value as well. He could possess 15- or
20-homer power down the line. He doesn’t have terrific range at
shortstop, but he should be able to stay there, which is very important
with the A’s loaded with potential second basemen. His bat probably
wouldn’t play particularly well at third.

Rangers chose high school LHP Matthew Purke with the 14th pick.
Purke has a very good fastball for a left-hander, and both his changeup
and curveball project as major league pitches. If his arm holds up, he
has No. 2 starter potential. However, he looks like even more of an
injury risk than the typical high school pitcher.

Indians selected North Carolina RHP Alex White with the 15th pick.
White generates some sinking action on his 89-93 mph fastball and has a
quality slider, but with no useful third pitch and only adequate
command, he’s not as far as long as one would expect from a college
pitcher drafted in the first round. He probably won’t help next year.

Diamondbacks selected high school third baseman Bobby Borchering with the 16th pick in the draft.
The Twins were thought to want Borchering, a switch-hitter with
potential 25-homer power. If he were a legitimate third baseman, he
could have gone in the top 10. Unfortunately, he’s probably going to
need to move to first base.

Jason Kipnis could join Team Israel for 2017 World Baseball Classic

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.

For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.

Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.

Rangers to sign James Loney to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets tosses to first base against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.

Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.

The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.