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.

Johnny Monell signs with KBO’s KT Wiz

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 06:  Johnny Monell #19 of the New York Mets runs back to the dugout after he scored in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on July 6, 2015 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Former Mets catcher Johnny Monell signed a contract with the KT Wiz of the Korea Baseball Organization, per a report by Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. The 30-year-old originally struck a deal with the NC Dinos on Thursday, but the deal appeared to fall through at the last minute, according to Cotillo’s unnamed source.

Monell last surfaced for the Mets during their 2015 run, batting a dismal .167/.231/.208 with two extra bases in 52 PA before the club DFA’d him to clear space for Bartolo Colon. While he’s had difficulty sticking at the major league level, he’s found a higher degree of success in the minor league circuit and holds a career .271 average over a decade of minor league play. He played exclusively in Triple-A Las Vegas during the 2016 season, slashing .276/.336/.470 with 19 home runs and a career-high 75 RBI in 461 PA.

The veteran backstop appears to be the second MLB player to join the KT Wiz roster this offseason, as right-hander Donn Roach also signed with the club last month on a one-year, $850,000 deal.

Phil Bickford suspended 50 games for drug of abuse

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 10:  Phil Bickford of the U.S. Team pitches during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at PETCO Park on July 10, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.

Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.

Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.

Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):

We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.