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.

Jorge Soler diagnosed with strained oblique, Opening Day in doubt

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Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.

The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.

When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.

Report: Cardinals, Yadier Molina making “major progress” on contract extension

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina are making “major progress” on a contract extension. Molina told the team he won’t discuss an extension during the season, hence the rapid progress.

Molina is entering the last guaranteed year of a five-year, $75 million contract signed in March 2012. He and the Cardinals hold a mutual option worth $15 million with a $2 million buyout for the 2018 season. The new extension would presumably cover at least the 2018-19 seasons and likely ’20 as well.

Molina is 34 years old but is still among the most productive catchers in baseball. Last season, he hit .307/.360/.427 with 38 doubles, 58 RBI, and 56 runs scored in 581 plate appearances. Though he has lost a step or two with age, Molina is still well-regarded for his defense. The Cardinals also value his ability to handle the pitching staff.