MLB Draft Losers

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Everyone who watched the first round on the MLB network
It was their first try, but MLB really botched this by giving us a
panel of Harold Reynolds, Josh Hart and MLB scouting bureau director
Frank Marcos, all of whom liked all 32 picks. Hart is still picking up
a paycheck from the Rangers, so he had nothing interesting to say.
Marcos was especially bad as the one supposed expert. Meanwhile,
Baseball America’s Jim Callis, who knew more about the prospects than
all three panelists put together, was shoved off into a corner
somewhere to be given 15 seconds of air-time every half hour.
Disgusting.

N.Y. Yankees – Might the Bombers have some actual
budgetary concerns after all? The first pick, Slade Heathcott, was a
first-round talent, but the Yankees shouldn’t have to go above slot to
sign him, and they chose to shy away from expensive players later on.
Second-rounder J.R. Murphy was their only other player in Baseball
America’s top 100 and he came in at No. 95. Fifth-rounder Caleb Cotham
could be the toughest sign in the bunch. The Red Sox, in comparison,
took five top-100 players and another in Branden Kline who could have
been there. It wasn’t about opportunity: the Red Sox had just one more
pick, that being a third-rounder. Of course, it’s possible that the
Yankees are merely saving up for the international signing period.

Atlanta – With the highest pick they’ve had since 1991,
the Braves suddenly chose to play it safe and draft a potential third
or fourth starter in Vanderbilt lefty Mike Minor. Granted, the draft
didn’t have a ton of high upside players, but there were plenty of
intriguing high school arms on the table and it was stunning that the
Braves didn’t grab one of them. Minor was just the second collegiate
they drafted in the first round since Mike Kelly in 1991, the other
being Joey Devine in 2005. Incredibly, you have to go back to 1978 and
first overall pick Bob Horner to come up with the last collegiate
first-rounder to turn in a nice career for the Braves.

Max Stassi – Stassi was viewed by many as the top catcher
in the draft, yet his bonus demands knocked him into the fourth round,
where he was taken by the A’s. He’s hardly Oakland’s only potential
tough sign, so he’s probably UCLA bound.

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.

Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”

Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”

The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.

There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.

Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.