MLB Draft Winners

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Colorado – 11th overall pick Tyler Matzek was the best
high school pitcher in the draft, and outfielder Tim Wheeler and
left-hander Rex Brothers were nice grabs at No. 32 and No. 34,
respectively. Second-round third baseman Nolan Arenado also could have
been picked earlier. The Rockies could have gone cheap in order to free
up more cash for Matsek, who is sure to demand a big bonus, but they
decided to keep adding legitimate prospects. If they get everyone
signed, they’ll again have one of the most talented farm systems in the
league.

Kansas City – The Royals were believed to be considering
catcher Wil Myers at pick No. 12. They instead took Aaron Crow there,
only to find Myers still available when their next turn came up at No.
91. Crow, the Nationals’ first pick last year, is a future third
starter or closer. Fourth-round Chris Dwyer could be a third player to
command a seven-figure bonus.

Texas – 14th overall pick Matthew Purke and 44th
selection Tanner Scheppers were both viewed as top-10 talents by some.
Scheppers, who was drafted by the Pirates last year, fell because of
concerns about his shoulder, but he should be signable after already
sitting out one year after college. Third-rounder Robbie Erlin and
fifth-rounder Ruben Sierra Jr. also could have gone much earlier. The
Rangers probably won’t sign them all, but adding three of the four to
the system would be a nice coup. Unfortunately, the skeptic in me
wonders if Tom Hicks’ team took so many tough signs because the well is
empty and the team didn’t want to pay slot money to players who would
be more eager to take it.

And from the it could have been worse department…

Brody Colvin – Rated Baseball America’s No. 43 prospect,
Colvin, a high school righty, fell all of the way to the seventh round
and pick No. 227. However, once there, he landed with the Phillies, a
team that should be willing to spend after being the last team to make
its first pick Tuesday. Because of the Raul Ibanez signing, the
Phillies were without a first-rounder and didn’t draft until pick No.
75.

Kyle Heckathorn (RHP Brewers), Tyler Skaggs (LHP Angels), Kentrail Davis (OF Brewers)
– All three players may have expected to get the call in round one, but
slipping to the supplemental round wasn’t such a bad thing. Unlike true
first- and second-rounders, supplemental picks aren’t protected, so if
these players go unsigned, their teams won’t get bonus picks next year.
That will give the teams more incentive to sign the players.

The umps have dropped their Ian Kinsler protest

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Over the weekend the World Umpires Association — the umpire’s union —  launched a protest in response to what it feels is Major League Baseball’s failure to adequately address the “escalating attacks” on the men in blue. They were specifically upset that Ian Kinsler didn’t get suspended for his remarks in which he said that Angel Hernandez should get out of the umpiring business because he’s terrible. Apparently to umpires truth is no defense. In any event, they wore white wristbands Saturday night as a sign of solidarity or whatever.

Now that’s over, it seems. At least for the time being. The Association released this statement yesterday afternoon:

“Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based. We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting.”

As many noted over the weekend — most notably Emma Span of Sports Illustrated — this protest was, at best, tone deaf. While officials are, obviously, due proper respect, a player jawing at an umpire is neither unprecedented nor very serious compared to, well, almost anything that goes on in the game or in society. At a time when people are literally taking to the streets to protest white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the KKK, asking folks to spare thoughts for some people who sometimes have to take guff over ball and strike calls is not exactly a cause that is going to draw a ton of sympathy. And that’s before you address the fact that the umpires are not innocent when it comes to stoking the animosity between themselves and the players.

I wouldn’t expect to hear too much more out of this other than, perhaps, a relatively non-committal statement from Major League Baseball and a relatively detail-free declaration of victory by the umpires after their meeting.

 

Minor league teams prepare for a “total eclipse of the park”

Salem Volcanoes
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The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes are a class-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Today, the path of totality of the big solar eclipse we’re not supposed to look at will pass right through the ballpark in which they play. What’s better: the Volcanoes are playing a game against the Hillsboro Hops as it happens.

This was by design: the team’s owner requested this home game when the schedule was made up two years ago specifically to market the heck out of the eclipse. They’re starting the game at 9:30 this morning, Pacific time, in order to maximize the fun. Spectators will receive commemorative eclipse safety glasses to wear. The game will be delayed when the eclipse hits and a NASA scientist named Noah Petro, who is from the area, will talk to the crowd about what is going on.

Salem-Keizer isn’t the only minor league game affected, by the way. There are six games in all which will feature a “total eclipse of the park.” Turn around, bright eyes.

There are no home MLB games going on in the path of totality, but MLB has put together a helpful guide in order to maximize your baseball and eclipse pleasure. If you line up some good beer with that you’l have your very own national pastime syzygy.