Heyward does real damage in batting practice

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Heyward sliding.JPGBraves outfielder Jason Heyward was named Baseball America’s top prospect this morning, edging out 2009 No. 1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg.  This afternoon, Heyward proved why. 

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Dave O’Brien, the 20-year-old went to town in batting practice today, denting a Coca-Cola truck and smashing a team executive’s sunroff with measuring-tape shots over the outfield wall at Champion Stadium. 

“He’s strong as an ox,” hitting coach Terry Pendleton said after the workout. 
“Every ball was just scalded,” added manager Bobby Cox.

A 6-foot-5, 245-pound McDonough, Georgia native, Heyward batted .323/.408/.555 with 17 homers, 46 total extra-base hits and 11
steals in 99 games between high Single-A and
Double-A last season.  He finished the year at Triple-A with a .364/.462/.364 batting line in 13 plate appearances.  It’s safe to say the kid is probably ready for the major leagues and the Braves will certainly be tempted to add him to the Opening Day roster.  Cox even hinted at the idea earlier this month.

Report: Orioles interested in Lance Lynn

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The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.

Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.

Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.