Baseball America ranks Stephen Strasburg as the best draft prospect since 1989

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Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis has an interesting article today ranking the 20 best draft prospects since he joined the magazine in 1989.
He has Stephen Strasburg as the best at-the-time-of-the-draft prospect during that span, with previous “best college pitcher of all time” Mark Prior at No. 2 and “the Strasburg of the pre-internet era” Ben McDonald at No. 3. That those two guys combined for just 120 career wins says a lot about the nature of pitching prospects and why Strasburg should probably wait a bit before writing his Hall of Fame speech.
According to Callis, the top position players since 1989 are Justin Upton, who was the No. 1 pick in 2005, and Alex Rodriguez, who was the No. 1 pick in 1993. In looking over Callis’ entire top 20, what’s most striking is that there are no fewer than a half-dozen pitchers who can be classified as busts, yet not a single position players really fits that description. Or at least not yet.
Callis ranks this year’s presumed top pick, Bryce Harper, as the 15th-best draft prospect since 1989. For all the questions surrounding Harper’s makeup, he’s a decent bet to have at least a solid career simply by virtue of not being a pitcher. If you’re into prospects and looking forward to next month’s draft, Callis’ whole list and his comments are definitely worth checking out.

Twins’ minor league pitcher Landa dies in Venezuela

FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 05:  Yorman Landa #81 of the Minnesota Twins makes a throw to first base during the fourth inning of a spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles at Hammond Stadium on March 5, 2016 in Fort Myers, Florida.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins say minor league pitcher Yorman Landa has died in Venezuela. He was 22.

The club said in a statement that the Twins are “deeply saddened by the heartbreaking loss.” The team did not say how he died.

Landa pitched in the 2016 season with the Fort Meyers Miracle, going 2-2 with 7 saves and a 3.24 ERA in 41 2/3 innings pitched. His career minor-league ERA was 2.66.

Landa had been on the Twins’ 40-man roster, but was dropped after the season. The organization signed him to a minor-league contract last week.

Landa was signed by the Twins in 2010 as a 16-year old from Santa Teresa, Venezuela.

Orioles are eying Welington Castillo as their primary catcher target

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 25: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up prior to taking an at bat against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 25, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.

Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.

For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.