This is getting absolutely ridiculous.
Bryce Harper, who the Nationals are thought to be targeting with their No. 1 pick this June, hit for the cycle on Friday in the semifinals of the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) World Series. On Saturday he outdid himself, finishing 6-for-6 with 10 RBI and four home runs as the College of Southern Nevada advanced to the NJCAA World Series final.
Harper, a 17-year-old catcher, continues to amaze at the plate and is one of the most intriguing position players to ever enter the MLB draft. Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post ran an excellent profile about the kid last weekend and the great Jim Callis of Baseball America is also buying into the hype.
The Nats haven’t made anything official, but it’s fairly safe to assume that they like Harper and will grab him first overall in next month’s first-year player draft. The only issue now is signability, because Harper is expected to demand a contract greater than the record-breaking $15.67 million deal that was struck with Stephen Strasburg last summer. Lofty expectations? Sure. But it’s probably worth noting that Harper’s contract discussions will be under the supervision of super-agent Scott Boras.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.
The Red Sox inked Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract back in August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:
“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”
Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.
That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.