According to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, the Royals “are thought to be close” to a deal with University of Miami catcher Yasmani Grandal to be the fourth pick of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft on Monday.
Other outlets, including Frankie Pilere of AOL Fanhouse, are suggesting that the Royals may already have an agreement in place with the 21-year-old. Grandal batted .422/.545/.754 with 14 home runs for the Hurricanes this season. He is highly-regarded for his abilities behind the plate and is projected to arrive to the majors rather quickly.
There’s little doubt by now that the Nationals will take Bryce Harper with the No. 1 pick. The Pirates, who hold the second pick in the draft, are reportedly deciding between shortstop Manny Machado or right-hander Jameson Taillon. The Orioles, who pick third, will likely take whoever the Pirates don’t. Therefore, it’s fairly certain that Grandal will still be there when the Royals make their selection.
By the way, get ready. We’ll have plenty more coverage of the draft on Monday.
Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.
I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.
I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.
As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.
There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.
Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.
With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.