Draft blog: Bryce Harper taken first overall by Nationals


Nationals selected catcher Bryce Harper with the first pick in the 2010 draft.
The consensus No. 1 might not remain behind the plate; his own agent, Scott Boras, sees him as a corner outfielder and the Nationals announced him as an outfielder. Such a move would likely speed Harper’s arrival in Washington, and it’d make more likely to reach his vast offensive upside. Harper doesn’t even turn 18 until October, and he’s coming off a junior-college season in which he hit .417 with 21 homers in 51 games. If he lives up to the hype, he’ll have some 35- or 40-homer seasons in the majors.
Pirates selected RHP Jameson Taillon with the second pick in the draft.
Widely viewed as the top high school pitcher available, Taillon stands 6-foot-7 and throws in the mid-90s consistently, touching 98 mph. His slider also draws raves, while his changeup is promising but lacks polish. The Pirates will have to buy him away with Rice, but they wouldn’t have gone this route if they weren’t prepared to ante up with what will probably be the second-biggest bonus of the draft.
Orioles drafted high school shortstop Manny Machado with the third overall pick.
Some wonder whether Machado will get too big to play shortstop in the majors, but the Orioles have done OK with big shortstop and he has pretty good range right now and a terrific arm. His line-drive swing could produce 20- or maybe 25-homer seasons someday, but there will be a learning curve as he tries to deal with quality breaking balls. He probably won’t move especially quickly.
Royals selected Cal State Fullerton shortstop Christian Colon with the fourth pick.
The first mild surprise of the draft. Colon is rather slow for a shortstop, but he’s a very solid fielder and decent pop. He profiles a lot like Bobby Crosby did as a prospect, and while that seems like a negative, Crosby had a chance to be a nice long-term regular before injuries struck. The Royals are desperate for a long-term shortstop, and Colon could be an option as soon as 2012.
Indians took LHP Drew Pomeranz with the fifth overall pick.
The 6-foot-5 Ole Miss southpaw throws in the low-90s with a power curve that should give him big strikeout numbers in the majors. However, there are concerns about his mediocre changeup and subpar command. He should arrive in the majors soon if he can keep his walk total down, but he might be more of a future No. 3 than a top-of-the-rotation stud.

Rangers set ALDS rotation: Gallardo in Game 1, Hamels in Game 2

Yovani Gallardo

Setting their rotation for the beginning of the ALDS versus the Blue Jays, the Rangers announced that right-hander Yovani Gallardo will start Game 1 and left-hander Cole Hamels will start Game 2.

Gallardo posted a 3.42 ERA in 33 starts this season, but averaged just 5.6 innings per start and hasn’t completed six or more innings in a start since mid-August. Clearly the Rangers will be hoping for five or six innings from him before turning it over to the bullpen.

Hamels, on the other hand, averaged seven innings in his 12 post-trade starts for the Rangers, including tossing a complete-game against the Angels in the regular season finale. He’s obviously the Rangers’ best starting pitcher, but because Hamels was needed to clinch the division title in Game 162 he’s not available to start Game 1 of the playoffs.

Indians promote Chris Antonetti to President, name new GM

Chris Antonetti
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In the seemingly never-ending trend of front office officials getting new titles, the Cleveland Indians just announced that General Manager Chris Antonetti has been promoted to President of Baseball Operations and Mike Chernoff is now the GM.

Antonetti has been the Tribe’s GM for the past five years and is moving up in the wake of team president Mark Shapiro moving on to Toronto. Shapiro, however, also held business side responsibilities which Antonetti will not assume. Meaning, as before, he will be the top guy on baseball ops decisions, albeit with a grander title.

Chernoff has been an assistant GM for five years and has been with the organization for the past 12 years. As many new GMs these days he will, functionally speaking, still be an assistant when it comes to baseball decisions.