Draft blog: Bryce Harper taken first overall by Nationals

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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.

Settling the Scores: Friday’s results

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Norichika Aoki #8 of the Seattle Mariners is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after hitting a solo home run off of starting pitcher Raul Alcantara #50 of the Oakland Athletics during the second inning of a game against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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Raul Alcantara was in the business of distributing home runs on Friday night.

Robinson Cano caught the tail end of a 94.1 m.p.h. fastball in the first inning, driving it to center field to put the Mariners on the board. In the second, Norichika Aoka found his fourth home run of the year on a similarly-placed heater. The Mariners then targeted Alcantara’s off-speed stuff, picking on the right-hander’s changeup and slider to get two more home runs in the third: the first, another dead-center blast by Cano, and the last, a bomb by Nelson Cruz that popped off the center field wall and survived an umpire review.

Taijuan Walker, who enjoyed the spike in run support from his 3.6 average, was not immune to the home run bug either, giving up the first and only run of the night on Ryon Healy’s 102-m.p.h. home run in the sixth inning.

While Walker excelled at run prevention, he also came one walk shy of hitting a career-high mark, with five walks spread over six innings. Seattle’s bullpen stepped in for three perfect innings to close out the game and, despite six perfect frames from Oakland relievers Zach Neal and Daniel Coulombe, quashed the A’s hopes of closing a four-run gap.

The Mariners’ win on Friday puts them one game back of the wild card; if they take the rest of the series and the Tigers and Blue Jays lose one of their remaining weekend games, the Mariners will tie for the remaining wild card spot. With Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez on the hill this weekend, winning shouldn’t be an issue. Getting the Blue Jays to collapse against the Red Sox (and, to a lesser extent, the Tigers against the Braves) is another story.

Here are the rest of the box scores from Friday’s games. Keep an eye out for the first modest bat flip of Jose Bautista‘s career, Madison Bumgarner‘s eighth RBI of the year, and the Orioles’ three-homer inning.

Orioles 8, Yankees 1

Marlins 7, Nationals 4

Mets 5, Phillies 1

Cubs 7, Reds 3

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3

Tigers 6, Braves 2

Rangers 3, Rays 1

Rockies 4, Brewers 1

White Sox 7, Twins 3

Indians 7, Royals 2

Cardinals 7, Pirates 0

Diamondbacks 5, Padres 3

Angels 7, Astros 1

Mariners 5, Athletics 1

Giants 9, Dodgers 3

Video: Holliday’s home run a fitting goodbye for Cardinals

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 30: Matt Holliday #7 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a solo home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the seventh inning at Busch Stadium on September 30, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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If tonight was his last night in a Cardinals uniform, Matt Holliday made the most of it.

After sitting out most of the second half with a fractured thumb, the 36-year-old was activated from the disabled list on Friday and slotted in as a pinch-hitter during the seventh inning of the Cardinals’ 7-0 shutout. What happened next could hardly have elicited more sentiment had it been scripted:

The solo shot was Holliday’s first home run as a pinch-hitter, and his first home run of any kind since August 9. The triumphant moment might have been the last of its kind in St. Louis, as it was reported earlier today that the Cardinals do not plan to exercise Holliday’s option in 2017.

Prior to the game, the left fielder released a statement in which he expressed his gratitude for the past eight seasons with the Cardinals’ organization:

I would like to thank Mr. Dewitt, Mo and the entire ownership group for the opportunity to play for the St. Louis Cardinals.

I am proud of what we have accomplished on and off the field during the past seven years. I have also been humbled by the incredible support and participation in our Homers for Health program.

It has been an honor to play in front of such great fans and for such a historic organization. I can honestly say it has been a dream come true.

While I’m disappointed this could be it here in St. Louis, I understand that it might be time to move on.

I’d like to express my love and admiration for Tony, Mike and all of the coaches and staff that I have had the pleasure to do life with these past seven-plus years.

The most emotional part of this is my teammates and the relationships I’ve built with some of these guys over the years. Particularly, Adam and Yadi, to be considered part of the core with two of the finest human beings I’ve ever known.

Finally, I’m eternally thankful for the Lord bringing me to the city of St. Louis in August of 2008. Lots of cool stuff has happened since then. On behalf of my wife Leslee and our children Jackson, Ethan, Gracyn and Reed: Thank you!