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.

Alex Dickerson to miss 2017 season after undergoing back surgery

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Padres’ outfielder Alex Dickerson won’t see PETCO Park anytime soon — at least, not as its starting left fielder. The 27-year-old was diagnosed with a bulging disc in his lower back prior to the start of the 2017 season, and hasn’t made any kind of substantial progress in the months since. According to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune, he suffered a setback in his recovery process last week and is set to undergo a season-ending discectomy next Wednesday.

Over 285 plate appearances, Dickerson batted .257/.333/.455 with 10 home runs and a .788 OPS for the Padres in 2016. He missed several days with a right hip contusion last July, but hasn’t experienced any substantial health problems since undergoing surgery in 2014 to repair a torn ligament in his left ankle.

The expected recovery period for lower back surgery is 3-4 months, according to Lin, which puts Dickerson’s estimated return just a few days before the end of the regular season. The Padres aren’t scraping the bottom of the NL West, but their 29-44 record doesn’t bode well for a postseason run this year. Assuming Dickerson rehabs his back in a timely manner, he should be in fine form to enter the competition for left field next spring.

Video: Hanley Ramirez’s No. 250 career home run barely left the field

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Hanley Ramirez played a pivotal role during the Red Sox’ 9-4 win over the Angels on Friday night, crushing a two-run homer off of Alex Meyer to bring the Sox up to a four-run lead in the fourth inning.

Well, crushed might be the wrong word. The ball cleared the right field fence with a mere 350 feet, landing just beyond Pesky’s Pole to bring Ramirez’s career home run total to an even 250.

According to the ESPN Home Run Tracker, Ramirez’s milestone blast wasn’t the shortest home run of the year — not by a long shot. That distinction currently belongs to Rays’ outfielder Corey Dickerson, who skimmed the left field fence at Rogers Centre with a 326-foot homer back in April.