Draft blog: Picks 6-15; Matt Harvey goes seventh to Mets

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Diamondbacks selected RHP Barret Loux with the sixth pick in the draft.
Loux has four solid pitches, including a low-90s fastball, and good command, traits that should speed his way to the majors. He lacks top-of-the-rotation upside, but he could be a factor before the end of 2011.
Mets selected RHP Matt Harvey with the seventh overall pick.
Harvey probably would have been a first-round pick in 2007 if not for some big-time bonus demands. He rejected an offer from the Angels and went to North Carolina, where he struggled for two years before pushing his stock back up this season. Harvey can throw in the mid-90s, but his curveball comes and goes. He’s more likely to make it in the majors as a short reliever than as a starter.
Astros selected high school outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. with the eighth pick in the draft.
DeShields offers great speed, and he should be a plus defender in center field. The Astros, though, will probably want to try him at second base, given Michael Bourn’s presence on the roster. He’s never going to show much power, but he could be a nice option at the top of the order someday.
Padres selected RHP Karsten Whitson with the ninth overall pick in the draft.
Good low-90s fastball and a nice slider made Whitson a pretty obvious first-round pick. Still, the thinking was that he’d go later. He needs to work on his changeup as he climbs the ladder, and he’s at least as much of an injury risk as the typical high school arm.
Athletics took outfielder Michael Choice with the 10th pick in the draft.
The scouts love Choice’s power, but they question whether he’ll make enough contact to turn into a star in the majors. He’s also not at all likely to stay in center field, though that was his position in college. He’d seem to have more bust potential than one would like to see in a top-10 pick.
Blue Jays took Georgia Tech RHP Deck McGuire with the 11th pick.
McGuire, 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds, is a very polished college arm, making him a pretty typical Blue Jays pick. He probably won’t be more than a No. 3, but he should arrive quickly and maybe help Toronto next year. He throws in the low-90s and has a very good changeup.
Reds took Miami catcher Yasmani Grandal with the 12th pick in the draft.
Though they made a run at him, the Red Sox couldn’t sign Grandal as a 27th-rounder three years ago. A switch-hitting catcher with a very good defensive reputation, there was little doubt he’d be a high pick this time around. Still, while he has some power, he may struggle to make contact at higher levels. He has a pretty good shot of becoming a solid regular, but it’d be a surprise if he develops into an All-Star.
White Sox selected LHP Chris Sale with the 13th pick in the draft.
A 6-foot-6 left-hander, Sale works in the low-90s with a rather awkward delivery that has yet to produce a top-notch breaking ball. He does get some sink on his heater, and his changeup is promising. Still, unless he refines his slider in a hurry, he might be rather slow to develop for a college pitcher. Certainly, he won’t be pulling a Mike Leake next spring.
Brewers took RHP Dylan Covey with the 14th pick in the draft.
Covey throws in the low-90s and has a pretty good curve. His command is only average and his changeup is below, but he’s a talented high school arm with upside. Of course, the Brewers haven’t had a lot of luck with those guys recently.
Rangers selected outfielder Jake Skole with the 15th pick in the draft.
Skole missed much of his senior year of high school with an ankle injury, but he went in the first half of the first round anyway. He offers plenty of speed and he projects as a very good defensive center fielder. His bat is a question mark. He’s never going to hit for much power, but the hope is that he’ll make it as a leadoff guy. The Rangers will have to sign him away from Georgia.

Sean Doolittle: “Refugees aren’t stealing a slice of the pie from Americans.”

ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 25:  Sean Doolittle #62 of the Oakland Athletics pitches during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 25, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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In the past, we’ve commented on Athletics reliever Sean Doolittle and his girlfriend Eireann Dolan’s community service. In 2015, the pair hosted Syrian refugee families for Thanksgiving and their other charitable efforts have included LGBTQ outreach and help for veterans.

Athletes and their significant others have typically avoided stepping into political waters, but Doolittle and Dolan have shown that it’s clearly no concern to them. In the time since, the Syrian refugee issue has become even more of a hot-button issue and Doolittle recently discussed it with Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.

I think America is the best country in the world because we’ve been able to attract the best and brightest people from all over the world. We have the smartest doctors and scientists, the most creative and innovative thinkers. A travel ban like this puts that in serious jeopardy.

I’ve always thought that all boats rise with the tide. Refugees aren’t stealing a slice of the pie from Americans. But if we include them, we can make the pie that much bigger, thus ensuring more opportunities for everyone.

Doolittle, of course, is referring to Executive Order 13769 signed by President Trump which sought to limit incoming travel to the United States from seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. A temporary restraining order on the executive order was placed on February 3, a result of State of Washington v. Trump.

Doolittle spoke more about the plight refugees face:

These are people fleeing civil wars, violence and oppression that we can’t even begin to relate to. I think people think refugees just kind of decide to come over. They might not realize it takes 18-24 months while they wait in a refugee camp. They go through more than 20 background checks and meetings with immigration officers. They are being vetted.

They come here, and they want to contribute to society. They’re so grateful to be out of a war zone or whatever they were running from in their country that they get jobs, their kids go to our schools, they’re paying taxes, and in a lot of cases, they join our military.

Around this time last year, Craig wrote about Doolittle and Dolan not sticking to baseball. They’re still not, nor should they be. Hopefully, the duo’s outspokenness inspires other players and their loved ones to speak up for what’s right.

[Hat tip: Deadspin’s Hannah Keyser]

Russell Martin is not a fan of the automatic intentional walk

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 15:  Russell Martin #55 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts after being struck out in the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians during game two of the American League Championship Series at Progressive Field on October 15, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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On Tuesday, it was announced that Major League Baseball instituted a new rule allowing for a dugout signal in order to issue an intentional walk rather than having the pitcher throw four pitches wide of the strike zone. It’s commissioner Rob Manfred’s attempt to help improve the game’s pace of play.

As Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports, Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin is certainly not a fan of the change.

My thing is, if they really want to speed up the game, then when a guy hits a home run, to speed up the game should a guy, just like in softball, when he hits it, should he just walk to the dugout? It’d be quicker. I’m just wondering, at what point do we just keep the game, the game? Or, how about this calculation: take all the intentional walks that were made in the last couple years and calculate – or maybe just ask to see if they have that information, to see if they really did their homework. Is it really that important to speed up the game (with this rule)? Because how many games did we play last year where we didn’t have one intentional walk? That’s something I’d like to know.

Martin also expressed concern that eliminating the four-pitch intentional walk will hurt teams’ ability to buy time for their relievers to warm up.

It’s called getting your bullpen ready so the guy doesn’t blow out his arm on the mound. Speed up the game, speed up the game.’ How about we just give guys – the human being – time to warm up on the mound after maybe something’s happened in the game? I’m not a manager, but I’m just trying to put myself in the position of a manager. OK, we’re up by one run or two runs and our bullpen’s been taxed and we’re trying to save their arms, and then the other team walks, ball gets away, guy gets to second base. When the coach visits the mound to talk to his player, it’s not like the player necessarily needs somebody to talk to him.

It’s because the guy (in the bullpen) needs time to warm up, man. It’s the same thing when you throw over to first base, like, eight times in a row. It’s not like we’re trying to keep the guy close. The guy maybe has two stolen bases in 18 years. It’s because the guy needs time to warm up. At what point does that become a problem with guys warming up in the bullpen? Sometimes it’s just strategy to give guys a little bit of time to warm up.

The Jays’ backstop then said he’d prefer if Manfred were honest about the intent behind this rule change and others which have been proposed. Martin said, “Save it. I’m tired of hearing that same lame excuse all the time. Just be honest. If they’re honest about it, we’ll get over it. But don’t hide behind the fans.”

We should be hearing from a handful of players about the new intentional walk rule in the coming days. I can’t imagine the rule is very popular among the players.