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.

David Ortiz thinks the Yankees leaked his 2003 drug test results

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David Ortiz was one of the hundred or so ballplayers who tested positive for PEDs during the 2003 survey testing which was designed to determine whether or not baseball’s drug problem was significant enough to warrant full-blown testing the following year.  His and everyone else’s name was supposed to remain confidential — indeed, the test results were supposed to be destroyed — but the government illegally seized them and, eventually, his, Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa’s names were leaked.

While most people have long moved on from those survey test results — and while Rob Manfred himself recently said that those results may not, in fact, establish that Ortiz took banned substances  — the story still sticks in Ortiz’s craw. So much so that he’s still out speculating about how his results were made public. His theory? The Yankees did it. From an interview on WEEI:

“What was the reason for them to come out with something like that?” he said. “The only thing that I can think of, to be honest with you, a lot of big guys from the Yankees were being caught. And no one from Boston. This was just something that leaked out of New York, and they had zero explanation about it.”

I’m gonna call B.S. on that.

At the time names were surfacing in connection with those test results, in the summer of 2009, I was given a list of players by an anonymous source. This person claimed it was a list of all 100+ players who tested positive in 2003. Given the nature in which they were provided to me and given that, at the time, there were a lot of people circulating hoax lists, I was dubious to say the least. I had a separate source at the time who knew people who had access to the actual list of players. The source would not tell me who was on the actual list — it was and continues to be confidential — but the knowledgable source did confirm for me that, as I suspected, my list was bunk. I obviously didn’t write anything about it and moved on.

Some added value from that conversation, however, was learning just how few people actually had access to the real list. A small handful of top officials at the union and the league office did, I was told, and obviously the government had it given that they seized it in their idiotic and illegal raid, but that was it. Clubs, I was specifically told, did not have the list.

We’ll never know for sure, but I strongly, strongly suspect that the source of the leak was either IRS/FDA agent Jeff Novitzky, who spearheaded the government’s investigation into PEDs or someone close to him, such as the prosecutors with whom he worked. Novitzky spent close to a decade outing and prosecuting athletes for PED use and, in my view and the view of many others who followed the story at the time, he saw his work as an almost holy crusade. As the above-linked story about the federal court smacking down his seizure of the 2003 test results as illegal, he was often overzealous.

The reporter who broke the story of David Ortiz’s positive test result was Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times. Schmidt almost always had the first stories about players being outed as PED users during that period and his reporting on steroids in baseball in general almost always carried with it a pro-government slant. As I said, we’ll never know for sure, but it seems obvious to me that federal investigators and prosecutors were his sources. I suspect they were his sources for the name-naming articles as well. When Ortiz’s name leaked, Novitzky’s investigation was on the brink of being smacked down hard by a federal court and, I suspect, he leaked Ortiz’s name to the New York Times as a means of putting a face on the story and getting public sentiment on the side of those who would name names.

Like I said, though, that’s all ancient history at this point. At least to most people. It’s not to David Ortiz, which is understandable given that the whole incident affected him personally. But I think he’s wrong on the Yankees being the ones to out him. I don’t think anyone with the Yankees knew who was actually on the list. And even if they did, they had no incentive to get into some sort of P.R. war about PED users given that they already at least one prominent superstar getting killed for PED use and a lot of other ones who could possibly have been on the list as well.

But the feds had the list. And a desire to have the bad guys they were trying to prosecute shamed in the public arena. I’d bet a decent sum of money that they’re the ones who leaked your name, Big Papi. I’d aim your rhetorical guns at them if I were you.

 

Buster Posey and Brandon Belt had an on-field tiff Saturday night

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The Giants beat the Cardinals on Saturday night, but there was some grumpiness between a couple of Giants players all the same.

As Hank Shulman reports, late in the 13-inning game Fox TV cameras caught catcher Buster Posey yelling at first baseman Belt after Stephen Piscotty of the Cardinals stole second base. Then, after the final out, there was a brief, cold stare down between the teammates. The issue would appear to be Posey being upset with Belt for not holding Piscotty close at first base and then Belt being upset with Posey for calling him out in front of God and the fans and the TV cameras and everyone.

Neither Posey nor Belt would talk about it to reporters afterwards or on Sunday, saying the matter was between them and that they’d deal with it privately. Which is a smart move.

Of course, if Posey heeded that advice beforehand and took up his dissatisfaction with Belt in private, the reporters wouldn’t have even known about it in the first place.