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

Leave a comment

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.

Chapman has trouble remembering convo with Cubs management about off-field behavior

chapmancubs
Getty Images
7 Comments

CHICAGO — Star closer Aroldis Chapman joined the Cubs on Tuesday, arriving to a mixed reaction in Chicago and saying he couldn’t remember what management told him about off-field expectations and behavior.

After Chapman’s awkward introductory news conference, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein insisted Chapman understands what the Cubs expect of him after an offseason domestic violence incident.

When the Cubs announced the trade with the New York Yankees on Monday, the team released a statement from Chairman Tom Ricketts saying they were aware of his 29-game suspension to begin the season under Major League Baseball’s new domestic violence policy.

Ricketts said he and Epstein talked by phone with Chapman before the deal was completed and “shared with him the high expectations we set for our players,” adding that Chapman was “comfortable” with them.

But when asked repeatedly about that phone conversation before Tuesday’s game against the crosstown White Sox, Chapman said through an interpreter that he couldn’t recall details because he was taking a nap at the time the call came in.

The question was asked several more times. A Cubs spokesman once asked the question himself to the interpreter, coach Henry Blanco.

“It’s been a long day,” Chapman said. “Trying to remember.”

Asked again several minutes later during the group interview if he could now remember what Ricketts said, Chapman shook his head.

“I still don’t remember,” he said in Spanish.

Epstein called it a misunderstanding and that Chapman was “pretty nervous” as he faced seven cameras and more than two dozen reporters.

“I was on the call, Tom was on the call, Aroldis was on the call and Barry Praver, his agent, was on the call. It happened and it was real,” Epstein said before the Cubs’ 3-0 loss to the White Sox.

Chapman was accused of choking his girlfriend and firing eight gunshots in the garage of a Florida home in October. The woman later changed her story and no charges were filed.

“You learn from the mistakes that you make,” Chapman said.

The case caused the Los Angeles Dodgers to back out of an offseason trade for Chapman. Cincinnati eventually traded him to the Yankees, and after his suspension, the 28-year-old Cuban converted 20 of 21 save chances for New York.

The Cubs have long boasted of stocking their roster with high-character players, helping earn the “lovable losers” label they’ve carried for decades since their last World Series title in 1908.

But the Cubs (59-40) have retooled their roster under Epstein and have the best record in the major leagues despite Tuesday’s loss in which Chapman didn’t pitch. Chapman, who threw a 105 mph fastball last week, fills perhaps the team’s largest hole as he replaces Hector Rondon as closer.

The Cubs sent four players to the Yankees, including shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres, to get one of the game’s top relievers. Epstein said they wouldn’t have made the deal if not for the phone call he and Ricketts had with Chapman.

“Tom laid out the exact same standards that he lays out to everyone in spring training,” Epstein said. “He said, extremely clearly, `Look, Aroldis, I tell all the players this in spring training and it’s important you hear it and I need to hear from you on this. We expect our players to behave. We hold our players to a very high standard for their behavior off the field. And we need to know you can meet that standard.’

“Aroldis said `I understand. Absolutely, I can.'”

The Cubs activated Chapman before Tuesday’s game and designated left-hander Clayton Richard for assignment.

Reaction to Chapman’s acquisition in Chicago has been tepid. While there were supportive fans on talk radio, the Chicago Tribune carried a front-page column Tuesday criticizing the move. The back of the Chicago Sun-Times tabloid read “Spin City” over a picture of Epstein.

Chapman said he expected a “good reaction” from Cubs fans. He was also asked during the 20-minute meeting with reporters in the visiting dugout at U.S. Cellular Field if we would consider working with organizations looking to prevent domestic violence. Chapman said no.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon defended Chapman.

“He did do a suspension, he has talked about it, he’s shown remorse,” Maddon said. “Everybody else has the right to judge him as a good or bad person. That’s your right.

I want to get to know Aroldis. I think he could be a very significant member and he’s got the potential, yes, to throw the last out of the World Series. And if he does, I promise you I will embrace him.”

Report: Padres working on trading Andrew Cashner

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 21: Starter Derek Norris #3 of the San Diego Padres pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Busch Stadium on July 21, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
19 Comments

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports and MLB Network reports that the Padres are working to trade starter Andrew Cashner. He notes that a deal may be consummated before he takes the hill for Tuesday’s start in Toronto against the Blue Jays. The Marlins, Orioles, and Rangers have had reported interest in Cashner.

Cashner is 4-7 with a 4.79 ERA and a 61/27 K/BB ratio in 73 1/3 innings. He missed over three weeks between June 11 and July 2 due to a strained neck.

The right-hander is earning $9.625 million this season and will be eligible for free agency after the season.