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.

Astros vs. Dodgers is a match made in heaven

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A lot of people who work at the league office or who take paychecks from the Fox network probably wanted to see the Yankees and the Cubs in the World Series. They won’t admit it, of course, but I suspect that many did, as the ratings for a Cubs-Yankees Series might’ve broken modern records. If they are at all disappointed by the Astros and Dodgers winning the pennant, however, they should let that go because they’ve been gifted by a wonderful matchup from a purely baseball perspective. Indeed, it’s one of the best on-paper matchups we’ve had in the Fall Classic in many years.

Before the Dodgers went on their late-August, early-September swoon, this was the potential World Series pairing most folks who know a thing or two wanted to see. At least I did, and I don’t think I was alone. It was certainly the matchup which represented the teams with the two best regular season records and storylines at the time. While Cleveland ended up winning more games than Houston did, for the first time since 1970 we have a World Series pitting two 100-win teams against each other.

Like that Orioles-Reds series in 1970, which featured Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Tony Perez, Jim Palmer, Brooks Robinson and a host of other All-Stars, the Dodgers-Astros provide us with an embarrassment of big names and future Hall of Famers. Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw and Astros DH/OF Carlos Beltran are destined for induction already. Astros ace Justin Verlander may very well join them, especially if his late 2017 surge is evidence of a second career peak. Houston second baseman Jose Altuve‘s first seven years and Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen‘s first eight are the stuff upon which Cooperstown resumes are made as well. People will be arguing Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley‘s Hall of Fame case for years once he retires.

Youth is served as well in this matchup, with each club featuring a handful of the game’s best young players to accompany their big name veteran stars.

The Dodgers will bat their no-doubt N.L. Rookie of the Year first baseman Cody Bellinger second or third in the lineup every game. 2016 Rookie of the Year Corey Seager, who sat out the NLCS with a bad back, is expected to be activated for the Series where he’ll be the Dodgers shortstop. The Astros are actually an old team on paper — Verlander, catcher Brian McCann, starter Charlie Morton, first baseman Yuli Gurriel, outfielder Josh Reddick and DH Evan Gattis are all over 30 while Beltran is 40 — but young players are essential to their attack as well. Shortstop Carlos Correa just turned 23 and he’s one of the game’s brightest stars. Third baseman Alex Bregman, also 23, made the play that may very well have broken the Yankees’ back during Saturday night’s pennant clincher. Age aside, the Astros are the product of a major, multi-year rebuild and many of their players are making their first national splash this postseason.

Beyond just the names and resumes, though, the Dodgers and Astros represent a fantastic strategic matchup. The Dodgers attack this postseason has featured admirable plate discipline, with third baseman Justin Turner, right fielder Yasiel Puig and center fielder Chris Taylor all letting balls out of the zone pass them by while abusing pitches left out over the plate. Astros pitchers not named Justin Verlander, however, have lived by getting the opposition to chase bad balls. Game one starter Dallas Keuchel did this by relying on his very fast sinker. Lance McCullers pitched well starting Game 4 of the ALCS and pitched spectacularly closing out the final four innings of Game 7 mostly by virtue of his curveball, which Yankees pitchers could simply not lay off. Indeed, his final 24 pitches of Game 7 were all curves, many of them low and away. Who will give in first in this series?

On the side of things, Dodgers relievers have made a living by pumping in strikes. Particularly strikes high in the zone from Jansen and Brandon Morrow. There may be no better fastball hitter in all of baseball than Jose Altuve, however, and the team as a whole was one of the best in the bigs in dealing with gas in the zone. This was a big reason why the Astros struck out less than any team in baseball this year while simultaneously boasting the best offense in the game. The Dodgers throw strikes. The Astros make you pay when you throw them strikes. Again, something’s gotta give.

Maybe the suits in New York wanted the Yankees and Cubs. But everyone else is getting exactly what we want: a matchup of the two best teams in the game. A matchup of strength against strength. What is, from a purely baseball perspective, the best World Series we could’ve possibly hoped for.