Draft's early rounds filled with some great names

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Often in sports there’s talk of “big-name players,” but this post isn’t quite about that (or really about much of anything, as you’ll soon see).
Maybe it’s just me getting old and thinking ahead to all the botched pronunciations in my future, but I’ve been amazed by the number of “interesting” names being drafted so far, beginning with the trio of Bryce Harper, Jameson Taillon, and Manny Machado in the top three spots.
Sure, there has been the occasional Gary Brown and Kyle Parker and Matt Harvey mixed in, but a ton of non-traditional, awesome-sounding, and/or crazy looking names have caught me eye:
– Christian Colon
– Barrett Loux
– Delino DeShields
– Karsten Whitson
– Deck McGuire
– Yasmani Grandal
– Dylan Covey
– Hayden Simpson
– Mike Foltynewicz
– Kolbrin Vitek
– Kellin Deglan
– Chevez Clarke
– Cito Culver
And that’s just in the first round! Some others, from the second and third rounds:
– Cartier Goodrum
– Ralston Cash
– Stetson Allie
– Taijuan Walker
– Chance Ruffin
– Mike Kvasnicka
– Bryce Brentz
– Taylor Lindsey
– Noah Syndergaard
– Asher Wojciechowski
– Yordy Cabrera
– Griffin Murphy
– Drew Smyly
– Andrelton Simmons
– Angelo Gumbs
– Addison Reed
– Cameron Rupp
I suppose this is what happens when the children of Generation X parents start becoming draft-eligible. And yes, I’m just jealous that my Baby Boomer parents named me something ordinary like “Aaron” instead of something amazing like “Cartier” or “Stetson.”
UPDATE: In the sixth round, the Phillies drafted an outfielder named Gauntlett Eldemire. Game over.

Starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani will pinch-hit and pinch-run for the Angels in 2018

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The Angels’ bench is looking woefully thin this winter — so thin, in fact, that manager Mike Scioscia says he’s considering utilizing starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner on the days he’s not scheduled to pitch.

I’ve never had a pitcher pinch-run,” Scioscia told reporters Saturday. “There’s more bad than good that can come out of it. But Shohei is not just a pitcher. He’s a guy that has the ability to do some of the things coming off the bench, whether it’s pinch-hit or pinch-run, and we’re definitely going to tap into that if it’s necessary, because we feel we’re not putting him at risk. It’s something he’s able to do.

Granted, spring training allows for a certain amount of experimentation before managers and players decide what works best for them, so this may not be the strategy the Angels employ for the entire season. In addition to coming off the bench between starts, Ohtani is also expected to see 2-3 days at DH every week, forcing Albert Pujols to shift over to first base to accommodate the new two-way star.

Ohtani’s hitting prowess has already been well-documented — he has a lifetime .286/.358/.500 batting line from NPB and crushed a batting practice home run during his initial workouts with the team this week — but his skills on the basepaths have received less attention so far. MLB Pipeline describes the 23-year-old phenom as a “well-above average runner” whose speed has yet to manifest stolen bases: he’s nabbed just 13 bases in 17 chances over the last five years. That’s a number Scioscia hopes to see increased this season, though he doesn’t want his ace pitcher making any head-first slides on the basepaths to do so.

To be sure, it’s an unorthodox role for any young player to step into, but if anyone can pull it off, Ohtani can.