Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News has an interesting story about how the Rangers nearly ended up with Tim Lincecum.
Texas had the 12th overall pick in Jon Daniels’ first draft as general manager back in 2006 and “had identified the diminutive, hard-throwing right-hander from Washington as the club’s No. 1 target.”
According to Daniels the Rangers felt pretty confident that Lincecum would go undrafted through at least the first nine picks, but worried that the Giants would select him at No. 10 overall. San Francisco did end up selecting Lincecum, but in announcing the pick left out one of the zeroes on his official “draft number.”
“When the Giants started to call the number and there was no zero and I thought we got him,” Daniels told Grant. “Then they called the name. I remember asking our guys if we could have the pick nullified for not calling the zero. Apparently, you didn’t need to call the zero in the draft number.”
And so the Giants picked Lincecum at No. 10, the Diamondbacks selected Max Scherzer at No. 11, and the Rangers ended up with Kasey Kiker at No. 12. Lincecum has won back-to-back Cy Young awards and will start Game 1 tonight opposite Rangers ace Cliff Lee, while Kiker spent this season posting a 7.40 ERA at Double-A.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: