Baseball America has released a midseason update ranking the top 50 prospects for June’s draft and Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon remains atop the list, but UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole is gaining on him.
Rendon has been primarily a designated hitter so far because of a shoulder injury, but BA says it “doesn’t affect his long-term value.” Meanwhile, they describe Cole as “the only true challenger to Rendon as the possible No. 1 overall pick.”
Pittsburgh will pick first by virtue of an MLB-worst 57-105 record last season, with Seattle selecting second. You can see the rest of BA‘s top 50 list by clicking here.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.