Anthony Rendon and Gerrit Cole lead Baseball America’s top draft prospects

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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.

Alex Wood to try pitching out of the stretch

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Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers starter Alex Wood plans to pitch out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season. Wood got the idea when he watched Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.

Wood, 27, finished last season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and a 151/38 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings. That’s a mighty fine season, one in which many pitchers would not dare to mess with something that isn’t broken.

Interestingly, Wood indeed has had better results with runners on base — when he would pitch out of the stretch — as opposed to the bases being empty, with a respective OPS allowed of .523 versus .684, respectively. Over his career, he has allowed a .617 OPS with runners on and .706 with the bases empty.

In response to Moura’s tweet about Wood, retired pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver took the opportunity to burn themselves. Haren tweeted, “I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice.” Weaver responded, “Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways.”