Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper vs. Jameson Taillon: 2010’s top draft picks square off

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OK, so it was just one plate appearance and it ended in a walk, which is hardly especially dramatic. But it still seems like a good time to provide an update on last year’s top two picks.

Taillon, drafted second overall by the Pirates, made his pro debut for low Single-A West Virginia on Wednesday, allowing one run in two innings before a rain delay halted play for the night. He failed to record a strikeout, but according to Baseball America, he was consistently in the mid-90s with his fastball.

Harper entered the contest with three homers in his last four games, giving him a .286/.394/.554 line in 56 at-bats for low Single-A Hagerstown. He’s driven in 15 runs in 17 games.

Other top picks are off to great starts too:

Shortstop Manny Machado, the third overall pick by the Orioles, is hitting .314/.410/.571 for low Single-A Delmarva. He’s playing in the same league as Harper and Taillon.

The Mets’ Matt Harvey, who was drafted seventh overall, has yet to allow an earned run in 22 innings for Single-A St. Lucie and could be staring down a promotion to Double-A. He has a 27/8 K/BB ratio, and Florida State League hitters are batting .184 against him.

Yasmani Grandal, considered by many to be the most polished position player available in last year’s draft, is batting .310/.459/.655 with five homers in 58 at-bats for high-A Bakersfield. He was the 12th overall pick by the Reds.

Angels sign Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 11:  Eric Young Jr. #4 of the Atlanta Braves slides safely into third base on a RBI triple in the fifth inning against the New York Mets during the Braves opening series at Turner Field on April 11, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  Andrelton Simmons #19 scored on the triple.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.

The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.

Report: Blue Jays close to a deal with Jarrod Saltalamacchia

TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 9: Jarrod Saltalamacchia #39 of the Detroit Tigers hits an RBI single in the fourth inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 9, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Update (5:20 PM EST): It’s a minor league contract, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. If he makes the major league roster, Saltalamacchia will earn $1.25 million with an additional $250,000 available through incentives.

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The Blue Jays are close to a deal with free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet is reporting.

Saltalamacchia, 31, hit a meager .171/.284/.346 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 292 plate appearances with the Tigers this past season. With Russell Martin getting regular playing time behind the plate, Saltalamacchia will serve as his understudy, pushing A.J. Jimenez and Juan Graterol down on the depth chart.

The veteran catcher isn’t far removed from being a productive backstop. He had an .805 OPS in 70 games with the Diamondbacks in 2015 and also helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 with an .804 OPS in 121 games.