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.
Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.
Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.
Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.
Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.
It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.
While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.
The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”