Anthony Rendon

2011 Draft – Day one wrapup: Nationals, Red Sox are winners

15 Comments

A few winners and losers after 60 picks…

Winners

Nationals – Anthony Rendon’s injury history is a big concern, but he looked like the best bat in the draft and the Nationals took advantage of him slipping to No. 6. They’ll probably try him at second base, and since he’s quick and not too big, he could be solid there. The Nats also got a high-ceiling right-hander in Alex Meyer at No. 23 and a speedy outfielder in Brian Goodwin at No. 34.

Red Sox – Possessing four early picks and plenty of money, the Red Sox were sure to have a field day. They opted for quite a mix, picking college right-hander Matt Barnes at No. 19, high school catcher Blake Swihart at No. 26, high school left-hander Henry Owens at No. 36 and college outfielder Jackie Bradley at No. 40. Barnes projects as a starter for the long-term, but he might be able to make an impact as a reliever next year if the Red Sox want to go in that direction. Swihart is iffy to last behind the plate, but he had one of the highest offensive ceilings in the draft.

Brewers – The Brewers need pitching and they got two very good arms at No. 12 and No. 15. Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley were both considered top-10 picks at times. It remains to be seen in Jungmann’s curve will be enough of a strikeout pitch to make him a No. 2 starter in the majors, but he should be a mid-rotation guy at least. Both guys could be factors in the second half of next year if things break right.

Losers

Mets – With some very talented pitchers and quality up-the-middle players on the board, the Mets rolled the dice on outfielder Brandon Nimmo at No. 13. He’s terribly raw, but he’s going to have to hit to make it an outfield corner. It seemed like the Mets felt they had to have left-handed power in Citi Field and reacged to get some. RHP Michael Fulmer at No. 44 was another iffy pick, though he has a big fastball.

Mariners – The Mariners could have used the bat and were connected with Rendon for the longest time before his shoulder problems scared them off. Instead, they settled for Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen with the second pick. He projects as a nice mid-rotation guy, but since he was their only pick in the top 60, they’re going to have to get lucky to come out of the draft with any offensive talent.

Padres – Some teams deserve the benefit of the doubt when they appear to reach, but the Padres don’t have that kind of track record. Cory Spangenberg has a nice line-drive stroke, but with no position and not all that much home run power, he wasn’t worthy of the 10th pick in the draft. In their defense, the Padres had so many picks that they didn’t want to spend on some of the higher-upside guys and they did do better in getting right-handers Joe Ross at No. 25 and Michael Kelly at No. 48. Still, they missed an opportunity at No. 10.

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
Mike McGinnis/Getty Images
2 Comments

Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.

Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.

Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.

Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.

Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.