Trevor Gretzky

2011 Draft – Rounds 6-10 wrapup: Trevor Gretzky to the Cubs

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The Cubs picked one of the draft’s biggest names in the seventh, grabbing Wayne Gretzky’s son, Trevor, a high school first baseman.

Trevor Gretzky, who was the backup quarterback to Nick Montana (Joe’s son) on his Oaks Christian high school football team, is thought to be on his way to San Diego State.  At 6’4″ and 190 pounds, he’s thought to have pretty good power potential.  Still, most didn’t believe he’d go this high.  Bloodlines probably played a role in his selection, but given that very few players outside of the first few rounds go on to make the majors, one can’t blame the Cubs for wagering a seventh-round selection on the Great One’s progeny.

Other notes:

Four rounds after taking Vandy’s Jason Esposito, the Orioles picked another highly regarded third baseman, high scholer Nick Delmonico, in the sixth.  Back problems apparently scared some teams off.  He’s also committed to Georgia and may opt for school after getting drafted so much lower than expected.  He was viewed as a catcher by some, but the Orioles are going to see if he can make it at the hot corner.  His left-handed bat promises 20-homer power, and he’s quite discliplined for a high school product.

– The Padres went for Kyle Gaedele in the sixth.  He’s the great-nephew of tiny major leaguer Eddie Gaedel and a pretty fine prospect with ample power.  For thos curious, he stands 6’3″ and weighs 220 pounds.

– One pick later, the Rangers chose Derek Fisher at No. 204.  He’ll be an expensive sign if the team is going to lure him away from the University of Virginia, but he projects as a power-hitting left fielder.

– And one pick after that, Reds scouting director Chris Buckley chose his son, third baseman Sean Buckley.  It was actually something of a surprise he waited until round six to do so.  Sean was being looked at as a fourth or fifth rounder by teams other than Cincinnati.

– Oregon State’s Josh Osich, who missed the 2010 season following Tommy John surgery, was viewed by some as the top pitcher left on the board after rounds four and five.  The Giants grabbed him at No. 207.  He may have a future as an eighth-inning guy.

– Ivan Rodriguez’s son — also named Ivan, but who goes by Dereck — was picked by the Twins in round six.  He might have been a better prospect as a pitcher, but he wants to stick in the outfield.

– The Cards picked Kansas State outfielder Nick Martini in the seventh.  He hit just one homer in 221 at-bats this season, but he had a .503 OBP as a sophomore and a .442 mark this season.  At one point, he reached base in 93 straight games.  Unfortunately, he figures to move to left field in the pros and he’s going to have to show some power if he’s going to be a success there.

– The Pirates made another nice upside pick to begin the ninth round, selecting right-hander Clay Holmes.  The Auburn commit touches 95 mph with his fastball and has a promising curve.

– Milwaukee went with Dustin Houle in the eighth and will give him a look as a catcher.  The native of Canada was primarily a third baseman in high school.

– The Red Sox are going to see if Travis Shaw’s bat translates to wood after selecting him in the ninth.  The Kent State product hit .307/.405/.553 with 14 homers this season.  He’s sure-handed at third, but he lacks range.

– I haven’t written much about the Diamondbacks, but I do believe they’ve had a really good draft.  In the 10th, they took a flier on Kyle Winkler, a teammate of Matt Purke’s at TCU and another anticipated tough sign.   Baseball America rated him the draft’s No. 43 prospect.

Yordano Ventura represented the best and worst of baseball’s culture

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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It was reported this morning that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. Former prospect Andy Marte was also killed in a separate car accident. Along with Jose Fernandez and Oscar Taveras, the baseball world has lost a lot of young, exciting talent in a very short amount of time.

Ventura was, like all of us, a complex human being. At his best, he was an exciting, talented, emotive pitcher who featured an electric fastball which sat in the mid-90’s and occasionally touched 100 MPH. At his worst, he was an immature, impressionable kid trying to fit in by exacting revenge against batters he felt had wronged him by slinging those electric fastballs at vulnerable areas of their bodies.

Baseball needed Ventura when he was at his best. It is players like him and Fernandez, not Mike Trout, that bring in new fans to the sport. To baseball die-hards, Angels outfielder Mike Trout is the pinnacle of entertainment because we know he’s an otherworldly talent. But to the average fan, Trout is just another player who hits a couple of homers and doesn’t do anything particularly interesting otherwise. Trout is milquetoast. Ventura was never an All-Star, but fans knew who he was because he made his presence felt every time he made a start. He was fun, if sometimes vengeful.

Ventura’s baseball rap sheet is rather lengthy for someone who only pitched parts of four seasons in the big leagues. Early in the 2015 season, Ventura found himself in a handful of benches-clearing incidents in quick succession. On April 12, he jawed with Trout, apparently misunderstanding the motivation behind Trout yelling, “Let’s go!” Though catcher Salvador Perez intervened, Trout’s teammate Albert Pujols ran in from second base and the benches cleared shortly thereafter. On the 18th, some drama between the Athletics and Royals continued. Ventura fired a 99 MPH fastball at Brett Lawrie, resulting in his immediate ejection from the game. More beanball wars ensued in the series finale the following day. Finally, on the 23rd, Ventura hit White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu with a 99 MPH fastball in the fourth inning. Ventura was not ejected… until after the completion of the seventh inning. Walking back to the dugout, Ventura barked at White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton and — you guessed it — the benches cleared. All told, Ventura was fined for his behavior with the Athletics and suspended seven games for the White Sox incident.

In August 2015, Ventura called Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista a “nobody” and accused him of stealing signs. He apologized shortly thereafter. Two months later, during his start in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays, Ventura got into it with Jays first base coach Tim Leiper. Nothing happened beyond that, but apparently it was part of the Jays’ plan to try to put Ventura “on tilt.”

Most recently, in June this past season, Ventura hit Orioles third baseman Manny Machado with a pitch. Machado charged the mound and got in at least one punch before the players spilled out onto the field in a blob of royal blue and orange. Ventura was suspended for eight games.

Ventura was by no means a model of civility, but he was a product of baseball’s intransigent culture forcing players to assimilate or be ostracized. The old culture taught players to never show emotion. Hit a home run? Put your head down and circle the bases in a timely fashion or risk taking a fastball to the ribs. Players like Fernandez and Bautista — typically players from Latin countries — challenged those old cultural norms and are, as a result, the vanguard of the new culture. Ventura displayed aspects of each, the worst of the old culture and the best of the new. He was not a one-dimensional person; he was strikingly complex. At one moment willing to use a fastball as a weapon, the next stopping by some kids’ lemonade stand and giving out fist bumps. Baseball is made more entertaining and more interesting by its personalities and Ventura’s was a behemoth, for better or worse. His absence from the sport will be felt.

MLB remembers Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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Following the tragic passing of 25-year-old Yordano Ventura and 33-year-old Andy Marte, both of whom were killed in separate car crashes on Sunday morning, players and executives from around Major League Baseball expressed an outpouring of grief and support for the players’ families and former teams.

Fans have gathered at Kauffman Stadium in memory of the former pitcher.