Updating the 2010 first-round picks: looking at Bryce Harper, Zack Cox and more

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Here’s a revised edition of something I tried in May. I thought it was a good time to look at the 2010 first-round picks again with the slate of midseason promotions starting to arrive.

Hitters
1. Bryce Harper (OF Nationals): .322/.421/.569, 14 HR, 45 RBI, 13 SB in 239 AB (low-A Hagerstown)
3. Manny Machado (SS Orioles): .276/.376/.483, 6 HR, 24 RBI, 3 SB in 145 AB (low Single-A Delmarva)
4. Christian Colon (SS Royals): .257/.341/.336, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 11 SB in 253 AB (AA Northwest Arkansas)
8. Delino DeShields Jr. (2B Astros): .193/.283/.325, 6 HR, 26 RBI, 13 SB in 249 AB (low-A Lexington)
10. Michael Choice (OF Athletics): .255/.355/.500, 16 HR, 45 RBI, 7 SB in 278 AB (high-A Stockton)
12. Yasmani Grandal (C Reds): .296/.410/.510, 10 HR, 40 RBI, 0 SB in 206 AB (high-A Bakersfield)
15. Jake Skole (OF Rangers): .260/.360/.336, 2 HR, 29 RBI, 11 SB in 223 AB (low-A Hickory)
17. Josh Sale (OF Rays): .059/.238/.235, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB in 17 AB (Rookie Princeton)
18. Kaleb Cowart (3B Angels): .538/.594/.577, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 3 SB in 26 AB (Rookie Orem)
20. Kolbrin Vitek (3B Red Sox): .271/.334/.365, 1 HR, 23 RBI, 9 SB in 266 AB (high-A Salem)
22. Kellin Deglan (C Rangers): .235/.323/.353, 3 HR, 23 RBI, 0 SB in 136 AB (low-A Hickory)
23. Christian Yelich (OF Marlins): .280/.359/.432, 7 HR, 34 RBI, 14 SB in 243 AB (low-A Greensboro)
24. Gary Brown (OF Giants): .322/.391/.465, 6 HR, 47 RBI, 33 SB in 301 AB (high-A San Jose)
25. Zack Cox (3B Cardinals): .282/.342/.379, 5 HR, 30 RBI, 2 SB in 280 AB (high-A Palm Beach/AA Springfield)
26. Kyle Parker (OF Rockies): .280/.356/.449, 9 HR, 53 RBI, 1 SB in 243 AB (low-A Asheville)
30. Chevy Clarke (OF Angels): .148/.233/.222, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 SB in 27 AB (Rookie AZL Angels)
31. Justin O’Conner (C Rays): .211/.286/.421, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SB in 19 AB (Rookie Princeton)
32. Cito Culver (SS Yankees): .211/.302/.211, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 1 SB in 38 AB (Rookie Staten Island)

Harper is back in Hagerstown’s lineup now after dealing with a minor thumb injury last week.  He’s 1-for-12 the last three days.

Machado and Grandal received their promotions last week. Machado is 2-for-12 in four games since moving up to high-A Frederick, while Grandal is 3-for-12 in four games for Double-A Carolina.

Cox was the only first-round pick to receive an early promotion.  He was still struggling in high-A when we checked on him in early May (.288/.314/.315 with no homers in 111 at-bats), but he went on a tear soon thereafter and ended up at .335/.380/.439 in 164 AB for Palm Beach.  Since moving up to Double-A, he’s struggling again, having hit .207/.290/.293 in 116 at-bats.

Choice is the one player here that’s really stepped it up of late.  He’s hitting .350 with four homers over his last 10 games, and his OPS is up 70 points from where he was back on May 9.

Pitchers
2. Jameson Taillon (Pirates): 2-1, 3.16 ERA, 38/4 K/BB in 42.2 IP (low-A West Virginia)
5. Drew Pomeranz (Indians): 2-2, 1.81 ERA, 81/27 K/BB in 64.2 IP (high-A Kinston)
6. Barret Loux (Rangers): 7-3, 3.44 ERA, 81/21 K/BB in 73.1 IP (high-A Myrtle Beach)
7. Matt Harvey (Mets): 8-2, 2.37 ERA, 92/24 K/BB in 76 IP (high-A St. Lucie)
9. Karsten Whitson (Padres): Did not sign
11. Deck McGuire (Blue Jays): 5-3, 2.89 ERA, 74/30 K/BB in 74.2 IP (high-A Dunedin)
13. Chris Sale (White Sox): 2-0, 4.11 ERA, 31/14 K/BB in 30.2 IP (ML White Sox)
14. Dylan Covey (Brewers): Did not sign
16. Hayden Simpson (Cubs): 1-5, 4.98 ERA, 46/25 K/BB in 59.2 IP (low-A Peoria)
19. Mike Foltynewicz (Astros): 4-6, 4.54 ERA, 40/30 K/BB in 75.1 IP (low-A Lexington)
21. Alex Wimmers (Twins): 0-1, infinite ERA, 0/6 K/BB in 0 IP (high-A Fort Myers)
27. Jesse Biddle (Phillies): 3-6, 3.70 ERA, 66/40 K/BB in 73 IP (low-A Lakewood)
28. Zach Lee (Dodgers): 5-1, 3.47 ERA, 44/15 K/BB in 49.1 IP (low-A Great Lakes)
29. Cam Bedrosian (Angels): Yet to play (Tommy John surgery)

Harvey finally got his promotion to Double-A last week and gave up four runs in 4 2/3 innings in his debut for Binghamton.  Pomeranz should be the next to move up.

It looks like Taillon might end up spending the whole season at West Virginia.  The Pirates have been very careful with him, never letting him throw more than five innings in an outing.  He’s missed the last two weeks with tightness in his pectoral muscle.

Whitson, who went to Florida after turning down the Padres last summer, will face South Carolina in the second game of the College World Series finals on Tuesday.

Wimmers still hasn’t returned to action since walking all six hitters he faced back on April 11.  The Twins had him working in intrasquad games in Florida earlier this month.  If he makes enough progress, he might be assigned to a Rookie ball club next month.

Former U.S. Senator and Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning dies at age 85

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Jim Bunning, Hall of Fame right-handed pitcher and former U.S. Senator, died on Friday at age 85. He suffered a stroke in October 2016 and was in hospice care when he died, according to former Senate chief of staff Jon Deuser.

Bunning rose to prominence in Major League Baseball during his first full season with the Tigers in 1957, recording 14 complete games and a league-leading 20 wins. The following year, Bunning pitched his first career no-hitter against the Red Sox, just the fourth no-hitter in franchise history. During his first season with the Phillies in 1964, Bunning followed up his no-hitter with a perfect game against the Mets, marking the first National League perfecto in the 20th century. By the time he retired in 1971, he boasted seven All-Star nominations, 2,855 strikeouts (maintaining his second-place ranking on the all-time strikeout list from 1967-1971) and a 224-184 record over 17 seasons.

Following a storied major league career, Bunning entered politics at age 46, serving 12 years in the House and eventually getting elected to the Senate at age 67, where he served two terms. The Republican senator was famously outspoken for his opposition to steroids in baseball, illegal immigration and an extension of unemployment benefits, among other issues, and drew criticism within his party for his ornery nature and controversial statements. He declined to run for a third term in 2010, citing a lack of financial support from the National Republican Senatorial Committee and choosing instead to throw his weight behind fellow candidate Rand Paul.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred issued a statement following news of Bunning’s death on Saturday:

Jim Bunning led an extraordinary life in the National Pastime and in public service.  He was a consistent winner and workhorse pitcher for the Detroit Tigers and the Philadelphia Phillies.  Jim threw no-hitters in both leagues, pitched a perfect game on Father’s Day in 1964 and, at his retirement, had more strikeouts than any pitcher in history except Walter Johnson.

“In his baseball career, Jim was proud of always taking the ball.  The work ethic that made him a Hall of Famer led him to the House of Representatives and the United Stated Senate.  He served the state of Kentucky for more than two decades and became the only Hall of Famer ever to serve in Congress.

“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to Senator Bunning’s family, friends, constituents and the many fans who admired his career in our game.

Homer Simpson was inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame

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Twenty-five years ago, “Homer at the Bat” became one of the most iconic Simpsons episodes of all time. Legendary talents like Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Ozzie Smith, Jose Canseco, Mike Scioscia, Steve Sax, Don Mattingly and Ken Griffey, Jr. lent their talents to the episode while their cartoon doppelgängers were put through the ringer, leaving only Homer Simpson and Darryl Strawberry to clinch the city softball championship for the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant squad. On Saturday, the show’s creators were recognized when Homer Simpson was awarded a long-overdue membership in the Hall of Fame.

The full text from Homer’s honorary plaque is below:

Inept safety inspector turned city-wide softball hero. Right fielder led Springfield nuclear plant to city championship game, then sacrificed his body to win it all. Nearly supplanted by lineup of all-world superstar ringers, came through in a pinch — and came to in time for the next episode. Girthy right-handed hitter powered many a mighty wallop during celebrated 1992 season with “Wonderbat” — his secret weapon. Lack of mobility in the field was no match for moves atop the dugout. Found fame as bush league mascot phenom, parlaying his “elephant walk” into a taste of the majors. Unacquainted with scientific concepts, only isotopes of which he was aware played at Duff Stadium, where uncanny knowledge of southwestern palate exposed team’s impending move to Albuquerque.

“Homer at the Bat” will be enshrined in Cooperstown with a special display, featuring the plaque alongside some of the more memorable moments of the episode.