Bryce Harper

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.

Orioles sign ex-Padres reliever Dale Thayer

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Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.

At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.

Phillies acquire Taylor Featherston from Angels

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Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.

Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.

He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.

Keith Law: The Braves have the best farm system in baseball

Braves 2
Associated Press
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Flags fly forever! Hooray for The Process championship!

Ah, sorry. This is about as much rooting as I’ll get to do this year, so cut me some slack.

This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility. The top system: the Atlanta Braves. The bottom: the Los Angeles Angels, about whom Law says “I’ve been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I’ve ever seen.” Enjoy Mike Trout, though, you guys.

If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone. And though he drives me crazy sometimes, Buster Olney’s daily column/notes thing is also worth the money over the course of the year.

Some Mets fans are not happy that Beyonce is playing at Citi Field

Beyoncé performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Associated Press
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The funny thing about that “stick to sports” stuff I was going on about the other day is that, in reality, a whole lot of the people who say “stick to sports” don’t really want to just stick to sports. They’re totally cool going on about political, social or cultural stuff as long as it fits their world view. It’s not “stick to sports.” It’s “don’t talk about the social implications of sports-related stuff in ways that upset me.” If sports and culture come together in other ways, however, they’re completely fine in grinding their axe.

For example, Beyonce is playing a concert a Citi Field this summer. The show is so popular that they added a second date. The Mets’ Twitter feed just announced that tickets will go on sale for the new show soon:

A while lotta Mets fans responded to that negatively. For political/social/cultural reasons that they are willingly bringing in to a conversation about a pop singer and a baseball stadium that will double as a concert venue:

And they go on and on.

How much do you want to bet that a whole lotta these respondents would tell you to “stick to baseball” if you wanted to bring up how race affects the sport or how, if instead of Beyonce, this was announcing a Kid Rock/Ted Nugent-headlined festival and you mused whether that was a case of the Mets somehow endorsing their messages?