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.

Astros sign Carlos Beltran to one-year, $16 million deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Carlos Beltran #36 of the Texas Rangers hits an RBI against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning during game three of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 9, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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The Astros have reportedly agreed to terms with free agent DH/outfielder Carlos Beltran for a one-year, $16 million contract, per ESPN’s Buster Olney. The deal includes a complete no-trade clause, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Beltran elected to return to the Astros after fielding offers from the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. He appeared in Houston during the second half of 2004, batting .258/.368/.559 with 23 home runs in 399 PA and making his first postseason run to the tune of a .435 average and eight homers as the Astros battled their way through to a seven-game loss in the Championship Series. Beltran also played with Houston manager A.J. Hinch and bench coach Alex Cora in separate stints with the Royals and Mets, which the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan cited as possible influences in the Astros’ decision to pursue the free agent.

In 2016, Beltran split the season between the Yankees and Rangers after getting dealt at the deadline for a package of right-handed pitching prospects. He was stationed in right field for the majority of his time in New York, but was almost exclusively utilized as a designated hitter over 52 games in Texas. Between the two clubs, he batted an impressive .295/.337/.513 with 29 homers and earned his ninth career All-Star designation to boot.

The veteran slugger is expected to fill a similar role on the Astros, who need a full-time DH but could use some additional support in the outfield corner. Olney envisions a lineup with Beltran in the five-spot, per an earlier report:

Rays and Braves reportedly interested in Welington Castillo

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits an RBI double in the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on September 27, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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Catcher Welington Castillo was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks on Friday, making him one of 35 additional players to enter the free agent pool. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Castillo was drawing interest from the Rays, among a bevy of major league clubs, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien added that the Braves have “some interest” as well.

The Rays’ trifecta of catchers — Curt Casali, Luke Maile, and Bobby Wilson — did little to inspire confidence behind the plate in 2016, and with top free agent Wilson Ramos sidelined after suffering a torn ACL in September, it makes sense that they’d explore more affordable options. Castillo profiled well at the plate during his first full season with the Diamondbacks, slashing .264/.322/.423 with 14 home runs in 457 PA. Behind the dish, he placed third among all qualified major league catchers with seven DRS (Defensive Runs Saved), though his league-leading 10 passed balls weren’t anything to write home about.

Unlike the Rays, the Braves have a serviceable catching platoon in Tyler Flowers and Anthony Recker. Beyond that, their catching depth is fairly shallow despite the recent addition of former Mariners’ outfield prospect Alex Jackson. Jackson, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mark Bradley, has not played behind the plate since high school, though GM John Coppolella is reportedly interested in trying him there again. A.J. Pierzynski is also rumored to be seeking a deal elsewhere in free agency, which could open the door for a multi-year deal with Castillo.