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.

Video: Nelson Cruz hits second-longest home run of 2016

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Nelson Cruz #23 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates his solo homerun with Daniel Vogelbach #20 of the Seattle Mariners to take a 2-1 lead over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 14, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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There’s certainly never a bad time to hit a home run, but when you get the opportunity to crush a triple-deck, 493-foot shot off of Tyler Duffey, you should take it. With the Mariners down 2-0 to the Twins in the fourth inning, Cruz hammered a fastball to deep left field for his 39th long ball of the season — and the second-longest home run hit in 2016, to boot.

It doesn’t hurt that the Mariners are 1.5 games back of a playoff spot, although they’ll have to oust the Blue Jays, Orioles, or Tigers to get a wild card. They’ve gone 3-3 in the last week, dropping two consecutive series to the Astros and Blue Jays and taking their series opener against Minnesota 10-1 on Friday night.

Cruz, for his part, entered Saturday’s game with a .299/.337/.610 batting line and six home runs in September. According to ESPN.com’s Home Run Tracker, Cruz sits behind Edwin Encarnacion and Mike Napoli with 13 “no-doubt” home runs in 2016, third-most among major league sluggers. It’s safe to say he can add Saturday’s moonshot to that list.

Marlins’ outfielder and undisputed home run king Giancarlo Stanton remains untouched at the top of the Statcast leaderboard with a 504-ft. home run, and it’s difficult to envision any slugger reaching beyond that before the end of the season. Even so, Cruz won’t need to clear 500 feet to extend an impressive hitting record. One more home run will put the 36-year-old at 40 on the year, making 2016 his third consecutive season with at least 40 homers, and his second such season doing so in Seattle.

Report: John Farrell won’t rule out a postseason return for Pablo Sandoval

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 11:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox looks on from the dugout before the Red Sox home opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on April 11, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Orioles defeat the Red Sox 9-7.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.

On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.

At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.

If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.

Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.

Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.