Baseball America has kept the same top two from the preseason in re-ranking the game’s best prospects, going with Bryce Harper and Mike Trout at the top.
That was to be expected, of course. In a mild surprise, BA elevated Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore past Atlanta’s Julio Teheran into the third spot, making him the game’s top pitching prospect. Teheran was the No. 5 prospect and top pitcher in the preseason rankings, while Moore came in 15th.
Sliding in the rankings were Yankees catcher Jesus Montero (3rd to 8th) Royals outfielder Wil Myers (10th to 17th) and Rays right-hander Chris Archer (27th to out of the top 50). Royals left-hander John Lamb, who ranked 18th in the preseason, also fell out of the rankings, but since he underwent Tommy John surgery, that was anticipated.
The biggest surprise is that BA threw Paul Goldschmidt into the rankings at No. 50. Putting him in the final spot suggests that they’re not sold on him, but they also weren’t going to risk being embarrassed by leaving him off. Goldschmidt, 23, is the leading home run hitter in the minors with 25 this season. He’s hit .314/.431/.634 for Double-A Mobile.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.