Nationals cap logo

MLB draft picks 16-20: The Nationals take a chance with Lucas Giolito

9 Comments

No. 16 – Washington Nationals -High school right-hander Lucas Giolito

With their lowest pick since the franchise arrived to D.C. in 2005, it didn’t look like the Nationals would be able to snag an elite talent like the previous three drafts with Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon. They may have lucked out here. Giolito was discussed as a potential No. 1 pick before his season ended after he strained the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow in early March. He only recently began a throwing program, so the pick is a bit of a gamble. But the upside is obviously pretty huge here.

No. 17 – Toronto Blue Jays – High school outfielder D.J. Davis

Davis was considered one of the fastest players, if not the fastest, in the entire draft class. However, he’s not just a punch-and-judy type. While still very raw at this point in his development, the Mississippi native has gap power and the ability hit for a high batting average. He should stick in center field for the long haul.

No. 18 – Los Angeles Dodgers – High school shortstop Corey Seager

After selecting a pitcher in the first round in their previous nine drafts, the Dodgers picked the younger brother of Mariners’ third baseman Kyle Seager this year. Standing at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, he’s highly regarded for his power potential. While Seager played shortstop in high school, he is expected to move over to the hot corner as a pro.

No. 19 – St. Louis Cardinals – Texas A&M right-hander Michael Wacha

While Wacha doesn’t have the upside of fellow college right-handers Kevin Gausman, Kyle Zimmer or Mark Appel, he’s considered one of the most polished pitchers in this year’s draft class. He has a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s range and a quality changeup, but there have been some doubts about his breaking stuff. Some mentioned him a top-10 pick not too long ago, so he’s a pretty nice value here.

No. 20 – San Francisco Giants – Mississippi State right-hander Chris Stratton

Another college pitcher who was expected to go a bit earlier according to most mocks, Stratton stands at 6-foot-2 and 197 pounds. He sits in the low-to-mid 90s with his fastball and has three pitches in his arsenal which have above average potential. The Giants have a pretty good reputation for developing pitchers, so who are we to doubt them here?

Pick 1: Astros select shortstop Carlos Correa                          .

Picks 2-5: Mariners take catcher Mike Zunino at No. 3           .

Picks 6-10: Pirates halt Mark Appel’s free-fall                              .

Picks 11-15: A’s, Mets select high school shortstops                .

Picks 21-31: Blue Jays add potential 2012 callup Stroman

Twins pitcher barfs before almost every appearance

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 18:  Ryan O'Rourke #61 of the Minnesota Twins reacts after loading up the bases in the seventh inning against the New York Yankees on August 18, 2015 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

Twins righty Ryan O'Rourke has pitched in 54 big league games. He has barfed before almost every one of them.

No, really:

Through his first 54 big-league outings over the last past two years, O’Rourke estimates he emptied the contents of his stomach close to every time.

“I don’t do it in the public’s eye,” O’Rourke said Tuesday. “I go in the bathroom, or sometimes it’s just on the back of the mound. But, yeah, it happens.”

I wonder if I’ve barfed 54 times in my entire life. I doubt I have. Then again, I’m not doing anything in front of tens of thousands of people with potentially millions of dollars at stake.

Yet he who is without sin hurl the first, um. Well, never mind.

The new intentional walk rule isn’t a big deal but it’s still dumb

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 06:  Anthony Recker #20 of the New York Mets calls for an intentional walk as Paul Goldschmidt #44 of the Arizona Diamondbacks looks on during the eighth inning at Chase Field on June 6, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Getty Images
11 Comments

Let us preface this by stipulating that the new rule in which pitchers will no longer have to throw four balls to issue an intentional walk is not a big deal, objectively speaking. Teams don’t issue many IBBs to begin with. A couple a week, maybe? Fewer? Moreover, the times when a pitcher tosses one to the backstop or a batter reaches out and smacks a would-be intentional ball may be a lot of fun, but they’re extraordinarily rare. You can go years without seeing it happen.

So, yes, the intentional walk rule announced yesterday is of negligible consequence. We’ll get used to it quickly and it will have little if any impact on actual baseball. It won’t do what it’s supposed to do — speeding up games — but it won’t harm anything that is important either.

But let us also stipulate that the new rule is dumb.

It’s dumb because it’s a solution in search of a problem. Pace of play is a concern, but to listen to Rob Manfred and his surrogates in the media tell it, it’s The Most Pressing Issue of Our Time. Actually, it’s not. No one is abandoning baseball because of 5-15 minutes here or there and no one who may be interested in it is ceasing their exploration of the game because of it. And even if they were, IBBs are rare and they’re not time-consuming to begin with, so it’s not something that will make a big difference. It’s change for change’s sake and so Rob Manfred can get some good press for looking like a Man of Action.

It’s also dumb because it’s taking something away, however small it is. One of my NBC coworkers explained it well this morning:

I agree. Shamelessness is a pretty big problem these days, so let’s not eliminate shame when it is truly due.

Picture it: it’s a steamy Tuesday evening in late July. The teams are both way below .500 and are probably selling off half of their lineup next week. There are, charitably, 8,000 people in the stands. The game is already dragging because of ineptitude and an understandable lack of urgency on the part of players who did not imagine nights like this when they were working their way to the bigs.

Just then, one of the managers — an inexperienced young man who refuses to deviate from baseball orthodoxy because, gosh, he might get a hard question from a sleepy middle aged reporter after the game — holds up four fingers for the IBB. The night may be dreary, but dammit, he’s going to La Russa the living hell out of this game.

That man should be booed. Boo this man. The drunks and college kids who paid, like, $11 to a season ticket holder on StubHub to get into this godforsaken game have earned the right to take their frustrations out on Hunter McRetiredBackupCatcher for being a wuss and calling for the IBB. It may be the only good thing that happens to them that night, and now Rob Manfred would take that away from them. FOR SHAME.

And don’t forget about us saps at home, watching this garbage fire of a game because it beats reading. We’re now going to have to listen to this exchange, as we have listened to it EVERY SINGLE NIGHT since the 2017 season began:

Play-by-Play Guy: “Ah, here we go. They’re calling for the intentional walk. Now, in case you missed it, this is the way we’re doing it now. The new rule is that the manager — yep, right there, he’s doing it — can hold up four fingers to the home plate umpire and — there it goes — he points to first base and the batter takes his base.”

Color Commentator, Who played from 1975-87, often wearing a mustache: “Don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. There was always a chance the pitcher throws a wild pitch. It happened to us against the Mariners in 1979 [Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice: it didn’t] and it has taken away something special from the game. I suppose some number-cruncher with a spreadsheet decided that this will help speed up the game, but you know what that’s worth.

No matter what good or bad the rule brings, this exchange, which will occur from April through September, will be absolutely brutal. Then, in October, we get to hear Joe Buck describe it as if we never heard it before because Fox likes to pretend that the season begins in October.

Folks, it’s not worth it. And that — as opposed to any actual pro/con of the new rule — is why it is dumb. Now get off my lawn.