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MLB draft picks 21-31: Blue Jays land potential impact reliever

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No. 21 – Atlanta Braves – High school right-hander Lucas Sims

The Braves taking a local product? Get outta here. Sims is highly-regarded for his velocity, topping out at 97 mph on his heater, but his breaking ball is considered one of the best of from this year’s high school crop of talent.

No. 22 – Toronto Blue Jays – Duke right-hander Marcus Stroman

Here’s someone we were hearing about much earlier in mock drafts, so it’s a bit of surprise to see him fall this far. Despite standing at just 5-foot-9 and 185 pounds, Stroman has one of the most electric arms in the entire draft, earning comparisons to Tom Gordon. Many believe he could make it the majors this year as reliever.

No. 23 – St. Louis Cardinals – Florida State outfielder James Ramsey

Ramsey doesn’t blow scouts away with plus-tools, he has a pretty well-rounded game and could be used at either second base or center field as a pro. The Cardinals already chose Texas A&M right-hander Michael Wacha at No. 19, so there was likely some strategy involved in picking a college senior, as he should be a pretty easy sign.

No. 24 – Boston Red Sox – Arizona State shortstop Deven Marrero

Another name we saw pretty high on mock drafts, Marrero was considered one of the top college position players available. Scouts like him most for his defensive abilities and he should be able to stick at shortstop as a pro. Just how much he’ll hit is the question. One side bonus is that he should be pretty popular with second baseman Dustin Pedroia, also an ASU alum.

No. 25 – Tampa Bay Rays – Clemson third baseman Richie Shaffer

Standing at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Shaffer is considered one of the top power hitters in the entire draft. Evan Longoria obviously blocks him at the major league level, but the Rays will worry about that later. Some think he could be destined for first base or right field, anyway.

No. 26 – Arizona Diamondbacks – High school catcher Stryker Trahan

Now that’s a baseball name. Scouts love Trahan’s pop from the left side, so it would obviously be ideal if he sticks behind the plate, but he’ll likely end up as a corner outfielder in the long term.

No. 27 – Milwaukee Brewers – High school catcher Clint Coulter

This is one pick most draft experts got right, as Coulter has been linked to the Brewers for a while now. Coulter checks in at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds and has good pop from the right side. He has some work to do to stick behind the plate in the long-term, though.

No. 28 – Milwaukee Brewers – Georgia Southern outfielder Victor Roache

We would have seen Roache go much higher if he didn’t break his left wrist attempting to make a diving catch in February. Assuming he can bounce back from the injury, the Brewers may have landed the top power bat in this draft.

No. 29 – Texas Rangers – High school outfielder Lewis Brinson

Brinson was a bit of a surprise pick this early, but he has some intriguing tools. With above average speed and a strong arm, he could be a plus-defender in center field. Long and lanky (6-foot-4 and 185 pounds), he’s still considered quite raw with the bat, though.

No. 30 – New York Yankees – High school right-hander Ty Hensley

Hensley was projected to go much higher, so this is quite a coup for the Yankees. While he has good velocity on his fastball, some scouts think his curveball might end up being his best pitch.

No. 31 – Boston Red Sox – University of Florida left-hander Brian Johnson

The Red Sox wrapped up the first round with their second college pick. Johnson doesn’t throw all that hard or possess front-end starter upside, but he has four average or better pitches in his arsenal and should move pretty quickly.

 

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 16-20: Nationals roll the dice on RHP Giolito                .

 

Braves sign former football player Sanders Commings

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 15:  Cornerback Sanders Commings #26 of the Kansas City Chiefs on the sidelines during the pre-season NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 15, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.

Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.

Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.

Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.

The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.

Justin Verlander: “I’d like to see the AL and NL have the same rules… I vote NL rules.”

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 10:  Starting pitcher Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Safeco Field on August 10, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
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On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”

Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:

To that, Archer said:

For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.