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


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                .


Marlins have begun extension talks with Dee Gordon

Dee Gordon
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote three weeks ago that the Marlins were probably going to explore an extension this winter with second baseman Dee Gordon. And it sounds like those talks are underway.

Via beat writer Joe Frisaro of

As a guest on MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” show Wednesday morning, Gordon confirmed his camp has been in talks with the Marlins regarding a multiyear deal. A source told that the discussions are preliminary and have just recently started.

“My agent is doing the talking,” Gordon said on the show. “They’re just keeping me in the loop. I think it’s going pretty well right now. We’ll see how that goes. I’m just playing the waiting game. We’re going to do the right thing.”

The 27-year-old carries three more seasons of salary arbitration, so there’s no real rush to get something done before next spring. Gordon carries quite a bit of leverage after posting a career-best .333/.359/.418 slash line in 145 games this past season for the Fish. He led all major leaguers in hits (205) and stolen bases (58).

Braves sign Bud Norris to one-year contract

Bud Norris

Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.

Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.

In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.

The Cubs acquire Rex Brothers from the Rockies

Rex Brothers Rockies

The number of people who, if you held a gun to their head, would say that “Rex Brothers” was a game show host and/or local TV news personality from the late 1970s or early 80s is not insignificant. But if you’re a Rockies fan or if spend all day thinking about baseball you know that he’s a reliever who has played in Colorado for the past five years. Now you know him as a reliever for the Cubs:

Brothers — a former Best Shape of His Life All-Star — was pretty good until he hit a brick wall in 2014 and spent most of 2015 in Triple-A. He had something of a bounceback after being called up when rosters expanded in September, but that’s not the sort of thing to excite anyone. He could be useful for the Cubs or just spring training cannon fodder and organizational depth.

Cabrera just turned 18 a couple of weeks ago and pitched a grand total of 14 games in the Dominican Summer League. He’s young and was a $250,000 signee from the Dominican as a 16-year-old so, by definition, he’s a project. Worth giving up Rex Brothers for him if you’re the Rockies, worth risking for some depth in the pen if you’re the Cubs.

Diamondbacks hire Dave Magadan as hitting coach

Dave Magadan Rangers
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Steve Gilbert of reports that the Diamondbacks’ new hitting coach is Dave Magadan, who “parted ways” with the Rangers last month after three years filling the same role in Texas.

Magadan also previously was the Red Sox’s hitting coach and his teams have generally done pretty well, including the Rangers scoring the third-most runs in the league this year.

He’ll have plenty of talent to work with in Arizona, as the Diamondbacks scored the second-most runs in the league led by Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and David Peralta. Turner Ward, who had been Arizona’s hitting coach, chose to leave the team two weeks ago.