MLB draft picks 6-10: Pirates halt Mark Appel’s free-fall

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No. 6 – Chicago Cubs – high school OF Albert Almora

Alm0ra is considered exceptionally polished for a high school player, already possessing plenty of experience with Team USA. His tools aren’t necessarily what expects from a high first-round pick, but he does have the speed to last in center field and a line drive swing that could be good for home runs in Wrigley Field someday.

No. 7 – San Diego Padres – high school LHP Max Fried

Fried becomes the first high school pitcher off the board, largely because his Harvard-Westlake teammate Lucas Gioloto, who was looked at a potential No. 1 overall pick, has been injured all year. Fried throws in the low-90s consistently, and both his curve and changeup could be plus pitches by the time he’s ready for the majors.

No. 8 – Pittsburgh Pirates – Stanford RHP Mark Appel

The expected first overall pick, Appel instead goes behind two other college pitchers and lands with the Pirates. The 20-year-old Appel had a breakthrough junior season, going 10-1 with a 2.27 ERA and a 127/26 K/BB ratio in 119 innings for Stanford. The negative is that he wasn’t nearly as good in previous seasons. He didn’t make the rotation as a freshman and finished with a 5.92 ERA in 38 innings. Last year, he was solid but far from dominant in going 6-7 with a 3.02 ERA and an 86/29 K/BB ratio in 110 1/3 innings.

Appel throws in the mid-90s and has a very good slider. He possesses decent feel for his changeup, but the pitch still has room for improvement. If he progresses as hoped, he could well become a top-of-the-rotation guy.

No. 9 – Miami Marlins – Oklahoma State LHP Andrew Heaney

Heaney had some of the best numbers of any college pitcher this year, going 8-2 with a 1.60 ERA and a 140/22 K/BB ratio in 118 1/3 innings for Oklahoma State. He throws 90-92 mph and shows advanced feel for both his curve and changeup. He should be able to move quickly, even if he doesn’t quite possesses the same upside as the right-handers taken ahead of him here.

No. 10 – Colorado Rockies – high school OF David Dahl

The Rockies have made a habit of going with pitching in the first round, but they take the third high school outfielder of the board here. Dahl’s a left-handed hitter with a line drive swing that could play very well at Coors Field. He won’t be a candidate to play center field in the majors, but he should prove pretty good in a corner with time and experience.

 

Pick 1: Astros select shortstop Carlos Correa                          .

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

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

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

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

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

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Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.

The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.

Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.

Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.

Luis Valbuena to miss four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring

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Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.

Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.

Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.