Nathan Minnich (courtesy Shepherd University)

MLB draft rounds 6-9: The man, the myth, the Minnich


– Bolstered by the baddest mustache in Division II, Nathan Minnich hit .487/.645/980 with 21 homers in 152 at-bats for Shepherd University this season. Now he’s a Red Sox draftee after going 271st overall on Tuesday.

– Craig Hansen’s younger brother, Kyle, went to the White Sox with the 201st pick. Like Craig, Boston’s first-round pick seven years ago, Kyle went to St. John’s.  His 3.46 ERA as a junior wasn’t particularly impressive, but he did finish with a nice 108/26 K/BB ratio in 93 2/3 innings. Unfortunately, his fastball doesn’t measure up to his 6’8″ frame, and he’ll probably struggle to miss bats as a pro.

– Preston Tucker, taken 219th by the Astros, is the second best hitter on the No. 1 ranked Gators baseball team behind only Mike Zunino, who was taken third overall by the Mariners. A left-handed hitting corner outfielder, he batted .316/.396/.579 with 15 homers in 247 regular-season at-bats. Scouts seem skeptical that the power will translate, and he also probably won’t have much in the way of defensive value. Still, in round seven, he’s a pretty good choice.

– Beau Amaral, son of former major leaguer Rich, was taken by the Reds with the 232nd pick. He followed in his father’s footsteps by going to UCLA, and he hit .320/.398/.445 with 13 steals as a junior. Now let’s see if he can follow his father in putting together a 10-year big-league career as a part-timer.

– I don’t claim to know anything about Alfredo Escalera-Maldonado, a center fielder drafted by the Royals with the 253rd pick, but I think that long of a name is going to break Rotoworld’s database if we ever have to add him.

– Lee Mazzilli’s son, LJ, was selected by the Twins out of UConn with the 280th pick. Easily the Huskies’ best hitter, he finished at .339/.404/.548 with nine homers in 239 at-bats this season. Still, for him to last 280 picks, it suggests scouts don’t see his power translating. He’s also iffy to stick at second base.

– Left-hander Michael Roth was a player of the year winner for the national championship South Carolina team in 2011 and he was pretty good again this season, but he fell all of the way to 297th before getting snatched up by the Angels. Lack of velocity is the issue there, but his makeup is off the charts.

Video: Justin Turner gives Dodgers early Game 4 lead with two-run double

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
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Clayton Kershaw has looked sharp on the mound and at the plate so far in this must-win NLDS Game 4 at New York’s Citi Field.

After no-hitting the Mets in the first two frames, Kershaw smacked a one-out single to left-center field in the top of third inning. Howie Kendrick followed soon after with a two-out single to left and then Adrian Gonzalez blooped a ball to shallow center that drove in Enrique Hernandez, who had reached earlier on a fielder’s choice grounder to second base.

That all set up this Justin Turner two-run double down the left field line that put Los Angeles up 3-0

That’s now four doubles this postseason for Turner, which is a Dodgers franchise record for the Division Series. Los Angeles is trying to force a Game 5.

Video: Hector Rondon closes it out, Cubs advance past Cardinals to NLCS

Hector Rondon
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

In the first postseason meeting between the two longtime archrivals, the Chicago Cubs prevailed over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Watch as Cubs closer Hector Rondon whiffs Cardinals outfielder Stephen Piscotty with a nasty 0-2 breaking ball to clinch a Division Series victory and send Wrigley Field into a frenzy (this is actually the first time in franchise history the Cubs have won a playoff series at home) …

Chicago dropped Game 1 but took three straight to finish off St. Louis. Next up is a matchup against either the Dodgers or Mets in the National League Championship Series.

Cardinals miss Martinez even more than Molina

Carlos Martinez

After taking Game 1 of the NLDS in an outstanding performance from John Lackey, the Cardinals dropped three straight to the Cubs by scores of 6-3, 8-6 and 6-4. It’s not difficult at all to imagine a healthy Carlos Martinez swinging one of those games.

Martinez wasn’t the Cardinals’ best starter this year, but he was the one who could shut a team down by himself, with little help from the defense needed. Martinez struck out 184 batters in 179 2/3 innings while going 14-7 with a 3.01 ERA. He left his next-to-last regular season start with a shoulder strain that was going to cost him the entirety of the postseason no matter how far the Cardinals advanced. It was a killer blow for a team whose offense had already been slowed by injuries.

October just came at the wrong time for the Cardinals, what with Martinez down, Yadier Molina nursing a significant thumb injury, Matt Holliday and Randal Grichuk far from 100 percent and Adam Wainwright still weeks short of potentially pulling off a Marcus Stroman-like return to the rotation.

It’s Molina absence Thursday and lack of effectiveness otherwise that serve as a popular explanation/excuse for the Cardinals’ loss. And the downgrade from him to Tony Cruz behind the plate was huge, even if Molina is no longer the hitter he was a couple of years back.

Martinez, though, had the potential to even up the NLDS just by doing what he did in the regular season. And had Martinez been in the rotation, the Cardinals wouldn’t have moved up Lackey to start Game 4 on three days’ rest. They’d have been the clear favorites in a Game 5 Jon Lester-Lackey rematch back in St. Louis, though we’ll never know how that might have worked out.