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.

Ben Zobrist is the “Mets’ No. 1 target”

Ben Zobrist
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Ben Zobrist posted a cool .809 OPS (120 OPS+) in 126 games this summer between Oakland and Kansas City while appearing defensively at second base, third base, and both corner outfield positions.

His steady bat and defensive versatility make him a fit for just about every club in Major League Baseball, and the defending National League champions are among the teams in hot pursuit …

It’s a little odd to see the rebuilding Braves listed there given that Zobrist is 34 years old, but Rosenthal says the interest stems from a “desire for him to serve as [a] model for younger players” as the club prepares to open a new ballpark in 2017. Wasn’t that supposed to be Nick Markakis‘ job?

Zobrist and his agent Alan Nero are believed to be seeking a four-year deal.

Tigers agree to deal with starter Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Hey, the hot stove is finally generating some real fire …

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Tigers have agreed to terms on a contract with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. It’s a five-year deal worth around $110 million, per Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.

This should have a domino effect on a loaded starting pitching market. David Price, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and Jeff Samardzija are just a few of the names still out there.

Zimmermann, 29, posted a 3.66 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 164/39 K/BB ratio in 201 2/3 innings this past season for the Nationals. He had a 2.66 ERA in 2014 and threw a no-hitter on the final day of the regular season.

Zimmermann’s free agency is tied to draft pick compensation because he rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from Washington, but the Tigers finished with one of the 10-worst win-loss records in 2015 so their first-round pick in 2016 is protected. Detroit will give up its second-round pick instead.

Video: Statcast’s 10 longest home runs from 2015

Giancarlo Stanton
AP Photo/Joe Skipper

Here’s a pretty good way to finally break out of that turkey-induced Thanksgiving tryptophan coma.

It’s a compilation of the 10 longest home runs from the 2015 season, with’s Statcast technology providing data along the path of each blast …

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.