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

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– 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.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.

Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.

This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.

Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.