Hunter Renfroe

2013 MLB Draft: Picks 11-20 – Mets look to first base, Padres go Renfroe

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Mets picked high school first baseman Dominic Smith 11th overall.
Domonic Brown has been this year’s breakthrough player, so why not Dominic Smith. It can’t be taken as a great vote of confidence for either Ike Davis or Lucas Duda that the Mets took a first baseman here, but many, many things can happen before Smith is ready for the majors in four years or so. Smith, a left-handed bat, offers plenty of power potential and he shouldn’t strike out quite as often the aforementioned duo.

Mariners selected University of New Mexico third baseman D.J. Peterson with the 12th pick.
Another third baseman for the Mariners, even though Kyle Seager looks like the best of their last wave of prospects. However, Peterson will likely wind up at first base. This is the second time the Mariners have taken him, as they drafted him in the 33rd round out of high school three years ago. Peterson is an excellent pure hitter — he finished up at .408/.520/.807 for the Lobos this year — and he should be among the quickest movers in the draft.

Padres took Mississippi State outfielder Hunter Renfroe with the 13th pick.
The first of the Hunters to go off the board, Renfroe is a toolsy right fielder with the power to hit balls out of Petco but also contact issues. He hit .352/.440/.634 with 15 homers for Mississippi State this year. He may not hit for a big average in the majors, but he could be a solid enough regular anyway. He’s the first outfielder taken in the top 15 by the Padres since Thomas Howard in 1986.

Pirates selected high school catcher Reese McGuire with the 14th pick in the draft.
This was the Pirates actual pick after they drafted outfielder Austin Meadows ninth overall with their Mark Appel compensation pick. High school catchers have gotten a rather bad rep the last decade or so, and McGuire is the first one to go this early in five years. McGuire, though, was viewed as a worthy talent. He figures to prove pretty good defensively, and his left-handed bat offers some power potential. If this works out, it will help make up for the bust that was 2009 fourth overall pick Tony Sanchez.

Diamondbacks selected Nevada RHP Braden Shipley with the 15th overall pick.
The Diamondbacks, already pretty well loaded with young arms, get some very good value here; Shipley throws in the mid-90s, gets swings and misses with his curve and also throws a changeup. He probably won’t move as quickly with the Diamondbacks as he might have in another organization, but he’s be another potential No. 2 or 3 starter for the club.

Phillies added high school shortstop J.P. Crawford with the 16th pick in the draft.
Carl Crawford’s cousin was viewed as the top shortstop in the draft. He has great speed, but scouts wonder if he’ll hit for average or power. Ideally, he’ll be Jimmy Rollins replacement someday and the Phillies’ long-term leadoff hitter. But that’s a long ways off.

White Sox grabbed junior college shortstop Tim Anderson with the 17th pick in the draft.
Anderson has great speed and could stay at shortstop for the long haul, but he’s probably never going to have a lot of power and he may be more of a bottom-of-the-order guy than someone who can hit leadoff. Also, some feel he may project better in center field than at short.

Dodgers selected Jacksonville University RHP Chris Anderson with the 18th overall pick.
The hope with Anderson is that he’s a workhorse middle-of-the-rotation guy with his sinker-slider combination. He’s probably not going to come as quickly as the college pitchers drafted ahead of him, but the Dodgers took him right where he was expected to be drafted.

Cardinals selected Gonzaga LHP Marco Gonzales with the 19th pick in the draft.
If Gonzalez threw a bit harder, he would have gone in the top 10 or maybe even the top five. Not that he’s not totally a finesse guy; he can touch 91-92 mph. Both his curveball and changeup are strong pitches, and he could be one of the first pitchers from the class to reach the majors.

Tigers selected University of Florida right-hander Jonathan Crawford with the 20th pick.
Crawford is a little smaller than teams prefer their right-handers, but he’s been durable so far and he has a nice fastball-slider combination. His changeup will determine whether he sticks as a starter. If it fails to come along, he might turn out to be a late-game reliever instead.

Video: Nelson Cruz hits second-longest home run of 2016

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Nelson Cruz #23 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates his solo homerun with Daniel Vogelbach #20 of the Seattle Mariners to take a 2-1 lead over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 14, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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There’s certainly never a bad time to hit a home run, but when you get the opportunity to crush a triple-deck, 493-foot shot off of Tyler Duffey, you should take it. With the Mariners down 2-0 to the Twins in the fourth inning, Cruz hammered a fastball to deep left field for his 39th long ball of the season — and the second-longest home run hit in 2016, to boot.

It doesn’t hurt that the Mariners are 1.5 games back of a playoff spot, although they’ll have to oust the Blue Jays, Orioles, or Tigers to get a wild card. They’ve gone 3-3 in the last week, dropping two consecutive series to the Astros and Blue Jays and taking their series opener against Minnesota 10-1 on Friday night.

Cruz, for his part, entered Saturday’s game with a .299/.337/.610 batting line and six home runs in September. According to ESPN.com’s Home Run Tracker, Cruz sits behind Edwin Encarnacion and Mike Napoli with 13 “no-doubt” home runs in 2016, third-most among major league sluggers. It’s safe to say he can add Saturday’s moonshot to that list.

Marlins’ outfielder and undisputed home run king Giancarlo Stanton remains untouched at the top of the Statcast leaderboard with a 504-ft. home run, and it’s difficult to envision any slugger reaching beyond that before the end of the season. Even so, Cruz won’t need to clear 500 feet to extend an impressive hitting record. One more home run will put the 36-year-old at 40 on the year, making 2016 his third consecutive season with at least 40 homers, and his second such season doing so in Seattle.

Report: John Farrell won’t rule out a postseason return for Pablo Sandoval

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 11:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox looks on from the dugout before the Red Sox home opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on April 11, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Orioles defeat the Red Sox 9-7.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.

On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.

At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.

If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.

Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.

Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.