Cubs picked University of San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant with the second overall pick.
Bryant, a 6-foot-5 right-handed bat, was considered the best power hitter from the college ranks, smashing 31 homers to go along with a .329/.493/.820 line for San Diego this year. The question with him is defense, as some wonder if he’ll be able to stay at third base. With little organization depth at the position, the Cubs will have good reason to leave him at the hot corner for now.
Rockies picked University of Oklahoma RHP Jonathan Gray with the third pick.
There was some speculation that Gray would fall after testing positive for Adderall, but the Rockies couldn’t pass on a big-time arm capable of moving quickly. Gray throws a bit harder than Mark Appel, reaching the upper 90s, but his changeup is a mediocre third pitch that needs some work. He’s not quite as polished as Appel, but he could still reach the majors in 2014. Hopefully, he’ll work out better than the last two college right-handers the Rockies picked in the top 10: Casey Weathers (8th overall, 2007) and Greg Reynolds (2nd overall, 2006).
Twins selected high school RHP Kohl Stewart fourth overall in the draft.
Stewart, widely regarded as the top high school pitcher in the class, is also a find quarterback prospect, having committed to Texas A&M. Still, everyone seems to expect that he’ll sign. Stewart is a fastball-slider pitcher capable of throwing in the mid-90s. He joins an impressive stable of young Twins arms that includes offseason acquisitions Alex Meyer and Trevor May, along with former draft picks Kyle Gibson and Jose Berrios.
Indians picked high school outfielder Clint Frazier fifth overall.
A bit of a surprise here, but the Indians were probably hoping one of the top three would slip. Frazier isn’t a big guy, standing 6-foot-1 and weighing 190, but teams still think he’ll hit for power with wood bats. He also gets rave reviews for makeup. As a high school bat, he doesn’t figure to move quickly.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.