2013 MLB Draft: Picks 2-5 – Cubs take third baseman Kris Bryant 2nd overall

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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.

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.