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.
From Jon Heyman of CBS Sports comes word that the Orioles “like” free agent starter Yovani Gallardo and “have reached out to him” to gauge his interest in coming to Baltimore and what that might cost.
Gallardo rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Rangers earlier this month and so his free agency is tied to draft pick compensation, but that shouldn’t hurt his bottom line all that much.
The 29-year-old right-hander posted a solid 3.42 ERA in 184 1/3 innings (33 starts) this past season for Texas and he pitched well in his one ALDS start.
Heyman reported a few weeks ago that the Diamondbacks are interested, and the Cubs, Blue Jays, and Dodgers were tied to him just ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.
David Price has expressed a desire to return to Toronto, where he finished out the 2015 season, but FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes Wednesday that the Blue Jays “are not expected to be a major factor in his free agency.”
The teams that should be considered serious suitors, per Rosenthal, are the Cubs, Cardinals, Giants, Dodgers, and Red Sox — all deep-pocketed teams looking to contend in 2016. Money is apparently the issue for the Blue Jays, who are currently owned by Rogers Communications.
Price registered an outstanding 2.45 ERA, 1.076 WHIP, and 225/47 K/BB ratio in 220 1/3 innings (32 starts) this past season between the Tigers and Jays, finishing second in the American League Cy Young Award race behind Dallas Keuchel of the Astros.
The 30-year-old left-hander is probably looking for a six- or seven-year contract worth more than $25 million per season. He is represented by agent Bo McKinnis.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote three weeks ago that the Marlins were probably going to explore an extension this winter with second baseman Dee Gordon. And it sounds like those talks are underway.
Via beat writer Joe Frisaro of MLB.com:
As a guest on MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” show Wednesday morning, Gordon confirmed his camp has been in talks with the Marlins regarding a multiyear deal. A source told MLB.com that the discussions are preliminary and have just recently started.
“My agent is doing the talking,” Gordon said on the show. “They’re just keeping me in the loop. I think it’s going pretty well right now. We’ll see how that goes. I’m just playing the waiting game. We’re going to do the right thing.”
The 27-year-old carries three more seasons of salary arbitration, so there’s no real rush to get something done before next spring. Gordon carries quite a bit of leverage after posting a career-best .333/.359/.418 slash line in 145 games this past season for the Fish. He led all major leaguers in hits (205) and stolen bases (58).
Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.
Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.
In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.