Notre Dame Cal Poly Baseball

2013 MLB Draft: Picks 21-33 – Yankees make their three first-round picks

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Rays selected catcher Nick Ciuffo with the 21st pick in the 2013 draft.
The second high school catcher to go, Ciuffo has a promising left-handed bat with quite a bit of power potential. He’s still rather raw behind the plate, but he has a good arm and the tools to turn into an adept catcher in time.

Orioles drafted high school right-hander Hunter Harvey 22nd overall.
Hunter is the son of former major league closer Bryan Harvey. The hope is that Hunter will make it as a starter with his low-90s fastball, curveball and changeup, and he could add some velocity as he fills out. There’s a lot of upside here.

Rangers picked Oral Roberts right-hander Alex Gonzalez with the 23rd selection.
Yes, another Alex Gonzalez. This one pitches, though. He’s not very polished for a college pitcher, but his low-90s moving fastball could prove to be an excellent weapon. He also has a slider. Some think he’s more likely to make it as a reliever than as a starter.

Athletics picked high school outfielder Billy McKinney 24th overall.
McKinney figures to hit for both average and power, but he probably won’t be an asset defensively in the process. He did play center in high school, but he figures to soon find himself in left field or maybe right as a pro.

Giants selected shortstop Christian Arroyo with the 25th pick in the draft.
Buster Posey excepted, the Giants don’t have nearly as much luck drafting hitters as pitchers. Still, Brian Sabean opted to go for a shortstop here. Arroyo is expected to stay at the position, but he was a surprise as a first-round pick. While the Giants obviously disagree, it seems like most project him as a utilityman.

Yankees took third baseman Eric Jagielo 26th overall in the draft.
With three of the last eight picks in the first round, the Yankees played it rather safe with the first pick. Jagielo upped his stock in the Cape Cod League last year and then hit .388/.500/.633 with nine homers for Notre Dame this season. He’s questionable to last at third base, and he may not run well enough to be an asset in an outfield corner either. He does possess plenty of power from the left side of the plate, so with hopes of playing in Yankee Stadium, he’s an intriguing fantasy prospect.

Reds selected Samford outfielder Philip Ervin with the 27th pick.
Ervin was the Cape Cod League MVP last year, giving him some momentum headed into his Junior season at Samford. Some teams liked him better as a pitcher, but the Reds drafted him as a center fielder. He’ll probably move to a corner later if Billy Hamilton develops as hoped.

Cardinals selected high school LHP Rob Kaminsky 28th overall.
The Cardinals took left-handers with both of their first-round picks, the difference being that this one is from the high school ranks. Kaminsky certainly has better pure stuff than 19th overall pick Marco Gonzales, but he’s a rather raw talent without much of a changeup at the moment.

Rays selected University of Arkansas RHP Ryne Stanek with the 29th overall pick.
Stanek, no relation to Ryne Sandberg, might be the steal of the first round at No. 29. The 21-year-old has struggled with consistency in college, but he has arguably the best fastball in the draft, a quality slider and the making of a legit curveball. The Rays have plenty of pitching in front of him, which is probably for the best. He’s not as close to being major league ready as some of the other college hurlers.

Rangers picked high school shortstop Travis Demeritte 30th overall Thursday.
This was supposed to be a very weak draft for middle infielders, but four shortstops went in the first round. Demeritte, though, is the least likely of the group to stay at the position, which would have been the case even if he wasn’t drafted by the team that already has Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar. The Rangers probably see him as a long-term third baseman.

Braves selected Oklahoma State right-hander Jason Hursh with the 31st pick in the draft.
The Braves gave up their first-round pick to sign B.J. Upton, but they got one back for losing Michael Bourn. Hursh, a Tommy John survivor, went 6-5 with a 2.79 ERA and an 86/28 K/BB ratio in 106 1/3 innings for the Cowboys this year. A sinkerballer, he could move quickly, though he doesn’t have the kind of upside one might prefer from a first-round pick.

Yankees picked Fresno State outfielder Aaron Judge with the 32nd selection.
Judge is a big guy, standing 6-foot-7, but he hit just six homes in his first two seasons for Fresno State before upping his total to 11 this year. On the other hand, he’s always been an excellent OBP guy, finishing his career with a .451 mark. If he learns to better use his strength to turn on fastballs, he could end up as one of the top hitters in the draft. He’s a worthy gamble for a team with three first-round picks.

Yankees took high school left-hander Ian Clarkin with the 33rd and final pick in the first round of Wednesday’s draft.
Clarkin throws in the low-90s and shows potential with both his curve and changeup, so it would have been no surprise had he gone 15 or 20 spots higher tonight. Command has been an issue, and he’s not someone who figures to rise through the ranks rapidly.

Reid Brignac is trying to become a switch hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.

I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.

I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.

As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.

There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.

Video: Andrelton Simmons makes a heads-up play to catch Carlos Asuaje off first base

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 03:  Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 3, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
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Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.

Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.

With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.