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.

Yadier Molina gets cast removed from surgically-repaired thumb

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Norm Hall/Getty Images North America
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Yadier Molina underwent surgery to repair a ligament tear in his right thumb shortly after the Cardinals were eliminated from the NLDS by the Cubs, and then he needed a followup procedure two months later.

It’s been an offseason of rest and rehab for the seven-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glover, though he’s about ready to ramp up the intensity of workouts with the beginning of spring training approaching …

Brayan Pena was signed to a two-year, $5 million free agent contract this winter to provide more reliable depth behind the plate. He’ll be the Cardinals’ starter at catcher come Opening Day if Yadi isn’t quite ready.

Molina started a whopping 131 games behind the plate in 2015.

Jose Fernandez wants $30 million a year, Marlins don’t plan on paying

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Rob Foldy/Getty Images North America
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You’ve heard the stories by now. Jose Fernandez does not get along with Marlins management and is doubtful to sign a long-term contract with the team.

There’s still time for those relationships to be repaired — Fernandez can’t become a free agent until after the 2018 season — but we also have a monetary issue at play.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes Sunday that the Marlins are “under the impression” Fernandez and his representatives want $30 million per year on a long-term deal, a figure the Marlins “have no plans to meet.”

If the Marlins won’t pay, Fernandez and his reps will seek that number when the ace right-hander reaches free agency. That could be the same offseason Bryce Harper tries for $500 million.

A friend of Fernandez told Jackson that the 23-year-old native of Cuba was upset about some of the trades the Marlins made last summer and the removal of pitching coach Chuck Hernandez. You probably heard talk of Miami shopping Fernandez this winter, but the asking price was predictably sky-high.

Fernandez has been limited to 19 starts over the last two years because of Tommy John surgery and a biceps injury, but he boasts a stellar 2.40 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 10.5 K/9 in 289 career major league frames. He will make $2.8 million in 2016 and carries two more years of arbitration eligibility.

If he can put together a run of 30-start, 200-inning seasons, Fernandez will get that $30 million per year and probably much more.

Michael Brantley’s timetable off shoulder surgery is “hazy”

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Paul Hoynes at the Cleveland Plain Dealer has an in-depth look at how the Indians will manage their outfield during the early part of the 2016 season, in the absence of star Michael Brantley.

Brantley underwent labrum surgery on his right shoulder this past November and has not picked up a bat all winter. “In the off-season people know I love to hit,” Brantley acknowledged to Hoynes late last week. ”I hit a lot. It’s just been a change in my timetable.”

Hoynes says the projected date for Brantley’s 2016 debut is “hazy,” guessing that it might happen around late April or early May if everything continues to go smoothly. Shoulders can be tricky, for hitters and pitchers.

Rajai Davis, Abraham Almonte, and Lonnie Chisenhall figure to make up Cleveland’s primary starting outfield while Brantley is finishing his rehabilitation. Collin Cowgill and Joey Butler could also be in the mix. It’s a lacking group, tasked with replacing one of the most productive players in baseball.

Brantley, 28, has slashed .319/.382/.494 over the last two seasons, tallying 35 home runs, 90 doubles, 181 RBI, and 38 stolen bases in 293 games.

Could the talented Tribe be in for another slow start?

Shouldn’t this club be spending more money?

Jose Bautista had a courtside view of Saturday night’s epic NBA Slam Dunk Contest

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Elsa/Getty Images North America
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Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic put on a tremendous show in Saturday night’s NBA Slam Dunk Contest up in Toronto, Canada. The stars were out to see it at the Air Canada Centre, and Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista had one of the very best views in the house. Check out this video he posted to Instagram of LaVine’s final dunk, a between-the-legs jam from just inside the free throw line …

Its a wrap!!! #BackToBack #SlamDunk #Champion @zachlavine8 🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽

A video posted by Jose Bautista (@joeybats19) on

That is Toronto’s very own Drake going wild in the pink jacket. Gordon probably had the best individual dunk of the night, though, if we’re being really real …

Back to your regularly scheduled baseball programming. Pitchers and catchers report Friday.