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.

A scout thinks the Astros strike out too much. The Astros have the lowest strikeout total in baseball.

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Great moments in scouting. MLB.com’s Richard Justice spoke to an unnamed scout about the Astros, currently holding the American League’s best record at 76-47. The scout said that the Astros strike out too much and it will catch up with them. Justice pointed out that the Astros have the lowest strikeout total in baseball. The scout responded, “I don’t believe that.”

Justice, of course, is correct. The average major league team has struck out 1,006 times entering Sunday’s action. The Astros have by far the lowest total at 827, followed by the Indians at 881 and the Pirates at 882.

This scout doesn’t represent all scouts, but this is one of the major problems that advocates of statistics were trying to highlight before Sabermetrics became popular a decade ago. It’s a pattern. Person believes thing. Person either cherry-picks evidence to defend belief or is shown evidence that belief is not factually true and ignores it. Person refuses to change belief, using one of many excuses.

The other problem this highlights is the fallacy of “the eye test,” which is shorthand for treating a scout’s observations as sacrosanct due to his or her experience and knowledge of the game. In this case, the scout ignored easily accessed information, went with his gut, and turned out to be completely wrong. Furthermore, if “the eye test” were legit, the scout would’ve known that, for example, Yulieski Gurriel and Jose Altuve hardly ever strike out (11.1 and 12.4 percent strikeout rates, respectively). In fact, no one on the Astros’ roster (min. 230 PA) has a strikeout rate above 21 percent; the league average is 21.5 percent.

This isn’t to impugn the practice of scouting as a whole. There are a lot of things scouts can tell you about a player that data cannot and that has value. But for easily-researched claims like “the Astros strike out too much,” there’s no reason to trust a scout over the stats.

Mets acquire Jacob Rhame from Dodgers

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The Mets acquired right-handed reliever Jacob Rhame from the Dodgers, the team announced on Sunday. Rhame is the player to be named later in the trade that sent outfielder Curtis Granderson to Los Angeles on Friday night. He’s expected to report to the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate.

Rhame, 24, pitched through his second Triple-A campaign with the Oklahoma City Dodgers in 2017, collecting two saves in 41 appearances and logging a 4.31 ERA, 1.9 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 48 innings. While his ERA saw a sharp spike from its modest 3.29 mark in 2016 (perhaps thanks in part to a midseason DL stint due to an undisclosed injury), he’s controlling the ball better than he has in several years and has drawn some attention with a fastball that occasionally touches 98 MPH on the radar gun.

The Mets’ bullpen hasn’t been at its finest over the last few weeks, ranking 16th among its major league competitors with a collective 4.50 ERA and 2.4 fWAR, but likely isn’t looking to add an extreme fly ball pitcher to its staff just yet. Until he gets his big league break, Rhame will beef up Triple-A Vegas’ relief corps alongside fellow right-handers Yaisel Sierra, Joe Broussard and Josh Ravin.