Marlins selected third baseman Colin Moran from the University of North Carolina with the sixth overall pick.
One rumor last week was that the Astros might take Moran first overall in order to save some money. The Marlins should consider themselves lucky to get him here. Moran, the nephew of former No. 1 overall draft pick B.J. Surhoff, should last at third base, and he’s got a great approach that could make him a No. 2 hitter in the majors. The big issue is whether he’ll turn into more than a 10- or 15-homer guy.
Red Sox picked high school left-hander Trey Ball with the seventh pick in the draft.
The Red Sox were typically linked to outfielders Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier in this spot, and Meadows was out there for them. Instead, they went with a 6-foot-6 left-hander with big-time upside. Ball was also viewed as a first-round prospect as an outfielder, but the Red Sox drafted him for his talent on the mound. Ball throws in the low-90s now and could add velocity. He’s a high risk kind of talent, but as rarely as the Red Sox get to pick up here — they hadn’t drafted in the top 10 since selecting Trot Nixon seventh overall in 1993 — it’s hard to blame them for shooting for the moon.
Royals selected Stephen F. Austin shortstop Hunter Dozier eighth overall.
This will be the laughing stock pick of the top 10, as most saw Dozier as a second-round talent. The Royals can probably sign him at a discount, which could pay off later if some nice prospects slip, but that’d be a silly motivation when there were legitimate top-10 talents left on the board. Dozier isn’t expected to stay at shortstop, but the Royals will likely play him there initially. He has pretty good power, and he’ll need it, since he figures to end up at third.
Pirates grabbed high school outfielder Austin Meadows with the ninth pick in the draft.
Meadows was projected to go as high as fifth and most didn’t see him lasting past the Red Sox with the seventh pick. He probably won’t last in center, and that’s especially a given with Andrew McCutchen now ahead of him. But he should prove to be quite an asset defensively in right field, and he possesses big-time power potential. He’s a high risk kind of guy, but he’s also one with the ability to end up as the best player from this year’s draft.
Blue Jays picked right-hander Phil Bickford with the 10th pick.
The Blue Jays usually go high school, just as they did here. They may well have preferred Trey Ball, but the Red Sox got to him first. Bickford, who doesn’t turn 18 until next month, already touches the mid-90s with his fastball, and both his slider and changeup could turn into plus pitches later.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.
Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.
The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.
Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.
The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.
He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.