Colin Moran

2013 MLB Draft: Picks 6-10 – The Marlins jump on Colin Moran

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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.

Pirates sign reliever Eric O’Flaherty

Eric O'Flaherty
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Left-hander Eric O'Flaherty has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Pirates that includes an invitation to spring training.

O’Flaherty was one of the best relievers in the league for the Braves from 2009-2013, posting a combined 1.99 ERA in 249 innings, but Tommy John elbow surgery derailed his career and he struggled for the A’s and Mets in 2015 while dealing with shoulder problems.

It’s tough to know if O’Flaherty is healthy at this point, but the 31-year-old southpaw certainly has a chance to be a nice reclamation project for the Pirates on a no-risk contract.

Mariano Rivera to get his plaque in Monument Park on August 14

Mariano Rivera
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The greatest closer in history is going to get the ultimate honor the New York Yankees bestow on August 14. That’s when Mariano Rivera will get his plaque in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium before a game against the Rays.

There was some chatter in the last year or two about whether the Yankees were somehow lowering their standards out there, what with guys like Tino Martinez getting honored. But if that’s something you care about it won’t matter in this instance. Rivera would’ve been worthy even if the old snobby ways had held and only inner-circle types got a plaque, what with him being a key member of five World Series-winning teams and his status as the all-time saves leader in the regular season and the postseason.

The Yankees retired Rivera’s No. 42 in 2013. He’ll get his plaque in August. Then, on the first ballot for which he is eligible, he’ll be voted into the Hall of Fame, likely with a percentage in the mid-to-high 90s.

Dodgers “trying to trade” Alex Guerrero

Alex Guerrero
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Alex Guerrero is a potentially good right-handed bat without a position to play in Los Angeles, so Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reporting that the Dodgers are “trying to trade” him makes sense.

Guerrero, who signed with the Dodgers out of Cuba for $28 million in October of 2013, spent last season in the majors hitting .233 with 11 homers and a .695 OPS in a part-time role that generated 230 plate appearances. He logged a total of just 355 innings defensively, mostly as a left fielder and third baseman.

Guerrero could be intriguing–particularly to an American League team for whom his defense isn’t much of an issue–because he hit .329 with 15 homers and a 1.113 OPS in 65 games at Triple-A in 2014 and was consistently a .300 hitter with an OPS around 1.000 in Cuba. He’s also 29 years old, so Guerrero is no doubt looking to play regularly.

The New Zealand World Baseball Classic team performs the Haka

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It’s World Baseball Classic time again. Just the qualifying rounds. The actual tournament happens in 2017. Qualifiers will happen in Sydney, Australia, Mexicali, Mexico, Panama City, Panama and Brooklyn, N.Y., periodically, between now and September.

The Sydney round just got underway yesterday, so yes, some actual baseball is going on. As I’ve written and ranted before, the WBC is not my favorite thing that happens in baseball and certainly not the most important thing, but it’s pretty fun. Especially when there are displays of enthusiasm and pageantry and the like.

Such as the Haka, which basically every New Zealand sports team does and which never gets old:

 

Down in Sydney, the Australia, New Zealand, Philippines and South Africa teams are competing in a six-game, modified double-elimination format. In the other three qualifying rounds, Mexico, Czech Republic, Germany, Nicaragua, Colombia, France, Panama, Spain, Brazil, Great Britain, Israel and Pakistan will compete. Each qualifying round puts one representative in the WBC.

Those four qualifiers will compete in the WBC itself against countries that performed well enough in the past that they need not submit to qualifying: Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela.

Someone make sure Jon Morosi is well-hyrdrated. It’s gonna be a long year.