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.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote three weeks ago that the Marlins were probably going to explore an extension this winter with second baseman Dee Gordon. And it sounds like those talks are underway.
Via beat writer Joe Frisaro of MLB.com:
As a guest on MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” show Wednesday morning, Gordon confirmed his camp has been in talks with the Marlins regarding a multiyear deal. A source told MLB.com that the discussions are preliminary and have just recently started.
“My agent is doing the talking,” Gordon said on the show. “They’re just keeping me in the loop. I think it’s going pretty well right now. We’ll see how that goes. I’m just playing the waiting game. We’re going to do the right thing.”
The 27-year-old carries three more seasons of salary arbitration, so there’s no real rush to get something done before next spring. Gordon carries quite a bit of leverage after posting a career-best .333/.359/.418 slash line in 145 games this past season for the Fish. He led all major leaguers in hits (205) and stolen bases (58).
Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.
Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.
In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.
The number of people who, if you held a gun to their head, would say that “Rex Brothers” was a game show host and/or local TV news personality from the late 1970s or early 80s is not insignificant. But if you’re a Rockies fan or if spend all day thinking about baseball you know that he’s a reliever who has played in Colorado for the past five years. Now you know him as a reliever for the Cubs:
Brothers — a former Best Shape of His Life All-Star — was pretty good until he hit a brick wall in 2014 and spent most of 2015 in Triple-A. He had something of a bounceback after being called up when rosters expanded in September, but that’s not the sort of thing to excite anyone. He could be useful for the Cubs or just spring training cannon fodder and organizational depth.
Cabrera just turned 18 a couple of weeks ago and pitched a grand total of 14 games in the Dominican Summer League. He’s young and was a $250,000 signee from the Dominican as a 16-year-old so, by definition, he’s a project. Worth giving up Rex Brothers for him if you’re the Rockies, worth risking for some depth in the pen if you’re the Cubs.
Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks’ new hitting coach is Dave Magadan, who “parted ways” with the Rangers last month after three years filling the same role in Texas.
Magadan also previously was the Red Sox’s hitting coach and his teams have generally done pretty well, including the Rangers scoring the third-most runs in the league this year.
He’ll have plenty of talent to work with in Arizona, as the Diamondbacks scored the second-most runs in the league led by Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and David Peralta. Turner Ward, who had been Arizona’s hitting coach, chose to leave the team two weeks ago.