With the draft less than six hours away the Astros’ choice with the No. 1 overall pick remains a mystery.
Jim Callis of Baseball America predicts they’ll take Oklahoma right-hander Jonathan Gray, but Keith Law of ESPN.com has them taking Stanford right-hander Mark Appel in his final mock draft. Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com has Houston selecting Gray, but also adds that they might go with North Carolina third baseman Colin Moran.
Gray, Appel, and San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant are the consensus top three talents in the draft, which is rare in that they’re all college players. Kohl Stewart is considered the top high school talent and the right-hander from Texas seems like a lock to go to the Twins at No. 4, assuming the top three guys are all off the board.
We’ll have pick-by-pick analysis of the first round tonight, so check back later.
Earlier, Craig wrote about how Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is back in manager Dave Roberts’ doghouse once again. Puig didn’t slide into second base when he was caught stealing to end Saturday’s game, which irked Roberts.
Puig didn’t earn himself any brownie points on Monday as he was late to a team workout and was benched as a result, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Roberts said, “That was a decision he made, not me.” Roberts added that he was disappointed in Puig, though he did note that the former All-Star’s behavior has been improved for most of the season.
Puig, 26, has had a solid season, batting .259/.339/.474 with 26 home runs, 70 RBI, 66 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 554 plate appearances. While he hasn’t provided value on the same level as Justin Turner or Corey Seager, he’s been a valuable part of the lineup which makes this drama all the more unfortunate with just a week and a half before the start of the NLDS.
Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates were granted an exemption by Major League Baseball and the players’ union which will allow infielder Jung Ho Kang to participate in the Dominican Winter League without being removed from the restricted list.
Kang, 30, has been denied a visa by the Department of State as a result of his third DUI in South Korea last September. Kang was also under investigation in 2015 for alleged sexual assault.
Kang is under contract through the end of 2018 and the Pirates have a club option for the 2019 season as well, so it makes sense they would try to get him into some type of baseball action ahead of next season. The infielder has hit .273/.355/.483 in 837 plate appearances across two seasons in the majors. As Brink notes, Kang has already arrived to the Dominican Republic and will work out with his team, Aguilas Cibaenas, ahead of the start of the season on October 20.