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.
The Braves have signed reliever Blaine Boyer to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Bowman adds that the right-hander has a “good chance” to make the Braves’ bullpen out of spring training.
Boyer, 35, spent the past season with the Brewers, finishing with a 3.95 ERA and a 26/17 K/BB ratio in 66 innings.
Boyer, of course, started his professional baseball career with the Braves as they selected him in the third round of the 2000 draft. Since the Braves traded him in 2009, Boyer has pitched for the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mets, Padres, and Twins along with the Brewers.
Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.