2013 MLB Draft: Round 3 notes – BoSox get steal in Jon Denney

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– With all night to think about it, the Astros made North Carolina left-hander Kent Emanuel the first pick off the board Friday and 74th overall selection. That splits the difference over where MLB.com (69th) and ESPN’s Keith Law (82nd) had him ranked. Emanuel is a 6-foot-4 lefty with a decent three-pitch arsenal, but command seems to be his strong suit.

It’s interesting that the Astros, who now have one of the most sabermetrically minded front offices in the game, have gone for three college pitchers in three picks. It indicates that they’re planning to stop rebuilding and start contending come 2015 or ’16. Otherwise, it would have made sense to go with bigger upside guys in the second and third rounds. It also suggests that maybe No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel won’t be signing for less than slot. If he was prepared to give the Astros some savings, the team could have grabbed signability players in the second and third. They can still do that later, but the talent will dwindle.

– Jon Denney’s free fall stopped when the Red Sox picked him No. 81. MLB.com had the high school catcher as the draft’s No. 20 prospect, while Keith Law had him at No. 22. It’s a curious landing spot for him, given that the Red Sox don’t figure to have a lot of flexibility to go over slot. Their first pick, high school left-hander Trey Ball, probably won’t settle for less than his slot. Their second pick, Teddy Stankiewicz, rejected the Mets’ offer as a second-rounder last year, and since he’s still just a freshman, he’ll have leverage in negotiations. If the Red Sox can get Denney signed anyway, it’d be quite a coup. They already have Ryan Lavarnway, Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart in the minors, but a team can never have enough catching.

– At No. 84, the Mets drafted a 6-foot-7, 190-pound high school righty named Casey Meisner. They’re probably hoping he fills out a bit.

– The Phillies grabbed outfielder Cord Sandberg with the 89th pick and now face the difficult task of luring him away from a football scholarship to play quarterback at Mississippi State. Rivals.com rated him the No. 8 high school quarterback prospect this year, so it won’t be an easy task.

– The No. 91 pick was outfielder Jacob May, going to the White Sox. He can’t be a third generation major leaguer, since his father, Lee May Jr., came up a little short after being drafted in the first round by the Mets in 1986. His grandfather, Lee, played 18 seasons and hit 354 homers in a career that ended in 1982, and his great uncle, Carlos, spent much of his 11-year career with the White Sox.

– Not to be confused with A’s left-hander Tomaso “Tommy” Milone, the Rays drafted high school outfielder Thomas Milone with the 97th overall pick. He’s an outstanding athlete in center, but one who is still learning the game after also playing football in Connecticut.

– The Yankees selected Paul O’Neill’s nephew Michael with the 103rd pick. He was the University of Michigan’s best hitter this year, finishing with a .356/.396/.498 line and 23 steals in 239 at-bats. He’s probably not going to last in center as a pro and he has limited home run power, so he’s going to have quite the uphill climb to the majors.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.