Kyle Wren, Brandon Hohl

2013 MLB Draft: Round 6-10 notes – Braves GM picks his son

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– One big thing to remember here: the new draft rules that kicked in last year really sucked the air out of these rounds. Instead of going for upside guys, a lot of teams are drafting college seniors in rounds 5-10 and then trying to sign them well under slot, freeing up money for more talented players. So, the better prospects that slipped through the third and fourth rounds aren’t being taken here. Instead, teams will begin taking them in round 11 on Saturday, since there is more financial flexibility with picks made then.

– Dom Nunez made the switch to catcher in high school this year and was expected to be drafted there, but the Rockies called his name in the sixth round as a third baseman. The 18-year-old was previously a shortstop when he played for Team USA in 2011 and ’12. The Rockies’ first position player taken was also a third baseman, Ryan McMahon. Obviously, they’re targeting best player available, rather than trying to fill needs, but it’s still interesting to see them looking at third basemen when they have Nolan Arenado as an emerging regular and cornerstone Troy Tulowitzki potentially needing to move off shortstop three or four years from now.

– The Royals’ sixth rounder was RHP Luke Farrell, son of Red Sox manager John Farrell. The senior right-hander had a 2.13 ERA in 84 1/3 innings for Northwestern this year and tied for the Big 10 lead with 80 strikeouts.

– Right-hander Steve Janas, the Braves’ sixth-round pick, was back pitching in games for Kennesaw State this spring just 10 months after Tommy John surgery, and he ended up with a 1.14 ERA in 78 2/3 innings against a soft schedule. That his fastball only occasionally touches 90 mph held him back here.

– It probably didn’t help first baseman Jake Bauers’ stock much that his MLB.com scouting report compares him to Daric Barton. Still, he’s got it pretty good right now. He can either join San Diego Padres farm system after being drafted 208th overall or he can head to the University of Hawaii for school.

– The Tigers finally drafted their first position player in the seventh round, 216th overall. That was Connor Harrell, Vanderbilt’s center fielder the last four years. Despite waiting so long, the Tigers still beat the Angels and Blue Jays to the punch. The Angels’ first position player came at No. 277 (Florida State catcher Stephen McGee) and the Blue Jays waited until No. 295 (Air Force catcher Garrett Custons).

– Georgia Tech outfielder Kyle Wren was previously drafted by the Reds and Tigers, but he declined to sign. Now, he got picked by his father, Braves GM Frank Wren, in the eighth round today. We’ll go out on a limb and say that he’s ready to sign this time. Wren hit .360/.423/.467 with 28 steals for the Ramblin Wreck this year.

Wren’s younger brother, Jordan, is also eligible for the draft this year coming out of high school. However, he’s yet to be picked.

– Patrick Valaika, brother of Marlins infielder Chris and former minor leaguer Matt, was the Rockies’ ninth-round pick. He’s UCLA’s shortstop, but he probably won’t remain at the position as a pro.

– The Twins drafted their third catcher of the day in the ninth round, picking New Mexico’s Mitchell Garver. They also grabbed catchers in the third (Old Miss’s Stuart Turner) and sixth (high schooler Brian Navareto) rounds. Which is all kind of interesting, given that they do have some guy named Joe Mauer. The only other position player they took among their 10 picks was Indiana third baseman Dustin DeMuth in the eighth round.

– Third baseman Dylan Manwaring was selected by the Braves in the ninth round. He’s the son of Kirt Manwaring, who caught for 13 seasons in the majors before calling it a career in 1999.

– At 24, left-hander Chad Jones was one of the oldest players in the draft, and the Reds took a chance on him in the ninth round. In 2010, he was a third-round pick of the Giants. The New York Giants. Soon afterwards, he suffered a severe leg injury in a car accident, essentially ending his career as a cornerback. However, his leg is sound enough now to allow him to pitch, and he’s back throwing in the high-80s four years after he last pitched for LSU.

Dee Gordon reinstated from PED suspension

Miami Marlins' Dee Gordon celebrates after hitting a double against the Detroit Tigers in the ninth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 5, 2016, in Miami. Derek Dietrich scored on the double. The Tigers won 8-7. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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The Miami Marlins have reinstated second baseman Dee Gordon from his suspension.

Gordon, of course, has missed the last 80 games while serving his drug suspension. He’s coming off a minor league rehab assignment and will be the everyday second baseman for the contending Marlins. He was hitting .266/.289/.340 with three doubles, two triples, five RBI, 13 runs scored, and six stolen bases in 97 plate appearances when he was popped. He was replaced by Derek Dietrich, who hit a nice .275/.366/.398 with 22 extra-base hits, 30 RBI, and 26 runs scored in 314 PA in Gordon’s absence, so don’t expect a tremendous upgrade at second down the stretch, even if they get a nice upgrade in the utility and depth department.

To make room for Gordon, the Marlins designated utilityman and sometimes hero Don Kelly for assignment. Sad jams.

Chris Sale called “a competitor” for stuff that gets most guys called “head cases”

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox reacts during the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Chris Sale has had an eventful week.

On Saturday he was scratched from his start and subsequently suspended for five games for cutting up the 1976 throwback uniforms the team was scheduled to wear, making them unusable. That cost the team over $12,000 and cost the Sox their best pitcher hours before game time.

On Monday Sale gave an interview to Scott Merkin in which he apologized to fans and teammates and explained his rationale for the uniform shredding. Even if his act was over the top, there was a core of understandable motivation at least: Sale said he voiced his displeasure with the untucked jersey months ago and asked to not pitch on a night they’d have to wear them because he believed it would mess with his mechanics and/or mental state. The Sox didn’t heed his request and Sale took issue, as many probably would, with what he felt was the business of throwback jerseys taking precedence over on-the-field stuff.

Of course, there are still some pretty big problems here. Mostly having to do with the facts that (a) the Sox have people on staff who could’ve optimized his jersey any way he needed it to be optimized if he had asked; (b) ballplayers have been wearing throwbacks for a long time now and, even if they don’t like them, they tend to endure them; and (c) he’s a ballplayer who needs to suck things up sometimes like every single ballplayer ever has done. There are a ton of things ballplayers are expected to do which are insisted upon by the business folks. It’s part of the gig.

A little more seriously than that is the fact that Sale pretty publicly threw his manager, Robin Ventura, under the bus :

“Robin is the one who has to fight for us in that department,” Sale said. “If the players don’t feel comfortable 100 percent about what we are doing to win the game, and we have an easy fix — it was as easy as hanging up another jersey and everyone was fine. For them to put business first over winning, that’s when I lost it.”

An undercurrent to all of this is Sale being fairly obvious in voicing his desire to be traded.

Today Bob Nightengale of USA Today has a story about Sale’s week. It’s sourced largely by Sale’s friend Adam Eaton who defends Sale as a passionate competitor who just wants to win and how all of this stuff of the past week was about his desire to do so. The headline of the story buys in to all of that:

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We heard much the same along these lines when Sale blasted Sox brass following the Drake LaRoche stuff during spring training, going on an expletive-filled rant in a meeting behind closed doors but then bringing the same noise, albeit cleaned up, in front of reporters after it all became public.

Chris Sale is who he is, of course, and I’m not going to too harshly judge who he is. He’s an amazing pitcher and, as most athletes will tell you, the mental part of the game is almost as important or, maybe, even more important than the physical part. Asking Sale to be who he isn’t would probably be counterproductive in the long term.

But I am fascinated with the way in which someone who has behaved like Sale has behaved is described. He’s a “competitor” whose objectively disruptive and literally destructive behavior is explained away as merely a function of his desire to win. His friends on the team, like Eaton, are sought out for damage control and spin and his detractors, which there are likely some, aren’t quoted, even anonymously. He has publicly called out his manager as not wanting to win as much as he wants to please his bosses and he has likewise called out his manager’s bosses and has welcomed a trade, yet we aren’t seeing stories about how that’s a bad thing for the Sox’ clubhouse.

I don’t much care for that sort of stuff, actually, as I suspect most clubhouse controversy stories are somewhat overblown and overly dramatized. But those stories have been go-to tropes of sports writers for decades, and I am trying to imagine this sort of story about players who aren’t Chris Sale. Players who don’t have as friendly a relationship with the media as he has or who don’t have clubhouse allies who do. I feel like, most of the time, a story about a guy who who has done the odd things Sale has done both this week and last March would play a hell of a lot differently.

How does this all play of it’s Yordano Ventura? Or Yasiel Puig? Or Jose Fernandez? How does this play if it took place in the NBA and it was Kevin Durant who shredded up a bunch of short-shorts on 80s throwback night? How does it play if it’s Cam Newton?

I bet it plays differently.