Max Pentecost

2014 MLB Draft: Picks 11-20 – Jays add catcher with second first-round pick


No. 11 pick: Blue Jays select Kennesaw State catcher Max Pentecost
This was a compensation pick for not signing Phil Bickford after drafting him 10th overall last year. Pentecost is a true catcher, but also a fine athlete with good speed. The questions about his bat kept him out of the top 10 tonight, but he could be a solid regular two or three years down the line. He did hit .423/.483/.631 this season, but that was against lesser competition in the Atlantic Sun Conference.

No. 12 pick: Brewers select high school LHP Kodi Medeiros
He’s the first Hawaiian high schooler to go in the first round since 2001. The Brewers have whiffed on a bunch of first-round picks the last five years — no one they’ve picked in the first or supplemental round since 2009 has reached the majors — and here’s another high-risk selection for them. Medeiros has a great arm, with a moving low-90s fastball and a big-breaking slider, but with an odd delivery and mediocre command, he’s a long shot to reach his ceiling.

No. 13 pick: Padres select NC State shortstop Trea Turner
Turner is a speedster with the ability to last at shortstop, but he’s likely to be more of a No. 7 or 8 hitter than someone who will be an asset at the top of the lienup. At least he should work out better than the last two middle infielders the Padres drafted in the top 20: Matt Antonelli in 2006 and Cory Spangerberg in 2010. He should move quickly through the farm system.

No. 14 pick: Giants select Vanderbilt left-hander Tyler Beede
Beede was the 21st overall pick by the Blue Jays in 2011, but he opted to head to Vandy rather than sign. He goes 13th overall despite having the weakest numbers of the Commodores’ primary starters this season, finishing 8-7 with a 3.20 ERA and a 106/43 K/BB in 98 1/3 innings. Still, there’s more upside here than one might expect with a college pitcher.

No. 15 pick: Angels select Hartford left-hander Sean Newcomb
Newcomb is a big lefty with a 91-95 mph fastball, and he went 8-2 with a 1.25 ERA and a 106/38 K/BB ratio in 93 1/3 innings for Hartford this year. Considering that he had little trouble overpowering rather weak college competition, the fact that he walked so many batters is rather discouraging. The talent is there for him to turn into something special, but he’s less polished than the college pitchers taken ahead of him.

No. 16 pick: Diamondbacks select high school right-hander Touki Toussaint
If Toussaint were a little bigger, he probably would have been right there with Brady Aiken and Tyler Kolek at the very top of the draft. As it was, his slight build probably worked against him, with teams wondering how he’ll hold up. He has an electric arm; he throws in the 90-95 mph range with the possibility of more velocity as he fills out and his curveball is outstanding.

No. 17 pick: Royals select TCU left-hander Brandon Finnegan
Finnegan isn’t big at 5’11” and 185 pounds, but he can throw in the mid-90s and has a quality changeup. Because of his size and some past shoulder troubles, some think he’ll wind up in the pen, and if the Royals want, they could get him to the majors in short order as a reliever. They’ll almost certainly groom him as a starter, though.

No. 18 pick: Nationals select UNLV right-hander Erick Fedde
Fedde gets taken two days after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The Nationals, though, have never been afraid of taking risks, and Fedde was a possible top-five guy before getting hurt. He throws in the low-90s with good command, and both his slider and changeup project as major league pitches. The Nats thought that was worth having stashed away, even if Fedde doesn’t pitch in a minor league game until 2016.

No. 19 pick: Reds select Virginia right-hander Nick Howard
Howard was the Cavaliers’ closer this season, saving 19 games with a 2.15 ERA and a 50/12 K/BB ratio in 29 1/3 innings. He throws 94-98 mph as a closer, but he is a former starter and the Reds will almost certainly take a look at him back in the rotation. What will be interesting to see is whether they try him as a reliever this year first. If so, he could be a factor in the majors in the second half of the season.

No. 20 pick: Rays select Wichita State first baseman Casey Gillaspie
Gillaspie, younger brother of White Sox third baseman Conor, hit .389/.520/.682 with 15 homers in 211 at-bats for the Shockers this season. He’s a switch-hitter with the swing to hit for both average and power. He’s not going to play anywhere other than first base, but the Rays obviously believe he has the bat to carry the position. They could certainly use a hit here after missing on so many first-rounders of late.

Report: Indians have been in touch with Shane Victorino

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 01:  Shane Victorino #18 of the Los Angeles Angels makes a catch for an out against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on August 1, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
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Outfield is a glaring need for the Indians, but they aren’t expected to shop for any of the big names on the free agent market. Instead, they are looking at potential bargains on short-term deals. Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that Shane Victorino falls under this classification and that the veteran outfielder is among many names the Indians have contacted.

Victorino, who turns 35 on Monday, has been limited to just 101 games over the past two seasons due to injury. Coming off back surgery, he batted just .230/.308/.292 with one home run and seven RBI over 204 plate appearances this past season between the Red Sox and Angels while battling calf and hamstring injuries. It’s hard to see the upside at this point, but the Indians could promise him regular at-bats, especially with Michael Brantley likely to miss the start of the 2016 season following shoulder surgery.

The Indians have also reportedly discussed trading either Danny Salazar or Carlos Carrasco for a bat, which represents their best chance of adding a big name to their outfield this winter.

Korean slugger Byung-ho Park is reportedly traveling to Minnesota

Byung-ho Park

Could the Twins and Korean slugger Byung-ho Park be close to finalizing a contract?

According to Naver Sports (via a translated report from Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press), Park is scheduled to travel to the United States on Sunday. The 29-year-old is expected to make a quick stop in Chicago to meet with his agent, Alan Nero, before coming to Minnesota to see Twins officials and take a physical exam. If all goes well, a contract could be finalized as soon as next week.

The Twins bid $12.85 million last month to secure exclusive negotiating rights with Park. The deadline to complete a deal is December 8. If a deal is not worked out, Park would remain with the Nexen Heroes in the KBO (Korea Baseball Organization) and the Twins would not have to pay the posting fee.

Right now, it’s unclear how far along the two sides are in negotiations. However, Berardino hears that a guarantee in the range of $20-30 million is reasonable to expect.

Park, a two-time MVP in the KBO, has amassed 105 home runs in 268 games over the past two seasons. It’s hard to tell how those numbers will translate, even after the success of Jung Ho Kang this season, but the Twins are hoping he can be a middle-of-the-order force.

Miami Police Department considers Yasiel Puig case closed

Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig waits to bat during batting practice prior to a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Wednesday, July 29, 2015, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

We have more details about Yasiel Puig‘s reported “brawl” at a bar in Miami. And while it’s a regrettable situation, it appears to be less serious than previously believed.

According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Major Delrish Moss of the Miami Police Department confirmed that Puig was involved in a fight with a bouncer. However, Moss described it more as a “scuffle” than a “brawl.” The Dodgers outfielder suffered injuries to his face, including a swollen left eye, while the bouncer was left with a “busted lip” among other minor facial injuries.

While the bouncer alleged that he was sucker-punched by Puig, Moss said that neither were interested in pressing charges. As a result, the Miami Police Department considers the case closed.

TMZ reported that the fight with the bouncer took place after Puig got into a physical altercation with his sister. However, Moss said that “no shoving was alleged” and that “to the best of our knowledge, the only physical altercation was between the bouncer and Puig.”

Major League Baseball is still expected to investigate the incident under their new domestic violence policy.

Erik Johnson likely to open 2016 in the White Sox rotation

DENVER, CO - APRIL 09:  Starting pitcher Erik Johnson #45 of the Chicago White Sox delivers against the Colorado Rockies during Interleague play at Coors Field on April 9, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the White Sox 10-4.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
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With the White Sox losing Jeff Samardzija to free agency, Erik Johnson will likely get a shot to contribute out of the rotation to open up the 2016 season, GM Rick Hahn said in a conference call on Wednesday, per a report from’s Scott Merkin.

“As we sit here today, I think it will be an opportunity for Erik Johnson to convert on sort of the return to form he showed back in 2015 when he was International League pitcher of the year for [Triple-A] Charlotte,” Hahn said. “Obviously, he got some starts in September and continued to show the progress in Chicago he had shown in the Minor Leagues over the course of the last season.

“So if Opening Day were today, then I think Johnson is penciled in to that spot in the rotation right now. In all probability, once we get closer to spring, there will be some competition for him to earn that spot. But if we were strictly looking at today, then I would think Johnson has the inside track on filling Samardzija’s innings.”

Johnson was called up from Triple-A Charlotte in September and made six starts, allowing 14 runs (13 earned) on 32 hits and 17 walks with 30 strikeouts in 35 innings. That followed up an impressive five months in the minors where he compiled a 2.37 ERA and a 136/41 K/BB ratio across 132 2/3 innings.

Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and each included Johnson on their top-100 prospect lists, ranking him 63rd, 67th, and 70th, respectively. The right-hander was selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2011 draft.