Max Pentecost

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

9 Comments

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.

Should Dave Roberts have taken Clayton Kershaw out of Sunday’s game?

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 29, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
5 Comments

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will likely be second-guessed heavily during tomorrow’s news cycle. Starter Clayton Kershaw had pitched a terrific ballgame, as is his tendency, but with 114 pitches to his name, Roberts decided to pull him from the game in the eighth inning with two outs and a runner on first base.

Roberts opted not for closer Kenley Jansen, who hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, but for another lefty in Adam Liberatore. He was playing the numbers, with the left-handed-hitting Curtis Granderson coming up. Liberatore, much to Roberts’ chagrin, served up what turned out to be a game-tying triple to Granderson, hitting a rocket to right-center just out of the reach of a leaping Yasiel Puig.

Jansen has, for six years, been one of the game’s elite relievers. Kershaw, though at a high pitch count, doesn’t seem to suffer from the times through the order penalty like most pitchers. Kershaw’s opponents’ OPS facing him for the first time was .525 coming into Sunday. Twice, .597. Three times, .587. Four times, .526 (but this suffers from survivorship bias so it’s not exactly representative).

Furthermore, Kershaw held lefties to a .546 OPS over his career. Liberatore, in 99 plate appearances against lefty hitters, gave up a .575 OPS. Jansen? .560. It seems that, faced with three decisions, Roberts arguably made the worst one. Playing conservative with Kershaw at 114 pitches is defensible, but only if Jansen comes in. If Roberts wanted the platoon advantage, Kershaw should have stayed in.

Luckily for the Dodgers, Mets closer Jeurys Familia didn’t have his best stuff. He loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth on a single and two walks, then gave up a two-run single to Adrian Gonzalez, giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. Jansen came on in the bottom half of the ninth and retired the side in order to pick up his 15th save of the season.

Royals sweep White Sox over the weekend on three late rallies

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 28:  Brett Eibner #12 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates his game-winning RBI single with teammates in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium on May 28, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals won 8-7. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Royals had themselves a pretty good weekend. The quickly fading White Sox, not so much.

On Friday, the Royals fell behind 5-1 after the top of the sixth. They would score once in the bottom of the sixth, four times in the seventh, and once in the eighth to steal a 7-5 win facing pitchers Miguel Gonzalez Dan Jennings, Matt Albers, Zach Duke and Nate Jones.

On Saturday, the Royals entered the bottom of the ninth down 7-1. They scored seven runs on closer David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to win 8-7.

On Sunday, the Royals were down 4-2 after the top of the eighth. They plated three runs in the bottom half of the eighth against Jones and Albers, going on to win 5-4.

Coming into the weekend, the Royals were 24-22 in third place. The White Sox were 27-21, a half-game up in first place. Now the Royals are in first place by a game and a half, and the White Sox are in third place, two games out of first.

Here’s video of the Royals’ comeback on Saturday, since it was so unlikely:

Report: Ryan Braun is “the hot name out there”

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 24: Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers waits to hit during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on May 24, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
8 Comments

In Saturday’s column for The Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo notes that, according to a scout, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is “the hot name out there.” Braun has been bothered by neck and back issues this year, missing on Sunday his eighth start out of the Brewers’ last 14 games, but he has still put up a quality .351/.424/.583 triple-slash line in 170 plate appearances this year.

More importantly for an acquiring team, Braun is in the first year of a five-year, $105 million contract. He’s earning $19 million this season and in the ensuing two seasons, and then his salary decreases slightly to $18 million in 2019, $16 million in 2020, and $15 million if both sides pick up his mutual option (else a $4 million buyout would be exercised).

Per Cafardo, the Astros, Cardinals, Red Sox, Phillies, Mets, Giants, and White Sox are potential landing spots for Braun.

Mets unhappy with Dodgers’ request to make outfield markings to position fielders

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 28:  The 1986 New York Mets are honored before the game between the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field on May 28, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.The New York Mets are honoring the 30th anniversary of the 1986 championship season.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
7 Comments

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Mets have asked MLB for clarification on the Dodgers’ use of a laser rangefinder for defensive positioning over this weekend’s series at Citi Field. The Dodgers notified the Mets’ ground crew that they wanted to mark certain positions in the outfield grass after determining positions with the rangefinder. The grounds crew said they could leave two marks in center field and one in left field.

However, the grounds crew then went to their superiors and told them that the Dodgers threatened to dig holes in the outfield grass with their cleats, so the grounds crew was then instructed to “erase or obliterate” any of the Dodgers’ markings.

According to Rosenthal, Major League Baseball reinforced a few weeks ago that teams aren’t allowed to use markers to aid defensive positioning. The Dodgers haven’t been accused of doing anything nefarious during a game. Howie Kendrick was seen pulling something out of his pocket in the outfield, but Brett Anderson clarified on Twitter that it was just a piece of paper with notes for defensive positioning.

The series between the Mets and Dodgers has been heated, as Noah Syndergaard was ejected for throwing at Chase Utley on Saturday. Utley then responded by hitting two home runs, one of which was a grand slam. The Mets may have a legitimate concern, or it may just be gamesmanship.