Carlos Rodon

2014 MLB Draft: Picks 2-5 – Carlos Rodon goes to White Sox at No. 3

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No. 2 pick: Marlins select high school RHP Tyler Kolek
MLB teams love the big right-handers from Texas (the Marlins once got a really good one in Josh Beckett), and Kolek is one of the biggest, checking in at 6’5″ and 250-260 pounds. He throws in the mid-90s, hitting 100 mph on occasion, and he has a pair of breaking balls. His command lags behind his stuff and he needs to work on his changeup, but he’s quite a talent.

No. 3 pick: White Sox select NC State LHP Carlos Rodon
Rodon was the heavy favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick at the beginning of the year, but a heavy workload and inconsistent velocity caused some worry among the teams at the top. He finished better than he started, and he seems like a great choice for the White Sox here. He could join their rotation in the first half of 2015.

No. 4 pick: Cubs select Indiana catcher Kyle Schwarber
The first curveball of the draft, Schwarber was the star of a surprise Hoosiers team this year, hitting .358/.464/.659 with 14 homers in 232 at-bats. Taking him this high suggests that the Cubs are confident that he can stay behind the plate, which has been in question. He is fast enough to play in the outfield if necessary. Ideally, his left-handed bat will someday fit nicely behind right-handers Albert Almora, Javier Baez and Kris Bryant in the order.

No. 5 pick: Twins select high school shortstop Nick Gordon
Gordon is another son of former major league pitcher Tom and the brother of Dodgers second baseman Dee. He has a terrific arm and was a prospect as a pitcher as well, but he much preferred to play shortstop. How much he’ll hit remains to be seen. He should offer more power than Dee, and he has plenty of speed, of course. Just 18, he’s a long way from the majors.

“La Vida Baseball,” celebrating Latino baseball, launches

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A new website has launched. It’s called “La Vida Baseball,” and it’s all about celebrating the past, present and future of Latino baseball from a Latino perspective.

The site, produced in partnership with the Hall of Fame, has four general areas of focus:

  • Who’s Now: Focusing on current Latino players;
  • Who’s Next: Focusing on top prospects here, in the Caribbean and in Central and South America;
  • Our Life: Off-the-Field stuff, including player’s lives, lifestyles and hobbies; and
  • Our Legends: Focusing on Latino baseball history, Hall of Famers and overlooked players.

As the site has just launched there aren’t yet a ton of stories up there, but there is one about Roberto Clemente, another about Felix Hernandez and some other stuff.

The site is much-needed. Baseball reporters for American outlets are overwhelmingly white, non-Spanish speakers. Reporters, who, generally, gravitate to the players who are the most like they are. Which is understandable on some level. When you’re writing stories about people you need to be able to communicate with them and relate to them on more than a mere perfunctory level. As such, no matter how good the intentions of baseball media, we tend to see the clubhouse and the culture of baseball from a distinctly American perspective. And we tend to paint Latino players with a broad, broad brush.

La Vida Baseball will, hopefully, remedy all of that and will, hopefully, give us a fresh and insightful depiction Latino players and their culture.

 

David Ross to compete on “Dancing with the Stars”

David Ross
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Do you miss David Ross? I miss David Ross. The season hasn’t even started yet and I miss David Ross. There’s something comforting about having a likable graybeard catcher in the game with bonus points for being bald. His loss will be felt.

But while we won’t have David Ross in baseball all this year — at least on the field; he’s a special assistant with the Cubs — we’ll still have David Ross someplace:

Johnny Damon did “Celebrity Apprentice” — Trump fired him, sadly — but we’ve never had a ballplayer on “Dancing With The Stars.” There have been several football players and some Olympians, but no baseball guys. Which makes some amount of sense as, outside of the middle infielders and first basemen, footwork isn’t necessarily the most important tool.

Catchers are particularly plodding for athletes, so good luck, David. Unless you have some moves you haven’t flashed in the past, you’ll probably need it.