Author: Matthew Pouliot

Kyle Wren, Brandon Hohl

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


– 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 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.

2013 MLB Draft: Round 4-5 notes – Astros try another tiny second baseman

Tony Kemp

– Now the Astros are showing some sabermetric roots, going with Vanderbilt teammates in the fourth and fifth rounds. First baseman Conrad Gregor hit .314/.443/.418 with 53 walks in 220 at-bats this year, while second baseman Tony Kemp came in at .398/.480/.496 with 35 walks in 256 at-bats. The two had three homers between them, all Gregor’s. Kemp stands just 5-foot-7, though he’s still a giant next to Jose Altuve.

One wonders if the Astros might draft another Vandy product later on; outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, Carl’s grandson, is another player on the team with modest tools and subpar power but a nice track record nonetheless.

– Virginia closer Kyle Crockett seemed like great value for the Indians in round four. He’s no future major league closer, but he could be a setup man or at least a lefty specialist in short order.

– Second baseman L.J. Mazzilli went back into the draft after going to the Twins in the ninth round last year and moved up to the fourth round with the Mets this time around. That’s the team his father, Lee, was most identified with during his 14 years in the majors.

– Cody Bellinger, son of Clay, went to the Dodgers at pick No. 124. The former Little League World Series participant gets rave reviews for his defense at first base, and while his bat is in question, he has plenty of time to develop; he won’t even turn 18 until next month. The Dodgers also drafted right-hander J.D. Underwood, son of Tom, in the fifth round. His father, Tom, lasted 11 years as a journeyman left-hander.

– Rice University aces tend to go on to be first-round draft picks (and then often major league busts). However, the school’s top starter this year, Austin Kubitza, lasted until No. 126, when he landed with the Tigers. A sinker-slider guy, he may not miss enough bats to make it as a starter in the pros.

– Kean Wong, little brother of Cardinals prospect and former first-round pick Kolten Wong, was taken by the Rays at No. 128. Like his brother, he’s a second baseman. However, some suspect he’ll need to move to third, and he may lack the power for the position.

– Right-hander Dylan Covey, a first-round pick of the Brewers in 2010, was grabbed by the A’s late in round four. He was expected to sign out of high school, but after he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, he decided on school instead. His stock slipped this year while he was posting a 5.05 ERA and walking 43 in 76 2/3 innings for the University of San Diego.

– The Marlins took Chad Wallach, son of Tim, in round five. A catcher out of Cal State Fullerton, he projects as a major league backup if all goes right.

– Milwaukee seems to be targeting relievers as a draft strategy; third-rounder Barrett Astin, fourth-rounder Taylor Williams and fifth-rounder Joshua Uhen all project as bullpen guys. Astin, who split time between the rotation and the closer’s role at Arkansas, is the closest of the group to being ready to help.

– Rangers fifth-rounder Joe Jackson, out of The Citadel, is the great grandson of Shoeless Joe Jackson. A catcher, he hit .386/.495/.658 with 13 homers and 67 RBI in 60 games against largely modest competition this year.

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

Kent Emanuel

– 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 (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. 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. 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.