Notes from Day 2 of the MLB draft

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The third and final day of the draft is taking place right now, but a couple of yesterday’s mid-round picks caught me eye …

* Remember the University of Texas pitcher who threw 169 pitches during a 13-inning relief outing in an NCAA tournament game last month? Austin Wood was drafted in the fifth round by Detroit. When told that the Tigers picked Wood, manager Jim Leyland said: “He won’t be able to pitch until August.” He didn’t specify which year.

* Remember the Florida high schooler who threw four consecutive no-hitters? Patrick Schuster was taken by the Diamondbacks in the 13th round, which Conor Glassey of Baseball America notes
“is lower than Schuster was expected to go based on talent.” Schuster
has a scholarship waiting for him at the University of Florida, so he
may choose college rather than mid-round money.

* One other draft note from yesterday: Drew Storen’s incredibly fast deal with the Nationals includes a $1.6 million signing bonus, which is about 25 percent below what the past three No. 10 overall picks have received. General manager Mike Rizzo said
that Storen will begin his pro career at Single-A, which suggests that
the Nationals aren’t planning to push him to the majors this year.

Mike Trout has been really good at baseball lately

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“Water wet,” “Sky blue,” “Dog bites man” and “Mike Trout good” are not exactly newsworthy sentiments, but once in a while you have to state the obvious just so you can look back later and make sure you were, in the moment, aware of the obvious.

And to be fair, “Mike Trout good” is underselling the Angels outfielder lately. He’s on the greatest tear of his great career lately, and dang it, that’s worthy of a few words on this blog.

Last night Trout went a mere 1-for-1, but that’s because the Diamondbacks were smart enough not to pitch to him too much, walking him twice. There was no one on base the first time he came up and he got a free pass. There was a guy on first but two outs the second time, so he was once again not given much to hit and took his base again. Arizona was not so lucky the third time. The bases were loaded and there was nowhere to put Trout. He smacked the first pitch he saw for a two-run single. They probably shoulda just walked him anyway, limiting the damage to one. The last time up he reached on catcher’s interference. Maybe Arizona figured that literally grabbing the bat from him with a catcher’s mitt was the best bet?

If so you can’t blame them, really. Not with the month he’s had. In June, Trout is hitting .448/.554/.776 with five homers. He currently leads the league in the following categories: home runs (23), runs (60), walks (64), on-base percentage (.469), OPS (1.158) OPS+ (219), total bases (179) and intentional walks (9). He currently has a bWAR of 6.5. WAR, in case you did not know, is a cumulative stat. When he won the 2014 MVP Award, he “only” had 7.6 for the entire year.

Sadly, one man does not a team make, so the Angels are only 9-8 in the month of June and have fallen far back of the red-hot Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners in the division race. For this reason I suspect a lot of people are going to do what they’ve long done and overlook Mike Trout’s sheer dominance or, even more ridiculously, claim he is overrated or something (believe me, I’ve seen it even this month).

Feel free to ignore those people and concentrate instead on the greatest baseball player in the game today, who has somehow managed to up his game in recent weeks.