Sure, it was at a very hitter-friendly park in a very hitter-friendly league, but Koby Clemens hit the cover off the ball last season:
Say what you want about the Astros’ eighth-round pick of the 2005
Draft, that he’s a product of a hitting league and a very friendly
ballpark, but it’s difficult to look past the fact that he finished the
season with the most RBIs in all of the Minor Leagues, won the
California League batting title with a .345 average and led the Class A
Advanced circuit in RBIs (121), doubles (45), slugging percentage
(.636) and OPS (1.055).
Clemens was an 8th round pick by in 2005, he tends to have to repeat levels before he does anything solid and he isn’t even the Astros’ top-rated catching prospect (that would be Jason Castro). Still, he has power and some patience at the plate and may just manage to make it to the bigs someday if the stars align just so.
Not bad for someone who seemed like a nepotism pick at the time.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.
Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.
As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.