Draft blog: Bryce Harper taken first overall by Nationals

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Nationals selected catcher Bryce Harper with the first pick in the 2010 draft.
The consensus No. 1 might not remain behind the plate; his own agent, Scott Boras, sees him as a corner outfielder and the Nationals announced him as an outfielder. Such a move would likely speed Harper’s arrival in Washington, and it’d make more likely to reach his vast offensive upside. Harper doesn’t even turn 18 until October, and he’s coming off a junior-college season in which he hit .417 with 21 homers in 51 games. If he lives up to the hype, he’ll have some 35- or 40-homer seasons in the majors.
Pirates selected RHP Jameson Taillon with the second pick in the draft.
Widely viewed as the top high school pitcher available, Taillon stands 6-foot-7 and throws in the mid-90s consistently, touching 98 mph. His slider also draws raves, while his changeup is promising but lacks polish. The Pirates will have to buy him away with Rice, but they wouldn’t have gone this route if they weren’t prepared to ante up with what will probably be the second-biggest bonus of the draft.
Orioles drafted high school shortstop Manny Machado with the third overall pick.
Some wonder whether Machado will get too big to play shortstop in the majors, but the Orioles have done OK with big shortstop and he has pretty good range right now and a terrific arm. His line-drive swing could produce 20- or maybe 25-homer seasons someday, but there will be a learning curve as he tries to deal with quality breaking balls. He probably won’t move especially quickly.
Royals selected Cal State Fullerton shortstop Christian Colon with the fourth pick.
The first mild surprise of the draft. Colon is rather slow for a shortstop, but he’s a very solid fielder and decent pop. He profiles a lot like Bobby Crosby did as a prospect, and while that seems like a negative, Crosby had a chance to be a nice long-term regular before injuries struck. The Royals are desperate for a long-term shortstop, and Colon could be an option as soon as 2012.
Indians took LHP Drew Pomeranz with the fifth overall pick.
The 6-foot-5 Ole Miss southpaw throws in the low-90s with a power curve that should give him big strikeout numbers in the majors. However, there are concerns about his mediocre changeup and subpar command. He should arrive in the majors soon if he can keep his walk total down, but he might be more of a future No. 3 than a top-of-the-rotation stud.

Swanson, Olson go deep vs Scherzer, Braves take NL East lead

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ATLANTA — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered off Max Scherzer, lifting the Atlanta Braves to a crucial 4-2 victory Saturday night over the New York Mets and a one-game lead in the NL East.

The defending World Series champions beat aces Jacob deGrom and Scherzer on consecutive nights to take their biggest lead of the season in the division. New York, which held a 10 1/2-game cushion on June 1, faces its biggest deficit of the year with four games remaining.

Atlanta will try for a three-game sweep Sunday night, with the winner earning the season-series tiebreaker between the teams. Even though both teams are headed to the postseason, that’s important because the NL East champion gets a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Swanson’s 24th homer, a go-ahead, two-run shot in the fifth inning, touched off a frenzy among the sold-out crowd at Truist Park, the ball sailing a few rows up into the seats in left-center to make it 3-2. Olson hit his 32nd homer in the sixth, a solo shot into Chop House seats in right to put Atlanta up 4-2.

Austin Riley led off the fourth with a double and scored on Olson’s single to make it 1-all.

Kyle Wright (21-5) gave up two runs and seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings as he won his eighth straight decision. The Braves have won 16 of his last 17 starts.

New York went up 2-1 in the fifth when Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil hit consecutive two-out singles.

The Mets led 1-0 in the first when Brandon Nimmo singled, advanced on a walk and a single and scored on Eduardo Escobar‘s groundout. Wright, who threw 30 pitches in the first, stranded two runners in scoring position to prevent further damage.

Scherzer (11-5) allowed a first-inning single to Riley and a third-inning infield single to Ronald Acuna Jr., who advanced to third on a fielding error by Lindor at shortstop but was stranded when Michael Harris II lined out to center. Scherzer patted his glove and pumped his fist as he walked off the mound.

Scherzer was charged with nine hits and four runs with no walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings as the Mets were knocked out of first place for only the third day all season.

The Braves have won five of the last six against New York to tie the season series 9-all, outscoring the Mets 37-16 over that stretch.

Atlanta’s bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA in September, got a perfect inning from Dylan Lee in the sixth. Jesse Chavez faced four batters in the seventh, Raisel Iglesias faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his NL-leading 39th save in 46 chances.

Since the Braves were a season low-tying four games under .500 at 23-27 after play on May 31, they have gone 76-32, tying the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the majors over that span. They were a season-worst 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Mets on June 1.

Wright, the only 20-game winner in baseball this season, hasn’t officially become the first Braves pitcher to lead the league in wins outright since Russ Ortiz had 21 in 2003, but the Dodgers’ Julio Urias has 17 and can’t reach 20 before the regular season ends.

Wright will become the first Braves pitcher since Hall of Famer Tom Glavine in 2000 to lead the majors in wins. Houston ace Justin Verlander also has 17.

Wright began the game 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA in six career starts and one relief appearance against the Mets.

The Braves, who got homers from Riley, Olson and Swanson off deGrom on Friday, lead the NL with 240 homers.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. Manager Buck Showalter said Marte is experiencing less pain but not enough to take the next step in his recovery. Marte has been sidelined since Sept. 7.

Braves: RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique. Manager Brian Snitker said there is no timetable for the rookie’s return. Strider has been sidelined since Sept. 21.

NICE GLOVE

Harris ran back and jumped to catch Nimmo’s fly against the wall in center field for the first out of the third.

UP NEXT

Mets RHP Chris Bassitt (15-8, 3.27 ERA) will face RHP Charlie Morton (9-6, 4.29) as the teams conclude a three-game series.