Former number one picks have advice for Bryce Harper

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A story on MLB.com this afternoon features former first overall picks like Ken Griffey Jr., David Price and Stephen Strasburg offering up advice about being chosen first and surviving the minor leagues to this year’s number one. Who will be Bryce Harper, of course, even if the story doesn’t name him.

Interesting I suppose, but among them those guys have just a tad more minor league experience than I have, so their insight along those lines is probably of limited utility.  I’d be much more interested in hearing the advice of guys who didn’t have such an easy time of it. Seems to me that guys like Brian Bullington, Matt Anderson and Paul Wilson just might have something more useful to offer than “enjoy it while it lasts” and things of that nature.

Diamondbacks, T.J. McFarland avoid arbitration

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Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.

McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).

McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.