Pirates to pick Jameson Taillon at No. 2, Orioles like Manny Machado at No. 3

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Bryce Harper going to the Nationals with the No. 1 pick is a foregone conclusion at this point and Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the Pirates have decided on high school pitcher Jameson Taillon with the second pick in tonight’s draft.
Taillon is a 6-foot-7 right-hander from Texas who throws in the mid-90s, ranking as the second-best prospect in this year’s draft behind only Harper according to both Baseball America and ESPN. MLB.com has some video of Taillon overpowering high school hitters, so Pirates fans can take time away from another losing season to drool over him.
Assuming that Harper goes No. 1 to the Nationals and Taillon goes No. 2 to the Pirates, the Orioles are expected to use the third overall pick on high school shortstop Manny Machado. Baltimore reportedly is prepared to take whichever one of Taillon or Machado goes undrafted by Pittsburgh, as those two and Harper are the top three guys on basically everyone’s draft board. Naturally then, the Royals pick fourth.

Cubs won’t make Kyle Schwarber available in trade talks

Kyle Schwarber
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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs won’t deal Kyle Schwarber this winter, despite multiple inquires from teams around the league. Schwarber is approaching his first year of arbitration and will remain under team control for another three seasons before reaching free agency in 2022.

The decision comes on the heels of one of the strongest seasons of the 25-year-old outfielder’s short career. Over 137 games and 510 PA for the Cubs, he proved a passable defender in left field and batted .238/.356/.467 with 26 home runs, an .823 OPS, and 3.2 fWAR in 2018. He also led the National League in intentional walks, with 20, and bumped up his total walks from 59 in 2017 to 78.

Despite his marked improvements from previous years, Schwarber’s performance still left something to be desired — specifically against left-handed pitchers, who held the slugger to a paltry .224/.352/.303 with four extra-base hits across 91 PA. Still, it’s evident the Cubs feel Schwarber is capable of strengthening his splits in the years to come, and they might stand to get more value from him on the field than they would in a trade this offseason.

Of course, that’s not to say the Cubs intend to pass the Winter Meetings in total silence, especially as they’ll be seeking bullpen and catching depth in advance of their 2019 run at the division title. As club president Theo Epstein remarked last week, “We’re certainly open and active in trade talks with a lot of deals that usually don’t come to fruition. So, we may make some trades. We could make big ones that transform the roster. We may make smaller complementary ones. But there’s certain things we’d like to accomplish.”