Updating the 2010 first-round picks; Bryce Harper and more

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Checking in on how the first 32 picks of the 2010 draft are doing approximately 30 games into the 2011 season.

Hitters first, then the pitchers.

1. Bryce Harper (OF Nationals): .371/.460/.701, 7 HR, 5 SB in 97 AB (low-A Hagerstown)
3. Manny Machado (SS Orioles): .333/.450/.611, 5 HR, 3 SB in 90 AB (low-A Delmarva)
4. Christian Colon (SS Royals): .260/.351/.365, 2 HR, 7 SB in 96 AB (AA Northwest Arkansas)
8. Delino DeShields Jr. (2B Astros): .250/.330/.438, 4 HR, 7 SB in 96 AB (low-A Lexington)
10. Michael Choice (OF Athletics): .241/.349/.435, 4 HR, 3 SB in 108 AB (high-A Stockton)
12. Yasmani Grandal (C Reds): .278/.421/.546, 7 HR, 0 SB in 97 AB (high-A Bakersfield)
15. Jake Skole (OF Rangers): .240/.301/.327, 1 HR, 5 SB in 104 AB (low-A Hickory)
17. Josh Sale (OF Rays): Yet to play
18. Kaleb Cowart (3B Angels): Yet to play
20. Kolbrin Vitek (3B Red Sox): .333/.405/.480, 0 HR, 4 SB in 102 AB (high-A Salem)
22. Kellin Deglan (C Rangers): .240/.305/.380, 1 HR, 0 SB in 50 AB (low-A Hickory)
23. Christian Yelich (OF Marlins): .289/.389/.454, 3 HR, 6 SB in 97 AB (low-A Greensboro)
24. Gary Brown (OF Giants): .357/.438/.492, 2 HR, 19 SB in 126 AB (high-A San Jose)
25. Zack Cox (3B Cardinals): .288/.314/.315, 0 HR, 1 SB in 111 AB (high-A Palm Beach)
26. Kyle Parker (OF Rockies): .311/.356/.467, 2 HR, 1 SB in 90 AB (low-A Asheville)
30. Chevy Clarke (OF Angels): Yet to play
31. Justin O’Conner (C Rays): Yet to play
32. Cito Culver (SS Yankees): Yet to play

Machado is currently shelved with a knee injury, but he was right there with Harper as a top performer on this list before going down.

Grandal and Brown should be the first players here to get promoted this season.  Both were college products, and many figured the Reds would start Grandal in Double-A anyway.  Brown struggled in his pro debut last year, so starting him in high-A was the right move.  However, he seems too good for the California League now.  He just had nine hits and eight RBI in a three-game series against Bakersfield over the weekend.

Cox and Choice have been the biggest disappointments so far.  Cox, who likely would have been a top-10 pick if not for high bonus demands, has just three extra-base hits and a 22/4 K/BB ratio.  Choice, who is in the best league for hitters in the minors, has fanned 37 times in 27 games this season and 82 times in 217 at-bats as a pro.

The “yet to play” guys all figure to be assigned to short-season teams next month.

2. Jameson Taillon (Pirates): 1-1, 1.64 ERA, 11/2 K/BB in 11 IP (low-A West Virginia)
5. Drew Pomeranz (Indians): 1-0, 1.27 ERA, 42/10 K/BB in 28.1 IP (high-A Kinston)
6. Barret Loux (Rangers): 2-2, 3.19 ERA, 38/6 K/BB in 31 IP (high-A Myrtle Beach)
7. Matt Harvey (Mets): 4-1, 1.10 ERA, 39/11 K/BB in 32.2 IP (high-A St. Lucie)
9. Karsten Whitson (Padres): Did not sign
11. Deck McGuire (Blue Jays): 1-2, 2.93 ERA, 26/10 K/BB in 30.2 IP (high-A Dunedin)
13. Chris Sale (White Sox): 2-0, 7.15 ERA, 13/5 K/BB in 11.1 IP (ML White Sox)
14. Dylan Covey (Brewers): Did not sign
16. Hayden Simpson (Cubs): 0-1, 4.15 ERA, 21/8 K/BB in 26 IP (low-A Peoria)
19. Mike Foltynewicz (Astros): 0-5, 5.51 ERA, 16/9 K/BB in 32.1 IP (low-A Lexington)
21. Alex Wimmers (Twins): 0-1, infinite ERA, 0/6 K/BB in 0 IP (high-A Fort Myers)
27. Jesse Biddle (Phillies): 1-4, 5.47 ERA, 24/16 K/BB in 26.1 IP (low-A Lakewood)
28. Zach Lee (Dodgers): 3-0, 1.17 ERA, 28/11 K/BB in 30.2 IP (low-A Great Lakes)
29. Cam Bedrosian (Angels): Yet to play

Loux was the Diamondbacks’ first-round pick last year, but the team decided not to sign him after a physical turned up some serious red flags.  He was declared a free agent and signed with the Rangers in November.

The Pirates and Indians probably don’t have any regrets about their picks, but Harvey is looking terrrific and is closer to the majors than anyone else here (Sale excepted).

Simpson, who was widely viewed as a third-round talent before the draft, has yet to make the Cubs look any better for picking him 16th.   He’s the only one of the seven college products here currently pitching in low-A.

Wimmers was placed on the DL with an illness after walking all six batters he faced in his first start of the year.  He’s currently trying to work through his control problems in extended spring training.

Please trade Manny Machado already, will ya?

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Manny Machado has been on the trading block for some time now, and he’s obviously a highly sought-after player who will command a nice haul for the Orioles if and when they deal him. Until they do that, however, let us talk for a moment about how to read a given trade rumor that gets tweeted or reported out into the ether.

Let’s look at the latest one, shall we? It goes like this:

At the outset, let me be clear about something: I do not doubt this reporting. Heyman is well-sourced, and I’m sure he’s hearing this exact thing. But so too are other reporters reporting other things, such as a rumor that floated around yesterday that the Phillies were in the lead. And so too are the guys who, several days ago, reported that a Machado trade was “on the 10 yard line.” Yesterday some random person on Twitter, claiming they had inside info, reached out to me to tell me that the O’s and the Phillies had a “handshake deal” in place (which sounded totally bogus, BTW). It’s all so imminent and urgent-sounding.

It’s urgent-sounding not because fast-paced and urgent activity is happening. Some GMs are texting one another, just like they always do. Some are making offers and waiting to hear from the Orioles, some are getting counters from the Orioles and are considering them. The GMs of two teams competing for Machado are not, themselves, in communication. In that respect it is decidedly not like a horse race or a football game.

The Orioles want it to be one, though, and make no mistake, that’s where these rumors are coming from.

The Orioles have a vested interest in the Dodgers, Brewers and Phillies upping their bids to beat out the other suitors, and it’s hard not to see all of these reports as stuff the Orioles are telling reporters in order to get the other clubs to think they’re going to miss out. It’s the Orioles and the Orioles alone who have a vested interest in this appearing more like a horse race — or a football game — and thus are cultivating horse race coverage. Whether it’s coordinated or whether it’s just random people in Baltimore telling what they know to reporters I have no idea, but that’s what this is.

That’s interesting to me as a media guy, and I guess it’s interesting to fans of the teams involved, but it’s probably good to remember that it’s less baseball news, proper, than it is a team using the media to get leverage.