UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole will be the Pirates’ choice with the No. 1 pick when the draft starts tonight, according to MLB.com prospect and draft analyst Jonathan Mayo.
Cole’s performance this season is considered somewhat disapppointing, with rotation-mate Trevor Bauer posting superior numbers, but Cole has long been projected as the potential No. 1 pick and ESPN.com’s Keith Law ranks him as the top prospect in the draft.
Baseball America ranks Cole third behind Rice infielder Anthony Rendon and high school right-hander Dylan Bundy.
According to Mayo the Pirates narrowed their consideration down to Cole, Rendon, and Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen, eventually settling on the hard-throwing, 6-foot-4 righty with mid-90s velocity and a 119/24 K/BB ratio in 114 innings.
Check back tonight for HardballTalk’s analysis of the first round as it unfolds.
Twins right-hander Phil Hughes is headed to the Padres, according to announcements from both teams on Sunday. The Padres will also receive the 74th overall draft pick and cash considerations from the Twins, who are getting minor league catcher Janigson Villalobos in return. Minnesota is expected to absorb $7.5 million of Hughes’ $22 million contract; per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, they’ll take on his remaining salary for the 2018 season and pay an additional $5.7 million in 2019.
Hughes, 31, is far from the 16-win, sub-4.00 ERA hurler the Twins enjoyed in 2014. He hasn’t pitched more than 60 innings in any season since 2015, due in part to multiple bouts of back stiffness and shoulder surgeries. He was designated for assignment last week after missing significant time with a left oblique strain and delivering a 6.75 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 6.0 SO/9 through his first 12 innings of 2018.
Villalobos, meanwhile, will provide the Twins with some depth as he continues to work his way through the minor league system. The 21-year-old backstop recently completed a circuit with the Padres’ rookie-level affiliate in the Arizona League, slashing .275/.367/.388 with eight extra bases and a .755 OPS in 98 PA.
The real get for the Padres isn’t Hughes (even with much of his salary already accounted for), but the Competitive Balance B selection in next week’s amateur draft. As MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell points out, the club lost their second-round pick after inking Eric Hosmer to a massive eight-year, $144 million deal back in February.