So, who did the best in the draft?

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I was asked to be on a radio show last night to talk about the baseball draft. This despite telling the host up front that I know next to nothin’ about the draft. When I pressed the guy for an answer on which way he wanted to go with it, he said that he wanted to do a “winners and losers” style thing, in which I make some sort of pronouncement about who “won the draft.”

I have no idea how to answer that, so I declined the invite.  There are people who do know a lot about amateur players and even they struggle with it.  Jonathan Mayo is one of those experts, and he has an article up over at MLB.com today in which he talks to scouts who — after all of the “it’s hard to predict the future” caveats were offered — suggested that the Diamondbacks, Blue Jays and Rays did the best. Their drafts, as well as the Padres and the Red Sox, who were also said to have done well, are analyzed.

There is a lot of good information to be gained in that sort of exercise. But still, I keep coming back to an article Kevin Goldstein wrote over at Baseball Prospectus yesterday in which he listed off a ton of superstars whose selections in the first round were mocked. Joe Mauer. Adrian Gonzalez.  Prince Fielder. There are a lot of those kinds of guys.

I don’t want to throw my hands up in the air, plead draft agnostic and say “we can’t know!” because, sure, we can know an awful lot if we bother to learn about amateur players (which I admittedly haven’t).  But it seems like a tall order to make any pronouncements like the radio host wanted to have someone make. And I suppose the inability to make that kind of stark judgment — that need to know something right now about what just happened — is one of many reasons why the baseball draft will never be as big a media event as the NFL’s and NBA’s.

And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Good things come to those who wait.

Buyers and Sellers at the Trade Deadline: American League Central

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With Manny Machado’s trade completed, the rest of baseball can now turn its attention to the non-blue chip players on the market.

Yesterday, in our look-ahead to the second half, we mentioned some of the top players likely to be made available. Today we look at each team to see who is buying, who is selling, what they’re seeking and what they have to offer. Note: almost every contender, always, needs relief help.

As a reminder, the non-waiver Trade Deadline is July 31. Players traded after that date but before August 31 need to pass through waivers unclaimed before they can be traded. All players traded before August 31 are eligible to be on their new team’s playoff roster should they make the postseason.

Next up, the American League Central:

Indians
Status: Buyers
Wanted: Bullpen help, bullpen help and then, maybe, some bullpen help. Who woulda thunk that a year or two ago? They could also use a spare outfielder. Everyone is gonna ask for righty Shane Bieber in return but it’d be hard to see the Indians trading him at all. Look for small deals, not big ones.

Twins
Status: Probably sellers
For Sale: Not a ton as, while they have underachieved this year, there is a good young core on this team that the Twins are going to give a chance to bounce back. Brian Dozier could be moved, though, as could the finishing-piece veterans the Twins brought in thinking that they’d contend this year. Guys like Fernando Rodney and Lance Lynn could be dealt. No blockbusters seem likely to run through Minnesota, however.

Tigers
Staus: Sellers
For Sale: Vetrans Francisco Liriano and Mike Fiers could be had and, if the Tigers decide to do bigger deals, they could dangle starter Michael Fulmer or maybe even Nicholas Castellanos, though they could be considered pieces to build around rather than to deal. The Tigers need projectable and controllable bats and plenty of them.


White Sox
Status: Sellers
For Sale: Possibly Jose Abreu, though he’s probably worth more to Chicago than to the market. James Shields, Joakim Soria and Avasail Garcia could be had. Basically, if you can’t picture them playing on the 2020 White Sox, they’re at least worth asking about.

Royals
Status: Sellers
For Sale: Moustakas, Lucas Duda, maybe Jason Hammel if the market for starters goes crazy. It’s a rebuild footing for Kansas City, so it’s like a going-out-of-business sale at Woolworth’s circa 1990. If you ask for it, you can probably get it.