Baseball America’s midseason top 50 places Bryce Harper first

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Baseball America has kept the same top two from the preseason in re-ranking the game’s best prospects, going with Bryce Harper and Mike Trout at the top.

That was to be expected, of course.  In a mild surprise, BA elevated Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore past Atlanta’s Julio Teheran into the third spot, making him the game’s top pitching prospect.  Teheran was the No. 5 prospect and top pitcher in the preseason rankings, while Moore came in 15th.

Sliding in the rankings were Yankees catcher Jesus Montero (3rd to 8th) Royals outfielder Wil Myers (10th to 17th) and Rays right-hander Chris Archer (27th to out of the top 50).  Royals left-hander John Lamb, who ranked 18th in the preseason, also fell out of the rankings, but since he underwent Tommy John surgery, that was anticipated.

The biggest surprise is that BA threw Paul Goldschmidt into the rankings at No. 50.  Putting him in the final spot suggests that they’re not sold on him, but they also weren’t going to risk being embarrassed by leaving him off.  Goldschmidt, 23, is the leading home run hitter in the minors with 25 this season.  He’s hit .314/.431/.634 for Double-A Mobile.

Max Scherzer, with broken nose, strikes out 10 Phillies over seven shutout innings

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Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.

Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.

Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.

Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.