MLB draft picks 16-20: The Nationals take a chance with Lucas Giolito

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No. 16 – Washington Nationals -High school right-hander Lucas Giolito

With their lowest pick since the franchise arrived to D.C. in 2005, it didn’t look like the Nationals would be able to snag an elite talent like the previous three drafts with Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon. They may have lucked out here. Giolito was discussed as a potential No. 1 pick before his season ended after he strained the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow in early March. He only recently began a throwing program, so the pick is a bit of a gamble. But the upside is obviously pretty huge here.

No. 17 – Toronto Blue Jays – High school outfielder D.J. Davis

Davis was considered one of the fastest players, if not the fastest, in the entire draft class. However, he’s not just a punch-and-judy type. While still very raw at this point in his development, the Mississippi native has gap power and the ability hit for a high batting average. He should stick in center field for the long haul.

No. 18 – Los Angeles Dodgers – High school shortstop Corey Seager

After selecting a pitcher in the first round in their previous nine drafts, the Dodgers picked the younger brother of Mariners’ third baseman Kyle Seager this year. Standing at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, he’s highly regarded for his power potential. While Seager played shortstop in high school, he is expected to move over to the hot corner as a pro.

No. 19 – St. Louis Cardinals – Texas A&M right-hander Michael Wacha

While Wacha doesn’t have the upside of fellow college right-handers Kevin Gausman, Kyle Zimmer or Mark Appel, he’s considered one of the most polished pitchers in this year’s draft class. He has a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s range and a quality changeup, but there have been some doubts about his breaking stuff. Some mentioned him a top-10 pick not too long ago, so he’s a pretty nice value here.

No. 20 – San Francisco Giants – Mississippi State right-hander Chris Stratton

Another college pitcher who was expected to go a bit earlier according to most mocks, Stratton stands at 6-foot-2 and 197 pounds. He sits in the low-to-mid 90s with his fastball and has three pitches in his arsenal which have above average potential. The Giants have a pretty good reputation for developing pitchers, so who are we to doubt them here?

Pick 1: Astros select shortstop Carlos Correa                          .

Picks 2-5: Mariners take catcher Mike Zunino at No. 3           .

Picks 6-10: Pirates halt Mark Appel’s free-fall                              .

Picks 11-15: A’s, Mets select high school shortstops                .

Picks 21-31: Blue Jays add potential 2012 callup Stroman

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.