MLB draft picks 21-31: Blue Jays land potential impact reliever

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No. 21 – Atlanta Braves – High school right-hander Lucas Sims

The Braves taking a local product? Get outta here. Sims is highly-regarded for his velocity, topping out at 97 mph on his heater, but his breaking ball is considered one of the best of from this year’s high school crop of talent.

No. 22 – Toronto Blue Jays – Duke right-hander Marcus Stroman

Here’s someone we were hearing about much earlier in mock drafts, so it’s a bit of surprise to see him fall this far. Despite standing at just 5-foot-9 and 185 pounds, Stroman has one of the most electric arms in the entire draft, earning comparisons to Tom Gordon. Many believe he could make it the majors this year as reliever.

No. 23 – St. Louis Cardinals – Florida State outfielder James Ramsey

Ramsey doesn’t blow scouts away with plus-tools, he has a pretty well-rounded game and could be used at either second base or center field as a pro. The Cardinals already chose Texas A&M right-hander Michael Wacha at No. 19, so there was likely some strategy involved in picking a college senior, as he should be a pretty easy sign.

No. 24 – Boston Red Sox – Arizona State shortstop Deven Marrero

Another name we saw pretty high on mock drafts, Marrero was considered one of the top college position players available. Scouts like him most for his defensive abilities and he should be able to stick at shortstop as a pro. Just how much he’ll hit is the question. One side bonus is that he should be pretty popular with second baseman Dustin Pedroia, also an ASU alum.

No. 25 – Tampa Bay Rays – Clemson third baseman Richie Shaffer

Standing at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Shaffer is considered one of the top power hitters in the entire draft. Evan Longoria obviously blocks him at the major league level, but the Rays will worry about that later. Some think he could be destined for first base or right field, anyway.

No. 26 – Arizona Diamondbacks – High school catcher Stryker Trahan

Now that’s a baseball name. Scouts love Trahan’s pop from the left side, so it would obviously be ideal if he sticks behind the plate, but he’ll likely end up as a corner outfielder in the long term.

No. 27 – Milwaukee Brewers – High school catcher Clint Coulter

This is one pick most draft experts got right, as Coulter has been linked to the Brewers for a while now. Coulter checks in at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds and has good pop from the right side. He has some work to do to stick behind the plate in the long-term, though.

No. 28 – Milwaukee Brewers – Georgia Southern outfielder Victor Roache

We would have seen Roache go much higher if he didn’t break his left wrist attempting to make a diving catch in February. Assuming he can bounce back from the injury, the Brewers may have landed the top power bat in this draft.

No. 29 – Texas Rangers – High school outfielder Lewis Brinson

Brinson was a bit of a surprise pick this early, but he has some intriguing tools. With above average speed and a strong arm, he could be a plus-defender in center field. Long and lanky (6-foot-4 and 185 pounds), he’s still considered quite raw with the bat, though.

No. 30 – New York Yankees – High school right-hander Ty Hensley

Hensley was projected to go much higher, so this is quite a coup for the Yankees. While he has good velocity on his fastball, some scouts think his curveball might end up being his best pitch.

No. 31 – Boston Red Sox – University of Florida left-hander Brian Johnson

The Red Sox wrapped up the first round with their second college pick. Johnson doesn’t throw all that hard or possess front-end starter upside, but he has four average or better pitches in his arsenal and should move pretty quickly.

 

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 16-20: Nationals roll the dice on RHP Giolito                .

 

Dodgers plan to tab Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of World Series

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MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.

Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.

Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.

Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.

The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.