MLB draft picks 6-10: Pirates halt Mark Appel’s free-fall

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No. 6 – Chicago Cubs – high school OF Albert Almora

Alm0ra is considered exceptionally polished for a high school player, already possessing plenty of experience with Team USA. His tools aren’t necessarily what expects from a high first-round pick, but he does have the speed to last in center field and a line drive swing that could be good for home runs in Wrigley Field someday.

No. 7 – San Diego Padres – high school LHP Max Fried

Fried becomes the first high school pitcher off the board, largely because his Harvard-Westlake teammate Lucas Gioloto, who was looked at a potential No. 1 overall pick, has been injured all year. Fried throws in the low-90s consistently, and both his curve and changeup could be plus pitches by the time he’s ready for the majors.

No. 8 – Pittsburgh Pirates – Stanford RHP Mark Appel

The expected first overall pick, Appel instead goes behind two other college pitchers and lands with the Pirates. The 20-year-old Appel had a breakthrough junior season, going 10-1 with a 2.27 ERA and a 127/26 K/BB ratio in 119 innings for Stanford. The negative is that he wasn’t nearly as good in previous seasons. He didn’t make the rotation as a freshman and finished with a 5.92 ERA in 38 innings. Last year, he was solid but far from dominant in going 6-7 with a 3.02 ERA and an 86/29 K/BB ratio in 110 1/3 innings.

Appel throws in the mid-90s and has a very good slider. He possesses decent feel for his changeup, but the pitch still has room for improvement. If he progresses as hoped, he could well become a top-of-the-rotation guy.

No. 9 – Miami Marlins – Oklahoma State LHP Andrew Heaney

Heaney had some of the best numbers of any college pitcher this year, going 8-2 with a 1.60 ERA and a 140/22 K/BB ratio in 118 1/3 innings for Oklahoma State. He throws 90-92 mph and shows advanced feel for both his curve and changeup. He should be able to move quickly, even if he doesn’t quite possesses the same upside as the right-handers taken ahead of him here.

No. 10 – Colorado Rockies – high school OF David Dahl

The Rockies have made a habit of going with pitching in the first round, but they take the third high school outfielder of the board here. Dahl’s a left-handed hitter with a line drive swing that could play very well at Coors Field. He won’t be a candidate to play center field in the majors, but he should prove pretty good in a corner with time and experience.

 

Pick 1: Astros select shortstop Carlos Correa                          .

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

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

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

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

Pujols hits 703rd HR to pass Babe for 2nd in RBI; Cards lose

St. Louis Cardinals v Pittsburgh Pirates
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PITTSBURGH – Albert Pujols hit his 703rd home run Monday night, breaking a tie with Babe Ruth for second place in career RBIs, but the St. Louis Cardinals lost to Pittsburgh 3-2 when the Pirates drew four consecutive walks in the ninth inning to force home the winning run.

The 42-year-old slugger connected off right-hander Mitch Keller, pulling a two-run shot into the left-field stands to snap a scoreless tie in the sixth. It was Pujols’ 35th career home run at PNC Park, his most at any visiting ballpark.

The drive gave Pujols 2,216 RBIs, passing Ruth on the all-time list. Hank Aaron holds the record with 2,297.

“Passing Babe Ruth is a big deal,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “Seeing him hit a home run in that situation was fun to watch. You feel pretty good about where you’re at whenever he swings, and his home runs have been very meaningful.”

Pujols, who plans to retire after the season, has 24 home runs this year – his most since hitting 31 for the Los Angeles Angels in 2016. He is one of four players in major league history with 700, joining Barry Bonds (762), Aaron (755) and Ruth (714).

Pujols, who did not speak with reporters following the game, had been hitless in eight career at-bats against Keller.

“It’s an amazing time to be around him and being around this team,” Cardinals starting pitcher Jose Quintana said. “He keeps believing in his abilities. The most impressive thing is he homers, then he’s ready for the next one. He wants to keep going.”

With the score tied 2-all in the ninth, the Pirates loaded the bases when Ke'Bryan Hayes, Miguel Andujar and Rodolfo Castro drew consecutive walks from Giovanny Gallegos (3-6).

JoJo Romero relieved and walked Oneil Cruz on four pitches to end the game. It was the first walk-off plate appearance of the rookie’s career.

Before the game, the Cardinals signed Gallegos to a two-year contract worth $11 million that runs through 2024.

Yohan Ramirez (4-1) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win.

“There were a lot of signs of resilience,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said of the winning rally.

The Pirates avoided a second straight 100-loss season – at least for now – by beating the NL Central champion Cardinals for the second consecutive day.

Paul Goldschmidt led off the St. Louis sixth with a single before Pujols connected. Keller was chased after giving up two more singles in the inning.

The Pirates rallied to tie it at 2. Bryan Reynolds doubled home a run in the sixth and Jack Suwinski homered off Andre Pallante in the eighth.

Normally a starter, Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas allowed one run in three innings of relief. He followed Quintana, who pitched three scoreless innings.

Mikolas reached the 200-inning mark, raising his season total to 202 1/3.

“It’s just a nice ending to the season to get there,” Mikolas said. “It’s a mark you don’t see a tremendous amount of guys get to anymore, so it’s always kind of nice to separate yourself from the pack.”

St. Louis used the starters in tandem as Marmol attempts to set his staff for postseason play. The Cardinals host a best-of-three wild-card series beginning Friday, and Marmol has not decided on his rotation.

“It allows us the flexibility to still start them in any game of that three-game set,” he explained before the game.

Keller allowed two runs and six hits in five innings.

PIRATES MOVES

RHP Nick Mears was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis and RHP Luis Ortiz was optioned to the same club. Ortiz made his major league debut Sept. 13 and went 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in four starts.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: 3B Nolan Arenado was scratched from the lineup 15 minutes before the game because of a slight quadriceps strain. He might also sit out Tuesday night as a precaution. . OF Tyler O'Neill (strained left hamstring) went through a full baseball workout but the Cardinals are still uncertain if he will be ready to play by Friday. . RHP Jordan Hicks will either be activated from the injured list and pitch in Wednesday’s regular-season finale or throw a bullpen that day.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: RHP Dakota Hudson (8-7, 4.07 ERA) will start Tuesday night. He has allowed one unearned run over 11 innings in two appearances since being recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Sept. 21. RHP Jack Flaherty is expected to pitch in relief as a postseason tune-up.

Pirates: RHP JT Brubaker (3-11, 4.58) will come off the injured list and start. He has been out since Sept. 16 with right lat discomfort.