Blue Jays sign first-round draft picks Jeff Hoffman and Max Pentecost

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Toronto had a pair of first-round draft picks this year thanks to failing to sign last year’s first-rounder and they’ve agreed to deals with both of them.

No. 9 overall pick, right-hander Jeff Hoffman, and No. 11 overall pick, catcher Max Pentecost, have reportedly agreed to the slot-recommended signing bonuses of $3.1 million and $2.9 million respectively.

Hoffman slipped in the draft following Tommy John elbow surgery, which also likely played a part in his accepting a slot signing bonus. He’ll miss all of this season and perhaps the early part of next year as well while recovering from the mid-May operation. He was in the mix to be a top-three pick before the injury.

Pentecost won the Johnny Bench Award as the country’s top college catcher, putting up incredible offensive numbers at Kennesaw State. He has the potential to move pretty quickly through the Blue Jays’ farm system.

Cardinals tab Miles Mikolas for Opening Day start

Miles Mikolas
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The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.

The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.

Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.