2015 MLB Draft: Picks 2-5 – Astros, Rockies take shortstops

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No. 2 pick – Astros – Louisiana State shortstop Alex Bregman

On the day they called up 2012 first overall pick Carlos Correa, the Astros added another shortstop with the second overall selection, their compensation pick for not signing Brady Aiken as the first overall pick last year. Bregman doesn’t have the tools one might expect from a No. 2 overall pick, but he hits a bunch of liners and plays solid defense up the middle. With the Astros, he’s more of a threat to Jose Altuve’s spot at second than Correa’s at short. Altuve might eventually benefit from a move to the outfield anyway.

No. 3 pick – Rockies – high school shortstop Brendan Rogers

It’s all shortstops early, as the Rockies follow suit by going with the consensus No. 1 high school position player available. Rogers offers more power potential than either No. 1 pick Dansby Swanson or Bregman, and most expect that he’ll be able to remain at shortstop for the long term. Rogers is probably four years off, so this shouldn’t affect Troy Tulowitzki whatsoever. Most likely, Tulo will be gone from Colorado by the time Rogers is ready, and even if he’s still there, he probably won’t be a shortstop.

No. 4 pick – Rangers – UC Santa Barbara right-hander Dillon Tate

It sounded like the Rangers wanted to go with a college pitcher, and they had their choice of all of them, settling on Tate. A starter for the first time this year after closing last season, Tate was 8-5 with a 2.26 ERA and a 111/28 K/BB ratio for Santa Barbara. He has a mid-90s fastball and an excellent slider, but he lacks a reliable third pitch right now. Some believe he projects best as a reliever going forward, but the Rangers wouldn’t have picked him here if they felt that way.

No. 5 pick – Astros – high school outfielder Kyle Tucker

In at least a minor surprise, the Astros took the younger brother of their own Preston Tucker. Preston wasn’t regarded so highly out of high school and went to the University of Florida. Kyle is committed to the same school, but expectations are that he’ll sign. The first left-handed hitter selected, Tucker projects as a legitimate power bat. Also, whereas Preston is an adequate-at-best left fielder, Kyle should turn out to be above average in right field.

Major League Baseball threatens to walk away from Minor League Baseball entirely

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The war between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball escalated significantly last night, with Minor League Baseball releasing a memo accusing Major League Baseball of “repeatedly and inaccurately” describing the former’s stance in negotiations and Major League Baseball responding by threatening to cut ties with Minor League Baseball entirely.

As you’re no doubt aware, negotiations of the next, 10-year Professional Baseball Agreement, which governs the relationship between the big leagues and the minors — and which is set to expire following the 2020 season — have turned acrimonious. Whereas past negotiations have been quick and uncontroversial, this time Major League Baseball presented Minor League Baseball with a plan to essentially contract 42 minor league baseball teams by eliminating their major league affiliation while demanding that Minor League Baseball undertake far more of the financial burden of player development which is normally the responsibility of the majors.

That plan became public in October when Baseball America reported on it, after which elected officials such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren began weighing in on the side of Minor League Baseball. Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball were not happy with all of that and, on Wednesday, Manfred bashed Minor League Baseball for taking the negotiations public and accused Minor League Baseball of intransigence, saying the minors had assumed a “take it or leave it” negotiating stance.

Last night Minor League Baseball bashed back in the form of a four-page public memo countering Manfred’s claims, with point-point-by-point rebuttals of Major League Baseball’s talking points on various matters ranging from stadium facilities, team travel, and player health and welfare. You can read the memo in this Twitter thread from Josh Norris of Baseball America.

Major League Baseball responded with its own public statement last night. But rather than publicly rebut Minor League Baseball’s claims, it threatened to simply drop any agreement with Minor League Baseball and, presumably start its own minor league system bypassing MiLB entirely:

“If the National Association [of Minor League Clubs] has an interest in an agreement with Major League Baseball, it must address the very significant issues with the current system at the bargaining table. Otherwise, MLB clubs will be free to affiliate with any minor league team or potential team in the United States, including independent league teams and cities which are not permitted to compete for an affiliate under the current agreement.”

So, in the space of about 48 hours, Manfred has gone from being angry at the existence of public negotiations to negotiating in public, angrily.

As for Minor League Baseball going public itself, one Minor League Baseball owner’s comments to the Los Angeles Times seems to sum up the thinking pretty well:

“Rob is attempting to decimate the industry, destroy baseball in communities and eliminate thousands of jobs, and he’s upset that the owners of the teams have gone public with that information in an effort to save their teams. That’s rich.”

Things, it seems, are going to get far worse before they get better. If, in fact, they do get better.