Monthly Archives: October 2017

MLB draft order 2017: Complete selection order for Rounds 1-2

The MLB draft doesn’t quite have the star power of its brethren in the NFL or NBA, but baseball’s annual restocking of domestic amateur talent has grown in recent years from a mere conference call over a decade ago now into a three-day event with coverage both on television and online.

The first 75 selections of the draft will take place on Monday, with the first two rounds plus a pair of competitive balance rounds after both Rounds 1 and 2.

It’s not as if the Astros have been facing scrubs, either. The Rangers have gone 1-6 against Houston, and are .500 against the rest of the league. Similarly, the Angels might be two games under .500, but they can thank going 2-5 against Houston for part of that. More convincing is Houston plowing through the first-place Yankees and Twins while helping push the Orioles down in the AL East race in the last few weeks. Houston is making an impact, and not just in the west.

June might be a relatively soft month for them, too. They have to face the now second-place Red Sox mid-month, but otherwise, they get to look forward to helping after helping of AL West competition, along with a series against the struggling Royals. Baseball is cruel, but as things stand, Houston has the chance to extend their lead over the rest of the league even further.

A few of us have been granted 10 minutes each to talk Syndergaard. He looks less bored as he shakes my hand and tells me that, no, he didn’t put Cholula in the coffee he’s drinking.

Let’s get this out of the way: The shoulder recovery is going well. Syndergaard has good doctors. He misses playing baseball, he loves his fans, yadda, yadda, yadda.

From now on, we are only going to talk about Serious Hot Sauce Issues, because this is a Serious Hot Sauce brunch. And the first Hot Sauce answer I want is: Why is Noah Syndergaard sponsored by hot sauce?

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Texas A&M and Davidson played the longest super regional Game 1 in NCAA baseball tournament history

Texas A&M and Davidson just polished of a gem of a baseball game in their opening bout of the College Station super regional tilt, and in the process they set an NCAA baseball tournament record. THEY PLAYED 15 INNINGS, THE LONGEST OPENING SUPER REGIONAL GAME EVER.

Texas A&M beat Davidson, 7-6, but that’s of only secondary concern here.

Davidson danced around the Aggies’ pitching staff in the early proceedings, going scoreless through the first five innings before exploding for five runs in the sixth and seventh. A&M couldn’t find the plate through the rest of regulation and the Wildcats scored a run in the top of the ninth to tie it up at six-all, before holding on through the bottom of the frame to send the game to extras.

Let’s turn our attention to Smith over on third, who sprinted his way home to apparently score LSU’s tying run of the game. Had Slaughter not caused such a violent collision at second, Smith’s run would have counted. However, with Slaughter’s base running interference, Smith’s advancement no longer fell under the force out umbrella, and he had to stay where he was.

So Slaughter’s interference at second quite literally wiped the tying run off the board for LSU. That can’t be any kind of a good feeling for the Tigers, who were clearly displeased with this unfortunate series of events.

That’s tough cookies for Tigers fans, who have no one to blame but Jake Slaughter. Without the interference call, that force out penalty does not come to bear. In any case, LSU certainly wants this one back, because if they lose, that’s the season.

Florida leads 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth.

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the Rangers would probably already have a wild card spot if they were better in one-run games this year.

Some players go the security route, and that’s just fine! Bryant, though, already won’t be a free agent until 2022, when he’ll be heading into his age-30 season. He probably has one real chance for a mega-contract, and signing an extension that might not even pay him as much year-to-year as arbitration could limit the chances of even having that one chance. That’s because the price for guaranteed money and security now tends to be free agent years, and Boras isn’t going to trade those in for someone who very well might sign one of the biggest deals he’s negotiated.

No one is in the wrong here, as both sides are looking out for themselves. Bryant will still get paid in the meantime, the Cubs will still get to enjoy his production for years to come, and at some point, they’ll either part ways or the Cubs will spend heavily to retain him. They owe each other nothing beyond that, and while that’s a bit cold for the player whose smile and eyes light up fans’ lives, that’s the business.

Cole Hamels, in his first start back from the disabled list, allowed one run each in three of the first four frames and then came completely unglued in the fifth, notching just one out in the inning while giving up four more runs. The Rangers’ pen then did even worse, with Tanner Scheppers and Preston Claiborne both allowing three runs, and Alex Claudio picking up a blown save thanks to the pair of runs he gave up to Cleveland.

The defending AL West champion Rangers are now 38-38, haven’t spent a day in first place all season and topped out at three games over .500, a figure they haven’t reached again for over a month. They sit 13.5 back of the Astros, but all hope is not lost: They’re just two games out of a wild card spot, as the 39-35 Twins are holding onto the second one in the AL.

Of course, the Rangers would probably already have a wild card spot if they were better in one-run games this year. Baseball is cruel like that.

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Cal State Fullerton outfielder makes tremendous catch while slamming into the wall

Oregon State has made a storming comeback to get on top of Cal State Fullerton in the early game of the College World Series’ opening day. The Titans led 5-1 for much of the first half, but the Beavers chipped away and took a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the eighth.

It appears he doesn’t even glove the ball cleanly before firing off a hasty throw to first that bounces some five feet in front of first baseman Nick Coomes, who can’t keep his right foot on the bag trying to scoop the ball in time. This is all a disaster.

To make matters worse, two Beavers runners crossed shortly after this debacle, when Trevor Larnach singled to center, scoring Madrigal and KJ Harrison. Suddenly the Beavers were on top of LSU, 3-0. How did they find themselves in scoring position? A wild pitch from Gilbert.

That ended Gilbert’s outing right there, who was spelled by Nick Bush. Some kind of funk seemed to permeate LSU’s pitchers, because immediately upon taking the hill, Bush was having trouble collecting throws from his catcher.

Bush walked a batter then struck out the next, and LSU was mercifully out of the inning. But the damage had been done: Oregon State leads, 3-0, in the bottom of the fifth.

The two teams to survive the first round in Omaha will play a best-of-three series next weekend. Last year’s finalists, Arizona and Coastal Carolina the latter of which failed to make this year’s tournament after winning it all in 2016 required all three games to decide the winner, and Game 3 had to be postponed to a midday Thursday affair because dangerous weather ripped through northeastern Nebraska on the originally scheduled Wednesday night.

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Yasiel Puig gave someone double middle fingers after hitting home run

Yasiel Puig hit a home run. Then he added a gesture at the end of it, but it wasn’t a thumbs up.

Puig gave someone the ol’ double bird as he ran to first base. But who is Puig flipping off? He could be flipping off in the direction of the fans in Cleveland, which is not a good look. But it also looks like he’s directing his middle fingers towards the Indians’ opposing dugout. He could be telling that to one of this teammates jokingly.

Puig later told reporters he flipped off a person in the stands who was heckling him before he hit the home run.

Yasiel Puig said he was getting heckled. I reacted that way, he said. I stooped to their level.

This is a long shot, but could Yasiel Puig be Mr. Met? Mr. Met recently flipped off someone himself. Actually, no, that wouldn’t work. Puig has more fingers than the Mets mascot.

It used to be that teams that picked high in the first round while they were enjoying a surprising contending season at the major league level would consider college relievers with their first-rounders, with the hopes that they would get some immediate help to the big-league roster.

That was a weird trend, and it’s gone for a reason. The Diamondbacks didn’t do anything unusual here, instead opting for a consensus high pick, who was regularly projected to go around here in several mock drafts. The talent is undeniable, and the Diamondbacks will hope they can mold it into an All-Star.

Like I wrote up there, there are a lot of high school catchers who were drafted and moved immediately. They were the best athletes on their team, but the scouts didn’t like them behind the plate long term. Murray was one of those.

He was also one of the most exciting prospects of the ’70s. He was drafted as a 17-year-old, and he didn’t stop hitting until he was 40, reaching the majors when he was 21, and methodically swatting his way to 500 homers. He was a fine first baseman.

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NCAA Baseball Tournament 2017: Bracket, schedule, and scores for super regional round

The 2017 NCAA baseball tournament shifted into its super regional phase on Friday, with four games going through the afternoon and evening. Kentucky opened at Louisville, a tall order for the Wildcats in their first super regional appearance. Their task was further complicated by the fact that Louisville is averaging 10 runs per game in the tournament thus far, and for their troubles the Wildcats were bounced from the tournament after getting swept, 2-0.

Louisville, then, is this year’s first to punch their tickets to the College World Series proper in Omaha.

Oh, and also the Cardinals hacking the Astros. That got Houston a couple more picks, and they’ll make four total this evening.

Usually we could tell you who is going to go first overall, but this is one of those drafts where it’s a little unclear even if basically everyone is in agreement on who the top talent is. Hey, with preferences on player types (Hunter Greene is a high school pitcher, and maybe the Twins don’t want a high school pitcher) and the occasional desire for the top team in the draft to value going under slot over picking the top talent, these things can happen.

Noah Syndergaard loves hot sauce. Like, a lot. And Charlotte Wilder talked to him about that, as well as stranded-on-an-island scenarios involving cows, and whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich.

Aaron Judge is a whole lot of baseball boy, and with that comes some huge homers. Like, say, this 495-foot blast that is the longest anyone has hit in MLB this season.
Judge, by the way, was once a highly touted tight end recruit. It seems like he made the right choice.

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Mets are very sorry Mr. Met is flipping off their fans

A Mets fan tweeted the following video after a 7-1 loss to the Brewers Wednesday night. Mr. Met wasn’t feeling too hot after the game.

You mash that ball out of the dang yard.

Harrison here blasts the ball into left center of TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, an area of the field that plays famously long. However, the wind is blowing out to direct center on Monday night, and that has something to do with the carry on this hit.

Anyway, Harrison goes down in history as having hit THE FIRST GRAND SLAM IN THE NEW TD AMERITRADE BALLPARK. That’s some fancy polish on what is a momentous slam against a formidable opponent. Mercy.

This was all before the Beavs dropped another three runs on the Tigers in the top of the seventh, so it’s safe to say that LSU is shook. That flurry ended Newman’s night, as LSU then brought in Matthew Beck to help stem the tide.

At least the Tigers can fall back on football or something. Oregon State held a commanding lead after the top of the seventh, 11-0.

But we’re ahead of ourselves. The real story is that Ernie Shore, typically a starter and a pretty good one, came in unexpectedly and retired the next 27 batters. While it would have been temporally impossible for him to quote Clerks throughout the whole game, he probably did. And he thrived in a way that most pitchers will never thrive.

The Red Sox and Senators were playing the first game of a doubleheader, too. Both games were finished in 3:40, which was shorter than the White Sox/Tigers game from last Sunday, in case you were wondering.

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Matt Harvey pitched with a broken bone in his shoulder

Matt Harvey’s velocity just wasn’t there on Wednesday, and even though he picked up five strikeouts against one walk, he also gave up three homers and lasted just four innings and 58 pitches. The Mets were concerned about what Terry Collins described as being a tired arm, so they sent Harvey to the hospital: It turns out Harvey has a broken bone in his shoulder.

More specifically, Harvey has a stress injury to the scapula bone in his throwing shoulder. He’s been placed on the 10-day disabled list, but he’s expected to be there for a much longer time. New York will have Harvey rest until the injury itself is healed and then have him throw, so we’re talking several weeks at minimum.

James Shields was the unlucky pitcher on the other side of all three homers. And it started almost right away when Olson, the second batter of the game, hit a two-run jack in the first inning. In the second inning, Brugman hit a solo shot. And then in the third inning, Barreto hit a two-run homer. Barreto was making his major league debut after being promoted just a few hours before game time, and hadn’t had time to sleep or eat before the game started. (Hopefully he doesn’t consider tiredness and hunger good luck charms from now on.) It definitely wasn’t Shields’ lucky day he lasted just three innings and gave up six runs, but he managed to get his 2,000th career strikeout anyway.

To say this is rare is to call the Hope Diamond a big rock. This is something that hasn’t been done since 1914, 103 years ago. It was done by Duke Kenworthy, Art Kruger and John Potts, who played for the Kansas City Packers (a team in the now-obviously-defunct Federal League). 1914 isn’t just a century ago, it’s galaxies away from the kind of baseball that’s played today, which just makes it all the more ridiculous and wonderful (not to mention historical). Honestly, the fact that it’s been done even once before is incredible.

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Sam Houston State completes one of the smoothest triple plays ever witnessed

Sam Houston State surprised many and won the Lubbock regional in this year’s NCAA baseball tournament, upending hosts and No. 5 overall national seed Texas Tech to advance into the Tallahassee super regional. This is Sam Houston’s first super regional appearance in program history.

So the Bearkats with a K are locked into action with Florida State in the opening volley of the best of three super regional series at the Seminoles’ home park. Sam Houston has been pestering their hosts all afternoon with their idiomatic style of play, bunting themselves around the bases to the the tune of a 5-2 lead.

In the bottom of the third inning and with the bases loaded, FSU designated hitter Quincy Nieporte slapped a hard grounder to third, and the Bearkats infield swallowed that thing up whole.

From third to second to first for three immediate outs, all in time. That’s how you tear off a 5-4-3 triple play.

The Horned Frogs capped 2017 by earning a CWS bid for the fourth straight year, a testament to skipper Jim Schlossnagle’s ability to get his teams ready for postseason play. TCU handled upstart Missouri State in the Fort Worth super and went undefeated through the regionals as well. Though without the services of last year’s bomber, Luken Baker, due to an arm injury, the Frogs can still pound the ball. Catcher Evan Skoug has blazed through the tournament, blasting four homers in five games before Omaha.

Starter Jared Janczak and bridge relief man Sean Wymer headline a pitching staff that owns a 3.99 ERA on the season. Janczak dealt with a shoulder injury earlier in the season, but he’s put on fine form here in June, sporting a 1.82 ERA.

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Minnesota Twins celebrate Prince Night with a ‘Purple Rain’ umbrella

The Minnesota Twins held a Prince night in honor of the late pop star on Friday. The team went all in and wore purple shirts during batting practice. But more importantly, their giveaway against the Cleveland Indians was a purple umbrella.

When you open the umbrella, it reveals the Purple Rain artwork. I am very jealous of those who got this. Whenever it rains and their day is just a little sour, they can open this up and see that an iconic album cover is protecting them.

The game wasn’t even half over and a few fans who were lucky enough to get their hands on one of these umbrellas were already selling them on eBay. They’re not cheap.

While it’s not a cheap umbrella if you’re buying it on the secondary market, it doesn’t take away from how astounding this piece of ballpark memorabilia is.

We’ve come a long way from Moneyball, when Michael Lewis spent more time explaining what was wrong with Prince Fielder than what was right. The stigma of drafting high schoolers is dead. Nobody misses it.

So none of that ancient history has anything to do with what the A’s did here, which is get the best player available, give or take. You know there were internal debates about whether they should go with a pitcher or a hitter here, but it’s obvious which faction won, and we’ll know in a couple of years if they chose wisely. Unless we get a fun performance in the NY-Penn League to whet our appetites before then, which is certainly possible.

He’s hitting .216/.298/.351, which is pretty bad, but he’s still a nuclear-powered defender, and it’s not like his peak was MVP-caliber hitting, either. One hot streak will get his numbers back where they were, and one of these years, he’ll clamber up to the next tier and join the pantheon of Super Young and Great Cubs All-Stars to make you even more covetous than you already are.

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