All-Star recap and more first-round info

Back from the All-Star festivities in St. Louis and I have to say, they did a great job as hosts. It’s hard not to like a town that loves baseball that much. From our standpoint (our meaning writers/media types), having the game in a more manageable city makes life a lot easier. You can walk everywhere and I like when the event takes over the city — everything stops for the All-Star Game in places like St. Louis. I love New York, but last year, the ASG was just one of many things going on in the City at that time.

The Futures Game, as always, was outstanding, even with the four-hour rain delay. I think I would’ve given Jason Castro the MVP for his three-run homer and throwing a base-runner out, but that’s just me. Kudos to the organizers of that game. Obviously, I’m biased, but I think it’s the best part of the All-Star festivities.

There’s not a whole lot to report on the first-round signing front since last we spoke. No. 4 pick Matt Hobgood made his debut over the weekend, tossing an inning for the Bluefield Orioles in the rookie-level Appy League. No. 10 pick Drew Storen was promoted to Class A Advanced Potomac. He hasn’t given up a run or a hit since July 5, a stretch spanning five outings and 6 2/3 IP. Overall, he had racked up 26 K’s and zero walks in 14 2/3 IP for Hagerstown. Other performers from the first round:

No. 5 pick Tony Sanchez (Pirates) is hitting a combined .333 in 16 total games with a .920 OPS. He’s hit .340 in 12 games with West Virginia since joining the SAL team.

No. 17 A.J. Pollock (Diamondbacks) is off to a 20-for-78 start (.256) with South Bend in the Midwest League. He’s got a pari of homers and three steals.

No. 21 Jio Mier (Astros) is hitting .300 for Greeneville in the Appy League. The shortstop has a .400 OBP and has gone 24-for-80 overall with one homer and 14 RBIs in 21 games. He’s got three stolen bases as well.

No. 23 Jared Mitchell (White Sox) had his debut delayed a bit, but he’s hit the ground running with Kannapolis in the South Atlantic League. The LSU standout has gone 4-for-9 with a pair of doubles in his first three games.

No. 24 Randal Grichuk (Angels) is diong just what he said he hoped he would. He took a bit to adjust, hitting .120 over his first six games. He’s hit .391 since over 15 games in July and is at .319 overall in 94 rookie-level Arizona Leauge ABs. He’s got 21 RBIs in 21 games with 10 extra-base hits and three streals.

No. 25 Mike Trout (Angels) has been keeping up with Grichuk, though he missed a week earlier this month. He’s gone 15-for-33 (.455) to start his pro career, with five extra-base hits (three doubles, two triples) and five steals in nine games.

No. 26 Eric Arnett (Brewers) doesn’t seem to like the shorter stints he’s not used to. In five total games with Helena in the Pioneer Legue, the Indiana right-hander has a 8.31 ERA. He’s allowed eight runs on 10 hits while walking five. He does have 9 K’s in 8 2/3 IP.

No. 28 Reymond Fuentes (Red Sox) has played 12 games in the Gulf Coast League and his hitting .333 (13-for-39). He’s got a .400 OBP and has two steals (to go along with three caught stealing).

No. 31 Brett Jackson (Cubs) made a brief stop in the Arizona League to shake off some rust, then went to Boise in the Northwest League. Combined, the Cal outfielder has hit .333 (21-for-63) in 19 games, with a pair of triples, a homer and 16 RBIs.

No. 32 Tim Wheeler (Rockies) is also in the Northwest League, with Tri-City. He’s hit .299 (29-for-97) in 24 games. He’s hit six doubles and a homer while driving in 13 runs and stealing 4 bases.

I’m efforting to get stories done on the first-rounders I’ve yet to talk to (that would be Pollock, Trout, Fuentes, Jackson and Wheeler). I’ll be sure to let you know if/when those get done.

That’s about it in terms of news of that nature. There have been no new signings and it’s looking like there’s a lot of waiting to see what the other guy is doing. I expect that deadline day — Aug. 17 — is going to be very, very busy and interesting. Here’s what I’m hearing:

  • It would seem like Mike Minor and Mike Leake, at 7 and 8, wouldn’t be tough signs, but things are taking a little longer. My guess is Leake’s camp is waiting to see what Minor signs for and perhaps neither wants to set the “college arm” bar.
  • Tyler Matzek (No. 11, Rockies) is sticking with his bonus demand, which is north of $7 million. Good luck with that.
  • Matt Purke (No. 14, Rangers), the next HS lefty with crazy demands, has supposedly come down some. That being said, he’s still around $5 million, which is on the steep side, no?
  • The other top picks — Strasburg, Ackley, Tate, Turner, to name some — aren’t going to get done until close to or at the Aug. 17 deadline. So buckle your seat belts.

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