Results tagged ‘ 2009 Draft ’

AFL news: Strasburg to debut in Fall League

I know I promised some info on the AFLAC All-American Game played last weekend, but that’ll keep. Instead, I want to talk about the Arizona Fall League.

Now, I always like talking about the AFL. As I’ve been saying for years, I think it’s the best-kept secret in baseball. It should be a great vacation destination for baseball fans, but it tends to be relatively desolate on the fan front.

That might change, at least in terms of people paying attention to the elite finishing school for Minor Leaguers. That’s because it seems likely that Stephen Strasburg, the No. 1 pick of the 2009 Draft, will make his unofficial pro debut in the AFL, which begins its 18th season on Oct. 13.

Strasburg, of course, made headlines when he agreed to a record-setting $15-million-plusstrasburg.jpg Major League contract with the Nationals right at the signing deadline. He was introduced to Nats fans at a press conference/event on Friday. Now it appears the first time he’ll represent the organization on the mound will be in the desert. He’ll be a member of the Phoenix Desert Dogs, who will be aiming for their sixth straight AFL title. The odds seem pretty good that he’d be a part of the Rising Stars Showcase, set to be held in Surprise, Arizona on Nov. 7.

It also could be a springboard to a quick rise to the big leagues. A year ago, Orioles first-rounder Brian Matusz got his first taste of pro ball in the AFL and landed in Baltimore’s rotation after the All-Star break.

Strasburg will not be the only high pick from the 2009 Draft likely to be a part of the Fall League this season. Fellow National pitcher, and No. 10 pick overall, Drew Storen, is also expected to pitch for the Desert Dogs. The reliever out of Stanford has gotten off to an outstanding start to his pro career, signing quickly and already up in Double-A. Through Saturday’s games, the right-hander had a 2.35 ERA and seven saves in 30 2/3 IP across three levels. He’s held hitters to a .180 batting average and had a ridiculous 42:5 K:BB ratio. He’s yet to give up a run in six Double-A innings.

No. 2 pick Dustin Ackley should get a chance to take his hacks against the Nationals’ duo. The newest member of the Mariners organization, out of the University of North Carolina, will go to instructs in Peoria and then stay to play for the Javelinas. Joining him in Peoria, but on the other AFL team there — the Saguaros — will be No. 7 pick, LHP Mike Minor (Braves), and the No. 8 overall selection, RHP Mike Leake. Leake, of course, will be in familiar surroundings after starring for three years in Tempe for Arizona State.

Official rosters will be released in the near future and if this early news in any indication, the Arizona Fall League could be ready for its best season in what’s been a very, very successful run.

Draft Deadline Day Tweeting

Today is going to be a very busy day, without a doubt, with 14 first-round picks still unsigned and the midnight deadline (12:01 a.m., to be precise) looming. I’ll be providing updates on MLB Network beginning at 6 p.m. ET, so be sure to tune in.

Until then, during then, after then, follow my updates on Twitter all day long. They can be found @JonathanMayoB3.

Under Armour All-American Game

Hey folks. Sorry for the dearth in coverage, but I’ve been on vacation with the B3 family, doingbandelier ladder.jpg things like going to Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico and climbing ladders like these (and some much longer) into caves once inhabited by Native Americans.

But I did want to check in and update everyone with what’s going on in the wonderful world of amateur baseball and the Draft. Draft-wise, the signing deadline is looming and I’ll be at the MLB Network from 6 p.m. on to provide updates on signings, etc. With Bobby Borchering signing with Arizona, that leaves 18 unsigned first-round picks, with plenty of late-round above-slot signings to come, I’m sure. More on that in the days to come, especially on Monday, either here or on Twitter, where you can follow me @JonathanMayoB3.

In the past week, though, there have been some real good amateur showcases/events with scouts flocking to see the best high school talent for the Draft Class of 2010. I’ve got some information on the Under Armour All-American Game, held at Wrigley Field on Aug. 8. I’ll have some dirt on the Area Code Games for you soon as well.

As for the UA Game, last year’s contest, so you know, included 2009 first-rounders Bobby Borchering, Nick Franklin, Matthew Purke, Zack Wheeler, Donavan Tate, Tyler Matzek and Jacob Turner. In other words, it’s worth paying attention. Here are some top performers from this year’s edition:

Hitters

Yordy Cabrera, SS:  Big, physical kid with serious hitting potential. Went deep in the game. Played well at East Coast Showcase as well. Some at this game thought third base would be better for him defensively in future.

Chevez Clarke, OF:  Good tools across the board. Not as much power as some others, but good athlete who’s fun to watch.

Nick Castellanos, 3B: Won the HR Derby, went 4-for-4 in game, with 4 extra-base hits. . Lots of life in bat. Has a hitch, but have to like the results. 

Reggie Golden, OF:  Hit a huge homer onto Waveland Avenue, but didn’t do much else in the game. But he’s got five-tool potential.

Austin Wilson, OF:  Also hit a long homer in the game, has thunder in his bat. A real physical specimen. with some serious tools. Good arm in right field.

Pitchers

Stetson Allie, RHP:  Size, strength, big fastball, up to 96 mph, along with hard slider. Got out of leadoff walk jam in this game well.
.
AJ Cole, RHP:  Big fastball, power guy. Hard curve to go with heater up to 94 mph. Command a bit off in this outing. But stuff and projectability are exciting.

Kevin Gausman, RHP: At 6-4, 180 lbs., easy to project a lot more in the tank.

DeAndre Smelter, RHP:  More power from the right side, up to 94 with fastball, slider up to 85 mph. Throws strikes as well. Goes right after hitters.

Andrew Smith, RHP: Good potential with velocity and ability to spin a breaking ball.

Jameson Taillon, RHP:  Dominant stuff. Struck out side, up to 96 mph, good hard slider. Size and strength.

Bobby Wahl, RHP: Big and projectable (6-4, 200) with plenty of room for future velocity.
 
Karsten Whitson, RHP:  Big, strong righty, up to 94 mph in this game. Slider up to 80 mph. Command was a little off, but still one to watch.

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.

First round update

With the White Sox officially signing No. 23 pick Jared Mitchell, that brings the total of first-rounders who have signed to an even dozen. Here’s the latest info, with links to the stories that have been written about their pro debuts, of course (reported bonus figures are included):

1. Stephen Strasburg, Washington — unsigned
2. Dustin Ackley, Seattle — unsigned
3. Donavan Tate, San Diego — unsigned
4. Tony Sanchez, Pittsburgh — $2.5 million
(Hitting .333 over 10 total games — 12-for-36, now with Class A West Virginia)
5. Matt Hobgood, Baltimore — $2.42 million
6. Zack Wheeler, San Francisco — unsigned
7. Mike Minor, Atlanta — unsigned
8. Mike Leake, Cincinnati — unsigned (though apparently he’s close)
9. Jacob Turner, Detroit — unsigned
10. Drew Storen, Washington — $1.6 million
(5.59 ERA in 7 games — 3.86 in three July outings — 14 K, 0 BB in 9.2 IP)
11. Tyler Matzek, Colorado — unsigned
12. Aaron Crow, Kansas City — unsigned
13. Grant Green, Oakland — unsigned
14. Matt Purke, Texas — unsigned
15. Alex White, Cleveland — unsigned
16. Bobby Borchering, Arizona — unsigned
17. A.J. Pollock, Arizona — $1.4 million
(.351 in 9 games — 13-for-37, 2 steals)
18. Chad James, Florida — unsigned
19. Shelby Miller, St. Louis — unsigned
20. Chad Jenkins, Toronto — unsigned
21. Jiovanni Mier, Houston — $1.358 million
22. Kyle Gibson, Minnesota — unsigned
23. Jared Mitchell, Chicago (AL) — $1.2 million
(Should be making his debut today)
24. Randal Grichuk, Los Angeles (AL) —
(.283 in 12 games — 15-for-53, 3 2B, 2 3B)
25. Mike Trout, Los Angeles (AL) — $1.215 million
(.571 in 4 games — 8-for-14, 1 2B, 2 3B, 2 SB)
26. Eric Arnett, Milwaukee — $1.2 million
(4.1 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 3 K)
27. Nick Franklin, Seattle — unsigned
28. Reymond Fuentes, Boston — $1.13 million
(6-for-10 in three games)
29. Slade Heathcott, New York (AL) — unsigned
30. LeVon Washingotn, Tampa — unsigned
31. Brett Jackson, Chicago (NL) — $972,000
(.400 in 8 games — 12-for-30, 2 3B, 8 RBIs)
32. Tim Wheeler, Colorado — $900,000
(.276 in 14 games — 16-for-58, 1 HR, 9 RBIs, 3 SB)

I think if and when Leake signs, assuming he’s the first of the college arms to go, that will lead to a domino effect with a bunch of the other college pitchers who are still unsigned.

Once we get past the Futures Game, I’ll try to get back to track down the first rounders and talk to them about their debuts. I owe you stories on Pollock, Mitchell (assuming he plays today),Trout, Fuentes, Jackson and Wheeler.  Hobgood, too, if/when he pitches for the first time.
 

Draft signing update

Well, it seems like we’ve got a total of nine first-rounders signed to date. In case you’ve lost track, they are:

No. 4 Tony Sanchez, Pirates
No. 5 Matt Hobgood (just happened over the weekend), Orioles
No. 10 Drew Storen, Nationals
No. 17 A.J. Pollock, Diamondbacks
No. 21 Jiovanni Mier, Astros (I just talked to him today, look for a story about his pro debut tomorrow)
No. 24 Randal Grichuk, Angels
No. 26 Eric Arnett, Brewers
No. 31 Brett Jackson, Cubs
No. 32 Tim Wheeler, Rockies

The Hobgood signing is the first top 10 pick to sign since I posted about my Top 10 Signing Game. We ended up with 4 contestents, and here’s the update, giving the differential of guessed signing date and bonus as indicators:

Matt S. — 6 days; $80,000 (he had July 3, $2.5 mil for Hobgood)
Brian O. — 7 days; $80,000
Todd F. — 26 days; $1.08 mil
Jon W. — 48 days; $80,000

Debuts and signings

The Cubs’ first-round pick, Brett Jackson (No. 30 overall), has signed with the club. It looks like Boise is his destination once he passes a physical, though since he hasn’t played in a game since the end of May, don’t be shocked if he goes to Mesa for a few games in the rookie-level Arizona League just to get his timing back a little.

ESPN’s Keith Law said he heard Jiovanni Mier has agreed to terms with the Astros. I’m trying to find out details. If true, perhaps you’ll see the No. 21 overall pick head to the Gulf Coast League or perhaps the Appalachian League.

Angels’ top pick, Randal Grichuk, No. 24 overall, has played in two Arizona League games to date. He’s gone 1-for-8 in the two games.

Marc Krauss, D-Backs’ 2nd-round pick, is in South Bend and has begun his pro career with a five-game hitting streak. He’s 5-for-17 in those five games.

Best debut thus far, though, has to go to Cameron Garfield, the Brewers’ second-round pick. The No. 74 overall pick played in his first game on Tuesday, with Helena in the Pioneer League. All the young catcher did was go 5-for-5 with 3 RBIs.

Other debuts:

Matt Davidson, the HS 3B taken by the Diamondbacks with the No. 35 pick (supplemental first round), has gone 4-for-15 in his first four games with the Yakima Bears in the short-season Northwest League (Interesting that the D-Backs didn’t send him to Missoula in the Pioneer League. I love it when guys get challenged). He hit his first professional homer yesterday.

Reds’ second-rounder Billy Hamilton made his pro debut yesterday in the Gulf Coast League. The athletic shortstop went 2-for-4 against the GCL Orioles hitting in the two-hole.

Cards’ second-rounder Robert Stock, the catcher-RHP out of USC, went 0-for-3 in his first game yesterday, with Johnson City in the Appalachian League. He caught and threw out a would-be basestealer. He’s still just 19 because he finished high school early to get to college early.

The Brewers’ other second-round pick, Max Walla (actually taken one pick before Garfield), is off to a 3-for-8 start in the AZL.

The No. 75 pick, Phillies’ second-rounder Kelly Dugan, went 0-for-3 in his GCL debut yesterday. He did walk and score a run.

3B Wade Gaynor, third-round pick of the Tigers, has started off his pro career 4-for-14 with a double and an RBI in three games with Oneonta in the short-season NY-Penn League.

OF Keon Broxton went in the third round to the D-Backs and he made his debut yesterday for Missoula in the game that saw Garfield go 5-for-5 for Helena. Broxton went 1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.

Astros’ third-round pick Telvin Nash got one AB in the GCL yesterday and struck out.

Josh Prince went in the third round to Milwaukee and the Tulane shortstop is on that Helena club as well. He went 0-for-5 with a walk, a stolen base and a run scored.

I think that takes you through the debuts of the top three rounds (not including Drew Storen, who we’ve written about quite a bit). Today, look for Eric Arnett, the No. 26 pick overall, to pitch for Helena. I don’t think he’s starting, however. No. 32 pick Tim Wheeler could be in the lineup for the Rockies’ affiliate in the short-season Northwest League, the Tri-City Dust Devils.

Debuts aplenty

I love the time right after the Draft. Not only do we have the College World Series and the Cape Cod League going on for those wanting to continue to follow amateur ball. And all those draftees start signing and start embarking on professional careers.

We’ve already talked a bunch about No. 10 pick Drew Storen. He’s now pitched twice for the Hagerstown Suns.

Joining him among the first-rounders to play is No. 4 pick Tony Sanchez. He made his debut over the weekend for short-season State College and I got to talk to him this morning about it. I have to say I was very impressed with how he carried himself, at least in our conversation. Here’s the story that came out of that interview: First-round pick Sanchez makes debut.

And there’s more to come:

No. 24 pick Randal Grichuk is slated to be in the lineup for the rookie-level Arizona League Angels tonight.
No. 26 pick Eric Arnett will pitch for Helena, the Brewers’ affiliate in the rookie-level Pioneer League on Wednesday.
No. 32 pick Tim Wheeler is in Tri-City, the Rockies’ club in the short-season Northwest League.

And how about this for fate. No. 17 pick A.J. Pollock has agreed to terms with the Diamondbacks. He’ll have a physical in Arizona tomorrow (Tuesday), sign his contract and then be assigned to… that’s right, South Bend. In case you’ve forgotten, Pollock played his college ball at Notre Dame, which, if you didn’t know, is in South Bend. I wonder if he got to keep his college digs for the rest of the summer.

More tomorrow, including answering an email question about the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner.

Scheppers, pro debuts, etc.

Hey all.

Quick post today. First, wanted to let those who haven’t seen it yet about the story I wrote regarding the health of Tanner Scheppersright shoulder. There are some teams who feel he has a 50-percent labrum tear and will need surgery. The Rangers, while acknowledging an issue, don’t think it’s as severe.

I’m not 100-percent positive, but I’m pretty sure that Marc Krauss became the first 2009 draftee to make his professional debut on Wednesday. He was the DH for South Bend in the second game of a Midwest League doubleheader. He went 1-for-3 with a double in the Silver Hawks’ 2-1 loss. The Diamondbacks took the University of Ohio product in the second round, No. 64 overall.

Great CWS matchup tonight, ASU vs. UNC in an elimination game. Potential 2010 first rounder Matt Harvey goes for the Tar Heels.

More later

College World Series update

If you had told me that Mike Leake would have a 6-0 lead in a College World Series game, I would’ve been willing to say the game was over. But I guess that’s why Texas is the top-ranked team in the CWS. The right-hander, taken 8th overall by the Reds in the Draft, had his worst start of the year and didn’t make it out of the fourth inning. Up next for ASU is an elimination game against Dustin Ackley and the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Some top hitting peformers in Omaha thus far, focusing on drafted talent:

Dustin Ackley, UNC (Mariners, 1st round, No. 2 overall): 7-for-11, 3 RBIs
Jermaine Mitchell, LSU (White Sox, 1st round, No. 23): 3-5, two doubles in 2nd game; 3-8 overall
DJ LeMahieu, LSU (Cubs, 2nd round, No. 79): 6-10, four runs scored
Kyle Seager,  UNC (Mariners, 3rd round, No. 82): 5-8, HR, 2 RBIs

On another note, looks like second-round pick Marc Krauss (Diamondbacks) will make his debut tonight for the South Bend Silver Hawks in the Midwest League. You can listen to the game here at 5:30 p.m. ET (it’s actually a doubleheader with yesterday’s rainouts).

No. 10 pick Drew Storen still seems on pace to make his pro debut tomorrow for Hagerstown and I’m efforting to find out when No. 4 pick Tony Sanchez will play for West Virginia.

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