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Anthony Rendon Rumors
You know the draft isn't far off when eye-popping asking prices start to circulate. Here's the latest on the amateur draft, which isn't much more than two weeks away…
- High school right-hander Dylan Bundy would have no problem becoming a Royal, adviser Jay Franklin told Yahoo’s Jeff Passan. "We think Dylan would look great in Royal blue," he said (Twitter link)
- Earlier today, it appeared as though Bundy had told several teams, including the Pirates (1st overall) and Royals (5th overall), that he’d prefer not to be drafted by them, according to Passan. Bundy believes in his long-toss program and doesn’t want teams to try to change his way of preparing for games, according to Passan.
- UCLA right-hander Trevor Bauer is also concerned that teams will ask him to stop his long-toss sessions, according to Passan.
- As Jim Callis of Baseball America explained earlier in the week, players sometimes set exorbitant asking prices (like Bundy's) to make sure they fall to a team that values them highly and is prepared to pay more than most clubs would. Bundy and fellow high school right-hander Archie Bradley are asking for record deals, with Bradley looking for $20MM over five years. As Callis explains, neither pitcher will top Stephen Strasburg's record mark of $15.1MM, but each could earn over $5MM in bonus money.
- MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes introduced us to Bradley earlier in the week.
- Some executives are wondering if Anthony Rendon’s best position will ultimately be second base, according to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney. However, Rendon is a tremendous defender at third by most accounts and he told me he takes his defensive game seriously.
MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo posted his first mock draft today, and within it he provides some info about what players are being targeted by what teams…
- The Pirates are still looking at Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Danny Hultzen, Dylan Bundy, Bubba Starling, and perhaps even Archie Bradley.
- Most believe that Bundy wants to turn pro despite his reported six-year, $30MM contract demand.
- The Royals continue to look hard at college arms, but "there's a lot of chatter" about Starling, a semi-local kid.
- The Diamondbacks will get a "bounty of college pitching" with the third and seventh overall picks.
- The Cubs would love Starling if he is still on the board when their ninth overall pick comes around.
- It's unclear if the Astros are leaning towards a college or high school player, but Texas native Taylor Jungmann could be too good for them to pass up at pick number 11.
The Cardinals and Reds sit atop the NL Central standings thanks to the two highest-scoring offenses in the National League. Even without vintage Albert Pujols, the Cards lead the league in runs (227) and OPS+ (120). Here's the latest on a few of their division rivals…
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington saw possible first overall selection Anthony Rendon three times last week, according to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (on Twitter). The Pirates are considering a handful of players with the top pick.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs examines Charlie Morton's unusual platoon splits and says the Pirates right-hander will have to adjust his approach against left-handed hitters if he wants to maintain his early-season success.
- When incoming Astros owner Jim Crane talks about spending wisely and having enough money to run the team effectively, it sounds good, but as Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle says, “nothing really matters except results.”
- Sean Green accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A and will stay with the Brewers organization, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy (on Twitter). Milwaukee designated the reliever for assignment earlier in the month.
The Pirates are considering three to five players with the first overall pick in this June’s draft, according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. There’s no obvious top pick like Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper, so the Pirates are still evaluating and discussing their options.
"There is not a clear-cut No. 1 this year," GM Neal Huntington said. "That's why we continue to work. That's why we continue to follow a handful of players and do our due diligence.”
UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole, Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon and Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen appear to be in the mix for the top pick. Huntington and other Pirates execs have seen all three college stars.
Conor Glassey of Baseball America reported earlier this week that high school shortstop Francisco Lindor and high school outfielder Bubba Starling have also entered the discussion for the Pirates' top pick. However, Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette hears that the Pirates believe Lindor is "waaay too small," and they're not even considering him for the top pick (Twitter link). Lindor is listed at 5-foot-11, 170 lbs.
The Pirates have spent more on the draft than any other organization since 2009 and, once again, scouting director Greg Smith has been handed “full assurance” that he can take whichever player he wants, regardless of bonus demands. The Pirates expect to be aggressive after the first round, according to Langosch. Their second selection is 61st overall; for a team-by-team breakdown of top picks, click here.
There is still a lot that can and will change between now and the amateur draft in three weeks, but that didn't stop ESPN's Keith Law from posting his first mock draft today. It's an Insider-only piece, but here are the important points…
- The Pirates are considering Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon, and have "done their due diligence" on Dylan Bundy. Law notes that "under Neal Huntington the Pirates have long considered value relative to cost in their drafts, sometimes preferring to spend less in the first round when they see opportunities to spend their savings on other appealing prospects in later rounds." He has them taking Danny Hultzen first overall.
- Everyone Law has spoken to says the Mariners will take Rendon as long as the medicals check out, and he hears from the very good source that there is nothing structural wrong with the Rice third baseman's shoulder.
- The Diamondbacks will take Hultzen third overall if he's available, and they're hoping for Bundy or Trevor Bauer with the seventh overall pick. That pick is compensation for failing to sign Barret Loux last year.
- The Orioles have interest in Bundy, Bauer, and Jed Bradley with the fourth pick. Law emphasizes that everyone has told him the Royals want a college pitcher with the fifth pick. The Indians have their eyes on Bauer for eighth overall.
- High school outfielder Brandon Nimmo is looking for $2MM, and Law has him going to the Rays with the 32nd pick.
Paul Maholm (2003), Neil Walker (2004), Andrew McCutchen (2005) and Pedro Alvarez (2008) were all first round selections by the Pirates. The last time they had the first overall pick, however, they selected Bryan Bullington (2002), who has yet to make a significant impact in the Major Leagues. The Pirates select first overall this June; here’s the latest on what they’ll do with the top pick:
- The Pirates appear to be looking primarily at UCLA righty Gerrit Cole, Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon and Virginia lefty Danny Hultzen with the first overall selection, according to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com. Nine of 14 scouts predicted that the Pirates will take Cole, with three predicting Rendon and two predicting Hultzen.
- For interviews with all three players, check out our Draft Prospect Q&A series.
- All signs point to the Pirates taking a college player rather than, say, high school standout Bubba Starling, according to Mayo.
- The Pirates released Double-A right-hander Tom Boleska, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (on Twitter). Boleska, a 24-year-old right-hander, has a 2.73 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in five minor league seasons, but has struggled in 12 appearances at Double-A this year.
- You can follow the Pirates on MLBTR with Facebook, Twitter and RSS.
Baseball's amateur draft takes place in exactly one month. Here are the latest updates on a pair of teams with high first round picks…
- Orioles amateur scouting director Joe Jordan told Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun that he has good sense of which players his club will be choosing from when it selects third overall in June. It’s too early to know precisely which players will be available so Jordan is still considering about ten prospects with Baltimore’s top pick.
- Manny Machado, last year’s third overall pick, has a left knee injury and as Zrebiec points out, an extended absence would be quite a blow to the Orioles. It's unclear how much time the 18-year-old will miss. He has a .333/.450/.611 line in Class A.
- The Pirates are focusing heavily on UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole and Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon as they prepare to make the first overall pick, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. However, there’s internal concern about Rendon’s stature and health and there’s concern about Cole “simply because he is a pitcher,” so the Pirates haven’t ruled out other options.
- Check out River Ave. Blues for a detailed draft order.
As the 2011 Draft draws closer, MLBTR will be introducing you to a handful of the top eligible prospects with a series of Q&As. The series includes four of the top college pitchers in the nation and a top college position player. Here's another position player to watch.
Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon is considered the top college position player in the 2011 draft and he remains a candidate to be the first overall pick this June. Both Baseball America and ESPN.com have reported within the week that it appears Rendon will either go first overall (to the Pirates) or second (to the Mariners) with UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole going to the other team.
Rendon entered the season as the top prospect in the draft after being named Baseball America's Player of the Year in 2010 and the publication's Freshman of the Year in 2009. Ankle and shoulder injuries have slowed Rendon down this year and limited his time at third base, where he is considered an excellent defender. The 20-year-old Houston native shines at the plate as well and has a .350/.552/.552 line with 62 walks so far this season.
I spoke to Rendon earlier today about his injuries, the team he rooted for growing up and the hype surrounding the draft. Here's a transcript of our conversation:
We're 41 days away from the amateur draft! The Pirates, Mariners, Diamondbacks, Orioles, and Royals will lead off with the first five picks. Click here to see the entire draft order. Several of the links below require subscriptions, which we heartily recommend purchasing. Today's notes:
- ESPN's Keith Law hears that South Carolina outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. has a torn ligament in his wrist and could miss the rest of the spring (Twitter link). Bradley was expected to be a first round pick before the injury.
- Baseball America's John Manuel, Jim Callis, and Conor Glassey make picks for the first round – not projections, but their own preferences.
- UCLA righty Trevor Bauer is a top five candidate, writes Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus, but there are concerns over his workload. Talking to ESPN's Jason A. Churchill, one assistant GM admitted he's worried about Bauer's pitch counts. He's averaged 124.5 pitches per start, according to Churchill.
- In a draft heavy on pitching, Goldstein says second baseman Kolten Wong out of Hawaii "is now getting late first round consideration."
- Connecticut outfielder George Springer has bounced back lately, perhaps enough to put him within the first ten picks, says Churchill. For more on Springer, check out Ben Nicholson-Smith's interview. Ben's other prospective draft pick interviews include Sonny Gray, Matt Purke, Danny Hultzen, and the elusive Gerrit Cole.
- Current buzz from Churchill still has Rice's Anthony Rendon going to the Mariners at #2 overall.
It's far too early in the spring for teams to have their draft boards finalized, as Keith Law pointed out at ESPN.com this week. With nearly two months remaining between now and the draft, a lot can change, but that doesn't stop Law from passing along the latest on the early intentions of some teams with high picks:
- Law hears that the Mariners will take either Gerrit Cole or Anthony Rendon with the second pick in the draft, depending on which player is available after the Pirates select first overall.
- The D'Backs, who pick third, covet Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen, according to Law.
- The Orioles are 'extremely likely' to take a college pitcher with the fourth overall pick. They could take Hultzen or Georgia Tech left-hander Jed Bradley.
- The Royals (5th pick) are also likely to take a college arn and they're interested in UConn right-hander Matt Barnes, Hultzen and Bradley.
- The D'Backs (7th pick) and Cubs (9th pick) have Vanderbilt right-hander Sonny Gray high on their internal rankings, according to Law.