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Anthony Rendon Rumors
Eleven former first overall picks are currently on MLB rosters (DL included): Chipper Jones, Alex Rodriguez, Pat Burrell, Josh Hamilton, Adrian Gonzalez, Joe Mauer, Delmon Young, Justin Upton, Luke Hochevar, David Price and Stephen Strasburg. Here are some draft-related links in anticipation of this year's top pick:
- Anthony Rendon played his first games in the field since suffering a shoulder injury in March, and interestingly, Rendon played second base, reports John Manuel of Baseball America. Rendon made an error in his second game but according to one scout, "handled his routine chances just fine." While Rendon has displayed a strong third base glove in his college career, some executives have wondered if he is better suited to play second in the majors.
- Jim Callis of Baseball America has Rendon going first overall to Pittsburgh in his latest mock draft.
- The Pirates are open to taking any of the top three or four players with the first overall pick, and they don't even have a "front-runner" for the pick, tweets Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney hears that the Pirates continue to consider Gerrit Cole as a candidate for the first overall pick in the draft. Cole’s struggles have scared some teams off to an extent, but not Pittsburgh. Cole hit the 101-mph mark on the radar gun during a start tonight, according to ESPN's Keith Law (Twitter link).
- MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo lists the draft's top college arms, including Cole, Trevor Bauer and Danny Hultzen. The 2011 draft class stands apart from others thanks in large part to the deep, talented crop of college hurlers.
- As Mayo explains, 6'9" right-hander Alex Meyer has developed from a hard thrower into a more polished college arm.
- Reed MacPhail of FanGraphs offers more on the Kentucky starter and his “tantalizing combination of size and stuff.”
- Hultzen is "probably" the Diamondbacks' most wanted player, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic and he thinks the D'Backs would pass on Cole if he's still available when Arizona makes the third overall pick.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post
The buzz about the MLB draft is intensifying and understandably so – the big day is less than two weeks away. Here’s the latest:
- Baseball America presents its top 200 draft prospects. Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon is first on the list and high school right-hander Dylan Bundy leapfrogged UCLA righty Gerrit Cole to take the second spot on BA’s list.
- Meanwhile, ESPN.com's Keith Law ranks his top 100 draft-eligible players. Cole (#1), Rendon (#2) and high school outfielder Bubba Starling (#3) top his list and Bundy comes in fourth.
- Two UConn Huskies, Matt Barnes and George Springer, are gaining momentum, according to Jason A. Churchill of ESPN.com. Cole, however, is losing momentum.
- In his latest chat, Jim Callis of Baseball America says he thinks Vanderbilt right-hander Sonny Gray can start or become a dynamic closer.
- Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com previews this year's draft-eligible middle infielders, starting with high schooler Francisco Lindor, an outstanding defender who can hit for average and some power.
- University of Hawaii second baseman Kolten Wong told Mayo that he doesn't mind at all when people doubt him because of his size (he's 5'9"). Wong says he has spoken to fellow Hawaiian Shane Victorino about dealing with the draft.
- White Sox scouting director Doug Laumann told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune that the White Sox should get some "pretty good players" even though their first pick is the 47th overall selection. Chicago could end up taking a position player this year, according to Laumann.
A year ago, the Nationals had already decided to select Bryce Harper first overall. If the Pirates have decided on this year's top selection, we haven't heard about it, but we can pass along these updates about the 2011 draft:
- An American League scouting director told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that he believes in Sonny Gray's ability to pitch well when it matters. "If you need to win a game," the scouting director said, "you want Sonny Gray pitching for you. He's that kind of guy."
- As Jonathan Mayo shows at MLB.com, relatives of well-known sports figures like Dante Bichette, Scott Boras and Wayne Gretzky are eligible for this year's draft.
- Anthony Rendon headlines Mayo's list of top corner infield prospects at MLB.com. Rendon has four plus tools and can run better than people give him credit for, according to Mayo. However, the third baseman has dealt with two injuries this year.
- As Mayo explains at MLB.com, the Cron family features a pair of prospects: Utah first baseman C.J. Cron and high school catcher Kevin Cron. Their father, Chris, made it to the Major Leagues with the 1991 Angels and the 1992 White Sox.
- Peter Gammons of MLB Network suggests the Mets may well select UNC shortstop Levo Michael with the 13th overall pick (Twitter link).
The 2011 draft takes place in exactly two weeks. In the meantime, here's the latest draft-related news from around the game…
- Executives estimate that high school right-hander Dylan Bundy could obtain a bonus of $6-7MM, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. Bundy has a 100 mph fastball and has been linked to a possible $30MM asking price (basically double Stephen Strasburg’s current record of $15.1MM).
- Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen, UCLA right-hander Trevor Bauer and high school outfielder Bubba Starling are moving up draft boards, according to Heyman. Some expect the Cubs to take Starling if he’s available when they select ninth overall.
- Executives continue to suggest to ESPN.com's Buster Olney that Anthony Rendon's future may be at second base because of body type and arm concerns (Twitter links). Rendon entered the season as a higly-regarded defender at third, but has spent considerable time DHing this year because of injuries.
- Teams received their slot bonus recommendations from the commissioner's office last week, according to Olney.
- MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo breaks down this year's available catchers, starting with high schoolers Blake Swihart and Austin Hedges. Swihart can hit for average and power, but may be a tough sign and could eventually move to the outfield. Hedges has the top defensive skills of any draft-eligible catcher and could hit enough to be an everyday backstop.
- The Rays have 12 picks in the first two rounds of this year's draft – enough to re-load an already-deep farm system. But as Jim Callis of Baseball America explains, teams with lots of early picks haven't done particularly well, historically speaking.
- Frankie Piliere of FOX Sports hears that the Yankees are “heavily in on” prospects Dillon Howard and Brandon Martin (Twitter link). Howard is asking for a large bonus, according to Piliere.
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.
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