Bubba Starling Rumors

Quick Hits: Twins, Ellis, Cole, Hultzen

The Mets released Wily Mo Pena on this date two years ago. The slugger resurfaced with the D'Backs yesterday, when he homered in his first MLB game since 2008. Here are some links for Wednesday night as Pena attempts to hit another homer or two…

  • A scout tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the Twins seem less likely to become sellers than they were a few weeks ago (Twitter link). Minnesota has re-entered the playoff race thanks to a 14-3 tear. 
  • Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group hears that the Giants are not one of the six teams on Mark Ellis’ no-trade list (Twitter link). Ellis has lost his starting second base job in Oakland and the Giants have had internal talks about obtaining him.
  • Jon Heyman of SI.com hears that top draft choices Gerrit Cole (Pirates) and Danny Hultzen (Mariners) will sign for roughly $10MM or so. Two high school arms, Archie Bradley (D’Backs) and Dylan Bundy (Orioles), will likely obtain $6-7MM and some executives see high school outfielder Bubba Starling (Royals) signing for more than Cole or Hultzen.
  • ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick examines the case for expanding active rosters to 26 players. Teams now have sprawling bullpens and demanding travel schedules, so there's support for bigger rosters from Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd, Marlins infielder Wes Helms and others.

Draft Notes: Bradley, Bundy, Hager, Starling, Cubs

The first and supplemental rounds are over and teams are reaching out to their top picks and setting up media conference calls with them. Here’s the latest on the draft from the players and teams themselves…

  • Archie Bradley (selected seventh overall by the D’Backs) says fellow Oklahoma high schooler Dylan Bundy (selected fourth overall by the Orioles) pushes him to be a better player. “With his workout and the way he goes about the game, it puts some weight on my shoulders to try to equal that or better that” Bradley said.
  • High school infielder Jake Hager (selected 32nd overall by the Rays) wants to start his pro career soon. Though he sees himself as a shortstop, he remains flexible to playing elsewhere on infield if that’s where the Rays want him to play. Hager describes himself as a hard worker who’s coachable. The Nevada native “had a feeling” the Rays would take him, since they were scouting him hard most weeks.
  • High school outfielder Bubba Starling (selected fifth overall by the Royals) describes himself as an equally good football and baseball player. The Kansas native admits to being a Royals fan, though he says he didn’t have time to see tons of games, since he plays so many sports. Starling says he felt stronger later in the season, after returning from a tweaked quad muscle.
  • Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken explained the selection of Javier Baez (ninth overall). “Javier has a tremendously live bat, is versatile in the field and we are happy to welcome him to the Cubs organization,” Wilken said in a team statement.  “He has a great arm and is a smart baserunner in tune with the game.

Draft Links: Royals, Pirates, Phillies

Here's the latest as we close in on Monday's First-Year Player Draft …

  • The Royals will be tempted to take prep outfielder Bubba Starling from Kansas with the No. 5 overall pick, writes Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star. The Royals are thought to covet a polished pitcher so that he can help the big league team sooner than later, according to Dodd, but they've smarted over missing out on local products Albert Pujols and Logan Morrison in the recent past, and GM Dayton Moore has discussed the importance of snatching up local talent.
  • The Pirates' indecision about which pricey college player to take select at No. 1 overall — Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon are represented by Scott Boras, while Danny Hultzen is reportedly seeking $13MM — has some baseball people wondering whether they'll take a prep player like Starling or Dylan Bundy in order to preserve their draft budget and overpay for tough-to-sign players at later picks, writes Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune. Also within that piece, Rogers examines some of the crucial selections of the past 10 drafts.
  • The Phillies are charged with restocking their farm despite making their first pick at No. 39, writes Bob Brookover of Philly.com. The fact that many of the Phils' core players are homegrown and others were acquired with prospects is a testament to the scouting and development departments, according to Brookover.
  • The Royals could also select UConn right-hander Matt Barnes with the fifth overall pick, writes Stephen Goff of the Houston Examiner. Within that piece, Goff explains Barners' unforeseen ascent to likely top-10 selection.
  • The Astros were once interested in Texas A&M righty John Stilson at No. 11, according to Goff, but the hurler has generally slipped out of first-round consideration due to a shoulder injury. As a result, Stilson is now a deep sleeper, writes Goff.
  • Jonathan May of MLB.com published his latest mock draft today, with Cole, Rendon and Hultzen going at Nos. 1, 2 and 3 to the Pirates, Mariners and D'Backs, respectively.
  • Four of six industry experts polled said they prefer Cole to Trevor Bauer of the two UCLA Bruins, but it's closer than you think, writes Tom Krasovic.

Nationals Notes: Harper, Riggleman, Bubba Starling

Last year's top pick, Bryce Harper, hit his first professional walk-off home run last night and now has 13 homers, 11 stolen bases and a .346/.432/.623 line at Class A. Still just 18 years old, Harper provides lots of hope for Nationals fans, though the big league club is in last place with a 25-31 record. Here's the latest out of Washington:

  • Nationals manager Jim Riggleman told Bill Ladson of MLB.com that he isn’t worried about his job security, though he’s in the last year of his contract.
  • Frankie Piliere of FOX Sports hears that the Nationals have zoned in on high school outfielder Bubba Starling with the sixth overall pick (Twitter link).
  • In case you haven't heard about the toolsy two-sport star, check out my piece on Starling from a couple weeks ago.

Draft Notes: Stilson, Rays, Astros, Nationals, Bundy

This year’s draft is deep, particularly in terms of power pitchers. Here are the details on some draft-eligible players and the teams that are eyeing them…

  • Texas A&M righty Josh Stilson received a second opinion on his injured shoulder from Dr. James Andrews, who believes surgery can be avoided with a six-week rehab program according to Baseball America's Jim Callis. Stilson, a projected first round pick, suffered a SLAP tear in his throwing shoulder and will miss the rest of the season.
  • ESPN's Jerry Crasnick wrote about Rocco Baldelli's front office job with the Rays, which involves evaluating amateur position players for the draft.
  • Astros assistant GM and scouting director Bobby Heck told MLB.com's Brian McTaggart that he has been impressed with the crop of power arms in this year's draft.
  • Odds are the Astros will take a pitcher with the 11th overall pick, according to Stephen Goff of the Houston Astros Examiner (Twitter links). High school pitcher Archie Bradley told Goff that "the Astros have been in pretty good contact" with him.
  • High school right-hander Dylan Bundy is a fitness freak who is mature beyond his years, as Nick Piecoro shows at the Arizona Republic. Bundy's pre-season goals? "To hit 100 mph, have a zero ERA and not walk anybody." His fastball touched 100 and he posted a 0.25 ERA with a 158K/5BB ratio.
  • MLB.com's Bill Ladson hears that the Nationals, who select sixth overall, are looking at Bundy, Danny HultzenBubba StarlingJed BradleyTrevor Bauer and Alex Meyer.
  • The Royals entered the season with the best farm system in the game, yet GM Dayton Moore told MLB.com's Dick Kaegel that there are many areas in which the organization's prospect depth can improve.
  • The Rays have 12 of the first 89 selections this year and executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman says those selections boost the team's odds of finding elite talent. "The more arrows you have, the more likely you are to hit the bulls-eye," Friedman told Bill Chastain of MLB.com.
  • The Padres, who have five of the first 58 picks in the draft, are looking forward to their selections with equal enthusiasm, according to MLB.com's Corey Brock. GM Jed Hoyer says the Padres need to get their picks right.
  • The Red Sox, Hoyer's former team, also have extra picks, something that GM Theo Epstein is looking forward to. “I think it energizes the scouting staff the whole year because they know going in and seeing players, there’s a much better chance you can actually get a guy," he told Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com.
  • The Twins will look to add pitching early on, according to MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger.
  • Mets executives Paul DePodesta and Sandy Alderson agree with the consensus that the draft is deep in pitching, according to MLB.com's Anthony DiComo.

Draft Notes: Cole, Hultzen, Bradley, Springer

The draft takes place one week from today; here’s the latest as teams prepare their draft boards for next Monday… 

  • ESPN.com’s Keith Law projects the Pirates to select UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole with the first overall pick, though he says they’re still seriously in on Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen and high school outfielder Bubba Starling. It’s too early to rule out Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon either. 
  • The D’Backs could take Hultzen, UCLA right-hander Trevor Bauer or high schooler Dylan Bundy third overall, according to Law.
  • It looks like the Orioles will take an arm fourth overall; they have Bundy, high schooler Archie Bradley and Cole in their sights.
  • If Bauer falls to the Indians, they’ll take him, according to Law.
  • The Cubs “sent a small army” to watch outfielder George Springer at the Big East tournament.
  • The Padres are interested in UConn right-hander Matt Barnes and Vanderbilt right-hander Sonny Gray
  • The top three players on one team’s draft board are advised by agent Scott Boras, according to Yahoo’s Jeff Passan.
  • Rendon's stock is down a bit because of a dip in production and injury concerns, writes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, but Rendon's coach at Rice, Wayne Graham, expects the third baseman to go within the top two picks.
  • The Giants shouldn't (and won't) alter their draft strategy in response to Buster Posey's season-ending injury, writes Jim Callis of Baseball America in a mailbag.

Draft Notes: Harvey, Starling, Anderson, Stilson

With the MLB draft coming up on June 6th, let's take a look at some draft-related tidbits..

  • Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe tweets that the Red Sox released Ryan Harvey, who was the 2003 1st round pick of the Cubs.  The 26-year-old was trying to convert from the outfield to the mound but never found his way out of extended Spring Training with Boston.
  • There's been talk of a lack of elite bats in this year's draft, but there appears to be a good amount of depth when it comes to the outfield prospects, writes Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com.  Mayo highlights a number of the top outfielders in the draft, including Bubba Starling, George Springer, Mikie Mahtook, and Jackie Bradley.
  • More from Mayo who writes that there's a good deal of buzz around Stanford closer Chris Reed, who is seen by some scouts as a starter.  Reed, it appears, will be taken somewhere in the sandwich round.
  • Meanwhile, Mayo writes that two pitchers, Oregon lefty Tyler Anderson and Texas A&M right-hander John Stilson, may have hurt their stock with recent poor outings.

NL Central Notes: Pirates, Fielder, Cubs

On this date in 1997, Sammy Sosa of the Cubs and Tony Womack of the Pirates hit inside the park homers in the same inning of the same game. Here’s the latest on the NL Central…

  • The Pirates announced that they signed five amateur free agents: Nicaraguan right-hander Adolfo Flores, Dominican right-hander Juan Mendoza, Panamanian position player Edgar Munoz and Venezuelan outfielders Anthony Claudio and Keybel Escobar. Claudio "resembles a young Magglio Ordonez," according to Pirates Latin America scouting director Rene Gayo.
  • Bob Nightengale of USA Today says Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder could get a $200MM deal in free agency if he keeps hitting like this (Twitter link). Fielder leads the NL with 41 RBI and has a .285/.380/.548 line 216 plate appearances into the season.
  • There's only a slim chance that high school right-hander Dylan Bundy will be available when the Cubs select ninth overall in next month's draft, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America (on Twitter). If Bundy and high school outfielder Bubba Starling have already been selected, Vanderbilt right-hander Sonny Gray could be an option for the Cubs.

Draft Notes: Rendon, Cole, Bundy, Gray

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.

Draft Notes: Bundy, Cubs, Rendon, Rays

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.