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Miguel Sano‘s debut with the Twins has beeen nothing short of outstanding, and in light of that success, 1500 ESPN’s Derek Wetmore reexamines Sano’s highly publicized signing with the Twins as an international free agent back in 2009. Sano, whose signing is chronicled in the 2011 documentary Ballplayer: Pelotero, signed with the Twins for $3.15MM six years ago. The Pirates were said to have made an offer of $2.6MM at the time, and Wetmore spoke to a person involved in the negotiations that said the Yankees made an offer in the $3MM range as well. Mutual respect between the Twins and agent Rob Plummer played a large role in Sano’s eventual decision, Wetmore writes, and VP of player personnel Mike Radcliff gave longtime Twins international scout Fred Guerrero quite a bit of credit as well when speaking to Wetmore about the signing. The 2009 international class has a chance to be one of the best — if not the best — in Twins history, as Minnesota not only landed Sano, but Top 100 prospect Jorge Polanco ($775K) and likely Top 100 prospect Max Kepler ($800K) as well.
Here’s more from the AL Central…
- Johnny Cueto‘s struggles with the Royals are cause for concern among fans, but manager Ned Yost expressed confidence that he can turn it around following a tough loss yesterday, writes Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star. Cueto, who has a 4.86 ERA in eight starts with the Royals and has yielded 21 runs over his past 20 innings, is believed by the team to be experiencing mechanical issues — specifically his shoulder flying open. However, Yost and Cueto didn’t feel that was the issue on Sunday, and the right-hander plans to spend extra time watching video to pinpoint the source of his struggles. Cueto was acquired to be the team’s postseason ace, writes ESPN’s Christina Kahrl, but prolonged struggles could lead to Yordano Ventura taking over as the team’s top arm. Kahrl dives into some of the numbers behind Cueto’s recent troubles, noting that his velocity remains sound, but he’s seeing less break on his slider, which could be causing problems.
- Despite the departure of president Mark Shapiro, Indians fans shouldn’t expect to see a dramatic change in the club’s philosophy or approach to free agency, writes Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer in his latest mailbag piece. Those who had reported to Shapiro will now instead report to owner Paul Dolan, and Dolan’s influence will still of course be strong. Signing players such as Chris Davis won’t be happening this winter, Hoynes says confidently, and he doesn’t expect to see top prospects such as Clint Frazier or or Bradley Zimmer traded in order to provide immediate offensive upgrades, either.
The 2013 amateur draft is now fully in the rearview mirror and a new wave of talent has filtered into the professional ranks. Some of the '13 draftees have been riding the buses for more than a month now, while others have only recently pulled on their spikes. Below is a look at first round picks who are off to impressive starts with their new organizations. Standard warnings about reading too much into small sample sizes apply.
Mark Appel, RHP, Astros (1st overall): The top selection in the 2013 draft has made four starts in the minors and has already earned a promotion, moving from the New York Penn League to the Midwest League. Despite a bit of a layoff between the college season and his first pro appearance, the Stanford alum has displayed good control with just one walk in 13 innings while striking out 13 batters. Curt Rallo, writing for MiLB.com, recently caught up with Appel and spoke to him about the adjustments he's making as a professional baseball player.
Kohl Stewart, RHP, Twins (4th): The highest drafted prep product, 18-year-old Kohl has acclimatized well to his new life as a pro ball player. Stewart, a Texas native, features a 1.80 ERA with nine strikeouts in 10 innings of work over four appearances (two starts).
Clint Frazier, OF, Indians (5th): The 18-year-old Frazier is stinging the ball through his first 18 pro games. He's hitting more than .300 with nine extra base hits. On the down side, he's whiffed 24 times, including nine strikeouts in his last four games. Clearly, he has some further adjustments to make if he hopes to see continued success on the diamond.
Hunter Dozier, SS, Royals (8th): The Royals' first pick received a lot of attention for being an overdraft so the club could later afford pitcher Sean Manaea, who slipped out of first round consideration due to injury concerns. Dozier, though, is making the decision to pick him eighth overall look inspired. He has an .856 OPS and 20 of his 37 hits have gone for extra bases during his time in the Pioneer League. Dozier has also walked more than he's struck out (19-16). His first professional baseball club, the Idaho Falls Chukars, recently published an audio Q&A with the first rounder.
D.J. Peterson, 3B, Mariners (12th): Peterson was promoted from the Northwest League to the Midwest League on Tuesday and he will leave behind some impressive numbers. The third baseman popped six home runs and posted a .915 OPS in 29 games. He also showed solid contact skills with a strikeout rate of just under 15%, which is impressive given his power output.
Reese McGuire, C, Pirates (14th): The Pirates had two first round selections in 2013 and McGuire has gotten off to a quicker start than his new teammate Austin Meadows. The young catcher is hitting more than .400 with a 1.012 OPS through his first 15 games. He's also impressing behind the plate by catching 50% of base runners attempting to steal. John Lembo of the Bradenton Herald spoke to both McGuire and Meadows about their thoughts of growing up in the Pirates organization.
J.P. Crawford, SS, Phillies (16th): Philadelphia has been snakebitten over the past few years when it comes to their first round draft picks, and the organization is clearly hoping for bigger and better things from Crawford. He's off to a good start in Rookie ball where he's compiled 25 hits and seven walks in 18 games, good for a .427 on-base percentage. By getting on base at such a good clip, it should allow him to pile up some steals thanks to his above-average speed.
Tim Anderson, SS, White Sox (18th): Anderson is the third shortstop on this list who's off to a quick start to his career. Playing in low-A ball, he's getting on base at a solid clip (.371 OBP) while nabbing 12 bases in 15 attempts through the first 32 games of his pro career. One red flag, though, is his strikeout rate of 25%, especially given that power is not a big part of his game right now; an improvement in his contact rate would likely help him improve his on-base percentage even further. Anderson could move quickly through the Sox system, which could help to explain why the club may be willing to part with incumbent shortstop Alexei Ramirez. Michael Teague of MiLB.com spoke to the young prospect shortly after he was named the top junior college athlete in the country for 2013.
Jonathon Crawford, RHP, Tigers (20th): Crawford has opened his pro career in the New York Penn League and he's expected to be one of the first college-groomed draft picks to reach the Major League level. Through six appearances, he's looking good with a 2.03 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings of work. He was downright unhittable in three of those appearances (totaling six innings). Lynn Henning of the Detroit News spoke to Crawford's manager in Connecticut about the recent draft pick's positive start to his career.
Billy McKinney, OF, Athletics (24th): After batting just .242 with a .558 OPS in June, McKinney has heated up in July and currently has a .367 average and .861 OPS. The left-handed-hitting Texas native has improved his game in part by making more contact and lowering his strikeout rate. He's also holding his own against southpaws, which is impressive to see from such a young hitter.
Full Story | 0 Comments | Categories: Billy McKinney | Chicago White Sox | Cleveland Indians | Clint Frazier | D.J. Peterson | Houston Astros | Hunter Dozier | J.P. Crawford | Jonathon Crawford | Kansas City Royals | Kohl Stewart | Mark Appel | Minnesota Twins | Oakland Athletics | Philadelphia Phillies | Pittsburgh Pirates | Reese McGuire | Seattle Mariners | Tim Anderson
SATURDAY, 2:01pm: The Indians announced via press release that the deal is official.
FRIDAY, 6:32pm: The Indians have agreed to terms with fifth overall draft pick Clint Frazier, Baseball America's Jim Callis reports (Twitter link). Frazier will receive a $3.5MM bonus, less than the $3.787MM assigned slot value price for the No. 5 pick (slot info courtesy of Baseball America). Frazier is advised by the ACES agency.
Frazier was widely heralded as one of the top members of this year's draft class, rated as the No. 4 overall prospect by both MLB.com and Baseball America. ESPN's Keith Law (Insider subscription required), who rated Frazier at No. 7, described him as possessing "the best bat speed in the draft, [and] some of the best I've ever seen on an amateur player." Frazier even drew some buzz as a surprise choice to be taken by the Astros as the first overall pick, though Houston instead went with right-hander Mark Appel.
Frazier, 18, is a right-handed hitting outfielder out of Loganville High School in Georgia. He has above-average arm strength and running ability, according to BA's scouting report, and he is a threat at the plate due to his bat speed and "plus-plus raw power." While Frazier played center field in high school, he is projected as a corner outfielder in his pro career.
Once Frazier's deal is finalized, he will be the 14th player taken in the first round to have reached an agreement with his club.
MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo was asked on Twitter where high school outfielder Clint Frazier, whom many expect to go in the Top 10 of the MLB Draft, ranks in comparison to high school talents from previous drafts. Mayo notes that it's hard to ignore hindsight and view players in the same light as he did when they were amateurs, but he ranked Frazier as the eighth-best talent among 36 high school hitters selected in the first round dating back to 2009. Here's more on the draft…
- The Astros have six players on their draft board but Frazier looks to be edging out Austin Meadows, leaving them with Frazier, Mark Appel, Jonathan Gray, Kris Bryant and Colin Moran, according to Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle. Bryant and Frazier are seen as dark horses if the team decides Appel and Gray aren't worth the money they're asking. Should Scott Boras and Appel highball the Astros, money will become an issue. Smith notes that it's very close between Appel and Gray, adding that Gray has ties to the Astros and is open to negotiating (All links to Smith's Twitter account).
- Cubs president Theo Epstein, GM Jed Hoyer, top scouting/player development executive Jason McLeod and amateur scouting director Jaron Madison are currently in Oklahoma City to meet with Gray, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. The Cubs are still expected to take either Gray or Appel at No. 2 overall.
- Bill Kiser of MLB.com profiles prep right-hander Hunter Harvey, whose stock has risen enough that he's considered a likely first-rounder. Harvey is the son of former MLB closer Bryan Harvey, who saved an AL-best 46 saves in 1991 and made two All-Star teams. The younger Harvey has a 0.38 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 54 2/3 high school innings this season. Harvey, whose fastball sits in the mid-90s and has touched 97, also features a solid curveball. Mayo had him going 25th to the Giants in his mock draft, while John Sickels of Minorleagueball.com has him going 30th to the Rangers and ESPN's Keith Law (Insider req'd) has him at No. 24 to the Athletics.