Francisco Lindor Rumors
We're still roughly one month away from the deadline to delay Super Two status for minor leaguers, at which point a flood of young talent is likely to hit the Major Leagues. Here's a look at some news on some of the game's top prospects, as ranked by Baseball America, Keith Law and Jonathan Mayo prior to the season...
- Two separate scouts told Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports that the Indians' Francisco Lindor could be the best prospect in baseball by the end of the season. Lindor, a 19-year-old shortstop, reminds both scouts of Jurickson Profar thanks to excellent plate discipline, defense and ability to hit for average (Twitter links). The main question surrounding Lindor is whether or not his power will develop.
- A Mets source tells ESPN's Adam Rubin that preventing Zack Wheeler from reaching Super Two status is a priority. Rubin pegs the June 17-20 series against the division rival Braves as a likely target for Wheeler's debut. In an appearance on WFAN Radio today, GM Sandy Alderson stressed the developmental side of things, stating that they need to make sure Wheeler is ready (via Newsday's Marc Carig on Twitter).
- Oswaldo Arcia may never play another game in the minor leagues again, writes Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN. Arcia was initially called up to fill a void when Darin Mastroianni hit the disabled list, but he's hitting .299/.333/.506 with three homers thus far with the Twins. In his article, Mackey recounts a titanic opposite-field blast in a B-game by Arcia last Spring Training that grabbed the front office's attention and served as a launching pad for his career.
While the Indians would like to upgrade their rotation, they aren't interested in rental players, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports (on Twitter). Here’s the latest on the Indians, who have a 50-49 record after defeating the Tigers last night...
- Asdrubal Cabrera would appeal to a team like Oakland, but the Indians would have to be blown away to move their shortstop, Crasnick reports (on Twitter).
- The Indians are very likely to hold onto Shin-Soo Choo now that they’re just 3.5 games out of a playoff berth, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes (Twitter link).
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels should trade for an impact hitter and a starting pitcher, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports writes. The Rangers had a scout watching yesterday’s Tigers-Indians game, so Morosi suggests Choo could be an option for Texas. The Rangers also scouted Justin Upton, but it sounds as though Arizona won’t move the outfielder before the offseason.
- Though no players are off limits, a trade "would need to be exceptional" for the Indians to part with top prospect Francisco Lindor, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports (on Twitter).
The Indians have signed first overall pick Francisco Lindor, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (on Twitter). Jim Callis of Baseball America reports that the sides agreed to a $2.9MM deal (Twitter link). Sportsmeter, LLC represents the 17-year-old. The Indians believe Lindor has the potential to develop into an impact shortstop, according to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.
You can keep track of which top picks have signed with MLBTR's list.
Historically speaking, July 26th has been a busy day for the Indians. The Indians and Cardinals swapped Mark DeRosa and Chris Perez on this date in 2009; the Tribe acquired Carlos Santana for Casey Blake on this date in 2008; the Indians acquired Shin-Soo Choo for Ben Broussard on this date in 2006; they sent Russell Branyan to Milwaukee on this date in 2004 and they signed Marco Scutaro as an amateur free agent in 1994. This year, they're buyers. Here's the latest on the Indians and their division rivals...
- Indians GM Chris Antonetti says the Tribe has had continued dialogue with the agent for first round pick Francisco Lindor, though there’s no real update on the talks (Twitter link).
- Tigers owner Mike Ilitch told Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News that he'd be "extremely disappointed" if the Tigers don't make the playoffs this season. GM Dave Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland are in the final years of their respective contracts.
- The Rockies and others continue to pursue Kevin Slowey, according to Yahoo's Tim Brown (on Twitter). Earlier in the month, it became clear that the Pirates and Rockies were among the clubs with interest in the Twins right-hander.
We've already learned that right-hander Gerrit Cole will be the Pirates' choice with the first overall pick in today's amateur draft, and it seems that the next two picks are also starting to crystalize. "Barring huge late surprises," tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, the top three look to be Cole, Anthony Rendon (to the Mariners) and Trevor Bauer (to the Diamondbacks). Here's the latest as we're just hours away from the 2011 draft...
- Cole, Rendon and Bauer are the first three picks for Baseball America's Jim Callis in his final mock draft. This represents a reversal for Callis, who said on Friday that "[Danny] Hultzen to Arizona was the biggest lock in the first six picks." Instead, Callis has Hultzen falling to the Nationals at No. 6.
- Francisco Lindor had a great workout with the Mariners and there were rumors Seattle could take the high school shortstop with the No. 2 pick, reports Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus. Still, Goldstein predicts Seattle to draft Rendon in his latest mock since Jack Zduriencik didn't see much of Lindor in game action and, if the M's did branch out to take a high school player, they might prefer Bubba Starling.
- Marc Hulet of Fangraphs and MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo also have Cole, Rendon and Bauer as the first three picks in their last mock drafts.
- Also from Mayo, he names the ten best draft picks in history according to their placement in the draft order. For instance, Alex Rodriguez is the best first overall pick ever, Reggie Jackson is the best second overall pick ever, etc.
- Now that it appears Cole will be Pittsburgh's pick at No. 1, the second-guessing has already begun. "I think history suggests that the Pirates may be making a mistake here," writes Dave Cameron of Fangraphs, who cites the surprisingly weak crop of pitchers taken with the first overall pick. (The jury is still out, of course, on David Price and Stephen Strasburg.)
- Meanwhile, Tom Krasovic of West Coast Bias asks five scouts and an executive who they would rather draft between Cole and Bauer. Cole won the informal poll, but only by a 4-2 margin.
- Nationals owner Mark Lerner says his team won't hesitate to spend to get the draft picks they want, reports James Wagner of the Washington Post (via the Post's Adam Kilgore). "Last year we had great luck in going after kids with signability issues like A.J. Cole and Robbie Ray, and hopefully we’ll have the same opportunity again this year if the opportunity presents itself," Lerner said.
- The Rockies are looking at Hawaii second baseman Kolten Wong or UNC shortstop Levi Michael with the 20th overall pick in the first round, tweets ESPN's Keith Law. Colorado apparently won't be selecting Utah first baseman C.J. Cron.
- The Tigers have had success finding Major League players in the late rounds of recent drafts, reports MLive.com's Matt Sussman. Detroit won't have a pick until the 76th overall selection after losing its first round pick to Boston as compensation for signing Victor Martinez.
- MLBTR's Dan Mennella already posted a set of draft links earlier today, so click here for even more draft news on this busy day in baseball.
A few items of note on the club formerly known as the Colt .45s as Albert Pujols smacks a walkoff homer, his second jack of the day:
- The Astros continue to deny any rumors that they've been trying to work out a pre-draft deal with Stanford pitcher Chris Reed with the intent of selecting him at No. 11 overall, tweets Stephen Goff of the Houston Examiner. Goff predicts the Astros will take Archie Bradley (Twitter link), and ESPN.com's Keith Law writes in his latest mock draft that they'll take prep shortstop Francisco Lindor or Bradley if he's still available.
- The Astros have improved their farm system under GM Ed Wade and his stable of area scouts, according to Goff. Wade's first draft as Astros GM was in 2008, when Houston selected Jason Castro and Jordan Lyles, both of whom have reached the bigs.
- In contrast to their relative improvements in drafting and developing minor league players, Wade admitted that releasing Bill Hall represented a failure in judgment, writes Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle.
Draft junkies, you're missing out if you don't read Keith Law's latest chat at ESPN. Insider is required to read it, and is well worth your money, but here are a few highlights.
- With the fifth overall pick, Law sees the Royals taking a college arm or Dylan Bundy. Law and Jim Callis of Baseball America projected them to take Matt Barnes or Gerrit Cole, respectively, in late May mock drafts. MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo went with high school outfielder Bubba Starling in a mock draft published today. Mayo mentions UCLA righty Trevor Bauer and high school shortstop Francisco Lindor as well, but Law says the Royals are not on Lindor.
- One team that is in on Lindor is the Mariners at #2, as ESPN's Shannon Drayer tweets that they worked him out at Safeco Field. However, Law says that while the Ms like Lindor and Starling, he doubts they'd pass on Anthony Rendon if the Pirates take someone else.
- Law hears rumors that the Tigers and Red Sox are in on high school outfielder Josh Bell, a Boras Corporation advisee who sent a letter to the MLB Scouting Bureau saying he intends to honor his commitment to the University of Texas and does not want to be drafted. Law hears a "widespread rumor" about the Tigers drafting Bell and offering $6MM, presumably with the #76 overall pick (their first).
- The Red Sox don't know how the draft will change under the upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement, so they intend to take advantage of this year's draft, GM Theo Epstein told Ian Browne of MLB.com. Boston will select four of the first 40 players under second-year scouting director Amiel Sawdaye.
- Law hears high school righty Robert Stephenson "very strongly" for the Dodgers at #16. He also hears that the Dodgers can't go over slot with any pick, so hopefully Stephenson is comfortable with $1.8MM or so. High school shortstop Javier Baez and high school righty Taylor Guerrieri have been projected for the Dodgers in various recent mock drafts.
- Derek Fisher, a high school outfielder with "light-tower raw power" according to Law, will be a tough sign with demands of $2MM or more.
- Silly numbers like Danny Hultzen's reported $13MM demand "just get ignored," says Law. To get to know the University of Virginia southpaw, check out Josh Barr's article for the Washington Post. The article says Hultzen has visited with officials from only the first six teams picking in the draft, and told those clubs what he'll need to sign.
- The Mets are leaning toward a college arm at #13, writes Law. Mayo went with Vanderbilt's Sonny Gray in today's mock.
- For a look at each team's picks within the first 90, click here.