Odubel Herrera’s brilliance has been a key to the Phillies’ surprising success so far this season, and his emergence since being selected in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft highlights the way the Rule 5 has changed in recent years, Matthew Trueblood of Baseball Prospectus writes. One reason players like Herrera, Delino DeShields and Ender Inciarte have been available in the Rule 5 in recent years is that teams seem to prefer protecting players who have power, making low-power but potentially high-OBP players available. Also, the emergences of players like those listed above (as well as Hector Rondon, Mark Canha, Logan Verrett and so on) suggests there’s enough talent in the game for MLB to withstand expansion without significantly diluting its talent level — leaving aside the complex question of what markets the league should expand to. Here’s more from the East divisions.
- The Red Sox’ terrific 2011 draft class has become the franchise’s foundation, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal writes. The team had four of the first 40 picks in that draft, and used them to select Jackie Bradley and Blake Swihart, as well as Matt Barnes and Henry Owens. That group alone would have made the draft a good one, but the Sox also snagged Mookie Betts, Travis Shaw and Noe Ramirez in the later rounds. Bradley fell to the Sox at No. 40 in part because of a wrist injury that held him back in his junior year at South Carolina. Bradley was a gamble, and not all gambles on talented players whose stock have fallen work out — MacPherson mentions 2012 first-rounder Deven Marrero, and I might add 2010 39th overall pick Anthony Ranaudo, whose stock fell prior to the draft due to an elbow injury. Bradley, though, was a steal, and he, Betts and the rest of the Sox’ 2011 class looked poised to lead the organization forward.
- The Mets have no plans to use outfielder Michael Conforto at first base with Lucas Duda on the shelf, ESPN’s Adam Rubin tweets. “Right now Michael has a lot on his plate and I don’t need to add more to it,” says manager Terry Collins. The team is currently weighing its options in the wake of Duda’s injury, and has shown at least some interest in James Loney. MLBTR’s Jeff Todd recently listed potential first base solutions the Mets could pursue.