Left-hander Brady Aiken and righty Tyler Kolek sit atop Baseball America's list of the top 2014 draft prospects, BA's John Manuel writes. The two high schoolers have supplanted NC State southpaw Carlos Rodon, who was long considered to be the favorite as the first overall pick but hasn't looked great this spring. Six of the top seven prospects on BA's list (and 11 of the top 15) are pitchers, as several young arms have improved their draft stock this spring while several of the most-regarded hitters haven't fared as well.
Here's some more from around baseball as we head into the weekend…
- High-ranking executives from the Astros, Marlins, White Sox, Cubs and Phillies have all recently scouted Kolek's starts, Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle reports. These clubs hold the top four overall picks in June's draft, while the Phillies pick seventh overall. According to Manuel, "Kolek has hit 100 mph repeatedly and has the best pure arm in the draft."
- Joe Smith tells ESPN New York's Adam Rubin (Twitter link) that the Mets were interested in signing him last winter, and "floated" a contract offer similar to the three-year, $15.75MM deal that Smith received from the Angels. Rubin was surprised that the Mets were willing to commit that much to a setup man, though Smith would've added some quality depth to a Mets bullpen that is already hurting thanks to the absence of Bobby Parnell.
- Both Chase Headley and the Padres are off to slow starts, which only further complicates the difficult contract-year situation for the third baseman, MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince writes. With an extension unlikely, Headley could be a midseason trade candidate if the Friars fall out of the race, though if Headley continues to struggle, the Padres could conceivably see him leave for free agency and get nothing in return.
- The Padres parting ways with Headley is "looking [like] the most realistic option," Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune said during an online chat with readers. "Players don't get better with age so much anymore, so regardless of what Headley does this year, it doesn't make financial sense to pay for past production," Sanders writes.
- The Astros made a strong bid for Jose Abreu before the slugger signed with the White Sox, and Houston GM Jeff Luhnow discussed his club's pursuit with MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. "We stretched ourselves further than we intended to and we came pretty close. When you factor in the tax advantages of Texas vs. other markets, the gap was really only a couple of million dollars at the end of the day," Luhnow said. "It's one of those things, should we have pushed a little harder? Possibly. When you're in negotiations like that and you're in a bidding war like that, you have to have limits or you'll be the one that overpays. That's one I do think we came close. He's going to be a good player, and that's why we put all that effort into it."
- The Tigers have been extraordinarily successful in trades since Dave Dombrowski joined the organization in 2001, Grantland's Rany Jazayerli writes. Given Dombrowski's impressive with not only the Tigers, but also the Marlins and Expos over his long career, Jazayerli thinks it's too early to write off the much-maligned Doug Fister trade as a mistake for Detroit.
Big dollar contracts for clutch setup men are why I like seeing teams early on move people to the pen, especially big time power arms who only have 2 pitches and show no signs of being able to develop a 3rd that will work well as a SP. Seattle has done that and it shows. I’d love to see Boston start doing it also. They have SP flop Pat Light, the 1S pick from 2y ago, who is 23YO and at low A ball. Sure he’s doing ok so far this year, but he’s older than the competition. He’s a 2 pitch pitcher and his 2nd pitch even needs work (slider). Move him to relief, stop working on that 3rd pitch (change) where it’s less pressure to be developing 2 pitches and maybe that 95mph fast ball picks up even more ticks? It would seem to make sense.
They finally did that with Bonus Baby Madison Younginer, who got a 1m bonus way back in 2009 to forgoe his college commitment and sign with them and was taken in the 7th round.. Big time arm, 95+ FB, 2 pitches.. This year finally a reliever..
It’s like teams think they pay all that money and they BETTER get a starter?
Lot of hard throwers in this Draft. This is a very, deep class, in many positions. The smart GM’s tried to keep as many picks in the top 100. Marlins, Cards, Astros, and even the Red Sox, have multiple picks in this Draft, in top 100.
So what you’re saying is lots of future business for Dr James Andrews.
I know Singleton struggled last year but they also have that Mexican first baseman and Carter. Why did they need Abreau?
You then can flip Singleton or package him for another MLB ready player. Smart diagnosis of the market by Luhnow almost landing this guy on the cheap. He obviously regrets not getting the deal done.