The Twins are leaning toward passing on high school right-hander/shortstop Hunter Greene with the top overall pick in the upcoming MLB draft, writes Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Greene has drawn quite a bit of fanfare over the past calendar year, due largely to his ability to reach triple digits with his fastball. However, he’d be the first high school right-hander ever selected with the draft’s top pick, and there’s a clear level of risk when selecting any prep arm near the top of the draft. Rather, the Twins are leaning toward Vanderbilt right-hander Kyle Wright, Heyman hears, with Louisville left-hander/first baseman Brendan McKay and prep shortstop Royce Lewis also under consideration. Baseball America’s John Manuel had the Twins selecting Wright in last week’s mock draft, while MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo had Greene tabbed as the Twins’ selection in his own mock draft from that same day.
A few more notes from the division…
- Despite a perhaps surprisingly solid start to the year from the White Sox, general manager Rick Hahn is maintaining a long-term outlook as the summer trade season approaches, writes MLB.com’s Barry M. Bloom. “We remain very open-minded about whatever opportunities present themselves to make us better for the long run,” said Hahn. “Our focus is on something that is more sustainable than this one season. We’re in the same mode we were in this past offseason, looking for some long-term pieces to put us in position to contend on an annual basis.” David Robertson, Todd Frazier and Jose Quintana are among the top names the Sox could make available, Bloom observes, though the latter two from that trio haven’t exactly gotten off to strong starts in 2017.
- The Royals announced yesterday that right-hander Nate Karns has been placed on the 10-day disabled list due to an “extensor strain” (per the club’s transactions page at MLB.com). For the time being, his spot in the rotation will go to rookie Miguel Almonte, who was slated to start today’s series finale at Yankee Stadium prior to a rainout, per MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan. There’s been no timetable provided by the Royals for Karns’ absence, though his injury comes at an especially inopportune time; the right-hander had been excellent across his past four starts, pitching to a 2.01 ERA with an otherworldly 32-to-4 K/BB ratio through 22 1/3 innings. It’s not yet clear if today’s postponement will deprive Almonte of the opportunity to make a start, though Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star tweets that the starts in this weekend’s series will go to Ian Kennedy, Jason Vargas and Danny Duffy.
- Anthony Gose, who has converted from playing center field to pitching, made his pro debut on the mound for Class-A Lakeland yesterday, writes Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus tells Fenech that Gose’s fastball sat at 97 mph, and the left-hander also touched 98 mph twice and 99 mph three times. Gose was a two-way prospect in the draft back in 2008, so pitching isn’t exactly new to him, though he obviously hasn’t focused on it in his nearly nine seasons of professional ball. Ausmus noted that due to Gose’s age, he may not be progressed through the minors like a typical (i.e. younger) prospect would be. The implication there, seemingly, is that Gose may not need to stop at every level before the club decides to take a look at him in the Majors. That, however, could be a long shot to happen in 2017. GM Al Avila appeared on the Jamie and Stoney Show on 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit this week and said that he wouldn’t put a firm “no” on Gose pitching in the Majors this season, though he also didn’t characterize that outcome as likely (via Will Burchfield of CBS Detroit).