Let me be clear: I could not hit .216 against you, the person reading this. If you threw nothing but 55-mph fastballs without any command, I would make weak contact against most of them, occasionally shaking my hands because of a stinger. And if you threw even one pitch inside, hoo boy, I would fold into a lawn chair that you could store in your garage during the winter.
Unless baseball has other plans, Lewis should be able to utilize his 70-grade speed to be an impact offensive player despite a long swing. You know whenever you see the Baseball America runs like a gazelle comparison, it’s serious. While playing up the middle at shortstop and centerfield or how high he’ll be able to perform defensively is still up for debate, his character is unquestioned. Though, teams have proved time and time again that #character almost never comes first or even second, third, or fourth when evaluating players, even when they’re not that good.
But as analysis of each draft pick’s present and potential have been wrung dry in the handful of days since the draft ended, it’s officially much more fun to look at the who’s who(se son or relative) of the draft.
The Blue Jays took first baseman Kacy Clemens, one of four of Roger Clemens’ sons, in the eighth round with a .305 batting average, 12 home runs and 49 RBI at the University of Texas. ARod’s nephew Joe Dunand was called on the first day at 51st overall by the Miami Marlins. Rodriguez’s Instagram video of the family’s watch party showed just why he was drafted first overall in 1993, realizing Dunand’s name was being called and wooing before anyone else. Darren Baker, a Cal State commit, getting taken in the third round by his dad’s team, however, might have been one of the best stories, not just because it gives the opportunity to watch him pat JT Snow’s back after he was rescued, but also because of his 80-grade Twitter clap-back game.
With the No. 4 pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, the Tampa Bay Rays selected two-way star Brendan McKay out of Louisville. He was announced as a first baseman.
There’s a good deal of intrigue surrounding McKay given his ability on the mound and at the plate. The 21-year-old is the only three-time winner of the John Olerud Award, given to the best two-way player in college baseball, having won it in 2015, 2016, and 2017. His list of accomplishments at the NCAA level is staggering.
There is no TV coverage of the draft on Tuesday, but MLB.com will provide online streaming, including analysis and information from draft gurus Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo from MLB’s New York Studios.
There is a 30-minute pre-show to begin Tuesday’s coverage at 12:30 p.m. ET, followed by the draft itself at 1 p.m.
There are one-minute intervals in between picks for all eight rounds on Tuesday. That interval shrinks to zero on Wednesday, with no time in between picks for rounds 11-40 on the draft’s final day.
Three players who finished in the top 10 in MVP voting in 2016 were drafted in Rounds 3-10. Mookie Betts, drafted in the fifth round in 2011 by the Boston Red Sox, finished second in AL MVP balloting last year. In the National League, Anthony Rizzo (sixth round in 2007 by the Red Sox) finished fourth for the Chicago Cubs, and Justin Turner (seventh round in 2006 by the Cincinnati Reds) finished ninth for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Which didn’t seem as exciting when I typed it out. So we get Piazza.
All of those demerits for Murray’s career? We get to add home runs and batting average. Instead of a .308 career average, I’m going to make him a .318 hitter. Instead of 427 homers, he has 600. And instead of an iffy defensive catcher, he’s going to be a super-iffy defensive first baseman.
Maddon is doing this because the Ricketts, who own the Cubs, finagled an invite from the White House that once tried to recruit Todd Ricketts as the commerce secretary, likely as a thank you for the Ricketts family’s contributions to the Trump campaign. That donation was a political statement. Making a second visit to the White House after the Cubs have already made one is a political statement. And Maddon trying to deflect by dismissing concerns that this is a political statement is such a political move that it’s a surprise he doesn’t already have a seat in congress.
When you think of the Tigers and second base, though, who do you think of? Ian Kinsler recently, sure. Hall-of-Famer Charlie Gehringer and Should-Be-Hall-of-Famer-I-Will-Fight-You Lou Whitaker from the past, of course. But it’s not like they had someone you instantly identify with the franchise.
They usually had someone, though. Of all the teams in baseball, the Tigers have been the most consistent team at finding second basemen, doing it in 17 seasons out of the last 20. It’s even more impressive when you consider how awful they were in the early ’00s. It’s a varied list, too:
Just own the trip. The Cubs as an organization are Trump-friendly, and they’re visiting specifically because Trump is here. Maddon, for all his talk about this not being political and him going out of respect for the office and an old building, is also speaking to young Republicans at a luncheon while he’s in town. Teams do not have a responsibility to visit the White House we’ve recently had this come up with the NBA champs, the Golden State Warriors. Maddon and the Cubs should stop pretending otherwise.
Adrian Beltre and Carlos Beltran have played in the MLB for a long, long time, and the former teammates decided to hug it out on a forceout play in the Astros-Rangers game on Saturday:
Beltre could have stepped on the bag to retire Beltran, but instead opted to trot toward Beltran. It ended in a delightful embrace between old friends who debuted in the league in 1998:
He was trying to tag me, and I had nowhere to go, Beltran told MLB.com’s Sam Butler. So I just ended up giving him a hug for the great career that he had in baseball … just a fun moment.
This should be the standard across all major sports.
If you have the opportunity, hug out the GOATs of your league to let them know your appreciation.
Sometimes sports can be so pure.
In previous iterations of the draft, this might be a spot where a small-market team like the Rays would have worked out a pre-draft deal to save money. While the primary goal of the bonus pools was to shift money from young players to owners, it’s at least a side benefit that the Rays generally get to pick the top player on their board now.
Was this the best player available, though? Depends on which scout you talk to. There are some who question if the tools will ever turn into wins, with others thinking this is as safe of a bet as you can find in the draft. Injuries are always a risk, too, but the potential ceiling is spectacular.
The starting pitcher for the game, for example, was Masato Yoshii. His 5.86 ERA for the season was good for an ERA+ of 99. Completely average once you accounted for park effects.