In their latest mock draft (no subs. req’d), Baseball America has the Astros taking Stanford RHP Mark Appel first overall and the Yankees taking prep RHP Walker Weickel with their first round pick (#30 overall). Here’s my write-up. They reiterate that the Yankees are interested in various high school arms like RHP Duane Underwood, RHP Zach Eflin, RHP Lucas Sims, RHP J.O. Berrios, RHP Shane Watson, RHP Ty Buttrey, and RHP Lance McCullers (yes, the son of the former Yankee). The Yanks have $1.6M to spend on their top pick and Baseball America notes that may not be enough to sign McCullers, who has one of the best pure arms in the draft.
Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus published his mock draft today, and you don’t need a subscription to read it. It’s free for all. He has the Astros selecting prep outfielder Byron Buxton first overall despite reports from yesterday saying they are expected to take Stanford right-hander Mark Appel. KG says his asking price may have become an issue.
Goldstein has the Yankees selecting one of Appel’s teammates with their first selection (#30 overall), third baseman/outfielder Stephen Piscotty. He says they remain interested in high school arms — specifically Lucas Sims and Walker Weickel — but have been connected to college bats most recently, specifically Piscotty. He’s one of the few players who haven’t been ruined by the “Stanford Swing,” a rigid approach the coaching staff implements that results in soft contact the other way. Piscotty has the strength to hit 20+ homers a year and is defensively strong enough to remain at the hot corner or slide to right field if necessary.
The 2012 amateur draft kicks off tonight and ends Wednesday. Tonight’s broadcast of the first and supplemental round begins at 7pm ET and can be seen live on MLB Network (there’s a preview show starting at 6pm ET). I’ll liveblog all three days and post various news, notes, and player capsules, plus we’ll also have regular content as well, so please keep the conversations in the appropriate posts and comment sections. Draft stuff in draft posts, please. Also please review our Commenting Guidelines.
These next three days are both fun and hectic, so thanks in advance for helping us stay organized. Tonight’s liveblog will be begin shortly before 7pm ET, so I’ll see you then.
Record Last Week: 3-3 (32 RS, 28 RA)
Season Record: 29-24 (249 RS, 226 RA, 29-24 pythag. record), 1.5 games back in AL East
Opponents This Week: Mon. OFF, vs. Rays (three games, Tues. to Thurs.), vs. Mets (three games, Thurs. to Sun.)
Top stories from last week:
- The week opened with three games in the hellhole know as Angels Stadium. Mark Trumbo hit a walk-off homer on Monday and the Yankees couldn’t do anything right the next day. They managed to salvage the series with a nail-biting win in the finale.
- The Yankees had Thursday off before heading to Detroit for a three game set. Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez homered the Yankees to a win in the opener, but they lost the second game on a walk-off sacrifice fly. Phil Hughes threw a complete game gem in yesterday’s win.
- Injury News: Brett Gardner (elbow) hit in the cage and could soon take batting practice. David Robertson (oblique) threw off a mound over the weekend. Joba Chamberlain (elbow, ankle) threw off a half-mound for the first time since dislocating his ankle. David Aardsma (elbow) faced hitters for the first time since having Tommy John surgery. Eduardo Nunez (thumb) has started taking grounders and Austin Romine (back) was cleared to resume baseball activities. Russell Branyan (back) has returned to game action in the minors.
- The Yankees reportedly spoke to the Nationals about a trade for a starting pitcher involving Nunez, Nik Turley, and an unnamed outfield prospect. Triple-A masher Steve Pearce was the traded to the Orioles for cash.
- Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler was finally declared a free agent, and the Yankees remain interested in the 20-year-old. They’re also pursuing Taiwanese shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin.
- The Yankees claimed right-handed reliever Ryota Igarashi off waivers from the Blue Jays.
- Rafael Soriano will remain the closer when Robertson gets healthy.
- HOPE Week is expanding to the minor league affiliates.
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Derek Jeter set the tone right from the first pitch. The Cap’n drove Justin Verlander’s first offering of Sunday afternoon over the right field wall for a leadoff homer, the fifth straight (and sixth in the last seventh) time the Yankees have scored a first inning run off the reigning AL Cy Young and MVP award winner. It was all Phil Hughes after that. Let’s recap…
- St. Phil: Coming off a total dud in his backyard, Hughes threw the first nine-inning complete game of his career and completely manhandled the Tigers’ hitters with almost entirely fastballs — 99 fastballs, 18 curves, five changeups, one cutter. He surrendered three singles and one solo homer (an understandable shot by Prince Fielder), striking out eight. Two of those eight were the great Miguel Cabrera swinging, including once on three pitches. Nine dominant innings against an expected top-tier contender? Brilliance.
- Five Runs: Jeter set the tone and the Yankees were all over Verlander early on. They pushed another run across in the first inning on Mark Teixeira’s sacrifice fly and two innings later Alex Rodriguez crushed a mammoth solo homer off the brick beyond the left-center field wall, his second homer of the series and fourth in the last ten games. Robinson Cano’s run-scoring triple turned into an impromptu inside-the-park homer due to some defensive hilarity in the fifth, giving the Yankees a comfortable 5-1 lead. I have no idea how that ball wasn’t caught honestly, it hung up there forever. No complaints though.
- More Phil: By Game Score (80), this was the second best start of the Phil’s career behind an eight-inning gem in Texas back in 2009. His final pitch — career-high number 123 — clocked in at 93.4 mph according to PitchFX and better than his game average (92.79 mph). The only two batters he allowed to make it beyond first base were Fielder on the homer and Cabrera in the first inning, courtesy of a passed ball that should have been scored a wild pitch. The Tigers never had more than one runner on-base at a time and Hughes retired 14 of the final 16 men he faced. Twenty-two of his 27 outs were recorded on the infield.
- Leftovers: Not to rain on the parade, but the Yanks went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, with the one being Cano’s triple … Eric Chavez had two singles the other way and should have had a double as well, but Don Kelly made a great running catch on the warning track … Jeter and A-Rod each had a single and a homer, plus Curtis Granderson (double), Nick Swisher, and Russell Martin (double) each drew a walk and had a base knock … Martin lined into an inning-ending double play in the fourth that would have resulted in two runs … Hughes has allowed a homer in all 11 starts this year and is nine short of the all-time record for consecutive starts with a dinger (20 by Burt Blyleven) … the Yankees went 6-3 on the nine-game road trip and could have gone 8-1 with slightly better luck in the two walk-off losses … I’m pretty sure this was the most satisfying win of the year so far.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees are off on Monday — draft day! — before returning home for the first time in nearly two weeks. They’re one game back of the Rays in the loss column and welcome Tampa to the Bronx for three games starting Tuesday. Andy Pettitte and Jamie Shields get the ball in the opener of the biggest series of the season to date.
Triple-A Scranton Game One (4-0 win over Norfolk in seven innings)
RF Kevin Russo & LF Ronnie Mustelier: both 2-4, 1 K — Russo stole a base and scored a run when Mustelier singled him in
2B Corban Joseph: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI — power was a big question coming into the year, but he already has three homers in 27 games after hitting just five in 131 games last year
DH Jack Cust & CF Colin Curtis: both 0-3 — Cust drew a walk and Curtis struck out twice
1B Russell Branyan: 0-1, 4 BB — yep, Branyan’s seeing the ball fine
C Frankie Cervelli: 0-4, 2 K
3B Brandon Laird: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI
SS Ramiro Pena: 1-3, 1 R, 1 K — quietly has six hits in his last 11 at-bats (54.5%)
RHP Adam Warren: 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 8/2 GB/FB — 60 of 92 pitches were strikes (65.3%) … best start of the season, he needed an outing like that
Phil friggin’ Hughes, eh? This afternoon we caught a glimpse of the pitcher he was supposed to become after all the hype and prospect lists and unmet expectations. Outside of the total stinker in Anaheim, that’s five pretty good starts in his last six times out. The win gave the Yankees a very awesome 6-3 road trip that could have been 8-1 with a little luck in the two walk-off losses. Pretty awesome.
Here’s your open thread for the night. The ESPN Sunday Night game is the Cardinals at the Mets (Westbrook vs. Niese) plus there’s some NBA playoff action on as well. You folks know how these things work by now, so have at it.