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MLB - eGreenews https://egreenews.com Create your own ideas about Peace, Planet and Profit Tue, 06 Dec 2022 02:01:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.5 MLB Draft Lottery set for Tues., 8:30 p.m. ET (MLB Network) https://egreenews.com/mlb-draft-lottery-set-for-tues-830-p-m-et-mlb-network/ Tue, 06 Dec 2022 02:01:03 +0000 https://egreenews.com/mlb-draft-lottery-set-for-tues-830-p-m-et-mlb-network/

Followers of the NBA or NHL are familiar with the concept of the Draft lottery that is about to debut in MLB. But baseball’s lottery includes anti-tanking measures that go beyond anything we’ve seen in the other major professional sports. MLB’s inaugural Draft lottery will be held at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT on Tuesday […]

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Followers of the NBA or NHL are familiar with the concept of the Draft lottery that is about to debut in MLB.

But baseball’s lottery includes anti-tanking measures that go beyond anything we’ve seen in the other major professional sports.

MLB’s inaugural Draft lottery will be held at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT on Tuesday and will be broadcast live from the Winter Meetings in San Diego by MLB Network, with a live simulcast also streaming on MLB.com and in the MLB App. As in the weighted lottery systems used in professional basketball and hockey, the teams with the worst records from the previous season have the strongest probability of securing high picks.

The MLB Draft lottery, however, includes more first-round selections than the NBA or NHL lotteries and restricts how often clubs can receive a selection in the lottery. Not only is the team with the worst record from the previous season no longer guaranteed MLB’s top overall Draft pick the following year, but that team isn’t even guaranteed a spot in the top six.

Let’s go over all the mechanics of how the MLB Draft lottery, which was negotiated as part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, works and how it compares to the other sports.

How many teams are included in the MLB Draft lottery?

The 18 non-postseason teams from 2022 will all be involved.

How many MLB Draft spots are determined by the lottery?

The first six spots of the first round will be determined. That’s the most of any major sport. The NBA lottery covers four spots, while the NHL covers two. The NFL does not hold a Draft lottery, so the team with the worst record always picks first.

In other words, the team with the worst record in MLB could wind up picking as late as seventh in the first round of the next year’s Draft.

What are each team’s odds of receiving the No. 1 overall pick?

The odds range from 16.5% for the teams with the three worst records to 0.2% for the team with the best record among non-playoff clubs. For 2022, it lays out as follows:

Why do the three worst teams all have the same percentage chance (16.5)?

To remove an incentive for a club to finish with the worst overall record.

This is a model that follows what the NBA recently instituted in its lottery. In the NHL, the odds for the teams with the worst records are, in order, 18.5%, 13.5% and 11.5%. So in hockey, this gives the team with the worst record a significantly higher probability of drafting first overall.

Are there any restrictions on which teams can participate in the lottery?

Yes. MLB’s system will have the most restrictions of the major sports and go further in reducing or preventing repeat winners.

Large-market teams (defined as teams that do not receive revenue sharing) are prohibited from receiving a selection in the lottery in consecutive years.

Small-market teams (revenue sharing recipients) are prohibited from receiving a selection in the lottery in three consecutive years.

Clubs that are ineligible to receive a lottery selection in future years due to these restrictions will be permitted to select no earlier than 10th overall.

Compare that to the NBA, which does not include any restrictions on the number of lottery selections a team can receive, or the NHL, which has lighter restrictions (a team cannot move up more than 10 spots, and a team cannot advance in the Draft order by winning the lottery draw more than twice in a five-year period).

How is the order for the rest of the MLB Draft determined?

After the first six spots, the remaining teams will draft in reverse order of their 2022 winning percentage. So if the Brewers don’t get one of the lottery picks, they would get the 18th overall pick. And if the Brewers “beat the odds” and end up with one of the top six selections, the Orioles (assuming they do not also defy the odds) would then slide down to No. 18.

In the second through 20th rounds, all non-postseason teams will choose in reverse order of their 2022 winning percentage.

And in all rounds of the Draft, postseason teams will choose in reverse order of their postseason finish (so, the Wild Card Series losers go first, followed by Division Series losers, followed by Championship Series losers, followed by the NL champion Phillies and, lastly, the World Series champion Astros). Within each of those postseason groups, teams are sorted by revenue-sharing status and then reverse order of winning percentage.

Will the Draft lottery results be independently audited?

Yes. PricewaterhouseCoopers will oversee the lottery.

When is the 2023 MLB Draft?
 
The Draft will take place next July in Seattle, as part of the All-Star Game festivities.

Which players are being targeted with the top picks?

It’s too soon to say for certain, but MLB Pipeline recently put Indiana prep outfielder Max Clark atop its high school prospects list and Louisiana State outfielder Dylan Crews at No. 1 on the college list.

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Giants mourn passing of Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry https://egreenews.com/giants-mourn-passing-of-hall-of-famer-gaylord-perry/ Fri, 02 Dec 2022 11:18:38 +0000 https://egreenews.com/giants-mourn-passing-of-hall-of-famer-gaylord-perry/

The Giants lost one of their legends on Thursday morning, when Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry died at his home in Gaffney, S.C., of natural causes. He was 84. Perry, who gained notoriety for his use of the illegal spitball, debuted with the Giants in 1962 and spent the first decade of his 22-year […]

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The Giants lost one of their legends on Thursday morning, when Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry died at his home in Gaffney, S.C., of natural causes. He was 84.

Perry, who gained notoriety for his use of the illegal spitball, debuted with the Giants in 1962 and spent the first decade of his 22-year career in San Francisco, going 134-109 with a 2.96 ERA over 367 appearances (283 starts). He enjoyed a breakout season in 1966, when he earned his first All-Star selection while going 21-8 with a 2.99 ERA, and he threw a no-hitter against Bob Gibson and the Cardinals on Sept. 17, 1968, at Candlestick Park.

Following the 1971 season, the Giants traded Perry and shortstop Frank Duffy to Cleveland in exchange for left-hander Sam McDowell. It proved to be one of the worst trades in franchise history.

Perry went on to become the first pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues, capturing the prize in 1972 with Cleveland (24-16, 1.92 ERA) and in 1978 with San Diego (21-6, 2.73 ERA). The native of Williamston, N.C., pitched for eight teams over his decorated career, winning 314 games, striking out 3,534 batters and earning five All-Star selections. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991 and had his No. 36 retired by the Giants in 2005.

“Gaylord Perry was larger than life both on and off the field,” Giants president and CEO Larry Baer said in a statement. “Gaylord was not only a Giants legend but a baseball legend with a storied 22-year career that touched three different decades. Here in San Francisco, he helped lead those early Giants teams in the ’60s and early ’70s that brought young Giants fans like myself out to Candlestick Park to fall in love with the game of baseball.”

Perry holds the San Francisco record for most innings pitched in a single season (328 2/3 in 1970) and ranks second to fellow Hall of Famer and former teammate Juan Marichal in wins, ERA, complete games (125) and shutouts (21). He is one of five Giants icons to be honored with statues outside Oracle Park, joining Marichal, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Orlando Cepeda.

“I was informed this morning of Gaylord Perry’s passing and it’s tough losing a legend,” Marichal said in a statement. “Gaylord was smart, funny, and kind to everyone in the clubhouse. When he talked, you listened. During our 10 seasons together in the San Francisco Giants rotation, we combined to record 369 complete games, more than any pair of teammates in the Major Leagues. I will always remember Gaylord for his love and devotion to the game of baseball, his family, and his farm.”

“He was a good man, a good ballplayer and my good friend. So long old Pal,” Mays said in a statement.

In addition to his remarkable durability on the mound — he threw 303 complete games in 690 starts — Perry was best known as a master of the spitball, which was outlawed in 1920. According to his 1974 autobiography, “Me and the Spitter: an Autobiographical Confession,” Perry learned the pitch from Giants teammate Bob Shaw in 1964, though he wasn’t ejected for doctoring the ball until 1982, his 21st season in the Majors. Perry further toyed with hitters by frequently touching his uniform and cap to make opponents think he was loading up before each pitch, even when he wasn’t.

“I am very saddened to hear about Gaylord’s passing. He was a wonderful teammate with a great sense of humor,” Cepeda said in a statement. “He had a great personality and was my baseball brother. In all my years in baseball, I never saw a right-handed hurler have such a presence on the field and in the clubhouse. He threw excellent pitches and provided the batter with another thing to think about as the pitch swept toward the plate.”

Perry is survived by his wife Deborah and his three children, Allison, Amy and Beth. He was predeceased by his son, Jack, and wife Blanche.

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Bonds gets another chance at Hall on Sunday https://egreenews.com/bonds-gets-another-chance-at-hall-on-sunday/ Thu, 01 Dec 2022 05:14:42 +0000 https://egreenews.com/bonds-gets-another-chance-at-hall-on-sunday/

This story was excerpted from Maria Guardado’s Giants Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox. Barry Bonds’ eligibility for the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame ballot expired in January, but he didn’t have to wait long to get another shot at […]

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This story was excerpted from Maria Guardado’s Giants Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Barry Bonds’ eligibility for the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame ballot expired in January, but he didn’t have to wait long to get another shot at Cooperstown.

Bonds will be one of eight players who will be considered when the Contemporary Baseball Era Players Committee meets at the Winter Meetings in San Diego on Sunday. The 16-member electorate appointed by the Hall of Fame’s board of directors will weigh a candidate list that also includes Albert Belle, Roger Clemens, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy, Rafael Palmeiro and Curt Schilling, each of whom made his greatest career impact from 1980 to now.

Players will need to receive at least 12 votes (75 percent) to be elected as part of the Hall of Fame Class of 2023. The results of the voting will be announced on MLB Network on Sunday at 5 p.m. PT.

Seven Hall of Fame players will serve on the election committee: Chipper Jones, Greg Maddux, Jack Morris, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Alan Trammell. The panel also features six Major League executives (Paul Beeston, Theo Epstein, Arte Moreno, Kim Ng, Dave St. Peter and Ken Williams) and three media members (Steve Hirdt, LaVelle Neal and Susan Slusser). Each member can vote for a maximum of three candidates. 

The Hall of Fame does not reveal voters’ individual ballots, but Bonds and other candidates who have been linked to performance-enhancing drugs — chiefly Clemens and Palmeiro — could once again face a tough road to induction. Bonds drew a personal-best 66 percent of the vote in his 10th and final year on the BBWAA ballot, and he could struggle to receive support from peers like Thomas and Sandberg, who have taken a hard line against players accused of cheating in the past.

While entry into the Hall of Fame has long eluded him, Bonds’ career numbers easily place him in the upper echelon of hitters in baseball history. A seven-time National League MVP, 14-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove Award winner, Bonds holds Major League Baseball’s all-time records for home runs (762) and walks (2,558) and is the only player to hit 500 homers and steal 500 bases. He spent 15 of his 22 seasons with the Giants, hitting .312/.477/.666 with 586 homers over 1,976 games. 

Bonds has at least one current Hall of Famer in his camp: Willie Mays. When the Giants retired Bonds’ No. 25 in 2018, Mays insisted on making his way to the podium to stump for his godson’s election to Cooperstown.

“I’m going to go to the podium, because when I say something, I want everybody to hear,” said Mays, the oldest living Hall of Famer at 91. “On behalf of all the people in San Francisco and all over the country, vote this guy in. He is very, very important to me.”

It won’t be long until we see if Mays finally gets his wish.

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Are Giants poised to make splash at Winter Meetings? https://egreenews.com/are-giants-poised-to-make-splash-at-winter-meetings/ Thu, 01 Dec 2022 04:28:21 +0000 https://egreenews.com/are-giants-poised-to-make-splash-at-winter-meetings/

The Winter Meetings will be held in person for the first time since 2019, setting the stage for a potentially eventful week for the Giants. Beginning on Sunday, team executives and agents from across the league will convene at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego for the annual gathering, which could unleash a torrent […]

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The Winter Meetings will be held in person for the first time since 2019, setting the stage for a potentially eventful week for the Giants.

Beginning on Sunday, team executives and agents from across the league will convene at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego for the annual gathering, which could unleash a torrent of activity on the free-agent market.

The Giants are expected to be in the thick of the action, with reigning American League MVP Aaron Judge and Japanese ace Kodai Senga among their possible targets.

Here’s a rundown of what president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and the rest of San Francisco’s front office could be looking to accomplish next week.

Key events
• Sunday, Dec. 4: HOF Contemporary Era Ballot results released (Albert Belle, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy, Rafael Palmeiro, Curt Schilling)
• Monday, Dec. 5: All-MLB Team announced
• Tuesday, Dec. 6: Inaugural Draft Lottery, AL/NL Relievers of Year announced
• Wednesday, Dec. 7: Rule 5 Draft

Club needs
After winning a franchise-record 107 games in 2021, the Giants crashed back to earth, falling short of a playoff berth after going 81-81 in ’22. With attendance down by more than 800,000 at Oracle Park, San Francisco is expected to aggressively pursue marquee players who can fill its superstar void and help drum up fan interest. Judge, a Linden, Calif., native who bashed an AL-record 62 home runs for the Yankees this year, will be at the top of their list, but the Giants will need help in other areas as well. They have a big hole at the top of their rotation now that All-Star left-hander Carlos Rodón is a free agent, and they’ll need to find a way to bolster a defense that ranked among the worst in the Majors this season.

Potential trade candidates
With Joc Pederson back in the fold, the Giants could look to move on from Tommy La Stella, though finding a trade partner could be tough since the 33-year-old veteran is owed $11.5 million in the final year of his contract. Even after declining Evan Longoria’s $13 million club option, San Francisco has a surplus of right-handed-hitting corner-infield types (Wilmer Flores, Thairo Estrada, J.D. Davis and David Villar), so the club could also try to leverage that depth to address other needs on the roster.

Prospect to know
Kyle Harrison cemented his status as the best left-handed pitching prospect in the Minors after logging a 2.71 ERA with 186 strikeouts over 113 innings in 25 starts between High-A Eugene and Double-A Richmond in 2022. The 21-year-old — San Francisco’s No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline and No. 21 in MLB — is slated to open the ’23 campaign at Triple-A Sacramento. He could develop into a rotation option for the Giants sooner rather than later.

“We expect him to be in our rotation at some point next year,” Zaidi said in October. “It could even be relatively early in the season.”

Rule 5 Draft
The Giants have 37 players on their 40-man roster, so they’ll have the ability to add during the Rule 5 Draft if they see an opportunity to do so. Zaidi has been active here in the past, selecting relievers Travis Bergen, Dany Jiménez and Dedniel Núñez and outfielder Drew Ferguson in recent Rule 5 Drafts, though none wound up sticking on the roster.

Hunter Bishop, the club’s 2019 first-round MLB Draft pick, and fellow outfielder Jairo Pomares are the most notable Giants prospects who were left exposed to the Rule 5 Draft, but neither has played above High-A Eugene, which could make it difficult for rival teams to carry them on their Major League roster for a full season.

Burning question
Can they lure Judge away from New York?

The Giants pulled out the stops during their two-day meeting with Judge before Thanksgiving, but the Yankees still seem to be viewed as the favorites to re-sign their franchise star. While Judge grew up rooting for San Francisco, it might be difficult for him to turn down the chance to become the Yanks’ next captain and return to a team that reached the AL Championship Series in 2022. New York reportedly offered Judge a new deal in the neighborhood of $300 million, so it remains to be seen if the Giants will be willing to outbid the Yankees in their pursuit for the generational slugger.

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Each club’s most intriguing unprotected Rule 5 Draft option https://egreenews.com/each-clubs-most-intriguing-unprotected-rule-5-draft-option/ Fri, 25 Nov 2022 21:03:29 +0000 https://egreenews.com/each-clubs-most-intriguing-unprotected-rule-5-draft-option/

All 30 teams have made decisions about which prospects to protect on 40-man rosters and many are now making some deals to either firm up those rosters or perhaps create space so they can be active in the Major League phase of December’s Rule 5 Draft. The baseball world will gather for the Rule 5 […]

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All 30 teams have made decisions about which prospects to protect on 40-man rosters and many are now making some deals to either firm up those rosters or perhaps create space so they can be active in the Major League phase of December’s Rule 5 Draft.

The baseball world will gather for the Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings in San Diego on Dec. 7, the first time the event will be held in person since 2019. Every team had difficult decisions to make about who to protect, and each have at least one intriguing option the other 29 teams might want to consider when the Draft arises.

Here’s one potential Rule 5 pick for each team.

Orioles: Nolan Hoffman, RHP (not ranked among Orioles’ Top 30)
The O’s added everyone on their Top 30 to the 40-man roster who needed to be protected, but a system this deep still has some interesting Rule 5-elgible talent. Hoffman is a sidearm reliever Baltimore took as the first pick in the Minor League phase of the 2021 Rule 5 Draft (from the Mariners). The right-hander pitched his way to Double-A in ’22 and is coming off an effective stint in the Arizona Fall League, where he struck out 12.4 per nine over his 10 outings.

Blue Jays: Adrian Hernandez, RHP (No. 24)
The 22-year-old right-hander has only one truly above-average pitch, but it’s his changeup that is borderline plus-plus because of how well it plays off his low-90s fastball. He used the cambio to strike out 32.1 percent of Triple-A batters he faced in 2022, and it also helped him limit lefties to a .596 OPS compared to the .750 by their right-handed counterparts. One elite pitch and reverse splits, along with his Major League proximity, could give Hernandez at least a shot at being selected on Dec. 7.

Red Sox: Thad Ward, RHP (No. 15)
It’s reasonable to assume that Ward could stick on a big league roster because he pitched well in Double-A (2.43 ERA, 41 strikeouts in 33 1/3 innings) and the Arizona Fall League after returning from 2021 Tommy John surgery. A fifth-round pick out of Central Florida in ’18, he pitches mainly with a plus 81-85 mph slider and a 92-96 mph sinker.

Yankees: Antonio Gomez, C (No. 16)
Gomez is the best defensive catcher in New York’s system but his bat isn’t ready for the Majors, as evidenced by his .252/.332/.369 line with eight homers in 89 Single-A games. Signed for $600,000 out of Venezuela in 2018, he gets top-of-the-scale arm grades from some scouts and is a solid receiver.

Rays: Heriberto Hernandez, OF (No. 16)
There are plenty of clubs that would love to add Hernandez’s elite exit velocities to their farm system. Putting him in the Majors and keeping him there to make it happen? That’s likely a different story. The 22-year-old outfielder enjoyed a solid High-A season, slashing .255/.368/.499 with 24 homers in 119 games, but those numbers also came with a 31.4 percent K rate. That would only get worse three levels higher, but maybe there’s a club willing to make a big swing on Hernandez’s big swing now that he’s available.

Twins: Steven Cruz, RHP (No. 27)
Signed for just $30,000 in March 2017 because of his size (6-foot-7) and arm strength, Cruz does fit the mold of the kind of power-armed reliever who often gets taken in the Rule 5. While he struggled with command in Double-A this past season (5.6 BB/9), he also missed a ton of bats (11.6 K/9; 12.1 for his career), using a lively fastball that touches triple-digits routinely and an 89-mph hard slider that can serve as an out pitch as well.

Royals: T.J. Sikkema, LHP (No. 16)
It came as a bit of a shock that Kansas City didn’t protect Sikkema after acquiring him from the Yankees in the Andrew Benintendi trade, but the left-hander’s 7.44 ERA, 1.75 WHIP and .313 opponents’ average against in eight Double-A starts following the move didn’t help matters. The 38th overall pick in the 2019 Draft has two different fastballs and a slider that project as above-average, and there could be a club willing to take a risk at seeing how those play in an MLB bullpen right away.

Tigers: Elvis Alvarado, RHP (No. 26)
Alvarado has already been through the Rule 5 process once before, having been selected in the Minor League stage by Detroit last year. He broke out in 2022, climbing three levels from Single-A to Double-A on the strength of a fastball capable of touching 99 mph with good sink. The 23-year-old right-hander finished with a strong 63/18 K/BB ratio in 59 2/3 innings as a reliever, but his lack of an above-average second pitch may have kept him from being protected. His velocity and decent control could still get him another Rule 5 look, this time in the Major League section.

White Sox: Luis Mieses, OF (No. 21)
Signed for $428,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2016, Mieses profiles well in right field with his plus raw power and arm strength. He still needs time to refine his plate discipline after slashing .284/.325/.447 with 15 homers in 129 games between High-A and Double-A this past season.

Guardians: Ethan Hankins, RHP (not ranked among Guardians’ Top 30)
A first-round pick as a Georgia high schooler in 2018, Hankins has had his development limited to 64 innings as a pro because of the pandemic and Tommy John surgery in May 2021. A club conceivably could take him in the Rule 5 Draft, stash him on its injured list for part of next season and hope he regains the electric mid-90s fastball and sinking changeup he showed in the past.

Angels: Jeremiah Jackson, SS (No. 13)
The Angels took a pair of toolsy high school players in the top two rounds of the 2018 Draft and now both outfielder Jordyn Adams and Jackson, the second-rounder taken after Adams, are available for the Rule 5. Jackson has had trouble being consistent in terms of his offensive production, selling out for power too much at times. But there’s serious pop there, he runs well and he can play three infield positions.

A’s: Logan Davidson, 3B/SS (No. 19)
The A’s took Davidson at the end of the first round of the 2019 Draft and sent him straight to Double-A for his first full season in ’21, where he played in every game, but didn’t hit (.620 OPS and a strikeout rate above 30 percent). After a solid AFL showing that fall, he returned to the level in ’22 and fared a bit better with a .743 OPS and a 27.7 percent K rate. He is a switch-hitter with some pop, one who has shown good defensive actions at short and third, while also having seen a little time at second and first base in the past as well.

Astros: Jayden Murray, RHP (No. 12)
Murray might be able to make the jump to the big leagues after posting a 3.50 ERA, .236 opponent average and 99 strikeouts in 108 innings, mostly in Double-A. Acquired from the Rays in the three-team deal that also brought Trey Mancini to the Astros from the Orioles, Murray has fine command of a mid-90s mph fastball with good carry and a sweeping low-80s slider.

Rangers: Antoine Kelly, LHP (No. 13)
Kelly pitched in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in July as a Brewer before going to the Rangers later in the month as part of the Matt Bush trade. He can reach 98 mph with a riding fastball and overmatches hitters with a sweeping mid-80s slider, resulting in a .189 opponents’ average against and 143 strikeouts in 109 2/3 innings between High-A and Double-A. But inconsistency with repeating his delivery and locating his pitches also led to a 4.43 ERA and 71 walks.

Mariners: Travis Kuhn, RHP (No. 28)
A walk-on at the University of San Diego, Kuhn was a low-risk 19th-round Draft pick of the Mariners in 2019 and opened eyes with a solid AFL campaign in ’21 after spending most of the regular season across both levels of A ball. The reliever missed a lot of bats (10.8 K/9) in Double-A in ’22, but continued to struggle with command (5.3 BB/9), perhaps the reason why Seattle left him and his fastball (up to 99 mph) and slider (upper-80s) combination unprotected.

Mets: Jake Mangum, OF (not ranked among Mets’ Top 30)
Rule 5 outfielders are likely headed straight for fourth or fifth outfielder roles and need to bring at least something to the table to earn playing time/their roster spot. In Mangum’s case, that “something” would be defense and speed. The former Mississippi State star can hit a bit too, as he showed with a .333 average in 33 Triple-A games last year. The drawbacks: he’ll be 27 next Opening Day, and he’s coming off a season in which he was limited due to a spinal stress reaction.

Marlins: Troy Johnston, 1B/OF (No. 20)
Johnston has gone from 17th-rounder out of Gonzaga in 2019 to one of the better hitters in the Marlins’ system, who slashed .261/.344/.423 with 14 homers in 114 games between Double-A and Triple-A last season. However, his hit-over-power approach make him a tough profile at first base or left field, and his .623 OPS in a month at Triple-A at age 25 may help Miami sneak him through the Rule 5 Draft.

Nationals: Drew Millas, C (No. 30)
Washington’s catching situation was already too crowded with young backstops to include Millas, leaving him vulnerable to the Rule 5. A club looking to fill its backup spot at that position could do worse than select the 24-year-old switch-hitter, who draws strong reviews for his receiving and throwing behind the plate — skills that could translate quickly to the bigs. He’s also coming off an Arizona Fall League in which he hit .305 with an .825 OPS in 63 plate appearances, helping ease some concerns about his bat.

Phillies: Erik Miller, LHP (No. 7)
The highest-ranked prospect on any Top 30 left unprotected, Miller dominated with a move to the bullpen in Double-A in 2022, though he struggled with a late callup to Triple-A. The Phillies’ fourth-rounder out of Stanford in ’19 has always had nasty stuff and it ticked upwards in shorter stints, with his fastball touching 97 mph and a tighter low-80s slider that missed bats. He’s always had an above-average changeup, giving him the chance to be more than a lefty specialist in a big league bullpen, with finding the strike zone consistently the key to his success (5.3 BB/9 in his career).

Braves: Victor Vodnik, RHP (No. 9)
The Braves went over-slot to sign Vodnik for $200,000 as a 14th-rounder out of high school in 2018 and while he did get some time to start in ’21, he’s long had a reliever profile because of a lack of command, largely due to not being able to repeat his delivery. He’s had injury issues and pitched just 34 2/3 innings in ’22. While he walked 4.9 per nine, he did strike out 12.2, mostly in Triple-A, so a team could roll the dice on what’s become an effective fastball-changeup combination given his success at getting outs at the upper levels.

Reds: Ivan Johnson, 2B (No. 28)
A product of Chipola Junior College taken in the fourth round of the 2019 Draft, Johnson has shown glimpses of being an offensive-minded middle infielder. The switch-hitter has pop, especially from the left side, and hit six homers in the AFL in ’21. He can get overly aggressive at the plate and needs to refine his overall approach, but more than anything, he needs to stay healthy, as he’s played in just 129 games in ’21 and ’22 combined. He’s mostly a second baseman, but could fit a utility role if he’s selected.

Pirates: Malcom Nunez, 1B/3B (No. 12)
It surprised some that the Pirates didn’t protect Nunez, who was acquired from the Cardinals in the José Quintana deal close to the Trade Deadline. There’s a ton of raw power and bat speed from the right side of the plate here, and Nunez homered 23 times in 2022 while reaching Triple-A. One reason to roll the dice is that some see him as a first baseman only, which limits his profile some. An interested team could shuttle him between third, first and DH to get his power into the lineup.

Cubs: Luis Devers, RHP (No. 26)
A steal at $30,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2017, Devers is coming off a breakout season in which he ranked seventh in the Minors in ERA (1.91), third in wins (13) and tied for ninth in WHIP (0.95), while posting a 122/26 K/BB ratio in 117 2/3 innings between Single-A and High-A. His fading low-80s changeup and his command are the keys to his success, and the Cubs are taking a calculated gamble that his low-90s fastball and distance from the Majors will leave him unpicked.

Brewers: Victor Castaneda, RHP (not ranked among Brewers’ Top 30)
The 24-year-old right-hander is Rule 5-eligible for a second straight season and might have a better case this time around after posting a 4.10 ERA with 118 strikeouts in 120 2/3 innings at Double-A and Triple-A last season. His splitter is his only plus pitch, but it helps against batters from either side. Castaneda could be worth a look as rotation depth/a once-through-the-order type of opener.

Cardinals: Inohan Paniagua, RHP (No. 13)
Rule 5 teams have made weirder bets than selecting a pitcher with two above-average pitches. That’s who Paniagua is with his fastball that can touch 96 mph and a high-70s curveball with heavy vertical break. The trouble is the 22-year-old righty has only reached High-A and didn’t even do that until late July. The jump to the bigs might just be too big, but you can’t fault a team for taking a low-risk roll of the dice to get a closer look at just how the heater and deuce would play.

Dodgers: Jose Ramos, OF (No. 8)
Signed for just $30,000 out of Panama in 2018, Ramos has two of the louder tools in the deep Dodgers system with his well above-average raw power and plus-plus arm strength. He slashed .249/.339/.479 with 25 homers but also a 31 percent strikeout rate between Single-A and High-A, so Los Angeles is betting that his need for more polish at the plate will make it difficult to keep him on a big league roster.

Rockies: Grant Lavigne, 1B (No. 14)
A product of the New Hampshire high school ranks, Lavigne got an above-slot $2 million to sign as the No. 42 overall pick in the 2018 Draft. It’s taken him a little while to figure things out at the plate after a huge summer debut, but there were encouraging signs in ’22 as he reached Double-A and he finished by slashing .328/.409/.557 in 17 AFL games. The Rockies are rolling the dice that a first baseman only without any real track record above A ball won’t get taken — or won’t stick — but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Lavigne take another step forward in ’23 and earn a roster spot then.

Padres: Korry Howell, UTIL (No. 9)
The pickoff limits coming to MLB in 2023 could lead to an uptick in stolen bases, similar to the one we’ve seen in the Minors. That’ll make it even more valuable to have a plus-plus speedster available off the bench. Enter Howell. The 24-year-old also has some versatility with experience at all three outfield spots, as well as second base and short in 2022. His bat hasn’t been tested above Double-A, but the overall skills could get him a role as a Rule 5 pick.

Giants: Jairo Pomares, OF (No. 14)
After slashing .334/.378/.629 between Single-A and High-A in 2021, Pomares dropped to .254/.330/.438 in High-A this season. A $975,000 signee in ’18 after defecting from Cuba, he’s an all-bat left fielder who will have to tone down his extremely aggressive approach.

D-backs: Conor Grammes, RHP (No. 28)
Grammes is in some ways the perfect Rule 5 candidate. He throws hard (mid-90s) with two promising breaking balls, but because of Tommy John surgery in July 2021, he wasn’t seen much this summer. The 25-year-old right-hander struck out 37.1 percent of his batters faced in 12 High-A appearances after the procedure, but he also walked 14.6 percent and finished with an 8.50 ERA (and a much lower 4.94 FIP). A club might believe enough in the stuff to give him a shot and see if the control can improve with another year removed from surgery.

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Hall of Fame releases 28-name 2023 ballot https://egreenews.com/hall-of-fame-releases-28-name-2023-ballot/ Thu, 24 Nov 2022 08:55:25 +0000 https://egreenews.com/hall-of-fame-releases-28-name-2023-ballot/

The National Baseball Hall of Fame revealed the 2023 Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame ballot on Monday, with several notable names appearing for the first time, as well as returning candidates hoping to continue trending toward possible enshrinement in Cooperstown. Former slugging outfielder Carlos Beltrán, who belted 435 home runs and stole […]

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The National Baseball Hall of Fame revealed the 2023 Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame ballot on Monday, with several notable names appearing for the first time, as well as returning candidates hoping to continue trending toward possible enshrinement in Cooperstown.

Former slugging outfielder Carlos Beltrán, who belted 435 home runs and stole 312 bases during a 20-year MLB career, appears on the ballot for the first time, as does former All-Star closer Francisco Rodríguez and his 437 career saves. Other notable first-timers are Huston Street, Matt Cain, John Lackey, R.A. Dickey, Jered Weaver, Bronson Arroyo, Jacoby Ellsbury, Andre Ethier, Mike Napoli, Jhonny Peralta, J.J. Hardy and Jayson Werth.

Among the returning candidates, three received more than 50 percent of the vote in 2022, with 75 percent needed for election: Scott Rolen (63.2 percent), Todd Helton (52 percent) and Billy Wagner (51 percent). Rolen is in his sixth year of eligibility (candidates are on the ballot for up to 10 years), while Helton is on his fifth and Wagner is on his eighth.

There’s been a bit of a logjam on the ballot in recent years, with Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling receiving sizable shares of the vote without being elected. Though all three are no longer eligible on the BBWAA ballot, they appear on this year’s Contemporary Era ballot.

That may clear the way for others to garner more support, given that an increasing number of voters are selecting the maximum of 10 candidates on their ballots. Those who stand to gain include Rolen, Helton and Wagner, as well as Andruw Jones, who is on his sixth ballot and received 41.4 percent of the vote last year.

Another notable candidate, in his second year of eligibility, is Alex Rodriguez, who received 34.3 percent of the vote on his first ballot despite his then-fourth-place ranking on the all-time career home run list. His connection to performance-enhancing drugs could keep his vote totals low, though he’s another candidate who may benefit from Bonds, Clemens and Schilling falling off the BBWAA ballot.

The only player on his 10th and final ballot this year is Jeff Kent, an All-Star second baseman and the 2000 National League MVP, who received 32.7 percent of the vote last year. All-Star outfielder and five-time Silver Slugger Award winner Gary Sheffield, who garnered 40.6 percent of the vote on the last ballot, is in his ninth year of eligibility.

The remaining returning candidates are Manny Ramirez (28.9 percent last year, seventh ballot in 2023), Omar Vizquel (23.9 percent, sixth ballot), Andy Pettitte (10.7 percent, fifth ballot), Jimmy Rollins (9.4 percent, second ballot), Bobby Abreu (8.6 percent, fourth ballot), Mark Buehrle (5.8 percent, third ballot) and Torii Hunter (5.3 percent, third ballot).

All eligible BBWAA voters have a deadline of Dec. 31 to submit their ballots. The results will be announced by Hall of Fame president Josh Rawitch at 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, live on MLB Network.

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Here’s each team’s top 2023 ROY candidate https://egreenews.com/heres-each-teams-top-2023-roy-candidate/ Thu, 24 Nov 2022 07:25:23 +0000 https://egreenews.com/heres-each-teams-top-2023-roy-candidate/

MLB witnessed an unusually strong rookie class in 2022. Julio Rodríguez became the quickest player ever to reach 25 homers and 25 steals while Michael Harris II posted the third-highest WAR (5.3, per Baseball-Reference) of any rookie age 21 or younger in the last 40 years. And that’s just the two Rookie of the Year […]

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MLB witnessed an unusually strong rookie class in 2022. Julio Rodríguez became the quickest player ever to reach 25 homers and 25 steals while Michael Harris II posted the third-highest WAR (5.3, per Baseball-Reference) of any rookie age 21 or younger in the last 40 years.

And that’s just the two Rookie of the Year winners. Adley Rutschman finished second among all MLB catchers in bWAR (5.2) despite not debuting until late May because of a triceps injury. Bobby Witt Jr. became the second-youngest rookie to post 20 homers and 30 steals. Spencer Strider became the fastest pitcher ever to attain 200 strikeouts in a season. Six-foot-7 Oneil Cruz not only became the tallest shortstop in big league history but also seemed to break Statcast on a nightly basis.

We could go on, but instead we’re going to shift our focus to the future and identify each team’s leading Rookie of the Year candidate for 2023:

Orioles: Gunnar Henderson, SS/3B (No. 1/MLB No. 2)
We couldn’t have a list of ROY candidates and not have our Pipeline Hitter of the Year on it, right? He hit his way from Double- to Triple-A and then up to the big leagues and more than held his own in 34 games. He’ll be in the starting lineup from Day 1 with a chance to take the American League by storm.

Red Sox: Triston Casas, 1B (No. 2/MLB No. 25)
Casas gave a preview of coming attractions in September, when he flashed his power and patience with five homers and 19 walks in 27 games, and he’ll improve upon his .197 batting average in the future. The 2018 first-rounder from a Florida high school stands out most with his pop, but his hitting ability, approach and defense are also impressive

Yankees: Anthony Volpe, SS (No. 1/MLB No. 5)
Volpe became the first Minor Leaguer with 20 homers and 50 steals in a season since Andruw Jones in 1995, and he batted .249/.342/.460 between Double-A and Triple-A at age 21. His baseball IQ is as impressive as his tools, and he could slide into the Yankees’ lineup at either shortstop or second base.

Rays: Curtis Mead, INF (No. 2/MLB No. 35)
Between the Australia native and Taj Bradley, the Rays boast two potential Rookie of the Year candidates. We’ll lean toward the everyday player here in Mead, a career .306 hitter in the Minors who has started to show more power with each coming year. The difficulty might come in finding him a spot; Mead played mostly second and third last year and has mixed in some first in the past. He’ll hit enough to play anywhere, and the Rays will want that bat in the lineup before long.

Blue Jays: Yosver Zulueta, RHP (No. 5)
The 24-year-old right-hander certainly had the stuff to appear in the Majors last year and would have done so, perhaps, if shoulder and knee issues didn’t shut him down for most of August. His upper-90s fastball remains a plus-plus pitch, while his curve, slider and change all flash above average. Despite that mix, Zulueta’s injury concerns likely mean he’s headed for the bullpen, but he could dominate there early for Toronto and join Devin Williams and Craig Kimbrel as Rookie of the Year relievers.

White Sox: Oscar Colas, OF (No. 2/MLB No. 95)
Signed for $2.7 million in January, Colas hit .314/.371/.524 with 23 homers in 117 games while advancing from High-A to Triple-A. While he won’t be “The Cuban Ohtani” he once was touted as, he does have well-above-average raw power and arm strength that could plug Chicago’s hole in right field quite nicely.

Guardians: Bo Naylor, C (No. 5/MLB No. 75)
After struggling horribly in Double-A in 2021, Naylor bounced back to hit .263/.392/.496 with 21 homers and 20 steals in 118 games in the upper levels of the Minors and make his big league debut alongside big brother Josh in October. Part of the only Canadian sibling tandem to both be first-round picks, he’s also a solid defender behind the plate.

Tigers: Joey Wentz, LHP (No. 24)
Which Wentz will we see in 2023? The 25-year-old left-hander looked good down the stretch for Detroit, posting a 1.73 ERA over his last five starts (26 innings) in September and October, before adding three scoreless appearances in the Arizona Fall League. But he hasn’t thrown more than 72 innings in a season since 2019 due to 2020 Tommy John surgery and a shoulder problem this summer. If he’s healthy all season, he should get enough starting opportunities to be a ROY threat.

Royals: Drew Waters, OF (No. 7)
Waters is sitting on exactly 45 days of service time, meaning he hasn’t exceeded the minimum needed to lose rookie status, so on the list he goes. The 23-year-old switch-hitter looked like he was languishing at Triple-A with the Braves but hit another gear after getting traded in early July, producing a .295/.399/.541 line in 31 games with Omaha. He was an above-average hitter (125 wRC+) over 109 plate appearances in the Majors, too, also showing good speed and a strong arm. Assuming KC keeps a spot on the grass open for him, Waters has the tools to build a strong second MLB season.

Twins: Matt Wallner, OF (No. 5)
Wallner’s carrying tool is his power (though he also has a hose for an arm), and it carried him across two levels of the Minors and up to Minnesota in 2022. He hit 27 homers and slugged .541 in the Minors before adding two more home runs in the big leagues. There’s going to be swing-and-miss, but it’s going to be fun watching how his power plays over a full season.

Astros: Hunter Brown, RHP (No. 1/MLB No. 68)
After posting a 2.55 ERA, a .185 opponent average and 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings in Triple-A — all of which would have easily led the Pacific Coast League if he hadn’t fallen just short of qualifying — Brown allowed just two runs in 20 1/3 regular-season innings with Houston and worked 3 2/3 scoreless frames in the postseason. His mid-90s fastball that reaches 99 mph couples with his power curveball that falls off the table to give the 2019 fifth-rounder from Wayne State (Mich.) the upside to pitch in the front half of a rotation.

Angels: Logan O’Hoppe, C (No. 1/MLB No. 64)
The Angels got O’Hoppe in the Brandon Marsh trade with the Phillies at last year’s Trade Deadline, and he went on to post a 1.146 OPS in 29 Double-A games following the trade. He was rewarded with his first callup to the big leagues for a brief 14 at-bat audition. He should have every opportunity to be the club’s starting backstop on Opening Day, allowing Angels fans to truly appreciate his all-around skills.

A’s: Zack Gelof, 3B/2B (No. 3/MLB No. 94)
Gelof went to Double-A in an aggressive assignment to start his first full season of pro ball and hit .316/.372/.458 over his first two months. Then he tore the labrum in his non-throwing shoulder, derailing the express train to Oakland. He did return and made up for some lost ABs in the Arizona Fall League. Perhaps he’ll get some more time in the Minors to start the 2023 season, but seeing him hit his way in a hurry to the big leagues, where he can play third or second, is extremely reasonable.

Mariners: Emerson Hancock, RHP (No. 2)
The M’s have a few potential pitching options who could compete to become their second straight ROY winner, with Bryce Miller and Taylor Dollard also knocking on the door. This is a roll-the-dice pick as Hancock, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2020 Draft, has struggled with injuries and command. But he started to figure things out last year and a continued progression could have him ready to join former first-rounders Logan Gilbert and George Kirby in Seattle’s rotation.

Rangers: Josh Jung, 3B (No. 1/MLB No. 36)
Jung would have been a prime 2022 Rookie of the Year contender if he hadn’t torn the labrum in his left shoulder while lifting weights in February, sidelining him until late July and delaying his big league debut until September. The No. 8 overall pick in the 2019 Draft from Texas Tech is an all-around hitter with a career .311/.381/.538 line in the Minors, and he slugged five homers in 26 games with the Rangers.

Braves: Jared Shuster, LHP (No. 2)
It’s pretty much an annual occurrence, the Braves having a ROY candidate, with a player getting votes for five straight seasons, with two winners (Ronald Acuña Jr., Michael Harris II). In 2023, we could see Kyle Muller and Braden Shewmake compete, but we’ll put a marker on Shuster, the 2020 first-rounder who pitched his way to Triple-A last year and finished with a combined 3.29 ERA, .212 BAA and a solid 3.82 K/BB ratio.

Marlins: Eury Pérez, RHP (No. 1/MLB No. 9)
He won’t turn 20 until April, but Pérez is more advanced than most pitchers his age, as evidenced by his 4.08 ERA, .223 opponent average and 106 strikeouts in 75 innings as a teenager in Double-A. Signed for $200,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2019, he can make hitters look bad with a lively mid-90s fastball, solid upper-70s curveball and dancing mid-80s changeup.

Mets: Francisco Álvarez, C (No. 1/MLB No. 1)
New York already showed a willingness to throw Álvarez in the deep end with his late-season callup and inclusion on the postseason roster, so we wouldn’t consider James McCann or Tomás Nido considerable roadblocks at this stage. Should Álvarez continue to show plus-plus raw power and prove that he’s close to average defensively, the Mets will make room for their 20-year-old phenom, and over a close-to-full season in the bigs, Álvarez could challenge to be the Majors’ first 30-homer rookie catcher since … Mike Piazza in 1993.

Phillies: Andrew Painter, RHP (No. 1/MLB No. 24)
Too soon? We don’t think so. Yes he’s had just one full pro season and will be just 20 for the 2023 season. But the Pipeline Pitcher of the Year was dominant across three levels last year, including in five starts in Double-A (three in hitting-friendly Reading). Give him a little more time at the upper levels, but he’s looking like the kind of talent whom age and experience doesn’t matter much.

Nationals: Cade Cavalli, RHP (No. 4/MLB No. 55)
Early command issues and then right shoulder inflammation that shut him down in August after one MLB start meant Cavalli never threatened the NL Rookie of the Year race in a way many thought he could in 2022. Assuming he’ll be healthy next year, the 24-year-old right-hander could rejoin the conversation with his four-pitch mix, which still generates a healthy amount of whiffs. He should get every chance to win a rotation spot out of the spring, too.

Cubs: Matt Mervis (No. 21)
A 2020 nondrafted free agent from Duke who scuffled in his pro debut last year, Mervis recovered to bat .309/.379/.605 with 36 homers in 137 games, topped the Minors with 78 extra-base hits, 310 total bases and 119 RBIs and advanced from High-A to Triple-A. As of now, he’s the Cubs’ best option at first base with his left-handed power, especially if he proves he can handle big league southpaws.

Reds: Spencer Steer, INF (No. 7)
The Reds acquired the Futures Gamer from the Twins in the Tyler Mahle trade, and Steer made his big league debut with Cincy after hitting a combined 23 homers and slugging .515 in the Minors. He played third, second and first in the big leagues and could get consistent at-bats as an offensive-minded super-utility type.

Brewers: Sal Frelick, OF (No. 2/MLB No. 46)
Jackson Chourio has the higher ceiling and Garrett Mitchell and Esteury Ruiz have actual Major League experience, but if we’re looking for a player who could thread the needle of a special talent with MLB proximity, we should turn to Frelick. The 2021 first-rounder hit everywhere he played in his first full season and was perhaps at his best at Triple-A Nashville, where he sported a .365 average and 16/19 K/BB ratio in 46 games. His plus speed and defensive range on the grass would be immediate assets for Milwaukee and strengthen his award case.

Pirates: Quinn Priester, RHP (No. 3/MLB No. 44)
Priester missed a good chunk of the start of the season with an oblique injury, but finished well in Triple-A and made up for lost innings in the Arizona Fall League. He’s developed into more of an efficient pitch-to-contact type, but he can miss bats (8.9 K/9) and there’s still ceiling to reach as he’ll be just 22 for the 2023 season.

Cardinals: Jordan Walker, OF (No. 1/MLB No. 6)
Perhaps the biggest hurdle to Walker’s candidacy was his full-time move to the outfield after opening his career in Nolan Arenado’s shadow at third base. He’s handled the transition fairly well, especially when it comes to his throwing ability from the grass, so that’s less of a concern. We know his raw power is MLB-ready, and after a strong Double-A and Fall League campaign, the overall bat looks pretty close, too. Walker’s immense talent is one you make room for, and the Cardinals should by early 2023.

D-backs: Corbin Carroll, OF (No. 1/MLB No. 3)
Carroll should enter 2023 as the NL Rookie of the Year favorite after he followed up a special Double-A/Triple-A season by hitting .260/.330/.500 with four homers and two steals in 32 games in the bigs. The 22-year-old outfielder already ranked in the 100th percentile for speed and was a defensive wizard in left, though he can play center well, too. While there are some lingering questions about his power, it’s still a five-tool profile, somewhat similar to the one that helped Michael Harris II win ROY last week.

Rockies: Ezequiel Tovar, SS (No. 2/MLB No. 27)
This is a terrific combination of talent and opportunity. Although Tovar missed a bunch of the 2022 season with a groin injury, he did return to make his big league debut at age 21. He took a big step forward offensively (.319/.387/.540 in 71 Minor League games) in 2022 and has the chance to be a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop as well.

Dodgers: Miguel Vargas, 3B/OF (No. 3/MLB No. 41)
The Dodgers could have openings at third base and in the outfield, leaving plenty of opportunity for Vargas, who defected from Cuba with his father Lazaro (the DH on the 1992 and 1996 Olympic champions) in November 2015 and signed for $300,000 two years later. He has an advanced understanding of hitting and solid raw power, which translated into a .304/.404/.511 line with 17 homers and 16 steals in 113 Triple-A games before he got a cup of coffee in Los Angeles.

Padres: Eguy Rosario, INF (No. 5)
A thin and young Padres system isn’t likely to produce many award candidates on its win-now Major League club in 2023, but Rosario — a 20-20 performer at Triple-A last season —  has a puncher’s chance. The 23-year-old can be an average hitter and shows above-average speed and a strong arm that helps him move around the infield. As things stand, he might be San Diego’s Opening Day second baseman, should Jake Cronenworth move over to first, and he can put the ball in play enough, while providing value in the field and on the bases, to scrape together a darkhorse candidacy.

Giants: Kyle Harrison, LHP (No. 2/MLB No. 21)
The game’s best left-handed pitching prospect, Harrison topped the Minors in strikeout rate (14.8 per nine innings) and strikeout percentage (39.8) while compiling a 2.71 ERA, .196 opponent average and 186 strikeouts in 113 innings between High-A and Double-A. A third-round pick who signed for first-round money ($2,497,500) as a California high schooler in 2020, he owns a mid-90s fastball with plenty of arm-side run and a power mid-80s slider.

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Judge to meet with Giants (sources) https://egreenews.com/judge-to-meet-with-giants-sources/ Thu, 24 Nov 2022 06:42:19 +0000 https://egreenews.com/judge-to-meet-with-giants-sources/

According to sources, the reigning American League MVP will meet with the Giants on Tuesday, sitting down with a club expected to be one of the Yankees’ biggest competitors to sign the superstar. Judge was spotted in the San Francisco area Monday, caught on video released by MLB Network. “Visiting some family and friends; that’s […]

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According to sources, the reigning American League MVP will meet with the Giants on Tuesday, sitting down with a club expected to be one of the Yankees’ biggest competitors to sign the superstar.

Judge was spotted in the San Francisco area Monday, caught on video released by MLB Network.

“Visiting some family and friends; that’s about it,” Judge said in the video when asked what he was doing in San Francisco. Pressed on whether he had “any fun plans” while in the Bay Area, Judge replied, “We’ve got something. Have a good one.”

The Giants are the first team other than the Yankees to meet with Judge this offseason, though the Dodgers are also expected to be in the mix. Judge grew up about 100 miles east of San Francisco in Linden, Calif., so a deal with the Giants would represent a homecoming of sorts for the 30-year-old.

San Francisco has plenty of payroll flexibility this offseason, something president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi discussed this month at the General Managers Meetings, without specifically mentioning Judge or any other player.

“From a financial standpoint, there’s nobody that would be out of our capability to kind of meet what we expect the contract demands will be,” Zaidi said. “It’ll just be a question of whether there’s mutual interest and how we put together the best possible team.”

Judge is believed to be seeking a deal of at least eight years with an average annual value exceeding $40 million.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman confirmed last week that the club had made a new offer to the superstar outfielder, who turned down a seven-year, $213.5 million extension offer prior to the season.

“We’re in real time, so we’re on the clock,” Cashman said. “We’re certainly not going to mess around.”

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said recently that he has spoken with Judge on multiple occasions since the end of the season, including at least one face-to-face meeting.

“I’ve absolutely conveyed that I want him to be a Yankee for the rest of his life,” Steinbrenner told reporters at last week’s owners meetings. “No doubt about that. He knows that.”

Late last week, Judge called his talk with Steinbrenner “a great sign for me in this process,” but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to explore all that free agency has to offer — which includes Tuesday’s meeting with the Giants.

“I don’t know how fast it’s going to go or how slow it’s going to go,” Judge said Thursday at his All Rise Foundation gala. “There’s teams that we’ve talked to. For me, if we’re going to build a winning team, if I can get my [contract] stuff out of the way so they can kind of move on and add some more pieces to build teams up, I think that’s always an advantage for wherever I go.”

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