The struggling Reds try to get on track and other notes from around the major leagues.
The Reds were a trendy to pick to be the surprise team of the National League when the season began. Instead, the biggest surprise about the Reds through the first three weeks of the season is that they have played so poorly. The Reds are just 8-11 and not looking like potential contenders, even though they are just 3 ½ games out of first place in what has been a weak NL Central to this point.
Marc takes a look at the professional debuts of three pitchers fantasy owners should become familiar with.
Sunday was something else, as far as professional debuts go. The much-heralded Stephen Strasburg made his first start for the Washington Nationals Double-A affiliate in Harrisburg. Aroldis Chapman, Cuban defector and owner of a 100 mph fastball, pitched in Triple-A in his first non-spring training appearance. The name that people heard much less about all winter and spring was the first of the three to appear in the big leagues: Mike Leake skipped the minors entirely and debuted as the Cincinnati Reds fifth starter. Leake’s making the team was such a surprise that many websites, our own included, still don’t have him in their database. Look for Mike Leake in our search engine right now, and you’ll be redirected to a former Red Sox player that made their own debut well over a century ago.
As baseball fans, it’s good fun to see this much young pitching talent hit all at once—especially in an age where, with access to MLB.tv or MiLB.tv, all of these pitcher’s first appearances could be viewed from the comfort of your couch or desk. As a fantasy baseball player, there’s more incentive to pay attention than just fan enjoyment—these are three players that could all factor in to the 2010 season, never mind their implications in keeper leagues, and chances are good that many owners are only going to be able to own one, if any of them.
The Reds' scouting director discusses the club's decision to sign Cuban power lefty Aroldis Chapman.
When the Reds signed Aroldis Chapman to a $30.25 million deal, they shocked legions of baseball fans more accustomed to seeing expensive international talent inked by big-market clubs. The often-penurious Cincinnati ballclub wasn't seen as a likely destination for the fireballing 21-year-old Cuban, but much to the delight of Reds fans everywhere, Aroldis and his 100 mph heater are headed to Great American Ballpark. Still, despite his sky-high ceiling, Chapman remains a relatively unknown commodity. To learn more about him, Baseball Prospectus checked in with the club's senior director of scouting, Chris Buckley.
Winnowing the wheat from the chaff out in the grain belt.
With the draft now in the rear-view mirror, college baseball's focus returns to the diamond in the weekend ahead, as eight programs have made the annual trek to Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series. Four months ago, when I released my Pre-season NCAA Top 25, half of the CWS teams were in the top eight: Louisiana State, Texas, Cal State Fullerton, and North Carolina. I said then that "six programs stood out as the cream of the crop," and 60 games later, two-thirds of those praised programs validated the rankings. Arizona State, who found a home at #23 near the bottom of the rankings, as well as Arkansas, Virginia, and Southern Miss, proved themselves consistently during the season to make it this far. In Omaha, as Fresno State proved a year ago, all teams are equal.
Who went where, with a blow-by-blow as the action unfolded.
1. Washington Nationals
Pick: Stephen Strasburg, RHP, San Diego State Kevin Goldstein Says: "Congrats Nats fan, you just got a potential franchise-changing talent. Now the REAL fun begins with the negotiation. I really should start a pool on bonus and total package. I'm guessing $8-9 million dollar bonus and total package around $25 million"
Quotable: "The first thing I'd say is 'good luck.' Then I'd say sit on the fastball, because at least you know he's going to throw strikes. So just step in there and compete and try not to strike out on three pitches."-Texas Christian infielder Ben Carruthers, on how to hit Strasburg.
Read more about Strasburg here.
One expert's educated guesstimate on how things will go down later today.
This one could be a mess folks, and it's all about bonus demands at this point. Right now, you have as many as four high school pitchers-Jacob Turner, Tyler Matzek, Matt Purke, and Shelby Miller-looking for big, big money, with the first three all telling teams they're looking for Rick Porcello-level deals (or more). This has the potential to blow the first round wide open, and turn it into into a very college-oriented first 30 picks, with numerous top talents falling to later picks than initially expected. One team picking in the top ten I spoke to this morning said he still had very little idea of who was going to be picked ahead of his club's choice.
Sorting out who might go and in what order, after Strasburg goes first of course.
Now that we've moved into the final week before the draft, things have not really become any clearer-if anything, there's more confusion than ever, with many teams going silent as they enter all-day meetings in preparation for their picks. If there is any good news for those trying to prognosticate the selections, it's that after the slam dunk of Stephen Strasburg going first to the Nationals, the overwhelming consensus is that Seattle will take North Carolina's Dustin Ackley with the second pick. After that, it is, as they say, anybody's ballgame.