Tag Archive | "Lefty"

Triple Play: Matt Moore, Carlos Gonzalez, Adam Wainwright

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Triple Play: Matt Moore, Carlos Gonzalez, Adam Wainwright

Posted on 29 April 2013 by Chris Caylor


Who’s Hot?

Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays’ 23-year-old lefty is off to a sensational start in 2013, going 5-0 with a 1.12 ERA and a WHIP of 0.87. If you’re lucky enough to have him on your fantasy team, chances are it is off to a good start as well. He does need to limit his walks (4.2 per 9 inn.), but he is permitting a league-best 3.7 hits per 9 innings. Expecting Moore to sustain that (and his ERA and WHIP by extension) would be foolish; however, there is reason for hope that he will be able to keep them in the 3.30/1.20 range: his swinging strike rate is BELOW the league average. Moore was fifth in the AL with 175 strikeouts in 177 innings pitched in 2012, so he has the ability to whiff hitters. If his swinging strike rate goes up, then he could be even more dominating than he’s been. That should be a scary thought for major-league hitters (and a dream for fantasy owners).

Who’s Not?

Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies

CarGo is the poster child for the Rockies’ slump. Although Gonzalez has 4 HR, 12 RBI and 4 SB in the season’s first four weeks, Gonzalez is hitting a paltry .111 with three singles in his past six games. He has not hit a home run in his past 10 games. The slump is severe enough that Rockies manager Walt Weiss gave Gonzalez the day off Sunday. While it’s obviously too early to get too concerned about the kind of season CarGo will have, it may not be too early to wonder if the Rockies’ hold on first place in the NL West is already slippling away. With Gonzalez slumping, the timing of Troy Tulowitzki’s shoulder injury might be enough to push the Rockies out of first place in the division. And once they’re out of first, the chances of them getting back there aren’t good. If you own Gonzalez, you really have no choice other than to ride out this slump.

Playing the Name Game

Player A: .271/.326/.365, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 11 runs, 4 SB
Player B: .286/.307/.514, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 10 runs, 0 SB

Both of the players listed here batted cleanup for their teams on Saturday night. Player A is the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp. Player B is Yuniesky Betancourt. Yes, you read that correctly. Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke actually did this. I know Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez are both on the disabled list. I know Rickie Weeks is slumping horribly. But, still, really? A guy with a career OPS+ of 83 hitting cleanup? Naturally, of course, Betancourt would go 2-for-5 with an RBI. This means it will likely happen again (although it didn’t repeat itself on Sunday). I can’t actually bring myself to suggest that a fantasy owner pick up Yuni, so I’ll just say this instead: all fantasy stats count, regardless of who accumulates them. He would be an easy drop once the inevitable regression back to his usual terrible self happens.

Player A: 0-0, 1.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 4 saves
Player B: 2-0, 0.81 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 6 saves

Player A is Edward Mujica, the Cardinals’ current closer. Player B is Jim Henderson, the closer for the Brewers after John Axford’s implosion. Mujica replaced Mitchell Boggs, who had replaced Jason Motte. A fellow owner in my NL-only league mentioned Mujica as soon as Motte’s elbow injury became public knowledge. He had the foresight to pick up him. I, on the other hand, figured that young flamethrower Trevor Rosenthal would become the closer. While that may still happen, Mujica has done an excellent job closing games. Henderson, meanwhile, may not give the job back at all. He is 6-for-6 in save chances and I would not put much stock in manager Ron Roenicke’s concern about Henderson throwing too many pitches as the closer. Axford may have had a few scoreless innings of late, but he has proven repeatedly that he cannot handle the ninth-inning pressure on a regular basis. Yanking Henderson from the job would be a terrible decision. Then again, Roenicke has shown a flair for terrible choices before (see Yuniesky Betancourt above).

Random Thoughts

  • Any questions about whether Adam Wainwright is “all the way back” from Tommy John surgery? Through five starts, the man they call “Waino” is averaging more than 7 innings per start, with a 37/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. One walk in five starts. Lots of pitchers can’t get through five innings without issuing a free pass.
  • Conversely, the Cardinals’ bullpen is a hot mess right now. While it’s so frustrating to watch the bullpen ruin two decent starts over the weekend from Jake Westbrook and Shelby Miller, it is still April. Here’s hoping that general manager John Mozeliak stays true to his history and does not make a knee-jerk trade in response. It would be easy to deal a useful player like Matt Carpenter for a fungible setup man or middle reliever.
  • Doug Fister has hit eight batters already in 2013. Good thing he didn’t plunk Carlos Quentin that night or it might be him on the DL.
  • Shin-Soo Choo has already been hit by pitches 10 times this season.
  • Nelson Cruz is on another one of his carry-the-team-on-his-back hot streaks: 3 HR, 13 RBI, 6 runs scored, along with a hitting line of .440/.533/.840 over the past week.
  • Hilarious on-pace stat of the year so far: Mike Napoli is on pace to drive in 190 runs for the Red Sox.
  • Seriously, though, I don’t think Boston misses Adrian Gonzalez so far this year.
  • In the same at-bat versus Albert Pujols last week, Yu Darvish threw a 97 mph heater and a 64 mph curveball. Proving that he is human, Pujols struck out.
  • Going into Sunday’s games, Justin Upton and Allen Craig had each driven in 18 runs for their teams. The difference? Upton has 12 home runs and Craig has none.
  • Most of the hype among the game’s youngest players goes to Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, but don’t overlook 20-year-old Manny Machado in Baltimore. Machado is on a seven-game hitting streak, during which time he has compiled a .433 average, 5 RBI, 5 runs scored and two steals.
  •  Which one of these statements is true? Edinson Volquez pitched seven consecutive innings without walking a batter last week. Petco Park was sold out.
  • Believe it or not, it’s Volquez. Someone call Ripley.

Follow me on Twitter: @ccaylor10

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Potential New Homes For Kyle Lohse

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Potential New Homes For Kyle Lohse

Posted on 13 February 2013 by Chris Caylor

Much has been written about free-agent starter Kyle Lohse remaining unsigned as pitchers and catchers report. Even Lohse’s former team, the St. Louis Cardinals, has shown no interest in bringing him back.


What gives?

The prevailing theory seems to be that teams do not want to surrender their first-round draft pick for a 34-year-old righty. An alternate theory is that Lohse’s agent, Scott Boras, grossly overestimated the interest level in his client, leaving him without a chair when the free-agent music stopped. Whatever the case, one has to think Lohse is anxious to sign with a team and get to spring training.

While Lohse is not an ace-caliber pitcher, he has compiled the best WHIP and HR/9 ratios of his career in the past two seasons. There has to be a market for that, no? Let’s take a look at some teams where Lohse would appear to be a good fit:

 Baltimore – after captivating the town with an expected run to Game 5 of the ALDS in 2012, some people expected the Orioles to make a big splash during the offseason. Instead, division rivals Toronto and Tampa Bay made dramatic changes to their rosters, while the Orioles chose to do some minor tinkering. Lohse would have made a much better (albeit more expensive) addition to Baltimore’s rotation than Jair Jurrjens.

 Texas – the Rangers missed out on Zack Greinke and still need to upgrade their pitching staff. With Colby Lewis not due back from elbow surgery until at least June and lefty Derek Holland coming off an inconsistent 2012, Lohse would be a reliable presence in the middle of the Rangers’ rotation. The only question is whether Lohse – not a power pitcher – would succeed in the Rangers’ hitter-friendly park.

 New York Mets – Had the Mets not been so reluctant to sacrifice their first-round pick (#11 overall), they could have had Michael Bourn patrolling center field. That being the case, it stands to reason that they would not part with that pick for Lohse either. Lohse, however, would be perfect fit for a team that has injury questions surrounding their top three starters (Johan Santana, Jon Niese, Shaun Marcum).

 San Diego – The Padres were one of the NL’s best teams during the 2012 season’s final weeks (no, seriously). Lohse would no doubt enjoy pitching in one of baseball’s most pitcher-friendly parks and would slot in nicely between hard-throwing Edinson Volquez and lefty Clayton Richard. Despite how well this move could work out for both sides, spending significant dollars for a free agent is not the Padres’ way.

 Cleveland – The Indians have already made several big moves this winter – what’s one more? Lohse would do more to solidify the Tribe’s rotation than their other free-agent acquisitions (Brett Myers and Daisuke “the Human Rain Delay” Matsuzaka). There’s still time. Maybe Lohse’s price will drop enough for the Indians to take the plunge.

 Milwaukee – Lohse would represent a major upgrade to a rotation that is paper-thin beyond Yovani Gallardo and Michael Fiers. The Brewers, however, look to be in cost-cutting mode again after fruitless postseason runs in 2009 and 2011, so this would be a surprise.

Of course, the way this offseason has gone, the Toronto Blue Jays are liable to swoop in and sign him. Or maybe the Fort Knox, er, Los Angeles Dodgers. ESPN even linked the Nationals to Lohse recently, which strikes me as a bit baffling. The only thing that seems certain is that he won’t be back with the Cardinals, thanks to their deep reserve of right-handed starters. As the Cardinals recently learned with Chris Carpenter, though, all it takes is one phone call to significantly change a team’s plans.

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Andy Pettitte Doesn’t Disappoint In His Return

Posted on 20 September 2012 by Trish Vignola

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was hopping for five innings and 70 pitches from the return of Andy Pettitte.

Boy, did he get more.

After a three-month stint on the disabled list, the veteran left-hander looked like he hadn’t missed a beat. In the first leg of a day-night doubleheader against the Blue Jays on Wednesday, Pettitte gave Girardi five scoreless frames, 75 pitches and a 4-2 win. Pettitte helped to snap the Yankees’ tie atop the American League East with the Orioles, which has become progressively harder as the season has gone on.

“That doesn’t mean [Pettitte] didn’t lobby to go back out there,” Girardi said of Pettitte’s pitch limit. “He said, ‘I’m fine, I’m fine.’ But I told him, ‘We’re not going to hurt you in the first start; that would be silly.’”

That would be Johan Santana.

Girardi continued, “He gave us everything that we asked for — probably a few more pitches than we wanted him to throw. Let’s leave it at that.”

Making his first appearance since a comebacker fractured his left fibula on June 27, Pettitte appeared to be finished after four innings. The 40-year-old was at 68 pitches and Derek Lowe was warming in the Yankees’ bullpen. Pettitte returned though for one more frame. Pulling out all the stops, he retired the side in order (for the first time all day), needing only seven pitches to do so. He left to applause from the sparse crowd a day after inclement weather forced the postponement of the lefty’s anticipated return.

“I think that extra layoff I had actually probably hurt me, as far as how my body felt [and] my legs and stamina,” Pettitte said. “But all in all, it was good. I was able to get through it and make pitches when I had to get out of some innings.”

Girardi had to rely heavy on his bullpen during the matinée, but that had nothing to do with Pettitte. Pettitte’s pitch count was New York’s worst kept secret. He only allowed four hits and walked two batters. This was while facing competition for the first time since his injury.

The lefty rehabbed with simulated games since the Minor League seasons ended before he was ready to take a mound. Pettitte said that while there were no nerves in his return, he struggled with whether the Blue Jays would plan to take more pitches than usual simply to elevate his pitch count. Pettitte’s doubts proved unfounded. He improved to 4-3 and lowered his ERA to 2.97 in his 10th start since coming out of retirement.

With a tiring bullpen, the Yankees need reliable starting pitching to take them into October. Pettitte struck out the first batter he faced, Rajai Davis, on four pitches. He was locating his fastball, slider and cutter, though he felt he had better command in bullpen sessions and simulated games. He finished with three strikeouts, throwing 46 strikes and stranding five runners on base. Pettitte escaped a jam with runners on the corners in the second inning and induced a key double-play grounder to end the third.

“You have confidence in Andy because he knows how to get that double-play ball or the strikeout and make the big pitch,” Girardi said. “You know he’s not going to be overwhelmed by the situation. I was probably more nervous when I saw him running around a little bit than when he was on the mound.”

Pettitte reported no negative effects on his left ankle, saying that he was 100 percent healthy. He needed only to rebuild his leg strength and stamina with more running. Girardi estimated Pettitte would throw 85-90 pitches in his next start, scheduled for next week at Minnesota. If Pettitte can go deeper in the game, his coming off the disabled list could be the best pick-up the Yankees made this season.

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AL Pitching Planner: June 18 – June 24

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AL Pitching Planner: June 18 – June 24

Posted on 18 June 2012 by Mark Sherrard

This week’s AL two-start hurlers feature a pair of lefty aces, a handful of decent options and not much else.

Here are the AL two-start pitchers and other favorable matchups for Week 12:

Two-Start Pitchers


C.C. Sabathia:  6/18 vs ATL; 6/24 @ NYM – His numbers aren’t as strong as last year, but still one of the best in the AL

David Price: 6/19 @ WAS; 6/24 @ PHI – gave up 7 ER in just 5 IP last time out, but still a must start


Week 10 -4 GS, 2 QS, 2 W, 22.1 IP, 35 H+BB, 12 K’s, 12 ER, 4.84 ERA, 1.57 whip

YTD – 56 GS, 36 QS, 30 W, 365.2 IP, 468 H+BB, 302 K’s, 141 ER, 3.47 ERA, 1.28 whip

Not Too Shabby

Clay Buchholz: 6/19 vs MIA; 6/24 vs ATL – seems to be rolling with 4 straight starts of 7+ IP and 2 or fewer ER

Matt Harrison: 6/18 @ SD; 6/24 vs COL – 4-0 with a 1.42 ERA in last 5 starts and gets two favorable matchups to boot

Jake Peavy: 6/18 vs CHC; 6/24 vs MIL – has given up more than 3 ER only twice in his 13 starts

Tommy Milone: 6/19 vs LAD; 6/24 vs SF – a couple rough outings hasn’t scared me off, yet

Jerome Williams: 6/18 vs SF; 6/24 vs LAD – 3.84 ERA as a starter this year (11 starts)

Scott Diamond: 6/19 @ PIT; 6/24 @ CIN – has an excellent 29/6 K/BB ratio to go along with 2.13 ERA


Week 10 – 17 GS, 5 QS, 5 W, 93.0 IP, 145 H+BB, 89 K’s, 66 ER, 6.39 ERA, 1.56 whip

YTD – 166 GS, 91 QS, 69 W, 1006.0 IP, 1353 H+BB, 771 K’s, 473 ER, 4.23 ERA, 1.34 whip

Risky at Best

Rick Porcello: 6/19 vs STL; 6/24 @ PIT – has a 5.18 ERA and won’t give you wins (just 4) or K’s (only 44)

Jonathan Sanchez: 6/18 @ HOU; 6/24 vs STL – occasional flashes of brilliance are overshadowed by poor outings

Jake Arrieta: 6/18 @ NYM; 6/24 vs WAS – could be good someday, just not there yet

Hector Noesi: 6/18 vs ARI; 6/24 @ SD – maybe Petco can help him keep the ball in the park (15 HR’s allowed), but I wouldn’t bet on it


Week 10 – 6 GS, 2 QS, 2 W, 32.2 IP, 47 H+BB, 25 K’s, 21 ER, 5.79 ERA, 1.44 whip

YTD – 81 GS, 32 QS, 22 W, 438.1 IP, 659 H+BB, 300 K’s, 268 ER, 5.50 ERA, 1.50 whip

Other Favorable Matchups (<50% owned)

Vin Mazzaro (3% owned):  6/20 @ HOU

Has a 1.80 ERA in last 3 starts (2.57 on the season) and faces the Astros and Jordan Lyles

Kevin Millwood (18% owned): 6/21 @ SD

Has a 1.98 ERA on the season and gets to pitch in Petco

Jose Quintana (6% owned): 6/22 vs MIL

Also has a 1.98 ERA on the season and a strong minor league track record


Week 10 -4 GS, 0 QS, 0 W, 20.2 IP, 38 H+BB, 14 K’s, 23 ER, 10.02 ERA, 1.84 whip

YTD -30 GS, 13 QS, 7 W, 188.2 IP, 258 H+BB, 149 K’s, 96 ER, 4.58 ERA, 1.37 whip

See ya next week.

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Organizational Outlook – Chicago White Sox

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Organizational Outlook – Chicago White Sox

Posted on 14 June 2012 by Bryan Geary

Courtney Hawkins

This is part three of thirty in the Organizational Outlook series. For those of you interested in minor league baseball, and I know you are out there, keeping up with all the top players can be a tall task. This series will take you through each team in baseball and get you up to date on their top prospects.

If you are a prospect loving South Sider, there has not been much to cheer about lately. Going into the 2012 season, the White Sox farm system ranked dead last on lists done by Baseball America and Keith Law (subscription for both). Kenny Williams and his draft team have become notorious for being among the most frugal spenders in the amateur draft, meaning the system has been lacking the high upside talent fans and scouts love so much.

The good news for White Sox fans heading into year was that Addison Reed, ranked as the team’s number one prospect by BA and Law, was ready to contribute in the major leagues as a bullpen arm right away. Though new manager Robin Ventura tabbed lefty Hector Santiago as the team’s closer in the early going — and then Chris Sale for an odd one week period — Reed now has the role locked down. A perfect 7 for 7 in save opportunities this year, Reed seems to be the closer for the foreseeable future in Chicago. He has been a big part of the success for the AL Central’s surprise leader thus far, but let us take a look at what else the system holds now that Reed is no longer of prospect status.

(All prospect rankings according to Baseball America.)

Chicago was not heavily represented in this year’s BA Top 100 prospects, with Reed as their only representative. However they did add an arm that has some people excited when they dealt previous closer Sergio Santos to the Blue Jays over the winter. Nestor Molina gained some prospect shine in 2011 when he struck out 148 batters in 130.1 innings split between A+ and AA. Originally signed as a third basemen by Toronto out of Venezuela in 2006, Molina transitioned well to a starting role because of his excellent command, as he paired those 148 strikeouts with only 16 walks in 2011. While he may lack one pitch with the “wow” factor, BA spoke of four solid offerings, including a fastball that tops out around 93. Molina was promoted to AAA Charlotte on May 7th after starting 3-1 with a 3.72 ERA at AA Birmingham. However, he only made one start at AAA and is now back in AA where his record sits a 4-5 with a 4.66 ERA and only 54 strikeouts in 75.1 innings.

Another reason fans in Chicago should be excited is their first round draft pick, Courtney Hawkins. A high school outfielder from Texas, Hawkins represents the first time the White Sox have taken a prep player in the first round since 2001. He also represents a shift from some of the conservative, low upside picks we have seen from Chicago in the past. At 6’3″/210, Hawkins is a great athlete who profiles to be a big time power hitter in right field someday, where he will flash a huge arm (he has touched 95 MPH as a pitcher). Keith Law wrote last week that Hawkins is already the Sox new number one prospect, with more upside than anyone else in the system. Given that description, White Sox fans probably held their breath when Hawkins did a backflip on live TV after being drafted. You can watch that right here.

The Rest of the Top 10

Simon Castro — RHP — 6’5″/210

Twice a BA Top 100 prospect with San Diego, Castro came over this winter in the Carlos Quentin trade. A lat injury derailed his 2011 season which saw him make it to AAA. Though his star has dimmed a bit, he still has upside as a mid-rotation starter, according to BA, thanks to a fastball that can touch 96 and a hard biting slider. He is at AA Birmingham this season.

2012: 5-3, 3.65 ERA, 79 IP, 76 H, 65 K, 15 BB

Trayce Thompson — OF — B-T:R-R — 6’3″/195

Thompson, a 2009 draftee, is the son of former NBA player Mychal Thompson and brother of current Warriors guard Klay Thompson. Power is his calling card, as he launched 24 bombs at low-A Kannapolis last season. Though he was repeating that level, scouts believe his ceiling is considerable if he can cut down on the strikeouts. He will get a chance to work on that this year at high-A Winston-Salem.

2012: .223/.313/.445, 269 PA, 8 HR, 10 SB, 29 BB, 82 K

Jake Petricka – RHP — 6’5″/170

The White Sox took Petricka in the second round of the 2010 draft after also drafting him out of high school. Though he had Tommy John surgery in college, Petricka has been known to light up the radar guns, hitting 100 MPH at times. He was having a great 2011 before going on the shelf with a back injury. Though he has been up to AA this year, he is currently at high-A Winston-Salem.

2012 (A+/AA): 4-5, 5.30 ERA, 54.1 IP, 60 H, 53 K, 28 BB

Keenyn Walker — OF — B-T:S-R — 6’3″/195

A 2011 draft pick out of junior college, Walker is a center-fielder with big time wheels. The White Sox see a potential leadoff hitter here, though he did struggle from both sides of the plate in his first taste of full season ball last year. He did play with wood bats in college, however, and he is back at low-A Kannapolis to work on his swing this year.

2012: .260/.377/.347, 237 PA, 1 HR, 35 SB, 38 BB, 69 K

Jhan Marinez – RHP — 6’1″/165

Though he was signed all the way in 2006, Marinez is still only 23 years old. He came to the White Sox as part of the compensation for manager Ozzie Guillen going to the Marlins. Marinez is a fastball/slider guy who can run it up to 96 MPH. He has been almost exclusively a reliever in the minors and that is where he fits with the White Sox. Marinez is at AAA Charlotte this year.

2012: 1-1, 4.50 ERA, 28 IP, 17 H, 31 K, 19 BB

Tyler Saladino — SS — B-T:R-R — 5’11″/180

Saladino had a huge season at Oral Roberts prior to being drafted by Chicago in the 7th round of the 2010 draft. BA describes him as a “steady all-around player” but fans should be excited by the power he has showed so far. After smashing 17 home runs his last year of college, he had 16 in 2011 at high-A Winston-Salem. Saladino’s future may be in a utility role, but for now he continues to play shortstop for AA Birmingham.

2012: .235/.380/.332, 273 PA, 2 HR, 23 SB, 46 BB, 52 K

Juan Silverio — 3B — B-T:R-R — 6’1″/175

Silverio was part of a bizarre scandal in the White Sox organization that saw international scouts oversell free agents to make more money. Thus, he is not the 5-tool shortstop that the team thought they were getting. Still just 21 years old, Silverio now plays third base and is a bit error prone. He is off to a solid start this year at high-A Winston-Salem.

2012: .302/.308/.477, 92 PA, 1 HR, 1 SB, 1 BB, 17 K

Ozzie Martinez – SS — B-T:R-R — 5’10″/190

The other part of the Ozzie Guillen deal with the Marlins, Martinez has seen major league time in 2010 and 2011. He is currently at AAA Charlotte for the White Sox, where he is having an awful season with the bat. Martinez is definitely a defense first player and his future is likely as a utility infielder.

2012: .176/.220/.459, 171 PA, 10 2B, 1 SB, 8 BB, 23 K

Bonus Prospect

Keith Law mentioned in an article last week that Jared Mitchell, a 1st round pick by the White Sox in 2009, was having a nice bounce back year. Mitchell was great for low-A Kannapolis in his pro debut, but struggled mightily in 2011 after missing all of 2010 due to ankle surgery.  But as Law said, he is making up for lost time this year at AA Birmingham. A 6’0″/205 outfielder, Mitchell is hitting .279/.408/.470 with 4 home runs and 14 steals so far. Keep an eye on him, as he continues to prove the ankle is back at 100%.

Draft Recap

Though Law was a huge fan of the Hawkins pick, he was not so high on their compensation round pick, Keon Barnum (picked at #48 but ranked 155 in the BA draft 500). It is possible that Barnum was a signability pick for Chicago after they went big with their first overall pick, but he apparently had issues making contact in his senior year of high school. Law tabbed their 2nd round pick Chris Beck as a reliever who could move quick, similar to Addison Reed. Prep catcher Sammy Ayala was a three sport athlete in high school and was regarded by some teams as a 2nd or 3rd round talent. Chicago took a chance on him in the 17th round and will try to sign him away from UC Santa Barbara. Finally, I would be mistaken if I did not mention one of the top names in this year’s draft, Storm Throne. Yes you read that right. Throne, Chicago’s 25th round pick, is a 6’7″/245 RHP who was rumored to have touched 97 MPH. You can see all of Chicago’s picks here.

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