June 16th, 2014

Greetings From Chattanooga

I greet you today from Chattanooga, Tennessee, the location of the 2014 Southern League (Double-A) All Star Game. I’m hoping to see some fine prospects while enjoying the Home Run Derby and the game itself. I’ll be commenting about both events starting Monday night and continuing Tuesday @BerniePleskoff on twitter.

Lots of people have asked me who I would have taken in the recently concluded First-Year Player Draft. I have watched lots of video but I haven’t seen any of the players in person. I generally like to watch players live before commenting. However, from the video, my choice would have been Shepherd (Texas) High School flame thrower Tyler Kolek. I don’t think that physicality and that arm strength come around all that often. He’s just a massive guy with the potential to get even bigger and stronger. My second choice would have been Brady Aiken of Cathedral High School in San Diego. There are no “sure things” in any draft. But these two guys look like winners. I just would have reversed the order.

Where do the Cubs go with Jeff Samardzija? Well, Oakland is looking for another starter and they may have the prospects to play. How about the Braves? Would they give up catcher Christian Bethancourt among others? The Yankees? They have a couple of prospect catchers in Gary Sanchez and J R Murphy. Yes, I think the Cubs need a catcher along with a pitcher or two in the deal. I like the Giants to get Samardzija. Why? They always pick up a very good player in late June or July. They have outstanding catcher Andrew Susac waiting in the wings. Would they trade him? If it meant winning another World Series, why not? I have no “inside” information. I’m just sharing my ideas.

Do I think David Price gets traded? Yes, if they move rather quickly. The longer they wait, the lower the value. He can fetch some players to rejuvenate the franchise. If he’s traded now he brings a season and a half of play for his new team. Justin Masterson? I don’t think so. The Indians have a shot at a Wild Card and they would have to get a starting pitcher in return. Not happening IMO.

The Throw. The only other throw I’ve seen that is close to the one Yoenis Cespedes made on the fly from the left field corner to the point of home plate was years ago by Roberto Clemente. But I was much younger then and I was amazed by everything. But Cespedes proved his arm is a treasure to be enjoyed by fans for years to come.

Few teams have fallen from grace as quickly as the Rangers. And lo and behold, they are only 8 games out of first place in the A L West as I write this. But they have three teams to jump over. And we don’t talk about them anymore.

Albert Pujols is hitting .258. Joe Mauer is hitting .261. Evan Longoria is hitting .265. And Giancarlo Stanton is hitting .301. What’s wrong with that mural? The times are indeed, changing.

“Baseball America” has done a study on Tommy John surgeries. One of the conclusions is that drafted college pitchers have greater rates of Tommy John surgeries than drafted high school pitchers. The study was based upon data from Jon Roegele of “The Hardball Times.” 30% of the surgeries were college draftees, 25% high school, and 25% international. 9% were junior college and 9% were non-drafted free agents. The other 2% were signed out of independent leagues.

I hope the Diamondbacks plan on giving Jordan Pacheco some playing time. I do think he has a loud bat-especially at Chase Field. But he has trouble hitting from the bench.

Do the Blue Jays need another starter? Do they have the prospects to land David Price or Jeff Samardzija? It would have to start with Aaron Sanchez and that’s a huge price to pay for a year and a half. I think they’d have to have an extension deal in place before they made that type of move. Sanchez is a fine prospect. Maybe the Rays would require less. I doubt it.

Of all the teams that could have signed Kendrys Morales, the last I had on my list was the Minnesota Twins. Be honest now, they weren’t on your list either.

Are the Indians wise to keep Jason Giambi around once he returns from the disabled list? Does he still have magic in his bat? I’m just askin’.

Giancarlo Stanton, Yasiel Puig, Mike Trout? Your choice? Is Ryan Braun in that conversation? Bryce Harper? Andrew McCutchen?

Dynamic trio-George Springer, Jon Singleton and ultimately Carlos Correa. Yikes! Just think what the Astros may have on their hands with those 3 guys. Then add pitchers like Mike Foltynewicz and Asher Wojciechowski, Mark Appel and Lance McCullers. It might not be fair. And they don’t all have to be stars to elevate the Astros. Just good, solid players. But at least 3 will be stars IMO. Maybe more.

Then there’s the Cubs Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, C J Edwards, Albert Almora, Dan Vogelbach and Arodys Vizcaino, just to name 6. Not to mention one of my favorites in Arismendy Alcantara. Which team soars further? Quicker? I’m really wondering myself. Just think of what’s ahead of us in the next couple years.

Have you watched Gregory Polanco play? How about that outfield of Marte, McCutchen and Polanco. It can be scary good.

I’ll pretty sure I’ll see Kris Bryant tonight in the Southern League Home Run Derby. If not then, he’s on the Southern League North Division team and will be playing in the game.

That’s it for this time. I’m done.

As always, thank you for reading my work on MLBPipeline.com and for listening to Short Hops. Please follow me on twitter @BerniePleskoff. Much appreciated.