The MLB Draft got underway last night with the Chicago Cubs (again) having the top pick in the division, this time selecting outfielder Ian Happ with the #9 pick.
Happ, from an awful University of Cincinnati team (15-41), had a career .338 average in college to go along with a .463 on base percentage. This past season saw Happ hit .369 with 18 doubles, 14 homers, and 12 stolen bases. He’s a switch-hitter with average power and speed and the versatility to be a multi-position player.
Next up from the division was the Cincinnati Reds, who selected catcher Tyler Stephenson 11th overall.
Out of Kennesaw Mountain High School (Georgia), the 6’4″ Stephenson hit .425 with 8 HR in 65 at bats this spring. He was the highest rated catcher in the draft. He’s signed a letter of commitment to Georgia Tech, but is likely to sign with the Reds.
With the 15th overall pick, the Milwaukee Brewers selected outfielder Trent Clark.
Clark hit .552 with 3 HR and 11 SB during his senior year at Richland High School in Texas. Milwaukee plans to use the left-handed hitting Clark in center field. He has a scholarship to remain near home and attend Texas Tech.
University of Arizona shortstop Kevin Newman went 19th overall to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Newman hit .370 with 19 doubles, 2 homers and 22 steals as a junior at Arizona.
Rounding out the NL Central’s top picks was Nick Plummer, the #23 pick for the St. Louis Cardinals.
A center fielder from Brother Rice High School in Michigan, the Plummer pick is the first time the Cards have selected a high school position player in the 1st round since taking Pete Kozma in 2007. (Shelby Miller, a pitcher, was a high school selection in 2009.)
He hit .520 with 22 doubles, 5 triples and 32 stolen bases this year, with a 32/10 BB/SO ratio. He had signed a letter of commitment to University of Kentucky.
The draft continues today.
Now on to last night’s games.
* * *
Kicking things off, Jimmy Nelson and the Brewers shut down the red-hot Pirates, 2-0, in a rain-soaked game.
Nelson went 6 shutout innings, striking out 7 while allowing 4 hits and walking 3. He improved to 3-6 on the season and dropped his ERA to a respectable 4.05, particularly by Brewers’ standards.
A perfect 9th inning and 11th save for Francisco Rodriguez, who could find himself the subject of trade talks in the coming months.
A rough night for Starling Marte, who went 0-for-4 with a strikeout, double play grounder, and error in the field. In his last 9 games, Marte is hitting .114/.205/.200 for a .405 OPS.
Andrew McCutchen got the night off, resting his bothersome left knee.
Down in the minors, top pitching prospect Jameson Taillon threw 47 pitches (4 innings) in extended spring training, rehabbing from last April’s Tommy John surgery.
* * *
The Cardinals’ game ended right after it began, giving up 5 runs in the 1st and another 5 in the 4th en route to an 11-3 loss against the Colorado Rockies.
John Lackey fell to 4-4, allowing 10 runs (8 earned) on 12 hits over 4 innings of work. Wow.
The big play of the game for Cardinals fans was this 2nd inning fly ball that led to Matt Holliday suffering a quad injury. Matt Adams is already most likely lost for the season with a quad tear, so Holliday might make two Cardinals to be lost to that injury. I didn’t see the loss of Adams as particularly huge, given that he hasn’t performed well anyhow and isn’t exactly a perennial All-Star. When he’s on, he’s good, but he’s not a Hall of Famer or anything. This loss, though, could deal a pretty big blow to their lineup.
We’ll update the blog when word comes down.
Matt Carpenter went 0-for-3 with an error as his average dropped to .300. He’s hitting .143 for the month of June.
Lance Lynn, who left Sunday’s game early with cramping in his right forearm, downplayed the incident, stating it was no big deal and something that happens to him from time to time.
* * *
The Reds were 6-4 winners over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Zack Cozart went 3-for-4 with a homer (8th) and double.
Making his first career start as Red, Ivan De Jesus Junior went 2-for-4 and belted his first big-league homer. He had no taters in 185 AAA at-bats this season and none in 73 previous MLB at-bats.
And the Reds finally solved Cole Hamels, beating the Phillies for the first time in 14 occasions when Hamels was their starting pitcher.
* * *
NL Central Leaders
|Anthony Rizzo (CHC)||.332|
|Jhonny Peralta (STL)||.316|
|Brandon Phillips (CIN)||.309|
|Kolten Wong (STL)||.307|
|Matt Holliday (STL)||.303|
|Gerrit Cole (PIT)||1.73|
|A.J. Burnett (PIT)||2.11|
|Michael Wacha (STL)||2.18|
|Johnny Cueto (CIN)||2.64|
|Jason Hammel (CHC)||2.76|
* * *
|St. Louis Cardinals||38||20||–||L1|
* * *
|31-26||PIRATES||Liriano (3-4, 3.24)|
|6:05 PM CT|
|30-25||CUBS||Lester (4-4, 3.86)|
|30-28||Tigers||Sanchez (3-7, 5.69)|
|6:08 PM CT|
|22-37||Phillies||Harang (4-6, 2.45)|
|25-31||REDS||DeSclafani (4-4, 3.60)|
|6:10 PM CT|
|38-20||CARDINALS||Wacha (8-1, 2.18)|
|26-30||Rockies||De La Rosa (2-2, 6.15)|
|7:40 PM CT|