The Bryce Harper – Manny Machado Facebook dialogue

I’m not going to speculate on (1) the motivation(s) behind this funny exchange, or (2) who, if anyone, put them up to it.  But, being the sneaky blogger that I am, I had a feeling that this, like all good things, would come to an end somehow.  Surely enough, Machado’s comments have been removed and this conversation is no longer viewable via Bryce Harper’s Facebook profile.  But before those comments were removed, I consulted with my friend – who, in the interest of protecting his identity, I will refer to as “Prnt Scrn” – and he agreed that this was interesting enough to archive.

So with that said, I present Jake Peevyhouse’s 10 seconds of fame (click to enlarge):

Harper-Machado Facebook

What the 2010 first-rounders are doing

Christian Colon is adjusting well to pro ball at high Class A Wilmington. | Courtesy Photo: Cal State Fullerton/Matt Brown

Here’s a simple rundown of where the 2010 signed first-round picks are and what they’re doing.

Presented in order of selection:

Christian Colon, ss, Royals (Pick 1.4): Colon signed quickly, then started slowly for high Class A Wilmington before discovering his stroke this month.  Batting .359 over his last 10 games, his July slashline now rests at .296/.363/.408.

Chris Sale, lhp, White Sox (Pick 1.13): Sale is on the fast track to the big club’s bullpen and should provide immediate help for the playoff-hopeful South Siders.  He’s already with Triple-A Charlotte and has struck out four of the eight lefthanded batters he has faced there without allowing a hit.

Jake Skole, of, Rangers (Pick 1.15): Skole posted a .286/.394/.357 line across 33 plate appearances in the Rookie-level Arizona League before earning a promotion to Short-season ball.  He has shown vulnerability against lefthanders, going 0-for-12 with five strikeouts against them since arriving in Spokane.

Hayden Simpson, rhp, Cubs (Pick 1.16): Expected to make his pro debut in the Short-season Northwest League, Simpson came down with mono and will instead use the summer to recuperate.

Mike Foltynewicz, rhp, Astros (Pick 1.19): In 14 Appalachian League innings, Foltynewicz is holding a 5.79 ERA with three home runs allowed, seven walks and 13 strikeouts.  He is overmatching righthanded batters (.154 BAA), but he has yet to figure out lefthanders (.385 BAA), who are responsible for all three longballs.

Kolbrin Vitek, 2b, Red Sox (Pick 1.20): Vitek is hitting .267/.368/.383 with an 18-to-37 walk-to-strikeout ratio for Short-season Lowell, and he’s likely in for a promotion to low Class A before the year ends.

Kellin Deglan, c, Rangers (Pick 1.22): Deglan was batting .286 in 31 plate appearances with the AZL Rangers before leaving to join the 18U Canadian national team, which is competing in the IBAF ‘AAA’ 18U Junior World Championship scheduled for July 23 – Aug. 1 in Thunder Bay, Ontario.  He will team with Evan Grills, a lefthanded pitcher selected in the 10th round by the Astros.

Jesse Biddle, lhp, Phillies (Pick 1.27): Despite an impressive 21-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio, Biddle is carrying a 5.19 ERA through 17 1/3 innings for the GCL Phillies.  It’s clear that Biddle is still learning the nuances of pitching out of the stretch, as opposing batters are hitting .405 against him with runners on compared to .175 with the bases empty.

Cam Bedrosian, rhp, Angels (Pick 1.29): After a rough pro debut that saw Bedrock Jr. allow four earned runs in one inning of relief, he made his first start on July 20 and hurled two scoreless innings to go along with two strikeouts.

Chevez Clarke, of, Angels (Pick 1.30): Clarke and Bedrosian are taking their rookie lumps together with the AZL Angels.  The 5-foot-11, 180-pound switch-hitter is batting .216/.298/.333 with 17 strikeouts in 51 at-bats.

Justin O’Conner, c, Rays (Pick 1.31): O’Conner began slowly in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, then hit .256/.302/.462 over his last 10 games.  The offensive progress is encouraging, but it’s secondary to his defensive development at this stage.

Cito Culver, ss, Yankees (Pick 1.32): Culver earned a “Not-So Hot” designation on Baseball America’s weekly “Hot Sheet” feature for his recent performance with the GCL Yankees, but it’s too easy to pick on the raw 17-year-old from a cold-weather state who divided his time between baseball and basketball.  His line stands at .244/.320/.311 through his first 25 games, and he has the base tools to become a plus defender at shortstop.

Extended scouting report: Drew Cisco, rhp, Wando HS, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.

PLAYER: Drew Cisco, rhp, Wando HS, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
DOB: 07/29/91     |     HT.: 6-1     |     WT.: 185     |     B-T: L-R     |     COMMITMENT: Georgia
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Cisco's polish stands out among the high school pitchers in the 2010 class. | Courtesy Photo

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION

Cisco is nearly maxed out, but he should naturally add more strength as he matures and tightens his physique.  He has the broad, durable body type and compact, repeatable delivery suited to handle a starting pitcher’s workload.  He also shows solid body control and fielding actions.  Conditioning maintenance should not become a problem.

MECHANICS

Cisco’s delivery is smooth and simple, bearing strong resemblance to that of brother Mike, a 36th-round draft pick of the Phillies in 2008.  He gets a full circular arm swing before he reaches his mid-three-quarters release point, but he will raise his arm slot slightly when throwing his curveball.  At the top of his break, his elbows never get higher than his shoulders, minimizing hyperabduction (i.e. rotator cuff and labrum wear).  Cisco throws with little effort, using a strong lower half and good hip-shoulder separation to generate low-90s velocity throughout the duration of the game.  He throws across his body slightly before finishing his motion with a centered glove-side elbow over a bent plant leg.  He wheels his pitching arm-side leg around too far, however, landing him in an awkward fielding position.

PITCH REPERTOIRE

Cisco sits in the 88-91 mph range with his fastball, and he can touch 92 in the early innings.  The pitch gets cut and run, and he exhibits the confidence and command to throw it to both halves of the plate.  Cisco also spots a 74-76 curveball well, which he is comfortable throwing in any count.  Although the offering varies in shape, the pitch gets solid rotation and average depth when it’s on, and he can throw it for a strike or bury it as a chase pitch.  With as good of a feel for a changeup as one could expect from a high-schooler, Cisco shows good arm speed and gets occasional fade on the potential plus pitch, which ranges from 75-78.

SUMMARY

With an advanced feel for pitching beyond his years, Cisco could be the most polished arm in this year’s prep class.  His present pitchability reveals his big-league bloodlines, with grandfather Galen having pitched parts of seven seasons in the major leagues and brother Mike currently working in the upper levels of the Phillies organization.  His physical maturity limits his upside, but he offers a higher floor because of his pitching acumen and sound delivery.  Cisco is similar to Jeff Suppan and has a chance to become a middle-of-the-rotation workhorse if he can maintain his present velocity.

OFP CLASS: Average | DRAFT RECOMMENDATION: 3rd-4th Round

VIDEO

Courtesy: Nick James

A quickie look at Bubba Starling: Tournament of Stars No. 1 prospect

As I put the finishing touches on a top 20 prospects list for USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars (June 23-27), I am posting the writeup for my No. 1 prospect, Bubba Starling.

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1. Bubba Starling, of, Gardner-Edgerton HS, Gardner, Kan.

DOB: 08/03/92 | HT.: 6-5 | WT.: 192 | B-T: R-R | Commitment: Nebraska

Summary: Combining a long, athletic build with fluid, major-league actions, Starling has obvious five-tool talent that belongs in the top half of the first round. He demonstrates a discerning eye at the plate, using premium bat speed and exceptional hand-eye coordination to barrel up whatever pitch he selects. Generating loft while staying short to the ball, he owns a true swing path that will allow him to hit for both average and plus power. Starling’s present speed grades as plus right now – he recorded 6.53 and 6.58 60-yard-dash times at the event – although he figures to be more of a solid-average runner upon physical maturation. He pitched as well, touching 91 mph, arm strength that will play well in right field. Starling is also a prized quarterback recruit committed to play for Nebraska.

Video (filmed by Baseball America draft writer Conor Glassey):

Twitter | @jesseburkhart

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