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The strength of the 2017 Draft is college pitchers. Led by right-handers Alex Faedo (Florida), Kyle Wright (Vanderbilt) and J.B. Bukauskas (North Carolina), as many as six are possible top-10 overall choices. The weakest group is college position players, who drop off sharply after outfielder Jeren Kendall (Vanderbilt) -- especially if a club drafts left-hander/first baseman Brandon McKay (Louisville) as a pitcher.
Washington's catching situation still carries some uncertainty, with Wilson Ramos almost certain to walk as a free agent. Even if Ramos were to return, he tore the ACL in his right knee in late September and will not be ready until at least a month after the season starts.
Isn't that the definition of a successful negotiation? Anyway, when they returned to work with wholesale jerseys Wednesday, it was all done with a different gear.
The Dodgers announced Thursday that they've reached agreements on one-year deals with outfielder Scott Van Slyke and right-handed pitcher Chris Hatcher, avoiding arbitration. The club now has seven players left that are eligible for arbitration.
Moniak has plus speed and center-field skills, close to average power and an average arm. But what makes him special -- and earned him a $6.1 million bonus -- is his hitting ability, which is extremely advanced for a high schooler. Moniak barrels balls so easily that some evaluators projected his cheap jerseys as a future 70 hitter on the 20-80 scouting scale and predicted he'd win batting titles in the big leagues.
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The Tribe's pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Spring Training in Goodyear, Ariz., on Feb. 12, with the position players slated to follow on Feb. 16.
But in an era when bullpen matchups loom large -- and could grow more frequent if rosters expand to 26 players -- the fact that Martinez remains an effective switch-hitter gives him the advantage of being a difficult hitter to match up against. After knee issues left him struggling to hit for power from the left side in 2015, he actually hit for a higher OPS against righties (.832) than lefties (.812) for the first time since '13.
The high school class is pretty solid, with right-hander Hunter Greene (Notre Dame HS, Sherman Oaks, Calif.), outfielder/shortstop Royce Lewis (JSerra HS, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and lefty D.L. Hall (Valdosta, Ga., HS) as the clear top three prospects at this point. MLBPipeline.com will provide detailed scouting reports for all of these players and more when we release our Top 50 Draft Prospects list later this month.
Like the other three, Martinez provided production, bouncing back from an injury-plagued 2015 season to bat .289 with 27 homers, 86 RBIs and an .826 OPS. His OPS was the sixth highest among players with qualifying at-bats at designated hitter, and just behind fellow switch-hitter Beltran, who split his season between DH and right field.
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Martinez, 34, appeared in 59 games with the Indians last season, hitting .242 as a part-time player off the bench. He hit .288 in 27 games at Triple-A Columbus and also had a four-game stint with the Red Sox in July. With Cleveland, the switch-hitter offered depth for second base, shortstop, third base and all three outfield spots. Martinez served as a super utility man in the postseason, but was outrighted off the 40-man roster by the Indians on Nov. 23.
Edwin Encarnacion is not yet close to signing a new contract, the free agent slugger's agent told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi on Wednesday.
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Leave those Hot Stoves on. Where is Edwin Encarnacion going anyway? Will the White Sox trade Chris Sale?
In 52 games last year, Van Slyke battled through back and wrist injuries and didn't play a game after Aug. 7. He hit .225 with one homer, seven RBIs, 10 runs scored and a .606 OPS, his worst since his rookie season.
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Rzepczynski opened last season with Oakland and had a 3.00 ERA in 56 games before being traded to the Nats for Minor League infielder Max Shrock. He posted a 1.54 ERA in 14 regular-season games for the Nationals and a 4.50 ERA in three postseason games. He was the losing pitcher in the Nats' season-ending loss to the Dodgers in the National League Division Series.
The problem with the White Sox trading Sale is that he's almost too valuable. Finding a team willing and able to give up what Sale is truly worth, factoring in how good he is on the mound, along with the fact that he'll cost a total of just $38 million for the next three seasons, is going to be difficult. But I'll play along with this NFL jerseys from China and scenario.
They are part of what Jay called a "Miami crew" of players who work out together in the offseason. Besides Jay and Almora, it includes the Orioles' Manny Machado and Yonder Alonso of the A's. Almora has worked out with the group during the past two offseasons.
Encarnacion, who has been with the Blue Jays since 2009, is the biggest bat remaining. The 33-year-old All-Star hit .263 with 42 home runs and an American League-leading 127 RBIs for the Blue Jays in '16, his fifth straight season with at least 34 homers and his second 40-plus-homer campaign in the last five years.