Game 61, Yankees at Mariners
Aaron Harang vs. Phil Hughes, 7:10pm
By the time the game starts, we’ll know the first round (and probably their second round) draft pick. We’ll have some reactions to the selection, with the caveat that we won’t know much about what pick was a reach and what pick was a steal for many, many years. Hopefully, we can dream about the future while watching the M’s destroy Phil Hughes and the Yankees again. Hughes didn’t make it out of the first inning the last time he faced the murderer’s row that is the Seattle Mariners.
No one was helped by that road trip more than Raul Ibanez, who went from a .653 OPS to near .800 in his first two days in the Bronx. Phil Hughes served up a grand slam to Ibanez in the game on 5/15, and Raul added another HR later, giving him three HRs in his first two games back in New York. Perhaps Hughes would like to apply the defibrillator to Michael Saunders today? Just a thought.
Aaron Harang’s on a very nice two game run, giving up two runs in 15 innings with 12 strikeouts and only four walks. Of course, those games pitted him against below-average opponents, but they still happened. The Angels have a similar wRC+ to the Padres, and Harang’s outings against LA have not gone well. So we’ll hope for another quality outing; we’ll hope he buys the team more time for Erasmo Ramirez to get healthy or for Danny Hultzen to get his shoulder right. The M’s can muddle through with a gaping hole in their rotation, but they can’t do so with three of them. Saunders has stepped up a bit, and Harang needs to keep it up.
The M’s will have someone new in the bullpen today, as Hector Noesi was sent to Tacoma following yesterday’s 16-inning loss. The M’s recalled him for bullpen help, and having burned through their bullpen, they’ve grabbed someone who can actually pitch tonight: Blake Beavan, who was scheduled to start tonight in Tacoma. The M’s obviously feel they have enough situational arms in the ‘pen (sorry Lucas Luetge/Bobby LaFromboise), and need someone capable of throwing 4-5 innings in case the game goes long again, or in case Harang has one of…those games. I feel a bit bad for Tacoma, who had a 14-inning game of their own this week and will need to scramble through a bullpen day today.*
1: Bay, RF
2: Seager, 3B
3: Ibanez, LF
4: Morales, 1B
5: Morse, DH
6: Franklin, 2B
7: Saunders, CF
8: Shoppach, C
9: Ryan, SS
Here are some mock drafts to read in conjunction with JY’s piece below. Chris Crawford’s is here, and John Sickels’ is here. It’ll be fun watching which picks totally blow up the predictions; Peter Gammons tweeted last night about HS 1B Dominic Smith potentially going #3, for example. It’ll also be fun to see what rumors may have been about draft strategy and negotiations than anything player-related.
As a reminder, the bonus pool caps apply to the first ten rounds, and teams lose the slot money if they fail to sign one of the drafted players in those rounds. At this point, players are floating high bonus demands, and teams may feign interest in lower-rated prospects to get kids to give them leverage against those demands. Mark Appel did fine for himself, and very well may go 1-1, but it’ll be interesting to see what teams, players and agents take from his failure to sign last year. At some level, it gives players some leverage by showing that their demands can be more than wishful thinking – Appel proved that the threat to say ‘no thanks’ is real, even in the new system. But obviously Appel took a tremendous amount of risk in doing so, and teams know it. They also know that the risks are even greater for high-school kids, who would need to shoulder not one but three years of injury risk. It’s worked out for Ryne Stanek, but not so much for Karsten Whitson.
We haven’t talked much about the M’s *other* pick today, the #49 selection. It’s near impossible to forecast the first 12 picks, so predictions about #49 are worthless, but some names of note include Dustin Driver, a RHP from Wenatchee, who’s got a low-90s fastball and who’s dominated competition in central Washington this year. Ryan Boldt was a potential 5-tool OF from Minnesota who went from a first-rounder this spring to a second rounder after an injury essentially wiped out his senior season. Cavan Biggio (Craig’s son) is a 2B from a Texas HS with a commitment to Notre Dame, but may be around at #49. There’s also Chad Pinder, a 3B for Virginia Tech (and you know how the M’s have drafted from ACC school recently), who had something of a down senior season for the Hokies, and C Andrew Knapp of Cal who posted a big season after two so-so ones (and scout quibbles about his ceiling/tools).
* This is the real organizational value of Brian Sweeney, who, whether he starts or not, will probably pitch several innings today. He’s a remarkably versatile pitcher – from Team Italy in the WBC to giving the M’s 30 or so solid innings in 2010, to playing in Japan, to the Rainiers, he works well with young prospects and helps a manager get through a week like this one, where the AAA roster is changing from hour to hour.