Each week I’ll be here answering questions that have been sent to me at the BaseballGuys’ Twitter account.
My Jason Motte for Bryce Harper. Too much?
We’re all aware of it by now, but the attrition rate of closers this season is better than 50 percent, and that’s just stupefying. What it means is that if you can find a guy who appears to be locked into the 9th inning you better only move him if you are getting a killer deal. Motte has blown two of nine save chances, but he’s locked in for the Cardinals. Motte has pushed his K/9 rate to elite levels at 10.34, and he’s continued to be stingy with the free pass (2.30 per nine) leading to an uber-impressive 4.50 K/BB mark. That’s pretty rare territory an a great indicator that some serious success is going to be heading your way. You could claim small sample size – we’re only taking 15.2 innings for 2012 – so let’s go back to the start of the 2010 season for a broader perspective. In 136 innings Motte has a 2.25 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP, 8.93 K/9 mark an a 3.55 K/BB ratio. Those are elite numbers, no?
Harper, the Golden Boy of baseball, has done about what I expected from the youngster. He’s had moments of success and failure intermixed. It’s only been 17 games, and given his age you’d have to say his start has been a success, but at the same time he’s hitting .238 and has a mere .319 OBP. The .460 SLG is solid, but people are expecting more than a homer every 32 at-bats with Bryce Harper (he has two in 63 this season). The fact of the matter is that at this point he really doesn’t profile as more than a fourth or fifth outfielder in mixed leagues.
If it’s a re-draft league give me Mr. Motte.
My David Ortiz for his Jonathan Papelbon in a H2H League? My closers are David Robertson, Henry Rodriguez, Joe Nathan and Dale Thayer.
The reliever carousel continues…
Robertson thinks he can return in two weeks from his oblique issue, but how often do we see that happen when that part of the body is injured? Plus, if Rafael Soriano takes off and has a hot start working the 9th, will Robertson just be returned to his familiar 8th inning role?
Rodriguez is dealing with three factors. (1) He’s recently had some tightness in his forearm. (2) His performance of late has been spotty. In his last six appearances he’s walked five batters an allowed six runs over 4.2 innings. (3) Brad Lidge appears to be nearing a return to health, and Drew Storen as well (Storen could be more than a month away though).
Nathan looks pretty much as good as ever. He’s starting to hit 95-96 mph on the gun. He’s converted eight of nine save chances. His ERA is 2.87, his WHIP is 1.15, his K/9 10.91 and his K/BB 9.50. He appears to be “back.”
Thayer has locked down the 9th for the Padres going 4-for-4 in saves and pushing his career mark to one walk in 34 innings. However, as soon as Huston Street is ready to return Thayer loses his job with the Padres.
Papelbon is dominating hitters as he always does: 2.40 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 10.80 K/9, 4.50 K/BB, 10-for-10 in saves. Nuff said.
Ortiz (.345-8-27-27) has been spectacular so far. At the same time, there are concerns. (1) He only qualifies at DH/Utility limiting his value a bit. (2) After a blazing start that included a .405 average, six homers and 20 RBI in his first 22 games, Ortiz has slowed greatly hitting .259-2-7 over his last 15 contests. Hot starts often blind people to the facts which follow. (A) Ortiz is not a .345 hitter. In fact, three of the past four years he’s failed to hit even .275. He won’t keep up his current pace. Do you really think he’s going to have his best line drive rate since 2005 this year? Do you also think that a guy with a career .304 BABIP is doing to post a career best .357 mark this season? (B) Despite the success, Ortiz is actually taking walks at a 10 year low, and while I’d like to believe he’s capable of offsetting that by posting a career low K-rate, I find that unlikely to be the case in his 16th big league season.
So do you trade for Papelbon given the fact that three of your four closers may not hold their current 9th inning spots in a month? Ortiz is a high price to pay given that he will be a strong producer all season, but I’d get the Phillies’ closer.
Should I pick up and stash Ubaldo Jimenez? Does he turn it around?
Since I’m sich a glass is half full type, let’s start with the positive.
Ubaldo still alive.
So ends the positive talk.
Facetiousness aside, there’s not much to hang ones hat on here (people see to agree over at Fleaflicker as well where he is owned in only 64 percent of leagues).
A better than eight per nine strikeout guy in his career Ubaldo is currently sitting at 5.48 per nine. Part of the blame there is the fact that his 96.1 mph fastball from 2009-10 is now resting at 92 mph. You can also blame his one time 86 mph slider that now resides at 82 mph. His change up is also down from 87 mph to 83 by the way. The fact of the matter is that he’s lost four mph the past two years, and that’s alarming to say the least. Equally disturbing is that the downward movement that made Ubaldo such a special pitcher has apparently deserted him along with the speed. A one time 50+ percent ground ball arm, that number has dipped from 54.4, to 52.5, to 48.8 to 47.2 percent the past four years. This year, he’s taken another significant step back with that number dropping down to 41 percent.
Struggling to put hitters away, he’s not only been as wild as ever, he’s actually been way worse. However between 3.51 and 3.74 walks the past three years, he’s added nearly three full batters to that mark this year (6.26). You cannot have success walking that many batters. Ask Francisco Liriano and Jonathan Sanchez.
Given his stuff Ubaldo can still get batters out and have success as a big league starter, but with his inability to throw quality strikes and to avoid walks, there’s little chance he turns things around to previous levels unless he somehow magically rediscovers his lost heat. Where’s Rumpelstiltskin when you need to make a wish?
Can David Freese keep this up? Offered Freese for Chris Young.
Recall above when I wrote about perception becoming reality for some people? Take the case of Freese and look at his numbers the first two months.
April: .333-5-20 with a .935 OPS
May: .222-3-8 with a .786 OPS
In April he was George Brett. In May he’s been Melvin Mora. So are you asking me if he can keep up April or May? The truth lies in the middle since he’s neither Brett nor Mora. Overall he’s appeared in 35 of 37 Cardinals games, and given his track record it’s hard to believe he will be able to keep up that pace. I also feel pretty comfortable in stating that he isn’t a 35 home run, 120 RBI bat he’s on pace to be right now. In truth, I’d be a bit surprised if he’s even a 25-95 bat given the health concerns and the lack of elite power. Also don’t overlook the fact that while his .287 batting average is a strong mark that it would actually be, barely, a four year low.
Young should be back by the end of this week or the start of next week. Before injuring his shoulder he was off to a dynamic start as he was hitting .410 with five homers, 13 RBI and two steals through 11 games. An option to go 20/20 every season, Young has long struggled to lift his batter average to the realm of respectability (he’s never hit .260 in a season). Given that he’s coming back from an injured shoulder he’s basically having to start over meaning that you’ll likely be best served to reset your expectations for Young back to where they were eight weeks ago. Forget the hot start and look at him as a fella who could be a batting average drain while being a potentially significant source of counting category numbers in the outfield.
Do you need outfield help? Are you looking for a speed boost? If so, the easy answer is obviously Young. If you’re looking for some corner infield help and batting average security, the answer is square in the other camp of Freese. Without knowing the answer to those two questions I’d go with the more dynamic talents of Young who can give me 20 steals if pushed, but there are certainly plenty of scenarios in which it would make more sense to hold on to Freese.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87 from 5-8 PM EDT, Monday through Friday.
It was amazing to be able to broadcast from the Rising Stars Game for SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. We had a booth in the press box pretty much directly behind home plate. The picture to the left was taken from our view in the box. Felt like a VIP up there.
Beautiful ballpark there at Surprise, Arizona. It has like 125 acres of land, tons of ball fields on the side, and it’s got a great atmosphere in the stands. Make sure you get dropped off on the right side of the stadium though or you’ll be looking at a 20 minute walk to get around the massive complex (I’m speaking from experience unfortunately).
I was able to get down on the field with my co-host Kyle Elfrink to take in batting practice. We also had the unique opportunity to interview a few of the future stars of the game in Wil Myers of the Royals, Jaff Decker of the Padres and Mike Trout of the Angels. You can clink on the links to listen to portions of all three interviews.
Garrett Cole, the top selection of the Pirates, got lit up for five runs in his first inning of work in the Rising Stars game. Still, the stuff was on full display. According to Jason Grey of ESPN, who we interviewed during the game, Cole’s stuff looked amazing including the nearly triple digit heat that was on full display. His problem on the night were two fastballs he left right over the hear of the plate.
Matt Dominguez of the Marlins’ was a bit banged up with a thumb issue. You would have never known it watching him stroke ball after ball over the fence in batting practice.
We didn’t get a chance to talk to Bryce Harper, I’ll break him down in a moment, but we were able to talk to Stu Cole of the Rockies. The manager of the East Division in the Rising Stars game told us how impressed he was with the talent of Harper and Trout who were both on the East squad. Thanks to Mr. Cole as well, a class act. It was also pretty neat to walking around with a wireless microphone interviewing people on the field as Kyle was in the booth. Now I know what it feels like to be Erin Andrews.
I was surprised by just how big some of these 20, 21, 22 year old kids were. It’s no longer ‘when he fills out he’ll be able to…” it’s “he’s already physically mature, now it’s just about how can he develop his skills.”
Speaking of skills, Bryce Harper is amazing. Watching him take batting practice was impressive. The 19 year old simply put the barrel on the ball with every cut. The short stride, the balance, the level swing with the perfect throw of the head of the bat, clearly he’s going to be a tremendous ball player. One three swing sequence in BP said it all. First pitch – line drive to left field. Second pitch – line drive to center field. Third pitch – line drive to right field. I told you, impressive.
Jeff Mans of FantasyAlarm.com – one of the funnier guys you will ever meet. It’s all about the frosted tips Jeff. Let me know when you get that text too, will ya?
Wil Myers, who we interviewed, has quite the stroke. He’s going to be a huge hitter in the majors. It’s obvious why the Royals aren’t interested in adding in the rumored deal with the Braves for Martin Prado and Jair Jurrjens.
Thanks to Matt Deutsch and SirusXM for treating us well and giving us a chance to cover the Arizona Fall League. Also, thanks to Ron Shandler and Baseball HQ for their First Pitch Forums – a great way to get a jump on the competition.
Joe Panik of the Giants isn’t overly impressive physically, but the kid is a player. He’ll be a solid player for years, even if he never reaches stardom.
For those you who are wondering, yes, there are tremendously hot women all over the place in Phoenix. I so want to go back to college really badly.
Joey Terdoslavich of the Braves had the most impressive swing of the game. He took a 99 mph fastball from Cole and probably hit it 440 feet to dead centerfield. It was a total bomb.
So there it is. Now it’s time to get some sleep. You’d be amazed at how hard it is to be this cool.
By Ray Flowers
For the second time in three years I’ll be heading to the Arizona Fall League to peep out some of the future stars in the game. If I’m not mistaken, the AFL is in their 20th season of giving you ball players one last chance to impress scouts and the front office of the teams they play for before shutting things down for the season. If you want to check out the league and see who all is playing in Arizona this year, here’s a link to the AFL’s homepage.
I’ll also be treated to a chance to watch the best of the best this season at the AFL Rising Stars Game (you can see full rosters by clicking on the link). There are five of the top-50 MLB Prospects in the game, with the lead dog being Bryce Harper who I will get to see for the first time (let’s hope he plays and doesn’t pull a Stephen Strasburg who was pulled from the outing he was supposed to make the last time I was down in Arizona). In addition to Harper I’ll also get a chance to eyeball Mike Trout, Wil Myers, Nick Franklin and Matt Dominguez (I’ve already seen Trout in person as I caught a game of his in Baltimore this summer).
While some of the prospects in the league will never live up to expectations, there’s a good chance that some of the players I see play this weekend will be future stars in the big leagues. Twenty-right of the players in the Rising Stars game in 2009 appeared in the big leagues in 2010, while the 2010 Rising Stars game produced 24 players who saw time in the big leagues in 2011.
Don’t forget to tune into SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio over the weekend either (Sirius210, XM87). On Friday from 3-5 PM Arizona time, Kyle Elfrink and your truly will be broadcasting the XFL Experts Draft which will be held at the First Pitch Forums in Arizona hosted by Baseball HQ. On Saturday Kyle and I will be broadcasting from the Surprise Stadium, the site of the Rising Stars Game (our broadcast will begin at 4 PM local time). We hope to get a chance to speak to a couple of scouts, maybe a GM or two as well, and possibly even conduct some on the field interviews with some of the young guns themselves. It should be quite a weekend.
I hope you all tune in to listen to the festivities, and don’t forget to have a beer on me while listening to the weekend’s broadcasts.
By Ray Flowers
Mike Trout is one of the top-10 prospects in baseball. In fact, he’s even better than that. According to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, Trout is the top prospect in baseball. Baseball Prospectus had less faith in Trout. They listed him #2 (behind Bryce Harper). That’s the same way the folks over at Baseball America had it as well (Harper-Trout).
Clearly those people that are paid to predict future greatness for youngsters all think the same thing – Trout will be a superstar in the big leagues.
The Angels pulled a surprising move by calling up Trout to the big league club because of the hamstring injury suffered by Peter Bourjos Thursday (Bourjos isn’t going to play through the weekend, but a decision to place him on the DL is not a foregone conclusion). You might be asking yourself – why is it surprising that the Angels would call up a prospect who everyone agrees has such a luminous future? The answer is that Trout is just 19 years old (he wont turn 20 for a month). So what are my thoughts on Trout, a kid who is barely old enough to join the armed forces and isn’t legally able to drink alcohol?
You don’t end up at the top, or near the top, of every prospect list without an overabundance of skills. Trout is 6’1”, 200 lbs, and he brings elite speed to the table. His power is still developing, but he does have a pretty advanced understanding of the strike zone for a player his age. He’s also roundly given the thumbs up when it comes to his maturity level – he’s not one of these punk kids we see so often.
Trout was hitting .330 with a .422 OBP in the minors this season.
He’d also gone deep nine times with 28 steals in just 74 games played.
In three seasons in the minors Trout owns a slash line of .338/.423/.503.
Toss in 97 steals in just 250 games and you can plainly see why everyone is so high on this kid.
Think Grady Sizemore at his peak, a 20/30 guy who will score a ton of runs, and that’s what Trout will likely be one day. Notice I said one day and not today…
The last teenager in the majors was Justin Upton in 2007 if I’m not mistaken. As wonderful a player as Upton is, he hit only .221 in 140 at-bats that year. It’s just not that easy to make the jump from the minors to the majors. It’s also not easy to make the move when you have only 74 games under your belt above Single-A ball. Mix in the fact that Trout hasn’t even been on Earth for two decades yet, and the road is likely to be bumpy. If Trout hits the ground running, I decided to leave out some lame joke about a stream or river, he could stick with the Angels. However, if he struggles at all the club will not hesitate to send him back to the minors. Also, if Bourjos doesn’t need a DL stint, the team would likely turn the starting spot back over to him since they are pleased with his bat and feel that he is the best defensive center fielder in baseball.
Keeper Leagues: Fall all over yourself to add Trout.
AL-only League: Spend that FAAB money liberally.
Mix Leagues: It’s a crap shoot. Don’t go all in, but if you have a roster spot feel free to add the mega talent.
Now, a mailbag question.
I’m sure you’re on this for an upcoming article but wanted to check and see what hitters/pitchers are 2nd half performers? May be some good insight for possible trades.
I will be giving my BUY/SELL thoughts on players next week. However, I don’t put much into ‘this guy is really good in the second half’ stuff. It’s so random. Here is a an example.
Someone might be considered to be a 2nd half hitter because of a .300 batting average. However, if you actually look at his second half performances maybe he’s hit .375, .225, .335 and .265 the past four years. Overall he’s a .300 hitter in the second half, but his performances have been all over the map if you go year by year. Basically saying first/second half is just as random as saying July/August. They are just random points to start analyzing the data. Remember that before you make a deal for a guy who is a “second half player.”
By Ray Flowers
I came across a note today on Twitter, and if you aren’t following Baseball Guys on Twitter shame on you. Here is the note from the official MLB twitter feed: “Congrats to @Padres closer Heath Bell on 2010 MLB Delivery Man of the Year Award. Converted 47 of 50 save opportunities, MLB-best 94%.” Wait a second, did I miss something? What about the majors saves leader, Brian Wilson? Let’s compare the two relievers from the NL West.
Wilson had 48 saves. Bell had 47.
Wilson had a 1.81 ERA. Bell had a 1.93 ERA.
Wilson had a 1.18 WHIP. Bell had a 1.20 WHIP.
Wilson had a .220 BAA. Bell had a .221 BAA.
Wilson had an 11.21 K/9. Bell had a 11.06 K/9.
Wilson had a 3.13 BB/9. Bell had a 3.60 BB/9.
Wilson had a 3.56 K/BB. Bell had a 3.07 K/BB.
Wilson had a 86.1 LOB%. Bell had a 81.1 LOB%
Am I missing something here? Did they really erase the fact that Wilson was a better pitcher in 2010 and give Bell the award because Wilson had two more blown saves (five to three), or because he had three fewer wins (six to three)? Please tell me they didn’t. You tell me, am I off here? If I am, I just don’t see it.
Cliff Lee is 6-0 with a 1.44 ERA in seven postseason starts. In those starts he has struck out 54 in 56.1 innings while walking just six batters. This season, in two starts against the Rays, he struck out 21 while not walking a single batter in 16 innings.
A.J. Burnett is slated to get a start in the ALCS against the Rangers. He was truly brutal down the stretch with a 1-7 record and 6.61 ERA over the final two months of the year. He also went 4-14 with a 6.48 ERA over the final four months of the season. On the year he went 10-15 with a 5.25 ERA, and that is the worst ERA by any Yankees’ hurler in history who tossed at least 180-innings. In history folks. So why is he starting in the playoffs? It can’t be because he had a 2.50 ERA with 17 Ks in 18 innings this season against the Rangers, can it?
Bryce Harper will see some action in the Arizona Fall League. The 17 year old, he’ll be 18 on Saturday, has been placed on the “taxi squad” of the Scottsdale Scorpions which means he will play two days a week. Despite all the hype and hoopla, Harper is likely two years away from the majors as is, and he will begin the 2011 season in Single-A. More on the phenom can be found at All Nats All the Time.
With Billy Wagner heading into retirement as the most dominant left-handed closer in big league history (I don’t care if he finished his career with two fewer saves than John Franco), the Braves will now turn to a new face in the 9th inning, an it almost certainly will be Craig Kimbrel. If you aren’t in a keeper league and don’t know who this kid is take note – the dude has absolutely filthy stuff. Kimbrel tossed 20.2 innings for the Braves this season positing a 0.44 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP. With an average fastball over 95 mph he struggled with control walking nearly seven batters per nine innings (6.97 per nine). However it’s that heat that makes Kimbrel special, and it led to a K/9 rate this season of 17.42. If you’ve never heard of a mark that high before I understand why – it’s the highest mark in the history of baseball for a pitcher who tossed at least 20-innings in a season. Told you he was someone you need to know for 2011.
By Ray Flowers
(1) Jacoby Ellsbury yet another fractured rib.
(2) Second basemen return – Chase Utley, Dustin Pedroia and Martin Prado.
(3) Is Justin Morneau done for the year?
(4) Mets place Francisco Rodriguez placed on disqualified list.
(5) Matt Lindstrom out, Brandon Lyon in as closer.
(6) Bryce Harper signs with Nationals.
By Ray Flowers
You’re probably thinking to yourself – why the eye candy above? A couple of reasons actually. First, the one on the left is my girlfriend. OK, maybe not (the lady I’m seeing is actually even better looking). Secondly, I’m actually “off” work today so I plan on going to the beach to work on my tan and there is always a chance that I’ll run into a bunch of bikini clad babes so I’m just trying to get into character. Third, the majority of my readers are dudes, and therefore I’m sure they won’t be complaining about two hotties in bikinis. Why am I writing this entry if I have the day off? Well, I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment. Either that or the Mai Tai hasn’t kicked in yet so I’ve yet to realize I don’t have to write today.
Bryce Harper is almost certain to be the first player selected in the MLB Entry Draft later today. In case you’ve recently been in Iceland without a television set or access to the internet or radio, Harper is seen as a can’t miss kid with a huge arm and a potentially once in a generation type power bat. He got his GED so he could skip a year of high school, went on to demolish junior college pitching for a year (.442-29-89), and the Nationals see the unlimited potential his swing brings as reason a plenty to take him first overall The Nats may choose to move the kid out from behind the dish to the outfield in order to prolong his career. If they do make that decision his road to the bigs will likely be much shorter than if he were to continue to don the tools of ignorance
Why do the police ask you ‘did you make complete stop’ when they pull you over? Did I miss something about the definition of “stop” that requires the word “complete” to be placed in front of it?
Paul Konerko might be on the trading block according to Buster Posey, I mean Buster Olney. Whether or not that is true we all know that a bunch of veterans will be moved between now and the trade deadline. Hopefully, if you plan in an NL or AL only league, you can hold on to players after they are traded, because if you can’t the balance of power in your league will certainly be affected when the players are moved. Unfortunately not all leagues allow you to hold on to players, and that always presents a huge problem. My advice? Spend your FAAB money early and often. Fred Lewis isn’t great, but 400 ABs from him will be less costly than adding that big power bat that ends up being moved at the deadline, and in those 400 ABs he’ll likely produce enough value to be on par with what you’ll get from a 200 at-bat deadline add.
Where is the sun right now? Come on sun, I need you to lend a hand when I get to the beach.
Two arms I was high on coming into the year that got off to slow starts are starting to round into form. For the Brewers, Manny Parra had 10 Ks on Sunday and seems to have solidified a spot for himself in the starting rotation. He has been a K-machine this season with 37 strikeouts in 36.1 innings, but he still needs to curtail issuing free passes (4.71 BB/9) to truly reach his potential and to remain in the starting rotation. The other arm belongs to local boy Brandon Morrow (he was born in Santa Rosa and went to the University of California). The hard throwing righty owns a dynamic and prolific strike inducing wing that has led to 74 Ks in just 64 IP (that is the sixth best mark in the AL). In his last two outings he has walked a total of three batters over 14 innings as he has allowed just two runs while posting nine strikeouts. Just like Parra the key is throwing strikes, and when he does, like he is right now, he can be a pretty dominating force.
By Ray Flowers
Like Roy Hobbs straight out of a scene from The Natural, 16 year old Bryce Harper has burst onto the scene. Certainly those scouts that have followed this kids’ development over the past few years are hardly shocked at the rate at which he continues to dazzle everyone who sees him grace the diamonds in his home state of Nevada, but for those of you unaware of the burgeoning legend, he was recent a cover boy on Sports Illustrated, here are some of the highlights.
1- The kid throws a fastball that has been clocked as high as 96 mph. That’s faster than most of the fastballs from Tim Lincecum (his average fastball is 92.4 mph this season.). Don’t worry though, he doesn’t pitch most of the time, he plays catcher.
2- He once reportedly hit a home run 571 feet. Yes, 571 feet. The longest major league home runs that has officially been verified to my knowledge was a 565 foot bomb hit by Mickey Mantle. Oh yeah, Bryce was 15 years old when he that bomb. Fifteen. He also has the longest home run in Tropicana Field history, you know the park where the Rays play their home games. His blast there was a mere 502 feet, though that was only 502 feet because it smacked into the back wall of the stadium. During the home run derby in which he slugged that Ruthian blast he hit six consecutive home runs that traveled an average distance of 469 feet. Must have been the aluminum bat huh?
3- At 16, he already stands 6’3″ and weighs 205 pounds. And don’t even think of steroids, the kid has never touched the stuff and has no need for it.
4- He played for USA Baseball’s under 16 team at the Pan Am Championships in Mexico facing the best players in the world that are his age. All he did in that tournament was hit .571 with four home runs and six stolen bases in eight games to earn tournament MVP honors.
5- Bryce Harper has decided to skip his junior and senior years of high school and take the GED which he will likely pass with flying colors given his 3.5 GPA. Why? So that he can enter junior college in August of this year, and then become eligible for the major league draft in 2010 in which, conceivably, he could become the number one overall pick in the country.
Is he ready for all of this? We can sit here and debate all day whether or not he can handle the pressure, after all he isn’t even old enough to watch an R-rate movie, to vote, or for that matter he is just barely able to drive a motor vehicle. But in this day and age of 15 year old tennis stars, 14 year old Olympians, and tennie boppers in the entertainment world who aren’t even old enough to watch a PG-13 flick, it’s really a bit of a surprise that it has taken this long for someone to be so good in baseball as to push us all to consider just how young is too young (teams routinely sign foreign players at 16 years of age anyway). As for his skill and the change of him a top-5 pick in the 2010 draft, here is one what National League scouting director had to say about Harper.
“I scouted A-Rod, Chipper Jones, Manny [Ramirez], all those guys in high school. God was very, very good to this kid. He’s stronger than they all were in high school. Never mind next year. If he’d been in the draft this year, he would have gone very, very high.”
Oh, and it appears that Harper will be represented by Scott Boras who almost certainly will look to make the argument that Harper is the greatest athlete since modern man crawled out of the Fertile Crescent in Africa some 100,000 years ago.
It will likely end up being a wild ride for this kid. I can only wish him the best and hope that he turns out to be more Ken Griffey Jr. than Todd Van Poppel.
By Ray Flowers