Which… Not what I call making love. I’d call it “The Shame-spear… of… hurt”.
“To give you an idea, a crosschecker gave me his mock top 11. Includes Schwarber at 4, Beede at 10, no Kolek in top 11. It’s getting wacky,” tweets Kiley McDaniel of Scout.com here on the morning of the draft. And, indeed, we’re seeing some changes as the final mock drafts filter in from the various major prospecting houses. Changes even from what we were hearing last night, as Kyle Matte was finishing off his outstanding DJF 2014 Draft Preview!
Unlike McDaniel’s scout, John Manuel’s final mock at Baseball America doesn’t have Kolek falling — he has him at three to the White Sox — but he now has the Jays on Kennesaw State catcher Max Pentecost at nine (along with usual suspect Jeff Hoffman at eleven). Pentecost is “athletic, plays a middle-of-the-diamond position and was the MVP of the Cape Cod League last summer, pushing him past North Carolina State’s Trea Turner on most teams’ draft boards,” he explains.
Kolek does fall in the next-to-final mock for Chris Crawford at MLB Draft Insider, though, all the way to the Toronto Blue Jays at 11. Published this morning, he has the Jays going with Trea Turner and the hard-throwing Texas right-hander. Of the suggestion, he explains, “Jeff Hoffman is still an absolute possibilty — and might be more likely — but I just don’t think he gets past the Blue Jays twice.” However, in an update, he shifts things around and has Kolek off the board by the time the Jays are on the clock, sticking with the consensus, which is Turner and Hoffman.
Keith Law’s final mock at ESPN.com has Kolek dropping to eighth, just before he has Toronto on Pentecost, explaining that “the Jays are a big muddle, still on prep arms like Touki Toussaint, Grant Holmes and Michael Kopech, while strongly considering college bats in Trea Turner and Pentecost.” He goes with the industry consensus on pick eleven, though, and suggests it’s going to be Hoffman.
Of course, we’ll all find out tonight, beginning at 7 PM. The draft will be streamed live on MLB.com, and I’ll be live blogging here, trying to pull together everything you need to understand whatever little it is we can about the long-term projects the Jays will embark on today.
John Lott of the National Post looks at the mechanical change Steve Delabar is making in order to get himself back on track. The struggling reliever “knows he has developed a tendency to drift toward third base as he lifts his left knee to start his delivery. As he tries to compensate, what happens next affects both his command and velocity,” Lott explains. “Essentially, I’m going one direction and then I’m trying to throw another. It’s like you’re fighting yourself,” Delabar tells him, before outlining the adjustents he’s trying to make to combat the phenomenon. Interesting stuff.
Sticking with the Post, Lott recounts last night’s victory, and what R.A. Dickey called the “magic act” of Aaron Loup — and what Loup called “one of those lucky nights where you kind of pull a rabbit out of your hat” — that made it all possible.
Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star looks back at the game, reflecting on the underappreciated role of Jose Bautista in the victory, thanks to both his defence and his bat, pushing back at a narrative that should have never been a narrative in the first place with some other unfortunate narrative, suggesting that lately, “quietly, and maybe not so quietly, Bautista has showed signs of stepping back into a leadership role.” Winning = leader. Not winning = not leader. Writes itself, really.
Elsewhere in the Star, photographer David Cooper’s latest MasterGlass video is a horribly blatant advertorial for Cannon, but does tell you some interesting things about how the pro photographers do their jobs at Jays games.
It’s just a game story, really, but at Sportsnet we’re promised (via headline) a piece from Shi Davidi about R.A. Dickey’s struggles to find late-game consistency, which… we get some of, for sure. But it’s mostly kind of just a gamer. Clever.
Sweet, delicious narrative: Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun looks at tight-knit bunch of players who make up this so-far winning edition of the Jays.
J.D. Sussman does a little Shark Hunting at FanGraphs, looking at prospects that a trio of teams would likely have to deal to the Cubs in order to land themselves Jeff Samardzija, including Aaron Sanchez. He echoes what we’ve been on about around here of late: “The competition for Samardzija, who is relatively inexpensive at $5.35M, may be so tough that Sanchez may not satisfy the Cubs as their keystone piece.”
A pair from Bluebird Banter, where Nick Ashbourne looks at the dramatic increase in the number of green lights Jays hitters have received in 3-0 counts so far this year, while @BosmanBaseball gives us some names to watch for the second round. Look out for a forest of maple cocks, there’s the possibility it’s a Canadian. (Best player available, please.)
Lastly, for theScore, Drew has an outstanding tribute to Don Zimmer, the beloved baseball lifer and Pedro Martinez-fighter who passed away last night.