BitB Interview with Josh Kusnick – “Then one day, a player said, ‘If you buy me a glove, you’re my agent.'”

I’ve gotten to know Josh Kusnick, who is a player agent, currently representing about twenty professional baseball players.  Josh was the youngest agent ever certified by Major League Baseball – admittedly learning as he went, and learning from mistakes along the way, Josh now has more than ten years in the business.

Josh is an approachable, engaging man who doesn’t hesitate to stir up baseball conversation, or to tell you how he feels.  I spoke with him by phone yesterday, here’s what he had to say…

BitB: Josh, thanks for doing this, are you ready to go?

Josh:  “Absolutely.”

BitB: You started as an agent so young, in your early twenties – that just doesn’t happen – tell me how you did it?

Josh: “I was younger, I didn’t know better, and I just did things.  I love the fans, I love baseball and the history of the game, and I just did things.  I used to post on message boards all the time, to talk up my guys, you never see agents do things like that, but I did.  I started posting on Brewerfan.net when I was 24, and I loved it.  I’m the only agent who does things like that, I’m accessible, I’m on Twitter, my email address is easy to find, and I write for Baseball Prospectus.  It’s just a different approach, and it came from starting young, and just trying things.”

BitB:  To get into the game so young, and get players and teams to take you seriously, you had to have a way in, how did you do that?

Josh: “When I was 14, my dad and I started going to minor league games in the Florida State League, and I saw a lot of great players come through there.  Roy Halladay, Scott Rolen, Adrian Beltre, Vladimir Guerrero, a lot of great players.  I noticed that you can get close to minor league players, you can’t get near the major league guys, but minor league players are much more accessible, and they appreciate the attention, so I decided instead of getting a real job in high school, I’d start a business selling player autographs.  I was an autograph hound, and I’d sell the autographs, so of course, I wanted to get things signed by the best players.  That led me to gravitate towards the guys who had been higher draft picks, and the more talanted players.

I noticed that the scouts always sat behind the plate, so I started to sit over there, and I would talk to them.  One of the guys I got to know was Joe Butler, who’s with the White Sox.  Joe’s been in the game a long time, and he’s done a great job.  One day he gave me his card, I wound up doing low-level intern work for him – bird dogging.  I was doing fact checking, real basic stuff, but I started to learn.  I got to know a lot of great people, guys like Jack Zduriencik, who was a fantastic Scouting Director, and Reid Nichols, guys I formed good relationships with, they all helped me, and I was able to learn.”

BitB: How did you take that and turn it into a career as an agent?

Josh: “I started hanging around, talking to players, trying to get them to make me their agent, and one day I was at a Jupiter Hammerheads game, and a player finally said, ‘If you buy me a glove, you’re my agent.'”

BitB:  No way, that did not happen…

Josh: (laughs), “That’s exactly how it happened.  This 26-year-old player who still lived with his parents told me I had to meet his parents and talk to them, but if it was ok with them, I could be his agent.  He hired me, and I caught some dumb luck – he made it to the big leagues, which was how I became certified so quickly.”

BitB:  Who was that player?

Josh: “Carmen Cali.  He was a left-handed reliever, he didn’t have a long big league career, but he got there, he pitched for St Louis and Minnesota.”

“I’ll never forget it, I met Carmen and his parents at a Cracker Barrel in the middle of nowhere and after we talked, he hired me as his agent.  I was only 21,  and I said the dumbest thing ever, looking back on it, I can’t believe he hired me after I said what I did, I’ve never said anything like it again, and I can’t believe I did it.  I said, ‘I love hockey, baseball’s not really my thing.’  Oh well, live and learn, I was young, and it just sort of came out, I look back and laugh now.”

BitB: Josh, that’s why I wanted to tell this story…you’re a kid, you decide to start an autograph business because you can get close to minor league players, then you notice where the scouts sit, so you go over there, then you do some entry-level work, and you wind up as an agent because you bought a guy a glove, and his parents said it was ok.  I don’t think people realize things like that really can happen, if you just go for what you want.  I just love the story.

You’ve come a long way since Cracker Barrel, Josh, I know you represent Michael Brantley, he’s your first guy who really broke through…

Josh:  “Michael is a great guy, he was a groomsman in my wedding.  I met Michael at a workout in Tallahassee, and I met his mom.  Michael hired me when he was in AA.”

BitB: Michael was in the Brewers organization then, and he wound up as the Player to be Named Later in the CC Sabathia trade, tell me about that…

Josh: “The deal was, if the Brewers missed the playoffs, the Player to be Named would be Taylor Green, who is another one of my guys, and if the Brewers made the playoffs, it was Michael Brantley.  The Brewers made it, and Michael has really blossomed in Cleveland.  The Brewers got what they wanted at the time, but I’m sure they wish they had Michael back.”

“At the time, I represented Michael, Lorenzo Cain and Darren Ford, who were all excellent center field prospects.  The Brewers traded all three, Cain went in the deal for Zack Greinke, and Darren Ford went to the Giants for Ray Durham.  All three of them played in the big leagues for their new teams, and the Brewers wound up having to trade for Carlos Gomez to fill center field.  If Gomez hadn’t fallen out of the sky, that would have been an interesting situation.”

“Michael made it, and got paid, Darren got a World Series ring with the 2010 Giants, and Lorenzo is in the big leagues with Kansas City.”

BitB: Josh, the last time we talked, you told me about one of your clients, who has made huge strides this year, in the Toronto Blue Jays system…

Josh: “Yes, that’s right, Dalton Pompey.  Dalton was Toronto’s 16th-round-pick in 2010.  He won the Minor League Gold Glove last year for center fielders, but this year, he’s really grabbing attention.  Jason Parks at Baseball Prospectus called him the best prospect in baseball, and Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports called him the best prospect in A-Ball.  He’s a kid other teams were in on, the Brewers were one, but he lasted until the 16th round, and it all worked out for him; he’s from Toronto, so going to the Blue Jays is a great story.  He’s got a great makeup, and a great support system, he’s from a great family, so he’s got every chance to make it.  This is a big year for Dalton, it’s his 40-Man-Year, he should be added to Toronto’s 40-man, and he’ll probably play in the Futures Game.”

BitB: That’s a great example of how inexact the baseball draft is, there you have  a 16th-round pick outplaying guys who were drafted much higher than he was.

Josh: “It happens all the time, Brandon Nimmo was the Mets’ first-round pick in 2011, they took him right ahead of Jose Fernandez – he didn’t even play high school baseball.”

BitB:  See, that makes no sense to me, not only that a kid like that went so high, but how did the Mets even find him.

Josh: “Travel ball.  You just never know.”

BitB: One thing about Fernandez, its been reported that he told teams he would only sign with the Marlins, otherwise he’d go play college ball at Miami.

Josh:  “I didn’t know that, I know Jason Heyward did that when he came out, he’s from Atlanta and he told teams he wanted to sign with the Braves.”

“I don’t work the draft anymore, unless there are special circumstances – I just don’t like the process.”

BitB:  You don’t like the draft process – why not?

Josh: “Everyone lies.”

BitB: “Everyone?”

Josh: “It’s like playing poker, people will say anything.  I prefer veteran scouts, there are a lot of young scouts now who will go to a kid’s house and tell him the team is going to take him in a specific round, but they don’t have any authority.  Then the kid slides, and even though he gets drafted, he’s crushed.  I just don’t like the process, so I only work on the draft if it’s a referral, or some special circumstance.”

“I used to work with a lot more players, but I downsized, I once had 17 players in the Brewers system alone, now I’m working with a total of about 20 players.  I can focus more this way on getting endorsement deals for my guys, which is something I’m really good at – I say that with no hyperbole.”

BitB: The last time I talked to you, you told me about one of those Brewers farmhands from that era, tell me what’s going on with Zach Braddock.

Josh:  “Braddock cruised through the minor leagues, a left-hander who threw 95-97, but he had a medical issue, (narcolepsy), and things didn’t work out for him.  I’m trying to get him signed, he’s back throwing 91-93, and he’s still only 26 – lefties like that don’t grow on trees.  He’s healthy now, so you’d think someone would want to give him a chance, but so far that hasn’t happened.  He may have to sign in “indy ball”, I had hoped he could avoid that, but he may have to go that route, to get back.  There’s no doubt he’s healthy now, and ready to go.”

BitB: Do you have any of the younger guys in the Brewers system right now?

Josh: “Brandon Diaz.  Diaz is a player Brewers fans should be excited about, he can really play.  He played second base in high school, and I wish he could play there in pro ball, but right now he’s playing center field.  That’s a kid who’s got a great chance to make it.  He’s got the skills, he comes from a great place, and he works out in the off-season with guys like Deven Marrero, and Eric Hosmer.  The Brewers really have something in Brandon.”

BitB: I know you have to go, you told me you’re headed out to a minor league game, who are you going to see?

Josh: “The Brevard County Manatees, and the St Lucie Mets.  I’ve got the starting pitcher for St Lucie, I try to get out and see my guys whenever I can, I think it’s very important to have a physical presence with the young guys.  When a player is in A-Ball, he’s not making any money yet, and it’s not easy, I think it’s important to be there physically for the guys.”

BitB: OK, Josh, I’ll let you go, let’s talk again soon.

 

 

 

MLB 2014 Mock Draft – Final Cut

OK MLB, let’s do this! Here’s my best shot at it…

1. Houston – Carlos Rodon, LHP, NC State  Houston’s system is loaded, and those kids are just starting to reach the big club now.  I say it’s Rodon, because he’ll move quickly, matching up with their other talent at the big league level.

2. Miami – Alex Jackson, C, Rancho Bernardo HS, CA  Jackson is perceived as the best bat in the draft, I’ll send him to Miami, who will still have plenty of good arms to pick from when their second pick comes up.

3. White Sox – Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS, CA  Aiken could just as easily be the first player taken, and maybe he will be.  I think the White Sox will get Aiken or Rodon, and I think their scouting staff will all sleep with a smile that night.

4. Cubs – Aaron Nola, RHP, LSU – Nola doesn’t have the skills that make scouts drool, except for one – this man knows how to take the ball, and get batters out.  The Cubs will grab Nola, and he’ll reach Wrigley Field in 2016.

5. Minnesota – Tyler Kolek, RHP,  Shepherd HS, TX - Kolek is the opposite of Nola, Kolek can break 100 MPH, but he’s only 18, so he’ll take a little while to reach the major leagues.  The Twins will be lucky to get him at five.

6. Seattle - Nick Gordon, SS, Olympia HS, FL - Seattle is perpetually searching for offense, and the next Gordon in line is their best bet to find some with the sixth pick.

7. Philadelphia –  Kyle Freeland, LHP, Evansville – With the big club aging quickly, the Phillies could go with an arm or a bat to fill a need.  Freeland climbed the draft board all season long, and he’s a good fit for this pick.

8. Colorado - Sean Newcomb, LHP, Hartford - The Rockies will always need to develop as much pitching internally as they can, and in this spot, Newcomb is the best bet.  While others have suffered from injuries or inconsistency, Newcomb has done the job all season long.

9. Toronto – Trea Turner, SS, NC State – Turner’s stock has been up, down, and up again.  He’s one of the best college bats in this class, and he plays a premium position – Toronto’s picking again at 11, which is where they’ll take an arm.

10. Mets - Bradley Zimmer, OF, San Francisco – It could be Zimmer’s fellow college outfielder, Michael Conforto, but I’m going with Zimmer.  The Mets need bats, and a college bat probably makes the most sense, because they’ll want him in New York sooner than later.

11. Toronto – Touki Toussaint, RHP, Coral Springs Christian Academy HS, FL – Touki’s got velocity, athleticism, and a mix of pitches – what he doesn’t have is polish.  The Blue Jays already have an advanced bat in Trea Turner, so they’ll go with a young arm with upside, Toussaint it is.

12. Milwaukee – Max Pentecost, C, Kennesaw State – A catcher, who will actually remain a catcher, who can hit too.  There are several players the Brewers could go with in this spot, but I’m sending them Pentecost.  Max is a fairly safe pick, but he’s also a worthy choice who could help the Brewers for years.

13. San Diego – Michael Conforto, OF, Oregon State – The Padres need bats, period.  Conforto can hit, and he won’t take five years to reach the big club.

14. San Francisco – Grant Holmes, RHP, Conway HS, SC – The Giants develop pitchers….meet the next one.

15. Angels – Kyle Schwarber, C/1B, Indiana – The Angels’ system needs…well…talent.  Schwarber can hit – why not him?

16. Arizona- Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Sandalwood HS, FL – At the moment, the Diamondbacks’ staff has allowed the most runs in the big leagues.  That doesn’t mean they have to take a pitcher here, but I can’t imagine anyone complaining if they do.  Welcome to the desert, Mr Reid-Foley.

17. Kansas City – Michael Chavis, 3B, Sprayberry HS, GA - “May I have a high-upside hitter who can also field a tough position with the 17th pick please?”  Why, yes, you may…Mr Chavis, report to Kansas City.

18. Washington - Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina – A probable top-five pick before his injury, the Nationals will stash him and wait out his rehab from “Tommy John” surgery.

19. Cincinnati – Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt – Beede is, “The guy that fell”, he isn’t supposed to be there, but he is.  The Reds will gladly take him.

20. Tampa Bay – Monte Harrison, OF, Lee’s Summit HS, MO – Harrison could just as easily play football next season for the University of Nebraska, but he won’t…MLB pays much better.  If Harrison had focused solely on baseball, he might have gone in the top five this year.

21. Cleveland – Casey Gillaspie, 1B, Wichita State – In a year that’s light on bats, Gillaspie could surely go sooner than this, but all of the players ahead of him are equally deserving.  Cleveland grabs the young hitter, even though they could certainly use a top arm.

22. Dodgers – Brandon Finnegan, LHP, TCU – Finnegan slid as the draft drew nearer, but he belongs in the first round.

23. Detroit – Nick Burdi, RHP, Louisville – Burdi’s got a big fastball, he’s probably a future closer, which would suit Detroit just fine.

24. Pittsburgh – Derek Hill, OF, Elk Grove HS, CA – A skilled, well-rounded athlete – the Pirates don’t need a young outfielder right now, but Hill is too good to leave on the board.

25. Oakland – Jacob Gatewood, SS, Clovis HS, CA – Which one is he, the guy who will generate big power, or the guy who won’t make enough contact?  Oakland is the team that will find out, and if he pans out, the A’s will have gotten a player who had been projected as a top-five pick prior to this season.

26. Boston – Erick Fedde, RHP, UNLV – Fedde’s stock was on the rise when he got hurt, he may have been a top ten pick without the elbow injury.  I still think he’ll go in the first round, and the Red Sox can afford the risk, with another pick coming shortly.

27. St Louis – Ti’quan Forbes, SS, Columbia HS, MS – Forbes isn’t a lock for the first round, but he’s got a shot –  he’s a great athlete with power and speed.

28. Kansas City – Nick Howard, RHP, Virginia - The question was once, “Is he a hitter or a pitcher?”  Now, it’s, “Is he a starter, or a closer?”

29. Cincinnati - Luis Ortiz, RHP, Sanger HS, CA – A big kid with a big fastball.  I could see the Reds grabbing a bat here, but Ortiz is excellent value for this spot.

30. Texas – Braxton DavidsonOF/1B, TC Roberson HS, NC – Big lefty power…someone once told me the ball carries well in Arlington…

31. Cleveland – Kodi Medeiros, LHP,  Waiakea HS, HI - Lefty with a slider that makes batters cry.  The Indians need pitching, Medeiros is my guess.

32. Atlanta – Michael Gettys, OF, Gainesville HS, GA – Gettys has the tools you can’t teach – a big arm, and big speed.  The Braves grab the local boy.

33. Boston – Derek Fisher, OF, Virginia - A smooth lefty hitter, Fisher fought through a broken hamate bone this year.  He can swing it, the question is, as a prospect, is he a big deal, or a regular deal?

34. St Louis – AJ Reed, 1B, Kentucky – The young man can pitch, but he can also crush the ball.  Once drafted as a pitcher, this time he goes as a hitter.

35. Colorado – Mac Marshall, LHP, Parkview HS, GA – A true pitching prospect, Marshall throws a mix of pitches, and competes with hitters, rather than rocking and firing.

36. Miami – Justus Sheffield, LHP, Tullahoma HS, TN – A hard throwing lefty with command…Sheffield could easily go higher than this.  The “problem” is, there are a lot of great arms in this draft.  The Marlins will be happy to get Sheffield at 36.

37. Houston – Luke Weaver, RHP, Florida State –  Weaver is an advanced pitching prospect who had plenty of success at FSU.  His velocity dropped some this year, otherwise, he’s in the first round.

38. Cleveland – Spencer Adams, RHP, White County HS, GA – A tall, skinny kid, Adams is a solid athlete, but a raw pitcher.

39. Miami – Marcus Wilson, OF, Junipero Serra HS, CA – His best tool is his speed, but Wilson is solid across the board.

40. Kansas City – Scott Blewett, RHP, Charles W Baker HS, NY – Hard throwing, tall righty, like so many other pitchers this year, he could go higher than this.

41. Milwaukee – Forrest Wall, 2B, Orangewood Christian HS, FL – Wall can hit, and he can run.  A past shoulder injury has hurt his throwing arm, making him a second baseman.

Josh Beckett no-hits Phillies

BitB congratulates Dodgers right-hander Josh Beckett, who has just no-hit the Philadelphia Phillies!

MLB Power Rankings – May 22

Atlanta and Detroit don’t allow runs, while Oakland and Colorado score in bunches…what do you say, who’s number one?

1. Oakland – They’ve outscored their opponents by 99 runs – more than double Detroit’s second-best total of 49.
2. Detroit – They can score, they can pitch, and they can win on the road – an excellent team.
3. San Francisco – The injury bug is biting at the moment, but this team has balance, experience, and leadership.
4. Milwaukee – They’ve cooled, and they’re teetering as they’ve played through injuries, but still in first place.
5. St Louis – Finally getting a run of home games, the Cards have heated up.
6. Colorado – They can certainly score, we’ll see if they can hold the other guys down.
7. LA Angels – Even with Josh Hamilton out, they can still beat teams over the head.
8. Atlanta – Their pitchers give them a chance to win, but that all-or-nothing offense is going to be a problem.
9. LA Dodgers – Players have been in and out with injuries, and things haven’t clicked yet.
10. New York Yankees – The AL East is not scary this year, this first place team has major pitching concerns.
11. Washington – Bryce Harper, Adam LaRoche and Gio Gonzalez have all gone down, they’re just trying to tread water.
12. Toronto – The only positive run differential in the AL East, but they’ve also allowed the most runs in the division.
13. Miami – The loss of Jose Fernandez is a real shame, the Marlins win their home games, and they’re right in the mix.
14. Baltimore – The epitome of average so far – they score what they allow, so they win about half the time.
15. Minnesota – They’ve won seven of ten right now, but they allow too many runs to hang around all summer.
16. Kansas City – They’re right in the fight, their season could go either way. Can they score enough to get there?
17. Seattle – You can’t score big on the Mariners, if they get some hitting, they could be interesting.
18. Cincinnati – Injuries have messed with this team from day one. They’re trying to hang around until they’re whole.
19. Chicago White Sox – Chris Sale went down, and now Jose Abreu, the Sox are working on it, but they need more pieces.
20. Texas – With a rotation of Yu Darvish, and whoever can still raise their hand above their head…it won’t happen.
21. Cleveland – The AL is not overpowering this year, if Trevor Bauer gets it done, the Indians could make a run.
22. Philadelphia – Too much age to make me happy, and now Cliff Lee is hurting.
23. Boston – Wow, this just hasn’t worked so far this season.
24. Pittsburgh – Nothing has gone their way to this point, the antithesis of 2013.
25. San Diego – Punchless, but they’ve got some arms.
26. New York Mets – The rotation could get interesting as the season goes on, but the offense won’t be.
27. Tampa Bay – The breaks have gone against them, it doesn’t look like there will be magic down there this year.
28. Chicago Cubs – It’s still a mess, but look closer, they’ve scored exactly as many runs as they’ve allowed.
29. Arizona – Showing signs of life, but they’ve allowed more runs than anyone else.
30. Houston – Not yet folks.

-Todd Coppernoll

BitB 2014 MLB Mock Draft 4.0

I’ll do this one more time before the draft, here’s the new snapshot:

1. Houston – Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State
2. Miami – Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS, CA
3. White Sox – Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS, TX
4. Cubs – Aaron Nola, RHP, Louisiana State
5. Minnesota – Alex Jackson, C, Rancho Bernardo HS, CA
6. Seattle – Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
7. Philadelphia – Kyle Freeland, LHP, Evansville
8. Colorado – Sean Newcomb, LHP, Hartford
9. Toronto – Nick Gordon – SS, Olympia HS, FL
10. NY Mets – Bradley Zimmer, OF, San Francisco
11. Toronto – Touki Touissaint, RHP, Coral Springs HS, FL
12. Milwaukee – Grant Holmes, RHP, Conway HS, SC
13. San Diego – Max Pentecost, C, Kennessaw State
14. San Francisco – Brandon Finnegan, LHP, TCU
15. LA Angels – Trea Turner, SS, North Carolina State
16. Arizona – Kyle Schwarber, C/1B, Indiana
17. Kansas City – Michael Conforto, OF, Oregon State
18. Washington – Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina
19. Cincinnati – Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Sandalwood HS, FL
20. Tampa Bay – Luke Weaver, RHP, Florida State
21. Cleveland – Michael Chavis, SS, Sprayberry Senior HS, GA
22. LA Dodgers – Casey Gillaspie, 1B, Wichita State
23. Detroit – Jacob Gatewood, SS, Clovis HS, CA
24. Pittsburgh – Dylan Cease, Milton HS, GA
25. Oakland – Derek Fisher, OF, Virginia
26. Boston – Luis Ortiz, RHP, Sanger HS, CA
27. St Louis – Forrest Wall, 2B, Orangewood Christian HS, CA

-Todd Coppernoll

2014 MLB Draft Update

With the injuries to Jeff Hoffman and Erick Fedde, I believe the player who most benefits is Touki Toussaint. Toussiant has a great arm, but he doesn’t have as much polish, aka pitching experience, as you typically see in the earliest picks.

Due to this, he’s been projected anywhere from the top five picks, to late in round one – but with two more arms down, I think he moves up now, as teams looking to grab a pitcher will now focus on his talent alone.

I’ll update round one in a few days, but for certain…Toussaint up, Hoffman down, but still in round one, and Fedde out of the top round.

BitB 2014 MLB Mock Draft 3.0

Here’s my latest update…

1. Houston – Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State
2. Miami – Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS, CA
3. White Sox – Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS, TX
4. Cubs – Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina
5. Minnesota – – Alex Jackson, C, Rancho Bernardo HS, CA
6. Seattle – Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
7. Philadelphia – Aaron Nola, RHP, Louisiana State
8. Colorado – Kyle Freeland, LHP, Evansville [Read more…]

1. Milwaukee – Injuries are providing a big test right now, but the best record deserves the top spot.
2. Atlanta – 58 Runs Allowed in 24 games, no one else in MLB is even in the room with that.
3. Oakland – They can outscore most teams, and they can outpitch most teams.
4. Texas – They’ve come through a wave of injuries, and they’re right in the mix.
5. San Francisco – Buster Posey and Hunter Pence started slow, and Bumgarner hasn’t been his dominant self- still in first.
6. Detroit – They’ve played the fewest games in the majors so far, and Miguel Cabrera hasn’t been right – still leading.
7. NY Yankees – I don’t see a dominant team in this division, this isn’t one either, but they’re winning.
8. Colorado – It’s not a two-man show anymore – I need to see more.
9. LA Dodgers – Hanging in there, but they haven’t clicked yet. Clayton Kershaw is getting close.
10. St Louis – The talent here is SO much better than the results to this point.
11. Cincinnati – They need a leadoff hitter, but they can really pitch.
12. NY Mets – Nope, I don’t buy it.
13. LA Angels – 90s baseball, keep swingin’ hard.
14. Washington – First Ryan Zimmerman, and now Bryce Harper, I don’t like how this feels.
15. Minnesota – Some guys you’ve never heard of are making a big difference for this team.
16. Kansas City – This team could be a sleeper, but that’s been true for a while now.
17. Chicago White Sox – They’re behind KC for me until I see Chris Sale back out there.
18. Baltimore – No Manny Machado yet, and now no Chris Davis – that’s some lousy luck.
19. Philadelphia – I just don’t see it for the Phils. I don’t trust this many older players over six months.
20. Toronto – Somewhere right in the middle.
21. Cleveland – They’re in last place, but only 3.5 games out.
22. Boston – This could be the disappointment of the year.
23. San Diego – They can’t score enough, and now they’ve lost Headley, but they sure can pitch.
24. Tampa Bay – Too many questions with their pitching. They could make a big move, but I don’t expect it.
25. Miami – There isn’t enough here yet, but the talent is better than you think.
26. Pittsburgh – Nothing is going right for the Bucs right now.
27. Seattle – It’s official, young players who are supposed to hit for Seattle, will fail.
28. Chicago Cubs – This team is a mess, but I think they’re less of a mess than the last two, which is nice.
29. Arizona – This is just plain ugly right now.
30. Houston – Better times are coming, but not in 2014.

http://www.baseballintheblood.com/?p=1096

2014 MLB Mock Draft 2.0

Here’s my second shot at it…

1. Houston – Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State
2. Miami – Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS, GA
3. White Sox – Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS, TX
4. Cubs – Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina
5. Minnesota – Tyler Beede – RHP, Vanderbilt
6. Seattle – Alex Jackson, C, Rancho Bernardo HS, CA
7. Philadelphia – Grant Holmes, RHP, Conway HS, SC
8. Colorado – Aaron Nola, RHP, Louisiana State
9. Toronto – Nick Gordon – SS, Olympia HS, Florida
10. Mets – Bradley Zimmer, OF, San Francisco
11. Toronto – Sean Newcomb, LHP, Hartford
12. Milwaukee – Luke Weaver, RHP, Florida State
13. San Diego – Trea Turner, SS, North Carolina State
14. San Francisco – Kyle Freeland, LHP, Evansville
15. Angels – Luis Ortiz, RHP, Sanger HS, CA
16. Arizona – Michael Conforto, OF, Oregon State
17. Kansas City – Max Pentecost, C, Kennessaw State
18. Washington – Brandon Finnegan, LHP, TCU
19. Cincinnati – Braxton Davidson, OF, Roberson HS, TX
20. Tampa Bay – Touki Touissaint, RHP, Coral Springs HS, FL
21. Cleveland – Kyle Schwarber, C/1B, Indiana
22. Dodgers – Derek Fisher, OF, Virginia
23. Detroit – Jacob Gatewood, SS, Clovis HS, CA
24. Pittsburgh – Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Sandalwood HS, FL
25. Cleveland – Nick Burdi, RHP, Louisville
26. Boston – Dylan Cease, RHP, Milton HS, GA
27. St Louis – Michael Gettys, OF, Gainesville HS, GA

Baseball is Different Now, Just Like it Always Was

Baseball’s, “Opening Day” has arrived, on the heels of the nastiest U.S. winter in 35 years. As sure as robins flying north and ads popping up from tax preparation firms, the beginning of the Major League Baseball season will always mean the arrival of Spring.

Player contracts have gotten bigger, spawning conversations of, “How much is too much?”, and, “Money has ruined the game”, just as it had so many times before.

Older fans are sure their now-retired heroes were far more gallant and deserving than the spoiled athletes of today, while younger fans just want to know what the score is.

You see, things don’t change as much with baseball as some would have you believe. The names change, the stadiums change, and the prices are too high for a hot dog, no matter which two teams are playing, but this is still just baseball, doing what it has always done.

Kids are certain they’ll catch a foul ball today, umpires are still very obviously biased and blind, and marketing teams are still trying to sell you more ice cream and one more t-shirt.

This is baseball, this is America, and this is what we do.

Whether you watch on television, listen on the radio, or stream online – enjoy your team, and enjoy the season. Spring has arrived, the parking lot attendants are in place, and the lights are all checked and ready. Better weather is coming, new memories will be made, and somewhere along the way another hero will make another bad decision, causing a temporary explosion of outrage until it’s the next guy’s turn.

It’s baseball, and it is what you make of it. Remember games of catch with Dad, Grandpa, or your best friend from 5th Grade. Remember when heroes were heroes, or convince yourself that a new one is forming right before your eyes.

The experience is yours, and that’s all that really matters. Baseball is flawed, baseball is sometimes corrupt, sometimes aggravating, and other times passionate and giving. All of this is because baseball is human, which will always be its best feature.

Here’s to all of you, enjoying all of baseball – sometimes wondering why you do, other times wondering how anyone could not.