MLB In Full Bloom - First-Year Player Draft Full of Pitching Prospects - 5/20/2014

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The start of the major league season this week means we're roughly two months away from the 2014 MLB First-Year Player draft, held annually from June 6 to June 8. This year's class is especially deep on the mound, with a trio of college pitchers in left-hander Carlos Rodon (North Carolina State), right-hander Jeff Hoffman (East Carolina) and Tyler Beede (Vanderbilt) expected to come off the board within the first 10 picks. Prep standouts Brady Aiken (LHP) and Tyler Kolek (RHP) are also in the mix. There are a few impact hitters sprinkled into this year's class, as outfielder Bradley Zimmer (San Francisco) and catcher/outfielder Alex Jackson represent the top college and prep bats and will likely be drafted in the top half of the first round.

The Houston Astros have the first selection in the first-year player draft next month and are expected to select one of the top pitching prospects. The Astros are followed by the Marlins, White Sox, Cubs, and the Twins that round out the top 5 picks.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Dallas Keuchel threw 8 2/3 innings of two-run ball and he struck out eight Angels along the way. He allowed just five hits as the Astros beat the Angels 5-2 on Monday. Keuchel was the story in this one as he induced 16 ground ball outs and commanded the lower part of the strike zone all night. He's been a must-own in mixed leagues for a few weeks now, but is still held in just 40% of Yahoo! leagues. Keuchel will look to keep it going in his next start on Saturday in Seattle.
  • Michael Cuddyer (hamstring) will be activated from the disabled list later today. Cuddyer has been out since mid-April with a left hamstring strain, but needed just one rehab game with Triple-A Colorado Springs to prepare to return to the Rockies.. His return figures to have an impact on playing time for Corey Dickerson and Drew Stubbs.
  • David Freese (finger) is expected to be activated from the disabled list in advance of Tuesday's game against the Astros. Freese has been out since the beginning of May with a fractured right middle finger. He went 2-for-10 with two homers over three rehab games with Triple-A Salt Lake. Kole Calhoun is also expected to return from the disabled list on Wednesday, so the Angels could soon be faced with some tough roster decisions over the next few days.
  • Jose Abreu (ankle) will wear a boot for the next several days and needs rest as he is only dealing with inflammation, and no structural damage in his ankle. Abreu will be re-evaluated on the team's upcoming homestand, which will begin on Thursday.
  • The Stephen Drew bidding is about to begin after the First-Year Player Draft on June 5th, as teams will no longer have to give up a draft pick in order to sign him.  There is no word on who could be involved in the bidding for Drew, but teams like the Tigers and Yankees make sense as potential fits.
  • Jason Castro went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored as the Astros beat the Angels 5-2 on Monday. Castro has extra-base hits in four of his past six games and he continues to bring up his batting average - now batting .225 - after hitting safely in 10 of 13 May games.
  • Carlos Marmol was released by the Miami Marlins on Monday. Marmol was designated for assignment by the Marlins eight days ago and apparently drew no interest from other teams on the waiver wire. He surrendered 12 earned runs in 13 1/3 innings for Miami.