MLB In Full Bloom - Brady Aiken Selected First By Astros - 6/6/2014

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The 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft began last night and he Houston Astros had the No. 1 pick again. This time the Astros selected a pitcher polished beyond his years. California high school left-hander Brady Aiken was the first selection in the Major League Baseball draft Thursday night. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said that Aiken is the most advanced high school pitcher he has ever seen in his entire career and has great command. He hits 95 mph with the fastball with an above average curveball. In this past season, he was 7-0 with a 1.06 ERA. He has committed to UCLA, which is his bargaining chip. If the Astros don't meet the asking price from Aiken, he certainly could be a Bruin. Aiken, of course, has a long road ahead of him to reach the Major Leagues, but the Astros are confident he'll be a big part of their rotation in the future.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Adam Jones went 2-for-4 with a two-run double and a solo home run in Thursday's loss to the Rangers. Adams brought in two with a double in the fifth inning, then blasted his 12th home run of the season in the eighth inning to bring the Orioles within two runs. He has rebounded nicely from a slow start to the season and has a .299 BA with 36 RBI.
  • Marcell Ozuna went 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBI in Thursday's win over the Rays. Ozuna singled in runs in the fourth and sixth innings and then belted a two-run bomb in the ninth to extend the Marlins' lead. Ozuna now has 11 home runs this season, with five of those homers coming over his last 14 contests. He's hitting .274 this season.
  • Jordan Lyles (hand) was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a fracture in his left hand on Wednesday. On Thursday, Lyles met with a hand specialist and he will not need surgery, but is still expected to be sidelined for a while with this injury. Lyles will be evaluated in a week and the Rockies will take it from there.
  • Paul Goldschmidt went 2-for-5 with a solo home run in Thursday's win over the Rockies. Goldschmidt hit his 11th home run in the fifth inning off of Juan Nicasio. Goldschmidt was the runner up in NL MVP vote last season and is having another productive season with a .307 BA with 44 RBI.
  • The Toronto Blue Jays have now won five straight games and 17 of their past 20. After finishing a sweep of the Detroit Tigers on Thursday to move to 37-24, the Blue Jays have a 5.5 game league in the American League East over the Baltimore Orioles. The Jays have hit 87 home runs, which ranks first in all of baseball and they also lead the majors in runs scored and RBIs.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays have lost ten games in a row after being swept by the Miami Marlins on Thursday afternoon. The Rays own the majors worst record at 23-38 and are 14 games behind AL East-leading Toronto. The Rays trail the Blue Jays by 14 games.
  • Don Zimmer passed away on Wednesday at the age of 83 in a Tampa bay hospital. Zimmer had been in a rehabilitation center since having seven hours of heart surgery in mid-April. Zimmer was not in baseball forever, but it seemed that way.  For 66 years, Zimmer was the most popular presence at ballparks all over the game. He started out as a minor league infielder in 1949 and earned the nickname "Popeye" after he started hitting powerful home runs. After his playing days were behind him, Zimmer managed with several team including the Chicago Cubs. We lost a true lifer this week.

MLB In Full Bloom - Jonathan Singleton Recalled By Astros - 6/3/2014

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Jonathan Singleton and the Houston Astros agreed to a five-year contract that includes three options worth $10 million over the initial five years, with the potential to be worth $35 million if all options are picked up and bonuses are achieved during the length of the contract. Like George Springer, Singleton will be a key in the Astros lineup starting tonight. He was promoted on Monday's off day, but Astros manager Bo Porter has already said Singleton will be the team's starter at first base and will likely bat in the No. 6 spot in the lineup. The Astros have gotten little production from first base, left field, and shortstop this season and the Astros finally have their prospects to the point they are ready to contribute at the major league level. Singleton was hitting .267 with 14 home runs in 54 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City before his promotion on Monday. With regular at-bats, Singleton could be a source of power over the season's final four months and with Jose Altuve, George Springer, and Dexter Fowler batting in front of him, Singleton should see a lot of RBI opportunities.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Clayton Kershaw threw eight solid innings on Monday night in a 5-2 Dodger's victory over the White Sox. Kershaw gave up two earned runs on four hits while striking out nine. Kershaw surrendered a two-run home run to Jose Abreu, but was brilliant after that at-bat by Abreu. Kershaw is now three starts removed from a disastrous outing versus the Diamondbacks on May 17, Kershaw has resembled his previous Cy Young caliber form over his last three starts. During that stretch, he has posted a 2.14 ERA in 21 innings.
  • Charlie Morton struck out nine batters and gave up just two runs on three hits over five innings in Monday's victory over the Padres. The right-hander had really struggled on the road this season, surrendering 20 runs over 30 2/3 innings and going 0-4 in five outings. Morton was not very efficient Monday night as he needed 98 pitches to get through 5 innings, but this was certainly a step in the right direction. He will face the Brewers in his next outing on Sunday.
  • Jordy Mercer went 4-for-5 with a home run, two RBI and four runs scored in Monday's 10-3 win over the Padres. The first couple months of Mercer's sophomore season in the majors were quite a struggle. After posting a dreadful .203 batting average for April and May, the shortstop started June with one of the best games of his young career. Those fantasy owners in NL-Only formats may want to keep an eye on Mercer as he is likely available at a very low cost.
  • Danny Duffy held the Cardinals to just one hit while striking out five over six scoreless innings in a 6-0 victory Monday. Matt Holliday singled with two out in the first inning and he walked with one out in the fourth, but that's all the Cards could produce against Duffy. He had thrown just 85 pitches through six, but Royals manager Ned Yost decided to pinch hit for him in the seventh inning and the Royals bullpen did the job to get Duffy the win. He'll face the Yankees in his next start.
  • A.J. Pollock (hand) underwent successful surgery Monday to have a plate and screws inserted into his fractured right hand. Pollock probably can't realistically be expected to return until at least mid-August. It's a shame for a guy who was well on his way to a breakout season.
  • Yasiel Puig was recalled by the Dodgers exactly 365 days ago today from Double-A to help improve a Dodgers lineup that was sputtering at the time. Puig went 2-for-4 with an incredible game-ending outfield assist in his first game for Los Angeles, which came on this date in 2013.
  • Everybody's favorite fictional crime-fighting cyborg - RoboCop - is heading to Detroit to throw out the first pitch at the Detroit Tigers game on Tuesday night when the Tigers host the first-place Toronto Blue Jays.  RoboCop's motorcycle is to be on display at the stadium and the first 10,000 fans will get a RoboCop cheer card after getting inside.

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