It’s that time of year when the subject that has dominated so many people’s lives here at Baseball America over the past several months gains national headlines. Yes, everyone is talking about the draft, and below is a roundup of coverage from newspapers around the country.
Rays scouting director R.J. Harrison waited until Wednesday night to finally decide on selecting Tim Beckham with the No. 1 overall pick, but really, our man Marc Topkin writes, Beckham had the Rays convinced at hello. Kyle Lobstein’s stock may have dropped when his velocity dipped, but the Rays were still thrilled to get him with their No. 2 pick.
Family and friends packed into the family apartment in Upper Manhattan to celebrate Pedro Alvarez’s selection by the Pirates as the No. 2 overall pick. Alvarez was surrounded by friends dating back to his days when he dominated the local Little League. "He was the only guy who could hit the ball over every single tree," Elbert Garcia, his friend since elementary school, told The New York Times. Meanwhile, the Tribune Review says that Alvarez is everything the Pirates have avoided the past few drafts—and that’s a good thing. The Post Gazette reports that the Pirates are confident they will be able to meet Alvarez’s likely steep price tag.
Eric Hosmer has a "wow" factor, the Kansas City Star reports. Meanwhile, the Star talks to Alex Gordon and Luke Hochevar about their fond memories of draft day—amazing how a combined $7.5 million can make you feel . . . A time for Hosmer to celebrate, the Miami Herald reports.
The Orioles have long kept an eye on lefthander Brian Matusz, and hardly hesitated in selecting him. Meanwhile Roch Kubatko, who has one of the more entertaining baseball blogs on the web, takes a closer look at the O’s other first-day picks here and here. Meanwhile, No. 50 overall pick Xavier Avery tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution that picking between baseball and his college football commitment to Georgia is an easy choice—he’s going with baseball all the way.
The San Francisco Chronicle details all you need to know about Giants first-round pick Buster Posey, including that he has never been to San Francisco. Meanwhile, the San Jose Mercury News reports the Giants don’t think it will take long for Posey to call San Francisco home. Among Posey’s best tools, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports, is his will to win—a trait he showed off by leading Florida State into the Super Regionals.
BA correspondent, and Sun-Sentinel columnist, Mike Berardino reports on how Kyle Skipworth’s brother Spencer has become an inspiration for the No. 6 overall pick. Spencer Skipworth left on Thursday to prepare for a second tour of duty in Iraq, where he will serve as a helicopter door gunner. The LA Times had a nice piece on this a few days ago as well, mentioning how Kyle Skipworth gets the chills every team he hears the National Anthem before games. "At the end of the song, I always say to myself, ‘Keep my brother safe,’ " Skipworth said. . . .
Skipworth was in the middle of taking his calculus final when his teacher interrupted him to check out MLB’s website (obviously he was no real baseball fan or else he would have been following the draft on BaseballAmerica.com) and the news that the Marlins had drafted him. The Miami Herald goes on to report that negotiations with Skipworth are "all but over" and that he should be a quick sign. "I was blown away (by the offer)," Skipworth said.
BA correspondent John Fay writes on how Reds first-round pick Yonder Alonso’s path to professional baseball began with his father’s desire to provide a better life for his kids in America. Here’s a little something on Texas Tech reliever Zach Stewart going in the third round to the Reds.
Never short of words, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has some pretty lofty comps for first-round pick Gordon Beckham. "A lot of people say he looks like Derek Jeter, but the tapes I saw, he looks like [Michael] Young from Texas, who is a pretty good shortstop," Guillen said. "A lot of guys in the room were excited to get this kid." Phil Rogers says Beckham has the potential to become the White Sox’s first homegrown shortstop since Bucky Dent.
The Washington Post reports that one day at Nationals Park provided a rare dichotomy, that of a present team ignored and a future team celebrated. Meanwhile, Washington Times columnist Thom Loverro reports that there was no indication in the Nats’ war room that a game was being played yesterday, as the focus was only on the future. Rich Campbell reports that the Nats add yet another building block.
The A’s broke from their normal strategy by selecting speedy second baseman Jemile Weeks. Meanwhile, Weeks’ soon-to-be alma mater broke a school record with three players from The U going in the first round. The team is pretty excited about Weeks’ bloodlines.
Cardinals scout Chuck Fick left no doubts about the teams’ expectations for first-round pick Brett Wallace by describing what position they hope he will fill in the future. "His position," Fick said, "is hitter." Cardinals scouting director Jeff Luhnow says the decision to draft four college players in the team’s first five picks was a reflection on the draft, not a deliberate strategy. Sticking at third is key for Brett Wallace, for the Cards have a pretty good player over at first base right now.
Ethan Martin found himself defending his brother over incident that marred their team’s second-place finish at Georgia high school baseball tournament.