What's Next: Exciting week starts with Draft
Correa set to make big league debut; Cards look to improve on best record
The new week begins today, and so do the careers of future big leaguers. Some might become All-Stars, and who knows? Maybe there will be a Hall of Famer or two in the mix.
Right away, it's tough to look past the pageantry and pure excitement of what's next in Major League Baseball, which is the 2015 MLB Draft, happening today through Wednesday.
The 2015 Draft will begin with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network today at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 75 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of Day 2 begins with a live Draft show at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, with exclusive coverage of Day 3 beginning at noon on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the clubs of the American and National Leagues will be all about the present in the week ahead, with plenty of former big-time Draft picks leading the way.
Take Carlos Correa. The No. 1 overall Draft pick of 2012 and now the 20-year-old wunderkind shortstop ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the game by MLB.com will join the Houston Astros as a Major Leaguer for the first time on today.
"Carlos has performed extremely well at every level of our Minor League system," general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "We feel he has earned this promotion and look forward to him joining our ballclub. Since he is just 20 years old, we do not have unrealistic expectations of Carlos. However, his performance on the field and his maturity indicate that he is ready to contribute on the Major League level."
Meanwhile, the best team in baseball right now, the St. Louis Cardinals, enter the day with a 38-19 record after beating their 2014 NL Division Series foe, the Dodgers, in Los Angeles on Sunday night. They have a 22-7 record at home, but will begin the week on the road at Colorado.
Their week will be kicked off with a start by right-hander John Lackey, a second-round pick by the Angels in 1999 out of University of Texas at Arlington. They'll play a weekend series against the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon, the No. 2 overall pick in the legendary Draft class of 2005.
As for the Dodgers, things are getting pretty interesting in the NL West with their archrival (and defending World Series champion) Giants. Los Angeles, led by defending NL MVP and Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw (seventh pick, 2006 Draft, Highland Park, Texas, High School). Only a half-game separates the two clubs, and this week, both will play the D-backs at home while the Dodgers will also venture to San Diego to play the Padres.
Speaking of the Mets, they're in an unexpected deadlock with the Nationals atop the NL East. And out in the AL West, the Texas Rangers are defying everyone's preseason predictions and hanging in second place behind the Astros, who have lost four in a row.
And then there's the AL East, which right now is being led by the Yankees, who have won six in a row, while the Rays loom close behind in second and the Blue Jays, winners of five in a row, are not far back in third.
The best pitcher in the Majors right now might very well be Tampa Bay right-hander Chris Archer (fifth-round pick by Cleveland, 2006 Draft, Clayton H.S., Clayton, N.C.), who will try later in the week to continue his historic streak of three consecutive games with 10 or more strikeouts and no walks. That attempt should take place Saturday at home against the White Sox.
"I guess he's putting himself in his own class now," Rays manager Kevin Cash said after Archer's latest masterpiece over the Mariners on Sunday. "Pretty impressive. Very impressive. He keeps giving us opportunities to win over and over again."
Teams with players possibly returning soon from injuries are hoping for those opportunities, too.
Tigers righty Justin Verlander (second overall pick, 2004 Draft, Old Dominion University), who hasn't pitched in the Majors this year because of a right triceps strain, looked good in a Triple-A tuneup on Saturday night and could join the Detroit rotation this week.
"I feel like today was the step I wanted to see," Verlander said. "The biggest thing was getting my pitch count up and also getting some innings, not just three innings, but getting up and down a few times."
Elsewhere, the Mets could soon welcome back reliever Bobby Parnell (ninth round, 2005 Draft) and catcher Travis d'Arnaud (37th pick overall, 2007 Draft) from this week's rehab assignments, the Marlins figure to do the same with starter Mat Latos (11th round, 2006 Draft), and expect similar for Nationals righty Doug Fister (seventh round, 2006 Draft).