Nearly 20 months after news first broke that the St. Louis Cardinals had hacked the Houston Astros’ information database (aptly named “Ground Control,” as it were), we finally have a verdict. On Monday, Major League Baseball ordered the Cardinals to forfeit their first two picks in the 2017 MLB draft to Houston and pay the Astros $2 million. Former Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa has been permanently banned from baseball as well.
Naturally, the internet wildly disagrees on the severity of this punishment. At first glance, I thought the penalties were rather harsh — obviously, Cardinals fans agree — but necessary given the severity of their transgressions. MLB had a chance to make an example of St. Louis and they did. I’m not sure handing the Astros two high draft picks is entirely fair to the rest of the AL West, who did nothing wrong, but the punishment made a statement, if nothing else.
Others disagree, though. FanGraphs’ Jeff Sullivan posits that the draft picks the Cardinals are forfeiting — the 56th and 75th overall selections — aren’t all that valuable.
The Cardinals are forfeiting a pick in the back half of the second round, and then the last pick between the second and third rounds. Nothing is ever perfectly demonstrated by a single anecdote, but consider the Rays draft in 2011, when they had 12 of the first 89 picks. They also had none of the first 23. From that whole crop, the Rays have gotten Blake Snell, and then no one better than Mikie Mahtook. The picks the Cardinals are losing simply aren’t that valuable, and any real value, anyway, wouldn’t materialize for a number of years. You could estimate that, overall, this violation has cost the Cardinals an employee and something like $5 – 10 million.
Some might wonder if the Cardinals signed outfielder Dexter Fowler this offseason in anticipation of the hacking scandal ruling. Inking Fowler to a four-year deal cost the Cardinals their first round pick, making the two selections they sent to Houston less valuable. However, that compensatory pick directly benefits a division rival — one who just won the World Series, mind you — not a team the Cards now play once every three seasons.
Do real tigers hibernate?
Because these ones seem to. There still isn’t much in the way of news around our favorite club, but the local media is staying busy. Chris McCosky of the Detroit News was impressed with Justin Upton’s mental toughness last season.
Imagine yourself failing spectacularly at your job, being publicly scorned, and then having to explain why you are failing to a pack of reporters every night. It gets inhumane at times...But never once did he lash out.
MLive’s Evan Woodberry talked to hitting coach Lloyd McClendon, who seems to be confused about how superhuman Miguel Cabrera really is (emphasis mine).
A two-strike approach is an important thing. If Miguel Cabrera can do it, then everybody can do it. I think it's a mental state more than anything. With two strikes and runners in scoring position, you almost get in protective mode to put the ball in play -- particularly if there's a runner on third base.
If that were true, Lloyd, I’d be in the batting cage right now instead of writing this stupid post.
Since we’re just block quoting everything today
ESPN’s Keith Law hosted a conference call about his top 100 prospects list, which included Tigers prospects Matt Manning and Christin Stewart. Law dove into his rankings a bit more, and pointed out why Manning is still far from a sure thing.
He’s just hyper-athletic, he’s 6-6, it’s easy velocity up to 98. The knocks on him, and this is really everybody I talked to kind of said the same things that I saw. He doesn’t really have a changeup because he never needed one. Just where he pitched, he could blow guys away with velocity. He throws a spike curveball which is a pretty strong bias against that on the industry as a whole because the majority of pitchers who try to throw it struggle to command it.
For your free time
FanGraphs thinks the Cleveland Indians are winning the offseason. Again. If a trade helps you win a World Series, can it still be a bad trade? The Tampa Bay Rays are interested in Jurickson Profar, and the Blue Jays want David Robertson. Rays outfielder Colby Rasmus thinks that baseball doesn’t like “long hair and the redneck folks.” The Angels signed Bud Norris. Look out, world.