The first round of the 2019 MLB Draft begins at 7 p.m. June 3. Of course, for the group of teams that have jettisoned the present for their future, this is a big deal.
But for the team or teams that decide to snag one or both of the remaining two free-agents pitchers that could potentially be difference makers in the second half of this season -- reliever Craig Kimbrel and starter Dallas Keuchel -- they're now able to make those acquisitions without losing draft-pick compensation. That's huge as well.
The Orioles, who are fighting to get better on all fronts, seem to make the case to their fan base that none of what we are seeing now is very permanent; we are in the midst of change upon change. They acquired veteran outfielder Keon Broxton May 22 and promoted former first-round draft pick DJ Stewart May 25. They sent outfielder Joey Rickard to Triple-A Norfolk to make room for Broxton, and first baseman Chris Davis was placed on the injured list to make room for Stewart.
Now the club has optioned utility man Stevie Wilkerson and catcher Austin Wynns to Norfolk. Wynns failed to impress enough to be taken seriously as a meaningful answer at the backup catching spot. Wynns also had the misfortune of former big-time catching prospect Chance Sisco going off at the plate for Norfolk.
So the Orioles will give Sisco his second overall chance at locking down a big-league spot. It's important to note that this is Sisco's first chance with this new regime to make a good first impression.
But listening to manager Brandon Hyde and paying attention to what he says, what seems the most important thing Sisco has to demonstrate to Hyde is his intention of making a mark on this staff and the rest of the roster with a show of leadership.
Here are this week's MLB power rankings:
1. Houston Astros (40-20, No. 1 last week):
As close a call as this is with the Dodgers, I continue to be amazed at the level of success the Astros enjoy in the development area. It seems that while other teams have 25-30 players worthy of being on a major-league roster, the Astros seem to play with 40-45 players at their disposal.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (41-19, No. 2): The Dodgers' starting pitching is "oh, so fine" and "oh, so deep." Still, if I'm a Dodger fan, I'm worried a bit about back end of the bullpen. Right-hander Joe Kelly been a disaster so far.
3. Minnesota Twins (40-18, No. 4): I was listening to Twins president Derek Falvey on "The Front Office," hosted by Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden on SiriusXM. Bowden asked Falvey about the signing of Wes Johnson as pitching coach out of the college ranks (Arkansas). You look at the improvement in starters Kyle Gibson, Jake Odorizzi and Martin Perez, and their success seems to point the finger of fate to Johnson.
4. New York Yankees (38-20, No. 3): Looks like shortstop Didi Gregorius will be back within the next couple of days, though I don't hear any suggestions that he play second base to make it easier on his surgically-repaired right elbow.
5. Tampa Bay Rays (35-22, No. 5): They clubbed Minnesota in first game of four-game series, 14-3. They must have gotten a tad overconfident; they lost the last three.
6. Milwaukee Brewers (34-26, No. 7): Steady season to date for the Brewers, who get right-handed starter Jimmy Nelson back this week for first start since Sept. 8, 2017. If he can be even 80 percent of what he was before Tommy John surgery, it'll help out a lot in their hopes of taking over NL Central. With starters Jhoulys Chacin and Gio Gonzalez hitting the IL, the timing couldn't be better.
7. Philadelphia Phillies (33-26, No. 6): The Phillies became the first team to add a significant piece prior to trade deadline with their acquisition of outfielder Jay Bruce from Seattle. There will probably be lots of teams antsy with only the one trade deadline July 31.
8. Atlanta Braves (32-27, No. 8): A mini-stumble this week, as the Braves went 2-3. They were swept by Washington and then had surprising trouble with a bad Detroit club, but the timing wasn't too bad with the Phillies going 2-4. Will they make a move on Kimbrel or Keuchel?
9. St. Louis Cardinals (30-28, No. 12): The Cardinals needed to gather some momentum, and going 7-3 during their last 10 is just that: a momentum builder. Using right-hander Carlos Martinez late in games in relief is a huge addition.
10. Boston Red Sox (30-29, No. 9): I'll keep them in top 10 because a slew of teams at this level backpedaled this week, but it's looking a lot like this isn't their season. Team president Dave Dombrowski needs to deliver a bullpen arm or arms.
11. Chicago Cubs (31-26, No. 10)
12. Washington Nationals (26-33, No. 17)
13. San Diego Padres (30-29, No. 11)
14. Arizona Diamondbacks (30-30, No. 14)
15. Colorado Rockies (31-27, No. 20)
16. Pittsburgh Pirates (28-30, No. 13)
17. Cincinnati Reds (27-32, No. 15)
18. Chicago White Sox (29-30, No. 23)
19. Texas Rangers (30-27, No. 21)
20. Los Angeles Angels (29-30, No. 22)
21. Oakland Athletics (29-30, No. 16)
22. Cleveland Indians (29-30, No. 18)
23. New York Mets (28-31, No. 19)
24. Seattle Mariners (25-37, No. 24)
25. San Francisco Giants (24-34, No. 27)
26. Detroit Tigers (22-34, No. 28)
27. Miami Marlins (21-36, No. 29)
28. Kansas City Royals (19-40, No. 25)
29. Toronto Blue Jays (21-38, No. 26)
30. Baltimore Orioles (18-41, No. 30)