"Their starting pitching gets the credit it deserves — and deserves more,'' the Rays' Evan Longoria told the Detroit Free Press.
Chosen one: The Red Sox picked seventh in the draft after their nightmare season in 2012 and used that pick to grab a left-handed pitcher they hope will neutralize the Yankees' hitting a few years from now. That was 6-foot-6 Trey Ball from New Castle, Ind., who probably would have been the White Sox's choice if he had stayed on the board longer.
Ball was considered a two-way prospect last summer when he came to Wrigley Field for the Under Armour All-American Game, but his fastball jumped to 94 mph this season, when he went 6-0 with an 0.76 ERA. He hadn't expected to go this high.
"I'm kind of speechless,'' Ball said. "It's kind of surprising. … I guess it was a last-minute decision, I'm not for sure. But it's a moment of greatness and I'm very excited, very happy."
The full package: You probably know Mike Brito as the guy in the chapeau holding the radar gun at Dodger Stadium. It seems he has been doing that as long as Vin Scully has been calling games. But Brito always has been much more than an extra on baseball broadcasts.
He's a legendary international scout — the guy who discovered Fernando Valenzuela. He has re-established his brand by playing a major role in the pursuit of Yasiel Puig, the Cuban outfielder who is an overnight sensation after a dramatic first week with the Dodgers.
Brito scouted Puig at tournaments with Cuba's junior national team and encouraged his bosses to ignore criticisms that he was out of shape and had attitude problems. He told MLB.com this spring, "You don't have to be a genius to see the talent with a guy like this.''
Everyone's seeing it, including a lot of teams that wish they had been more aggressive in pursuing him. Agent Jaime Torres worked to interest the Cubs and White Sox but neither Chicago team came close to matching the seven-year, $42 million deal that the Dodgers offered.