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Our Noticias, 6/3/20: Black perspectives; MLB Draft; AFL

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Major League Baseball draws criticism from Monte Harrison (and many others) for continued silence on George Floyd.

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#BlackoutTuesday

To show support for the African American community, the official Marlins social media accounts participated in #BlackoutTuesday. Countless players in the organization did so as well, including Lázaro Alonso, Eddy Álvarez, Jon Berti, Bryson Brigman, Peyton Burdick, Edward Cabrera, C.J. Carter, Francisco Cervelli, Santiago Chávez, Jazz Chisholm, Garrett Cooper, Peyton Culbertson, Robert Dugger, Joe Dunand, Keegan Fish, Yimi García, Brett Graves, Lorenzo Hampton Jr., Monte Harrison, Bubba Hollins, Jordan Holloway, Osiris Johnson, Thomas Jones, Matt Kemp, Ryan Lavarnway, Pablo López, Anthony Maldonado, Víctor Mesa Jr., Tyler Mitzel, Nick Neidert, Nasim Nuñez, Tristan Pompey, Cody Poteet, Brady Puckett, Sean Reynolds, Eliezer Rodriguez, Josh Roeder, Trevor Rogers, Demetrius Sims, Dustin Skelton, Stephen Tarpley, Alex Vesia and Jordan Yamamoto.

In recent years, unjustified murders of black men have been met with protests demanding reforms. There is perhaps a better chance, however, that these ongoing demonstrations will finally lead to substantial change thanks to heightened participation from non-black allies, as encapsulated in the previous paragraph. This being an election year could also help.

Although individual MLB teams have released statements this week about George Floyd, the league office has remained strangely silent. Monte called them out on it:

@Team_Harrison3/Twitter
@Team_Harrison3/Twitter

Beloved Marlins left-hander Dontrelle Willis was among six panelists—all of them retired major leaguers—who shared their perspective with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required). D-Train expressed frustration about the lack of progress that’s been made in addressing systemic problems:

“You don’t have to like me. We’re Americans. We have a God-given right not to like each other. But just the respect for human life.

“People are sick and tired. I’m hearing a lot of people talk about the looting. You’re saying, ‘This is our community. Why tear it up?’ But you’re not policing us like it’s our community. So why the hell do we care if you’re not policing us and giving us common respect when you come and police us? That’s the real problem.”

Draft strategy hints?

Marlins director of amateur scouting DJ Svihlik held a conference call with local media Tuesday morning to elaborate on this year’s bizarre draft process.

With slot values unchanged from 2019—they typically increase year-to-year—and 90% of bonus money deferred, turning pro is an unattractive option for most high school prospects. Svihlik acknowledged those signability concerns.

Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

In a subsequent interview with Craig Mish on Swings and Mishes, he all but conceded that the Marlins’ first-rounder would come from the college ranks. Svihlik specifically praised Texas A&M’s Asa Lacy, Vanderbilt’s Austin Martin and Arizona State’s Spencer Torkelson, describing them as “interchangeable.” (I’m skeptical that he truly feels that way, but it strategically keeps fanbase morale high because one of them will inevitably fall to the Fish at No. 3 overall.) In the same breath, Svihlik also snuck in a brief compliment for New Mexico State infielder Nick Gonzales who’s more of a darkhorse candidate than that trio because of what’s perceived to be a lower ceiling.

A majority of MLB owners advocated to make the 2020 draft as short (and inexpensive) as possible. But Svihlik is adamant that Derek Jeter and Co. “have been as supportive an ownership group as you could possible have” in terms of investing in player development and lobbied their peers for more draft rounds.

Arizona Fall League plans

Minor League Baseball is presumed to be lost for the year. That doesn’t mean top prospects will stay home until 2021, however. The MLB-controlled Arizona Fall League could potentially expand, Josh Norris and J.J. Cooper of Baseball America report (subscription required). BA sources pass along rumors of more players and roster spots than usual and operating a second hub in Florida.

One perk for fans: “While it is unlikely many, or any, games would be on national TV,” Norris and Cooper write, “the amount of games streamed would likely rise in this scenario when compared to a normal AFL season.” In previous years, there have seldom been live broadcasts outside of the league’s All-Star and championship games.

Walk-off links

  • Bowling Green State University made the gut-wrenching decision less than a month ago to shutter their revered baseball program. Well, university leadership reinstated the sport Tuesday thanks to $1.5 million in rapid fundraising fromBGSU alumni and supporters like Jon Berti.
  • The next Sev & Geff Live guest will be Marlins pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. Their conversation livestreams on Periscope and YouTube this Thursday at 1 p.m. ET and will be uploaded to their new podcast channel soon afterward.
  • Jorge Alfaro has signed on to play in his native Colombia for Caimanes de Barranquilla during their 2020-21 winter ball season. It’s the same team that Harold Ramirez briefly played for in 2019-20.
  • SportsBetting.ag has set odds on “Will there be an MLB regular season?” (and they’re taking wagers on it). “Yes” is the -300 favorite. For context, that’s similar to their odds for the Yankees winning the AL East division title (-265).