The first overall pick in the 2019 MLB draft was catcher Adley Rutschman. He was considered by many to be the most hyped baseball prospect since Bryce Harper heading into the draft. The Baltimore Orioles selected him out of Oregon State. Over his three collegiate seasons Adley posted a .352 batting average and a 1.032 OPS. In 2018 the first overall pick was a pitcher named Casey Mize. He was a college pitcher out of Auburn with great stuff and command. Everyone saw he had the body, mechanics and college results of a future frontline starter. He had a career 2.96 ERA in college with 334 strikeouts in only 267 innings pitched. As much as I am an Adley Ritschman fan and generational catchers are so rare, I have to take Mize. A frontline starter can have such an impact on a team especially in the playoffs just ask the Nationals with Scherzer and Strasburg the Giants with Bumgarner the Cubs with Lester and many others. While yes Buster Posey was definitely an important part of the Giants three world series rings as well, the Nationals won the world series with a time share between Kurt Suzuki and Yan Gomes and just one year earlier the Red Sox won it all with Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez behind the plate, hardly recognizable names. Mize is also a little closer to the majors right now and has shown immense success in the minors at such a young age and we don’t know how old Adley will be when he makes it to the big leagues.
The second overall pick in 2019 was Bobby Witt Jr. he is regarded as a one of the best five tool shortstops to ever come out of high school. He hit .491 in high school with a 1.578 OPS. All his tools are rated as a 55 or above on the 20-80 rating scale used for prospects demonstrating his exceptional all-around skill set. The second overall pick in 2018 was Joey Bart out of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Bart has already advanced to Double A despite missing time due to injuries over the past two seasons. His number one offensive tool is his power, and many believe he will be an above average catcher at the highest level with maybe even more upside than that. If he becomes more selective at the plate he could be one of the best catchers in the MLB. While Bobby Witt Jr has as much upside as any prospect in today’s game he also carries considerable risk since he came out of high school and has so much development ahead of him. In this situation I like Bart because he has shown he can advance quickly, deal with injuries and the Giants have shown that a great catcher may not be the most important aspect of a championship team, but it could never hut to have one.
The third overall selection in the 2019 draft was first baseman Andrew Vaughn from the University of California. He won the Golden Spikes award as the best college player in the nation his sophomore year and was a finalist once again his junior season. He has a 60-hit tool and a 60-power tool on the 20-80 scale and considerable bat speed. He has the potential to hit .300 with 30 homeruns annually at the highest level. The third pick in the 2018 draft was a college third baseman by the name of Alec Bohm. At 6 foot 5 inches Alec Bohm is tall even for a third baseman. Many people potentially see a move to first base in the future. Despite that Bohm has worked on his defense at the hot corner and hit bat will determine his value in the future. He has great bat speed and an excellent approach at the plate. In 2019 he really took off and hit .305 across three levels with 21 homeruns. He is admired for his work ethic and I believe he will be in the Phillie’s lineup sooner rather than later. While I am a big fan of Alec Bohm and I anticipate him hitting 30 home runs annually while being an on base machine, I give the edge here to Vaughn. His bat has the potential to be special even at first base. The college success he has had is remarkable and I think it will translate very well at the big-league level.
The fifth overall selection in the 2018 MLB draft was Johnathan India out of the University of Florida. While he has solid tools and potential defensive versatility he has not done anything that great in the minor leagues so far. He has a career .779 OPS in the minors thus far. In 2019 the Tigers selected Riley Greene with the fifth overall pick out of high school. Riley Greene was seen as perhaps the best pure hitter amongst high schoolers in eh draft. And while he has not posted eye popping numbers so far, his potential intrigues me a little more than India’s. I do not think either player will be great in the field, but neither will be a liability either. Riley Greene has more offensive potential and I like him more out of the two players moving forward.
The Blue Jays amazingly enough almost whiffed on drafting Stieb. Toronto scouted the righty at a varsity game as an outfield prospect. It was not until Stieb came into the game as a reliever that the Blue Jays were impressed and drafted him.
Stieb debuted for the Blue Jays in 1979, in hopes of helping bring the third-year franchise into relevance. In ‘77 and ‘78, Toronto won 54 and 59 games respectively. Stieb finished his rookie 8-8, a respectable start to his career. To show how tough times were in Toronto, Stieb’s eight wins tied for second on the starting staff.
As the calendar turned to 1980, Stieb began his 11-year run of excellence. From 1980-1990, the righty won 158 games while pitching to a 3.33 ERA. Six out of those 11 years Stieb won 16+ games. Stieb was selected to the All-Star team seven out of those 11 years, twice being named the American League’s starting pitcher in ‘83 and ‘84.
Despite all the victories, Stieb’s multiple near misses at baseball immortality are most eye-popping. Between 1985-89, Stieb had three no-hitters and a perfect game broken up in the ninth inning. Two of the lost no-hitters came in back-to-back starts against the Indians and Orioles on September 24 and 30, 1988. Both attempts were broken up with Stieb one strike away from becoming the first Blue Jay to toss a no-no.
Less than a year later on August 4, 1989, Stieb nearly became the 13th pitcher to pitch a perfect game. One out away from pitching himself into baseball lore, Stieb gave up a double to Yankees’ center fielder Roberto Kelly.
After coming close so many times, Stieb finally finished the deal on September 2, 1990. Facing the Indians once again, Stieb in his fifth attempt became the first Blue Jay to pitch a no-hitter in a 3-0 Toronto win at Cleveland Stadium. His no-hitter is still the only one in franchise history to date.
Every franchise at one time or another had “the guy” that put his team on the map. Tom Seaver was “the guy” for the Mets, Tony Gwynn was “the guy” for the Padres, and Dave Stieb was “the guy” for the Blue Jays. Don’t get me wrong Stieb is no Seaver, but his ability to help bring the Blue Jays out of the black hole of irrelevance should be cherished in Toronto for years to come.
AEW is a start-up company that is funded by Tony Kahn, the owner of the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars. He has been a major wrestling fan. Along with some of the most passionate workers in the pro wrestling business, they were able to put this new league together and get it off the ground in a very short amount of time. AEW has been in operation for a little over a year now and they have shown that, unlike other companies that have tried in the past, they are here to stay. They have the funds and the talent to be an alternative to the WWE.
WWE has not let AEW go unnoticed however. Once AEW launched their weekly programming on Wednesday nights with AEW Dynamite -which originally did not compete against any WWE programming – WWE made sure fans have genuine competition by moving their best show NXT from their streaming service to cable tv to go directly against AEW. Thus, the Wednesday night wars have begun. So, after a year of programming and several major PPV’s in the books, who right now has the better show: WWE or AEW?
If you look at the ratings AEW has won 81% of the time, but that is only half the story. AEW has been able to put on great shows with amazing action despite only being able to run shows out of the Jaguar’s practice facilities, even with WWE also running shows out of their performance center. WWE has put on less live shows with considerably more scripted events and less live-action than AEW. WWE and NXT have been lacking the right push to get them over AEW on a weekly basis. The only way NXT has won against AEW is when they have big names from their other two shows to help them- they have the name brand talent. But WWE has been brought down by bad story telling and a lack of interest in the product. This is unlike the AEW, which has been new and fresh. And people want to see something new and fresh.
Of course, this is all subjective to your taste in programming. If you like fast action and great athleticism go watch All Elite Wrestling. If you like more storytelling and more drawn out narratives go watch NXT. This choice is something wrestling fans have been clamoring for. In the time of no sports, let wrestling fill the void. And go pick a side in the Wednesday night wrestling wars!