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MLB - US Sports: Major talking points from the Draft

Here are just some of the major talking points from this year's MLB Draft. Who was named the first-round pick and which franchise chose to pick a left-field candidate?

Number One Pick

The Baltimore Orioles had the first round pick and chose Jackson Holliday, a shortstop from Stillwater, Oklahoma and son of former major leaguer Matt Holliday. The 18-year-old had the best combination of hitting ability and ceiling in this draft and will be a great fit for the Orioles.

Speaking to MLB.com, a clearly excited Holliday said: "I want to be the best player, and I want to honour the Orioles for selecting me.

"I'm going to work as hard as I can to make it to the Major Leagues and have a great career for them and for their fans. I'm very excited and I always compete."

Holliday will be the everyday shortstop after a period in the minor leagues and fellow prospect Gunnar Henderson will move to third base.

The Orioles are making a play at the moment for the playoffs. Baltimore are expected to be an exciting and youthful team to watch over the course of the future. Having been built and structured via their farm system, they will be expected to compete for honours and Holliday will be part of that future.

Kumar Rocker

The New York Mets selected Kumar Rocker with the 10th pick in last year's draft, but they didn't sign the right-hander due to medical reasons. He returned to the mound this Spring, playing independent ball for the Tri-City ValleyCats in Troy, New York.

With the number three pick, the Texas Rangers could have opted for the best hitter in the draft, Termarr Johnson over the power arm of Rocker, however, they chose the latter. The Rangers had signed second baseman Marcus Semien and shortstop Corey Seager to long-contracts in the offseason. Johnson then, wouldn't have fitted into the Rangers roster, while the front office wanted pitching as a priority.

The former Vanderbilt ace was one of the most dominant college pitchers from 2019-2021, and mere hours after the pick by the Rangers, Rocker agreed to a contract with a bonus of $5.2 million.

Rocker will join his former Vanderbilt teammate Jack Leiter in the Texas organisation. Leiter was previously drafted in 2021 as the second pick.

Speaking to the official Texas Rangers website, general manager Chris Young said: "We're extremely comfortable with the medical review that our medical team has done.

"Obviously, Kumar has been under the care of one of the leading orthopaedic surgeons in the world. He's been in great supervision throughout his rehab, he's been pitching healthy. We're very comfortable with the medical review and that's why we've drafted him."

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Minnesota Twins

Minnesota were very excited to land Cal Poly shortstop Brooks Lee. He was not expected to be a target for them, however the move for pitchers from the Rangers and Chicago Cubs meant the Twins were very grateful when their number eight pick landed.

The 21-year-old was ranked No.5 among draft prospects by MLB Pipeline. Lee was the best hitter in college baseball in 2022 and was the Big West Player of the Year in 2021. Lee performed in the Cape Cod League, where he excelled, which drew more attention to scouts.

Speaking to the official Twins' website, scouting director Sean Johnson said: "If Kumar (Rocker at No.3) pushed Brooks to us, great. It's hard to say who made the fall to our pick, but regardless of who caused it, (for) the domino to trickle, we're ecstatic.

"We were hoping to get a player who would make it to our pick who maybe we didn't think would absolutely get there. Brooks Lee fits that bill. Our room was thrilled when we were able to select him, that he made it down that far. You just don't know how the board is going to fall."

Arizona Diamondbacks

Another son of a former Major Leaguer was Druw Jones, his father was Andruw, a former long-time Atlanta Braves outfielder. On most draft boards, Jones was the number one pick, the top guy. There were some questions about his hitting ability, but not against his defence.

If Jones can hit, (and we'll find out in the Minor Leagues) Arizona could have a superstar on their hands. The 18-year-old will get the grounding at the Diamondbacks and the experience through the Minors to help him develop his hitting ability.

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