19 Jun

picks of the lot

For baseball fans who love lists and rankings — and that’s virtually all of us — Bleacher Report has put together an interesting list/ranking of the best players drafted at each of the top 30 slots since 1965. Two of them played their Double-A baseball in the Jackson area: Jason Heyward, rated the best 14th overall pick, and Lance Berkman, pegged as the best at No. 16. Both were impressive during their time in Double-A; if you saw them, you know. Berkman was plucked by Houston out of Rice in 1997 and played for the Jackson Generals at Smith-Wills Stadium the very next season. He hit .306 with 24 homers and 89 RBIs for the Gens en route to a big league career that warranted Hall of Fame consideration. Heyward was drafted by Atlanta out of an Atlanta area high school in 2007 and arrived in Mississippi and Trustmark Park in mid-2009. He hit .352 with seven homers in 49 games for the M-Braves. Still playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Heyward — who homered in his first MLB at-bat in 2010 — has enjoyed a decorated 15-year career in the majors. … Rafael Palmeiro, drafted 22nd overall out of Mississippi State by the Chicago Cubs in 1985, was rated the second-best pick at that spot. Hall of Famer Craig Biggio was No. 1. Will Clark, drafted second overall out of State by San Francisco in 1985, fell somewhere behind Justin Verlander and Reggie Jackson on the list of best No. 2’s. BR named Alex Rodriguez — over Hall of Famers Ken Griffey Jr. and Chipper Jones, among others — as the best overall No. 1 pick. Some baseball fans would beg to differ. P.S. The infield at Trustmark Park in Pearl has been re-sodded; a crew appeared to be finishing up the work today. Because of “unplayable field conditions” (not related to rain), the M-Braves had to relocate their last homestand (June 11-16) to Madison, Ala., home of the Rocket City Trash Pandas. The team’s next homestand is slated for June 25-30; they last played at the TeePee on June 2.

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