Top Ten Cuban Prospects - American League

April 2nd, 2020

Cuba has not yet passed the Dominican Republic for their quality of prospects, but they are getting close to passing Venezuela if they have not done that already. The American League is the weaker conference for Cuban prospects, though if you would add WAR (Wins Above Replacement) to each of the players totals in the top ten the American League might come out on top because of their top prospect.

A couple players graduated from last year’s list. The number two prospect Yordan Alvarez made an impressive debut for the Astros, winning the American League Rookie of the Year award. His teammate, Cionel Perez did not make as impressive a debut, and will need to improve upon his showing if he wants to pitch int the Astros pen. The lefthanded pitcher allowed lefthanders to hit .300 against him, something he needs to improve on if he wants to be effective in the bullpen.

Four players dropped from the list. This leaves six new players to be added. Below are the top ten Cuban prospects from the American League.

1. Luis Robert OF (White Sox) - There is a lot of pressure on Roberts as baseball people are calling him the new Mike Trout. The White Sox have shown so much confidence in him that he is already guaranteed to make $76 million before he even makes a major league appearance. This includes a 26 million bonus when he signed with the White Sox out of Cuba in 2017. His first complete year in 2018 was not so hot when he failed to hit a homerun in close to 200 at bats. A thumb injury bothered him all that season. Last year he broke out with 32 homeruns and 36 stolen bases, becoming one of two 30-30 players in the minor leagues. He has the speed to play centerfield and steal bases, the strength to hit for power and the ability to make hard contact to hit for a high average. There is a bit too much swing and miss in his at bats but that is an issue most teams will take from their power hitters. Luis will be the starting centerfielder for the White Sox this year based on the six year $50 million contract he signed.

2. Roberto Campos OF (Tigers) - Hard to rate Roberto this high when he has yet to play in a minor league game but there is a lot of buzz about him. The Tigers shelled out $2.85 million to sign him. He allegedly left Cuba at 13 years of age and the Tigers hid him for a couple years at their minor league facilities in the Dominican Republic, before signing him. He defected with his older brother after winning the MVP award in a youth international tournament in the Dominican Republic. He lacks the speed to play center but his arm should be good enough for right. At 6′3″ he has good size to have the ability to hit for power. Since he has not really played competitive baseball in about three years it is difficult to predict how he will hit, especially when going against the tough breaking pitches. The Tigers could start him in the Dominican Summer League before promoting him to the major league club. He is still a few years away from impacting the Tigers major league roster.

3. Yusniel Diaz OF (Orioles) - The Orioles gave up Manny Machado for a trio of Dodger minor leaguers. Yusniel was the key to that group. His prospect status has taken a hit as he becomes mired in the quagmire that is AA, the 2019 season completing his third year in Bowie/Tulsa. The Dodgers paid a $15.5 million bonus to sign him back in 2015. So far he has not quite lived up to the hype. His power has remained hidden, stuck on 11 homeruns for three consecutive years with a modest .440 slugging average. Leg injuries last year limited him to just 76 games. If he had played a full season he could have been promoted to AAA. Yusniel has decent speed, but better suited for a corner, a good arm to fit in at right field and a decent hit tool that gives him a .278 minor league average. If he wants to avoid the stigma of a fourth outfielder he needs to improve his power numbers. Next year he should start the season in AAA with a possible promotion to the Orioles if a need arises or his bat shows the major league brass that he is ready.

4. Alexander Vargas SS (Yankees) - Alexander got a year under his belt after the Yankees signed him for $2.5 million in 2018. He played as a 17 year old in the Rookie level, hitting .233 at two levels, with little power (.373 slugging). Speed is his main asset at this point with 15 stolen bases in just 48 games. He showed a good ability to get on base with a 18/28 walk to whiff ratio. The Yankees appear to be very crowded at the shortstop position, but Vargas may have some of the best defensive tools among that group. If he can gain more strength to hit for power he could be an impact player. Right now he is a few years away from making a major league impact.

5. Lazaro Armenteros OF (Athletics) - When he left Cuba he touted himself as a player with multiple tools and was going to be known as Lazarito, eventually having a similar reaction to the name “Ichiro”. That has not happened yet and may never occur. Lazarito has to learn to make better contact. He reminds me a lot of Blue Jay prospect Demi Orimoloye or long ago Dodger prospect Jose Gonzalez, players who struggle to hit anything with a break. Lazarito struck out an amazing 227 times in 126 games, hitting just .222. He did show his power with 17 homeruns and his speed with 22 stolen bases. A weak arm will limit him to left field, which makes it more important that he develop his power, which might rely on increased contact. Next year he should see AA, unless the Athletics feel he would benefit from one more season in High A.

6. Orlando Martinez OF (Angels) - From Orlando down to Yolbert are new players to the top ten. Orlando was signed in 2017 for the bargain price of $250,000. At 22 he is a bit older and it didn’t help that he missed two months last year because of a broken finger. There isn’t really anything flashy about his game. He runs average so a corner outfield spot would be better for him. He did slug 12 homeruns last year but his power is suspect (.434 slugging). Defensively, the arm is above average but it is not a rocket. So his best bet will be to make it as a fourth outfielder. Next year he will play in AA where a promotion is just a hot streak away.

7. Bryan Ramos 3B (White Sox) - The Sox are doing a good job at putting together a Cuban National team for their roster. Bryan was signed for $300,000 in 2018. At 17 years of age last year was his first in the Arizona Rookie League and he did well, hitting .277 with a .415 slugging percentage. The power may not show yet in a game because pitchers are a little ahead of him, but give him more experience and the power will be seen. He plays third base now, but his position is yet defined. He runs well enough that he could move to the outfield where his arm is strong enough to play right field. He could also move to second where his power would be a bonus. At 17 he is still a long way from playing for the White Sox. Expect him to see time in extended spring training with another Rookie League assignment mid-season.

8. Yordys Valdes SS (Indians) - Yordys was a second round pick of the Indians in 2019. He was born in Cuba where his dad was a Series Nacional player, but moved to the States when he was 12. Defensively he was considered one of the best high school shortstops in the draft. Offensively, there is a lot of work to be done. In Rookie ball he hit just .179 with 53 whiffs in 43 games. While he is not a fast runner, he showed good instincts with 15 stolen bases. Imagine what that amount would be if his OBA was greater than .251. If he can find his bat he could be an exciting player, but that may take another year of Rookie ball and at least three years of minor league ball before he starts wearing an Indians uniform.

9. Yolbert Sanchez SS (White Sox) - Yolbert signed with the White Sox for $2.5 million in 2019. He played last year in the Dominican Summer League. At 23 years of age next year he should start at a full season league. Defensively he is solid with a strong arm. Like Yordys, what will break him is whether his bat is enough to start in the major leagues. He did have a nice 15/12 walk to whiff ratio in the DSL but that was against pitchers younger than him. He should have been a little more dominating than his .297 average and .441 slugging. Next year will be a critical year for him. It is important that his bat play well so he can advance quickly.

10. Julio Pablo Martinez OF (Rangers) - We had him at number 4 last year. The Rangers collected a lot of international money in an attempt to sign Shohei Ohtani. When that did not happen they used $2.8 million of that for what they hope is the next best thing. At 5′9″ Julio is not a big guy. His quick bat allows him to hit for better than average pop but whether it will be enough to be more than a fourth outfielder is open to question. The speed is there to play center so that puts some pressure off him to hit for the power of a corner. Last year at High A he struck out 144 times in just 113 games. Hitting breaking pitches has been the challenge. He did make enough progress in the second half to earn a promotion to AA. He will be 24 when the season starts so the clock is ticking. He is at that age where prospects become journeyman if they have yet to see the major leagues.

WBSC Postpones August/September Tournaments

April 1st, 2020

When the World Baseball and Softball Confederation start postponing August and September tournaments, it does not look good for a major league season. The Women’s Baseball World Cup that was scheduled for Mexico on September 11-20th has been postponed and the Under 15 Baseball World Cup scheduled for Mexico on August 14-23 has also been postponed.

The Under 23 World Cup scheduled for Mexico during September 30th to October 9th is still on schedule. That tournament has already been postponed and pushed back once.

Time will tell whether the CPBL will open its season on April 11. They will be playing the games in empty stadiums.

In Korea they have been working out with each team playing intra squad games. Exhibition games held between two teams have not been allowed. The players there have been practicing wearing masks. The KBO was hoping to start the season April 21 but that may now be pushed back to May with a shortened season. They had planned on shutting down their season when the Olympics began, but with the Olympics pushing back their event until next year that gives the KBO some extra days to work with. Most returning foreign players are being subject to a mandatory 14 day quarantine period before they attend their first workout, so that has complicated things.

Japan was hoping to start their season on April 24, but three Hanshin Tiger players tested positive for the Corona virus. Now there is some talk to push that season back.

Difficult for myworld to post any baseball news when there is no baseball being played anywhere.

Top Prospects from Colombia

March 29th, 2020

Myworld was going to do the top prospects from the Bahamas but they haven’t changed much from last year. You can go to the 2019 list to find the players. Some of the rankings may have changed, but we are not too excited about regurgitating the same information on the players.

So we’ll take a look at Colombia. Three players have graduated from last year’s list, Meibys Viloria, Oscar Mercado and Harold Ramirez, who were rated 4-6 in the rankings. Viloria will probably always be a backup catcher, Mercado had a good year but has the tools of a fourth outfielder and Ramirez had a surprising year but he will probably also end up as a fourth outfielder. The top two prospects from this year’s list have switched places, but they may be the only two who have a major league impact. Below are the top ten prospects from Colombia.

1. Luis Patino RHP (Padres) - The big fear with Patino is his small frame. He stands only 6′0″ but he touches the high 90s with his fastball. Last year he was number 2 on the list. He signed with the Padres in 2016, as many players on this list. He had a dominating year last year in High A, limiting the opposition to a .192 average with 11.7 whiffs per nine innings. The only pitcher better than him in the Padres minor league system is MacKenzie Gore. The pitch that gets most of the swings and misses for Luis is his slider. He still needs to improve his change if he wants to remain in the starting rotation. His year got him two starts in AA where he was a little more hittable (.258) but his ERA was excellent (1.17) and he still struck out 11.7 hitters per nine innings. Next year he should start at AA and could be in the Padres rotation in 2021.

2. Ronaldo Hernandez C (Rays) - Colombia has been starting to develop catchers, though Jorge Alfaro appears to be the only starter. Ronaldo could join Alfaro in that starting capacity. Ronaldo signed in 2014. He has good power potential hitting 21 homers in 2018 in Low A. That number dropped to nine last year in the Florida State League. He also seemed to have lost his patience at the plate with his walk to whiff ratio going from 31/69 to 17/65. This also resulted in a 20 point drop in average. The arm is strong to slow down a running game, but his defensive skills need to improve otherwise he becomes a Francisco Mejia. Next year Hernandez should start in AA. The Rays really have no one in their system to prevent him from becoming their starting catcher in 2021, unless they trade for one. Mike Zunino will not hold him back.

3. Jhon Torres OF (Cardinals) - The Cardinals are crowded in the outfield. Ironic that Torres was traded to the Cardinals from the Indians for another Colombian outfielder Oscar Mercado, probably the first trade in major league history that involved two Colombian outfielders getting traded for each other. Torres was signed in 2016. The 2019 season was his first season in full season ball but he struggled at Low A, hitting just .167. His bat came alive when he was demoted to Rookie ball, with 6 homeruns and a .527 slugging average. He turns 20 this year so the Cardinals still have some time to develop him, but he needs to have success in Low A and perhaps get promoted to High A before the season ends, depending on what kind of season the minor leagues has, in order to stay a prospect. At 6′4″ Jhon has the look of a rightfielder who can hit the ball a long ways, but he has to show more patience at the plate. As he rises up the minors higher level pitchers will get him out with their pitches.

4. Jordan Diaz 3B (Athletics) - Diaz will still be a teenager if the baseball season starts this year. He signed in 2016 and was playing in Rookie ball as a 16 year old. The 2020 season should be his first year in full season ball. Last year Jordan showed some power in his bat, slugging 9 homeruns, eight more than he hit his first two years. Jordan hits the ball hard and should develop power once he shows improved patience at the plate. Last year he had an 18/46 walk to whiff ratio. He showed enough with the bat that he should start the season next year in Low A. His glove is solid for third base. Matt Chapman should be ready for free agency once Jordan shows the skills needed to play third base in the major leagues. The Athletics don’t mind waiting, getting as much production from Chapman while Diaz matriculates in the minor leagues.

5. Santiago Florez RHP (Pirates) - Santiago is the fourth 2016 signing from this list. Florez stands 6′5″ with a fastball that sits in the mid-90s. His big issue is finding the plate. Despite the heat he has yet to strike out more than a hitter per inning in his three rookie league seasons, but he is still a teenager. His secondary pitches also need a lot of work if he wants to remain in the starting rotation. Last year was his best season ERA wise (3.46) and strikeouts per nine innings (7.8). The full season league awaits him for the 2020 season.

6. Brayan Buelvas OF (Athletics) - A second Athletic on this list, Brayan was a recent signing (2019). At 17 years of age he made his debut in the Rookie Leagues hitting .282 with three homeruns. Right now speed appears to be his best tool as evidenced by his eight triples and 16 stolen bases. This should allow him to stay in centerfield, where his lack of power makes him more valuable. His arm is average so if he fails to make it as a centerfielder left field may be a better option for him, a position teams normally look for a power hitter to man. At 155 pounds the Athletics hope he will bulk up to hit for a little more power. Next year he should see his first playing time in the full season leagues with a major league time estimated at least 2023.

7. Fabian Pertuz SS (Cubs) - Considering the kind of impact Edgar Renteria had for Colombians it is a surprise Fabian is the first shortstop on this list. The Cubs signed him in 2017. He has shown mainly gap power exercising the strength of his speed to take the extra base. In his first year he legged out six triples and stole 36 bases. Last year those speed numbers dropped to one triple and 9 stolen bases. He lacks burner speed which could limit his range at short. In 2018 he accumulated more walks than whiffs (38/32). The 2019 saw him walk 9 times with 46 whiffs. His average did go from .298 in the Dominican Summer League to .340 in the Arizona Rookie League. Next year he should make his full season debut. He is still a long way from making a major league contribution.

8. Luis Escobar RHP (Pirates) - Luis signed in 2013, originally signing as a third baseman. The Pirates moved him to the mound where he progressed to third on this list last year. He throws his fastball in the mid-90s but sometimes has trouble throwing it for strikes. Last year he walked 32 hitters in his 55 innings. The Pirates pitching staff was poor enough last year that they did promote him for four minor league games in the bullpen, but it was a nightmarish debut. He surrendered 10 hits in 5.2 innings and walked four, leaving him with a 7.94 ERA. He has a curve and change, but his future lies in the pen where his average stuff will work as a bridge to the setup man and then the closer. He should start the season in AAA and may see more appearances in the major leagues depending on his success.

9. Reiver San Martin LHP (Reds) - Reiver was originally signed by the Rangers in 2015. The Reds acquired him from the Yankees in the Sonny Gray trade. The fastball will not impress anyone. His definition is the crafty lefthander, with the change his best pitch. Without a dominating pitch he needs to locate his pitches to be effective and he has trouble accomplishing that. His pitches do keep the ball on the ground, but last year he gave up a career high 11 homeruns. While a starter in the minors his future may be as a reliever who comes in to face two of three lefty hitters in the lineup. He had some success in 12 starts last year in AA so it would not surprise me to see him start the 2020 season in AAA with possibly a major league callup before the year is out.

10. Ezequil Zabaleta RHP (Mets) - Ezequil put up good numbers in Low A last year (1.69 ERA) with a 2/22 walk to whiff ratio in 21 innings. He gave up more homeruns (3) than walks. The Mets signed him in 2015. The last two years he has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen. He is listed on the Colombian World Baseball Classic roster and the Colombian national team. That is about all myworld knows about him, but we had to find a tenth.

CPBL to Begin Season April 11 - Without Fans

March 23rd, 2020

The China Professional Baseball League still has plans to open their season on April 11 according to CPBLstats.com. The only caveat is the games will be played without fans.

There is a possibility they may play the games with a maximum number of 150 season ticket holders, but that comes with conditions. The fans must wear masks at all time, there will be identity verification at the gate as well as temperature checks, a safe seat distancing plan must be in effect and there will be no vendors at the game.

The corona virus has not impacted Taiwan as badly as other countries. As of March 23 they have had 195 cases, just over 80 percent of them from overseas. Hong Kong also had a small number of cases giving them comfort to relax their strict social distancing standards. Recently, the corona virus cases have increased in Hong Kong, mainly because of foreign visitors that they have now prohibited foreign visitors from entering Hong Kong.

Carter Stewart Wins First Japanese Game

March 22nd, 2020

Japan has been playing exhibition games in front of no fans. In one of those games the Softbank Hawks beat the Chibba Lotte Marines 4-2. The starting pitcher for the Hawks was Carter Stewart. He was a first round pick of the Braves in the 2018 draft but did not sign because of a contract dispute.

Stewart signed a contract last year with the Hawks for six years and an estimated $7 million. Last year he played in the Japanese minor leagues. This year he hopes to pitch for the Hawks major league team. He got off to a good start, pitching five innings and allowing just one run. He did have issues finding the plate, walking five batters. He also struck out five. Brandon Laird was responsible for scoring the only run off Stewart with a homerun.

Three of the walks Stewart issued in the first inning to load the bases. He got out of the inning with a strikeout on a 95 mile per hour fastball. The manager did comment, according to the Japan Times, that Stewart could see some time with the Hawks if injuries depleted the Hawks starting rotation.

NL East Predictions

March 21st, 2020

The last of the divisions. With a shortened season on the horizon myworld may have picked differently. Sustainability won’t be as critical with less games to play. A team like the Mets may be able to survive with five starting pitchers for an 81 game season, or what number of games major league baseball decides to play.

The east may be the beast this year with four teams vying for control of the top spot. We believe in karma so this year we are picking the Phillies so Bryce Harper can get revenge on National fans for razzing him after the Nats World Series victory without him. One thing myworld learned from all the sports I played is never gloat too much over a victory because it only motivates another to beat you even more. So on to our last division picks. If you want to see the other division picks just click on one of the teams in the subject and it should bring them up.

1. Philadelphia Phillies

Good - They lost a third baseman in Maikel Franco, but he will not be as critical to replace as Anthony Rendon for the Nationals or Josh Donaldson for the Braves. If Jake Arrieta can get back to his form of two years ago the Phillies have three good starters to throw each day. Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler should be poised for break out seasons. J.T. Realmuto was a good pickup last year. He is one of the better catchers in the National League and provides excellent offense.

Bad - The outfield leaves a lot to be desired. Bryce Harper can put up numbers but they appear to be short in left and center. Andrew McCutchen needs to get back from an injury plagued year last year, but he is getting older and comebacks at his age become more difficult. The Phillies hope to get sometbing from former first round pick Adam Haseley. Jay Bruce hit 26 homeruns last year but that came with a .216 average and a .261 OBA. The Phillies still need to decide where to play the trio of Scott Kingery, Didi Gregorius and Jean Segura. Didi at short, Scott at third and Jean at second seems to make the most sense, but moving them around could hurt the defense. Didi has always played short while Scott and Jean have played other positions.

Ugly - Harper had a career high 114 RBIs but he also had a career high 178 whiffs. His walk numbers also decreased significantly. Perhaps he was trying too hard to make something happen but his swing and miss game is getting more frequent than his power game. That has had a significant impact on his batting average.

Rookies - Spencer Howard is the favorite to win the fifth spot in the rotation. His triple digit heat is tough to hit and in a shortened season the innings limitation is not as big of a factor. The 2017 first round pick has not pitched over 112 innings in a season, but 15 starts in a 81 game season with an average of six innings per start only eats up 90 innings. Adonis Medina is another hard throwing pitcher who could see some starts. If the Phillies want to add some pop to the lineup they could bring up Alec Bohm to play third and move Kingery to the outfield.

Predicted Finish - It will be a dog fight but the Phillies will be the surprise winner.

2. Atlanta Braves

Good - They have good, young starting pitchers but the key to their success will be the consistency of Mike Foltynewicz. He went from their ace in 2018 to optioned to the minors in 2019. It’s a young rotation with a lot being asked of Mike Soroka and Max Fried. Felix Hernandez may win a rotation spot but he will eventually be replaced by either Kyle Wright or Ian Anderson as the season winds down and the Braves need a win. Ronald Acuna has transformed his skills into an MVP caliber player, He plays solid defense, hits for power and steals bases. He is the Mookie Betts of the Braves. Freddie Freeman is one of those players who you turn around to watch after you hear the sound of the ball off his bat during batting practice. He is just a professional hitter who always seems to drive in the big runs. Ozzie Albies is one of the better second baseman in the league and he continues to get better. He hits for power, gets on base, steals bases and has scored more than 100 runs the last two seasons.

Bad - Replacing the production of Josh Donaldson will hurt. Austin Riley is the best power source, but he can run hot and cold. His defense is also not as strong, so when he is running cold he contributes little to the team. The Braves may settle on the vanilla like production of Johan Camargo, who put up decent numbers in 2018 when he got regular playing time. The bullpen lacks a closer though the Braves hope the 11 saves Mark Melancon gave them last year is not a mirage. His last big save year was 2016. Shane Greene is another option, though most of his saves with the Tigers did not come with a team fighting for the playoffs.

Ugly - They could have some issues behind the plate. Travis D’Arnaud has had issues staying healthy. If he goes down their alternative is Tyler Flowers. He has not hit over .230 the last two years. He also struck out 105 times in his 271 at bats last year. That is really ugly. If those two go down the Braves will have to rely on rookies Alex Jackson, William Contreras or Shea Langeliers. It would be asking a lot of any of the three rookies to catch in the heat of a pennant race, but they could be better alternatives.

Rookies - Ender Inciarte has had issues staying healthy. Expect either Cristian Pache or Drew Waters to get some centerfield time while he is down. It could be difficult taking them out of the lineup once Inciarte comes back. Pitching is their strong suit. Ian Anderson, Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson will all be waiting for an injury or ineffectiveness from a starting pitcher to get their opportunity. Jasseel de la Cruz has been a starter in the minors, but his triple digit heat gives him closer stuff. He could find himself in the bullpen by mid season.

Expected Finish - Second place but still good enough for a wild card spot.

3. Washington Nationals

Good - The starting pitching is four deep with Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin and Anibal Sanchez. The big question is how all the innings in the playoff race impact their 2020 season. The upside is it will probably be a shortened season so the fatigue factor of the 80th game in September will not be as great as the 160th game. Juan Soto has improved his defense to such a degree that he is average to above average in left. He even got some gold flove consideration. His offensive game also keeps improving each year. If he had speed he could be the equivalent of Ronald Acuna, but he doesn’t.

Bad - The other two outfield spots need to step it up. Victor Robles is a phenomenal defensive centerfielder, but his bat is best fitted for the eight hole. Adam Eaton lacks the power other teams have with their rightfielders. The right side of their infield could be new. Howie Kendrick is probably better playing first, but he could get most of his time at second, where his defense is atrocious. Starlin Castro is another option but his offensive production is nothing special. Asdrubal Cabrera could be the best fit if he doesn’t play third. The Nationals would prefer this because that would mean Carter Kieboom won the third base spot. First base will be a platoon of Eric Thames and Ryan Zimmerman. The Z-man may be asked to come in later in games to play defense. This position will provide below average offensive numbers, not what you need when you’re trying to replace the offense lost by the departure of Anthony Rendon. Eric needs to replicate his KBO numbers.

Ugly - Rookie Carter Kieboom is being asked to replace the offense of Anthony Rendon. That is a lot to be placing on a rookie. If he fails Asdrubal Cabrera will take over the position until Kieboom produces in the minors. No matter who they put out there he will fall short of the numbers Rendon provided. That could be the difference between making the playoffs and watching them on television.

Rookies - Carter Kieboom will get every opportunity to replace Rendon at third. Last year he got a brief callup to replace Trea Turner at short and only hit .128 in an 11 game trial. Will Crowe will compete for a fifth spot in the rotation but he is not an impact pitcher. Tres Barrera will see some time at catcher if injuries put either Kurt Suzuki or Yan Gomes on the disabled list. His future may be as a backup.

Expected Finish - The loss of Rendon will be too much and they will fall just short of the playoffs.

4. New York Mets

Good - The fact that Steven Matz is competing for the fifth spot in the Mets rotation tells me the starting pitching should be good if it stays healthy. The acquisitions of Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha give them one extra starting pitcher. They may need him with the injury history of Noah Syndergaard. Jacob deGrom should still put up Cy Young numbers and Marcus Stroman pitches big. The Mets need another solid year from Peter Alonso. A sophomore slump will stagnant the offense. Amed Rosario came on strong with the bat in the second half. If he can get more consistency with his defense he could become one of the top shortstops in the league. No matter where you put Jeff McNeil his bat will hit. With Robinson Cano slated for second McNeil will play third. Michael Conforto is a good run producer in right field.

Bad - Wilson Ramos will have to provide better offense if he wants to continue as the starting catcher. His defense took a big hit last year with base runners taking advantage of his slow release. A lot of that blame could be placed on the pitchers inability to hold runners. Robinson Cano has seemed to have lost a lot. If Yoenis Cespedes makes the team the Mets would be better putting J.D. Davis at third, moving McNeil to second and benching Cano. Brandon Nimmo and Jake Marisnick may platoon in center but their bats will not provide much. Playoff teams win up the middle and the Mets fall short in three of the four positions.

Ugly - Edwin Diaz will not be the closer if he replicates his 5.59 ERA last year. Those are ugly numbers, the kind of numbers you would expect by a pitcher in Colorado. If Diaz fails as the closer and Cano sits the bench Mets fans will be brought to tears when they see Jarred Kelenic put up MVP numbers and Justin Dunn win a spot in the Mariners rotation. Cano and Diaz need to get the Mets into the playoffs to make that deal not look like a robbery.

Rookies - Andres Gimenez is probably a better defensive shortstop than Amed Rosario. If Amed continues to struggle with his defense at short he could be moved to center and Gimenez given the job at short. At worst Gimenez should fill a utility role. That is about it. Unfortunately for the Mets, they have no more Pete Alonso’s in their farm system.

Expected Finish - Fourth place but still close enough to battle for a play off spot.

5. Miami Marlins

Good - Whether you put him at third or right field Brian Anderson hits. He could have a break out season in 2020. Jorge Alfaro continues to get better with the bat each year. He could also have a break out year. Combining the break out years of Anderson and Alfaro could make the Marlins a surprise team in the NL East. Jonathan Villar can play anywhere if the Marlins are short of offense at a particular position. He could become the Marwin Gonzales of the Marlins.

Bad - The starting pitching is young and full of promise but it will have its days of being battered. Sandy Alcantara will continue his development as an ace but behind him they will struggle to contain offenses. Ryan Stanek will continue his role as an opener. In the last two years he has started 56 games but thrown only 143 innings, many of those in relief. The Marlins will have to hope for a resurgence from Jesus Aguilar or first base could be stagnant at producing any offense.

Ugly - Offense. They have none. Too many back up players being put in starting roles. Lewis Brinson will get a third opportunity in centerfield, but he has yet to hit over .200. Jesus Sanchez waits in the minor leagues. Myworld does not know the fascination with Isan Diaz. He is not a player that has hit for average, even in the minor leagues. With a young pitching staff, this offense will not be give the pitching staff a lot of runs.

Rookies - Don’t know how many times Brinson will get to fail in center field, but Jesus Sanchez is a potential five tool player. Of course, when the Marlins acquired Brinson from the Brewers in the Christian Yelich trade he had the same tool set as Sanchez. Some of the starting pitchers will probably fail, which will give opportunities for Sixto Sanchez and Edward Cabrera to debut in the organization. Like Sandy Alcantara they throw heat. Monte Harrison needs to cure his proclivity to swing and miss to earn a spot in center field. He has impressive tools if he can make better contact. Lewin Diaz could get an opportunity to take over first base if Jesus Aguilar fails. Lewin carries impressive power on his 6′4″ frame. First round picks Braxton Garrett and Trevor Rogers have been kind of forgotten, Braxton missing a year for Tommy John surgery, but both could contribute to the rotation with good years.

Expected Finish - Too much in this division for them to finish anywhere but last.

Top Prospects from Panama

March 20th, 2020

The last time myworld did a top ten prospect list from Panama was in 2016. Interesting that three of the players on this year’s list (Miguel Amaya, Edmundo Sosa and Javy Guerra) made the 2020 list. Since then we have done an All Carribean list team, the last of which appears to have been in 2018. There were three Panamanian players to make that list. Jamie Barria pitched in relief for the Angels in 2018 and 2019 and has graduated from prospect status. Another, Jonathan Arauz, did not make this list, while Leonardo Jimenez earned an appearance at the back end of the 2020 Panama list.

The growth of baseball in Panama appears to be greater now than Nicaragua, which used to be the hot bed of baseball in the Central American countries. They won the Series del Caribe back in 2019 when they were first allowed to participate. Last year they missed making the playoffs but they were competitive against the beasts of the Caribbean. So the quality of players signing out of there is improving, allowing myworld to put together a top ten list. The top three from this list are quality while the players that fall below that are still too raw to make an true assessment of what their major league potential may be.

1. Miguel Amaya C (Cubs) - He was number two on the 2016 list but was beaten out by a number of players from the Bahamas for the Caribbean list. The Cubs paid $1 million to sign him in 2015, unusual for a prospect coming out of Panama. For Panama he earns a position on top of this list for his ability to hit as well as play defense. His defense may be a little more ahead of his offensive game at this point, but in the last two years he has hit 23 homeruns. Last year he only hit .235 but he showed excellent plate discipline with a 54/69 walk to whiff ratio, resulting in a .351 OBA. His arm was strong enough to throw out 35 percent of baserunners who tried to steal against him, but he still needs to work on some of the other tools to become a polished defensive catcher. He is still a couple years away from making the Cubs and will open in AA next year when the season starts. The Cubs have been talking about trading Wilson Contreras and Miguel is the heir apparent, but it would be best to wait until 2021 to give him the catching positon.

2. Ivan Herrera C (Cardinals) - Ivan was signed a year after Miguel. The Cardinals gave him a $200,000 bonus. Ivan is also known for his solid defense, though his arm is not as strong as Miguel. He also does not carry the power of Miguel though there is some hope the power will develop once he matures. At this point he does have the ability to hit for a better average than Miguel, coming into the 2020 season with a career .309 average. The strikeouts are few and he has the ability to take a walk, owning a career .397 OBA. Last year he appeared in 18 High A games. That is where he should begin the 2020 season, receiving a promotion to AA once he has had success at High A.

3. Daniel Espino RHP (Indians) - Daniel was born in Panama but moved to the United States while a sophomore in high school. He went from throwing in the mid-80s to being the hardest thrower in high school baseball, earning himself a first round selection of the Indians in the 2019 draft. They paid him a $2.5 million bonus, something he would have never gotten if he had stayed in Panama. Espino throws in the mid-90s and has hit the triple digits with his fastball. He also has three developing secondary pitches that should allow him to stay in the starting rotation. Next year, he should start the season in full season, but do not expect him to be wearing an Indians uniform for at least another three years.

4. Reggie Preciado SS (Padres) - Reggie led Panama to the silver medal in the U15 World Cup, one of three players from that team selected to the All tournament team. He hit .393 and drove in 9 runs during the tournament, motivating the Padres to shell out $1.3 million to sign him in 2019. He did not play in 2019 but should make his debut in the rookie league or the Dominican summer league in 2020. A 6′4″ switch hitter, he should carry a lot of power in his bat. If he continues to grow he could be forced to move from short, but the power will play in the outfield or at third base. Plus, Fernando Tatis appears to have the position locked up for a few years at short. His father played two years in the Yankee farm system so he has a mentor who can tell him how to succeed to the major leagues.

5. Edmundo Sosa SS (Cardinals) - Edmundo appeared on the 2016 Panama list as the number three prospect, just behind Amaya. Edmundo was signed in 2012 for $450,000. He has been playing long enough that a lot is already known about him. His power is rather limited, though last year with the juiced up major league ball he hit a career high 17 homeruns, He also hit a career high .291. Patience at the plate is lacking as evidence by his 17/96 walk to whiff ratio. With better pitching the batting average could dwarf more towards the .250s. Defensively, he does nothing spectacular, but the tools are there to play shortstop. This would seem to make him an ideal candidate for a utility role. He has gotten brief callups the last two years with the Cardinals. Expect at some point he fills the utility role.

6. Benyamin Bailey OF (White Sox) - Bailey signed in 2019 for just $35,000. What puts him on this list is his impressive season in the Dominican Summer League where he hit .324, with a .931 OPS and a 52/40 walk to whiff ratio. Those numbers will be difficult to repeat once he goes stateside. He stands 6′5″ and is fast afoot with the ability to hit for power. Those are two impressive tools, especially for a patient hitter who appears to make good contact. His speed is not good enough to play center, but he could play either corner, though a below average arm could destine him for left. In 2020, after some time in extended spring training he should debut in one of the short season leagues. It will be interesting if his walk to whiff ratio remains as impressive as a 18 year old.

7. Humberto Mejia RHP (Marlins) - Humberto signed for just $50,000 in 2013. Despite that early start he still has not played beyond High A. The entire 2017 season was missed because of shoulder issues and last year was his first season in full season ball experience. He stands 6′3″ and can touch the mid-90s with his fastball, but it sits mostly in the low 90s. His breaking pitches (slider and curve) are his swing and miss offerings. His control of the strike zone limited the opposition to just a .177 average. He could start next season in High A before getting promoted to AA, but the higher he goes the better able those hitters are for hitting breaking pitches. Humberto seems to have the command to locate his pitches to create a challenge. His biggest test will be staying healthy and getting to the 100 inning level for the first time in his career.

8. Sadrac Franco RHP (Angels) - Sadrac was signed in 2017 for $50,000. He still has not gotten past the short season ball, though injuries have limited his ability to pitch. Last year was the first time he got an opportunity to start, getting in eight games. Despite just standing 6′0″ he can hum the fastball across the plate in the high 90s, but it generally sits in the upper edges of the low 90s. His secondary pitches still need a significant amount of work to stay in the rotation. Finding the plate a bit more would also improve his chances of staying in the rotation. The 2020 season should see Sadrac rise to full season ball.

9. Leonardo Jimenez SS (Blue Jays) - The Jays spit out $850,000 to sign Jimenez in 2017. In two years he has yet to hit a homeruns and his career slugging is .360, so if there is power in the bat it has not arrived yet. His bat does spray the gaps giving him a career .278 minor league average. The defensive tools are there to play shortstop, though his slow foot speed could require a move to second. Leonardo will turn 19 in May. He needs to gain some bulk to put more juice on the ball if he hopes to remain a starter. He has the defensive tools to make it as a utility player. The 2020 season should see him start the season in Low A.

10. Javy Guerra RHP (Padres) - The Padres acquired Javy from the Red Sox for Craig Kimbrel. He appeared to have all the tools to be the Padres shortstop of the future, especially with an extremely strong arm that could throw rockets. Unfortunately, he struggled to hit, failing to recognize breaking pitches and striking out way too much to get his average above .220. With the arm the Padres converted Javy to a pitcher in 2019. His fastball zipped across the plate in the high 90s and his slider is a very effective pitch. He even made his major league debut last year with eight bullpen appearances. A lack of a third pitch and struggles finding the strike zone will keep him in relief. Getting a better handle on that command could put him in a closer role.

Top Prospects from Puerto Rico

March 17th, 2020

A couple years ago Puerto Rico was flush with prospects like Javier Baez, Francisco Lindor, Eddie Rosario, Jose Berrios and the list goes on. The discussion about the major league draft stunting the development of Puerto Rican players from being drafted seemed to have disappeared (high school baseball does not exist in Puerto Rico so they rely on academies for players between 14-18). Finding prospects the last couple years has been difficult. Even having Puerto Ricans drafted higher than the second round is rare. Below are the top rated prospects that myworld was able to link to Puerto Rico.

Isan Diaz (# 2 prospect) and Tomas Nido (#3) were the only players to graduate from last year’s list. Four players dropped off. That left room for six new players to appear on the list, one of those who has appeared in previous lists when he was a Dodger.

1. Heliot Ramos OF (Giants) - The only true top rated prospect on this list, he was the number one Puerto Rican prospect last year and he will probably be number one next year. Heliot was a first round pick of the Giants in 2017, the last first round pick from Puerto Rico. The tools are average or above in all areas of his game. The speed is there to play centerfield, but he may fit better in right. Last year he hit .306 with 13 homeruns in High A but slumped to .242 in AA. The power is there but so is the ability to swing and miss. With his arrival, along with Hunter Bishop, to the major league club it would end the drought the Giants have had of developing outfielders. It will be 2021 before he wears a Giant uniform, unless he tears it up in the minor leagues.

2. Mario Feliciano C (Brewers) - The island nation has been a breeding ground for developing catchers with Ivan Rodriguez, the Molina brothers, etc. as exemplary examples. Mario hopes to add his name to that list. The Brewers drafted him in the second round (supplemental) draft in 2016. He was eighth on this list last year but his season was limited to 42 games because of injuries and he hit only .205. His strong defense and arm got him placed on this list. This year his bat showed up with a .273 average and 19 homeruns in High A for a .477 slugging. A 29/139 walk to whiff ratio is cause for concern, but the underlying factor is Mario plays a solid defense, and if that power shows up enough it will be good enough to get him in the starting lineup. He is still a year away from the Brewers.

3. Willi Castro SS (Tigers) - Myworld just assumed Willi was from the Dominican Republic, but he was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in the Dominican. The Indians signed him in 2013 then shipped him off to the Tigers in the Leonys Martin trade. While Martin now spends his time in Japan, Castro made his major league debut with the Tigers last year. There are not any tools that wow you with Castro. He is a decent fielder, could hit for double digit homerun power and last year in AAA slapped the ball around for a .301 average. That will probably translate to a .250 average in the major leagues, especially if he does not improve on his 6/34 walk to whiff ratio in his major league debut. While the Tigers rebuild he could fill the shortstop position, then move to a utility role once they find a better alternative.

4. Edwin Rios 1B (Dodgers) - The Dodgers drafted Rios in the sixth round of the 2015 draft. Last year the souped up baseball in AAA allowed Edwin to slug 31 homeruns. He hit another four when making his major league debut with the Dodgers. Defensively there is not a lot there to make you want to play him, so the bat needs to stay alive to keep him in the lineup. The Dodgers seem to be loaded with power bats they can put at first base and at 26 the time for Rios to be playing is now. His best bet for a starting role may be a trade or movement to the KBO.

5. Matthew Lugo SS (Red Sox) - Lugo was the highest Puerto Rican selected in the 2019 draft, the last pick of the second round regular phase. He is the nephew of Carlos Beltran and trained in his facility. The bat has the potential for power, even though it failed to show last year with his .326 slugging percentage in 46 rookie league games. His lower half could be a bit thick to stay at short so a move to second is in his future. Expect him to play full season ball next year. Any discussion of the major leagues is a few years away.

6. Yan Contreras SS (Reds) - Another Puerto Rican middle infielder drafted in 2019, but Yan lasted until the 12th round. He was signed mostly for his defense but he will need to hit better than .145 for the Reds to continue to throw him out there. The bright spot was that he drew 14 walks in 20 games, so his ability to get on base (.298 OBA) was not bad. He also runs well, hitting two triples and stealing four bases. He will probably see another year in rookie ball before the Reds expose him to full season ball pitching. He is a few years away from the major leagues, and if his bat does not produce may never climb higher than A ball.

7. Victor Torres C (White Sox) - Victor was an 11th round pick in 2019. He was expected to go higher in the draft. Defense is his calling card with the arm and quickness to control a running game. He also has the ability to call a game and run a pitching staff. Last year he hit only .219, with just two of his 21 hits going for extra bases (both doubles). The Sox thnk he has the ability to hit, but he will probably need one more year in short season ball to prove that. If he can play defense making it as a backup is a possibility, but the bat will have to show up to be an impact catcher in the majors.

8. Erik Rivera OF/LHP (Angels) - Rivera was a fourth round pick in 2019. The Angels are looking at him as a two way player to take advantage of the new roster rules. The big hitting tool for Rivera will be his power, but his inability to make contact will inhibit his ability to get to that power. Last year he failed to go deep in 72 at bats, hitting just .208. His arm is strong enough to play right field, where when pitching his fastball sits in the low 90s. He needs to work on a third pitch if he wants to work as a starter.

9. Delvin Perez SS (Cardinals) - Delvin was a first round pick of the Cardinals in 2016, despite rumors that he had failed a drug test prior to the draft. Perez dominated in the Puerto Rican leagues. Once arriving in the major leagues his bat has grown silent, with just two homeruns in four years. Myworld kept him on the list because he did make the All Star team in Low A last year and the tools are there for him to play short. He needs to raise that .317 slugging percentage and lower his 24 errors to have a chance at the major leagues.

10. Jose DeLeon RHP (Reds) - Jose was drafted in the 24th round of the 2013 draft. While with the Dodgers he was considered a top prospect. The Dodgers traded him to the Rays in 2017 for Logan Forsythe and then the injuries happened. Despite being major league ready injuries limited DeLeon to one major league appearance in 2017. Tommy John surgery in 2018 kept him out of action that year. He rebounded in 2019 with 15 starts and three major league appearances. He struck out 73 in 51 AAA innings. After the year ended the Rays traded him to the Reds where he hopes to squeeze himself onto the major league roster. At 27 years of age he doesn’t have that much more time to make prospect lists.

NL Central Predictions

March 14th, 2020

With the baseball season postponed myworld has more time to provide our predictions for the 2020 season. But why delay. This is the toughest division to predict because there are four teams that will be battling for the first spot. The only team to be left out of the dance - the Pirates.

1. St. Louis Cardinals

Good- When we look at teams we always look at the starting pitching. The Cardinals may not have the best starting pitching, but they have a lot of depth to get through injuries. John Flaherty could turn into an ace but at 24 it may be too early to lay that mantle on him. His numbers last year, especially in the second half were ace like. There is a solid group behind him in Adam Wainwright, Dakota Hudson and Miles Mikolas. Korean newcomer Kwang-Hyun Kim was an ace in Korea, but in St. Louis he will only have to fill the five hole. Myworld likes Carlos Martinez better in the bullpen where he can replace John Hicks as the closer and also stay healthy, but when Hicks returns he can always be moved into the rotation. Paul DeJong has silently turned himself into a quality shortstop that hits 30 plus homeruns and plays quality defense. All he needs to do is reduce his strikeouts and improve his average. Paul Goldschmidt and Yadier Molina provide veteran leadership even if there numbers are falling.

Bad - With John Hicks not available for the start of the season the bullpen would be better off with Carlos Martinez as the closer. Andrew Miller has struggled the last two years and can not be trusted with protecting leads. Kolton Wong is a quality defensive player but does not provide the lineup with a lot of offense. Matt Carpenter needs to hit to get into the lineup and it would be more potent with him at third and Tommy Edman at second. Last year he had multiple nagging injuries that kept him out of the lineup and may have impacted his swing.

Ugly - Alex Reyes and Carlos Martinez were supposed to be ace 1 and 1a when they were coming up as prospects. Neither have been able to stay healthy to compete in the rotation. Carlos has had some success, especially out of the bullpen. Injuries and suspensions have prevented Alex from pitching 100 innings since 2016. The Cardinals will see how he fits out of the bullpen. He has the velocity to be a closer, but not the experience.

Rookies - Dylan Carlson could win the centerfield spot. He hits for big time power and will combine with Tyler O’Neil to make for a young and promising outfield. Genesis Cabrera may start in the bullpen but he can also be used in the rotation. His left handed arm has lots of velocity but finding the plate has been a challenge.

Expected Finish - It will be a battle to the finish, but the Cardinals will prevail with the top spot.

2. Milwaukee Brewers

Good - The outfield is extremely talented, moving Ryan Braun to first base. Christian Yelich should recover from his knee injury to provide MVP numbers again. Lorenzo Cain does not put up gaudy numbers but he steals bases, plays solid defense in centerfield and usually hits in the .300 neighborhood. Last year was an off year. Avisail Garcia was a free agent signing who will put together a solid offense but has a habit of missing 20 to 30 games each season because of injuries. That is where Ryan Braun can come in handy to play outfield. Keston Hiura is a hitting machine at second base. His defense may be spotty but his bat will drive in runs.

Bad - Left side of the infield will be short on offense. Orlando Arcia may pop some homeruns but he has a .292 career OBA and .652 OPS. Mike Moustakas departure leaves a hole at third. They would like to see Jedd Gyorko find his bat that he seemed to have lost last year. If Braun moves to the outfield their first base options are limited. Justin Smoak and his 2017 season of 38 homeruns seem to be an outlier and Ryan Healy has had two poor seasons back to back. The starting pitching is questionable after Brandon Woodruff. Josh Lindblom comes from Korea where he was the top pitcher there. He hopes that translates to success in the major leagues. Too many pitchers better suited for the back end of the rotation appear to be slotted in the two and three hole.

Ugly - Christian Yelich needs to stay healthy. If he gets injured this lineup looks ugly, lacking any power. Ryan Braun is getting older, Omar Narvaez showed some pop last year behind the plate, but bats that can consistently hit 30 plus homeruns are absent from this roster. Disaster could strike the rotation if Woodruff goes down. No reliable ace in the rotation and not a lot in the minors. Myworld and many others have rated the Brewers minor league system the worst in baseball. That will hurt when depth is needed to accommodate injuries.

Rookies - Myworld rated this farm system the worst in the major leagues. There may be some players who can squeeze their name on the roster, but making an impact is another story.

Expected Finish - It all depends on the health of Christian Yelich. If he plays 145 plus games a wild card finish is possible.

3. Cincinnati Reds

Good - There top position is the infield where Eugenio Suarez and Mike Moustakas give them two players with 30 plus homerun power. Moustakas is better defensively at third but his offense will make up for any defensive inefficiencies. Joey Votto needs to have a better season than last year if the Reds want to compete. The outfield has a lot of depth but lacks power. Free agent signings Shogo Akiyama from Japan and Nick Castellanos from the Cubs created the crowded outfield. The key to its success could be the production of Nick Senzel, but he could also move to second base. The top three in the rotation (Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray and Trevor Bauer) need to be good for this team to compete. They have the potential but they have also had their bad years. Which Jekyll and Hyde shows up will define the Reds season.

Bad - Tucker Barnhart is a solid catcher but he does not provide much offensively. Tyler Stephenson is probably a year away from making his debut. Raisel Iglesias had a career high 34 saves but his ERA was almost two runs higher than his previous two seasons. Amir Garrett is not proven but if Iglesias continues to struggle he could take over. The back of the rotation will need a good bullpen to win games.

Ugly - The Reds have built this team to contend. Sonny Gray and Trevor Bauer have had some horrendous years, Bauer struggling last year. They need those two to pitch to their potential if they hope to stay in it. Joey Votto has to have a better year and it would be nice if Aristedes Aquino could hit like he did when first called up last year than the Aquino of September who hit just .196. Nick Senzel also needs to show his potential. Myworld sees an easy scenario where it all goes bad and the hopes for 2020 crash.

Rookies - It would be tough to see Tyler Stephenson get in the lineup after only finishing AA last year. Catchers need more time to develop. He could be called up mid-season if Barnhart has a long term injury and Tyler is tearing it up in AAA. Shogo Akiyama is technically a rookie, even though he has had a lot of success in Japan. The Reds hope to utilize him best as a fourth outfielder, unless his bat makes him too valuable to leave him out of the lineup.

Expected Finish - Out of the wild card race and in third place.

4. Chicago Cubs

Good - They still have a strong base of hitters in Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Wilson Contreras. These players are getting older while no young arms have been able to work themselves in the rotation. If the Cubs trade one it may be a sign of rebuilding. Kyle Schwarber is a power bat that provides suspect defense in left field. His 38 homeruns last year were a career high and his average keeps on rising with each year. Javier Baez moving from second to short gives rookie Nico Hoerner an opportunity to win the second base job. Another top bat finding its way into the lineup.

Bad - They need to get more from their free agent pitchers Jon Lester and Yu Darvish. The Cubs would probably like a mulligan on the Jose Quintana for Eloy Jimenez trade. Jose has turned into a borderline fifth rotation piece. The outfield appears a bit unsettled. Jason Heyward always seems to underperform, though his 21 dingers last year were his most since 2012. Despite being a first round pick, Ian Happ has not established himself as a quality major league hitter. He hopes to win the centerfield job over Albert Almora, who has a good glove but quiet bat. Craig Kimbrel was a disaster in the bullpen last year. He hoped to have a full spring training to get ready this year, but now the corona virus has put a stop to spring training. If the Cubs want to compete he needs to have a better year or find another closer.

Ugly - The Cubs development of pitching. It means they have to sign expensive free agents, or trade good, young talent for veteran pitchers who have a limited number of bullets left in their arm. Since the arrival of Theo Epstein they have not drafted a pitcher that has made an impact on the major league roster. They have drafted a number of bats that have gotten them to the playoffs but the arms have remained absent from the rotation.

Rookies - Nico Hoerner could win the second base job. His primary position is shortstop but Javier Baez seems to have that position covered now. Nico should hit for a decent average but may lack the over the fence power. Most of their other young players are down in the lower minors, including Brailyn Marquez, who was signed in 2015 out of the Dominican Republic. He probably won’t be ready until 2021, unless the Cubs become desperate and he is dominating.

Expected Finish - not enough pitching to get anything but fourth place.

5. Pittsburgh Pirates

Good - Brian Reynolds had a good rookie year last season, hitting .314 with 16 homeruns. If he was a veteran he would have been traded by now but the Pirates will try to build around him. Josh Bell appeared to reach his potential last year with 37 homeruns and 116 RBIs. He plays first base. Left field and first base are not where championship teams are formed, but it’s a start.

Bad - Gregory Polanco had a forgettable year and Jarrod Dyson is more a fourth outfielder type, but each will form two thirds of the Pirates outfield. Austin Meadows would sure look nice here but see ugly for why he is not here. The middle of the field is filled with backups and second tier players. Kevin Newman at short may be there only true quality player up the middle. Jacob Stallings may be best as a backup catcher, Adam Frazier is a utility player and Dyson is a fourth outfielder type. As stated, championship clubs are developed by the quality up the middle.

Ugly - The Pirates hope Chris Archer becomes their ace, recovering from his down year last year. The Pirates traded Austin Meadows (.291, 33 homeruns) and Tyler Glasnow (6-1, 1.78) to Tampa Bay for Archer. Shane Baz, a top prospect in the minors was also sent to the Rays. They made the trade when they thought they were competing. Shortly after that the Pirates went into rebuilding mode. Meadows and Glasnow would look nice on any rebuilding club or could fetch a pretty penny if traded.

Rookies - The Pirates have waited a long time for Mitch Keller to arrive in the major leagues. He appears to have regressed since his early days in the minors. The fastball is still there but his pitches are more hittable. Ke’Bryan Hayes plays a gold glove defense but his bat is short of expectations for the corner. It would take an injury to Colin Moran, trade or a complete collapse before Hayes takes over the third base job this year. The Pirates are very patient with their rookies, valuing service time. Kevin Kramer could win a job at utility but he needs to beat the better bat in Cole Tucker.

Expected Finish - Last place and perhaps the worst record in the National League. For the Pirates it may be best for the corona virus to shorten the length of the season.

The World is Closed Because of Corona Virus

March 12th, 2020

It appears every sport organization has cancelled their events for the spring. Makes me wonder if it is safe to go out. If one can’t be at a sporting event then a super market or restaurant is just as bad. So my world will have to wait until sanity prevails. We’ll hunker in our basement and live on bread and toilet paper.

The college baseball World Series has been cancelled since most colleges have cancelled all sporting events, including baseball. That will have a huge revenue impact on Nebraska. It also leaves scouts with a lot of down time since there will not be any high school or college ball games to watch for a long time, like next year. Wonder how that will impact the draft?

The NCAA has already put an end to March madness by cancelling their basketball tournament. What will the work force do without any basketball pools to join. Oh. There is no work force since everyone has been forced home to work at home or quarantine.

Myworld wonders how I’m going to eat if all the restaurants close or shut down because no one is leaving their house. Could have to stock up on beans and spam, or whatever is left at the grocery stores. I did go to the store to buy some Haagen-Das ice cream and noticed a lot of empty shelves, especially where the toilet paper should be.

The America’s Olympic qualifier was postponed. If they want to get six teams to Tokyo they can not postpone it for too long. The second and third place team still has to travel to Taiwan in June for the last qualifier. Perhaps they will just pull the last two teams from out of a hat.

The World Baseball Classic has also been postponed. Since the event was going to start tomorrow many teams had already flown from Europe and Asia to participate in the event. Tucson was expecting three weeks of activity, but the reality of the World Baseball Classic qualifiers and the Olympic qualifiers is that attendance is usually sparse. If held to a 250 crowd standard they could have gotten most of their games in, or played without fans in attendance.

So myworld will wait until the world opens again. We’ll find some things to write about, but with nothing going on it will seem pretty empty.