Italian National Team to Train in Arizona

September 25th, 2018

The Italian national team will train in Arizona from September 29 to October 13. During that time they will play games against players from the major league instructional teams. Recognizable names from the Italian national team include ex-major league Chris Colabello, minor league and NPB pitcher Allesandro Maestri and minor league catcher Alberto Mineo.

AL Central All Stars

September 25th, 2018

Baseball America broke out their classification All Star teams. These are the players from the AL Central to make the team.

Chicago White Sox

Eloy Jimenez OF (AAA/AA) - He could be the next super star in baseball. The Cubs originally signed him but included him in a trade for Jose Quintana. He hits for power and average but lacks the speed and the arm to be a five tool player. His lack of defensive tools will limit him to left field where he could end up being a force like J.D. Martinez.

Michael Kopech RHP (AAA) - Tommy John surgery will set him back a year. Just when he appeared to get command of his pitches he suffers a set back. One of the hardest throwers in baseball, Michael was originally a Red Sox but included in the Chris Sale deal. Control was his main weakness but in four major league starts he only walked two in 14 innings.

Rigo Fernandez LH Relief (Rookie) - A 24th round pick in the 2018 draft had an excellent rookie season, saving 8 games and finishing with a 1.87 ERA. Opponents hit him at a .178 clip. The lefthander does not have dominating stuff, so his prospect status will be dictated by how well he performs at higher levels.

Cleveland Indians

Tyler Freeman SS (SS) - A 2017 pick may lack the defensive tools to be a shortstop. Currently his power is restricted towards the gap, but it could grow as he matures and learns how to pull pitches. Last year he powered 29 doubles which accounted for his .511 slugging average. His best bet may be as a second baseman or utility player.

Luis Oviedo SP (SS) - The Venezuelan does not have an overpowering fastball but it carries enough movement to get a lot of swings and misses at the lower levels. At 6′4″ the fastball could carry more heat as he matures. Currently it sits in the low 90s but it can hit the mid-90s. The change is his best secondary pitch. The biggest decision for Luis is whether he should focus on his slider or curve as his breaking pitch.

Detroit Tigers

Rodolfo Fajardo SP (Dominican) - This was his second year in the Dominican summer league. His ERA dropped more than two runs to 1.07 in 13 starts. Next year he should make it state side.

Kansas City Royals

Marcelo Martinez LH SP (Rookie) - Last year Martinez pitched in the Mexican League. In the Rookie League he had back to back games where he struck out 12 and 10 hitters. In the latter game he threw six no hit innings before he relieved. The Mexican native did strike out 71 in 57 innings but at age 22 he was old for the league.

Minnesota Twins

Stephen Gonsalves LHSP (AAA) - The lefty will not wow you with his heat but he will dazzle you with his change and the location of his pitches. At AAA he limited the opposition to a .187 average. Once promoted to the major leagues the hitters there did not find his stuff so dazzling, ripping him for a .291 average. Stephen is a pitcher who survives on his location and in the major leagues he walked 18 hitters in 21 innings. He needs to show better control if he is to survive.

Alex Kirilloff OF (High and Low A) - Despite his Tommy John surgery last year myworld thought he had the best arm of the outfielders in the Future’s game. He does carry enough power to hit for 20 plus homeruns. The 2015 first round pick makes excellent contact, giving him a .348 average in A ball.

Royce Lewis SS (Low A) - The first pick in the 2017 draft has borderline defensive tools to stay at short. His arm and range are not great but his bat is strong and his speed is electrifying. Last year he stole 84 bases in A ball. If Byron Buxton does not pan out don’t be surprised with a move to center field, where his speed could cover tons of acreage.

Ryan Jeffers C (Rookie) - The second round 2018 pick tore through the rookie league hitting .422 with a 1.121 OPS. He walked 20 times to his 16 K’s. He found the promotion to Low A a bit more challenging, hitting .288 with a .807 OPS, still good numbers.

Victor Heredia 1B (Dominican) - Victor found his second season in the Dominican League beneficial, hitting .330 with 8 homeruns. He raised his OPS 200 points from .708 to .906. As a right handed hitting first baseman, he has not shown over whelming power, which could be a deciding factor when determining major league service time.

Shumpei Yoshikawa Signs with Diamondbacks

September 23rd, 2018

Shumpei Yoshikawa did not register for the NPB draft in Japan last year, expressing an interest to play major league baseball. No Japanese team drafted him. He pitched in the industrial leagues and the Diamondbacks saw enough of him to pay a $650,000 bonus to sign him. He will report to the instructional leagues in Salt River.

Yoshikawa throws in the low 90s with a splitter and slider. At some point pitching coaches may want him to develop a change. The stuff is far from Ohtani like so don’t expect an ace like pitcher. He will fit in the middle or back of the rotation, or could be used in relief. It all is dependent on how he develops his other pitches.

Voth and Bullpen Stymie Mets

September 23rd, 2018

The Nationals do not have a lot of depth in their starting rotation at the upper levels of the minor leagues. They traded most of that depth for Adam Eaton. The Nationals chose to start Austin Voth against the Mets. In 24 starts in AAA he had an ERA of 4.87. In two starts and three appearances with the Nationals his ERA sits at 6.10. In his major league debut against the Mets back in July he gave up seven runs on nine hits in just four plus innings of work. Nats fans came into this game with their fingers crossed.

Voth started the game retiring the first two hitters. His command got a little shaky after that, throwing just one strike in his next 9 pitches to put two runners on. Against Todd Frazier he got the big whiff. After that he only allowed one more base runner in his five innings of work, an infield single to the right of Anthony Rendon, who was playing at shortstop in the right field shift against Michael Conforto.

The bullpen only allowed two base runners, both on walks, giving the Mets just one hit in their nine innings, a 6-0 loss to the Nationals in front of a large group of disappointed bussed in Mets fans.

The Nationals got all the runs they needed when Trea Turner launched a pitch from Corey Oswalt into the left field bleachers in the third inning. Victor Robles had started the inning with a line drive ground rule double that one hopped over the wall down the left field line. It would be the only runs Oswalt allowed in his five innings of work. Like Voth the Mets expect Oswalt to provide them with starting depth next year.

Jeremy Blevins came on to pitch the sixth. Anthony Rendon ripped a double into the left centerfield gap. With two outs and Rendon standing on third the Mets chose to walk Ryan Zimmerman intentionally to face the disappointing Matt Wieters, who is hitting below the Mendoza line while batting righthanded. In his last at bat hitting lefthanded Wieters drove a pitch to the right field wall. This time Wieters crushed a pitch into the left field bullpen. That gave the Nationals a 5-0 lead.

They added their last run in the seventh after Trea Turner walked. He stole second, his 41st of the season and his 122nd career stolen base with the Nationals, tying him with Ian Desmond for most career stolen bases by a National. Bryce Harper then drove a hard grounder down the first base line for a double to put the score at 6-0.

Game Notes: The Nationals have a lot of needs for 2019. The general feeling is they won’t be able to address those needs economically if they sign Harper to a large contract. The bullpen needs to be rebuilt, unless they want to rely on youngsters Jimmy Cordero, Austen Williams and Koda Glover. Two starting pitchers may have to be signed. And a catcher needs to be found. If Harper leaves it would also be nice to get a veteran outfielders in case Robles continues to struggle…Jimmy Cordero has been hitting three digits with his fastball. His big issue is command of his pitches. In 15 innings he has walked 10 hitters, two of those intentionally…The Nationals were officially eliminated from the playoffs after Saturday play. In a year they were supposed to walk away with the division they finished third…The walk to Bryce Harper in the first innings was his 125th of the year. That is a Nationals franchise record…The win put the Nats one game over .500. Even though they are out of the pennant race it would be nice if they could finish over .500. They will not finish over .500 against the Mets, coming into the last game of the series against them 8-10.

Park Hits 40 Homeruns for Third Consecutive Season

September 23rd, 2018

After a break to give major league baseball a try, Park Byung-Ho returned to the KBO and hit 40 homeruns for the third consecutive season. Even after missing a month of the season due to a hamstring injury he was able to hit 40 homeruns. No KBO player has hit 40 homeruns in three consecutive seasons. Lee Seung-Yeop, Eric Thames (now with the Brewers) and Cho Jeong have hit 40 homeruns in two consecutive seasons. An injury to Jeong prevented him from hitting 40 homeruns this year to join Park with three consecutive 40 homerun seasons.

In 2014 and 2015 Park actually hit 52 and 53 homeruns. He then spent two years in the United States after the Minnesota Twins signed him. He spent all of the 2017 season in the Twins minor league system.

Minor League All Stars - AL East

September 19th, 2018

Baseball America came out with their minor league All Stars for each class affiliation, i.e. AAA, AA, etc. This is a team by team breakdown of those players from the AL East who were selected as All Stars. It should be noted that some players do not play long enough in a league to be selected an All Star. Those teams that promote aggressively may lack All Star players.

Baltimore Orioles

Cedric Mullins OF (AA) - The Orioles are doing well with outfielders drafted in the later rounds. Last year it was Austin Hays (2016, 3rd round) receiving accolades. This year it is Cedric, drafted in the 13th round in 2015. He has the tools to hit for some pop and the speed to steal bases and cover ground in center. A smallish frame (5′8″) throw some doubts on him, but those same doubts followed Jose Altuve when he was in the minor leagues. Cedric is having some success against major league pitching, but he may never be an elite major league player. His defense and bat will allow him to be a middle of the pack centerfielder.

Ryan McKenna OF (High A) - A superb defensive player drafted in the fourth round in 2015. He tore through Frederick (.377) but struggled in Bowie (.239). His power will not be there to play the corners so centerfield is his best bet. His arm is stronger than Mullins so if anyone will move to left it will be Mullins.

D.L. Hall LHSP (Low A) - The Orioles first round 2017 pick took a lot of losses but pitch counts prevented him from going five innings to pick up a lot of wins. His fastball sits in the low 90s but can hit the mid 90s. As he matures that fastball should carry more zip, which is good for a lefty. The opposition only hit .203 against him and he whiffed more than innings pitched, which is something you want to see in the low minors.

Boston Red Sox

Bobby Dalbec 3B (High A) - There are questions whether the 2016 fourth round pick will stay at third. He does not run well but he has the quickness that may allow him to stick at third. What he has that many teams covet is raw power, the kind of power that consistently give you 30 plus homeruns per year. Like most sluggers that raw power comes with a lot of swings and misses.

Denyi Reyes RHSP (Low A) - At the lower levels pitchers with good breaking pitchers can dominate. His fastball is a little pedestrian, but at 6′4″ the Sox hope it will pick up in velocity as he matures. The numbers were good (1.97 ERA and .210 opposition average), but time will tell if he can continue that success as he pitches at the higher levels.

Jarren Duran 2B (SS) - The seventh round 2018 pick is lighting it up in short season ball with a .348 average. Even a promotion to Low A did not slow him down where he hit .367. What was amazing about his short season performance was his 10 triples in 37 games. His college numbers at Long Beach state sat below .300 so we will see if he can replicate those kind of numbers next year.

New York Yankees

Juan De Paula RHSP (SS) - The Dominican was one of the players traded to the Giants for Andrew McCutchen. De Paula originally signed with the Mariners and was part of the trade to the Yankees for Ben Gamel. Not a lot of stuff but was able to limit the opposition to a .207 average in the New York Penn league with a 1.71 ERA. His fastball sits in the low 90s.

Antonio Cabello OF (Rookie) - The Yankees used $1.35 million of their bonus to sign the Venezuelan. He rewarded them with a decent power year, slugging .522 at the rookie levels. Despite the power, speed is his best tool, which will allow him to play center. If center does not work his arm is not good enough for right so this will force a move to left. Bat speed and power could make him a special player.

Luis Gil SP (Rookie) - The Yankees are developing a number of hard throwers who hit triple digits with their fastball. This Dominican is just another one of those players, though he was signed by the Twins and acquired by the Yankees in the Jake Cave trade. As with many hard throwers who stand 6′3″ finding the plate is a challenge. Opponents hit only .190 against him but walks brought his WHIP up to 1.37.

Angel Rojas 2B (Dominican) - The Dominican hit nine triples with a .285 average. He did commit 26 errors, 11 at second base and 15 at short in just 50 games so his defense needs a lot of work.

Tampa Bay Rays

Brandon Lowe 2B (AAA) - The third round 2015 pick swung a decent power bat in AA and AAA slugging 22 homeruns in the minor leagues and adding an additional five in the major leagues. Lacks speed to show range at short and arm is just above average. His offense will keep him on the big league roster.

Colin Poche LHRP (AAA) - A 14th round pick of the Diamondbacks in 2016, the lefthanded reliever limited offenses to a .151 average against and a 0.82 ERA despite minimal stuff. He was part of the package for Stephen Souza. He also had 110 whiffs in 66 innings. With a low 90s fastball and slider he must do something right to fool hitters.

Nate Lowe 1B (AA) - A 13th round pick in the 2016 draft has shown some pop rising three levels with 27 homeruns. He has also hit for average with a .330 average at three levels. A lack of foot speed will prevent a move to the outfield. Nate makes good contact for a power hitter.

Ronaldo Hernandez C (Low A) - The Colombian has a solid arm to shut down base stealers. This year he broke out with the bat for a .284 average and 24 homeruns. The Rays converted him from infielder to catcher after he signed a contract with them.

Vidal Brujan 2B (Low A) - The speedy Dominican signed with the Rays in 2017 for a bargain basement price of $15,000. There is very little power from his bat.

Moises Gomez OF (Low A) - His first year in a full season league was a success with 19 homeruns. He also peppered the gaps with 34 doubles and 9 triples. Last year his defense was limited to left field.

Simon Rosenblum RHRP (SS) - A 19th round pick in the 2018 draft out of Harvard strung together 8 saves in 9 opportunities. He limited the opposition to a .150 average with 62 whiffs in 38.2 innings.

Wander Franco SS (Rookie) - Myworld debated including him in our top shortstop list a couple months ago. The rookie leagues had not started yet so he was not considered. Shame on us. He is raking in rookie ball. Franco has all the tools to be a superstar, with the ability to hit for power and average with a strong arm for right field if center field does not pan out.

Jordan Qsar OF (Rookie) - Drafted in the 25th round of the 2018 draft Qsar showed his pop with 14 homeruns in 62 games. His 1.142 OPS in rookie ball earned him a promotion to the New York Penn League.

Matthew Liberatore LHSP (Rookie) - The first round 2018 pick stands 6′5″. He has all the requisite pitches to stay in the starting rotation, with a fastball that can hit a tick above 95. Matthew has good command for a pitcher his height. In nine starts he finished with a 1.38 ERA with a .189 opposition average.

Toronto Blue Jays

Danny Jansen C (AAA) - The 16th round pick in 2013 is more an offensive catcher with good defensive tools. Last year he hit .275 with 12 homeruns at AAA before being promoted to the major leagues. He seems to be holding his own there and could be the Blue Jays starting catcher next year as they look to rebuild.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr 3B (AA) - The minor league player of the year hit .381 with 20 homeruns in 95 games. Large in frame at 6′1″ and 200 pounds, some felt he would not move quick enough to stay at third. This year he handled the position well defensively so the only issue preventing him from playing for the Blue Jays next year is service time.

Travis Bergen LHRP (AA) - Not a big time prospect but he lit it up in AA with a 0.50 ERA in 27 appearances. Lefthanders get long looks in the minor leagues.

Patrick Murphy RHSP (High A) - At 6′4″ the third round 2013 pick had a solid season leading the Florida State League with 135 whiffs. A 2.65 ERA shows he could be ready for the Blue Jays rotation sometime by mid-season in 2019.

Eric Pardinho RHSP (Rookie) - The Brazilian is small in stature for a right handed pitcher at 5′10 but he does reach the mid-90s with his fastball. His curveball may be his best pitch, which will get a lot of swings and misses at the lower levels. Next year should see his debut at full season. Eventually he may have to move to the bullpen.

Mullins Leads O’s Over White Sox

September 16th, 2018

Not a game a lot of people care about. The right field bleachers were virtually empty for this game. Myworld was there. O’s fans got a treat with prospect Cedric Mullins peppering his first four hit game of his major league career to lead the Orioles over the White Sox 8-4. He also showed off his defense with a diving catch in centerfield in the seventh inning. Myworld thinks Adam Jones was more excited about the catch than Cedric.

Ex-National Lucas Giolito got the start for the White Sox. The pale hose defense did not do him any favors. In the first inning they gave the Orioles six outs to score five runs. Cedric Mullins started the inning with a double. Joey Rickard laid down a bunt not that far from home plate. Wellington Castillo picked it up, saw Cedric was far off second, pumped and then threw to second but Mullins found the base ahead of the throw. Singles by Jonathan Villar and Adam Jones scored two. Jones stole second after Castillo had trouble handling the ball. D.J. Stewart grounded a ball weakly to Yoan Moncada at second and he chose to go home. The speedy Villar slid into home ahead of the throw for the third run. Renato Nunez hit a slow grounder to Matt Davidson, who booted the ball to score a fourth run. Breyvic Valeria made it five with a fly ball to right that scored Stewart. An ugly inning for Giolito and the White Sox.

The White Sox did whittle their way back off David Hess. Daniel Palka led off the second hitting one onto Eutaw street. In the fifth inning Yolmer Sanchez barely cleared the fence in center for a two run shot and one batter later Palka did it again with a solo shot to left field. That ended the day for Hess before he could go five to get the win.

Giolito did give up a titanic blast to Jonathan Villar that one hopped the brick wall on Eutaw street. His fastball seemed to drop after the first inning from 94 to 91-92, not the kind of velocity myworld remembers seeing from him when he was with the Nationals. The defense did play better for him after a missed popup by Jose Rondon in the second. In the second through fourth they turned three double plays. Giolito retired the last 7 O’s he faced to work six innings.

The Orioles got a solo shot from Adam Jones in the seventh. In the eighth Cedric Mullins delivered his fourth hit of the game to score the Orioles eighth run. They loaded the bases with one out in the eighth but Villar struck out and Jones flied to center.

David Hess did a good job of getting out of a first and third no out situation in the fourth. He struck out the side to end the threat. Perhaps he got a bit cocky after that, giving up the two homeruns in the fifth.

Game Notes: Good to see Boog Powell signing autographs at Boogs Barbecue Pit on Eutaw street. Myworld has not seen him for awhile, but perhaps Sunday games are not his thing…Peanuts at Camden sell for $4.75. At Nationals park they are $6, or maybe even $8. They are so high I don’t even consider buying them. Beer is also much cheaper at Camden…The Jonathan Villar homeruns was one of the longest at Camden Yards. There are not too many markers behind it on Eutaw street. Daniel Palka will also get a marker for his shot on Eutaw in the second inning…The shift with a runner on second does catch the third baseman napping. Yolmer Sanchez jogged into third with Renato Nunez playing the shortstop position and seeing Sanchez steal third too late to get to the bag…Chance Sisco had to leave the game after a foul ball hit off his mask. Daniel Palka also had to leave the game after he attempted to make a diving catch but his cleats got caught in the grass…Yoan Moncada struck out three times bringing his season total to a major league leading 201 whiffs. Unless he can tame his swings and misses he could end up being a disappointment for a number one prospect. He is still young. In total White Sox hitters struck out 14 times…D.J. Stewart appears to be over matched with major league pitching. He has yet to get a hit in 14 at bats. Today he struck out once and couldn’t get the ball out of the infield in his other three at bats.

A Big 0 for the O’s in 2018

September 15th, 2018

The Orioles have played above themselves the last few years, not finishing below .500 since 2012. Most baseball experts picked them for last or next to last in the AL East in those years and they would surprise everyone by making the playoffs or hanging on until September. Except for this year. It is almost as if the baseball gods got even with them for all their surprise winning seasons and piled all the losses they should have had in previous years onto the 2018 season. At their current pace this will be a record season for the Orioles from a loss perspective (at 106 with their record at 107 in 1988).

So what went wrong with the Orioles in 2018? They signed two free agent starting pitchers to give them a solid five in the rotation. They had all their sluggers coming back. They had their closer returning. Or thought so. And of course Manny Machado was still on the team. What went wrong?

1) Defense. This was a franchise that always prided itself on defense. Not this year. The 2018 season saw one of the worst defensive teams take the field. Moving Manny Machado to short hurt the defense at two positions, short and third. Adam Jones lost a couple steps to turn into a below average centerfielder and having corners Mark Trumbo and Trey Mancini was a disaster in shagging down line drive hits. Singles turned to doubles and outs turned to singles. Baseball Reference ranked the Orioles defensive efficiency as last in the major leagues. Even when they got to the ball they made errors above league average. This lack of range did not help the pitching staff, which also found itself last in the league in ERA. The starting pitching and relief staff also gave up the most runs per nine innings than any of the other 29 major league teams.

2) The big bombers disappeared. Last year when the pitching was weak the Orioles bombed balls out of the park, their 232 homers fifth in the major leagues. This year, with the Chris Davis and Jonathan Scoop brown outs the homerun balls were less frequent. Even big bopper Mark Trumbo slowed down, though he was injured for much of the start of the year. The only consistent bopper was Manny Machado, but they traded him mid-season.

3) The Orioles signed two free agent pitchers in Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb to fill into their rotation with Dylan Bundy, Kevin Guasman and Chris Tillman. Chris Tillman had an awful 2017 but the O’s were hoping for a return to his 2016 performance. It did not happen. In baseball you need more than five starters because of injuries. When Tillman did not work out (10.46 ERA in 7 starts) there was no pitcher to fill in behind him. Cobb also pitched poorly at the start of the season having no spring training. The two number one picks Bundy and Guasman have faltered to mid rotation starters, with Dylan Bundy giving the O’s one bad outing for every good outing. The pitchers they tried to fit in the fifth spot in the rotation after Tillman was released all had ERAs above 5. It was an ugly year for starting pitching.

4) Zack Britton missed the start of the season. That put a lot of pressure on the bullpen. When your starting pitchers are giving up runs in bunches there are not a lot of save opportunities, but Brad Brach and Mychal Givens struggled in the role when given the shot, each with an ERA north of 4. No relief staff has given up more runs per nine innings than the Orioles. It was also an ugly year for relief pitching.

5) The Orioles were hoping Austin Hays would take over the right field spot, putting Trumbo at the DH spot. Both Hays and Trumbo got injured and the Orioles started the season with no real DH or right fielder. Pedro Alvarez failed as a DH and a convention of players were tried in right field with little success. Hays never got past AA and Trumbo with his iron glove had to eventually see a lot of time in right field.

6) The farm system is still weak. While it brought the Orioles Tanner Scott and a number of other ineffective starters and relievers it did not provide any position players. The holes were filled by other teams minor league free agents or waived players. Cedric Mullins has shown some promise in centerfield, but long term success is not a certainty. The major leagues is filled with the names of September superstars who were never heard from the next year, i.e. Austin Hays. While the farm system is better it is still at the bottom of the league and lacks depth. Having the worst record in baseball will give the Orioles the first pick in the draft next year, but they may have to do a search next year for a new GM to lead the strategy for that draft. Both Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter have expiring contracts and will likely not be part of the Orioles in 2019.

So the news is not good for Orioles fans. Last in defense, starting pitching, relief pitching and the American League. At one time they used to say that about the Senators. Now the bumbling play has moved north.

18 and Under Qualifiers

September 15th, 2018

The 18 and under World Cup will be played in Gijang, Korea in 2019. The first two qualifiers for that tournament were from Europe, Netherlands and Spain. The Asia qualifiers have finished and the three dragons have advanced.

Korea won the 18 year old qualifiers held in Miyazaki, Japan, defeating Taiwan in the finals 7-5. The game went into extra innings after Taiwan scored a run in the ninth to tie. Japan had to settle for third place after their 14-1 victory over China.

Korea and Japan seem to be leap frogging the 18 and under championships, with Korea winning in 2009 followed by Japan in 2011. Korea took the crown again in 2014 but Japan followed by recapturing the championship in 2016. Taiwan has finished in second place for consecutive tournaments. The last time they won an 18 and under Asian championship was in 2007.

The last time any team other than Korea, Japan or Taiwan has finished in the top two was in 1994 when Australia finished second. That was the first recorded 18 and under championship. Australia now competes in the Oceania region. China, Philippines and Thailand are the teams that fill the fourth spot.

Top 20 AFL Players to Watch

September 14th, 2018

Below are the top 20 players who will be playing in the Arizona Fall League that myworld will try to get out to watch. Austin Hays, one of the players we initially had on the list will now not be playing because of ankle surgery.

1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr (Blue Jays/Surprise) 3B - The son of the Hall of Famer and the minor league player of the year in most organization readings. How could you not want to go out and watch him if you have not seen him play already? Flirted with .400 this year and showed impressive power. Some question his defense at third and think a move to first may be required.

2. Luis Robert (White Sox/Glendale) OF - He came hyped with lots of tools. Those tools, especially the power did not make an appearance in his second minor league season, though he was limited to 50 games because of injuries. There were no homeruns in his bat.

3. Forrest Whitley (Astros/Scottsdale) RHP - Most pitchers who appear in the AFL are there because they pitched little in the regular season because of injuries. Forrest was limited to 8 starts last year. At 6′7″ he has length and a blazing fastball that can hit triple digits. He needs to increase the 26 innings he pitched in the regular season and show the fastball is difficult to hit.

4. Domingo Acevedo (Yankees/Glendale) RHP - The same that was said of Forrest also applies to this 6′7″ righthander except he had a few more starts (12) and innings (69) to his season. The strikeout numbers (55) were not impressive, especially when you consider he can hit the high 90s with his heat.

5. Jon Duplantier (Diamondbacks/Salt Lake) RHP - Last year he had an unbelievable season with a 1.39 ERA. Only Justin Verlander has had a lower ERA in the minors. This year his season was delayed by injuries. He did squeeze in 16 starts and his numbers were excellent (2.55 ERA) but not when compared to last year. Myworld expects only four starts from him in the AFL before he is gone, so get there early if you want to see him.

6. Peter Alonso (Mets/Scottsdale) 1B - In the Futures game he hit one of the longest and highest homeruns myworld has ever seen at Nationals park. He has power. Right handed hitting firstbaseman are not given a lot of respect by major league analyzers, but his 36 homeruns last year could change some minds.

7. Taylor Trammell (Reds/Scottsdale) OF - He was voted the MVP of the Futures Game, almost hitting two homeruns in his two at bats. His first almost homerun he ran into a triple after it hit the top of the wall. He began his circle around the bases with a homerun trot, but then had to shift it in high gear after the ball did not travel over the fence. This year the toolsy outfielder hit only 8 homeruns in the Florida State League, but his resume shows the potential for power and speed.

8. Bo Bichette (Blue Jays/Surprise) SS - The son of Dante is not said to have the tools to play major league shortstop. Myworld was impressed with what we saw of him in the Futures game. He does have a potent bat that sprays the gaps with doubles (40 plus) and hits his fair share of balls over the fence (15 plus).

9. J.B. Bukauskas (Astros/Scottsdale) RHP - He does not carry a lot of height (6′0″) for a right handed pitcher but he was the Astros first round pick in 2017. Last year injuries restricted him to 14 starts but they were an impressive 14 starts (2.14 ERA and .199 opposition average). He throws in the mid 90s.

10. Sixto Sanchez (Phillies/Scottsdale) RHP - Another smallish pitcher (6′0″) who throws gas. Last year injuries limited him to 8 starts (2.51 ERA). A good AFL and strong spring will put him in AA, a stone’s throw from the major leagues.

11. Keston Hiura (Brewers/Peoria) 2B - Maybe one of the purest hitters in the Fall League. Batting titles are in his future. Elbow issues restricted most of his appearances to DH duties. When he does play defense it is at second base. He may get a lot of second base playing time in the AFL.

12. Keibert Ruiz (Dodgers/Glendale) C - One of the better catching prospects in the minor leagues. He can hit for pop (12 homeruns) and has a decent arm, though he was only able to gun down 26 percent of those who stole against him. Makes solid contact striking out just 33 times in over 400 at bats.

13. Carter Kieboom (Nationals/Salt Lake) SS - A first round pick of the Nationals in 2016. The reports on him is that his arm and range may be short to play shortstop in the major leagues. Since Turner has that spot locked up (whose scouting report was similar to Carter) second base may be his best position. Expect him to get some time there. He shows good pop with the bat with 16 homeruns last year.

14. Daulton Varsho (Diamondbacks/Salt River) C - The son of Gary, an ex-major leaguer, he was named after Darren Daulton. Another catcher with some pop who had a little more success nabbing base runners (40 percent). He showed some speed for a catcher with 19 stolen bases in 22 attempts. If he is half the player of Darren Daulton he will make it at least as a back up.

15. Estevan Florial (Yankees/Glendale) OF - The Haitian born prospect was all the talk of the Yankees prospect system last season after hitting .298 with 13 homeruns in 2017. Last year he had difficulty replicating those numbers, though his season was limited to 84 games because of injury.

16. Buddy Reed (Padres/Peoria) OF - The Padres have a wealth of minor league and young major league outfielders. Buddy shows some good tools to play center field, but will they be enough to beat out Manuel Margot. Last year he stole 51 bases to go with his 13 homeruns.

17. Pavin Smith (Diamondbacks/Salt Lake) 1B - The Diamondbacks drafted him in the first round of the 2017 draft. That is pretty high for a first baseman who may be a bit short in the power numbers. Last year he hit 11 homeruns but his batting average was only at .255, not indicative of his college numbers (.342). Pavin needs to hit for pop to justify his first round selection.

18. Bobby Dalbec (Red Sox/Mesa) 1B - Because there is someone we want to see play at Mesa. The power is there with 32 homeruns last year, but it comes at the expense of having a right handed bat. There is still a lot of swing and miss in his swing that he will have to learn to tame if he wants to see Fenway park.

19. Lucius Fox (Rays/Peoria) SS - All the tools and gracefulness to play short but his bat may hold him back. The Giants signed him out of the Bahamas but made him one of the players included in the Matt Moore trade.

20. Alfredo Rodriguez (Reds/Scottsdale) SS/2B - There was a lot of hype about him and his glove when he came out of Cuba. The glove has been good but the bat has been blah (.241/.294/298 slash line for average/OBA/slugging). Injuries limited him to 46 games last year. At 24 he should be knocking on the major league door rather than scuffling in the Florida State League.