Foreign Players NPB Central

April 21st, 2018

Below are the foreign players on NPB rosters in the Central League. Teams can use four foreign players but a maximum of three can be position players or pitchers. Teams can not use all pitchers or all position players for their four foreign player allotment. On the 70 man roster teams may have more than four foreign players, but only four of them can be included on the active 28 man roster. For each game three players on that 28 game roster must be inactivated, so most teams eliminate the starting pitchers from the day before and the starting pitcher for the next day from the 28 game roster. The four foreign player restriction applies to the final 25 man roster.

Hiroshima Carp

Leonel Campus (RHP) - Pitching down on the farm. Has a 4.50 ERA but given up three homeruns in six innings.

Jay Jackson (RHP) - This is his third season in a setup role for the Carp. Strung together over 30 holds his first two seasons and has seven holds in 9 appearances this year. He has given up six walks and two homeruns in just nine innings but has a 2.00 ERA.

Kris Johnson (LHP) - His fourth year starting for the Carp. Kris won in double digits his first two years but injuries last year limited him to 13 starts. This year he has gotten off to a good start (2-1, 2.37) with only one walk in 21 innings.

Brad Eldred (1B) - The streaky hitter is the Carp’s power bat. In a 144 game season he has yet to play more than 118 games. This year he is hitting .195 with three homeruns.

Xavier Batista (OF) - He played in a part time role last year (61 games) but hit 11 homeruns. This year he has only gotten into four games with a .214 average. In the minors he has bashed six homeruns in 22 games. Playing time limited by the foreign restriction.

Hanshin Tigers

Rafael Dolis (RHP) - The Tigers closer saved 37 games last year. This year he has saved seven games with a 2.00 ERA.

Yen-Ching Lu (LHP) - Down on the farm he has appeared in one game, pitching one inning and giving up three runs.

Marcus Mateo (RHP) - He was the Tigers closer until Dolis arrived on the scene. In his third Tiger season he is the setup man with 36 holds last year and four this year, but an unkind 5.40 ERA.

Randy Messenger (RHP) - In his ninth season with the Tigers and now considered Japanese he is 3-1 with a 1.99 ERA. He has 87 career Japanese wins.

Diego Moreno (RHP) -Toiling in the minor leagues waiting for an opportunity.

Wilin Rosario (DH) - After destroying pitchers in the KBO Wilin is finding the NPB a bit more challenging, hitting .242 with just one homerun.

Yokohama Bay Stars

Edison Barrios (RHP) - After pitching four seasons with the Hawks, with 2015 at 30 appearances his most activity, Barrios chose to sign with the Bay Stars for the 2018 season, moving from bullpen to starting rotation where he is 2-1, 2.76 ERA.

Edwin Escobar (LHP) - His first year was split between the Fighters and Bay Stars. In nine appearances he has walked six hitters in seven innings, putting his ERA at 3.86.

Spencer Patton (RHP) - The setup man has four holds but a 6.35 ERA. Last year he strung together 27 holds and a 2.70 ERA.

Joe Wieland (RHP) - Pitched last year for the Bay Stars, getting 21 starts, winning ten games with a 2.98 ERA. Rehabbing in the minors to begin the 2018 season.

Jose Lopez (2B) - In his sixth season, the first two with the Yomiuri Giants. His bat has come to life with the Bay Stars with 64 homeruns his last two seasons. This year he has slugged three with a .323 average.

Yomiuri Giants

Arquimedes Caminero (RHP) - The hard thrower has been thrown in their closer role. Winning has not come often so his opportunities to close this year have been limited (2 saves). This is his second season with the Giants.

Taylor Jungmann (RHP) - The first year player is seeing life in the minor leagues waiting for a foreign slot to open.

Jen-Lei Liao (RHP) - Another minor league arm being used in the bullpen.

Scott Mathieson (RHP) - The hard throwing Canadian righty is in his seventh season with the Giants. He has bounced around between being a closer and setup man, but has settled into the role as setup. He has not given up a run in four appearances.

Casey McGehee (3B) - His first year he played with the Rakuten Golden Eagles and in his second year with the Giants. Last year his production dropped from 93 RBIs to 77. This year he is scuffling with a .239 average and two homeruns.

Alex Guerrero (2B/outfield) - After failing with the Dodgers, the Cuban played for Chunichi last year and led the league in homeruns (35). This year his power has been quiet (two homeruns) with a .281 average.

Chunichi Dragons

Onelki Garcia (LHP) - Another Cuban who failed with the Dodgers and White Sox. He is 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA in three appearances covering 12 innings for the Dragons.

Dillion Gee (RHP) - The Mets rotation was a bit crowded so Dilllon signed with the Dragons. In three starts he is 0-3 with a 3.68 ERA but the last couple years the Dragons have had trouble winning.

Raidel Martinez (RHP) - A developmental player pitching well in the minors (0.75 ERA).

Dayan Viciedo (DH) - The Cuban slugger is hitting .259 with three homeruns. The last two years with the Dragons he has hit 40 homeruns. He needs to pick it up more or Steven Moya will be given more of an opportunity.

Steven Moya (OF) - In his first year in Japan he got into his first game yesterday and hit .800 in five at bats, with three RBIs. Down on the farm he was hitting .377. That bat needs to get in the Dragon lineup more consistently.

Yakult Swallows

David Buchanan (RHP) - His second year with the Swallows he is 2-0, 1.61 ERA in four starts.

Matt Carasiti (RHP) - Taking on the closer role in his first season in Japan. Matt has picked up three saves with a 2.00 ERA, but walked five hitters in nine innings.

Dave Huff (LHP) - His first season in Japan has not been kind with an 0-2, 7.71 ERA in three starts. He has struck out 16 in 16 innings, but he also has given up four homeruns.

Wladimir Balentien (OF) - Wladimir has had trouble staying healthy but he broke the Japanese homerun record in 2013 with 60, playing in 130 of the 144 games. In his eighth year he is good for thirty plus homeruns per year. This year he is hitting .234 with three homeruns.

Foreigners on NPB Rosters (Pacific League)

April 21st, 2018

Below are the foreign players on NPB rosters in the Pacific League. Teams can use four foreign players but a maximum of three can be position players or pitchers. Teams can not use all pitchers or all position players for their four foreign player allotment. On the 70 man roster teams may have more than four foreign players, but only four of them can be included on the active 28 man roster. For each game three players on that 28 game roster must be inactivated, so most teams eliminate the starting pitchers from the day before and the next day from the 28 game roster. The four foreign player restriction applies to the 25 man roster.

Softbank Hawks

Livan Moinelo (RHP) - A reliever purchased from the Cuban League he has had trouble finding the plate resulting in a 6.00 ERA in 8 relief appearances.

Dennis Sarfate (RHP) - The Hawks closer, the last four years his save totals have increased from 37, 41, 43 and 54. This year he has five but leg problems may limit his appearances early in the season.

Rick Van den Hurk (RHP) - The well traveled Dutch righthander won 13 games last year. This year he has started 2-1, 2.84 in three starts.

Yurisbel Gracial (Infield) - Another player purchased from the Cuban League he has spent most of his time in the minors, appearing in just two games but hitting .600 (3 for 5). In the minor leagues he is hitting .423.

Alfredo Despaigne (Outfield) - Probably the best player in Cuba on loan to the Hawks, makes it tough for Gracial to get any playing time with the three pitchers and Despaigne on the roster. Despaigne is struggling with a .167 average and three homeruns in his 16 games. Those three homeruns are his only extra base hits.

Seibu Lions

Fabio Castillo (RHP) - Decent ERA in his three starts (3.24) but his 13/12 walk to whiff ratio in 16 innings is cause for concern.

Neil Wagner (RHP) - Struggling in 6 relief appearances with a 5.06 ERA.

Brian Wolfe (RHP) - This is his 9th year in Japan, the first four with Nippon Ham, the next two with Softbank and his third season with Seibu. He has struggled in his three starts (6.57 ERA) coughing up 19 hits in his 12 innings.

Ernesto Mejia (1B) - Blocked by Freddy Freeman, this is the fifth year for Mejia in Japan. Last year was his least productive year with just 19 homeruns. This year has been a slow start with his .172 average and one extra base hit (a double) in his 10 games.

Nien-Ting Wu (Infielder) - The Taiwanese infielder has yet to play this year but his first two years carried a .202 average in 58 games.

Rakuten Golden Eagles

Josh Corrales (RHP) - Spent most of his time on the farm. In his one appearance he walked six in three innings for a 15.00 ERA.

Frank Herrmann (RHP) - Second year of bullpen work for the Eagles. 33 holds last year. He has been a bit more hittable this year (4.50 ERA) with 10 hits in six innings.

Japhet Amador (DH/1B) - Signed out of Mexico, this is his third season in Japan. The Astros signed him but when he did not make the major league roster in his second season he was returned to Mexico. Last year he hit 23 homeruns but a .234 average. This year he is hitting .254 with three homeruns.

Zealous Wheeler (3B) - The journeyman minor leaguer has found a home in Japan. His homerun numbers have increased from 14 to 27 to 31. In his fourth season with the Eagles he is hitting .268 with one homerun.

O’Koyea Dickson (OF) - Still has not played in the minor or major league team.

Carlos Peguero (OF) - In his third year with the Eagles, Carlos has gotten off to a slow start with a .185 average with 29 whiffs in 16 games.

Orix Buffaloes

Andrew Albers (LHP) - The Canadian is in his first year in Japan with two wins and a 2.25 ERA. He has struck out 16 in his 16 innings.

Brandon Dickson (RHP) - Brandon is a veteran of six years with Orix. The starting pitcher has never won more than nine or lost less than eight. This year he is 0-2 in his first three starts with a 3.06 ERA.

Chris Marrero (1B) - The former first round pick is in his second season with Orix. Last year it was an abbreviated season with 20 homeruns in 82 games. This year he has slugged five but is only hitting .203. His 15 RBIs is among the league leaders.

Stefan Romero (OF) - His rookie season last year Stefan slugged 26 homeruns. This year he is hitting just .188 with two homeruns.

Nippon Ham Fighters

Nick Martinez (RHP) - In his first year the rookie pitcher is 2-2 with a 1.74 ERA in four starts. He has two complete games.

Bryan Rodriguez (RHP) - Only appeared in one game but got winged for 9 hits and 8 runs in just two innings (30.85 ERA). Bryan has not been very effective in the minors (18 hits in just 10 innings).

Michael Tonkin (RHP) - Michael has two saves and two holds in his eight appearances in his first year in Japan (3.52 ERA).

Brandon Laird (1B/3B) - The slugger has hit over 30 homeruns in his three years for the Fighters. This year he has three with a .212 average. In two of his three years he has hit .229 and .231.

Oswaldo Arcia (OF) - In his rookie season he is hitting .295 with one homerun.

Lotte Marines

Mike Bolsinger (RHP) - In his rookie season he is 1-1 in three starts with a 2.04 ERA.

Kuan-Yu Chen (LHP) - This is the fourth season for the pitcher from Taiwan. In his only start this year he got blasted for 11 hits in four innings, three of them homeruns for a 13.50 ERA.

Edgar Olmos (LHP) - His first year in Japan has been spent in the minors (0.79 ERA) waiting for a foreign opening.

Tanner Scheppers (RHP) - In his first season Tanner could provide that opening (6.75 ERA) picking up one save and four holds in his nine appearances.

Matt Dominguez (3B) - His first year is also being spent in the minors waiting for a foreign opening (.250, 4 HRs).

Tu-Hsuan Lee (utility) - Played three years for the Hawks from 2012 - 2014. Four years later he is hitting .200 for the Marines.

Francisco Peguero (OF) - He has spent his first year in the minors hitting .295 with three homeruns.

Dae-Ho Lee on Fire

April 20th, 2018

Though his team the Lotte Giants are mired in last place, Dae-Ho Lee is hoping to extricate them from that position. There is probably no hotter hitter in baseball than Lee. In his last five games Lee is 15-20 with 6 homeruns, 2 2Bs and 16 RBIs. In three of his last four games he has slugged two homeruns. The Giants have won three of those five games.

Lee had a stint with the Mariners back in 2016, hitting 14 homeruns but only batting .253. At 6′4″ and 250 pounds his mobility at first base was limited. Baseball reference had his defense in the negative as far as his number of runs saved. The Mariners felt his offensive production was not enough to justify his defensive struggles at first base. The following year he returned to Korea where he hit 34 homeruns and drove in 111 runs. For his career he now has 266 homeruns in the KBO, 98 in Japan and 14 in the major leagues. He could hit the 400 homerun club after the end of this year, making him the only player to achieve that goal playing professionally in three different countries.

MLB Salary Rankings

April 18th, 2018

Myworld has ranked the teams from highest to lowest salaries, identifying any players with a contract of more than $20 million per year. With the lack of activity in the free agent market last year, teams may be getting wiser to signing older, veteran players to excessive contracts when their production is on its declining years. Information was compiled using Sports Weekly.

1. San Francisco Giants $221 mil (Johnny Cueto $22.7 mil, Buster Posey $22.2)

2. Boston Red Sox $205 mil (David Price $30 mil, J.D. Martinez $23.8, Hanley Ramirez $22.8, Rick Porcello $21.1)

3. Chicago Cubs $182 mil (Jon Lester $27.5 mil, Jason Heyward $26, Yu Darvish $25)

4. Washington Nationals $180 mil (Max Scherzer $22.1 mil, Bryce Harper $21.6)

5. New York Mets $173 mil (Yoenis Cespedes $29 mil, Adrian Gonzalez $22.4)

6. Houston Astros $172 mil (Justin Verlander $28 mil)

7. Los Angeles Angels $171 mil (Mike Trout $34 mil, Albert Pujols $27)

8. Seattle Mariners $164 mil (Felix Hernandez $26.9 mil, Robinson Cano $24)

9. Toronto Blue Jays $161 mil (Josh Donaldson $23 mil, Russell Martin $20, Troy Tulowitski $20)

10. New York Yankees $160.7 mil (Giancarlo Stanton $25 mil, Masahiro Tanaka $22, Jacoby Ellsbury $21.9)

11. Los Angeles Dodgers $157 mil (Clayton Kershaw $34 mil, Matt Kemp $21.5)

12. Baltimore Orioles $148 mil (Chris Davis $21 mil)

13. St. Louis Cardinals $147 mil (Yadier Molina $22 mil)

14. Colorado Rockies $139 mil (Ian Desmond $22 mil)

15. Cleveland Indians $137 mil - none

16. Minnesota Twins $130 mil (Joe Mauer $23 mil)

17. Texas Rangers $129 mil ( Cole Hamels $22.5 mil, Shin-Soo Chjoo $20)

18. Arizona Diamondbacks $116 mil (Zack Greinke $32 mil)

19. Kansas City Royals $115 mil (Alex Grodon $21 mil)

20. Detroit Tigers $110 mil (Miguel Cabrera $30 mil, Jordan Zimmerman $24)

21. Cincinnati Reds $100 mil (Joey Votto $25 mil, Homer Bailey $21)

22. Philadelphia Phillies $92 mil (Jake Arrieta $30 mil)

23. Milwaukee Brewers $91 mil - none

24. Chicago White Sox $86 mil (James Shields $21.3 mil)

25. Atlanta Braves $84 mil (Freddy Freeman $21.4 mil)

26. Pittsburgh Pirates $84 mil - None

27. Miami Marlins $82 mil - None

28 San Diego Padres $74 mil (Eric Hosmer $21.6 mil)

29. Tampa Bay Rays $69.6 mil - none

30. Oakland Athletics $62.6 mil - none

Top Australian Prospects

April 17th, 2018

It has become more difficult to find Aussie prospects in the minor leagues. The distance and the influx of a wave of Cubans makes the cost/benefit of scouting there and then signing players unattractive. Plus for the Aussie, to play baseball in the United States for minimal salary and the difficulty in achieving major league success is not a career enhancer. The only Aussie major leaguers are pitchers, Peter Moylan, Warwick Saupold and Liam Hendrick. Myworld identified Saupold as a prospect to watch before the Tigers signed him when we saw him pitch in Tawian for the Perth Heat team a number of years ago. He is one player who has graduated from the list last year. So below are the top ten Australian prospects in the minor leagues. From what we could find there are not much more than ten Aussie players in the minor leagues.

1. Aaron Whitefield OF (Twins) - He’s an athlete. Defensively he may already be ready for the major leagues. Like Saupold he is a late starter to baseball, having spent most of his youth playing softball. His hitting is a bit raw, but does show some power with 11 homeruns last year. Pitch recognition is an issue with 118 whiffs in 116 games. Even when he makes contact it isn’t barrel of the bat on ball contact. Improved recognition of pitches will result in increased production. The speed is there to play center but the arm is best suited for left. He will begin the 2018 season in High A.

2. Lewis Thorpe LHP (Twins) - Tommy John surgery forced him to miss two seasons (2015 and 2016) after signing in 2012. He made a nice comeback last year finishing with a 2.69 ERA in High A, striking out 84 in 77 innings and limiting the opposition to a .225 average. For an Aussie he throws a hard fastball that creaked into the high 90s prior to his surgery but now sits in the low 90s. If he can get that velocity back he has a greater shot of seeing the major leagues. His secondary pitches are average and should allow him to stay in the rotation. He will begin the 2018 season in AA. If his fastball returns to pre surgery velocity he could see some time with the Twins by mid-season, though the Twins will still be mindful of his pitch count.

3. Alex Wells LHP (Orioles) - Not many pitchers had a string of success like Wells. In July Wells went five starts covering 31 innings in which he did not allow a run. He finished the season with a 2.38 ERA with the opposition hitting just .222 off him. His stuff will not overwhelm you with a fastball that is lucky to break 90. Command of his pitches and throwing them to the corners of the plate is what retires hitters. Last year Alex only walked 10 hitters in 140 innings. Whether that success will continue as he rises through the minor leagues is open to question. The first test will be in High A where his first two starts his ERA sits at 1.74 and the opposition hit him at a .150 rate.

4. Lachlan Wells LHP (Twins) - The Twin brother of Alex. His stuff is just as underwhelming as Alex, but he did not have the same success. He walks a few more hitters and gives up a few more hits, but he also pitched one level higher than Alex at High A. Where Alex won 11 games Lachlan lost 10. His opposition batting average was .243. He began the season on the disabled list, but when he is healthy he could start the season in AA.

5. Robbie Perkins C (Rockies) - The bat is a little light with a .201 career minor league average and a .313 slugging. His arm is what keeps him percolating in the minor leagues. Last year he threw out 19 of the 36 baserunners who attempted to steal against him. Unless his bat improves his best hope for him is to make it as a back up. Last year he did hit .271 in a 22 game stretch in the California League.

6. Todd Van Steensel RHP (Twins) - At 27 years of age he has advanced beyond what is normally considered a prospect. This is his seventh year in the minor leagues. Except for the first two years, they have all been spent in the bullpen. Last year his 1.38 ERA in AA gave the Twins motivation to sign him. He has returned to AA this year and if he can replicate his 2017 season he could see a callup to the big leagues.

7. Jon Kennedy LHP (Braves) - Jon has got height (6′5″) with a lefthanded arm that can throw in the low 90s. Of his 62 appearances only one has appeared as a starter. It would be better if he could get lefthanded hitters out, but his opposition average against lefties (.263) was about the same as righties (.261). He also pitches in the Braves organization, which has a surplus of quality starting pitchers. Many of them will have to settle for bullpen duty if they don’t make the rotation, squeezing out less qualified bullpen pitchers like Kennedy. The 2018 season has seen Jon start it in High A where he has yet to give up a run in four appearances.

8. Daniel McGrath LHP (Red Sxo) - His fastball lacks velocity and he was tagged last year for a .295 opposition average. He also struggles to find the plate with 51 walks in just 85 innings. The Red Sox have moved him to the bullpen where the hope is that shorter spurts will lead to greater success.

9. Zac Shepherd 3B (Tigers) - Myworld was once high on his power. Lack of pitch recognition has resulted in lots of swings and misses (171 whiffs in 2017) and low batting averages. His power is also reduced (.318 slugging) because of lack of barrel on the ball contact. This is his fifth season in minor league baseball where his .219 average has not allowed him to surpass A ball.

10. Sam Street RHP (Pirates) - Lots of Sams in Australian baseball. While he was born in Australia, he went to college in the United States, resulting in the Pirates drafting him in the 16th round of the 2014 draft. Of his 111 appearances only one has been a start. His fastball lacks velocity but his career .233 opposition average shows he can still retire hitters. He starts the 2018 season in AA.

Yankees Overflowing with Prospects

April 15th, 2018

This is our last review of the prospects for all 30 teams. The Yankees appear to have changed their focus from spending money on older washed out free agents, to bringing in a glut of young talent who will compete for major league roster time. That young talent has started to pay off with stars like Aaron Judge, Luis Severino and Gary Sanchez. More are on the way.

The best may be Gleyber Torres. Tommy John surgery last year limited him to 55 games. If not for that he could have been starting for the Yankees in April either at second or third base. The position he was groomed at was shortstop but with Didi Gregorius there his best bet for a roster spot is second or third. His bat has the power to play third, though that power has yet to manifest itself in games. Last year he slugged close to .500 at AA and AAA. This year he has started at AAA where he is hitting .389 with a .583 slugging. The Yankees could be calling him up before April turns to May.

Miguel Andujar is already up with the Yankees. He has more power than Torres but may not hit for as high an average. Last year he tore through AA and AAA hitting over .300 at each level with a .571 batting average in a September callup with the Yankees. His defensive footwork at third is still a bit shaky. Last year his 16 homeruns were a career high. Migraines for Brandon Drury gave Andujar an opportunity to play with the Yankees. So far it has been a struggle (.156). If he continues to struggle expect Torres to be called up to take his place at third.

Thairo Estrada may be best used in a utility role with all the talent the Yankees have in the infield. He doesn’t show a lot of power, but does have the ability to get on base with a .301 average last year at AA and a .353 OBA. He has the tools to play short, but they won’t be enough to unseat Didi. During the offseason he went back home to Venezuela where he was shot in the hip. This put him on the disabled list to start the 2018 season. He should start the season in AAA once he is healthy.

In the outfield the Haitian born Esteven Florial has an abundance of tools. His speed allows him to cover a lot of ground in centerfield. It has yet to accumulate in stolen bases, but allows him to take the extra base. Last year the power was there to hit 13 homeruns. An inability to make consistent contact (148 whiffs in 110 games) could prevent him from hitting for a high average. Last year he had a break out year hitting close to .300 at the Low and High A levels. This year the Yankees are repeating him at the High A level with a quick promotion to AA if he achieves early success.

Billy McKinney was a first round pick of the Athletics in 2013. He’s bounced around between the Cubs and Yankees, coming to the Yankees as part of the Aroldis Chapman trade. He is not blessed with a lot of tools. His power may be a bit short for a corner and his arm could be best suited for left. But he has a lefthanded bat that was able to produce 16 homeruns last year between AA and AAA. The Yankees are loaded with talented outfielders, so if McKinney wants to play on the major league club he may have to move to first base.

Pitching is the Yankees strength and they have a boat load of arms. It starts with Justus Sheffield who was a first round pick of Cleveland in 2013, who was acquired by the Yankees for another possible closer Andrew Miller. Sheffield is not tall at 6′0″ but he is left handed and that is not such a big deal. His fastball comes in hard at the mid-90s, excellent for a LHer and a slider which is his strikeout pitch. The Yankees expect Justus will be the first starter called up if the Yankees need to seek help at that position. In the meantime he is in AAA where he has a 3.60 ERA after two starts.

Chance Adams is another pitcher at AAA with an early callup possibility. At 6′1″ he is a smallish righthanded pitcher but he can still hum his fastball to hit the mid-90s, mostly sitting at 91-93. A good slider and solid command get bats to avoid sold contact. He was unhittable in AA with a 1.03 ERA in six starts and a .183 opposition average. A promotion to AAA saw his ERA rise (2.89) while his opposition average remained pretty impressive (.197).

At the lower levels the Yankees have three pitchers who can rattle the radars in the triple digits. Albert Abreu runs his fastball into the mid-to high 90s, hitting the radar in triple digits. His secondary pitches are above average with good command to get it over the plate. Luis Medina also sits in the upper 90s but has blessed the radars with 102 readings. His secondary pitches are also good but his command is shaky. Domingo Acevedo is another triple digit gem, sitting in the high 90s with a good change to tone up the velocity. Domingo has started the season in AA where he has shown shaky command.

At 6′8″ Frecier Perez brings an intimidating frame. The Yankees only shelled out $100,000 to sign him but the Dominican is waltzing through the minor leagues. His fastball resides in the mid-90s with decent secondary pitches and shaky command. He has started the season in High A where his command (6 walks in 8 innings) has seen his ERA rocket to 8.64 in his first two starts.

Dillon Tate (2014) and Clarke Schmidt (2017) are first rounders who fall down the prospect list. Tate was a first rounder for the Rangers but was acquired by the Yankees in the Carlos Beltran trade. He has a good arm that can hit the mid-90s but his results have not been awe inspiring. Clarke had Tommy John surgery prior to being drafted so will probably not pitch in 2018. At 6′1″ he is not a big pitcher for a righthander.

European Tournaments

April 13th, 2018

Going to Europe and want to watch some baseball. Below is a list of adult tournaments in Europe you can check out to see the level of baseball played there. Hopefully I’ve identified the correct countries.

C.E.B Cup - Ostrava Czech Republic (June 5th - 9th)

Champions Cup - Rotterdam, Netherlands (June 6th - 10th)

Federations Cup - Brasschaat, Belgium (June 11-16)

Federations Cup Qualifier Pool 1 - Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria (June 12-17)

Federations Cup Qualifier Pool 2 - Rybnik, Poland (June 12-17)

Playoff European Championship A Pool - Wiener Neustadt, Austria (June 29th - July 1)

European Championship C Pool 1 - Ashbourne, Ireland (July 23-28)

European Championship C Pool 2 - Kropyvnytskyi, Ukraine (July 23-28)

European Championship Qualifier u 23 - Bratislava, Slovakia (August 6 - 12)

Super 6 - Hoofddorp, Netherlands (September 18-23)

Minor League Heat

April 12th, 2018

Baseball America compiled a list of those pitchers who were able to hit 100 mile per hour on the radar gun. Below is the list of those pitchers and which teams they played for. Pittsburgh has the most pitchers to hit 100 plus. It should be noted that a couple of these pitchers have already been designated for assignment this year (Jairo Labourt, Mauricio Cabrera, Jesus Liranzo, Anthony Gose and Bryan Ellington). Throwing in the triple digits does not guarantee success.

1. Angels (None)

2. Astros (Jorge Alcala)

3. Athletics (Wandisson Charles, Jairo Labourt, Frankie Montas and A.J. Puk)

4. Blue Jays (Nate Pearson)

5. Braves (Mauricio Cabrera, Luz Gohara and Jose Ramirez

6. Brewers (none)

7. Cardinals (Conner Greene and Jordan Hicks)

8. Cubs (Justin Hancock, Dillon Maples and James Norwood)

9. Diamondbacks (Jhoan Duran and Rubby de la Rosa)

10. Dodgers (Yadier Alvarez, Walker Buehler and Tony Gonsolin)

11. Giants (Melvin Adon, Julian Fernandez, Rodolfo Martinez and Madison Younginer)

12. Indians (none)

13. Mariners (Dan Altavilla)

14. Marlins (Sandy Alcantara, Brian Ellington, Tayron Guerrero and Chad Smith)

15. Mets (Tyler Bashlor and GErson Bautista)

16. Nationals (Jimmy Cordero)

17. Orioles (Jesus Liranzo and Tanner Scott

18. Padres (Miguel Diaz, Andres Munoz, Gerardo Reyes, Trey Wingenter)

19. Phillies (Sixto Sanchez)

20. Pirates (Jake Brentz, Nick Burdi, Angel Guzman, Tyler Glasnow, Geoff Hartlieb, Johnny Hellweg, Mitch Keller, Damian Magnifico, Dovydas Neverauskas)

21. Rangers (Anthony Gose, C.D. Pelham, Connor Sadzeck)

22. Rays (Jose Alvarado, Diego Castillo, Ian Gibaut, Ryne Stanek)

23. Reds (Luis Castillo, Hunter Greene, Ariel Hernandez, Tanner Rainey)

24. Red Sox (none)

25. Rockies (Yency Almonte, Jairo Diaz, Carlos Estevez, Luis Garcia, Scott Oberg, Riley Pint)

26. Royals (Josh Staumont)

27. Tigers (Jason Foley, Wladimir Pinto and Adam Ravenelle)

28. Twins (Brusdar Graterol, Tyler Kinley and Fernando Romero)

29. White Sox (Zack Burdi, Victor Diaz, Michael Kopech, Reynaldo Lopez, Bruce Rondon and Thyago Vieira)

30. Yankees (Albert Abreu, Cale Coshow, Jorge Guzman and Luis Medina

Colabello to play in Italy

April 11th, 2018

Chris Colabello played for Italy in two World Baseball Classics in 2013 and 2017. Now he will be playing in the Italian League for T&A San Marino. Last year he played in the minor leagues after being a surprise pickup from the Independent League to play in the major leagues from 2013 to 2016. Colabello’s father played in Italy for seven years, even pitching for Italy in the 1984 Olympics.

Colabello played seven seasons in the Can-Am League before signing with the Twins in 2012 and playing in their minor league system. He got a surprise promotion to the Twins in the 2013 season but after hitting .352 in the AAA minor leagues struggled with the Twins for a .192 average. This did not prevent a team from the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) attempt to sign him.

His 2014 season was not much better as he hit just .229 for the year, but did break the club record for most RBIs in April with 26. The Blue Jays picked him up on waivers for the 2015 season where he raked for a .321 average and 15 homeruns. The 2016 season saw his fairy tale career come crashing to a close when he was suspended 80 games for the use of performance enhancing drugs. He was only hitting .069 at the time and never returned to major league baseball.

White Sox Top Heavy with Prospects

April 3rd, 2018

According to myworld and many other sources, the White Sox have the top prospects in the major leagues. Some of those prospects such as Yoan Moncada, Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito have already graduated to the major leagues. Others will have graduated before the 2018 season ends. What sets them apart is the prospects are both in pitching and offense, though it is with the pitching staff that has scouts eyes sparkle.

The biggest jewel is Michael Kopech, who throws perhaps the hardest fastball in baseball. The character flaws have stayed quiet for the last couple years. Now he just has to learn to find the plate more consistently. His fastball crosses that plate in the triple digits, hitting 103 but sits in the high 90s. A quality slider and decent change give him the three pitches needed to be a starter. The 2014 first round pick tends to walk a hitter every other inning and that has usually come back to bite him. Hitters in AA only batted .184 against him, but he walked almost as many batters (60) as he gave up hits (74). He will start the season in AAA with a strong possibility of seeing major league time this year.

Alec Hansen is one of those tall and lanky pitchers (6′7″) that is all arms as he comes to the plate. His fastball marches to the plate in the mid-90s and as he matures he could hit the high 90s with consistency. He throws two quality breaking pitches, with the curve rated better than a slider and a still developing change. The height and the lanky limbs give him challenges finding a consistent delivery, which lead to control issues, the one nick scouts can cast against him. In 24 starts in A ball hitters bats fizzled at a .205 clip. He had a bit of a rough patch in AA in his two starts, which should be where he begins his 2018 season.

With Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito graduating to the major league pitching staff, Dane Dunning is the lone pitcher from the trio acquired in the Adam Eaton trade with the Nationals still left in the minor leagues. The first round 2016 pick of the Nationals has a good frame for pitching (6′4″) that generates fastballs at 93-96. His secondary pitches (slider and change) are good enough to fit in the middle of the rotation and his command of his pitches is better than Kopech and Hansen. He was a little more hittable in the Carolina League (.250 average) but he did get his share of swings and misses (136 whiffs in 118 innings). He hopes to repeat his success in AA next year and join Lopez and Giolito in the rotation by mid-season 2019.

The Cubs seemed to have given up on their hardest thrower Dylan Cease when they needed pitching, trading him to the White Sox in the Jose Quintana trade. His fastball has hit triple digits but sits between 93 and 97. Quality secondary pitches and command are a problem for Cease, which may make it best for him to settle in the bullpen. His curveball is a nice pitch but his change is still a work in progress. Cease will also be pitching in AA giving that Birmingham pitching staff a loaded rotation.

Carson Fulmer and Ian Clarkin are both pitchers worth mentioning since they were first round picks. Carson was selected by the White Sox in 2015 but he has struggled to retire hitters. Last year in AAA he strung together a 5.79 ERA with the opposition hitting him at a .268 clip. He doesn’t miss bats, with a low 90s fastball that has trouble finding the plate. He did better with the White Sox (3.86 ERA) but 13 walks in 23.1 innings will gray many a manager. Ian was drafted by the Yankees in the first round of the 2013 draft, selected after Aaron Judge. He was acquired by the White Sox in the Todd Frazier deal. Ian lacks overpowering stuff and is still trying to figure it out in A ball. He could fit in the back end of the rotation but time is running out for Ian.

Bullpen fodder is Brazillian Thyago Viera. He throws in the triple digits but the White Sox were able to purchase him from the Mariners for international bonus money. Command can be a problem and hitters are able to make good contact off him despite the heat he throws on his fastball. If he has success in AAA he could be on the roller coaster with the White Sox, pitching in the major leagues to provide depth in the bullpen.

Eloy Jimenez is the White Sox top hitter. A minor injury will delay the start of his 2018 season in AA. The power is there for him to hit 30 plus homers and hit in the neighborhood north of .300. The Dominican may be wound a little tight because injuries last year limited him to 88 games. Defense is not his strong suit. Below average speed and arm will restrict him to left field. If he can dominate in AA the White Sox could give him a September callup.

Luis Robert may not have as much power as Eloy but he could be the more complete player. His speed will allow him to patrol center with an arm strong enough to fit into right. The White Sox paid the Cuban a $26 million bonus. In his last year in the Naccional Series in Cuba he was leading the league in hitting, homeruns and RBIs as a 19 year old when he departed for the United States mid-season. This will be his first season in the United States, possibly starting the season in Low A. He dominated last year in the Dominican Summer League with a 1.027 OPS in 28 games.

A third outfielder is Blake Rutherford, who was the Yankees first round pick in 2016. A crowded outfield there made him available to the White Sox in the Todd Frazier deal. Despite a 6′3″ frame his power has been a little disappointing. His average speed will limit him to a corner where teams expect some pop. The White Sox hope he’ll find some pop in his bat at High A.

The White Sox 2017 number one pick Jake Burger is a hitting machine. There are some questions about his other tools. An Achilles injury will delay his season until 2019. The White Sox will start him at third base, but there could be an eventual move to first. His bat needs to produce in order for him to play. In rookie ball last year he hit .271 with four homeruns.

Charlie Tilson was supposed to be the White Sox centerfielder as a rookie last year but a hamstring injury ended his season. He has good speed but little power and could find himself turning into a fourth outfielder with the arrivals of Jimenez and Roberts. The White Sox will start him in AAA and he could see the major leagues by mid-season.