Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

AL Central Baseball America Minor League All Stars

Sunday, December 1st, 2019

These are the All Stars selected by Baseball America for each of the classifications. They may not be the best prospects but they had some pretty good years. Below is the list of AL Central All Stars.

Chicago White Sox

Luis Robert (OF/AAA) - This Cuban will be one of the top five prospects in minor league baseball. He has all the tools, the speed to play center and create havoc on the basepaths, the arm to play right and the bat to hit for average and power. He could use better patience at the plate. His 28/129 walk to whiff ratio could get exploited by major league pitchers. Last year he hit .328 with 32 homeruns and 92 RBIs at three different levels.

Avery Weems (LHP/SS) - The sixth round pick from the 2019 draft out of Arizona put up some pretty dominating numbers, with a 2.09 ERA in 14 starts and 74 whiffs in 60 innings. Only one hitter slugged a homer off him as he is a ground ball machine. His fastball does not have great velocity but in this spin driven world he has the spin on the ball that makes it difficult to make contact.

Cleveland Indians

Nolan Jones (3B/High A) - The second round 2016 pick has the potential to develop some significant power. He only slugged .425 at High A but when promoted to AA it rose to .466. It is his plate discipline that is most impressive with OBAs of .435 and .370. His defense needs some improvement and because of his lack of speed the outfield would be a liability. So the Indians hope he can make it at third, otherwise a move to first would test his power.

Will Benson (DH/Low A) - At 6′5 the first round 2014 pick can generate some impressive power, including hitting four homeruns in one game. Last year he hit 18 homeruns in Low A for a .604 slugging. A promotion to High A resulted in some struggles (.189) that a little more plate discipline would improve. Last year he struck out 151 times in 123 games. His defense is best suited for the corners, with the arm to fit in right field. For a player drafted in 2014 and only advancing to High A is concerning.

Bryan Lavastida (C/SS) - The 15th round pick of 2018 displayed a solid bat last year with a .335 average. In his two years of minor league ball he is hitting .319. Drafted out of junior college and at 20 years old he may have been a bit too advanced for another season of short season ball. He has the potential to be a solid defensive catcher and is bilingual, a good trait for a catcher.

Ethan Hankins (RHP/SS) - A shoulder injury dropped him to the 35th player selected in the 2018 draft. He dominated at the New York Penn League (1.40 ERA) with a fastball that can hit the high 90s but sits at the mid-90s. After a promotion to Low A he got tagged around a bit (4.64 ERA) his opposition average going from .178 to .250. His breaking pitches need to improve so hitters do not sit on his fastball.

Detroit Tigers

Matt Manning (RHP/AA) - The Tigers 2016 number one pick is not even their top pitching prospect (Casey Mize). He did have a dominating season in AA with a 2.56 ERA, 148 whiffs in 133 innings and a .192 opposition average. At 6′6″ he is a skyscraper with a mid-90s fastball. He just needs to enhance his change and he could become an ace.

Drew Carlton (RHP/AA) - Relief pitchers drafted in the 32nd round as Drew was in 2017 are always suspect. The Tigers Erie rotation was filled with top ten prospects and who was asked to close the games but a player not on the Tigers prospect list. He saved 19 games, had a 1.46 ERA and limited the opposition to a .200 average. Since being drafted the Seminole has a career ERA of 1.74. Joe Jimenez had 30 saves in 2016 in the minor leagues so achieving saves does not guarantee major league success.

Tarik Skubal (LHP/AA) - One of the biggest surprises for the Tigers this year. The 9th round 2018 pick finished with a 2.13 ERA in AA, limiting the opposition to a .168 average and whiffing 82 in 42 innings, more dominating than he was in High A (2.58). His fastball can hit 97 but sits in the lower reaches of the mid-90s, plenty of juice for a lefthander. His improvement in his change would establish himself in the major leagues.

Kansas City Royals

Kris Bubic (LHP/High) - The supplemental first round pick in the 2018 draft out of Stanford posted a 2.30 ERA at High A. He also struck out a whisker more than a batter per inning and limited the opposition to a .215 average. He did all this with a fastball in the low 90s, but with a whacky delivery and effective change that made him tough to hit.

Adrian Alcantara (RHP/SS) - The Dominican was hard to hit with a .155 opposition average. This was an improvement from last year (.290). The twenty year old will face a key season next year, perhaps debuting at full season Low A.

Minnesota Twins

Devin Smeltzer (LHP/AAA) - The fifth round 2016 pick will not wow you with his tools but he does throw left handed and showed he could get hitters out in the rough and tumble AAA. His 3.63 ERA would not be so elevated if he did not give up 14 homeruns in just 74 innings. He showed enough to make his debut with the Twins for six major league starts.

Lewin Diaz (1B/High A) - The Twins traded Lewin to the Marlins mid-season for some relief help. Lewin mashed 27 homeruns. He hit 13 of those homeruns in High A with a .290 average and a .533 slugging percentage while with the Twins. At 6′4″ he has the length to deliver power. For a big man he makes good contact but his defense needs improvement if he does not want to spend most of his time at DH.

Trevor Larmach (OF/High A) - The 2018 first round pick hit for a nice average in the Florida State League (.316) and showed good gap power with 26 doubles and six homeruns. His lack of speed is not ideal for the outfield but his arm is strong enough for right field. A move to first base would require a bit more juice in the bat.

Cody Laweryson (RHP/SS) - The 14th round pick in the 2019 draft had a good professional debut with a 1.57 ERA in seven starts. The opposition could only hit him at a .168 clip. In one of his last starts he struck out 15 batters in six innings. At 6′4″ he relies on his fastball/change combination to keep hitters off balance. Next year in full season will be key to see if he can replicate those numbers.

Laos Opens First Baseball Stadium

Friday, November 29th, 2019

Baseball appears to be spreading in Asia. Laos started playing baseball in 2012. The first field for practice was a car park in Vientiane. Soon they will have their own stadium (Sapphavisa) and they will begin playing a league there from November 16 to January 11. The stadium will not officially open until December so it is unclear where they will be playing games before that. Car parks?

The league is supported by South Korea’s Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). Je Sung-uk, who introduced baseball to Laos in 2012 and Lee Man-soo have been instrumental in getting the league started. Lee was a catcher in the KBO, the Korean professional league.

The Laos Baseball Federation was founded in 2018. Khamphay Sisavanh is their current president. Lee is the Vice President. You can read more at the WBSC website (wbsc.org.)

Top Lefthanded Pitching Prospects in the Minor Leagues

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

Below are myworld’s top ten lefthanded pitching prospects in the minor leagues. In the past lefthanders were not noted for their blazing fastball, but this group has a couple arms that can throw heat. Three teams account for six of the ten lefthanders.

1. MacKenzie Gore (Padres) - He may be the best minor league pitching prospect in baseball, not just the best lefthander. The Padres made him the third pick of the 2017 draft. He dominated that year in seven starts, limiting opponents to a .184 average with 14.3 whiffs per nine innings. The 2018 season was plagued by blister problems which prevented him from gripping the ball. That did not seem to be a problem last year as he dominated the California League (1.02 ERA and .137 average). A promotion to AA saw a few more struggles (4.15 ERA) but he is ready to tackle that level again in 2020. Gore is not a flame thrower with a fastball that sits on the upper edges of the low 90s. It is his ability to throw three above average secondary pitches with excellent command that sets him apart from the other pitchers. He could see some time with the Padres next year if the Padres feel they need him to fuel a playoff appearance. If no playoffs are in sight there is no incentive for the team to promote Gore too early.

2. Jesus Luzardo (Athletics) - The Nationals made Jesus their third round pick in 2016. They traded him and Blake Treinen to the Athletics in a desperate call for bullpen help, acquiring Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle. Ironic that Treinen became one of the best relievers in baseball in 2018. Jesus was also a student from Parkland High, which was subject to a mass shooting a year after he left. A left shoulder strain delayed the start of his 2019 season and limited him to just 11 minor league appearances. He did well enough that he got to appear in relief in six major league games, limiting hitters to a .119 average. Luzardo throws heat, hitting the high 90s with his fastball but sitting in the mid-90s. His secondary stuff is not as strong as Gore, but he does have command of his pitches, which sometimes is half the battle. He could compete for a spot in the starting rotation in 2020 but if he fails to make it expect to see him before mid-season. He did have Tommy John surgery prior to the draft back in 2016, which was one of the reasons he dropped to the third round. He also became the first player born in Peru to play in the major leagues.

3. A.J. Puk (Athletics) - The Athletics have two of the best lefthanded pitchers in baseball. Puk was drafted by the Athletics in the first round of the 2016 draft. A good spring in 2018 appeared to win him a spot in the Athletics rotation but a torn UCL in spring resulted in Tommy John surgery and an absence from the 2018 season. He got a late start to the 2019 season and the Athletics used him mostly out of the bullpen. Control issues left his minor league ERA high (4.97) but the Athletics saw enough to promote him to the major league club where it dropped to 3.18. Puk may be best in the bullpen with a fastball that easily hits the high 90s and a nasty slider. He is still working on a consistent third pitch and his command is spotty, which leaves a starting rotation spot up in the air unless he can improve those skills. Expect him to make the Athletics in 2020, either in their rotation or as a setup part time closer.

4. Brendan McKay (Rays) - The Rays drafted McKay with the fourth pick in the 2017 draft with the intent of making him a two way player. In college he was primarily a hitter that was used as a starter, winning the Golden Spikes award because of his bat (.341, 18, 57), but also showing some promise with the arm (11-3, 2.56). When he got to the Rays his arm soon surpassed his bat, resulting in a quick promotion to the majors. While they may use him as a DH it appears McKay will be needed most in the starting rotation. He dominated in the minor leagues in 13 starts (1.10 ERA) last year but not so much in the majors in 11 starts (5.14 ERA). His bat was absent most of the year (.200, .629 OPS). McKay has excellent command of his pitches, with a fastball that sits just below 95 and quality secondary pitches that should get better the more he pitches. Expect him to be in the starting rotation for the Rays in 2020.

5. D.L. Hall (Orioles) - The Orioles had a number of exceptional performances from their starting pitchers last year in the minor leagues. Hall was at the top of that list. The 2017 first round pick was a strikeout machine, whiffing 116 hitters in just 80.2 innings in High A. The opposition only hit .189 off him. The fastball screams across the plate with a combination of heat and movement, making it a tough pitch to make solid contact. He can supplement that heat with a solid changeup that could still use some improvement in consistency. The big issue is finding the plate. Last year he walked 54 batters in 80.2 innings. This left his ERA at a high 3.46 and kept his innings count low. Next year Hall should see AA Bowie with an opportunity to pitch for the Orioles in 2021.

6. Brailyn Marquez (Cubs) - The Cubs are always in search of pitching, but they may have found an arm they signed out of the Dominican Republic back in 2015 for $600,000. He stands at 6′4″ and his fastball was clocked at 99 last year. Last year was his first season in full season ball and he finished the season with lots of whiffs (128 in 103.2 innings) and a low opposition batting averages (.224). His secondary pitches need improvement and he needs to find the plate more, last year walking almost one hitter every two innings. Next year he should repeat high A with a late season promotion to AA. His debut with Cubs should be sometime late in 2021.

7. Tarik Skubal (Tigers) - The Tigers traded for Franklin Perez and have three starting pitchers who were first round picks that they hope will eventually see the rotation. Tarik was a ninth round pick in 2018 that has come out of nowhere to put his name in the hat. Myworld would be surprised if anyone put him on a top 30 prospect list after he was drafted. Last year he was one of the Tigers best pitchers, striking out 179 hitters in 122.2 innings and limiting the opposition to a .196 average. This now puts him ahead in the depth chart of a few number one draft picks. His fastball can go north of 95 but it generally sits at the southern range with lots of late life that makes him difficult to hit. His curveball is his swing and miss pitch, but his change needs to gain more consistency if he wants to continue to fool hitters as he climbs the minor league ladder. Last year he pitched well in AA so that could portend a major league opportunity in 2020. The Tigers have a couple pitchers who could get an opportunity to pitch before Tarik so he may have to wait until 2021.

8. Adrian Morejon (Padres) - Adrian was the ace of the Cuban Under 15 rotation when they won the gold medal back in 2014. It netted him the MVP award. Two years later, as a 16 year old, he had already defected to the United States. The Padres whipped out a $11 million bonus to sign him. Adrian has not dominated at the minor league level, despite having a fastball that registers between 93-97. He is only 20 years old and pitching in AA so maturing is still an issue. His large body frame (6′1″, 210) has struggled to stay healthy, which has prevented him from pitching the innings he needs to refine his pitches. Despite his young age, the Padres promoted him to the major leagues, but he had little success (10.13 ERA and .385 opposition average in 8 innings). The Padres should start him at AAA next year, watch his innings count and if he stays healthy and has success promote him mid-season. He won’t be the ace of a rotation like he was for his 15 and under team, but he will make a solid mid-rotation starter.

9. Justus Sheffield (Mariners) - Justus has bounced around. The Indians drafted him in the first round in 2014, traded him to the Yankees for Andrew Miller in 2016. The Yankees had him packing his bags again after the 2018 season, trading him to Seattle for James Paxton. Sheffield had a good minor league season in 2018 resulting in a promotion to the Yankees in September. Last year he struggled to throw strikes, which resulted in a number of homerun balls (12) and walks (41) in his 55 innings of work in AAA. A demotion to AA saw his numbers improve and gave the Mariners a reason to promote him to their big league club. Justus throws in the mid -90s and gets swings and misses with his slider. Throwing strikes has been his biggest challenge. Expect him to compete for a starting rotation spot in 2020.

10. Matthew Liberatore (Rays) - The 2018 first round pick of the Rays does not have a heater that spits fire as it crosses the plate. He sits in the low 90s but can touch the mid-90s if he reaches back and slings it. He stands at 6′5″ so he has an intimidating plane when he stands on the mound. His curveball is his best pitch, garnering most of his swings and misses. He also shows a quality changeup that seems to make his fastball show more carry as it crosses the plate. In his first full season Matthew pitched well in low A, putting together a 3.10 ERA in 15 starts. He generates a lot of ground balls, coughing up only two long balls in his 78.1 innings of work. Next year the Rays will start him at High A with a promotion to AA more likely in 2021. Rays fans may see him as a September callup in 2021,

Top Ten Centerfield Prospects

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

These are the players that will cover the ground east and west, north and south. Any players included in the top ten leftfielders or rightfielders are not included here.

1. Luis Robert (White Sox) - As an 18 year old Luis dominated the diluted Cuban professional league for half a season before defecting, recognizing there were greater treasures to the north. The White Sox validated that by signing him to a $26 million bonus in 2017, one of the signings that forced major league baseball to put a hard cap on international signing bonuses. Robert has some impressive tools. His one weak area is an average arm, otherwise he would be a five tool superstar. He also was a bit injury prone his first season in the states, limiting him to just 48 games. During that time he failed to hit a homerun in 180 at bats. That changed the next year when his health allowed him to play 122 games, slugging 32 homeruns and hitting .328. He may one of the top five minor league prospects in baseball. He handled AAA pretty easily as a 22 year old. Expect him to be with the White Sox in 2020.

2. Jo Adell (Angels) - Jo was a first round pick of the Angels in 2017. He is currently playing for the United States national team in the Premier 12, competing against professional players from other countries. This could test his readiness to play in the major leagues. It will also make up for games he missed last year due to injuries. Jo did work his way up to AAA where he hit just .264. The five tools are there to be an impact player. Filling the centerfield spot currently occupied by Mike Trout could be a stretch, but the arm is there to move to right field where he would show off gold glove defensive tools. He should make his debut sometime in mid-2020 after he tunes up his tools a bit more in AAA.

3. Christian Pache (Braves) - Christian was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. The glove shows gold glove potential, with sprinter’s speed to cover lots of real estate. The bat is a bit of a question mark, with a poor walk to whiff ratio. Last year he was 43/122. Major league pitchers could exploit that inability to wait for good pitches to hit. The power has increased with 36 doubles and 12 homeruns. Despite his speed he does not steal a lot of bases. While the arm is plenty good for right, the bat does not quite fit there. Major league teams prefer players with a little more pop there. Christian could be ready for a major league callup next year, especially if the Braves want to shore up their outfield defense.

4. Drew Waters (Braves) - Drew was a second round pick in 2017. His tools also fit for centerfield, though his speed falls short of Pache. Despite his slower speed he seems to be a bit more aggressive stealing bases with 23 in 2018 and 16 last year. His arm is not as strong as Pache, but he puts enough velocity on the ball to have the ability to shift to right field defensively. Like Pache, his power is limited to the gaps. Last year he hit 40 doubles and 9 triples with just seven balls leaving the yard. Eventually, the Braves may have to trade one of the two centerfield prospects for help in other areas. Drew is ready to make his major league debut next year, but needs to improve his ability to make contact. Last year he struck out 164 times in just 134 games, a downgrade from his ability to make contact in 2018.

5. Taylor Trammell (Padres) - The Reds drafted Trammell with the 35th pick in 2016. He won MVP honors in the 2018 Future’s game, hitting a triple and a homerun. Last year the Reds traded Trammell to the Padres in the middle of the season in a three team trade that got them Trevor Bauer. The speed is there to cover lots of ground in centerfield. The arm may be a bit short for a move to right. There is some pop in his bat, but last year he struggled to make contact, dropping his average to .234. Entering the 2019 season it was .284. He may need to spend another year in AA to work out the kinks in his bat, but if he finds the zone expect him to find a spot in the Padres outfield next year.

6. Jasson Dominguez (Yankees) - At 16 Jason is a little young. The Yankees signed him for $5.1 million in 2019. Currently he has the speed to play centerfield, but that could change as he fills out. The bat has the potential to hit for power and the arm will easily fit in right field. Time will tell whether he becomes a star or fades into obscurity. He is about three to four years away from Yankee stadium.

7. Monte Harrison (Marlins) - The Brewers drafted Monte in the second round of the draft in 2014. He was used as bait for the Brewers to entice the Marlins to trade Christian Yelich to them. Harrison has gold glove potential on defense. Last year his season was ended early after a diving catch caused a fracture in his left wrist. What has been holding Monte back from making a major league contribution is his inability to make contact, resulting in low batting averages. If he can improve his contact the speed/power combination could make him a 20/20 player in the major leagues. An injury prevented him from making his major league debut last year. Expect him to make that appearance in 2020.

8. Jordyn Adams (Angels) - Jordyn was the Angels first round pick in 2018. By the time he is ready for the major leagues Mike Trout could have lost enough speed to force a move to a corner. If not, Jordyn may have to move to left field because of a weak arm. The Angels have a surplus of talented outfielders in Brandon Marsh, Jo Adell and Mike Trout. Jordyn has the speed to outrace them all. The big separator is whether his bat will be strong enough to fit in the outfield. He is still about three years away from the major leagues. With his speed and the patience at the plate to take a walk Jordyn could be the ideal leadoff hitter once he makes the major leagues around 2022.

9. Travis Swaggerty (Pirates) - Nobody has more swag than the Pirates first round pick in 2018. Travis helped himself by being one of the better players for Team USA. He may not have the explosive tools as Adams and Pache, but the speed is there to cover ground in center. The bat could also carry enough power to shift to right field. Last year he could only send 9 balls over the fence for a less than inspiring .381 slugging average. That carried him to High A. This makes his major league debut to occur sometime in 2022. Myworld expects his power numbers to reach 30 plus homeruns.

10. Leody Taveras (Rangers) - Leody is another player whose range in the outfield is strong enough to win gold gloves. The Rangers signed him in 2015 for a $2.1 million bonus. While the glove has been there, his bat has been lacking. His young age in each of the leagues he plays in could be a culprit in that. Last year he hit .279 between High A and AA. This is a vast improvement from his batting averages the prior two seasons. There will not be a lot of power in his bat, so sticking in center would be the best thing for him. He is still a couple years away from the major leagues.

United States College Team Battling Japan

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

The United States college national team is in the process of playing a three country series. In North Carolina they won four out of five games against Cuba. The one win for Cuba was the fourth game when they rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth for a 6-5 win. In the four losses the Cuban team was held to five runs while their pitching staff gave up 27 to the United States bats.

The next series for the college national team was in Taiwan against collegians from Taiwan. The United States may have been jet lagged in the opener as they were limited to just one run in the 2-1 loss. The bats came alive the next two games with 12-5 and 10-6 wins. Taiwan salvaged a split of the series winning the final game in 10 innings 7-6.

The United States last series is against Japan. They could not blame jet lag on their 3-0 loss in the opener since they were coming from Taiwan. The United States could only manage four hits in the loss. In the second game Alec Burleson hit a walk off homerun to even the series, winning the second game 3-2. The United States leads the series against Japan 24-18 but they have lost 15 straight series in Japan. While they do have three more games, there are ties in baseball in Japan so the United States need to at least win two games to take the series.

Top Prospects from Bahamas

Sunday, May 12th, 2019

We have not done a top prospect from the Bahamas list because there were not enough prospects to make the list. That has changed with the number of recent signings. There have been six major leaguers from the Bahamas. The first to sign was Andre Rodgers in 1954. The most recent was Antoan Richardson. The ten players below hope to be the seventh major leaguer from the Bahamas. Because many of them are in rookie ball or recently signed myworld has not seen many of these players.

1. Jazz Chisholm SS (Diamondbacks) - Lucius Fox was who everyone was looking at. During that showcase the Diamondbacks liked Jazz. They signed him for just $200,000, much less than what Lucius was asking. Now Jazz appears to be the better prospect. The defensive tools are there to stick at shortstop. The bat could be impactful, with above average power for the position. Last year he slugged 25 homeruns between Low A and High A. This year he has hit 9 homeruns. An inability to make contact could impact his ability to hit for a high average. Last year he struck out 149 times in just 112 games. This year he has struck out 44 times in just 29 games, dropping his average to .184 in AA. If he can get that average up Jazz could see some time in the major leagues. Jazz is one of three players on this list who played for Great Britain in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers, starting at shortstop.

2. Kristian Robinson OF (Diamondbacks) - Two years later the Diamondbacks sign Kristian, but they had to shell out $2.5 million to sign him. He has the five tools to become an impact player. The speed is there to play centerfield while the arm is strong enough to fit in right. The bat has big time power. At 6′3″ he has the frame that could fill out and move him to a corner. Like Chisholm there is a tendency to swing and miss. Last year he struck out 67 times in 57 games but still hit .279 in rookie ball. He has yet to make an appearance in 2019. At 18 years of age he is probably in extended spring training and will see a second year of rookie ball.

3. D’Shawn Knowles OF (Angels) - Imagine finding a prospect and learning he has a twin. The Angels signed D’Shawn in 2017. The Yankees took a flyer on his brother D’Vaughn in 2019. Speed is the big tool for D’Shawn. This could allow him to be a premium centerfielder. His power is limited to the gap, but last year the stroke was solid enough to hit .311 in rookie ball. At 18 years of age Knowles has yet to make an appearance in 2019, showcasing his skills in extended spring until the short season leagues begin in July.

4. Lucius Fox SS (Rays) - He signed with the Giants for $6 million. The Rays traded Matt Moore to acquire him. The biggest impact Lucius can make is with his speed and defense. His bat has been a little slow to progress, especially in the power department where he is lacking. Defensively he needs to gain some consistency in the field. Last year he committed 15 errors in 105 games at shortstop between High A and AA. He also struggled with a .221 average and .298 slugging percentage at AA. No surprise he is repeating at that level this year, where his average is still disappointing (.188) but his OBA has improved (.341). With Wander Franco ahead of him on the depth chart Fox may have to play shortstop for another team if he wants to contribute in the major leagues.

5. Tahnaj Thomas RHP (Pirates) - The first pitcher on this list. The Indians first signed him, paying him a $200,000 bonus and then converted him from a shortstop to a pitcher. The Pirates acquired him last year for Jordan Luplow and Max Moroff. At 6′4″ Thomas has the look of a pitcher, with a fastball that can reach the plate consistently in the low 90s. The pitch that improved his game was the development of his slider, which raised his whiffs per nine innings from 8 to 12.4. He still needs to improve on his change as his third pitch and find the plate more often. It appears he will have a third year in rookie ball. At 19 years of age he needs to make the jump to full season Low A before the year is out.

6. Trent Deveaux OF (Angels) - The Angels signed Trent in 2017 for $1.2 million. It would be an accomplishment that in five years Knowles and Deveaux share the same outfield with Trout. Trent lacks the overall tools of Knowles. His bat has a ways to go, hitting only .199 last year with 68 whiffs in 48 games. He was a sprinter in the Bahamas, so the speed is there to play center. If the bat can develop his game breaking speed could make him a pest in the lineup. He has yet to play this year.

7. Keithron Moss 2B (Rangers) - Moss played in the Dominican Summer League last year, where he hit just .196. The Rangers signed him for $800,000, part of the money they had accumulated for Shohei Ohtani. He is a line drive hitter who preys on the gaps and uses his speed to take the extra base. He is not a big guy, standing 5′11 and 165 so he could mature as he gets older. This should be his first season state side where he will start at one of the rookie level clubs.

8. Chavez Young OF (Blue Jays) - Chavez was born and raised in the Bahamas but went to high school in Florida and Georgia. The Blue Jays drafted him in the 39th round in 2016 and then used $200,000 to entice him to sign. Chavez has the speed to play centerfield and last year used that speed to steal 44 bases at Low A. He hits more line drives into the gaps and is not expected to hit for a lot of pop, though last year he slugged 8 dingers to accumulate a .445 slugging average. This year he finds himself at High A struggling with a .207 average with only four of his 18 hits (.287 slugging) going for extra bases. He will make a greater impact if he can stick in centerfield. Chavez played for Great Britain in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers.

9. D’Vaughn Knowles (Yankees) - The twin brother of D’Shawn. The Yankees signed D’Vaughn in 2019 for $300,000. Like his brother his speed is suited for centerfield. His arm could also fit well in right. He has yet to make his minor league debut. Just look at his brother above and you will find the same tools, maybe just not as developed.

10 Reshard Munroe OF (Reds) - Shard is one of those players signed way back in 2014. While he is not expected to hit for power he did slug .455 in his last season of Rookie ball, before being promoted to Low A. This year he has already slugged two homeruns and is slugging, so the power could be developing. The Reds have used him primarily as a corner. If he hopes to reach the major leagues that power will need to develop. He played for Great Britain in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers, backing up fellow Bahamian Antoan Richardson in left field.

Hanwha Eagles Break Scoring Record

Monday, April 8th, 2019

The Hanwha Eagles defeated the Lotte Giants 16-1. Those scores are not unusual in a KBO game. Except Hanwha scored all 16 of their runs in the third inning breaking a KBO record for most runs scored, RBIs and hits in an inning. Mercifully the game was called after 6.5 innings because of rain.

Sloppy fielding made eight of the runs unearned. Ji-Seong-Jun opened the inning with a walk and then got two more hits before the inning ended, driving in three runs. Jung Eon-Won drove in five runs in the inning with a three run homer and two run single. Jared Hoying mashed a three run homer. Only in the KBO can you have this kind of offense.

With the win the Eagles improved to 7-7 while the Giants dropped to 7-7.

AL Central Predictions

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

This is perhaps the worst division in baseball now that the Cleveland Indians have lost a number of players through free agency.

1. Minnesota Twins

Strengths - Myworld likes their new pickups. Jonathan Schoop has something to prove in 2019. He is not the player he was last year. Marwin Gonzalez can provide depth at every position and is bound to also bounce back from a difficult 2018 season. Nelson Cruz is a 40 homerun machine, though with his age he is not the player he once was. C.J. Cron is an improvement from what they had at the position last year.

Weakness - Hoping for bounce back years from Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano is asking a lot. They are gifted players but appear to have flaws in their game that prevent them from reaching their potential. The bullpen lacks a closer so that could hurt in the later innings. After Jose Berrios their starting rotation appears a little slim.

Prospects to Make an Impact - While the farm system is rich it is filled with too many players who have yet to play AA ball. Nick Gordon could see time at middle infield, especially if Schoop continues his struggles. Lewis Thorpe and Stephen Gonsalves could contribute to the starting rotation. Gonsalves started four games last season and dominated at AA and AAA. He is not overpowering so his lack of command (22 walks in 25 innings) resulted in failure when called up to the major leagues.

Expected Finish - In a weak division they will hang on to win with a record that will only be a couple games over .500.

2. Cleveland Indians

Strengths - They still have the strong pitching with Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco. Mike Clevinger proved a solid replacement for Danny Salazar. The left side of the infield with Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez is probably the best in baseball. The Indians have to hope the calf injury to Lindor does not linger well into the season.

Weakness - As good as the starting pitching is they will get little offensive production from their outfield. Losing Mickey Brantley to free agency left the outfield with nothing. If Hanley Ramirez makes the team as a DH that will move Carlos Santana to first base and Jake Bauers to the outfield. Some pop will be sacrificed for defense. If Bauers stays at first the collection of Jordan Luplow, Leonys Martin and Tyler Naquin will be lucky to hit 30 homeruns between the three of them. The bullpen has been hurt by the loss of Cody Allen and Andrew Miller. Like the Twins they will be spending much of the season searching for a closer.

Prospects to Make an Impact - Triston McKenzie could be in the rotation but his early season injury will delay things. He is one of the top pitchers in the minor leagues. If first base wasn’t so crowded Bobby Bradley could get some opportunities. He will have to settle for another 20 plus homerun season in the minor leagues. The outfield could get a shot in the arm from Dan Johnson. He was over shadowed in the Nationals system by Juan Soto and Victor Robles. Last year injuries limited him to just 96 games.

Expected Finish - Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez will provide plenty of production but they will need help from the rest of the lineup. The starting rotation can keep them close through six but after that the losses will mount.

3. Chicago White Sox

Strengths - The rebuilding is over so expect a number of prospects to be sprinkled in as the season progresses to add some spark to the team. The rotation has promise with Carlos Rodon, Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito adding another year of education to their major league careers. Daniel Palka could be a rising star in left field. The White Sox will hope he improves on his 27 homeruns from last season but the bats around him are weak. Once Eloy Jimenez gets promoted in May he will have to move to right.

Weakness - The starting eight appears punchless. Myworld once liked Yoan Moncada but his struggles to make contact may keep his numbers down. He is moving to third base where he must reduce his 217 strikeouts to raise his average above .250 and hit 20 or more homeruns. Up the middle the White Sox are weak. Centerfielder Adam Engel, middle infielders Yolmer Sanchez and Tim Anderson and catcher Wellington Castillo are not players who will lead you to a playoff party.

Prospects to Make an Impact - Eloy Jimenez will be promoted in May and should provide more punch to the lineup. The White Sox need to hold him back for another month to get one more year out of him. He is not good defensively but he is one of the top hitters in the minor leagues. Dylan Cease and Kodi Medeiros could find themselves in the rotation. In 2014 Kodi was a first round pick of the Brewers. Tommy John surgeries will delay the rise of Michael Kopech and Dane Dunning.

Expected Finish - Rebuilding teams always seem to start winning a year early. Myworld still thinks they are a year away with most of their top prospects ready to contribute by 2020.

4. Detroit Tigers

Strengths - There is always Miguel Cabrera. If he can stay healthy he will produce, though with limited bats around him he may not get the pitches to hit. For a rebuilding team they have a pretty decent top four in their rotation with Jordan Zimmerman, Matt Boyd and Moore and Tyson Ross. This will keep them ahead of the Royals. Losing Michael Fulmer to Tommy John knocked it down a notch and left them without a critical trade piece. Soon they will be replaced by Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Franklin Perez, and Alex Faedo.

Weakness - The infield has two Pirate rejects in Jody Mercer and Josh Harrison which says a lot. The bullpen lacks a closer and will give away a lot of games. They have two backup catchers who will share playing time behind the plate.

Prospects to Make an Impact - Christin Stewart will be there starting left fielder. He could hit 20 plus homeruns but he does not play a good defense. If the Tigers were not tanking this year you would probably see Daz Cameron see more centerfield time. He is more talented than the players they have on their roster to begin the season. Jake Rogers may see another year in the minor leagues but he is one of the better defensive catchers in baseball. Another year of service time would not hurt. The Fulmer injury could give Spencer Turnbull an opportunity in the rotation. He is having an excellent spring and started three games for the Tigers last year.

Expected Finish - While they are tanking they still have too many talented players to make a free fall. Miguel Cabrera and Nick Castellanos will drive in some runs and the starting pitching is serviceable.

5. Kansas City Royals

Strengths - Hmmm. They have the potential for a good middle infield in Whit Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi. Adalberto surprised many with his 14 homeruns and .276 average in just 75 games after hitting just .170 the previous year. Whether he can replicate that production is open to question. If not then you just have Merrifield and if the Royals can not sign him to an extension they will trade him.

Weakness - The starting rotation will get battered around. Having a pitcher named Homer Bailey tells it all. You may see a lot of openers in this group just to prevent the starters from seeing the top end of an opposing lineup three times. Third base is a hole with the departure of Mike Moustakas. Losing Salvador Perez to Tommy John is a punch in the gut to their offensive production.

Prospects to Make an Impact - With Salvador Perez out for the year rookies Meibrys Viloria and M.J. Melendez will see some time behind the plate. Viloria saw some time there last year and is having an excellent spring. Melendez may be the more talented prospect but needs more seasoning in the minor leagues.

Expected Finish - They will be competing with the Orioles and Marlins for the first pick in the 2020 draft.

Cubbies Hoping for Growth

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

During the days when the Cubs were losing it created an opportunity for high draft choices, providing them with a roster of quality players with top of the chart tools. Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber were a couple first round draft picks they were able to snag because of poor team play through the season. Now that they are winning finding quality players through lower draft picks has proven more difficult. They have also found a need to trade some of their prospects to acquire veteran players to help them through a playoff run.

Last year only one player appeared in Top 100 lists, Adbert Alzolay, a right handed pitcher with average tools. From 2013 to 2017 the Cubs averaged 6-10 players per year appear on top 100 prospect lists. Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Wilson Contreras, Albert Almora, C.J. Edwards and Ian Happ have contributed to their major league club. Jorge Soler, Arodys Vizcaino, Gleyber Torres, Eloy Jimenez and Jeimer Candelario have been traded for playoff pieces. Matt Szcur, Brett Jackson, Pierce Johnson, Mike Olt, Arismendy Alcantara, Dan Vogelbach, Eddy Julio Martinez and Billy McKinney have kind of fizzled. The world is still waiting on Dylan Cease, Duane Underwood and Trevor Clifton.

Because the Cubs had good success drafting hitters, pitching had been a weak point throughout the system. In a still light farm system that may be there strength now, though there is no flame thrower to wow you with his stuff. Duane Underwood Jr and his mid-90s fastball is still around after being drafted in the second round of the 2012 draft. His secondary pitchers have improved and his command has gotten better, though it can be inconsistent. Expect him to make a contribution to the rotation in 2019.

He is joined in the rotation by Adbert Alzolay, their top prospect last year who stumbled into his 2018 season. An injury shut him down early after only eight starts. A 4.76 ERA and .281 opponent average are cause for concern. Righthanders who stand only 6′0″, despite having mid-90s heat are always suspect with their durability. If he has a future it appears to be at a back end of the rotation or as a mid reliever.

Alex Lange was a first round pick in 2017 out of LSU. He is not overpowering, relying on has secondary pitches and command to retire hitters. In 23 starts he limited the opposition to a .234 average with a 3.74 ERA. He appears to be another righthanded starter destined for the back end of a rotation. There are also issues with his back which forced him to take below slot money after he was drafted.

Brendon Little was another first round pick in 2017 but he has not had a lot of success (5.15 ERA last year). Command appears to be his biggest challenge with a fastball in the low to mid 90s. There are a number of other pitchers working their way up through the Cubs system, none who appear to have top starter stuff, but many who could find themselves in the back end of the rotation.

Until the domestic violence allegations against Addison Russell it appeared the Cubs would not need a shortstop for awhile. Now that is an area of concern. They did draft Nico Hoerner in the first round of the 2018 draft, making him possibly the top prospect in their vanilla farm system. The tools are there for him to play shortstop, but they are not eye opening tools. His bat is geared for the gaps, but could develop some power. In his minor league debut he slugged two homeruns in 49 at bats, hit .327 and slugged .571. Drafted out of college he should rise quickly.

Aramis Ademan is another shortstop possibility but he struggled last year. The Cubs challenged the teenager to a promotion to High A, where he was one of the youngest players in the league. A .563 OPS and .209 batting average is a tale of his troubles. Like Hoerner, his defensive tools are adequate to play shortstop, but he will be far short of being the top of his class. Expect him to repeat at High A with Hoerner surpassing him on the depth chart..

The Cubs thought they were set at catcher too with Wilson Contreras but then he forgot to hit in the second half of the season there is cause for concern. Miguel Amaya is a promising catcher out of Panama that is still a couple years away from contributing. He has some pop in his bat but his defensive tools are not overwhelming. His OPS was .752 last year. He should be a decent catcher who with a good season will make an All Star team, but his career numbers will be average.

Myworld could not find an outfielder we could get excited about. This is a farm system that really lacks a top 100 prospect again. A lot of players with decent to average tools, but it appears to lack superstars. They may have to start losing again if they want to get prospects with the skill sets of Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber. For whatever reason their international players are not possessed with tools like Eloy Jimenez. No wonder the other major league teams are reluctant to trade with the Cubs with their current prospect class.

A sellout for Yankees/Red Sox in London

Friday, December 7th, 2018

For those of you thinking of buying tickets for the Yankees/Red Sox in London - forget it. The game is a sellout. As would be expected for all Yankee/Red Sox games the June 29/30 game in London was a sellout. Ticket prices ranged from as high as 385 pound ($491) to 30 pound ($38). The game is being played at the Olympic Stadium in London. While the stadium can seat 80,000, for baseball the stadium was reconfigured to hold 55,000.

The collective bargaining agreement allows an extra $60,000 to each player who participate in the trip. Now that is a big per diem. Major league baseball will also play games in London in 2020.