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Myworld’s Top Prospects - 30-21

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

30. Mitch Keller RHP (Pirates) 6.62 - Myworld was a little surprised to see him rated so highly in many of the Top 100s since we did not know that much about him. The Pirates 2014 second round pick had a breakout year last year with a 2.46 ERA in 23 starts. Increased velocity in his fastball, which now hits the mid-90s plus an improved change was the reason for the turn around. His curveball was already a swing and miss pitch. Mitch hopes to repeat his 2016 performance in High A in 2017.

29. Kyle Lewis OF (Mariners) 6.62 - Kyle was the Mariners first round pick in 2016. A gruesome knee injury cut his season short but not before he impressed with a .915 OPS. Kyle has all five tools to be an impact player. His speed, especially after the injury may be a little short to play center but his arm is good enough for right. Kyle makes good contact, is patient enough to take walks and should hit over .300 with 20 plus homeruns. The knee injury will delay the start of his 2017 season. Myworld expects him to begin the season in Low A.

28. Josh Bell 1B/OF (Pirates) 6.7 - Josh Bell began as an outfielder but the Pirates moved him to first base because his speed was not extraordinary and the Pirates outfield situation was already crowded. He was a second round pick in 2011 draft but the Pirates had to pay him a $5 million bonus to convince him to give up his football career. The power has yet to arrive but it showed flashes last season with 14 minor league homeruns and three major league shots. Defensively, his play at first is below average and needs to improve if he hopes to make the major league team in 2017. Expect him to start the season in AAA with Bell playing both the outfield and first base.

27 Brent Honeywell RHP (Rays) 6.87 - One of the better pitchers in the minor leagues with a different pitch in the screwball. He complements that pitch with a fastball in the low 90s with a plus change and a cutter that is above average. That is four pitches hitters have to look out for. He finished his season in AA with a 2.28 ERA in 10 starts, limiting the opposition to a .231 average. His command is good and with his mix of pitches he has a chance to be a number two starter. He should begin the 2017 season in AAA and should make his major league debut this year.

26 Clint Frazier OF (Yankees) 7.22 - A first round draft pick of the Indians, they traded him to the Yankees last year to acquire Aroldis Chapman to push themselves into the playoffs. Clint is a five tool player who will hit for both average and power. His above average speed could allow him to play centerfield but a plus arm makes right field a good fit. The Yankees would like to see Clint cut down on his strikeouts, an issue that may drive his average below .300. He will see next season in AAA and is just an injury to Jacoby Ellsbury away from getting promoted to the Yankees.

25 Jose Deleon RHP (Rays) 7.28 - Deleon was acquired recently from the Dodgers for Logan Forsythe. The Puerto Rican throws in the low to mid 90s, but his change is what gets hitters out. In AAA he struck out more than a hitter an inning, threw strikes and limited the opposition to a .194 average. When promoted to the majors his command disappeared, the opposition hit him at a .288 clip and he gave up five homeruns in 17 innings pitched. The Rays hope this was a learning experience for him. He will probably start the season in AAA but the Rays have the potential to have one of the best young rotations in baseball with Blake Snell, Brent Honeywell and Jose Deleon.

24. Mickey Moniak OF (Phillies) 7.48 - The Phillies 2016 number one pick, making him the top pick in the draft. Above average speed and a rocket arm makes him flexible for center or right field. The power is absent for now but it is expected to show as he fills out. He makes solid contact now, hitting balls into the gaps. Last year in rookie ball he slugged .409. Expect him to start the 2017 season in Low A. Don’t expect the power to become evident until 2018.

23. Manuel Margot OF (Padres) 7.52 - The Padres acquired Manuel from the Red Sox in the Craig Kimbrel deal. He has the speed to play center and the arm to fit in right. Last year that speed contributed to 32 stolen bases in 43 attempts. Power is lacking but he should get close to double digits and with his speed doubles should be frequent. Last year he made his major league debut hitting just .243. In AAA he was able to get the average up to .304. The Padres expect him to compete with Travis Jankowski for the centerfield job.

22. Francis Martes RHP (Astros) 7.77 - The Astros stole Martes from the Marlins in the Jarred Cosart trade. At that time he was still in rookie ball struggling to throw strikes. His control has gotten better and his fastball has climbed to the mid-90s, hitting triple digits when he really lets loose. Martes also has a plus curveball that sharply breaks down towards the plate. The one down side with Martes is his short height (6′1″) which does not give him any downward plane. After his success at AA last year it is expected the Astros will start him at AAA, with a promotion to the major leagues if an injury or ineffectiveness plagues the starting staff.

21. Lewis Brinson OF (Brewers) 7.77 - Brinson is a nice little centerfielder who the Brewers got from the Rangers in the Jonathan Lucroy trade. Brinson shows all five tools, with the ability to hit for power with 30 plus homeruns and the speed to play centerfield. That speed has not translated well to stolen bases. The Brewers would like to see him walk more to increase the OBA, making him better suited for the leadoff role. He reached AAA last year and hit .382 in less than 100 at bats. The 2017 season will see him back at AAA with the chance to see the outfield for the rebuilding Brewers.

Bandits Blast Aces in ABL Championship Opener

Friday, February 10th, 2017

The Melbourne Aces ran away with the regular season title to become the number one seed. In a best two out of three championship series the Brisbane Bandits got the upper hand with a 6-2 win in the opening game. The Australian veteran Trent Oeltjen got things started off on the right foot for Brisbane with a two run homer in the opening frame. The youngster David Rodriguez followed his lead with a solo shot in the third inning. Logan Wade and Kevin Padlo put the game away with back to back solo shots in the eighth inning.

Justin Erasmus struggled for the Bandits, only lasting through one out through the third inning. He gave up six hits on two runs. This forced Brisbane to use five different relievers to finish out the game. Ryan Searle pitched the last two innings with four strikeouts to close out the game. If not for the homerun ball Mark Hamburger may have had a good outing. He lasted eight innings and struck out 10, but four of the ten hits he gave up left the park.

A number of players who will be playing for Australia in the WBC are on the roster of these two teams. Ryan Rowland Smith pitched to one batter and Ryan Searle closed out the game with two shutout innings for Brisbane. Dushan Ruzic pitched the final inning for Melbourne. Oeltjen hit the homerun for the Bandits to get the scoring started and Aaron Whitfield batted in the leadoff spot. Mitch Nilsson batted in the DH spot for Brisbane. James Beresford, Brad Harman and Allan de San Miguel were in the Melbourne lineups.

Rhinos Take game in Taiwan Series

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

The EDA Rhinos won their first game 10-9 in the Taiwan Series to move the Series into a 2-1 advantage to the Brothers. Chih-Sheng Lin blasted a three run homer to give the Rhinos a 6-1 cushion. But the Brothers battled back with the Rhinos calling on ex-major leaguer Fu-Te Ni getting the last out to pick up the save. There were 14,900 fans attending the game.

Lefthanded Pitcher Review

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

At the start of the season myworld ranked the top pitching prospects who threw lefthanded. This is an assessment or progress review of their 2016 season.

1. Julio Urias (Dodgers) - He was still a teenager when he was promoted to the Dodgers. He did not dominate in the major leagues as he did in the minors, but the tools are still there to ensure major league success. He has a fastball/change combination that gets his share of swings and misses. In the majors his hits to innings pitched were not impressive but expect that to improve with more experience. He will start the Dodgers 2017 season in their starting rotation.

2. Blake Snell (Rays) - Last year he started his minor league season with a 50 plus minor league shutout streak. This year he spent most of his time with the Rays. He was one of the Rays top starting pitchers though his strikeout to innings pitched were down and his hits to innings pitched were up after his promotion. He doesn’t throw quite as hard as Urias but also relies on a fastball/change combination to get hitters out. Blake also throws two effective breaking pitches in a curve and slider. Expect him also to be in the Rays rotation in 2017.

3. Steven Matz (Mets) - Injuries have prevented Matz from reaching his potential. Injuries last year prevented him from eating up innings allowing him to remain on the prospect list. Those injuries continued in the major leagues in 2016 as an elbow injury plagued him much of the season. The Mets finally shut him down even though they were in a playoff race towards the end of the season. Matz was the lone lefthander in the rotation at the beginning of the season and also relies on a mid-90s fastball and change to retire hitters. If healthy he should be in the Mets rotation in 2017. Don’t be surprised if he is limited to just over 20 plus starts.

4. Sean Newcomb (Braves) - The Angels traded many of their prospects to the Braves and Sean was one of those included to acquire shortstop Andrelton Simmons. The Braves farm system is loaded with talented arms and Sean is one of them. Command has been his biggest challenge with a walk every two innings pitched. His fastball sits in the low 90s but he can hit the mid-90s with a curve as his second best pitch. Once he improves his control in AAA for the 2017 season he will make his debut some time by mid-season.

5. Cody Reed (Reds) - There are two different Cody Reeds. This is the one who pitches for the Reds. Cody Reed was limited to 13 starts in AAA with a back injury. He got some major league opportunities but they toasted him in his 10 starts with an ERA over 7.00. The Reds could take a mulligan on his major league starts because you don’t give him on a lefthanded arm that can hit the mid-90s with his fastball. Unless he has a terrific spring expect him to start the 2017 season in AAA. He needs to get that confidence back that was tattered by major league pitching.

6. Sean Manaea (Athletics) - Sean did not spend a lot of time in the minor leagues. He made the Athletics rotation after just three AAA starts. Injuries limited him to 24 starts. The Royals drafted Sean in the first round in 2013 and traded him to the Athletics in the Ben Zobrist trade. At 6′5″ Sean can hit the mid to high 90s with his fastball, but sits mostly in the low 90s. A slider is his second best pitch. Expect him to be in the Athletics rotation to start the 2017 season.

7. Brady Aiken (Indians) - Drafted as the first pick by the Astros last year they failed to sign him after lowering his bonus payment for fear of an existing arm injury. Those fears proved to be true when Brady attempted to pitch in an Independent League and failed to finish the game because of an arm injury. He underwent Tommy John surgery. That did not prevent the Indians from drafting him in the first round in 2015, He spent all his time in the short season leagues struggling to find success. His fastball was pedestrian, sitting in the high 80s and his breaking pitch lacked the sharp break, but this was a rehab year. Next year the Indians hope for better results when they stick him in a full season league. He is still at least a couple years away from seeing a major league rotation.

8. Tyler Jay (Twins) - Tyler spent most of his time in the Florida State League and did not pitch like a 2015 first round pick. Drafted out of college the Twins were hoping for a quick ascent from the minors for Jay. The numbers are not showing he deserves a promotion. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and he balances that out with a wipe out slider. At 6′1″ he is not a big guy so durability issues could be a concern. A brief promotion to AA will probably be repeated to start the 2017 season. Myworld can’t get too excited about him at this point.

9. Justus Sheffield (Yankees) - The Indians traded him and Clint Frazier to the Yankees for Andrew Miller. Other players were involved in the trade but these three were the main players. Justus was a 2014 first round pick of the Indians. At 5′10″ he also has a small frame but packs a lot of heat with a mid-90s fastball. Last year he pitched at High A with limited success. The Yankees gave him one start in AA which is where he will probably start the 2017 season.

10. Kolby Allard (Braves) - A bad back delayed the start of his 2016 season. The 2015 number one pick of the Braves spent all his time in Low A where he put up pedestrian numbers (3.73 ERA). His fastball sits in the low 90s with a good curveball and change combination. Expect him to start the 2017 season at High A.

Reds Sign Cuban Vladimir Gutierrez

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

The Reds have signed Cuban 20 year old righthanded pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez to a $4.75 million bonus. The Reds went over their international bonus this year after signing Alfredo Rodriguez to a large bonus putting the Reds over the 100 percent luxury penalty tax. This means they will have to pay major league baseball a $4.75 million luxury tax.

Gutierrez had been declared a free agent more than a year ago. Writers had conjectured he would sign with the Dodgers, but that appears not to be the case. He throws a fastball in the low 90s that occasionally hits the mi-90s. His curve is a pretty good complementary pitch. A lack of a third pitch could leave him in the bullpen.

Braves and Orioles Battle it out to a Tie

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

The Orioles scored early, led by the bat of Christian Walker, who hit a sacrifice fly in the first inning and bashed a two run homer in the third to give the Orioles an early 4-0 lead. The Braves battled back with runs in the sixth through eighth innings to tie the game. Neither team scored in the tenth and they had to go home with a 4-4 tie.

Ryan Flaherty started the game with a lead off single. Jimmy Paredes lofted a ball into the left field corner that Hector Olivera appeared slow to get to, advancing Flaherty to third. Christian Walker drove him in with a fly ball to left field.

Flaherty started the third inning with a homerun on the first pitch thrown by Danny Burawa. Christian Walker walloped the second pitch thrown by Burawa to send a ball far over the left field fence for a two run homer to give the Orioles a 4-0 lead.

The Braves bullpen quieted the Oriole bats to just two baserunners in the next seven innings. This allowed the Braves offense to whittle away at the lead. Nate Frieman opened the sixth inning with a walk. A Rio Ruiz single advanced him to second where Hector Olivera drove him in with a single. Hector wandered too far off first base and was tossed out at first base when the pitcher ran behind Olivera.

In the seventh a two out single by Mallex Smith gave Daniel Castro an opportunity. He fouled off a number of hit and run pitches. With the count 2-2 and Smith going again, Castro ripped the pitch over the head of the left fielder where Smith was able to score from first.

Sloppy fielding by shortstop Ozzie Martinez allowed the Braves to score the last two runs to tie the game. Rio Ruiz collected his second hit of the game with a double that one hopped over the left field wall. A Ryan Lavarnway single drove in Ruiz to pull the Braves to within one. Chase d’arnaud ate up Ozzie Martinez with a one hopper that hit off his glove that was ruled as a single. A walk loaded the bases and a flyball by Reid Brignac to left field scored pinch runner Ozzie Albies with they tying run. Martinez tried to tag out d’Arnaud at third on the cutoff before he caught the ball and it dropped to the infield. Mallex Smith struck out to hold the error harmless.

Game Notes: Asphalt has replaced the grass as the parking lot at the Braves field. Myworld prefers the look of grass over black tar…A number of Koreans were at the game to watch Hyun-Soo Kim make his debut with the Orioles. He was late swinging on a few low 90s fastball and finished the day 0 for 3. His swing got better the more pitches he saw, flying out to centerfield in his last at bat…Mauricio Cabrera was the most explosive pitcher of the game, hitting 101 on the radar gun. He struck out two of the three hitters he faced…Mike Wright was the other impressive pitcher. He was the only pitcher who threw two innings, but he hit 98 on the radar, sitting in the mid 90s. There were not a lot of breaking pitches in his first outing, but he did get Nick Markakis swinging and missing at a pitch in the dirt. He struck out two, got three ground outs to the seven hitters he faced…Hector Olivera was terrible in left field, breaking late on a ball hit over his head. It was only one game, but if there is not improvement myworld can’t see him continuing in left field…Chris Lee is a stick figure who can hit 92-94. Put a little meat on him and his fastball could hit the mid-90s…Adonis Garcia appeared to injure his ankle in the fourth inning and had to be removed from the game…Ozzie Albies led the tenth with a walk but was thrown out trying to steal second by Audry Perez…A.J. Pierzynski showed a weak arm on a steal of second by Paul Janish…

Baseball in Nepal

Monday, February 1st, 2016

Here in the D.C. area I run into a lot of people from Nepal working at a 7-11 or a deli store. They’ve taught me a few Nepalese words after I order enough sandwiches but I soon forget those words when I don’t use them frequently enough. Dinesh Bajagain, who was exposed to baseball by an American classmate has established a baseball club in Nepal. According to this article the sport seems to be gaining in popularity. But like the Nepalese words I am taught at the sandwich shop how long it lasts will depend on how frequently it is played.

You can read the article at the link below. Before I create a country file for Nepal I will want to see it grow more. According to the article this club team will be the foundation for the Nepalese national team.

Baseball in Nepal

30 Teams in 30 Days - Mets

Monday, December 21st, 2015

The Mets surprised many people by winning the National League East. It was supposed to be the Nationals with the superior pitching staff five spots deep. The Mets proved their pitching staff was much better. While two of the Nationals starters have departed via free agency the Mets have returned all their starters, plus they return one more pitcher from Tommy John. They also signed a couple free agent signings to strengthen their middle infield defense which should make the pitching that much better. Coming into the 2016 it will be the Mets and not the Nationals who will be the team to beat in the NL East.

Strengths - No team in major league baseball can match the Mets rotation. Matt Harvey, the Dark Knight, returned from Tommy John surgery and put up ace like numbers (13-8, 2.71). Early in the season his fastball was a bit pedestrian but as the season progressed he was sitting in the mid 90s. Jacob deGrom (14-8, 2.54) was the ace of the staff, with his flowing locks giving him Samson like powers. Noah Syndergaard, alias Thor could be the hardest thrower in the rotation. Some project him to take over the ace role in the rotation. Steven Matz arrived late in the year, had trouble staying healthy, but he is the left handed option in the rotation. Zach Wheeler was the Mets ace in 2014 until Tommy John surgery sidelined him for all of 2015. He will be back to slot in the five spot. Bartolo Colon was recently re-signed. The Mets will use him as a spot starter and slot him in the rotation when an injury happens. The Mets should get a full season from David Wright. Last year he could only play 38 games. The Mets used a number of players to fill his position in his absence. Many think the injuries have taken their toll and he will not be the impact player he was in the past. The middle infield should be better with recent free agent signings Asdrubal Cabrera at short and Neil Walker at second. This will turn Wilmer Flores into a superstar utility player, filling in at second or first against lefthanders and spelling Cabrera and Wright at their positions when they need a rest.

Weaknesses - There really isn’t one. Centerfield could be enhanced with the weak hitting Juan Lagares as the centerfielder. Lagares covers ground defensively. The Mets would like a lefthanded option to improve their offense. They have been talking to Denard Span, but the Mets are not noted for overpaying players. Scott Boras is the agent for Span and he looks for teams to overpay. This doesn’t look like a good match. They have two lefthanded hitting corner outfielders in Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson. Yoennis Cespedes left for free agency so the Mets would like to find a right handed bat to stick in one of the corner spots against tough lefthanders.

Prospects - Steven Matz is their top prospect ready to fit into the rotation. He wouldn’t have been eligible as a prospect if injuries had not forced him to miss significant time on the disabled list. He is a lefthander who throws 95 miles per hour, but he also missed the first two years of his professional career because of Tommy John surgery and the complications after that. The Mets have a couple middle infielders who are close to ready. Amed Rosario needs another year in the minors before he is ready. He has some sting in the bat which will hit the gaps but not carry over the fence. He has the tools to play short but he can also move to second. Gavin Cecchini was a first round pick of the Mets in 2012. He is not quite the defensive player as Rosaio and lacks the power to move to a corner. He may ultimately have to settle as a platoon player. Brandon Nimmo was drafted in the first round of the 2011 draft, the first player drafted in the first round from Wyoming. They don’t play high school ball there since there is still snow on the ground in April. Nimmo may not have the power to play a corner or the range to play center. His tools seem to identify him as a fourth outfielder. Wuilmer Becerra has the 6′4″ frame and rifle arm to fill the right field spot. He was a throw in from the Blue Jays in the R.A. Dickey trade but his bat has been better than expected. Dominic Smith is a doughy first base prospect who has a bit of lightening in his bat. He will need to consistently find that power to fit at first base. In his first two seasons in the minors he only hit four homeruns in over 600 at bats. Last year he improved that power with 6 homeruns in 450 at bats. That still needs to get better.

Oh Investigated in Korea for Gambling

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

Hanshin Tigers pitcher Seung-Hwan Oh, who is now in the United States to seek a contract with major league baseball has been asked to come in for questioning by investigators in Korea looking at allegations of his gambling. It is alleged he gambled over 100 million won at a casino in Macau. Korea has already indicted 12 businessmen in the gambling scheme per the link below, including Jeong Un-Ho the CEO of Nature Republic.

Ex-major league pitcher Chang-yong Lim recently admitted to gambling charges and was released by the Samsung Lions. Lim played briefly in the major leagues last year for the Chicago Cubs.

The link for the article can be found here:

Oh Gambling Investigation

Myworlds Arizona Fall League All Stars

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

These are the players myworld would select on the Arizona Fall League All Star team based on performance.

C - Gary Sanchez (.295, 7, 21) - Led the AFL in homeruns and RBIs. His defense may not be gold glove caliber but with his bat and a good throwing arm he will survive back there. He should make the team as the Yankees backup in 2016 behind Brian McCann.

1B - Sam Travis (.344, 1, 14) - He led the AFL in runs scored (19) and doubles (10) but the Red Sox have a crowded situation at his position. The plan is to move Hanley Ramirez there after his disaster in left field. Travis Shaw also showed a good bat but the Red Sox may try Shaw more at third base.

2B - Chris Bostick (.268, 4, 12) - His .883 OPS led all second baseman. Drafted in the 44th round by the Athletics, he was traded by them to the Rangers who then traded him to the Nationals in the Ross Detwiler deal. Since he has only played a half a season in AA expect a half a season in AA before a promotion to AAA. He could see a September call up.

3B - Jeimer Candelario (.329, 5, 15) - When he is ready the Cubs may move Kris Bryant to the outfield to make room for Jeimer at third base.

SS - Aledmys Diaz (.315, 4, 14) - His 17 runs scored was second in the AFL. At 25 the Cuban defector is older than most. Six multi hit games in his last eight games shot his average over .300. Diaz is ready for the major leagues if Jhonny Peralta is not available for the Cardinals or he could be used as trade bait.

OF - Adam Engel (.403, 1, 9) - Voted the MVP of the league, his 10 stolen bases and 9 doubles were second in the AFL. He still has one full year in the minor leagues before he joins the White Sox outfield. Last year he stole 65 bases in the High A Carolina League.

OF - Jacob Scavuzzo (.377, 4, 7) - His .377 batting average was second in the AFL though a 2/23 walk to whiff ratio is a cause for concern. The Dodgers can be patient with their 21st 2012 pick since he has only played a half a season in the High A California League and the Dodgers outfield is crowded.

OF - Mac Williamson (.370, 2, 14) - He finished third in the AFL in hitting. Power has been absent in his game and only five of his 27 hits went for extra bases. His lack of speed will limit him to a corner spot so the Giants want to see more bat from him.

DH - Jrickson Profar (.267, 2, 20) - shoulder surgery limited him to the DH spot, but he was third in the AFL in RBIs.

SP - Sean Manaea (0-2, 3.86) - He did not win a game and his ERA was pretty high but his 33 whiffs led the AFL and a 6/33 walk to whiff ratio was excellent. In four of his six starts he did not allow more than one run, striking out 20 in his last three starts. Manaea is slated to make the Athletics starting rotation next year with a good spring.

Long Relief - Josh Hader (2-0, 0.56) - Only two starts in his seven appearances but the Brewers wanted to limit his innings. The Orioles traded him to the Astros where he was then included with a number of other players in the Carlos Gomez trade.

Set Up - Jacob Barnes (1-0, 0.00) - He appeared in eight games and put together three holds. His 3/17 walk to whiff ratio in just 11 innings was impressive. He could make the Brewers roster in the pen with a good spring.

Closer - Jake Reed (1-0, 0.00, three saves) - He had a rough year last year in AA. Second in the AFL in saves. The Twins will have him repeat in AA but a good spring and little depth in the bullpen could give him an opportunity this year.