Archive for the 'MLB' Category

Red Sox Have K Sale for O’s

Sunday, August 12th, 2018

The Orioles had trouble making contact against Chris Sale. In his last inning of work, the fifth inning, he struck out the side to up his whiff total to 12. The Orioles were whiffing what he was serving. Sale struck out two or more hitters in each inning he pitched, hitting the radar gun at 99 miles per hour. The Red Sox went on to complete the four game sweep of the Orioles with a 4-1 win.

The Red Sox got on the scoreboard first against Alex Cobb in the opening frame. Ex-Oriole Steve Pearce deposited a pitch into the left field bleachers to give the Red Sox an early 1-0 lead.

Cobb pitched well. He went seven innings allowing just two runs, but only one earned run. The Red Sox scored another run in the fourth after a Brock Holt single and a bloop double into right field by J.D. Martinez. Holt appeared to stop at third but Adam Jones bobbled the pick up in right field and Holt broke for home just beating the throw. The run was ruled unearned after Mitch Moreland grounded to the pitcher and Eduardo Nunez grounded to short.

The Orioles could not figure out Chris Sale, but Matt Barnes was generous with his offerings in the eighth. Cedric Mullins beat out a high chopper to first base. Jonathan Villar singled to right and a walk to Adam Jones loaded the bases with just one out. Trey Mancini drove a ball deep enough to center to end the shutout. Tim Beckham struck out to end the threat, one of just 18 whiffs by Oriole hitters.

The Red Sox added a couple insurance runs in the ninth off Mychal Givens, who was working his second inning. Eduardo Nunuz lined a single down the left field line. Jackie Bradley hit a two out single to set the stage for a Mookie Betts liner into right center that Adam Jones could not catch up to as the ball rolled to the wall. Two runs scored on the hit.

Kimbrel came on to pitch the ninth. He struggled with his command, giving up a walk and a bloop single to right. He was able to strike out the side, including the last two hitters to give the Red Sox the victory.

Game Notes: Chris Davis is back into his slump. He struck out all four times he hit, dropping his average below .160. The Orioles have alternatives for first base in Mark Trumbo or Trey Mancini, but they would like to see Chris Davis find his bat since they owe him $20 million plus for the next four years…Tyler Thornburg walked two and gave up a hit in the sixth, retiring only two hitters. Alex Cora called on Ryan Brasier to strikeout Trey Mancini to end the threat…Sandy Leon won again behind the plate. He has won 27 of the last 29 games he has started behind the plate…Cedric Mullins looks strong in centerfield while Jones looks uncomfortable in right…In his last seven starts Sale has an ERA of 0.20.

Luke Heimlich’s Signing in Taiwan Put on Hold

Saturday, August 11th, 2018

Luke Heimlich was considered a first round pick by major league baseball while a junior pitching for Oregon State in 2017, until it was discovered he pled guilty as a 15 year old of molesting his then six year old niece. He was required to list himself as a sex offender, though that history was not known until a local newspaper discovered it after he was required to report his status after moving to Oregon. He removed himself that year from the NCAA championship playoffs and the major league draft.

As a senior this year he was the ace pitcher who led Oregon State to the NCAA championship. Even though he was eligible for the draft major league teams refused to draft him, even lower in the draft when risky players are often selected. Many scouts changed their opinion on him, calling him nothing more than a mid or back end of the rotation pitcher at best. His tools did not justify facing the backlash of signing him, even though his sex offender status was recently removed after his probationary status had passed without any further violations. It should be noted two other players from Oregon State were drafted in the first round.

The Kansas City Royals considered signing him as an undrafted free agent, but nothing ever came of that review. Shunned by the major leagues the La Miga Monkeys of the China Professional Baseball League (CPBL) in Taiwan signed him to a contract. Once the facts came out of his molestation charges there was fervent backlash from the Taiwan fans. The CPBL immediately terminated the contract citing their “zero tolerance policy on players with a criminal history.”

Perhaps the Manny Ramirez signing after two major league drug violations did not meet the “criminal” standards. Heimlich denies the molestation charges saying he only pled guilty to protect the niece from having to go through a trial. The parents of the girl molested have stated they would not trust any child to be alone with Luke.

So the Heimlich saga continues. Some league somewhere seeking publicity of any sort may take a risk of signing him. Otherwise he may have to find another craft to try to make a living since most baseball leagues are reluctant to sign him.

Bay Sox Blast Fisher Cats

Friday, August 10th, 2018

The Bay Sox blasted the Fisher Cats 13-6 on Tuesday night. You wouldn’t have thought by the score that two of the top ten pitchers in ERA in the Eastern League would be starting the game.

The Canadian Jordan Romano was lit up early. He gave up seven runs in the first two innings, but finished his outing with two shutout frames. Anderson Felix tagged him for a three run homer in the first inning. Felix would finish the night with six RBIs. The recently acquired Brett Cumberland led off the second inning with a solo blast into right field. He was acquired from the Braves in the Kevin Guasman deal. It was his first Bay Sox homerun.

Third baseman Jon Berti struggled in the field for the Fisher Cats. His two out error in the first allowed Felix to inflict his damage in the opening frame. Myworld put him down for two more errors, one in the three run fifth and another in the eighth that would have accounted for more unearned runs, but the scorer generously gave the Bay Sox players a hit.

Anderson Felix drove in two runs in the fifth on a single and one run in the eighth on a single. Both innings were started by a Berti boot that were ruled as hits. Aderlin Rodriguez blasted a solo shot in the sixth.

Keegan Akin started out well for the Bay Sox facing the first six hitters. His fastball was hitting 94-96, but it seemed to drop after the second inning to 92. With two outs in the second he ran into trouble walking Gunnar Heidt and then giving up three straight hits to cut the lead to 4-2.

Ryan Mountcastle continues to look uneasy at third. His throws are not strong and his error in the third inning led to a run. Cavan Biggio and Forrest Wall singled to score Harold Ramirez with the unearned run. Biggio hit a solo shot in the fifth to account for all the Akin runs given up.

Harold Ramirez appears to have found his bat this year. He also appears a bit slimmer. He came into the game hitting .313 and doubled in the first and powered a solo shot homer in the seventh, his ninth of the year.

There were a couple baserunning errors by touted prospects. Bo Bichette hit two singles. After his second single he had strayed too far off first on what appeared to be a routine fly to Austin Hays. Hays rifled a throw to first to double off Bichette. Hays made a baserunning blunder of his own in the second. After singling to drive in the third run of the second inning he tried to advance to second on the throw home but the ball was cut off and Hays was caught between first and second. Mountcastle broke for home and the throw went there to get Mountcastle. Myworld was told this isn’t the first time Hays has been caught trying to advance the extra base on aggressive baserunning.

Yusniel Diaz did not get the start in the game. He was only hitting .192. There may be some buyer’s remorse from the Orioles as there is the appearance Diaz has a motivation problem. Some are concerned with his lack of hustle, although that was just one scouts opinion. Myworld has not seen enough of him to make that assessment.

Gonzalez Comes up Big for Nats

Friday, August 10th, 2018

Gio Gonzalez has had difficulty winning the big game. He came up big yesterday against the Atlanta Braves tossing seven innings of one run ball in the Nationals 6-3 win over the Braves. This was the final game of the four game series after the Braves had won the first two out of three. A win by the Braves could have sent a dagger into the hearts of the Nationals hope to make the playoffs. Gonzalez big outing gave them another day to stay alive.

Gonzalez was bailed out of some tough situations in the first three innings. On a hit and run Freddy Freeman ripped a rocket to Michael Taylor in centerfield. Ozzie Albies had already rounded second and was easily doubled off first to end the inning. He gave up a leadoff homerun to Nick Markakis in the second, put two runners on base but struck out the pitcher to end the threat. In the third a double by Freeman and a single by Markakis could have scored a run but Adam Eaton threw a strike home and Freeman slid right into the tag for the third out. Gonzalez gave up just one hit in the next four innings, though he was bailed out on a nice diving catch by Michael Taylor.

Nationals killer Anibel Sanchez cruised through the first two innings, but just like the first game of a double header on Tuesday a comebacker knocked Sanchez out after the second inning. He was able to recover and get the out at first to end the inning but did not come out to start the third inning.

Instead, the Braves went with Wes Parsons to make his major league debut and the Nationals feasted. Gonzalez got things started with a single with one out in the third. Adam Eaton singled off the pitcher Parsons foot and the ball caromed into leftfield. Parsons did some warm up tosses and seemed to be okay. Or maybe not. He walked Trea Turner on four pitches and threw three straight balls to Juan Soto before walking him on a 3-2 count to force in a run. Anthony Rendon came within feet of hitting a grand slam, but the ball was caught at the wall, Eaton scoring the second run on the fly ball to give the Nationals a 2-1 lead.

In the fourth inning Michael Taylor blasted a ball into centerfield for a homerun. Another run was added in the sixth after a leadoff single by Rendon and a Daniel Murphy double into the right centerfield gap. Rendon slid into home just ahead of the throw.

Ronald Acuna Jr. went deep off Justin Miller in the eighth to close the gap to 4-2. The Nationals put the game away in the bottom frame with RBI singles from Ryan Zimmerman and Mark Reynolds.

Ryan Madson worked the top of the ninth and gave up a run on a sacrifice fly hit by Dansby Swanson. His struggles continue as he gave up singles to the first two hitters he faced, creating some anxiety for the Nats fans.

Game Notes: The game may have changed in the second inning after a diving stop by Daniel Murphy stole a hit away from Ender Inciarte. That would have put runners on first and second with one out and a walk to Dansby Swanson would have loaded the bases…This was the first win by Gonzalez after 11 starts. His last win came on May 28. During that time he was 0-6 with a 6.37 ERA…Anibal Sanchez left the game with a left calf contusion. He hopes to be able to make his next start…Bryce Harper was a late scratch from the game yesterday, replaced by Michael Taylor. He was bothered with a swollen shin after being hit for a second time in that area. Michael Taylor made a couple excellent defensive plays and slugged a homerun after being inserted into the lineup.

Braves Earn Split with Nationals

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

After being thrashed in the opener 8-3 the Braves battled back in the second game to win 3-1, earning a split with the Nationals in the Tuesday doubleheader. To stay ahead of the Nationals for one of the wild card spots all the Braves have to do is play .500 against the Nationals. They have two more games against them the next two days.

In the opener Max Fried pitched two shutout innings but was taken out of the game after being hit in the back for the last out on a line drive hit by Spencer Kieboom. He still had the presence of mind to chase after the ball and throw Kieboom out, but in the top of the third the Braves pinch hit for him with Kevin Guasman. It was later learned he strained a groin trying to avoid the ball and was placed on the disabled list.

Kolby Allard came on in relief. He shut out the Nationals in the third but in the fourth the Nationals erupted. Two players who fans would like to take on more of a leadership role with this rudderless Nationals team are Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman. Both started the fourth inning with booming homeruns, Harper’s a liner deep to the bleachers in right and Zimmerman’s a tomahawk no doubter to the deepest part of the park in center. Jefry Rodriguez helped his cause by lining a single to left that advanced Spencer Kieboom to third. Jefry advanced to second on the throw to third. Trea Turner and Juan Soto made it 4-1 with RBI singles.

It was a short outing for Jefry Rodriguez but he did his job. He gave up his first three hits of the game in the fourth for the Braves first run. Johan Camargo drove in Freddy Freeman with the first run with a seeing eye single through the shortstop hole. Rodriguez pitched one more inning in the fifth and was done for the day.

The Braves tacked on one more run in the sixth off reliever Matt Grace. Ozzie Albies started the inning with a double. Nick Markakis drove him in with a line single to centerfield. Justin Miller was called on to retire the last two hitters to keep the lead at 4-2.

The Nationals responded just as they did in the fourth inning when the Braves scored a run. They responded with a four spot. Rookie reliever Shane Carle was the victim. He walked three of the first four hitters he faced, and though it will say Juan Soto was walked intentionally that was after the count went to 3-1. A fly ball by Anthony Rendon to Nick Markakis scored Spencer Kieboom. A single to left by Bryce Harper tacked on another. Ryan Zimmerman blasted a double over the head of the left fielder to plate the final two runs of the inning.

The Braves scored a final run on a Charlie Culberson pinch hit solo homerun in the ninth.

An odd play happened in the third. With Trea Turner on first Soto hit a deep fly to center. Ender Inciarte leaped near the fence and the ball appeared to hit his glove where Adam Duvall backing up caught the ball in the air. An umpire did call “no catch”, but Trea Turner thinking it was a catch hustled back to first. After review it was confirmed the ball hit the wall and not Inciarte’s glove. Soto was credited with a single but called out for passing Turner on the basepath, which was the original call. The only thing the Nationals could appeal was that Soto never passed Turner on the basepaths.

The second game turned into an old fashioned pitcher’s duel between the veteran Max Scherzer and the youngster Sean Newcomb. Sean buckled in the first inning by giving up a solo shot to Juan Soto, who bopped one into the left bleachers for his 14th homerun. That surpassed Mickey Mantle for the most homeruns by a teenager, putting Soto now fifth in the major leagues for the most homeruns by a teenager in a season.

Scherzer buckled in the sixth when he gave up a lead off homerun to Charlie Culberson. He did put runners on first and third with no out in the fourth, but he got out of that inning with a strike out, pop up and ground out.

It was 1-1 going into the ninth. The Nationals called on Kelvin Herrera to pitch that inning after Ryan Madson pitched a scoreless eighth. Freddy Freeman started the inning rifling a single to left. Nick Markakis followed with his own line shot single to left. Kurt Suzuki lined one to third but Anthony Rendon made a diving catch. The crowd was getting restless because Herrera appeared to be throwing meatballs. Ender Inciarte hit one down the line past first base for a double. The ball kicked off the fence and then scooted by Harper. Harper appeared to be in no hurry to retrieve the ball once it got past him and then heaved a wild throw to home allowing Inciarte to advance to third (the scorer gave him a triple).

At that point Kelvin Herrera shrugged his shoulder, the trainer came out and Herrera was taken out of the game with a tight shoulder. Justin Miller came on to pitch. They intentionally walked Johan Camargo to set up a double play, but did not need it when Miller struck out both pinch hitter Adam Duvall and Ozzie Albies to end the inning.

The Nationals rallied in the bottom half off new closer rookie A.J. Minter. Ryan Zimmerman started the inning with a double. With one out Michael Taylor was hit by a pitch. With runners on first and second Matt Wieters tagged a line drive that was snagged by Camargo at third. He found Zimmerman too far off the bag at second and was able to double Zimmerman for the third out. Myworld can not fault Zimmerman for being off the bag as hard as that ball was hit (105 miles per hour on the exit gun). It would have been part of his normal lead and instinctively you do not return back to second on a ball hit that hard.

Game Notes: Greg Holland made his Nationals debut and looked a bit rusty. He walked the leadoff man and had 3-2 counts to the next two hitters, but what saved the day for him was he struck out the last three hitters. Myworld would not call it a good outing despite the box score results (one walk and three whiffs). He did get some swings and misses…Juan Soto went 2 for 2 with three walks in the first game. He may be reading too much of his press clippings. In the second game he struck out three times on called third strikes. There has been lots of talk about his patience at the plate but he still needs to stay aggressive. He stranded three runners with those called third strikes…With rain on the horizon and lightening flashing in the background the umpires just wanted to get the first game over before any downpour came. With two outs in the ninth Dansby Swanson hit what appeared a game ending grounder to Anthony Rendon. Rendon casually threw to third but the ball sailed over the head of Zimmerman. One more batter and a strikeout and the game was over. The rains never came…Later reports state that Max Fried had to leave the game with a left groin strain. He was placed on the disabled list…Shane Carle was also placed on the disabled list after his outing with right shoulder inflammation…Herrera exited his game with shoulder tightness. He will undergo an MRI on Wednesday before a decision is made on his status…Soto is tied with Phil Cavaretta for fifth place with 14 homeruns for a teenager. Ken Griffey Jr. is next on the list with 16. Teammate Bryce Harper is second with 22 and Tony Conigiliaro stands atop the list with 25.

A Cycle for Two

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

Kevin Newman and Jacob Stallings, minor leaguers for the Pittsburgh Pirates created a bi-cycle. The two teammates both hit for the cycle in the Indianapolis Indians 12-5 win over the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. It is rare for one player to hit for the cycle in a game but to have two teammates hit for the cycle in the same game is a once in a lifetime feat.

Newman started off his cycle from the leadoff spot with a double in the first inning. He scored on a Jacob Stallings double. Newman singled in the third, tripled in the fifth and then hit his second double in the sixth. He completed the cycle with a homerun in the eighth to finish a 5 for 5 day.

In addition to Stallings double in the first, he also hit a leadoff homer in the fourth and singled in the fifth. After Newman hit his homerun in the eighth to complete his cycle it was left to Stallings to complete his two batters later needing a triple. Stallings is not the fastest player, but he got his triple with a deep drive to right center and lumbered into third to complete the bi-cycle. Stallings finished the day 4 for 5.

This bi-cycle was not the first hit this season. Gio Brusa and Jalen Miller of San Jose hit for the cycle on the same day earlier in the season. In the major leagues this has only been done twice ever, but neither event occurred with teammates. Bobby Veach of the Detroit Tigers and George Burns of the New York Giants hit for the cycle on September 17,1920 and Adrian Beltre of the Seattle Mariners and Stephen Drew of the Arizona Diamondbacks did it on September 1, 2008.

Cervenka Named July Player of the Month in Eastern League

Monday, August 6th, 2018

We did not name Martin Cervenka as one of our top ten catching prospects in the minor leagues but we still like the Czech born catcher. That like got stronger as he was named the Eastern League player of July. Before his arrival to Bowie Cervenka was used mainly in a back up role. Last year for Lynchburg he finally got over 400 at bats and did well with a .278 batting average with 8 homeruns. At 6′4″ he has a large frame for a catcher, which makes it more difficult to limit the passed balls (9). He became a six year free agent after the 2017 season and signed with the Orioles.

Cervenka hit .364 for the month of July playing for the AA Bowie Bay Sox. He finished second in homeruns (7) and RBIs (25) and led the Eastern League in slugging (.725) and OPS (1.191). The hot month has given him a career high 12 homeruns for 2018 and put his slugging average at .458. With the Orioles rebuilding they could have some roster spots to promote him to the major leagues in September.

There have been four players born in the Czech Republic that have played in the major leagues. Myworld would guess they moved to the United States in their early years and played baseball as youngsters in the United States. Frank Rooney played in the most games (12). All of them were position players but had limited careers in the majors.

Padres Future

Monday, August 6th, 2018

Before myworld moved to Virginia we lived in San Diego. The Padres were the team I followed but there were too many other things in my life to be a loyal fan and the Padres were rarely competetive. The last time they made the playoffs was in 2006. The last time they were in a World Series was in 1998. It was their second World Series appearance and they have yet to win one. Just like the Chargers and their lone Super Bowl appearance. My alltime favorite baseball moment was being at Jack Murphy stadium in 2005 for a playoff game against Atlanta and watching Trevor Hoffman come into the game with the loudspeaker playing “Hells Bells” and the fans waving their rally towels. That brought shivers to my spine.

The Padres tried to make a playoff run a few years ago, trading away a number of prospects for veterans. They were the cool pick to make the playoffs but when the season was done they finished near the bottom of the division with a record similar to the previous year. They traded all those veterans for prospects the following year and the rebuilding has begun again. Time will tell whether this new group will take the Padres to the playoffs. They certainly have the pitching to get them there.

Below is the future of the Padres.

Outfield

1) Manuel Margot (CF) - The power numbers have dropped this year and his stolen base efficacy has taken a turn for the worse. His defense at center has been solid but in his third year with the Padres they were hoping for some improvement on his .704 OPS. When he was a minor league prospect there was some potential for power but that has not appeared. He is still only 23 so there is still time for him to break out.

2) Franmil Reyes (RF) - Coming into this year he had never had an OPS greater than .792. He did not appear on any prospect lists. Early this season he was the minor league homerun leader resulting in a promotion to the Padres. He struggled a bit in his major league debut and a month later was demoted to the minors. When he hits the ball it goes a long way. His OPS in AAA is 1.042 with 16 homeruns in 58 games. In the majors it is his minor league career average equivalent of .739. He needs to improve on his 7/43 walk to whiff ratio to make a major league impact.

3) Franchy Cordero (CF) - Not a lot of players hit balls farther than Franchy early this season before arm issues sent him to the disabled list in May. Take what was said about Franmil and apply it to Franchy. If you look at their major league numbers they are almost similar. A poor walk to whiff ratio (14/55) results in a low batting average (.237). Franchy has the speed to play centerfield if Margot is traded.

4) Buddy Reed (RF) - A possible five tool player drafted in the second round of the 2016 draft. His legs can fly and his arm is a rocket. The Padres have promoted him aggressively with a recent appearance in AA after dominating High A (.921 OPS). Expect double digit homerun power with 30 plus stolen bases each year.

5) Jorge Ona (LF) - The Padres signed Ona out of Cuba for $7 million. Like many of the Cubans who came over the projections were a bit over rated. His defense is below average in the outfield. A bulky frame limits his speed but his arm could play right field. He needs to hit to get into the lineup and that is not happening in the minor leagues. A slugging average of .396 is not going to get him playing time with his spotty defense.

Catcher

1) Austin Hedges - A solid defensive catcher, he appears to be providing enough offense to stay at the position. Elbow injuries have sidelined him for a chunk of the season. Last year he hit 18 homeruns. This year his batting average and slugging percentage have increased so the bat seems to be improving. The elbow issues have made it more difficult to assess his ability to gun down runners. He has not been as effective this year, but the elbow issues could be contributing to that.

2)Francisco Mejia - Is he the catcher of the future? Or is third base/left field in his future? Few catchers have as strong an arm as Mejia. The bat is also impressive. The indians were trying him at other positions because there were other intangibles in the catching area that were not as strong. With his bat ready for the major leagues and his glove not yet ready to catch the Indians wanted his bat in the lineup. The Padres already have a catcher, but that is the position he has been playing in El Paso, where he is hitting .382 in 10 games.

3) Luis Torrens - The Padres selected him as a Rule V pick from the Yankees and he lost development time sitting on the bench in 2017 with the Padres. Dropped down to High A he is hitting .288. He needs to improve blocking the plate (16 passed balls) but his arm is strong enough to stop the running game.

4) Luis Campusano - A 2017 second round pick of the Padres. He is still raw behind the plate but his arm is strong and he blocks the ball well. His bat should produce power but there are three talented catchers ahead of him.

Infielders

1) Fernando Tatis Jr (SS) - His dad played a number of years at third. Many feel that will be his ultimate position. Myworld was impressed with his fielding at the futures game and if he doesn’t bulk up he should be able to handle short. His bat should provide plenty of power for a move to third base with 16 homeruns in AA. His speed has also allowed him to steal 16 bases. The Padres will probably wait until 2019 before calling him up to the big club.

2) Luis Urias (2B/SS) - He started as a second baseman but the Padres moved him to short and he proved he can handle that position. His bat will not produce much power but his ability to make contact and spray the gaps should put his batting average consistently north of .300. At AAA he is hitting .272 but that has come with a greater propensity to strike out. He could end up playing a Marwin Gonzalez utility role in 2019 for the Padres.

3) Josh Naylor (1B) - The Padres have put him out in left field but his 250 pound frame gives him the range of a redwood (1.29 range factor and a .894 fielding percentage). His bat carries significant power but Eric Hosmer appears to have first base sewn up for the immediate future. Josh makes good contact for a power hitting and is drilling it in AA, hitting .301 with a career high 15 homeruns. Expect to see him in a Padres uniform sometime in 2019 but not as a left fielder. His best bet may be as a trade to an American League club where he can DH.

4) Gabriel Arias (SS) - The Venezuelean’s glove is smooth but the bat is a question. In Low A he is only hitting .228 with a .303 slugging. Those kind of numbers will keep him in the minors.

5) Allen Cordoba (SS) - Like Torrens, he was a rule V pick up in 2017 from the Cardinals and was forced to spend most of his development time on the bench. He did win the batting title in the Rookie league in 2016 with a .362 average, but this year in High A he is only hitting .205. The defense will play but the bat needs to improve. He missed the beginning of the season with a concussion so perhaps he needs some time to get his head cleared.

6) Javier Guerra (SS) - At one point the Panamania was the number one prospect of the Padres. That was a few years ago. His bat has gone silent since. From .279 with 15 homeruns in 2015 to barely above the Mendoza line and failing to reach double digits in dingers in the subsequent years. This year he is hitting .209 in AAA. The glove is more than capable to play the position but time is running out as his bat sputters.

7) Hudson Potts (3B) - The Padres first round 2016 pick has some pop with 17 homeruns in High A. The Padres would like to see more patience at the plate (37/111 walk to whiff ratio). He is still raw at third. If Tatis has to move to the position Potts defensive skills are far below that of Tatis. Drafted out of high school the Padres can be patient with him.

Pitchers

1) MacKenzie Gore (LHP) - The last high school baseball player before Gore voted the Gatorade sportsman of the year was Dylan Bundy. Gore may be one of the best lefthanders in the minor leagues. Blisters have been haunting his season and pitch counts lowering his win totals (1-5) but when he is ready in 2021 he could be the ace of the staff. A mid-90s fastball with three quality secondary pitches to complement the fastball make him a top of the line, ace pitcher.

2) Michel Baez (RHP) - At 6′8″ his tall frame can be intimidating on the mound. The Padres signed the Cuban in 2016 for $3 million. His fastball flashes across the plate in the high 90s with a plus slider. He should be able to develop the full complementary of pitches and command to fit in the top of the rotation. He and Gore should be ready at about the same time.

3) Adrian Morejon (LHP) - Another Cuban who shined at the 15 and under Baseball World Cup and then fled Cuba at 16. He signed for $11 million in 2016. His fastball can also touch the mid-90s with a plus change to make it appear faster. Both he, Gore and Baez should arrive at the same time giving them three top of the line starters, provided they can all stay healthy.

4) Cal Quantril (RHP) - The son of Paul was a first round pick of the Padres in 2016. His overall tools are short of the top three but a changup that is one of the best in the minors will make him effective. He is struggling a bit in AA (5.15 ERA) with the opposition hitting him at a .288 clip. He has not racked up the K’s in the minors and hitters have hit him pretty good. Improving his secondary pitches will keep him in the rotation, otherwise he may have to move to the bullpen like his father.

5) Anderson Espinoza (RHP) - Tommy John surgery did not allow him to pitch in 2017 and he has yet to take the mound this year. Prior to the surgery he was one of the top arms in the minor leagues, compared to Pedro Martinez. His slight frame and arm injuries may force him to work out of the bullpen once he is healthy.

6) Joey Lucchesi (LHP) - At 6′5″ he has a large frame. The fourth round pick is not a power pitcher, but does sit in the low 90s with his fastball. Last year he dominated at AA (1.79 ERA) and a good spring got him his major league opportunity. He is pitching well (5-6, 3.70) with the Padres where he will ultimately settle into the middle or back end of what should be an impressive starting rotation.

7) Chris Paddock (RHP) - The eighth round 2015 pick of the Marlins was acquired by the Padres for Fernando Rodney. After a dominating 2016 season (0.85 ERA) in A ball, Tommy John surgery forced him to miss a chunk of that season and all of 2017. He has bounced back where he has left off dominating at the High A and AA levels (1.91 ERA) limiting the opposition to a .191 average. The Padres want to be very tolerant of his pitch count so don’t expect him in the major leagues until 2020. Not overpowering, he relies on his change to set up his fastball to retire hitters.

8) Ryan Weathers (LHP) - The Padres 2018 first round pick will not overpower you with his fastball, but like many lefthanders he will dazzle you with his movement and breaking pitches. He does have good bloodlines being the son of ex-major league pitcher David Weathers.

9) Logan Allen (LHP) - The line of lefthanded pitchers keeps on growing. The large framed 6′3″ pitcher was one of the players acquired for Craig Kimbrel. The Padres seem to be focusing on pitchers with solid changeups and for Logan that is his best pitch. His fastball dances across the plate in the low 90s.

10) Eric Lauer (LHP) - The first round 2016 pick has had his troubles against major league hitters (5.30 ERA and .314 opposition average). It may have been a little early for him to see major league hitters. His fastball is pedestrian, sitting in the high 80s to low 90s but he changes speeds well.

Soto Leads Nats to Split with Reds

Sunday, August 5th, 2018

After losing the opener 7-1, Juan Soto continued to be the savior of the Nationals 2018 season. He doubled, singled and walked to score three times in the Nationals 6-2 win over the Reds. Anthony Rendon also contributed with two doubles and a single, driving in Soto twice with his two doubles.

Jeremy Hellickson may lack the blazing fastball but he had enough to tame the Reds bats. He gave up a lead off homerun to Jose Peraza on the second pitch he threw in the game. He also served one up to Eugenio Suarez in the fourth. Both balls were deposited into the Reds bullpen in left field.

Matt Harvey had the blazing fastball, hitting 95 on the radar. The Nationals spent the evening off him building a picket fence, scoring single runs in the first to fourth innings. Matt Adams crushed a leadoff homerun off Harvey in the fifth to send him to the showers. The Nationals added another run in the inning on a Wilmer Difo double to stop the picket fence with a two spot.

Prior to that it was all Soto. In the first inning he hit a screaming liner into right center that hit the bottom of the scoreboard. He was able to slide awkwardly into second base. Anthony Rendon followed by lining a double into the left centerfield gap to score Soto to tie the game at 1-1.

In the second inning Michael Taylor got things started with a bunt single. Hellickson laid down a nice bunt to move Taylor to second. Wilmer Difo delivered on the first of his two clutch two out hits, ripping a single to right center to score Taylor, who barely slid into home, beating a strong throw from Billy Hamilton.

It was Soto again in the third. He led off the inning with a single past the diving second baseman into right field. Rendon followed with a bloop single over the head of the shortstop. Matt Adams ripped a double down the first base line to score Soto but Rendon was held at third. The Reds walked Michael Taylor intentionally and it paid off. Spencer Kieboom popped to third and Hellickson hit a weak grounder to short limiting the damage to one run and a 3-1 lead.

Soto sparked the rally again for the Nationals in the fourth. With two out he coaxed a walk from Harvey. Anthony Rendon lined a pitch to left field. Preston Tucker appeared to get a poor break on the ball and it rolled to the wall scoring Soto.

The bullpen did the rest for the Nats, although Kelvin Herrera was not sharp. He gave up a single to Mason Williams and walked Curt Casilla. He was one ball away from walking Preston Tucker to load the bases but finally got him to fly out to right field. He struck out Preston Tucker to end the game. Because the score was 6-2 when he came into the game it was not a save situation.

Game Notes: Bryce Harper was hit on the knee from a pitch by Austin Brice. The pitch was a curve ball. Bryce was able to get to first and run the bases but was taken out of the game in the top of the seventh after Dave Martinez did not like how well he ran after the ball after a Mason Williams double. The Nationals are calling it a stinger and he is day to day…Perhaps it was just coincidence or a purposeful pitch but Joey Votto was nailed in the leg by Ryan Madson with two out in the eighth. Joey was not happy with being hit, yelling something to Madson as he trotted to first and after the third out was made…Juan Soto fouled a pitch into his nether regions in the fourth inning. He was down for awhile, but once recovered drew a walk. He had to race home from first after a Rendon double so he appears fine…After Matt Adams led off the fifth with a homerun Tucker Barnhart said something to the umpire while in his crouch. The home plate umpire did not like what was said and tossed Barnhart while Adams circled the bases. It appears Barnhart had made a comment about the strike zone and Fletcher got a little sensitive and tossed Barnhart. That is when Barnhart got more animated and started arguing with the umpire as Adams rounded the bases…Preston Tucker did not play well in left field. He reacted poorly to a line drive from Rendon that rolled to the fence. He also threw a ball that went nowhere near the cutoff man, hitting the second base bag…Jesus Reyes made his major league debut. The first batter he faced he hit Spencer Kieboom. That later resulted in the Joey Votto hit by pitch that ultimately resulted in warnings being issued to both benches…Trea Turner grounded out in all five of his at bats. The only infielder he ignored was the first baseman.

The top Lefthanded Pitchers in the Minors

Friday, August 3rd, 2018

Most of these pitchers are starters but that does not preclude them from working out of the pen once they reach the major leagues. Lefthanders generally lack the velocity of righthanders by a couple miles an hour on average. For some reason their pitches seem to move more. Or at least that is the perception. Perhaps there is a study out there that explains why or why not. Below are myworld’s top lefthanded pitchers still in the minor leagues.

1. MacKenzie Gore (Padres) - The Padres 2017 first round pick has been battling blisters. Those blisters have put him on the disabled list twice. Gore has at least three quality pitches in a 92-95 mile per hour fastball, curveball and change that he can throw to get hitters out. He also has the command to locate those pitches. The lower pitch counts starve Gore for wins (1-5) but opposing hitters are only batting .228 against him. This year he has pitched all season in Low A. The Padres will be patient with him promoting him a level at a time until he reaches AA.

2. Jesus Luzardo (Athletics) - The Nationals drafted him in the third round of the 2016 draft out of Parkland High School, where the shootings occurred in Florida. Last year the Nationals included him and Blake Treinen in a trade for Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle. Tommy John surgery prevented him from pitching the 2016 season. He appears to be healthy now, dominating at High A (1.23 ERA) to earn a promotion to AA. There has been no let down at the higher level (2.29 ERA). Hitters are only pinging the ball at a .191 clip against him. He can light up the radar in the high 90s and has a quality curveball and change. Good command limits the solid contact. Expect him to compete for a spot in the Athletics rotation next year if they want to eat up a early 40-man rotation spot on him.

3. Justus Sheffield (Yankees) - Height is not as important with lefthanders as righthanders. Justus stands 5′10″ but can still light the radar in the high 90s. His fastball sits in the mid-90s with a quality slider and change. The 2014 first round pick started the season in AA but after only five starts (2.25 ERA) was promoted to AAA where he continues to thrive (2.31 ERA). The opposition is hitting just .191 against him. His command can be a little spotty but it has improved as he has gained experience. He may get a September callup to work in the bullpen or the Yankees could wait until next year to promote him for their starting rotation.

4. A.J. Puk (Athletics) - After being drafted in the first round of the 2016 draft Puk was on his way to earning a spot in the Athletics rotation this year until the dreaded sprained elbow turned into Tommy John surgery. At 6′7″ he falls just short of being Randy Johnson intimidating. His fastball holds in the mid-90s but can register at the higher readings. He spins a quality slider and has a good change. What is his Achilles heel is his lack of command. He won’t pitch this year and hopes to get some innings in early next year. The surgery will delay his major league debut until 2020.

5. Luiz Gohara (Braves) - He has the potential to transform into the physique of Bartolo Colon, which is not good when you are 22. His fastball hits the high 90s with great regularity and he has a plus slider to complement the fastball. A lack of a third pitch and inconsistent command could send the Brazilian to the bullpen. Luiz was expected to compete for a rotation spot but struggles in AAA (5.56 ERA and .275 opposition average) have kept him in the minors. Nine of the 47 hits he has given up this year have left the yard. A little less of Luiz (265 pounds) could help his pitching mechanics and the velocity on his fastball.

6. Adrian Morejon (Padres) - Myworld remembers when the Cuban dominated at the 15 and under World Cup. A year later, at 16 he had left Cuba for the major leagues. The Padres signed him for a $11 million bonus. That would be enough cash for a 16 year old to survive without parental support. His fastball sits in the low 90s but can hit the mid-90s. The change is probably his best pitch. Still in his teenage years Adrian has already reached High A where his 3.36 ERA is pretty impressive for the California League.

7. Kolby Allard (Braves) - The radar readings for the number one pick of the 2015 draft are not impressive, sitting in the high 80s to low 90s. He relies on doing what lefties do best, putting lots of movement on the ball and showing quality breaking pitches and changing speeds effectively. His command also limits quality barrel of bat on ball contact. His ultimate destination may be to the bullpen where he retires lefties and righties equally well. Kolby made one major league start this year and did not far well, giving up 9 hits and five runs in five innings. He generally limits the opposition to a .250 average in the minor leagues.

8. Stephen Gonsalves (Twins) - The 2013 fourth round pick does not light up the radar either but entering the 2018 season Stephen has limited the opposition to a .202 average. His change is above average making the velocity of his fastball appear to have more smoke. This year he continues to dominate (3.04 ERA and .188 opposition average). At some point the Twins will find room in their rotation for him. Perhaps September of this year will be his debut. Expect him to compete for a rotation spot next year.

9. Seth Romero (Nationals) - The Nationals first round 2017 pick has the stuff. Whether his character flaws will allow him to show that stuff in the major leagues is open to question. He was kicked off his college team Houston after being suspended twice. The Nationals suspended him at the beginning of the year for his tardiness. That is all in the past as he shows off his mid-90s fastball at Hagerstown (Low A) where the whiffs are prevalent (31 in 23 innings) and the opposition is hitting him at .211 but the ERA is bloated (4.24 ERA). If he behaves himself the promotions should come quickly. If he continues to have character flaws he will be buried in the minors.

10. Logan Allen (Padres) - The fastball is pedestrian but the eighth round 2015 pick has a swing and miss pitch that dives as it crosses the plate. At AA the opposition is hitting him at a .199 clip and he has struck out more than a hitter per inning. Logan is the third lefthander on the Padres on this list but he is ahead of Gore and Morejon and should get the first opportunity to make the rotation. His best fit may be in the bullpen because of a lack of quality pitches other than his change.