Archive for the 'MLB' Category

NL East Minor League All Stars

Saturday, October 14th, 2017

Below are the NL East Minor League All Stars by classification as broken out by Baseball America. Next myworld will take a look at who we think are the top ten prospects at each position. The best prospect in baseball (Ronald Acuna) is not listed here because he did not spend enough time at the three classifications he played at.

Atlanta Braves

Mike Soroka SP (AA) - The Canadian righthander is not the most overpowering pitcher in the game. The number one pick of the Braves in 2015 relies on command and the quality of his secondary pitches to retire hitters. His fastball sits in the low 90s but the opposition hit him at only a .233 clip. At 6′5″ he has good height that makes that low 90s fastball seem like it has more velocity.

Alex Jackson C (High A) - Alex was a first round pick of the Mariners in 2014. A catcher in high school the Mariners moved him to the outfield where he struggled making contact. The Mariners traded him to the Braves last year were he was returned to his high school position. Coincidence or not his bat came alive last year with 19 homeruns and a .480 slugging. There is still a lot of swing and miss with his bat. He has a strong arm but the other tools for catching need to be refined.

Joey Wentz SP (Low A) - The lefthander may have been a supplemental first round pick in 2016 but he was paid a higher bonus than their first round pick that year. Joey has good height (6′5″) and a blazing fastball that hits mid-90s but is more comfortable in the low 90s. His secondary pitches (curve and change) are quality. He should rise quickly once he exercises better command of his pitches.

Bryse Wilson SP (Low A) - The Braves are stocked with pitchers. Bryse was a fourth round pick in 2016. The righthander does not share the same height as his teammate Wentz (6′1″) but his fastball can reach the mid-90s. While he was called on for 26 starts last year his best position with all the arms in the Braves system may be in the bullpen.

William Contreras C (Rookie) - The Venezuelan is the younger brother of Wilson so he has good bloodlines. He still has some work to do on his defense, eliminating the passed balls, but his bat was potent in the rookie league hitting .290 with a 24/30 walk to whiff ratio. He has a 28 percent success rate in gunning down baserunners.

Miami Marlins

None - Derek Jeter has a lot of work to do to make this Marlin team whole.

New York Mets

Amed Rosario SS (AAA) - The Dominican has a smooth glove with a bat that should fit at the top of a lineup. His AAA OBA was .367. That dropped below .300 in the major leagues. If he can show more patience with the big club he could fit in the leadoff spot. The bat also shows enough pop (.466) that he could find himself in the three hole. The glove plays well. Think Francisco Lindor light.

Corey Oswalt SP (AA) - With all their young pitchers you would think they would be set there. Think again. Injuries have played havoc on the rotation and now not even Matt Harvey is in their future. Corey is a 7th round 2012 pick who will fit more in the back end of a rotation. He lacks overpowering stuff but at 6′5″ the low 90s fastball comes at the hitters with the appearance of greater velocity.

Pete Alonso 1B (High A) - The second round 2016 pick carries a little more natural power than Dominic Smith and will be insurance should Smith struggle. His lack of speed prevents any kind of move to the outfield. If Smith succeeds Alonso will be trade bait.

Philadelphia Phillies

Rhys Hoskins 1B (AAA) - If the Phillies had called up Hoskins earlier he may have challenged Cody Bellinger for the rookie of the year honor. He had a nice homerun pace in AAA (29) but enhanced that when promoted to the major leagues (18 in 50 games). His lack of speed makes playing outfield a challenge so one of either Tommy Joseph or Rhys must be moved.

Tom Eshelman SP (AAA) - The second round 2015 pick is noted mostly for his command. He walks hardly anyone. A lack of overpowering stuff means he has to locate his pitches well to achieve success. AAA hitters made soft contact against him (.227 average) but he only struck out 6 hitters per nine innings. His upper 80s fastball will restrict him to a back end of a rotation or emergency starter.

Scott Kingery 2B (AA) - He went on an early homerun binge in AA hitting 18 in just 69 games for a .608 slugging. That homerun pop slowed a bit in AAA (8 homeruns and .449 slugging). History tells us the latter production is more accurate. He can hit for average (.304) and has the speed to steal bases (19). The Phillies have to find a position for him with Freddy Galvis, Cesar Hernandez and J.P. Crawford all fitting the middle infield mold. He may lack the power to move to third, unless he can replicate his AA production.

Darick Hall 1B (Low A) - The 14th round pick in 2016 banged 27 homeruns with a .533 slugging. At 21 he was advanced for low A but his 6′4″ 234 pound frame projects for power. The Phillies appear to be crowded at first base.

Nick Fanti SP (Low A) - Another late round pick (31 in 2015) to have success in Low A. The lefty has a pedestrian fastball that rarely touches 90 but he did pitch a couple no hitters in the minors in 2017. A lot of hitters had trouble with his pitches (.200 opposition average). Whether that can continue as he rises to the higher levels is open to question.

Jhailyn Ortiz OF (short season) - The Phillies shelled out $4 million for the Dominican prospect. Power is his big tool. While he has an above average arm a lack of speed may restrict him to left field. He hit .302 with a .560 slugging to show an impressive bat.

Jhordany Mezquita SP (rookie) - The lefthander was a 8th round pick in 2017. He dominated in rookie ball with a 0.72 ERA in nine starts and a .160 opposition average. His 8.4 whiffs per nine innings indicates a lack of overpowering stuff but myworld does not know really a lot about him.

Leonel Aponte SP (Dominican) - Like Mezquita, other than his 0.77 ERA in 13 starts and his .194 opposition average not a lot is known about Aponte. Pitchers tend to put up good numbers in the Dominican summer league. He appears to have command of his pitches walking only 9 hitters in 81 innings.

Washington Nationals

Victor Robles OF (High A) - A five tool athlete the Dominican was fortunate to see some time in the major leagues. He has the speed to play centerfield and steal bases and the bat to hit for average. The power has yet to come but many project it will arrive as he matures. The arm is powerful enough to move to right. Many suspect Robles will be the right fielder after the free agency departure of Bryce Harper.

Nats Bats Explode Late in Win Over Cubs

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

Last year Joe Maddon got into the heads of Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman. He walked Bryce six times in one game, a number intentionally to face Ryan Zimmerman, who failed to drive in the city of runners he left on base. Both would go on to have less than stellar years.

Yesterday both Harper and Zimmerman got a little revenge against Maddon. Harper launched a mammoth two run shot in the eighth that settled into the second deck over the Nationals bullpen that tied the game at 3-3. In the same inning Zimmerman lifted a fly ball into left field that just cleared the fence for a three run homer to give the Nationals a 6-3 lead.

The game started well for the Nationals when Anthony Rendon lined a pitch into the right field bullpen with two outs in the first inning for an early 1-0 lead. That was the only hit the Nationals could muster off Jon Lester through the first four innings. It was shades of the previous night when they could only collect two hits in nine innings.

The Cubs got back early in the game when Wilson Contreras powered a pitch down the left field line for a second inning leadoff homer to tie the game 1-1. Gio Gonzalez like Jon Lester would settle down after that blast and not allow a hit until the fourth.

In the fourth Kris Bryant lined a double over the head of Jayson Werth to lead off the inning. Anthony Rizzo hit a high fly ball into right that a Cubs fan caught just over the fence for a two run homer. The Nationals appealed that the Cubs fan reached over the fence to rob Bryce Harper of an opportunity to make the catch but the appeal was denied after looking at the replay. Gio worked five innings before Dusty Baker went to the bullpen.

In the bottom of the fifth Ryan Zimmerman led the inning off with a slow bouncer up the middle for their second hit of the game. After two fly outs Zimmerman baited Lester to throw to first, taking a lead that was almost one third of the way to second. Lester did not throw to first and Zimmerman stole second with a huge jump. A wild pitch advanced him to third with two outs. Michael Taylor worked a walk and Howie Kendrick pinch hit for Gio and also walked to load the bases. That brought up Trea Turner. Trea swung at and missed at what appeared to be a outside fastball for strike three to continue the frustration of Nationals fans watching the anemic bats flail.

The Nationals could not get another hit until the eighth. Lester worked six and Pedro Strop hit Wieters with two outs in the seventh but retired Taylor to leave the Nats struggling to find base runners. The bullpen of Matt Albers, Sammy Solis, Ryan Madson and Oliver Perez quieted the Cubs bats through eight, leaving the score at 3-1 entering the home half of the eighth.

Adam Lind pinch hit for Oliver Perez and does what he does best, singling into left field. A faster runner would have gotten to second, but for Nats fans it was a hit. Harper worked the count to 3-1 and then launched a pitch into the full moon, landing in the second deck high above the right field bullpen to tie the game 3-3. The crowd had something to cheer about. Myworld does not recall a “N-A-T-S Nats, Nats, Nats” cheer for the two runs but too many people were slapping high fives maybe they forgot or perhaps myworld did not notice.

A walk to Anthony Rendon ended the day for Carl Edwards Jr. Mike Montgomery came on and gave up an opposite field single to left to Daniel Murphy. Ryan Zimmerman then lifted a high fly into left field. The left fielder drifted back, appeared to have caught the ball, but once he could not produce the ball from his glove the crowd realized it had just cleared the fence into the first row. Zimmerman made the leap just before touching first and it was 6-3 Nats.

Sean Doolittle came on for the ninth. He provided a little bit of excitement by giving up a one out single to Addison Russell. Ben Zobrist grounded a 2-1 pitch to Rendon at third and he turned it into a game ending double play. The series goes back to Chicago even at 1-1.

Nats Notes: A sellout crowd of 43,860 attended the game. There were more Cubbies blue than the game on Friday night…Game three starters are scheduled to be Max Scherzer for the Nats and Jose Quintana for the Cubs…Dusty stayed loyal to Jayson Werth, starting him in left field. He was hitless for his second straight game, though he did draw a walk in the first game. Expect Howie to get a start if Jayson’s bat stays cold…The Nationals handed out red towels for the game Saturday night. There were not too many opportunities for fans to wave them until the eighth…For Adam Lind he had his first playoff at bat after 1,344 regular season games. He made the most of it by singling to left, beginning a five run rally that would send the Nationals to victory. Victor Robles pinch ran for him and scored after the Harper homer…The homerun for Rizzo was a franchise record 6 homeruns in the playoffs. He also has the record for most post season RBIs with 16.

Leather and Wood Fail the Nats in Playoff Loss to Cubs

Saturday, October 7th, 2017

The Nationals have appeared in three playoffs series. They have yet to win one. Something always fails them. The bats. The pen. The lack of starting pitching. Yesterday it was the leather after a key error by Anthony Rendon allowed two unearned runs to score in the sixth to ruin an excellent performance from Strasburg. The bats were also frigid, failing to make any solid contact off Kyle Hendricks in the 3-0 loss.

The Nationals were able to advance a runner to second in the first two innings, but failed to score. Little did they know it would be their best opportunity of the night. After the second inning no National touched second base. It was pure domination by Hendricks, whose fastball was one tick slower than the change thrown by Strasburg. Whenever he threw his change the Nats could only stir a breeze or watch it flutter in the strike zone.

Strasburg was just as dominant, but in a more swing and miss way. In the first five innings he had struck out five. In the sixth leadoff hitter Javier Baez hit a routine grounder to third. Anthony Rendon had it in his glove and then it was out of his glove. Hendricks bunted Baez to second.

After a fly out to center Strasburg got ahead of Kris Bryant 0-2. It appeared he would escape adversity, a trait he has not been known for in the past. He had yet to allow a hit, but Strasburg does not lead a charmed life when facing adversity. On an 0-2 pitch Bryant lined one into right center for the first hit of the game. The throw home from Harper was a little too high and missed the first cutoff man, but Strasburg, instead of backing up home caught the ball and fired to second, where Bryant was trying to advance on the high throw. Bryant slid under the tag and a review confirmed that. If the throw had been low enough for the first cutoff man Bryant may have been out. This proved critical when Anthony Rizzo lined a single to right field to score Bryant to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead.

This proved insurmountable to the Nationals impotent bats. The offense only hit five balls into the outfield, two for hits and three routine fly outs. The Cubs added one more insurance run in the eighth on a Jon Jay double that hit the left field line. A one out grounder to second advanced Jay to third. Anthony Rizzo lined a double into the left field corner to give the Cubs another run they would not need.

The Cubs bullpen of Carl Edwards Jr and Wade Davis retired the Nationals in order in the last two innings. It was almost a relief to see Hendricks gone to start the eighth, but the Nats bats could not hit anyone tonight.

Nats Notes: A nice gesture by the Nats to have Steve Scalise throw out the first pitch. He was the Congressman shot at the baseball practice held by the Republicans. His body guards were also present at the ceremony, one of the Secret Service members catching the first pitch…The Nats passed out red cardboard “K” signs. Strasburg put them to good use with his 10 whiffs in seven innings. The bullpen of Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler also struck out three, but it was all for naught by an offense that also struck out 9 times and could not get solid wood on the ball…Steven Strasburg started the game throwing all strikes and retiring the Cubs in order in the first inning. His changeup (91) was a tick faster than the Kyle Hendricks fastball (88-91. Both Strasburg and Hendricks got a lot of swings and misses with their changeups….Jayson Werth took three strikes in his first at bat. While he did walk once his bat was not impressive. Expect Howie Kendrick to play left field in the second game to generate more offense…Ryan Zimmerman struck out in the ninth and when he ran to first the throw from Wilson Contreras hit him in the shoulder. The umpire ruled him out because he was far inside the line interfering with the throw from Contreras. The crowd did not like the call but he was clearly inside the infield area of the base path.

NL Central Minor League All Stars

Friday, October 6th, 2017

Below are the classification All Stars for the NL Central as provided by Baseball America. These are not necessarily the top prospects at each classification but they are players who performed the best over their time in that classification.

Chicago Cubs

Fernando Kelli OF (Dominican) - The fact you have to go as far down as the Dominican summer league to find an All Star tells a lot about the Cubs minor league system. Speed appears to be the best tool in his game with 58 stolen bases in 67 games. He also got on base with a .327 average and a .437 OBA. He does seem to swing and miss a lot, not what you want to see in a lead off hitter and his power is limited to the gaps.

Cincinnati Reds

Tyler Mahle SP (AA) - The seventh round pick threw no hitters in 2016 and 2017. His fastball can hit the mid-90s but is not overpowering. He relies more on mixing in his secondary pitches (curve, slider and change) to complement the fastball. Between AAA and AA he limited the opposition to a .208 average. They hit him a little better when promoted for four starts in the major leagues (.253) and his control of the strike zone was a bit shaky (11 walks in 20 innings) but his ERA was good (2.70).

Jose Siri OF (Low A) - There is a lot of raw power in his bat (24 homeruns) and his legs can steal bases (46). That speed allows him to cover a ton of ground in the outfield. His arm is strong leading to the possibility of a five tool athlete if he can develop. His only downside is his patience at the plate (33/130) with a tendency to swing and miss too much.

Taylor Trammell OF (Low A) - A two sport athlete in high school you can count the same tools for Taylor with Jose. He showed speed with 41 stolen bases and power (13 homeruns). Taylor has better patience at the plate (71 walks) with the speed to cover center. His arm is not as strong as Siri so when not playing center he fits better in left.

Debby Santana 3B (Dominican) - He was the youngest player on the Dominican All Star team (16 years). The power is limited to the gaps but as he matures many of those balls will carry over the fence.

Milwaukee Brewers

Lewis Brinson OF (AAA) - Drafted by the Rangers in the first round of the 2012 draft, the Brewers acquired him in the Jonathan Lucroy trade. The speed and power exist for him to be a 30/30 player, though his stolen base numbers were not high last year. He struggled when called up by the Brewers (.106), but he should be the centerfielder of the future for the Brewers.

Corbin Burnes SP (AA) - The fourth round 2016 pick does not rely on power, with a fastball that can hit the mid-90s but often sits in the low 90s. His slider gives him a good swing and miss pitch to complement his fastball. He needs to develop his change or move to the pen. The opposition hit him at a .212 clip and he showed good command of his pitches only walking 20 in 86 innings.

Nate Griep (High A) RP - Nate picked up 30 saves but bullpen pitchers with low strikeout rates (7.5 per nine innings) are not commodities to get excited about. He did limit the opposition to a .191 average so there was a lot of soft contact with his offerings.

Jean Carlos Carmona SS (Dominican) - He hit .302 but with very little power and no stolen base speed. Myworld anticipates that he carries a good glove but we don’t have much info on him.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Steven Brault SP (AAA) - The Orioles have traded a number of mid-rotation pitchers to keep their playoff hopes alive. Brault is another one of those pitchers that fits on the cusp of being mid to back rotation pitcher. He throws lefthanded relying on breaking pitches to retire hitters. Minor league hitters struggled with a .199 opposition average, major league hitters juiced him at a .287 average. He might be best used out of the pen as an emergency starter.

Luis Escobar SP (Low A) - At 6′1″ he is small, but his fastball has easy mid-90s velocity. His command is a bit erratic but he has swing and miss stuff. He needs to enhance his secondary pitches (curve and change) to stay in the starting rotation.

Mason Martin DH (Rookie) - The 17th round 2017 pick opened some eyes with his 11 homeruns and .630 slugging. He also walked 32 times in 39 games for a .457 OBA. Mason played most of his games at first base but did see some time in the outfield.

Sherten Apostel DH (Dominican) - The Curacao native did show some pop with 9 dingers. He also had an impressive 56/49 walk to whiff ratio. This was his second season in the Dominican League and he made enough improvement to go stateside next year. He has played third base the last two seasons.

St. Louis Cardinals

Evan Mendoza 3B (short season) - The 11th round 2017 pick hit .370 in short season. When promoted to Low A it dropped 100 points. There is gap power but if he hopes to stick in the infield corner slot there needs to be more.

Scott Hurst OF (short season) - Hurst was a third round pick in 2017 but the first player the Cardinals selected in the draft. Speed is his best tool which allows him to play centerfield. There does not appear to be much power in his bat to play a corner.

Ivan Herrera C (Dominican) - The native of Panama carries a mean stick (.335). He also threw out 34 of the 85 runners who stole off him.

Yankees Win Wildcard Game

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

In a year when the major league record for homeruns was broken and no one seems to cast any suspicions of juicing, either of the ball or the muscles, the Yankees outhomered the Twins 3-2 to win the American League wild card game 8-4.

Luis Severino did not last long in the game, retiring only one hitter before he was sent to the showers. Brian Dozier greeted him with a leadoff homerun and Eddie Rosario launched a two run shot to end his night. Chad Green replaced Severino and tamed the Twins bats for two innings.

The Yankees bit back with some launches of their own off Twins ace Ervin Santana. Didi Gregorius got things started with a three run shot in the first to tie the game at 3-3. Bret Gardner put the Yankees up 4-3 with a solo shot in the second inning. With all that bashing the Twins went with Santana for only two innings. Facing elimination they turned to rookie Jose Berrios to quiet the Yankee bats.

The Twins tied it in the third but the Yankees recaptured the lead in the bottom frame. In the fourth the Yankees rookie Aaron Judge abused the Twins rookie Berrios with a screaming liner that cleared the wall and gave the Yankees a convincing 7-4 lead they would fail to yield. Judge and Gardner scored three runs each to account for six of the Yankees eight runs.

The Yankees ex-closer of days gone by David Robertson shut the Twins down for 3.1 innings. Another recent acquisition for their bullpen and a teammate of Robertson with the White Sox at the start of the season, Tommy Kahnle shut the Twins down for 2.1 innings. The current Yankee closer Aroldis Chapman struck out three of the four hitters he faced, even though it was not a save situation to close out the game.

NL West Minor League All Stars

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

Below are the various classification All Stars from the NL West. These may not be the best prospects in baseball, but they are the players who had the best years in their specific classification. Some players may have had good years but did not spend enough time in their classifications to be considered.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Jimmy Sherfy RP (AAA) - At 6′0″ he does not have the height that scouts like to see in starting pitchers. He also was a 10th round pick in 2013. A lack of quality secondary pitches put him in the bullpen but a mid-90s fastball allowed him to have some success in the bullpen. In 11 major league appearances the opposition only hit him at a .143 pace.

Kevin Cron 1B (AA) - This was his third season in a row in which he put up 20 plus homeruns, the second season in the Southern League. At 6′5″ he has a power frame but a career .480 slugging has him falling short of what you want to see at first base. A 14th round pick in 2014 he has never appeared on prospect lists but perhaps he is getting some attention. At 24 he is ripe to make a major league appearance or fall into journeyman status.

Jose Almonte SP (High A) - Not overpowering but he does carry three above average pitches plus command to work at the end of a starting rotation.

Tommy Eveld RP (Low A) - A big kid at 6′5″ who has a mid 90s fastball. He was a football player who arrived late on the baseball scene and at 23 is a little old for Low A. He did finish with a 0.33 ERA and a .111 opposition average. That dominance was not there when promoted to the California League (5.73 ERA and .262 opposition average).

Daulton Varsho C (short season) - Named after Darren Daulton and the son of major leaguer Gary, Daulton carries a nice bat with some power. He has some speed for a catcher but his arm strength is below average. A quick release allowed him to throw out 32 percent of those runners who tried to steal against him.

Pavin Smith 1B (short season) - The D-backs first round pick in 2017 was homerless in 195 at bats. He did hit .318 and has the ability to hit for power. A lack of speed will keep him at first base so that power needs to show if he is expected to stick at that position.

Yoel Yanqui 1B (Dominican) - At 21 years of age he is long in the tooth to still be playing in the Dominican League. He did hit .373 but at this point his power appears to be restricted to the gaps.

Colorado Rockies

Ryan McMahon 3B (AAA) - Ryan had a breakout year this year. With Arenado at third the Rockies have shown Ryan a lot of second base time. He may not be strong there defensively but he has the potential for a 20 plus homerun bat with a solid average. Ryan was a second round pick in 2013 so it has taken him some time to develop.

Brendan Rodgers SS (High A) - The Rockies first round pick in 2015 he may eventually take the shortstop job away from Trevor Story or be a better defensive option than McMahon at second base. He has good pop for a middle infielder, a little short of Story, but he can hit for a better average and may be a better defensive option.

Daniel Montano OF (Dominican) - This was his second season in the Dominican summer league. The Venezuelan lacks centerfield speed and carries an arm more suited for left field. He lacks the power to be a corner outfielder so he may end up being a fourth outfielder type.

Alfredo Garcia RP (Dominican) - The Venezuelan is a lefty who will rely on his command and breaking pitches for success. His walk to whiff ratio (7.9) and .256 opposition average does not translate into dominating stuff.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Wilmer Font SP (AAA) - At 27 Font has been around for awhile. His fastball has always been pretty good but his command pretty spotty. In 2015 he pitched in the Can Am Independent League. This was his first year in the Dodgers organization where he had a breakout year with 11.9 whiffs per nine innings. The Venezuelan was originally signed by the Rangers.

Edwin Rios DH (AA) - Rios shows good power. His lefthanded bat would fit well at third base, but his defense is not strong there. He may have to settle for first where his plus .500 slugging would fit well.

D.J. Peters OF (High A) - The 2016 fourth round pick had a nice little break out season with 27 homeruns. At 6′6″ he has the Aaron Judge thing going with a lot of raw power but lots of swings and misses. Despite his size D.J. shows good speed and has the arm for right field.

Caleb Ferguson SP (High A) - A 38th round 2014 pick put himself on the map with 10.3 whiffs per nine innings. For a lefty to have a fastball that can hit the mid-90s is a plus but he complements that with a good curveball.

Keibert Ruiz C (Low A) - Signed out of Venezuela Keibert has a good offensive/defensive mix for behind the plate. He will not hit for a lot of power but he has yet to hit below .300 in his three years in the minor leagues.

Rylan Bannon 3B (Rookie) - An eighth round pick in 2017 showed good pop with 10 homeruns and a .591 slugging average.

Aldry Acosta SP (Dominican) - A 1.26 ERA, .187 opposition average are the good numbers. Only 7.6 whiffs per nine are the average. At 17 and 6′4″ he has some maturation to do.

San Diego Padres

Franchy Cordero OF (AAA) - The above average tools gave him 18 triples and 17 homeruns. He began his career as a shortstop but he was moved to the outfield where his above average speed could fit in center. He did hit three triples in the major leagues to keep his triple ratio at 14 percent of his hits.

Fernando Tatis Jr SS (Low A) - The son of Fernando Sr. may eventually move to third base where his dad played. He has the tools for short but could outgrow the position. His bat carries plenty of power to accommodate a corner position.

Esteury Ruiz 2B (Rookie) - Acquired from the Royals Esteury is a hard contact, gap hitter who has plenty of speed to steal bases and turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples. He still needs work on defense at second base.

Mackenzie Gore SP (Rookie) - The Padres first round 2017 pick has the stuff to be an ace in the rotation. His fastball sits in the low 90s now but should increase to the mid-90s as he matures and his breaking stuff (slider and curve) and change give him multiple pitches to retire hitters. The opposition only hit .184 against him in his seven starts.

San Francisco Giants

Heliot Ramos OF (Rookie) - The Puerto Rican was the Giants first round pick in 2017. He carries all five tools though there was a lot of swing and miss in his bat (48 whiffs in 35 games). He still hit for average despite the strikeouts (.348). The speed is good enough to play center but his arm can allow a slide to right.

Alexander Canario OF (Dominican) - The Dominican mainly played right field but has the speed for center. The bat showed mainly gap power but five of his shots did carry over the fence. At 17 years of age there is still a lot of projection in his game.

Pirates Get Moroff Nats Closer Kintzler in Win

Sunday, October 1st, 2017

The Nationals were going into the ninth with a 1-0 lead. Sean Doolittle had pitched the previous night so the Nationals went with Brandon Kintzler to close out the game. He gave up an RBI single to Sean Rodriguez to tie the game and after walking Elias Diaz to load the bases he coughed up a back breaking three run triple to Max Moroff to give the Pirates a 4-1 win over the Nats.

Up until then it was a well pitched ball game. Max Scherzer got the start for the Nationals. He went only 3.1 innings but was forced to leave the game with a tight hamstring after throwing ball three to Josh Bell. A.J. Cole replace him, walked Bell but then got Jordan Luplow to ground into a inning ending double play. He shut the Pirates out for three more innings. Enny Romero closed out the eighth, leaving the Pirates with only a one out single to Max Moroff as their only hit through the first eight innings.

Jameson Taillon, the pitcher selected second after Bryce Harper in the 2010 draft pitched well for the Pirates for seven innings. He gave up a run in the second after Daniel Murphy roped a single into right field to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Ryan Zimmerman drove him in with a single up the middle to score the only run through the first eight innings. Zimmerman ended the day 2 for 2 before being removed from the game in the fifth inning.

After George Kontos retired the Nationals in order in the bottom of the eighth the Nationals called on Brandon Kintzler to close out the game. He gave up an infield single to Starling Marte on a slow roller to short. The initial call was out, but after a review of the replay it was determined he was clearly safe. Jordan Luplow singled to advance Marte to second. Kintzler ran the count to 3-2 to Sean Rodriguez, who was hitting .158 for the season. With the runners going on the pitch Sean lined a single to left field. Jayson Werth, who appears to have lost some velocity from his outfield arm, threw it home but it was not even close to get Marte. A walk to Diaz loaded the bases. After two three ball counts in a row Kintzler threw a fat first pitch to Max Moroff, who lined it in the left field gap, past a shallow Werth to role to the wall and drive in all three runs with his triple. The Nationals could not get Moroff out all day, finishing the day with two hits and two walks in four at bats.

Ex-National Felipe Rivera came out for the ninth hitting triple digits with his fastball and retired the Nationals in order to pick up his 21st save.

Game Notes: Max Scherzer was taken out of the game in the fourth inning for precautionary reasons. Daniel Murphy noticed some awkwardness in his delivery, the whole infield went up to talk to him and Murphy waved for the trainer to come out. The assessment was a tight hamstring which should be fine for a start on Friday…The Nationals also pulled Ryan Zimmerman and Matt Wieters from the lineup, but that was just for rest. Bryce Harper was also replaced in the ninth inning…The Nationals removed Stephen Drew from the 60 day DL. If he is placed on the playoff roster that may mean Victor Robles will not get an opportunity to appear on the roster. The list of healthy players for a bench role is thin because of injuries.

Twins Sign Two Foreign Pitchers

Friday, September 29th, 2017

The Minnesota Twins have become the first baseball team to go from a 100 loss season the previous year to making the playoffs the following year. They do this by signing players from not so traditional places. The Twins recently signed two pitchers, one from Taiwan and the other from the Netherlands that they hope will help them continue their playoff appearances.

From Taiwan the Twins signed Deng Kai Wei for a $580,000 bonus. The Twins have been active in Taiwan but of their four previous signings from Taiwan only one has made it to the major leagues, and he did that in a Tampa Bay Rays uniform. Chih-Wei Hu was signed in 2012 and was a success. Wang-Wei Lin (2006), Hung-Yi Chen (2010) and Kua-Hua Lo (2011) have failed to reach the major leagues.

The Twins also discovered in Canada at the 18 year old World Cup tournament Dutch pitcher Donny Breek. This has not been the first time the Twins have signed a pitcher out of the Netherlands. Loek Van Mil, Alexander Smit and Tom Stuifbergen were all signed out of the Netherlands but did not see any major league time. Donny Breek did not make the all tournament team but myworld identified him as a player to watch after his 1-1, 1.08 ERA in 16.2 innings where he limited the opposition to a .151 average.

AL West Minor League All Stars

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Baseball America came out with their minor league classification All Stars. Below are the players who made the list from the AL West. They may not be the best prospects, but they had the best seasons for 2017.

Houston Astros

Derek Fisher OF (AAA) - Derek would have had a third consecutive 20/20 season if not for an early callup to the Astros. His production made Nori Aoki obsolete in Houston. He has a combination of power and speed with a left handed bat that will make him popular in the lineup. A weak arm will restrict him to left field.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

None

Oakland Athletics

Jorge Mateo SS (AA) - The Yankees included him in a trade to acquire Sonny Gray. It extended his stint at short, but do not be surprised to see an eventual move to the outfield. His main attribute is his speed, stealing 52 bases last year. Jorge also has some emerging power with a career high 12 homeruns. That speed and power mix also produced 18 triples.

Greg Deichmann OF (short season) - Greg does not have any overwhelming tools. Power and a strong arm will have him fit best in right field. At 22 years of age he was one of the older players in short season.

Parker Dunshee SP (short season) - He pitched 38 innings and did not allow a run, limiting the opposition to a .119 average. When the playoffs started he was tattooed for seven runs in less than three innings. The seventh round pick out of Wake Forest does not have dazzling stuff and at 22 years of age he was a bit older than his competetion, so what he does as he rises up a level will be key.

Seattle Mariners

Nick Neidert SP (High A) - The second round 2015 pick is not overpowering, with a fastball in the low 90s. His best pitch at this point is his change up and his ability to command his pitches. He did get knocked around when promoted to AA, the opposition hitting him at a .324 clip.

Joseph Rosa 2B (short season) - Does not seem to possess any top of the scale tools. He did hit a career high 6 homeruns for a .531 slugging average. This is his third season in short season ball so he needs to prove himself at the higher classifications.

Juan Then SP (Dominican) - Pitched well in the Dominican League but that is all we can say about him. Juan struck out 8.2 hitters per 9 innings and limited the opposition to a .220 average.

Texas Rangers

Willie Calhoun DH (AAA) - The Dodgers traded him to the Rangers as part of the Yu Darvish deal. With the Dodgers Calhoun played second base but his defense is lacking there. A move to left field would be ideal to accommodate his suspect glove. What he does possess is a bat that carries homerun power with 31 last year and 27 the previous year.

Cole Ragens SP (short season) - A first round pick in the 2016 draft, the lefty throws a decent fastball in the low 90s but complements it with a solid curveball and change. Cole had a quite impressive 13.7 whiffs per 9 innings, but needs to find the plate more with 35 walks in 57 innings.

Hans Crouse SP (rookie) - The second round 2017 pick has a plus fastball that sits in the mid-90s and can reach the high 90s. That overpowering stuff resulted in a walk to whiff ratio of 13.5 whiffs per nine and a .109 opposition average. At 6′4″ he has good height for a starting pitcher.

Red Sox Sign First Player from Tibet

Sunday, September 24th, 2017

The Red Sox signed Justin Qiang, a 16 year old catcher to a $10,000 bonus. He will play for the instructional league team in Fort Myers in October.

Qiang played for China in international showcase events and participated in in the MLB academy in Nanjing, according to the WBSC website.