Archive for the 'MLB' Category

Simmons Leads Angels Over the O’s

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

Andrelton Simmons has always been known for his glove. This year he is again one of the top players for runs saved on the defensive side of the equation. His bat has usually been quiet. This year it has not with a .290 average and 13 homeruns. Against the Orioles he made a couple nice defensive plays to save runs and on offense he smashed a two run homer deep into the left field bleachers to lead the Los Angeles Angels over the Baltimore Orioles 5-4. If the season ended today the Angels would make the playoffs as the second wild card team.

Kole Calhoun got things started for the Angels with a leadoff solo homerun off Chris Tillman in the second inning. They added another run in the third inning after a leadoff walk to Ben Revere. Revere stole second during a swinging strike three by Mike Trout. Albert Pujols lined a single into left field. Trey Mancini threw a rainbow to home that had no chance to get Revere, who scored to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.

Chris Davis made it 2-1, connecting on a pitch and hitting it down the left field line. Revere made the leap but he came up short and Davis had a homerun to pull the Orioles to within one. Ex-O Parker Bridwell shut the O’s down until the sixth inning, when an error by Cliff Pennington allowed two unearned runs to score. The Orioles traded Bridwell to the Angels in April for a player to be named later or cash.

Andrelton Simmons appeared to put the game away in the sixth when he lofted a high fly deep into the left field bleachers off of Chris Tillman. A walk to Luis Valbuena finished the day for Tillman. It has been an awful year for Tillman as he left the mound with a 7.75 ERA. It was his first start since August 3, when he was moved to the bullpen.

The Orioles battled back in the sixth. After a Caleb Joseph lead off single, Cliff Pennington made a poor throw to Simmons at second on a slow grounder by Tim Beckham. His best play was probably at first base. Manny Machado lined a single into right field to load the bases and Jonathan Schoop ended the day for Bridwell with a two run single into right center field. Adam Jones grounded out into a fielder’s choice when Manny Machado was thrown out at home. With two outs Mark Trumbo lined one into the gap for a ground rule double. Adam Jones would have scored easily from first base if the ball had not bounced over the fence. That proved critical when Chris Davis swung and missed on a high 99 mile per hour fastball from Keynan Middleton, leaving Jones stranded at second.

The Angels had runners on first and third with one out with Albert Pujols at the plate. Manny Machado had a grounder sneak underneath his glove for a critical error. With a .230 average Albert is not the hitter he once was. He bailed out Manny by grounding into a double play to end the inning.

Brad Brach pitched a second inning when he started the 8th. He walked two of the three hitters he faced. Mychal Givens came in to replace him. Cameron Maybin pinch hit for Juan Graterol and lined a single into right field. The ball beat the runner Kole Calhoun to the plate but Caleb Joseph could not catch the one hop throw and the Angels recaptured the lead.

Bud Norris put two runners on in the ninth, but struck out Caleb Joseph and got Tim Beckham to ground out back to the mound to end the game.

Game Notes: Cliff Pennington has a nice double play pivot. He turned two double plays…Trey Mancini does not have an arm in left field. He threw a rainbow to home on a single by Pujols…This is a tale of two teams going in opposite directions. The Angels improved their record to 64-60 while the Orioles fell to 60-64. The Angels are the second wild card team if the season ended today winning nine of their last 11 games. The O’s have at least three teams to jump if they want to make the wild card, losing 8 of their last 12…Oriole pitchers walked nine hitters. Kole Calhoun and Luis Valbuena walked three times each. Three of the nine walks scored.

Howie Homers Twice in Nats Win

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

Howie Kendrick had hit a walk off grand slam on Sunday. After taking the day off Howie went deep twice in the Nationals 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night. Gio Gonzalez pitched another near no-no, allowing his first hit on a Cameron Maybin infield single with two out in the sixth inning.

Tyler Skaggs pitched well for the Angles. He threw close to 50 pitches after two innings, putting himself in three ball counts to three batters in the second inning. Only Howie Kendrick could cross the plate against Skaggs, hitting solo homeruns in the third and fifth innings. He was pinch hit for in the top of the sixth with a pitch count of 91.

The Nationals scored a run in the sixth inning off Bud Norris in the sixth inning. Anthony Rendon led the inning off with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Matt Wieters hit a ground ball underneath the glove of Albert Pujols, allowing the ball to trickle into right field, enough for Rendon to score from second. Pujols was given an error on the play.

Gio Gonzalez scrambled out of the sixth inning. After giving up a two out infield single to Maybin, Mike Trout lined a single into centerfield. A wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third. When Gonzalez got behind Pujols 3-1 the Nationals chose to intentionally walk him. Jefry Marte hit a screaming liner that appeared to be heading towards the right centerfield gap, but Daniel Murphy made a leaping catch to end the inning.

The Nationals bullpen retired the Angels in order in the last three innings, except for a one out solo shot by Cliff Pennington in the eighth off Brandon Kintzler. For Pennington it was only his second homerun of the year.

Game Notes: Anthony Rendon finished the game with three hits to elevate his average back over the .300 mark…Ryan Madson has not been available for relief because of a finger issue. Matt Albers pitched the seventh inning in his place…Brian Goodwin was placed on the disabled list because of a groin issue…Myworld was a day late in reporting this game. Volleyball tryouts kept us busy.

2017 Top Ten Prospects Carolina League

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

These are the players myworld would rate as the top ten prospects in the Carolina League. A pretty impressive group at the top of the list with some impressive names at the lower end. These prospects have put up the numbers to earn a spot on this list and are not named for just potential.

1. Tristan McKenzie RHP (Indians/Lynchburg) - Myworld remembered when we watched the then 19 year old Clayton Kershaw pitch in an early spring training game at Vero Beach. That is the same kind of Wow we had watching Tristan pitch in a short season game at Williamsport last year. The supplemental first round pick in 2015 reminds me of a praying mantis, all arms and legs as his 6′5″ stick frame comes at you with a mid-90s fastball. There were a lot of swings and misses in that game. Those swings and misses continue in the Carolina League with 150 in 118.2 innings. While the opposition is hitting only .199 against him, some of those balls have gone a long way, with 13 homeruns given up. His command could use some improvement, but as his body fills out with maturity that fastball could be impressive if the secondary pitches improve with it.

2. Victor Robles OF (Nationals/Potomac) - Myworld likes Victor over Eloy because of his speed and ability to play a quality defense in centerfield. As he matures the power should increase. The Dominican has the five tools you look for in a superstar. The Nationals signed him for $225,000 in 2013. His speed allows him to cover a lot of ground in centerfield. A .289 average with a .872 OPS resulted in a promotion to AA. Currently his power is restricted to the gaps where he blasted 25 doubles and 7 triples. The 9 homeruns he has hit over the two levels is a career high. Expect him to fit into a crowded Nationals outfield sometime in September of next year.

3. Eloy Jimenez OF (White Sox/Winston Salem) - The Cubs signed the Dominican Eloy for a splashy $2.8 million in 2013, the same year they signed Gleyber Torres for $1.7 million. Now both have left the Cubs, Eloy traded to the White Sox in the Jose Quintana trade. Eloy has a power bat but his lack of blazing speed or a strong arm will restrict him to left field. The trade from the Cubs to the White Sox has seemed to give him a power surge. He batted .271 with 8 homeruns in 42 games for Myrtle Beach in the Carolina League. For the White Sox he is hitting .362 with 8 homeruns in 28 games. It may be too late in the season to promote him to AA, but Eloy appears to be ready for that level now.

4. Forrest Whitley RHP (Astros/Buies Creek) - The 2016 first round pick was called up from Low A after 10 starts. He has not had a lot of time in the Carolina League but in six starts he has struck out 50 in 31.1 innings. At 6′7″ with a mid to high 90s fastball he can dominate games with above average breaking pitches (curve and slider) and a decent change. Opponents still get some hits off him with a .243 opposition average between the two levels. Forrest has shown good command of his pitches, walking just 9 in his 31.1 innings. Drafted out of high school it will take him a couple more years before he reaches the Astros.

5. Austin Hays RF (Orioles/Frederick) - The third round 2016 pick did not last long in the Carolina League after hitting .328 with 16 homeruns. That batting average (.350) and power (12 homeruns) have improved since his promotion to AA. He did hit 16 homeruns for Jacksonville his junior year to lead the Atlantic Sun Conference in homeruns. After being drafted he slugged another four homeruns and hit .336 in the New York Penn League. The Orioles had him skip Low A to move to the Carolina League. Austin has a right fielders arm and decent enough speed to cover ground out in right field. That speed will not result in a lot of stolen bases. The way he is tearing up each league in the minors expect Austin to be with the Orioles sometime next year. They do not have a lot of players there right now to hold him back.

6. Michael Chavis 3B (Red Sox/Salem) - Michael was a first round pick of the Red Sox in 2014. It has been a disappointing first three years for Michael. The Red Sox have a need for a third baseman and if Michael had hit like he has this year perhaps he would get the call. It has been a breakout year for Michael with 17 homeruns in just 59 games with a .318 average and a 1.029 OPS in the Carolina League. His strikeouts are still prevalent, but they have been reduced from his first three years. In AA he has added 12 homeruns to give him 29 for the year. His defense at third is still a little suspect with 14 errors, which could result in a move to first base or left field.

7. Zack Collins C (White Sox/Winston Salem) - Zack was a first round pick of the White Sox in 2016. The 117 whiffs in 110 games has kept his average down at .220, but he does have 17 homeruns with 75 walks for a .362 OBP. His bat should always play but a thick lower half and plodding feet has resulted in 16 passed balls. He has thrown out 45 runners so he can sling it to second. The White Sox will be patient with him. The power will play well behind the plate, but if his defense remains weak he could move to first. It is still way too early for the White Sox to give up on his catching tools.

8. Alec Hansen RHP (White Sox/Winston Salem) - The White Sox drafted Alec in the second round of the 2016 draft. At 6′7″ with a mid to high 90s fastball he can dominate games, with frequent double digit strikeout outings. He started the season in Low A and after dominating there was promoted to High A, where he had back to back 12 K games. His secondary pitches need improvement (slider, curve and change) but that will come with time. The opposition hits him at a .210 clip with 155 whiffs in 119 innings.

9. Kyle Tucker OF (Astros/Buies Creek) - Kyle was a 2015 first round pick of the Astros. His brother Preston plays in AAA for the Astros Fresno affiliate. Kyle got the height (6′4″) while the shorter framed Preston inherited the Popeye arms. Kyle has the greater prospect potential. He has the speed to cover the ground necessary in centerfield and the arm and power to play right. He didn’t last long in the Carolina League, promoted to AA after hitting .288 with 9 homeruns and a .932 OPS in the Carolina League. AA has been a bit more of a struggle but expect Kyle to show case his outfield abilities at Minute Maid park some time next year.

10. Dane Dunning RHP (White Sox/Winston Salem) - The Nationals drafted Dunning in the first round of the 2016 draft, then traded him to the White Sox in the Adam Eaton trade. He was the lessor of Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito but in the long run he may turn out to be the greater. His fastball sits in the low 90s but can touch the mid 90s but his secondary pitches need improvement (slider/change). Dunning started his season in the South Atlantic League but needed only four starts to get his 0.35 ERA promoted to the Carolina League. His numbers (3.43 ERA) would be a little better if not for an 8 run outing in July when he coughed up four of his 12 homeruns. His command is good but a .260 opposition average could be indicative of being around the plate too much.

Other Players to Watch

Ryan Mountcastle SS (Orioles/Frederick) - We talked about him in the AA Eastern League top ten prospects. He was leading the Carolina League in batting average at .314 but after his promotion he will not carry enough at bats to win the title. He also slugged 15 homeruns. His eventual position may be third base but the Orioles will keep him at short until he proves he can’t play it.

Ademar Rifaela OF (Orioles/Frederick) - The native of Curacao leads the Frederick League in homeruns with 22. Last year he broke out with 13 homeruns but this year he could double that quantity. The batting average (.290) and homeruns are a career high. It will be interesting if he can continue to produce as he rises up the minor league ladder.

Chase Vallot C (Royals/Wilmington) - A lesser version of Zach Collins the supplemental first round pick does not hit for average (.231) but has some pop (12 homeruns). He also has the patience to draw walks (.380). His defense with 10 passed balls and 12 errors may force a move from catcher. He only has thrown out 13 baserunners.

Josh Ockimey 1b (Red Sox/Salem) - The 2014 fifth round pick has shown the ability to hit for power. After hitting .275 with 11 homeruns in 100 games he was promoted to AA. Josh is not afraid to draw walks (.388).

A.J. Puckett RHP (White Sox/Winston Salem) - A second round pick of the Royals in 2016, he was traded to the White Sox mid year in the Melky Cabrera trade. He has not had a great year in the Carolina League (4.01 ERA) with a .262 opposition average, but 102 whiffs in 112 innings shows a swing and miss quality.

10 PM Start Too Much for Myworld

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

Myworld was at the Nationals game last night but we were done by 9 PM. Our own personal policy is that if a game does not start an hour after the scheduled time of the game then we are gone. An earlier departure could not be done because of the deluge that started at 8 PM.

Myworld is a little surprised that the player’s union does not have in the collective bargaining agreement that no game should start past 10 PM. Players biorhythms get used to certain start times. A 10 PM start time can not be too enjoyable, especially when you have a double header the next day. It could be why relievers perform better in certain innings because they are used to getting into a game around that time. Mess with those biorhythms and performance suffers.

Bryce Harper was injured in the game last night, slipping on the wet bag when crossing first base trying to beat out a grounder. It was the first inning of the game last night. One has to wonder if Bryce would have planted himself better on the bag if not for the long layoff and late start time. Or was the wet bag the main culprit in the injury.

It appears the Nationals escaped a serious injury with Bryce. They will lose him for a month, but this will give Brian Goodwin more opportunity to play. And it will provide a spot for Jayson Werth to play when he gets healthy for September. Michael Taylor was called up to replace Bryce to play centerfield. Brian Goodwin will probably move to left. The Nationals will rotate Andrew Stephenson, Adam Lind and Howie Kendrick in right, although with Kendrick his weak arm may be better suited for left.

Volleyball camps prevented myworld from attending two National games earlier this week. The rain prevented me from staying for a third. Hopefully we can get in one Angels game when they come to town next week.

Bay Sox Rout Senators with Impressive Offensive Prospects

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

The Bowie Bay Sox slugged five homeruns from four different players in their 14-2 clobbering of the Harrisburg Senators. It is an impressive group of prospects not seen at Bowie since Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop manned the left side of the infield. This current group mainly patrols the grasses in the outfield, though the left side of the infield is well represented.

The first inning was started by Cedric Mullins, who led it off with a monster shot over the high second fence in right field. At 5′8″ Cedric is not a big man but he has some big pop. The homerun was his 11th, pretty good since he missed a good chunk of the season with an injury. He is also hitting .315 with 17 doubles and a .899 OPS. Cedric patrols centerfield with speed and grace, though that speed does not seem to translate into stolen bases.

Ryan Flaherty, on rehab followed the homerun with a single up the middle. An Austin Hays pop up was the first out. That brought up Anthony Santander. He was a Rule V pickup for the Orioles this year but has spent most of his year rehabbing from injury in extended spring training. One look at him and you recognize he is a strong dude. He proved it by powering a pitch over the second fence in right field for what would be the first of two homeruns on the evening. He was hitting .400 coming into the game but had only played 10 games. He also homered in the eighth for his fourth homerun in 11 games. What is impressive about Santander is his seven walks and six whiffs during that time. What appears not impressive about him is his left field play. He did try to leap over the fence to rob Drew Ward of a homerun but lost his glove over the fence. He seemed tentative out in left, letting Cedric make the plays out there.

D.J. Stewart made it back to back and three homeruns off poor Taylor Hill in the first inning. Myworld is not as enamored with D.J. but he does have 16 homeruns and he was a first round pick. The big concern with D.J. is his below average defense will keep him in left field and the power isn’t really there to justify a below average glove. He does have a .356 OBA, showing the ability to take a walk.

The most impressive of the prospects is Austin Hays. He went deep with the bases loaded in the sixth. It was his 11th homerun in AA and his second grand slam in eight games. Combine that with his 16 homeruns in High A and he has 26 homeruns on the season. He also hit a triple, showing pretty good speed as he rounded the bases. His play in right field looked pretty solid, though it is difficult to assess after one game. What myworld likes about Austin is he hits without a batting glove. His mom grew tired of him tearing his batting gloves after weekend tournaments and told him she would buy no more. Since that time he has hit without them.

A prospect recently brought up but who failed to hit a homerun last night was Ryan Mountcastle. He was the Orioles first round pick in 2015. Earlier this year he played shortstop for the Frederick Keys, hitting .293 with 15 homeruns. He has only played 17 games in AA with a .161 average. Last night he was playing third base and handled a couple balls cleanly. He had an infield single and a double into the gap, a multi hit game that could be a confidence booster for him as the season progresses.

As a team the Bay Sox were hitting a league leading .288, an offense that has vaulted them into first place in the Western Division. Because of the rehab appearances of Flaherty and Santander other pretty good hitters have been forced to sit the bench. Garabez Rosa is leading the Eastern League in batting average at .320. Stephen Wilkerson hit .323 in High A and since his promotion is hitting .294 for the Bay Sox. His power (5 homeruns) has been better in AA than High A (2 homeruns).

The Bay Sox are also sporting some pretty good pitchers on their roster. David Hess pitched tonight. His fastball was hitting the mid-90s but towards the end of his appearance he struck out five of his last six hitters, many on a good breaking pitch the Senator batters were taking for a called third strike or swinging and missing at the pitch. Super prospect Victor Robles was a strikeout victim on a Hess breaking pitch.

Two other arms throw some heat. Jesus Liranza consistently hits 100 miles per hour with his fastball but has difficulty finding the plate. The Bay Sox appear to have moved him to the bullpen where he carries a 5.14 ERA. Tanner Scott is another impressive arm that hits the mid to high 90s with his fastball. The Bay Sox were limiting him to three inning starts, though lately they seem to have increased that amount. He has struck out 74 in 59 innings, but like Liranza has trouble finding the plate.

Mike Bordick was at the game last night with his two sons. Kudos to Mike for picking up all his trash and giving warm smiles to all who approached him.

Michael Taylor was on a rehab assignment as well. He went hitless in four at bats, but a couple of the balls were tagged hard.

Myworld got a chance to watch Victor Robles play. He also went hitless and did not do anything to make me think of him as a super prospect. He was playing left field in deference to Michael Taylor, ran a long way, reaching out for a ball and taking it away from Michael Taylor, who appeared to have settled underneath it. Robles will have to learn to yield to a centerfielder if his ultimate position is a corner outfield.

Yadiel Hernandez was playing right field. He is a 29 year old Cuban defector. His bat has been hot, hitting .413 since July 8. Hernandez is hitting .287 with 8 homeruns and a .372 OBA. If the Nationals have room on their 40 man roster he could get a September callup, if they need outfielders.

Myworlds Top Ten Texas League Prospects

Sunday, August 6th, 2017

Myworld struggled to find ten quality players to make a top ten. Not an impressive lot. These are prospects based on their production while in the Texas League. A number of Dodger pitchers filter this list.

1. Walker Buehler RHP (Dodgers) - Walker was a first round pick of the Dodgers in 2015. Tommy John surgery prevented him from playing in 2015 and in 2016 he was limited to five regular season innings and two playoff starts that also was five innings. The Dodgers have been aggressive with him this year, starting him in High A ball where it only took five starts and a 1.10 ERA to get him promoted to AA. It took him 11 AA starts with a 3.49 ERA to get him promoted to AAA. Combined opponents are hitting only .190 against him with 112 whiffs in 80 innings pitched. Don’t be surprised to see the Dodgers limit his innings, shutting him down after August to protect his arm. As is, his starts have only averaged four innings per start, limiting his ability to produce victories. His fastball sits in the mid-90s with a combination curve/slider and a change that he throws for strikes. He has a good shot of making the Dodgers rotation sometime next year.

2. Jack Flaherty RHP (Cardinals) - Jack was a first round pick of the Cardinals in 2014. He started the season in AA and was almost unhittable in his 10 starts, stitching together a 1.42 ERA. That resulted in his promotion to AAA where he has not been as dominant (3.21 ERA) but he has still been effective. Despite his 6′4″ frame he is not overpowering, hitting the low 90s with his fastball with a plus changeup that gives the fastball the appearance of greater velocity. He also has little difficulty throwing strikes, though this has resulted in a greater homerun stroke by the AAA opposition. With continued success expect a September promotion by the Cardinals.

3. Magneruris Sierra CF (Cardinals) - This Dominican was a bargain sign when he inked his $105,000 bonus in 2012. Defense in centerfield and speed will be his calling card. There is very little power in his bat but he does have the ability to hit over .300. His speed can turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples. He started this year in High A, was quickly promoted to AA and after hitting .286 with 13 stolen bases in 61 games he was promoted to the major league club. In the majors he is hitting .365 with no extra base hits in 13 games. If he is not to become a fourth outfielder he needs an OBA of .330 or better, something he was able to accomplish in the minor leagues except for this year.

4. Yohander Mendez LHP (Rangers) - Yohander was signed out of Venezuela in 2011 for $1.5 million. Last year he made his major league debut, pitching two games of relief for the Rangers but showing great difficulty retiring hitters. Despite his dominance at AAA last year the Rangers have placed him in AA again where he has started 20 games with a 3.86 ERA. The opposition is hitting him at a .230 rate. The fastball can reach the mid-90s but mostly sits in the low 90s, good enough velocity for a lefthander. His change may be his best pitch but he lacks a third pitch which could keep him in a bullpen role. Expect a September promotion this year.

5. J.D. Davis 3B (Astros) - J.D. was a third round pick in 2014. His two biggest tools are a rocket arm and the ability to hit for power. Last year he hit 23 homeruns in AA. With Colin Moran in AAA J.D. repeated AA and slugged 21 homeruns in just 87 games, still tops in the Texas League. That led to a promotion to AAA after Moran was promoted to the Astros where J.D. added five dingers in 16 games. The 26 homeruns match his career high he set in 2015. With Moran and Correa injured the Astros have promoted him to the major league club to provide some depth in the infield. He will stay there until Correa gets healthy.

6. Grant Holmes RHP (Athletics) - Grant was a first round pick of the Dodgers in 2014. The Dodgers included him in a trade to the Athletics for Josh Reddick and Rich Hill. While his ERA is not good (4.90) he does lead the Texas League in whiffs with 115. Opponents do seem to make hard contact off him (.279) despite his ability to hit the mid-90s with his fastball. The trade of Sonny Gray gives Grant a better opportunity to work his way into the Athletics rotation. For a first round pick he has been a disappointment but expect him to find a spot in the Athletics rotation sometime next year.

7. Luis Urias SS/2B (Padres) - Luis was signed out of Mexico in 2013. His slow foot speed probably makes him a better fit for second base. This year he has seen more games at short (56) but 34 games at second. His best shot of making a major league team is in a utility role. He lacks power but can hit for average. Last year his .330 average won the California League batting title. This year he is hitting .314. His slow foot speed will not result in stolen bases so the only tool he has is his ability to hit for average and solid defensive play at second base. Expect him to get an opportunity with the Padres in September.

8. Dakota Hudson RHP (Cardinals) - Dakota was a first round pick out of Mississippi State in 2016. He leads the Texas League in ERA by more than a run. His 2.53 ERA has already led to a recent promotion to AAA. Despite his impressive numbers his whiffs are not prevalent (77 whiffs in 114 innings) and the opposition seems to have the ability to make hard contact off him (.255). He sits in the mid-90s with his fastball with a curve, slider and change combination. He has already reached 121 innings pitched so expect the Cardinals to slow down the number of innings he eats.

9. Richie Martin SS (Athletics) - Richie was a first round pick of the Athletics in 2015. The Athletics appear to have a surplus at shortstop, but if they want defense Richie is the man. The concern for him is whether he will have enough bat to play in the major leagues. This year he is only hitting .224 in AA. With the acquisition of Jorge Mateo from the Yankees the Athletics demoted him back to High A to find his bat while at the same time putting Jorge at short.

10. Samir Duenez 1B (Royals) - Samir was signed out of Venezuela in 2012. While he shows good ability to hit for contact and average he plays a position where teams look for power. Until this year he had yet to show that power. The power increase seems to have come at a lowering of his batting average (.267). The 15 homeruns is a career high but the average is down below normal. His slugging average of .429 is still a bit below average. His below average speed makes a move to the outfield difficult so if he is to make it to the majors he must continue to carry the balls over the fence at the cost of 20 to 30 points to his average.

Others to Watch

Yasiel Sierra RHP (Dodgers) - Yasiel was signed out of Cuba in 2016 for six years and $30 million that included a $6 million bonus. At 25 years of age the bonus did not count against the Dodgers international cap, but it does put pressure on the Dodgers to promote him quickly to get some bang for their buck. The Dodgers moved him to the bullpen this year after he struggled as a starting pitcher last year (6.20 ERA). It only took him 26 relief appearances with a 2.54 ERA to get him a promotion to AAA. He struck out 64 in 50 innings but a .244 opposition average is alarming. His fastball hits the mid to high 90s. Without a third pitch it might be best he work out of the bullpen. Though the Dodgers do not appear to need any help a September callup may be a possibility just to get him exposure to major league hitters.

Yadier Alvarez RHP (Dodgers) - Myworld might find room for him in the top ten with more starts and less walks. The Dodgers paid him a $16 million bonus in 2015. Only Hector Olivera and his $28 million bonus is higher. At 21 with a fastball that has hit triple digits the Dodgers can be patient with him. He got a promotion to AA despite his struggles with command at High A that was responsible for his 4.88 ERA. In three starts in the Texas League his ERA sits at 2.84 but with 12 walks in 12.2 innings pitched he needs to find the plate more. Coming into this season the opposition average last year was .185. This year it is .268. For some reason his pitches are easier to hit and with a 1.57 WHIP that is too many runners on base.

A.J. Puk RHP (Athletics) - Performance wise the first round 2016 pick may not deserve to be here. His 5.88 ERA in eight starts is a bit high. But he has pitched games with 11 and 13 whiffs and has struck out 46 hitters in 35 innings. Opponents are hitting only .229 against him but 19 walks has given him too many baserunners. At 6′7″ he has good height which makes his mid to high 90s fastball that much more intimidating when it comes to the plate. The down side of that height is it makes it difficult for him to repeat his delivery making command of the fastball difficult. He also needs to develop his secondary pitches (slider and change) if he wants to stick as a starter.

Jorge Mateo SS (Athletics) - A new comer to the league since his acquisition from the Yankees. Jorge would probably be in the top five if he played more games. A toolsy player with speed and surprising power. When the Yankees acquired Gleyber Torres it forced Mateo to move to second. Some feel a average arm may make second base the best position for him. In six Texas League games Jorge has already accumulated three triples and is hitting .267. The Athletics will see how he handles short, demoting Richie Martin, their best defensive shortstop to give him opportunities.

Orioles Rout Tigers with Five Taters

Sunday, August 6th, 2017

The two starting pitchers were Ubaldo Jimenez for the Orioles and Anibal Sanchez for the Tigers, two pitchers who came into this game with ERAs over 6.00. Myworld expected a lot of runs to be scored. It was the Orioles who scored the runs in their 12-3 rout of the Tigers. The Tigers wasted their opportunities.

It was not a good start for Sanchez. In the first inning he gave up back to back to back homeruns to Jonathan Schoop, Chris Davis and Trey Mancini to fall behind 4-0. His fastball does not have any zip to it and when it is not located well hitters can get the barrel of the bat on the ball.

In the second inning Joey Ricard led off the inning with a single to center. He stole second, advancing to third when the throw from John Hicks sailed into centerfield. Down 4-0 the Tigers chose to play the infield in. Manny Machado drove a pitch that hit the base of the fence for an RBI double, his second hit of the day. Manny had started the first inning rally with an opposite field single to right.

The Orioles knocked Sanchez out of the game in the fourth. Joey Rickard led the inning off poking one down the left field corner. It flew just inside the foul pole and bounced against a seat four or five rows in, rebounding back to the field. Adam Jones grounded a single past the diving Dixon Machado at short. Manny Machado finished the day for Sanchez by blasting a pitch into centerfield just to the left of the bullpen for a two run shot to make it 8-0.

Ubaldo held the Tigers scoreless but he did not pitch well. He left seven runners on in the first four innings, which would have been one more if Dixon Machado had not grounded into a double play. He finally gave up a run in the fifth inning when Nicholas Castellanos blasted one into left centerfield just to the right of the bullpen. After putting two runners on in the sixth Ubaldo was gone.

The Orioles piled it on in the eighth with a four spot. Caleb Joseph got the inning started blooping a double to right field. An infield single by Rickard after a diving stop by Castellanos and a single to left by Adam Jones loaded the bases off reliever Chad Bell. Manny Machado sent Bell to the showers bouncing a single past his namesake Dixon for a two run single. A ground out by Chris Davis scored a third run and a Trey Mancini single off the right field scoreboard made it 12-1.

The Orioles brought out Donnie Hart to finish the game. The Tigers were able to string three hits together to score two runs to make it 12-3.

Game Notes: Some fan can say that he got a homerun ball sitting in the upper deck in left field. Myworld is not aware of any hit reaching the upper deck. When Nick Castellanos homered into left centerfield the fan who caught the ball threw it back on the field. Adam Jones picked it up, then threw it into the upper deck of left field…Tim Beckham made some impressive plays at short. The former number one pick in the draft a number of years ago now seems to be maturing, turning into a decent ballplayer. The Orioles traded for him to play short while J.J. Hardy is on the disabled list. Once Hardy gets healthy it will be difficult to see him back at short…Dixon Machado also played some nice defense at short. He has also got his batting average over .300…Joe Jimenez did not impress in relief. He has a mid-90s fastball but the Oriole bats had no problem making contact against it…The Tigers collected 14 hits and stranded 12 runners on base…Myworld predicted Manny would get hot after watching him with a more balanced swing in the first Sunday home game after the All Star break. His four hits was a triple short of the cycle and increased his batting average to .257. Expect that batting average to keep rising.

Marquez Muzzles Nats Bats

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

A game after the Nationals hit eight homeruns, including five in one inning, German Marquez had them swinging and missing at his 97-99 mile per hour fastball and his diving breaking pitches. The Nationals were retired in order in eight of the nine innings in the 4-2 loss. Marquez struck out a career high 10 in his seven innings of work.

Tanner Roark was undone by his wildness. He walked four but his inability to find the plate put his pitch count at 108 after five innings. In the second inning he walked Carlos Gonzalez on four pitches. Trevor Story followed by taking a 2-2 pitch into the right centerfield bleachers for a 2-0 lead.

Roark walked D.J. LeMahieu in the fifth. That also haunted him when Gerado Parra lined one over the glove of the lumbering Adam Lind in left field. By the time Lind tracked the ball LaMahieu had scored and Parra cruised into second. Mark Reynolds followed with a double that hit the bottom of the fence to give the Rockies a 4-0 lead.

Marquez had a perfect game through the first five innings. Matt Wieters ended that by lining a single into left field with one out in the sixth. Pinch hitter Howie Kendrick got his first at bat as a Nat and lined a pitch over the head of the left fielder for a double. With two outs Wilmer Difo dumped a single down the left field line to score two runs.

The Nationals would not get another baserunner after the sixth. The Nationals bullpen also retired the final 12 hitters they faced, with Matt Albers giving up the only baserunner on a Gerado Parra single, but he was erased on a double play. Oliver Perez struck out the side in the ninth, including getting pinch hitter Pat Valaika to swing and miss at a 96 mile per hour fastball.

Game Notes: Sammy Solis returned with his 14.73 ERA. He looked good with his fastball hitting 95. He retired the side in order on a strikeout and two weak ground ball outs to the pitcher…Mark Reynolds stole third base in the fifth inning, taking advantage of the Nationals playing the shift, with Rendon playing closer to short. He also took a lead halfway down the third base line with Rendon still playing near short. Carlos Gonzalez struck out to end the threat…The Nationals hit two balls that cleared the fence in right field, but both went foul. Daniel Murphy pulled one up into the third deck in the fifth and Adam Lind hit one just to the right of the foul pole in the ninth…Bryce Harper ended the sixth by swinging and missing at a high 98 mile per hour fastball by Marquez. His 19 game hitting streak ended with an 0 for 4 day…Pat Neshek, acquired from the Phillies on Wednesday made his Rockie debut and retired the Nats in order in the eighth.

Myworld’s Top Southern League Prospects

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

Last week myworld took a look at the Pacific Coast League and had trouble finding pitchers we liked. This week we took a look at the Southern League and found plenty of pitchers to include in our top ten. Again, the prospects are selected based on the numbers they have put up this year. If they do not have good numbers they do not appear on this list.

1. Michael Kopech RHP (White Sox) - The first round pick of the Red Sox in 2014 is one of the hardest throwers in baseball. He was one of the headline players the Red Sox shipped to the White Sox for Chris Sale. As a starting pitcher his fastball can hit triple digits, but it will sit in the 95-97 range. His slider and change need to be enhanced to achieve success in the major leagues, but if not his velocity will allow him to survive in the bullpen as a closer. There were off field incidents last year that make some question his character but he appears to be pretty behaved this year. Command has been a problem with more than one walk every two innings. A .191 opposition average and 126 whiffs in just 98 innings of work make him an ace in process, if he can avoid injury, improve his secondary pitches and find the strike zone a little bit more.

2. Ronald Acuna OF (Braves) - The Braves have been aggressive with the promotions of the Venezuelan native. Every level he has played at he has found success. Ronald was signed out of Venezuela in 2014 for just $100,000 and his speed and power mix now finds him knocking on the major league door at AAA. Many compare him to Andrew Jones. Ronald started his year in the High A Florida State League and is currently playing in AAA. During that time he has combined for a .305 average with 15 homeruns and 35 stolen bases. His OPS has never fallen below .814 at all three levels. Expect a September promotion before the season is done.

3. Mike Soroka RHP (Braves) - The Braves drafted the Canadian in the first round of the 2015 draft. He is not the kind of pitcher who will light your eyes up with his velocity. He works around the plate with a low 90s fastball, curveball and changeup to achieve soft barrel on the ball contact. Last year he pitched at Low A. The Braves decided to skip him past High A and put him in AA. In 19 starts he has a 2.32 ERA, a .224 opposition average and 97 whiffs in 112 innings. His walk to whiff ratio is greater than 4 to 1. At 19 years of age he is one of the younger pitchers in AA. Expect his major league debut to be some time next year.

4. Luis Castillo RHP (Reds) - Castillo was originally signed by the Marlins in 2011. For some reason they were very intent on trading him, first dealing him to the Padres until an injury to one of the players (Colin Rea) the Marlins acquired brought Castillo back to the Marlins. The Marlins then found a taker in the Reds to acquire Dan Straily. Castillo, with his triple digit fastball that sits in the high 90s has the potential to be a much better pitcher than Straily. But the Marlins thought they were playing for now. Castillo also has a slider and change for his secondary pitches. Castillo had a nice 14 starts (2.58 ERA) though you would expect more whiffs (81 K’s in 80 innings) based on his fastball. The success has resulted in a promotion to the Reds. There he has held his own (4.05 ERA) but giving up too many long balls in the small park (7).

5. Kolby Allard LHP (Braves) - Kolby was the Braves first round pick in 2015 who dropped in the draft because of a back injury that limited his high school season. Last year he was able to start 16 games, rising to Low A for 11 starts. His fastball sits in the low 90s, plenty of heat for a left handed pitcher with an excellent curveball. His change is a third pitch. Like Mike Soroka the Braves skipped him past A ball and put him in AA where at 19 he is nine days younger than Soroka. In twenty starts he has not had as much success with a 3.75 ERA, a .268 opposition average and 86 whiffs in 105 innings. Expect the Braves to be patient with him and keep him at AA.

6. Brian Anderson 3B (Marlins) - A third round pick in 2014 myworld was impressed with what we saw of him in the spring. He had power to the gaps, played solid defense and carried a couple balls over the fence. Drafted out of college the Marlins can be aggressive with his promotion. With Martin Prado missing the remainder of the season this may be a good opportunity for Anderson to make his major league debut. In AA he slugged 14 homeruns with a .251 average leading to a promotion to AAA. In 12 games at AAA Brian is hitting .349 with three homeruns. Between the two levels his OPS is .816.

7. Tyler Mahle RHP (Reds) - Players drafted in the seventh round, as Tyler was drafted in 2013, are not considered the best prospects. Tyler had height (6′4″) and a skinny frame to fill. Once he matured his fastball went from low 90s to mid 90s. Tyler threw a no hitter last year and a complete game no hitter this year. In the Southern League he dominated the hitters with a 1.59 ERA and a .190 opposition average. A promotion to AAA has not led to the same success (2.88 ERA) but enough so that he should see a September callup this year if not sooner.

8. Nick Gordon SS (Twins) - The half brother of Dee Gordon was drafted in the first round in 2014. Unlike his half brother he may have the tools to stick at short. The power is a little short but the speed is there for him to be an impact player on the bases. Like Dee he would move to second if the Twins felt shortstop was a bit too much of a challenge for him. Nick is hitting .292 but showing a little more pop with a career high seven homeruns. He does not steal as frequently as his brother and the strikeout numbers need to be reduced, but a .362 OBA is good enough to fill the lead off role. The Twins have played Nick a little bit at second this year, but they have a bigger need at short. Expect him to make his debut there next year.

9. Luis Ortiz RHP (Brewers) - Luis was a first round pick of the Rangers in 2014. The Rangers traded him to the Brewers in the Jonathan Lucroy trade. His claim to fame was winning the MVP award at the 18 and under World Cup in 2014. As he has gotten older the weight has gotten greater and he will have to watch that. His fastball sits in the mid-90s with a slider and change as his secondary pitches. He still needs a lot of work on the change to make it an effective third pitch. He is repeating AA where he has limited the opposition to a .207 average. Injuries have been the biggest impediment to his advancement to date.

10. Luiz Gohara RHP (Braves) - The Mariners originally signed Luiz out of Brazil in 2012. Just before spring training this year they traded him to the Braves in the Mallex Smith deal. At 6′3″, 210 Luiz is a big boy with triple digit velocity to his fastball. The challenge has always been finding the plate. His secondary pitches (slider and change) were also below average so it appeared he would be destined for the bullpen. The Braves kept him in the rotation and he won a promotion to AA from High A and just recently his success at AA has led to a promotion to AAA. His combined opposition average at the two levels is .228 with 99 whiffs in 88 innings. He may still end up in the bullpen with the surplus of starters the Braves have, but with the success he is having the Braves will keep him in the rotation.

Other Prospects to Like

Mauricio Dubon SS (Brewers) - Originally signed by the Red Sox after drafting the Honduran born Dubon in the 26th round of the 2013 draft. He was made part of the Travis Shaw trade to acquire Tyler Thornburg, which could turn into a disaster if Dubon pans out. Dubon lacks power and is probably a bit short on the tools to play shortstop full time. But he appears to have the ability to hit for average and steal bases. Coming into this season he has a .306 minor league average. He hit .276 at AA with 31 stolen bases to earn a promotion to AAA where he is hitting .300 with six stolen bases. The Brewers have been rotating him between second and short. He could end up being a solid utility player.

Jen-Ho Tseng RHP (Cubs) - The Cubs signed Tseng out of Taiwan for $1.6 million in 2013. With a fastball in the low 90s he is not overpowering and at 6′1″ he will not intimidate hitters. His numbers up until this year have not been good. In 15 starts at AA this year he finished with a 2.99 ERA with more whiffs per innings pitched than in previous years (83 whiffs in 90 innings). His opposition average is at .232 when last year at AA it was .308. This success earned him a promotion to AAA where his success has continued with a 1.42 ERA and a .204 opposition average.

Fernando Romero RHP (Twins) - Romero was signed out of the Dominican Republic way back in 2011. He missed the 2015 season because of Tommy John surgery. Despite his 6′0″ height he still gets the ball to the plate in the mid-90s. In his first season at AA Fernando has been good with a 2.64 ERA in 19 starts and 112 whiffs in 105 innings. He has held the opposition to a .231 average. At 105 innings pitched he has reached his career high so expect him to stay in AA with the Twins watching his work load, especially after the Tommy John surgery. If he continues to see success expect him to make his major league debut next year, though the Twins could promote him for the bullpen this year if they want to limit his innings.

Stephen Gonsalves LHP (Twins) - The fourth round 2013 pick is not overpowering, but he can hit the mid-90s, but generally sits in the low 90s. A plus change is what leads to his success. In 13 starts he has a 2.47 ERA with a .206 opposition average. Despite his lack of heat he still strikes out more than a hitter an inning, the changeup making that heater look that much better. An injury resulted in a late start to the season but after his success in AA last year Gonsalves earns at least a promotion to AAA.

Nats Barrage of Homers Buries Brewers

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

Poor Michael Blazek. It was his first start this year. You begin to feel sorry for a pitcher when he gives up back to back to back to back homeruns, two of them by hitters on the first pitches they saw. He gave up six of the eight National homers for the day in their 15-2 thrashing of the helpless Brewers and became the first pitcher in major league history to give up five homeruns in one inning. The one bright spot of the day is Hernan Perez pitched the last inning for the Brewers without giving up a run to save the pitching staff.

The day did not start out well for Blazek. Brian Goodwin lined a pitch over the head of Hernan Perez to lead off the first inning. Myworld was not impressed with speed of Perez as he chased after the ball. Difo bunted him to third. The last time Bryce Harper had a runner on third with one out he struck out and was thrown out of the game. In this at bat he did not wait for a strike call to get him upset, driving the first pitch from Blazek into the right field bleachers.

It got a little better for Blazek after that. He struck out the next four hitters and got Lobaton to fly to center. It turned bad in the third inning when he walked Max Scherzer to begin the inning. Brian Goodwin took a ball to run the count to 1-0 then drove the next pitch from Blazek into the same general area as Harper into the right field bleachers. The fans were just finishing their second chorus of “N.A.T.S Nats, Nats, Nats, Wooo.” when Wilmer Difo turned on the first pitch from Blazek and sent the ball flying at 103 mph into the right centerfield bleachers for back to back shots. Harper was a little more patient in his second at bat, running the count to 3-2 before he blasted a line drive into the centerfield Brewhouse. Ryan Zimmerman didn’t waste any time lining the first pitch 111 mph into the left field bullpen.

At this time you have to feel bad for Blazek. He retired Daniel Murphy on a fly to center. The crowd playfully issued a chorus of playful boos. After a sigh of relief Anthony Rendon turned on an 0-1 pitch and socked it over the left field bullpen for the fifth homerun of the inning. That was it for Blazek. The forgotten Willy Peralta came in to pitch and the Nationals were not too kind to him. Adam Lind lined a single and then stole second when the Brewers chose to play the first baseman back. That could not have pleased the Brewer players. Lobaton lined one into right centerfield for a double to score Lind. Scherzer then beat out a slow roller to short. With runners on first and third with one out in an inning you thought would never end Goodwin lined into a double play, the third baseman Travis Shaw catching the ball and finding Scherzer advancing too far past first.

Max Scherzer felt like Joe Ross. Someone has to take the mantle of getting tremendous run support now that Ross is out for the year. Max struck out six in the first three innings. In the fourth, with a 9-1 lead Travis Shaw sent one into the third deck over the right field bullpen. It was the longest homerun of the day but small consolation when going against back to back to back to back.

The Nationals did not make it easy for Willy Peralta. Difo lined a single into left and Harper scored him with a lined double into the left field corner. Ryan Zimmerman smacked the third straight opposite field hit into the right field bleachers for his second homerun of the day. A walk to Murphy and a double by Rendon set up another run after a Adam Lind ground out. Lobaton then buried a Peralta pitch over the right field bullpen to finish off the scoring in the six run fourth.

The Nationals finished the day with eight homeruns, tying their franchise record. The Brewer bullpen shut them out for the last four innings, even with Hernan Perez pitching a scoreless eighth. Enny Romero did give up a Lewis Brinson solo shot over the left field bullpen in the seventh inning but this game was over after four.

Game notes: There was a pigeon that parked itself behind the home plate circle in the first inning. It stayed there until the end of the game. In the fifth a pitch that got by the catcher scared the pigeon to fly next to the pitcher’s mound, but after two or three pitches it flew back to his spot behind home plate. A couple players and the bat boy tried to shoo the pigeon away, but it must have liked the feeding in that area. It took a few steps away but returned to the same general area…Adam Lind showed better range than Hernan Perez in left field, going back on a ball to the warning track and making a nice catch…Willy Peralta seems to have gained some weight since the last time myworld saw him pitch. He is taking on the Bartolo Colon look…Andrew Stevenson got his first major league hit in the game. It came in the eighth inning off position player Hernan Perez. Don’t know how many hitters got their first major league hits off position players but that could be another first…Blazek became the first pitcher in major league history to give up five homeruns in one inning. Ironic that of the five teams who have hit five homeruns in one inning, the last team to do it was Milwaukee in 2006…Ryan Zimmerman tied Frank Howard for most franchise homeruns with his two today to give him 237.