Archive for the 'Red Sox' Category

Top Venezuelan Prospects in the American League

Friday, July 12th, 2019

It is pretty clear that the Dominicans have the top prospects in baseball. Cuba is a distant second. The prospect wave from Venezuela has gotten smaller because of the humanitarian crisis there, but there are still enough players filtering out of the country to break it down into the two leagues, American and National. This list was put together before the season started so we are not influenced by their numbers this season. Six of the ten players in the American League are pitchers, something you would not see from the Dominican Republic, where they like to hit themselves off the island.

The players who graduated from the list created last year are Gleybor Torres, who was number one and Franklin Barreto who was number three. Barreto has not really won a full time job with the Athletics yet but is getting another opportunity to play with the major league club. A number of players dropped off the list as new players earned a spot to the higher rankings

1. Brusdar Graterol RHP (Twins) - Last year he missed making the top five. This year he is the best Venezuelan prospect in the American League. At 6′1″ he is not a big guy but his fastball sits at the lower end of the high 90s. He has two breaking pitches with the slider the most effective of the two. His change still needs some work. If he can improve his command and does not face durability issues he will fit in the starting rotation. If the change never develops or he has trouble staying healthy to stick in the rotation he could be used as a closer. This year he is limiting the opposition to a .188 average in AA. Last year he had success at the two A levels. His strikeout numbers are not impressive but he does get a lot of ground ball outs. Expect to see him in a Twins uniform before the season is done. He did miss the 2016 season because of Tommy John surgery and has yet to pitch more than 102 innings in a season.

2. Franklin Perez RHP (Tigers) - Franklin was signed by the Astros in 2014 for $1 million. The Astros traded him to the Tigers as the primary player in the Justin Verlander trade. Since arriving with the Tigers Franklin has had trouble staying healthy. The pitches are there with a fastball reaching the mid-90s, two above average breaking pitches and a change that is good. Last year he only pitched 19 innings because of a lat strain and shoulder issues that cropped up after his return from the lat strain. This year he has gotten two starts and has thrown less than 10 innings. At one time he was the top pitching prospect with the Tigers, but Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Alex Faedo and Beau Burrows are all surpassing him. Perez still has the nastier stuff, but you have to pitch on the mound in order to show that stuff.

3. Jose Suarez LHP (Angels) - The Angels always seem to be short of pitchers. At 5′10 and 225 pounds Jose would not give one an impression that he is a pitcher if you saw him at the grocery store. The left handed arm does not throw an overpowering fastball, usually sitting in the low 90s. His ability to control the fastball and mix in an excellent change up makes his fastball play better. His breakout season came in 2018 when he went from High A to 17 starts in AAA, which rose him into the top ten on this list all the way to number three. Success followed him in 2019 (3.18 ERA) which led to a promotion to the major leagues. There his lack of stuff proved less mysterious to major league hitters who spanked him at a .273 clip, while the minor league bats could only hit .200. If you are looking for a number five pitcher for your rotation Jose could be your man. If you want better pass him by.

4. Kevin Maitan 3B (Angels) - Kevin was once considered a superstar when he first signed with the Braves for $4.25 million. He was allowed to leave as a free agent because the Braves were involved in illegal international signing discretions. Once he was declared a free agent the Angels swooped in and signed him for $2.2 million. His superstar status has now slipped and now there are questions of whether the bat will play for him to reach the major leagues. His lack of range forced a move from shortstop to third base. The bat carries enough power to play third base, but the swings and misses and soft average (.214) does not allow that power to show up with much frequency. He still is only 19 years old but Ronald Acuna and Gleyber Torres were in AAA at 20 years of age and Maitan is still swinging and missing in A ball. This needs to be his break out season if he wants to make a similar jump.

5. Luis Oviedo RHP (Indians) - Luis signed for a generous $375,000 in 2015. He has a good pitcher’s frame (6′4″) and a fastball that sits in the mid-90s. That will keep him on prospect lists. His secondary pitchers are good enough to keep him in the rotation and he throws strikes. If he can improve one of his breaking pitches and the change he could climb from a back or mid rotation starter to a number two starter. He has yet to throw more than 63 innings in a season but last year was his most successful one. He did get two starts in Low A and walked seven in just nine innings. This year he has already reached 83 innings in Low A with numbers that are not impressive (5.40 ERA, .244 average) but he is getting the work in. Don’t expect him to rise too quickly. He needs to find consistent success at the lower levels before they consider him for the majors.

6. Darwinzon Hernandez LHP (Red Sox) - Darwinzon is another big guy at 6′2″ and 245 pounds who must watch his conditioning if he hopes to continue his career playing baseball. Back in 2013 the Red Sox signed him for just $7,500. As the years passed his fastball was hitting the high 90s and the swings and misses were becoming more prevalent, putting him on the prospect radar. He has the breaking pitches and the change to make it in the starting rotation. What he lacks is the ability to throw the ball across the plate or hit his spots in the strike zone. That is one reason he might be best used in the bullpen. Despite his lack of success in the minor leagues this year (5.04) the Red Sox promoted him to the major leagues where he had one start and one appearance in relief. Finding the strike zone was still a challenge with six walks in just 5.1 innings resulted in an ugly 5.06 ERA. The Red Sox bullpen is a little erratic so he may be called up again to help out in the pen if he can show strike one is not a difficult pitch to make.

7. Luis Rengifo 2B/SS (Angels) - The Mariners signed Rengifo for $360,000. He was traded to the Rays where the Angels acquired him just before spring training 2018 for C.J. Cron. With the Angels he climbed up their minor league system hitting over .300 in High A and AA putting him in AAA where he hit .276. Luis does not offer a lot of power but he makes contact with a 75/75 walk to whiff ratio in the minor leagues last year. Luis does not have great speed but it was good enough to swipe 41 bases last year. After hitting .273 this year in AAA the Angels had a need for a middle infielder. With the Angels he has played most of his games at second base with the remaining games at shortstop. Luis is best used as a utility infielder. The tools are a little light to be a starter.

8. Luis Arraez 2B (Twins) - Base hits seem to come easy for this Luis. He lacks power and the speed is below average but his hits seem to find the grass. His career minor league average entering the 2019 season was .329 with a 98/114 walk to whiff ratio. Because of his lack of tools in other areas he will need to keep on finding the grass to stick in the major leagues. He missed all but three games of the 2017 season because of ACL surgery but came back last year to hit .310. This year he abused AA pitchers with a .342 average. A promotion to AAA did not phase him as he continued to hit (.348). No balls travelled over the fence in his more than 200 at bats, but it got him a promotion to the major leagues. There he hit .393 in close to 100 at bats, including two homeruns. The return of Marwin Gonzales from the disabled list and the hitting of Jonathan Schoop complicates his status as a major leaguer. But any hitter who has a .976 OPS in 100 at bats deserves a spot in the major league lineup. In the minors his walk to whiff ratio is 24/15 while with the Twins it was 10/8.

9. Bryan Mata RHP (Red Sox) - The Red Sox found another bargain when they signed Bryan for $25,000. At 6′3″ he has a nice pitcher’s frame. Adding some weight could put some more mustard on his low 90s fastball, allowing it to sit consistently in the mid-90s. Last year finding the strike zone was a bit of a challenge with 58 walks in just 72 innings at High A. He doesn’t get a lot of swings and misses but he limited the opposition to a .229 average. This year the Red Sox started him in High A where he seemed to locate the strike zone for just 18 walks in 51 innings and a 1.75 ERA. He was rewarded with a promotion to AA where in two starts the strike zone has gotten a little more elusive. If Bryan can locate the strike zone again the Red Sox could promote him this year to help in the bullpen. If not, you could see him late in 2020.

10. Everson Pereira OF (Yankees) - The Yankees signed Everson for $1.5 million in 2017. There is the potential for a borderline five tool player here. The arm rates as average but all the other tools are impressive. Last year the Yankees brought him up to rookie ball where as a 17 year old he was able to hit .263. There were a lot of strikeouts in his game (60 whiffs in 41 games) but the potential is there. This year he is playing in the New York Penn League, hitting .171 with a .257 slugging percentage. It will be a struggle early in his career but the Yankees have plenty of outfield talent to wait for him. Don’t expect to see Pereira in a Yankee uniform until September 2021 at the earliest.

Football or Baseball in London

Sunday, June 30th, 2019

If you were told the score of the game was 17-13 you would have thought it was a football game played in England in the middle of the summer. If you saw that two teams had scored “6″ in the first you would have thought two teams had each scored a touchdown and missed the extra points or had kicked two field goals and it was quarters you were talking about, not innings. But it was baseball they played in London and the Yankees defeated the Red Sox 17-13.

The game lasted four hours and 42 minutes, the second longest major league game in history. It missed being the longest game by three minutes. That game was also played by the Red Sox and Yankees. Ironic that baseball was brought to England because it was a faster game than cricket, which has been known to take a couple days to play one game.

The attendance was just short of 60,000 at London stadium, a cricket field turned into a baseball field. Myworld doesn’t know what the site lines were for the game but with all that action who really cares. Only six times in major league history, or at least since 1912 have two teams combined for 12 runs in the first inning. The 37 combined hits are the second most in a Red Sox/Yankees game since 1908. So there was a lot to see at the game.

It had a little international flair to the game too with Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka getting the start for the Yankees. He did not last past the first inning. It would have been nice to have honored all those major league players born in England. Most of those players were born prior to World War II so there are not many of them. Players who were born in England after 1950 who played major league baseball are:

Danny Cox
Paul Marak
Lance Painter
Chris Reed
Phil Stockman

There are enough there to make a basketball team, but not enough for a major league baseball team. The second game is today. Let’s hope this one is more representative of what baseball should be.

Orioles Givens it Away

Sunday, June 16th, 2019

The Orioles rallied for two runs in the bottom of the eighth. They turned to Mychal Givens to seal the victory. Givens threw a flat changeup to Marcus Hernandez. Marcus tagged it into the Orioles bullpen for his first homerun of the year. Givens stayed on for the tenth inning and gave up a mammoth homerun to Rafael Devers that landed in the Red Sox bullpen, that sits behind the O’s bullpen in centerfield. The Red Sox would tack on four more runs, then overcame their own bullpen issues to hang on to a 8-6 victory.

It was a long torturous game. The first nine innings lasted four hours as managers chose to change pitchers in the middle of innings rather than let them finish the inning and bring on a new pitcher to start the inning. The last inning went 40 minutes as the two teams combined for eight runs.

It didn’t seem like a pitcher’s duel because both starting pitchers did not last past five innings. There were 15 pitchers that combined for over 400 pitches. Brian Johnson was removed early because this was his first start since April. John Means had already thrown over 100 pitches after just five innings.

The Orioles struck first in the bottom of the third. Keon Broxton led off the inning bouncing a pitch over the glove of Rafael Devers into the left field corner and gliding into second. He advanced to third on a fly out and scored when Hanser Alberto hit a high bouncer that Devers attempted to field with his bare hands to throw to first. He dropped the ball, Broxton scoring on the hit.

John Means was effective in his first three innings, giving up just one hit per inning. In the top of the fourth he gave up four consecutive hits that gave the Red Sox two runs. Rafael Devers started the hit parade with a single. Xander Bogaerts hit a double into the left centerfield gap, scoring Devers to tie the game. Michael Chavis hit a single up the middle but it was stopped Villar from going into the outfield. Bogaerts rounded third too far and got caught in between, eventually being tagged by Alberto for the second out. Jackie Bradley gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead with a double into right center field.

Brian Johnson gave up two hits to the first two hitters he faced in the bottom of the fourth and that was it for him. Colton Brewer, the righthander came on to face Chris Davis, a lefthanded hitter. Davis grounded to first, the Red Sox failing to turn a double play. Keon Broxton laid down a bunt, was thrown out at first but was called out for runner’s interference (running too much on the fair side of the foul line. Anthony Santander would have easily scored on the bunt but he had to return to third because of the interference call. Brandon Hyde was ejected for arguing the call. Richie Martin struck out to end the threat.

The Orioles loaded the bases in the fifth on a single sandwiched between two walks. Josh Taylor came on to pitch and got Jonathan Villar to ground out to short to end the rally.

Both teams stranded a bucketful of runners as the game progressed. In the bottom of the eighth Jonathan Villar did not wait for anyone to drive him in. After walking he stole second. He then took advantage of a Christian Vazquez lob throw back to the pitcher to steal third. He scored on a wild pitch to tie the game. With two outs Stevie Wilkerson pinch hit for Richie Martin. He lined a triple into the right field corner. Hanser Alberto came through again, grounding a single past the shortstop to give the Orioles the lead.

Mychal Givens came on to get the save. He gave up the homerun to Marcus Hernandez. The next batter Mookie Betts almost took one deep, hitting it above the glove of a leaping Trey Mancini and bouncing off the rightfield scoreboard for a triple. Givens got out of the inning by striking out the next two hitters.

The tenth myworld was gone after Rafael Devers blasted a pitch deep into the centerfield bullpen. The Red Sox would go on to score five runs. It was a good thing too because the Orioles homered twice in the bottom frame, Wilkerson and Trey Mancini going deep to score three.

Game notes: John Means had thrown over 100 pitches after five innings. He only walked two but he had at least six three ball counts…Rafael Devers did not look good playing defense at third. Don’t know if Michael Chavis would do any better, moving Devers to first. Currently Chavis is playing first, but his natural position in the minor leagues was third…This was the fourth straight game for myworld. We have another in D.C. to make it five straight…Myworld thought it was interesting that the Red Sox pinch hit for Eduardo Nunez in the ninth but did not pinch hit for Marcus Hernandez. They would have lost the DH spot since Holt would have had to play second. They did not pinch hit and Marcus rewarded Alex Cora with a game tying homerun…Marcus Hernandez has two career homeruns. Both have been at Camden Yards…Eduardo Nunez was supposed to play second base and Anthony Benintendi was to DH. Benintendi was a late scratch because of quad tightness and Nunez moved to the DH slot while Hernandez went to second base. Benintendi is dealing with a quad issue but hopes to play Monday.

Forbes List of Top Paid Baseball Players

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Soccer players are the top three salaried athletes on the Forbes Top 100 Highest Paid Athletes list. The process was to figure out a player’s salary or winnings and endorsements, add them up and come up with their 2019 earnings. The one difficulty with that is the endorsements were based on publicly identified endorsements or word of mouth by talking with representatives about the worth of those endorsements. So the list may not be totally accurate.

Soccer takes the first three, a boxer is number four, tennis at five, football takes 6-7, basketball dominates 8-10 and golf is at 11. You have to go to the 17th spot to find your baseball player. Only one woman makes this list and she plays tennis. Myworld will force you to go the Forbes list to get the names of the above listed athletes associated with their sport.

For baseball, endorsement money was a small portion of their value. I’ll list the endorsement money for the top three, but after that it was under $1 million.

17. Mike Trout (Angels) - $56 million ($3 million in endorsements)
23. Bryce Harper (Phillies) - $44.5 million ($6.5 million in endorsements)
30. Manny Machado (Padres) - $34.8 million
50. David Price (Red Sox) - $31.7 million
54. Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) - $30 million
61. Justin Verlander (Astros) - $29.5 million
62. Yoennis Cespedes (Mets) - $29.4 million
63. Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) - $29.2 million
68. Jake Arrieta (Phillies) - $28.8 million
73. Albert Pujols (Angels) - $28 million
77. Giancarlo Stanton (Yankees) - $27.4 million ($2 million in endorsements)
84. Felix Hernandez (Mariners) - $26.6 million
94. J.D. Martinez (Red Sox) - $25.6 million
96. Joey Votto (Reds) - $25.4 million

AL East Predictions

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

1. New York Yankees

Strengths - Though the back injury to Aaron Hicks is concerning if he can recover this could be the best outfield in baseball. Aaron Judge and Hicks are solid two way players and a platoon of Bret Gardner and Giancarlo Stanton in left, with Stanton seeing the DH slot when not playing the field, could be the best in baseball. Last year the foursome combined for four homeruns over 100. The rival Red Sox may be better defensively but fall short offensively. If Hicks spends a significant time on the disabled list Gardner could move to center creating more playing time for the injury prone Stanton in the outfield and hurting the defense. The Yankees also did a good job of loading up their bullpen. Aroldis Chapman will be the primary closer but Zack Britton and Dellin Betances have had experience there. Adam Ottavino carved out six saves for the Rockies last year. The only concern is all four players are at the north side of 30.

Weakness - There could be a weakness at first. Greg Bird is having a nice spring but he has not proven himself at the major league level. Luke Voit had a special season last year but the Yankees have seen a lot of one and dones. The left side of the infield could be a hole defensively. Miguel Andujar could eventually move to first when Didi Gregorius returns to short, moving Tulowitski to third. It remains to be seen what Tulo has left and whether he can even stay healthy. Gleyber Torres could still see a lot of time at short with D.J. LeMahieu playing a lot at second. This team also seems prone to injury so depth is important.

Prospects to Make an Impact - The Yankees have a number of high level minor league pitchers ready to make a difference. Jonathan Loaisiga could be the first to get the call. He started four games for the Yankees last year. Michael King dominated in AAA (1.15 ERA) in six starts with a .147 opposition average. Albert Abreu, Chance Adams and Domingo Acevedo are other possibilities. All five could also contribute in the bullpen. Thairo Estrada could see utility time, especially if Troy shows he can not stay healthy. Thairo is a sold fielding shortstop with a questionable bat. He is still trying to recover from a bullet wound he received in Venezuela a couple years ago.

Expected Finish - This lineup should score a lot of runs if clicking on all cylinders. If they can get to the bullpen with the lead after six innings the game is over.

2. Boston Red Sox

Strengths - Hard to go against the defending World Series champions. Like the Yankees, the Red Sox outfield is premium good. Mookie Betts may be the best player in baseball outside of Mike Trout. Andrew Benintendi has a boatload of talent and Jackie Bradley is a superior defender. They may not provide the offense of the Yankees but the defense is top notch. J.D. Martinez is the best DH in the American League and one of the more dangerous. He can also play left field. The starting pitching has the potential to be good with Chris Sale and David Price providing a one/two punch and Rick Porcello, Nathan Eovaldi and Eduardo Rodriguez making it a solid five.

Weakness - The bullpen lost their closer Craig Kimbrel and setup man Joe Kelly. It will be interesting how they sort out the roles. The blown saves will knock them out of first place. Behind the plate the Red Sox have little offense. Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez were once promising hitters when they were prospects in the minor leagues, but that has not transferred against big league pitching. Sandy Leon is the third catcher the Red Sox would like to trade.

Prospects to Make an Impact - The bullpen could use some help and Darwinzon Hernandez may be available by mid season. After that the farm system gets a little thin at the upper levels.

Expected Finish - With six teams tanking in the American League the Red Sox should still win 100 games and make the playoffs as a wild card team.

3. Tampa Bay Rays

Strengths - The Rays invented the opener because they lacked starting pitching. This could again be an issue in 2019. They do have Cy Young award winner Blake Snell who they just signed to an extension. He may be the best pitcher in baseball. They also have a lot of youth in Austin Meadows, Willy Adames and Tyler Glasnow which could lead to some upside.

Weakness - Where’s the pop? Mike Zunino and Tommy Pham may be the only players with the potential to hit 20 plus homeruns. Austin Meadows is unproven but has shown some power in the minor leagues. The lack of run support could put pressure on the pitchers to throw shutouts in every outing. They also go into the 2019 season without any proven closer. Sergio Romo and Alex Colome combined for 36 saves last year but they departed via free agency.

Prospects to Make an Impact - The Rays are a prospect machine, trading veterans early when their tread is gone. Brent Honeywell was supposed to be in the rotation last year but lost 2019 to Tommy John. He will start the season in the minors and could be up by mid-season. The Rays will want to watch his innings. Brandon Lowe and Nat Lowe can provide some instant highs on offense. Brandon could be used in a utility role and Nate will provide big time power at first base.

Expected Finish - They will fall short of a wildcard appearance and fall far behind the Yankees and Red Sox in third place.

4. Toronto Blue Jays

Strengths - This is a team that may not be at full throttle tanking but they have no expectation on making the playoffs. They signed a number of veterans to fill out positions and could trade them as the season winds down, bringing up prospects from the minor league so they can eye the future.

Weakness - The starting rotation has promise but Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez had ERAs bordering 5 last year. This is a rotation that could benefit from an opener. A lot of pitchers whose best years are in the past.

Prospects to Make an Impact - Vladimir Guerrero will be ready to post himself at third in May. He is the best prospect in baseball and should be in the Blue Jays opening day lineup. Danny Jansen is a catcher who can provide some offense. Last year he played 31 games in the major leagues so he should take over the starting role in 2019. With a porous rotation Sean-Reid Foley should see some time in the rotation by May. He made seven starts last year but was prone to the long ball.

Expected Finish - They went into this season knowing they had no chance to make the playoffs. They will finish far behind the Rays with double digit wins above the Orioles.

5. Baltimore Orioles

Strengths - When they were losing at least they bashed homeruns. That is in doubt now. If Chris Davis can resurrect his career he would attract some fans to the park. Hopefully those that do come to the games will see the hustle of youth.

Weakness - The Orioles used to win games with defense. That will not be on display this year. The starting rotation had a major league worst 5.48 ERA last year. That could go higher this year with the poor defense and the average to below average arms.

Prospects to Make an Impact - Rule V pick Richie Martin will play shortstop. His offense was a surprise last year but his defense also took a hit. Last year he made 16 errors in just 96 games at AA. It won’t take Austin Hayes long to get called back up to play right field. Last year foot injuries limited him to 66 games. Drew Jackson is a second Rule V pick who the Orioles appear to be keeping on the major league roster, He will fill a utility role around the infield. Hunter Harvey could make an appearance by mid-season but don’t be surprised if it is in the bullpen. Keegan Akin is a solid lefty who will be given an opportunity before the year is out. The Orioles have to show something for the Manny Machado trade so expect opportunities for Dean Kremer in the rotation and Zach Pop in the bullpen. Even Cuban outfielder Yusniel Diaz could find himself in right field by mid-season, moving Hays to left.

Expected Finish - They will battle the Marlins and Royals for the number one pick in 2020. They finished last year with the worst record, breaking a record for number of losses during a season. Two straight years with the number one pick is how one resurrects a franchise.

Myworld’s Top 100 - 100 to 91

Saturday, February 23rd, 2019

It’ll take some time for myworld to get through this, but this is our Top 100 prospect list using the ratings of Baseball America, MLB.com, fangraphs, baseball prospectus and two rather obscure sights Razzball and Prospects 1500. Values were assigned to those players based on their ratings, i.e. the number one prospect was given 10 points while number 100 was only given .1 points. Below are the first of the bottom hundred.

100. Seth Beer 1B (Astros) - At one point in his youth Seth played on the U.S. College National team with Jake Burger. They won gold. Seth was drafted by the Astros in the first round of the 2018 draft. His defense falls short of being a major leaguer but his bat could get him an opportunity. There is very little speed in his legs to be used in the outfield, so if the Astros want to make good use of him first base and designated hitter are his best spots. Last year he showed some big time power, slugging 12 homeruns and 14 doubles at three different minor league levels, reaching High A. He also seemed pretty adept at taking a walk with a .389 OBA. Not a lot of “hit first with very little defensive ability” have success in the major leagues. The baseball world is still waiting on Dan Vogelbach, which is the type of comparison for Seth Beer.

99. Brandon Lowe 2B (Rays) - The Rays are going pretty Lowe with their top prospects, also having brothers Nathaniel and Joshua on their prospect lists. Brandon will not wow you with his defense or steal a lot of bases. His best tool is a lefthanded bat that sprays the gaps. Last year he opened some eyes with his 22 homeruns, six more than he had hit in his previous two seasons. That got him a major league look where he sent six more over the fence in just 43 games. That power, along with his ability to hit between .270-.300 should give him a major league opportunity next year. Myworld will be surprised if he repeats his 28 homerun total.

98. Bubba Thompson OF (Rangers) - Anyone with the name Bubba has to have some power in his bat. The 2017 first round pick of the Rangers played quarterback in high school and was going to play baseball (and not football) at Alabama until the Rangers offered him $2.1 million. While he is a tremendous athlete his jack of all trades pursuit of sports leaves him a bit raw in baseball. There is speed to play centerfield and the arm to fit in right. His bat does carry some power but he must do a better job making contact (104 whiffs in 84 games). As he focuses on baseball the contact issues should improve. Last year he showed off his speed with 32 stolen bases at Low A.

97. Will Smith C (Dodgers) - Will Smith may lack the tools of Keibert Ruiz but he is ahead of him in the race to the major league roster. Will showed some power in AA with 19 homeruns but then struggled when promoted to AAA hitting just .138. The Dodgers used him a little at third base and he has good speed for a catcher, so left field could be a possibility if Ruiz wins the catcher job. The 2016 first round pick has a strong arm to stay at catcher. In 2017 he was voted the top defensive catcher in the California League. The Dodgers should give him his major league debut some time during the year.

96. O’Neil Cruz SS (Pirates) - At 6′6″ myworld does not see him staying at shortstop but that is the position the Pirates still list him at. Last year he played 102 games at short. If he can stick there his tremendous power will be an asset for the position. His arm is powerful enough to play right field and for a big man he runs well. The Dodgers first signed him in 2015 when he was a mere 6′1″, paying him a $950,000 bonus. They traded him to the Pirates for Tony Watson. Last year he hit 14 homeruns with a .488 slugging percentage. He is still only 20 so the Pirates will be patient with him, promoting him a level a year. Next year it will be High A.

95. Jahmai Jones 2b (Angels) - The 2015 second round pick looked to be a five tool light outfielder, with speed, power, a good throwing arm and the ability to hit for average. Then the Angels moved him to second base, a position he played in high school and those gaudy offensive numbers dropped. Coming into this season Jahmai had a .281 career minor league average. Last year he hit .239 at High A and AA. He has the speed to steal 30 bases and the power should develop enough to hit double digits in homeruns. A second season in AA should show some improvement on the offensive end with a major league debut slated for sometime in 2019.

94. Ronaldo Hernandez C (Rays) - Ronaldo is the second Ray on this list. He will not be the last. The Rays signed him in 2014 after they saw him play as a 15 year old in the infield on the Colombian 18 and under World Cup Team. They moved him behind the plate where Ronaldo has all the tools to be an above average defensive catcher. The arm is strong enough to tame running games and he keeps balls from visiting the back stop. His bat has been a surprise with averages north of .300 in 2016 and 2017. Last year he fell short with a .284 average but he did hit a career high 21 homeruns. It will be a couple years before he makes an impact with the Rays but he will join Jorge Alfaro as another Colombian catcher in the major leagues.

93. Michael Chavis 3B (Red Sox) - It is the first day of spring training games and Chavis has already gone deep. The 2014 first round pick saw his career stalled when he was suspended for 80 games to start the 2018 season after hitting 31 homeruns in 2017. The Red Sox hope to continue to get big time power from him. Last year he hit 9 homeruns in 46 games, which project close to his 2017 totals. With Rafael Devers at first base Chavis may have to move to first. His defense at third would not win any gold gloves. It is the bat the Red Sox would want to get in the lineup.

92. Corbin Martin RHP (Astros) - The 2017 second round pick throws hard. His fastball crosses the plate in the mid-90s and can hit the high 90s. What makes it effective is his ability to hit all four corners of the plate. His curve, slider and change also give him four pitches to fit in the rotation, The Astros received the second round pick from the Cardinals as punishment for hacking the Astros system. Last year Martin pitched in High A and AA, limiting the opposition to a .199 average. He could make the Astros rotation sometime this year if injuries open a spot for him, or his success in the minor leagues is just too good for the Astros to ignore.

91. Nate Lowe 1B (Rays) - The third Ray on this list and the second Lowe. Brandon was a 13th round pick in 2016 while his brother Josh was drafted in the first round of that draft. Nate appears to have had a better year, slugging 27 homeruns and hitting .330 as he climbed all the way to AAA. There is very little speed in his legs for him to move to the outfield, so he needs to show the power to justify him playing at first. Nate destroyed High A and AA pitching for a .340 plus average, striking out just three more times than he walked. That would be excellent for a power hitter.

Prospect Lead Red Sox to World Series Title

Tuesday, December 25th, 2018

Between 2015 to 2017 myworld had the Red Sox minor league system in the top ten of the major leagues. They traded some of those players to acquire Chris Sale (Yoan Moncada) and other prospects for Craig Kimbrel (Manuel Margot). Both those players were critical to the Red Sox winning the World Series last year. They also kept a couple (Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers) that offered significant contributions. With graduation and trades the farm system is not as stacked. They still had two players appear on Top 100 prospect lists last year but the talent drops quite a bit after them. Don’t be shocked if the Red Sox are absent any players in the Top 100 in 2019.

Michael Chavis and Jay Groome are their two players who appeared on Top 100 lists last year. Michael should provide some pop in the infield. He plays the same position as Devers so one of them will have to move. Both of them are not stellar defensive players or run fast enough to play the outfield. An 80 game drug suspension took away the first part of the season for Michael. When he returned he looked solid at the plate, but was limited to just 200 at bats. Michael hopes for a better start to the 2019 season, one that will vault him to the major league lineup.

Jay Groome missed all of the 2018 season because of Tommy John surgery. The 6′6″ lefthander who the Red Sox took in the first round in 2016 was supposed to be pitching in High A ball last year with the possibility of being promoted to AA. That would have put him a year or two from the major league club. That time table his been turned upside down. His fastball sat in the mid-90s and he had good snap to his curveball. With his 6′6″ inch frame the one thing he needed to work on was his command and that would come with repetition he missed to make sure all those moving limbs rotate with consistency. Groome should be ready by mid-season to pitch in the Rookie Leagues for some rehab and start again in Low A.

Tristan Casas was the first round pick in 2018 but he plays the same positions as Devers and Chavis. He also lacks the speed to move to the outfield. Casas played for Team USA that took the gold medal. He shows excellent power, but was unable to show that last year after hurting his thumb limiting him to just five at bats. His arm is strong but at 6′4″ his movements around third are a bit stiff.

Bobby Dalbec at least played a full season slugging 32 homeruns and driving in 109 runs. Unfortunately his best positions are third base and first base. For 2019 they can keep Chavis in AAA and have Dalbec play AA but in 2020 something has to give. The swing and miss is no stranger to Dalbec, who whiffed 176 times in just 129 games last year. The Red Sox will take that if his OPS remains above .900 as it did last year.

In the bullpen the Sox have Darwinzon Hernandez. The Venezuelan signed for a bargain basement price of $7,500 in 2013. The lefty has a fastball that flashes across the plate in the high 90s. He has the requisite three pitches to survive in the rotation, but his command is poor so the best use of his heat with the departures of the Special K’s Kelly and Kimbrel may be in the pen. Last year he threw 5 games in relief in AA after starting 23 games in High A. In 107 innings he allowed just one ball to carry over the fence.

Tanner Houck was a first round pick of the Red Sox in 2017. His fastball can jump up to the high 90s but he had trouble throwing strikes, walking 60 in 119 innings. Myworld looks for pitchers who at least have two whiffs for every walk and Tanner fell short of that. He had a rather pedestrian 4.24 ERA in High A with the opposition hitting him at a .245 clip. Drafted out of Missouri the Red Sox were hoping he would move quickly, but that may not be the case.

Two other starting pitchers who could crack the rotation are Bryan Mata and Mike Shawaryn. The Venezuelan Mata sits in the low 90s and can reach the mid-90s but he has trouble finding the plate. His 58/61 walk to whiff ratio in High A is concerning but the opposition only hit him at a .229 clip. Like Hernandez he could be another pitcher moved to the bullpen. Shawaryn is a Maryland pitcher who lacks overpowering stuff. His slider is his best pitch. He could be ready for the back end of the rotation in 2019 since he started six games at AAA last year.

Josh Ockimey could be ready to play first base for the Red Sox next year. Last year he slugged 20 homeruns, five of them in AAA. His glove makes his best position DH and his speed is border line base clogger. A power bat with lots of whiffs is what you will get from him.

C.J. Chatham had a solid season with the bat last year, hitting .314 at two A levels. Injuries in 2017 prevented the Red Sox from seeing a lot of him. At 6′4″ you would think he could hit for more power but his balls have a tendency to land into the gaps and not over the fences. Despite his height the tools are there to play shortstop.

Antonio Flores ($1.4 million) and Danny Diaz ($1.6 million) are two high priced bonus signings from 2017 out of Venezuela. Flores plays shortstop and had a standout season last year, hitting .340 mainly playing in the Dominican Summer League. Injuries limited him to just 4 at bats when he was promoted to the States. His power is light now but it could develop and the tools are there to play shortstop. Diaz plays infield corner with some big time pop in his bat. That is not a rare trait in the Red Sox farm system at third base. His arm is strong and the quickness is there to play third but nothing makes him stand out from the other corners ahead of him..

A sellout for Yankees/Red Sox in London

Friday, December 7th, 2018

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

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

Pearce Leads Red Sox to World Series Victory

Monday, October 29th, 2018

As myworld focused on pointing out players who would be the most unlikely heroes in these playoff games, one was voted the MVP of the World Series. Steve Pearce hit two homeruns yesterday to lead the Red Sox to a 5-1 win. He hit three homeruns in the World Series and drove in eight runs. Released by the Orioles three times and traded during mid season to the Red Sox by the Toronto Blue Jays, Pearce becomes our most unlikely hero that actually became a hero.

David Price also pitched a great game. Price has had a history of struggling in the playoffs, but in this post season he pitched mostly solid games. Last night he gave up just three hits, one of them a first inning solo shot from David Freese to lead off the Dodgers at bat. That turned out to be the only run of the game.

Clayton Kershaw continued his post season struggles, though he went seven innings. The Red Sox touched him for three homeruns, Steve Pearce with a two run blast in the first and Mookie Betts with a solo shot in the sixth and J.D. Martinez with a solo in the seventh. Kershaw only allowed four other hits, but it was the homerun ball that killed him. Steve Pearce slugged his second homerun of the game and the fourth for the Red Sox in the eighth inning, a solo shot off Pedro Baez.

Joe Kelly and Chris Sale closed out the game with one inning of splendid relief work each. They faced six hitters and struck out all six. Kelly was another World Series rock, appearing in five games and not giving up a run. When he was struggling during mid-season and Alex Cora was questioned for continuing to bring him in during tight games Cora’s response was “We’re going to need Kelly”. That proved very prophetic.

The 119 wins by the Red Sox for the 2018 season have only been topped by the 1998 New York Yankees (125) and the 2001 Seattle Mariners (120). Puerto Rico has to be proud with rookie manager Alex Cora guiding this 119 win team to a World Series championship. It was their fourth championship in the last 15 years, three more than the New York Yankees have won during that time. That has to irk some Yankee fans.

Red Sox Rally to Win Game Four

Sunday, October 28th, 2018

The Dodgers had just gotten a three run homer from Yasiel Puig in the bottom of the sixth. Rich Hill was in cruise control through the first six innings. A walk in the seventh and Dave Roberts came out. Despite chants from the crowd to leave Hill in Roberts took him out. The Red Sox brutalized the Dodger bullpen for nine runs in the next three innings to win 9-6. A most unlikely hero Steve Pearce was instrumental in the rally with his four RBIs.

The two starting pitchers, number four starters in their rotation at best, Eduardo Rodriguez and Rich Hill were in a pitcher’s duel. Rodriguez was the first to break down when he gave up four in the bottom of the sixth, including the big three run blow to Yasiel Puig. Dave Roberts, having witnessed the break down of Rodriguez in the sixth did not want to see the same thing happen to Hill in the seventh. He pulled Hill after a one out walk, hoping the bullpen would preserve the shutout.

Things got ugly after that. Scott Alexander walked the one batter he faced, Brock Holt. In came Ryan Madson. He retired pinch hitter Jackie Bradley on a popup. Keith Moreland pinch hit for the pitcher’s spot and he took Madson deep. It has not been the best of seasons for Ryan Madson. Madson has now inherited seven runners on base in this World Series and allowed all of them to score.

He got out of the eighth and it was time for Kenley Jansen to get the two inning save. He failed the night before giving up a solo blast to Jackie Bradley in the eighth to begin the marathon game. He failed last night giving up a solo blast to Steve Pearce to tie the game. Both teams were hoping that a marathon game would not follow.

Roberts turned to Dylan Floro to pitch the ninth. The RBI man Rafael Devers, who in his previous start ended his consecutive RBI streak at eight games started another streak with a pinch hit RBI single to give the Red Sox a 5-4 lead. Steve Pearce then assaulted pitcher Kenta Maeda with a bases clearing double to drive in three runs.

Those three runs proved crucial when Enrique Hernandez hit a two run homerun off the Red Sox struggling closer Craig Kimbrel in the bottom of the ninth. Like Kenley Jansen, it seems like Kimbrel gives up a run each time he comes in to pitch. With a 9-4 lead it was probably an inning the Red Sox did not need Kimbrel. After throwing 28 pitches in both games three and four he may not be too fresh for game five.

Game five will be Clayton Kershaw and David Price, two pitchers maligned for their post season starts.

Manny Machado seems to be making a habit of stepping on the legs of first basemen. He did it again last night, stepping on the foot of Steve Pearce when he grounded out for the second out in the ninth. Against the Brewers he appeared to kick the leg of Jesus Aguilar when crossing the bag. It appears his dirty play and lack of hustle post season performance could cool teams wanting to bid top dollar for Machado. A lot of teams may fear that once he gets his money he will dial it back and cruise through the rest of his career.