Archive for the 'Braves' Category

NL East Predictions

Saturday, March 21st, 2020

The last of the divisions. With a shortened season on the horizon myworld may have picked differently. Sustainability won’t be as critical with less games to play. A team like the Mets may be able to survive with five starting pitchers for an 81 game season, or what number of games major league baseball decides to play.

The east may be the beast this year with four teams vying for control of the top spot. We believe in karma so this year we are picking the Phillies so Bryce Harper can get revenge on National fans for razzing him after the Nats World Series victory without him. One thing myworld learned from all the sports I played is never gloat too much over a victory because it only motivates another to beat you even more. So on to our last division picks. If you want to see the other division picks just click on one of the teams in the subject and it should bring them up.

1. Philadelphia Phillies

Good - They lost a third baseman in Maikel Franco, but he will not be as critical to replace as Anthony Rendon for the Nationals or Josh Donaldson for the Braves. If Jake Arrieta can get back to his form of two years ago the Phillies have three good starters to throw each day. Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler should be poised for break out seasons. J.T. Realmuto was a good pickup last year. He is one of the better catchers in the National League and provides excellent offense.

Bad - The outfield leaves a lot to be desired. Bryce Harper can put up numbers but they appear to be short in left and center. Andrew McCutchen needs to get back from an injury plagued year last year, but he is getting older and comebacks at his age become more difficult. The Phillies hope to get sometbing from former first round pick Adam Haseley. Jay Bruce hit 26 homeruns last year but that came with a .216 average and a .261 OBA. The Phillies still need to decide where to play the trio of Scott Kingery, Didi Gregorius and Jean Segura. Didi at short, Scott at third and Jean at second seems to make the most sense, but moving them around could hurt the defense. Didi has always played short while Scott and Jean have played other positions.

Ugly - Harper had a career high 114 RBIs but he also had a career high 178 whiffs. His walk numbers also decreased significantly. Perhaps he was trying too hard to make something happen but his swing and miss game is getting more frequent than his power game. That has had a significant impact on his batting average.

Rookies - Spencer Howard is the favorite to win the fifth spot in the rotation. His triple digit heat is tough to hit and in a shortened season the innings limitation is not as big of a factor. The 2017 first round pick has not pitched over 112 innings in a season, but 15 starts in a 81 game season with an average of six innings per start only eats up 90 innings. Adonis Medina is another hard throwing pitcher who could see some starts. If the Phillies want to add some pop to the lineup they could bring up Alec Bohm to play third and move Kingery to the outfield.

Predicted Finish - It will be a dog fight but the Phillies will be the surprise winner.

2. Atlanta Braves

Good - They have good, young starting pitchers but the key to their success will be the consistency of Mike Foltynewicz. He went from their ace in 2018 to optioned to the minors in 2019. It’s a young rotation with a lot being asked of Mike Soroka and Max Fried. Felix Hernandez may win a rotation spot but he will eventually be replaced by either Kyle Wright or Ian Anderson as the season winds down and the Braves need a win. Ronald Acuna has transformed his skills into an MVP caliber player, He plays solid defense, hits for power and steals bases. He is the Mookie Betts of the Braves. Freddie Freeman is one of those players who you turn around to watch after you hear the sound of the ball off his bat during batting practice. He is just a professional hitter who always seems to drive in the big runs. Ozzie Albies is one of the better second baseman in the league and he continues to get better. He hits for power, gets on base, steals bases and has scored more than 100 runs the last two seasons.

Bad - Replacing the production of Josh Donaldson will hurt. Austin Riley is the best power source, but he can run hot and cold. His defense is also not as strong, so when he is running cold he contributes little to the team. The Braves may settle on the vanilla like production of Johan Camargo, who put up decent numbers in 2018 when he got regular playing time. The bullpen lacks a closer though the Braves hope the 11 saves Mark Melancon gave them last year is not a mirage. His last big save year was 2016. Shane Greene is another option, though most of his saves with the Tigers did not come with a team fighting for the playoffs.

Ugly - They could have some issues behind the plate. Travis D’Arnaud has had issues staying healthy. If he goes down their alternative is Tyler Flowers. He has not hit over .230 the last two years. He also struck out 105 times in his 271 at bats last year. That is really ugly. If those two go down the Braves will have to rely on rookies Alex Jackson, William Contreras or Shea Langeliers. It would be asking a lot of any of the three rookies to catch in the heat of a pennant race, but they could be better alternatives.

Rookies - Ender Inciarte has had issues staying healthy. Expect either Cristian Pache or Drew Waters to get some centerfield time while he is down. It could be difficult taking them out of the lineup once Inciarte comes back. Pitching is their strong suit. Ian Anderson, Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson will all be waiting for an injury or ineffectiveness from a starting pitcher to get their opportunity. Jasseel de la Cruz has been a starter in the minors, but his triple digit heat gives him closer stuff. He could find himself in the bullpen by mid season.

Expected Finish - Second place but still good enough for a wild card spot.

3. Washington Nationals

Good - The starting pitching is four deep with Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin and Anibal Sanchez. The big question is how all the innings in the playoff race impact their 2020 season. The upside is it will probably be a shortened season so the fatigue factor of the 80th game in September will not be as great as the 160th game. Juan Soto has improved his defense to such a degree that he is average to above average in left. He even got some gold flove consideration. His offensive game also keeps improving each year. If he had speed he could be the equivalent of Ronald Acuna, but he doesn’t.

Bad - The other two outfield spots need to step it up. Victor Robles is a phenomenal defensive centerfielder, but his bat is best fitted for the eight hole. Adam Eaton lacks the power other teams have with their rightfielders. The right side of their infield could be new. Howie Kendrick is probably better playing first, but he could get most of his time at second, where his defense is atrocious. Starlin Castro is another option but his offensive production is nothing special. Asdrubal Cabrera could be the best fit if he doesn’t play third. The Nationals would prefer this because that would mean Carter Kieboom won the third base spot. First base will be a platoon of Eric Thames and Ryan Zimmerman. The Z-man may be asked to come in later in games to play defense. This position will provide below average offensive numbers, not what you need when you’re trying to replace the offense lost by the departure of Anthony Rendon. Eric needs to replicate his KBO numbers.

Ugly - Rookie Carter Kieboom is being asked to replace the offense of Anthony Rendon. That is a lot to be placing on a rookie. If he fails Asdrubal Cabrera will take over the position until Kieboom produces in the minors. No matter who they put out there he will fall short of the numbers Rendon provided. That could be the difference between making the playoffs and watching them on television.

Rookies - Carter Kieboom will get every opportunity to replace Rendon at third. Last year he got a brief callup to replace Trea Turner at short and only hit .128 in an 11 game trial. Will Crowe will compete for a fifth spot in the rotation but he is not an impact pitcher. Tres Barrera will see some time at catcher if injuries put either Kurt Suzuki or Yan Gomes on the disabled list. His future may be as a backup.

Expected Finish - The loss of Rendon will be too much and they will fall just short of the playoffs.

4. New York Mets

Good - The fact that Steven Matz is competing for the fifth spot in the Mets rotation tells me the starting pitching should be good if it stays healthy. The acquisitions of Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha give them one extra starting pitcher. They may need him with the injury history of Noah Syndergaard. Jacob deGrom should still put up Cy Young numbers and Marcus Stroman pitches big. The Mets need another solid year from Peter Alonso. A sophomore slump will stagnant the offense. Amed Rosario came on strong with the bat in the second half. If he can get more consistency with his defense he could become one of the top shortstops in the league. No matter where you put Jeff McNeil his bat will hit. With Robinson Cano slated for second McNeil will play third. Michael Conforto is a good run producer in right field.

Bad - Wilson Ramos will have to provide better offense if he wants to continue as the starting catcher. His defense took a big hit last year with base runners taking advantage of his slow release. A lot of that blame could be placed on the pitchers inability to hold runners. Robinson Cano has seemed to have lost a lot. If Yoenis Cespedes makes the team the Mets would be better putting J.D. Davis at third, moving McNeil to second and benching Cano. Brandon Nimmo and Jake Marisnick may platoon in center but their bats will not provide much. Playoff teams win up the middle and the Mets fall short in three of the four positions.

Ugly - Edwin Diaz will not be the closer if he replicates his 5.59 ERA last year. Those are ugly numbers, the kind of numbers you would expect by a pitcher in Colorado. If Diaz fails as the closer and Cano sits the bench Mets fans will be brought to tears when they see Jarred Kelenic put up MVP numbers and Justin Dunn win a spot in the Mariners rotation. Cano and Diaz need to get the Mets into the playoffs to make that deal not look like a robbery.

Rookies - Andres Gimenez is probably a better defensive shortstop than Amed Rosario. If Amed continues to struggle with his defense at short he could be moved to center and Gimenez given the job at short. At worst Gimenez should fill a utility role. That is about it. Unfortunately for the Mets, they have no more Pete Alonso’s in their farm system.

Expected Finish - Fourth place but still close enough to battle for a play off spot.

5. Miami Marlins

Good - Whether you put him at third or right field Brian Anderson hits. He could have a break out season in 2020. Jorge Alfaro continues to get better with the bat each year. He could also have a break out year. Combining the break out years of Anderson and Alfaro could make the Marlins a surprise team in the NL East. Jonathan Villar can play anywhere if the Marlins are short of offense at a particular position. He could become the Marwin Gonzales of the Marlins.

Bad - The starting pitching is young and full of promise but it will have its days of being battered. Sandy Alcantara will continue his development as an ace but behind him they will struggle to contain offenses. Ryan Stanek will continue his role as an opener. In the last two years he has started 56 games but thrown only 143 innings, many of those in relief. The Marlins will have to hope for a resurgence from Jesus Aguilar or first base could be stagnant at producing any offense.

Ugly - Offense. They have none. Too many back up players being put in starting roles. Lewis Brinson will get a third opportunity in centerfield, but he has yet to hit over .200. Jesus Sanchez waits in the minor leagues. Myworld does not know the fascination with Isan Diaz. He is not a player that has hit for average, even in the minor leagues. With a young pitching staff, this offense will not be give the pitching staff a lot of runs.

Rookies - Don’t know how many times Brinson will get to fail in center field, but Jesus Sanchez is a potential five tool player. Of course, when the Marlins acquired Brinson from the Brewers in the Christian Yelich trade he had the same tool set as Sanchez. Some of the starting pitchers will probably fail, which will give opportunities for Sixto Sanchez and Edward Cabrera to debut in the organization. Like Sandy Alcantara they throw heat. Monte Harrison needs to cure his proclivity to swing and miss to earn a spot in center field. He has impressive tools if he can make better contact. Lewin Diaz could get an opportunity to take over first base if Jesus Aguilar fails. Lewin carries impressive power on his 6′4″ frame. First round picks Braxton Garrett and Trevor Rogers have been kind of forgotten, Braxton missing a year for Tommy John surgery, but both could contribute to the rotation with good years.

Expected Finish - Too much in this division for them to finish anywhere but last.

Major League Farm Rankings - 15 - 6

Friday, February 28th, 2020

These are the next 10 as ranked by myworld. Last week we ranked 30-16. Since there are more prospects to write about we limited this list to the next ten and will finish out the final five next week.

15. Arizona Diamondbacks (14.32)

This is a team filled with mid-level prospects. The cream could be Bahamian outfielder Kristian Robinson, who they signed for $2.5 million in 2017 and another outfielder, 2018 second round pick Alek Thomas, who in two years has a .312 minor league average. Their 2019 first round pick Corbin Carroll will fill out their future outfield. Catcher Daulton Varsho is about to make his presence known with a .301 average and 18 homeruns in AA last year. Geraldo Perdomo is a smooth fielding shortstop who carries very little power. Another Dominican shortstop, Liover Peguero, who was signed a year after Geraldo will have the better bat but not the better glove. Seth Beer was drafted in the first round by the Astros but traded to the Diamondbacks. He has a big time bat but his best position may be DH, a position that does not yet exist in the National League.

Blake Walston is a left handed pitcher to watch. He stands 6′5″, was drafted in the first round of the 2019 draft and lights the radar in the mid-90s. Two other players drafted in the first round of the 2019 draft are Brennan Malone and Drey Jameson, both righthanded pitchers. Brennan has the height (6′4″) and the fastball to achieve success while Drey stands just 6′0″ but has a swing and miss curveball. Pavin Smith is a first baseman/outfielder with a good hit tool that lacks elevation. Last year he slugged .466, which is a good sign.

14. Toronto Blue Jays (16.06)

The top prospect that lights up the radars in the triple digits is Nate Pearson, a first round pick in 2017. He could be in the Blue Jay rotation in 2020. Jordan Groshans was a 2018 first round pick who has a decent glove for short, but will probably need to move to third. The power bat is there for the corner spot. Don’t know how they will fit the name Simeon Woods Richardson on the back of his uniform but the 2018 second round pick has shown the ability to hit all four quadrants of the plate with a low 90s fastball with plus movement. Orelvis Martinez was signed out of the Dominican Republic for $3.51 million. He has impressive power but lacks the range to stick at short.

Others to watch are 2019 first round pick Alek Manoah, who in his debut struck out 14.3 hitters per nine innings with his mid-90s fastball.

13. St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals traded two pretty good outfielders to improve the opportunity of 2016 first round pick Dylan Carson making the roster out of spring training. He hit .361 with five homeruns in his 18 game debut at AAA last year. Those outfielders were traded to acquire the Rays 2018 first round pick Matthew Liberatore, a lefthander with a mid-90s fastball. Nolan Gorman, the 2018 first round pick is a power bat that plays third base.

Zack Thompson was the Cardinals first round pick in 2019. He is a lefty who now has the best curveball in the organization. Elehuris Montero had an off year last year. The Dominican third baseman doesn’t have the power of Gorman but he should hit 20 plus homeruns per year. Malcolm Nunez is another third baseman who came from Cuba in 2018. He showed massive power his first year, slugging .774 with 13 homeruns in 44 games in Rookie ball. That power disappeared last year when promoted to Low A.

12. San Francisco Giants (20.46)

The Giants are rebuilding and what better way to start than the replacement for Buster Posey. Joey Bart was the Giants first round pick in 2018, the second overall pick in the draft after Casey Mize. He will be a good hit and glove man behind the plate. Marco Luciano has some pretty impressive power with the tools to play shortstop. The Giants signed him for $2.6 million out of the Dominican Republic in 2018. He could be the next Wander Franco. Heliot Ramos, the Giants first round pick in 2017 out of Puerto Rico will end the Giants dearth of weak hitting outfielders. Hunter Bishop, a 2019 first round pick and Venezuelan Luis Matos, who was also signed in 2018, could join Ramos in the outfield. Seth Corry, a 2017 third round pick dominated last year at Low A (9-3, 1.76 ERA) with a low to mid 90s fastball. Mauricio Dubon became the first player born in Honduras to play in the major leagues. He was acquired from the Brewers and should win the second base job this year.

Alexander Canario showed some impressive power in rookie ball with 16 homeruns in 59 games. He could be ready for a break out season in 2020 if he can avoid the strikeouts. Will Wilson was a first round pick in 2019 and hopes to fill a middle position with the Giants. His lack of speed could prevent a permanent job at shortstop. Jaylin Davis may not be a prospect next year after slugging 35 homeruns last year. The Giants acquired him from the Twins last year, who acquired him in the 24th round of the 2015 draft.

11. Minnesota Twins (20.75)

Royce Lewis was the first player selected in the 2017 draft. Last year he struggled with the bat, failing to get it over .250 but he could become a power hitting shortstop, or move to third if Polanco stays at short. Alex Kirilloff was a first round pick in 2016, had Tommy John surgery then came back to hit .348 with 20 homeruns. Injuries again plagued the outfielder last year (wrist) which sapped the power from his bat. Trevor Larnach led Oregon State to the College World Series championship in 2018. His power bat will join Alex in the outfield after being drafted by the Twins in the first round in 2018. Jordan Balazovic is a burley Canadian pitcher who saw his fastball hit the mid to high 90s last year. Brent Rooker is a defensively challenged outfielder who may move to first base where his power bat will fit. He was a first round supplemental first round pick in 2017.

Misael Urbina is an outfielder from Venezuela who played last year in the Dominican Summer League. He is a good contact hitter with good speed to play centerfield. Keoni Cavaco was the Twins 2019 first round pick. He struggled in his first year, hitting just .172.

10. Baltimore Orioles (20.76)

Adley Rutschman was the first player selected in the 2019 draft who also played on the Oregon State College World Series champions in 2018. If he can survive injuries behind the plate he will be a special kind of catcher with a power bat and top rated defensive skills. Grayson Rodriguez throws from the right side while D.L. Hall throws from the left. Grayson is a big 6′5″ fireballer of a pitcher with a fastball in the mid-90s drafted in the first round in 2018. Hall was a first round pick in 2017, is not as tall (6′0″) but has excellent stuff, including a fastball that consistently hits the mid-90s. His curveball is a knee bender for hitters. Ryan Mountcastle is a hitter without a position to play. The 2015 first round pick was the MVP of the International League with his 25 homeruns. Austin Hays recovered from his poor, injury prone 2018 season and is expected to win the centerfield job in 2020.

Gunnar Henderson was drafted in the second round of the 2019 draft and signed him for $2.3 million. His tools may not fit at short but his power bat will look good at third. Adam Hall was also a second round pick (2017) but he is more a defensive shortstop with a questionable bat.

9. Oakland Athletics (21.22)

They have perhaps two of the best lefthanded pitchers in the minor leagues in Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk. Injuries prevented them from making the Athletics rotation last year, but if they stay injury free this year they will be in the starting rotation. Jesus was a third round pick of the Nationals in 2016, dropping in the draft after Tommy John surgery in his senior year in high school. Puk was the Athletics first round pick in 2016 and had Tommy John surgery in 2018. Sean Murphy a 2016 third round pick may be one of the best defensive catchers in the game who could provide a little pop with the bat. Robert Puason was signed out of the Dominican for $5.1 million in 2019. He appears to be a smooth fielding shortstop who will have a good bat.

Logan Davidson was the Athletics first round pick in 2019. The son of ex-major league Mark has the tools to stick at short but the power to move to third. Lazaro Armenteros was supposed to be a Cuban sensation when he signed for $3 million in 2016. The bat has not justified the hype to this point, but last year he did hit 17 homeruns, despite a poor .222 average to go with 227 whiffs in 126 games. If he can figure out how to hit a breaking ball he could justify his 2016 hype.

8. Miami Marlins (22.38)

Sixto Sanchez is a fireballing Dominican the Marlins acquired from the Phillies. He is slight of frame and has durability issues, but the fastball sizzles in triple digits. Jesus Sanchez is a five tool outfielder the Marlins acquired from the Rays. The Dominican could win the centerfield job in 2020 if Lewis Brinson continues to struggle. JJ Bleday is a slugging right fielder out of Vanderbilt the Marlins selected with their first pick in the 2019 draft. Jazz Chisholm was acquired from the Diamondbacks. The shortstop was signed out of the Bahamas in 2015 and slugged 21 homeruns last year. The tools are there for him to be a power hitting shortstop. Edward Cabrera is another pitcher that can hit the radar in triple digits, but at 6′4″ the Dominican has a towering plane. Monte Harrison is the last player in the Christian Yelich trade that has yet to reach the major leagues. He has good power and speed, but his swing and miss resulted in 215 whiffs in 2018. A wrist injury last year limited him to 58 games.

Lewin Diaz is a big power hitting first baseman the Marlins acquired from the Twins. Last year he slugged 27 homeruns. Jose Devers is the younger brother of Rafael, but is more a defensive stalwart at shortstop. He lacks the power of his brother. Jorge Guzman may be the hardest thrower in baseball but he has no command and lacks a third pitch. He is destined for the bullpen, perhaps in a closer role. Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Mesa Jr. are two brothers signed out of Cuba, whose dad was a star on the early Cuban teams. Victor Victor is said to have the better tools. Jerar Encarnacion hit two homeruns early in spring training, showing the power the outfielder possess.

7. Atlanta Braves

Lots of pitching on this team but outfielders Chistian Pache and Drew Waters could join Ronald Acuna in a couple years to form an impressive outfield. Both have burner speed to fit in center and good power to move to a corner. Ian Anderson, Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson will all compete for the Braves starting rotation before the 2020 season ends. Bryse was a fourth round pick in 2018 while Anderson (2016) and Wright (2017) were first rounders. Shea Langliers was the Braves first round pick in the 2019 draft. The catcher may always get lost in the shadow of Rutschman but he is a superb defensive catcher with good hit tools.

Braden Shewmake was a first round supplemental pick in the 2019 draft and has already played in AA. He is a 6′4″ shortstop who could develop into a pretty impressive two way shortstop. Bryce Ball had to wait until the 24th round to hear his name called in the 2019 draft, but the first baseman hit .329 with 17 homeruns in his minor league debut.

6. Los Angeles Dodgers (27.14)

Not only is their major league team stacked, but their minor leagues is filled with prospects. Gavin Lux, the 2016 first round pick should win the second base job, but has the tools for short. He pulverized minor league pitcher for 26 homeruns in 113 games. Dustin May could fit in the Dodgers rotation this year. The 2016 third round pick has a red mane with a mid to high 90s fastball that makes it appear fire his coming out of his right hand. The Red Sox did not like Brusdar Graterol because he did not have the arm to start. The Dodgers will use his triple digit fastball out of the bullpen. Keibert Ruiz is blocked by Will Smith at the catcher position. A finger fracture ended his season early, but he can hit for average and has good defensive tools. Josiah Gray was acquired from the Reds in the Yasiel Puig/Matt Kemp deal and last year rose three levels to AA with good life on his low to mid 90s fastball. He could be the next rookie in the Dodger rotation for 2021. Tony Gonsolin had a big homerun bat in college but the Dodgers drafted him as a pitcher and in 2018 he was their pitcher of the year. He will be competing for a rotation spot in 2019. Kody Hoese was their first round pick in 2019. The third baseman slugged .779 in college and should carry that power to the major leagues. Diego Cartaya is a Venezuelan catcher the Dodgers signed for $2.5 million in 2018. He is an above average defensive catcher with a strong arm that has good hit tools.

Michael Busch was another first round 2019 pick who has a good bat, despite his .182 average last year. The Dodgers are trying him at second base but he has yet to establish himself at a defensive position. Outfielder Luis Rodriguez was signed out of Venezuela in 2019 for $2.6 million. He has all five tools to be a difference maker in centerfield. Andy Pages is an outfielder from Cuba who swatted 19 homeruns in 63 games in rookie ball.

Myworld’s Top 100 - 20 - 11

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

The penultimate ten.

20. Brendan McKay LHP (Rays) - In college he was noted more for his bat. The Rays drafted him in the first round of the 2017 draft with the expectation of making him a two way player. Now it is the arm that has gotten him to the major leagues with a fastball that sits in the upper edges of the low 90s. He also has quality breaking pitches in his cutter and curveball and his change has potential to be major league quality. All of those pitches are thrown with tight command resulting in a 0.84 ERA at AAA Durham in six starts and one relief appearance. AAA hitters hit only .156 against him. When promoted to the majors he could not replicate that success (5.14 and .268 opposition average) but in time the Rays expect he will. The bat does not appear to be major league ready. There is some power in his swing, but he could only put together a .200 average and a .629 OPS in AAA/AA. That will not cut it in the major leagues. Expect him to be in the Rays rotation next season as a starting pitcher. The Rays could also use him in a pinch hitting role as well as an occasional DH to qualify him as a two way player.

19. Bobby Witt Jr. SS (Royals) - The son of the major league pitcher of the same name was the Royals first round pick in the 2019 draft. Junior has chosen to take his journey to the major leagues as a shortstop, while his dad was a pitcher. Myworld watched him at the homerun derby send balls far into the left field bleachers using an aluminum bat. The tools are there defensively for him to play shortstop. He has a strong arm like his dad and good range to cover the position. The power in his bat and his ability to hit to all fields will make him an A-Rod type shortstop with a little more speed and the ability to consistently hit for 30 plus homeruns each year. In his debut season last year he only hit one homerun in 164 at bats in rookie ball. In 2020, when he is playing his first season of full season ball he should eclipse double digits. His major league arrival time probably will not occur until 2023, unless he finds success at each level quickly and then it could come as early as 2021, provided the Royals are not fixated by service time.

18. Brendan Rodgers SS (Rockies) - Back in 2015 three shortstops were the first three picks in the draft. Rodgers was the third shortstop selected with Dansby Swanson and Alex Bregman selected ahead of him. Rodgers was drafted out of high school and finally made his major league debut last year. Trevor Story sits at shortstop now for the Rockies, so the best hope for Rodgers to see the major leagues will be at second base. He has a strong arm and enough range to play the position. The bat is what the Rockies are hoping will be special. Last year he hit .350 with a 1.035 OPS in 37 AAA games, earning him a promotion to the major leagues. Season ending shoulder surgery ended his season after just 25 major league games. Rodgers has the potential to hit for power and average. His 2020 season will be delayed as he recovers from his surgery, but expect him to be back in the major leagues sometime late in 2020.

17. Cristian Pache OF (Braves) - This Dominican has tremendous speed to cover centerfield and a rocket arm to fit easily in right. He signed with the Braves back in 2015. With Ronald Acuna, Drew Waters and Pache patrolling the outfield they have the potential to steal all the gold gloves once they all arrive in the major leagues. Cristian stole 32 bases in 2017 but his speed has not resulted in any significant stolen base numbers after that. His walk to whiff ratio could be better (43/122) but he tends to sit in the .270 to .280 area. The lack of power could be an issue if he has to play corner, but last year he did hit 12 homeruns. Last year he played 26 games in AAA. He is on target to make his Braves debut sometime in 2020.

16. Forrest Whitely RHP (Astros) - The 2016 first round pick of the Astros lost some development time in 2018 because of a 50 game drug suspension. When he returned oblique injuries limited him to just eight starts and 26 innings. The Astros started him at AAA to begin the 2019 season but he was absolutely horrific. He had a 12.21 ERA with the opposition hitting him at a .343 clip. He had real issues trying to find the plate. If not for those struggles he would already be a member of the Astros starting rotation. His stuff is much better than his performance last year. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and hits the high 90s. His cutter, slider and change are all excellent pitches. His ability finding the strike zone can be a little dicey and at 6′7 there are a lot of moving pieces that make that more of a challenge. If Forrest can find the strike zone more consistently he will be a solid member of the Astros starting rotation in 2020.

15. Andrew Vaughn 1B (White Sox) - If you are a right hand hitting first baseman and you only stand 6′0, there must be something special in you that makes a team draft you as the third overall pick in the 2019 draft. What the White Sox think is special about Vaughn is his bat. Last year in college he hit .374 with a .704 slugging. In his major league debut he hit well enough (.278) to get promoted to High A in his first year. Andrew could be a fast riser with a good hit tool and power. Last year he showed good contact ability with a 30/38 walk to whiff ratio. His defense is not considered a strong suit, but it would not be any worse than current first baseman Jose Abreu. Vaughn will be a fast riser as long as he continues to have success with the bat as he rises up the minor league level. With the White Sox having playoff aspirations his bat could be in the lineup by 2021.

14. Royce Lewis SS (Twins) - Royce was the first pick in the 2017 draft. All the tools are there. He has the speed that could result in a move to center if the Twins do not have a need at short. He also has the tools to play short. The power is also there that he could be a fit for third base. Last year was a bit of a struggle for him. His batting average cratered to .236 at High A and AA, with his inability to make good contact creating his low batting average. If he can simplify his swing the power is there for him to hit 20 plus homeruns. The speed is also there for him to steal 20 bases. His arrival to the Twins will depend on need and Royce’s ability to improve his hit tool. If the bat plays the 2020 season could be the year when he makes his major league debut.

13. Dylan Carson OF (Cardinals) - The Cardinals 2016 first round pick is a fringe five tool athlete. His arm is borderline for right and his speed could allow him to play center but it would be better utilized at a corner. The two biggest tools for Dylan are his power and his ability to hit for average. Last year was a break out year for him with 26 homeruns, with five in 18 games at AAA for a .681 slugging average. Between AA and AAA he slugged .542 with a .914 OPS. He also stole 20 bases putting him on a list of ten minor leaguers to hit 20 homeruns and steal 20 bases. The Cardinals are always loaded in the outfield, but they traded a couple outfielders in the offseason to possibly make room for Carson. A good spring could find Dylan in the Cardinal outfield in 2020.

12. Julio Rodriguez OF (Mariners) - At 6′4 inches this Dominican has that rightfielder look. The Mariners signed him for $1.75 million in 2017. Last year he made his stateside debut at Low A and High A as a 19 year old, hitting .326 with a .540 slugging and a .929 OPS. In 17 games in the California League he hit .462. When the ball hits off his bat it makes its own unique explosive sound, which makes people turn and take notice. He could be a quick riser like Juan Soto, reaching the major leagues by 2021. His speed is a better fit for the corners and his arm is a cannon best fitted for right field. Julio has super star potential.

11. Carter Kieboom SS/3B/2B (Nationals) - Gone is Anthony Rendon. The Nationals don’t want to say the first round 2016 pick is the player to replace him, but whether he plays second or third, his is the new name in the lineup. Last year Carter made his major league debut and in 11 games he hit .128. His natural position is shortstop, but Trea Turner has that position covered. There is some pop in Carter’s bat, with 16 homeruns last year in AAA. He also hit .303. As a shortstop, he has the range to play second and the arm to cover third. Unless he trips and stumbles in the spring he should be going north with the Nationals. Starlin Castro was signed as insurance and Asdrubal Cabrera and Howie Kendrick were resigned so the Nationals are not obligated to put Kieboom on the roster after spring training. If he earns the spot the Nationals will be pleased.

Myworld Top 100 - 30-21

Friday, February 14th, 2020

And the list goes on.

30. Drew Waters OF (Braves) - The question for the Braves is who do you put in center, Christian Pache or Drew Waters. Pache is the faster runner with the stronger arm, but Waters is no slouch. The 2017 second round pick may be the better fit for center because of his lack of power. He has good speed and a strong arm to play any outfield position. With Acuna, Pache and Waters covering the green hits will turn into outs. The one down side with Waters is his inability to make consistent contact. Last year he struck out 164 times in 134 games. It didn’t seem to impact his average as he combined to hit .309 filtering between AA and AAA, with just 26 games in AAA. Pache also played 26 games in AAA. Either could be called up in 2020, with who you choose depending on who is having a better 2020 minor league season.

29. Dustin May RHP (Dodgers) - The red headed 2016 third round pick put major league teams on notice last year that he is ready to be put in a major league rotation. In 14 appearances, four of them starts he finished with a 3.63 ERA, a .250 opposition average and a 5/32 walk to whiff ratio in 34.2 innings. His fastball sits in the mid to high 90s and his sinker reached triple digits. His low 90s cutter acts as his change and is his swing and miss pitch, though he does have a curve and change in his repertoire. He keeps the ball on the ground, making it difficult to elevate his pitches. He should start the 2020 season in the Dodger rotation, unless a poor spring makes the team pause.

28. CJ Abrams SS (Padres) - The 2019 first round pick is a very fast runner. It may have been one of the reasons the Padres felt Xavier Edwards was available. CJ destroyed rookie ball hitting .401 in just 32 games and stealing 14 bases. This resulted in a promotion to Low A for just a two game trial. There is not a lot of power in the bat, but he makes good contact and can take the extra base. If the Padres prefer not to move Tatis from shortstop Abrams has the speed to play center or the instincts to move to second. The tools are there to play shortstop. Next year he will start the season at Low A. He could be with the Padres by 2022 if he continues to dominate in the minor leagues.

27. Joey Bart C (Giants) - Buster Posey appears to be sliding in his ability to catch. The hope was that Posey would maintain his power and slip over to first, but last year that power was absent. Joey was a first round pick in 2018 to eventually take over the catching duties once the Giants felt it was time to move Posey to first. Last year Bart’s development was stunted by injuries that limited his playing time to just 79 games. He did reach AA for 22 games where he hit .316. There is enough power in his bat to hit 20 plus homeruns and he has the hit tool to stay close to .300. His arm is strong and he seems to maneuver well behind the plate. The lack of speed makes catching or first base his only viable position options. If he can avoid injuries he could take over the catching duties for Buster Posey in 2021.

26. Alec Bohm 3B (Phillies) - At 6′5″ the Phillies 2018 first round pick has big time power. The question remains will he be flexible enough to play third base. The arm is strong but the lack of speed in his legs makes moving to the outfield dicey. If Alec does not survive at third the Phillies would then have to choose between Hoskins or Bohm for first base and trade the other. Last year Alec reached AA. He totaled 21 homeruns between the three levels and combined for a .305 average. For a power hitter the bat does a pretty good job of making contact with the ball. He only struck out 73 times in 125 games. The Phillies have one more year of minor league ball before making a position decision for Alec. In 2021 they will have to decide whether his defense is adequate enough to play third base.

25. Luis Patino RHP (Padres) - Luis signed for $130,000 out of Colombia in 2016. The 6′0 right hander can hold his fastball in the mid 90s, reaching the high 90s. His legs are a big reason for his velocity. That could minimize any durability concerns. His breaking pitches are good enough for the starting rotation but his change still needs some work. He doesn’t appear to have too many issues with finding the plate. Last year he rose to AA where he had two starts (1.17 ERA). He gets lots of swings and misses with his rising fastball, averaging 11.7 per nine innings. In High A the opposition hit him at only a .192 clip. The Padres have a number of top pitching prospects in the minor leagues. Patino will begin the 2020 season in AA and depending on need he could be called up in 2020. More realistically his debut will be 2021.

24. Sixto Sanchez RHP (Marlins) - The Phillies originally signed the Dominican in 2015 for just $35,000. They traded him to the Marlins in the J.T. Realmuto deal. Like Patino, Sanchez only stands 6′0. His fastball also sits in the mid to high 90s, ticking the radar gun on occasion north of 100. The 2018 season was limited to eight starts because of elbow issues. Last year he was able to start 20 games, reaching AA for 18 games. His change may be his best secondary pitch. For all the zip on his fastball the strikeouts are not prevalent. AA hitters only hit him at a .225 clip. Sixto could join Sandy Alcantara in the 2020 rotation this year, followed by another fireballer in Edward Cabrera, giving the Marlins one of the fastest rotations velocity wise in baseball.

23. Matt Manning RHP (Tigers) - The 2016 first round pick stands 6′6, adding a lot of plane to his low to mid-90s fastball. He was the Tigers top pitching prospect until Casey Mize was selected first overall in 2018. With Tarik Skuball, Alex Faedo and Franklin Perez lurking in the shadows the Tigers are set for the rotation of the ages, if they all can stay healthy. Manning gets his swings and misses from his excellent curveball, last year striking out 10 per 9 innings in 24 AA starts. The opposition hit him at just a .192 clip. A little more refinement on the change and Manning has the potential to be a 1a ace. There is no reason the Tigers have any expectation for a playoff opportunity in 2020 so don’t expect to see Manning in a Tigers uniform until 2021.

22. Alex Kirilloff OF (Twins) - The Twins drafted Alex in the first round of the 2016 draft. Tommy John surgery force him to sit out the 2017 season. He came back strong in 2018 hitting 20 homeruns with a .348 average splitting time at the two A levels. Myworld saw him in the Future’s Game in 2019 and we came away impressed with his arm, though most would give it an average grade. His speed is geared more toward the corners and if more athletic players squeeze him out of the outfield Alex could move to first. His 2019 season was restricted to just 94 games because of wrist issues. Alex has a good hit tool with few strikeouts in his bat and enough pop in his swing to reach 20 plus homeruns per year. If he can stay healthy he could see the Twins in 2020.

21. Michael Kopech RHP (White Sox) - The 2014 first round pick appeared ready for the major leagues in 2018. He was throwing strikes, was up for four starts and then elbow issues encroached, resulting in Tommy John surgery that forced him to miss all of 2019. Prior to that he had the best fastball in baseball, regularly hitting Triple Digits. Even with his control major leaguers were still able to find his fastball and hit him for a .328 clip in his four starts. Time will tell whether Michael can replicate his improved command and change when he returns to the mound in 2020. If he doesn’t flinch he could be in the White Sox starting rotation in 2020. If he struggles the White Sox will be careful with him, not wanting to throw him too many innings.

Myworld Top 100 - 40 -31

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

Pitchers and catchers are reporting to spring training. Baseball is drawing near. Below is the continuation of our top 100 prospects.

40. Jasson Dominguez OF (Yankees) - Not a lot of history on Jasson. But then he is only 17 years old. A 17 year old that just got richer by signing a $5.1 million bonus with the Yankees in 2019. He has drawn comparisons to Juan Soto, but because he is a switch hitter there have even been some Micky Mantle comps. He is not a big guy at 5′10″ but he shows massive power, a strong arm and the speed to play center field. There is no history on Jasson since his bonus signing was a 2020 contract. His professional debut could begin in the Dominican Summer League and if he does well there he could participate in the rookie leagues. If he meets his hype he could rise quickly like Juan Soto, reaching the major leagues in 2023 at 20 years of age.

39. Riley Greene OF (Tigers) - Riley was the Tigers 2019 first round pick, the fifth overall pick in the draft. He is the first position player they have drafted first since 2014 (Derek Hill). Like Hill, Greene is also an outfielder, but the two have different skills. Hill relies more on speed and centerfield defense. Greene has a big time power bat, but his lack of speed and arm will limit him to left field. In his first professional season he got promoted to Low A, where he struggled a bit (.219). His left handed bat could produce 40 plus homerun numbers once he reaches the major leagues. While he accumulated a number of strikeouts last year (22/63 walk to whiff in 57 games) he is expected to hit for average. Riley is still a few years from the Tigers with an expected arrival time of 2023 or 2024 depending on his performance as he climbs the minor league ladder.

38. Grayson Rodriguez RHP (Orioles) - Grayson was a first round pick of the Orioles in 2018. Last year he pitched in Low A and in the Future’s Game, all as a teenager. He dominated at Low A, limiting the opposition to a .171 average, while striking out 12.4 hitters per nine innings. At 6′5″ he has good height and with his fastball sitting at the higher ends of the low 90s, and reaching the high 90s it flashes quickly towards the plate. He complements the fastball with two plus breaking pitches, and his change appears to have the makings of being an above average pitch. The tools appear to be that of an ace, but the Orioles have been through that program before. He is still early in his development and will probably not see the major leagues until 2022 as he climbs one level at a time through the minor leagues.

37. Nick Madrigal 2B (White Sox) - The White Sox made Nick the fourth overall pick in the 2018 draft after he led Oregon State to a College World Series championship. The White Sox are hoping that eventually a World Series championship will be in their future. Nick is not a dynamic player. He seems to play above his tools. The talk is that he has the defensive tools to play short, but his teams always have someone better and he ends up at second base. His power is lacking but he should hit for a high average. The speed is also there but it won’t result in high stolen base numbers. What he has that the tools don’t measure is that intensity to win and do the things necessary to achieve that goal. Last year he reached AAA, hitting .341 at AA and .331 at AAA. With a good spring he could end up going north with the White Sox, but if not in April he will be in the major leagues at some point in 2020 as their starting second baseman. All Star seasons await.

36. Nolan Jones 3B (Indians) - Myworld will always get Nolan Jones confused with Nolan Gorman. Both play third base and both carry prodigious power that will result in a plethora of homeruns. Gorman was a 2018 first round pick while Jones was the Indians second round 2016 pick. The Indians drafted Will Benson in the first round in 2016. Jones will never be considered a great defender at the hot corner, but he should have enough tools to stay at third base. The power in his bat would still fit at first, but he would not be as valuable at that position. Last year he slugged 15 homeruns between High A and AA, hitting .272 with a .442 slugging percentage. He shows good patience at the plate with 96 walks, but he also struck out 148 times in 126 games. If he gets more elevation to his balls he could be a regular 30 homerun bat at the hot corner. The 2020 season will see him start at AA with a possible debut in the major leagues if he is raking, or 2021.

35. Mitch Keller RHP (Pirates) - Mitch has spent a pretty long career in the minor leagues after being drafted in the second round in 2014. After a lot of hype he finally made his major league debut last year and it was a bit of a flop, with a 7.13 ERA in 11 starts. He did collect a high number of strikeouts (12.2/9 innings), but major leaguers hit him at a .348 clip. The stuff is there with a mid-90s fastball that can hit the high 90s and above average breaking pitches. He still needs to develop a change, which at this point is a below average pitch. A good spring should see him in the Pirates rotation, though they may want to start him in AAA to extend his service time.

34. JJ Bleday OF (Marlins) - Myworld witnessed some of the Bleday power at the College World Series. The Marlins were also impressed, selecting him with a first round pick in 2019, the fourth player selected in the draft. Last year he led all NCAA players with 27 homeruns, leading Vanderbilt to the finals of the College World Series. He added three more homeruns in his 38 game minor league debut. He lacks the speed to play center, but has plenty of arm to fit in right. He makes good contact, hits to all fields and should hit for both a high average and power. The Marlins thought enough of his tools to begin his minor league season in High A. That appears to show a plan for a quick rise through the minor league season, with an expected arrival time around 2021.

33. Ian Anderson RHP (Braves) - Another in a collection of Braves number one drafted pitchers, Ian a first round pick of the Braves in 2016. Last year Ian struggled in five starts with the Braves in AAA (6.57 ERA). In previous seasons his ERA was 3.14 or less and his strikeout per nine innings was near 11 per nine innings. His fastball sits in the low 90s with lots of upside to his secondary pitches and the command to throw them to different areas of the strike zone. The Braves have a lot of depth in the starting rotation in the minor leagues. Ian is part of that depth and will probably start the season in AAA, with a mid-season promotion a strong possibility, depending on which pitchers are hot.

32. Marco Luciano SS (Giants) - The Giants signed Lucius Fox for $6 million in 2015, but traded him to the Rays in 2016 when his bat seemed to be a cause of concern. Luciano was signed for $2.6 million in 2018 and now appears to be the shortstop of the future, with a better hit tool than Fox. Last year Luciano made his debut stateside and hit .322 in the Arizona Rookie League. He also showed big time power with 10 homeruns and a .616 slugging percentage. The defensive tools, including a strong arm are there for him to stay at short. His speed is above average but he could get bulky as he ages making him unable to cover the ground necessary to play short. The power would be there for him to play at third. At 18 he is a few years away from the major leagues. With Brandon Crawford on the down side of his career, the Giants could use some help at shortstop prior to Luciano being ready.

31. A.J. Puk LHP (Athletics) - Puk appeared ready to make the major league staff out of spring training in 2018. The 2016 first round pick experienced elbow problems, which resulted in Tommy John surgery and a missed 2018 season. He did pitch in 2019, making his major league debut with 10 relief appearances. The fastball is electric, hitting the high 90s, and with his 6′7″ frame visions of Randy Johnson dance in the hitter’s heads. His slider and change also appear to be quality pitches. What is a cause of concern is a lack of command of those pitches. The Athletics hope to use him in the starting rotation in 2020, but if he has trouble finding the plate a closer role could be another option. Whatever the role, the Athletics plan on having his arm on the major league roster in 2020.

Myworld Top 100 - 60-51

Thursday, February 6th, 2020

We’ve hit the halfway point.

60. D.L. Hall LHP (Orioles) - The Orioles success at developing starting pitchers has been spotty. They either turn into relievers or like Jacob Arriata, achieve success after their departure. Dylan Bundy, Matt Riley, Hunter Harvey, Kevin Gausman, Zach Britton, Adam Loewen were once premium starting pitchers Oriole fans felt were can’t misses. They all missed on their potential. The 2017 first round pick hopes to be an exception to that can’t miss list. His fastball hits the upper edges of the low 90s, sometimes rising above, and his change and curve are potential plus pitches. The one area he needs to improve on is the command of those pitches. The opposition only hit .189 against him, yet Hall walked 54 hitters in just 80 innings, putting enough runners on base to raise his ERA to 3.46. The 2020 season should see him at Bowie with a major league debut expected in 2021. In this rebuilding year the Orioles will be in no rush to expedite service time.

59. Jeter Downs SS (Dodgers) - Named after Derek Jeter, the Dodgers stole him from the Reds in the Yasiel Puig/Matt Kemp trade. The Dodgers also got Josiah Gray in that deal. Jeter was a supplemental first round pick of the Reds in 2017. He has shown he can hit for power with 24 homeruns last year and a combined OPS of .888 at High A and AA. He also added 35 doubles and 24 stolen bases to this list. The tools exist to play short but with Corey Seager filling that position Jeter played a lot of second base last year. While his speed is not burner speed there is a possibility of moving to centerfield, but with the trade of Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger currently in center that may be a harder position to crack. Expect him to start the season in AA next year, but with all his positions occupied at the major league level by a super star or top prospect only an injury will result in his promotion. He may have to hope for a trade or 2021 to make his major league debut with the Dodgers. The skills appear to be there for him to reach the major leagues this year.

58. Kyle Wright RHP (Braves) - Kyle was the number one 2017 pick out of Vanderbilt. He has already seen two major league seasons, but with limited success. His command of his pitches is generally not a weak point, but when he gets to the major leagues that command deserts him. In his two combined major league seasons he has walked 19 hitters in 26 innings, which has led to his struggles and demotions back to the minor leagues. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and can hit the high 90s and his secondary pitches are quality offerings. With a good spring he has a chance to open the season in the Braves rotation. If he does not make it out of spring training he will see the rotation by mid-season. Staying in the rotation by throwing strikes will be his biggest challenge.

57. Trevor Larnach OF (Twins) - Nick Madrigal was the big name for the Oregon State 2018 College World Series team, but Larnach may turn out to be the better major league player. The Twins drafted him in the first round in 2018, about 15 picks after Madrigal. Unlike Madrigal, Larnach has some pop in his bat, last year slugging 13 homeruns and hitting .309 between High A and AA. He lacks speed so his defense will be limited to a corner outfield spot, where his arm is a perfect fit for right. If his below average speed forces a move to first his power needs to perform. Trevor will start the 2020 season in AA and could see some major league time near the end of the season, but more likely in 2021.

56. O’Neil Cruz SS (Pirates) - At 6′7″ myworld will be surprised if he stays at short. His best fit may be in right field, where he has the arm to throw rockets. He does have the athleticism where he could fit at shortstop. If so, his power could be a difference maker. A fracture to his right foot limited him to just 73 games last year where he hit 8 homeruns for an OPS of .832. His power seemed a bit stunted when he hit AA with only one homerun in 119 at bats. With his height comes a large strike zone, which means Cruz has to be patient to hit his pitch if he hopes to hit for a decent average and take advantage of his power. His swing and miss is still not bad but a 24/74 walk to whiff ratio shows his patience needs to improve. O’Neil should start the 2020 season in AA. Taller players tend to have foot problems so hopefully the fractured foot last year does not become a recurring issue. Expect Cruz to be in the outfield or at shortstop for the Pirates in 2021.

55. Evan White 1B (Mariners) - The Mariners signed the 2017 first round pick to a six year $24 million contract, so service time should not be an issue. Once Evan is ready to make a contribution to the major leagues the Mariners have no impediment to promoting him. His defense is already major league caliber and will win gold gloves as he gains experience. He has the speed to move to the outfield, but his glove would not win any gold in the green. Last year he showed the power to hit 18 homeruns in AA for a .488 slugging. His all fields approach to hitting should result in a high average (.293). With a good spring White could make the major league roster. There really is not a player at the position who matches all the skill levels White would add to the position.

54. Brusdar Graterol RHP (Twins/Red Sox) - Brusdar is the player holding up the Mookie Betts trade. His career has been injury prone and the Red Sox do not see a future starter in his right arm. Brusdar can hit triple digits with his fastball, but flashes of brilliance are not what teams are seeking. At 6′1, 265 pounds Brusdar has some conditioning issues. Injuries have not allowed him to throw more than 102 innings in a season. Last year he made his major league debut and pitched 10 games in relief. The fastball is closer material but the lack of quality secondary pitches appears to destine him to the bullpen. If the Red Sox agree to a second player along with Graterol he could fit into the Red Sox bullpen in 2020. If the Red Sox ask for a different prospect the Twins would use him out of the bullpen in 2020. His lack of innings would discourage any use as a starter, except if he begins the season in the minor leagues.

53. Ke’Bryan Hayes 3B (Pirates) - The 2015 first round pick of the Pirates is the son of Charlie Hayes. Defense is his stand out tool, with the ability to win gold gloves in the major leagues. The big question with Ke’Bryan is his power to play third base. Last year he hit 10 homeruns with a .415 slugging average. Those are numbers teams would accept for there gold glove fielding shortstop, but not their third baseman. Those 10 homeruns were hit in AAA so he is ready for the major leagues if his bat shows he can produce at the position. Currently, his power is restricted to the gaps. RBIs are not part of his skill set. The Pirates have another question mark bat in Colin Moran at third, so Ke’Bryan could get his opportunity if Colin fails to produce.

52. Heliot Ramos OF (Giants) - Heliot was the Giants first round pick in 2017. He is the last player drafted in the first round out of Puerto Rico. Carlos Correa was the first pick in the 2012 draft. Heliot will probably have a better career than the 2016 first rounder out of Puerto Rico, Delvin Perez. Heliot disappointed in 2018 with just 11 homeruns and a .396 slugging. Last year he showed his power with 16 homeruns and a .481 slugging. Currently, he has the speed to play centerfield, but as he fills out he will settle into a corner. The arm is more than capable of handling right field. Last year he struggled a bit in 25 games at AA so expect him to begin the 2020 season there. The Giants have had trouble developing outfielders and Heliot may be the first of a couple outfielders that could change that culture. Heliot should make his major league debut in 2021.

51. Jordan Groshans SS (Blue Jays) - Jordan was a first round pick of the Blue Jays in 2018. Last year he did not have much of a season, limited to just 23 games because of a foot injury. During that time he did hit .337 and showed the defensive tools to stick at shortstop. Eventually his lack of foot speed could require a move to third, where he could fit as an above average defensive player at the position. He should have the power and production to fit at third. In his 2018 debut season he drove in 39 runs in 37 games with a .500 slugging average. He also shows the patience at the plate to take walks. If Jordan can stay healthy he is still a couple years away from contributing to the major league club. Expect a debut sometime late in the 2022 season.

Top Dominican Prospects in the National League

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020

The top two prospects from last year’s list, Fernando Tatis and Victor Robles made significant contributions to their major league teams. Another Padre Francisco Mejia, the fourth rated Dominican prospect lost his rookie status. Number nine prospect Sandy Alcantara started 32 games for the Marlins. That leaves four new spots with injuries knocking Alex Reyes off the list, though with all his time on the major league disabled list he may have lost his rookie status. Below are myworld’s top ten Dominican prospects in the National League.

1. Cristian Pache OF (Atl) - Last year he was the 7th rated Dominican prospect in the National League. What a difference a year of accomplishment can make. His defense is at the gold glove level and his bat has been showing some increasing pop the last two years. Pache did not hit any homeruns his first two years but nine in 2018 and 12 last year show the kind of pop that is there. He also peppered the gaps for a career high 36 doubles. He has the speed to steal bases, but after his 32 in 2017 he has failed to reach double digits his last two years. The arm is a rocket but with his defense there would be no need to move him away from centerfield. The batting average may hover around .250 but his defense should make him an asset to the Braves for a long time. That should start with the 2020 season.

2. O’Neil Cruz SS/OF (PGH) - Cruz was number 10 on this list last year. While he currently plays shortstop, myworld believes his 6′6″ height will eventually move him to the outfield. If he can stay at shortstop there would be no shortstop that could equal his power. A little too much swing and miss could limit his batting average and lesson his power numbers. A fractured foot last year also limited him to just 73 games. He was able to reach AA but hit only one homerun in over 120 at bats. The Pirates have always been patient with their prospects, trying to squeeze out every last year of prospect eligibility to their club. The injury and the Pirates conservative approach will keep Cruz in the minor leagues until 2021 at the earliest.

3. Ronny Mauricio SS (NYM) - Amed Rosario struggled on defense at shortstop last year for the Mets and Andres Gimenez is another defensive option. The most complete shortstop could be Mauricio. At 6′3″ he may eventually have to move to third if his body fills out. His lack of speed limits his range and if he continues to fill out that range could be further impacted. He has the hands and arm to play short. His bat is what gets the Mets excited. The bat should eventually hit for 20 plus homeruns, though he has yet to hit in double figures for power. He does show a lack of patience at the plate with a 4/1 strikeout to walk ratio, which could limit his average. Still a teenager Mauricio should be ready for High A in 2020 with a possible promotion to AA. Don’t expect him to see the Mets infield until 2021.

4. Brailyn Marquez LHP (CHC) - Lefthanders who can dial their fastball into the mid-90s are valuable commodities on any club. At 6′4″ Brailyn has the height to be a durable starting pitcher. Last year was his first year eclipsing 100 innings of work. A solid curveball and improving change give him three pitches to fit in the rotation. Last year the opposition hit him at .224, which is twenty points below his career minor league average. He also continued to strike out more than one batter per inning. One area he needs to work on is improving his control. Last year he walked about a hitter per two innings. The Cubs have not had a lot of success developing pitching. Next year he should see AA and if the Cubs can exercise patience he will not appear on the Cubs pitching rotation until 2021.

5. Sixto Sanchez RHP (Mia) - The Phillies signed Sixto in 2014, then traded him to the Marlins in 2019 for J.T. Realmuto. The fastball is explosive, cracking triple digits on the radar gun. His 6′0″ height makes his durability a question. He missed much of 2018 due to injury but averted the disabled list in 2019 to throw over 100 innings for the first time in his minor league career. He and Sandy Alcantara should make for an intimidating mound duo. Plus command of his fastball, curve and change trifecta should result in more swings and misses but he generally averages less than a whiff per inning. His 18 starts in AA should make him ready for the major league rotation some time in 2020.

6. Jesus Sanchez OF (Mia) - No relation to Sixto. Jesus got his start with Tampa Bay and then was traded to the Marlins a couple years ago for pitching help. Jesus has the potential to be a five tool player. His speed is not burner’s speed but it is enough to play centerfield. His arm is strong enough for right field, but with J.J. Bleday on the roster left field could be his eventual position. His bat lacks patience (39/100 walk to whiff ratio) which could limit his average to the .250s. His power is not massive but it should be enough to hit 20 plus homeruns. Despite his above average speed Jesus does not steal bases, failing to reach double digits in any of his minor league seasons. He should be in the Marlins roster sometime mid season of 2020.

7. Marco Luciano SS (SF) - Don’t know if the Giants can wait for Marco to be ready to replace the aging Brandon Crawford. They shelled out $2.6 million to sign him in 2018. Last year was his first season state side where he hit .322 in rookie ball. His 10 homeruns gave him a .616 slugging. That kind of power will not continue, but his bat is one of his strengths. The arm is there to stay at short but if his 6′2″ frame fills out too much he may have to move to third. Marco has the bat to make multiple All Star appearances. He will debut in the full season league in 2020 but is probably still three of four years from making the Giants. That will probably mean four years on this list.

8. Luis Garcia SS/2B (Was) - Not to be confused with the Luis Garcia on the Phillies. Teams have inquired about Luis, but despite their playoff run the Nationals kept Garcia off the market. With Anthony Rendon gone and temporary veteran replacements to cover second and third, Garcia’s time to wear a Nationals uniform should be soon. He lacks the power to play third and he will not usurp Turner from short. So second base could be his ultimate position. His minor league numbers have not been impressive (.257 average and .617 OPS) until you realize he is only a 19 year old trying to solve AA pitching. His speed is not great so if Luis hopes to make an impact his bat has to be in the neighborhood of .300 with double digit homerun power less than 20. National fans should see his major league debut in 2020.

9. Edward Cabrera RHP (Mia) - Make that a threesome. With Alcantara, Sixto and Cabrera in the rotation the Marlins should be scary. Cabrera is another arm that can hit triple digits, but for the most part will sit in the mid-90s. If he can refine his change to make it a more swing and miss offering he will fit in the rotation. If not he could be the Marlins closer. Last year he limited the opposition to a .190 average and struck out more than a hitter an inning. His eight starts in AA make debuting in the Marlins rotation in 2020 a slight possibility. Because 100 innings pitched in 2018 has been his maximum innings level, the Marlins need to leave him in the minor leagues to control his innings.

10. Geraldo Perdomo SS (Ari) - The Diamondbacks only paid $70,000 for him back in 2016. Advance three years and Geraldo has turned himself into a top level prospect. His tools should be sufficient to stay at shortstop, but as with any 6′3″ Dominican this could change as he fills out. The bat makes good contact with more walks than whiffs last year (70/67). There is not a lot of power in his bat so if he can keep his average in the .300 neighborhood he could become a useful starter. His lack of speed does not project for high stolen base totals. Last year he got 26 games in High A so he is at least a couple years away from the Diamondbacks.

NL East Lower Draft Pick Success

Tuesday, January 7th, 2020

Myworld takes a look at the NL East to see how they have done selecting with the 25th round pick or later. This is our last division to look at. As usual, we start with 1998 when drafts were established at 50 picks, further reduced to 40 a few years later. Also, we did not include any player signed in the 25th round or later who did not sign but made the major leagues after a later draft. Myworld did not look at draft years 2015 or later since any late round picks making the major league roster in four years or less would be slim to none.

Atlanta Braves

Tim Spooneybarger OF (1998/29th round) - 2-3, 3.24 in 88 games of relief
Brad Voyles RHP (1998/45th round) - 0-4, 6.45 in 40 games, three of them starts
John Foster LHP (1999/25th round) - 7-2, 4.90 in 90 games of relief
Johnny Venters LHP (2003/30th round) - 20-13, 2.71 in 292 games, with one start
Ryne Harper RHP (2011/37th round) - 4-2, 3.81 in 61 games of relief

Nick Green 2B (1998/32nd round) - .236, 17, 103 in 417 games
Adam LaRoche 1B (2000/29th round) - .260, 255, 882 in 1605 games
Tyler Flowers 1B (2005/33rd round) - .238, 85, 296 in 780 games

Miami Marlins

Kevin Olsen RHP (1998/26th round) - 0-5, 5.12 in 28 games, ten starts
Tim Wood RHP (2002/44th round) - 1-4, 4.50 in 57 games of relief
Alex Sanabia RHP (2006/32nd round) - 8-10, 4.15 in 28 games, 24 starts
Brandon Cunniff RHP (2010/27th round) - 4-2, 4.50 in 54 games of relief

Jim Aducci OF (2003/42nd round) - .232, 5, 39 in 151 games

New York Mets

Josh Stinson RHP (2006/37th round) - 0-2, 4.47 in 39 games, two of them starts
Josh Edgin LHP (2010/30th round) - 4-4, 3.49 in 177 games of relief
Seth Lugo RHP (2011/34th round) - 22-15, 3.27 in 151 games, 31 of them starts
Chasen Bradford RHP (2011/35th round) - 7-0, 3.89, 86 games of relief

Earl Snyder 1B (1998/30th round) - .203, 1, 4 in 18 games
Mike Jacobs C (1999/38th round) - .253, 100, 312 in 569 games
Juan Centeno C (2007/32nd round) - .223, 6, 37 in 118 games

Philadelphia Phillies

Jacob Diekman LHP (2007/30th round) - 15-22, 3.90 in 441 games of relief
Jarred Cosart RHP (2008/38th round) - 16-23, 3.98 in 74 games, 72 starts

Brock Stassi OF (2011/33rd round) - .167, 2, 7 in 51 games

Washington Nationals

Jim Henderson RHP (2003/26th round) - 10-11, 3.61 in 155 games of relief
Brad Peacock RHP (2006/41st round) - 34-30, 3.99 in 178 games, 83 starts

Billy Burns OF (2011/32nd round) - .270, 5, 55, 46 stolen bases in 242 games

NL East Minor League All Stars

Sunday, December 22nd, 2019

Below are the All Stars for each classification by Baseball America for the teams in the NL East. These would not be the best prospects on each team. They would be the players in the minor leagues who had the best seasons. Other than the Atlanta Braves most teams were lacking All Stars.

Atlanta Braves

Bryce Wilson SP/AAA - The fourth round 2016 pick is a rare non-first rounder for the Braves who found himself in the Braves starting rotation in 2018. Because of his success there was an expectation that he could make the starting rotation in 2019. His numbers last year were not great (10-7, 3,42) but considering the offensive explosion in AAA they were All Star worthy. He struggled when promoted to the majors (1-1, 7.20). He does not seem to have overwhelming stuff to be anything more than a mid rotation or back end rotation pitcher with a low 90s fastball that can hit mid-90s and average secondary pitches.

Ian Anderson SP/AA - The 2016 first round pick has a similar fastball to Wilson, sitting in the low 90s with more quality secondary pitches. He had better numbers in AA (7-5, 2.68) with 147 whiffs in just 111 innings. The opposition hit only .202 against him. He was the victim of the AAA offensive explosion when promoted to AAA (1-2, 6.57).

Tucker Davidson SP/AA - The lefty drafted in the 16th round of the 2016 draft was tough to hit in AA (7-6, 2.03). He even had success when promoted to AAA (1-1, 2.84). He has good velocity on his fastball for a lefthander hitting the mid-90s but still lacks a quality third pitch to stay in the rotation. As a lefthander he could still survive in the pen.

Bryce Ball 1B/Rookie - At 6′6″ the 24th round pick has some intimidating size when facing pitchers. That size blasted 17 homeruns with a .628 slugging and a 1.023 OPS in rookie ball and Low A. He made good contact for a power hitter. Time will tell whether Ball can continue this production at higher levels.

Drew Waters OF/AA - Speed will win Drew the centerfield job for the Braves. The second round 2017 pick will compete with Christian Pache for the future job. Last year he stole 13 bases in AA hitting .319. He lacks the power that teams look for in a corner and a 28/121 walk to whiff ratio is a cause of concern.

Miami Marlins

Zac Gallen SP AAA - The Marlins traded the Cardinals 2016 third round pick for Jazz Chisholm. The Marlins had acquired Zac from the Cardinals in the Marcell Ozuna trade. After dominating at AAA (9-1, 1.77), the Marlins promoted him to their major league club where he achieved continued success (1-3, 2.72). Despite this success they traded him to the Diamondbacks where he continued to retire hitters (2-3, 2.89). He is noted more for his command than velocity so it is possible teams will catch up with him next year. He pitched like an ace but may be more suitable as a mid-rotation starter.

Sixto Sanchez SP/AA - Sixto has fiery stuff. The Marlins were able to nab him from the Phillies in the J.T. Realmuto trade. Fans would like to see more of his 6′0″ frame throwing triple digit fastballs but injuries have limited his innings. With his premier stuff you would expect more strikeouts but he falls below 9 whiffs per nine innings. If he can not stay healthy he could be used best out of the bullpen.

Luis Palacios SP/Rookie - The Venezuelan spent his first season state side in 2019 and was tough to hit, limiting the opposition to a .180 average and a 1.12 ERA. He showed superb command with a 2/42 walk to whiff ratio in 40 innings.

New York Mets

Corey Oswalt SP/AAA - The 2012 seventh round pick threw too many innings in 2018 to be considered a prospect prior to 2019. He returned to AAA and produced All Star numbers (10-4, 2.91). He lacks velocity, relying on command to retire hitters. At best he will fill the Mets back end of the rotation.

Francisco Alvarez C/Rookie - The Mets have had a number of high profile catching prospects disappoint. They hope Alvarez is not another. They signed the Venezuelan for $2.7 million in 2018. Despite his young age they skipped the Dominican League and promoted him to the short season league where he hit .312 with seven homeruns. He could end up being a two way player providing offensive numbers and defensive prowess.

Philadelphia Phillies

Alec Bohm 3B/AA - The 6′5′ 2018 first round pick may eventually have to move to first. After just one season the Phillies promoted him up to AA where he mashed 14 homeruns, hitting a total of 21 for his minor league season. He has the bop to be a big time homerun hitter, but lacks the speed to be effective in the outfield. He makes good contact for a power hitter.

Washington Nationals

None.

Top Minor League Right Handed Pitching Prospects

Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

There were so many talented righthanders that myworld extended the prospect list to 20 players. Some notable pitchers we left off include Ian Anderson, Hunter Greene, Tristan McKenzie, Deivi Garcia and Logan Gilbert. Not that we don’t like those pitchers, the others just appeal to me more. Predicting pitchers is a crap shoot. One injury can ruin a prospect standing.

1. Casey Mize (Tigers) - The first pick of the 2018 draft dominated at High A (0.88 ERA) which led to a quick promotion to AA. He continued to pitch well (3.20 ERA) in AA but his opposition average went from .110 to .234. Despite a fastball that rides the plate in the mid-90s, his strikeout numbers are rather pedestrian, less than a whiff per inning. You would expect more from a pitcher with that kind of heat and two other above average pitches (slider and splitter) that he commands well. The Tigers hope he will be an ace in the rotation, a position the team has a plethora of potential candidates to take over that role. Casey was a bit injury prone in college and saw his AA season end with three poor starts that led to a mid-August shutdown. Expect to see him pitch by mid-summer in 2020, unless the Tigers hold him back in order to not eat up service time in what is expected to be a wasted 2020.

2. Nate Pearson (Blue Jays) - The Jays first round pick of the 2017 baseball draft woke up the baseball world in the Arizona Fall League by blazing triple digit fastballs across the plate. Prior to that a series of injuries in 2018 (back and fractured arm) limited him to just one start of two innings in 2018. This year he got his innings count above 100, finishing with three starts in AAA. His fastball was still hitting triple digits, sitting in the high 90s and he complemented that pitch with three above average secondary pitches. His one down side is some inconsistency in his command. He walked 21 in 63 innings in AA. He should compete for a spot in the starting rotation in 2020 but the Jays may want to control his innings by starting him in AAA. They don’t want to go beyond 150 innings for him next year.

3. Forrest Whitley (Astros) - Despite their battle for the playoffs the Astros were able to hang onto their 2016 first round pick. At 6′7″ with a mid-90s fastball he gives a number of batters shaky knees when they come up to the plate. Last year he was considered the top pitcher in baseball, but was limited to just eight starts because of a couple injuries. The 2019 season saw some struggles with command which resulted in elevated ERAs. In the homer happy AAA he served up nine homeruns in just 24 innings. The 2019 season was his third complete season and he has yet to throw over 100 innings. The Astros could start him in AA next year after his struggles in (AAA). He has the quality secondary pitches and heat on his fastball to dominate so the 2020 season could be a critical year.

4. Sixto Sanchez (Marlins) - The Phillies traded Sixto to the Marlins to acquire J.T. Realmuto, thinking they had a replacement for him in the minor leagues (Adonis Medina). Sixto had good success in the minors (2.53 ERA) while Adonis struggled. The Phillies only shelled out $35,000 to sign him out of the Dominican Republic. While he only stands 6′0″ his fastball crosses the plate in triple digits. He lacks the swing and miss results you expect to see with someone with his heat, but he has success with weak ground ball outs. Sixto also has a good breaking pitch and change with excellent command to keep hitters off balance. The Marlins are getting deeper in the rotation with all the prospects they have acquired in trade, but having had success in AA Sixto is due to pitch in Miami some time by mid-2020.

5. Matt Manning (Tigers) - The Tigers have a pretty impressive future rotation in the minor leagues with leftyTarik Skubal and righthanders Franklin Perez, Beau Burrows, Alex Faedo and Casey Mize. Manning was a first round pick of the Tigers in 2017, nine picks ahead of Faedo. At 6′6″ Manning was the top pitcher in the Tigers minor league system until they drafted Casey Mize with the first pick of the 2018 draft. Manning hits the mid-90s with his fastball, but sits in the low 90s, so the blazing heat isn’t there. The secondary pitches are quality (curve and change) and his command is above average. His stuff would seem to indicate a mid-rotation starter instead of an ace, but he should start showing that with the Tigers some time next year. In AA last year he limited the opposition to a .192 average in 24 starts with a 2.56 ERA.

6. Jon Duplantier (Diamondbacks) - Myworld still cannot forget his 2017 season when he finished with an ERA below 1.50, the lowest ERA in the minor leagues since some dude named Justin Verlander. Even last year he was dominant in AA but he was limited to 16 starts because of injuries. And that has been his down fall. Last year he made his major league debut mostly in relief but hitters did not find his pitches a mystery, raking him at a .283 clip. His season was hijacked by his inability to throw strikes. His fastball has radars spitting out mid-90 readings and his secondary pitches are quality enough to stay in the rotation. The third round 2016 pick needs to maintain his health to stay in the rotation, otherwise the Diamondbacks may want to move him to the bullpen. He should compete for a spot in the rotation in 2020. Pitch counts could keep him in AAA to limit his innings.

7. Michael Kopech (White Sox) - The 2014 first round pick at one time had the top fastball in the minor leagues hitting well into the triple digits. With his first four starts in the major leagues it appeared he would become a main stay in the rotation, but a torn elbow ligament resulted in Tommy John surgery and prevented him from pitching in 2019. A lack of command of his pitches has always haunted him, but it appeared he had controlled those demons in 2018. Now after the surgery he will need some time in AAA to get his pitches back and hope his control returns. His slider is a nice swing and miss pitch. Expect the White Sox to call him up once he shows his velocity has returned and he has command of his pitches.

8. Brady Singer (Royals) - The 2018 first round pick had dropped to the number 18 pick, even after winning the College Baseball Player of the Year award. He did not pitch in the 2018 season because of the heavy work load the Florida Gators had put him through in college games. The 2019 season saw the Royals call his number 26 times, 16 of them in AA. His fastball sits in the low 90s, but can hit the mid-90s, with an above average slider. His change could need more work if he wants to stick in the rotation. A 6′5″ build can be intimidating but a .247 opposition batting average tells a story that his pitches are not impossible to hit. The slider does force more ground balls and will keep the ball in the park. The Royals are on a rebuilding path so they will be patient with Singer, not wanting to use up his service time. He could be a September callup in 2020 with a move to the Royals permanent rotation spot in 2021.

9. Grayson Rodriguez (Orioles) - The Orioles have always had trouble developing major league pitchers that came to them with superstar potential based on their performance in high school or college. Super studs like Matt Riley, Hunter Harvey and Dylan Bundy have never reached their potential. They hope that changes with this new regime and Rodriguez will be one of their first examples. The 2018 first round pick has a fastball that sits in the low 90s, but it can hit the mid 90s, with good movement. He also has two good breaking pitches and a decent changeup to stay in the rotation. Last year the opposition hit only ,171 off him and he struck out 129 batters in just 94 innings at Low A. His 6′5″ height and decent command allows him to hit the edges of the plate where he tended to dominate at this level. A rise to High A and AA should occur in 2020 with a major league shot sometime late in 2021. By that time the Orioles hope their rebuilding process will be bearing fruit.

10. Brent Honeywell (Rays) - Blake Snell has turned into a pretty good pitcher in the major leagues. Brent was taking a similar career path in the minors following Blake but Tommy John surgery put an end to his 2018 season. The Rays were hoping to see him return in 2019 but a fracture in his elbow during rehab ended his 2019 season. Brent has an amazing array of pitches that includes a screwball, fastball in the low to mid 90s, slider and change, as well as command of those pitches to be a co-ace with Snell. How those pitches react after his return from a second surgery will determine whether he can join Snell as the co-ace in the rotation or fill in at the back end. The Rays will be patient with him in 2020 and at best he could get a September call up as a reward for all his work in rehab. Brent did not rely on his fastball for his success so Myworld thinks his route to the major leagues will not be altered much because of the injuries.

11. Dustin May (Dodgers) - The long, flowing locks of the 2016 third round pick is the first thing you notice about the righthander. After that comes the mid-90s fastball and the sharp breaking curve that bites downward towards the plate. His pitches create a number of ground ball outs, as well as swings and misses. Last year minor leaguers hit just .231 off him. The Dodgers saw another Walker Buehler possibility and promoted him. He worked a little bit in the starting rotation but pitched mostly in relief, with major leaguers hitting him at a better .250 clip. He does not have the stuff of Buehler but he has enough to fit in the middle of the rotation. A good spring could see him start the season with the Dodgers.

12. Mitch Keller (Pirates) - The Pirates 2014 second round pick has been one of the top pitching prospects for a number of years now. Last year he got his first opportunity to face major league hitters and his .348 opposition average, 7.13 ERA and six homeruns given up in 48 innings is evidence the debut did not go well. Keller has too good of stuff for that to continue. His fastball hits the high 90s and settles in the low 90s with a curve ball and change good enough to keep hitters honest. Perhaps a better sequencing of the pitches and improved command will result in better outcomes. Mitch has been sitting too long in the minor leagues to stay there. At some point the Pirates have to see what they have and 2020 should be the year Keller rises to a level where he will battle for Rookie of the Year consideration.

13. Michel Baez (Padres) - At 6′8′ the Cuban fireballer is a very intimidating pitcher with his high 90s heat. That heat may fit better in the bullpen. Michel does have two breaking pitches and a decent change to stay in the rotation but the pitches lack consistency. He has also been limited by back issues which has prevented him from pitching long stretches. The Padres used him out of the bullpen last year and he made his major league debut, limiting hitters to a .223 average. His future for the Padres could be as their closer. His fastball carries more velocity in shorter spurts and with his innings limited his health will be good. Expect him to compete for a Padre bullpen job in 2020 and take over the closer job after the departure of Kirby Yates.

14. Shane Baz (Rays) - Shane was the Pirates first round pick in 2017. The Rays stole him in the Chris Archer trade mid season in 2018. His first two years Shane was stuck in Rookie ball. A lack of command sabotaged many of his outings. Last year he got 17 starts in Low A. His command improved and his ERA went from 4.26 in Rookie ball to 2.99 in Low A. The opposition only hit .213 off him, a vast improvement over the .273 average in two seasons of Rookie ball. His fastball rides the plate in the mid-90s and can hit triple digits. It is the command of that fastball that has been the real challenge. He has a good slider and improving change. If his command stays inconsistent and his change does not develop he could always work out of the bullpen. His fastball shows closer stuff. Shane is still a couple years away from the big leagues, especially with the patience the Rays show with their pitchers. Don’t expect a major league appearance until sometime late in 2021.

15. Spencer Howard (Phillies) - The second round 2017 pick has gotten his fastball up into the high 90s and it consistently hits the mid-90s. The previous year he had some triple digit readings. His secondary pitches (slider, curve and change) are not outstanding but they show average potential. His big issue is finding consistent command with those pitches. In 2018 he walked 40 in 118 innings. Last year it was 16 in 91. He does get a lot of swings and misses with his pitches. Last year opponents hit him at a .173 clip, which is 70 points less than last year. Spencer was limited to 91 innings because of shoulder issues. Because he only got six starts in AA he will probably start his season there with the possibility of joining the major league rotation by mid-season, if he continues to dominate hitters in the minors.

16. Luis Patino (Padres) - The Colombian is not big at 6′0″ but his fastball shoots across the plate in the mid-90s, hitting in the high 90s on occasion. The Padres signed him for $130,000. He does throw two good breaking pitches, as well as a change that should improve with more use. At 20 years old he was one of the youngest players in AA. In the California League opponents hit him at a .192 clip and he struck out 113 hitters in just 87 innings. Two more dominant starts in AA (1.17 ERA) show that he could be ready in 2020. Despite his small stature his innings total continue to rise, hitting 95 last season. The Padres will try to get him above 100 in 2020. With success in AA he could get a September callup with the Padres.

17. Adonis Medina (Phillies) - With the trade of Sixto Sanchez the Phillies expected Adonis to step in his place as the fireballing Dominican with a mid-90s fastball. The Phillies got a bargain with Adonis, signing him for just $70,000 in 2014. In addition to his mid-90s fastball Adonis has a swing and miss slider and solid change that gives his fastball a greater velocity look. In 2018 his ERA rose by a run to 4.12. The Phillies were hoping for a bounce back season for him in 2019 but a poor second half saw his ERA climb to 4.94. His secondary pitches have been inconsistent allowing opponents to sit on his fastball, raking him at a .254 clip. With his stuff he should put up better numbers. The 2020 season will be a critical one for him. He could see his second season in AA. If he does well during the season the Phillies could promote him to their major league staff. But Spencer Howard has leap frogged Adonis as their possible first choice for the rotation.

18. Kyle Wright (Braves) - Kyle was a first round pick of the Braves in 2017. The Braves seem to have a bucketful of pitchers in their minor league system and any one of them can slip into the rotation with a good season. Wright worked four major league starts and failed miserably (8.94 ERA) showing a lack of command that allowed hitters to swat him at a .304 rate. His 4.17 ERA in AAA may have been hurt by the super juiced baseballs that saw 13 of his pitches leave the yard. His fastball is electric, crossing the plate in the mid-90s with the potential to hit high 90s, with two quality breaking pitches and an above average change. So the pitches are there for him to have success. He just needs to find the strike zone once he reaches the major leagues. With a good spring he could fit into the rotation, but the Braves will probably start him in AAA and call him up when they have a need.

19. Justin Dunn (Mariners) - Justin was a first round pick of the Mets in 2016. They included him in a trade with the Mariners to acquire Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. It could be a trade that could haunt the Mets if Cano and Diaz do not have better years. Dunn sits at the lower end of the mid-90s. His two breaking balls have the potential to be quality pitches but his change still needs work. Dunn pitched well at AA (3.55 ERA), striking out 158 hitters in just 131 innings and limiting the opposition bats to a .236 average. This earned him a promotion to the Mariners where there was some good (2.70 ERA and .105 opposition average) and some ugly (9 walks in just 6.2 innings) in his outings. He showed pretty decent command in AA walking just 39 in 131.2 innings. The Mariners will probably start him in AAA next year and see how he performs before promoting him to the Mariners in 2020.

20. Brusdar Graterol (Twins) - The Dominican signed for $150,000 in 2014 and had Tommy John surgery shortly after. He has put on some weight to his 6′1″ frame since, carrying 265 pounds. That has to be watched if he wants to remain effective. The extra weight has allowed his fastball to climb into the triple digits and sit in the high 90s. His secondary pitches need to improve if he hopes to stay in the rotation. The slider has some swing and miss qualities, but he needs to develop a slower pitch to keep hitters off balance. He pitched well enough in the minors with a .179 opposition average to earn a callup to the Twins. There he pitched in the bullpen and was hit a little more often (.278). Next year he may start the season in the rotation at AAA. How the Twins use him will depend on their need in 2020.