Archive for the 'Braves' Category

Top Prospects From the Dominican - National League

Saturday, January 9th, 2021

Myworld will go around the world to identify the top prospects from various areas of the world playing in the minor leagues. In order to do this effectively we have to find enough prospects who have a chance to appear in the major leagues. The Dominican Republic is one of the best places to find prospects so we have broken them out into American and National League. Below are the top Dominican prospects in the National League.

1. Marco Luciano SS (Giants) - You have to like a shortstop that has the potential to hit for power. At the rookie level in 2019 Marco slugged .564 with 10 homeruns and 13 doubles in just 47 games. He also showed some patience at the plate with 32 walks. At 6′2″ he has some length and his speed is not his greatest asset, so he could move to third base. This would slightly tarnish his prospect ranking, but finding a player to hit .300 with 30 plus homeruns at any position is still a skill any team would want. He has yet to play full season ball so how he adapts as he faces better pitching will soon be discovered. Next year will be his first season in full season ball.

2. Christian Pache OF (Braves) - He has gold glove potential as a centerfielder. His speed allows him to track down fly balls but it seems to be deficient when it comes to stealing bases. He did steal 32 in 2017 but the last two years he only combined for 15. The power is there for him to hit in double digits for homeruns, but he will not be a power source. The Braves would like to see him be more patient at the plate so he could draw more walks to better fit at the top of the lineup. In 2018 his OBA was only .307 but in 2019 he drew more walks to elevate it to .340. Last year he made a brief major league debut, appearing in just two games and getting four at bats. If he can show the bat and the patience to get on base consistently he could be the Braves starting centerfielder in 2021. The glove is ready, the bat is still a work in progress.

3. Sixto Sanchez RHP (Marlins) - By the end of the 2020 season Sixto had entrenched himself as one of the top three pitchers in the Marlins rotation. His fastball hits the upper ranges of the 90s and reaches triple digits. He complements that pitch with a changeup that dives into the dirt. He doesn’t get the swings and misses you would expect from a pitcher with his stuff, but he should fit in the middle of the rotation next year for the Marlins. If he can harness a quality third pitch those strikeout numbers could climb. The one concern myworld has is his 6′0 body carrying 234 pounds. That could have an impact on his health if he doesn’t improve his conditioning.

4. Brailyn Marquez LHP (Cubs) - Scouts drool when they see a lefthander consistently hit triple digits with his fastball. At 6′4″ Brailyn also carries an ideal pitcher’s frame. While the fastball is special his secondary offerings (slider and change) line the average spectrum and his command can be spotty. To be effective in the major leagues he needs to enhance those pitches. Last year he made one appearance in the major leagues and retired two hitters, giving up two hits and walking three for a 67.50 ERA. The Cubs will give Brailyn some time in AAA to enhance his secondary pitches and fine tune his control. Once he finds improvements there he could be the ace of the Cubs rotation. If those struggles continue he could always fill the closer role.

5. Ronny Mauricio SS (Mets) - Don’t know if the Mets trade of Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez is a call of faith for the future of the shortstop capabilities of Mauricio. Ronny has not shown the power of Luciano and his speed could be described as below average, so staying at shortstop does not appear to be in the cards. But at 6′3″ the Mets are expecting the power to arrive, enough so that a move to third base is practical. His career slugging percentage in the minor leagues is .374, which falls short of what teams look for at the hot corner. However, gaining strength and learning how to elevate the ball could result in more power production. He still is a couple years away from the Mets, giving Francisco Lindor the reign at short for that time period.

6. Oneil Cruz SS (Pirates) - Hard to imagine a 6′7″ shortstop in the major leagues. That is Cruz at the moment in the minor leagues. He doesn’t seem burdened by the height. If the Pirates consider moving him the speed and the arm are good enough for him to patrol right field. There are few players that can match Cruz for power once his arms are extended. Despite all that power he has yet to slug .500 at any level in the minor leagues. With that height comes a larger strike zone and holes in his swing that pitchers can exploit. Cruz was involved in a traffic accident in the Dominican in which a couple people were killed. He appears to have avoided any major consequences for that event and is playing shortstop in the Dominican winter league. If there are no delays in getting a visa he could see some time with the rebuilding Pirates in 2021.

7. Geraldo Perdomo SS (Diamondbacks) - The fourth and last shortstop in this list, but unlike the other three players above him Geraldo has a greater possibility of sticking at the position. He has good speed, a strong arm and all the other attributes to make a solid defensive shortstop. His hitting tools are not as strong as those others mentioned above. At 6′2″ the power could develop. In 2019 he had an impressive 70/67 walk to whiff ratio. This put his OBA at .397 and with his speed on the bases allowed him 67 steals. That would be enough to stick at the top of an order. He still is a couple years away from making his major league debut, but perhaps by the end of the 2022 season Geraldo could make an appearance.

8. Edward Cabrera RHP (Marlins) - Cabrera is another rotation candidate who could hit triple digits with his fastball. At 6′5″ that delivery would be more intimidating than Sixto. Early in his career Edward had challenges commanding his pitches. Hitters raked him at a .280 clip and his ERA was above 4. Last year the command improved, the slider had more break and hitters struggled with a .190 average, resulting in a breakout 2.23 ERA. With all the injuries in the Marlins rotation last year while they surprisingly fought for a playoff appearance, their was some talk of sliding Cabrera into the rotation. That did not happen. It could though as the 2021 season develops.

9. Jesus Sanchez OF (Marlins) - Sanchez was first a Devil Ray. At that time he had the speed to be considered a centerfielder. The Marlins sent the Rays some pitching help to acquire Sanchez. His speed depleted as his body matured so now he is probably better suited for the corners. It is hoped his bat can start generating power to justify the move. His last three years those power numbers have dropped from a .478 slugging percentage to .433, to finally .398 last year. In 2019 he also hit a career low .260. Last year he did make his major league debut, but he was able to piece together just one hit in 25 at bats. For the 2021 season he will try to show some improvement in his offense to justify putting him at a corner outfield position, where a modicum of power is expected.

10. Lewin Diaz 1B (Marlins) - The fourth Marlin on this list, but the third that was acquired via trade. Diaz was originally a Twin but the Marlins acquired him for Sergio Romo. Lewin had a nice breakout season last year from a power perspective hitting 27 homeruns and 33 doubles for a .530 slugging percentage. He was called up last year, appearing in 14 games while hitting just .154 with a .205 slugging. The Marlins will give him another opportunity before they spin the wheel again in search of a first baseman. His speed is below average but his defense can get him on the field. It will not win any gold gloves so the bat must come alive if he hopes to secure a permanent spot in the lineup. The Marlins will give him another chance in 2021, provided he hits in AAA.

Tracking the Braves Number One Picks From 2016 Roster

Friday, December 25th, 2020

Back in February 2016 myworld was impressed that at least 20 players on the Braves roster were first round picks (we miscounted and incorrectly stated 21 but only listed 20 players). With that many first round picks you would have thought this team would have won some games that year. They didn’t. The 2016 season saw them end it 68-93 with many of those players traded or released before the season ended.

The good news is they won the division in 2018 and two seasons after that. Only six of the 20 players contributed to the Braves 2020 season. Below is the list of those 20 players and what happened to them. In parenthesis is the year they were drafted in the first round.

1. Jason Grilli (1997) - Traded in May 2016 to the Blue Jays for Sean Ratcliffe. His last major league season was in 2017.

2. Nick Swisher (2002) - Released by the Braves in March 2016. Signed by the Yankees in April and released in July. The 2015 season was his last major league season.

3. Jeff Francouer (2002) - Traded to the Marlins in August 2016 for Matt Foley. The 2016 season was his last in the major leagues.

4. Nick Markakis (2003) - Initially opted out for the 2020 season but returned to finish out season.

5. Chris Withrow ((2007) - Left as a free agent after the 2016 season. Last major league season was 2016.

6. Gordon Beckham (2008) - Traded to the Giants in September 2016 for Richard Rodriguez. Last major league season was in 2019.

7. Casey Kelly (2008) - Granted free agency at the end of the 2016 season. Pitched in Korea last year.

8. Tyrell Jackson (2010 supplemental) - Traded to Rangers in December 2016 for Luke Jackson. Only major league season was with the Braves in 2016 (2-4, 5.88).

9. Mike Foltynewicz (2010) - Designated for assignment by the Braves in 2020. Still in their minor league system.

10. Jace Peterson (2011) - Granted free agency after the 2017 season. Played with the Brewers in 2020.

11. Lucas Sims (2012) - Traded to the Reds in July 2018 for Adam Duvall. Pitched for the Reds in 2020.

12. Max Fried (2012) - Ace of the Braves rotation last season.

13. Aaron Blair (2013) - Released by the Braves in May 2018. Last major league season 2017.

14. Jason Hursh (2013) - Granted free agency in November 2019. Last major league season was in 2017.

15. Sean Newcomb (2014) - Pitched for Braves in 2020 (0-2, 11.20). He was 12-9. 3.90 in 2018.

16. Touki Toussant (2014) - Pitched for Braves in 2020 (0-2, 8.88).

17. Braxton Davidson (2014) - Released by Braves in May 2020. No major league appearances. Played Independent ball after release in 2020.

18. Austin Riley (2015) - Played for Braves in 2020 (.239, 8, 27). This was his second major league season.

19. Mike Soroka (2015) - Pitched for Braves in 2020 (0-1, 3.95). An injury ended his season after just three starts.

20. Dansby Swanson (2015) - Played for Braves in 2020 in fifth major league season (.274, 10, 35).

Top Right Handed Pitching Prospects

Thursday, December 24th, 2020

Below are the top right handed pitching prospects. Because of five man rotations myworld has decided to list our top 20.

1. Casey Mize (Tigers) - Not a lot of first picks in the draft are the best prospects once they test the minor leagues. Mize was the first player selected in 2018 after starring at Auburn. The 2019 season was his only full minor league season where he could eat up innings. In 21 starts he chewed up 109 innings. That appeared to be good enough for him to make his major league debut in 2020, starting seven games while piecing together 28 innings. It was a struggle. He gave up seven homeruns, the same number he gave up in the minor leagues in almost 100 more innings. Major league hitters raked him for a .252 average, 43 points higher than his career minor league average. His best pitch may be his splitter, but he also throws a mid 90s fastball with a mid-80s slider. The splitter in the mid-80s can act as his off speed pitch. The Tigers could start his 2021 season in AAA then call him up after he achieves some success there. He needs a confidence booster after being mauled in 2020.

2. Nate Pearson (Blue Jays) - The 2017 pick is one of the hardest throwers in baseball. His fastball can dart across the plate at 102 miles per hour. The secondary pitches, especially the slider will keep him in the rotation. His command could probably use a little more enhancement, especially in the major leagues. Nate made his major league debut in 2020, walking 13 batters in 18 innings. He also let five balls leave the yard. He pitched much better in 2019 pitching at three different minor league levels. At 6′6 inches his pitches come right at you. Minor leaguers hit just .173 againt him. Like Casey Mize, he could start the 2021 season in AAA, then get called up once he achieves some success and gets his confidence back. A good spring could see him start his season with Toronto.

3. Sixto Sanchez (Marlins) - Sixto may have pitched the Marlins to the 2020 playoffs. He was originally signed by the Phillies for the paltry sum of $35,000 back in 2015 out of the Dominican Republic. The Phillies included him in a trade for J.T. Realmuto. Ironic that the rebuilding Marlins saw the playoffs before the Phillies. Standing at just 6′0 usually does not spell success for a right handed starter. Sixto proved to be an exception, like his native countryman Pedro Martinez. Sixto slings his fastball in the high 90s and occasionally clips the three digit territory. His change is also a quality pitch and the slider acts as a third pitch enough to allow him to survive in the rotation. He made his major league debut last year and started seven games, finishing with a 3.46 ERA. Without that contribution the Marlins would not have made the playoffs. For a pitcher with his velocity he doesn’t strike out a lot of batters, but they make enough soft contact for Sixto to achieve success. He should start the 2021 season in the Marlins rotation.

4. Spencer Howard (Phillies) - This 2017 second round pick also made his major league debut in 2020. Like Mize and Pearson above him he struggled, with major leaguers hitting him at a .300 clip, resulting in a 5.92 ERA in six starts. In the minors in 2019 Spencer limited the opposition to just a .173 average. His fastball is explosive, hitting the mid-90s consistently and reaching the high 90s. It has enough movement that he gets a lot of swings and misses. His secondary breaking pitches (slider and curve) are a tick above average to allow him to survive in the rotation, but his change has turned into an above average pitch. His command can get off kilter but with a little more experience he could become the ace of the Phillies rotation. It would not hurt to start his 2021 season in AAA with a callup a little later in the season. The Phillies keep on acquiring veteran players, trading top prospects to achieve their goal. It could be a top prospect like Howard that could finally get the Phillies into the playoffs.

5. Forrest Whitley (Astros) - The 6′7″ first round pick in 2016 may have the best stuff of the pitchers on this list. Staying healthy and finding the strike zone have always been a challenge. He also missed 50 games for violating the minor league drug policy. In 2019 shoulder problems left his delivery out of whack and he finished with a 7.99 ERA in just 60 innings, walking 44 batters. In his four seasons he has yet to surpass 100 innings pitched. The fastball can travel across the plate in the mid-90s and a quality slider and change feed off the fastball to make him difficult to hit, if he can find the plate. If his command stays inconsistent he could always turn into a closer, but he has too many quality pitches not to keep in the rotation. Expect him to start the 2021 season in AAA, where he finished with a 12.21 ERA in 2019 in five starts.

6. Michael Kopech (White Sox) - The 2014 first round pick opted out of the 2020 season. This after missing all of the 2019 season because of Tommy John surgery. Michael seemed to have announced his arrival after being able to find the plate in four major league starts in 2018, but his elbow did not allow him to finish the season. His fastball cuts across the plate in the triple digits, even hitting 105 in one game. His slider has plus quality, but finding a third pitch and the plate set him back. It will be interesting to see if he can find the plate after his two year absence. The White Sox made the playoffs last year without him. If he could fill the White Sox rotation in 2021 it would be an asset to repeating a playoff run in 2021.

7. Grayson Rodriguez (Orioles) - The Orioles 2018 first round pick stands at a sturdy 6′5. He pitched out of Texas. The Orioles hope he can mimic a couple Texas icons in Roger Clemons and Nolan Ryan. With a mid-90s fastball and a quality slider, he gathers up the swings and misses in the minor leagues. In 20 starts in Low A he held opponents to a .171 average with 129 whiffs in 94 innings. He has enough command of his four pitches that should allow him to be the ace of the Orioles rotation in a couple years. For the 2021 season he will probably spend most of it in AA, not seeing the major leagues until sometime during the middle of the 2022 season.

8. Luis Patino (Padres) - The Padres signed the 6′1″ righthander for just $130,000 out of Colombia back in 2016. Despite his lack of height he has built up enough bulk to reach the mid 90s with his fastball, often lighting up the radar in the high 90s. He also has a quality slider that elicits swings and misses. In his three minor league seasons he has never had an ERA above 2.57 and he has limited opponents to a .208 average. He gets lots of swings and misses and limits balls from traveling over the fence, giving up just seven taters in 234 innings. Luis made his major league debut in 2020 and struggled with his command, walking 14 in 17 innings. Opponents hit him at a .257 clip leaving his ERA at an elevated 5.19. This will probably result him starting the 2021 season in AAA and waiting until he achieves some success there before being promoted to the Padres.

9. Matt Manning (Tigers) - The first round 2016 pick was drafted out of high school so he is taking a more patient rise up the minor league ladder than Mize. Manning is one year younger than Mize and after achieving success in AA in 2019 (2.56 ERA) he should be joining Mize in the rotation sometime in 2021. He has a nice 6′6 frame that gives him challenges finding a consistent release point, but his control improved in 2019. He is the son of Rich Manning, who played in the NBA, a sport Matt played while in high school. The fastball sits at the lower edges of the mid-90s, but it is probably his second best pitch, with a curveball that dives to the ground and gets awkward swings and misses. An improved change in 2019 gives him the requisite three pitches to survive in the starting rotation. He will probably start the 2019 season in AAA and at some point may join Mize and Tarik Skubal to make an awesome front three for the rotation.

10. Max Meyer (Marlins) - Max was the third player selected in the 2020 draft. He pitched in relief early in his career with Minnesota but moved to the starting rotation midway through his sophomore year. At 6′0″ he does not carry the height that you like to see in right handed pitchers. His best pitch may be his slider, and when combined with his mid-90s fastball that touched triple digits, it will garner lots of swings and misses. His change shows flashes of brilliance, which should be enough for him to stick in the rotation. The 2021 season will be his first in the minor leagues, but he should rise up quickly. If he has success and the Marlins are making another playoff run do not be surprised if they don’t use him in relief to begin his major league career, with a later transition to the starting rotation.

11. Logan Gilbert (Mariners) - The 2018 first round pick is another giant, who stands at 6′6″. The fastball crosses the plate in the mid-90s and his breaking pitches and change show enough quality that will allow him to stick in the rotation. His pitches are enhanced by his ability to find the strike zone consistently, something not common among pitchers his height. Logan has only one minor league season under his built, seeing three levels in 2019. He finished in AA with a 2.13 ERA putting together 26 starts and 135 innings. Opponents hit him at a .198 clip, including a .194 average in 9 AA starts. This should make him major league ready sometime during the mid-season of 2021 after starting the year in AAA.

12. Ian Anderson (Braves) - The 2016 first round pick can hit the mid-90s with his fastball. Hitters can have a difficult time getting elevation on the pitch because of its downward spike as it travels across the plate. He mixes in a curve and a change that keeps hitters off balance. In his first three years he had only allowed three homeruns in 243 innings. In 2019 he gave up an uncharacteristic 13 homeruns in just 135 innings. The 2020 season saw him make his major league debut where he baffled major league hitters to a .172 average and a 1.95 ERA in six starts. It will be interesting if he can replicate that success in 2021. Unless he bombs during spring training he should start the 2021 season in the Braves rotation.

13. Emerson Hancock (Mariners) - The second 2020 draft pick to appear on this list and the sixth player selected in the draft. The 6′4″ righthander can reach the high 90s with his fastball, but sits in the mid-90s. He complements his fastball with two quality breaking pitches (slider and curve) and a quality change. All of those pitches are enhanced by his above average command. With no minor league experience he should begin the 2021 season in A ball and could rise quickly with some success. Mariner fans should not expect to see him until late in the 2022 season.

14. Dane Dunning (Rangers) - The Nationals first round pick in 2016 is on his third team. The Nationals traded him to the White Sox with two other pitchers (Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez) for Adam Eaton. The White Sox traded Dunning to the Rangers after the 2020 season to get a veteran pitcher for the 2021 season. Dunning missed all of the 2019 season after Tommy John surgery but had progressed enough that the White Sox put him in their rotation for the 2020 season seven times. He had a 3.97 ERA and limited the opposition to a .197 average. Lynn in 13 starts for the Rangers carried a 3.32 ERA. Lynn only has one more year in his contract before becoming a free agent while Dunning will be controlled by the Rangers for at least five more years. Dunning should start the season in the Rangers rotation in 2021.

15. Triston McKenzie (Indians) - The Indians supplemental first round pick in 2015 had surprising success in the Indians rotation last year, despite being limited to just 90 innings his last two years because of injuries. He did not pitch at all in 2019 because of back issues. The lanky 6′5″ righthander spun together a 3.24 ERA in six starts and 33 innings in the major leagues. Major league hitters hit only .179 against him. At 23 years of age he should gain more weight on his 165 pound frame. This should add some velocity to his low 90s fastball that can reach the mid-90s. He has a quality curveball to go with a slider and change that keeps hitters off balance. It will be interesting to see if he can replicate his success in 2021. The Indians will start him in the rotation in 2021 and whether he stays there will be dictated by his success.

16. Edward Cabrera (Marlins) - The Marlins signed the Dominican in 2015 for the bargain price of $100,000. He has journeyed through the minor leagues impressing hitters with a mid-90s fastball that touches triple digits. At 6′5″ and 217 pounds his frame carries intimidation. His secondary pitches could use some improvement. The slider has enough downward bite to get hitters to beat the ball to the ground and there is enough separation of his change compared to his fastball to get swings and misses. The lack of quality secondary pitches and inconsistent command could move him to the bullpen. His 2019 season was a breakout year with a 2.23 ERA and .190 opposition average, both much better than his previous years. Edward could start the 2021 season in AAA with a possible promotion to the Marlins if he achieves success, or a propensity to pitch out of the bullpen.

17. Jordan Balazovic (Twins) - The Canadian was not drafted until the fifth round of the 2016 draft. He has sprouted to 6′5″ and packed on 45 additional pounds to get his fastball consistently in the mid-90s. The secondary pitches (slider and change) are commendable pitches that could see him stick in the rotation, but his skills seem to fit better in the bullpen. Jordan has no trouble finding the plate, which should help him stay in the rotation. He has made a slow trek through the minors, finally reaching full season ball in 2019, reaching High A. He will probably start the 2021 season in AA with a Twins appearance sometime in 2022.

18. Hunter Greene (Reds) - It has been a long, slow trek for the player picked second in the 2017 draft. The fastball was triple digit quality but he failed to find the plate. His first year he finished with a 12.46 ERA in three starts covering 4 innings. That improved to 4.48 in 2018. Tommy John surgery forced him to miss the 2019 season. It will be interesting if he can sustain his three digit heat into the 2021 season. His secondary pitches (slider and change) could allow him to survive in the rotation. His surgery and his premier fastball could move him into the bullpen. He finished his 2018 season in Low A. It will not be until late in the 2022 season before the Reds see him in their rotation.

19. Shane Baz (Rays) - The Rays do a good job of developing starting pitchers. Shane was a first round pick of the Pirates in 2017. The Rays stole him, Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows from the Pirates for Chris Archer. If Baz makes the Rays it will be one of the biggest swindles in baseball. Baz has a fastball that lights the radar gun in the triple digits, sitting in the mid-90s. His inability to find the plate will make it difficult for him to stay in the rotation. He also lacks a quality third pitch, showing a fastball/slider combination with a pedestrian change. Shane has yet to check in at the 100 inning level in any of his three minor league seasons. The 2021 season could see him start it in AA. Rays fans will have to wait until at least 2022 before they see him in the bullpen, or 2023 before he hits the rotation.

20. Jackson Kowar (Royals) - Kowar pitched with Brady Singer at Florida. The Royals made Singer their first pick and Kowar became pick 1A as he was drafted as a supplemental first round pick. He hopes to join Singer in the Royals rotation in 2021. His fastball sits at the lower edges of the mid-90s, but it is has change that complements the fastball that makes him a quality pitcher. His curveball has decent enough action to put him in the middle of the Royals rotation. He finished the 2019 season in AA, but was pretty hittable at that level, the opposition teeing off for a .254 average. His control is good and he gets about one whiff per inning with his fastball/change combination. Jackson should start the 2021 season in AA and could join Singer in the rotation late in 2021 or sometime in 2022.

Top Centerfield Prospects

Monday, December 14th, 2020

These are the shortstops in the grass. They are expected to cover a lot of ground and should have decent throwing arms. If they have average to weak throwing arms they should have a quick release. If they lack exceptional speed they move to a corner. Because these are the most athletic of the outfield prospects, my world will rate 15 top centerfield prospects.

1. Jarred Kelenic (Mariners) - The Mets made a good choice by drafting Kelenic in the first round of the 2018 draft. They made a poor choice by trading him and a couple other prospects for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. Jarred has all the tools you want in a centerfielder. Speed to patrol the outfield and an arm baserunners have to respect. He also has above average hitting tools that should make him a 20-20 player when he reaches the major leagues. His stolen base production may decrease if he moves to the third slot in the lineup. He was a 20-20 player in 2019 in the minor leagues, slugging 23 homeruns and stealing 20 bases. A reduction in strikeouts (111) could make his average slide above the .300 neighborhood. Expect him to be with the Mariners some time in 2021.

2. Cristian Pache (Braves) - The Braves signed Cristian in 2015 for $1.4 million out of the Dominican Republic. Shortly after that the Braves were penalized severely for violating international signing limits, losing a number of international players signed in 2015 and 2016. Fortunately for the Braves, Pache was not one of the 12 players lost. He is a better defensive centerfielder than Kelenic, with a stronger arm and greater speed. Once he arrives with the Braves he will appear every year on Gold Glove lists. His bat is not as strong and his tremendous speed does not result in a lot of stolen bases. He made his major league debut with the Braves in 2020 but only got four at bats. In 2019 in the minor leagues he hit .277 with 12 homeruns and 8 stolen bases. His strikeout numbers increased dramatically, but this didn’t seem to impact his overall numbers. Cristian should start the 2021 season as the Braves starting centerfielder.

3. Drew Waters (Braves) - A luxury of riches for the Braves. Obviously both can not play centerfield. The Braves could use the second round 2017 pick as trade bait, or move him to a corner outfield. They could also keep him in centerfield and move Pache to right field, though Pache is the better defensive player. Currently Waters is a player who can drive the ball from gap to gap hitting from both sides of the plate. His Achilles heel is his inability to make consistent contact, with a 39/164 walk to whiff ratio in 2019. More contact and a better read of pitchers could lead to more power and a higher average. He should also arrive with the Braves sometime late in 2021. With both Pache and Waters patrolling the outfield they should have one of the better defensive outfields in the major leagues.

4. Jasson Dominguez (Yankees) - Jasson signed with the Yankees out of the Dominican Republic in 2019 for $5.1 million. As a Yankee signing he comes with a lot of accolades. Since he has yet to swing a bat in the minor leagues a lot is unknown about what kind of numbers he will put up. The tools are impressive. He could bulk up, lose some speed and he would still probably be swift enough to cover centerfield. Combine his bat and his speed he should hit in the neighborhood of .300 consistently while creating 30-30 homerun/stolen base numbers. Since there was no 2020 season the 2021 season will do a lot to define this pending superstar. The Yankees will start him somewhere in A ball where he can exhibit his plus five tools. Yankee fans should not expect to see him until 2023.

5. Garrett Mitchell (Brewers) - The 2020 first round pick can run with the wind and has a power arm. The big question mark is whether he can hit minor league pitching. An injury prevented him from putting up any decent numbers in his last college season prior to the draft. His draft prospects dropped and the Brewers could not be happier. Major plusses for Garrett are his 6′3″ frame with a left handed bat that should develop power. The power is already evident in his batting practice swings. A concern is how he will keep his health and maintain his Type 1 diabetes. Since Garrett lacked a minor league season he will probably start 2021 in A ball and will not be seen by Brewer fans until late 2022 at the earliest. As a college drafted player he should move a lot quicker.

6. Hunter Bishop (Giants) - The 2019 first round pick of the Giants is one reason the Giant outfield of the future looks so promising. Heliot Ramos and Alexander Canario are two more reasons. Hunter may have the more complete tools, with the speed to play center and an arm that is strong, but a little light to compete with Ramos for right. Prior to being drafted he showed power with his 22 homeruns in college. That power continued in the minor leagues with five more homeruns in 32 games. A propensity to swing and miss kept his batting average low (.229) but a 38/39 walk to whiff ratio had his OBA rise to .438. Perhaps a little more aggressiveness at the plate could improve his numbers. At 6′5″ he is a pretty intimidating presence at the plate, but he also carries a large strike zone. A good athlete, Bishop thought of playing football as a wide receiver, but chose to focus on baseball. He will rise quickly in the minor leagues, seeing the Giants outfield sometime in 2022.

7. Corbin Carroll (Diamondbacks) - The 2019 first round pick of the Diamondbacks is another player who covers a lot of grass when he chases flyballs in the outfield. The big question with Corbin is his ability to hit for power. He slugged .487 in his minor league debut in 2019, but those numbers were inflated by his speed to hit 7 triples and 9 doubles. His speed should consistently result in 30 plus stolen bases per year. The patience is there to take walks (.409 OBA) but he needs to improve his ability to make more consistent contact to take advantage of his speed. While his arm is strong enough for right field, he could lack the power expected from a corner outfielder. Next year he should start at A ball with a 2023 major league debut sometime late in the season.

8. Leody Taveras (Rangers) - Like Corbin, the 2015 Dominican signing has a lot of speed to cover the middle of the outfield. The questions remain about his ability to hit. He has spent a lot of years in the minors, stitching together a career .260 batting average with a .358 slugging. Those numbers fall short of being welcome in a corner outfield, but could be acceptable with gold glove defense in centerfield. The glove is exceptional and the speed will result in 20 plus stolen bases per year. Leody made his major league debut last year. The bat was a little light (.227) but he slugged four homeruns for a .395 slugging percentage in 33 games. The batting average was a career low but the slugging was a career high. Spring training will dictate where he plays in 2021. Myworld suspects he will start in AAA and be promoted mid season if he improves his bat.

9. Khalil Lee (Royals) - Myworld has a soft spot for the 2016 third round pick. We coached his sister for a little bit ( a couple clinics) in volleyball. He played high school at Flint Hill where he earned Gatorade player of the year for Virginia. The arm is suited for right field but his speed is enough to patrol center. His bat showed some trouble making contact in 2019 with 154 strikeouts, limiting his average to .264. He did have an impressive 53 steals in 2019. With improved barrel of bat on ball contact his power should rise as his ability to get on base improves. The Royals did not see enough in him to call him up in 2020 so expect him to spend the year in AAA in 2021, with a callup late in the year.

10. Daz Cameron (Tigers) - The son of Mike and the Astros supplemental first round pick in 2015 has the above average tools to be a five tool player light. The Tigers acquired him in the Justin Verlander trade. It has been awhile since the Tigers had a true centerfielder. Daz could fit that role. The one major question mark is his ability to hit. In 2019 he could only muster a .214 average with 152 whiffs. The Tigers gave him an opportunity to roam their outfield last year, but in 17 games his bat was only good for a .193 average. He has shown patience at the plate, taking enough walks to keep his OBA above .330. With that he would be on base enough to steal 30 plus bases per year. With a good spring, showing an improved bat he could start out the 2021 season as the Tigers centerfielder. Myworld suspects AAA will be his most likely start.

11. Estevan Florial (Yankees) - As he bulks up myworld suspects right field will be his ultimate destination, but he missed out on making the top ten there. The Yankees outfield is a little crowded and Estevan did not help himself any by putting up a .237 average in 2019. He has also been limited to less than 100 games his last two years because of injuries. The power is there but he has not slugged over .500 since his first year in the minors in 2015. Haitian born, based on his birth certificate, he spent most of his youth going to school in the Dominican Republic. Last year Estevan appeared in one major league game, striking out in two of his three at bats, but getting a single in his other. He will start 2021 in AAA but with the always fragile Yankee outfield, it would not be a surprise to see him in the Yankee outfield at many points during the season.

12. Pete Crow-Armstrong (Mets) - Like Hassell on the right field prospect list, Armstrong also made the All World team at the 18 and under World Cup. It was enough for the Mets to make him a first round pick in 2020. He lacks the tools of a Jarred Kelenic, especially in the power department. There is the ability to make good contact to hit for a decent average. He did hit .364 with three triples and three stolen bases at the 18 and under world cup. Since he has not seen any professional time, Pete will probably begin the season in A ball. Mets fans should not expect to see him until 2023, right after Kelenic wins the American League rookie of the Year award.

13. Josh Lowe (Rays) - The 2016 first round pick has a big time power bat that is expected from a 6′4″ frame. He also carries a strong arm and glides with deer like speed in the outfield. In 2019 he had a breakout season, slugging 18 homeruns with a career high .442 slugging. His 132 whiffs in 121 games was too much for his batting average, keeping it at .252. Last year he stole a career high 30 bases. Since he will be hitting in a power spot in the lineup, this should not be expected to last. The position he may be best suited for is right field but he needs to develop more power in the games, rather than leave it at batting practice. Next year he should be patrolling the Rays AAA outfield with a good chance of promotion in 2021 to take advantage of his power bat and cheap salary.

14. Gilberto Jimenez (Red Sox) - Jimenez signed for the paltry amount of $10,000 in 2017. The tools have been in evidence, especially his blazing speed. The power is negligible. He did hit his first three homeruns last year. His career .444 slugging percentage is attributed to his speed, turning singles into double and doubles into triples. He has stolen 30 bases in his two minor league seasons. In 2019 he won the batting title in the New York Penn League with a .359 average. Gilberto has yet to play full season ball and with short season absent for 2021 he should start next year somewhere in A ball with a major league appearance expected for 2023.

15. Luis Barrera (Athletics) - The 2012 Dominican signing has risen past Lazaro Armenteros, Austin Beck and Skye Bolt for outfield relevance in the Athletics minor league system. His speed is top shelf but his power is invisible. His highest homerun total in his snailish pace up the minor league ladder was seven in 2017. His ability to hit triples keeps his slugging average at a respectable .412. Despite his blazing speed his stolen base numbers are tame, but that could be the result of the Athletics deemphasis on the stolen base. His 2019 season was shortened to 54 games, but not before he hit .321, with a .513 slugging, both of which would have been career highs if he maintained that pace. The 2021 season should be spent in AAA, but Luis deserves a shot in the Athletics outfield at some point during the season.

Top First Base Prospects

Thursday, November 19th, 2020

Without a 2020 minor league season, ranking prospects has become difficult. Myworld did not attend any games this year, so how we rank is based on 2019 results and what we have read about the prospects progress in camps. Some of the first base prospects may now be playing prominent roles at other positions, but we still feel they will end up at first base.

1. Andrew Vaughn (White Sox) - The 2019 first round pick had a brief season last year, showing some pop with his six homeruns in 55 games. He hit .278 with a .449 slugging. Normally, those numbers would be short of the power many expect for first base. The expectation is that there will be so much more in the bat. His defense will not be at a gold glove level and his lack of speed prevents a move to the outfield. So the bat needs to work for him to succeed. Most say time will show that Vaughn will be a first class hitter. He showed he can make decent contact, with a 30/38 walk to whiff ratio in his 2019 minor league season. Vaughn should move quickly once he gets some at bats. Don’t be surprised that with a little success next year he will see some major league time towards the end of the season.

2. Spencer Torkelson (Tigers) - Spencer was the first pick in the 2020 draft. He has shown some power in college with 25 homeruns his freshman season at Arizona State. He followed that up with 23 in his sophomore year. Unfortunately his junior year was cut short, but he was off to a monster start. His big time power will fit at first base and he should have the ability to hit for average. He is a decent defensive player that the Tigers were talking about moving to third base. He should have enough arm to play the position. Spencer will start the season in a full season league. If there had been a 2020 season he would have probably reached High A before the season ended. Where he starts in 2021 will depend on his spring and how he looked at the camps. When given his opportunity Spencer should advance quickly. The right handed bat has power to both the left and right side.

3. Alex Kirilloff (Twins) - Normally scouts frown on first baseman that bat and throw right handed, as the top two players do. Alex is our first prospect that bats and throws lefthanded. He is also the third player from the Al Central. Alex played mostly the outfield last year, but the Twins also used him at first base. The 2016 first round pick could be an adequate corner outfielder, but he could also be an above average defensive first baseman. His power is good enough to hit 20 plus homeruns per year, but injuries have prevented him from playing full seasons. He missed all of 2017 because of Tommy John surgery and much of 2019 because of wrist injuries. There was no 2020 season for him to get injured, but that did not help his development. He does not have the power of Torkelson or Vaughn, but he has the potential to hit for a high average, if his 2018 season of .348 is a whisper of what he can do. Myworld would not be surprised if he did not make his major league debut in 2021.

4. Triston Casas (Red Sox) - Triston was a 2018 first round pick. There is some big time power in his bat, but there is a lot of swing and miss. That swing and miss could keep his average down at the .250s or below, but his homerun numbers should be 30 plus. His defense is above average but his legs are slow, which makes a move to the outfield risky. Rafael Devers ability to play third base will allow Tristan to move to first. Even if Devers defense is not good enough to play third, Casas is the superior defensive player at first base. Triston could start the season in AA. Bobby Dalbec is another corner infielder who could impact the future of Casas.

5. Ryan Mountcastle (Orioles) - Defensively, the Orioles have too many first baseman with Chris Davis, Renato Nunez and Trey Mancini. Davis should not be on the roster and Mancini is probably the better outfielder than Mountcastle. The throws of Mountcastle are like rainbows and that is not a good thing. It reminds me a lot of Henry Urrutia, when the Orioles tried to use his powerless bat and weak arm in left field. At least Mountcastle can hit for some pop. If you want to hide his arm you stick him at first base. Ryan got a major league callup and hit .333 with a .492 slugging. He makes good, hard contact, with the ability to find the gaps and drive in runs. The Orioles will find a spot for him in the lineup in 2021. That will be a mixture of DH, left field and first base.

6. Bobby Dalbec (Red Sox) - The 2016 fourth round pick has some massive power when he makes contact. Last year he hit 8 homeruns for the Red Sox in 23 games for a .600 slugging percentage. There is also a lot of swing and miss in his at bats. With Rafael Devers at third Dalbec spent most of his time at first base. At 6′4″ he may have out grown third base. His speed is below average, but his arm is strong so left field at Fenway is not a bad alternative. Eventually, he may split time with Casas at first base and DH. It would be hard not to see Dalbec with the Red Sox next year, either at first base or DH based on his abbreviated 2020 production.

7. Lewin Diaz (Marlins) - The Twins signed him in 2013 for $1.4 million. He climbed up slowly through their system, but seeing themselves in a playoff race the Twins traded him mid-season in 2019 for relief help. The 2019 season may have been his breakout season when he hit 27 homeruns. The Marlins gave him his major league debut last year but he struggled with a .154 average and a .205 slugging percentage. The power bat could only hit two extra base hits (both doubles) in his 39 at bats. The left handed bat with the 6′4″ frame carries a lot of power. He just needs to be more selective with his pitches when he gets another opportunity at the major league level. That will surely come in 2021, after he starts the season in AAA.

8. Bryce Ball (Braves) - A nothing season is not what the 24th round pick of 2019 needed after he slugged 17 homeruns in 62 games last year. That produced a .628 slugging percentage. Though it was only one year, it was the kind of numbers Paul Goldschmidt was putting up in the minor leagues. At 6′6″ Bryce has a large frame so when he makes contact the ball flies. His defense is spotty and his foot speed is non-existent, so if his bat fails to produce he could die in the minor leagues. Next year he should start his season in AA. He needs to replicate the power he showed in 2019 to continue to advance in the Braves system. It will be difficult to take the first base job away from Freddie Freeman.

9. Seth Beer (Diamondbacks) - The Astros drafted him in the first round in 2018. They were convinced to include him in a trade for Zack Greinke in 2019. His best position is probably designated hitter. He has been put in the outfield, but his lack of speed and below average arm makes that a defensive liability. His bat is what will get him to the majors. The 2019 season saw him breakout for 26 homeruns. Once the National League embraces the DH he will probably see little time at first base. The 2021 season should see him making his major league debut, after he starts the season in AAA.

10. Aaron Sabato (Twins) - The 2020 first round pick could keep Kirilloff in the outfield, depending on how quickly he develops. The lack of a 2020 season did not help him. His only full season playing college was as a freshman when he hit 18 homeruns in 58 games. He was drafted as a sophomore so he had an abbreviated 2020 college season and no minor league season. He lacks speed and arm strength to play the outfield so if his right handed bat does not produce enough power for first base he could be a bust. The 2021 season should see him starting somewhere in A ball, but that will depend on his spring.

Top Ten Catching Prospects for 2021

Friday, November 6th, 2020

It is tough to rate minor leaguers when you have not had a chance to see them play. This is the first time myworld can remember not attending a ball game since probably a decade since many of these players were born. There will not be a lot of diamond in the rough prospects on this list. Just your solid minor leaguers and high draft choices. Let’s hope the 2021 season allows them to have a minor league season to develop their game playing skills.

1. Adley Rutschman (Orioles) - Matt Wieters got a lot of hype but fell short of expectations, but he was not a first overall pick. Adley has no 2020 stats, but he was the first overall pick. In 2019 his bat showed some power. As a sophomore in college he led Oregon State to the College World Series championship, so he knows how to win and lead a pitching staff. His defense and arm are above average. The only skill he is not above average at is his speed, but that is typical for catchers. In 2019 he reached Low A. Expect a step up to High A in 2021 with a quick promotion to AA if he achieves any kind of success. He has the potential to be a repeat All Star appearance catcher.

2. Joey Bart (Giants) - Buster Posey chose to opt out of the 2020 season. That gave Joey an opportunity to get a late callup to the Giants. The shortened season also allowed him to keep his rookie status, despite playing almost half the season. His bat was a little quiet in 2020, hitting just .233 with very little power (.320 slugging). His two seasons in the minors in 2018 and 2019 he slugged .532 with a combined 29 homeruns. With Buster Posey returning in 2021 the Giants can afford to let Bart marinate a bit in AA with a quick promotion to AAA. Another solid defensive player with an above average arm who can break out for power. Expect him to be a major league regular by 2022 with some additional part time playing opportunities next year.

3. Sam Huff (Rangers) - Huff may have the best power potential in this group. His defense is not as strong but his arm is still above average. At 6′5″ he may be a little too tall to be a catcher, but he moves well behind the dish. The Rangers gave him his major league debut this year after he never appeared above A ball last year. In 10 games he hit a robust .355 with three homeruns. He does have the propensity to swing and miss, but when he makes contact the exit velocities hit triple digits. Ten games are not enough to measure a player’s success. Huff will probably start the season in AA next year with some more major league time in the offering.

4. Francisco Alvarez (Mets) - The Mets will say good bye to Wilson Ramos. His fellow countryman Francisco is not yet ready to replace him, but he is inching closer. The Mets signed him for $2.7 million back in 2018. The 2019 season was his minor league debut where he showed off his bat in rookie ball, hitting seven homeruns and slugging .510. Besides having a good stick Francisco will not be starved for defense. His arm is above average and he moves well behind the plate. He should start the 2021 season in full season ball.

5. Luis Campusano (Padres) - Luis got a game in at the major league level after not getting past A ball in 2019. He hit his first professional homerun in his three at bat major league debut. He also struck in his other two at bats. Luis does not show big time power but he did break out to slug 15 homeruns in High A in 2019 and won the batting title with a .325 average. The Padres drafted him in the second round in 2017. His defense still needs a bit of refinement but his arm is above average, though he failed at gunning down baserunners in 2019. Luis should start the 2021 season in AA with a major league starting opportunity in 2022.

6. Keibert Ruiz (Dodgers) - With Will Smith behind the plate Keibert may have to move to another team to get significant playing time. A Smith injury allowed the Venezuelan prospect to make his two game major league debut. He slugged a homerun in his first at bat. His 2019 minor league season was powerless, with just six homeruns and a .347 slugging percentage. His power may not be as strong as Smith and his defense and arm would probably be considered average. That may not be enough to usurp Smith from the Dodger catching job. The 2021 season should see him begin it at AAA. His most valuable asset would be as trade bait, being a front line catcher for a play off contending club.

7. Shea Langaliers (Braves) - A first round pick in 2019. His defense and arm are so strong that if Shea can carry an average bat he will be an asset to the Braves. He has already surpassed William Contreras and Alex Jackson as the Braves catcher of the future. His bat does carry a little power but his .343 slugging at Low A in his minor league debut was a bit disappointing. The potential is there for double digit homerun power and the arm is probably the strongest of any catcher in this top ten group. Expect him to spend the 2021 season in High A with a major league debut in 2022.

8. Miguel Amaya (Cubs) - Wilson Contreras has been the subject of trade rumors. Miguel could use a little more seasoning before replacing him. He did not get past A ball in 2019. The Panama native signed for $1 million in 2015. It has been a slow haul through the minor league system. There is some carry in his bat but there is a struggle to get consistent barrel on the ball contact. His defense is strong and his arm is above average. He could be the Cubs starting catcher by 2022, especially if they choose a rebuild but expect him to start the 2021 season in AA.

9. Tyler Stephenson (Reds) - The 2015 first round pick finally made his major league debut last year, hitting .294 with two homeruns in eight games. This was after a 2019 season in which he hit a career high .285. At 6′4″ he has a bit of length for a catcher but he has some solid defensive chops with an above average arm. Injuries have stalled his path to the major leagues, but now that he has reached that level he hopes not to return to the minors. With his large frame he gets high exit velocities when he makes contact. He could start the 2021 season in AAA or with a good spring get the call to lead the major league pitching staff.

10. Ryan Jeffers (Twins) - At 6′4″, another lengthy catcher. He got a major league callup in 2020, slugging three homeruns in 26 games and hitting .273. Ryan was a second round pick in 2018. The power could be there to develop into a 20 plus homerun major league catcher who is solid on defense with a strong arm. He will not be a Joe Mauer, but he could develop into a close facsimile. Next year he could start the season in AAA with another major league callup by mid season.

Top Venezuelan Prospects - National League

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020

While the American League Venezuelan prospects were dominated by shortstops the National League is filled with catchers. No player from the list last year graduated. Five players from the list last year dropped out, including Anderson Espinosa, a pitcher who has not been on the mound in two years because of arm injuries. Francisco Morales dropped from the list when Brusdar Graterol was traded to the National League. His addition gave the Dodgers four players on this list.

1. Keibert Ruiz C (Dodgers) - The Dodgers seem to be loaded at this position with rookie Will Smith winning the catching job last year. The Dodgers also have Diego Cartaya rising up the ranks. Keibert was signed back in 2014 for $140,000. A finger injury limited his season to 85 games, but he did see nine games in AAA. He does not show as much power as Smith, but his hitting tool and ability to make contact could be better. Last year he had a 30/22 walk to hit ratio with a .261 average. His defensive tools may be a tick above that of Smith, but it will be a tough decision for the Dodgers to make once Ruiz is ready. The 2020 season will see him play in AAA and called up if a long term injury should happen to Smith. It would hurt his development time if he stayed on the major league roster long term as a back up.

2. Brusdar Graterol RHP (Dodgers) - The Red Sox may not have wanted him because his arm did not allow him to be a starter, but the Dodgers were happy with his triple digit velocity to groom him as a closer. He did miss a year in 2016 because of Tommy John surgery. He also needs to work on his conditioning, standing at just 6′1″ but weighing in at 261 pounds. The bullpen was probably his ultimate destination since he only had two quality pitches (fastball and slider) when the trade was made. He did have a nice year at AA last year (6-0, 1.71 ERA) but his strikeout numbers were a little disappointing (50 in 52 innings) for a pitcher with his velocity. The Twins used him in the bullpen late in the season but he got hit for a .278 average. He should squeeze into the Dodgers bullpen at some point in 2020. The Twins got a bargain when they signed him, only paying him $150,000 in 2015.

3. Francisco Alvarez C (Mets) - The Mets spent $2.7 million to sign Francisco in 2018. Last year he made his debut stateside as a 17 year old catcher in the Rookie League. He held his own, hitting .312 with seven homeruns and a .510 slugging average. Further polishing of his defensive tools is needed, but he has a good tool set to work with. His arm is strong and he moves well behind the plate. He might need to watch his weight to make sure it does not go further north of his 220 pounds. His bat is impressive and should carry some power, making him a potential two way player that can hit for average and power while playing good defense. He could see a full season league in 2020 but at 18 years of age the Mets could have him start in the Rookie League.

4. Andres Gimenez SS (Mets) - Andres is currently blocked by Amed Rosario. His glove is top notch, highly superior to Rosario. The Mets were so impressed they signed him for $1.2 million in 2015. The bat could be a question mark. Last year he reached AA and hit just .250 with a .309 OBA. He did hit a career high 9 homeruns but a 24/102 walk to whiff ratio are cause for concern. The speed is there for him to steal 20 plus bases per year. With his speed and quality defense he should eventually make it as a utility infielder, or be used as trade bait for the Mets to acquire a veteran to use in a playoff run. Eventually, the Mets could decide to move Rosario to centerfield. In the meantime, Gimenez will bide his 2020 season at AAA being used at both middle infield positions.

5. Luis Matos OF (Giants) - No relation to the Luis Matos from Puerto Rico who played for the Orioles. The Giants found this Matos in Venezuela and signed him for $2.6 million in 2018. He has average to above average tools in all categories. Power may be his weakest area, but he did slug .566 sharing time at the Dominican Summer League and the Arizona Rookie League. The speed is there for him to fit in center and the arm is strong enough for him to slide over to right. He does have a couple cousins who play the game (Luis Basabe and Osleivis Basabe) so his baseball IQ is sharp. At 18 years of age, the Giants will start him in rookie ball if there is a 2020 season.

6. Diego Cartaya C (Dodgers) - Another talented Dodger catcher who they signed for a $2.5 million bonus in 2018. He played for a number of Venezuelan junior national teams in international tournaments. His bat carries some pretty good power and in his 36 game trial in the rookie league he hit .296. The arm is strong and the tools appear to be there to be a quality catcher. He will play the entire 2020 season as a teenager so the Dodgers have plenty of time to develop him. Another year in Rookie ball with a possible promotion to Low A is a possibility for 2020.

7. William Contreras C (Braves) - William is the younger brother of Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras. At one point he was considered the Braves catcher of the future, but then Shea Langeliers was drafted in the first round in 2019 and Contreras has some competition. Like his older brother Contreras has average to above average tools in all areas but speed. His foot speed is below average. His defense falls short of Langeliers but offensively he could carry more pop. Last year he hit only six homeruns and slugged less than .400 so it was a disappointment for him on the power side. In 2018 he bashed 11 homeruns in Low A and had a slugging percentage of .463. Numbers wise he will probably fall short of his older brother but he has a chance to be a starting catcher. Even though he played 60 games last year at AA, he may have to repeat that level to start the 2020 season.

8. Gabriel Arias SS (Padres) - The Padres whipped out a $1.9 million bonus to sign Gabriel in 2016. He is probably a smoother fielder than Fernando Tatis Jr. but he may never fill his position, unless Tatis moves to third. Arias has a strong arm and smooth fielding actions that garner Gold Glove accolades. His speed is not great, but his actions are quick and smooth. Last year the bat was pretty impressive. He hit .302 with 17 homeruns playing at a hitters park at High A (Lake Elsinore). He has trouble recognizing breaking balls and in 2018 only hit .240 in a pitcher’s park. In 2019 he cut down his whiff rate, which allowed him to hit for a better average. He still had a poor 25/128 walk to whiff ratio. The 2020 season will see him start at AA.

9. Luis Rodriguez OF (Dodgers) - Not much is known about Luis other than the Dodgers spent $2.7 million to sign him in 2019. He did not play last year. His bat is impressive, with the ability to hit the ball to all fields, finding the elevation to carry balls over the fence. The speed is there for him to play centerfield and he has the arm where he could slide easily to right and be an above average fielder there. He will turn 18 in September so there is plenty of growth ahead. The Dodgers may start him in the Dominican Summer League and move him to the rookie leagues once the short season starts.

10. Andy Lara RHP (Nationals) - The Nationals signed Lara for $1.2 million in 2019. He stands 6′4″ so he has a good frame for a pitcher. He will start the 2020 season as a 17 year old. He has yet to play in the minor leagues. At 16, when most are going through their sophomore year in high school Andy was throwing his fastball in the low to mid 90s. His curveball is already a quality pitch and his change shows potential. He could start the 2020 season in the Dominican Summer League before hitting the Rookie Leagues stateside. It will be awhile before Lara steps on the bump at Nationals stadium.

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.