Archive for the 'Cardinals' Category

Hot Prospects for the Weekend - Arroyo Makes the Most of the Weekend

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

Myworld was coaching volleyball over the weekend in Minnesota. The Twins were in town but all my time was spent in the gym. Now that we are back it is time to look back to see who was hot over the weekend.

Christian Arroyo SS (Giants) - My world has never been enamored with Arroyo but his bat is certainly changing my mind. It is difficult to find a hitter hotter than Christian. He had his first 0 for of the season on Thursday but bounced back with a 4 for 6 Sunday that raised his average to .446. After that outburst the Giants promoted him to their major league team to help at both third base and shortstop. His OPS for his first 16 games in AAA is 1.171.

Demi Orimoloye OF (Brewers) - Unlike Christian Demi is a player who flashes some impressive tools. His challenge has always been in his ability to make contact with the ball. An 8 game hitting streak raised his average to .300. He hit four homeruns while driving in 9. What is most impressive about his at bats is only two whiffs in his last 24 at bats. For the year Demi has five homeruns with five stolen bases. Before the season is over his average will probably dip below .250.

Luis Urias 2B/SS (Padres) - Back to back four hit games raised his average to .357. Luis scored five runs in his second four hit game. The native from Mexico is not supposed to carry any power in his bat but a .650 slugging percentage includes a couple homeruns with six doubles and three triples. Eleven of his 21 hits have gone for extra bases. A second baseman coming into this season the Padres have used him 14 games at short early in the season.

Amed Rosario SS (Mets) - Met fans are clamoring for the promotion of Rosario. He is a better fielding shortstop than what they currently have on their major league roster. A 6 for 9 streak in his last two games has raised his average to .403. Only four of his 27 hits have gone for extra bases but the Mets will not complain about his 23 singles when combined with his gold glove fielding potential.

Marcus Wilson CF (Diamondbacks) - Marcus sprayed the Midwest league with four three hit games in a six game span to raise his average to .411. He drove in 11 runs during that streak with three homeruns. The Diamondbacks drafted Marcus in the second round of the 2014 draft, moving him up slowly because of his .244 career average coming into this season. His biggest challenge is an ability to make consistent contact.

Bo Bichette SS (Blue Jays) - The son of Dante has a 12 game hitting streak that has raised his average to .373. He was able to play for Brazil in the qualifier last year because of his Brazilian mother. Brazil failed to qualify for the 2017 WBC but Bo was not the reason hitting .400 with a .538 OBA. Bo has hit one homerun this year and that was on opening day as he splits his time between shortstop and second base.

Anthony Alford OF (Blue Jays) - Another Blue Jay prospect with a hot bat is Alford who had a streak of five games of two hits or more in six games to raise his average to .469. He hit two homeruns and drove in five during the streak with four stolen bases. Anthony has a potent combination of power and speed that will result in a quick ascent through the minors now that his focus is on baseball.

Tyler Mahle RHP (Reds) - Tyler threw the first nine inning no hitter of the season, a perfect game 1-0 win over the Mobile Bay Bears. He threw only 88 pitches in his complete game no hitter striking out eight. Tyler was a seventh round pick of the Reds in 2013 and has a checkered minor league career. The 2017 season has started out well with only two runs given up in his four starts for a 4-0 record and a 0.68 ERA. The opposition is hitting him at a .082 clip.

Jack Flaherty RHP (Cardinals) - Another pitcher who has started his season 4-0. In his four starts Jack has only given up one run for a 0.33 ERA. In his last two starts he has not allowed a run in 13.2 innings, giving up just eight hits. A 3/24 walk to whiff ratio and .161 opposition average could result in a promotion to the big club before the year is out.

Merandy Gonzalez RHP (Mets) - The Colombian has yet to give up a run in his three starts in the Low A South Atlantic League. The 20.2 shutout string has been because of a 1/18 walk to whiff ratio with a .143 opposition average. Merandy stands only 6′1″ but his fastball can still cross the plate in the mid-90s with an above average curve ball to keep hitters off balance.

Stevenson Back to Back with the High Fives

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

Andrew Stevenson CF (Nationals) - When you get five hits in a game you tend to get noticed. When you get five hits in back to back games everyone starts talking about you. Andrew went 10 for 12 in back to back games as his team scored 25 runs in their two wins. They won a 16-14 13 inning game against Hartford. Stevenson flashes speed but lacks power. Of his 10 hits three of them were doubles giving him four extra base hits for the season. When you’re hitting .447 that is not much of an issue. Stevenson was the Nationals second round pick in 2015. They did not have a first round pick that year.

Ryan McMahon 3B-1B (Rockies) - In a 16-14 game there is bound to be a little offense and McMahon matched Stevenson with a 5 for 7 day on the losing end of that game. He drove in six runs and was a double short of the cycle. The five hits raised his average to .413 but an 0 for 3 the next day dropped it back down to .388. With third base occupied by Nolan Arenado the best opportunity for Ryan to make the major leagues with the Rockies is to find another position. The Rockies have used Ryan seven games at first and four games at second.

Mike Gerber CF (Tigers) - The Tigers would like to find someone to play centerfield. Gerber may not be that answer with the glove but the Tigers are using him there in AA. He does have a pretty good stick with his four hits on Monday raising his average to .302. An 0 for 4 day the next day dropped it down to .277. Earlier in the season Gerber struggled with 9 whiffs in 13 at bats. His power is borderline for a corner so he could end up a fourth outfielder.

Dominic Smith 1B (Mets) - Myworld was not impressed with what we saw of his glove during spring training, but he is raking it with the bat. A 3 for 5 day in which he hit his second homerun raised his average to .396. If back problems continue to plague Lucas Duda at first base Dominic could find himself with an opportunity to play for the Mets. Many think he lacks the glove and the power to play the position. He does have the potential to hit for average.

Ronald Guzman 1B (Rangers) - The Rangers shelled out $3.45 million to sign the 6′6″ Guzman. A lack of range forced a move from the outfield to first base where his absence of power is a concern. That power started to develop last year with 16 homeruns. This year he is hitting .373 with 16 of his 19 hits singles. He did club his second homerun on Monday night. If he can get his arms extended the ball can travel a long way.

Lewis Brinson CF (Brewers) - Injuries have curtailed the start of the season for Brinson. He has a hit in each of his six games played, with a 4 for 6 day yesterday raising his average to .357. During that game he drove in five runs with a double, two singles and a homerun. Brinson was acquired from the Rangers in the trade for Jonathan Lucroy.

Ryan Boldt CF (Rays) - Boldt was a second round pick of the Rays last year. In rookie season ball he struggled with a .218 average. The Rays were not deterred and this year they promoted Boldt to the High A Florida State League. Last night he went 4 for 5 with his first homerun and a double to drive in six runs. The four hit game almost doubled his hit total for the year raising his average to .306.

Jack Flaherty RHP (Cardinals) - Jack was a first round pick in 2014. A lack of overpowering stuff has kept him under the radar. His fastball sits in the low 90s but at 6′4″ the Cardinals hope to see more as he matures. Jack pitched 7.2 innings of shutout ball on Monday, allowing just two hits and striking out 9. In three starts this year he has allowed only one run and the opposition is hitting just .129 against him. With those kind of results the Cardinals could promote him from AA to the majors before the year is out.

Dakota Chalmers RHP (Athletics) - Dakota had a nice four inning relief outing in which he allowed just one hit and struck out 10 of the 13 hitters he faced. Dakota struck out the first six hitters he faced when he came on to pitch in the fifth inning. Up until then it has been a struggle for Dakota with an ERA of 9.00 coming into the game.

Dane Dunning RHP (White Sox) - Dane could end up being the best pitcher the White Sox acquired in the Adam Eaton trade. The 2016 first round pick had another stellar outing, not allowing a run in his six innings of work. After three starts that lowered his ERA to 0.45 with an opposition average of .153. He has a 1/26 walk to whiff ratio in 20 innings.

Gregory Soto LHP (Tigers) - Gregory is a 6′1″ Dominican who can hit the mid-90s with his fastball, but it sits mostly in the low 90s. That is pretty good for a lefthander, especially one who can throw a pretty good breaking ball. In two starts Gregory has yet to give up a run with his three hits allowed giving him a .086 opposition batting average. If he continues to shine Gregory could rise up the Tigers prospect ladder.

Murphy Mashes Nats to Win Over Cardinals

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

Daniel Murphy was a triple short of the cycle in the Nationals 8-3 clobbering of the Cardinals. He drove in five of the eight Nationals runs with his four hits. On his last at bat he powered a double into the right centerfield gap, but instead of trying to round second to reach third to complete the cycle he pulled up at second to be satisfied with his second double of the game.

The Cardinals scored first in the opening frame. Dexter Fowler blasted the third pitch from Gio Gonzalez over the head of Jayson Werth for a double. Fowler advanced to third after Ryan Zimmerman made an over the shoulder catch of a popup, but as he turned around to throw, the ball escaped his glove and Fowler advanced to third. Fowler scored on a fly out to center. For Zimmerman it was his second error in two games.

The Nationals caught up with Lance Lynn in the third inning. A walk to pitcher Gio Gonzalez, a boot by shortstop Aledmys Diaz and another walk to Bryce Harper loaded the bases with two outs. Daniel Murphy got the first hit of the game and the first two of his five RBIs pounding a ground ball single into right field. The Piscotty throw from right field did not have enough to catch Adam Eaton at the plate.

The Cardinals were able to tie the game in the fourth when Randall Grichuck drove the first pitch in his at bat into the right centerfield bleachers. Gio then gave up a single to Jose Martinez. After that Gio was able to retire the next 11 Cardinals he faced to complete seven innings of work.

Jayson Werth led off the bottom of the fourth driving a ball into the left field bleachers. After Lynn retired the next batter Matt Wieters launched a ball into the right field bullpen to give the Nationals a 4-2 lead. Daniel Murphy made it 6-2 with a two run shot in the fifth inning, following the third Bryce Harper walk of the game.

The Nationals took advantage of the second error of the game by Aledmys Diaz. Daniel Murphy led the inning off with a double off the right field scoreboard. Ryan Zimmerman grounded a ball up the middle. Diaz made a nice stop on the ball but his throw to first skipped past Jose Martinez into the Nationals bullpen to allow Murphy to walk home. The scorer gave Zimmerman a hit with the error allowing Murphy to score and move Zimmerman to second.

In the top of the eighth Diaz blasted a pitch from Joe Blanton over the left field bullpen three rows into the bleachers. The Nationals countered in the bottom frame with back to back doubles from Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy.

Game Notes: Myworld is not impressed with the Cardinal defense. Peralta is slow at third. Diaz lacks range at short. Piscotty has no arm in right field. He seems to be better suited for left field. Kolton Wong did not look good on defense in the game on Monday but sat out the game today with the lefthander pitching…In the critical third inning Gio was called out at second when his lack of hustle getting to the base may have influenced the call made by the umpire. The Nationals asked for a review and the replay showed Gio had arrived at second long before the ball, a very embarrassing call by second base umpire Lance Barrett. If not for the replay the Nationals may not have scored after the Wilmer Difo strikeout would have ended the third inning…The three walks by Bryce Harper and the perfect day yesterday in six at bats gave him nine consecutive times on base. That ended after he grounded out in the sixth…Stephen Drew had to be removed from the game pulling up lame in the fifth inning after a ground out to the pitcher. The Nationals would have had Emannuel Burriss to come up to replace him if he has to go on the 10 day disabled list but Burriss has been suspended 50 games. Calling someone else up (Grant Green) who could play middle infield would force the Nationals to remove a player from the 40 man roster…Matt Carpenter did not start the game today because of an aching back.

Nationals Rain Runs Eat Errors

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

The Nationals were raining hits with 19 in their 14-6 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. It was a good thing too as their infield committed four errors, one at each position to allow two unearned runs to score. A second error could have been called on Anthony Rendon at third for bobbling a perfect strike from Adam Eaton in centerfield that appeared to have Dexter Fowler out by five feet. Matt Carpenter advanced to second on the throw.

The game lasted three hours and 47 minutes with the two teams combining for 29 hits. The Nationals got things started in the opening frame with a Adam Eaton double over the head of a shallow Randall Grichuck in left field. It was the first of his three hits. Bryce Harper slapped a single through a drawn in infield into left field to score Eaton to give the Nationals an early 1-0 lead.

The Cardinals waltzed right back to take a 2-1 lead. One out singles by Yadier Molina and Jhonny Peralta put runners on first and second. A ground out to Rendon at third advances Molina and Peralta. Kolten Wong, battling for second base starts blasted a 2-2 pitch over the head of Harper in right field to score two runs.

In the ping pong match this game was the Nationals came back to tie it 2-2 in their bottom half. Stephen Drew coaxed a lead off walk and advanced to second on a one out bunt by Tanner Roark. Eaton lined a single past the shortstop into left center to score Drew with the tying run.

The Cardinals added another run in the top of the third. Dexter Fowler smashed a ball past Ryan Zimmerman at first base for a single. Myworld thought Ryan ranged to his right to try to get the ball, so the error was a tight call. Fowler stole second and scored on a bloop single off the end of the bat by Stephen Piscotty to score Fowler.

The Nationals tied the game in the fourth taking advantage of some sloppy fielding by the Cardinals. Matt Wieters started the inning with a single past second into right field. With no one out the Cardinals expected a bunt from Tanner Roark, but he swung away grounding a weak ball to Kolton Wong at second. The throw to second was wide and off the bag putting two runners on with no out. Adam Eaton lined a single into right field to tie the game at 3-3. Anthony Rendon, the only National without a hit in this game popped to second. A walk to Bryce Harper loaded the bases but Daniel Murphy grounded into a double play to end the inning.

The Cardinals broke the tie in the top of the fifth, an error by Murphy on a routine grounder from Dexter Fowler getting the inning started. Matt Carpenter lined a single into centerfield. Fowler broke for third. Eaton threw a perfect one bounce strike to Rendon, who bobbled the ball in his attempt to tag Fowler. Carpenter moved to second on the throw and bobble. Stephen Piiscotty drove in one run with a single and Yadier Molina another run with a single. Jhonny Peralta hit a ball into the hole between third and short, Drew making an incredible dive to catch the ball. He threw for second to get one and the relay appeared to get Peralta but the umpire ruled him safe. After an umpire review the call was reversed and the double play completed.

The Nationals responded in the bottom half with singles by Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth and a double by Stephen Drew to plate one, Piscotty breaking last on a ball hit over his head. The double by Drew also ended the day for Adam Wainwright who ended his day giving up 11 hits. A Matt Wieters bloop single off reliever Brett Cecil just over the shortstop tied the game at 4-4. A deep fly just short of the warning track by Adam Eaton in centerfield scored Drew. The Nationals had the lead for the first time 5-4.

The Nationals added another run in the sixth. Singles by Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Jayson Werth loaded the bases. Stephen Drew scored Harper with a deep drive to left.

The Nationals broke the game wide open with seven runs in the eighth. Stephen Drew hit a two run single to drive his RBI count for the game up to four, Adam Lind drove a ball into the right centerfield gap for a two run double and Bryce Harper bounced a 111 mile per hour grounder off the glove of Kolten Wong to drive in two more. Myworld thought it was a very catchable ball, but if ruled an error Harper would have two less RBIs during the season.

Jedd Gyorko homered in the ninth to end the scoring.

Game Notes: Concessions have gone up at Nationals park. Everything appears to be more expensive…The Nationals have a lineup full of beards. It seems most of the players on the 25 man roster carries a beard across his chin….The Nationals had an excellent opportunity to score in the third, putting runners on second and third with one out. Jayson Werth and Stephen Drew struck out to leave the score at 3-2 Cardinals…It is only one game but myworld was not impressed by the defense of Stephen Piscotty in right field. He got a late break going back on a ball Stephen Drew hit over his head. He also made a weak throw home in the Nationals 7 run eighth…Trevor Rosenthal looked solid striking out the side in the seventh. It is early but Rosenthal is not hitting triple digits with his fastball like he did a couple years ago…Bryce Harper finished the day with four hits and three RBIs. He also walked twice giving himself a perfect day. One of the singles by Bryce was a bunt single down the first base line. Two of his other singles were to the opposite field. Bryce also participated in a double play, catching a ball in right field and rifling it to first to double off Matt Carpenter…Trea Turner was placed on the ten day disabled list with a strained right hamstring.

Myworld’s Top 100 - 10 -1

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Myworld finally finishes our top 100 list. It took awhile to post the top ten. Next in line are the organizational rankings for the major league farm teams.

10. J.P. Crawford SS (Phillies) 8.85 - J.P. did not have a good year from an offensive perspective, hitting just .244 in AAA with a .318 slugging percentage. He does have a smooth glove and makes solid contact, walking almost as many times as he whiffs (232/243). The Phillies current shortstop Freddy Galvis also has a smooth glove so J.P. will have to show a better bat if he wants to replace Galvis. The power may be less than Galvis but the overall consistency with the bat and glove may tip the job to Crawford. He lacks the speed to steal bases but the Phillies hope his high walk rate will be enough to make him a successful leadoff hitter.

9. Brendan Rodgers SS/2B (Rockies) 8.87 - The Rockies currently have Trevor Story at short but his 27 homeruns would make him a nice fit at third. A lot will depend on how Rodgers handles short as he climbs the minor league ladder. Last year he hit .281 with 19 homeruns at Low A. The 2015 first round pick also has the power to move to third. Brendan won’t give you tremendous range at short, but he will give you consistency, though he did make 16 errors in 70 plus games in Low A last year. Look for Brendan to start the season in High A. His bat will determine if he gets a promotion to AA.

8. Eloy Jimenez OF (Cubs) 8.87 - The Cubs have another big bat lying in wait in Low A. Last year the Dominican hit .329 with 14 homeruns in Low A, stitching together a .901 OPS. Eloy would be a five tool player if he carried a better arm. If his speed does not allow him to play center field he will move to left. The speed is not burner so there will not be a plethora of stolen bases. What will separate Eloy from the others is his power accompanied by a high batting average.

7. Cody Bellinger 1B (Dodgers) 9.12 - Combine a glove that should win gold gloves with a bat that should produce 30 plus homeruns a year and you could have an Anthony Rizzo type of player. Adrian Gonzalez is currently occupying first base for the Dodgers so Cody is getting some playing time in the outfield. His speed is good for a first baseman and he has a strong arm, but he won’t win any gold gloves in the outfield as he will do at first base. In an 11 at bat debut at AAA he hit three homeruns and hit .545. This is where he will start the 2017 season. At AA he socked 23 balls over the fence for a .843 OPS.

6. Amed Rosario SS (Mets) 9.13 - The Mets have been dealing with the redwoods of Asdrubal Cabrera and Wilmer Flores at shortstop. Once they see the ground Amed can cover in the dirt Met fans will realize what a true shortstop can do. Last year he hit .324 at High A and AA with five homeruns. He will not show a lot of power but if he can hit above .270 his defense will justify his play at short. Expect him to start the season in AA. Myworld was impressed by what we saw from him in spring training. The dilemma the Mets face in a couple years is they have another gold glove fielding shortstop in Andres Gimenez, who will make his United States debut in 2017.

5. Gleyber Torres SS (Yankees) 9.58 - The Yankees acquired Torres in the Aroldis Chapman trade. Torres spent the season in High A. With Didi Gregorius at shortstop the Yankees can show patience with him. When he is ready he will show tools far greater than Didi, with the bat and with the glove. The power began maturing last year with a career high 11 homeruns. He shows enough patience at the plate to take walks, putting together a .354 OBA. The only tool in his game that is not above average is his speed, which is considered average. Torres should start the season in AA in 2017.

4. Alex Reyes RHP (Cardinals) 9.72 - He would not be on this list if not for a 50 game suspension for a drug of abuse that delayed his start to the major league season. He should appear on this list next year after learning he will undergo Tommy John surgery, forcing him to miss the 2017 season. His fastball explodes to the plate in the high 90s, occasionally hitting triple digits. His breaking ball and change are also plus pitches leading to 10.2 whiffs per nine innings in a 46 inning major league debut. The Cardinals were hoping he would team up with Carlos Martinez to give them two fireballers to head their rotation. Time will tell how much his pitches will be impacted upon his return in 2018.

3. Dansby Swanson SS (Braves) 9.73 - The Diamondbacks made Dansby the first pick in the 2015 draft. They made a horrible trade, giving him away to the Braves as one of three players for Shelby Miller. Dansby went from High A to the Braves major league roster last year, hitting .302 for the Braves. He appears to have beaten out Ozzie Albies for the Braves shortstop job. Miller struggled with the Diamondbacks for a 6.15 ERA. Dansby will be the starting shortstop for the Braves next year. His defense is smooth, his offense should contend for batting titles and his all around game should make him an All Star.

2. Yoan Moncada 2B (White Sox) 9.8 - He was number one on this last year but his struggles in his major league debut dropped him down a notch. Now he has traded his Red Sox for White Sox. There is no question that Moncada will hit, but 12 whiffs in 20 major league at bats indicate he still has some issues to work on. Perhaps trying to learn a new position (third base) impacted his bat. The White Sox will keep him at second. His bat should hit for power and average and his speed could translate to 30 plus stolen bases. As he matures he could eventually be a 30/30 player (homeruns/stolen bases). Expect Yoan to start the season in AAA with a major league callup possible once he achieves consistent success.

1. Andrew Benintendi OF (Red Sox) 10 - Andrew should win batting titles with enough power to hit 30 plus homeruns. He also has the speed and range to play centerfield but the Red Sox have that position covered with Jackie Bradley. Andrew will fit in left field. If he finds success in the major leagues maybe his next goal will be to find world peace. There doesn’t seem to be anything Andrew has trouble achieving success at. Starting the season Andrew will be favored to win the Rookie of the year award.

30 Teams in 30 Days - St. Louis Cardinals

Friday, March 24th, 2017

Overview - Every year the Cardinals lose a starting pitcher to injury. Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn and now Alex Reyes. They were supposed to have Reyes last year but an 80 game drug suspension delayed his arrival. Now Tommy John surgery will force him to miss the 2017 season and the Cardinals hope Lynn coming back from Tommy John will make up for the loss. Lose one pitcher get another back who was absent the previous year. Last year they missed the playoffs losing Jayson Heyward to the Cubs. This year they hope to stick it to the Cardinals by signing Dexter Fowler away from the Cubs to play centerfield for the Cardinals. Now they just have to look for a starting pitcher.

Strengths - Signing Dexter Fowler did two things for the Cardinals. It strengthened the centerfield position and gave them a leadoff hitter. It also gave the Cubs a weakness in centerfield. That still may not be enough to catch the Cubs. The Cardinals also have a lot of depth in the infield, with a number of players getting used to different positions. Johnny Peralta will get used to playing third while Aledmys Diaz tries to repeat his production from last year at short. Matt Carpenter moves to first to make room for Kolton Wong at second. If either Wong or Peralta struggles Jedd Gyorko and his 30 homeruns still needs a position to play. The one strength of the Cardinals is their depth. Stephen Piscotty can move from the outfield to first if they need to move Matt Carpenter back to second or third. A lot of moving pieces to accommodate injuries or slumps. Yadier Molina is getting older but he can still play the position at catcher. He was voted the WBC Classic catcher of the tournament. The power may be less but he will still hit .300.

Weakness - The loss of Alex Reyes puts a chink in the rotation. Adam Wainwright may be the ace on paper but he needs to improve on his 4.67 ERA to keep the ace role away from Carlos Martinez. After those two the rotation is filled with question marks. Michael Wacha needs to resurrect his rookie performance and Lance Lynn is coming back from Tommy John surgery. Mike Leake has to do better than his 4.69 ERA. The Cardinals are even considering moving ex-closer Trevor Rosenthal into their rotation. Seung Hwan Oh replaced Rosenthal as the closer mid-season with great success. Before leaving Japan Oh was on a decline. Cardinals fans should not invest too much hope in his continued success as a closer. If he struggles the only alternative is returning to Rosenthal, who lost the position last year to Oh.

Break out Prospect - Luke Weaver is a replacement in the back end of the rotation if one of the starters continues his struggles. He struggled last year in his major league debut but he is the Cardinals top pitching prospect now after the injury to Alex Reyes. Marco Gonzales is another possibility for the rotation but he missed all of last season after Tommy John surgery. The Cardinals will want to be patient with him and wait until at least after the All Star break before putting him in the rotation. Sam Tuivailala has a high 90s fastball, ideal for a closer. The Cardinals would prefer to start him in a set-up role but by midseason he could be their closer if Oh stumbles. Carson Kelly is a strong defensive catcher who failed to hit in his major league debut (.154). With Yadier behind the plate his best hope for a catching opportunity is an injury. Jose Martinez gives the Cardinals depth in the outfield. Don’t be surprised if he gets 300 at bats next year hitting over .300.

Prospects to Watch - Delvin Perez was supposed to be a top five draft pick but a positive drug test dropped him to the Cardinals. The Puerto Rican is compared to Carlos Correa. He may have less power but his glove could be better. Magneuris Sierra and Harrison Bader are two outfielders the Cardinals will have to make room for in 2018 or be offered as trade bait. Bader provides the power while Sierra shows the speed. A couple young arms are percolating in the minor leagues. Dakota Hudson was the Cardinals first round pick in 2016. He throws hard, hitting the mid-90s but sometimes he doesn’t know where the ball will cross the plate. Jack Flaherty is another first round pick, but in 2014. His fastball is not so overpowering but he relies on a change to make it look better. Sandy Alcantara was signed out of the Dominican Republic. His fastball is equal to Reyes, hitting three digits. Expect him to make a name for himself in 2017. Randy Arozarena and Jose Adolis Garcia are two Cuban outfielders who could make an impact if they have success in the minor leagues. Garcia is the brother of Adonis and could provide some power. Arozarena is probably more a fourth outfielder type who could play centerfield. The Cardinals could start both in AA or AAA.

Expected Finish - They have too many games to make up to catch the Cubs despite the acquisition of Fowler. If they get enough offense to make up for their depleted pitching staff they could make the wild card.

MyWorld’s Top 100 - 60-51

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

60. Zack Collins C (White Sox) 3.62 - The 2016 first round pick of the White Sox would have been their top prospect if not for the acquisitions of Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Michael Kopech. Now he has to share the spotlight. Zack is a power hitting catcher whose defensive skills are not fully developed yet. If he does not make it as a catcher he has enough pop to move to first base, though he would be more valuable as a catcher. Next season should see him break out in a full season league after he hit six homeruns in just 36 games in rookie ball. Pitchers were a little hesitant pitching to him, walking him 33 times.

59. Sean Reid-Foley RHP (Blue Jays) 3.75 - Sean had a breakout season last year, lowering his ERA by more than a run and striking out more than a hitter per inning. The opposition had trouble making hard contact off him with an opposition average less than .200. His fastball sits in the low 90s but he can touch north of 95 with a solid curve and developing slider. If he can find the feel for his change he could move fast. Last year he reached High A for 10 starts. Sean should start the season in AA with a possible major league callup if he continues to achieve success.

58. Erick Fedde RHP (Nationals) 3.75 - The Nationals like to collect those pitches who have to undergo Tommy John surgery prior to the draft, dropping them lower in the draft. They did that with Lucas Giolito and Erick was drafted in the first round of the 2014 draft even after he found out he needed Tommy John surgery. Erick pitched 121 innings last year and will need to start the season in the minors to control his innings count. With the trade of Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito he could be considered the number six starting pitcher for the Nationals after their first five. He has a low 90s fastball and a high 80s slider. His change needs to develop more consistency if he hopes to make it as a starter.

57. Amir Garrett LHP (Reds) 3.82 - Until last year Amir was a basketball player who dabbled a bit in playing baseball. He has now decided to focus on baseball. That may jump start his career. At 6′5″ he has impressive height with a fastball in the low 90s complemented by a plus slider. His change is still a work in progress. Amir dominated at AA with a 1.75 ERA, 9.1 whiffs per nine innings and a .184 opposition average in 12 starts. A promotion to AAA gave him a little bit of a struggle but the opposition still only hit him at a .202 clip. A 31/54 walk to whiff ratio shows he was more hittable with less command. A repeat of AAA will be in store for Amir in 2017.

56. A.J. Puk LHP (Athletics) 4.05 - Puk was the Athletics first round pick in 2016. He was drafted ahead of his Florida teammate Logan Shore, who was their Friday night starter, usually reserved for the best pitcher on the team. The Athletics chose Puk but then had the opportunity to snag Logan Shore in the second round when his name was still on the list. At 6′7″ Puk has an intimidating plane he brings to hitters with a fastball that can cross the plate in the high 90s. His secondary pitches (slider and change) still need a lot of work, but once he figures it out his fastball will be that much better. While he finished the season 0-4 Puk averaged just 3.3 innings per start.

55. Jorge Alfaro C (Phillies) 4.07 - Injuries have slowed down Alfaro’s development, leaving him on prospect lists for at least five years. The Colombian was signed by the Rangers but traded to the Phillies in the Cole Hamel deal. His bat has pop and his arm can slow down a running game. The big concern with Jorge is the 5/1 strikeout to walk ratio (105/22 last year) that can be exposed by better pitchers. Cameron Rupp is currently ahead of him on the major league roster so Jorge will probably see a full season in AAA.

54. Triston McKenzie RHP (Indians) 4.12 - The only pitcher we witnessed pitch this year that made me go wow. He has long arms that seem to fly all over the place in his delivery. At 6′5″ his fastball can already hit 95. Once he gets more meat on his bones that fastball velocity should increase. His curve has a nice break but his change still needs more consistency. Rookie league hitters had no chance against him with a .180 opposition average. A 0.55 ERA in nine starts got him a promotion to Low A. That is where he will begin the 2017 season. For a young pitcher he is very good at throwing strikes.

53. Carson Kelly C (Cardinals) 4.18 - Carson has a superb glove who frames pitches well and controls the running game with a strong arm. The big question mark with him is whether his bat can develop. That will determine whether he will be a starter or backup. Last year he hit around .290 splitting time between AA and AAA. A promotion to the major leagues saw that average dip to .154. With Yadier Molina the Cardinals catcher for the next couple years Carson will improve his craft in 2017 in AAA with a possible back up role for Yadier by mid-season.

52. Alex Verdugo OF (Dodgers) 4.4 - Verdugo was a second round pick in the 2014 draft. Last year he hit a career high 13 homeruns in AA, showing the power is there to play a corner. Slow foot speed prevents him from playing centerfield, but a strong arm is a nice fit for right. If Yasiel Puig continues his downfall the Dodgers could call up Verdugo to take his place. Mark saw a full season in AA so the 2017 season should start in AAA. Alex needs to maintain his focus to win the right field job. There are times when he has a tendency to dial it back.

51. Luke Weaver RHP (Cardinals) 4.48 - Luke was a first round pick of the Cardinals in 2014. His fastball neighbors the mid-90s and he complements that well with a plus change. After dominating the minor leagues last year Luke was given a promotion to the Cardinals. In nine starts a 5.70 ERA and .311 opposition average with seven homeruns given up in his 36 innings showed he was not ready yet. He had only given up a total of seven homeruns in his last three minor league seasons. On the bright side he did strike out 11.1 hitters per nine innings proving he has swing and miss stuff. A good spring could find him in the starting rotation, but expect more a mid-season callup.

My World’s Top 100 - 80 - 71

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

80. Dylan Cease RHP (Cubs) 2.03 - He had Tommy John surgery as a senior in high school dropping him to the sixth round where the Cubs selected him in 2014. He’s pitched the last two years in short season ball and reports have him hitting well into triple digits (103) with his fastball, sitting in the high 90s. Last year he struck out 13.3 hitters per nine innings. The real test will be full season ball in 2017 to see if he can maintain that velocity. Dylan also needs to work on his secondary pitches (curve and change) and improve his command.

79. Jesse Winker OF (Reds) 2.05 - Winker should carry some power but a wrist injury last year prevented him from showing it. If the power does not develop this year it will be tough for him to make a major league roster. His defense limits him to left field. The only contribution he can make to a team is with his bat driving in runs. In 2015 he did drive in 55 runs but he also walked 74 times. In 2016 he walked as many times as he struck out (59). Jesse can hit, but the Reds would like to see more balls carry over the fence.

78. Sean Newcomb LHP (Braves) 2.07 - Sean was a first round pick of the Angels in 2014. The Angels traded him to the Braves in the Andrelton Simmons trade. Sean misses bats (10.7 whiffs per nine) or gets hitters to make soft contact (.216 opposition average). Last year lefties hit better against him than righties. His fastball sits in the low 90s, plenty of velocity for a lefthander, and he throws a curve and change. One weakness in his game is a lack of control, walking a batter every two innings, resulting in an unattractive ERA (3.86).

77. Isan Diaz 2B/SS (Brewers) 2.17 - The Puerto Rican broke onto the scene with a .360 average in Rookie ball in 2015, his OPS sitting at a majestic 1.076. With an average arm and lack of speed his best position appears to be second base. Last year his average dropped to .260 but he did hit 20 homeruns. His slugging average dropped .180 points but the numbers he put up in Rookie ball would be difficult to sustain. Expect him to be an offensively oriented second baseman in the major leagues. In 2017 he will start the season in High A.

76. Justus Sheffield LHP (Yankees) 2.33 - Justus was the Indians first round pick in 2014. He was one of the many prospects the Indians traded to the Yankees for Andrew Miller. He appeared in one AA start for the Yankees and struck out nine hitters in four shutout innings. With a fastball that borders along the mid 90s neighborhood Justus should be tough to hit. A 5′10″ frame does not give the downward action he needs to intimidate hitters which could explain why he is more hittable (.251 opposition average) than he should be. He will start the 2017 season in AA where he will work on improving his secondary pitches (slider and change) and throw more strikes.

75. Yohander Mendez LHP (Rangers) 2.48 - Yohander had a nice break out year last year, rising all the way from High A to the major leagues. His strikeout numbers decreased every level he advanced, but in AAA he dominated with a 0.57 ERA in seven appearances, four of them starts. The opposition hit him at a .118 clip. This led to a promotion to the Rangers where he did not fare as well (18.00 ERA, .333 opposition average). An increase in velocity to the low 90s with his fastball added more separation from his changeup. At 6′5″ he also has a good downward plane on hitters. The 2017 season should see him start at AAA.

74. Luis Ortiz RHP (Brewers) 2.63 - Luis was the number one pitcher for the United States under 18 team, resulting in the Rangers drafting him in the first round of the 2014 draft. The Rangers traded him to the Brewers in the Jonathan Lucroy trade. Ortiz has good velocity on his fastball (mid-90s) complementing it with a nasty slider. Finding a third pitch could enhance his swing and miss capability, which currently sits at an uninspiring 7.1 per nine innings. He also got hit a little bit in AA (.290 opposition average). At 20 years of age he is still young so a repeat in AA would not be a surprise.

73. Delvin Perez SS (Cardinals) 2.7 - There was a lot of talk Delvin would be a top five pick in the 2016 draft. Coming from Puerto Rico many compared him to Carlos Correa. A positive drug test dropped him to the 23rd pick in the draft. At this point his glove is ahead of his bat. His defense and speed may be better than Correa, though he committed 17 errors, however his power at this point falls far below Correa. He failed to hit a homerun in over 150 Rookie league at bats. The power could come, but it will not be near what Correa can produce. The Cardinals could rush him and promote him to Low A after his .294 rookie season or they can continue his instruction in extended spring training and have him repeat a month in Rookie League before being promoted to Low A.

72. Jake Bauers 1B/OF (Rays) 2.85 - A seventh round pick in 2013 Jake is showing that he can provide some lefthanded pop to a lineup. At AA he slugged 14 homeruns with minimal swing and miss activity. With Casey Gillespie ahead of him and slated for first base the Rays gave Jake some outfield time. His speed is not great to cover a lot of ground in the outfield, but with enough repetition he could fit in the corner. Jake was acquired from the Padres in the Wil Myers trade. He should start the 2017 season in AAA.

71. Matt Manning RHP (Tigers) 2.98 - Matt was the Tigers 2016 first round pick. Coming out of high school he has a few years of minor league ball to swim through before he makes the Tigers. A 6′6″ frame and a mid to high 90s fastball resulted in him averaging 14.1 whiffs per nine innings at rookie ball. The fastball is his premium pitch but Matt can sling a decent curve and change. The 2017 season will see him begin it at the Low A level

Cardinals Sign Jose Garcia

Friday, February 24th, 2017

The Cardinals signed Jose Adolis Garcia, who is the younger brother of Adonis Garcia for a bonus estimated at $2.5 million. Major league baseball declared Garcia a free agent in December. Adonis Garcia had originally signed with the Yankees but has bounced around since. He was a couple years older than his younger brother Jose when he defected.

At 6′1″ Jose is a couple inches taller than his older brother Adonis. He should hit for a little more power than his older brother, who also began his career as an outfielder before the Braves moved him to third base. His defense in the outfield is a battle for consistency. Garcia struggled in the Japanese minor league system hitting just .234 with a .396 slugging percentage. In four games with the NPB Yomiuri Giants Jose went 0 for 7 with three whiffs. Those poor numbers did not discourage the Cardinals from still signing the 23 year old.

Jose could start the season in extended spring training but at age 23 the Cardinals would prefer he move quickly through their minor league system. Don’t be surprised if he begins his minor league career in low A with some time in extended spring training.

Breakout Prospects and Prospects to Watch NL Central

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Myworld continues to look at prospects who will have a major league impact in 2017 and other prospects to watch to see if they will find themselves on the cusp of making the major league team in 2018. Some of these prospects to watch are veteran minor leaguers trying to over come surgery, former top prospects who have tripped in their minor league ascension or Cubans who have no history at the professional level in the United States but were stars in Cuba. Today myworld takes a look at the NL Central.

Chicago Cubs

Breakout Prospect (Duane Underwood RHP) - The Cubs have relied on free agent signings or trading position player prospects to build a major league pitching staff. At some point injuries will force them to go to their farm system to fill their rotation needs. Duane is the most advanced and highest rated prospect on the Cubs radar having gotten 13 starts in AA. He throws hard, with a high to mid - 90s fastball with lots of movement. A good breaking pitch and change gives him the requisite three pitches to make it as a starter. What he lacks is command of his pitches, putting together a 31/46 walk to whiff ratio in 58.2 AA innings. As hard as Duane throws those strikeout numbers seem quite low and a .280 opponent average needs to improve to lower that 4.91 ERA. If the command does not improve the bullpen may be his calling.

Prospect to Watch (Eloy Jimenez OF) - Eloy is a five tool player who will probably lose some speed as he fills out, making right field a natural calling for him. In 2013 the Cubs signed him for $2.8 million. The Dominican slugger has improved his average and power each of the three levels the Cubs have played him. Last year he slugged .532 with 40 doubles and 14 homeruns for a .901 OPS in his first season at full season ball. Next year he will start the season at High A with a mid-season promotion to AA likely if he continues to have success. He should be ready for the major leagues by mid - 2018 if he continues to rake in the minor leagues. This year he will be listed in the top ten in a lot of prospect Top 100 lists.

Cincinnati Reds

Breakout Prospects (Amir Garrett LHP) - Last year was the first year he focused on baseball. In previous years his main focus was basketball while baseball filled his summertime activities. The 6′5″ lefthander whiz his fastball to the plate in the mid-90s. He complements that pitch with a slider and change that should develop more consistency now that his focus is on baseball. Last year he dominated at AA with a 1.75 ERA and a .184 opponent average. A promotion to AAA saw a little struggle with command. The Reds are rebuilding starting the process with a young rotation. Amir will probably start the season in AAA but a major league callup should be in the mix before the All Star break. A number one starter is his ceiling.

Prospect to Watch (Vladimir Gutierrez RHP) - The recent Cuban signing is not a big man at 6′0″. Reports from his workouts show a fastball that hits triple digits. In Cuba he worked mainly out of the bullpen, but like Raisel Iglesias, another Cuban reliever signed before Vladimir the Reds will try him as a starter. The experiment failed with Raisel as injuries moved him back to the bullpen. The Reds shelled out a $4.75 million bonus to acquire Vladimir so they will allow him to fail as a starter before they move him to the bullpen. He won the Cuban rookie of the year award in 2013/2014 and could be the best pitcher signed out of Cuba since Aroldis Chapman.

Milwaukee Brewers

Breakout Prospect (Josh Hader LHP and Lewis Brinson OF) - The Brewers are rebuilding so opportunities will exist for rookies to establish themselves in the major leagues. Josh has turned some heads as his fastball gets clocked in the mid-90s, transforming himself into a nondescript Orioles prospect traded to the Houston Astros to a decent prospect traded to the Brewers to a super prospect with the Brewers. Now he is ready to make his impact in the Brewers rotation. His command could see improvement, but hitters have a hard time making contact off him striking out more than 11 times per nine innings. He should be part of the Brewers rotation by the All Star break in 2017. Brinson is the Brewers best defensive alternative for centerfield in 2017. A .382 average in the high altitude of Colorado Springs has to be compared to his .237 average at AA Frisco. A little more development time in AAA is needed as he transforms himself into a power hitting centerfielder for the Brewers before the All Star break in 2017.

Prospect to Watch (Jorge Lopez RHP and Demi Orimoloye OF) - Both players struggled last year. In 2015 Jorge had what many thought was a breakout season resulting in two major league starts. The opposition barely hit above the Mendoza line against him and he struck out a batter an inning with a fastball slicing across the plate in the mid-90s. The 2016 season was a different animal with a 1-7, 6.81 ERA in AAA with a .312 opposition average. He seems to have bounced back pitching in the Caribbean Winter League in his home town of Puerto Rico, but the opposition there is far below major league caliber. The Brewers will be patient with him. Demi is one of those players with five tools if he could improve his ability to make contact. The projected first rounder slipped to the fourth round because of concerns with his ability to make contact. After having success in his first season of rookie ball after being drafted Demi stumbled in 2016 with a .205 average in the short season leagues. The Nigerian born player who moved to Canada at 10 months old may need a lot of time before he can reach his potential.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Breakout Prospect (Tyler Glasnow) - He fits all the criteria myworld likes to see in a pitcher. His height is a intimidating at 6′8″ with a fastball that comes at you in the mid to upper 90s. Minor league hitters have only hit above .200 against him in one AAA stay, a .220 average after 8 starts. Major leaguers found him a little easier to hit (.250) but his command was off (13 walks in 23.1 innings). That brief time in the major leagues should prepare him for making the opening day roster in the rotation in 2017.

Prospect to Watch (Nick Kingham RHP) - Nick was a highly touted pitching prospect for the Pirates last year who many thought would make the Pirates rotation. A rough start to the season resulted in Tommy John surgery and a delay to his major league opportunity. His 6′6″ frame and ability to reach the mid-90s with his fastball prior to his surgery put him in the elite prospect category. His recovery from Tommy John appears to be complete, allowing him to spend some time in the minor leagues on the mound in an attempt to reach his elite level status. Once he is ready the rotation should be crowded with Glasnow and Jameson Taillon sharing the top sport with Kingham, who is probably more a mid-term rotation starter.

St. Louis Cardinals

Breakout Prospect (Alex Reyes RHP) - Last year he missed the first part of the season because of a drug of abuse testing violation. If not for the suspension he would have made the Cardinals rotation out of spring training. Perhaps the hardest thrower in the Cardinals rotation, he hits 95 miles per hour with his fastball. After a couple starts he should make the rotation early next year. His fastball regularly hits triple digits and he can hold the heat into the late innings. At 6′3″ he could be more durable than Carlos Martinez. Alex saw success in his very limited 2016 major league debut. Command is the one tool he needs to improve on to have success in the major leagues. If his command falters he could find his role as a closer on the major league roster.

Prospect to Watch (Marco Gonzalez LHP) - The first round 2012 pick has been a disappointment. He saw some major league time in 2014 and 2015 but Tommy John surgery in 2016 put a blank to his season last year. The lefthander is not overpowering, with a fastball that sits in the low 90s. His big pitch was the changeup, which the Tommy John surgery should not impact. His major league numbers were spotty with a minimum quantity of strikeouts. The Cardinals will be patient with him and work him in the minors for the majority of the 2017 season. Depending on what kind of success he achieves he could return to the major leagues in 2018.