Archive for the 'Cardinals' Category

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.

Mexican Winter Wonders to Watch in 2017

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

The stash of prospects in the Mexican League is not as great as in the other winter leagues. This could be the result of the veteran players that dot the rosters there, making it more difficult for a younger player to find playing time. Most of the prospects playing in the Mexican League are over 21 years of age.

Randy Arozarena (Cardinals/Navojoa) OF - The 21 year old Cuban is raking against Mexican League pitching, hitting .342, which puts him fourth in the league. He is also showing some speed with 15 stolen bases, tops in the league, though he has been caught stealing 8 times. During his last season in the Cuban League he hit .291. He shows speed but appears to lack power with only 9 of his 51 hits going for extra bases, none of them travelling out of the park.

Joey Wendle (Athletics/Obregon) 2B - The Athletics traded a lot of production in Brandon Morrow to acquire Wendle. It is time for them to see what he can accomplish on the field. Not blessed with a lot of tools, but he should give you a .270 bat at the second base position. For Obregon he is hitting .307 with 11 doubles that has increased his slugging percentage to .511. He won’t win any gold gloves with his defense and his speed falls at the highest point in the Bell Curve of major league players (denoting average) but he stole 14 bases in 18 attempts last year and is 5 for 6 in the Mexican League this year, so he takes advantage of his opportunities.

David Washington (Orioles/Hermosillo) 1B - There is a lot of swing and miss in his at bats, but when he makes contact there is thunder. Last year he hit 30 homeruns between AA and AAA. The Cardinals did not put him on the 40 man roster and he left as a six year minor league free agent. In the Mexican League he is still swinging and missing with 42 whiffs in 27 games for a .173 average. On the upside he is second in the league in homeruns with 8. David has at least struck out once in his last eight games.

Art Charles (Jalisco/Reds) 1B - Baseball America voted him the Independent League player of the year in 2016. Like Washington the swings and misses come easy, but there is some pop in his bat. He has four homeruns in the Mexican League but only a .204 average with 37 whiffs in 27 games. His biggest power year was his last in the minors in 2015 when he hit 19 homeruns. In his six year minor league career he never hit better than .251 and always had more than one strikeout per game. In Independent Ball he raked hitting .352 with 29 homeruns.

Luis Heredia (Pirates/Mazatl├ín) RHP - The Pirates spent a lot of money signing the 6′5″ Mexican righthander. There was a lot of promise five years ago but that stock has dropped. The Pirates moved him to the bullpen last year and that is where he is pitching for Mazatl├ín. Two bad relief outings taint his 4.76 ERA. The opposition batting average of .263 won’t bring a lot of confidence in his future success, but he has struck out 24 hitters in 26 innings. His walks to innings pitched is still below 2 to 1, which does not bode well for a career in the major leagues.

Draft Rosters for the Show Me Teams

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

The Missouri teams of Kansas City and Saint Louis are reviewed below. Kansas City is empty at short and catcher based on draft picks since 2005. Early on the Royals had some big hits with their number one picks. This has not been the case since 2008, though pennant races have motivated them to trade many of their top prospects. The Cardinals have done a good job of providing their roster with strong depth using the domestic draft. Their only weak position appears to be shortstop. They have done an especially good job of finding some diamonds in the rough in the middle portions of the draft.

Kansas City Royals

2005 - Alex Gordon (1) LF
2006 - Luke Hochevar (1) RHP, Everett Teaford (12) LHP, Brad Boxberger (20 - DNS) RHP, Jarrod Dyson (50) OF
2007 - Mike Moustakas (1) 3B, Danny Duffy (3) LHP, Greg Holland (10) RHP, David Lough (11) OF, Clint Robinson (25) 1B
2008 - Eric Hosmer (1) 1B, Mike Montgomery (1) LHP, Johnny Giavotella (2) 2B, John Lamb (5) LHP, Blaine Hardy (22) LHP
2009 - Wil Myers (3) OF/1B, Louis Coleman (5) RHP, Buddy Baumann (7) LHP, Mike Morin (40 - DNS) RHP
2010 - Christian Colon (1) 3B, Brett Eibner (2) OF, Kevin Chapman (4) RHP, Michael Mariot (8) RHP, Jon Gray (13 - DNS) RHP
2011 - Aaron Brooks (9) RHP, Terrence Gore (20) OF, Spencer Patton (24) RHP
2012 - Daniel Stumpf (9) LHP
2013 - Sean Manea (1) LHP, Cody Reed (2) LHP
2014 - Brandon Finnegan (1) LHP, Scott Blewett (2) RHP, Eric Skoglund (3) LHP
2015 - Josh Staumont (2) RHP

Roster

C - None
1B - Eric Hosmer, Clint Robinson
2B - Johnny Giavotella
3B - Mike Moustakas, Christian Colon
SS - None
OF - Alex Gordon, Wil Myers, Jarrod Dyson, David Lough, Brett Eibner, Terrence Gore
SP - Luke Hochevar, John Lamb, Jon Gray, Sean Manea, Cody Reed, Brandon Finnegan
RP - Greg Holland, Mike Montgomery, Brad Boxberger, Louis Coleman, Everett Teaford, Danny Duffy, Blaine Hardy, Buddy Baumann, Mike Morin, Kevin Chapman, Michael Mariot, Aaron Brooks, Spencer Patton, Daniel Stumpf, Scott Blewett, Eric Skoglund, Josh Staumont

St. Louis Cardinals

2005 - Colby Rasmus (1) OF, Bryan Anderson (4) C, Daniel McCutchen (12 - DNS, Jaime Garcia (22) LHP
2006 - Adam Ottovino (1) RHP, Jon Jay (2) OF, Shane Robinson (5) OF, Allan Craig (8) 3B/1B, David Carpenter (12) C, Jon Edwards (14) OF, Tommy Pham (16) OF, Luke Gregerson (28) RHP
2007 - Pete Kozma (1) SS, Daniel Descalso (3) UTL, Sam Freeman (24 - DNS) LHP, Tony Cruz (26) C, Michael Blazek (35) RHP
2008 - Brett Wallace (1) 3B/1B, Lance Lynn (1) RHP, Shane Peterson (2) OF, Mitch Harris (13) RHP, Xavier Scruggs (19) 1B
2009 - Shelby Miller (1) RHP, Joe Kelly (3) RHP, Matt Carpenter (13) 2B, Trevor Rosenthal (21) RHP, Matt Adams (23) 1B
2010 - Greg Garcia (7) UTL, Tyler Lyons (9) LHP
2011 - Kolton Wong (1) 2B, Charlie Tilson (2) OF, Seth Maness (11) RHP
2012 - Michael Wacha (1) RHP, Stephen Piscotty (1) OF/1B, Tim Cooney (3) LHP, Kyle Barraclough (7) RHP
2013 - Marco Gonzalez (1) LHP, Rob Kaminsky (1) LHP
2014 - Luke Weaver (1) RHP, Jack Flaherty (1) RHP

Roster

C - Bryan Anderson, Tony Cruz, David Carpenter (Yadier Molina was a 4th round pick in 2000)
1B - Allan Craig, Brett Wallace, Xavier Scruggs, Matt Adams (Albert Pujols a 13th round pick in 1999)
2B - Kolton Wong, Daniel Descalso, Greg Garcia
3B - Matt Carpenter
SS - Pete Kozma
OF - Colby Rasmus, Jon Jay, Shane Robinson, Tommy Pham, Shane Peterson, Charlie Tilson, Stephen Piscoty, Jon Eswards
SP - Lance Lynn, Michael Wacha, Jaime Garcia, Shelby Miller, Luke Weaver, Marco Gonzalez
RP - Trevor Rosenthal, Luke Gregorson, Daniel McCutchen, Adam Ottovino, Sam Freeman, Michael Blazek, Mitch Harris, Kevin Siegrist, Joe Kelly, Tyler Lyons, Seth Maness, TimConney, Kyle Barraclough, Rob Kaminsky, Jack Flaherty

Right Handed Starting Pitcher Prospect Review

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

Just like shortstops there were a number of right handed starting pitchers to review so myworld extended it to the top 20 prospects in this category. The below list was the top 20 prospects as rated by myworld.

1. Lucas Giolito (Nationals) - The top pitching prospect struggled with his command. He dominated minor league hitters splitting time between AA and AAA but when promoted to the Nationals struggled, walking more hitters than he struck out (11/10). When the Nationals picked a starter to pitch in the bullpen in relief it was Reynaldo Lopez, who myworld had rated 28th. Gio Gonzalez will probably be gone (the Nationals not picking up his option) so it will be a battle between Reynaldo and Lucas for the fifth spot, leaving the Nationals without a lefty in the rotation. Both throw in the mid-90s so it becomes a luxury of riches with the loser getting an opportunity to prove himself by mid-season, when Strasburg is due to go on the DL.

2. Alex Reyes (Cardinals) - A 50 game drug of abuse suspension delayed his appearance in the starting rotation for the Cardinals. If they had him in the rotation at the beginning of the year they may have made the playoffs. He was pretty dominating, first in relief and then in the rotation when he was promoted to the Cardinals. Command issues were a problem with a walk every two innings. Expect him to be in the rotation next season.

3. Tyler Glasnow (Pirates) - Another pitcher with command issues which prevented him from making the rotation at the beginning of the season. He had success in AAA (1.87 ERA) despite walking 62 hitters in just 111 innings. The opposition hit only .148 against him and he struck out 133. Those command issues did not do so well when promoted to the Pirates (4.91 ERA with more hits than innings pitched and not as great a whiff rate). In spring training he will compete for a spot in the rotation and the improvement he shows with his command will determine whether he makes the rotation. He has swing and miss stuff if he can improve the location of his pitches.

4. Anderson Espinoza (Padres) - The Red Sox best prospect pitcher was traded to the Padres for Drew Pomeranz. Drew was more damaged than the Padres medical records showed and A.J. Preller was suspended for not disclosing the complete medical history of Pomeranz. The Red Sox still chose not to nullify the trade and Espinoza is still a Padre. The Red Sox may have been troubled by the struggles of Espinosa in Low A (4.38 ERA). He was not better in his seven starts with the Padres (4.78). He stands only 6′0″ so there is some durability concerns but at 18 years of age he still has a lot of time to mature. Because of his short stature and his triple digit fastballs there are a lot of comparisons to Pedro Martinez.

5. Francis Martes (Astros) - Another pitcher short of stature (6′1″) who throws a fastball in the triple digits. He pitched well in AA (3.30 ERA) striking out more than a batter per inning. He should start the 2017 season in AAA but it should not take him long to reach the Astros rotation by mid-season.

6. Jose Deleon (Dodgers) - Julio Urias was our top rated lefthanded starter. With all the injuries to the Dodgers rotation this season both got opportunities to start for the Dodgers. Urias had a little more success so this could leave Deleon with another season in AAA or starting the season in the Dodgers bullpen. He dominated in AAA (2.92 ERA with a .181 opposition average) so he has nothing to prove by repeating AAA. A lot will depend on his performance in spring training and the Dodgers needs.

7. Jose Berrios (Twins) - His starts in AAA showed the makings of an ace (2.51 ERA and .171 opposition average) but his major league opportunities were a disaster. He had trouble throwing strikes, walking almost a batter per inning and baseballs left the park with great regularity, coughing up a homerun every four innings of pitching. A good spring could earn him another opportunity in the rotation but expect him to begin the 2017 season in AAA. Success or injury in the rotation will give him another big league opportunity.

8. Robert Stephenson (Reds) - Another pitcher who can hit triple digits with his fastball. The Reds are in rebuilding mode so despite his struggles when called up he could still make the rotation with a good spring. He also had trouble keeping the ball in the park, giving up more than a homerun for each four innings of work. The Reds would have liked to see more minor league success (4.41 ERA in AAA) but 71 walks in just 137 innings spells command issues.

9. Jon Gray (Rockies) - The third pick in the 2013 draft started 28 games for the Rockies. His 4.5 plus ERA is credible considering the hitters atmosphere in Colorado. He should be a foundation for the Rockies rotation, perhaps inserting himself in the ace role in 2017.

10. Michael Fulmer (Tigers) - He almost saved the Tigers season, becoming the ace in the rotation. He tired a bit towards the end of the season as his innings pitched increased. Expect him to win the AL Rookie of the Year Award for 2016. Fulmer will also be a foundation in the Tigers rotation for the 2017 season.

11. Kenta Maeda (Dodgers) - Not really a rookie because of his success in Japan. He pitched well early in the season but the length of the major league season may have caught up with him. He averaged just over 5 innings per start but was the one Dodger that got over 30 starts. He was the number two starter behind Kershaw until the Dodgers acquired Rich Hill. He will be an important cog in the Dodgers rotation for 2017 despite a fastball that barely breaks 90.

12. Jorge Lopez (Brewers) - Jorge had a season to forget in AAA (6.81). He walked a lot of hitters and gave up more hits than innings pitched. With a good season he could have been promoted to the Brewers by mid-season. Instead, he saw more time in AA to build up his confidence with a little more success. The 2017 season will probably see him begin it in AAA and with success he could see a mid-season promotion.

13. Aaron Blair (Braves) - Another pitcher who struggled in his 14 starts with the Braves. Blair was one of the players the Diamondbacks gave up for Shelby Miller. As hard as it was Blair had a worst season than Miller. His AAA numbers were not impressive and myworld saw a back end of the rotation pitcher when we watched him pitch in the spring. With all the talented young pitchers the Braves have in their farm system it would not surprise myworld to see the Braves attempt to trade him.

14. Luis Ortiz (Brewers) - One of the players the Brewers acquired in the Jonathan Lucroy trade. He pitched in AA and seemed to be pretty easy to hit (.290 opposition average) with less than impressive whiffs per innings pitched. He starred for the United States 18 and under team, winning the MVP award at the World Cup in 2014. Poor conditioning and weight issues could prevent him from achieving success as he gets older.

15. Brent Honeywell (Rays) - A screwball gives him a different pitch than other pitchers. He was the Rays 2015 version of Blake Snell without the shutout innings. Blake was rated as out second best lefthanded starter. Honeywell had success splitting his time between High A and AA, limiting the opposition to an average of just over .200. Expect him to join Snell in the Rays rotation by mid-season in 2017.

16.Jeff Hoffman (Rockies) - The first round pick of the Blue Jays, the Rockies acquired Hoffman last year for Troy Tulowitski. He made his major league debut late in the season but struggled, giving up lots of homeruns, lots of hits with a walk to whiff ratio of 1/1. Not a promising debut to see him start the 2017 season in the Rockies rotation. His minor league numbers were not impressive (4.02 ERA) so expect him to repeat AAA and get a major league callup upon the Rockies need and his success.

17. Dillon Tate (Yankees) - The Yankees picked him up in the Carlos Beltran trade. Tate was the Rangers first round pick in 2015. The Yankees used him in the bullpen to decrease his innings count. He struggled in the Rangers Low A rotation (5.12 ERA) but did better with the Yankees (3.12 ERA). Combined the opposition hit over .300 against him. He could repeat Low A, but expect the Yankees to promote him to High A. Don’t expect to see him in the Yankee rotation until 2018.

18. Carson Fulmer (White Sox) - The White Sox called him up early in the season to use him in the bullpen. His ERA neighbored a run per inning pitched so he was sent back down to AAA to finish his year in the minors as a starter. Expect him to spend the 2017 season in AAA until he can address his command issues. In AA he walked 51 hitters in his 87 innings of work. That will have to improve if he hopes to make the White Sox rotation.

19. Grant Holmes (Athletics) - The Dodgers traded their 2014 number one pick to the Athletics in the Rich Hill trade. At 6′1″ he is small in stature and his success in the minor leagues has been limited. After the Athletics acquired him they shifted him to the High A California League where the opposition tagged him for a .355 average. The Athletics could promote him to AA in 2017 but he is still a couple years away from making the Athletics rotation.

20. Jake Thompson (Phillies) - The Phillies are rebuilding and Jake could be part of their rotation next year. His numbers for the Phillies last year were poor with a 5.70 ERA and a 28/32 walk to whiff ratio. He also gave up one homerun for each five innings he pitched. Those kind of numbers will not keep him in a major league rotation. Expect him to start the season in AAA where he had success. His strikeout numbers are not impressive but he is not an over powering pitcher.

NL Central Predictions and Looking Forward

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Time to finish taking a look at our preseason predictions and how they have panned out now that we are in August. We have two Divisions to go. With the Central we expected a little more from the Pirates, otherwise we would have had another perfect Central predictions. The myworld predictions are in parenthesis.

Chicago Cubs (1) - There is too much talent on this team not to make the playoffs. Kris Bryant has the potential to hit 40 plus homeruns. The injury to Kyle Schwarber hurt but they called up Wilson Contreras to take his place, another lumbering catcher to put in the outfield. Anthony Rizzo continues his solid production of hitting for average and power. The pitching has been the best in the league with Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, Jason Hammel and John Lackey, but the best pitcher in the rotation has been the surprising Kyle Hendricks. One of those will have to be dropped when the playoff rotation is determined. Aroldis Chapman gives them a lights out closer.

The farm system has been purged as the Cubs pursue veteran players to get them in the playoff hunt. With Glyeber Torres gone 1) Eloy Jimenez becomes the top prospect. He is a five tool player who should fit in right field for the Cubs in a couple years. 2) Jeimer Candelario has the offensive juice to profile at third. Whether that means he has enough in the tank to move Kris Bryant to the outfield is doubtful. 3) Ian Happ has not moved as quickly as other Cubs first round picks. He has a good hit tool but no real defined position, bouncing around between the outfield and second base. 4) Trevor Clifton is performing the best of a group of vanilla like pitchers. His fastball reaches the mid-90s but his 6′1″ frame could bring in durability issues and move him to the bullpen. A lack of command is also an issue. 5) Oscar de La Cruz has a bigger frame (6′4″) and also throws in the mid-90s but lacks a third pitch. The curve is also inconsistent so the bullpen could be his fate as well unless he improves.

St Louis Cardinals (3) - It’s been a bit of an off year for the Cardinals. Despite the second place standing, it may not be enough to earn a wild card spot. Players like Yadier Molina and Matt Holiday are getting older leading to declining production. Jhonny Peralta was injured for half a season but when he came back had lost his shortstop position to Aledemys Diaz. He has yet to find his bat and is heading for another stint on the DL. As Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha have struggled while a new ace has emerged in Carlos Martinez. Trevor Rosenthal has lost his closer role to the Korean Seung Hwan Oh.

Myworld anticipated 1) Alex Reyes would be in the rotation by now. He is one of the hardest throwers in baseball but a 4.96 ERA in AAA may be giving the Cardinals reason to pause. He will be an ace in the rotation once he has gained some experience. 2) Luke Weaver is having a good year in AA (1.40 ERA) but right now he relies on his fastball, change and command for success. He needs to improve on his breaking pitches to make it in a major league rotation. 3) Jack Flaherty was the Cardinals first round pick in 2014. He has been too hittable in the Florida State League (.279), also relying on a fastball/change combination to achieve success. 4) Harrison Bader has been a hit machine that showed some power in AA. A promotion to AAA has seen the power disappear. Bader will need to hit for power as his defense may limit him to left field. 5) Magneuris Sierra will rely on his speed and defense to make an impact in the major leagues. He needs to draw a few more walks to put himself in the leadoff discussion.

Pittsburgh Pirates (2) - As Andrew McCutchen goes so goes the Pirates place in the standings. This year McCutchen is having his worst season and the Pirates are suffering the consequences. They have no real stand out player to take up the slack. Gerrit Cole is the ace but he has spent much of his time on the disabled list. The failures of the now traded Francisco Liriano and Juan Nicasio have forced them to turn to the farm system for help. Jameson Taillon, Chad Kuhl and Tyler Glasnow are talented but inconsistent. They seemed to have thrown in the towel with the trade of their closer Mark Melancon for next to nothing.

Harold Ramirez would not have made the top five, but to trade him to eat the contract of Francisco Liriano was a bad move. They have a surplus of outfielders, but they could have received something positive for him. 1) Tyler Glasnow is on the disabled list which will probably allow him to keep his rookie eligibility. Tyler is one of the more dominating pitchers in the minors with a fastball in the upper 90s. Only command is preventing him from having consistent success. 2) Austin Meadows may get an opportunity to play if the Pirates choose to trade Andrew McCutchen during the off season. Starling Marte will move to center and the power bat of Meadows will shift to left. His biggest impediment is the ability to stay healthy for a full season. 3) Josh Bell has a nice power bat that makes consistent contact. He has batted 1.000 in his four major league at bats, with two walks, a single and a grand slam homerun. Next year he will be playing first base. 4) Kevin Newman is not mentioned with the names of the superstar shortstops with just average defensive skills to play short and no power in his bat. His .339 average is evidence he has a hit tool to compete for batting titles. 5) Mitch Keller is not overpowering but he has three pitches he can throw for strikes. He still gets a lot of swings and misses (112 whiffs in 107 innings) and poor contact (.220 opponent average).

Milwaukee Brewers (4) - It is a rebuilding year for the Brewers with the trade of Jonathan Lucroy and earlier Khris Davis. Jonathan Villar is having a surprising year and gives the team depth. Orlando Arcia has been called up to play short and Villar has moved to third. Ryan Braun is having a solid season but no team wants to trade for him to eat his contract. The rotation has gotten solid contributions from Junior Guerra who last had success in the Italian professional baseball league.

1) Orlando Arcia has had a vanilla year hitting but his defense at short is superb. 2) Lewis Brinson is the centerfield version of Arcia but with a more potent bat that can bash for power. He was the prime target in the Jonathan Lucroy trade. 3) Josh Hader came to the Brewers via the Orioles and then Astros. He has a potent fastball/slider combination that may make him best used out of the bullpen if he does not master a third pitch. 4) Brett Phillips was the big acquisition in the trade of Carlos Gomez to the Astros last year. His average is down this year (.226) but his defense is strong and his bat has some juice in it to hit 20 plus homers. 5) Phil Bickford was a nice pickup from the Giants for Will Smith. He has a good fastball slider combination with the command to hit all four quadrants of the plate.

Cincinnati Reds (5) - Another rebuilding team. Aroldis Chapman was traded earlier and Jay Bruce was jettisoned much later. It is a young team that finds lots of ways to lose. Adam Duvall was a surprise power threat early in the season but has come back down to earth. Joey Votto may be one piece the team will build around. Homer Bailey is back in the rotation after coming back from Tommy John surgery. A young corp of Anthony Desclafani and Brandon Finnegan show promise with Robert Stephenson and Amir Garrett ready to make a contribution next year. Michael Lorenzon has the potential to be a future closer if they do not give the job to Raisel Iglesias.

1) Amir Garrett is an ex-basketball player who also throws a fastball in the mid-90s. He gets a lot of weak contact with the opposition only hitting .180 off him. 2) Robert Stephenson throws harder than Amir but lacks the command. He could be an ace if he could learn to harness the strike zone. 3) Jesse Winker is not a strong defensive player, which will limit him to left field, but his power bat will send a lot of balls over the fence. 4) Nick Senzel was the second pick in the 2016 draft and is showing off some impressive hit tools in Low A with a .320 average and a .999 OPS. His defense is strong enough to stick at third. 5) Alfredo Rodriguez was given a $7 million bonus based on his defensive tools. The Cuban shortstop may not have the bat to stick as a starter, but the Pirates will allow him to play all that out in the minor leagues.

Cardinals Sign Cuban Outfielder Randy Arozarena

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

The St. Louis Cardinals jumped into the Cuban signings with a $1.25 million bonus to sign outfielder Randy Arozarena. Arozarena is noted more for his speed than for his bat, though in the Mexican Northern league the 21 year old was leading the league in hitting with a .377 average. He showed off his speed with 42 stolen bases in 54 attempts. The Cardinals are one of many teams soaring past their international salary bonus with the signings of young Cuban players. They have also signed outfielder Jonatan Machado and pitcher Johan Oviedo.