Archive for the 'Cardinals' Category

NL Central Minor League All Stars

Friday, October 6th, 2017

Below are the classification All Stars for the NL Central as provided by Baseball America. These are not necessarily the top prospects at each classification but they are players who performed the best over their time in that classification.

Chicago Cubs

Fernando Kelli OF (Dominican) - The fact you have to go as far down as the Dominican summer league to find an All Star tells a lot about the Cubs minor league system. Speed appears to be the best tool in his game with 58 stolen bases in 67 games. He also got on base with a .327 average and a .437 OBA. He does seem to swing and miss a lot, not what you want to see in a lead off hitter and his power is limited to the gaps.

Cincinnati Reds

Tyler Mahle SP (AA) - The seventh round pick threw no hitters in 2016 and 2017. His fastball can hit the mid-90s but is not overpowering. He relies more on mixing in his secondary pitches (curve, slider and change) to complement the fastball. Between AAA and AA he limited the opposition to a .208 average. They hit him a little better when promoted for four starts in the major leagues (.253) and his control of the strike zone was a bit shaky (11 walks in 20 innings) but his ERA was good (2.70).

Jose Siri OF (Low A) - There is a lot of raw power in his bat (24 homeruns) and his legs can steal bases (46). That speed allows him to cover a ton of ground in the outfield. His arm is strong leading to the possibility of a five tool athlete if he can develop. His only downside is his patience at the plate (33/130) with a tendency to swing and miss too much.

Taylor Trammell OF (Low A) - A two sport athlete in high school you can count the same tools for Taylor with Jose. He showed speed with 41 stolen bases and power (13 homeruns). Taylor has better patience at the plate (71 walks) with the speed to cover center. His arm is not as strong as Siri so when not playing center he fits better in left.

Debby Santana 3B (Dominican) - He was the youngest player on the Dominican All Star team (16 years). The power is limited to the gaps but as he matures many of those balls will carry over the fence.

Milwaukee Brewers

Lewis Brinson OF (AAA) - Drafted by the Rangers in the first round of the 2012 draft, the Brewers acquired him in the Jonathan Lucroy trade. The speed and power exist for him to be a 30/30 player, though his stolen base numbers were not high last year. He struggled when called up by the Brewers (.106), but he should be the centerfielder of the future for the Brewers.

Corbin Burnes SP (AA) - The fourth round 2016 pick does not rely on power, with a fastball that can hit the mid-90s but often sits in the low 90s. His slider gives him a good swing and miss pitch to complement his fastball. He needs to develop his change or move to the pen. The opposition hit him at a .212 clip and he showed good command of his pitches only walking 20 in 86 innings.

Nate Griep (High A) RP - Nate picked up 30 saves but bullpen pitchers with low strikeout rates (7.5 per nine innings) are not commodities to get excited about. He did limit the opposition to a .191 average so there was a lot of soft contact with his offerings.

Jean Carlos Carmona SS (Dominican) - He hit .302 but with very little power and no stolen base speed. Myworld anticipates that he carries a good glove but we don’t have much info on him.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Steven Brault SP (AAA) - The Orioles have traded a number of mid-rotation pitchers to keep their playoff hopes alive. Brault is another one of those pitchers that fits on the cusp of being mid to back rotation pitcher. He throws lefthanded relying on breaking pitches to retire hitters. Minor league hitters struggled with a .199 opposition average, major league hitters juiced him at a .287 average. He might be best used out of the pen as an emergency starter.

Luis Escobar SP (Low A) - At 6′1″ he is small, but his fastball has easy mid-90s velocity. His command is a bit erratic but he has swing and miss stuff. He needs to enhance his secondary pitches (curve and change) to stay in the starting rotation.

Mason Martin DH (Rookie) - The 17th round 2017 pick opened some eyes with his 11 homeruns and .630 slugging. He also walked 32 times in 39 games for a .457 OBA. Mason played most of his games at first base but did see some time in the outfield.

Sherten Apostel DH (Dominican) - The Curacao native did show some pop with 9 dingers. He also had an impressive 56/49 walk to whiff ratio. This was his second season in the Dominican League and he made enough improvement to go stateside next year. He has played third base the last two seasons.

St. Louis Cardinals

Evan Mendoza 3B (short season) - The 11th round 2017 pick hit .370 in short season. When promoted to Low A it dropped 100 points. There is gap power but if he hopes to stick in the infield corner slot there needs to be more.

Scott Hurst OF (short season) - Hurst was a third round pick in 2017 but the first player the Cardinals selected in the draft. Speed is his best tool which allows him to play centerfield. There does not appear to be much power in his bat to play a corner.

Ivan Herrera C (Dominican) - The native of Panama carries a mean stick (.335). He also threw out 34 of the 85 runners who stole off him.

Myworlds Top Ten Texas League Prospects

Sunday, August 6th, 2017

Myworld struggled to find ten quality players to make a top ten. Not an impressive lot. These are prospects based on their production while in the Texas League. A number of Dodger pitchers filter this list.

1. Walker Buehler RHP (Dodgers) - Walker was a first round pick of the Dodgers in 2015. Tommy John surgery prevented him from playing in 2015 and in 2016 he was limited to five regular season innings and two playoff starts that also was five innings. The Dodgers have been aggressive with him this year, starting him in High A ball where it only took five starts and a 1.10 ERA to get him promoted to AA. It took him 11 AA starts with a 3.49 ERA to get him promoted to AAA. Combined opponents are hitting only .190 against him with 112 whiffs in 80 innings pitched. Don’t be surprised to see the Dodgers limit his innings, shutting him down after August to protect his arm. As is, his starts have only averaged four innings per start, limiting his ability to produce victories. His fastball sits in the mid-90s with a combination curve/slider and a change that he throws for strikes. He has a good shot of making the Dodgers rotation sometime next year.

2. Jack Flaherty RHP (Cardinals) - Jack was a first round pick of the Cardinals in 2014. He started the season in AA and was almost unhittable in his 10 starts, stitching together a 1.42 ERA. That resulted in his promotion to AAA where he has not been as dominant (3.21 ERA) but he has still been effective. Despite his 6′4″ frame he is not overpowering, hitting the low 90s with his fastball with a plus changeup that gives the fastball the appearance of greater velocity. He also has little difficulty throwing strikes, though this has resulted in a greater homerun stroke by the AAA opposition. With continued success expect a September promotion by the Cardinals.

3. Magneruris Sierra CF (Cardinals) - This Dominican was a bargain sign when he inked his $105,000 bonus in 2012. Defense in centerfield and speed will be his calling card. There is very little power in his bat but he does have the ability to hit over .300. His speed can turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples. He started this year in High A, was quickly promoted to AA and after hitting .286 with 13 stolen bases in 61 games he was promoted to the major league club. In the majors he is hitting .365 with no extra base hits in 13 games. If he is not to become a fourth outfielder he needs an OBA of .330 or better, something he was able to accomplish in the minor leagues except for this year.

4. Yohander Mendez LHP (Rangers) - Yohander was signed out of Venezuela in 2011 for $1.5 million. Last year he made his major league debut, pitching two games of relief for the Rangers but showing great difficulty retiring hitters. Despite his dominance at AAA last year the Rangers have placed him in AA again where he has started 20 games with a 3.86 ERA. The opposition is hitting him at a .230 rate. The fastball can reach the mid-90s but mostly sits in the low 90s, good enough velocity for a lefthander. His change may be his best pitch but he lacks a third pitch which could keep him in a bullpen role. Expect a September promotion this year.

5. J.D. Davis 3B (Astros) - J.D. was a third round pick in 2014. His two biggest tools are a rocket arm and the ability to hit for power. Last year he hit 23 homeruns in AA. With Colin Moran in AAA J.D. repeated AA and slugged 21 homeruns in just 87 games, still tops in the Texas League. That led to a promotion to AAA after Moran was promoted to the Astros where J.D. added five dingers in 16 games. The 26 homeruns match his career high he set in 2015. With Moran and Correa injured the Astros have promoted him to the major league club to provide some depth in the infield. He will stay there until Correa gets healthy.

6. Grant Holmes RHP (Athletics) - Grant was a first round pick of the Dodgers in 2014. The Dodgers included him in a trade to the Athletics for Josh Reddick and Rich Hill. While his ERA is not good (4.90) he does lead the Texas League in whiffs with 115. Opponents do seem to make hard contact off him (.279) despite his ability to hit the mid-90s with his fastball. The trade of Sonny Gray gives Grant a better opportunity to work his way into the Athletics rotation. For a first round pick he has been a disappointment but expect him to find a spot in the Athletics rotation sometime next year.

7. Luis Urias SS/2B (Padres) - Luis was signed out of Mexico in 2013. His slow foot speed probably makes him a better fit for second base. This year he has seen more games at short (56) but 34 games at second. His best shot of making a major league team is in a utility role. He lacks power but can hit for average. Last year his .330 average won the California League batting title. This year he is hitting .314. His slow foot speed will not result in stolen bases so the only tool he has is his ability to hit for average and solid defensive play at second base. Expect him to get an opportunity with the Padres in September.

8. Dakota Hudson RHP (Cardinals) - Dakota was a first round pick out of Mississippi State in 2016. He leads the Texas League in ERA by more than a run. His 2.53 ERA has already led to a recent promotion to AAA. Despite his impressive numbers his whiffs are not prevalent (77 whiffs in 114 innings) and the opposition seems to have the ability to make hard contact off him (.255). He sits in the mid-90s with his fastball with a curve, slider and change combination. He has already reached 121 innings pitched so expect the Cardinals to slow down the number of innings he eats.

9. Richie Martin SS (Athletics) - Richie was a first round pick of the Athletics in 2015. The Athletics appear to have a surplus at shortstop, but if they want defense Richie is the man. The concern for him is whether he will have enough bat to play in the major leagues. This year he is only hitting .224 in AA. With the acquisition of Jorge Mateo from the Yankees the Athletics demoted him back to High A to find his bat while at the same time putting Jorge at short.

10. Samir Duenez 1B (Royals) - Samir was signed out of Venezuela in 2012. While he shows good ability to hit for contact and average he plays a position where teams look for power. Until this year he had yet to show that power. The power increase seems to have come at a lowering of his batting average (.267). The 15 homeruns is a career high but the average is down below normal. His slugging average of .429 is still a bit below average. His below average speed makes a move to the outfield difficult so if he is to make it to the majors he must continue to carry the balls over the fence at the cost of 20 to 30 points to his average.

Others to Watch

Yasiel Sierra RHP (Dodgers) - Yasiel was signed out of Cuba in 2016 for six years and $30 million that included a $6 million bonus. At 25 years of age the bonus did not count against the Dodgers international cap, but it does put pressure on the Dodgers to promote him quickly to get some bang for their buck. The Dodgers moved him to the bullpen this year after he struggled as a starting pitcher last year (6.20 ERA). It only took him 26 relief appearances with a 2.54 ERA to get him a promotion to AAA. He struck out 64 in 50 innings but a .244 opposition average is alarming. His fastball hits the mid to high 90s. Without a third pitch it might be best he work out of the bullpen. Though the Dodgers do not appear to need any help a September callup may be a possibility just to get him exposure to major league hitters.

Yadier Alvarez RHP (Dodgers) - Myworld might find room for him in the top ten with more starts and less walks. The Dodgers paid him a $16 million bonus in 2015. Only Hector Olivera and his $28 million bonus is higher. At 21 with a fastball that has hit triple digits the Dodgers can be patient with him. He got a promotion to AA despite his struggles with command at High A that was responsible for his 4.88 ERA. In three starts in the Texas League his ERA sits at 2.84 but with 12 walks in 12.2 innings pitched he needs to find the plate more. Coming into this season the opposition average last year was .185. This year it is .268. For some reason his pitches are easier to hit and with a 1.57 WHIP that is too many runners on base.

A.J. Puk RHP (Athletics) - Performance wise the first round 2016 pick may not deserve to be here. His 5.88 ERA in eight starts is a bit high. But he has pitched games with 11 and 13 whiffs and has struck out 46 hitters in 35 innings. Opponents are hitting only .229 against him but 19 walks has given him too many baserunners. At 6′7″ he has good height which makes his mid to high 90s fastball that much more intimidating when it comes to the plate. The down side of that height is it makes it difficult for him to repeat his delivery making command of the fastball difficult. He also needs to develop his secondary pitches (slider and change) if he wants to stick as a starter.

Jorge Mateo SS (Athletics) - A new comer to the league since his acquisition from the Yankees. Jorge would probably be in the top five if he played more games. A toolsy player with speed and surprising power. When the Yankees acquired Gleyber Torres it forced Mateo to move to second. Some feel a average arm may make second base the best position for him. In six Texas League games Jorge has already accumulated three triples and is hitting .267. The Athletics will see how he handles short, demoting Richie Martin, their best defensive shortstop to give him opportunities.

Myworld’s Top Pacific League Prospects

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

This appears to be a more offensive oriented league. Myworld was not too impressed with the collection of pitchers, but this may be a result of the offensive conditions many of the parks offer their hitters. The assessment is based on numbers. Potential does not arrive until you put up the numbers to prove you can produce.

1. Amed Rosario SS (Mets) - The Mets signed Amed out of the Dominican Republic for $1.75 million in 2012. Myworld was impressed with his defense this spring. Now he is putting up some impressive offensive numbers in Las Vegas, a hitter friendly park where he is hitting .330. His seven homeruns are a career high. The Mets need a shortstop. Don’t know what their reluctance is in not promoting Amed. Perhaps they are saving some service time. Expect a September promotion. The Mets have a lot of depth at this position percolating up through their minor league systems, with some of them moving to second base but Amed is ready to make an impact now.

2. Luke Weaver RHP (Cardinals) - Luke was a first round pick of the Cardinals in 2014. The Cardinals gave him his major league debut last year but he struggled in 8 starts (5.79). This year he has appeared in two games in relief. He has been the most dominant pitcher in the Pacific Coast League this year (9-1, 1.91 ERA). With more innings he would be leading the league in ERA by close to two runs. His command is good with a fastball that sits in the low 90s made faster with an excellent changeup. The Cardinals have found themselves struggling this year. If they fall out of the pennant race they may give Weaver some more opportunity to pitch to major league hitters. Expect a September callup if not sooner if the Cardinals fall out of the race.

3. Derek Fisher OF (Astros) - Derek was a 2014 number one pick of the Astros. He got a brief callup to the major league club where he did well, slugging two homeruns. At AAA his 21 homeruns is tied for third in the league. He also has the ability to steal bases with 16 in 26 attempts. At this point he has to be a better offensive alternative than Nori Aoki, though the Astros like to use Marwin Gonzalez out there as well. His defense is below average but the offensive numbers he can put up are excellent. Of course, at this point the Astros have plenty of offense, even with the injury to Carlos Correa.

4. Ryan McMahon 2B (Rockies) - He made our Eastern League list. The Rockies made him their second round pick in 2013. Last year his bat was very quiet, only hitting .242 with 12 homeruns. That kind of production is not going to usurp Nolan Arenado from his third base job. This year his bat has been explosive. After tearing up AA pitching for a .326 average with six homeruns in 49 games the Rockies promoted him to AAA. He has been even better there with a .379 average and 9 homeruns in 41 games. They have also been playing him at second base where he has the potential to be an offensive oriented player at that position. And he does not have to worry about Nolan.

5. Alex Verdugo OF (Dodgers) - Another second round pick, this one by the Dodgers in 2014. Alex is a line drive swinger with battle title possibilities. His balls filter the gaps rather than travel over the fence. Because his lack of speed makes centerfield difficult on the defensive side of the equatione, he needs to play corner where many teams look for power. A plus arm allows him to play right field. If Tony Gwynn can survive as a rightfielder winning batting titles without hitting homeruns Verdugo can find a spot there as well.

6. Lewis Brinson OF (Brewers) - Brinson was originally a first round pick of the Rangers in 2012. He was part of the Jonathan Lucroy trade that saw him go to the Brewers. He is assaulting AAA pitchers, which led to a brief promotion to the Brewers where he struggled for a .097 average. Back in AAA he is hitting .346 while showing some power with his 10 homeruns. There is some pop in his bat and there is speed in his legs to cover a lot of ground in centerfield. Expect the Brewers to give him another opportunity in September.

7. Willie Calhoun 2B (Dodgers) - Listed at 5′8″ the 14th round pick in 2014 snuck up on a lot of people with his 27 homeruns last year. He did show some power in junior college hitting 31 homeruns in 61 games. After a slow start to the season this year the power has returned. Willie has slugged 20 homeruns that has come with a .302 average. His defense at second base is a bit spotty which could create a move to left field. The Dodgers have used him in 11 games this year but most of his time has been spent at second base.

8. Dinelson Lamet RHP (Padres) - Dinelson was a bargain, signing for just $100,000 out of the Dominican Republic. He only got eight starts in the Pacific League before being promoted by the Padres. His 3.23 ERA would have been second to Weaver in the Pacific League ERA race. At 6′4″ he has a little more meat than Weaver with a fastball hitting the mid-90s, to go along with a slider/change combination. While his ERA is higher in the major leagues (6.40) his opposition average is equal (.222 in AAA versus .229). What has been a challenge for Lamet is keeping the ball in the park. He has given up 11 dingers in his 45 major league innings.

9. Carson Kelly C (Cardinals) - The Cardinals second round pick in 2012 is expected to be the successor to Yadier Molina behind the plate. The Cardinals recently called him up to the major league club. This after he hit .283 with 10 homeruns. Last year he made his major league debut and only hit .154. There is power in the bat with gold glove caliber defense, tools that should get him to the major leagues. All he has to do is hit .250 to be an impact player. Carson began his career as a third baseman but the Cardinals moved him behind the plate after they drafted him.

10. Colin Moran 3B (Astros) - Colin was a first round pick of the Marlins in 2013 after he led the NCAA in RBIs. The big question with Colin was his lack of power at what is a power position. The Marlins traded him to the Astros for Jarred Cosart in 2014 when the power numbers did not show. Last year he hit a career high 10 homeruns, but still not what you want to see from a third baseman who does not have stellar defensive tools for third base. At 6′4″ you would expect the power to come. This year it arrived with 18 homeruns in 79 games with a .308 average. It was enough to get him a promotion to the major leagues after the injury to Carlos Correa. Last year in his major league debut he hit .130. In his first game this year he hit a triple and homerun. Times may be looking good for Moran.

Others to Mention

Dominic Smith 1B (Mets) - Another player criticized for his lack of a power bat. The Mets drafted him in the first round in 2013. What myworld saw of him in spring was a lackadaisical way of playing defense where he committed two errors on bone head plays in a span of three innings. With missing power defense was supposed to be his road to the major leagues. Last year the power began to show with 14 homeruns. This year it has crashed the minor league party with 13 homeruns, a .336 average and a career high .515 slugging. If the Mets trade Lucas Duda expect Dominic to see some major league time.

Tony Kemp 2B (Astros) - Not one of those toolsy players who will make prospect lists. The fifth round pick in 2013 also plays the same position as Jose Altuve. But his .333 average could see him as a utility player in the major leagues. Right now Marwin Gonzalez has the patent on that and the defensive capabilities for Kemp are not strong. Kemp though is playing some outfield but is limited to left field by a weak arm. He mostly finds himself at second base, where his defense is considered fringe. At 25 his time is now so myworld expects the Astros to use him as a trade piece with no role for him on their current roster.

Harrison Bader OF (Cardinals) - The outfield is crowded for the third round 2015 pick. His defense is more suited for the corner but there was some concern for his lack of power for a corner spot. Last year he slugged 19 homeruns. This year in 94 games he has already hit 19 homeruns, to go along with a .302 average. Harrison has been playing centerfield. With the recent acquisition of Tyler O’Neil it might be best he stay there, even though his range is just average for a centerfielder.

Brett Phillips OF (Brewers) - Brett was a sixth round pick of the Astros in 2012. The Astros traded him to the Brewers in mid 2015 for Carlos Gomez. With the Astros his batting average never dropped below .300. With the Brewers he had trouble staying healthy and the average last year dived to .229. Scouts began pegging him as more of a fourth outfielder. This year he has found his lost swing breaking out with a .293 average and 17 homeruns. His .582 slugging was just short of his career high. The Brewers have now promoted him to the major leagues where he is hitting .227 with two homeruns in 12 games. He does show a tendency to swing and miss so expect a lot of streaks in his season.

Renato Nunez 3B/1B (Athletics) - The best position for the Venezuelan who signed for $2.2 million in 2010 is probably DH. The positions he is listed for are first base and third base. The Athletics are crowded at those positions. Currently he leads the Pacific League in homeruns with 25. A .254 average, a propensity for strikeouts and poor defense are big downsides for Renato, but you have to like the power. A lack of speed makes moving him to the outfield a concern, but he has seen some time there.

A.J. Reed 1B (Astros) - Reed was a second round pick for the Astros in 2014. The Astros were so impressed with his power possibilities he competed for a major league job right out of spring training in 2015. He continues to show a power bat with 20 homeruns this year but a low average (.248) and sub par defense makes his wait continue. Last year he struggled with major league pitching (.164). Yuli Gurriel does not show as much power but he is more consistent with the bat and plays better defense. A.J. will just have to wait. He could still be used as a trade chip in the Astros playoff run.

Wilmer Font RHP (Dodgers) - At 27 years of age the prospect winds have probably passed him by. But he leads the Pacific Coast League in whiffs with 138 in only 101 innings. The opposition is hitting him at only a .225 clip and he shows good command of his pitches. The Dodgers have some depth in their starting rotation but if Wilmer keeps putting up the numbers it will be tough to keep him down. Look what happened to Brandon Morrow.

2017 Top Venezuelan Prospects - National League

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

The 2016 group of prospects did a better job of making the major leagues last year. The number one prospect Orlando Arcia earned the starting shortstop job for the Brewers to begin the season. The number two prospect Wilson Contreras saw significant playing time behind the plate and in the outfield by mid season. The number four prospect Jose Peraza earned playing time at second base for the rebuilding Reds. With all that success new players will fit the bill. Below are the top Venezuelan prospects in the National League, some of them already getting enough playing time in the major leagues this year not to be eligible for this list next year.

Below is the list of National League top prospects from Venezuela:

1. Anderson Espinoza RHP (Padres) - Injuries have delayed the start to his 2017 season. Last year he pitched in Low A and had some success, though his ERA was at 4.49 and his whiff rate was below one per inning. The opposition hit him at a .276 clip. Someone with his mid-90s fastball and top of the class change should put up better numbers at Low A, though he was one of the youngest players in the league. The Red Sox signed him in 2014 for $1.8 million then traded him to the Padres for Drew Pomeranz. Missing a full year could have an impact in his development, especially as he tries to develop a work load that will allow him to pitch 200 innings in the major leagues. At 6′0″ he draws comparisons to Pedro Martinez and Yordano Ventura, with the potential to be a top shelf starter. If his small stature makes it difficult for him to stay healthy he could always move to the bullpen as a closer.

2. Kevin Maitan SS (Braves) - It is unusual for a 2016 international signing to find himself on top 100 prospect lists. That is the case for Maitan, but the $4.2 million the Braves shelled out for him could have had an influence. Maitan did not play last year and at 17 years of age had to wait until July for the Rookie Leagues to begin to make his debut. His .302 batting average in minimal at bats (43) validates the Braves faith in his offense. Power should develop as he matures. Maitan has the tools to play short, but if he physically matures he has the bat to move to third base.

3. German Marquez RHP (Rockies) - The Rays signed German in 2011 for $225,000. The Rockies acquired Marquez in the Chris Dickerson trade. Last year he made his major league debut. This year he has cemented himself in the Rockies rotation after two starts in AAA. The fastball hits the mid 90s and his curve ball is considered above average. The change will need to develop more consistency if he hopes to stick in the rotation. Currently he has a 4.34 ERA after 15 starts with the Rockies. His .276 opponent batting average is influenced by the High Colorado air. Staying in the rotation will require improved consistency.

4. Ronald Acuna OF (Braves) - Acuna signed for only $100,000 in 2014. Despite his young age the Braves are speeding him through their minor league clubs. This year he has played at three levels despite his 19 years of age, currently at AAA where he is hitting .250 with two homeruns in his first six games. All the tools are there with the speed to play defense in center and the arm for right. He should hit for both average and power as he matures. His strikeout numbers are up this year but he appears to have improved his stolen base numbers with a career high 33 in just 91 games. In his first two years he stole 30 bases. It would not surprise my world to see Acuna get a September callup. The biggest comp for Acuna is Andrew Jones. Expect him to have an impact in 2018.

5. Elias Diaz C (Pirates) - The Pirates signed Diaz in 2008. Last year he made his major league debut as a September callup. This year he returned to the major league team after injuries to their catchers. Nobody questions his defense. Elias has a strong arm with good mobility behind the plate. The big question mark with him is his inability to hit major league pitching. The Pirates turned to Elias once injuries decimated the catching staff. After a hot start his average has dropped to .266. If he can show a decent bat he should at least make it as a back up in the major leagues.

6. Antonio Senzatela RHP (Rockies) - Another Rockie pitcher. Antonio signed in 2011. He was limited to seven starts because of a shoulder problem. That did not stop the Rockies from promoting him to the major leagues after only one start in AAA. Last year he only pitched 35 innings. The previous year he threw a career high of 154 innings. This year he has already gone over 100 innings with a 4.57 ERA, not bad when half of your games are played in Colorado. Antonio has a low 90s fastball with excellent command. In between he can throw a slider, curve and change.

7. Luis Torrens C (Padres) - The Yankees like to sign catchers with offensive potential but limited on defense, as evidence by Gary Sanchez and Jesus Montero. Luis was considered the better defensive catcher early in his career, one of the reasons the Yankees signed Torres for $1.3 million. Injuries have limited his ascent up the minor league ladder with 62 games in 2014 his minor league career high. The Padres acquired him in the Rule V draft and despite never getting past Low A kept him on the major league roster. Luis is hitting .188 with a .225 slugging in limited playing time. At 20 years of age he is young enough to develop in the minor leagues next year.

8. Jose Martinez OF (Cardinals) - Jose Martinez is a hitting machine. In 2015 he combined for a .382 average. Last year he slipped to .278 but made his major league debut, hitting .438 in 12 games. The Royals traded him to the Cardinals mid season and this year Jose has spent most of the year on the major league club as a fourth outfielder. He is best suited for left field defensively but lacks the power for the position. The Cardinals have been using him at first and the two corners. Expect him to stick in the major leagues as a fourth outfielder/pinch hitter.

9. Andres Gimenez SS (Mets) - The Mets signed Andres in 2015 for $1.2 million. With Amed Rosario a couple levels ahead of him second base may be his best position. Gimenez does not have a lot of power but the tools are there for him to play shortstop. This year in Low A he is making his domestic debut, having played in the Dominican Summer League last year. A .274 average with a .676 OPS shows his offensive limitations. The Mets have a bevy of depth in the minor leagues at shortstop so the Mets will be patient with him as he rises up the minor leagues.

10. Ricardo Sanchez LHP (Braves) - The Braves acquired Ricardo from the Angels for Kyle Kubitza. For a lefthander he has good velocity on his fastball throwing in the mid-90s. Command is the area that results in his ERA rising above 5 and the opposition hitting .296 against him. At 5′11 he is not a big guy, but lefthanders under 6′0″ have a better opportunity to survive as a starter.

2016 National League Prospects - Venezuela

Future Games Rosters Selected

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

The futures game is played before the All Star team and features the best prospects outside of the United States against the best prospects inside the United States. The game is scheduled for July 9. Below are the rosters of the two teams.

World Team

Pitchers

Domingo Acevedo (Dom Rep/Yankees), Yadier Alvarez (Cuba/Dodgers), Jaime Barria (Panama/Angels), Luis Escobar (Colombia/Pirates), Tayron Guerrero (Colombia/Marlins), Jonathan Hernandez (Dominican Republic/Rangers), Jairo Labourt (Dom Rep/Tigers), Cal Quantrill (Canada/Padres), Mike Soroka (Canada/Braves), Thyago Vieira (Brazil/Mariners)

Catchers

Tomas Nido (Puerto Rico/Mets), Francisco Mejia (Dom Rep/Indians)

Infielders

Yordan Alvarez (Cuba/Astros), Josh Naylor (Canada/Padres), Yoan Moncada (Cuba/White Sox), Mauricio Dubon (Honduras/Brewers), Lucius Fox (Bahamas/Rays), Ahmed Rosario (Dom Rep/Mets), Rafael Devers (Dom Rep/Red Sox), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Dom Rep/Blue Jays)

Outfielders

Ronald Acuna (Venezuela/Braves), Estevan Florial (Haiti/Yankees), Eloy Jimenez (Dom Rep/Cubs), Victor Robles (Dom Rep/Nationals), Alex Verdugo (Mexico/Dodgers)

United States team

Beau Burrows (Tigers), Jon Duplantier (Diamondbacks), Jack Flaherty (Cardinals), Foster Griffen (Royals), Jimmy Hegert (Reds), Brent Honeywell (Rays), Michael Kopech (White Sox), Triston McKenzie (Indians), A.J. Puk (Athletics), Tanner Scott (Orioles)

Catcher

Zack Collins (White Sox), Chance Sisco (Orioles)

Infielders

Rhys Hoskins (Phillies), Ryan McMahon (2B/3B) Rockies, Scott Kingery (Phillies), Bo Bichette (Blue Jays/Brazil), Nick Gordon (Twins), Brendan Rodgers (Rockies), Brian Anderson (Marlins), Nick Senzel (Reds)

Outfielders

Lewis Brinson (Twins), Derek Fisher (Astros), Corey Ray (Brewers), Bryan Reynolds (Giants), Kyle Tucker (Astros)

2017 Top Cuban Prospects - National League

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

Myworld only includes those Cubans signed prior to April so Luis Robert and Hector Mendoza would not be included on this list. They will probably appear on the 2018 list. The Dodgers seem to control the Cuban market in the National League, though they have not been getting their money’s worth yet as far as major league contribution. Alex Guerrero is leading the NPB in homeruns with 20, but that does not do the Dodgers much good.

1. Yadier Alvarez RHP (Dodgers) - His fastball has tweaked triple digits on the radar gun but sits in the mid-90s. That is something not common with Cuban pitchers. While he throws hard he struggles with command. He did not make the Cuban 18 and under team because of his inability to throw strikes. The potential exists for a plus curve and change, which would put him in the rotation. Last year he started 14 games in rookie ball and Low A. The Dodgers controlled his pitches limiting him to under five innings per start. This year he is pitching in the California League which can be tough on pitchers. For Yadier it has been tough on him with a .275 opposition average and a 5.32 ERA.

2. Adrian Morejon LHP (Padres) - He does not throw as hard as Yadier but he is more a complete pitcher. While Yadier did not make the 18 under team because of his lack of control Adrian won the MVP award in the 15 and under World Cup tournament. He sits in the low 90s, touching the mid 90s, pretty good for a lefthanded arm. His curve and change are a little more developed than Yadier and his command of the strike zone is better. The tools may not be as great but his potential to succeed is better. The two starts at Tri-City are his first as a professional. He did not walk any in his 11 innings but the opposition hit him at a .333 clip.

3. Yusniel Diaz OF (Dodgers) - Yusniel left Cuba after his first season in the Cuban Nacional Series. He has decent speed, but like many Cubans does not steal bases because of poor jumps. Power is lacking in his bat but he should hit the gaps and hit for average. His speed and a strong arm will make him a good fit defensively in center field. He signed with the Dodgers after the 2015 season for $15 million and hit .272 in the California League. He is repeating the California League and is showing slightly better numbers across the board. His stolen base success is still poor going from seven out of 15 to five out of 13.

4. Jorge Ona OF (Padres) - The Padres paid Jorge a $7 million bonus in July 2016. His tools are not as impressive as Yusniel. His lack of speed will restrict him to a corner outfield with an average arm pinning him to left. What he does have is the potential to hit for power. The Padres are being aggressive with the 20 year old starting him at Low A for his first season. The power has not shown yet with a .406 slugging, but he has hit six homeruns with a .283 average. He needs to reduce the strikeouts (55 in 55 games) to keep that average up at the higher levels. The Padres have played him mostly in right field, but he has also played 12 games in left.

5. Vladimir Gutierrez RHP (Reds) - The Reds signed him for $4.75 million in 2016. He left his Cuban national team prior to their tournament in the Caribbean Series in 2015. His curveball was considered the best in Cuba and his fastball sits in the low 90s but has hit the mid-90s. He needs to develop his change to make it in the starting rotation. In Cuba he pitched as a reliever, picking up 13 saves. In his first minor league season he shows an ability to get the whiff with 74 in 68 innings. He does give up too much of the barrel on bats (.268) which has driven up his ERA (4.63). A couple poor starts have accounted for his pedestrian numbers.

6. Jose Adolis Garcia OF (Cardinals) - His older brother is Adonis. He is bigger than his brother which allows him to carry more power. The NPB Yomiuri Giants signed him but he struggled with them, hitting only .234 with a .396 slugging average in the minor leagues. He went 0 for 7 with three K’s with the Giants. His outfield defense is more suited for the corner and at 23 years of age he needs to move quickly. His brother Adonis was 27 when he defected and did not make his major league debut until he was 30 years old. The Cardinals have started Jose in AA where he is hitting .284 with six homeruns and a .432 slugging.

7. Randy Arozarena OF (Cardinals) - Randy played on the same 18 and under team as Yoan Moncada in 2013. The Cardinals only paid $1.25 million for him, a good bargain for a player with good speed and outfield skills that could see center. His bat will not hit for power but it should pepper the gaps. He played last year in the Mexican League struggling with a .100 average in only 20 at bats. The Cardinals have started him in High A and he is doing better, with a .276 average and eight homeruns with a .480 slugging. Most of his time has been spent in left field but he has played some center and right. The Cardinals were hoping for a leadoff type hitter but with the power he is showing in High A they could have a middle of the order hitter.

8. Albert Almora OF (Cubs) - A superb defender, the Cubs made him a first round pick in the 2012 draft. He is probably the Cubs top centerfielder but his bat is a little too quiet and may limit him to being a fourth outfielder. Despite his Cuban background he has played on a number of youth United States national teams. His father played baseball in Cuba before he defected but Albert was born in Florida. Albert has stayed up with the Cubs for the 2017 season, mostly as a backup, hitting a decent .270.

9. Omar Esteves 2B (Dodgers) - The Dodgers paid $6 million to a player lacking in above average tools. His defense at second is below average, his speed is not great and his arm is weak. His bat could play but it will be limited to gap power. Omar made his debut in 2015 hitting .255 with a .389 slugging. He was an 18 year old playing in Low A. This year he is playing in High A hitting just .232. Myworld doesn’t believe the Dodgers will get much major league production from their $6 million investment.

10. Alfredo Rodriguez SS (Reds) - Alfredo has some defensive tools but his bat is lacking. The Reds signed him for $7 million at the same time they signed Vladimir Gutierrez. He hit .234 in the Dominican League absent any power (.299 slugging). He does have the speed to steal bases. While he hit his first minor league homerun in the Florida State League this year his slugging sits at .308 but his batting average has improved to .266. At best he could end up as a utility player or a number 8 hitter in a potent offense that can ignore his bat for his glove.

Ubaldo Gives O’s Big Start Versus Cards

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

If there is one thing the Orioles need it is starting pitching. Only Dylan Bundy is pitching well of their big three with Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman struggling. This puts a strain on the bullpen. Ubaldo Jimenez gave the O’s seven innings allowing just two runs, both bombs by Stephen Piscotty in the O’s 8-5 win and could find himself back in the rotation.

Jimenez fastball is not what it used to be. He sits in the high 80s to low 90s. When he throws strikes he can still be effective. While he walked four none of them hurt him. The defense played well behind him and giving up just four hits did not allow the walks to advance the bases or cross the plate. The two runs he did allow were on balls that cleared the fence, both by Stephen Piscotty. The first homerun just cleared the fence in right center in the second inning, Adam Jones making a valiant leap to keep it from going over the wall. The second homerun by Piscotty came in the fourth with a ball that just cleared the fence in centerfield.

On the other side Lance Lynn was not sharp. The O’s got some good wood on the bat with many of his pitches. Seth Smith led off the first inning with a line drive homerun over the centerfield wall. In the second inning Trey Mancini led off the inning with a blast over the right field scoreboard. That blast gave the Orioles a 2-1 lead, which they would never relinquish.

In the third inning Seth Smith lined a single into centerfield. Seth would finish the day a triple short of the cycle. Manny Machado walked. Adam Jones appeared to spoil the rally grounding into a double play. With a runner on third and a 1-2 count Mark Trumbo stuck his bat out and lined a soft single into left field to plate Smith for a 3-1 lead.

The Orioles put the game away in the fifth. Five straight hitters blasted the ball to the warning track or farther. It started with a blast from Adam Jones that went over the head of Dexter Fowler and one hopped the wall. Fowler appeared a little casual retrieving the ball and Jones made a triple out of it, his first since 2015. Trumbo followed with a shot that just reached the left field bleachers. A fan with a glove had it bounce out of the glove and fall back into the field. Trey Mancini lined a pitch into left centerfield that hit the wall and caromed past Pham and Fowler. Mancini was able to scamper to third for his first career triple. Jonathan Schoop followed with a shot into right center that would have travelled over the fence, but Fowler made a nice leap over the wall and brought the ball back in. Mancini scored to give Schoop a SF. Wellington Castillo finished the day for Lynn by driving one into the Orioles bullpen to give the Orioles a 7-2 lead. Five batters and five blasts in a row. It was amazing Lynn was left in that long.

The Orioles made it 8-2 in the sixth. Seth Smith hit a hustle double to right center field, beating the throw from Piscotty. He advanced to third on a wild pitch. Manny Machado took advantage of a drawn in infield by bouncing one past the shortstop. Smith crossed the plate for his third run of the game.

The call went to Vidal Nuno to pitch the eighth. With an 8-2 lead he walked the leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter. He got ahead of Dexter Fowler with a 1-2 count but Fowler hit the next pitch deep over the center field wall. For Fowler it was the fourth consecutive game in which he has hit a homerun. For Buck he had seen enough for Nuno and placed call on Miguel Castro to finish the inning. Castro got the first two hitters but then gave up a homerun to Yadier Molina deep into the left field bleachers.

With the score 8-5 Brad Brach was called on to finish the ninth. He retired the side in order to give the O’s the rubber match against the Cardinals and earn himself a cheap save.

Game Notes: Both teams abandoned their colors for this game to wear blue to honor Father’s day. The Cardinals blue was darker and they wore gray jerseys…The Cardinal outfield arms are not strong. The O’s took advantage of Tommy Pham, Dexter Fowler and Stephen Piscotty to advance an extra base on three hits, turning two doubles into triples and a single into a double…Trevor Rosenthal is hitting 100 consistently with his fastball. The last time we saw him pitch he was struggling with his fastball down to 96-97…Speaking of velocity myworld was in Bowie last night and watched Jesus Liranzo make his first start. He was hitting 100-101 on almost every pitch. Jesus has been working out of the pen because he only has two pitches. The fastball is hot but an average curve or slider with not a lot of break and a change he threw once that went for a ball gives him a lot to work on if he wants to convert to a starter. The Orioles need starting pitchers and they have two possibilities in Bowie who have high 90s to triple digit fastballs (Tanner Scott is the other pitcher). Tanner has not gone past the third inning in any of his starts…The defense was making some excellent plays behind Ubaldo. A leaping catch by Schoop in the sixth, an unassisted double play by Trey Mancini in the fifth and a nice running catch to the warning track by Jones in the seventh…Can’t see Hyun-Soo Kim getting many starts if he doesn’t start showing some offense. His defense is not strong and he only has one homerun with a .267 average. Those are numbers of a fourth outfielder, but they usually are kept on the bench because of their defense or speed. Kim has neither attribute…The fans gave Ubaldo a standing O after he retired the side in the seventh. They knew his day was done…J.J. Hardy was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning. He was replaced by Ruben Tejeda when the team went on defense in the fifth inning.

Cardinals Ink Cuban Closer Hector Mendoza

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

As the opportunity whittles for signing international players to contracts another Cuban pitcher was signed. Hector Mendoza signed with the St. Louis Cardinals. Because of his age (23) and years in professional ball Hector was not subject to the International salary cap. His five years of pro ball in Cuba plus his two years of playing in the NBP exempted him from the salary cap.

Hector was the closer for a couple years with the Cuban National team. Myworld saw him pitch in Puerto Rico and was impressed with his height (6′2″) and velocity. The Yomiuri Giants also liked him and worked with Cuba to sign him to a contract. He pitched mostly in the minor leagues with the Giants, getting in only five games with the major league team in his two years in Japan.

Command has always been a challenge for Mendoza. He is one of the few Cubans that had good velocity on his fastball, sitting in the mid-90s, but he had trouble finding the plate. It will be interesting to see if the Cardinals keep him in the pen, where he has always pitched or move him into the starting rotation. He does have three pitches to fit in a rotation, but he has always pitched in the bullpen so converting him to a starter would create durability issues and delay his arrival to the major league team.

Terms of the contract have not been disclosed.

Top Caribbean Prospects

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

Not a lot of can’t misses on this list. Last year we did a top ten for Panama alone, but the prospects were not that great to try to come up with another top ten. There is one major leaguer on this list, but that is because he is a Rule V pick.

1) Ariel Jurando (Rangers/Panama) RHP - Ariel relies more on command than heat. His fastball hits the mid-90s with downward spin that entices numerous ground balls. For his career his ground ball to air ball rate is 2.12. At 6′1″ he is not the ideal height for a righthander and the lack of quality secondary pitches could spell trouble against major league hitters. This year teams are hitting him at a .278 clip with seven homeruns in just 58 innings. Ariel has not given up seven homeruns in a season in his career. His strikeout numbers have also fallen off. Ariel is expected to find himself in the back end of the rotation or as a middle reliever. He could see a September callup if his year improves.

2) Edmundo Sosa (Cardinals/Panama) SS - Edmundo got a bonus of $425,000 in 2012, which was the largest for any Panamanian that year. The best tool for Edmundo is his glove with the ability to make the spectacular plays as he glides to the ball. The bat appears to be a little light despite the .300 average in the rookie leagues. The 2016 season was shortened by a wrist injury that ended his season in July after just 97 games. The power also seems a little light. He is playing in the Florida State League where he is hitting a soft .269. If stolen bases were in his tool box he could be a possible starter but he also falls short in that department. The Cardinals seem to be set at short with Aledemys Diaz so the best hope for Sosa could be as a utility player or be included in a trade package if the Cardinals want to load up for a playoff run.

3) Mauricio Dubon (Brewers/Honduras) SS - They don’t play a lot of baseball in Honduras where Mauricio was born. Fortunately for Dubon he moved to the United States to play high school ball. The Red Sox drafted him in the 26th round of the 2013 draft then traded him to the Brewers last year in the Tyler Thornburg trade. He makes solid contact with good gap power. His over the fence power could improve with added strength. He will never be an elite fielder at short, but his bat could make him a good utility player. He is currently hitting .294 at AA while showing some impressive speed with 23 stolen bases in 30 attempts. Last year he stole a career high 30 stolen bases. Myworld expects him to be more a utility player than starter.

4) Touki Toussaint (Braves/Haiti) RHP - Touki was born in Florida but moved to Haiti when he was three months old. He returned to the United States at six years of age and began his baseball career. At 6′3″ he has good height for a pitcher. The Diamondbacks drafted him in the first round of the 2014 draft but grew frustrated with his lack of command and traded him to the Braves to rid themselves of the Bronson Arroyo salary. His command is still suspect where he walks more than 4.5 hitters per nine innings. His fastball hits the mid-90s and the curveball is a stellar pitch, but his lack of command and a missing third offering could prevent him from pitching in the rotation. A bullpen role could be in his future. This year he seems more hittable with the opposition hitting him at a .251 clip when his last two years hitters stayed below .230. This has elevated his ERA to 6.80 in nine starts.

5) Roniel Raudes (Red Sox/Nicaragua) - What Roniel lacks in velocity he makes up for in his arsenal of pitches. While his fastball can barely touch 90 he mixes it well with his curveball and change. With his above average command he sends hitters back to the bench frustrated. Last year the opposition hit him at a .260 clip but he did create a lot of swings and misses with 8.8 whiffs per nine innings pitched, winning 11 games and being voted the Red Sox minor league pitcher of the year. This year the success has been lacking in High A with the opposition hitting him at .293. A couple days ago the Red Sox placed Roniel on the minor league disabled list.

6) Jaime Barria (Angels/Panama) - Another pitcher from Panama who lacks the heat, but controls the plate with his command. The Angels signed him in 2013 and last year he debuted in the full season Low A pitching well enough to make the All Star team. His best pitch may be the change, with a curve ball also in his arsenal. With the promotion to the California League, known for hitters abusing pitchers Jaime is dominating with a 2.48 ERA and limiting the opposition to a .202 average. The Angels will do good if he can make the back end of the rotation.

7) Jonathan Arauz (Astros/Panama) - The Phillies signed Arauz for $600,000 in 2014 then traded him to the Astros along with closer Ken Giles for a package of prospects. There is very little flashy about his game. The bat is light, lacking power. His range is also light with little to no stolen base speed. His 2017 season has not started yet, which could be the result of his 50 game suspension for testing positive for drugs.

8) Estevan Florial (Yankees/Haiti) - Estevan was actually born in Haiti. Originally signed to a six figure contract it was reduced to $200,000 after an identity problem. Speed is his best tool but it has not resulted in stolen bases. It does help him cover ground in centerfield. His bat shows some power but his inability to make contact hampers the power from showing. Last year at Pulaski he hit .225 with 78 whiffs in just 60 games. This year his average is improved (.270) with better extra base power. His 11 doubles has already surpassed his total from last year. If Estevan can improve his ability to make contact he could have a future as a lead off hitter. If his power develops he could find himself in a power spot.

9) Javier Guerra (Padres/Panama) SS - Javier had a rough year last year (.202 average) after hitting 15 homeruns and batting .279 in 2015. The Red Sox signed him in 2012 for $250,000 then traded him to the Padres for Craig Kimbrel after the 2015 season. The Padres may be wondering who they got in the trade especially after those struggles continue this year (.212). His ability to make contact has suffered after 2015 striking out 141 times in 105 games last year and 65 times in just 48 games this year. His OBA sits at .264 this year, the same as it was last year. His defense is exceptional but if his bat does not improve his major league opportunities will be limited.

10) Allen Cordoba (Padres/Panama) - The Padres stole him from the Cardinals in the Rule V draft. In rookie ball he showed an ability to hit with a .309 career average. Since he had not played past rookie ball many did not expect him to make the major league roster. The Padres are not going anywhere so they kept him where he has surprised with the bat (.304 average). Not expected to hit for any power he has hit three homeruns for the Padres for a .435 slugging average. In the minors he had a career slugging average of .395 with just four homeruns in four years. The Cardinals drafted him as a shortstop but Allen has seen most of his time in the outfield.

Hot Prospects Heading Towards the End of May

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Scott Kingery 2B (Phillies) - Perhaps the hottest hitter in the minors, Scott has blasted four homeruns in his last three games to give him 13 for the season. He was drafted by the Phillies in the second round of the 2015 draft and his total number of homeruns in his first one and a half years covering 197 games is 8. In 2017 he has hit 13 in 37 games. Reading is a hitters park but five of his 13 blasts have been on the road. He is also hitting .300 on the road versus .280 at Reading. His road OPS (1.026) is better than his home OPS (1.010) so it doesn’t seem to matter where Scott plays.

Luis Urias 2B (Padres) - He does not hit a lot of homeruns but is known for his ability to make contact (25/20 walk to whiff). An eight game hitting streak (14 for 37) has kept his average at .344. Luis has scored 29 runs in 41 games with enough gap power to collect 11 doubles for a .485 slugging. Don’t expect Luis to dazzle you with speed or power. He just makes contact and hopes the ball finds the gaps.

Sam Travis 1B (Red Sox) - Sam had back to back games in which he went deep, then followed that up with a five hit game. The four game multiple hitting streak rose his average to .299. Sam is considered the Red Sox first baseman of the future. Last year injuries limited him to 47 games so this appears to be the bounce back season he was looking for.

Danny Jansen C (Blue Jays) - After hitting .369 with five homeruns and a .963 OPS Danny got his promotion to AA. That has not proved much of a challenge as he rounded up seven hits in his first 16 at bats for a .438 average. His four extra base hits have all been doubles. Danny was a 16th round pick in 2013. His best average going into the 2017 season was .282. The five homeruns he hit early this season has tied his career high (2014 and 2015). Danny has found that magical mystery zone.

Alfredo Rodriguez SS (Reds) - The Cuban with the slick glove is trying to make people notice his bat. A 5 for 5 day in which he drove in four runs raised his average to .278. At 22 years of age he is due a promotion from Low A. Only six of his 45 hits have gone for extra bases, all of them doubles dragging his slugging percentage to .309. In his last 10 games he has hit .439.

Estevan Florial CF (Yankees) - One of the few players born in Haiti, Estevan has gone 6 for 9 in his last two games, crossing the plate five times and driving in three. He tends to strike out too much (50 in 39 games), which has kept his average at .282.

Willie Calhoun 2B (Dodgers) - The balls are jumping off his bat. In his last seven games Willie has gone deep five times. Of his last 10 hits five of them have carried over the fence. His average has creeped above .300 (.310). If he can improve his defense Willie could be ready for a major league opportunity. There was some talk of moving him to left field but all 30 of his games have been at second base.

Parker Bridwell RHP (Angels) - The Orioles traded Parker to the Angels for cash after he gave up 8 runs in four innings in his first two appearances with Norfolk. The Angels started him in AA and have now promoted him to AAA after he gave up only two runs in nine innings. In AAA the opposition is hitting him at only a .143 clip and he has a 1.02 ERA after three starts. Only 25 the Angels could have him in the rotation by mid-season if the injuries keep piling up.

Jose De Leon RHP (Rays) - After throwing five innings of no hit ball in the Florida State League the Rays have promoted De Leon to AAA. A couple good starts there could have him on their major league roster. The Rays traded Logan Forsyth to acquire De Leon from the Dodgers but arm issues have delayed the start of his season.

Jon Duplantier RHP (Diamondbacks) - Each time Jon goes out on the mound another shutout is thrown. His last three times out covering 17 innings he has not given up an earned run. In his eight appearances, seven of them starts he has not given up an earned run. The opposition is hitting just .149 against him and his ERA sits at a gaudy 0.64.

Rogelio Armenteros RHP (Astros) - The Cuban did not give up a hit in five innings of work in his last outing. He has gone 13 innings since he has last given up a run dropping his ERA to 1.25. Rogelio was signed in 2015, pitched for Spain in the 2016 WBC qualifier and is limiting AA hitters to a .181 average.

Austin Sodders LHP (Tigers) - The seventh round 2016 pick has been dominating at Low A with a 5-0, 0.73 ERA. He has only given up runs in two of his seven starts. In a three start span he struck out 28 in 17 innings. Expect a promotion to High A if he continues this domination.

Mike O’Reilly RHP (Cardinals) - Mike was two outs from pitching a nine inning no hitter. A one out single ended those hopes and ended his outing after 8.1 innings. During that time he struck out 10 with only one walk. In six appearances, three of them starts Mike has only walked three hitters in his 26 innings. The opposition is hitting just .156 against him.

Scott Moss LHP (Reds) - Scott threw the first six innings of the first no hitter thrown by the Dayton Dragons. Moss walked three in the outing but it was his second consecutive shutout appearance covering 11 innings, dropping his ERA to 1.91. The win improved his record to 6-1. The Reds drafted Moss in the fourth round of the 2016 draft.

Corbin Burnes RHP (Brewers) - The fourth round pick of the 2016 draft has dominated the Carolina League. In his last four starts he has only given up one run. His last start he struck out a career high 10 in seven innings. After nine starts Corbin sits at 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA and a .189 opposition average. He is ready for a promotion to AA.