Archive for the 'Rays' Category

Myworld’s Top Ten Third Base Prospects

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

This is a position reserved for power hitters. Many of those power hitters like Jim Thome or Miguel Sano get too big for the position and have to move to first base or DH. Below are the players myworld sees as the top ten at third base.

1. Nick Senzel (Reds) - The first round pick of the Reds in 2016 and the second player drafted overall should hit for both average and power. Last year he combined to hit .321 between High A and AA, with his average increasing from .305 to .340 when promoted to AA. He also hit 14 homeruns with a slugging average of .514. Defensively, he has the quickness to stay at the position, but do not expect any gold gloves. The Reds traded Todd Frazier to make room for Senzel. Eugenio Suarez, the current occupier of the position can play a super utility role, having played second, short and left field in his time with the Reds. Expect to see Senzel at this position in 2018.

2. Vladimir Guerrero (Blue Jays) - His bat may not be as productive as his father and his arm is not as strong. He does carry more patience, walking 76 times last year. In his last three years in the major leagues his father walked 71 times, though he did show more patience earlier in his career (or pitchers feared him so much they did not give him a pitch to hit). The big question with Junior is whether he can handle the position defensively. Last year he hit .323 with 13 homeruns and a .485 slugging average between Low and High A. Those numbers should increase as he matures. Myworld would not be surprised if he is moved to left field or first base, though his lack of speed would make him a liability on defense in the outfield.

3. Michael Chavis (Red Sox) - Rafael Devers had some success last year at third base for the Red Sox. That seems to create an impediment for Chavis to move there at the major league level. Chavis may not have the hit tool of Devers (.282) but he hits for more power with his 31 homeruns between High A and AA. Like Devers, defense is not a strong point for Chavis. His lack of speed will make moving to the outfield difficult. The Red Sox have one more year to decide who they move to first base, or use one of them as trade bait.

4. Brian Anderson (Marlins) - Myworld was impressed how frequently the third round 2014 pick peppered the gap during spring training. The ball seems to jump off his bat when he makes contact. Currently his power is more dedicated to the gaps. In a brief major league callup he hit 7 doubles in 84 at bats. At AA and AAA he combined for 22 homeruns and 21 doubles, hitting .275. His power could improve once he shows better patience at the plate. Defensively he has all the tools to play the position. He should be the starter at the position for the Marlins in 2018.

5. Austin Riley (Braves) - Austin is currently tearing it up in the Arizona Fall League. This after he hit 20 homeruns at High A and AA last year. If Austin can tame his swings and misses the average could go higher and more balls would carry the fence. Defensively he is adequate at third. With another solid performance in AA he could be with the Braves by mid-season in 2018. They do not have any top player to stop him from advancing.

6. Miguel Andujar (Yankees) - The Yankees have a glut of middle infielders (Gleyber Torres), some of whom they may have to accommodate at third to get their bat in the lineup. Currently, most of his power fills the gaps, with 38 doubles last year, two in the major leagues. As he matures those 16 homeruns he hit last year could translate to 30 plus. It would be hard to find a better arm than Miguel and if he had the speed a move to right field would be perfect (but that would require supplanting Aaron Judge). Last year he hit .571 in a seven at bat major league September callup. Expect him to see more time at the major league level next year.

7. Jake Burger (White Sox) - Jake was a first round pick of the White Sox last year. There is little doubt he will be a hitting machine, though in a 13 at bat minor league debut he hit just .154. The big concern with Jake is his stay puff marshmellow physique, which could force a move away from third. Currently his physique allows him the quickness to play third. If he continues to bulk up he may have to move to first. Not a lot of players can match his work ethic. Drafted out of college if Jake hits he will be moved up quickly.

8. Colton Walker (Rockies) - Unlike Ryan McMahon, Colton as a few more years in the minor leagues to play third base before the Rockies have to make a decision on whether to keep Nolan Arenado. The biggest strength for Colton is his defense. He was a shortstop in high school, so playing third is a good transition for him, especially because of his lack of speed. Last year in his first full season at Low A he hit .350. The power is still absent (6 homeruns) but it should come as he gains strength.

9. Lucas Erceg (Brewers) - The second round 2016 pick has the power to play the position. He struggled with the bat a little bit more last year than his debut 2016 half season, hitting just .256 at High A. The power showed mainly in the gaps with 33 doubles, but he did slug 15 homeruns for a .417 slugging average. As he gets stronger the power will carry more balls over the fence. He should be a stand out defensively and eventually move Travis Shaw to first base.

10. Adrian Rondon (Rays) - The Rays shelled out $2.95 million to sign him. At the time he was a shortstop. A lack of speed forced a move to third base. Too many swings and misses (129) impacted his average (.221). When he makes contact the ball travels well off the bat. Only 19, myworld would not be surprised if he spends another season in Low A to deal with his lack of contact issues. The defense will be solid.

Other players to note:

Ryan McMahon (Rockies) - On talent alone he would make this top ten just after Andujar. We already listed him at second base and do not see him playing third for the Rockies as long as Arenado fills this spot. Defensively he is not as strong as Walker so when Walker is ready and Arenado gone McMahon will be at first or second.

Ryan Mountcastle (Orioles) - He does not have the range to play short. When promoted to AA last year he played third. The power could be short for the position making a move to second more logical.

Bobby Dalbec (Red Sox) - That shortage at third base for the Red Sox is turning into a surplus. There is still too much swing and miss in his bat (132 in 85 games). If that can be toned down the power is there to play the position.

Colin Moran (Astros) - He was an RBI machine in college. That did not transition to the major leagues. Last year he had a break out season with 18 homeruns, earning a promotion to the major leagues. A hit by pitch put an early stop to his season. It will be interesting if last year was an aberration or part of his new self.

J.D. Davis (Astros) - Davis has some power in his bat but a lack of quickness and Bregman and Moran could force a move to another position. A lack of speed leaves first base as the most desirable option.

Hunter Dozier (Royals) - The first round 2013 pick has taken some time to develop. Injuries limited him to 33 games last year. Alex Gordon struggled for a number of years with the Royals while trying to play third base until they moved him to the outfield. Perhaps this will have to be done for Dozier to get his bat working.

Renato Nunez (Athletics) - He has good power in his bat but an inability to make consistent contact. His poor fielding makes a move to first almost guaranteed, especially with the depth the Athletics have at third.

Ke’Bryan Hayes (Pirates) - The Pirates first round pick in 2015 lacks the power for the position. He is an above average defender.

Christian Arroyo (Giants) - A tweener. The first round 2013 pick does not have the range for short or the power for third.

Top First Base Prospects

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

Major league first baseman come from a number of different positions. Catchers who can not make it behind the plate, outfielders who lack the speed to cover the grass and third baseman who lose their mobility to react to balls hit at them. Those players who start as first baseman in the minor leagues have a large pool to compete against. The below list is composed of those players in the minor leagues who played first base. We don’t try to project other players having to move positions.

1. Pavin Smith (Diamondbacks) - The 2017 first round pick of the Diamondbacks has Paul Goldschmidt in his way at first. The college drafted hitter had more balls carry over the fence than strikeouts last year while playing in college. In his 195 official at bats in the minor leagues he could not lift any balls over the fence but he hit .318 with a .401 OBA and a 27/24 walk to whiff ratio. There is no speed to his legs so moving to the outfield would be difficult. The D-backs have a couple years to figure out what they want to do with Smith. He will need to hit for more power to make it to the major leagues, but his defense is solid at the position.

2. Brendan McKay (Rays) - Is he a hitter or a left handed pitcher? The first round pick in 2017 was drafted ahead of Smith in the first round. The lefthander does not have an overpowering fastball, but some project the velocity would increase if he focused more on the mound. A wicked curve ball and command are what he uses to retire hitters, traits that some lefthanded pitchers use to thrive in the major leagues. As a hitter the bat is strong, with the ability to hit a consistent .300, though he only hit .232 last year. The power is not great but good enough to hit 20 plus homeruns. Brendan also lacks the speed to move to the outfield but his defensive skills around the bag are good.

3. Josh Naylor (Padres) - The Canadian has the power you look for in a first baseman. The Marlins drafted him in the first round then traded him to the Padres to acquire Andrew Cashner. For a player who makes contact with the ball he does not hit for a high average. In the California League he did hit .297 but when promoted to AA he dropped to .250. Defense and speed will not be part of his game, so if he cannot make it at first base he needs to be traded to the American League where he can fit as a DH. His lack of speed will limit him to one base at a time baserunning.

4. Chris Shaw (Giants) - The first round pick in 2015 has the power to hit at the position. Last year he hit 24 homeruns between AA and AAA. Brandon Belt currently stands in his way. The Giants have tried to move Chris to left field but his lack of speed is a liability there. Belt may not hit for the power of Shaw but he is a better defender at first base and will hit for a better average. Shaw needs to consistently get his 6′4″ frame into the pitch to line drive balls into the gaps or carry them over the fence. At 24 years of age Chris is ready for the major leagues now.

5. Bobby Bradley (Indians) - Myworld likes the power of Bradley. The 2014 third round pick needs to make more consistent contact to see those power numbers jump. Last year he slugged 23 homeruns in AA while cutting down on the swings and misses. His lack of speed will prevent him from moving to another position but his below average defense at first base may leave the DH position as his best alternative. With the power he can carry to all fields the Indians will eventually want to see his bat in the lineup. Expect that to happen sometime in the 2018 season.

6. Sam Travis (Red Sox) - The second round 2014 pick may lack the power of your conventional firstbaseman. His hits will find the gaps to drive in runs and the bat should stick around the .300 neighborhood. Travis did suffer a tear in his ACL in 2016 but appears to have recovered, seeing some time in the major leagues last year. The bat failed to carry a ball over the fence in over 70 major league at bats. His defense is good at the position and his moderate speed could allow him to move to the outfield. His weak arm would limit him to left field.

7. Peter Alonso (Mets) - The second round 2016 pick has already reached AA. His defense is better than Dominic Smith and he carries more power. The speed is not there for him to move to the outfield. The Mets will give Dominic the chance to keep the position and if he succeeds the Mets could use Alonso as trade bait. Myworld thinks they would do better trading Dominic. Last year Alonso hit 18 homeruns with a .524 slugging percentage. The Mets can use him one more year in the minor leagues but in 2019 they may have to make a decision between the two for their first baseman of the future.

8. Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) - You have to like the name. Drafted in the 30th round of the 2013 draft most teams did not like the skills. He does show power in his 6′4″ inch frame and he hits left handed. Last year that power did not show (.333 slugging) and he struggled to stay above the Mendoza line with his batting average (.222). His defense is not that strong for him to be put out at first if the bat does not make an appearance. Last year he slugged .530 with 23 homeruns so we will give him a mulligan on the 2017 season. His lack of speed will make a move to the outfield a liability.

9. Matt Thaiss (Angels) - The first round pick in 2016 was drafted as a catcher. To speed up the ascent of his bat to the major leagues the Angels moved him to first base. Right now his power is limited to the gaps. There is good contact in his swing and the ability to hit .300. If his good contact can carry 20 balls over the fence each year the Angels will take that. His defense at first base still needs some work but he has the ability to be an average defender. With the plethora of players the Angels have at the position his bat needs to find a way for the Angles to make room for him. His lack of speed will make movement to the outfield difficult.

10. Brent Rooker (Twins) - The supplemental first round pick in the 2017 draft played some at first base, but his speed allowed him to spend most of his time in the outfield. In his minor league debut he slugged 18 homeruns with a .566 slugging, finding himself carrying balls over the Florida State League fences. With Miguel Sano planted at first base for the Twins future myworld expects the Rooker move to the outfield more permanent.

Others to consider

Samir Duenez (Royals) - With Eric Hosmer a free agent the Royals may have to find room for Samir. His bat falls short in power, though he hit 17 homeruns last year. The lack of tools make him a tweener at all the positions.

Casey Gillaspie (White Sox) - The 2014 first round pick is another one of those players who is just below average in all the tools to make for a dynamic player at first base. He will clog the bases when running so his speed would be a liability in the outfield.

Nick Pratto (Royals) - A 2017 first round pick who could be the Royals long term answer at first base. He was also a two way player but the Royals like his bat better than his arm. His defense is good around the bag and he has the ability to hit for power and average.

Evan White (Mariners) - Another 2017 first round pick, Evan has the speed to move to the outfield but the glove to save a lot of runs at the position. Power may be an issue but at 6′3″ he has the frame to extend and develop that power.

Jake Bauers (Rays) - His best position is probably first base but the Rays are using him in left field. His tools may make him a tweener, not enough power for first and lacks the defense to be an attribute in the outfield.

Ronald Guzman (Rangers) - The Rangers spent $3.45 million to sign him. His lack of speed forced a move to first. His power is more oriented towards the gaps.

Hardy Leads O’s to Win in Last Home Game

Sunday, September 24th, 2017

J.J. Hardy may have played his last game in an Orioles uniform at Camden Yards. He made it count. A two run homer in the fourth broke a 4-4 tie. In the sixth his single preceded a two run homer by Chance Sisco. The sparse crowd at the stadium were enthusiastic and gave him a standing ovation, for his first at bat in the first inning, after his homerun in the fourth, and what was expected to be his last at bat in an Orioles uniform at Camden Yards in the 8th inning.

Both pitchers were gone by the fifth inning. Chris Tillman gave up a homerun on his first pitch of the game to Kevin Kiermaier. After the Orioles took a 4-1 lead Tillman lost the lead in the second, giving up three runs. Adeiny Hechavarria roped a double off him into right center field. Brad Miller drove him in with a single up the middle and Jesus Sucre tied the game with a two run bomb deep into the left field bleachers. Tillman was relieved after four innings of work. He left the game with a 7.71 ERA.

Chris Archer was not effective as well. The Orioles slung arrows into right field, collecting four straight singles by Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Adam Jones and Chris Davis. Pedro Alvarez ripped the fifth hit into right field to score Davis, after Chris stole second base off Archer, to up the score to 4-1. Archer saw his ERA rise to 4.22.

J.J. Hardy gave the Orioles the lead for good with a two run homer off Archer in the fourth. A two base error by Logan Morrison had put Pedro Alvarez on second. A Manny Machado two out single ended the day for Archer.

Chance Sisco hit his second major league homerun in the sixth to give the Orioles a 8-4 lead. In the seventh Jonathan Schoop lined a double into the left field corner. He scored from third on a Chris Davis ground out to first.

The Orioles bullpen was excellent to finish the game. After Donnie Hart coughed up back to back two out singles in the fifth, Mychal Givens got the last out to snuff out the rally. The Rays failed to mount an extensive rally after the inning.

Game Notes: Jonathan Schoop was voted the Orioles most valuable player prior to the game…Adam Jones was taken out of the game in the fourth inning. In the third inning he did not show his typical hustle on a deep fly by Logan Morrison that hit the base of the wall for a double…Chris Archer was hitting 95 to 98 with his fastball, but in his four innings only two Orioles struck out…The Orioles had been eliminated from the playoffs the previous night. The loss by the Rays makes it tough to qualify for the wild card. They are six games back with just six to play.

AL East Minor League All Stars

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

The minor league seasons are done and the All Star teams have been announced. Baseball America broke them out into AAA, AA, High A, Low A, short season, rookie and Dominican Summer League. Myworld identifies those All stars from the AL East first.

Baltimore Orioles

Austin Hayes OF (AA) - A third round pick who has above average tools in all the five categories scouts measure. His 32 homeruns from High A to AA were the second most in the minors in 2017. The success got him a September promotion to the big league club at 21 years of age.

D.J. Stewart OF (AA) - A first round pick of the Orioles, he lacks the tools of Hayes. His arm and defensive limitations will restrict him to left field and his bat may not show enough power to make that an attractive alternative for the Orioles. Myworld does not expect him to be an impact player but he could work himself into a role player.

Ryan Mountcastle DH (High A) - He played shortstop at Frederick. When promoted to Bowie they stuck him at third. Third may be his best position. He dominated at High A, but struggled in his first exposure to AA. Defensive limitations will force a move from short and the O’s think he has the bat to play third.

Alex Wells SP (Low A) - The Aussie does not have the most overpowering fastball but he gets hitters out. In 25 starts at Delmarva he restricted hitters to a .222 average. The true test will be his effectiveness as he faces more advanced hitters with that less than overwhelming stuff.

Ben Breazeale DH (short season) - A seventh round draft pick who got more games at DH than catcher. He finished the season with a .323 average and a .433 OBA. If he lacks the tools to catch the O’s could find another spot for him.

Zac Lowther SP (short season) - A 2017 second round pick is a lefthander who relies more on his stuff than his power. He had a 1.79 ERA with 11.8 whiffs per nine innings. Like Wells, his success will be defined if he can continue that dominance as he faces more advanced hitters.

Boston Red Sox

Rafael Devers 3B (AA) - A hitting machine who may compete for batting titles and hit 20 plus homeruns per year. He was called up in August and has performed well enough to address the Red Sox black hole at the hot corner.

Michael Chavis 3B (High A) - Lacks the consistent bat of Devers. Expect the Red Sox to either use him as trade bait or move him to second base when Pedroia’s time should be up. The bat shows 20 plus home run pop and a plus .300 average potential.

Denyi Reyes RP (short season) - The Dominican has some nice height (6′4′) and was a vulture in the bullpen (9-0) taking advantage of the starters abbreviated pitch counts to win games. His whiffs per nine (7.7) were not inspiring so we’ll see where he goes.

New York Yankees

Chance Adams SP (AAA) - A good mid 90s fastball dominated hitters in AA (1.03 ERA in six starts) and led to an early promotion to AAA. A .197 opposition average will see Chance compete for a spot in the Yankees rotation next year. A reliever until last year, his height (6′1″) could make the bullpen his best role.

Estevan Florial OF (Low A) - The Haitian born outfielder got his exposure playing in the Dominican Republic. Last year was a breakout year for him. He has right field arm strength, the potential to build to his power tools and the speed to play center. The Yankees would like to see him reduce his 148 whiffs in 110 games.

Jorge Guzman SP (short season) - The Dominican was acquired from the Astros in the Brian McCann trade. He can hit triple digits with his fastball but needs to develop his secondary pitches.

Tampa Bay Rays

Yonny Chirinos SP (AAA) - Myworld did not see him pitch when we spent our week in Durham. Not overpowering, he relies more on his command to get hitters out.

Justin Williams OF (AA) - The Rays acquired him from the D-backs in the Jeremy Hellickson trade. A lack of speed will restrict him to the corners but his bat seems to be developing with decent power and average to fit as a corner outfielder.

Brandon Lowe 2B (High A) - Defense is not in the cards but his bat will produce. He hit .311 for Charlotte. A lack of speed will prevent him from stealing bases so he could end up a one trick pony, where the bat needs to develop for him to see the Rays.

Jesus Sanchez DH (Low A) - The outfielder has all the tools to be an impact player. The speed exists for him to play center and his arm is plenty good for right.

Austin Franklin SP (short season) - He has the build to be an innings eater (6′3″, 215). His fastball hits the mid-90s but sits in the low 90s with the potential to increase as he matures. For Hudson Valley he struck out over one hitter per inning.

Toronto Blue Jays

Bo Bichette 2B (Low A) - The son of Dante toyed with .400 at Low A (.384). The Jays used him a bit at short but his best position may be second or third. His bat shows enough power for the corner.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr 3B (Low A) - The son of Vladimir, he may not have the arm or power of his father, but he exercises more patience with the bat, taking more walks and not swinging at everything near the plate. More power should come as he matures.

Ryan Noda 1b (Rookie) - The 15th round pick in 2017 showed some power with a .575 slugging and exhibited great patience at the plate with a .507 OBA.

Maverik Buffo SP (Rookie) - The 34th round pick showed excellent numbers pitching out of the bullpen and in the rotation, finishing the season with a 0.53 ERA. He showed excellent control with a 2/36 walk to whiff ratio in 34 innings.

Machado and Gausman Lead O’s Over Rays

Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

Two players who have not contributed much to the Orioles 2017 season played big roles in the Orioles 7-1 win over the Rays. Manny Machado slugged a three run homer in the third to increase the Orioles lead to 4-0. Kevin Gausman pitched seven innings of shutout ball, allowing just two hits and striking out 9 to lower his ERA to 5.61.

As well as Gausman was pitching the Rays did not have a chance. The fastballs were coming in at 95-98 and the breaking pitches were creating swings and misses. Kevin did not give up his first hit until the fourth inning when Logan Morrison lined a single to right field into the shift. Morrison was the first baserunner when he walked in the second inning. The Rays only had two other baserunners off Gausman in his seven innings of work.

The Rays started Alex Cobb. He didn’t pitch too badly all allowing just three hits in his first six innings. Unfortunately, two of those hits were served into the left field bleachers. He also gave up three hits in the seventh to end his day and notch two more runs against his ERA.

Caleb Joseph started the third inning getting the first hit off Cobb, a lined single into right. The next pitch by Cobb hit Ruben Tejeda setting up a sacrifice bunt by Joey Rickard. Seth Smith grounded a pitch back to Cobb. Alex turned to look Joseph back to third turned and threw the ball two feet over the head of the first baseman Logan Morrison to score Joseph. Upset with the error his second pitch to Manny Machado was driven on a line into the left field bleachers to give the Orioles a 4-0 lead.

In the fourth inning Mark Trumbo led off the fifth inning with a homerun. The Orioles would add two more in the seventh after back to back singles by Caleb Joseph and Ruben Tejeda. A Seth Smith double over the head of Mallex Smith in center scored the two runs to end the day for Cobb.

Jesus Sucre provided the only run for Tampa. He blasted the fourth pitch from reliever Mychal Givens into the second row of the left field bleachers in the eighth inning to ruin the shutout. That would be the end of the scoring for Tampa.

Game Notes: International signings are beginning. Myworld is confident the Orioles will not make any news with signings. In our international travels we have seen O’s scouts so it is not because they are not trying. Perhaps they do not see the benefit in spending millions of dollars on 16 year olds. Myworld will take a look at the top 30 international prospects from 2010 to see where they are now. The O’s traded some of their international bonus slots to the Yankees and Dodgers for fringe prospects who have options and can pitch in AAA…The O’s do what they do best optioning Alex Asher to AAA after he pitched yesterday and bringing up Jimmy Yacabonis for a fresh arm in the bullpen…Tim Beckham looks pretty good at shortstop. He was giving recently acquired Adeiny Hechavarria a break…Only the Cincinnati Reds have a worse ERA from their starting pitchers (6.17) than the Nationals (5.62). The Orioles starting pitchers lead all other major league team’s starting pitchers in walks with 189.

Myworld’s Top Ten International League Prospects

Friday, June 30th, 2017

They may not be the best prospects in the league but myworld either likes what we’ve seen from them or the numbers they are putting up in the International League. A couple of these players have already been called up to the major leagues.

1. Yoan Moncada (Charlotte/White Sox) 2B - He got knocked from his perch as the best prospect in baseball by Andrew Benintendi, who is now playing for the Red Sox. There are a lot of tools to his game such as speed and the thunder in his bat. There are also some issues to be concerned about, such as his 85 strikeouts in his 66 games and his 10 errors at second base. His .281 average is also a bit pedestrian for a man of his talent. The White Sox are being patient with him so do not expect any major league playing time until possibly September. Yoan will hope to improve on his .211 average and his 12 whiffs in 20 major league at bats.

2. Willy Adames (Durham/Rays) SS - Adames has a smooth glove for short. He made a number of impressive defensive plays in the four game series myworld witnessed against Norfolk. If his bat can hit .270 or above he should be fine as a major league shortstop. His power seems to be limited for the gaps. The Rays picked him up from the Tigers a couple years ago and he is filtering up their system one level at a time. Expect a September callup with more major league time expected next year.

3. Rhys Hoskins (Lehigh Valley/Phillies) 1B - Many felt the Reading park helped him with his 38 homeruns last year. He is not playing at Reading this year and leads the International League in homeruns with 19. He is also hitting .303 with a league leading 63 RBIs. What you have to like about him is his ability to make contact with only 48 whiffs in 80 games. He also shows a good eye with 44 walks. The Phillies are in no rush to promote Hoskins for a last place run in 2017 but a September callup could be possible.

4. Brent Honeywell (Durham/Rays) RHP - Myworld does not like the 89 hits he has given up in just 73 innings or his 4.91 ERA. He also did not look too good in the one start myworld witnessed him pitch. But we still like his ability to miss bats (90 whiffs) and throw in the mid-90s. It may take another season in AAA to enhance his secondary pitches before he sees significant time with the Rays. With Blake Snell (no longer a prospect), Jacob Faria and Ryan Yarbrough the Rays have four excellent starters in their AAA rotation.

5. Jacob Faria (Durham/Rays) - There is not much velocity in his game. Jacob relies more on his plus change to make his low 90s fastball that much tougher to hit. It shows in his 84 strikeouts in his 58.2 innings of work. Jacob is also not giving up a lot of hits with just 44 hits given up. He is a tenth round pick from 2011. His success in AAA has resulted in a callup where he has earned quality starts in each of his four major league appearances.

6. Ozzie Albies 2B/SS (Gwinnett/Braves) - Dansby Swanson won the shortstop job, moving Ozzie to second. An injury late in the year prevented him from being promoted with Swanson. With the acquisition of Brandon Phillips it will be tough for Ozzie to find playing time this year. He has the tools to play shortstop but the Braves have moved him to second because that will be his future position with the Braves. He is hitting .280 with 19 stolen bases in 21 attempts. There will not be a lot of power in his game. The Braves would like to see a reduction in the 65 whiffs and an increase in his .327 OBA. Coming into this season his career OBA was .377. With his speed he would be an ideal lead off hitter with an improved OBA, Expect a September callup or an injury to Brandon Phillips to initiate his major league debut.

7. Dustin Fowler (Scranton Wilkes Barre/Yankees) OF - His season ended after crashing into a fence in his major league debut. Clint Frazier, a number one pick by the Indians in 2013 who the Yankees acquired in the Andrew Miller trade may have more tools. Dustin has the better numbers in AAA including slugging (.542), batting average (.293), homeruns (13) and stolen bases (13). His power appeared to break out last season when he hit 12 homeruns to go with his 15 triples. He has the speed to play centerfield but his arm falls short of Frazier as a right fielder.

8. Zach Granite (Rochester/Twins) - Coming into this season the 14th round pick was not a highly touted prospect. His minor league career average was just .282. His speed is not centerfield quality and his arm is probably better suited for left field. The pop is not there to fit the profile of a left fielder. The one thing he has done well this year is lead the International League in hitting with a .367 average. The power is still absent with only three homeruns but the Twins have been using him in centerfield, where his bat will profile better. If Byron Buxton stays with the Twins it will be difficult for Zach to dislodge him from centerfield, but any team will make room for a bat hitting .360.

9. Lucas Sims (Gwinnett Braves/Braves) RHP - The Braves traded for a bevy of number one picks to stock their pitching depth in the minors. Lucas is one of their originals, drafted by them in the first round of 2012. He is starting to make the Braves take notice that maybe the best they had was already in their system. He is second in the International League in whiffs with 92 and the opposition is hitting him at a .229 clip. That is much better than the .280 they hit against him last year. His biggest problem is giving up the long ball with 16 homeruns in just 86 innings of work. That is a reason for his high 3.98 ERA. Lucas has good velocity to his fastball at 93-95 with an above average change. Improving a third pitch is critical if he wants to stay in the starting rotation.

10. Nick Williams (LeHigh Valley/Phillies) OF - Nick got a callup to the major leagues. This year he is breaking out all his tools, hitting for average (.280) and power (15 homeruns and a .511 slugging). There are still too many whiffs in his game (90 in 78 games) but if he continues to hit the ball hard the Phillies will tolerate the swings and misses. His defense is centerfield caliber but may be more suited to left field. His arm is not a rocket but it is adequate for a right fielder. It would not surprise me if Nick struggles in his major league debut, with a whiff percentage at greater than 50 per cent.

Others worth noting

Dylan Cozens (Lehigh Valley/Phillies) - He has recovered from an average that was below the Mendoza line. His 18 homeruns are second in the International League to teammate Rhys Hoskins but last year he won the Eastern League homerun title with 40. Low batting averages and strikeouts will be a part of his game but the big time power is there. Dylan has the arm to play right field.

Johnny Field (Durham/Rays) OF - Not a player blessed with a lot of tools. What myworld witnessed was he made the diving catch in centerfield routine. At 25 he is about as good as he is going to get. He will hit .260 and give you moderate power with the bat for double digit homerun totals. If he could walk more he might be more attractive. His speed will also give you double digit totals but he falls short of being a 20/20 player.

Clint Frazier (Scranton Wilkes Barre/Yankees) OF - The Indians made him a first round pick in 2013. The Yankees traded Andrew Miller to acquire him. He has all five tools, with speed, power, arm and the ability to play defense. His one big challenge is his ability to make consistent contact, which could impact his average. The Yankees just called him up as a replacement to Dustin Fowler.

Tyler Wade (Scranton Wilkes Barre/Yankees) SS - In this age of seven to eight man bullpens it is important to find a player who is comfortable at multiple positions. Tyler appears to be that player. His .313 batting average is second in the league and his 24 stolen bases is tops in the league. Most of his time in the minor leagues was at shortstop, but he also played second, third and the outfield. Expect him to be a utility player in the mold of Marwin Gonzalez.

Ryan Yarbrough (Durham/Rays) LHP - He does not have an overpowering fastball but there is still a lot of swing and miss with his pitches. He leads the International League in whiffs with 92. The opposition is hitting him at a .248 clip. On his own team he shares the rotation with Honeywell, Blake Snell (recently called up) and Faria but don’t be surprised if Yarbrough gets an opportunity. If the Rays are in a pennant race it is not the starters with the most potential who get the callup, but the starters who show they can get the job done.

Sean Newcomb (Gwinnett/Braves) LHP - Sean pitched well in the International League (2.97 ERA) and is now transferring that success to the major league team (1.48 ERA). The Angels had drafted him in the first round of the 2014 draft and the Braves acquired him in the Andrelton Simmons trade. Not overpowering with a fastball in the low 90s but he hides the ball well and has an excellent curve ball.

Lucas Giolito/Reynaldo Lopez and Carson Fulmer (Charlotte/White Sox) RHP - It is a talented group of pitchers but the numbers they put up are not major league quality. The biggest issue for all three is their ability to throw strikes. Each of them walks close to a hitter every two innings. The biggest concern with Lucas was his drop in velocity. Reynaldo has a mid-90s fastball but stands only 6′0″. Based on their press clippings all three will get an opportunity to achieve success in the major leagues, but press clippings fail to get hitters out.

Austin Meadows (Indianapolis/Pirates) OF - Staying healthy has always been a problem for Austin. Without health the numbers are not there to show case his tools. A pulled hamstring put him on the disabled list just recently. Last year he was limited to just 80 games. He makes more contact than Frazier but his averages his last two years have fallen far below his norm. His power has been limited to the gaps but last year he hit 12 so there could be a break out season there. His arm is best suited for left field but his defensive instincts and speed could see him in centerfield.

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)

Shooting Da Bull in Durham

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

Myworld was in Durham for a four game series with the Norfolk Tides. It has been a couple years since we’ve been in Durham. For this trip we noticed some real development and construction happening in the city. Even with the textile and tobacco industry decimated Durham is able to survive. The stadium is probably the best in baseball with its blue wall reminding me of Fenway. No one hit the bull that stands next to the left field foul pole promising steaks to those players who hit the bull and salads to players who strike the grass below the bull. When a Durham player hits a homerun or after a Bull win the bulls eyes turn red and smoke billows from its nose. It is a beautiful ball park worth visiting.

The Norfolk Tides and Durham Bulls split the series. The Tides won the first and last games in routs when the Bull starting pitching faltered. The Bulls won the second and third games. Some of my thoughts on the series:

There was a little bit of rain that fell for all four games. The first game was delayed five minutes while they put on the tarp, only to be removed shortly afterward when the rain stopped after the tarp was put on the field. There was a five minute delay as they rolled the tarp back off the field. There is a covering in the upper decks where fans can go to escape to watch the games, provided there are seats available. In Durham it can get hot and humid so fans are on the ceiling ready to spin to keep you cool.

Brent Honeywell was not effective in his one start. He hit 94 on the radar but he did not last past the third inning giving up six runs.

Willy Adames is a smooth fielding shortstop. He made a number of quantity defensive plays. His one error was on a throw. His bat did not impress in the four games we watched.

Wilson Ramos started all four games, one of them at DH. He went deep once in the last game, the only Bull homerun in the four game series. He may be one of the slowest runners in major league baseball. Expect him to be with the Rays soon.

Johnny Field is another defensive specialist. He makes the diving catch look routine. The big question for him is whether he will have enough bat to play. His legs do not have stolen base speed so his bat needs to hit .270 or plus to be a starter. Myworld did not see a lot of power, but he does have six homeruns. Fields reminded me of Kevin Kiermaier. With the improvements of defensive analytics his glove will play.

Jesus Montero is a big boy that needs to watch his weight. He does not do a lot of running in pregame warmups, but does talk a lot. He is battling to stay over .100. The Braves released him and his bat is not producing with the Orioles. In his two games with the Tides he was 0 for 8 though one of those hits was a diving catch by Johnny Field. If his bat does not play there is not a lot he can offer a major league team.

Chance Sisco is about the only Tide prospect with a chance to make a major impact with the Orioles. The Orioles like to have a bunch of optionable relievers on their AAA staff that they can bring up and down to give the major league team a 10 man bullpen, but none of the arms impressed myworld. What we saw were a bevy of back end or middle relievers.

Ryan Yarbrough pitched well. His fastball doesn’t get past 92 but for a lefty he gets a lot of swings and misses. The Rays acquired him in the Drew Smyly trade from the Mariners. At 6′5″ he does provide a big plane when coming down on the hitters.

Mike Yastrzemski forgot the number of outs after one catch, pausing to run into the dugout as if he had made the third out and allowing a runner to tag and advance to third. His grandfather Carl never would have done that. His lack of tools will make him a fourth outfielder at best in the major leagues.

Blake Snell looked sharp in his outing hitting 95 on the gun and getting lots of swings and misses, especially with his breaking pitch. In his six innings of work the only run he allowed was a solo homerun by Francisco Pena in the sixth.

Brad Boxberger did not look sharp in a rehab relief appearance. He walked four batters in one inning retiring only two hitters.

2017 Top Asian Prospects

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

Not a great exodus of Korean players, which bulked up this list last year. This made the 2017 list tough to put together. Almost all the players who made the list last year are no longer eligible after playing in the major leagues. Kenta Maeda was the top prospect, but his second year has not gone so well. Byung-Ho Park struggled to make contact and has been sent to the minor leagues to get his swing back. Hyun Sun Kim was in a platoon role for the Orioles. His power has not translated to the major leagues and it would surprise myworld if the Orioles resign him. Dae-Ho Lee, the sixth rated prospect is back playing in Korea after one season in the major leagues. The seventh rated prospect Seung-Hwan Ho took over the closer job for the Cardinals but the 2017 season isn’t going as well even though he maintains the closer position.

This whittles the prospect list to five. Rob Refsnyder did not return to the list because of his paucity of tools. Sean-Reid Foley, who was born in Guam jumped up to be the number one rated Asian prospect. Most of the other players are fringe prospects.

1. Sean Reid Foley (RHP) Guam/Blue Jays - Sean was born in Guam to American parents. His brother, who was a catcher in the Dodgers system taught him a curveball, which he broke out last year. That, along with a fastball that sits in the low 90s but can hit the mid-90s and a slider gives him a good selection of pitches to choose from. Last year he had a break out season at Low and High A with 21 starts and ERAs below 3.00. The opposition hit him at less than .200. This year a promotion to AA has not been kind to him. Hitters are slaying him at a .272 pace, his command is off with a walk every two innings pitched which leaves his ERA at a ugly 5.40. It appeared he had turned things around when he pitched six innings of shutout ball on his 11th start, but his last start he was smacked around for 6 runs in three innings. A September call up may have to wait until he turns his season around.

2. Chih-Wei Hu (RHP) Taiwan/Rays - It is rare to see Taiwan pitchers hit the upper 90s with their fastball, but Hu has that ability. He stands only 6′1″ but he mixes his change with his fastball well to stymie AA hitters last year. There are not a lot of strikeouts to his game but an improvement in a breaking pitch could change that. The Rays have moved him to the bullpen after three early starts to begin the season. They called him up for four bullpen sessions with the major league club where he only gave up three hits in his eight innings of work. Expect a return to the major leagues if he continues with his success in the bullpen in 2017. His fastball shows mid to high 90s velocity in the pen.

3. Jae-Gyun Hwang (3B) Giants/Korea - In his last two years in the KBO he hit 26 and 27 homeruns. Prior to that the power did not show. His career average in the KBO was only.286, which is below average for a hitter’s league where almost everyone shoots for .300. His last year he did hit .335. The Giants signed him, but despite their weakness at third base Hwang was sent to the minor leagues. The Giants needs have not really been addressed at the position and Hwang is hitting .291 at AAA. The power is not there with only 6 homeruns and a .478 slugging average. Christian Arroyo struggled in his major league opportunity, hitting just .192. He is hitting better than Hwang in AAA with a .417 average and a .643 slugging. At some point the Giants have to give him an opportunity.

4. Yu-Cheng Chang (SS) Taiwan/Indians - In 2016 Chang made the Carolina League All star team, hitting .259 and showing some pop for the middle infield position with 13 homeruns. This year he is struggling with a .211 average. The power is there with 11 homeruns and a .464 slugging but there are too many whiffs in his game (66 in 54 games). He is also committing too many errors for the shortstop position (12 in 51 games) but a move to third has not reduced those errors (5 in 16 games). Chang needs to improve his contact, become more consistent with the glove and find a position where his power bat can benefit a lineup before he can sniff the major leagues.

5. Hoy-Jun Park (SS) Yankees/Korea - The Yankees are very crowded at short. Park has the glove for the position but his bat is a little too quiet. He has also had trouble with the glove this year with a fielding percentage less than .900. They have played him a little at second base. Unless they trade Gleyber Torres or Didi Gregorius the best spot for Park looks to be second base. His power is not there to play third. This is his second season in Low A. His bat appears to be improved (.250/.349/.370) but his fielding has been more inconsistent and his stolen base percentage has dropped from 32 of 35 last year to just 8 of 12 this year. While his homerun numbers have increased his triple numbers have dropped.

6. Tzu-Wei Lin (SS) Red Sox/Taiwan - The Red Sox shelled out just over $2 million for Lin. His glove is solid and he has some speed, but that is what they said about Hak-Ju Lee who was last seen playing in Japan in the Independent Leagues. The bat needs to start showing some spark if he is to separate himself from some of the other Red Sox shortstops. After hitting just .223 with a .580 OPS in AA last year Lin is back there for the 2017 season. His bat seems to have found some life with a .306 average and a .866 OPS. The Red Sox have also played him a few games in centerfield. If he can keep his offense at this level some team will find a spot for his glove if the Red Sox lack the room.

7. Wei-Chieh Huang (RHP) Taiwan/Diamondbacks - Durability concerns have moved Huang to the bullpen. It could improve the velocity on his fastball, which sits in the low 90s and allow Huang to survive on a fastball/change repertoire. So far so good. In 14 relief appearances his ERA sits at 1.71 with a .177 opposition average. He recently returned from a one month stay on the disabled list.

8. Jin-De Jhang (C) Taiwan/Pirates - Jhang is a defensive catcher who the Pirates hope will develop with the bat. There is some pop in his swing, but that has not showed in games. His big year for the homerun was in 2013 and 2015 when he hit five. He makes good contact and can spray balls into the gap. This year he is struggling with a .197 average with only one extra base hit in his 16 games. The best Jhang can hope for if his bat does not develop is as a back up catcher. Or he can return to Taiwan and play in the CPBL.

9. Daniel Missaki (RHP) Japan/Brewers - He was born in Japan but he pitched in Brazil, playing for the 2013 World Baseball Classic team as the youngest player in the tournament. The Mariners signed him in 2013 after the WBC. He was traded last year to the Brewers in the Adam Lind trade even though Tommy John surgery had ended his 2015 season. Prior to that he had combined with two other pitchers to throw a no hitter. His fastball is not overpowering, sitting in the high 80s but his curveball and change are decent pitches. Daniel has not pitched since 2015 and will probably begin his comeback in the rookie league.

10.Shao-Ching Chiang (RHP) Taiwan/Indians - Durability issues have also plagued Chiang. He signed with the Indians in 2011 and saw a delay in the start of his career after Tommy John surgery limited him to two appearances in two games. Last year he did start 27 games, but he is a contact type pitcher with a fastball that can hit the mid-90s but mostly sits in the low 90s. He pitched for Taiwan in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. This year he has started strong with a 7-3, 2.57 ERA in 11 starts. The opposition is hitting him at a .238 clip, which would be the lowest in his career. He still doesn’t get a lot of swings and misses.

2016 Asian Prospects

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.