Archive for the 'Yankees' Category

Top 2021 Cuban Prospects in the American League

Friday, April 2nd, 2021

From last year’s list Luis Robert, the top prospect on last year’s list graduated. Ronald Bolanos and Randy Arozarena moved from the National League to the American League. If you included Arozarena’s at bats from the playoffs he would have graduated, but he is still eligible as a rookie. Julio Pablo Martinez, Yordys Valdes and Orlando Martinez dropped from the list. Two new players who were signed by the White Sox in 2021 were added to this list.

1. Rando Arozarena OF (Rays) - No one has ever been hotter in the playoffs when Arozarena, who hit 10 homeruns in 20 playoff games. For the longest time Babe Ruth held the record for most homeruns in the post season with 15, but then during that era they only played one seven game series. Arozarena almost equaled that amount in one playoff year. Don’t expect that power to result in Ruthian numbers during the regular season. He hits the ball hard but it’ll probably settle in the 30 plus homerun range. He was signed by the Cardinals in 2016 for what was then a modest bonus of $1.25 million. He has failed to fall high on prospect lists, but myworld did rate him as the second rated Cuban prospect in the National League last year. He appears to have a good hit tool, with the ability to hit in the neighborhood of .300. His speed will allow him to play centerfield, but he is a better fit in a corner with an arm strong enough for right field. The Rays acquired him from the Cardinals for Mike Liberatore. Arozarena should start at a corner for the Rays in 2021 with possible spot starts in centerfield.

2. Roberto Campos OF (Tigers) - The Tigers paid out $2.85 million to sign Campos. Like a lot of Cubans, not a lot is known about the 17 year old. In the United States he would still be in high school. He has the big, right field frame at 6′3″ and 200 pounds. He left Cuba at 13 and trained at a facility in the Dominican Republic for three years. His batting practices are impressive, but there is no game like action to show what he can do with a mixture of different offerings. The speed is there to play center, but like Arozarena his best fit appears to be right. He will probably start the 2021 season in Low A, since there will not be any rookie leagues.

3. Yusniel Diaz OF ( Orioles) - The tools are there for him to be a major leaguer. Some question whether he has the motivation. The Dodgers wheel barreled out $15 million to sign him back in 2015. They traded him to the Orioles for a half season use of Manny Machado. He slogged around in AA for more than two years. This spring he was hoping to win a job with the Orioles, but he will probably start the season in AAA. His tools are probably just above average in all categories, but power wise and defense fall far short of Manny Machado. Because he lacks the burner speed to play center, how his power develops will determine whether his bat can fit into a corner. His highest homerun total is 11 with a career slugging average of .440. Most teams want to see higher production from a corner outfielder. He will need a good season in AAA in 2021 and a couple injuries before he fits with the Orioles.

4. Yoelquis Cespedes OF (White Sox) - He is the younger brother of Yoennis Cespedes, who had a great early career in Cuba before he signed a major league contract. Yoelquis numbers in the Cuban league pale in comparison to Yoennis, yet the White Sox were still willing to pay $2.05 million for him. Yoennis signed a four year contract with the Oakland Athletics for $36 million, when there were not as many restrictions on bonuses for international players. Yoennis hit 177 homeruns in Cuba while Yoelquis has hit 12. Yoelquis only stands 5′9″, so we hold out little hope he will be a stand out player. His arm may be his strongest tool, but it is said he has some power, despite his vanilla .415 slugging percentage in Cuba. The speed is there to play center so if his power does not develop he could survive on his defense and moderate power. He reminds me a bit too much of Adolis Garcia. At 23, he should probably start the year in AA with a potential major league debut in 2022.

5. Alexander Vargas SS (Yankees) - The Yankees spent $2.5 million to sign Vargas in 2019. The 19 year old showed a smooth glove in his rookie league debut, but a little overmatched with the bat. His speed allowed him to steal 15 bases in 48 games and leg out 7 triples. At 5′11″ and only 150 pounds the power is a little short but should improve as he gets stronger. The defensive tools are there for him to stick at short. He needs to show a little better bat if he doesn’t want to fall into oblivion like a number of other Cuban shortstops that are short with the stick and battling for an opportunity to play in the major leagues. Alexander should start the 2021 season in Low A. The Yankees seem to be flush with shortstops so it would not surprise myworld if Vargas is not traded in a couple years for playoff pieces.

6. Norge Vera RHP (White Sox) - Norge is the son of Norge Luis Vera, who was a star for the Cuban National team that won a number of Olympic gold medals. At 6′4″ he has a good frame for a pitcher. The White Sox signed him for $1.5 million in 2021. That is over $3 million the White Sox spent for two Cubans. Norge throws his fastball in the low 90s but it should gain velo as he matures physically. He appears to have the requisite secondary pitches to fit in the middle of a rotation. His long levers had difficulty finding the plate when he pitched in the Cuban League, but he was only 18 then. The White Sox will start him in Low A in 2021.

7. Lazaro Armentaros OF (Athletics) - Lazaro came from Cuba with too much hype. The Athletics believed that hype and spent $3 million to sign him in 2016. He was advertised as a five tool athlete, but his arm is weak and dedicated to left field and he has trouble making contact. He struck out 227 times in 2019. If the pitch has a bend to it Lazaro has trouble making contact. He does have some speed and shows some power when he can make contact. He fell three homeruns short in 2019 from being a 20/20 player in the minor leagues. The 2021 season should see him start it in AA where he needs to focus on making more consistent contact.

8. Bryan Ramos 3B (White Sox) - The third White Sox on this list, but Ramos signed for only $300,000 in 2018. The power is there for him to stick at a corner infield position, but the glove at third may force a move to first. If that is the case there may be more pressure on him for his power to really perform. Major league teams have been reluctant to have right handed gloves who bat right handed play first base. His speed is not great, but he could also move to a corner outfield position. In his one season of Rookie level ball in 2019 he had trouble making contact with 44 whiffs in 51 games. The 2021 season should see him start in Low A.

9. Ronald Bolanos RHP (Royals) - Ronald appeared as the ninth top Cuban prospect in the National League last year. He appears as the ninth best prospect in the American League this year. The Padres signed Bolanos for $2 million in 2016, then included him in a trade to the Royals with Franchy Cordero for Tim Hill. He did get an opportunity to pitch with the Padres in 2019 and with the Royals in 2020, but his seven appearances result in an ERA of 6.94. Throwing strikes has been a bit of a challenge in the major leagues, resulting in 5 dingers in just 23 innings. His fastball hits the mid-90s and his curve has a good break, but if he wants to fit into the rotation he needs to enhance his change to get a third effective pitch. He will start the 2021 season in AAA.

10. Yolbert Sanchez SS (White Sox) - The fourth White Sox on this list. The White Sox signed him for $2.5 million. At 24 he is a veteran of the Cuban League, hitting just two homeruns in his three years there, with averages ranging from .255 to .350. In 2019 he played 29 games in the Dominican Summer League where he was playing against much younger players. The defensive tools are there to play shortstop but the bat needs to improve if he hopes to take on a regular role. A utility option exists if his bat fails to mature. The White Sox may be aggressive with him in 2021 and start him in High A or AA.

Myworlds 2021 Top 100 Prospects 20-11

Sunday, March 14th, 2021

The prospect countdown continues. Three Tigers and two Twins form half of this group.

20. Nick Gonzalez SS/2b (Pirates) - Pretty high ranking for a player who has yet to play a minor league season. He was the seventh player taken in the 2020 draft. He is also tearing it up this spring and if it was not the Pirates concern for service time he could earn the second base job in 2021. In college Gonzalez played at New Mexico State where balls can fly. It was not until he hit .351 with a .630 slugging percentage in the Cape Cod League that scouts took notice. His power may be limited more to the gaps rather than over the fence, but he could compete for batting titles once he is called up, the National League version of Nick Madrigal, with better offense and less defense. On defense he lacks the arm or range to play short, though he runs well. As a college drafted player he could rise quickly if service time issues are not followed. The 2022 season should see him in a Pirates uniform.

19. Joey Bart C (Giants) - Buster Posey opted out of the 2020 season. With no minor leagues the Giants rushed the second pick in the 2018 draft to the majors. It did not go well. Bart only hit .233 with a .288 OBA. Lesson learned. His minor league numbers indicate a player who will hit for a decent average (.270) with some pop (20 plus homeruns and .532 slugging). He also has a good arm with solid defensive tools behind the plate. With Posey back for the 2021 season Bart will be allowed to marinate some more in the minor leagues. He could get a late season callup in 2021, but should be the Giants starting catcher by 2023. It all depends on the Giants decision on moving Posey to first base to accommodate Bart.

18. Royce Lewis SS (Twins) - Royce has been on the prospect list for a long time. An injured knee will force him to miss the 2021 season. If this had happened prior to myworld putting this list together Royce would have dropped significantly. It is not that myworld has doubts about Royce recovering from this injury. It is just that many other shortstops have now surpassed him. He should take a look at Chipper Jones and his struggles with injuries that delayed his major league arrival. Royce has the hit tools and the speed to be an impact player. The Twins were actually moving him around to different positions (centerfield) to make him more attractive once a major league job opens up. The 2019 season was a rough year for him when hit just .236 with a .290 OBA. That left a sour taste in his mouth. With no minor leagues in 2020 and missing the 2021 season it will be a lot longer before Royce can lose that sour taste. Look for him to make the Twins sometime late in the 2022 season.

17. Riley Greene OF (Tigers) - For this Tiger first round pick in the 2019 draft it is all about the bat. His first year in the minor leagues he hit .271 with a .403 slugging percentage. At 6′3″ that power should increase as he gets stronger and becomes more confident in using wood bats. The speed is there to play center, but he fits better at a corner with a power bat and a strong arm. In 2019 the bat was good enough to reach Low A. He should be ready for High A in 2021 and reach the Tigers by the 2022 season.

16. Alex Kirilloff 1B/OF (Twins) - The 2016 first round pick is almost a carbon copy of Trevor Larnach, who is a bit lower down on the prospect ranking. They both have power bats, but lack the defensive tools for them to be good outfielders. With practice and repetition Alex can be an adequate outfielder. Ultimately he may have to move to first base, where the power in his bat needs to accompany him. In his first full season in 2018 he hit .348 with 20 homeruns and a .578 slugging percentage. He was not able to replicate that in 2019 (.283/.413). A wrist injury may have limited his swing in 2019. Knee surgery forced him to miss the 2017 season, so injuries have been a concern. The Twins released Eddie Rosario, their starting left fielder in 2020. With a good spring the left field position should go to Alex for the 2021 season.

15. Tarik Skubal LHP (Tigers) - Many have felt that Tarik came out of nowhere. He was a ninth round pick in 2018. That was not for lack of talent, but because of Tommy John surgery that limited his college career. The Tigers may have drafted him late but they paid above slot to sign him ($350,000). His first season he dominated with a 0.40 ERA and a .192 opponent average. His walk to whiff ratio was a pleasant 4/33. He continued to make waves in the 2019 season (2.42 ERA, .196 opponent average). Tarik has not had a poor minor league season. In 2020 he made his major league debut and while his ERA (5.63) was high his other numbers still impressed. Giving up nine homeruns in 32 innings hurt him. It may be sometime in May before the Tigers put him in the 2021 rotation, but with a mid 90s fastball and two quality secondary offerings his stuff will force the Tigers to bring him up early in the 2021 season.

14. Jasson Dominguez OF (Yankees) - When talking about Jasson it is difficult not to think about Mickey Mantle. Jasson is only 18 and has yet to make his stateside debut. The Yankees spent $5.1 million to sign him in 2019. The super star tools are there. He runs well, hits well and for power, and plays a mean centerfield. There is very little not to like when you watch this potential phenom play the game. Don’t be surprised after one minor league season in 2021 he will be number one on this list for 2022. Jasson will start 2021 in A ball and could see the Yankees by his 20th birthday. If Juan Soto can do it, so can Jasson Dominguez.

13. Matt Manning RHP (Tigers) - A third Tiger on this list and the second to fill the rotation. The 2016 first round pick stands an imposing 6′6″ with a fastball that strikes the lower edges of the mid-90s. That velocity could increase as he matures. The curveball could be his best pitch, with a high spin rate and a large drop that is ripe for swings and misses. Manning was a high school pick so it has taken him some time to climb up the minor league ladder. He had his best year in 2019 pitching at AA (2.56 ERA), limiting the opposition to a .192 average. With Casey Mize and Skubal just ahead of him Matt will take later in the 2021 season before he is promoted to the Tigers. That would make a talented trifecta for the Tigers rotation.

12. Luis Patino RHP (Rays) - Patino was traded by the Padres to the Rays after the 2020 season to acquire Blake Snell. The Padres found Luis while scouting in Colombia and signed him for just $130,000. At 6′1″ he is not a big presence like Manning, but he whips that fastball across the plate into the mid to high 90s. His slider is also a very good swing and miss pitch. Luis made his Padres debut last year, appearing in 11 games with one start. His command was shaky with the big club, walking 14 in just 17 innings for a poor 5.19 ERA. Prior to that he had only pitched two games in AA. The Rays can be patient with Patino and could start him in AA to begin the 2021 season. A promotion to the big club should happen sometime before the end of the year.

11. Bobby Witt Jr SS (Royals) - Myworld first saw Bobby hit when he won the homerun contest at the Futures Games in 2019, beating out Rece Hinds. The Royals must have liked what they saw because they made him the second player selected in the 2019 draft. His father was a major league pitcher for a number of years so the gene pool is there. The Junior plans on doing most of his damage with the bat. The defensive tools are there for him to stick at short. With his power bat that would make him an offensive shortstop in the mold of an Alex Rodriguez. He did get a brief 2019 minor league season, hitting .262 with a .354 slugging. He showed his speed by collecting five triples in just 37 games. The Royals are saving the shortstop job for Witt, meaning they may not sign Adalberto Mondesi to an extension. Witt could be the Royals shortstop in 2022, but that would require him to reach AA by 2021.

Myworlds 2021 Top 100 Prospects - 70 - 61

Monday, February 22nd, 2021

The top 2021 prospect list continues. A number of veteran minor league pitchers on this group of ten, trying to overcome injuries and inconsistency with their command.

70. D.L Hall LHP (Orioles) - The Orioles are picking up some pitching pieces in their rebuilding effort. Hall was drafted in the first round in 2017. Lefthanders are a nice commodity and when they can consistently hit the mid-90s like Hall they are gold. Plus he has two quality breaking pitches (slider and curve) and a change. There are times when he has trouble finding the plate, but with more experience he should be able to refine that. When he does gain command he will be ready for the O’s rotation sometime in 2022. Minor league hitters have a career .201 batting average against him, so once he finds the plate more his 3.46 ERA will see significant reduction. Hall should start the 2021 season in AA.

69. Michael Kopech RHP (White Sox) - Michael opted out of the 2020 season. The 2014 first round pick was just beginning to harness his control when pitching for the White Sox in 2018 when an elbow injury resulting in Tommy John ended his season. He did not pitch in 2019 because of the injury and he opted out for 2020. That is a lot of time off for a pitcher who struggled with finding the plate early in his career. Prior to the Tommy John surgery he was considered the hardest thrower in baseball, consistently hitting triple digits with his fastball, popping as high as 105. He also has a nice dive with his slider. If his control issues return he could move to the pen, but he does have a change and curve which gives him the requisite number of pitches to vary his repertoire. At 24 years of age he is at the point in his career where he needs to be in the major league starting rotation. After being out of baseball for two years expect him to start in AAA with a mid-season callup once he achieves success.

68. Clark Schmidt RHP (Yankees) - One thing Clark lacks is having a flashy name for a team like the Yankees. The 2017 first round pick also lacks intimidating height, standing at 6′1″. The fastball can reach the mid-90s, but normally sits in the low 90s. The curve ball may be his best pitch, keeping hitters off balance as they wait for his fastball. Clark throws strikes and gets his swings and misses in the minor leagues. Last year he made his major league debut, and the results indicate it was a little more challenging. He did struggle with his command, walking five in just six innings, so taking control of the strike zone as he does with the minor league hitters would improve his performance. The fifth starter spot in the Yankees rotation is an open competition, but expect him to start the season in AA. At 25 years of age he is ready for a second major league opportunity and that should come sometime in the 2021 season.

67. Hunter Greene RHP (Reds) - The 2017 first round pick is another hard thrower that consistently hits triple digits with his fastball. Unfortunately, Tommy John surgery prevented a 2019 season and the corona virus prevented him from pitching in any meaningful games in 2020. When he did appear in games he had struggles finding the plate and hitters found his stuff presentable, batting .261 against him. Locating his pitchers better would improve those results and enhancing his secondary offerings would give him something other than heat. Hunter throws a quality slider at times, but it lacks consistency. At 6′5 inches he has a nice plane to his delivery. If the rotation does not work out he could find a spot as the closer. Pitching in the pen would only require him to focus on commanding two pitches, rather than three or four as a starter. The last time he pitched in 2018 was in low A. He is still a couple years away from the Reds rotation and should begin 2021 in high A.

66. Simeon Woods-Richardson RHP (Blue Jays) - The Blue Jays have stocked up for a play off run. The last level this 2018 second round pick pitched was at High A. The Mets originally drafted him but sent him to the Jays to acquire Marcus Stroman. Simeon is not an overpowering pitcher by today’s standard, sitting in the low 90s, but reaching the mid-90s on occasion. A quality changeup makes the fastball seem to have more zip and two breaking pitches give him a varied repertoire. Simeon can also find the plate with all his pitches. Expect him to start the 2021 season in AA. With another prospect Nate Pearson slated for the starting rotation, it would be difficult for the Jays to rely on two rookies to fill their rotation during a playoff run.

65. Daulton Varsho C (Diamondbacks) - Our first non-pitcher to this group of ten. This second round 2017 pick is not your typical catcher. He has some speed, which allows him to roam in the outfield. For the 2020 season the Diamondbacks had him play some left field. He made his major league debut in 2020 with 101 at bats, but only hit .188 with a .366 slugging average. He will need to improve on those numbers if he hopes to play outfield in the future. As a catcher those numbers are acceptable if he can bring the defense. That may not be his strength, with a fringe average arm and no spectacular attributes behind the plate to make up for his average throwing arm. He did hit 18 homeruns in the minors in 2019, so perhaps a second look at major league pitching may improve his performance. Expect the Diamondbacks to start him in AAA. He could be used as a super utility player who can play outfield and DH, but also act as a second or third catcher.

64. Triston Casas 1B (Red Sox) - The Red Sox have a glut of corner infielders. Finding a spot for their 2018 first round pick among this glut will be a challenge for the Red Sox. He has a big time power bat and a strong arm that would allow him to play in the outfield, but his legs have too much tortoise in them to allow him to cover much ground in the grass. He did play for the 18 and under United States national team that won the gold medal, hitting three homeruns but hitting just .250. That could be what he does in the major leagues, hit around .250 with 30 plus homeruns. In his one full minor league season in 2019 he did hit 20 homeruns with a .256 average. Eventually the Red Sox will have to make room for him, but that may have to wait until the 2023 season. Triston will start 2021 in High A.

63. Jo Adell OF (Angels) - The major league struggles may have took the shine off his prospect status. The Angels brought him up towards the end of the 2020 season and he hit just. 161 with 55 whiffs in 38 games. The acquisition of Dexter Fowler will keep Jo down in AAA for at least half the 2021 season. Jo has the potential to be a five tool athlete, with power, speed and a strong arm to play right field. His power has yet to show itself in the minor leagues, with 12 homeruns his high for a year. His speed does not create stolen base opportunities. On defense in 2020 he had two balls pop out of his glove and go over the fence for homeruns. So those tools still are raw and there is a lot of swing and miss present in his swing. Expect the Angels to start Jo in AAA and promote him to the Angels once he shows success.

62. Ke’Bryan Hayes 3B (Pirates) - The son of Charlie and a first round pick of 2015 had a mini super star major league season in 2020. He hit .376 with five homeruns and a .682 slugging percentage in 24 major league games. Prior to that he was considered a great defensive third baseman whose glove would lead to gold, but a questionable bat that would not hit enough to justify his position at the hot corner. His minor league career average is .279 with a .399 slugging. He shows good patience at the plate, so if his break out major league season is the result of better recognition of pitches, then he should be an All Star third baseman for the Pirates in 2021. Expect him to start the season there, but don’t be surprised if offensive struggles result in a demotion to the minor leagues.

61. Forest Whitely RHP (Astros) - At one point the velocity and stuff coming out of this first round 2016 pick’s arm had him rated as one of the top pitchers in baseball. With his 6′7″ inch frame his reach to the plate was scary for hitters. Or maybe not. He has had issues staying healthy and a 50 game suspension because of drugs has limited his development. The fastball hits triple digits but it has trouble finding the plate. His curve and change are considered quality pitches, but lack consistency. The 2019 results (7.99 ERA) show all those quality pitches do not have trouble finding bats. Opponents hit him at a .259 clip with 11 homeruns in 60 innings. He also walked 44, but struck out 86, meaning his pitches sometimes found their mark. The Astros have spent a lot of time working on his mechanics. Depending on where that process is, he could start the season in extended spring, or at the lower minor league levels, but once they are happy with where he is at he should be pitching in AAA. With success there the Astro fans should see him on the mound in 2021.

Myworlds Top 100 Prospects - 90 to 81

Saturday, February 13th, 2021

Our next ten in the top prospect list. This group is filled with 2019 international signings and 2020 first round draft picks. Not a lot of players here with minor league history.

90. Erick Pena OF (Royals) - The Royals signed the Dominican for $3.9 million. The lefthanded power bat is only 17 and stands 6′3″. Power will be his best tool. He lacks the speed to be an impact player in centerfield so the corner appears to be his future position. The arm is not right field quality but if he gets stronger he could fit well there. He really has no stats to indicate what kind of player he could be but the Royals spent a lot of coin to sign him. He could start next year in extended spring and start the season in Low A. The Royals will have to wait until 2023 before he joins their outfield.

89. Robert Puason SS (Athletics) - Another 2019 signing who the Athletics signed for $5.1 million. The only player who got a higher bonus was Jasson Dominguez, who appears later on this list. Unlike Pena, power is probably the weakest part of his game. Robert is a wiry 6′3″ who has a strong arm and fast legs. He should have the defensive tools to stick at short. Like Pena he has yet to accumulate any stats to magnify his tools. He may also start the season in extended spring before starting his career in Low A. The Athletics should not expect him until 2023.

88. Orelvis Martinez SS (Blue Jays) - Another Dominican who signed for a big bonus ($3.5 million) but signing in 2018. The potential five tool prospect may get too big to stay at shortstop, but the power in his bat is suited for third base. He got to play some rookie ball in 2019 and showed good patience at the plate with 14 walks in 40 games for a .352 OBA. Also more than 50 percent of his hits went for extra bases for a .549 slugging percentage. Like Pena and Puason he is still a long way from making his major league debut. He will start the 2021 season in Low A with a major league debut in 2023. The longer he plays the more he will dictate what position is in his future.

87. Brendan McKay LHP (Rays) - Brenadan was the fourth pick in the 2017 draft. At that time his bat was his best tool while the Rays were intrigued by his arm while pitching out of the bullpen in college. They thought they had found a two way player who could hit and pitch like Shohei Ohtani. The surprise was that when he focused on pitching the arm advanced far more than his bat. The lefthanded arm throws a low 90s fastball that can hit the mid 90s. A cutter and his ability to throw strikes may be his best tools. After dominating the minors in 2019 (1.10 ERA) the Rays promoted him to make his major league debut. Major league hitters seemed to feast on his strike throwing ability hitting him at a .268 clip that resulted in a 5.14 ERA. Last year shoulder issues that required surgery in August prevented him from pitching. Despite the surgery he should be able to pitch in 2021 but it may require some time in AAA. The bat may still be used in the majors, but it will be secondary to the arm.

86. Robert Hassell OF (Padres) - Another player who has not been able to show off his tools. The Padres made him the eighth pick in the 2020 draft. He shined for the United States 18 and under national team, selected to the All World team for his .514 average and his .886 slugging average. He hit two homeruns and drove in 14 runs. His performance made him the first high school selection in the draft. A pitcher in high school, his arm is strong enough for right field, but his legs may not be fast enough to play center. This could create some pressure on him to hit for power. His bat will dictate how fast Hassell rises but don’t expect him to be in the Padres outfield until sometime late in 2023.

85. Deivi Garcia RHP (Yankees) - The Yankees are not normally a team to rely on rookie pitchers for their rotation. They normally trade them for veteran prospects. The Yankees signed the Dominican for $200,000 in 2015. With no minor leagues Garcia made his major league debut in 2020. His 4.98 ERA was impacted by the six homeruns he gave up in 34 innings. He stands only 5′9″ so there is some concern about his durability. Despite the height he can still dial up his fastball in the mid-90s. His breaking pitches are top quality making his fastball a better pitch. He did have issues with his command in his 2019 minor league season, but that lack of command did not seem to be a problem with the Yankees. Garcia will be competing for the fifth spot in the rotation in 2021. If he does not make the starting rotation he could still be used out of the bullpen.

84. Luis Matos OF (Giants) - One of the many young outfielders climbing up through the Giants system. Marco Luciano was the big international signing for the Giants in 2018, but Matos was a nice second choice, signing for $725,000. Matos has borderline five tools. In 2019 he showed a sharp bat with a .367 average in the Dominican Summer League. This got him five games in the Rookie League where he hit .438. His bat is more gap oriented now but an increase in power could develop. That maturation could slow him down creating a future for the corner rather than centerfield. Currently his speed resulted in 21 stolen bases, but number should lesson as he matures. Matos should be able to start the 2021 season in Low A, but he is still a couple years away from joining the Giants outfield.

83. Garrett Crochet LHP (White Sox) - Garrett was a first round pick of the White Sox in 2020. The talented arm was too strong to hold him back and he made his major league debut in September. He did not give up a run in his six innings of work. He also had one post season appearance, striking out both hitters he faced. Pitching out of the bullpen Crochet consistently hit triple digits with his fastball. The lefthander also has a decent slider and change to be used in the rotation. He was a starting pitcher for Tennessee in college. At 6′6″ he pitches downhill. He could probably fit in the White Sox bullpen in 2021 but they may start him in AAA to see how he might fit as a starter. It all depends on the White Sox greatest need in the playoff run.

82. Brendan Rodgers (SS) Rockies - The Rockies have traded Nolan Arenado. Next on their list may be Trevor Story. That will create an opening for Rodgers, who was destined for second base until then. Rodgers was a first round pick of the Rockies in 2015. Injuries have prevented him from an extended major league career. In 2019 a shoulder injury limited him to 25 games. Injuries limited him to just seven games in 2020. His major league average hangs at a low .196, but the Rockies have seen double digit power in the minor leagues. In 2019 he hit .350 with 9 homeruns in just 37 minor league games. That led to his abbreviated major league promotion. The tools are there for him to be a solid major league shortstop with 20 plus homerun power. He may have to start the 2021 season as the Rockies second baseman, until Story is traded.

81. George Kirby RHP (Mariners) - Kirby was the Mariners first round pick in 2019. At 6′4″ he has the frame to be a dominant starting pitcher. The fastball sits in the mid-90s but can creep higher. He has two breaking pitches and a change. All his pitches are thrown for excellent command. In his 2019 minor league debut he showed his command with a 0/25 walk to whiff ratio in 23 innings. Having the ball consistently cross the plate could be a weakness, allowing hitters to whack him around for a .270 average. If he can change his command to hitting the corners and throwing his pitches out of the strike zone to get hitters chasing he could lower that average. This could increase his path to the Mariners rotation. If he can reach AA in 2021 the Mariners could have him in their rotation by 2022.

Top Dominican Prospects in American League

Saturday, January 23rd, 2021

Last week myworld identified the top ten prospects from National League teams from the Dominican Republic. Sixto Sanchez, Jesus Sanchez, Luis Garcia, Christian Pache, Brailyn Marquez and Edward Cabrera all made their major league debuts from that list. From that group all reappeared on this year’s list except for Luis Garcia, who lost his rookie eligibility.

The top three from the American League list remains unchanged. Leody Taveras, Jorge Mateo and Deivi Garcia all played in the major leagues. Below are the top prospects from the American League from the Dominican Republic.

1. Wander Franco SS (Rays) - For many he is considered the top prospect in baseball. Wander was denied a 2020 season so he went to the Dominican Republic to play in the winter league. An injured bicep ended his season early. There is no question that Wander can hit. In his two minor league seasons his career average is .336/.405/.523. He also has a walk/strikeout ratio of 83/54. The main question around Wander is whether he can stick at shortstop. The arm is strong enough to play there but there is some concern about whether the range to cover the position exists. If he is not a fit at short the bat is potent enough that a move to third would not be a problem. The Rays already have a decent shortstop in Willy Adames. If Franco is promoted in 2021 it will probably be to play third or fill in for an injured Adames.

2. Julio Rodriguez OF (Mariners) - The Mariners signed Rodriguez for $1.75 million in 2017. Power will be his calling card. The 2019 season was his debut in the minor leagues and he hit .326 with 12 homeruns in just 84 games playing in Low and High A. The walk to whiff ratio was 25/76, which could result in an average more in the .270s once he hits the major leagues. He should be good for 30 plus homeruns. The speed is a better fit for a corner outfield position and his arm is strong enough for right field. If he is tearing it up in AA he could make his major league debut in 2021. The Mariners are rebuilding and Julio is one of their most important pieces in this project.

3. Jasson Dominguez OF (Yankees) - It has been a long time since the Yankees have had a superstar center fielder. Jasson could change all that. Little is known about Jasson from a stat perspective since he was not signed until 2019 for $5.4 million. His tools have had him compared to Mike Trout but at 17 years of age he has some growing up to do. He is a five tool player with the speed to steal 30 plus bases and the power to hit 30 plus homeruns. He should provide quality defense in centerfield and have the arm to fit in right. There is no short season league in the minor leagues, so the Yankees could keep him in extended spring and then promote him to Low A later on in the season.

4. George Valera OF (Indians) - The Indians outfield has been short of quality players the last couple years. They hope to change that with Valera, who was signed for $1.3 million in 2018. The hitting tools are there for him to hit over .300 and slug 30 plus homeruns. His speed and arm rate about average, making him a better fit for a corner outfield spot. Valera actually lived in New York until his teenage years when he moved back to the Dominican Republic. In 2019 he started at short season. He only hit .236 but still slugged 8 homeruns. Too many swing and misses resulted in a low average. A promotion to Low A was even worse, where he only hit .087 in 23 at bats. Valera will probably only play A ball in 2021. An Indians debut is not expected until late 2022.

5. Vidal Brujan 2B (Rays) - Sometimes players who rely mainly on speed can turn into major league disappointments. Jose Peraza is an example of that. Brujan is one of those players with tremendous speed but very little power. That speed resulted in stolen base totals of over 100 the last two seasons. He did have pretty good walk to whiff ratios, but that digressed in 2019 to 37/61, dropping his average to .277. The previous year he had hit .320. To utilize his speed Brujan needs to get on base to be effective. He did play 20 games down in the Dominican in the Winter Leagues where he hit just .254 with a .691 OPS but he did steal 10 bases in 13 attempts. He is an above average defensive player for second base so that is on his plus side. He also has a strong enough arm to play short making a utility role another possibility. Vidal should make his major league debut in 2021.

6. Deivi Garcia RHP (Yankees) - Last year he made his major league debut, performing in six starts. His ERA was not that stellar (4.98) and opponents hit .254 against him with six homeruns. He did have an impressive 6/33 walk to whiff ratio, showing an ability to hit the plate that he struggled with in 2019. Perhaps he was around the strike zone too much. His minor league career shows a .202 career opponent average. Deivi stands only 5′9″, which is usually a death height for right handed pitchers. His fastball is not overpowering and can ride the plate in the mid-90s. It is his breaking pitches, both the slider and curve that will grade his success higher. If a starting role does not pan out Deivi always could be used in relief. Expect the Yankees to go north with him in their rotation in 2021. How long he stays there will depend on his success.

7. Noelvi Marte SS (Mariners) - The Mariners signed Marti for $1.55 million in 2018. He was considered one of the top international prospects for that year. In 2019 he only played in the Dominican Summer League, but he put up some pretty impressive numbers, hitting .309 with a .511 slugging. He showed enough speed to steal 17 bases in 65 games. Noelvi will hit for power. His defense is a bit shaky for short. Whether he stays there or not will depend on keeping his consistency. He could move to third, or if he keeps his speed a move to the outfield is also a possibility. The 2021 season should see him play A ball. Noelvi will probably not see the Mariners until sometime during the 2023 season.

8. Gilberto Jimenez OF (Red Sox) - Over the last couple years the Red Sox farm system has turned a bit bleak. They hope Gilberto is one of many players who can change that prognosis. They only had to shell out $10,000 to sign him in 2017. For that they could have their centerfielder who can run with the wind. The last couple years Gilberto was able to combine for 30 steals in the Dominican Summer League and short season ball. He hit an impressive .359 in his short season debut. Gilberto does not carry a lot of power in his bat, slapping the ball into the outfield instead of driving it into the gaps. He did hit three homeruns in 2019, with 17 of his 84 hits going for extra bases. It appears that speed will bring Gilberto to the major leagues. That speed has not resulted in a lot of stolen base success, but it could help him fill the centerfield role. Don’t expect him to fill that role for the Red Sox until 2023.

9. Robert Puason SS (Athletics) - Like Dominguez, Puason was a major international signing for 2019 with a $5.1 million bonus. With no 2020 season not a lot is known about Puason. At 6′3″ he could develop some power, but at this point in his career that could be the weakest part of his game. There is speed, an arm and the tools to play a quality shortstop. The Athletics will probably keep him in extended spring or perhaps have him play some Dominican summer league ball before rushing him to full season ball. He will probably not see the Athletics until sometime late in 2023.

10. Anderson Tejeda SS (Rangers) - The Rangers are talking about moving Isiah Kiner-Falefa from third to short. Last year Anderson played 23 games there, hitting .253 with three homeruns. Anderson does not carry great range at shortstop, but he has an excellent arm. With some power in his bat he could ultimately become a utility player. The one big question with his hitting skills is his patience at the plate. Last year he had a 2/30 walk to whiff ratio, giving him a poor .273 OBA. He did play eleven games in winter ball, slugging .500 with half of his hits going for extra bases. He hit .300 with a .348 OBA, enough to stick with the Rangers if he can keep plugging those numbers. With a good spring Anderson could convince the Rangers to keep him with the club as their shortstop or as a utility player. Otherwise he will play in AAA to further enhance his game.

Top Centerfield Prospects

Monday, December 14th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top Shortstop Prospects

Sunday, November 29th, 2020

This position holds the cream of the crop. Everyone signed out of the Dominican Republic or Venezuela seems to start out as a shortstop, even Miguel Cabrera. Many of them eventually move to second or third base, or even the outfield. Some because they have gotten bigger as they have matured so they lack the range to play the position, others because a player ahead of them also plays shortstop and the bat is there to put him in the lineup at another position. Because of this, we are going to rank 20 players at this position.

1. Wander Franco (Rays) - Wander is possibly the number one ranked prospect in baseball. So was Jurickson Profar and Yoan Moncada at one time. That ranking does not carry with it automatic stardom in the major leagues, but Wander does have a big time bat that has hit over .300 at each level he has played in the minor leagues. During his 2019 season he reached full season ball, and compared to the Rookie Leagues, his power numbers dropped a little. The Rays don’t question the bat, expecting it to hit 30 plus homeruns and hit over .300 consistently in the major leagues. What is impressive about those power numbers is that he has an 83/54 walk to whiff ratio during that two year period, facing pitchers that are three to four years older than him. His speed is not great so his range is limited at the position. The Rays already have Willy Adames at short. By the time Franco is ready for short, it may also be the time the Rays are prepared to cut salary and say goodbye to Adames. Wander should see some major league time by 2022. He went down to the Dominican to get some playing time since he did not have a 2020 season, but that was cut short as he was forced to return to the United States to have a look at his injury.

2. Bobby Witt Jr (Royals) - The 2019 first round pick has a leaner build than Franco. He is also projected to have a little more power and settle as a better fielder. What Witt won’t be able to do is hit with the consistency of Franco. He has more swing and miss plate appearances, which translates into weaker bat to ball contact, lowering that batting average as he faces more superior pitching. Myworld saw him swinging an aluminum bat at the homerun derby during the All Star break. He was top dog in the competition. Witt has a father of the same name who was a pitcher in major league baseball. The legs carry good speed, which equates to good range at shortstop. There is confidence that he has the defensive tools to stay at the position. The biggest concern is improving his ability to make contact. Witt had no 2020 season, so that put a quiet stall in his development. Myworld expects him to make his major league debut some time around the end of 2022.

3. Jazz Chisholm (Marlins) - The Bahama native was originally signed by the Diamondbacks in 2015 for $200,000. Signed the same year out of the Bahamas was another shortstop Lucius Fox, who you do not see on this list. The Diamondbacks traded him straight up in 2019 for Zac Gallen. In the last two years in the minors he has shown enough power to hit 20 plus homeruns. The bat has shown many holes with a .220 average in 2019 and whiffs of greater than 140 in those two seasons. He did get to play a bit for the Marlins in 2020, hitting just .161 over just 21 games. His tendency to swing and miss lessoned and he appeared to show better discipline at the plate the more he plays. The defensive tools are there to play a quality shortstop. If he can tweak his discipline at the plate he could become a multiple all star at the position. The 2021 season will see him start at AAA with another callup to the Marlins if he does well.

4. Royce Lewis (Twins) - The first pick in the 2017 draft has been a top prospect for so long that sometimes you take him for granted. In his 2019 minor league season he reached AA, but with the Twins in a playoff race, they did not see a reason to call him up for the 2020 season. Royce had what you could call a down 2019 season, hitting just .236 in a season split between A and AA. His OBA was a dreadful .290. That is far below his two previous seasons when he hit .279 or greater. He seemed to lack patience at the plate in 2019 with a strikeout to walk rate at better than 3 to one, much worse than his previous two seasons. Royce is one of the fastest players in the minors and could use his speed in centerfield, where the Twins used him a bit in 2019. His bat is anticipated to play in the majors and it could show 20 plus homerun pop if he can make more consistent, solid contact. The 2021 season should finally see his arrival with the Twins.

5. Ronny Mauricio (Mets) - The Mets already have two solid shortstops competing for a job in Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez. Ronny could make it a third, though at 6′3″ he could bulk up too much to force a move to third. Since the lack of speed is one of his only down sides, he may lack the range to play short in the major leagues. His bat is expected to hit. The Mets signed him for $2.1 million in 2017. In 2019 he reached Low A, hitting .268 with four homeruns. His walk to whiff ratio was a concerning 23/99, which is a major reason Rosario has struggled with major league pitching. The Mets anticipate that his power will develop enough for a move to third base. Any major league time probably won’t be seen until late 2022 at the earliest.

6. Marco Luciano (Giants) - Marco signed with the Giants in 2018 for $2.6 million. They hope he turns out better than Lucius Fox, who they signed for $6 million, but traded away for a song. Marco is a different player than Lucius, one who can hit for power. He only got to play 47 games in the minors in 2019, but he hit 10 homeruns with a .564 slugging percentage. He batted .302 with a 32/45 walk to whiff ratio. If his walk percentage continues that trend he will be a slugging bat who gets on base a lot. A shortstop that hits .300 with 30 plus homeruns and a .400 OBA would be a dream for the Giants. As with Mauricio, speed is not a big part of his game, so a move to third base looks to be in his future. Myworld does not anticipate him being with the Giants until 2023.

7. Austin Martin (Blue Jays) - Myworld saw Austin in the College World Series in 2019. The 2020 season was cancelled early but Austin was good enough to be a first round pick in 2020. That means there are no stats on Austin. He hit .392 in college with a high OBA. The power was not great and is expected to be above average. He also played multiple positions with Vanderbilt. Many conjectured that he would be the first player selected in the draft but he fell to being the fifth pick. His ultimate position could be centerfield or second base since he had problems with consistency at shortstop with Vanderbilt. The bat though should allow him to reach the majors quickly, say sometime in 2022.

8. O’Neil Cruz (Pirates) - If the 6′7″ O’Neil can bend down to play shortstop consistently, why not allow him to play. The consensus is the Dominican with the rocket arm will eventually move to right field. The power in his bat is immense, with the potential to hit 40 plus homeruns per year. Making consistent contact is not a major problem but he could always seek improvement, with walk to whiff ratios around 30/100. Despite his large frame, speed is not a weakness. The 2020 season was a wasted season of development. He stayed in the Dominican where he got into a car accident in which two people were killed. What kind of impact this will have on his psyche for the future is open for question. Last year he reached AA, so it is a concern the Pirates did not have room for him to work out in the alternate camp. Maybe that is why they are the Pirates and fail to develop their prospects. Cruz is playing in the Dominican Winter League and should see some major league playing time late in 2021.

9. Anderson Tejeda (Rangers) - Anderson was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014 for just $100,000. He seemed to have a nice breakout season in 2018 when he hit 19 homeruns. His 2019 season was cut short to 43 games because of an injured shoulder. He got an opportunity to play with the Rangers in 2020, making his major league debut and hitting three homeruns in 23 games. One of the major issues with Tejeda is poor strike zone discipline, with walk to whiff ratios of 40/130. That will keep his batting averages at .250 or below unless he improves that discipline. His speed is just a tick above average, so there is concern about his range at short. He does make up for that with one of the strongest arms in the minor leagues. With a good spring Tejeda could be the starting shortstop for the Rangers in 2021.

10. Jose Garcia (Reds) - The Cuban prospect surprised many with his power swing in spring training. Power is not expected to be his strong suit. At 6′2″ he is not considered a small guy so perhaps some power is developing. The Reds signed Garcia for his smooth defense. He improved his bat in 2019, advancing to High A and hitting .280 with an OBA of .343 (compared to .245/290). What was surprising is the Reds called him up early to play shortstop during their playoff run last season. He struggled with a .194 average and a 1/26 walk to whiff for a .206 OBA, but they still played him because of his defense. None of his 13 hits went for extra bases. He will probably need another season in the minors, but the Reds could still have him return sometime in 2021.

11. C.J. Abrams (Padres) - A 2019 first round pick by the Padres is tough to tag. He had a nice minor league debut hitting .393 with a .647 slugging. All but two of his 34 games were played in Rookie ball. He runs with the wind, ala Trea Turner, stealing 15 bases in those 34 games. If his Rookie League stats can be deciphered accurately he makes good contact with a 11/14 walk to whiff ratio. The defensive tools exist to play shortstop, including a strong arm. However, with all that speed he may be best utilized in center field. Abrams has a long way to reach the Padres. When he does, if he wants to play shortstop he will have to usurp Tatis Jr. The Padres will probably not have to make that decision until 2023, with a possible late season callup in 2022.

12. Geraldo Perdomo (Diamondbacks) - Perdomo was a bargain signing at $70,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2016. In 2019 he played in A ball, showing the ability to make good contact, but lacking in power. His career walk to whiff ratio is 169/148 with a batting average of .278. There is some gap power but currently his slugging average is a wimpish .368. At 6′2″ he could develop more power but not to the detriment of his defense. He has Gold Glove potential for the position so anything his bat can do is a plus. The lack of any organized play in 2020 hurt his development process so the best Geraldo can hope for in his major league debut is sometime late 2022.

13. Jordan Groshans (Blue Jays) - Bo Bichette is the current Blue Jays shortstop with the newly drafted Austin Martin right behind him. At 6′3″ Jordan has the length to develop big time power. After hitting .296 with five homeruns in 48 games in his minor league debut in 2018, his 2019 season was cut short by a foot injury, limiting him to just 23 games. With the cancellation of the 2020 minor league season the development process has been slowed even further. Currently, Jordan’s hits are gap to gap with the potential to send more of those balls over the fence as he gains strength. Jordan has the potential to hit for power and average. His speed is a tick above average, which could slow after he matures, meaning a move to third base. His power at short is not as beneficial to the team if he has to move to third. The Jays have time to develop him so myworld does not expect to see him playing with the Blue Jays before 2022.

14. Bryson Stott (Phillies) - The 2019 first round pick has all the tools except for power. That could develop with time as his 6′3″ frame develops. He slugged six homeruns in 48 games in his 2019 minor league debut. His ability to draw walks and spank the ball to the opposite field could make him an ideal number two hitter. The tools are there to stick at short as an above average defensive player. Stott is a college drafted player so he needs to rise quickly after a wasted 2020 season. Expect the Phillies to push for his major league debut time to be 2021.

15. Robert Puason (Athletics) - Puason was a recent 2019 signing, eliciting a bonus from the Athletics for $5.1 million. That is a lot of cheddar. At 6′3″ his body is currently lean and stringy. The strength can come as he matures. He currently has good speed, but he does not want to lose that with bulk. A strong arm and plus range makes him a potential Gold Glove shortstop. All we can go on now is his high signing bonus, second to potential Yankee super star outfielder Jasson Dominguez, and the reports that all his tools have the potential to be above major league average. His start time in the majors will have to wait until 2024.

16. Gabriel Arias (Indians) - The Venezuelan prospect was signed by the Padres in 2016 for $1.9 million. His bat is still a little soft but his glove is golden. Gabriel saw some power break out in 2019 when he slugged 17 homeruns and raised his slugging average from 2018 120 points to .470. The Padres included Gabriel in a trade with the Indians for Mike Clevenger. With Abrams and Tatis Jr. at shortstop the Padres are stacked. He needs to show better plate discipline if he hopes to achieve offensive success. He has a 78/344 walk to whiff ratio in his minor league career. The Indians have been talking about trading Francisco Lindor. Arias is probably a couple steps from taking the reigns at short, so do not expect a major league debut until sometime late in 2022.

17. Oswald Peraza (Yankees ) - Yankee prospects can sometimes be a bit over hyped. Peraza was signed for just $175,000 in 2016. He reached A ball in 2019. His batting averages have hovered around .260 and he has yet to hit over 4 homeruns. leaving him with a slugging average of just .346. The Yankees hope the tools defy the numbers. The speed is there to steal 23 bases in 2019 and provide the range to play short. The arm is strong. The power may always lack. With the Yankees prospects like Peraza are normally used as trade bait to acquire a veteran to make a playoff run. Trusting a rookie shortstop not named Derek Jeter to play a critical position for a win now team is not to be expected. Perhaps he will see a platoon role for the Yankees sometime in 2022.

18. Tyler Freeman (Indians) - We just see a little too much average in the 2017 first round supplemental pick. He has hit well with a .319 career minor league average, including a .352 average in rookie ball in 2018. Over the fence power is absent, but he does have the ability to spray the gaps to hit 61 doubles his last two seasons. The speed is not supposed to be great, but he has the savvy to steal 19 bases in 2019. His defensive tools may be better used in a utility role, lacking the power to play corner and the range to play short. He could see that role in 2022.

19. Keoni Cavaco (Twins) - A 2019 first round pick, he played at Eastlake High School, which is where my niece went to school. Myworld has to give him props for that. His one and only season of 25 games he hit just .172, with a 4/35 walk to whiff ratio. That is very foreboding. He was primarily a third baseman in high school, but the Twins have been impressed with his tools at short. Obviously he will have to improve his discipline at the plate if he wishes to hit for average. He is still a far cry from any major league consideration, possibly late 2023.

20. Yasel Antona (Nationals) - The last player on a Top 20 list is normally someone special. Not that any of his tools are anything special, but Yasel is above average in all phases. He also seemed to show some increased pop in camp that had a lot of players going “Wow”. The Nationals signed him in 2016 for $3.9 million. Tommy John surgery ended his 2018 season early and he only saw three games in 2019. In 2018 he was only hitting .220 with a .331 slugging. So most of the reason he appears on this list is because of hype. A lack of speed may force him to move to third, where the power needs to show if he wants to play. Expect that to be sometime in late 2022.

Cole and Tanaka - Consecutive Win Streaks

Tuesday, August 4th, 2020

The press has been talking about Gerritt Cole’s 19 game consecutive win streak. The major league record for consecutive wins for a pitcher is held by Rube Marquard, who won 24. That was back in 1912, more than 100 years ago. Many reports are saying what Cole is doing now is unprecedented.

Not true. All Cole has to do to find a pitcher who broke Marquard’s win streak is to look in his dugout. That is where Masahiro Tanaka will be sitting. Over a two year period in 2012 to 2013 Tanaka won 26 games in a row while pitching for the Rakuten Golden Eagles in the NPB. In 2013 he finished the season 24-0 with an ERA of 1.27. He finally lost a game in game 6 of the Japan Series playoff. In 2014 he signed a major league contract with the New York Yankees.

So if Cole needs someone to talk to about pitcher winning streaks, Tanaka would be a good player to seek out. He had a season for the ages. Of course, if you include playoff games, Cole’s streak was broken last year in game one of the World Series against the Nationals. Eliminate the loss Tanaka had in his playoff start, add on the six consecutive wins he had when starting for the Yankees in 2014 and his consecutive win streak would have slipped past 30 (not too sure how many playoff wins Tanaka earned that would have to be eliminated from his win streak).

Top Venezuelan Prospects - American League

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020

Venezuela has not kept up with the Dominican Republic in the last couple years with the number of premium prospects coming out of the country. Cuba was at the point of surpassing them, but the United States placing further restrictions on travel from Cuba made it more difficult for Cuban ball players to emigrate. With the perceived dangers out of Venezuela the scouting has been reduced and teams move their Venezuelan prospects to Dominican facilities to work out.

In the American League some prospects from last year’s list have dropped. Luis Rengifo and Luis Arraez are two players who graduated to the major leagues. Rengifo, the number seven prospect last year will probably end up in a utility role while Arraez, who fell a spot behind him will have a couple years as a starter. His lack of power will require him to continue to hit for average if he hopes to keep his starting role. One player was traded to the National League.

Below are the top ten prospects out of Venezuela from the American League. No real superstars from this bunch, but some solid major league possibilities. A bucket load of shortstops on this list, many of whom will have to turn to third or second base.

1. Aaron Bracho 2B (Indians) - The Indians spent $1.5 million to sign him in 2017. Aaron does not have one outstanding tool, but also has no weak points to his game. He missed the 2018 season because of an arm injury so he didn’t even make the top ten list last year. Now he is number one in what is not an illuminating group. Last year he hit .281 with a .570 slugging percentage. His 28/29 walk to whiff ratio for a .402 OBA was impressive. The tools are there for him to be an average shortstop but the Indians had him playing second base last year to get his bat in the lineup. Currently his power is more oriented towards the gap but as he matures he should consistently hit in the double digit homerun area. If the season ever starts he could begin it in Low A, but at 19 years old he has plenty of time to develop.

2. Brayan Rocchio SS (Indians) - Another 2017 signing, but at $125,000 the Indians may have gotten a better bargain. His defensive tools for playing shortstop are better than Bracho, with the arm a little above average and his legs carrying faster speed, which results in better range. What Brayan lacks is power. Last year was his second season in short season ball after having success in the Dominican Summer League and the Arizona Rookie League in 2018, hitting .335 at the two levels. Last year was not as strong in the New York Penn League, with his average dropping to .250 and his slugging at .373. He is noted for his high baseball IQ which has given him the nickname professor. He is a little ahead of Bracho on the depth chart, but they should be the infield combo at Low A next year.

3. Maximo Acosta SS (Rangers) - Maximo is the third new player on this list. The Rangers signed him in 2019 for $1.65 million. He has yet to play in the minor leagues, but his tools are strong enough to carry a lot of buzz. The defensive tools, including strong arm and decent range are there for him to play shortstop. The bat is also strong and should hit for a high average and develop some easy double digit homerun power. The 2020 season will be an indication of whether all of that is true. Kevin Maitan also had all those accolades and as his tools failed to progress he dropped off the list. The 2020 season will be a critical one. He could start it in the Dominican League or stateside in the Rookie League. He will be 17 years of age, young to be playing stateside.

4. Darwinzon Hernandez LHP (Red Sox) - Back in 2013 the Red Sox signed Darwinzon for just $7,500. Six years later he made his Red Sox debut, pitching mainly in the bullpen with 28 relief appearances and one start. His fastball sits in the mid 90s and has a little more zip to it when in the bullpen. He was a starter in the minor leagues, but a lack of command and inconsistent secondary pitches make the bullpen the best fit for him. He gets a lot of whiffs, averaging 16.9 strikeouts per 9 innings in his 29 major league appearances, but he also walked 26 batters in just 30 innings. The inability to throw strikes will lead to greater pitch counts and shorter innings, so the bullpen will be best. He should start the 2020 season in the Red Sox bullpen but that will depend on his second spring whenever the baseball season starts again. Last year Darwinzon was sixth on this list. He becomes the first player from last year to make this year’s list, though the number one player Brusdar Graterol was traded to the National League.

5. Oswaldo Peraza SS (Yankees) - The fourth middle infielder to make this list and the third shorstop. Oswaldo was signed by the Yankees for $175,000 in 2016 when they were restricted to signing players for $300,000 or less. The tool set is there for him to be an above average defensive shortstop with a strong arm and good range. He makes solid contact with the bat, though his ability to hit for power is below average. Last year he hit .263 with a .340 slugging, but he did make his debut in Low A, hitting .273 with a 16/28 walk to whiff ratio. Oswaldo has the speed to steal bases, swiping 23 last year, 18 of them in Low A. He is still a teenager and won’t turn 20 until June. Expect him to have another go at Low A with an early promotion to High A if he does well.

6. Franklin Perez RHP (Tigers) - Franklin was number two on this list last year. The Astros signed him for $1 million back in 2014 and he worked his way up to being their top prospect. They traded him to Detroit as the key player in the Justin Verlander trade in 2017. Injuries have only allowed Franklin to work 27 innings in nine starts the last couple years. It may be best to see how he handles the bullpen. When healthy Franklin can get his fastball into the mid-90s, but shoulder issues have put those velocities in question. His secondary pitches also had the potential to be above average pitches, with his changeup being his top pitch. Last year he only had two starts in High A. The 2020 season will be key. At 22 years of age his prospect clock is ticking. The Tigers have to hope to get him some AA time before the season ends so he can be ready for his major league debut sometime in 2021.

7. Luisangel Acuna SS (Rangers) - Luisangel is the brother of Ronald. Those are some big shoes to fill. He would like to have bigger shoes as he stands only 5′8″ to 5′9″. His brother can tell Luisangel the story of how a team told him to go home because he was too small to play baseball. Ronald grew to a nice 6′0″. Luisangel signed for a bigger bonus that his brother, his $425,000 more than $300,000 greater than his older brother. He also plays a different position, though he has the speed and the arm to play centerfield. He lacks the power of his brother, but at 17 he could still grow. Last year in the Dominican Summer League he raked for a .342 average, stealing 17 bases and producing an impressive 34/26 walk to whiff ratio. The 2020 season should see him in the short season leagues where the pitching will be much better.

8. Gabriel Rodriguez SS (Indians) - This is the third Indian middle infielder on this list. The Indians rolled out $2.1 million for Gabriel in 2018. He made his debut last year in the Dominican Summer League and was later promoted to the Rookie League for 18 games, where he only hit .218. He doesn’t carry any one outstanding tool, but tends to be above average in all phases. At 6′2″ the power could develop as he matures. This could slow him down defensively and force a move to third. The 2020 season should see another year in Rookie ball with a promotion to Low A towards the end of the year.

9. Arol Vera SS (Angels) - The seventh middle infielder among this group. A lot of unknowns about him since he signed in 2019 and didn’t play any minor league ball. Since the Angels paid $2 million to sign him the skills have got to be there. Currently he is an average runner, which could get worse as he matures, so a move to third base is probable. The power is there for him to make the move. The Angels like his intangibles. Arol could start the season in Rookie ball in 2020.

10. Everson Pereira OF (Yankees) - The tenth spot is what he occupied last year. A disappointing season (.171) and injuries (hamstring and ankle) limited him to 18 games. He was not on this list until Brusdar Graterol got traded from the American League to the National. The Yankees opened up their pocketbook to pay Everson $1.5 million in 2017. The tools are all there, with power, speed, arm and the ability to hit for average. He will still be a teenager for the entire 2020 season so another start in Rookie ball with a promotion to Low A before the season ends would be good for him.

Top Ten Cuban Prospects - American League

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

Cuba has not yet passed the Dominican Republic for their quality of prospects, but they are getting close to passing Venezuela if they have not done that already. The American League is the weaker conference for Cuban prospects, though if you would add WAR (Wins Above Replacement) to each of the players totals in the top ten the American League might come out on top because of their top prospect.

A couple players graduated from last year’s list. The number two prospect Yordan Alvarez made an impressive debut for the Astros, winning the American League Rookie of the Year award. His teammate, Cionel Perez did not make as impressive a debut, and will need to improve upon his showing if he wants to pitch int the Astros pen. The lefthanded pitcher allowed lefthanders to hit .300 against him, something he needs to improve on if he wants to be effective in the bullpen.

Four players dropped from the list. This leaves six new players to be added. Below are the top ten Cuban prospects from the American League.

1. Luis Robert OF (White Sox) - There is a lot of pressure on Roberts as baseball people are calling him the new Mike Trout. The White Sox have shown so much confidence in him that he is already guaranteed to make $76 million before he even makes a major league appearance. This includes a 26 million bonus when he signed with the White Sox out of Cuba in 2017. His first complete year in 2018 was not so hot when he failed to hit a homerun in close to 200 at bats. A thumb injury bothered him all that season. Last year he broke out with 32 homeruns and 36 stolen bases, becoming one of two 30-30 players in the minor leagues. He has the speed to play centerfield and steal bases, the strength to hit for power and the ability to make hard contact to hit for a high average. There is a bit too much swing and miss in his at bats but that is an issue most teams will take from their power hitters. Luis will be the starting centerfielder for the White Sox this year based on the six year $50 million contract he signed.

2. Roberto Campos OF (Tigers) - Hard to rate Roberto this high when he has yet to play in a minor league game but there is a lot of buzz about him. The Tigers shelled out $2.85 million to sign him. He allegedly left Cuba at 13 years of age and the Tigers hid him for a couple years at their minor league facilities in the Dominican Republic, before signing him. He defected with his older brother after winning the MVP award in a youth international tournament in the Dominican Republic. He lacks the speed to play center but his arm should be good enough for right. At 6′3″ he has good size to have the ability to hit for power. Since he has not really played competitive baseball in about three years it is difficult to predict how he will hit, especially when going against the tough breaking pitches. The Tigers could start him in the Dominican Summer League before promoting him to the major league club. He is still a few years away from impacting the Tigers major league roster.

3. Yusniel Diaz OF (Orioles) - The Orioles gave up Manny Machado for a trio of Dodger minor leaguers. Yusniel was the key to that group. His prospect status has taken a hit as he becomes mired in the quagmire that is AA, the 2019 season completing his third year in Bowie/Tulsa. The Dodgers paid a $15.5 million bonus to sign him back in 2015. So far he has not quite lived up to the hype. His power has remained hidden, stuck on 11 homeruns for three consecutive years with a modest .440 slugging average. Leg injuries last year limited him to just 76 games. If he had played a full season he could have been promoted to AAA. Yusniel has decent speed, but better suited for a corner, a good arm to fit in at right field and a decent hit tool that gives him a .278 minor league average. If he wants to avoid the stigma of a fourth outfielder he needs to improve his power numbers. Next year he should start the season in AAA with a possible promotion to the Orioles if a need arises or his bat shows the major league brass that he is ready.

4. Alexander Vargas SS (Yankees) - Alexander got a year under his belt after the Yankees signed him for $2.5 million in 2018. He played as a 17 year old in the Rookie level, hitting .233 at two levels, with little power (.373 slugging). Speed is his main asset at this point with 15 stolen bases in just 48 games. He showed a good ability to get on base with a 18/28 walk to whiff ratio. The Yankees appear to be very crowded at the shortstop position, but Vargas may have some of the best defensive tools among that group. If he can gain more strength to hit for power he could be an impact player. Right now he is a few years away from making a major league impact.

5. Lazaro Armenteros OF (Athletics) - When he left Cuba he touted himself as a player with multiple tools and was going to be known as Lazarito, eventually having a similar reaction to the name “Ichiro”. That has not happened yet and may never occur. Lazarito has to learn to make better contact. He reminds me a lot of Blue Jay prospect Demi Orimoloye or long ago Dodger prospect Jose Gonzalez, players who struggle to hit anything with a break. Lazarito struck out an amazing 227 times in 126 games, hitting just .222. He did show his power with 17 homeruns and his speed with 22 stolen bases. A weak arm will limit him to left field, which makes it more important that he develop his power, which might rely on increased contact. Next year he should see AA, unless the Athletics feel he would benefit from one more season in High A.

6. Orlando Martinez OF (Angels) - From Orlando down to Yolbert are new players to the top ten. Orlando was signed in 2017 for the bargain price of $250,000. At 22 he is a bit older and it didn’t help that he missed two months last year because of a broken finger. There isn’t really anything flashy about his game. He runs average so a corner outfield spot would be better for him. He did slug 12 homeruns last year but his power is suspect (.434 slugging). Defensively, the arm is above average but it is not a rocket. So his best bet will be to make it as a fourth outfielder. Next year he will play in AA where a promotion is just a hot streak away.

7. Bryan Ramos 3B (White Sox) - The Sox are doing a good job at putting together a Cuban National team for their roster. Bryan was signed for $300,000 in 2018. At 17 years of age last year was his first in the Arizona Rookie League and he did well, hitting .277 with a .415 slugging percentage. The power may not show yet in a game because pitchers are a little ahead of him, but give him more experience and the power will be seen. He plays third base now, but his position is yet defined. He runs well enough that he could move to the outfield where his arm is strong enough to play right field. He could also move to second where his power would be a bonus. At 17 he is still a long way from playing for the White Sox. Expect him to see time in extended spring training with another Rookie League assignment mid-season.

8. Yordys Valdes SS (Indians) - Yordys was a second round pick of the Indians in 2019. He was born in Cuba where his dad was a Series Nacional player, but moved to the States when he was 12. Defensively he was considered one of the best high school shortstops in the draft. Offensively, there is a lot of work to be done. In Rookie ball he hit just .179 with 53 whiffs in 43 games. While he is not a fast runner, he showed good instincts with 15 stolen bases. Imagine what that amount would be if his OBA was greater than .251. If he can find his bat he could be an exciting player, but that may take another year of Rookie ball and at least three years of minor league ball before he starts wearing an Indians uniform.

9. Yolbert Sanchez SS (White Sox) - Yolbert signed with the White Sox for $2.5 million in 2019. He played last year in the Dominican Summer League. At 23 years of age next year he should start at a full season league. Defensively he is solid with a strong arm. Like Yordys, what will break him is whether his bat is enough to start in the major leagues. He did have a nice 15/12 walk to whiff ratio in the DSL but that was against pitchers younger than him. He should have been a little more dominating than his .297 average and .441 slugging. Next year will be a critical year for him. It is important that his bat play well so he can advance quickly.

10. Julio Pablo Martinez OF (Rangers) - We had him at number 4 last year. The Rangers collected a lot of international money in an attempt to sign Shohei Ohtani. When that did not happen they used $2.8 million of that for what they hope is the next best thing. At 5′9″ Julio is not a big guy. His quick bat allows him to hit for better than average pop but whether it will be enough to be more than a fourth outfielder is open to question. The speed is there to play center so that puts some pressure off him to hit for the power of a corner. Last year at High A he struck out 144 times in just 113 games. Hitting breaking pitches has been the challenge. He did make enough progress in the second half to earn a promotion to AA. He will be 24 when the season starts so the clock is ticking. He is at that age where prospects become journeyman if they have yet to see the major leagues.