Archive for the 'Yankees' Category

Myworld’s Top Ten Shortstops

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

These are the players who can make or break a major league team. Many of these players move on to other positions such as second base, third base or centerfield because of their athleticism and there are only 30 spots open to them in the major leagues. This is probably the most crowded position, with many of the major league teams already filled at shortstop. The Yankees have Didi Gregorius, the Mets will have Amed Rosario, the Nationals Trea Turner, the Indians Francisco Lindor, the Astros Carlos Correa, the Dodgers Corey Seager and on and on we can go. Some teams still need shortstops to make their lineup complete. They are the quarterback of an NFL team, the point guard in the NBA. Without a quality player at this position it is difficult to win in the major leagues. Below are some of the best that are waiting for their opportunity to prove themselves.

1. Willy Adames (Rays) - Signed by the Tigers but traded away in the David Price deal. Now that the Tigers are rebuilding he would be a good piece to have in that quest. The defense is there to make the plays and the bat will be productive. The strikeouts need to be tamed (132) but his high walk total (65) gave him a .360 OBA in AAA. He has the potential to hit 30 plus doubles with double digit homerun power approaching 20. Tampa is still looking for a shortstop and Willy could grab the position out of spring training in 2018.

2. Royce Lewis (Twins) - The Twins first round pick in 2017 and the first pick overall. His bat is solid and his defensive tools are strong. The big criticism is his lack of power and an average arm that could create a move to second base. Currently his power is built for the gaps with the speed to turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples. He makes consistent contact with the patience to draw walks. With his speed he could steal 40 plus bases. Royce is still a couple years away and won’t be introduced to the major leagues until 2020 at the earliest as a possible September callup.

3. Gleyber Torres (Yankees) - Gleyber was signed by the Cubs in 2013 for $1.7 million. They traded him to the Yankees to acquire Aroldis Chapman for half a season. Didi Gregorius stands in his way at the major league level and Tommy John surgery cut his 2017 season short by 100 games last year. The bat seems to be his most impressive tool with the ability to hit for average and power. This would allow a move to third base if Didi stays at short. The arm is strong but his range may not be as great as Didi. Don’t be surprised if Gleyber makes an impact to the 2018 season after spending the first couple months in the minors rehabbing his elbow.

4. Fernando Tatis Jr. (Padres) - The son of Fernando Sr. he carries the power of his father with the speed and tools to cover ground in the middle infield. At 6′3″ he may eventually have to move to third. He made a brief appearance at AA, combining for 22 homeruns at the two levels. There is still a lot of non contact with his at bats (77 walks with 141 whiffs) but the walks but his OBA close to .400 (.379). The Padres currently lack a shortstop so a good year at AA could convince the Padres to promote him by mid-season in 2018.

5. Kevin Maiten (To be determined) - The Braves signed him for $4.25 million in 2016. He immediately appeared on Top 100 lists as a 16 year old. His bat was a little quiet in his first season, producing an unimpressive .629 OPS in rookie ball. He didn’t show the bat or the defensive tools to justify the high bonus, but some have to remember he would still be a high school kid if still in the United States. Kevin is one of 13 players the Braves had to release because of the shenanigans the team practiced in circumventing the international salary cap.

6. Carter Kieboom (Nationals) - His father played in the Netherlands. His brother Spencer is a catcher and was first drafted by the Nationals, but lacks the tools of Carter. Carter was a first round pick in 2016 and struggled to stay healthy in 2017. The bat will be strong and spray the gaps, but he may need to move to third. At 6′2″ he may lose the range to stick at short. Whether he can move to third will depend on his gap hits turning into homeruns. He is still a couple years away so Trea has no worries to peer in the rear view mirror until sometime in 2020.

7. Brendan Rodgers (Rockies) - A first round pick in 2015 Brendan’s bat is ready for the major leagues in 2018. Trevor Story stands in his way at shortstop. One will have to move to second base if the Rockies want to get Brendan’s bat in the lineup. The power exists for 30 plus homeruns in Colorado, which would make him a offensive force in the middle infield. Neither Story or Rodgers has the speed to cover a lot of ground at short so it could be rock, paper, scissors to see who moves to second.

8. Delvin Perez (Cardinals) - The Cardinals first round pick in 2016. He may have not fallen to them if not for a drug failure prior to the draft. At 6′3″ the Puerto Rican reminds scouts of Carlos Correa, with less power but a more consistent glove. He also has good stolen base speed. A taller Francisco Lindor may be a better comparison, with Lindor not developing the power until he hit the major leagues. Last year Delvin was limited to 34 games because of injury. His bat was disappointing with a .203 average and .585 OPS. Delvin is still a couple years away from thinking about the major leagues.

9. J.P. Crawford (Phillies) - The Phillies keep waiting for his tools to make an appearance. His bat has produced two consecutive years of disappointing performances. Most were expecting him to move Freddy away from shortstop by now, but based on performance Freddy is the better shortstop and J.P. may have to move to second or third. He does draw a lot of walks which makes his .243 average more tolerable and he did hit a career high 15 homeruns. A .214 major league average and .656 OPS may keep him in AAA to start the 2018 season. The Phillies may make him earn his promotion to shortstop.

10. Andres Gimenez (Mets) - His defense at short would make him gold glove eligible but his lack of hitting tools makes him better as a utility player. His speed should give him 20 plus stolen bases. His lack of power stunted his slugging (.349). In 2016 in the Dominican Summer League he walked more than he struck out (21/13). Against better pitching state side those numbers were reversed (28/61). At 19 the Mets can be patient with him so don’t expect him to sniff the major leagues until 2020.

Others to Consider

Jorge Mateo (Athletics) - The acquisition of Gleyber Torres moved him to second. Dealt to the Athletics in the Sonny Gray trade he has returned to short. Speed is his best asset though he has shown some surprising pop. The Athletics are a little crowded at short so a move to center field to take advantage of his speed is still in the cards.

Cole Tucker (Pirates) - Not a lot of tools. A Jody Mercer clone once Jody leaves as a free agent. Does have the speed to steal 30 plus bases.

Richard Urena (Blue Jays) - A defensive shortstop who lacks a strong bat. Injuries to Troy Tulowitski will give him opportunities to prove himself at the position, but last year only hit .206 in his major league debut.

Wander Javier (Twins) - The Twins shelled out $4 million for Wander in 2015. Royce and Wander are the same age, but Royce has seen Low A. Wander is still in Rookie ball with injuries in 2016 restricting him to 9 games. He has the tools to play the position and the bat to be an impact player but needs the reps to let those tools shine.

Alfredo Rodriguez (Reds) - Not a lot of Cubans to fill the shortstop position. The glove is there to play the position but the bat is light, lacking power and the patience.

Yu-Cheng Chang (Indians) - Chang is the atypical Asian shortstop. He hits for power but his defensive tools may force a move to third. Too many swings and misses (134) kept his average low (.220).

Hoy-Jun Park (Yankees) - An expensive sign out of Korea ($1 million), Park has a smooth glove but a silent bat.

Richie Martin (Athletics) - The 2015 first round pick has the best glove in the Athletics organization. A questionable bat that lacks power may make him fall short as a major leaguer.

Kevin Newman (Pirates) - Another Jody Mercer clone that lacks the speed of Cole Tucker. His bat lacks power but makes solid contact to hit .270 plus.

Wander Franco (Rays) - At 16 years of age he is still a long ways away. The Rays paid $3.8 million to sign him. His bloodlines are good being the nephew of Eric Aybar. Dominicans have a tendency to outgrow shortstop.

Lucius Fox (Rays) - A defensive wizard with good speed the big impediment towards Lucius making an impact is a weak bat. Willy Adames will have claimed the position by the time Fox is ready so a move to second base or center field is a possibility. He has the speed to cover the grass in center.

Logan Warmoth (Blue Jays) - The Jays 2017 first round pick hit .302 in his half season professional debut. Not great defensive tools with power more suited for second base.

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 Ten Second Base Prospects

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

Not the position that is filled with the best prospects in baseball. In the major leagues the players who end up at second base are the more athletic shortstops who are a bit slow or do not have the arm to play short. Not a lot of players start as second baseman in the minor leagues and move up to the major leagues as second baseman. Below is myworld’s ten second base prospects that we like.

1. Nick Gordon (Twins) - Nick saw most of his time at shortstop but with top pick Royce Lewis ahead of him in the depth chart a more permanent move to second may be in his future. His half brother Dee Gordon started as a shortstop and was moved to second. Nick is less erratic at the position than Dee and has the arm to play the position. There is some concern he may not have the quickness. Nick lacks the speed and the stolen base ability of his brother Dee but he carries more power in his bat. Last year he hit .270 with 9 homeruns. He whiffs (134) too much for a middle infielder who does not have a lot of power.

2. Bo Bichette (Blue Jays) - His mother is from Brazil so Bo got to play for that country in the World Baseball Classic. His dad Dante was a power hitter in the major leagues and his brother, Dante Jr, plays in the minor leagues for the Yankees. Bo lacks the power of his father but carries better speed and could hit for average. He saw a limited amount of time at second base but 21 errors at shortstop in 86 games shows his inconsistency and a move to second may become more permanent. His bat was the talk of the minor leagues after hitting .384 in 70 low A games. The previous year he had hit .427 in 22 rookie league games. Promoted to the Florida State League he still hit a blistering .323, blasting 14 homeruns at the two levels. He will be an offensive oriented middle infielder who should make an impact with the Blue Jays in 2019.

3. Franklin Barreto (Athletics) - The Athletics have traded a number of shortstops, but Franklin was acquired from the Blue Jays in the Josh Donaldson trade. He also played more shortstop than second base this year but inconsistent fielding and Marcus Semien may call for a move to second. His arm is strong enough for third but he may not develop the power to play there. He struggled when promoted to the major leagues (.197) after hitting .290 with 15 homeruns in AAA. Franklin should be one of the candidates for the second base position next year.

4. Ryan McMahon (Rockies) - He started his career as a third baseman but with Nolan Arenado there that position is blocked. Defense will be his biggest challenge at second since he lacks the foot speed to cover a lot of ground. Getting his bat in the lineup is the Rockies biggest objective and there won’t be many second baseman that will match his power numbers. He has the potential to hit 20 plus homeruns and last year between AA and AAA hit .355, showing a lot of gap power with 39 doubles. In a brief major league showing he struggled, hitting just .158.

5. Scott Kingery (Phillies) - The first player here whose natural position is second base. Last year he went on a tear in a hitters park with 18 homeruns in 69 games. That kind of power was uncharacteristic for Kingery. When promoted to AAA his power dropped to 8 homeruns in 63 games with a slugging average going from .608 to .449. He has good speed falling one base shy of 30 stolen bases and plays a solid defense at second. The Phillies currently have a log jam at second so expect Scott to see one more year in AAA. If he can show that AA power was not a fluke he will get a quick promotion to the Phillies.

6. Willie Calhoun (Rangers) - He was an atrocious defensive second baseman with the Dodgers last year. When they traded him to the Rangers he played a lot of left field. That may be where he ultimately lands, though his arm is weak. What teams like in Calhoun is his 30 plus homer bat. For a power bat he also makes good contact with the ball. The Rangers will have to find a position for Joey Gallo and Roughned Odor is not being replaced at second base. The bat is ready for the major leagues, the glove will never be, now the Rangers have to find him a position to play him.

7. Luis Urias (Padres) - Urias started at second base but has seen some time at short. He has the arm for the position but there are questions about his consistency. One tool not questioned is his bat. It lacks power but he should never stray far from the .300 neighborhood. Last year he walked (68) more than he struck out (65). The Padres don’t really have anyone blocking Urias at short so that may be his ultimate position. He showed his bat is ready for the majors, hitting .298 in AA with a .398 OBA. Expect him to be with the Padres by mid season in 2018.

8. Travis DeMeritt (Braves) - The Braves like the power in his bat and acquired him from the Rangers. His arm and his power may make a move to third also a possibility. He has a tendency to swing and miss a lot (134 whiffs) which keeps his average down. Last year he was mired in AA with a .234 average with the power (15 homeruns and a .402 slugging) not appearing with regularity. The previous year he broke out for 28 homeruns while still hitting .266, with much of the power coming at a hitter friendly park (High Desert). Expect to see him play a full year in AAA with a September callup in his future.

9. Keston Hiura (Brewers) - The 2017 first round pick only played three games at second base in 2017. He played the rest of his games at DH because of an elbow that will need Tommy John surgery after the season. His glove is not his strongest asset and his arm is still a mystery but no one questions his bat. He hit .371 at two levels last year (rookie and Low A) with four homeruns. He should challenge for batting titles and hit in the double digits for homeruns. There is enough speed in his legs for a move to left field if second base does not pan out.

10. Andy Ibanez (Rangers) - At 25 entering the 2018 season Andy is ready for major league action now. That may come as a utility player. He was a star for Cuba at the tender age of 19, good enough to make their 2013 World Baseball Classic team. The bat has not developed into anything special once he went state side. Power is lacking and his hit tool may not be better than .270. He also does not take a lot of walks so his OBA won’t be much farther than .320. He did miss two years after his defection so 2018 will be his third year trying to make the major leagues. He will probably spend most of that time in AAA.

Others to watch

Shed Long (Reds) - Like the name but he doesn’t really have one glittering tool that makes you want to say Wow. Did hit .312 last year with 16 homeruns. That will play.

Nick Solak (Yankees) - Don’t really know a lot about him other than he was the Yankees second round pick in 2016. He got a late season callup to AA last year so myworld should get a look at him in 2018.

Ildemaro Vargas (Diamondbacks) - A star in the Independent Leagues and already 26. He did hit .308 in a brief callup to the major leagues. Myworld expects him to compete in a utility role for the Diamondbacks next year. He makes solid contact with gap power.

Tzu Wei Lin (Red Sox) - Signed out of Taiwan Lin is a natural shortstop with a smooth glove. His bat will probably not play to be a regular so expect a utility role for him, where he played last year when called up briefly by the Red Sox.

Gavin Cecchini (Mets) - The Mets have a number of gold glove shortstops that will have to move to second or in a utility role once they are ready for the major leagues. Gavin does not have the glove to match them but his bat could be better. Gavin will probably end up a utility player.

Max Schrock (Athletics) - He hits screaming line drives with the bat but his glove is a question mark. What helps him is his lefthanded bat.

Yankees Win Wildcard Game

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

In a year when the major league record for homeruns was broken and no one seems to cast any suspicions of juicing, either of the ball or the muscles, the Yankees outhomered the Twins 3-2 to win the American League wild card game 8-4.

Luis Severino did not last long in the game, retiring only one hitter before he was sent to the showers. Brian Dozier greeted him with a leadoff homerun and Eddie Rosario launched a two run shot to end his night. Chad Green replaced Severino and tamed the Twins bats for two innings.

The Yankees bit back with some launches of their own off Twins ace Ervin Santana. Didi Gregorius got things started with a three run shot in the first to tie the game at 3-3. Bret Gardner put the Yankees up 4-3 with a solo shot in the second inning. With all that bashing the Twins went with Santana for only two innings. Facing elimination they turned to rookie Jose Berrios to quiet the Yankee bats.

The Twins tied it in the third but the Yankees recaptured the lead in the bottom frame. In the fourth the Yankees rookie Aaron Judge abused the Twins rookie Berrios with a screaming liner that cleared the wall and gave the Yankees a convincing 7-4 lead they would fail to yield. Judge and Gardner scored three runs each to account for six of the Yankees eight runs.

The Yankees ex-closer of days gone by David Robertson shut the Twins down for 3.1 innings. Another recent acquisition for their bullpen and a teammate of Robertson with the White Sox at the start of the season, Tommy Kahnle shut the Twins down for 2.1 innings. The current Yankee closer Aroldis Chapman struck out three of the four hitters he faced, even though it was not a save situation to close out the game.

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.

2017 Top Ten Prospects from Venezuela - American League

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

No one from the list last year had any significant major league time last year. A couple players who made the National League list last year are now on the American League list. As a result only five players from the list last year made the list this year. The others dropped off. Myworld is not confident of the major league qualities of any of the players on this list after you get past the top five.

1. Gleyber Torres SS (Yankees) - Tommy John surgery has prevented him from making his major league debut. Originally signed by the Cubs in 2013 for $1.7 million, Gleyber was traded to the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman trade rental last year. Gleyber has the tools to play shortstop but may not get the opportunity to play there now that Didi Gregorious has established roots at the position. With Chase Headley a disappointment at third there was talk of moving him there but his injury has stalled that development. Prior to his injury he got 15 games at third base. His bat shows the potential for plus power as he matures and should play at third. He slugged .480 between AA and AAA but at 20 years of age he has room to grow. With Chase Headley a free agent expect Gleyber to take over the third base position, though Miguel Andujar could have some influence over that and his injury could delay his start there.

2. Franklin Barreto SS (Athletics) - Franklin was signed by the Blue Jays in 2012 for $1.45 million. Like Gleyber he was packaged in a trade for a pennant race, Josh Donaldson going to the Jays and Barreto and a number of other prospects going to the Athletics. Franklin does not quite have the defensive tools of Gleyber or the power bat so if shortstop does not work for him he may move to second. The injury to Marcus Semien forced the Athletics to call up Barreto sooner than they wanted. In 11 games he hit .190 with two homeruns, playing mostly at short but getting some time at second. In AAA he has seen most of his time at short but has found some time to play second. His bat has been as expected with a .279 average but he has shown a little more pop with 9 dingers. His minor league high has been 13 and including his two major league homeruns Franklin is two short of his career high. Expect him to get a September callup and more opportunities at second. The Athletics have a number of options at short in Semien, Chad Pinder and Richie Martin so versatility is a key.

3. Yohander Mendez LHP (Rangers) - Yohander was signed by the Rangers for $1.5 million in 2011. It has been a patient ascent up the minor league ladder for Yohander but last year he made his major league debut with a September callup. The Rangers have him repeating AA even though he did well last year in seven AAA appearances (0.57 ERA). His fastball has gained velocity over the years, now touching the mid-90s and his change is an excellent pitch. An inability to find a third breaking pitch has been stalling his major league career. That may ultimately see him finding a role in the bullpen.

4. Franklin Perez RHP (Astros) - Franklin was signed by the Astros for $1 million in 2014. He was originally a third baseman but the Astros saw an arm destined for the mound. His fastball currently sits in the low 90s but can touch the mid-90s. He has the potential for a good change with a nice break on his curveball and the command of the strike zone needed for a starting pitcher. A 6′3″ frame gives him good height for coming down on the hitters. The Astros have him at High A in the Carolina League where he has limited hitters to a .191 average. He has more than three whiffs to every walk and is just short of a strikeout per inning. A 2.98 ERA could lead to a promotion to AA before the season is out. It will be 2018 before Franklin sees the major leagues and that may be as a September call up.

5. Renato Nunez 3B (Athletics) - Renato was one of the big bonus babies of 2010, signing for $2.2 million. The Athletics are crowded at the corner infield positions with power bats. It may result in the best defensive player earning the right to play the corner positions. Renato falls short of that and may see a move to first base with DH as his best position. He does have a power bat with consistent seasons of double digit homeruns. This year there seems to be more swing and miss in his at bats but the 24 homeruns he has hit in AAA are already just five short of his career high. Last year he struggled with a .228 average but this year despite the increased strikeouts he has raised it to .250. The Athletics have been playing him a lot in left field this year but a lack of speed will never make him a gold glove there. Expect a September callup where Renato hopes to improve on his .133 average from his debut last year.

6. Luis Alexander Basabe OF (White Sox) - The Red Sox signed both him and his twin brother Luis Alejandro as a package. The Red Sox traded his brother to the D-backs in July of 2016 and included Luis in a trade to the White Sox with more heralded players Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech in the Chris Sale trade. Luis is expected to be the better of the twins. The tools are there for him to be a quality defensive outfielder, with the range to play center and the arm to play right. An inability to make consistent contact has prevented him from showing his offensive tools. The power is there but getting barrel of the bat on the ball is not. Down in the Carolina League Luis is hitting just .218 with a .641 OPS. If he can improve his ability to get on base his steal (15 for 19) opportunities will increase. His brother is also in High A with the D-Backs hitting .229 with a .655 OPS.

7. Anthony Santander 1B/OF (Orioles) - The Indians signed Santander in 2011. Injuries to his elbow limited his 2013 and 2014 seasons. He stayed healthy for 2016 hitting 20 homeruns while playing 128 games. The Orioles made Santander a Rule V acquisition in an attempt to spruce up their farm system. Another arm injury has prevented Anthony from making a 2017 appearance. If the Orioles can not put him on their major league roster this year because of the injury they will be forced to keep him on their major league roster in 2018 if they hope to keep him. This will slow his development for a player who did not get past High A last year. Anthony has good power but his arm issues could force a move to first base, a position the Orioles find quite crowded with Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and Trey Mancini.

8. Samir Duenez 1B (Royals) - Samir was signed by the Royals in 2012. His first three years the Royals moved him slowly, reaching Low A in 2015. During that time he hit all of two homeruns in the three years. Last year his promotion was a little more accelerated as he hit three levels, finishing at AA. During that time he slugged 13 homeruns. This year he already has 12 in AA. His speed will limit him to first so the power will have to develop if he hopes to play there in the major leagues.

9. Miguelangel Sierra 2B (Astros) - The Astros signed Miguelangel for $1 million in 2014. Last year in the rookie league he showed some pop with 11 homeruns and a .620 slugging percentage. With Carlos Correa firmly planted at short Miguel may have to play another position if he hopes to reach the major leagues with the Astros. The tools are there for him to play short. This year the power bat has been absent with two homeruns in 19 games in short season ball with a slugging average buried at .317. Sierra is a long way away from the majors so they will keep him at short. They can always move him to another position as he gets higher in the minors or use him as trade bait to acquire a veteran to help them in a playoff race.

10. Wilkerman Garcia SS (Yankees) - The Yankees are not shy about throwing around money in the international arena. They signed Garcia for $1.35 million in 2014. Last year in rookie ball he struggled hitting .198 with a .284 slugging. He has the tools to play short but with so many ahead of him with better tools his best position could be at second. The bat is expected to be able to hit for average but not with a lot of power. This year Garcia is hitting much better in the short season Penn League (.276) but still lacking power (.303 slugging). With the amount of depth in the middle infield positions for the Yankees Wilkerman may have to be traded to see the major leagues.

Top 2016 Venezuelan prospects in the American League

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)

MyWorld’s Top Eastern League Prospects

Friday, June 16th, 2017

Myworld watched the Bay Sox blow a 6-2 lead, giving up five runs in the ninth. The Bay Sox were able to rally for one in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings. The Reading Phillies went on to win the game in 13 innings 7-6 but needless to say we were long gone before the game ended. Instead of recapping the game we thought we’d list our top ten players who are impressing us in the Eastern League. These may not be the top ten prospects but they are the ten we like.

1. Francisco Mejia C (Akron/Indians) - This guy has an arm to discourage base runners. Usually those type of catchers come with weak bats. Not Francisco. He may have the best bat and the best arm of all the catchers in the minor leagues. A couple four hit games has given him a .447 average in his last 10 games, raising his average for the year to an Eastern League leading .363. That is more than 30 points better than the hitter closest to him. Francisco also has hit 8 homeruns to put his slugging average at .625 and his OPS at 1.026. This guy is a beast with all the tools but his legs.

2. Scott Kingery 2b (Reading/Phillies) - When you look at him you don’t see a big guy. Myworld had that same impression when we looked at Brian Dozier. Like Dozier, Kingery is flying balls over the fence with great regularity, blasting an Eastern League leading 18 homeruns. Some would argue the small park at Reading is responsible for a lot of his power, but only 10 of those homeruns have been hit at Reading. Power is not the only tool in his game. Kingery is second in the Eastern League in stolen bases with 16 out of 18 attempts. If he isn’t promoted to the Phillies he has a chance to be a 30/30 player. Myworld has also been impressed by what we saw of his defense. The power has come as a surprise since he has only hit 8 homeruns in his first two years. In 2016 he had a .388 slugging average, this year it is .609.

3. Ryan McMahon 3B (Hartford/Rockies) - Ryan was not long for the Eastern League. After hitting .326 with 6 homeruns he was promoted to AAA. In 13 AAA games he is hitting .404 with three homeruns. McMahon has the unfortunate luck of playing the same position as Nolan Arenado. To ease that dilemma the Rockies have had him play 19 games at second base. The good thing is the Rockies are in a pennant race so Ryan could get traded to acquire veterans quickening his pace to the major leagues at his regular position. The surprise stat for Ryan this year is his 9 for 9 success rate in stolen bases. Prior to that he was below 50 percent in his stolen base success rate.

4. Yefry Ramirez RHP (Trenton/Yankees) - Trenton has the top pitching staff in the Eastern League. Ramirez does not lead the league in ERA but his 61 whiffs in 57 innings puts him tied for first in the Eastern League in strikeouts. His fastball has good velocity, hitting the mid-90s and freezing Eastern League hitters to a .193 average. Yefry was placed on the disabled list to begin June otherwise he may have been called up by the Yankees. He only worked 3.2 innings in his last outing giving up one run. Yefry began his career as a position player but after one year moved to the mound.

5. Ronald Herrera RHP (Trenton/Yankees) - Ronald got the callup to the Yankees after leading the Eastern League in ERA (1.07) and going 7-0 in his first 8 starts. His secondary numbers are not as dominating as Yefry with only 41 whiffs in 50.1 innings. The soft contact is still there with the opposition hitting him at a lackluster .166 average. One thing you have to like about Ronald is he throws strikes with just 9 walks. He did get one two inning appearance with the Yankees and struggled, giving up two runs. At 5/11″ he is a couple inches smaller than Yefry and his fastball is a couple ticks slower sitting in the low 90s. Ronald could be due for a promotion since he had 24 starts last year in the Eastern League.

6. Miguel Andujar 3B (Trenton/Yankees) - It will either be Gleyber Torres or Miguel replacing Chase Headley at third base. Miguel is leading the Eastern League in RBIs with 47. He makes good contact with the ball which allows him to hit for average (.308). There is also a little pop in his bat with 7 homeruns. His defense is solid but not as flashy as Gleyber so if Greg Bird continues to have injury issues a move to first base may be in the future. The errors need to be reduced with 22 last year and 10 so far this year. Most of his errors are on bad throws.

7. Andrew Pullin LF (Reading/Phillies) - The bat has been solid (.310) with lots of pop (13 homeruns, .559 slugging). Most of his homeruns have been on the road so he has not been helped by the small Reading ball park (9 homeruns away with a .689 slugging). Coming into this season he was not on the Phillies prospect list but that will change after this year. He is tied with Kingery for the Eastern League lead in extra base hits with 34. Not noted for his speed, left field will probably be his best position.

8. Tanner Scott RHP (Bowie/Orioles) - We saw him pitch last night. His fastball is consistently in the high 90s. His breaking ball is a little inconsistent and he has trouble finding the plate. Tanner is not on the league leader boards because the Orioles pull him from his starts after three innings. The opposition is hitting him at a .150 clip and he has struck out 48 in 39 innings. His 26 walks put him a bit short of the 2 for 1 whiff to walk ratio you would like to see. Tanner has not allowed a run in his last four outings covering 12 innings to lower his ERA to 1.38.

9. Erick Fedde RHP (Harrisburg/Nationals) - The Nationals have moved him to the pen and promoted him to AAA. While in the Eastern League he got seven starts and 10 relief appearances. The first round pick could have his mid-90s fastball in the major leagues before the year is out. In the Eastern League he limited the opposition to a .215 average with 54 whiffs in 56 innings. His 3.04 ERA put him tenth in the Eastern League.

10. Rafael Devers 3B (Portland/Red Sox) - The bat can play and if Pablo Sandoval does not get his act together the Red Sox may promote Rafael to the major leagues. His .308 average just misses the top ten but his 12 homeruns and .561 slugging averages are career highs. He has hit homeruns in his last two games. With the Red Sox having a black hole at third base there is no longer any talk of moving Rafael to first base. Speed is not part of his game.

Honorable Mentions

Adam Brett Walker OF (Bowie/Orioles) - He was recently released by the Braves and picked up by the Orioles. At one point he was considered a top ten prospect. He is trying to get scouts to talk about him again with a .444 average, four doubles and two homeruns in his first four games. When he was with the Braves in the Southern League he hit only .122, striking out 23 times in his 49 at bats. The strikeouts will always be there but if the power reappears he could be a player to watch. Last night he went 5 for 6.

Christin Stewart OF (Erie/Tigers) - The one Erie game we watched Stewart did not start. He pinch hit with the bases loaded and two outs, striking out on a high fastball. The bat has some thunder with 16 homeruns, second in the Eastern League but his prevalence for the whiff will keep his average down (.257). Stewart does not have a lot of speed and his defense will limit him to left field.

Chance Adams RHP (Trenton/Yankees) - Chance would be the highest rated pitcher on this list if he spent some time in the Eastern League. He only got six starts but dominated with a 4-0 record and 1.03 ERA. The opposition hit him at a .183 average. Chance is also pitching well at AAA with a 2.52 ERA and a .151 opposition average. At 6′1″ he is not intimidating on the mound but he has a mid-90s fastball and a slider that he uses as his strikeout pitch.

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