Archive for the 'Yankees' Category

Sanchez Mashes Three; Yankees Maul O’s

Sunday, April 7th, 2019

The announced attendance was just over 33,000. It seemed quite a bit less, with most of the upper deck empty. For a Yankee game you expect more, especially on a warm, sunny spring day. The Yankees thrashed the O’s 15-3 with Gary Sanchez depositing three balls into the left field bleachers. The Orioles turned to second baseman Hanser to pitch the ninth. He gave up a two run homer to Austin Romine after hitting the first batter he faced. In all the Yankees slugged seven homeruns. It was a nightmare game for the Orioles, the kind of game they hoped their fans would never witness.

It was Gleyber Torres who got the scoring started in the second for the Yankees. He slammed a pitch from David Hess deep into the bullpen in centerfield to lead off the second. One out later Clint Frazier blasted one just over the glove of a leaping Cedric Mullins in left centerfield. In his first start Hess did not give up a hit. In his second start of the season the first two hits he gave up for 2019 left the park.

Bret Gardner led off the third with a double. With two outs Gary Sanchez hit his first homerun, lining a pitch into the second row of the left field bleachers. That gave the Yankees a 4-0 lead. It is not how far you hit them, just that they carry over the fence. A double by Gio Urshella in the fourth was the last hit Hess gave up in his five innings of work. All five hits went for extra bases, three homeruns and two doubles.

Mike Wright came on to pitch for the Orioles in the sixth. The Yankee bats found his pitches just as enticing. With one out Gleyber Torres doubled off the right field scoreboard, a hit Trey Mancini may have misjudged since it struck the lower part, a ball Mancini might have been able to catch if he continued to pursue the ball. Clint Frazier drove in Torres with a single, the Yankees first single in the game.

In the seventh the Yankees poured it on. Gary Sanchez hit his second homerun of the game, a two run shot. A second walk by Wright brought in the recently acquired Dan Strailey. He gave up a double into left centerfield to score Torres. Back to back singles by Frazier and Urshela drove in the fourth run of the inning, putting the Yankees up 9-0.

The Orioles gave the fans something to cheer about in the bottom half. An infield single by Jonathan Villar that should have been ruled an error on shortstop Gleyber Torres, a walk and a lined single by Renato Nunez into left field loaded the bases with one out. With Chris Davis up a passed ball scored the first run. Davis went on to whiff. A wild pitch scored the second run. Another walk and a single by Hanser Alberto plated the Orioles third run of the inning. They were to get no more.

The Yankees bats were still hot. Gary Sanchez mashed a two run homer off Dan Strailey in the eighth. In the ninth Clint Frazier hit his second homer of the game, a two run shot off Strailey. That was when Hanser Alberto was called on to pitch. He hit Urshela with his first pitch, a 64 mile per hour fastball. Austin Romine launched one into the left field bleachers to make it 15-3.

Two more walks put two runners on. Luke Voight grounded out for the first out. That brought up Sanchez, looking to park his fourth homerun. He got a little underneath a 72 mile per hour fastball, sending a high drive into shallow left field. Gleyber Torres drove one to the warning track in right center field to end the inning.

Game Notes: Chris Davis went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. He is now hitless in 23 at bats, 13 of them strikeouts. Last year he had the worst season in the history of the major leagues, hitting just .168 with 192 whiffs in just 470 at bats. If you go back to last season he is now 0 for 44, the third worst streak in major league history (the worst being Eugenio Velez at 0 for 46, finishing his career without getting that hit to break the hitless streak). The Orioles would probably release him if they did not have to pay him more than $20 million per year for the next five seasons…David Hess was throwing his fastball at 94-95 the first three innings. By the fourth and fifth it had dropped to 91-92…Hanser Alberto was lobbing his pitches in the mid-60s. As he got more loose he was slinging it to the plate in the low 70s…Domingo German had a no hitter into the sixth. Hanser Alberto lined a one out single into right centerfield. German had a perfect game until his one out walk in the fifth,..Orioles pitchers gave up 14 homeruns in this three game series, the highest number of homeruns they have given up in a series in franchise history. They gave up seven Sunday, the highest single game total for the Bombers in 19 years.

Nats Win Last Exhibition Game

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

In front of a sparse crowd on a cold day, the Nationals pulled out a 5-3 win in their last exhibition game of the 2019 season. With the Yankees in town starting their top lineup myworld would have expected a larger crowd. The listed attendance was 22,000 but with the threat of rain and the cold weather there was less than half that in attendance.

Anthony Rendon got things started for the Nationals by sending a ball deep into the left field bleachers off Stephen Tarply in the first inning for an early 2-0 lead.

Anibal Sanchez pitched well for the Nationals, going 5.1 innings. He gave up a solo homerun to Troy Tulowitski, who smacked a line drive into the centerfield bleachers. That was all the Yankees could muster off Sanchez, despite have their big guns in the lineup. Those big guns were gone by the fourth inning.

The Nationals added two more in the fourth. Juan Soto started the inning lining a double over the head of Giancarlo Stanton. A walk to Rendon put two runners on and a single by Ryan Zimmerman loaded the bases with no outs off Tommy Kahnle. He struck out Matt Adams but Kurt Suzuki drove one far enough into left field to score Juan Soto. Brian Dozier dropped a single in front of Aaron Judge to score the second run of the inning to make it 4-1.

The two teams traded runs in the sixth. A leadoff walk to Zack Zehner by Aaron Barrett set up the run scoring double by Greg Bird. The ball was poorly played by Juan Soto in left allowing Zehner to score. Matt Adams clubbed a line drive into the right field bleachers off Nestor Cortes Jr. to give the Nationals a run putting the score at 5-2.

The Nationals pulled most of their starters after the sixth inning, but the weather proved too much of a factor. Myworld said adios. Until the home opener on Thursday.

Nats Notes: The Rendon homer came with such an easy swing and the ball just seem to glide into the middle of the left field bleachers…The Nationals have no place on the scoreboard for their pitchers. Since they were using the DH it was tough to know who was pitching without a scorecard. Nestor Cortes Jr. was announced as the starting pitcher but it was actually Stephen Tarpley who started and Cortes came on in the fourth. He pitched 3.1 innings…Good to see Aaron Barrett back on the mound. He could be a nice addition to the Nats bullpen.

AL East Predictions

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

1. New York Yankees

Strengths - Though the back injury to Aaron Hicks is concerning if he can recover this could be the best outfield in baseball. Aaron Judge and Hicks are solid two way players and a platoon of Bret Gardner and Giancarlo Stanton in left, with Stanton seeing the DH slot when not playing the field, could be the best in baseball. Last year the foursome combined for four homeruns over 100. The rival Red Sox may be better defensively but fall short offensively. If Hicks spends a significant time on the disabled list Gardner could move to center creating more playing time for the injury prone Stanton in the outfield and hurting the defense. The Yankees also did a good job of loading up their bullpen. Aroldis Chapman will be the primary closer but Zack Britton and Dellin Betances have had experience there. Adam Ottavino carved out six saves for the Rockies last year. The only concern is all four players are at the north side of 30.

Weakness - There could be a weakness at first. Greg Bird is having a nice spring but he has not proven himself at the major league level. Luke Voit had a special season last year but the Yankees have seen a lot of one and dones. The left side of the infield could be a hole defensively. Miguel Andujar could eventually move to first when Didi Gregorius returns to short, moving Tulowitski to third. It remains to be seen what Tulo has left and whether he can even stay healthy. Gleyber Torres could still see a lot of time at short with D.J. LeMahieu playing a lot at second. This team also seems prone to injury so depth is important.

Prospects to Make an Impact - The Yankees have a number of high level minor league pitchers ready to make a difference. Jonathan Loaisiga could be the first to get the call. He started four games for the Yankees last year. Michael King dominated in AAA (1.15 ERA) in six starts with a .147 opposition average. Albert Abreu, Chance Adams and Domingo Acevedo are other possibilities. All five could also contribute in the bullpen. Thairo Estrada could see utility time, especially if Troy shows he can not stay healthy. Thairo is a sold fielding shortstop with a questionable bat. He is still trying to recover from a bullet wound he received in Venezuela a couple years ago.

Expected Finish - This lineup should score a lot of runs if clicking on all cylinders. If they can get to the bullpen with the lead after six innings the game is over.

2. Boston Red Sox

Strengths - Hard to go against the defending World Series champions. Like the Yankees, the Red Sox outfield is premium good. Mookie Betts may be the best player in baseball outside of Mike Trout. Andrew Benintendi has a boatload of talent and Jackie Bradley is a superior defender. They may not provide the offense of the Yankees but the defense is top notch. J.D. Martinez is the best DH in the American League and one of the more dangerous. He can also play left field. The starting pitching has the potential to be good with Chris Sale and David Price providing a one/two punch and Rick Porcello, Nathan Eovaldi and Eduardo Rodriguez making it a solid five.

Weakness - The bullpen lost their closer Craig Kimbrel and setup man Joe Kelly. It will be interesting how they sort out the roles. The blown saves will knock them out of first place. Behind the plate the Red Sox have little offense. Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez were once promising hitters when they were prospects in the minor leagues, but that has not transferred against big league pitching. Sandy Leon is the third catcher the Red Sox would like to trade.

Prospects to Make an Impact - The bullpen could use some help and Darwinzon Hernandez may be available by mid season. After that the farm system gets a little thin at the upper levels.

Expected Finish - With six teams tanking in the American League the Red Sox should still win 100 games and make the playoffs as a wild card team.

3. Tampa Bay Rays

Strengths - The Rays invented the opener because they lacked starting pitching. This could again be an issue in 2019. They do have Cy Young award winner Blake Snell who they just signed to an extension. He may be the best pitcher in baseball. They also have a lot of youth in Austin Meadows, Willy Adames and Tyler Glasnow which could lead to some upside.

Weakness - Where’s the pop? Mike Zunino and Tommy Pham may be the only players with the potential to hit 20 plus homeruns. Austin Meadows is unproven but has shown some power in the minor leagues. The lack of run support could put pressure on the pitchers to throw shutouts in every outing. They also go into the 2019 season without any proven closer. Sergio Romo and Alex Colome combined for 36 saves last year but they departed via free agency.

Prospects to Make an Impact - The Rays are a prospect machine, trading veterans early when their tread is gone. Brent Honeywell was supposed to be in the rotation last year but lost 2019 to Tommy John. He will start the season in the minors and could be up by mid-season. The Rays will want to watch his innings. Brandon Lowe and Nat Lowe can provide some instant highs on offense. Brandon could be used in a utility role and Nate will provide big time power at first base.

Expected Finish - They will fall short of a wildcard appearance and fall far behind the Yankees and Red Sox in third place.

4. Toronto Blue Jays

Strengths - This is a team that may not be at full throttle tanking but they have no expectation on making the playoffs. They signed a number of veterans to fill out positions and could trade them as the season winds down, bringing up prospects from the minor league so they can eye the future.

Weakness - The starting rotation has promise but Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez had ERAs bordering 5 last year. This is a rotation that could benefit from an opener. A lot of pitchers whose best years are in the past.

Prospects to Make an Impact - Vladimir Guerrero will be ready to post himself at third in May. He is the best prospect in baseball and should be in the Blue Jays opening day lineup. Danny Jansen is a catcher who can provide some offense. Last year he played 31 games in the major leagues so he should take over the starting role in 2019. With a porous rotation Sean-Reid Foley should see some time in the rotation by May. He made seven starts last year but was prone to the long ball.

Expected Finish - They went into this season knowing they had no chance to make the playoffs. They will finish far behind the Rays with double digit wins above the Orioles.

5. Baltimore Orioles

Strengths - When they were losing at least they bashed homeruns. That is in doubt now. If Chris Davis can resurrect his career he would attract some fans to the park. Hopefully those that do come to the games will see the hustle of youth.

Weakness - The Orioles used to win games with defense. That will not be on display this year. The starting rotation had a major league worst 5.48 ERA last year. That could go higher this year with the poor defense and the average to below average arms.

Prospects to Make an Impact - Rule V pick Richie Martin will play shortstop. His offense was a surprise last year but his defense also took a hit. Last year he made 16 errors in just 96 games at AA. It won’t take Austin Hayes long to get called back up to play right field. Last year foot injuries limited him to 66 games. Drew Jackson is a second Rule V pick who the Orioles appear to be keeping on the major league roster, He will fill a utility role around the infield. Hunter Harvey could make an appearance by mid-season but don’t be surprised if it is in the bullpen. Keegan Akin is a solid lefty who will be given an opportunity before the year is out. The Orioles have to show something for the Manny Machado trade so expect opportunities for Dean Kremer in the rotation and Zach Pop in the bullpen. Even Cuban outfielder Yusniel Diaz could find himself in right field by mid-season, moving Hays to left.

Expected Finish - They will battle the Marlins and Royals for the number one pick in 2020. They finished last year with the worst record, breaking a record for number of losses during a season. Two straight years with the number one pick is how one resurrects a franchise.

Yankees Build Prospects to Trade for Veterans

Saturday, March 16th, 2019

Last year the Yankees had the fifth best minor league prospects. In 2017 they were third. They use their prospects to trade for veteran players who can take them to the playoffs. Last year the top 100 prospects for the Yankees was Gleyber Torres, Justus Sheffield, Estevan Florial, Miguel Andujar, Albert Abreu and Domingo Acevedo. Sheffield was used to acquire James Paxton from Seattle. Torres and Andujar contributed to the Yankees 2018 playoff appearance.

The last year the Yankees were in the top ten in prospects was in 2008, when they were fourth. The names from that list is evidence that prospects are not sure things. Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, Jose Tabata and Austin Jackson did not become tier one type players.

Pitching may be the Yankees biggest strength in their minor leagues, with a number of arms that can get the ball to the plate in the high 90s to triple digits. Jonathan Loaisiga may be their top pitching prospect. The Nicaraguan flashes a fastball in the mid-90s with an occasional high 90s thrust. Last year he skipped Triple AAA to get four major league starts (5.11) but struggled to throw strikes, walking 12 hitters in just 25 innings. He also has a tendency to give up fly balls, not a trait recommended for Yankee Stadium. The Yankees have seen a couple injuries to their starting rotation this spring so a spot may open for him, but it would be best if Loaisiga started the season in AAA.

Albert Abreu is a hard thrower who struggles to stay healthy. The fastball hits the high 90s and his curve and change are good secondary pitches when he throws them for strikes. That can be a challenge for Abreu. Elbow issues also put him on the disabled list during mid season. He got 13 starts in High A but then threw five innings of no hit ball in his only AA start. That is where he will start the 2019 season.

Deivi Garcia is the newest Yankee starter to arrive at the scene. The Dominican is not tall at 5′10″ but can still throw the fastball at the lower edges of the mid-90s. His curve and change are solid pitches and he gets the ball over the plate. He started at Low A but his success got him promoted to one AA start. That is where he will start the 2019 season where he hopes to continue his career minor league strikeout rate of 12.4 whiffs per nine innings and an offensive batting average of .183.

Michael King had the best season for Yankee pitchers. At three different levels he finished with a 1.79 ERA with a .202 opposition average. The 2016 12th round pick does not come with dominating stuff but he does find the plate. His fastball sits in the low 90s with a good slider/change combination. He would fit best at the back end of the rotation. King will start the season at AAA where if he repeats his 1.15 ERA in six starts it will get him some time in the major league rotation.

Clarke Schmidt was the Yankees first round pick in 2017. Clarke has a number of pitches in his arsenal (slider, change and curve) but his fastball is not overpowering, sitting in the low 90s. After pitching all last season in the Rookie Leagues Clarke will open the 2019 season at the full season leagues where the Yankees will try to get him to eat up innings.

Domingo Acevedo may be the Yankees most imposing pitcher. He stands 6′6″ and fires his fastball in the high 90s, sitting along the northern edges of the mid-90s. An inability to stay healthy has not allowed him to burn up innings, which may put him in the bullpen. Also, for a pitcher who throws as hard as Domingo, he does not get a lot of swings and misses, averaging less than a whiff per inning. Domingo will be 25 for the 2019 season so this is his season to make the major league club by mid-season, starting with the rotation in AAA.

The star of the Yankees outfield is Estevan Florial, not that the Yankees need another outfielder. A broken wrist in spring training will delay the start to his 2019 season. Last year the Haitian born player was sidelined by hamate issues, forcing him to miss two months. The five tools are there to make him an impact player, with the speed to play centerfield and steal 20 plus bases, plus the arm to play right field. The power is there as well. If he can cut down a bit on his strikeouts that batting average will rise. After a little rehab Florial will start the season in High A.

Everson Pereira is the next outfield prospect rolling along the Yankee assembly line. The Venezuelan signed for $1.7 million in 2017. The power falls short of Florial but the speed is there to play centerfield. Last year he played in Rookie ball as a 17 year old. Everson has more maturing to do. Next year he could open in Low A.

The Yankees have a penchant for acquiring catchers. Anthony Seigler is their latest version, a first round pick in 2018. High School catchers are tough to project since it takes a number of years for them to master the nuances of the catching craft. Defense should be his strong suit but the hope is the bat will develop. Last year he showed good patience at the plate with a 14/12 walk to whiff ratio, hitting .266 with one homerun. Next year he could start the season in a full season league.

There is not a lot of room in the infield for Thairo Estrada. Last year he continued to be bothered by his bullet wound, suffered during a robbery in Venezuela. He played in just 18 games. His defensive game at shortstop is smooth and there is some ability to swing the bat. The power will fall short and last year he failed to walk in 78 at bats. Expect him to start the season in AAA. An improvement in his patience could result in a callup as a utility player, if Troy Tulowitski has not taken over that role after the return of Didi Gregorius.

Top 100 - 70-61

Thursday, March 7th, 2019

Continuing with our Top 100 list

70. Nate Pearson RHP (Blue Jays) - In the Arizona Fall League Nate was consistently reaching the plate north of 100 miles per hour. The reason the 2017 first round pick was pitching in the AFL is because injuries limited him to just one start and less than two innings for the regular season. In 2017 he started eight games, tossing 20 innings and limited the hitters to a .106 average. While he possesses lots of heat his secondary pitches are a little raw and he needs to find the plate more. This could force him into a bullpen role. At 22 years of age the Jays will start him in High A and hope for quick promotions to get him ready for the major league roster. At 6′6″ he has the intimidation factor going for him.

69. Jazz Chisholm SS (Diamondbacks) - The smooth fielding shortstop is just one of many players that seem to be cropping up from the Bahamas. The Diamondbacks were actually in the Bahamas to watch Lucius Fox when they spotted Jazz. His price ($200,000) was more reasonable than Fox ($6 million) and now it appears Jazz may be the better prospect. The defensive tools are there for him to stay at shortstop. The bat looks like it can carry some pop with 25 homeruns last year. The hope is that he reduces his strikeouts (149 in 112 games) to allow him to be an offensive threat. The AA season in 2019 should be a real test for him.

68. Luis Garcia SS/2B (Nationals) - This is the oldest and best of the two Luis Garcias. The other is a shortstop prospect for the Philadelphia Phillies. Luis has the bat to hit for average with his .298 last year and .303 in 2017. The concern is finding a position for him. Trea Turner plays short, Carter Kieboom will play second or third and the Nationals would like to sign Anthony Rendon to an extension. That fills up the infield. A super utility role could be in his future. There is not a lot of power in his bat but he has the capability to compete for batting titles. He could start the 2019 season in AA.

67. Travis Swaggerty OF (Pirates) - The 2018 first round pick was part of the United States gold medal winning national team in the 18 and under division. He does have raw power that allows him to clear the fence pretty easily. His other tools are also average to plus with a solid arm that will put him in right and decent speed that will allow him to play centerfield in a pinch. Last year he struggled in his first taste of full season ball (.129) so expect him to repeat that level in 2019.

66. Matt Manning RHP (Tigers) - The Tigers 2016 first round pick has a fastball that can fly across the plate in the mid-90s. His 6′6″ inch frame also makes him an intimidating presence on the mound. His hammer curve is a tough pitch for hitters to make contact with, resulting in 154 whiffs in 117 innings. His success resulted in two appearances in AA which is where he should start the 2019 season. The Tigers have four pitchers competing to be the ace of the future staff.

65. Sean Murphy C (Athletics) -Sean will be a solid defensive catcher whose arm will scare base stealers from trying to take the extra base against him. His bat carries some power but it could be a challenge to hit north of .250. He came into the 2018 season with a .246 minor league average. In AA he hit .288 with a .498 slugging average until a July injury put him out for two months. If not for the injury he probably would have seen his major league debut in 2018. Barring another injury expect that to happen in 2019, with a start to the season in AAA.

64. Adrian Morejon LHP (Padres) - Another pitcher who pitched in the Junior Nationals for the 15 and Under World Cup Team in Mexico City, but he threw for Cuba, defecting as a 16 year old. At 6′0″ he is not a big pitcher, but he throws lefthanded and knows where the strike zone is located. While he can get the ball across the plate in the mid-90s his best pitch may be a knee buckling curve ball. The majority of his starts were in High A so expect a promotion to AA in 2019.

63. Estevan Florial OF (Yankees) - After a break out season last year where the Haitian born Florial hit .298 with 13 homeruns in the two A leagues, the Yankees were expecting big things in 2018. Injuries slowed him down, limiting him to just 84 games. His results were disappointing with a .256 average in A ball with just three homeruns. The strikeouts need to be reduced but the five tools are there for him to be a superstar. Strong arm, deer like speed and a power bat make him a player to watch. The Yankees have a crowded outfield so he will probably see a full season in AA in 2019.

62. Drew Waters OF (Braves) - The Braves just don’t develop pitchers. They also appear to develop outfielders with Ronald Acuna winning rookie of the year last year and Cristian Pache and Drew ready to contribute in a couple years. The second round 2017 pick went to high school in Georgia. The speed exists to play centerfield but if Acuna captures that position he has the arm to play right. His current power is dedicated towards the gaps but with time and maturity he could hit twenty plus homeruns. He should see AA next year which would make him a knock on the door away from the Braves.

61. Luis Patino RHP (Padres) - The Colombian righthander dominated in low A with a 2.16 ERA in 17 starts, with the opposition hitting him at a .220 clip. At 6′0″ he is small in stature, but his fastball hits the high 90s, usually sitting in the low 90s. His slider is a swing and miss pitch and the change is a work in progress. Continued success could see him hit AA in 2019.

Top 100 Prospects 80-71

Friday, March 1st, 2019

This ten is loaded with righthanded pitching.

80. Nolan Jones 3B (Indians) - The Indians second round 2016 pick had a breakout year in his first opportunity to play full season ball. The bat showed power with 19 homeruns at the two A levels with a .466 slugging percentage. The Indians would like to see him cut down on his whiffs, but he also draws a lot of walks (89) resulting in a .405 OBA. At 6′4″ he could become too immobile to play third base. His lack of speed makes moving to the outfield a challenge and a move to first would decrease his value. The Indians will hope he can stick at third. The 2019 season should begin with High A and a promotion to AA if he continues to hit.

79. Jonathan Loaisiga RHP (Yankees) - The Nicaraguan native had an excellent year, leap frogging over a number of prospects to place in the Top 100. He finished with a 2.89 ERA with a 8/67 walk to whiff ratio in 56 innings, starting at High A and resulting in a major league promotion. He got blitzed a bit in the majors with a 5.11 ERA and a .271 opposition average. He stands at only 5′11″ but his fastball sits in the mid-90s. His curve and change are quality offerings and his command is solid. The Giants had originally signed him back in 2012 but injuries led to his release two years later. The Yankees signed him in 2016 but he could make only one start before having Tommy John surgery. Health is an issue. A little time in AAA would not hurt. His small stature and problems with staying healthy may make the bullpen the best alternative for him. Expect him to ride the Yankees roller coaster in 2019 from minors to majors and back again.

78. Mathew Liberatore LHP (Rays) - The Rays first round 2018 pick made an impressive professional debut with a 0.98 ERA in eight starts of Gulf Coast League ball. Opponents batted just .170 off him. He pitched six shutout innings against Korea in the finals of the 18 and under World Cup games resulting in a rise in his prospect status. At 6′5″ he has a large frame but his fastball is not overpowering, sitting in the low 90s. The curve ball is his best pitch resulting in most of his swings and misses. Mathew also has no problems finding the plate and moving his pitches around the strike zone. Next year he should make his debut in Low A where the Rays can work on giving him some innings.

77. Josh James RHP (Astros) - Last year Josh was not considered a prospect. That comes with the territory when you are a 34th round pick in the 2014 draft. He signed for just $15,000. Then his fastball started hitting the triple digits, sitting in the mid-90s. No minor league pitcher last year had a better strikeout rating of 13.5 per nine innings pitched. Once given an opportunity to pitch in the major leagues the whiffs continued and major leaguers could only hit him at a .183 clip. His secondary pitches are good enough to play as a starter but his struggles at finding the strike zone on a consistent basis could relegate him to the bullpen. The Astros are looking at him as their fifth starter but a spring training injury could force him to start the season in AAA. If he continues to dominate there as he did last year a callup to Houston would be quick.

76. Griffin Canning RHP (Angels) - The ace of the UCLA Bruins pitching staff in 2017 dropped to the Angels in the second round. His innings work load and a concern for injury after his physical prevented him from pitching in 2017 in the minor leagues. Griffin has some heat on his fastball (mid-90s) and quality secondary pitches (slider, curve and change) that makes the middle of a starting rotation a good possibility. The injury issues seem to be put to rest with his 113 innings of solid work where he climbed all the way to AAA. This puts him just a knock away from the major leagues. His struggles a bit in AAA (5.49 ERA and .294 opposition average) will force him to start the season there and hope for improvement. The Angels have had trouble keeping starting pitchers healthy so it would not be a surprise to see him reach the major leagues sometime by mid-season if he can find success in AAA.

75. Jon Duplantier RHP (Diamondbacks) - The 2016 third round pick did not replicate his 2017 season, but that would have been hard to do. Arm injuries limited him to just 16 starts last year, a reminder that he had trouble with those injuries at Rice and in his first season with the D-Backs after being drafted. The opposition still had trouble hitting him in AA (.217) and his 2.69 ERA was still quality. The fastball can hit the mid-90s but sits mostly south of 95. Quality secondary offerings (slider, curve and change) and the ability to throw strikes makes him a good candidate for the top of a starting rotation. The big test is whether he can stay healthy. Expect him to start his season in AAA with a promotion to the major leagues in 2019 if he can achieve success.

74. Yusei Kikuchi RHP (Mariners) - The Japanese pitcher will not dominate like Ohtani. His fastball hits the mid-90s but sits in the low 90s. The 2017 season was his best year when he went 16-6 with a 1.97 ERA with 217 whiffs in just 187 innings. Last year his strikeout rate dropped below one per inning and his ERA rose to 3.08. He stands only 6′0″ but he is a crafty pitcher with quality secondary offerings (slider, curve and change) with the ability to move his pitches around the strike zone. He was one of the first Japanese pitchers to declare he wanted to play major league baseball after his high school season, requesting Japanese teams to not select him in the draft. He was the Ohtani before Ohtani, except he could not hit.

73. Adonis Medina RHP (Phillies) - With Sixto traded to the Marlins in the J.T. Realmuto trade Adonis is now the top pitching prospect for the Phillies. His fastball is not as explosive as Sixto, but it hits the mid-90s. His changeup has improved allowing his fastball to look better. In 2017 his whiff rate improved from 4.7 to 10 whiffs per nine innings. A good slider forces hitters to pound the ball on the ground when they are not swinging and missing at his fastball. The Dominican stands only 6′1′ so there could be durability issues. Last year he pitched 111 innings in the Florida State League. The Phillies will hope for another innings increase in AA next year.

72. Victor Victor Mesa OF (Marlins) - The Cuban is the son of Victor Mesa, who was a legend on the international baseball circuit, leading Cuba to a number of gold medals. The father of Yuriel and Lourdes Gurriel also starred on those teams. Victor Victor signed for $5.25 million, with his younger brother signing with him for much less. Victor played in the Cuban professional league at 16 and was frustrated with the high expectations Cuban fans had for him. His defensive play will be gold glove while his bat could take some time before it develops. Speed is his game but he needs to show the bat to shine in the major leagues. Some have compared him to a Victor Robles. The Marlins may start him at High A with quick promotions as he shows success.

71. Ryan Mountcastle 3B (Orioles) - There is no question the Orioles 2015 first round pick has the bat. He will hit in the neighborhood of .300 with double digit homerun power. The challenge is finding a position he can play. He started as a shortstop but his arm was not strong enough to play there. The Orioles moved him to third, but the arm does not fit the position and watching his throws float to first is painful. He could move to left where his arm won’t help him or play first where his power would come up short. Ryan will start the 2019 season in AAA and see his major league debut this year. Myworld will be curious what position he will ultimately play.

A sellout for Yankees/Red Sox in London

Friday, December 7th, 2018

For those of you thinking of buying tickets for the Yankees/Red Sox in London - forget it. The game is a sellout. As would be expected for all Yankee/Red Sox games the June 29/30 game in London was a sellout. Ticket prices ranged from as high as 385 pound ($491) to 30 pound ($38). The game is being played at the Olympic Stadium in London. While the stadium can seat 80,000, for baseball the stadium was reconfigured to hold 55,000.

The collective bargaining agreement allows an extra $60,000 to each player who participate in the trip. Now that is a big per diem. Major league baseball will also play games in London in 2020.

Red Sox Eliminate Yankees

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

The cycle king Brock Holt did not play. The man who normally plays his position Ian Kinsler did play. He was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels at the trade deadline when the Red Sox recognized they would have to go through the 2018 season without Dustin Pedroia. Kinsler drove in the second run with an RBI double over the head of the leftfielder.

A 2017 acquisition from the Giants, Edwin Nunez ripped a single to left field to up the score to 3-0. Nunez also made the final out on a slow grounder, just nipping Gleyber Torres at first base. Steve Pearce a late season acquisition from the Blue Jays was able to make a nice stretch at first base to nip Torres. The Yankees challenged the call but the replay confirmed the out.

Chris Sale got a relief outing in the eighth, retiring the side in order. Craig Kimbrel struggled in the ninth, walking two, hitting a batter and giving up a single. Gary Sanchez came within feet of hitting a walk off grand slam off Kimbrel, but the ball was caught at the warning track.

Now the two best teams in the American League face off against each other.

Holt and Red Sox Embarrass Yankees

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

Not a lot of close games as the Dodgers and Astros advance. The Red Sox embarrassed the Yankees in New York.

Boston Red Sox 16 Yankees 1

The utility player Brock Holt became the first player ever to hit for the cycle in a post season game in the Red Sox 16-1 rout over the Yankees. He finished the cycle with a two run homerun in the ninth inning off Yankee catcher Austin Romine. The first two games of the series saw him sit the bench.

Nathan Eovoldi was making his post season debut. At one time Eovoldi had pitched for the Yankees with minimal success. He had started the season with the Rays but was traded to the Red Sox in July. He has also pitched for the Dodgers and Marlins, missing the 2017 season because of Tommy John surgery. Yesterday he saved the Red Sox bullpen working seven innings and allowing just one run to get his post season win, lighting up the radar gun with a half dozen pitches that hit triple digits.

The Red Sox blew the game away with a seven run fourth inning, Holt capping the inning with his hardest hit, a two run triple.

Houston Astros 11 Cleveland Indians 3

The Astros completed their sweep against the Indians. The Indians had a 2-1 lead after five. The Astros battered the Indians bullpen for 10 runs in the next three innings, a six run eighth putting the game out of reach. Collin McHugh got the win with his two innings of shutout ball. McHugh was bumped to the bullpen because he did not make the starting rotation after spring training. He shined with the shorter role.

George Springer went deep with two solo shots and Carlos Correa blasted a three run homer in the six run eighth. Marwin Gonzalez got the big hit for the Astros with a two run double to break a 2-2 tie.

Los Angeles Dodgers 6 Atlanta Braves 2

David Freese has been a clutch post season performer. In 2011 he slugged five homeruns and drove in 21 in 18 post season games. This year the Dodgers acquired Freese from the Pirates to be a role player. The role he was asked to play last night was as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning with the Braves ahead 2-1. Freese put the Dodgers back on top with his two run single. Machado clinched the post season series with his three run homer in the seventh. Neither player was on the Dodgers roster when the season started.

The Dodgers will now face the Brewers in the National League championship series. Kershaw and not Ryu will get the opening nod start for the Dodgers.

Sanchez Leads Yankees; Astros Dominate Indians

Sunday, October 7th, 2018

Only two games today. Hard to find obscure players who made an impact in the games from yesterday.

Gary Sanchez has struggled with his 2018 season. The homeruns have come (18) but the batting average has suffered (.186). He has also been limited to just 89 games because of injury. Last year he slugged 33 homeruns while hitting .278 in his sophomore season.

Last night Sanchez looked more like the 2017 version than the 2.0 of 2018. He hit a solo homerun in the second and a three run job in the seventh to lead the Yankees to a 6-2 win over the Red Sox. The Yankees seem to have David Price number and last night he did not survive past the second inning. He also gave up a solo homerun to Aaron Judge in the first inning. For Gary Sanchez his homerun off Price was his sixth off him in just 14 career at bats. Talk about owning a pitcher.

While Price wilted, falling to 2-9 with a 5.28 ERA in playoff games, Masahiro Tanaka looked strong. He allowed just one Red Sox run in his five innings of work, a Xander Boegarts solo shot in the fourth. Tanaka was a big game pitcher in the playoffs in Japan and he is proving that in the United States, going 3-2 with a 1.50 ERA in five starts.

The win evens up the series between the Yankees and the Red Sox at one game apiece.

Marwin Gonzalez was originally a Chicago Cub. He was picked up by the Red Sox on waivers in 2011 and then traded to the Astros for Marco Antonio Duarte. The utility player who is actually a starter, it just depends on what position he plays that day, went a perfect 4 for 4 playing left field to lead the Astros over the Indians 3-1. It was Gonzalez two run double in the sixth inning that gave the Astros a 2-1 lead.

Gerritt Cole, who was originally drafted by the Yankees as a first round pick, but failed to sign, dominated the Indians with 12 whiffs in seven innings. Francisco Lindor blasted a homerun off him in third inning for the only blemish in his game.

The Astros now lead their series against the Indians two games to zero.