Archive for the 'Blue Jays' Category

2017 Top Cuban Prospects - American League

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

Not included in his list are any players signed after April, which include players like Luis Robert, who may have topped this list and Hector Mendoza. They will qualify for the 2018 list. Last year myworld put together a top 20 list. Seven of our top 10 were not on a major league roster. All of those players have signed now with Yulieski Gurriel the only player on a major league roster. Aledmys Diaz is the only other player on this top 20 from last year that played in the major leagues. He was rated number 16 in this top 20 list and had a nice rookie season.

1. Yoan Moncada 2B (White Sox) - Last year he was the number one rated prospect on our top 20 list. He has all the tools. Speed, power and the ability to hit for average. With all those tools it is interesting he plays second base and not shortstop. The Red Sox paid $62 million to sign him, $31.5 million bonus and a $31.5 million penalty for going over there salary cap. They traded him a year later to the White Sox as one of the players for Chris Sale. He has had some major league opportunities but struggled, striking out 12 times in 19 at bats with a .211 average. This year he is hitting .282 showing a little bit of power (.432 slugging). Don’t be surprised if the White Sox promote him after the All Star break. Only Yolmer (ex-Carlos) Sanchez stands in his way.

2. Lourdes Gurriel LF/3B (Blue Jays) - He was the number two rated prospect last year but had yet to sign with a team. He waited until he turned 23 to sign with the Blue Jays, maximizing his financial opportunities. His seven year $22 million contract appears to be a bargain when compared to Moncada. Lourdes doesn’t really have a position. Myworld thinks he will fit best in the outfield. As a shortstop and third baseman in the Cuban League he made numerous errors. His older brother Yulieski was considered an excellent fielding third baseman but is now playing first for the Astros. Lourdes started hitting in his last season in the Cuban League. Once he develops he could be a .300 hitter with 20 plus homerun pop. The Blue Jays began his career in the Florida State League but he got injured after his first game and was placed on the disabled list. He only was activated a couple days ago and in four games is hitting .267. Only one of his four hits has gone for extra bases. Lourdes could advance quickly and be ready for the major leagues by mid 2018 once he finds a position. So far Lourdes has played four games at shortstop committing seven errors for a .611 fielding percentage. That is not going to cut it.

3. Lazaro Armentares OF (Athletics) - He created a little hype with his brash personality trying to achieve a Yoan Moncada sized contract. The Athletics signed him for a relatively modest $3 million. At 17 years of age he has a lot of development in his future. In the United States he would still be playing high school. The reports are that he will hit for power and steal bases. His speed should translate to centerfield capability. Playing in the 15 and under World Cup he dominated with a .462 average. The Athletics have started him in the Dominican Summer League. He has only played in six games there but is struggling with a .167 average and 9 whiffs in 18 at bats. He has not played since June 12 so he may be back at extended spring training or injured.

4. Yandy Diaz OF/3B (Indians) - Myworld did not have him rated in our top 20 list last year and then he went out and hit .325 in AAA with a .461 slugging, winning the International League batting title. At 26 years of age he is already pretty well developed. There will be a lot of contact in his game but his power will be soft if he doesn’t learn to elevate his hits more. His defense is excellent at third but he can also play second base and the outfield, making a utility role an ideal fit for him. This year at Columbus he is hitting .318 with 28 walks to his 22 whiffs. The power is still soft (.439 slugging). The Indians gave him a major league callup and he was a bit overmatched (.203 average and .219 slugging). His main positions this year are third base and left field.

5. Andy Ibanez 2B (Rangers) - Ibanez signed for $1.6 million in 2015. Last year he was number 15 on our list. He could end up like Carlos Baerga, with a thick lower half eliminating his range at second base, meaning his bat will have to justify his staying at the position. The power is not really there to play the hot corner. Last year he did hit 13 homeruns skipping High A to move to AA. It will be tough with his skill set to usurp Rougned Odor from the second base position. This year he missed a month in the season because of injury but now healthy he is hitting .261 with a .405 slugging. Most of his game has been at second base. The tools could be there if he could master a utility role but myworld thinks he is a bit short to make it as a starter.

6. Yanio Perez OF (Rangers) - The Rangers signed him in 2016 for $1.1 million. He played for the 18 and under World Cup team in 2015, sharing the outfield with Luis Robert. There is power in his bat but his foot speed appears to destine him for a corner spot. His minor league debut in A ball this year has seemed to justify the bonus payment. He hit nine homeruns in just 49 games at Low A resulting in a promotion to High A. In nine games in the Carolina League he has yet to get an extra base hit.

7. Yordan Alvarez LF/1B (Astros) - Yordan will turn 20 in a couple days. He is another new comer, not appearing on our Top 20 list last year. The Dodgers initially signed Yordan for $2 million then traded him to the Astros for Josh Fields before even playing a game in a Dodgers minor league uniform. The Astros had him play in the Dominican Summer League where he hit .341. Yordan will hit for average. As a 17 year old he hit .351 in the Cuban Nacional Series. His big challenge is to develop the power expected for the first base position. His lack of speed makes a move to the outfield a poor alternative. He dominated at Low A hitting .357 with 10 homeruns (.670 slugging) which led to a promotion to High A yesterday. With his 33 RBIs in 32 games he has shown he can be a run producer. The Astros have been using him mostly in left field this year.

8. Guillermo Heredia OF (Mariners) - With his success in the major leagues myworld should move him up on this list on general principal. He is a plus defender with the ability to cover a lot of ground in centerfield. The big concern for my world was his bat. There is no power there. To be effective he needs to hit for a higher average. During his 45 game major league debut last year he hit .250. This year he has won the starting centerfield job for the Mariners, hitting .279 and showing enough pop for five homeruns. The power will still be short but if he can keep his average above .270 he should be effective for his defensive ability. Despite pretty decent speed he is not a stolen base threat.

9. Yulieski Gurriel 1B (Astros) - The Astros went out on a limb to sign him to a five year $47.5 million contract despite his age of 33. When he was younger scouts considered him the best player in Cuba. His main position then were third and second base. The Astros have moved him to first where his power may be a bit short. The bat will provide a lot of doubles power and his international experience should provide some leadership qualities to a young team. With A.J. Reed ready to take over the position next year Yulieski could move to a utility role, a spot currently filled by Marwin Gonzalez.

10. Norge Ruiz RHP (Athletics) - The Athletics signed Norge for $2 million in 2016. Interesting he is the only pitcher to make this list, though there will be a couple to make the National League list. Norge is not overpowering, with a fastball that sits in the high 80s to low 90s. At 5′10″ he is also not a tall pitcher making his lack of velocity an impediment for a starting role. He does throw a lot of junk with a change and slider being his best pitches. He gets hitters to hit the ball on the ground resulting in a number of double play grounders. Pitching at the lower level it is not surprising that he is dominating hitters with his breaking pitches. In four starts he has only allowed one run for a 0.47 ERA, a .141 opposition average and 14 whiffs in 19 innings.

2017 Top Asian Prospects

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016 Asian Prospects

Hot Prospects Heading Towards the End of May

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Travis Blast All Jays Need in Win Over O’s

Sunday, May 21st, 2017

Devon Travis slugged a three run homerun in the first inning. It was all the Toronto Blue Jays needed in their 3-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles. Marco Estrada tantalized them the rest of the way with his 90 mile per hour fastball, striking out 12 before his day was done after giving up a two out single in the eighth. The win saved the Blue Jays from being swept in the series.

Wade Miley also pitched well for the Orioles. Some would argue the three runs shouldn’t have scored since they all were unearned. Jonathan Schoop got lazy on a two out grounder from Kendrys Morales, backhanding it instead of circling in front of the ball and having the ball glance off his glove. Justin Smoak singled to right field to keep the inning alive for Travis. He drove the first pitch he saw from Miley deep into the left field bleachers for a 3-0 lead.

Miley would go seven innings. He gave up just four hits through the next six innings. The only offense the Orioles could generate was a solo homerun by Adam Jones in the fourth that also carried into the left field bleachers. It tied him with Rafael Palmeiro for the most homeruns hit in Camden Yards.

The Orioles advanced a runner to third with one out in the third after a Trey Mancini double but Paul Janish struck out. They also got a runner to second in the eighth but Chris Davis looked at his third strike three call on his third 91 mile per hour fastball that split the plate.

Game Notes: The 12 strikeouts by Marco Estrada was a career high. Manny Machado and Chris Davis were both caught looking on pedestrian 91 mile per hour fastballs in back to back at bats. For Chris Davis he was caught looking three times, once by Joe Smith…The Adam Jones homerun was his 124th at Camden Yards. That ties him with Rafael Palmeiro for the most homeruns in Camden Yards…The ushers are tough about ticket holders parking themselves in better seats along the left field bleachers near the foul pole. They kicked a number of squatters out. As they were kicked out the squatters would complain the section is empty. If you wanted to sit there you should have bought a ticket for that section. By the fifth inning the gates opened and all the Little Leaguers who attended the game were crowding into the left field bleacher section. Perhaps that was why the ushers were keeping non-ticket holders out. The Little Leaguers were promised the opportunity to move up after the fourth inning. It seemed strange to be the only one in section 72 through the first four innings then have a flood of fans race to that section in the fifth inning…Adam Jones finished with three of the seven Oriole hits…Anthony Alford gets down the first base line very quickly. He almost beat out two routine grounders. He is still looking for his first major league hit…Odd watching two Schoops on back to back days. Sharlon is in Bowie and Jonathan plays in Baltimore.

Hot Prospects at the Close of April

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

Hard to believe that the baseball season has already finished April. Some of those hot prospects we have identified have already been called up. Others have been promoted. Even though April has ended there are still five more months of baseball to be played, with those coveted September call ups a reward for an outstanding season.

Gleyber Torres SS (Yankees) - Gleyber spent a little time on the disabled list. He was hitting .237 with nary a homerun. Upon his return the ball started jumping off his bat. His last two games he has gone 5 for 7 with his first homerun and four RBIs. Now his average has climbed to a more respectable .292. He still needs to work on his stolen base efficiency, going 2 for 4 in stolen base success rate.

Elias Diaz C (Pirates) - Elias is noted for his superb defense. A four game hitting streak in which he has gone 7 for 15 with a homerun and six RBIs, plus a Francesco Cervelli toe injury has gotten him a call up to the Pirates. For the season Elias is hitting .305. Last year Elias had trouble staying healthy, playing in only 34 games. The year before he won the Captains Choice award for being the best defensive catcher in the minor leagues.

Yanio Perez RF (Rangers) - Yanio has five straight multiple hit games to go with an 8 game hitting streak that has his average shooting to .348. The Cuban has also homered in three consecutive games and in his last four games driven in 12 runs. A 1.095 OPS could result in a promotion to High A for the 21 year old. Yanio signed a minor league contract with the Rangers in September 2016.

Danny Jansen C (Blue Jays) - The 22 year old is raking in the Florida State League. A 4 for 5 day put his average at .416. The 16th round pick in 2013 has been a bit of a surprise with the bat. The last two season injuries have limited him to less than 60 games.

Jon Kemmer OF (Astros) - Jon was another late round draft pick, drafted by the Astros in the 21st round in the 2013 draft. In his last three games Jon has been raking at a 10 for 15 clip with two homeruns and seven RBIs. At 26 Jon is a little old to be considered a prospect, but 5 got 5 days are enough to get him major league attention.

Ryan Mountcastle SS (Orioles) - In a couple years Manny Machado and J.J. Hardy will be gone and the Orioles will be looking for a replacement. Ryan could be that guy, especially after a 4 for 5 performance in which he hit a homerun and drove in four. The homerun was his fifth to go along with his blistering .323 average.

Garrett Stubbs C (Astros) - The 8th round 2015 pick has been smoking in the Texas League. A five game hitting streak in which he has gone 10 for 20 to raise his average to 341. Garrett has homered three times in his last two games, which equals his number for the year.

Trent Clark RF (Brewers) - Trent was a first round pick of the Brewers in 2015. The Brewers outfield is crowded in the minor leagues. Last year Trent hit just .231 with hamstring issues limiting his season to 59 games. He got off to a slow start this year with a .183 average entering the Sunday game. A 5 for 6 performance raised that average to .239.

Luis Guillorme SS (Mets) - Luis is noted more for his glove and takes a back seat on the prospect ladder to Amed Rosario. A 4 for 5 day put his average in AA to .342, almost 100 points higher than his average from last year. Luis has no power with just one homerun as he enters his fifth year in pro ball. Only five of his 26 hits have gone for extra bases, all of them doubles.

Dustin Fowler OF (Yankees) - Dustin hit for the cycle on Sunday, going 5 for 6 with a walk off homerun in the 11th inning to complete the cycle. A 9 for 13 spurt has raised his average to .293 with a .573 slugging average. Dustin was an 18th round pick in 2013 that is starting to show that he could be a five tool player.

Anderson Franco 1B and Carter Kieboom SS (Nationals) - On the same day Anthony Rendon drove in 10 runs in the Nationals 23-5 win over the Mets, the Hagerstown team beat the Lexington Legends 22-4 with Anderson and Carter combining for 10 RBIs. Carter exploded for three homeruns and five RBIs on his 5 for 7 performance. Anderson only hit one homerun but he drove in five runs in a 4 for 6 day.

Sean Newcomb LHP (Braves) - Not a day noted for pitching highlights, but Sean had a game with 11 whiffs in seven innings of work. He allowed just one hit. This is his second shutout performance in a row in which he has only allowed three hits in 12 innings. After his first three starts his ERA was 5.65. Now it is 3.08.

Austin Sodders LHP (Tigers) - Austin also pitched his second shutout start in a row and has three in the four games he has started. In the six inning outing he struck out 10 and allowed just three hits. He has struck out 19 in his last two starts covering 11 innings. Austin lacks a power packed pitch, with a fastball that sits at a pedestrian 88-92. He gets outs with command of his pitches.

Hot Prospects to Watch

Saturday, April 29th, 2017

Raimel Tapia CF (Rockies) - The Rockies outfield situation is a little crowded, especially with the return of Ian Desmond who may see some outfield time once he gets back from the disabled list. That has not deterred Raimel, who is in the middle of a six game hitting streak, with the last three games being multiple hit games. He has driven in seven runs during the streak and raised his average to .382. Raimel has yet to have a season in the minors where his average has fallen below .300.

Samir Duenez 1B (Royals) - If the Royals decide to rebuild and trade their veterans Samir could be called up to play first base. In a recent three game spin he drove in 8 runs, blasting his third homerun of the year. Samir has driven in 23 runs in 19 games, which leads the Texas AA League by five.

Rhys Hoskins 1B (Phillies) - Rhys has left the hitter friendly Reading park but the homeruns keep on coming. He had a two game homerun streak to up his total for the year to six. He is also showing a bit more diversity with a .343 average and only 14 whiffs in 21 games. That will get him a callup before the year is out with Tommy Joseph struggling to get past the Mendoza line.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr 3B (Blue Jays) - Vladimir has an 11 game hitting streak to prop his average up to .348. He has driven in seven runs in his last five games and had a streak in which he scored at least one run in five consecutive games. He has an impressive 14/11 walk to whiff ratio proving he is better at taking pitches than his father.

Braxton Davidson OF (Braves) - The Braves 2014 first round pick has been scuffling early in the season. A 4 for 4 game in which he also drew two walks brought that average back up to .200. He also socked his first homerun of the year in this game, driving in three runs. Last year Braxton struck out 184 times in 128 games. This inability to make contact continues with 33 whiffs in just 21 games to start the season.

Francisco Mejia C (Indians) - Francisco also hit his first homerun of the year, but his bat has still been hot with a .333 average. He has been filling the gaps with seven doubles.

Daz Cameron OF (Astros) - The son of Mike had a big seven RBI game with a triple and double driving in most of the runs. The 3 for 5 day brought his average to .208. Despite the low average Daz has been productive with 17 runs driven in and 16 runs scored in just 20 games.

Josh Naylor 1B (Padres) - Josh is starting to show the Padres his power. He has homered in two consecutive games, with multiple hits in five consecutive games. His hitting streak is now at 7 raising his average to .305. He is 15 for 31 during his hitting streak with three dingers and nine runs batted in. Josh has also shown some speed with four stolen bases in four attempts.

Max Pentecost C (Blue Jays) - Max was a first round pick of the Blue Jays in 2014. Injuries have prevented him from playing in more than 74 games. He is hoping this year will be different. A 14 game hitting streak has his average up to .328. The only game he has failed to get a hit was his first game. In his last eight games he has powered five of his six homeruns. That has given him 13 of his 16 RBIs for the year.

Tyler Mahle RHP (Reds) - Tyler followed his perfect game with six shutout innings, giving up just four hits. After five starts the opposition is just hitting .104 against him. Last year he started 14 games in AA and spun together an ERA of 4.92. This year he sits at 0.55. As putrid as the Reds starting pitching has been he could be called up as a solution to the rotation woes.

Jeff Hoffman RHP (Rockies) - It is just a matter of time before Jeff is called up. Last year the Rockies gave him six starts and he struggled with a 4.88 ERA. He threw seven innings of one hit shutout ball in his latest start to lower his AAA ERA to 3.86.

Jorge Lopez RHP (Brewers) - Last year Jorge was destined for the Brewers rotation. A 6.81 ERA in 16 starts got him a trip to AA Biloxi instead. That is where he is starting the 2017 season. After a 10 strikeout, six inning two hitter AAA is calling him. Last year he struggled to throw strikes. In five starts this year he has a 4/30 walk to whiff ratio in 26 innings.

Adalberto Mejia LHP (Twins) - Adalberto pitched well enough in spring to earn a spot in the Twins starting rotation to begin the season. He had trouble finding the plate, walking 8 in just over nine innings in his first three starts. That led to a demotion to AAA. In his first AAA minor league start Mejia didn’t walk a batter, striking out six in a seven inning two hit shutout outing. He needs to have a couple more outings like this to show the Twins that this was no fluke.

Another Perfect Game and Other Prospect Notes

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Domenic Mazza LHP (Giants) - Not really considered a prospect. Players drafted in the 22nd round as Domenic was in 2015 fall far from that criteria, unless large bonuses are associated with their name to get them to sign. Mazza did make some press by throwing the second perfect game of the year and the first nine inning perfect game in South Atlantic League history. For Domenic that is a welcome start after lasting under three innings and giving up seven runs in his first start of the season. During that game he gave up Tim Tebow’s first professional career homerun, publicity he would just as soon avoid. The lefty needed only 85 pitches to toss his perfecto.

Dane Dunning RHP (Nationals) - It was pay back time for the ex-National as he threw six innings of two hit ball against Low A Hagerstown, a Nationals farm team. For Dunning that was his third consecutive shutout outing to lower his ERA to 0.35. He has only given up two runs in four starts with only one of them earned. He has a 2/33 walk to whiff ratio in 26 innings and the opposition is hitting him at a .143 clip. He was traded to the Nationals along with Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito for Adam Eaton. Dane is making the Nationals begin to regret that deal.

Nik Turley LHP (Twins) - In his fourth appearance and second start Nik Turley gave up his first run. He also struck out 14 in the seven inning outing, at one point striking out eight hitters in a row. In 20.1 innings he has now struck out 36 hitters with a 0.44 ERA and a .076 opposition average. At age 27 his prospect status is sagging but the Twins starting rotation could use some help.

Michael Kopech RHP (White Sox) - Michael was throwing bb’s in his six inning one hit shutout. The 2014 first round pick of the Red Sox struck out eight in his outing. The opposition is only hitting .145 against him but 14 walks in just 18 innings have plagued him. During his one hitter he walked four. The Red Sox traded him to the White Sox as part of the Chris Sale trade.

Dinelson Lamet RHP (Padres) - Myworld remembers writing about Dinelson a lot last year. After a 13 K performance in his third start he came back with a 9 K performance, throwing seven innings of shutout ball. Like Kopech, Lamet does not give up a lot of hits (.171 opposition average) but his walks could be tapered down (9 in 20 innings). After four starts the Dominican has seen his ERA lowered to 0.45.

Ronald Acuna OF (Braves) - After dominating in Australia Acuna is wreaking his wrath on Florida State League pitchers. The Venezuelan banged out three hits, including his second homerun of the year and five RBIs. Acuna was a double short of the cycle. Strikeouts have been a bit of a problem with 25 in 17 games, but his last two games in which he went 5 for 9 have come without a whiff. He has 10 stolen bases in 11 attempts.

Alex Jackson C (Braves) - Another Fire Frog, Jackson has seen his bat come alive now that he is no longer a Mariner. In the same game Acuna banged out three hits Alex collected three hits including a homerun and two RBIs. Alex was a double short of the cycle. The three hits raised his average to .338. While with the Mariners he struggled to get his average above the .250 neighborhood. The Braves have returned Alex back to his high school position as a catcher.

Willie Calhoun 2B (Dodgers) - The homerun drought has ended for Willie with his first yesterday. Last year the 5′8″ slugger bashed 27 over the fence. Despite the paucity of homeruns Willie has been hitting with his average at .333.

Jorge Alfaro C (Phillies) - The Phillies don’t have room for Jorge behind the plate for their major league team. So they will show patience with him as he assaults AAA pitching. Back to back three hit games in which he hit a homerun in each game raised his average to .377. The Phillies would like to see some improvement on his 1/17 walk to whiff ratio (22/105 in 2016).

Edward Olivares OF (Blue Jays) - With the two perfect games comes the first cycle that myworld has become aware of in the minor leagues. Edward singled, doubled, tripled and homered in a four RBI event a couple days ago. His batting average needed the outburst as it was sitting at .172 before the game. Edward now has a four game hitting streak to raise his average to .231. He has driven in 8 of his 14 runs during that streak.

Jason Vosler 3B (Cubs) - Jason is not considered one of the more touted Cub prospects. Last year he hit three homeruns. In a game last night Vosler equaled his 2015 homerun out put with three dingers to give him four for the year. The third baseman drove in six runs to double his RBI output for the year.

Hot Prospects for the Weekend - Arroyo Makes the Most of the Weekend

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

Myworld was coaching volleyball over the weekend in Minnesota. The Twins were in town but all my time was spent in the gym. Now that we are back it is time to look back to see who was hot over the weekend.

Christian Arroyo SS (Giants) - My world has never been enamored with Arroyo but his bat is certainly changing my mind. It is difficult to find a hitter hotter than Christian. He had his first 0 for of the season on Thursday but bounced back with a 4 for 6 Sunday that raised his average to .446. After that outburst the Giants promoted him to their major league team to help at both third base and shortstop. His OPS for his first 16 games in AAA is 1.171.

Demi Orimoloye OF (Brewers) - Unlike Christian Demi is a player who flashes some impressive tools. His challenge has always been in his ability to make contact with the ball. An 8 game hitting streak raised his average to .300. He hit four homeruns while driving in 9. What is most impressive about his at bats is only two whiffs in his last 24 at bats. For the year Demi has five homeruns with five stolen bases. Before the season is over his average will probably dip below .250.

Luis Urias 2B/SS (Padres) - Back to back four hit games raised his average to .357. Luis scored five runs in his second four hit game. The native from Mexico is not supposed to carry any power in his bat but a .650 slugging percentage includes a couple homeruns with six doubles and three triples. Eleven of his 21 hits have gone for extra bases. A second baseman coming into this season the Padres have used him 14 games at short early in the season.

Amed Rosario SS (Mets) - Met fans are clamoring for the promotion of Rosario. He is a better fielding shortstop than what they currently have on their major league roster. A 6 for 9 streak in his last two games has raised his average to .403. Only four of his 27 hits have gone for extra bases but the Mets will not complain about his 23 singles when combined with his gold glove fielding potential.

Marcus Wilson CF (Diamondbacks) - Marcus sprayed the Midwest league with four three hit games in a six game span to raise his average to .411. He drove in 11 runs during that streak with three homeruns. The Diamondbacks drafted Marcus in the second round of the 2014 draft, moving him up slowly because of his .244 career average coming into this season. His biggest challenge is an ability to make consistent contact.

Bo Bichette SS (Blue Jays) - The son of Dante has a 12 game hitting streak that has raised his average to .373. He was able to play for Brazil in the qualifier last year because of his Brazilian mother. Brazil failed to qualify for the 2017 WBC but Bo was not the reason hitting .400 with a .538 OBA. Bo has hit one homerun this year and that was on opening day as he splits his time between shortstop and second base.

Anthony Alford OF (Blue Jays) - Another Blue Jay prospect with a hot bat is Alford who had a streak of five games of two hits or more in six games to raise his average to .469. He hit two homeruns and drove in five during the streak with four stolen bases. Anthony has a potent combination of power and speed that will result in a quick ascent through the minors now that his focus is on baseball.

Tyler Mahle RHP (Reds) - Tyler threw the first nine inning no hitter of the season, a perfect game 1-0 win over the Mobile Bay Bears. He threw only 88 pitches in his complete game no hitter striking out eight. Tyler was a seventh round pick of the Reds in 2013 and has a checkered minor league career. The 2017 season has started out well with only two runs given up in his four starts for a 4-0 record and a 0.68 ERA. The opposition is hitting him at a .082 clip.

Jack Flaherty RHP (Cardinals) - Another pitcher who has started his season 4-0. In his four starts Jack has only given up one run for a 0.33 ERA. In his last two starts he has not allowed a run in 13.2 innings, giving up just eight hits. A 3/24 walk to whiff ratio and .161 opposition average could result in a promotion to the big club before the year is out.

Merandy Gonzalez RHP (Mets) - The Colombian has yet to give up a run in his three starts in the Low A South Atlantic League. The 20.2 shutout string has been because of a 1/18 walk to whiff ratio with a .143 opposition average. Merandy stands only 6′1″ but his fastball can still cross the plate in the mid-90s with an above average curve ball to keep hitters off balance.

Hot Prospects in Mid-April

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

Kyle Tucker OF (Astros) - Sometimes a season can be defined by one game. For Kyle Tucker that season could have been Saturday night. Coming into the game he was hitting a modest .267. After a 4 for 5 day with two doubles, a homerun and seven RBIs that average had spiked to .343. His RBI total for the year now sits at 11 for nine games. To date 8 of Kyle’s 12 hits have gone for extra bases to put his slugging percentage at .714.

Jose Medina OF (Padres) - Coming into this game Jose was hitting .167 with no homeruns. After a 4 for 5 day with three homeruns Jose was hitting .304 and was no longer embarrassed about seeing his batting average displayed on the scoreboard. The five RBIs he produced in the Lake County 17-5 rout over Lansing were his first five RBIs of the year.

Marcus Wilson OF (Diamondbacks) - Marcus was already having a pretty solid season prior to his 3 for 5 day with two homeruns and six RBIs. The special day upped his average to .405 and doubled his homerun output for the year to 4. Pitchers have been hesitant about pitching to Marcus with 8 walks in 10 games for an OBA of .511. He has an 8/5 walk to whiff ratio.

Anthony Alford OF (Blue Jays) - The fourth outfielder on this list. Anthony has slashed hits in seven of his first eight games. All of those hits have been singles, until last night when he doubled and homered to record his first extra base hits of the year. Alford should have a combination of speed and power. His four stolen bases early in the year have shown off his speed. Now he hopes his most recent production will show off his extra base hit potential.

Chance Sisco C (Orioles) - Chance has struggled in the early part of April but he hopes a 3 for 3 day sparks his season to life. It raised his average to .276. Part of his struggles could be attributed to his inability to make contact. Chance had struck out 11 times in his first seven games, a trait not associated with his skill set.

Luis Ortiz RHP (Brewers) - Luis was slapped around in his first start for five runs in just four innings of work against Montgomery. He was much better in his second start, not allowing a hit in five innings of work. His command was a little off with four walks in the outing. Ironic he did not walk a batter in his first start. Maybe a little wildness is good. It creates an atmosphere of unpredictability.

Jake Jewell RHP (Angels) - So far Jake is having a jewel of a season. He shutout Visalia in the California League for seven innings, allowing just two hits and walking nary a soul. He did strike out eight. After two starts Jake has only allowed one runner to cross the plate for a 0.82 ERA. The Angels could use pitchers like that to fit in their rotation.

Merandy Gonzalez RHP (Mets) - The Mets seem to find a way to discover good pitching. Merandy is another one of these obscure finds. He pitched his second straight game of shutout ball, working 7.2 innings without allowing a run. In his first start he did not allow a run in his six innings of work. That gives him 13.2 innings of shutout ball to start the season with a .149 opposition average and a 1/11 walk to whiff ratio.

Walker Buehler RHP (Dodgers) - The start did not seem so special when he gave up hits to two of the first three hitters he faced. Then he struck out the last eight hitters to raise his season shutout streak to six innings. The Dodgers are being careful with Walker after his Tommy John surgery has limited Walker to five innings of work since he was drafted in the first round in 2015. The two three inning outings have exceeded the five innings he pitched in his first two years with the team.

Myworld’s Top 100 - 40 -31

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Spring training games and the WBC games are making it hard to complete this list. Here are the next ten, 40-31 as we trudge down to number one.

40. Mike Soroka RHP (Braves) - The Canadian was the Braves second first round pick in the 2015 draft. Not an overpowering pitcher with a fastball in the low 90s, he relies on the command of his above average curveball and change to force hitters to make weak contact. Last year he averaged just 7.9 whiffs per nine innings at Low A. Next year should see a promotion to High A. Eventually he will fill a role in the middle or back end of a rotation.

39. Blake Rutherford OF (Yankees) - Blake was the Yankees first round pick in 2016. He starred for the under 18 United States baseball team that won the gold medal, batting in the middle of their lineup. The Yankees hope to see enough power from him to bat in the middle of their lineup. Last year he hit .351 in rookie ball in a little over 100 at bats, slugging .570. Average speed will leave him in right field, the only tool he lacks from competing as a five tool player.

38. Bradley Zimmer OF (Indians) - Bradley was the Indians first round pick in 2014. The Indians still have hopes to put him in centerfield, but myworld thinks he lacks the speed to play there. We think he is a better fit in right field, but perhaps we have seen him on bad days when he takes poor routes. His bat should hit for enough power to fit in right field with 15 homeruns last year. That included a power outage in AAA when he could only hit one over the fence in 150 at bats. Zimmer has the speed to be a 20/20 player. If he can cut down on his strikeouts his average could rise above .250.

37. Yadier Alvarez RHP (Dodgers) - The Dodgers continue to spend big bucks on Cuban players with little success. Yadier was signed to a $16 million bonus, which is the second highest bonus they have paid to a prospect, the $28 million they signed for Hector Olivera the number one bonus. Yusniel Diaz ($15.5 million), Yasiel Puig ($12 million) and Alex Guerrero ($10,000) round out the top five bonuses for the Dodgers and they all happen to be Cuban players. Since arriving in the United States Yadier has seen his fastball hit triple digits, sitting mainly in the mid-90s range. Commanding that fastball can be an issue with 21 walks in 59 innings. Adding a change as a third pitch will put him in the rotation, otherwise he will fill a role as a closer. The Dodgers could start him in Low A where he has already achieved success in 9 starts or push him with a promotion to High A. At 6′3″ he has a good frame for a pitcher.

36. Kyle Tucker OF (Astros) - The Astros already have his brother Preston on the team as a fifth outfielder. When Kyle is ready to play he will be the starting centerfielder for the Astros. Kyle was the first round pick of the Astros in 2015. All the tools are there to make him an impact bat, especially since he hits from the left side. The one tool he may be short on is speed, which could move him to right field where his arm is more than adequate to play the position Last year in a brief call up to High A he hit .339 with a 1.096 OPS. The Astros may start him there to begin the 2017 season and then promote him if he continues to maul High A pitching.

35. Josh Hader LHP (Brewers) - He has already been traded twice, from the Orioles to the Astros and now to the Brewers. For the Orioles he was their 19th round pick in 2012. His hair has grown since then and his velocity has increased, hitting the mid-90s. That is plenty of speed for a left handed pitcher. Last year he average 11.5 whiffs per nine innings at AA and AAA. A slider gives him a good second pitch but his change is still lacking. Trouble with finding the strike zone in AAA resulted in a 5.22 ERA when he walked 36 in 69 innings. The Brewers would like to see him have success at AAA before they promote him to their major league rotation. They would also like to see him improve his change to give him three pitches.

34. Vladimir Guerrero Jr 3B (Blue Jays) - His talent level falls short of his dad. His arm is not as powerful and his hitting tools also fall short. He’s probably a little better at taking pitches, but still puts his bat on the ball when he swings (33/35 walk to whiff). His arm is not a rifle but it is good enough for third. More stocky than his dad, he should hit for power. Despite his 15 steals last year Vladimir is not fleet afoot. This makes third base a better position for him. Expect to see him start the 2017 season in Low A.

33. Franklin Barreto SS (Athletics) - The Athletics may regret trading Addison Russell but they got Barretto in the Josh Donaldson trade. He could be the player Russell is now, with good pop for a shortstop. His defensive tools do not stand out so a shift to second is possible, but the Athletics will keep him at short to let his average tools develop. He has decent speed, stealing 30 bases last year so a move to centerfield is also a possibility. Where ever he plays a plus bat that should hit in the neighborhood of .300 with 20 plus homerun pop will find a position to play. Expect the A’s to start him at AAA with a promotion to the major league team in September. Marcus Semien also has average tools for a shortstop so the Athletics will have to find a match and move one of the players to second.

32. Kolby Allard LHP (Braves) - The Braves traded for a number of pitching prospects who were first round picks from other teams. Kolby was drafted by the Braves in the first round of the 2015 draft. The fastball is not overpowering, sitting in the low 90s but he complements it with a plus curve and a solid change, besides throwing lefthanded. His command is also excellent. He didn’t appear to be bothered by a back problem that dropped him in the draft and limited his 2015 season to three starts. For the 2017 season he may start it in Low A where he had some success last year.

31. Jason Groome LHP (Red Sox) - Jason would not have dropped as far as he did in the 2016 draft to get to the Red Sox in the first round if not for some questions about his character. At 6′6″, throwing lefthanded with a fastball hitting the mid-90s with room for more growth as he matures, Jason could end up in the top of a rotation. His curve is good and his change is in the developmental stage since he did not use it much in high school. The Red Sox hope to begin his 2017 season in Low A.