Archive for the 'Blue Jays' Category

Top Right Handed Pitching Prospects

Thursday, December 24th, 2020

Below are the top right handed pitching prospects. Because of five man rotations myworld has decided to list our top 20.

1. Casey Mize (Tigers) - Not a lot of first picks in the draft are the best prospects once they test the minor leagues. Mize was the first player selected in 2018 after starring at Auburn. The 2019 season was his only full minor league season where he could eat up innings. In 21 starts he chewed up 109 innings. That appeared to be good enough for him to make his major league debut in 2020, starting seven games while piecing together 28 innings. It was a struggle. He gave up seven homeruns, the same number he gave up in the minor leagues in almost 100 more innings. Major league hitters raked him for a .252 average, 43 points higher than his career minor league average. His best pitch may be his splitter, but he also throws a mid 90s fastball with a mid-80s slider. The splitter in the mid-80s can act as his off speed pitch. The Tigers could start his 2021 season in AAA then call him up after he achieves some success there. He needs a confidence booster after being mauled in 2020.

2. Nate Pearson (Blue Jays) - The 2017 pick is one of the hardest throwers in baseball. His fastball can dart across the plate at 102 miles per hour. The secondary pitches, especially the slider will keep him in the rotation. His command could probably use a little more enhancement, especially in the major leagues. Nate made his major league debut in 2020, walking 13 batters in 18 innings. He also let five balls leave the yard. He pitched much better in 2019 pitching at three different minor league levels. At 6′6 inches his pitches come right at you. Minor leaguers hit just .173 againt him. Like Casey Mize, he could start the 2021 season in AAA, then get called up once he achieves some success and gets his confidence back. A good spring could see him start his season with Toronto.

3. Sixto Sanchez (Marlins) - Sixto may have pitched the Marlins to the 2020 playoffs. He was originally signed by the Phillies for the paltry sum of $35,000 back in 2015 out of the Dominican Republic. The Phillies included him in a trade for J.T. Realmuto. Ironic that the rebuilding Marlins saw the playoffs before the Phillies. Standing at just 6′0 usually does not spell success for a right handed starter. Sixto proved to be an exception, like his native countryman Pedro Martinez. Sixto slings his fastball in the high 90s and occasionally clips the three digit territory. His change is also a quality pitch and the slider acts as a third pitch enough to allow him to survive in the rotation. He made his major league debut last year and started seven games, finishing with a 3.46 ERA. Without that contribution the Marlins would not have made the playoffs. For a pitcher with his velocity he doesn’t strike out a lot of batters, but they make enough soft contact for Sixto to achieve success. He should start the 2021 season in the Marlins rotation.

4. Spencer Howard (Phillies) - This 2017 second round pick also made his major league debut in 2020. Like Mize and Pearson above him he struggled, with major leaguers hitting him at a .300 clip, resulting in a 5.92 ERA in six starts. In the minors in 2019 Spencer limited the opposition to just a .173 average. His fastball is explosive, hitting the mid-90s consistently and reaching the high 90s. It has enough movement that he gets a lot of swings and misses. His secondary breaking pitches (slider and curve) are a tick above average to allow him to survive in the rotation, but his change has turned into an above average pitch. His command can get off kilter but with a little more experience he could become the ace of the Phillies rotation. It would not hurt to start his 2021 season in AAA with a callup a little later in the season. The Phillies keep on acquiring veteran players, trading top prospects to achieve their goal. It could be a top prospect like Howard that could finally get the Phillies into the playoffs.

5. Forrest Whitley (Astros) - The 6′7″ first round pick in 2016 may have the best stuff of the pitchers on this list. Staying healthy and finding the strike zone have always been a challenge. He also missed 50 games for violating the minor league drug policy. In 2019 shoulder problems left his delivery out of whack and he finished with a 7.99 ERA in just 60 innings, walking 44 batters. In his four seasons he has yet to surpass 100 innings pitched. The fastball can travel across the plate in the mid-90s and a quality slider and change feed off the fastball to make him difficult to hit, if he can find the plate. If his command stays inconsistent he could always turn into a closer, but he has too many quality pitches not to keep in the rotation. Expect him to start the 2021 season in AAA, where he finished with a 12.21 ERA in 2019 in five starts.

6. Michael Kopech (White Sox) - The 2014 first round pick opted out of the 2020 season. This after missing all of the 2019 season because of Tommy John surgery. Michael seemed to have announced his arrival after being able to find the plate in four major league starts in 2018, but his elbow did not allow him to finish the season. His fastball cuts across the plate in the triple digits, even hitting 105 in one game. His slider has plus quality, but finding a third pitch and the plate set him back. It will be interesting to see if he can find the plate after his two year absence. The White Sox made the playoffs last year without him. If he could fill the White Sox rotation in 2021 it would be an asset to repeating a playoff run in 2021.

7. Grayson Rodriguez (Orioles) - The Orioles 2018 first round pick stands at a sturdy 6′5. He pitched out of Texas. The Orioles hope he can mimic a couple Texas icons in Roger Clemons and Nolan Ryan. With a mid-90s fastball and a quality slider, he gathers up the swings and misses in the minor leagues. In 20 starts in Low A he held opponents to a .171 average with 129 whiffs in 94 innings. He has enough command of his four pitches that should allow him to be the ace of the Orioles rotation in a couple years. For the 2021 season he will probably spend most of it in AA, not seeing the major leagues until sometime during the middle of the 2022 season.

8. Luis Patino (Padres) - The Padres signed the 6′1″ righthander for just $130,000 out of Colombia back in 2016. Despite his lack of height he has built up enough bulk to reach the mid 90s with his fastball, often lighting up the radar in the high 90s. He also has a quality slider that elicits swings and misses. In his three minor league seasons he has never had an ERA above 2.57 and he has limited opponents to a .208 average. He gets lots of swings and misses and limits balls from traveling over the fence, giving up just seven taters in 234 innings. Luis made his major league debut in 2020 and struggled with his command, walking 14 in 17 innings. Opponents hit him at a .257 clip leaving his ERA at an elevated 5.19. This will probably result him starting the 2021 season in AAA and waiting until he achieves some success there before being promoted to the Padres.

9. Matt Manning (Tigers) - The first round 2016 pick was drafted out of high school so he is taking a more patient rise up the minor league ladder than Mize. Manning is one year younger than Mize and after achieving success in AA in 2019 (2.56 ERA) he should be joining Mize in the rotation sometime in 2021. He has a nice 6′6 frame that gives him challenges finding a consistent release point, but his control improved in 2019. He is the son of Rich Manning, who played in the NBA, a sport Matt played while in high school. The fastball sits at the lower edges of the mid-90s, but it is probably his second best pitch, with a curveball that dives to the ground and gets awkward swings and misses. An improved change in 2019 gives him the requisite three pitches to survive in the starting rotation. He will probably start the 2019 season in AAA and at some point may join Mize and Tarik Skubal to make an awesome front three for the rotation.

10. Max Meyer (Marlins) - Max was the third player selected in the 2020 draft. He pitched in relief early in his career with Minnesota but moved to the starting rotation midway through his sophomore year. At 6′0″ he does not carry the height that you like to see in right handed pitchers. His best pitch may be his slider, and when combined with his mid-90s fastball that touched triple digits, it will garner lots of swings and misses. His change shows flashes of brilliance, which should be enough for him to stick in the rotation. The 2021 season will be his first in the minor leagues, but he should rise up quickly. If he has success and the Marlins are making another playoff run do not be surprised if they don’t use him in relief to begin his major league career, with a later transition to the starting rotation.

11. Logan Gilbert (Mariners) - The 2018 first round pick is another giant, who stands at 6′6″. The fastball crosses the plate in the mid-90s and his breaking pitches and change show enough quality that will allow him to stick in the rotation. His pitches are enhanced by his ability to find the strike zone consistently, something not common among pitchers his height. Logan has only one minor league season under his built, seeing three levels in 2019. He finished in AA with a 2.13 ERA putting together 26 starts and 135 innings. Opponents hit him at a .198 clip, including a .194 average in 9 AA starts. This should make him major league ready sometime during the mid-season of 2021 after starting the year in AAA.

12. Ian Anderson (Braves) - The 2016 first round pick can hit the mid-90s with his fastball. Hitters can have a difficult time getting elevation on the pitch because of its downward spike as it travels across the plate. He mixes in a curve and a change that keeps hitters off balance. In his first three years he had only allowed three homeruns in 243 innings. In 2019 he gave up an uncharacteristic 13 homeruns in just 135 innings. The 2020 season saw him make his major league debut where he baffled major league hitters to a .172 average and a 1.95 ERA in six starts. It will be interesting if he can replicate that success in 2021. Unless he bombs during spring training he should start the 2021 season in the Braves rotation.

13. Emerson Hancock (Mariners) - The second 2020 draft pick to appear on this list and the sixth player selected in the draft. The 6′4″ righthander can reach the high 90s with his fastball, but sits in the mid-90s. He complements his fastball with two quality breaking pitches (slider and curve) and a quality change. All of those pitches are enhanced by his above average command. With no minor league experience he should begin the 2021 season in A ball and could rise quickly with some success. Mariner fans should not expect to see him until late in the 2022 season.

14. Dane Dunning (Rangers) - The Nationals first round pick in 2016 is on his third team. The Nationals traded him to the White Sox with two other pitchers (Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez) for Adam Eaton. The White Sox traded Dunning to the Rangers after the 2020 season to get a veteran pitcher for the 2021 season. Dunning missed all of the 2019 season after Tommy John surgery but had progressed enough that the White Sox put him in their rotation for the 2020 season seven times. He had a 3.97 ERA and limited the opposition to a .197 average. Lynn in 13 starts for the Rangers carried a 3.32 ERA. Lynn only has one more year in his contract before becoming a free agent while Dunning will be controlled by the Rangers for at least five more years. Dunning should start the season in the Rangers rotation in 2021.

15. Triston McKenzie (Indians) - The Indians supplemental first round pick in 2015 had surprising success in the Indians rotation last year, despite being limited to just 90 innings his last two years because of injuries. He did not pitch at all in 2019 because of back issues. The lanky 6′5″ righthander spun together a 3.24 ERA in six starts and 33 innings in the major leagues. Major league hitters hit only .179 against him. At 23 years of age he should gain more weight on his 165 pound frame. This should add some velocity to his low 90s fastball that can reach the mid-90s. He has a quality curveball to go with a slider and change that keeps hitters off balance. It will be interesting to see if he can replicate his success in 2021. The Indians will start him in the rotation in 2021 and whether he stays there will be dictated by his success.

16. Edward Cabrera (Marlins) - The Marlins signed the Dominican in 2015 for the bargain price of $100,000. He has journeyed through the minor leagues impressing hitters with a mid-90s fastball that touches triple digits. At 6′5″ and 217 pounds his frame carries intimidation. His secondary pitches could use some improvement. The slider has enough downward bite to get hitters to beat the ball to the ground and there is enough separation of his change compared to his fastball to get swings and misses. The lack of quality secondary pitches and inconsistent command could move him to the bullpen. His 2019 season was a breakout year with a 2.23 ERA and .190 opposition average, both much better than his previous years. Edward could start the 2021 season in AAA with a possible promotion to the Marlins if he achieves success, or a propensity to pitch out of the bullpen.

17. Jordan Balazovic (Twins) - The Canadian was not drafted until the fifth round of the 2016 draft. He has sprouted to 6′5″ and packed on 45 additional pounds to get his fastball consistently in the mid-90s. The secondary pitches (slider and change) are commendable pitches that could see him stick in the rotation, but his skills seem to fit better in the bullpen. Jordan has no trouble finding the plate, which should help him stay in the rotation. He has made a slow trek through the minors, finally reaching full season ball in 2019, reaching High A. He will probably start the 2021 season in AA with a Twins appearance sometime in 2022.

18. Hunter Greene (Reds) - It has been a long, slow trek for the player picked second in the 2017 draft. The fastball was triple digit quality but he failed to find the plate. His first year he finished with a 12.46 ERA in three starts covering 4 innings. That improved to 4.48 in 2018. Tommy John surgery forced him to miss the 2019 season. It will be interesting if he can sustain his three digit heat into the 2021 season. His secondary pitches (slider and change) could allow him to survive in the rotation. His surgery and his premier fastball could move him into the bullpen. He finished his 2018 season in Low A. It will not be until late in the 2022 season before the Reds see him in their rotation.

19. Shane Baz (Rays) - The Rays do a good job of developing starting pitchers. Shane was a first round pick of the Pirates in 2017. The Rays stole him, Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows from the Pirates for Chris Archer. If Baz makes the Rays it will be one of the biggest swindles in baseball. Baz has a fastball that lights the radar gun in the triple digits, sitting in the mid-90s. His inability to find the plate will make it difficult for him to stay in the rotation. He also lacks a quality third pitch, showing a fastball/slider combination with a pedestrian change. Shane has yet to check in at the 100 inning level in any of his three minor league seasons. The 2021 season could see him start it in AA. Rays fans will have to wait until at least 2022 before they see him in the bullpen, or 2023 before he hits the rotation.

20. Jackson Kowar (Royals) - Kowar pitched with Brady Singer at Florida. The Royals made Singer their first pick and Kowar became pick 1A as he was drafted as a supplemental first round pick. He hopes to join Singer in the Royals rotation in 2021. His fastball sits at the lower edges of the mid-90s, but it is has change that complements the fastball that makes him a quality pitcher. His curveball has decent enough action to put him in the middle of the Royals rotation. He finished the 2019 season in AA, but was pretty hittable at that level, the opposition teeing off for a .254 average. His control is good and he gets about one whiff per inning with his fastball/change combination. Jackson should start the 2021 season in AA and could join Singer in the rotation late in 2021 or sometime in 2022.

Top Shortstop Prospects

Sunday, November 29th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top Prospects from Panama

Friday, March 20th, 2020

The last time myworld did a top ten prospect list from Panama was in 2016. Interesting that three of the players on this year’s list (Miguel Amaya, Edmundo Sosa and Javy Guerra) made the 2020 list. Since then we have done an All Carribean list team, the last of which appears to have been in 2018. There were three Panamanian players to make that list. Jamie Barria pitched in relief for the Angels in 2018 and 2019 and has graduated from prospect status. Another, Jonathan Arauz, did not make this list, while Leonardo Jimenez earned an appearance at the back end of the 2020 Panama list.

The growth of baseball in Panama appears to be greater now than Nicaragua, which used to be the hot bed of baseball in the Central American countries. They won the Series del Caribe back in 2019 when they were first allowed to participate. Last year they missed making the playoffs but they were competitive against the beasts of the Caribbean. So the quality of players signing out of there is improving, allowing myworld to put together a top ten list. The top three from this list are quality while the players that fall below that are still too raw to make an true assessment of what their major league potential may be.

1. Miguel Amaya C (Cubs) - He was number two on the 2016 list but was beaten out by a number of players from the Bahamas for the Caribbean list. The Cubs paid $1 million to sign him in 2015, unusual for a prospect coming out of Panama. For Panama he earns a position on top of this list for his ability to hit as well as play defense. His defense may be a little more ahead of his offensive game at this point, but in the last two years he has hit 23 homeruns. Last year he only hit .235 but he showed excellent plate discipline with a 54/69 walk to whiff ratio, resulting in a .351 OBA. His arm was strong enough to throw out 35 percent of baserunners who tried to steal against him, but he still needs to work on some of the other tools to become a polished defensive catcher. He is still a couple years away from making the Cubs and will open in AA next year when the season starts. The Cubs have been talking about trading Wilson Contreras and Miguel is the heir apparent, but it would be best to wait until 2021 to give him the catching positon.

2. Ivan Herrera C (Cardinals) - Ivan was signed a year after Miguel. The Cardinals gave him a $200,000 bonus. Ivan is also known for his solid defense, though his arm is not as strong as Miguel. He also does not carry the power of Miguel though there is some hope the power will develop once he matures. At this point he does have the ability to hit for a better average than Miguel, coming into the 2020 season with a career .309 average. The strikeouts are few and he has the ability to take a walk, owning a career .397 OBA. Last year he appeared in 18 High A games. That is where he should begin the 2020 season, receiving a promotion to AA once he has had success at High A.

3. Daniel Espino RHP (Indians) - Daniel was born in Panama but moved to the United States while a sophomore in high school. He went from throwing in the mid-80s to being the hardest thrower in high school baseball, earning himself a first round selection of the Indians in the 2019 draft. They paid him a $2.5 million bonus, something he would have never gotten if he had stayed in Panama. Espino throws in the mid-90s and has hit the triple digits with his fastball. He also has three developing secondary pitches that should allow him to stay in the starting rotation. Next year, he should start the season in full season, but do not expect him to be wearing an Indians uniform for at least another three years.

4. Reggie Preciado SS (Padres) - Reggie led Panama to the silver medal in the U15 World Cup, one of three players from that team selected to the All tournament team. He hit .393 and drove in 9 runs during the tournament, motivating the Padres to shell out $1.3 million to sign him in 2019. He did not play in 2019 but should make his debut in the rookie league or the Dominican summer league in 2020. A 6′4″ switch hitter, he should carry a lot of power in his bat. If he continues to grow he could be forced to move from short, but the power will play in the outfield or at third base. Plus, Fernando Tatis appears to have the position locked up for a few years at short. His father played two years in the Yankee farm system so he has a mentor who can tell him how to succeed to the major leagues.

5. Edmundo Sosa SS (Cardinals) - Edmundo appeared on the 2016 Panama list as the number three prospect, just behind Amaya. Edmundo was signed in 2012 for $450,000. He has been playing long enough that a lot is already known about him. His power is rather limited, though last year with the juiced up major league ball he hit a career high 17 homeruns, He also hit a career high .291. Patience at the plate is lacking as evidence by his 17/96 walk to whiff ratio. With better pitching the batting average could dwarf more towards the .250s. Defensively, he does nothing spectacular, but the tools are there to play shortstop. This would seem to make him an ideal candidate for a utility role. He has gotten brief callups the last two years with the Cardinals. Expect at some point he fills the utility role.

6. Benyamin Bailey OF (White Sox) - Bailey signed in 2019 for just $35,000. What puts him on this list is his impressive season in the Dominican Summer League where he hit .324, with a .931 OPS and a 52/40 walk to whiff ratio. Those numbers will be difficult to repeat once he goes stateside. He stands 6′5″ and is fast afoot with the ability to hit for power. Those are two impressive tools, especially for a patient hitter who appears to make good contact. His speed is not good enough to play center, but he could play either corner, though a below average arm could destine him for left. In 2020, after some time in extended spring training he should debut in one of the short season leagues. It will be interesting if his walk to whiff ratio remains as impressive as a 18 year old.

7. Humberto Mejia RHP (Marlins) - Humberto signed for just $50,000 in 2013. Despite that early start he still has not played beyond High A. The entire 2017 season was missed because of shoulder issues and last year was his first season in full season ball experience. He stands 6′3″ and can touch the mid-90s with his fastball, but it sits mostly in the low 90s. His breaking pitches (slider and curve) are his swing and miss offerings. His control of the strike zone limited the opposition to just a .177 average. He could start next season in High A before getting promoted to AA, but the higher he goes the better able those hitters are for hitting breaking pitches. Humberto seems to have the command to locate his pitches to create a challenge. His biggest test will be staying healthy and getting to the 100 inning level for the first time in his career.

8. Sadrac Franco RHP (Angels) - Sadrac was signed in 2017 for $50,000. He still has not gotten past the short season ball, though injuries have limited his ability to pitch. Last year was the first time he got an opportunity to start, getting in eight games. Despite just standing 6′0″ he can hum the fastball across the plate in the high 90s, but it generally sits in the upper edges of the low 90s. His secondary pitches still need a significant amount of work to stay in the rotation. Finding the plate a bit more would also improve his chances of staying in the rotation. The 2020 season should see Sadrac rise to full season ball.

9. Leonardo Jimenez SS (Blue Jays) - The Jays spit out $850,000 to sign Jimenez in 2017. In two years he has yet to hit a homeruns and his career slugging is .360, so if there is power in the bat it has not arrived yet. His bat does spray the gaps giving him a career .278 minor league average. The defensive tools are there to play shortstop, though his slow foot speed could require a move to second. Leonardo will turn 19 in May. He needs to gain some bulk to put more juice on the ball if he hopes to remain a starter. He has the defensive tools to make it as a utility player. The 2020 season should see him start the season in Low A.

10. Javy Guerra RHP (Padres) - The Padres acquired Javy from the Red Sox for Craig Kimbrel. He appeared to have all the tools to be the Padres shortstop of the future, especially with an extremely strong arm that could throw rockets. Unfortunately, he struggled to hit, failing to recognize breaking pitches and striking out way too much to get his average above .220. With the arm the Padres converted Javy to a pitcher in 2019. His fastball zipped across the plate in the high 90s and his slider is a very effective pitch. He even made his major league debut last year with eight bullpen appearances. A lack of a third pitch and struggles finding the strike zone will keep him in relief. Getting a better handle on that command could put him in a closer role.

Top Prospects from Mexico

Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

The graduating class from last year’s list include Alex Verdugo, the number one prospect and Luis Urias, who was at number three. Four players were dropped from last year’s list (Florencio Serrano, Luis Verdugo, Jose Albertos and Reivaj Garcia). Serrano was ranked as the number two prospect last year based on the wild invalid signing issues by the Cubs allowing him to slip to the Rangers as an international signing prospect for $1.5 million. He then bombed in his first season in rookie ball with a 6.49 ERA. Myworld will wait another year before ranking him in our top ten. That leaves six new names to propagate this year’s list. Below are the 2020 top ten prospects from Mexico playing in the minor leagues.

1. Andres Munoz RHP (Padres) - He moved up from number six last year. The fastball is quite impressive, hitting triple digits pretty consistently. It got him 22 appearances with the Padres last year in the bullpen. He is expected to compete for their closer job this year. In AA he struck out 18.4 hitters per nine innings. In the major leagues it dropped to 11.7. While his fastball is impressive, his second pitch, the slider is just a show me pitch to keep hitters from sitting on the fastball. He also has issues finding the plate and staying healthy for a full season. So the bullpen is where he stays. In his minor league career he has given up 69 hits in 106 innings and walked 65.

2. Alejandro Kirk C (Blue Jays) - Last year Kirk did not appear on this list even after he hit .354 with 10 homeruns and a 1.001 OPS in rookie ball. For the 2019 season he split his time between Low A and High A where he combined for a .290 average with seven homeruns. At 5′9″ and 220 he doesn’t have the body to impress scouts, but he makes consistent contact with the ball, resulting in a 89/60 walk to whiff ratio. His power will probably be restricted more to the gaps and his lack of speed will prevent him from taking the extra base. So far, he has not shown a lot defensively and may have to move from the catcher spot, with DH and first base his only real alternatives. Kirk may lack the power to play first base. So the Blue Jays will keep him at catcher and hope his weight stays in check and his defensive skills progress as he rises up the minor league ranks.

3. Jose Urquidy RHP (Astros) - Jose also rose from the ranks of the non-existent. Myworld watched him pitch in a playoff game against the Nationals. His stuff is not impressive, but he gets hitters out. He stands only 6′0″ and his fastball sits in the low 90s, but he can tip the mid-90s with a little effort. His excellent changeup and the command he shows with his pitches is what gets hitters out. In the minor leagues opponents were able to hit .248 off him, but Jose limited the runners from scoring by limiting his walks and whiffing 9.8 hitters per nine innings. Next year he will fit at the back end of the Astros rotation. Whether major league hitters can figure him out in his second year will determine his staying power.

4. Isaac Paredes 2B/3B (Tigers) - Isaac was rated fourth last year and he remains in that position this year. He started as a shortstop, but like Kirk his 5′11, 225 pound frame makes it tough for him to stay at that position. His hit tool is impressive, with a .274 minor league average and his power could develop. Last year he hit 13 homeruns with a .416 slugging percentage. That will fall short if he wants to fit into a corner slot. His defense at second may remind people more of Carlos Baerga. It will be his bat that will put him in the lineup. His best bet may be to make it as a utility player, with the possibility to even add left field to his defensive repertoire.

5. Gerardo Carrillo RHP (Dodgers) - Gerardo moved up four spots from the ninth position he occupied last year. At 6′1″ Gerardo is not a big man on the mound, but his fastball can cross the plate in the mid-90s, with lots of movement. Last year he struck out a hitter per inning. Developing his secondary pitches and finding the plate are his next challenges. Last year he walked 51 hitters in 86 innings and plunked 17. That wildness alone can send a message. His cutter is his most developed secondary pitch. Last year he pitched in High A and his 5.44 ERA and .263 opponents average told the tale of a year of struggle.

6. Tirso Ornelas OF (Padres) - He was the 10th rated prospect last year and his 2019 season may have been worse. He struggled to hit for average (.217) and his slugging percentage was below .300. The Padres paid $1.5 million on the talent they saw in Tirso. At 6′3″ he has impressive height but his swing is slow, not allowing him to catch up on fastballs. There is the potential for good plate discipline and a tinge of power, but that won’t develop until he speeds up his swing. His speed is a little above average, not enough to play centerfield and his below average arm may be a better fit for left field. This will put more pressure on him to develop that power that won’t be seen unless he can quicken his swing.

7. Victor Gonzalez LHP (Dodgers) - The last six guys on this list are all borderline prospects. Victor makes it because he throws lefthanded and his fastball sits in the mid-90s. The secondary pitches sit average at best but need a lot of work if he does not want hitters sitting on his fastball. Last year he rose up three levels, finishing the season at AAA. At each level he rose he got easier to hit, going from a .174 opposition average at High A to a .286 at AAA. He does throw strikes but he needs to improve his secondary pitches if he hopes to have success against major leaguers.

8. Ramon Urias 2B (Orioles) - When myworld first started working on this list Ramon was a Cardinal. He was placed on waivers and the Orioles picked him up. He was originally signed by the Rangers in 2010 but he returned to the Mexican League to play there during the 2013 season. The Cardinals then picked him up in 2018. He has a decent hit tool with limited power that could get him into the double digits in homeruns. His defense will not overwhelm you, but as a hitter he could end up fitting as a utility player. Last year he reached AAA, hitting .263 with 9 homeruns and a .793 OPS.

9. Aldo Ramirez RHP (Red Sox) - Aldo throws a vanilla mix. His fastball sits in the low 90s but can travel in the mid-90s on occasion. His curve and change give him three average pitches. The Red Sox signed him in 2018 and last year he made his minor league debut, stitching together a 3.94 ERA in 13 starts and one relief appearance. Opponents hit him at a .245 clip but he did strike out more than a hitter an inning. He turns 19 in May so he has plenty of time to develop. At only 6′0 at best he will fit in the back of the rotation or be used in middle relief.

10. Manuel Rodriguez RHP (Cubs) - Manuel does not reach 6′0″ but his fastball sits in the mid-90s and he can reach the upper 90s. The Cubs signed him in 2016 for $400,000. All of his minor league appearances have been in the bullpen. His secondary pitches are average or below, which will keep him in the bullpen. Last year he improved his command, throwing more strikes and the opposition average went from .308 to .242. He won’t be anything more than a situational reliever that is used to get right handed hitters out.

AL East Predictions

Sunday, March 1st, 2020

They may have to take a back seat to the AL West as far as quality of teams after the Red Sox trade of Mookie Betts turns the Red Sox into average.

Tampa Bay Rays

Good - They always seem to have depth in their starting rotation. A free agent leaves or a pitcher gets traded another fills in behind him. Blake Snell is the ace, but there is some health concern with his elbow this year. Tyler Glasnow put up some ace like numbers in his 12 starts so he could fill in behind Snell. Charlie Morton is the veteran that will most likely roll as the ace if Snell goes down. The back end of the rotation could be filled by Brendan McKay, Brent Honeywell and/or Ryan Yarbrough. Yarbrough was often the second pitcher to pitch the bulk of the innings in an opener situation, but the Rays could have enough starters not to need the opener. Honeywell may not be available until mid-season. The corner outfielders could generate some power with Hunter Renfroe and Austin Meadows. Each hit over 30 homeruns last year. Randy Arozarena could be up by mid-season to provide some power in center. Japanese import Yoshitomo Tsutsugo is a third power source, but he could see most of his at bats at third base or DH.

Bad - Infield is a bit vanilla, especially the corners with Ji-Man Choi and Yandy Diaz. Diaz did show some power last year, but they may be better offensively at the corners with Tsutsugo and Jose Martinez, though the defense may suffer. Nate Lowe could provide some interesting pop at first base. Willy Adames needs to make more contact but is solid at short and the second base job belongs to Brandon Lowe, if he can stay healthy. The catching position will not generate much offense. Mike Zunino can hit for power but he struggles to stay above the Mendoza line. The bullpen lacks a closer. The man with the best stuff maybe Colin Poche, but he seems susceptible to the long ball.

Ugly - They are the definition of small market. The budget is tight so going out to get needs is not possible unless you are seeking a bargain. So while the Dodgers trade for Mookie Betts the best the Rays can hope for is Jose Martinez. This could become critical as they battle down to the wire with the Yankees.

Rookies - If Brandan McKay has a good spring he could be in the rotation right out of the gate. Brent Honeywell will have to wait until mid-season since he hasn’t really pitched in two years and needs to get starts in the minors. Yoshitomo Tsutsugo is technically a rookie, though he has had 40 homerun campaigns in Japan. Randy Arozarena should be the centerfielder by mid-season. Don’t expect to see number one prospect Wander Franco until 2021.

Predicted Finish - They will battle it out with the Yankees for the top spot.

New York Yankees

Good - There is a lot of power in the bats of Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar and Gary Sanchez if they can stay healthy. Except for Torres and Sanchez that has been an issue. Signing Gerritt Cole gives them a true ace. D.J. LeMahieu and Gio Urshela may not have the power of the other bats in the lineup, but they are just solid ballplayers who play good defense and provide critical offense. Aroldis Chapman can still hit triple digits with his fastball and if he falters Zack Britton can step in to be the closer. The bullpen should hold a lot of leads after the seventh inning. Lots of depth on this team to cover the different positions. Finding at bats for them will be a challenge unless injuries create the opportunities.

Bad - The outfield will be a little thin without Judge and Stanton. Because of their fragility the manager may have to find them a lot of rest if they are healthy. Brett Gardner is not really a centerfielder so that will be a defensive liability until Aaron Hicks returns, but that is not certain. The starting pitching depth has been dealt a blow with the early injuries to Luis Severino and James Paxton. Paxton should be back by mid-season and Domingo German will be a shot in the arm when he returns from the restricted list.

Ugly - The injuries. The Yankees won last year despite all their injuries. Those injuries are taking their toll again. Perhaps it is the large contracts and the sense of comfort with these large contracts that don’t make the players work as hard as they need to in order to stay in shape. They have depth in their starting lineup to deal with some of these injuries, but it will be hard for the pitching staff to replace the loss of veteran starters.

Rookies - Despite being a veteran team, the injuries have created a depth problem in the starting rotation. This could provide an opportunity for Clarke Schmidt, Deivi Garcia, Michael King or Albert Abreu to fit in the rotation. Thairo Estrada could play a role as a utility player, though he may not see many games with infielders Urshela, Torres and LeMahieu all expected to play more than 150 games.

Expected Finish - Second Place, but qualifying for a wild card.

Boston Red Sox

Good - J.D. Martinez may be one of the better hitters in the league. If he was not such a liability on defense he could fill in at left field to make the outfield whole again. Rafael Devers is a hitting machine. His defense is a little iffy, but he will produce more runs with his bat than he will let in with his glove. That is all I have for the good.

Bad - Starting rotation is a little shallow. A lot depends on the results of Chris Sale. He has got to have a better year than last year. Even if he does bounce back the back end of the rotation appears horrid. Eduardo Rodriguez always seems so up and down and Nathan Eovaldi has not started 30 games since 2014. Martin Perez keeps getting second chances and failing to fulfill the promise. Second base will be a battle between Jose Peraza and Michael Chavis. Jose provides little offense and Chavis little defense at the position. Choose your poison. The bullpen lacks a proven closer though Brandon Workman provided 16 saves last year.

Ugly - The right field position. Trading an MVP candidate creates a giant hole in right field. Expecting Alex Verdugo to fill it, or even Kevin Pillar is asking a lot. It puts a lot of pressure on the other players to make up for the lost production. Myworld does not see a lot more increased production in this lineup. The trade of Betts was needed to stay under the salary cap. The Red Sox could have kept Betts and chosen to go over the salary cap, but they went the less costly route, which won’t result in victories in 2020.

Rookies - The farm system is slim but they have a power bat in Bobby Dalbec for third base if they want to move Devers to first to generate more offense. A lot will depend on the production of either Mitch Moreland or Chavis at first. Jarren Duran could be a mid-season callup if the outfield continues to seek help. He is a speed guy that will provide little power. Darwinzon Hernandez has the stuff to be a closer but he could also be asked to provide starts if the need should arise. He would make a perfect opener for a lineup loaded with lefties up front.

Expected Finish - Third Place and battling to stay over .500.

Toronto Blue Jays

Good - A lot will depend on the second year performances of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio and Lourdes Gurriel. If they produce this could be an exciting offense. Randall Grichuk hit over 30 homeruns. He could be the veteran to lead this team. Prior to this year his claim to fame was being drafted ahead of Mike Trout by the Angels when they made back to back first round picks.

Bad - There is a lot of uncertainty at a number of positions. Danny Jansen was supposed to be an offensive catcher but last year he hit only .207. If he can meet his hype that would help the position. Teoscar Hernandez provided some power in centerfield, but there was a lot of swing and miss at the position and his .230 average ended a lot of rallies. They are relying on Travis Shaw to fill the first base job, but he had a horrendous year last year hitting just .157. If he fails they could turn to the unproven Rowdy Tellez.

Ugly - The pitching, both starting and relieving looks like trouble. Ken Giles had success last year as the closer after they traded Robert Osuna, but the previous year he was a disaster. They don’t appear to have any arms that can build a bridge to get to him. The ace of their rotation is Hyun-Jin Ryu, who has had trouble staying healthy. He did start 29 games last year but he has yet to pitch 200 innings in his major league career. There is not a lot to like behind him unless Shun Yamaguchi resurrects the best of his NPB days. Expect to see Nate Pearson in this rotation if not at the start of the season no later than mid-season, if he can stay healthy.

Rookies - Nate Pearson should make this rotation with a good spring. The problem would be monitoring his innings. In his three minor league seasons he has thrown 123 innings, with 102 of those innings coming last year. Anthony Kay is another arm that can slide into this rotation by mid-season. Santiago Espinal could fill a utility role in the infield. The Blue Jays have waited a long time for the promise of Anthony Alford. He has yet to hit over .200 in his three brief major league callup, his career average sitting at .145 with a .218 slugging. The 2020 season could be his last opportunity to fulfill the promise in a Jays uniform.

Expected Finish - A decent offense will not overcome a porous pitching staff. Their best hope is to surpass the Red Sox for third place.

Baltimore Orioles

Good - They will perform so bad that they could again get the number one pick in the 2021 draft. They fell short last year and lost to the Detroti Tigers for the number one pick in 2020. Trey Mancini is their only All Star. He is a first baseman forced to play right field because of the contract of Chris Davis. Don’t really see John Means replicating his 2019 season. He seemed to come out of nowhere last season but if he does it will be a pleasant surprise. The Orioles will have plenty of youth to serve. They just hope some of it will be good. Hanser Alberto hit .305 last year, but only .238 versus righthanders. In a full season he will hit more righthanders or play only against lefthanders in a platoon.

Bad - Youth is not bad but it is unproven. Finding a position for Ryan Mountcastle will be a challenge. They need his offense but his glove and arm are a liability. The outfield has unproven commodities in Anthony Santander, Austin Hays, Cedric Mullins and Dwight Smith Jr. Chance Sisco once provided a lot of promise for behind the plate but his defense is not strong and he is more of a backup, as is starter Pedro Severino.

Ugly - Chris Davis has had two seasons hitting below .200. He wouldn’t even be on the roster if not for his hefty contract. He has hit three homeruns in spring training, but if he fails to hit it will be time to turn over the position to Mancini or Ryan Mountcastle. The starting pitching will be ugly and may be the worst in baseball. With a number of promising arms in the minor leagues the Orioles are turning to journeyman pitchers to fill out the rotation. John Means needs to repeat his 2019 season in order to prevent this from becoming a disaster.

Rookies - Ryan Mountcastle has the bat but lacks the glove. They need to find room for him in the lineup either at DH or first base. He was the MVP in AAA last year in the International League. Hunter Harvey could end up the closer before the season ends. That is a big if to stay healthy. If the Orioles had their wish they would trade current closer Mychal Givens for prospects before the trading deadline. Austin Hays is penciled in to be the centerfielder. His bat has been hot and cold the last three years. Yusniel Diaz may make an appearance. The Orioles have to show something for the Manny Machado trade. The Orioles will probably run through a lot of starting pitchers. That means Keegan Akin will get an opportunity along with Dillon Tate, Dean Kremer, Mike Baumann and Zac Louther. Service time issues could prevent the latter three from being called up.

Expected Finish - Last place and fighting the Tigers and Royals for that first round pick.

Top Ten Canadian Prospects

Saturday, February 29th, 2020

Many of last year’s top ten Canadian prospects graduated to the major leagues last year. The top four prospects, Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Mike Soroka, Tyler O’Neil and Josh Naylor all had impacts on their major league teams and are no longer considered rookies. Cal Quantrill, the number 6 prospect also pitched enough major league innings to no longer qualify for this top ten list. That leaves the pickings for this current top ten list very slim, with just three returners. There is no sure fire major leaguer among this list. It is possible we could have missed a player who lived in Canada long enough as a youth to qualify, but if we learn of him we’ll add him to the list for next year, like Abraham Toro..

1. Abraham Toro 3B (Astros) - Last year he did not make this list because we were not aware he was born in Canada. He may have been rated seventh on the list if we had known his origins last year. This year he was voted by Canadian baseball as the top Canadian player, which gave us a hint to look him up. He has some good offensive tools, hitting .306 in AA and then .424 in a 16 game AAA debut, which got him a promotion to Houston. He has Alex Bregman in his way at third, and his bat may not carry enough power to start at a corner infield spot. He did hit 19 homeruns last year, including two in the major leagues, so the power could be developing. Defensively he is a average to below average, so that will hinder him in his quest to start a third if his bat doesn’t develop. His best bet would be to earn a job as a bench player, perhaps playing some second base and left field.

2. Bo Naylor C (Indians) - He is the younger brother of Josh and possibly the best bet to win regular major league time. Josh weighs in at over 250 while Bo is a more svelte 190. The Indians drafted him in the first round of the 2018 draft. His bat shows decent gap power with 18 doubles and 10 triples and there was enough power to carry 11 balls over the fence. The 10 triples tells you he has decent speed for a catcher, more than his brother Bo who is trying to make it as an outfielder. His arm is strong and his defensive tools are strong enough to stay behind the plate. Next year he should see time in High A.

3. Adam Hall SS (Orioles) - Adam is more a defensive shortstop. The Orioles drafted him in the second round of the 2017 draft. His one big attribute is his speed which allowed him to steal 22 bases in 2018 and 33 in 2019. His bat has also been decent the last two years, hitting just a few points shy of .300 both years. The power is limited with slugging averages less than .400 and as he rises up the ranks those numbers could decrease. His best bet may be to make it as a utility player if the bat does not improve. His defense will play.

4. Jordan Balazovic RHP (Twins) - The Twins waited until the fifth round in 2016 to draft Jordan. His first two seasons did not light any fires to draw the scouts attention, but last year he had a breakout season, striking out more than 12 hitters per nine innings between Low A and High A. He also limited the opposition to a .193 average. The fastball sits in the low to mid 90s and he complements it with a quality slider and change. Next year will be key when he will face more advanced AA hitters.

5. Dasan Brown OF (Blue Jays) - Dasan was the first Canadian selected in the 2019 draft, the Blue Jays grabbing him in the third round. Speed and the ability to cover centerfield will be his game. His bat does not show a lot of power now, but he was one of the youngest players selected in the draft so it could develop as he matures. He has excellent bat speed. With his speed defensively he should cover a lot of ground in centerfield. Last year he hit just .222 in 14 Rookie league games. He may have to start the season in extended spring, get a few games of Rookie league ball in him and with success move on up to Low A.

6. Otto Lopez SS/2B (Blue Jays) - Otto was born in the Dominican Republic but his parents moved to Canada when he was young. He got his start playing ball in Canada before his dad moved him down to the Dominican where he felt he could get a better opportunity to be seen by major league scouts. The Blue Jays signed him for $60,000. Not much was thought of him until he hit .324 in Low A, winning the Midwest League batting title. Lopez is not flashy for shortstop so his best bet would be at second base or in a utility role.

7. Tristan Pompey OF (Marlins) - The younger brother of Dalton. Dalton may have the more impressive tools but injuries hurt his major league development time. Tristan was selected in the third round of the 2018 draft, much earlier than his brother Dalton who had to wait until the 16th round in 2010. Tristan has above average speed, but his arm is short and will limit him to left field. At 6′4″ he could develop some power in the bat to fit in left field. Last year he started the season in extended spring training, got a late callup and struggled with a .194 average in the Florida State League. His .271 slugging with no homeruns needs to improve.

8. Brandon Markland RHP (Royals) - Brandon was a player who never got drafted after a high school or college (Bryan College) career. It was only after he pitched in the Coastal Plain Independent League that he got some interest in a team from Australia, the Auckland Tuatara, who are actually a team from New Zealand that plays in the ABL. The Royals found his mid-90s fastball there getting Australian hitters out with ease. In his first season stateside he finished with a 0.46 ERA, getting lots of ground ball outs and limiting the opposition to a .162 average. He is probably destined for the bullpen because of his control issues and ability to only throw two quality two (fastball and slider). At 23 years of age he might have been a bit old for Low A.

9. Andy Yerzy 1b/C (Diamondbacks) - Yerzy was a second round pick of the Diamondbacks in 2016. Last year Andy split his time between catching and first base. His tools to stay behind the plate are limited. While he has a little bit of pop, his bat may not have enough to stay at first base. He struggled at High A, hitting just .104 in 33 games, resulting in a demotion back to Low A. He did hit six homeruns in Low A but his .220 average was 70 points lower than his 2018 average. The 2020 season will be a critical season where he needs to replicate the slugging numbers he put up in 2017 and 2018.

10. Adam Macko LHP (Mariners) - He was born in Slovakia and just missed making the European list. The Mariners drafted him in the seventh round of the 2019 draft. The other choice for this slot would be Demi Orimoloye, who is blessed with tools but has trouble making contact. Adam studied pitching in Slovakia by watching YouTube videos of David Price and Justin Verlander. He moved to Ireland where he played for a Little League team ironically named the Mariners and then moved to Alberta, Canada. He doesn’t throw hard, with a fastball that sits in the high 80s, but he relies on his breaking pitches and command to retire hitters. In Rookie ball he struck out 31 hitters in 21 innings and limited the opposition to a .224 average. As he climbs up the minor league ladder he will find better hitters who have the ability to hit breaking pitches if he lacks the command to throw them where they can’t be hit.

Major League Farm Rankings - 15 - 6

Friday, February 28th, 2020

These are the next 10 as ranked by myworld. Last week we ranked 30-16. Since there are more prospects to write about we limited this list to the next ten and will finish out the final five next week.

15. Arizona Diamondbacks (14.32)

This is a team filled with mid-level prospects. The cream could be Bahamian outfielder Kristian Robinson, who they signed for $2.5 million in 2017 and another outfielder, 2018 second round pick Alek Thomas, who in two years has a .312 minor league average. Their 2019 first round pick Corbin Carroll will fill out their future outfield. Catcher Daulton Varsho is about to make his presence known with a .301 average and 18 homeruns in AA last year. Geraldo Perdomo is a smooth fielding shortstop who carries very little power. Another Dominican shortstop, Liover Peguero, who was signed a year after Geraldo will have the better bat but not the better glove. Seth Beer was drafted in the first round by the Astros but traded to the Diamondbacks. He has a big time bat but his best position may be DH, a position that does not yet exist in the National League.

Blake Walston is a left handed pitcher to watch. He stands 6′5″, was drafted in the first round of the 2019 draft and lights the radar in the mid-90s. Two other players drafted in the first round of the 2019 draft are Brennan Malone and Drey Jameson, both righthanded pitchers. Brennan has the height (6′4″) and the fastball to achieve success while Drey stands just 6′0″ but has a swing and miss curveball. Pavin Smith is a first baseman/outfielder with a good hit tool that lacks elevation. Last year he slugged .466, which is a good sign.

14. Toronto Blue Jays (16.06)

The top prospect that lights up the radars in the triple digits is Nate Pearson, a first round pick in 2017. He could be in the Blue Jay rotation in 2020. Jordan Groshans was a 2018 first round pick who has a decent glove for short, but will probably need to move to third. The power bat is there for the corner spot. Don’t know how they will fit the name Simeon Woods Richardson on the back of his uniform but the 2018 second round pick has shown the ability to hit all four quadrants of the plate with a low 90s fastball with plus movement. Orelvis Martinez was signed out of the Dominican Republic for $3.51 million. He has impressive power but lacks the range to stick at short.

Others to watch are 2019 first round pick Alek Manoah, who in his debut struck out 14.3 hitters per nine innings with his mid-90s fastball.

13. St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals traded two pretty good outfielders to improve the opportunity of 2016 first round pick Dylan Carson making the roster out of spring training. He hit .361 with five homeruns in his 18 game debut at AAA last year. Those outfielders were traded to acquire the Rays 2018 first round pick Matthew Liberatore, a lefthander with a mid-90s fastball. Nolan Gorman, the 2018 first round pick is a power bat that plays third base.

Zack Thompson was the Cardinals first round pick in 2019. He is a lefty who now has the best curveball in the organization. Elehuris Montero had an off year last year. The Dominican third baseman doesn’t have the power of Gorman but he should hit 20 plus homeruns per year. Malcolm Nunez is another third baseman who came from Cuba in 2018. He showed massive power his first year, slugging .774 with 13 homeruns in 44 games in Rookie ball. That power disappeared last year when promoted to Low A.

12. San Francisco Giants (20.46)

The Giants are rebuilding and what better way to start than the replacement for Buster Posey. Joey Bart was the Giants first round pick in 2018, the second overall pick in the draft after Casey Mize. He will be a good hit and glove man behind the plate. Marco Luciano has some pretty impressive power with the tools to play shortstop. The Giants signed him for $2.6 million out of the Dominican Republic in 2018. He could be the next Wander Franco. Heliot Ramos, the Giants first round pick in 2017 out of Puerto Rico will end the Giants dearth of weak hitting outfielders. Hunter Bishop, a 2019 first round pick and Venezuelan Luis Matos, who was also signed in 2018, could join Ramos in the outfield. Seth Corry, a 2017 third round pick dominated last year at Low A (9-3, 1.76 ERA) with a low to mid 90s fastball. Mauricio Dubon became the first player born in Honduras to play in the major leagues. He was acquired from the Brewers and should win the second base job this year.

Alexander Canario showed some impressive power in rookie ball with 16 homeruns in 59 games. He could be ready for a break out season in 2020 if he can avoid the strikeouts. Will Wilson was a first round pick in 2019 and hopes to fill a middle position with the Giants. His lack of speed could prevent a permanent job at shortstop. Jaylin Davis may not be a prospect next year after slugging 35 homeruns last year. The Giants acquired him from the Twins last year, who acquired him in the 24th round of the 2015 draft.

11. Minnesota Twins (20.75)

Royce Lewis was the first player selected in the 2017 draft. Last year he struggled with the bat, failing to get it over .250 but he could become a power hitting shortstop, or move to third if Polanco stays at short. Alex Kirilloff was a first round pick in 2016, had Tommy John surgery then came back to hit .348 with 20 homeruns. Injuries again plagued the outfielder last year (wrist) which sapped the power from his bat. Trevor Larnach led Oregon State to the College World Series championship in 2018. His power bat will join Alex in the outfield after being drafted by the Twins in the first round in 2018. Jordan Balazovic is a burley Canadian pitcher who saw his fastball hit the mid to high 90s last year. Brent Rooker is a defensively challenged outfielder who may move to first base where his power bat will fit. He was a first round supplemental first round pick in 2017.

Misael Urbina is an outfielder from Venezuela who played last year in the Dominican Summer League. He is a good contact hitter with good speed to play centerfield. Keoni Cavaco was the Twins 2019 first round pick. He struggled in his first year, hitting just .172.

10. Baltimore Orioles (20.76)

Adley Rutschman was the first player selected in the 2019 draft who also played on the Oregon State College World Series champions in 2018. If he can survive injuries behind the plate he will be a special kind of catcher with a power bat and top rated defensive skills. Grayson Rodriguez throws from the right side while D.L. Hall throws from the left. Grayson is a big 6′5″ fireballer of a pitcher with a fastball in the mid-90s drafted in the first round in 2018. Hall was a first round pick in 2017, is not as tall (6′0″) but has excellent stuff, including a fastball that consistently hits the mid-90s. His curveball is a knee bender for hitters. Ryan Mountcastle is a hitter without a position to play. The 2015 first round pick was the MVP of the International League with his 25 homeruns. Austin Hays recovered from his poor, injury prone 2018 season and is expected to win the centerfield job in 2020.

Gunnar Henderson was drafted in the second round of the 2019 draft and signed him for $2.3 million. His tools may not fit at short but his power bat will look good at third. Adam Hall was also a second round pick (2017) but he is more a defensive shortstop with a questionable bat.

9. Oakland Athletics (21.22)

They have perhaps two of the best lefthanded pitchers in the minor leagues in Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk. Injuries prevented them from making the Athletics rotation last year, but if they stay injury free this year they will be in the starting rotation. Jesus was a third round pick of the Nationals in 2016, dropping in the draft after Tommy John surgery in his senior year in high school. Puk was the Athletics first round pick in 2016 and had Tommy John surgery in 2018. Sean Murphy a 2016 third round pick may be one of the best defensive catchers in the game who could provide a little pop with the bat. Robert Puason was signed out of the Dominican for $5.1 million in 2019. He appears to be a smooth fielding shortstop who will have a good bat.

Logan Davidson was the Athletics first round pick in 2019. The son of ex-major league Mark has the tools to stick at short but the power to move to third. Lazaro Armenteros was supposed to be a Cuban sensation when he signed for $3 million in 2016. The bat has not justified the hype to this point, but last year he did hit 17 homeruns, despite a poor .222 average to go with 227 whiffs in 126 games. If he can figure out how to hit a breaking ball he could justify his 2016 hype.

8. Miami Marlins (22.38)

Sixto Sanchez is a fireballing Dominican the Marlins acquired from the Phillies. He is slight of frame and has durability issues, but the fastball sizzles in triple digits. Jesus Sanchez is a five tool outfielder the Marlins acquired from the Rays. The Dominican could win the centerfield job in 2020 if Lewis Brinson continues to struggle. JJ Bleday is a slugging right fielder out of Vanderbilt the Marlins selected with their first pick in the 2019 draft. Jazz Chisholm was acquired from the Diamondbacks. The shortstop was signed out of the Bahamas in 2015 and slugged 21 homeruns last year. The tools are there for him to be a power hitting shortstop. Edward Cabrera is another pitcher that can hit the radar in triple digits, but at 6′4″ the Dominican has a towering plane. Monte Harrison is the last player in the Christian Yelich trade that has yet to reach the major leagues. He has good power and speed, but his swing and miss resulted in 215 whiffs in 2018. A wrist injury last year limited him to 58 games.

Lewin Diaz is a big power hitting first baseman the Marlins acquired from the Twins. Last year he slugged 27 homeruns. Jose Devers is the younger brother of Rafael, but is more a defensive stalwart at shortstop. He lacks the power of his brother. Jorge Guzman may be the hardest thrower in baseball but he has no command and lacks a third pitch. He is destined for the bullpen, perhaps in a closer role. Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Mesa Jr. are two brothers signed out of Cuba, whose dad was a star on the early Cuban teams. Victor Victor is said to have the better tools. Jerar Encarnacion hit two homeruns early in spring training, showing the power the outfielder possess.

7. Atlanta Braves

Lots of pitching on this team but outfielders Chistian Pache and Drew Waters could join Ronald Acuna in a couple years to form an impressive outfield. Both have burner speed to fit in center and good power to move to a corner. Ian Anderson, Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson will all compete for the Braves starting rotation before the 2020 season ends. Bryse was a fourth round pick in 2018 while Anderson (2016) and Wright (2017) were first rounders. Shea Langliers was the Braves first round pick in the 2019 draft. The catcher may always get lost in the shadow of Rutschman but he is a superb defensive catcher with good hit tools.

Braden Shewmake was a first round supplemental pick in the 2019 draft and has already played in AA. He is a 6′4″ shortstop who could develop into a pretty impressive two way shortstop. Bryce Ball had to wait until the 24th round to hear his name called in the 2019 draft, but the first baseman hit .329 with 17 homeruns in his minor league debut.

6. Los Angeles Dodgers (27.14)

Not only is their major league team stacked, but their minor leagues is filled with prospects. Gavin Lux, the 2016 first round pick should win the second base job, but has the tools for short. He pulverized minor league pitcher for 26 homeruns in 113 games. Dustin May could fit in the Dodgers rotation this year. The 2016 third round pick has a red mane with a mid to high 90s fastball that makes it appear fire his coming out of his right hand. The Red Sox did not like Brusdar Graterol because he did not have the arm to start. The Dodgers will use his triple digit fastball out of the bullpen. Keibert Ruiz is blocked by Will Smith at the catcher position. A finger fracture ended his season early, but he can hit for average and has good defensive tools. Josiah Gray was acquired from the Reds in the Yasiel Puig/Matt Kemp deal and last year rose three levels to AA with good life on his low to mid 90s fastball. He could be the next rookie in the Dodger rotation for 2021. Tony Gonsolin had a big homerun bat in college but the Dodgers drafted him as a pitcher and in 2018 he was their pitcher of the year. He will be competing for a rotation spot in 2019. Kody Hoese was their first round pick in 2019. The third baseman slugged .779 in college and should carry that power to the major leagues. Diego Cartaya is a Venezuelan catcher the Dodgers signed for $2.5 million in 2018. He is an above average defensive catcher with a strong arm that has good hit tools.

Michael Busch was another first round 2019 pick who has a good bat, despite his .182 average last year. The Dodgers are trying him at second base but he has yet to establish himself at a defensive position. Outfielder Luis Rodriguez was signed out of Venezuela in 2019 for $2.6 million. He has all five tools to be a difference maker in centerfield. Andy Pages is an outfielder from Cuba who swatted 19 homeruns in 63 games in rookie ball.

Myworld Top 100 - 10-1

Thursday, February 20th, 2020

The final ten.

10. Nate Pearson RHP (Blue Jays) - The Blue Jays 2017 first round pick throws one of the hardest fastballs in baseball, hitting 104 on the radar. At 6′6″ he sits in the high 90s making it very difficult to hit when all you see is what appears to be a right arm coming at your face. What makes his fastball tough is the development of his slider, giving him a quality second pitch. In six starts in the Florida State League he averaged 15 whiffs per nine innings. He relied on those two pitches and decent command to finish with a 2.30 ERA and a .176 opposition average at three different levels in 2019, finishing with three starts at AAA. He does throw a decent curve, but that pitch is more a show me pitch. Last year he threw 102 innings so there is concern with innings usage if he makes the major leagues out of spring training. Expect a 2020 callup sometime mid-season.

9. Jarred Kelenic OF (Mariners) - The Mets drafted Jarred in the first round of the 2018 draft then traded him to the Mariners with other prospects for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. The Mets got little from Cano and Diaz last year in a disappointing season and may regret the future production of Kelenic. He is a multi-tooled athlete that can hit for both power and average. Last year he hit .291 with 23 homeruns, rising three levels to AA. His defensive attributes fall short of his offensive skills, but he does have the speed to play centerfield and an above average arm to fit in right. Last year he stole 20 bases to be one of ten minor leaguers to achieve a 20/20 season. His OBA and speed would make him a typical leadoff hitter but he has the bat to hit in the more productive two or three spot in the lineup. Next year he should start the season in AA with a potential major league debut in 2021.

8. Casey Mize RHP (Tigers) - Casey was the first pick of the Tigers in the 2018 draft. He quickly justified that selection by throwing a no hitter last year in his first AA start. His last half dozen starts were ugly (7.09 ERA) but they were preceded by shoulder soreness. Injuries have followed him so there is some concern there. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and can reach the upper spectrum of the 90s. His best pitch may be a splitter that dives toward the plate. He throws strikes with plus command. If he can stay healthy he will be an ace in the rotation. Casey will start the 2020 season in AA and could see the major leagues later that year, though service time issues could push that back to 2021.

7. Jesus Luzardo LHP (Athletics) - The Nationals are known for drafting quality pitchers who have fallen in the draft because of Tommy John surgery. They were able to get Luzardo in the third round of the 2016 draft after this surgery his senior season in high school. The Nationals traded him in 2017 to improve their bullpen, acquiring Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle for their playoff run. Jesus broke out after the trade showing a mid to high 90s fastball and an excellent change. He may have made the Athletics rotation last year if not for rotator cuff issues in spring training. He did make his major league debut in the bullpen late in the 2019 season. The 2020 season should see him start it in the Athletics rotation.

6. Adley Rutschman C (Orioles) - The first pick in the 2019 draft led Oregon State to the College World Series. The last catcher the Orioles drafted in the first round, Matt Wieters also carried a lot of hype, but fell short of those expectations. The Orioles hope for more from Adley. He is a four tool catcher who should hit for power and average, carries a rifle arm to control the running game and has the defensive tools to shine behind the plate. The only thing he lacks is running speed but he will not clog the bases. Last year he made a quick rise to Low A, hitting just .154 there after shining in the New York Penn League with a .325 average. The expectation is that Adley will rise to the top of the catchers order providing both offense and defense. He should make his Oriole debut sometime late in 2021 or early in 2022 depending on the status of the Orioles rebuilding process.

5. McKenzie Gore LHP (Padres) - The 2017 first round pick has some nasty stuff. Blisters made for a poor 2018 season but he bounced back last year to show what he was capable of (1.02 ERA in 15 AA starts). He dominates with four plus pitches, a low to mid-90s fastball, two plus breaking pitches (slider and curve) and a change. All his pitches are thrown with superb command resulting in a career whiff rate of 12 hitters per nine innings. He did struggle a bit in five starts in AA (4.15) with the opposition hitting him at a .250 clip when compared to his High A .137. His only weakness is an inability to hold runners on base, which creates struggles for him in games. Gore should start the 2020 season in AA with a possible late season callup to prepare for the starting rotation in 2021.

4. Jo Adell OF (Angels) - The Angels first round 2017 pick is a five tool athlete that could impact the Angels outfield in 2020. His 2019 season was delayed by two months because of leg injuries suffered during spring training. When he returned he slugged 10 homeruns, but none in 120 plus AAA at bats. He also combined for a .289 average at three different levels. In High A and AA his slugging percentage was over .500, but in AAA it dropped to .355. Adell will probably slide into right field sometime by mid-season in 2020 because of the Mike Trout factor, but he has the tools to play center. If he had put together a good AAA season he might have had a chance to compete for the starting right field spot out of spring training, but the Angels will bring him up once he has proven himself in AAA.

3. Gavin Lux SS (Dodgers) - The Dodgers 2016 first round pick was a disappointment in 2017, hitting just .244 with a .693 OPS in 111 games. That changed with his breakout season in 2018 and his repeating that success in 2019. In 49 AAA games he hit .392 with 13 homeruns. The defensive tools are there for him to play shortstop, but Corey Seager has that position covered. So Gavin has been working a lot at second base. His power should allow him to eclipse 30 homeruns per season with an average above .300. He lacks stolen base speed but it should not prevent him from taking the extra base when running the bases. The Dodgers are hoping he wins the starting second base job out of spring training, though their lineup is pretty stacked.

2. Luis Robert OF (White Sox) - Luis is a five tool athlete the White Sox signed out of Cuba for $26 million in 2017. His second year was filled with disappointment with White Sox fans wondering “where’s the beef” after he failed to hit a homerun in close to 200 at bats. Thumb issues impacted the quality of his at bats. Last year he made up for that disappointment with 32 homeruns and a .297 average. In AAA he hit 16 homeruns in just 47 games for a .974 OPS. For the year he had a combined 1.001 OPS. He stole 36 bases to become one of two 30/30 players in the minor leagues (Kyle Tucker being the other). His stolen base numbers may not be as prevalent once he reaches the major leagues. Luis has the potential to be a superstar in centerfield with a White Sox arrival time right out of spring training in 2020.

1. Wander Franco SS (Rays) - The Rays spent $3.8 million to sign Wander in 2017. In his two years since he has hit .336 with a .928 OPS. Wander has 30 plus homerun pop and the ability to hit for a high average. His tools sit slightly above average for a shortstop but if he bulks up too much he may have to make the move to third. The power is there for the position. For a power hitter Wander makes excellent contact with a 83/54 walk to whiff ratio. His uncle is shortstop Erick Aybar so the genes are there to play short. Last year he dominated in 52 High A games so the Rays should start his 2020 season in AA. He could make the major league roster by 2021.

Top European Prospects

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

There are no Max Kepler’s on this list. Carter Kieboom has the potential to be a Kepler, but it was his dad who played in the Netherlands. Carter grew up with his brother Spencer playing baseball in the United States. There are a number of players from Curacao, which is a colony of the Netherlands. They have not been generating ballplayers as talented as Andrelton Simmons, Andruw Jones, Kenley Jansen and Jonathan Schoop. Only Carter Kieboom from the list last year made the major leagues, and he only appeared in 11 games. Not a list rich in potential major leaguers, but there is potential.

1. Carter Kieboom SS/2B (Nationals/Netherlands) - His dad played baseball in the Netherlands. Carter has played all his ball in the United States. He played so well that in 2016 the Nationals made him their first round pick. Last year he made his major league debut, playing in 11 games but only hitting .128. With Anthony Rendon departing via free agency there is an opportunity for Carter to make the roster at third base or second. His natural position is short, but Trea Turner occupies that position. Carter has some pop in his bat and has hit for a high batting average in the minors. His power will play at third, but it would be extra special at second. Expect Kieboom to contribute to the Nationals roster quite a bit in 2020.

2. J.B. Bukauskas RHP (Diamondbacks/Lithuania) - His Wikipedia page says he is of Lithuanian origin so we will add him here. He was drafted by the Astros in the first round of the 2017 draft. The Astros later included him in the trade to acquire Zack Greinke. At 6′0 J.B. does not have the height scouts look for in righthanded pitchers. His fastball does cross the plate in the high 90s, but it crosses straight and true with very little plane. His slider is an impressive swing and miss pitch. Last year was a struggle for J.B. in AA. His ERA was above 5.25 and he struggled with command, walking 59 batters in 93 innings. The Diamondbacks could promote him to AAA next year, or return him to AA and hope he achieves some success.

3. Dean Kremer RHP (Orioles/Israel) - Dean was part of the unimpressive haul the Orioles got for Manny Machado. He was a Dodgers 14th round pick in 2016. Dean pitched for Israel in the World Baseball Classic qualifier but did not pitch for Team Israel that qualified for the Olympics. Dean throws in the low 90s with a plus curveball that gives enough swings and misses to get above 9 strikeouts per 9 innings. He had four rough starts in AAA last year (8.84 ERA) where the opposition hit him at a .366 clip. He hopes to return there in 2020 and pitch well enough to make his major league debut.

4. Sherten Apostel 3B (Rangers/Curacao) - The Pirates initially signed Apostel but traded him to the Rangers in the Keone Kela deal. Last year was his first year in full season ball and he broke out with 19 homeruns. In two previous years of rookie ball he did not hit double digit homerun numbers, but he hit for enough power to slug .450 or greater. At 6′4″ his height and weight could get so bulky that it would force a move from third base to first base. Sherten is still a couple years at best away from the major leagues.

5. Shervyton Newton 2B/SS (Mets/Curacao) - The tool that stands out most for Newton is his 6′4″ height, which translates into above average power. The Mets got a bargain signing him for just $50,000 in 2015. Last year was his first year in full season ball and it will not be a season to remember. He hit only .209 with a 37/139 walk to whiff ratio. In rookie ball he showed more patience at the plate so he needs to focus on waiting for his pitches to hit. The Mets are crowded at short and defensively he may be a better fit at second. The arm is strong enough to move to third or play a corner outfield, but he lacks the speed to cover a lot of ground in center. He is still a few years away from making it on the Mets roster.

6. Hendrik Clementina C (Reds/Curacao) - Hendrik originally signed with the Dodgers for $50,000 way back in 2013. The Reds traded Tony Cingrani to the Dodgers to acquire Clementina in 2017. After four years playing in rookie ball Hendrik made his full season debut in 2018 and blossomed with 18 homeruns. Last year he played in the spacious parks of the Florida State leagues and still hit 14 homeruns. He is only 6′0″ weighing 250, which calls into question how mobile he will be behind the plate as his body ages. He does not have a strong arm and only had a 14 percent success rate in throwing out runners, so he still has some issues. The power could allow a team to carry him as a backup catcher with the new 26 man rosters. Next year he should start in AA so a callup could happen in 2020 if injuries force the Reds to dig deep for a catcher. Hendrik lacks the tools to surpass Tyler Stephenson for the number one role.

7. Donny Breek RHP (Twins/Netherlands) - The Twins signed Donny after his performance in the Under 18 World Cup in Thunder Bay, Canada. While he did not make the all tournament team myworld identified him as a player to watch after his 1-1, 1.08 ERA in 16.2 innings where he limited the opposition to a .151 average. He also pitched the Netherlands to the European championships in 2019 in a win over Italy. His fastball sits in the low 90s and he complements it with a decent change. Last year he was dominant in his second year of Rookie ball, finishing with a 0.74 ERA with a .165 opposition average. His command can be a little spotty, but he has yet to give up a homerun in 74 innings. Myworld believes he will win a full season role in 2020, which could begin his journey to the major leagues.

8. Sem Robberse RHP (Blue Jays/Netherlands) - The Blue Jays signed Sem for $125,000 in 2019, which is a pretty generous bonus for a European player. He rewarded them with a 2-0, 0.87 ERA in rookie ball. He only pitched 10 innings so it is a small sample size. Sem showed pretty good command, not walking a single hitter, but they did hit .275 off him. He won’t turn 19 until October. Currently his fastball sits in the high 80s/low 90s but the Blue Jays feel that as he puts on more weight the velocity will increase. The secondary pitches are still in their development phase. He will probably see one more year in rookie ball before advancing to full season ball in 2021.

9. Leonardo Seminati 1B (Reds/Italy) - Leonardo did make the All Tournament team in Thunder Bay, Canada for the 18 and under team as the first baseman. He hit .423 with two homeruns and seven RBIs. Some others who made the all tournament team are Cesar Prieto from Cuba who is a about to sign a large contract, Brice Turang and Alek Thomas. Matthew Liberatore, Triston Casas, Victor Mesa and Korean superstar Baek-Ho Kang are four players who did not make the all tournament team. Leonardo has the potential for big time power, slugging 9 homeruns in 58 games in the Rookie Pioneer League. He also shows the ability to swing and miss with 80 whiffs. He also played a little outfield and third base but may lack the speed to be a viable outfielder. If he can eliminate the lack of contact Leonardo could make an impact in the minor leagues. Next year should be his debut in full season ball.

10. Martin Cervenka C (Orioles/Czech Republic) - We have not given up on Martin despite his 27 years of age falling outside normal prospect range. He will probably never make it as a number one catcher, but with some injuries he could make it as a back up. He signed initially with the Cleveland Indians way back in 2009. Last year injuries limited him to just 58 games but he reached AAA. If he can stay healthy the Orioles catching depth is not strong. Last year when he played in AA he had a 46 percent success rate in nabbing baserunners, so the defensive tools are there. He also hit .372 in a short 12 game debut with AAA Norfolk. This is his fifth and probably last year on our top European prospect team. Way back in 2014 he made our under 21 world cup all tournament team with Taiwan superstar Po Jung Wang and Japan All Star Seiya Suzuki. All he needs is a couple months and he earns a pretty sweet major league pension.

Other true Europeans to consider who are all in the Rookie League are Niklas Rimmel RHP (Twins/Germany), who was signed the same time as Breek, Anton Kuznetsov LHP (Phillies/Russia) and Darryl Collins OF (Royals/Netherlands)

Myworld Top 100 - 60-51

Thursday, February 6th, 2020

We’ve hit the halfway point.

60. D.L. Hall LHP (Orioles) - The Orioles success at developing starting pitchers has been spotty. They either turn into relievers or like Jacob Arriata, achieve success after their departure. Dylan Bundy, Matt Riley, Hunter Harvey, Kevin Gausman, Zach Britton, Adam Loewen were once premium starting pitchers Oriole fans felt were can’t misses. They all missed on their potential. The 2017 first round pick hopes to be an exception to that can’t miss list. His fastball hits the upper edges of the low 90s, sometimes rising above, and his change and curve are potential plus pitches. The one area he needs to improve on is the command of those pitches. The opposition only hit .189 against him, yet Hall walked 54 hitters in just 80 innings, putting enough runners on base to raise his ERA to 3.46. The 2020 season should see him at Bowie with a major league debut expected in 2021. In this rebuilding year the Orioles will be in no rush to expedite service time.

59. Jeter Downs SS (Dodgers) - Named after Derek Jeter, the Dodgers stole him from the Reds in the Yasiel Puig/Matt Kemp trade. The Dodgers also got Josiah Gray in that deal. Jeter was a supplemental first round pick of the Reds in 2017. He has shown he can hit for power with 24 homeruns last year and a combined OPS of .888 at High A and AA. He also added 35 doubles and 24 stolen bases to this list. The tools exist to play short but with Corey Seager filling that position Jeter played a lot of second base last year. While his speed is not burner speed there is a possibility of moving to centerfield, but with the trade of Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger currently in center that may be a harder position to crack. Expect him to start the season in AA next year, but with all his positions occupied at the major league level by a super star or top prospect only an injury will result in his promotion. He may have to hope for a trade or 2021 to make his major league debut with the Dodgers. The skills appear to be there for him to reach the major leagues this year.

58. Kyle Wright RHP (Braves) - Kyle was the number one 2017 pick out of Vanderbilt. He has already seen two major league seasons, but with limited success. His command of his pitches is generally not a weak point, but when he gets to the major leagues that command deserts him. In his two combined major league seasons he has walked 19 hitters in 26 innings, which has led to his struggles and demotions back to the minor leagues. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and can hit the high 90s and his secondary pitches are quality offerings. With a good spring he has a chance to open the season in the Braves rotation. If he does not make it out of spring training he will see the rotation by mid-season. Staying in the rotation by throwing strikes will be his biggest challenge.

57. Trevor Larnach OF (Twins) - Nick Madrigal was the big name for the Oregon State 2018 College World Series team, but Larnach may turn out to be the better major league player. The Twins drafted him in the first round in 2018, about 15 picks after Madrigal. Unlike Madrigal, Larnach has some pop in his bat, last year slugging 13 homeruns and hitting .309 between High A and AA. He lacks speed so his defense will be limited to a corner outfield spot, where his arm is a perfect fit for right. If his below average speed forces a move to first his power needs to perform. Trevor will start the 2020 season in AA and could see some major league time near the end of the season, but more likely in 2021.

56. O’Neil Cruz SS (Pirates) - At 6′7″ myworld will be surprised if he stays at short. His best fit may be in right field, where he has the arm to throw rockets. He does have the athleticism where he could fit at shortstop. If so, his power could be a difference maker. A fracture to his right foot limited him to just 73 games last year where he hit 8 homeruns for an OPS of .832. His power seemed a bit stunted when he hit AA with only one homerun in 119 at bats. With his height comes a large strike zone, which means Cruz has to be patient to hit his pitch if he hopes to hit for a decent average and take advantage of his power. His swing and miss is still not bad but a 24/74 walk to whiff ratio shows his patience needs to improve. O’Neil should start the 2020 season in AA. Taller players tend to have foot problems so hopefully the fractured foot last year does not become a recurring issue. Expect Cruz to be in the outfield or at shortstop for the Pirates in 2021.

55. Evan White 1B (Mariners) - The Mariners signed the 2017 first round pick to a six year $24 million contract, so service time should not be an issue. Once Evan is ready to make a contribution to the major leagues the Mariners have no impediment to promoting him. His defense is already major league caliber and will win gold gloves as he gains experience. He has the speed to move to the outfield, but his glove would not win any gold in the green. Last year he showed the power to hit 18 homeruns in AA for a .488 slugging. His all fields approach to hitting should result in a high average (.293). With a good spring White could make the major league roster. There really is not a player at the position who matches all the skill levels White would add to the position.

54. Brusdar Graterol RHP (Twins/Red Sox) - Brusdar is the player holding up the Mookie Betts trade. His career has been injury prone and the Red Sox do not see a future starter in his right arm. Brusdar can hit triple digits with his fastball, but flashes of brilliance are not what teams are seeking. At 6′1, 265 pounds Brusdar has some conditioning issues. Injuries have not allowed him to throw more than 102 innings in a season. Last year he made his major league debut and pitched 10 games in relief. The fastball is closer material but the lack of quality secondary pitches appears to destine him to the bullpen. If the Red Sox agree to a second player along with Graterol he could fit into the Red Sox bullpen in 2020. If the Red Sox ask for a different prospect the Twins would use him out of the bullpen in 2020. His lack of innings would discourage any use as a starter, except if he begins the season in the minor leagues.

53. Ke’Bryan Hayes 3B (Pirates) - The 2015 first round pick of the Pirates is the son of Charlie Hayes. Defense is his stand out tool, with the ability to win gold gloves in the major leagues. The big question with Ke’Bryan is his power to play third base. Last year he hit 10 homeruns with a .415 slugging average. Those are numbers teams would accept for there gold glove fielding shortstop, but not their third baseman. Those 10 homeruns were hit in AAA so he is ready for the major leagues if his bat shows he can produce at the position. Currently, his power is restricted to the gaps. RBIs are not part of his skill set. The Pirates have another question mark bat in Colin Moran at third, so Ke’Bryan could get his opportunity if Colin fails to produce.

52. Heliot Ramos OF (Giants) - Heliot was the Giants first round pick in 2017. He is the last player drafted in the first round out of Puerto Rico. Carlos Correa was the first pick in the 2012 draft. Heliot will probably have a better career than the 2016 first rounder out of Puerto Rico, Delvin Perez. Heliot disappointed in 2018 with just 11 homeruns and a .396 slugging. Last year he showed his power with 16 homeruns and a .481 slugging. Currently, he has the speed to play centerfield, but as he fills out he will settle into a corner. The arm is more than capable of handling right field. Last year he struggled a bit in 25 games at AA so expect him to begin the 2020 season there. The Giants have had trouble developing outfielders and Heliot may be the first of a couple outfielders that could change that culture. Heliot should make his major league debut in 2021.

51. Jordan Groshans SS (Blue Jays) - Jordan was a first round pick of the Blue Jays in 2018. Last year he did not have much of a season, limited to just 23 games because of a foot injury. During that time he did hit .337 and showed the defensive tools to stick at shortstop. Eventually his lack of foot speed could require a move to third, where he could fit as an above average defensive player at the position. He should have the power and production to fit at third. In his 2018 debut season he drove in 39 runs in 37 games with a .500 slugging average. He also shows the patience at the plate to take walks. If Jordan can stay healthy he is still a couple years away from contributing to the major league club. Expect a debut sometime late in the 2022 season.