Archive for the 'Blue Jays' Category

Myworld’s Top 100 - 40 -31

Monday, March 13th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MyWorld’s Top 100 - 60-51

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

60. Zack Collins C (White Sox) 3.62 - The 2016 first round pick of the White Sox would have been their top prospect if not for the acquisitions of Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Michael Kopech. Now he has to share the spotlight. Zack is a power hitting catcher whose defensive skills are not fully developed yet. If he does not make it as a catcher he has enough pop to move to first base, though he would be more valuable as a catcher. Next season should see him break out in a full season league after he hit six homeruns in just 36 games in rookie ball. Pitchers were a little hesitant pitching to him, walking him 33 times.

59. Sean Reid-Foley RHP (Blue Jays) 3.75 - Sean had a breakout season last year, lowering his ERA by more than a run and striking out more than a hitter per inning. The opposition had trouble making hard contact off him with an opposition average less than .200. His fastball sits in the low 90s but he can touch north of 95 with a solid curve and developing slider. If he can find the feel for his change he could move fast. Last year he reached High A for 10 starts. Sean should start the season in AA with a possible major league callup if he continues to achieve success.

58. Erick Fedde RHP (Nationals) 3.75 - The Nationals like to collect those pitches who have to undergo Tommy John surgery prior to the draft, dropping them lower in the draft. They did that with Lucas Giolito and Erick was drafted in the first round of the 2014 draft even after he found out he needed Tommy John surgery. Erick pitched 121 innings last year and will need to start the season in the minors to control his innings count. With the trade of Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito he could be considered the number six starting pitcher for the Nationals after their first five. He has a low 90s fastball and a high 80s slider. His change needs to develop more consistency if he hopes to make it as a starter.

57. Amir Garrett LHP (Reds) 3.82 - Until last year Amir was a basketball player who dabbled a bit in playing baseball. He has now decided to focus on baseball. That may jump start his career. At 6′5″ he has impressive height with a fastball in the low 90s complemented by a plus slider. His change is still a work in progress. Amir dominated at AA with a 1.75 ERA, 9.1 whiffs per nine innings and a .184 opposition average in 12 starts. A promotion to AAA gave him a little bit of a struggle but the opposition still only hit him at a .202 clip. A 31/54 walk to whiff ratio shows he was more hittable with less command. A repeat of AAA will be in store for Amir in 2017.

56. A.J. Puk LHP (Athletics) 4.05 - Puk was the Athletics first round pick in 2016. He was drafted ahead of his Florida teammate Logan Shore, who was their Friday night starter, usually reserved for the best pitcher on the team. The Athletics chose Puk but then had the opportunity to snag Logan Shore in the second round when his name was still on the list. At 6′7″ Puk has an intimidating plane he brings to hitters with a fastball that can cross the plate in the high 90s. His secondary pitches (slider and change) still need a lot of work, but once he figures it out his fastball will be that much better. While he finished the season 0-4 Puk averaged just 3.3 innings per start.

55. Jorge Alfaro C (Phillies) 4.07 - Injuries have slowed down Alfaro’s development, leaving him on prospect lists for at least five years. The Colombian was signed by the Rangers but traded to the Phillies in the Cole Hamel deal. His bat has pop and his arm can slow down a running game. The big concern with Jorge is the 5/1 strikeout to walk ratio (105/22 last year) that can be exposed by better pitchers. Cameron Rupp is currently ahead of him on the major league roster so Jorge will probably see a full season in AAA.

54. Triston McKenzie RHP (Indians) 4.12 - The only pitcher we witnessed pitch this year that made me go wow. He has long arms that seem to fly all over the place in his delivery. At 6′5″ his fastball can already hit 95. Once he gets more meat on his bones that fastball velocity should increase. His curve has a nice break but his change still needs more consistency. Rookie league hitters had no chance against him with a .180 opposition average. A 0.55 ERA in nine starts got him a promotion to Low A. That is where he will begin the 2017 season. For a young pitcher he is very good at throwing strikes.

53. Carson Kelly C (Cardinals) 4.18 - Carson has a superb glove who frames pitches well and controls the running game with a strong arm. The big question mark with him is whether his bat can develop. That will determine whether he will be a starter or backup. Last year he hit around .290 splitting time between AA and AAA. A promotion to the major leagues saw that average dip to .154. With Yadier Molina the Cardinals catcher for the next couple years Carson will improve his craft in 2017 in AAA with a possible back up role for Yadier by mid-season.

52. Alex Verdugo OF (Dodgers) 4.4 - Verdugo was a second round pick in the 2014 draft. Last year he hit a career high 13 homeruns in AA, showing the power is there to play a corner. Slow foot speed prevents him from playing centerfield, but a strong arm is a nice fit for right. If Yasiel Puig continues his downfall the Dodgers could call up Verdugo to take his place. Mark saw a full season in AA so the 2017 season should start in AAA. Alex needs to maintain his focus to win the right field job. There are times when he has a tendency to dial it back.

51. Luke Weaver RHP (Cardinals) 4.48 - Luke was a first round pick of the Cardinals in 2014. His fastball neighbors the mid-90s and he complements that well with a plus change. After dominating the minor leagues last year Luke was given a promotion to the Cardinals. In nine starts a 5.70 ERA and .311 opposition average with seven homeruns given up in his 36 innings showed he was not ready yet. He had only given up a total of seven homeruns in his last three minor league seasons. On the bright side he did strike out 11.1 hitters per nine innings proving he has swing and miss stuff. A good spring could find him in the starting rotation, but expect more a mid-season callup.

Myworld’s Top 100 Prospects - 70 - 61

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

70. Kevin Maitan SS (Braves) 3 - The Braves shelled out $4.25 million for him in 2016. At 17 years of age he has no minor league experience so this rating may be a bit optimistic. He can hit for power from both sides of the plate and is expected to hit for average. The Braves compare him to Chipper Jones. At 6′2″ he may have to move to third, but Dansby Swanson could also be a reason for that move. It will be interesting if the Braves have him start in the Dominican League or bring him to the United States for the rookie leagues.

69. Aaron Judge OF (Yankees) 3.15 - With a good spring he could win the right field job, though Aaron Hicks will have a say about that. At 6′7″ Judge has tremendous athleticism. He can cover ground in right field and has a strong throwing arm. What makes Yankee fans drool is his Giancarlo Stanton type power possibilities. What is a cause of concern is his plethora of strikeouts. He cut down on the whiffs last year in the minor leagues, but when promoted to the majors the whiffs returned, 42 of them in less than 100 at bats.

68. Raimel Tapia OF (Rockies) 3.25 - In the minor leagues Raimel has yet to hit less than .300. His career minor league average is .317. The Rockies outfield situation is a bit crowded so he will have to again spend most of his time in the minor leagues. With a little more meat on his bones he could surpass 20 homerun power but 40 double gap power is his current projection. The arm is good enough for right field and his defensive prowess should put him at the top of the league. If he wants to steal bases he must improve his jumps. A 63 percent career success rate will not allow managers to give him the green light.

67. Dominic Smith 1B/Of (Mets) 3.32 - Dominic may be the second coming of James Loney, with a little better bat and less of a glove. In 2016 he did break out for 14 homeruns after hitting only seven in his first two years. Also at 250 pounds Dominic will have to watch his weight so Pablo Sandoval comparisons do not creep into the conversation. He is a Lucas Duda injury away from making the Mets. His glove is solid despite his girth, however his speed would make him a liability in the outfield. Dominic hits the gaps and should consistently hit near the .300 neighborhood. If he could sprinkle in some power that would be ideal.

66. Braxton Garrett LHP (Marlins) 3.35 - The Marlins 2016 first round pick. He pitched for the gold medal winning United States team in the 18 and under World Cup of baseball. His fastball does not have great velocity, sitting in the low 90s. The curve is his best pitch, allowing him to strike out two hitters per inning in high school. He did not pitch in 2016 so extended spring training with rookie league action seems a possibility.

65. Kevin Newman SS (Pirates) 3.47 - Kevin was the Pirates first round pick in 2015. He should replace Jody Mercer at shortstop at some point in 2018. He’ll start this season in AA with a possible late season callup to get him acclimated to the major leagues. He is not a player who will light you up with his tools, but neither was Jody Mercer. He makes contact, does not have a lot of power, is consistent at shortstop but lacks gold glove type range.

64. Leody Taveras OF (Rangers) 3.5 - Leody is a $2.1 million bonus baby out of the Dominican Republic. He is a potential five tool talent, though he only took one ball over the fence in over 300 at bats in rookie ball last season. At that point he was a high school player competing against first round picks. He makes solid contact, is patient enough to draw walks, has the speed to play center and the arm to fit in right. He should begin the 2017 season in full season Low A.

63. Anthony Alford OF (Blue Jays) 3.53 - Anthony would be a five tool player with a better arm. His speed and range are good enough for center, but if that doesn’t work out he will be a better fit in left field. A top notch defensive back in football he has the speed to steal bases but the power to sail balls over fences. He did strike out 117 times in 92 games but the Blue Jays hope that gets reduced now that his focus is on baseball. A knee injury in 2016 slowed him down so the Blue Jays hope a healthy 2017 will show the real Alford.

62. David Paulino RHP (Astros) 3.57 - A history of injuries may keep Paulino in the bullpen. At 6′7″ with a mid to high 90s fastball he can be a very intimidating presence on the mound. He missed the 2014 season because of Tommy John surgery and has not pitched close to 100 innings in his last two seasons. David did make his major league debut last year, throwing seven innings. With potential for a plus slider and change Paulino has the requisite number of pitches to be a successful starter. He just needs to stay healthy.

61. Jorge Mateo 2B/SS (Yankees) 3.6 - The acquisition by the Yankees of Gleyber Torres will move Jorge to second base. It is unclear how he will take that since the Yankees had to suspend him last year after he pouted about not being promoted to AA last season. Compared to the numbers he put up in 2015 Jorge was not deserving of the promotion, his stolen base totals dropping from 82 to 36 and his batting average slipping 20 points. Speed will be his game but Jorge has deceptive power. Last year he showed it with 8 homeruns.

30 Teams in 30 Days - Toronto Blue Jays

Monday, February 20th, 2017

When we did the Rays we forgot to give our assessment of how we did last year with our AL East predictions. They were not as good as our AL West and Central. We had picked the Yankees to win what we thought was a weak division. We also missed on the Orioles, picking them for the bottom of the Division. Myworld will no longer under estimate the Orioles. The Blue Jays were the only prediction we got right for this division. The Red Sox were picked for third. The last place Rays we picked for fourth. Despite what I thought was a weak division both wild card teams were from this division.

Overview - The Blue Jays will find it hard to replace a 40 homerun bat in the lineup. Kendry Morales was a good signing but he is no Edwin Encarnacion, to borrow on a familiar quote. The Blue Jays also need to have a resurgence in the bat of Jose Bautista, but to borrow another cliché, Father Time remains undefeated. It is possible that at 36 years of age Jose may have to deal with regular injuries. Myworld also does not see the pitching staff repeating their excellence in 2017, though we do like Aaron Sanchez. It will be hard to replace the innings of R.A. Dickey.

Strengths - You have to like the left side of their infield with Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitski. Josh has the potential to hit 40 plus homeruns and Troy can hit 30 plus. The trouble with Troy is he is injury prone and he will be 32 entering this season. If he goes down the Blue Jays do not have a lot of quality depth behind him. The catching should be solid with Russell Martin behind the plate. He had a down year average wise (.231) but he did slug 20 homeruns and the veteran catcher knows how to run a pitching staff. Speaking of pitching, the Blue Jays led the AL in ERA led by Aaron Sanchez, who is starting to come into his own with a 15-2, 3.00 ERA. The Blue Jays have put in the trash can any more thoughts of using him in relief. J.A. Happ also had a Cy Young type season (20-4, 3.18), finishing sixth in the voting. While we are confident Sanchez can repeat his numbers we are not so confident with Happ. Any downfall from Happ should be made up with a better season from Marcus Stroman (9-10, 4.37), who struggled a bit last year. Marco Estrada gives them four good starters, a luxury most good teams do not have.

Weakness - Melvin (ex-B.J.) Upton had a nice season last year, but most of that was with the Padres. He hit only .196 when he was with Toronto. The .196 numbers were more indicative of his bat the last couple years. If he doesn’t hit the Blue Jays can always call on Dalton Pompey and hope the youngster can put it together. Kevin Pillar is a stellar defensive centerfielder, but his bat is very light. If Jose Bautista does not find production this outfield could be very light. First base will be a battle between Steve Pearce and Justin Smoak. Pearce could be the missing outfield piece in left field against lefthanders if Upton does not pan out. Both players are usually better pieces used off the bench than as starters. The Blue Jays overall age also worries me, with most of their starting lineup hitting the 32-33 age range, which could result in significant disabled list visits.

Non-Roster Invitees to Make Roster - Jarod Saltalamacchia has a good chance to make it as the backup to Russell Martin. The Blue Jays only have two catchers on their 40 man roster and Jarod is probably a better choice than Juan Graterol. Gavin Floyd, Matt Latos and Brett Oberholtzer are good options in the starting rotation if injuries should occur to their regular starters during spring training.

Impact Prospects - Dalton Pompey may no longer be considered a prospect anymore but he is the best minor leaguer who has a chance to make a big impact on the major league roster in 2017. A couple years ago he was supposed to take over their starting center field job. It will be interesting to see if Lourdes Gurriel is ready for the big leagues. He is the younger brother of Yulieski and has numerous offensive tools. His glove is a question mark, but myworld feels his best fit may be in the outfield. In Cuba he made too many errors as an infielder. Rowdy Tellez hit for power last year (23 homeruns) in AA. The Blue Jays don’t really have anyone at first base to prevent him from being called up if he has another monstrous year. Reese McGuire could be a mid-season callup if injuries were to happen to Russell Martin. He was a first round pick of the Pirates in 2013 but has never reached his first round billing potential.

Prospects to Watch - The Blue Jays have a number of young players to keep an eye on. The most well known name is Vladimir Guerrero Jr, who does not have the arm of his father nor the swing at everything mentality, but he has an impact bat. He is also an infielder (third base). Richard Urena played 30 games in AA. He is the shortstop of the future for the Blue Jays. He has the defensive tools to play the position. Anthony Alford is a tooled up outfielder who spent much of his youth playing football. Now that he is focusing on baseball the Blue Jays hope to be rewarded with a power hitting outfielder. On the pitching front Sean Reid Foley is the top prospect. He does not have an overpowering fastball but he does miss bats with 11.1 strikeouts per 9 innings in the Florida State League. Conner Greene is a starter who may be the most ready to make the major league roster but a 4.19 ERA and only a 33/48 walk to whiff ratio tells myworld he needs another year in the minors. Jon Harris is their 2015 number one pick who did not put up overwhelming numbers in High A.

Expected Finish - We feel a little uncomfortable picking the Blue Jays for fourth in this division behind the Yankees. The offense will lose much of its potency while the pitching staff labors to keep runs to a minimum. That is not a recipe for success.

Breakout Prospects and Prospects to Watch in AL East

Friday, January 6th, 2017

Myworld continues to look at prospects who will have a major league impact in 2017 and other prospects to watch to see if they will find themselves on the cusp of making the major league team in 2018. Some of these prospects to watch are veteran minor leaguers trying to over come surgery, former top prospects who have tripped in their minor league ascension or Cubans who have no history at the professional level in the United States but were stars in Cuba. Today myworld takes a look at the AL East.

Baltimore Orioles

Breakout Prospect (Trey Mancini 1B/DH) - Chris Davis is blocking him at first base but the O’s have still not acquired a DH who is a better hitter than Trey. Last year in a brief September call up he mashed three homeruns in 14 at bats. This was a bit of an aberration since his minor league numbers took him to 550 at bats to hit 20 homeruns. He has a solid bat that can go gap to gap to all fields. If given an opportunity he will hit .280 with 20 plus homeruns. His foot speed will prevent a move to the outfield but if the O’s find a DH Chris Davis could still fill an outfield spot to make room for Mancini at first base.

Prospect to Watch (Adam Walker OF) - Every year there are players you are shocked to see on the waiver wire. The Orioles farm system is not flowing with prospects, especially with outfielders so Walker is a good gamble. The Twins put him on waivers to remove him from the 40 man roster but the Orioles took a chance on his power and picked him up. He has always had trouble making contact but he has light tower power once he does. A below average arm with questionable foot speed will probably pigeon hole him to left field or force a move to first base. Last year he struck 202 times, but he did splash 27 homeruns. He needs to make a little more contact to up that .243 average and .305 OBA. If he played a superior defense you might be able to tolerate an extreme swing and miss propensity.

Boston Red Sox

Breakout Prospect (Andrew Benintendi OF) - The Red Sox have two talented outfielders in Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley. Andrew hit .305 in a late season callup to earn the third spot in the lineup. He should make the team out of spring training. With the killer Bs of Betts, Bradley and Benintendi in the outfield the Red Sox will have three centerfielders on defense. All the tools are there for Andrew to steal 20 plus bases and hit 20 plus homeruns giving the Red Sox an opportunity to have three 20/20 hitters playing the outfield. Expect Andrew to win a batting title or two before his time is up with the Red Sox.

Prospect to Watch (Jason Groome LHP) - Jason dropped to the 12th pick with the Red Sox this year because of concerns about his maturity. The 6′6″ lefthander can light the radar guns up to the high 90s, excellent velocity readings for a lefthander. His curve ball is an excellent pitch and despite his height he can fill the plate with strikes. While he only made three starts last year there were no reports of any character breakdowns. Next year he should reach full season ball so the true test will come whether he can maintain his composure over a six month period.

New York Yankees

Breakout Prospect (Aaron Judge OF) - An injury ended his September callup early. It was still a rewarding experience despite his .179 average. He and Tyler Austin became the first rookies in major league history to hit back to back homeruns in their first at bats. After that the season went down hill for Judge with 42 strikeouts in 90 plus at bats, almost a 50 percent strikeout percentage. In the minors he had improved his ability to make contact, limiting his whiffs to just 98 in 400 at bats, so that seemed to indicate progress. At 6′7″ Judge has excellent power if he can extend his arms and his height does not limit his ability to cover ground in the outfield. Many compare his tools to Giancarlo Stanton with two more inches of strike zone length. Because of the high strikeout number he may repeat AAA to refocus on improving his ability to make contact. The Yankees are rebuilding so there is only Aaron Hicks in right field to block him from a starting spot.

Prospect to Watch (Gleyber Torres SS and Jorge Mateo 2B) - The Yankees are in no hurry to promote either of these two players to the shortstop position with Didi Gregorius covering the position well. Jorge Mateo was a shortstop last year but he struggled with attitude and consistency. The Yankees seemed to realize he would not replace Didi at short and gave him opportunities to play second. Mateo has blazing speed with the ability to steal 50 plus bases per year. His hit tool isn’t bad but he seemed to sacrifice average for a little more pop last year. His career OBA is .359 but last year it dropped to .308. The Yankees disciplined him because he pouted about not being promoted to AA when his numbers did not appear deserving of the promotion. With the acquisition of Gleyber Torres from the Cubs Jorge appears to be permanently moved to second base. Torres has the more consistent defensive tools at short, though he lacks the speed of Mateo. His bat can generate more power and if the need arises the Yankees could still move him to third if they feel uncomfortable moving Gregorius away from short.

Tampa Bay Rays

Break out Prospect (Brent Honeywell RHP) - Brent is last year’s Blake Snell minus the consecutive shutout innings at the start of the season. Successful stints at High A and AA signal a readiness to pitch at the major league level. The screwball is the pitch in his repertoire that sets him apart from the other pitchers. His fastball is not overpowering, hitting the low 90s but his command of the fastball, a better than average change and the threat of the screwball makes him a pitcher tough to figure out. With some early season success in AA he could get an early callup to fill the major league rotation.

Prospects to Watch (Lucius Fox SS and Adrian Rodon SS) - Both signed for impressive bonus contracts, Rodon out of the Dominican Republic for $2.9 million. Lucious signed out of the Bahamas for $6 million, a bonus you would normally see for Cuban players. Fortunately for the Rays the Giants paid off most of that bonus money. Lucious played high school in the United States but moved back to the Bahamas after high school to qualify as an international free agent. Lucius is probably the more pure shortstop with a lot of speed to cover the middle infield, but Rodon has the better arm and more consistent glove. Adrian clearly has the better bat of the two, including inducing power, but that would make it an easier move to third for him if the Rays had to choose one of the two to fill the shortstop position.

Toronto Blue Jays

Breakout Prospect (Sean Reid Foley RHP) - Myworld had a hard time finding a prospect to make an immediate impact with the Jays. Foley seemed to be the best bet based on his .190 opposition average between High A and AA. At 6′3″ he is not tall, but this doesn’t prevent his fastball from hitting the mid 90s. An above average slider and a decent change makes his fastball tough to pick up. Expect the Jays to start him in AA to begin the season. If he dominates in AA Sean will see a call up to the major league club, one of the few players to make the major leagues born in Guam.

Prospect to Watch (Vladimir Guerrero Jr 3B) - He lacks the same physical traits as his dad being a little thicker and not having the arm of his father. His thick build also contributes to his lack of foot speed, limiting him to a corner infield position. What he does do well is swing the bat with a .271 average having the capability of hitting 20 plus homeruns. Guerrero signed for $3.9 million last year during the international draft so the 2016 was his first season. If his genes are anything close to his dad Junior could be an All Star for years to come.

Rosters for Tigers and Blue Jays Based on Domestic Drafts

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

The two cities are across the border from another. After visiting Toronto I was almost denied entry coming through Customs in Detroit because I had difficulty stating the pledge of allegiance. Maybe they thought I was a draft dodger. This was years ago, before passports were required for all reentries.

The Blue Jays have done a good job building a slew of starting pitchers, with the 2010 draft alone capable of filling 60 percent of most teams rotation. The Tigers had some good early years and Justin Verlander was drafted in the first round of 2004 so he doesn’t count on this roster, since we decided only to go back to 2005. That makes the rotation very short, though it is ironic they have two starting pitchers in their rotation now that were drafted by the Blue Jays.

Detroit Tigers

2005 - Cameron Maybin (1) OF, Matt Joyce (12) OF, Burke Badenhop (19) RHP, Alex Avila (34 - DNS) C, Zach Putnam (38 - DNS) RHP
2006 - Andrew Miller (1) LHP, Casey Fien (20) RHP, Kevin Chapman (42 - DNS) LHP
2007 - Rick Porcello (1) RHP, Danny Worth (2) UTL, Charlie Furbush (4) LHP, D.J. LeMahieu (41 - DNS) 2B
2008 - Alex Avila (5) C, Ryan Lollis (30 - DNS) OF
2009 - Jacob Turner (1) RHP, Giovanni Soto (21) LHP
2010 - Nick Castellanos (1) 3B, Drew Smyly (2) LHP, Rob Brantley (3) C, Bryan Holaday (6) C, Kyle Ryan (12) RHP
2011 - James McCann (2) C, Tyler Collins (6) OF, Curt Casalli (10) C, Chad Smith (17) RHP
2012 - Jake Thompson (2) RHP, Drew VerHagen (4) RHP, Devon Travis (13) 2B
2013 - Corey Knebel (1) RHP, Buck Farmer (5) RHP, Joe Mantiply (27) LHP
2014 - Mike Gerber (15) OF

Roster

C - James McCann, Alex Avila, Curt Casali, Bryan Holaday, Rob Brantly
1B - Danny Worth
2B - D.J. LeMahieu, Devon Travis
3B - Nick Castellanos
SS - no one
OF - Cameron Maybin, Matt Joyce, Ryan Lollis, Tyler Collins, Mike Gerber
SP - Rick Porcello, Drew Smyly, Jake Thompson, Jacob Turner
RP - Burke Badenhop, Zach Putnam, Andrew Miller, Casey Fien, Kevin Chapman, Charlie Furbush, Giovanni Soto, Kyle Ryan, Chad Smith, Drew VerHagen, Corey Knebel, Buck Farmer, Joe Mantiply

Toronto Blue Jays

2005 - Ricky Romero - (1) LHP, Brett Wallace (42 - DNS) 1B
2006 - Travis Sanders (1) OF, Cole Figueroa (9 - DNS) SS, Jonathan Diaz (12) SS, Brad Mills (22 - DNS) LHP
2007 - J.P. Arencibia (1) C, Brett Cecil (1) LHP, Brad Mills (4) LHP, Mike Rzepczynski (5) LHP
2008 - Eric Thames (7) 1B, A.J. Jimenez (9) C, Danny Farquhar (10) RHP, Dallas Beeler (37 - DNS) RHP
2009 - Chad Jenkins (1) RHP, James Paxton (1 - DNS) LHP), Jake Marisnick (3) OF, Ryan Goins (4) 2B, Ryan Schimpf (5) 2B, Aaron Loup (9) LHP, Yan Gomes (10) C, Drew Hutchinson (15) RHP, Daniel Webb (18) RHP
2010 - Aaron Sanchez (1) RHP, Noah Syndegaard (1) RHP, Justin Nicolino (2) LHP, Sam Dyson (4) RHP, Sean Nolin (6) LHP, Dalton Pompey (16) OF, Kris Bryant (18 - DNS) 3B
2011 - Joe Musgrove (1) RHP, Daniel Norris (2) LHP, Anthony DeSclafani (6) RHP, Luke Weaver (19 - DNS) RHP, Aaron Nola (22 - DNS) RHP, David Rollins (24) LHP, Kevin Pillar (32) OF
2012 - Marcus Stroman
2013 - Matt Boyd (6) LHP, Kendall Graveman (8) RHP

Roster

C - Yan Gomes, J.P. Arencibia, A.J. Jimenez
1B - Eric Thames, Brett Wallace
2B - Ryan Schmpf, Ryan Goins
3B - Kris Bryant
SS - Jonathan Diaz, Cole Figueroa
Of - Kevin Pillar, Jake Marisnick, Travis Snider, Dalton Pompey
SP - Noah Syndergaard, Aaron Sanchez, James Paxton, Justin Nicolino, Daniel Norris, Marcus Stroman, Matt Boyd
RP - Ricky Romero, Brad Mills, Brett Cecil, Marc Rzepczynski, Danny Farquhar, Dallas Beeler, Chad Jenkins, Aaron Loup, Drew Hutchinson, Daniel Webb, Sam Dyson, Sean Nolin, Joe Musgrove, Anthony Desclafani, Luke Weaver, Aaron Nola, David Rollins, Kendall, Graveman

Catcher Prospect Review

Saturday, October 8th, 2016

These were the top ten catchers at the beginning of the year as rated by myworld. We could not find our Baseball America magazine that rated the top ten catchers, lefthanded pitchers and righthanded pitchers so we will go with our list for these three positions, even though we hate using our bias.

1. Gary Sanchez (Yankees) - He did not get a lot of major league at bats because of his late callup but his homerun production when promoted to the major leagues was record breaking. With more playing time he would be the cinch American League rookie of the year, but he may still win it. His defense has improved to such an extent that he is now considered above average. Brian McCann will be the back up next year despite his large contract while Sanchez takes over the starting role. Expect a drop in production but his bat should still carry 20 plus over the fence each year.

2. Wilson Contreras (Cubs) - Another player who got a major league promotion mid-season. Wilson played a lot in left field because the Cubs had more veteran catchers to use behind the plate. Wilson has 20 plus homerun power and an arm to limit base stealing. His pitch calling and handling of a veteran playoff pitching staff still needs more work. With Kyle Schwarber coming back next year to play left field and Anthony Rizzo at first Wilson will have to get more playing time behind the plate to justify him staying in the major leagues. David Ross retirement will ensure him of at least a back up spot.

3. Jorge Alfaro (Phillies) - His tools have always exceeded his production. Injuries have also limited his playing time. This year he played at Reading, a hitters park, but he was one of the better players on one of the top minor league teams in baseball. He slugged 15 homeruns and stayed free of any major injury. The Phillies have a young catcher in Cameron Rupp but Jorge offers more offensive and defensive potential. Alfaro won the Captains Choice catcher award for being the best defensive catcher in the minor leagues. He did get a September callup for the Phillies to get his feet wet for a mid-season 2017 role.

4. Andrew Knapp (Phillies) - When it rains it pours. Tommy Joseph was a top Philly catching prospect but moved to first base after concussion issues. This year Tommy took over the first base job from Ryan Howard. The Phillies will have to do something about their trio of catchers. Knapp is a couple years older than Alfaro and is playing at AAA. Next year Alfaro will be ready for AAA and Knapp does not have the power or arm to compete with Alfaro. Don’t be surprised to see Knapp traded next year or getting promoted to the Phillies to be the back up to Rupp.

5. Tom Murphy (Rockies) - The Rockies catcher of the future. He hit for power (19) and average (.327) in AAA and those tools were evident in a late promotion to the Rockies. Expect him to be looked at as the starting catcher for the Rockies next year. The third round 2012 pick can also handle the defensive side of the game with a strong arm and good pitch calling abilities. Playing in the high altitude of Colorado can only accentuate his offensive numbers.

6. Tyler Stephenson (Reds) - Eventually he could team up with Robert Stephenson to give the Reds a Stephenson/Stephenson battery. The 2015 first round pick is still a couple years away from playing for the Reds. Last year he struggled in Low A hitting only .216. Injuries limited him to just over 100 at bats. At 6′4″ he might be too big to catch. The arm is strong enough to limit a baserunning game and his bat is better than the .216 he showed in 2016.

7. Jacob Nottingham (Brewers) - The Athletics acquired Jacob from the Astros as one of the players for Scott Kazmir. They then traded him to the Brewers for Khris Davis. Davis hit 40 plus homeruns for the Athletics in 2016. Nottingham may take four years to reach that homerun figure, though at 6′3″ he is said to have raw power. Last year he hit 11 homeruns in AA but a 29/138 walk to whiff ratio brought his average below .250. His defense needs some improvement before it can be considered major league ready, but he does have a strong arm that can gun down baserunners.

8. Reese McGuire (Blue Jays) - The Pirates sent Reese McGuire and other prospects to the Blue Jays to rid themselves of the Francisco Liriano contract. McGuire has been a disappointment for a first round 2013 pick. He has shown little power with too much of a vanilla bat. With a little more electricity in his offense his defense is strong enough to play in the major leagues. McGuire does a good job of making contact but it is just too much soft contact. The Blue Jays do not really have a catcher they can brag about. If they can not find anyone with a bat next year McGuire has the defense to fill the position.

9. Clint Coulter (Brewers) - With the acquisition of Nottingham this takes the pressure off the Brewers to put Coulter behind the plate. He will continue to see more time in the outfield. His defense will always be below major league average but his bat carries enough power to play right field. It has now been two years since he has seen any time behind the plate. The 2016 season saw a big drop in his power numbers (.358 slugging). He will need to improve upon that to make up for his defensive deficiencies in the outfield.

10. Chance Sisco (Orioles) - His power numbers took a big drop in 2016 but he raised his average over the .300 mark again (.319). Defense is not his strong suit. Matt Wieters will be a free agent next year so the Orioles have a catcher opening. Chance probably needs a full season in AAA to get major league ready.

Centerfield Prospect Review

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Other than shortstop these are the darlings of major league baseball. Everyone is looking for the next Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle or Michael Trout. Below are the top ten players named by Baseball America as the best centerfielders in the minor leagues before the start of the 2016 season. Myworld will take a look at their season to see how their prospect status has progressed or regressed.

1. Byron Buxton (Twins) - The Twins are waiting for him to put his tools together. Former number one picks Denard Span and Aaron Hicks were slow learners. This is the second major league season for Buxton and the second year he has struggled. A September hot streak gives the Twins some hope that perhaps he is starting to figure things out. If he can make a little more contact he has the potential to be a five tool player. There is nothing more he can prove in the minor leagues.

2. Andrew Benintendi (Red Sox) - The Red Sox are loaded in centerfield. Andrew is not going to supplant Mookie Betts or even Jackie Bradley from the position. But he has the bat to fit in left field. Scouts expect him to hit over .300 with 20 plus homeruns. A late season callup has seen him take over the troubled Red Sox left field slot. Average speed prevents him from being a five tool player.

3. Lewis Brinson (Rangers) - If the Rangers do not resign Ian Desmond there will be no tears shed by management. Lewis appears to be ready to take over the position. Ideally the Rangers would like him to play half a season in AAA after only hitting .237 in AA with just 11 homeruns. He lacks big time stolen base speed, but his instincts and routes make him an excellent centerfielder. There is enough power in his bat to hit in the double digits in homeruns.

4. Anthony Alford (Blue Jays) - A quiet year for Alford. His body is built for football, but his swing does not incorporate over the fence power. He should fit in centerfield. Alford hit just .236 in High A with 9 homeruns. He needs to do better to reach his potential.

5. Bradley Zimmer (Indians) - Myworld was not impressed with what we saw of him in centerfield. With the trade of Clint Frazier to the Yankees in the Andrew Miller trade Zimmer appears to have won the centerfield job. He strikes out a lit (over 150) but carries some pop in his bat. Myworld is convinced the corner outfield position is best for him, with the arm to play right field. With vanilla AAA offensive numbers he will probably see at least half a season in AAA.

6. Victor Robles (Nationals) - Michael Taylor’s inability to make contact set the stage for Victor Robles to be the Nationals centerfielder of the future. That was until Trea Turner took over the position. The resume for Victor is tremendous speed to cover ground in centerfield and steal bases, but the power is lacking to fit in a corner. Victor Robles played half a season in High A so he is still a couple years away from forcing the Nationals to make a decision of who to commit to for centerfield.

7. David Dahl (Rockies) - His .300 plus batting average in a late season callup has already sealed his position for next year. The Rockies may have to trade Carlos Gonzalez or Charlie Blackmon to make room for him. The outfielder who lacks a spleen should hit for double digits in homeruns, compete for batting titles in the thin Rocky Mountain air and play enough defense to fit in centerfield. His biggest challenge will be to avoid injuries that have forced him to miss almost two complete seasons.

8. Trent Clark (Brewers) - The 2015 first round pick of the Brewers slumped with the bat this year playing in a full season league. His average dropped more than 70 points and his slugging was absent (.344) in 2016. There is enough speed in his legs to cover the ground necessary to play in centerfield. If his power does not pick up that will be the position he will fit best at.

9. Manuel Margot (Padres) - One of the players the Padres acquired for Craig Kimbrel to juice up their farm system. The potential four tool player has earned a September callup for the Padres after his success in AAA. The one tool he is lacking is power, though that may develop as he matures. Expect him to win the centerfield job for the Padres next year, if not at the start of the season, then by mid-season.

10. Brett Phillips (Brewers) - One of the players the Brewers stole from the Astros for Carlos Gomez. While he can play centerfield his average speed makes a corner outfield position his best bet. The Brewers minor league outfield depth is growing and Brett will need to hit better than .229 to get one of those major league opportunities. An inability to make contact (154 K’s) has been the big reason for his low average.

AL East Predictions and Looking Forward

Friday, July 29th, 2016

Myworld was going to take a look at our beginning of the year predictions and see how we looked once the mid-season arrived. The mid-season has come and gone but that does not mean myworld can not take a look at each of the divisions. We’ll also take a look at the top five or so prospects of each team in the division to see how they stack up. We have put the teams in order of their standings as of this writeup and in parenthesis we have our start of the season prediction of where they would finish.

Baltimore Orioles (5) - We under estimated their current roster with Manny Machado leading the charge and a solid bullpen in Zach Britton and Darren O’Day protecting the leads. The starting pitching is ugly and it will still be difficult for them to win the division, but as long as the homer happy team keeps on hitting balls out of the ball park they can score more runs than their starters give up.

The future does not look bright for the Orioles with a vanilla farm system lacking impact players. Hunter Harvey was one of the prized pitchers, but he will undergo Tommy John surgery and myworld can’t put him in the top five. 1) Trey Mancini will probably have to be traded since the only position he plays is the same as Chris Davis, unless they move Davis to third and Manny to short. Trey can hit but first base and DH are his only positions he can play. 2) Chance Sisco is hitting for average but his power numbers are absent with nary a homerun. Some question whether he can stay at catcher which would down grade his prospect status. 3) Jomar Reyes is a rare Dominican signing making the grade. He needs to improve his average (.228) but he has been making contact and his power is starting to show. 4) Ryan Mountcastle will probably have to yield the shortstop position now that they have found Machado can play shortstop in the major leagues. That does not leave him with a position to play since his bat is a little soft for third base. 5) Cody Sedlock was the Orioles first round pick this year. They have not had a lot of success with their recent first rounders so they cross their fingers on Cody. Cody did miss a lot of bats pitching for Illinois striking out 116 in 101 innings.

Toronto Blue Jays (2) - They need Jose Bautista to get healthy and Troy Tulowitski to begin hitting with some consistency. They have the bats to score a lot of runs but they lack an ace in the rotation. Marcus Stroman needs to pick it up.

They may lose both Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista to free agency next year so they need to do it this year or next year could be a rebuilding phase. They have traded a number of top prospects to keep their playoff runs alive so their farm system is a little light. Despite all these trades it is somehow stronger than the Orioles list of prospects, especially with pitching. 1) Sean Reid Foley was born in Guam with an arm that carries a fastball to the plate at 95 miles per hour. There is a lot of swing and miss in his pitches with the opposition hitting him at a .180 clip. 2) Jon Harris is having a breakout year though his numbers (2.23 ERA) are being strung together in Low A. How he will perform at higher levels will establish his true prospect status 3) Jose Urena is a smooth fielding shortstop who lacks tools that excel. 4) Conner Greene is having a good year but needs to improve his command. A promotion to the Eastern League has opened up those frailties. 5) Anthony Alford is the one player on this list with tremendous tools but injuries and lack of performance has kept those tools hidden.

Boston Red Sox (3) - They have had break out years from youngsters Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley. David Ortiz is having a nice retirement year. What needs to improve is their starting pitching and bullpen. They traded away one of their better prospects (Anderson Espinoza) to get NL All Star Drew Pomeranz. Now they have to get David Price on track. If not for Steven Wright this pitching staff would be a shambles. The Red Sox did not expect Craig Kimbrel and Koji Uehara to be spending so much time on the disabled list as their season wound down.

Trading Anderson Espinoza will hurt the future of the rotation five years from now, but the Red Sox needed to fix their rotation now. They have a deep farm system that is heavier on hitters so this trade will hurt in the long haul. 1) Yoan Moncada may be the best prospect in baseball now. The Cuban can hit for power, steal bases and hit for average. His defensive position (second base) is his only down side. 2) Andrew Benintendi has a power bat despite his 5′10 inch size. He will hit for average and power but the Red Sox need to find some room in the outfield for him. 3) Rafael Devers may have the most potent bat on the team but his defense is suspect. Right now he plays third but he eventually may have to move to first. 4) Michael Kopech was suspended for use of a stimulant and broke his hand in a fight but his fastball hits triple digits and sometimes that is the most important ingredient in a prospect. 5) Jason Groome is another pitcher with character flaws that dropped him in the 2016 draft but he throws lefthanded and hits the mid-90s.

New York Yankees (1) - We thought their pitching would be better than this and that did not include C.C. Sabathia. But Nathan Eovaldi, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda and Luis Severino have not panned out. The hitting has also disappeared with A-Rod the biggest bat that has molted into saw dust. The trade of Aroldis Chapman is a testament of what they think of the 2016 season. Their most consistent hitter Carlos Beltran may be the next Yankee packing for another team.

1) Gleyber Torres was recently acquired for Chapman and he has moved Mateo to second so that says a lot about his defense. Torres has the potential to hit for power at the position. 2) Jorge Mateo was recently suspended because he thought he should be in AA. It may hurt his feelings further now that they are moving him to second. Jorge has a lot of speed and is showing some unexpected power. 3) Gary Sanchez has been a Yankee prospect for a long time now. His defense is average for the position but he has a strong arm. His bat is electric so that will carry him. Like Jorge Posada waiting for Joe Giradi to retire Gary needs to wait out the contract of Brian McCann. Perhaps next year he will make the team as a back up. 4) Aaron Judge is a big dude who can hit the ball a long way. As is the case with big dudes they have large strike zones and a lot of swings and misses with their bats. A sprained knee has left Judge hobbled so his major league callup may have to wait until September. 5) Miguel Andujar needs to show more consistency at third base before he can take the spot from Chase Headley. His bat has a little more offensive spark than Headley, but that spark must be proven in the major leagues.

Tampa Bay Rays (4) - Not a lot here. Even their pitching has failed them. The injury to Kevin Kiermaier may have sent their team spiraling downward as it had a big impact on the quality of their defense. Evan Longoria is having a career year in a season that will not be remembered.

They have not been drafting well since they have started winning. Most of their top prospects are players they acquired when trading veterans after their season has blown up in flames. 1) Willy Adames was acquired from the Tigers. He could be an offensive shortstop with some power in his bat, but a move to third could also happen. 2) Brent Honeywell has been a lesser version of Blake Snell in his ride up the minor league ladder. 3) Jacob Faria needs to find some consistency with his mid-90s fastball. He misses a lot of bats but his ERA north of 4 and his inability to win games makes a reliever role a stronger possibility. 4) Adrian Rondon may slide Adames over to third. His defense is superior but his bat will be a little soft. 5) Chih-Wei Hu lacks the size to intimidate (6′1″) but his command and diversity of pitches has been getting hitters out in the Southern League.

Five Games, Five Days, Five Parks - Day One Orioles Outslug Blue Jays

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

This is the only familiar park we will visit in our trek of minor and one major league park in Philadelphia. The next day we drove up to Philadelphia for a day game and our first visit to the Phillies park. We will write about that visit tomorrow. The Orioles peppered the Blue Jays pitching staff today for 19 hits in the 11-6 win. Matt Wieters did the most damage with a homerun, two doubles and a single to drive in four runs in the win.

Wieters got the engine running in the opening frame with a two run homerun, following Chris Davis, who grounded an RBI single just to the third base side of second base. Mark Trumbo had grounded into a double play earlier to thwart the potential for more runs.

The Blue Jays were not going to make it easy for the O’s. Troy Tulowitski rocked Chris Tillman with a line drive two run homerun in the bleachers in the top of the second and Devan Travis lifted one into the right centerfield bleachers for a two run shot to give the Blue Jays a 4-3 lead. After the second homerun Tillman retired 11 of the next 12 hitters.

Ryan Flaherty tied the game in the bottom of the second inning with an RBI single. The Orioles chased Marcus Stroman in the fourth with two doubles and a single. Stroman would end the day giving up seven runs in less than four innings. The Orioles banged five hits off three pitchers to jump ahead 7-4.

Just when you thought the Blue Jays were bouncing back after they scored two in the seventh to pull to within two, 8-6 Jonathan Schoop erased any thoughts of a comeback with a mammoth shot that almost went into the second deck in left field, landing past the walk way into the odd numbered seats in the left field bleachers.

Game Notes: Hyun-Soo Kim finished the game 3 for 5 with all his hits singles. His .340 batting average is impressive but just seven of his 35 hits have gone for extra bases (seven doubles and one homerun). Most teams expect a little more power from their corner outfielders, especially if they are not superb defensive outfielders or players with superior speed. Kim does not have speed and is a below average outfielder…The home plate umpire was injured in the second inning. He had to be taken out of the game and it took one of the base umpires 30-40 minutes to put on his home plate umpire equipment. Once they got the game started the next out was subject to further review, which got a round of boos from the fans…Michael Saunders actually leaped over the fence to catch a ball hit by J.J. Hardy and rob him from a homerun…The Orioles were playing in teal colored uniforms for Father’s Day, the blue color the Yang for pink to encourage fathers to undergo prostrate screening…When myworld purchased peanuts from one of the vendors, she gave me one of those small sample liquor bottles they have on flights to wish me a Happy Father’s Day…Manny Machado did not start the game today, serving his first game of his four game suspension…Devon Travis had a good 3 for 3 day with a homerun and two doubles with one walk in four at bats…