Archive for the 'Orioles' Category

Simmons Leads Angels Over the O’s

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

Andrelton Simmons has always been known for his glove. This year he is again one of the top players for runs saved on the defensive side of the equation. His bat has usually been quiet. This year it has not with a .290 average and 13 homeruns. Against the Orioles he made a couple nice defensive plays to save runs and on offense he smashed a two run homer deep into the left field bleachers to lead the Los Angeles Angels over the Baltimore Orioles 5-4. If the season ended today the Angels would make the playoffs as the second wild card team.

Kole Calhoun got things started for the Angels with a leadoff solo homerun off Chris Tillman in the second inning. They added another run in the third inning after a leadoff walk to Ben Revere. Revere stole second during a swinging strike three by Mike Trout. Albert Pujols lined a single into left field. Trey Mancini threw a rainbow to home that had no chance to get Revere, who scored to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.

Chris Davis made it 2-1, connecting on a pitch and hitting it down the left field line. Revere made the leap but he came up short and Davis had a homerun to pull the Orioles to within one. Ex-O Parker Bridwell shut the O’s down until the sixth inning, when an error by Cliff Pennington allowed two unearned runs to score. The Orioles traded Bridwell to the Angels in April for a player to be named later or cash.

Andrelton Simmons appeared to put the game away in the sixth when he lofted a high fly deep into the left field bleachers off of Chris Tillman. A walk to Luis Valbuena finished the day for Tillman. It has been an awful year for Tillman as he left the mound with a 7.75 ERA. It was his first start since August 3, when he was moved to the bullpen.

The Orioles battled back in the sixth. After a Caleb Joseph lead off single, Cliff Pennington made a poor throw to Simmons at second on a slow grounder by Tim Beckham. His best play was probably at first base. Manny Machado lined a single into right field to load the bases and Jonathan Schoop ended the day for Bridwell with a two run single into right center field. Adam Jones grounded out into a fielder’s choice when Manny Machado was thrown out at home. With two outs Mark Trumbo lined one into the gap for a ground rule double. Adam Jones would have scored easily from first base if the ball had not bounced over the fence. That proved critical when Chris Davis swung and missed on a high 99 mile per hour fastball from Keynan Middleton, leaving Jones stranded at second.

The Angels had runners on first and third with one out with Albert Pujols at the plate. Manny Machado had a grounder sneak underneath his glove for a critical error. With a .230 average Albert is not the hitter he once was. He bailed out Manny by grounding into a double play to end the inning.

Brad Brach pitched a second inning when he started the 8th. He walked two of the three hitters he faced. Mychal Givens came in to replace him. Cameron Maybin pinch hit for Juan Graterol and lined a single into right field. The ball beat the runner Kole Calhoun to the plate but Caleb Joseph could not catch the one hop throw and the Angels recaptured the lead.

Bud Norris put two runners on in the ninth, but struck out Caleb Joseph and got Tim Beckham to ground out back to the mound to end the game.

Game Notes: Cliff Pennington has a nice double play pivot. He turned two double plays…Trey Mancini does not have an arm in left field. He threw a rainbow to home on a single by Pujols…This is a tale of two teams going in opposite directions. The Angels improved their record to 64-60 while the Orioles fell to 60-64. The Angels are the second wild card team if the season ended today winning nine of their last 11 games. The O’s have at least three teams to jump if they want to make the wild card, losing 8 of their last 12…Oriole pitchers walked nine hitters. Kole Calhoun and Luis Valbuena walked three times each. Three of the nine walks scored.

2017 Top Ten Prospects Carolina League

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

These are the players myworld would rate as the top ten prospects in the Carolina League. A pretty impressive group at the top of the list with some impressive names at the lower end. These prospects have put up the numbers to earn a spot on this list and are not named for just potential.

1. Tristan McKenzie RHP (Indians/Lynchburg) - Myworld remembered when we watched the then 19 year old Clayton Kershaw pitch in an early spring training game at Vero Beach. That is the same kind of Wow we had watching Tristan pitch in a short season game at Williamsport last year. The supplemental first round pick in 2015 reminds me of a praying mantis, all arms and legs as his 6′5″ stick frame comes at you with a mid-90s fastball. There were a lot of swings and misses in that game. Those swings and misses continue in the Carolina League with 150 in 118.2 innings. While the opposition is hitting only .199 against him, some of those balls have gone a long way, with 13 homeruns given up. His command could use some improvement, but as his body fills out with maturity that fastball could be impressive if the secondary pitches improve with it.

2. Victor Robles OF (Nationals/Potomac) - Myworld likes Victor over Eloy because of his speed and ability to play a quality defense in centerfield. As he matures the power should increase. The Dominican has the five tools you look for in a superstar. The Nationals signed him for $225,000 in 2013. His speed allows him to cover a lot of ground in centerfield. A .289 average with a .872 OPS resulted in a promotion to AA. Currently his power is restricted to the gaps where he blasted 25 doubles and 7 triples. The 9 homeruns he has hit over the two levels is a career high. Expect him to fit into a crowded Nationals outfield sometime in September of next year.

3. Eloy Jimenez OF (White Sox/Winston Salem) - The Cubs signed the Dominican Eloy for a splashy $2.8 million in 2013, the same year they signed Gleyber Torres for $1.7 million. Now both have left the Cubs, Eloy traded to the White Sox in the Jose Quintana trade. Eloy has a power bat but his lack of blazing speed or a strong arm will restrict him to left field. The trade from the Cubs to the White Sox has seemed to give him a power surge. He batted .271 with 8 homeruns in 42 games for Myrtle Beach in the Carolina League. For the White Sox he is hitting .362 with 8 homeruns in 28 games. It may be too late in the season to promote him to AA, but Eloy appears to be ready for that level now.

4. Forrest Whitley RHP (Astros/Buies Creek) - The 2016 first round pick was called up from Low A after 10 starts. He has not had a lot of time in the Carolina League but in six starts he has struck out 50 in 31.1 innings. At 6′7″ with a mid to high 90s fastball he can dominate games with above average breaking pitches (curve and slider) and a decent change. Opponents still get some hits off him with a .243 opposition average between the two levels. Forrest has shown good command of his pitches, walking just 9 in his 31.1 innings. Drafted out of high school it will take him a couple more years before he reaches the Astros.

5. Austin Hays RF (Orioles/Frederick) - The third round 2016 pick did not last long in the Carolina League after hitting .328 with 16 homeruns. That batting average (.350) and power (12 homeruns) have improved since his promotion to AA. He did hit 16 homeruns for Jacksonville his junior year to lead the Atlantic Sun Conference in homeruns. After being drafted he slugged another four homeruns and hit .336 in the New York Penn League. The Orioles had him skip Low A to move to the Carolina League. Austin has a right fielders arm and decent enough speed to cover ground out in right field. That speed will not result in a lot of stolen bases. The way he is tearing up each league in the minors expect Austin to be with the Orioles sometime next year. They do not have a lot of players there right now to hold him back.

6. Michael Chavis 3B (Red Sox/Salem) - Michael was a first round pick of the Red Sox in 2014. It has been a disappointing first three years for Michael. The Red Sox have a need for a third baseman and if Michael had hit like he has this year perhaps he would get the call. It has been a breakout year for Michael with 17 homeruns in just 59 games with a .318 average and a 1.029 OPS in the Carolina League. His strikeouts are still prevalent, but they have been reduced from his first three years. In AA he has added 12 homeruns to give him 29 for the year. His defense at third is still a little suspect with 14 errors, which could result in a move to first base or left field.

7. Zack Collins C (White Sox/Winston Salem) - Zack was a first round pick of the White Sox in 2016. The 117 whiffs in 110 games has kept his average down at .220, but he does have 17 homeruns with 75 walks for a .362 OBP. His bat should always play but a thick lower half and plodding feet has resulted in 16 passed balls. He has thrown out 45 runners so he can sling it to second. The White Sox will be patient with him. The power will play well behind the plate, but if his defense remains weak he could move to first. It is still way too early for the White Sox to give up on his catching tools.

8. Alec Hansen RHP (White Sox/Winston Salem) - The White Sox drafted Alec in the second round of the 2016 draft. At 6′7″ with a mid to high 90s fastball he can dominate games, with frequent double digit strikeout outings. He started the season in Low A and after dominating there was promoted to High A, where he had back to back 12 K games. His secondary pitches need improvement (slider, curve and change) but that will come with time. The opposition hits him at a .210 clip with 155 whiffs in 119 innings.

9. Kyle Tucker OF (Astros/Buies Creek) - Kyle was a 2015 first round pick of the Astros. His brother Preston plays in AAA for the Astros Fresno affiliate. Kyle got the height (6′4″) while the shorter framed Preston inherited the Popeye arms. Kyle has the greater prospect potential. He has the speed to cover the ground necessary in centerfield and the arm and power to play right. He didn’t last long in the Carolina League, promoted to AA after hitting .288 with 9 homeruns and a .932 OPS in the Carolina League. AA has been a bit more of a struggle but expect Kyle to show case his outfield abilities at Minute Maid park some time next year.

10. Dane Dunning RHP (White Sox/Winston Salem) - The Nationals drafted Dunning in the first round of the 2016 draft, then traded him to the White Sox in the Adam Eaton trade. He was the lessor of Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito but in the long run he may turn out to be the greater. His fastball sits in the low 90s but can touch the mid 90s but his secondary pitches need improvement (slider/change). Dunning started his season in the South Atlantic League but needed only four starts to get his 0.35 ERA promoted to the Carolina League. His numbers (3.43 ERA) would be a little better if not for an 8 run outing in July when he coughed up four of his 12 homeruns. His command is good but a .260 opposition average could be indicative of being around the plate too much.

Other Players to Watch

Ryan Mountcastle SS (Orioles/Frederick) - We talked about him in the AA Eastern League top ten prospects. He was leading the Carolina League in batting average at .314 but after his promotion he will not carry enough at bats to win the title. He also slugged 15 homeruns. His eventual position may be third base but the Orioles will keep him at short until he proves he can’t play it.

Ademar Rifaela OF (Orioles/Frederick) - The native of Curacao leads the Frederick League in homeruns with 22. Last year he broke out with 13 homeruns but this year he could double that quantity. The batting average (.290) and homeruns are a career high. It will be interesting if he can continue to produce as he rises up the minor league ladder.

Chase Vallot C (Royals/Wilmington) - A lesser version of Zach Collins the supplemental first round pick does not hit for average (.231) but has some pop (12 homeruns). He also has the patience to draw walks (.380). His defense with 10 passed balls and 12 errors may force a move from catcher. He only has thrown out 13 baserunners.

Josh Ockimey 1b (Red Sox/Salem) - The 2014 fifth round pick has shown the ability to hit for power. After hitting .275 with 11 homeruns in 100 games he was promoted to AA. Josh is not afraid to draw walks (.388).

A.J. Puckett RHP (White Sox/Winston Salem) - A second round pick of the Royals in 2016, he was traded to the White Sox mid year in the Melky Cabrera trade. He has not had a great year in the Carolina League (4.01 ERA) with a .262 opposition average, but 102 whiffs in 112 innings shows a swing and miss quality.

Bay Sox Rout Senators with Impressive Offensive Prospects

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

The Bowie Bay Sox slugged five homeruns from four different players in their 14-2 clobbering of the Harrisburg Senators. It is an impressive group of prospects not seen at Bowie since Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop manned the left side of the infield. This current group mainly patrols the grasses in the outfield, though the left side of the infield is well represented.

The first inning was started by Cedric Mullins, who led it off with a monster shot over the high second fence in right field. At 5′8″ Cedric is not a big man but he has some big pop. The homerun was his 11th, pretty good since he missed a good chunk of the season with an injury. He is also hitting .315 with 17 doubles and a .899 OPS. Cedric patrols centerfield with speed and grace, though that speed does not seem to translate into stolen bases.

Ryan Flaherty, on rehab followed the homerun with a single up the middle. An Austin Hays pop up was the first out. That brought up Anthony Santander. He was a Rule V pickup for the Orioles this year but has spent most of his year rehabbing from injury in extended spring training. One look at him and you recognize he is a strong dude. He proved it by powering a pitch over the second fence in right field for what would be the first of two homeruns on the evening. He was hitting .400 coming into the game but had only played 10 games. He also homered in the eighth for his fourth homerun in 11 games. What is impressive about Santander is his seven walks and six whiffs during that time. What appears not impressive about him is his left field play. He did try to leap over the fence to rob Drew Ward of a homerun but lost his glove over the fence. He seemed tentative out in left, letting Cedric make the plays out there.

D.J. Stewart made it back to back and three homeruns off poor Taylor Hill in the first inning. Myworld is not as enamored with D.J. but he does have 16 homeruns and he was a first round pick. The big concern with D.J. is his below average defense will keep him in left field and the power isn’t really there to justify a below average glove. He does have a .356 OBA, showing the ability to take a walk.

The most impressive of the prospects is Austin Hays. He went deep with the bases loaded in the sixth. It was his 11th homerun in AA and his second grand slam in eight games. Combine that with his 16 homeruns in High A and he has 26 homeruns on the season. He also hit a triple, showing pretty good speed as he rounded the bases. His play in right field looked pretty solid, though it is difficult to assess after one game. What myworld likes about Austin is he hits without a batting glove. His mom grew tired of him tearing his batting gloves after weekend tournaments and told him she would buy no more. Since that time he has hit without them.

A prospect recently brought up but who failed to hit a homerun last night was Ryan Mountcastle. He was the Orioles first round pick in 2015. Earlier this year he played shortstop for the Frederick Keys, hitting .293 with 15 homeruns. He has only played 17 games in AA with a .161 average. Last night he was playing third base and handled a couple balls cleanly. He had an infield single and a double into the gap, a multi hit game that could be a confidence booster for him as the season progresses.

As a team the Bay Sox were hitting a league leading .288, an offense that has vaulted them into first place in the Western Division. Because of the rehab appearances of Flaherty and Santander other pretty good hitters have been forced to sit the bench. Garabez Rosa is leading the Eastern League in batting average at .320. Stephen Wilkerson hit .323 in High A and since his promotion is hitting .294 for the Bay Sox. His power (5 homeruns) has been better in AA than High A (2 homeruns).

The Bay Sox are also sporting some pretty good pitchers on their roster. David Hess pitched tonight. His fastball was hitting the mid-90s but towards the end of his appearance he struck out five of his last six hitters, many on a good breaking pitch the Senator batters were taking for a called third strike or swinging and missing at the pitch. Super prospect Victor Robles was a strikeout victim on a Hess breaking pitch.

Two other arms throw some heat. Jesus Liranza consistently hits 100 miles per hour with his fastball but has difficulty finding the plate. The Bay Sox appear to have moved him to the bullpen where he carries a 5.14 ERA. Tanner Scott is another impressive arm that hits the mid to high 90s with his fastball. The Bay Sox were limiting him to three inning starts, though lately they seem to have increased that amount. He has struck out 74 in 59 innings, but like Liranza has trouble finding the plate.

Mike Bordick was at the game last night with his two sons. Kudos to Mike for picking up all his trash and giving warm smiles to all who approached him.

Michael Taylor was on a rehab assignment as well. He went hitless in four at bats, but a couple of the balls were tagged hard.

Myworld got a chance to watch Victor Robles play. He also went hitless and did not do anything to make me think of him as a super prospect. He was playing left field in deference to Michael Taylor, ran a long way, reaching out for a ball and taking it away from Michael Taylor, who appeared to have settled underneath it. Robles will have to learn to yield to a centerfielder if his ultimate position is a corner outfield.

Yadiel Hernandez was playing right field. He is a 29 year old Cuban defector. His bat has been hot, hitting .413 since July 8. Hernandez is hitting .287 with 8 homeruns and a .372 OBA. If the Nationals have room on their 40 man roster he could get a September callup, if they need outfielders.

Orioles Rout Tigers with Five Taters

Sunday, August 6th, 2017

The two starting pitchers were Ubaldo Jimenez for the Orioles and Anibal Sanchez for the Tigers, two pitchers who came into this game with ERAs over 6.00. Myworld expected a lot of runs to be scored. It was the Orioles who scored the runs in their 12-3 rout of the Tigers. The Tigers wasted their opportunities.

It was not a good start for Sanchez. In the first inning he gave up back to back to back homeruns to Jonathan Schoop, Chris Davis and Trey Mancini to fall behind 4-0. His fastball does not have any zip to it and when it is not located well hitters can get the barrel of the bat on the ball.

In the second inning Joey Ricard led off the inning with a single to center. He stole second, advancing to third when the throw from John Hicks sailed into centerfield. Down 4-0 the Tigers chose to play the infield in. Manny Machado drove a pitch that hit the base of the fence for an RBI double, his second hit of the day. Manny had started the first inning rally with an opposite field single to right.

The Orioles knocked Sanchez out of the game in the fourth. Joey Rickard led the inning off poking one down the left field corner. It flew just inside the foul pole and bounced against a seat four or five rows in, rebounding back to the field. Adam Jones grounded a single past the diving Dixon Machado at short. Manny Machado finished the day for Sanchez by blasting a pitch into centerfield just to the left of the bullpen for a two run shot to make it 8-0.

Ubaldo held the Tigers scoreless but he did not pitch well. He left seven runners on in the first four innings, which would have been one more if Dixon Machado had not grounded into a double play. He finally gave up a run in the fifth inning when Nicholas Castellanos blasted one into left centerfield just to the right of the bullpen. After putting two runners on in the sixth Ubaldo was gone.

The Orioles piled it on in the eighth with a four spot. Caleb Joseph got the inning started blooping a double to right field. An infield single by Rickard after a diving stop by Castellanos and a single to left by Adam Jones loaded the bases off reliever Chad Bell. Manny Machado sent Bell to the showers bouncing a single past his namesake Dixon for a two run single. A ground out by Chris Davis scored a third run and a Trey Mancini single off the right field scoreboard made it 12-1.

The Orioles brought out Donnie Hart to finish the game. The Tigers were able to string three hits together to score two runs to make it 12-3.

Game Notes: Some fan can say that he got a homerun ball sitting in the upper deck in left field. Myworld is not aware of any hit reaching the upper deck. When Nick Castellanos homered into left centerfield the fan who caught the ball threw it back on the field. Adam Jones picked it up, then threw it into the upper deck of left field…Tim Beckham made some impressive plays at short. The former number one pick in the draft a number of years ago now seems to be maturing, turning into a decent ballplayer. The Orioles traded for him to play short while J.J. Hardy is on the disabled list. Once Hardy gets healthy it will be difficult to see him back at short…Dixon Machado also played some nice defense at short. He has also got his batting average over .300…Joe Jimenez did not impress in relief. He has a mid-90s fastball but the Oriole bats had no problem making contact against it…The Tigers collected 14 hits and stranded 12 runners on base…Myworld predicted Manny would get hot after watching him with a more balanced swing in the first Sunday home game after the All Star break. His four hits was a triple short of the cycle and increased his batting average to .257. Expect that batting average to keep rising.

Mancini Leads O’s Over Astros; Britton Breaks AL Save Record

Monday, July 24th, 2017

Myworld could only stay for the first five innings of the Orioles 9-7 win over the Astros. A volleyball camp caused our early departure. The Orioles were ahead 6-3 when we left, Trey Mancini getting two clutch two out hits to drive in runs. The Astros did roar back to take the lead in the sixth but the Orioles scored two in the eighth for the win. Zach Britton came on in the ninth to get his first save since April but his 55th consecutive save to break an AL record.

Neither Lance MuCullers or Dylan Bundy pitched well in the game. McCullers was wild with his 96 mile per hour fastball zipping away from the plate. In the first inning he was bailed out of a big inning by a ground out double play, one of four for the Orioles. In the second inning Chris Davis pushed a single into left field, past where the third baseman should have been, but with the shift Bregman was at the shortstop position. McCullers hit Mancini, walked Caleb Joseph and then hit Hyun-Soo Kim to force in a run. Reben Tejeda grounded into the first of his two double plays allowing the second run to score. Adam Jones slapped the second of his four hits to the right side to score the third run.

Bundy couldn’t hold the lead. Nori Aoki hit a ball over the head of Mark Trumbo that bounced into the bleachers. It was a ball a good right fielder may have caught. Jake Marisnick bunted a ball down the third base line. Machado tried to make the bare hand pick up but it slipped out of his hand. Jose Altuve tied the game by taking the first pitch from Bundy into the left field bleachers.

In the third Trey Mancini got the first of his two clutch hits. Jonathan Schoop started the inning with a double. Two ground ball outs moved him to third. Mancini lined a single into right center to give the O’s a 4-3 lead.

They extended the lead in the fifth. Jonathan Schoop hit another single down the left field line, but another fine defensive play by Aoki prevented the hit from being a double. Trumbo lined a ball down the left field line that even Aoki could not cut off and it rolled into the corner for a double. Chris Davis drove a pitch deep to center but Marisnick made the catch despite crashing into the fence. Schoop tagged up and scored, with Trumbo advancing to third. Trey Mancini lined a double over the head of Reddick to give the O’s a 6-3 lead.

After myworld departed the Astros exploded for four runs to take a 7-6 lead. Aoki hit a three run homer to tie it and later in the inning Reddick hit a sacrifice fly to give the Astros the lead. Bundy was tagged for all seven runs, continuing the struggles of the Orioles starting pitching.

The Orioles tied it in the seventh on a Mark Trumbo solo shot. They took the lead for good in the eighth by scoring two. Tejeda made amends for spoiling rallies by grounding into two double plays by hitting a one out double. Jones fourth hit of the game advanced him to third where he scored on a sacrifice fly by Machado. Schoop drove in Jones with a single.

Zack Britton came on in the ninth to get the save, his first since April but his 55th consecutive save to break the AL record. Tom Gordon had the AL mark. Eric Gagne has the overall mark with 84, still a long trek for Britton to go.

Game Notes: Nori Aoki showed why he is a solid defensive outfielder, racing down the left field line to prevent Schoop from getting two doubles. He also carried some thunder in his bat, hitting his second homerun and also contributing a ground rule double and single. That will keep Derek Fisher stabilized in the minor leagues until September…Last time myworld watched Machado hit he seemed off balance with his swing. Even though he went 0 for 3 today he seemed more balanced. Expect a hot streak from him soon…Davis beat the shift in the second by pushing a single down the third base line. The shift beat him in the third when he lined a pitch into short right field, with Altuve taking it on one hop and throwing him out at first…Marwin Gonzalez looks very smooth at shortstop. If not for Correa he could fill the starting shortstop position. Over the long haul maybe he shows his defensive weaknesses, but myworld saw some good hands…Trumbo made two poor defensive plays in centerfield, turning two potential outs into doubles. Only one of those runs scored. Ruben Tejeda threw Altuve out at home as he broke on contact on a ground ball with one out to prevent one of the misplays from scoring…A disappointing attendance of 21,533 to watch the best team in the American League play. Perhaps Oriole fans have given up on this season.

Quintessential Quintana Quiets O’s Bats in Cubs Debut

Sunday, July 16th, 2017

Jose Quintana did give up three hits in his seven innings of work, so he was not perfect. He was close striking out a season high 12 in the Cubs 8-0 win over the free falling Orioles. The Orioles did get a runner to third in the fourth inning when Adam Jones led off the inning with a double, but after advancing to third with one out Jose got Jonathan Schoop and Mark Trumbo to strike out to preserve the shutout.

The bad Ubaldo Jimenez showed up for this game. Myworld does not know how much longer the Orioles can tolerate the bad Ubaldo. His downfall came in the second when Wilson Contreras, Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ hit back to back to back doubles into left center, all of varying heights, but rolling or bouncing against the left centerfield wall. Jason Heyward made it four hits in a row driving in the third run with a single. Ben Zobrist drove in Heyward with a two out single and the Cubs had staked Quintana out to a 4-0 lead.

In the fourth Kris Bryant sent a bullet into the left centerfield seats for a two run homer to give the Cubs a 6-0 lead. After Wilson Contreras got his third hit of the game, lining a pitch off Jimenez, Buck was out to the mound almost as quickly as the ball Bryant sent to the bleachers in left center to remove Ubaldo. There were some boos from the few Oriole fans who were at the game.

A bevy of Orioles relievers shut the Cubs out until the ninth. Anthony Rizzo rifled a pitch from Darren O’Day into the right field bleachers to make the game 8-0. The Orioles had no chance. Other than Jones advancing to third in the fourth inning they did not advance a runner past first base in the remaining eight innings. It was a sweep for the Cubs with only one of the three games close.

Game Notes: Zach Britton came into the game in the eighth to pitch. The Orioles have been on the loss side in so many games that Buck has not had a lot of opportunity to pitch Britton. His fastball hit 96. The Orioles have said that Britton is available on the trade market…Jon Jay hustled from first to third on a ground ball in front of the plate. He later scored on the Bryant homerun…Johnny Giavotella did not show a strong arm on a double play pivot throw to second…Joey Rickard showed a strong arm from right field, throwing Wilson Contreras out at home on a tag up attempt…Jose Quintana struck out the side in the sixth inning, three of his 12 whiffs. He was hitting 94 with his fastball, good velocity for a lefthander…Wilson Contreras had a career high four hits in the game. He has raised his average to .278. He has started hitting after the departure of Miguel Montero…Only 31,000 were in attendance, most of them Cub fans. The Oriole fans were soured by the higher ticket prices being charged for the Cubs and the Orioles collapse in the month of June (12-16). In six of those 16 losses the opponents have scored 10 or more runs. July has also been unkind to the O’s (3-9). The Orioles are now seven games under .500.

2017 Top Ten Prospects from Venezuela - American League

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 2016 Venezuelan prospects in the American League

Machado and Gausman Lead O’s Over Rays

Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

Two players who have not contributed much to the Orioles 2017 season played big roles in the Orioles 7-1 win over the Rays. Manny Machado slugged a three run homer in the third to increase the Orioles lead to 4-0. Kevin Gausman pitched seven innings of shutout ball, allowing just two hits and striking out 9 to lower his ERA to 5.61.

As well as Gausman was pitching the Rays did not have a chance. The fastballs were coming in at 95-98 and the breaking pitches were creating swings and misses. Kevin did not give up his first hit until the fourth inning when Logan Morrison lined a single to right field into the shift. Morrison was the first baserunner when he walked in the second inning. The Rays only had two other baserunners off Gausman in his seven innings of work.

The Rays started Alex Cobb. He didn’t pitch too badly all allowing just three hits in his first six innings. Unfortunately, two of those hits were served into the left field bleachers. He also gave up three hits in the seventh to end his day and notch two more runs against his ERA.

Caleb Joseph started the third inning getting the first hit off Cobb, a lined single into right. The next pitch by Cobb hit Ruben Tejeda setting up a sacrifice bunt by Joey Rickard. Seth Smith grounded a pitch back to Cobb. Alex turned to look Joseph back to third turned and threw the ball two feet over the head of the first baseman Logan Morrison to score Joseph. Upset with the error his second pitch to Manny Machado was driven on a line into the left field bleachers to give the Orioles a 4-0 lead.

In the fourth inning Mark Trumbo led off the fifth inning with a homerun. The Orioles would add two more in the seventh after back to back singles by Caleb Joseph and Ruben Tejeda. A Seth Smith double over the head of Mallex Smith in center scored the two runs to end the day for Cobb.

Jesus Sucre provided the only run for Tampa. He blasted the fourth pitch from reliever Mychal Givens into the second row of the left field bleachers in the eighth inning to ruin the shutout. That would be the end of the scoring for Tampa.

Game Notes: International signings are beginning. Myworld is confident the Orioles will not make any news with signings. In our international travels we have seen O’s scouts so it is not because they are not trying. Perhaps they do not see the benefit in spending millions of dollars on 16 year olds. Myworld will take a look at the top 30 international prospects from 2010 to see where they are now. The O’s traded some of their international bonus slots to the Yankees and Dodgers for fringe prospects who have options and can pitch in AAA…The O’s do what they do best optioning Alex Asher to AAA after he pitched yesterday and bringing up Jimmy Yacabonis for a fresh arm in the bullpen…Tim Beckham looks pretty good at shortstop. He was giving recently acquired Adeiny Hechavarria a break…Only the Cincinnati Reds have a worse ERA from their starting pitchers (6.17) than the Nationals (5.62). The Orioles starting pitchers lead all other major league team’s starting pitchers in walks with 189.

Future Games Rosters Selected

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

The futures game is played before the All Star team and features the best prospects outside of the United States against the best prospects inside the United States. The game is scheduled for July 9. Below are the rosters of the two teams.

World Team

Pitchers

Domingo Acevedo (Dom Rep/Yankees), Yadier Alvarez (Cuba/Dodgers), Jaime Barria (Panama/Angels), Luis Escobar (Colombia/Pirates), Tayron Guerrero (Colombia/Marlins), Jonathan Hernandez (Dominican Republic/Rangers), Jairo Labourt (Dom Rep/Tigers), Cal Quantrill (Canada/Padres), Mike Soroka (Canada/Braves), Thyago Vieira (Brazil/Mariners)

Catchers

Tomas Nido (Puerto Rico/Mets), Francisco Mejia (Dom Rep/Indians)

Infielders

Yordan Alvarez (Cuba/Astros), Josh Naylor (Canada/Padres), Yoan Moncada (Cuba/White Sox), Mauricio Dubon (Honduras/Brewers), Lucius Fox (Bahamas/Rays), Ahmed Rosario (Dom Rep/Mets), Rafael Devers (Dom Rep/Red Sox), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Dom Rep/Blue Jays)

Outfielders

Ronald Acuna (Venezuela/Braves), Estevan Florial (Haiti/Yankees), Eloy Jimenez (Dom Rep/Cubs), Victor Robles (Dom Rep/Nationals), Alex Verdugo (Mexico/Dodgers)

United States team

Beau Burrows (Tigers), Jon Duplantier (Diamondbacks), Jack Flaherty (Cardinals), Foster Griffen (Royals), Jimmy Hegert (Reds), Brent Honeywell (Rays), Michael Kopech (White Sox), Triston McKenzie (Indians), A.J. Puk (Athletics), Tanner Scott (Orioles)

Catcher

Zack Collins (White Sox), Chance Sisco (Orioles)

Infielders

Rhys Hoskins (Phillies), Ryan McMahon (2B/3B) Rockies, Scott Kingery (Phillies), Bo Bichette (Blue Jays/Brazil), Nick Gordon (Twins), Brendan Rodgers (Rockies), Brian Anderson (Marlins), Nick Senzel (Reds)

Outfielders

Lewis Brinson (Twins), Derek Fisher (Astros), Corey Ray (Brewers), Bryan Reynolds (Giants), Kyle Tucker (Astros)

Shooting Da Bull in Durham

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

Myworld was in Durham for a four game series with the Norfolk Tides. It has been a couple years since we’ve been in Durham. For this trip we noticed some real development and construction happening in the city. Even with the textile and tobacco industry decimated Durham is able to survive. The stadium is probably the best in baseball with its blue wall reminding me of Fenway. No one hit the bull that stands next to the left field foul pole promising steaks to those players who hit the bull and salads to players who strike the grass below the bull. When a Durham player hits a homerun or after a Bull win the bulls eyes turn red and smoke billows from its nose. It is a beautiful ball park worth visiting.

The Norfolk Tides and Durham Bulls split the series. The Tides won the first and last games in routs when the Bull starting pitching faltered. The Bulls won the second and third games. Some of my thoughts on the series:

There was a little bit of rain that fell for all four games. The first game was delayed five minutes while they put on the tarp, only to be removed shortly afterward when the rain stopped after the tarp was put on the field. There was a five minute delay as they rolled the tarp back off the field. There is a covering in the upper decks where fans can go to escape to watch the games, provided there are seats available. In Durham it can get hot and humid so fans are on the ceiling ready to spin to keep you cool.

Brent Honeywell was not effective in his one start. He hit 94 on the radar but he did not last past the third inning giving up six runs.

Willy Adames is a smooth fielding shortstop. He made a number of quantity defensive plays. His one error was on a throw. His bat did not impress in the four games we watched.

Wilson Ramos started all four games, one of them at DH. He went deep once in the last game, the only Bull homerun in the four game series. He may be one of the slowest runners in major league baseball. Expect him to be with the Rays soon.

Johnny Field is another defensive specialist. He makes the diving catch look routine. The big question for him is whether he will have enough bat to play. His legs do not have stolen base speed so his bat needs to hit .270 or plus to be a starter. Myworld did not see a lot of power, but he does have six homeruns. Fields reminded me of Kevin Kiermaier. With the improvements of defensive analytics his glove will play.

Jesus Montero is a big boy that needs to watch his weight. He does not do a lot of running in pregame warmups, but does talk a lot. He is battling to stay over .100. The Braves released him and his bat is not producing with the Orioles. In his two games with the Tides he was 0 for 8 though one of those hits was a diving catch by Johnny Field. If his bat does not play there is not a lot he can offer a major league team.

Chance Sisco is about the only Tide prospect with a chance to make a major impact with the Orioles. The Orioles like to have a bunch of optionable relievers on their AAA staff that they can bring up and down to give the major league team a 10 man bullpen, but none of the arms impressed myworld. What we saw were a bevy of back end or middle relievers.

Ryan Yarbrough pitched well. His fastball doesn’t get past 92 but for a lefty he gets a lot of swings and misses. The Rays acquired him in the Drew Smyly trade from the Mariners. At 6′5″ he does provide a big plane when coming down on the hitters.

Mike Yastrzemski forgot the number of outs after one catch, pausing to run into the dugout as if he had made the third out and allowing a runner to tag and advance to third. His grandfather Carl never would have done that. His lack of tools will make him a fourth outfielder at best in the major leagues.

Blake Snell looked sharp in his outing hitting 95 on the gun and getting lots of swings and misses, especially with his breaking pitch. In his six innings of work the only run he allowed was a solo homerun by Francisco Pena in the sixth.

Brad Boxberger did not look sharp in a rehab relief appearance. He walked four batters in one inning retiring only two hitters.