Archive for the 'Orioles' Category

Seawolves Down Bay Sox

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

Myworld went to our first minor league game. Matt Manning was the attraction. He went 4.2 solid innings, being taken out in the fifth because of his pitch count. He has plenty of swing and miss with his pitches, striking out eight. The Erie Seawolves romped over the last place Bowie Bay Sox 8-3.

Veteran minor leaguer Ademar Rifaela was the biggest nemesis for Manning. After Manning walked Yusniel Diaz, Ademar ripped a double down the first base line. Diaz was able to motor home from first. In the fourth Ademar blasted one into right center for a double. He scored on a Jesmeul Velentin single.

Marcus Molina got the start for the Bay Sox. He was at one time a top ten prospect for the Mets. They let him go midway through the 2018 season. A couple weeks later he was suspended for the remainder of the season for a performance enhancing drug violation. He retired the first six hitters he faced, three of them on whiffs. The Seawolves raked him in the third with a walk, three singles and a sacrifice fly to score two.

A four hit inning in the sixth to score three broke a 2-2 tie and put the game out of reach. Chance Numata led the Seawolves with three RBIs. He hit a two run single in the sixth and contributed a sacrifice fly in the eighth.

Myworld is impressed with the quick bat of Yusniel Diaz. He also showed some speed on the bases and a strong arm in right field. Sergio Alcantara showed a smooth glove at short. There is some question whether he will hit, but there is no doubt of his defensive qualities. He forced Isaac Paredes to move to third. Matt Manning shoed the ability to get a lot of swings and misses. Didn’t really see too much of his curveball.

Rosenthal versus Davis; Matter/Anti Matter

Monday, April 8th, 2019

What would the result be if Trevor Rosenthal of the Nationals faced Chris Davis of the Orioles. It kind of reminds me of a Star Trek episode where two identical people from different universes could not come into contact with each other otherwise the world would explode. A sci fi matter/antimatter thing that goes beyond my intellect.

For those of you not paying attention Trevor Rosenthal has faced 9 batters this season. He has given up hits to four of them, walked four and hit a batter. That is an ERA of infinity and a WHIP that is also not calculable. The last pitcher to allow the first 9 hitters to reach base was John Hope, who did it in 1995. His career was not too memorable. Rosenthal did not pitch last year after Tommy John surgery so he could be a bit rusty after having a year off.

Chris Davis as a hitter this year has gone 0 for 23 with 13 whiffs. He has walked four times and driven in two runs so at least there has been some positives in his at bats. The previous year he did not get a hit in his last 21 at bats. Tony Bernazard holds the record for most hitless plate appearances with 57 (1974). Eugenio Velez holds the record for most consecutive at bats without a hit at 46 (2010-2011). Velez ended his major league career without getting that hit so the record stopped at 46 by default.

Since Trevor Rosenthal can not find the plate and Chris Davis is patient enough to take a walk the result would probably end in a walk. But if we took that result away as a possibility who would win this battle? The universe would probably not survive to find that question out.

Sanchez Mashes Three; Yankees Maul O’s

Sunday, April 7th, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AL East Predictions

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

1. New York Yankees

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

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

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

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

2. Boston Red Sox

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

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

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

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

3. Tampa Bay Rays

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

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

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

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

4. Toronto Blue Jays

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

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

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

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

5. Baltimore Orioles

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

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

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

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

Top 100 - 60-51

Thursday, March 14th, 2019

Back to finishing our Top 100 prospects.

60. Gavin Lux SS/2B (Dodgers) - Gavin was a 2016 first round pick. He looked like a bust after a disappointing 2017 season when he hit just .244 with a .693 OPS. Last year he broke out with a .324 average and a .913 OPS. He has speed, can hit for power and average and has the tools to play shortstop. One area he needs to work on is his consistency in the field, with 27 errors in 92 games an unacceptable rate for a major league shortstop. Second or third base may be his ultimate position with Corey Seager set at short. He should start the 2019 season in AA where the Dodgers could call him up if Seager is unable to perform again for long periods of the season.

59. Vidal Brujan 2B (Rays) - The Rays are always looking for a bargain and they got one with Brujan, signing him for just $15,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2014. Speed and the ability to make contact are the ingredients he brings to the game. Last year he stole 55 bases with a 63/68 walk to whiff ratio. It was also his first year of full season ball where he showed a little pop with nine homeruns. His combined average at Low A and High A was .320 with a .403 OBA. With his ability to steal bases and to get on base Vidal would make an ideal leadoff hitter. His defense is gold glove quality at second base and he has the tools to play shortstop, but the Rays are a bit stacked there. Next year he should start the season in High A where he hit .347, slugging .582 in just 27 games.

58. Leody Taveras OF (Rangers) - The bat will determine whether the Dominican becomes a fourth outfielder or a quality major leaguer. His glove is gold but the bat is far from silver. Last year he hit just .246 with very little power (.332 slugging). That could allow him to start in centerfield and hit in the ninth spot but a better bat with less of a glove could be preferred. He does have the speed to steal bases and the age he plays in is usually young for the league so there is possible development in his future as he catches up to the league. Leody will start next season in AA where he could get a callup if the Rangers need help in centerfield, but the Rangers would prefer the bat to play.

57. Dustin May RHP (Dodgers) - Dustin was drafted two rounds behind Lux in the 2016 draft. Last year his fastball was consistently in the mid-90s and at 6′6″ that is a tough pitch to hit. His secondary pitches are plus with a cutter that gets a lot of ground ball outs. In six starts at AA he limited the opposition to a .209 average. A 29/122 walk to whiff ratio shows his ability to throw strikes. Dustin should start the season in AA where he would be a phone call away from major league action. The Dodgers had success last year with Walker Buehler so calling up another rookie to impact the rotation would be something they would not hesitate to do. Clayton Kershaw cannot stay young forever.

56. Danny Jansen C (Blue Jays) - Danny has come a long way since being drafted in the 16th round in 2013. Last year he made his major league debut, setting the stage for the Blue Jays to make him their starting catcher in 2019 as they rebuild for a run in 2021. His bat should hit for double digit power with a batting average around .270. He makes steady contact with a 44/49 walk to whiff ratio. While his defense has improved he is still a below average catcher who may have trouble stopping a run game. He should start the season as the Blue Jays starting catcher in 2019 and the Blue Jays will have to hope his defense plays.

55. Brusder Graterol RHP (Twins) - The Venezuelan may only stand 6′1″ but his fastball blazes across the plate in the high 90s. He also has a plus slider that will get its share of swings and misses. Last year he limited the opposition to a .234 average reaching High A. Brusdar needs more work to improve on his changeup, which would make his fastball that much more deadly. His velocity comes with solid control, a 28/107 walk to whiff ratio showing he can find the plate. The 2019 season could see him start the season in AA if he has a good spring.

54. Alec Bohm 3B (Phillies) - The Phillies inability to sign Manny Machado leaves the future of third base in the hands of Bohm. The 2018 first round pick has big time pop, despite the absence of any homeruns last year in over 150 at bats. His ability to draw a walk and make quality contact should result in averages bordering .300. There is still some concern that his 6′5″ height could result in a move to first, where his overall value could take a hit. Next year Alec should start his season in Low A where his power numbers should improve. If his bat produces he should advance quickly.

53. Jarred Kelenic OF (Mariners) - The Mets first round pick in 2018 was included in a trade to the Mariners for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. Jarred has all the tools to be a quality major leaguer. He has good speed, an arm that could fit in right and the power to hit 20 plus homeruns. The big question is whether the bat will make enough contact for him to hit for a decent average. A tendency to swing and miss may leave his average in the neighborhood of the .250s. The Mariners should start him in Low A for 2019.

52. Nolan Gorman 3B (Cardinals) - Nolan is the Cardinals first round pick for 2018. He impressed right away with his ability to hit for power, mashing 17 homeruns and rising all the way to Low A in his professional debut. The Cardinals hope his defense gets more fluid so he can stick at third. A lack of speed makes moving to the outfield detrimental and his value decreases with a move to first. You know the bat is scary when pitchers walk him 34 times in 64 games. A repeat of Low A where he hit only .202 would be a good place for him.

51. Yusniel Diaz OF (Orioles) - The Orioles acquired the Cuban from the Dodgers in the Manny Machado trade. Perhaps he was a little disappointed leaving Los Angeles because his bat seemed a little vanilla with Bowie, hitting .239. He had a 41/39 walk to whiff ratio in the Southern League but that collapsed to 18/28 in the Eastern League. If he can control the strike zone he should hit in the .300s, but if he gets lazy the bat could disappoint. Yusniel did hit a couple homeruns in the Futures Game. Don’t be surprised to see him on the major league roster after April, provided the bat is producing. The strong arm will fit him in right field.

Top 100 Prospects 80-71

Friday, March 1st, 2019

This ten is loaded with righthanded pitching.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 100 Prospects - 90-81

Tuesday, February 26th, 2019

The next wave of top 100 prospects, with right handed pitchers dominating the mix.

90. D.L. Hall LHP (Orioles) - The Orioles 2017 first round pick has a good fastball for a lefthander, riding the plate at 92-94 with an occasional mid-90s heat. What makes the fastball more effective is his lefthanded movement. It is difficult to make hard contact with his pitches, as evidence by the opposition’s .203 batting average against him. A good curveball and change give him the requisite pitches to fit in the starting rotation. He does need to throw more strikes, last year walking 42 hitters in just 94 innings. That may come with more experience. Next year he should begin the season in High A with a promotion to AA if he achieves success.

89. Trevor Larnach OF (Twins) - The Twins 2018 first round pick played for the 2018 College World Series champion Oregon State. His bat had a break out in power for his junior year, elevating his draft status. That continued into his 2018 minor league season when he hit five homeruns for a .500 slugging average. The bat needs to work because his defense in the outfield is average to below. His arm and speed are best suited for left field, so a high average and 20 plus homeruns are imperative. His 21/28 walk to whiff ratio were also very impressive. Expect him to rise quickly through the ranks, starting at Low A where he finished last year and rising quickly to AA if he achieves success.

88. Dane Dunning RHP (White Sox) - The Nationals traded Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dunning to the White Sox for Adam Eaton. That may be a trade they will regret when all three pitchers are in the White Sox rotation. Dunning was the Nationals 2016 first round pick. He had problems with his elbow last year, which caused him to miss a couple months. That will be something that needs to be watched. Dane throws in the low 90s with his sinker and then mixes in a slider, curve and change. Since he is not overpowering he will need all four pitches to be effective at the major league level. Last year he achieved 15 starts, striking out over ten hitters per nine innings. He should start the 2019 season in AA with the possibility of getting a major league callup mid-season if his elbow holds up.

87. Brady Singer RHP (Royals) - Brady was the Royals top pick in the 2018 draft and was expected to be picked higher than the 18th pick. Last year a minor hamstring injury prevented him from pitching the 2018 season. He also had thrown a number of innings for the Florida Gators. He will break out his low 90s fastball/slider combination probably in the Low A affiliates to start the 2019 season. He showed good command when pitching in college and needing a third pitch (change) was not often necessary so how that translates to professional hitters will be key. If he has success Brady will be a fast riser up the minor league ladder, hitting AA before the season ends. Brady was originally a second round pick of the Jays out of high school but did not sign after a post draft physical turned up some issues. Credit to Brady for staying healthy and raising his stock while pitching for the Gators.

86. Bryse Wilson RHP (Braves) - Bryse rose quickly in the Braves system, starting in High A and ending the season with the Braves. The fourth round 2016 pick stands only 6′1′ but his fastball can reach the plate north of the mid-90s. It sits at 93-94 with plenty of dance. The lack of a quality secondary pitch and his 6′1″ frame could relegate him to the bullpen. Last year major leaguers ripped him at a .308 clip. Minor leaguers could only hit .236. One thing going for him is his excellent command of his fastball, so if his secondary pitches improve he could slot into a third spot in the rotation. A good spring could see him slot in the fifth spot in 2019 but he has a lot of competition with Touki Touissant the favorite to win the spot. Myworld sees him starting the season in AAA.

85. Tyler O’Neil OF (Cardinals) - Tyler is the son of a Canadian weightlifter. Tyler has taken after his dad and is pretty bulked up as well. The Mariners traded him to the Cardinals despite his massive power displays. He regularly hits over 20 homeruns in the minor leagues, last year slugging 26 with an impressive .693 slugging percentage. Many of his shots are of the tape measure variety. When promoted to the Cardinals he continued his power display with nine more homeruns. Power will be his game though he has enough speed to play a quality outfield and the arm to fit in right. Last year in the major leagues he struck out 57 times in 137 at bats, which could result in a low batting average. Next year he should be the Cardinals starting right fielder. Homerun titles could be in his future

84. Julio Pablo Martinez OF (Rangers) - The Rangers spent $2.8 million to sign the Cuban in 2018. At 22 years of age he may have been a bit advanced for the Dominican Summer and Northwest Leagues. The best tool for Julio will be his speed, which will allow him to steal bases and patrol centerfield. He did show some power last year with 9 homeruns and a .457 slugging average, but that may decrease as he faces better pitching at the higher levels. His arm is a better fit for left field. The big test for Julio will be next year when he plays in the full season leagues. He could rise quickly if he can show success at each level he plays.

83. Garrett Hampson 2B/SS (Rockies) - This third round 2016 pick is a scrappy player who always sits north of .300 after the season ends. His tools are not overwhelming but he gets the job done. Not great power, an arm geared more towards second base but he sprays the gaps and his speed turns singles into doubles. His best use for the Rockies could be as a Marwin Gonzalez super utility player. Last year he hit .311 at two minor league stops. Promoted to the major leagues he hit a respectable .275. Brendan Rodgers is the heir apparent at second, third is taken by Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story is fixed at short. That leaves Garrett with no permanent position unless he moves his skills to the outfield.

82. Michel Baez RHP (Padres) - This Cuban stands 6′8″ with a fastball that trips across the plate in the high 90s. His big challenges are finding the plate and finding a pitch to get lefthanded hitters out. In four AA starts lefthanded hitters battered him at a .348 clip. He did have some success at High A with a 2.91 ERA and .229 opposition average, but lefthanders still tagged him for a .260 clip. The Padres have a lot of candidates for their starting rotation so if his control is still spotty and his third pitch still a puzzle he could be moved to the bullpen. His fastball has closer potential. His best bet is to repeat AA to find some success but a major league callup is on the horizon.

81. Luiz Gohara LHP (Braves) - The Mariners signed him out of Brazil, then traded him to the Braves for Mallex Smith and Shae Simmons. When you read that his fastball hits triple digits in velocity you wonder why the Mariners gave him away so cheaply. Then you see his 265 pound weight on his 6′3″ frame and the light clicks on, Last year his triple digit fastball dropped to the low to mid-90s resulting in a 4.81 ERA. The Braves gave him an opportunity in their bullpen but he struggled with a 5.95 ERA. The development of a third pitch will determine if he stays in the starting rotation or is relegated to the bullpen. The Braves would like to see the juice return to his fastball for the 2019 season.

Orioles Start from Scratch

Friday, December 28th, 2018

The Orioles had a nice run in the AL east in the even numbered years from 2012 to 2016, winning the AL East once and capturing two wild card appearances. Most experts did not expect an Oriole playoff run in those years but they surprised using defense and power bats to make the playoffs. For the 2018 season the Orioles expected to make the playoffs. They finished with a franchise record number of losses instead.

Their farm systems have not been bad over the years, appearing in the top ten from 2008 to 2010 and also in 2014. Some of the players that graduated to the major leagues were Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold, Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, Zach Britton and Jake Arrieta and from 2014 Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gaussman, Eduardo Rodriguez and Jonathan Schoop. Manny Machado made his Top100 appearance in 2011. Last year the Top 100 prospects from the Orioles were Ryan Mountcastle, Chance Sisco and Austin Hays. They later traded for the Dodgers Yusniel Diaz and the Brewers Luis Ortiz.

The outfield appears to be the Orioles strength. It starts with the Cuban Yusniel Diaz, who was one of the players the Orioles acquired for Manny Machado. The Dodgers signed him for $15.5 million in their multiple attempts to sign Cuban prospects for bucket loads of cash to build their farm system. Diaz struggled at Bowie and did not look like the super star that hit .314 at Tulsa. He seemed disinterested in playing out the season, or perhaps that is his style of play. It would be nice if someone could light a fire under him to get him motivated. He has the arm for right field and rumor has it that he has the bat, but myworld did not see much of it in 2019 at Bowie.

Austin Hays was one of the surprise prospects from 2017 who took a stumble last year. The third round 2016 pick slugged 33 homeruns in 2017 and was expected to win the right field job in 2018. A poor spring and injuries limited him to 75 games last year. He seemed to recover his batting stroke toward the end of the season last year and with an outfield absent of talent could make the Orioles roster in 2019. While he can play center he is built more for right, lacking the real burner speed to cover a lot of ground.

D.J. Stewart was a first round pick in 2015. Myworld thought he was a bust but he did get a major league promotion last year. His defense and arm limit him to left field but he has not shown the power or the consistent stroke to justify his poor glove. Last year he hit only .235 with 12 homeruns, slugging only .387. The Orioles must see something in him that escapes my eyes.

Ryan McKenna did an Austin Hays impression last year, coming out of nowhere as a 2015 fourth round pick to hit .377 with a .556 slugging in High A. Next year should prove whether that was a mirage. When promoted to Bowie the bat seemed light as he hit just .239 with a .338 slugging. He showed solid defense in center getting great jumps on balls, but like Hays and Diaz he lacks burner speed. It would be better if he could hit .377 to justify having him play center rather than .250 with just slightly above average centerfield capabilities.

Don’t know where Ryan Mountcastle will play on defense. Last year he played third but his lob throws to first will not hack it in the major leagues. His best position may be DH but a move to first, second or left field are in his future. Fortunately for Ryan he has the bat to stay in a lineup with a potential for 20 plus homeruns a year and hitting in the neighborhood of .300 or plus.

The Orioles have always had trouble keeping pitchers healthy to meet their full potential. Their first round pick in 2013 Hunter Harvey is exhibit A. The son of Bryan has had trouble staying healthy, plagued by arm problems that have limited him to just less than 20 innings from 2015 to 2017. Myworld witnessed his last start of his 2019 season where he got lit up for nine runs in just two innings. At least in 2018 he pitched 32 innings. Hunter still has the stuff with a fastball that can hit the mid-90s with a plus curveball. Whether he can avoid arm injuries is the million dollar question.

D.L. Hall and Grayson Rodriguez are the Orioles next shiny ornaments and the hope is to keep them healthy. Hall was drafted in the first round of the 2017 draft. The lefthander has a nice fastball that touches the mid-90s. Last year he finished with a 2.10 ERA in 20 starts with an opponent average of just .203. That is a big improvement over his 2017 struggles (6.97 ERA). Finding the strike zone will improve his numbers. Rodriguez is a big, burly righthander at 6′5″ with the potential to fill the top of a rotation. His fastball hits consistently in the low to mid-90s and his slider produces a lot of ground balls. In eight starts he finished with a 1.40 ERA, preventing any hitter from carrying a ball over the fence.

Luis Ortiz and Dillon Tate were trade acquisitions that were both first round picks by the Rangers. Tate was the fourth pick in 2015 and acquired from the Yankees for Zach Britton. The Yankees had acquired him from the Rangers for Carlos Beltran. Tate has fallen short of expectations for a fourth pick in the draft. Injuries have shortened a number of his seasons but he still has a hard fastball that hits the mid-90s with a plus slider and good command to fit in a rotation. He just needs to stay healthy for a full season. His seven starts at Bowie were disappointing with a 5.75 ERA and a .302 opposition average.

Ortiz was the star of the United States 18 and under team five years ago. The Orioles snagged him from the Brewers in the Jonathan Schoop trade. Conditioning has been his biggest challenge. His fastball is hard, hitting the mid-90s with a solid slider. He will not fill the box scores with strikeouts, giving up hard contact a little too often. Because he pitched at AAA last year he could fit in the Orioles rotation in 2019. Last year he made his major league debut and it was not pretty with a 15.43 ERA and a .500 opposition average in 2.1 innings.

Myworld likes Keegan Akin. The lefthander seemed to consistently hit 95 with his fastball and threw quality outings in most of his 25 starts. There was a lot of soft contact when he pitched (.225 opposition average) and a fair share of swings and misses. He will be a solid middle of the rotation starter.

The Australian Alex Wells was a big surprise. His brother pitches for the Twins. Alex does not have overpowering stuff but as a lefthander he commands his pitches well. He started out the season strong but faltered towards the end of the season, finishing with a 3.47 ERA and a .270 opposition average. His best bet is to be a situational lefty or pitch at the back end of a rotation.

Dean Kremer was another acquisition from the Dodgers in the Manny Machado trade. Myworld didn’t expect a lot from him being a 14th round pick in 2016, but he shined at Bowie, flashing above the mid-90s to produce a 2.58 ERA and .228 opposition average in eight starts. By mid 2019 he should be in the Orioles starting rotation.

With the worst record in baseball the Orioles used the first pick of the 2015 Rule V draft to select Richie Martin. The reports are that his glove work is not as stellar as it was when he was drafted in the first round by the Athletics in 2015, but at that time he failed to hit. Last year he found his bat hitting .300 with 25 stolen bases. Myworld expects him to compete for the starting shortstop job for the Orioles in 2019.

Myworld is not as high on shortstop Adam Hall, a second round pick in 2017. He did hit .293 last year at Aberdeen but there are questions about his bat. His speed allowed him to steal 22 bases but at best he is a number nine hitter who does not provide the spectacular defense to justify leaving his bat in the lineup. Perhaps with time that will change.

Orioles Still Working with that Confederate Money

Saturday, October 27th, 2018

When Syd Thrift was the general manager of the Orioles back in the early 2000s he had trouble signing free agents. He made the comment that these free agents were treating their offers “like we have Confederate money, it’s no good.” It was probably their futility in winning ball games that scared free agents away from Baltimore.

Cuban free agents are treating the Orioles international dollars as Confederate money now that Baltimore has chosen to compete in the international market. The Mesa brothers did not sign with them. And now Sandy Gaston a pitcher with a good fastball is another player who ignored the dollars the Orioles put in front of him, instead signing with the Rays for an estimated $2 million.

The Orioles now have an estimated $6 million in international cap money but there are no players out there for them to sign. All the top international players have already signed shortly after the July signing period with other major league teams. They had negotiated and agreed to many of those contracts prior to the Orioles even considering entering the international market place. In other words, the Orioles got into the market too late. They were hoping the six million would be enough to sign the Mesa brothers. It was not.

There is still Wang Po-Jung, the Taiwan superstar outfielder who is being posted by his team. The Orioles would be competing with the Japanese teams in addition to the major league teams for his service. And paying more than $2 million for him probably would not be wise. It’s not like the Orioles would be spending money given to them. It is still there money to spend that can be used elsewhere. But it is a market advantage that they will lose if they do not spend it.

The Orioles Lose Out to the Victors

Sunday, October 21st, 2018

There were two teams with the international bonus money competing for two Cuban prospects, Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Mesa Jr. They were the Orioles and the Marlins. The Marlins will have a press conference on Monday and it is expected that this press conference will announce the signings of the two Mesa brothers.

The Two Mesa brothers were considered to be a package duo, not unlike the Gurriel brothers when they defected from Cuba a couple years ago. The Mesa brothers are sons of a superstar in Cuban international baseball, who played for Cuba before there were defections, Victor Mesa, who also played with the father of the Gurriels, another superstar in Cuban baseball Lourdes Gurriel. They were dominant in winning international baseball events, but never really got the opportunity to play against major leaguers. Now their sons will get to show off their talents.

It may be too late for Yuli Gurriel, who shows he belongs in the major leagues but at 33 his time is short. His younger brother Lourdes looks to be a solid player. Now it will soon be the opportunity for the Mesa brothers to show off their skills.

Victor Victor Mesa is the oldest at 22 and the most talented of the two. It is rumored he will get a $5 million bonus. His younger brother Victor Mesa Jr. is only 17 and is not blessed with the skills of his older brother, but they could develop. He is expected to sign for a $1 million bonus. The father of the two couldn’t be prouder and now richer with their sons bonus money. You are not going to earn that amount of money playing baseball in Cuba.

Now that the Marlins have eaten up most of their international bonus money, the Orioles can focus on signing another Cuban prospect, Cuban righthanded pitcher Sandy Gaston. Gaston is a 6′0′ 17 year old with a fastball that can hit high 90s. The pitches are there but it will take him time to develop.