Archive for the 'Orioles' Category

Top First Base Prospects

Thursday, November 19th, 2020

Without a 2020 minor league season, ranking prospects has become difficult. Myworld did not attend any games this year, so how we rank is based on 2019 results and what we have read about the prospects progress in camps. Some of the first base prospects may now be playing prominent roles at other positions, but we still feel they will end up at first base.

1. Andrew Vaughn (White Sox) - The 2019 first round pick had a brief season last year, showing some pop with his six homeruns in 55 games. He hit .278 with a .449 slugging. Normally, those numbers would be short of the power many expect for first base. The expectation is that there will be so much more in the bat. His defense will not be at a gold glove level and his lack of speed prevents a move to the outfield. So the bat needs to work for him to succeed. Most say time will show that Vaughn will be a first class hitter. He showed he can make decent contact, with a 30/38 walk to whiff ratio in his 2019 minor league season. Vaughn should move quickly once he gets some at bats. Don’t be surprised that with a little success next year he will see some major league time towards the end of the season.

2. Spencer Torkelson (Tigers) - Spencer was the first pick in the 2020 draft. He has shown some power in college with 25 homeruns his freshman season at Arizona State. He followed that up with 23 in his sophomore year. Unfortunately his junior year was cut short, but he was off to a monster start. His big time power will fit at first base and he should have the ability to hit for average. He is a decent defensive player that the Tigers were talking about moving to third base. He should have enough arm to play the position. Spencer will start the season in a full season league. If there had been a 2020 season he would have probably reached High A before the season ended. Where he starts in 2021 will depend on his spring and how he looked at the camps. When given his opportunity Spencer should advance quickly. The right handed bat has power to both the left and right side.

3. Alex Kirilloff (Twins) - Normally scouts frown on first baseman that bat and throw right handed, as the top two players do. Alex is our first prospect that bats and throws lefthanded. He is also the third player from the Al Central. Alex played mostly the outfield last year, but the Twins also used him at first base. The 2016 first round pick could be an adequate corner outfielder, but he could also be an above average defensive first baseman. His power is good enough to hit 20 plus homeruns per year, but injuries have prevented him from playing full seasons. He missed all of 2017 because of Tommy John surgery and much of 2019 because of wrist injuries. There was no 2020 season for him to get injured, but that did not help his development. He does not have the power of Torkelson or Vaughn, but he has the potential to hit for a high average, if his 2018 season of .348 is a whisper of what he can do. Myworld would not be surprised if he did not make his major league debut in 2021.

4. Triston Casas (Red Sox) - Triston was a 2018 first round pick. There is some big time power in his bat, but there is a lot of swing and miss. That swing and miss could keep his average down at the .250s or below, but his homerun numbers should be 30 plus. His defense is above average but his legs are slow, which makes a move to the outfield risky. Rafael Devers ability to play third base will allow Tristan to move to first. Even if Devers defense is not good enough to play third, Casas is the superior defensive player at first base. Triston could start the season in AA. Bobby Dalbec is another corner infielder who could impact the future of Casas.

5. Ryan Mountcastle (Orioles) - Defensively, the Orioles have too many first baseman with Chris Davis, Renato Nunez and Trey Mancini. Davis should not be on the roster and Mancini is probably the better outfielder than Mountcastle. The throws of Mountcastle are like rainbows and that is not a good thing. It reminds me a lot of Henry Urrutia, when the Orioles tried to use his powerless bat and weak arm in left field. At least Mountcastle can hit for some pop. If you want to hide his arm you stick him at first base. Ryan got a major league callup and hit .333 with a .492 slugging. He makes good, hard contact, with the ability to find the gaps and drive in runs. The Orioles will find a spot for him in the lineup in 2021. That will be a mixture of DH, left field and first base.

6. Bobby Dalbec (Red Sox) - The 2016 fourth round pick has some massive power when he makes contact. Last year he hit 8 homeruns for the Red Sox in 23 games for a .600 slugging percentage. There is also a lot of swing and miss in his at bats. With Rafael Devers at third Dalbec spent most of his time at first base. At 6′4″ he may have out grown third base. His speed is below average, but his arm is strong so left field at Fenway is not a bad alternative. Eventually, he may split time with Casas at first base and DH. It would be hard not to see Dalbec with the Red Sox next year, either at first base or DH based on his abbreviated 2020 production.

7. Lewin Diaz (Marlins) - The Twins signed him in 2013 for $1.4 million. He climbed up slowly through their system, but seeing themselves in a playoff race the Twins traded him mid-season in 2019 for relief help. The 2019 season may have been his breakout season when he hit 27 homeruns. The Marlins gave him his major league debut last year but he struggled with a .154 average and a .205 slugging percentage. The power bat could only hit two extra base hits (both doubles) in his 39 at bats. The left handed bat with the 6′4″ frame carries a lot of power. He just needs to be more selective with his pitches when he gets another opportunity at the major league level. That will surely come in 2021, after he starts the season in AAA.

8. Bryce Ball (Braves) - A nothing season is not what the 24th round pick of 2019 needed after he slugged 17 homeruns in 62 games last year. That produced a .628 slugging percentage. Though it was only one year, it was the kind of numbers Paul Goldschmidt was putting up in the minor leagues. At 6′6″ Bryce has a large frame so when he makes contact the ball flies. His defense is spotty and his foot speed is non-existent, so if his bat fails to produce he could die in the minor leagues. Next year he should start his season in AA. He needs to replicate the power he showed in 2019 to continue to advance in the Braves system. It will be difficult to take the first base job away from Freddie Freeman.

9. Seth Beer (Diamondbacks) - The Astros drafted him in the first round in 2018. They were convinced to include him in a trade for Zack Greinke in 2019. His best position is probably designated hitter. He has been put in the outfield, but his lack of speed and below average arm makes that a defensive liability. His bat is what will get him to the majors. The 2019 season saw him breakout for 26 homeruns. Once the National League embraces the DH he will probably see little time at first base. The 2021 season should see him making his major league debut, after he starts the season in AAA.

10. Aaron Sabato (Twins) - The 2020 first round pick could keep Kirilloff in the outfield, depending on how quickly he develops. The lack of a 2020 season did not help him. His only full season playing college was as a freshman when he hit 18 homeruns in 58 games. He was drafted as a sophomore so he had an abbreviated 2020 college season and no minor league season. He lacks speed and arm strength to play the outfield so if his right handed bat does not produce enough power for first base he could be a bust. The 2021 season should see him starting somewhere in A ball, but that will depend on his spring.

Top Ten Catching Prospects for 2021

Friday, November 6th, 2020

It is tough to rate minor leaguers when you have not had a chance to see them play. This is the first time myworld can remember not attending a ball game since probably a decade since many of these players were born. There will not be a lot of diamond in the rough prospects on this list. Just your solid minor leaguers and high draft choices. Let’s hope the 2021 season allows them to have a minor league season to develop their game playing skills.

1. Adley Rutschman (Orioles) - Matt Wieters got a lot of hype but fell short of expectations, but he was not a first overall pick. Adley has no 2020 stats, but he was the first overall pick. In 2019 his bat showed some power. As a sophomore in college he led Oregon State to the College World Series championship, so he knows how to win and lead a pitching staff. His defense and arm are above average. The only skill he is not above average at is his speed, but that is typical for catchers. In 2019 he reached Low A. Expect a step up to High A in 2021 with a quick promotion to AA if he achieves any kind of success. He has the potential to be a repeat All Star appearance catcher.

2. Joey Bart (Giants) - Buster Posey chose to opt out of the 2020 season. That gave Joey an opportunity to get a late callup to the Giants. The shortened season also allowed him to keep his rookie status, despite playing almost half the season. His bat was a little quiet in 2020, hitting just .233 with very little power (.320 slugging). His two seasons in the minors in 2018 and 2019 he slugged .532 with a combined 29 homeruns. With Buster Posey returning in 2021 the Giants can afford to let Bart marinate a bit in AA with a quick promotion to AAA. Another solid defensive player with an above average arm who can break out for power. Expect him to be a major league regular by 2022 with some additional part time playing opportunities next year.

3. Sam Huff (Rangers) - Huff may have the best power potential in this group. His defense is not as strong but his arm is still above average. At 6′5″ he may be a little too tall to be a catcher, but he moves well behind the dish. The Rangers gave him his major league debut this year after he never appeared above A ball last year. In 10 games he hit a robust .355 with three homeruns. He does have the propensity to swing and miss, but when he makes contact the exit velocities hit triple digits. Ten games are not enough to measure a player’s success. Huff will probably start the season in AA next year with some more major league time in the offering.

4. Francisco Alvarez (Mets) - The Mets will say good bye to Wilson Ramos. His fellow countryman Francisco is not yet ready to replace him, but he is inching closer. The Mets signed him for $2.7 million back in 2018. The 2019 season was his minor league debut where he showed off his bat in rookie ball, hitting seven homeruns and slugging .510. Besides having a good stick Francisco will not be starved for defense. His arm is above average and he moves well behind the plate. He should start the 2021 season in full season ball.

5. Luis Campusano (Padres) - Luis got a game in at the major league level after not getting past A ball in 2019. He hit his first professional homerun in his three at bat major league debut. He also struck in his other two at bats. Luis does not show big time power but he did break out to slug 15 homeruns in High A in 2019 and won the batting title with a .325 average. The Padres drafted him in the second round in 2017. His defense still needs a bit of refinement but his arm is above average, though he failed at gunning down baserunners in 2019. Luis should start the 2021 season in AA with a major league starting opportunity in 2022.

6. Keibert Ruiz (Dodgers) - With Will Smith behind the plate Keibert may have to move to another team to get significant playing time. A Smith injury allowed the Venezuelan prospect to make his two game major league debut. He slugged a homerun in his first at bat. His 2019 minor league season was powerless, with just six homeruns and a .347 slugging percentage. His power may not be as strong as Smith and his defense and arm would probably be considered average. That may not be enough to usurp Smith from the Dodger catching job. The 2021 season should see him begin it at AAA. His most valuable asset would be as trade bait, being a front line catcher for a play off contending club.

7. Shea Langaliers (Braves) - A first round pick in 2019. His defense and arm are so strong that if Shea can carry an average bat he will be an asset to the Braves. He has already surpassed William Contreras and Alex Jackson as the Braves catcher of the future. His bat does carry a little power but his .343 slugging at Low A in his minor league debut was a bit disappointing. The potential is there for double digit homerun power and the arm is probably the strongest of any catcher in this top ten group. Expect him to spend the 2021 season in High A with a major league debut in 2022.

8. Miguel Amaya (Cubs) - Wilson Contreras has been the subject of trade rumors. Miguel could use a little more seasoning before replacing him. He did not get past A ball in 2019. The Panama native signed for $1 million in 2015. It has been a slow haul through the minor league system. There is some carry in his bat but there is a struggle to get consistent barrel on the ball contact. His defense is strong and his arm is above average. He could be the Cubs starting catcher by 2022, especially if they choose a rebuild but expect him to start the 2021 season in AA.

9. Tyler Stephenson (Reds) - The 2015 first round pick finally made his major league debut last year, hitting .294 with two homeruns in eight games. This was after a 2019 season in which he hit a career high .285. At 6′4″ he has a bit of length for a catcher but he has some solid defensive chops with an above average arm. Injuries have stalled his path to the major leagues, but now that he has reached that level he hopes not to return to the minors. With his large frame he gets high exit velocities when he makes contact. He could start the 2021 season in AAA or with a good spring get the call to lead the major league pitching staff.

10. Ryan Jeffers (Twins) - At 6′4″, another lengthy catcher. He got a major league callup in 2020, slugging three homeruns in 26 games and hitting .273. Ryan was a second round pick in 2018. The power could be there to develop into a 20 plus homerun major league catcher who is solid on defense with a strong arm. He will not be a Joe Mauer, but he could develop into a close facsimile. Next year he could start the season in AAA with another major league callup by mid season.

Ex-O Kim in RBI surge

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

Ex-Orioles Hyun-Soo Kim of the LG Twins is in an RBI surge. In his last seven games he has driven in 20 runs, with just one homerun. This has put him tied for first with KT Wiz Mel Rojas for RBIs with 106.

Kim and Roberto Ramos have been a formidable one-two punch in the Twins offense. Ramos has been the big homerun bat with 35 homeruns, second to Rojas in the KBO. Kim does not send as many balls over the fence, with only 21 homeruns but he has been an RBI machine. In the last seven games he has driven in 6, 5, 3 and 4 runs in four of those games, hitting only one homerun. He is also hitting .351, which is second to Doosan Bears Jose Miguel Fernandez, who is hitting .358 for the KBO lead.

One of the problems myworld had with Kim when he was with the Orioles was his inability to hit for power. At the major league level he was not a strong defensive outfielder, restricting him to a corner outfield spot. This is a position teams look for players with power. But if you are driving in runs like Kim is currently doing with the Twins, the power is secondary.

The Twins are in third place in the KBO, a certain lock to make the playoffs. They find themselves two games behind the Kiwoom Heroes and 4.5 games behind the DC Dinos.

Top Ten Cuban Prospects - American League

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

Cuba has not yet passed the Dominican Republic for their quality of prospects, but they are getting close to passing Venezuela if they have not done that already. The American League is the weaker conference for Cuban prospects, though if you would add WAR (Wins Above Replacement) to each of the players totals in the top ten the American League might come out on top because of their top prospect.

A couple players graduated from last year’s list. The number two prospect Yordan Alvarez made an impressive debut for the Astros, winning the American League Rookie of the Year award. His teammate, Cionel Perez did not make as impressive a debut, and will need to improve upon his showing if he wants to pitch int the Astros pen. The lefthanded pitcher allowed lefthanders to hit .300 against him, something he needs to improve on if he wants to be effective in the bullpen.

Four players dropped from the list. This leaves six new players to be added. Below are the top ten Cuban prospects from the American League.

1. Luis Robert OF (White Sox) - There is a lot of pressure on Roberts as baseball people are calling him the new Mike Trout. The White Sox have shown so much confidence in him that he is already guaranteed to make $76 million before he even makes a major league appearance. This includes a 26 million bonus when he signed with the White Sox out of Cuba in 2017. His first complete year in 2018 was not so hot when he failed to hit a homerun in close to 200 at bats. A thumb injury bothered him all that season. Last year he broke out with 32 homeruns and 36 stolen bases, becoming one of two 30-30 players in the minor leagues. He has the speed to play centerfield and steal bases, the strength to hit for power and the ability to make hard contact to hit for a high average. There is a bit too much swing and miss in his at bats but that is an issue most teams will take from their power hitters. Luis will be the starting centerfielder for the White Sox this year based on the six year $50 million contract he signed.

2. Roberto Campos OF (Tigers) - Hard to rate Roberto this high when he has yet to play in a minor league game but there is a lot of buzz about him. The Tigers shelled out $2.85 million to sign him. He allegedly left Cuba at 13 years of age and the Tigers hid him for a couple years at their minor league facilities in the Dominican Republic, before signing him. He defected with his older brother after winning the MVP award in a youth international tournament in the Dominican Republic. He lacks the speed to play center but his arm should be good enough for right. At 6′3″ he has good size to have the ability to hit for power. Since he has not really played competitive baseball in about three years it is difficult to predict how he will hit, especially when going against the tough breaking pitches. The Tigers could start him in the Dominican Summer League before promoting him to the major league club. He is still a few years away from impacting the Tigers major league roster.

3. Yusniel Diaz OF (Orioles) - The Orioles gave up Manny Machado for a trio of Dodger minor leaguers. Yusniel was the key to that group. His prospect status has taken a hit as he becomes mired in the quagmire that is AA, the 2019 season completing his third year in Bowie/Tulsa. The Dodgers paid a $15.5 million bonus to sign him back in 2015. So far he has not quite lived up to the hype. His power has remained hidden, stuck on 11 homeruns for three consecutive years with a modest .440 slugging average. Leg injuries last year limited him to just 76 games. If he had played a full season he could have been promoted to AAA. Yusniel has decent speed, but better suited for a corner, a good arm to fit in at right field and a decent hit tool that gives him a .278 minor league average. If he wants to avoid the stigma of a fourth outfielder he needs to improve his power numbers. Next year he should start the season in AAA with a possible promotion to the Orioles if a need arises or his bat shows the major league brass that he is ready.

4. Alexander Vargas SS (Yankees) - Alexander got a year under his belt after the Yankees signed him for $2.5 million in 2018. He played as a 17 year old in the Rookie level, hitting .233 at two levels, with little power (.373 slugging). Speed is his main asset at this point with 15 stolen bases in just 48 games. He showed a good ability to get on base with a 18/28 walk to whiff ratio. The Yankees appear to be very crowded at the shortstop position, but Vargas may have some of the best defensive tools among that group. If he can gain more strength to hit for power he could be an impact player. Right now he is a few years away from making a major league impact.

5. Lazaro Armenteros OF (Athletics) - When he left Cuba he touted himself as a player with multiple tools and was going to be known as Lazarito, eventually having a similar reaction to the name “Ichiro”. That has not happened yet and may never occur. Lazarito has to learn to make better contact. He reminds me a lot of Blue Jay prospect Demi Orimoloye or long ago Dodger prospect Jose Gonzalez, players who struggle to hit anything with a break. Lazarito struck out an amazing 227 times in 126 games, hitting just .222. He did show his power with 17 homeruns and his speed with 22 stolen bases. A weak arm will limit him to left field, which makes it more important that he develop his power, which might rely on increased contact. Next year he should see AA, unless the Athletics feel he would benefit from one more season in High A.

6. Orlando Martinez OF (Angels) - From Orlando down to Yolbert are new players to the top ten. Orlando was signed in 2017 for the bargain price of $250,000. At 22 he is a bit older and it didn’t help that he missed two months last year because of a broken finger. There isn’t really anything flashy about his game. He runs average so a corner outfield spot would be better for him. He did slug 12 homeruns last year but his power is suspect (.434 slugging). Defensively, the arm is above average but it is not a rocket. So his best bet will be to make it as a fourth outfielder. Next year he will play in AA where a promotion is just a hot streak away.

7. Bryan Ramos 3B (White Sox) - The Sox are doing a good job at putting together a Cuban National team for their roster. Bryan was signed for $300,000 in 2018. At 17 years of age last year was his first in the Arizona Rookie League and he did well, hitting .277 with a .415 slugging percentage. The power may not show yet in a game because pitchers are a little ahead of him, but give him more experience and the power will be seen. He plays third base now, but his position is yet defined. He runs well enough that he could move to the outfield where his arm is strong enough to play right field. He could also move to second where his power would be a bonus. At 17 he is still a long way from playing for the White Sox. Expect him to see time in extended spring training with another Rookie League assignment mid-season.

8. Yordys Valdes SS (Indians) - Yordys was a second round pick of the Indians in 2019. He was born in Cuba where his dad was a Series Nacional player, but moved to the States when he was 12. Defensively he was considered one of the best high school shortstops in the draft. Offensively, there is a lot of work to be done. In Rookie ball he hit just .179 with 53 whiffs in 43 games. While he is not a fast runner, he showed good instincts with 15 stolen bases. Imagine what that amount would be if his OBA was greater than .251. If he can find his bat he could be an exciting player, but that may take another year of Rookie ball and at least three years of minor league ball before he starts wearing an Indians uniform.

9. Yolbert Sanchez SS (White Sox) - Yolbert signed with the White Sox for $2.5 million in 2019. He played last year in the Dominican Summer League. At 23 years of age next year he should start at a full season league. Defensively he is solid with a strong arm. Like Yordys, what will break him is whether his bat is enough to start in the major leagues. He did have a nice 15/12 walk to whiff ratio in the DSL but that was against pitchers younger than him. He should have been a little more dominating than his .297 average and .441 slugging. Next year will be a critical year for him. It is important that his bat play well so he can advance quickly.

10. Julio Pablo Martinez OF (Rangers) - We had him at number 4 last year. The Rangers collected a lot of international money in an attempt to sign Shohei Ohtani. When that did not happen they used $2.8 million of that for what they hope is the next best thing. At 5′9″ Julio is not a big guy. His quick bat allows him to hit for better than average pop but whether it will be enough to be more than a fourth outfielder is open to question. The speed is there to play center so that puts some pressure off him to hit for the power of a corner. Last year at High A he struck out 144 times in just 113 games. Hitting breaking pitches has been the challenge. He did make enough progress in the second half to earn a promotion to AA. He will be 24 when the season starts so the clock is ticking. He is at that age where prospects become journeyman if they have yet to see the major leagues.

Top Prospects from Mexico

Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AL East Predictions

Sunday, March 1st, 2020

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

Tampa Bay Rays

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

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

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

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

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

New York Yankees

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

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

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

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

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

Boston Red Sox

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

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

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

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

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

Toronto Blue Jays

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

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

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

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

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

Baltimore Orioles

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

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

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

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

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

Top Ten Canadian Prospects

Saturday, February 29th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Major League Farm Rankings - 15 - 6

Friday, February 28th, 2020

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

15. Arizona Diamondbacks (14.32)

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

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

14. Toronto Blue Jays (16.06)

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

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

13. St. Louis Cardinals

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

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

12. San Francisco Giants (20.46)

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

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

11. Minnesota Twins (20.75)

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

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

10. Baltimore Orioles (20.76)

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

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

9. Oakland Athletics (21.22)

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

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

8. Miami Marlins (22.38)

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

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

7. Atlanta Braves

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

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

6. Los Angeles Dodgers (27.14)

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

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

Myworld Top 100 - 10-1

Thursday, February 20th, 2020

The final ten.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top European Prospects

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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