Archive for the 'Indians' Category

Top Venezuelan Prospects - American League

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020

Venezuela has not kept up with the Dominican Republic in the last couple years with the number of premium prospects coming out of the country. Cuba was at the point of surpassing them, but the United States placing further restrictions on travel from Cuba made it more difficult for Cuban ball players to emigrate. With the perceived dangers out of Venezuela the scouting has been reduced and teams move their Venezuelan prospects to Dominican facilities to work out.

In the American League some prospects from last year’s list have dropped. Luis Rengifo and Luis Arraez are two players who graduated to the major leagues. Rengifo, the number seven prospect last year will probably end up in a utility role while Arraez, who fell a spot behind him will have a couple years as a starter. His lack of power will require him to continue to hit for average if he hopes to keep his starting role. One player was traded to the National League.

Below are the top ten prospects out of Venezuela from the American League. No real superstars from this bunch, but some solid major league possibilities. A bucket load of shortstops on this list, many of whom will have to turn to third or second base.

1. Aaron Bracho 2B (Indians) - The Indians spent $1.5 million to sign him in 2017. Aaron does not have one outstanding tool, but also has no weak points to his game. He missed the 2018 season because of an arm injury so he didn’t even make the top ten list last year. Now he is number one in what is not an illuminating group. Last year he hit .281 with a .570 slugging percentage. His 28/29 walk to whiff ratio for a .402 OBA was impressive. The tools are there for him to be an average shortstop but the Indians had him playing second base last year to get his bat in the lineup. Currently his power is more oriented towards the gap but as he matures he should consistently hit in the double digit homerun area. If the season ever starts he could begin it in Low A, but at 19 years old he has plenty of time to develop.

2. Brayan Rocchio SS (Indians) - Another 2017 signing, but at $125,000 the Indians may have gotten a better bargain. His defensive tools for playing shortstop are better than Bracho, with the arm a little above average and his legs carrying faster speed, which results in better range. What Brayan lacks is power. Last year was his second season in short season ball after having success in the Dominican Summer League and the Arizona Rookie League in 2018, hitting .335 at the two levels. Last year was not as strong in the New York Penn League, with his average dropping to .250 and his slugging at .373. He is noted for his high baseball IQ which has given him the nickname professor. He is a little ahead of Bracho on the depth chart, but they should be the infield combo at Low A next year.

3. Maximo Acosta SS (Rangers) - Maximo is the third new player on this list. The Rangers signed him in 2019 for $1.65 million. He has yet to play in the minor leagues, but his tools are strong enough to carry a lot of buzz. The defensive tools, including strong arm and decent range are there for him to play shortstop. The bat is also strong and should hit for a high average and develop some easy double digit homerun power. The 2020 season will be an indication of whether all of that is true. Kevin Maitan also had all those accolades and as his tools failed to progress he dropped off the list. The 2020 season will be a critical one. He could start it in the Dominican League or stateside in the Rookie League. He will be 17 years of age, young to be playing stateside.

4. Darwinzon Hernandez LHP (Red Sox) - Back in 2013 the Red Sox signed Darwinzon for just $7,500. Six years later he made his Red Sox debut, pitching mainly in the bullpen with 28 relief appearances and one start. His fastball sits in the mid 90s and has a little more zip to it when in the bullpen. He was a starter in the minor leagues, but a lack of command and inconsistent secondary pitches make the bullpen the best fit for him. He gets a lot of whiffs, averaging 16.9 strikeouts per 9 innings in his 29 major league appearances, but he also walked 26 batters in just 30 innings. The inability to throw strikes will lead to greater pitch counts and shorter innings, so the bullpen will be best. He should start the 2020 season in the Red Sox bullpen but that will depend on his second spring whenever the baseball season starts again. Last year Darwinzon was sixth on this list. He becomes the first player from last year to make this year’s list, though the number one player Brusdar Graterol was traded to the National League.

5. Oswaldo Peraza SS (Yankees) - The fourth middle infielder to make this list and the third shorstop. Oswaldo was signed by the Yankees for $175,000 in 2016 when they were restricted to signing players for $300,000 or less. The tool set is there for him to be an above average defensive shortstop with a strong arm and good range. He makes solid contact with the bat, though his ability to hit for power is below average. Last year he hit .263 with a .340 slugging, but he did make his debut in Low A, hitting .273 with a 16/28 walk to whiff ratio. Oswaldo has the speed to steal bases, swiping 23 last year, 18 of them in Low A. He is still a teenager and won’t turn 20 until June. Expect him to have another go at Low A with an early promotion to High A if he does well.

6. Franklin Perez RHP (Tigers) - Franklin was number two on this list last year. The Astros signed him for $1 million back in 2014 and he worked his way up to being their top prospect. They traded him to Detroit as the key player in the Justin Verlander trade in 2017. Injuries have only allowed Franklin to work 27 innings in nine starts the last couple years. It may be best to see how he handles the bullpen. When healthy Franklin can get his fastball into the mid-90s, but shoulder issues have put those velocities in question. His secondary pitches also had the potential to be above average pitches, with his changeup being his top pitch. Last year he only had two starts in High A. The 2020 season will be key. At 22 years of age his prospect clock is ticking. The Tigers have to hope to get him some AA time before the season ends so he can be ready for his major league debut sometime in 2021.

7. Luisangel Acuna SS (Rangers) - Luisangel is the brother of Ronald. Those are some big shoes to fill. He would like to have bigger shoes as he stands only 5′8″ to 5′9″. His brother can tell Luisangel the story of how a team told him to go home because he was too small to play baseball. Ronald grew to a nice 6′0″. Luisangel signed for a bigger bonus that his brother, his $425,000 more than $300,000 greater than his older brother. He also plays a different position, though he has the speed and the arm to play centerfield. He lacks the power of his brother, but at 17 he could still grow. Last year in the Dominican Summer League he raked for a .342 average, stealing 17 bases and producing an impressive 34/26 walk to whiff ratio. The 2020 season should see him in the short season leagues where the pitching will be much better.

8. Gabriel Rodriguez SS (Indians) - This is the third Indian middle infielder on this list. The Indians rolled out $2.1 million for Gabriel in 2018. He made his debut last year in the Dominican Summer League and was later promoted to the Rookie League for 18 games, where he only hit .218. He doesn’t carry any one outstanding tool, but tends to be above average in all phases. At 6′2″ the power could develop as he matures. This could slow him down defensively and force a move to third. The 2020 season should see another year in Rookie ball with a promotion to Low A towards the end of the year.

9. Arol Vera SS (Angels) - The seventh middle infielder among this group. A lot of unknowns about him since he signed in 2019 and didn’t play any minor league ball. Since the Angels paid $2 million to sign him the skills have got to be there. Currently he is an average runner, which could get worse as he matures, so a move to third base is probable. The power is there for him to make the move. The Angels like his intangibles. Arol could start the season in Rookie ball in 2020.

10. Everson Pereira OF (Yankees) - The tenth spot is what he occupied last year. A disappointing season (.171) and injuries (hamstring and ankle) limited him to 18 games. He was not on this list until Brusdar Graterol got traded from the American League to the National. The Yankees opened up their pocketbook to pay Everson $1.5 million in 2017. The tools are all there, with power, speed, arm and the ability to hit for average. He will still be a teenager for the entire 2020 season so another start in Rookie ball with a promotion to Low A before the season ends would be good for him.

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 Panama

Friday, March 20th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 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 - 30-16

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

With the top 100 out myworld has ranked the farm teams in major league baseball. This is principally done by ranking how many top 100 players each major league team has since those players will have the greatest impact. Not the most analytic, but myworld has been doing it this way for awhile now. We’ll rank from worst to first, beginning with 30-16.

30. Milwaukee Brewers (0.04)

The barely significant prospect on the Brewers is Brice Turang, their first round pick in 2018 who plays shortstop. He also starred for the gold medal USA baseball team. The Brewers have been trading their top prospects to stay in the playoff race. The players who could make an impact next year are Tristin Lutz (outfielder), Ethan Small (LHP) and Mario Feliciano. Lutz was a first round pick in 2017, Small a first rounder in 2019 and Feliciano a second round supplemental in 2016.

29. New York Mets (4.48)

The Mets have always gone the bargain basement route when searching for primetime players and their prospects reflect that. Ronny Mauricio is their top prospect, a shortstop who may have to move to third. He signed for $2.1 million in 2017. Francisco Alvarez is a Venezuelan catcher who signed with the Mets in 2018 for $2.7 million. Brett Baty is another power bat that can play third base. He was the Mets first round pick in 2019. Andres Gimenez is a slick fielding shortstop who will probably reach the majors in a utility role who signed way back in 2015 for $1.2 million.

A couple players to watch are two 16 year olds from the Dominican Republic, Robert Dominguez, a right handed pitcher who can hit 97 and outfielder Alexander Ramirez who has the potential to be a power/speed player.

28. Texas Rangers (5.82)

Years ago they used to be the cream of the crop in the international market. Those years have passed. Their top prospect is 2019 first round pick Josh Jung, who has good hit tools. Nick Solak should make the Rangers roster in 2020 in a utility role and catcher Sam Huff is getting a lot of buzz because of his power bat. Hans Crouse is their top rated pitcher on a team looking for pitching pieces.

Luisangel Acuna is the younger brother of Ronald and he hopes to be making some noise. He signed in 2018 but does not have the same tools as his older brother. Bayron Lora was a 2019 international signing for $3.9 million. The Dominican outfielder has big time power.

27 Cincinnati Reds (7.58)

The Reds are hoping that Hunter Greene can come back from his Tommy John surgery and keep the triple digit velocity he had prior to the surgery. Nick Lodolo does not have the same heat but the 2019 first round pick can hit the mid 90s, sitting at the higher edges of the low 90s. His curve ball is his bread and butter pitch. Jonathan India like Nick Senzel is a first round pick (2018) who plays third base but may have to move because of Eugenio Suarez. Shogo Akiyama was signed out of Japan and could win the centerfield job, or roam around all three outfield spots, hitting .300 with double digit homerun power just below 20.

Rece Hinds is another third baseman who is a player to watch. He was a second round pick in the 2019 draft who participated in the high school homerun derby at Nationals park against Bobby Witt Jr and lost, but he took some balls deep.

26. Boston Red Sox (7.8)

The trade with the Dodgers of Mookie Betts got them a couple farm pieces, one of them Jeter Downs, who has already been traded twice. He could be a shortstop with 20 plus homerun pop. Triston Casas and Bobby Dalbec play the infield corners and also carry some big time pop. Unfortunately for the Red Sox that position is crowded on the major league roster.

Jarren Duran was a seventh rounder in the 2018 draft but he shows excellent centerfield speed and hit .387 in a 200 at bat performance in High A. Jay Groome has only pitched 66 innings in his three years with the Red Sox because of Tommy John surgery but the 2016 first round pick has good velocity with a 6′6″ frame.

25. Houston Astros (8.68)

Losing two years of number ones because of the cheating scandal will keep them down. Also, there top prospect Forest Whitely has struggled with control, drug suspensions and injury. If he can overcome these obstacles he has the stuff to be an ace. Jose Urquidy has already made his presence known in the playoffs. He lacks the stuff of Whitely but has better command. Abraham Toro has a good hit tool but may lack the power to play third base.

Bryan Abreu could be the next rookie to make the Astros rotation. He has three plus pitches but lacks the ability to find the strike zone.

24. Colorado Rockies (8.8)

Brendan Rodgers is their big time prospect who could win the second base job in 2020. Shoulder surgery limited him to 25 major league games and it could delay his 2020 season until May. Sam Hilliard is an outfielder with power who could win the left field job in 2020, or at worst platoon with Ian Desmond, playing against righthanders. He has power that could be accentuated in Colorado. Ryan Rolison was the Rockies 2018 first round pick who relies on a sweeping hammer that can get swings and misses.

Keep an eye on newcomers Adael Amador, a Dominican shortstop who signed in 2019 for $1.5 million and Michael Toglia, a 2019 first round pick who has good power.

23. Washington Nationals (8.88)

The Nationals hope Carter Kieboom puts up decent numbers as he replaces Anthony Rendon in the lineup, either at third base or second base. He struggled in a brief trial last year. Luis Garcia has been a recent ask from a lot of teams. He plays shortstop and has been one of the younger players at each classification he plays, so his numbers have not been impressive.

Jackson Rutledge is the Nationals 2019 first round pick with a mid to high 90s fastball and an impressive 6′8″ frame. Mason Denaburg, the Nationals 2018 first round pick had a rough 2019 season in rookie ball but he has a good fastball/curve combination. Andry Lara is another pitcher, a 2019 international signing out of Venezuela who already stands 6′4″ and throws mid-90s.

22. Cleveland Indians (9.54)

Nolan Jones shows big time power at third base who was the Indians second round pick in 2016. Tyler Freeman and Brayan Rocchio are both middle infielders, Freeman a second round supplemental pick in 2017 and Rocchio a 2017 signing out of Venezuela. Freeman is the better hitter while Rocchio has the smoother glove. George Valera is a Dominican outfielder that draws comparisons to Juan Soto. Triston McKenzie was the Indians first round pick in 2015 who did not pitch last year because of back issues. Injuries have prevented him from reaching the major leagues. Aaron Bracho could be a nice utility player with hit tools. Daniel Espino was the Indians first round pick in 2019 who was born in Panama and slings his fastball in the upper 90s.

Bo Naylor was a first round pick in 2018, a catcher from Canada with a little bit of pop in his bat. He is the younger brother of Josh. Bobby Bradley is a first baseman with pop. Emmanuel Clase was acquired from the Rangers last year. He hits triple digits with his fastball and is a possible closer. Last year Will Benson hit four homeruns in a game. He is a 2016 first round pick who needs to make more contact before he plays left field for the Indians.

21. New York Yankees (9.62)

Jasson Dominguez has superstar stuff but he is only 16, The Yankees signed the outfielder for $5.1 million in 2019. The Tommy John surgery to Luis Severino may put Deivi Garcia in the rotation. He stands only 5′10″ but his fastball has some fire. Clarke Schmidt is the rare Yankee draft pick (2017 first round) that is high on the Yankee prospect list. He throws a mid-90s fastball and a plus change makes the fastball harder to read. Estevan Florial has five tools, but a rough year dropped him down many prospect rankings. All he needs is to replicate his 2017 numbers.

Everson Pereira is an outfielder to watch. He was a lessor version of Dominguez when he signed with the Yankees for $1.5 million in 2017. Luis Medina, Albert Abreu and Luis Gil are all pitchers from the Dominican ready to make an impact in the Yankees rotation in 2020.

20. Chicago Cubs (10.76)

Nico Hoerner is their 2018 first round draft pick who may have to move from shortstop to second base to make the Cubs roster. Brailyn Marquez is a lefthander out of the Dominican with heat that hits triple digits. The Cubs have been waiting for years to develop a pitcher and Marquez could be the first. Brennen Davis split his time between basketball and baseball, but now that he is focusing on baseball he could become a nice power hitting outfielder. The Cubs have Wilson Contreras, but Miguel Amaya has a good hit/glove tool that could be ready for the Cubs in 2021.

Ryan Jensen was the Cubs first round pick in 2019, a pitcher with a mid-90s fastball who needs to develop a third pitch and find the plate more to stay in the rotation, otherwise he becomes a bullpen piece.

19. Los Angeles Angels (11.96)

Jo Adell is a five tool outfielder who could be playing right field for the Angels in 2020. Brandon Marsh is another outfielder who will have to wait until 2021. Marsh has not shown a lot of power but at 6′4″ he could be a late bloomer.

Jordyn Adams is a first round pick in 2018 who has tremendous centerfield speed with a bat that can hit. His development could make the outfield crowded. Arol Vera is a 2019 signing out of Venezuela who plays shortstop but may eventually have to move to third. His bat carries some impressive pop. Jose Soriano will miss the 2020 season because of Tommy John surgery, but the Dominican had a break out year last year with a mid-90s fastball that hit triple digits.

18. Kansas City Royals (13.34)

Bobby Witt Jr was the Royals first round pick in 2019. He plays shortstop and has impressive power, winning the high school homerun derby during the All star break at Nationals park last year. His dad was a pitcher in the major leagues. Daniel Lynch, Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar could make three fifths of the Royals rotation in two years. Kowar and Singer were teammates in Florida who the Royals drafted in the first round in 2018. Lynch is a lefthander who was also drafted in the first round in 2018. Erick Pena signed an international contract in 2019 out of the Dominican Republic. At 6′3″ he has the potential for impressive power.

Khalil Lee is knocking on the centerfield door for the Royals. Kris Bubic is a lefthander who was also drafted in 2018 in the supplemental first round.

17. Philadelphia Phillies (13.36)

Alec Bohm has a power bat but his 6′5″ height may force a move from third to first. He was the Phillies 2018 first round pick. Spencer Howard throws hard, touching triple digits. The 2017 second round pick could see the Phillies rotation sometime in 2020, but missed two months last year because of shoulder issues and needs to eat innings. Bryson Stott was the Phillies first round pick in 2019 who may lack the tools to stay at short.

Adonis Medina throws hard but struggled in the second half last year.

16. Pittsburgh Pirates (13.88)

Mitch Keller has spent a lifetime in the minor leagues, drafted in the second round in 2014. He finally made his major league debut last year but got lit up. He has ace like stuff with a mid-90s fastball that rises to the high 90s. O’Neil Cruz is 6′7″ but plays shortstop with tremendous power potential. Many expect him to eventually move to the outfield. Ke’Bryan Hayes is the son of Charlie that plays excellent defense at third base but may not hit enough for a corner.

Ji-Hwan Bae had originally signed with the Braves, but had to negate the signing when they were found in violation of international signing rules. The Pirates took advantage and signed Bae, a shortstop with speed but very little power. Travis Swaggerty was a first round pick in 2018 who carries average or above average tools in all categories.

AL Central Predictions

Sunday, February 23rd, 2020

The Cleveland Indians appear to be rebuilding. That is good news for Twins and White Sox fans.

Minnesota Twins

Good - Last year they broke the record for homeruns in a season with 307. They signed Josh Donaldson to play third base. He should be good for thirty plus more homeruns to add to that total. The big question is whether Mitch Garver can replicate his 2019 season when he hit 31 homers in just 93 games for a .630 slugging percentage. Twin fans may want to temper down expectations and hope for a 20 plus season, which is still pretty good for a catcher. Nelson Cruz will hit 40 in July. He has been good for 40 plus homeruns in four of his last six seasons. When he fell short it was by less than a handful. The corners in the outfield of Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler each combined for 30 plus homeruns. It would stay good news if Kepler stayed at the corner and did not have to play 60 plus games in centerfield because of injuries to Byron Buxton. He is not noted for his defense but Miguel Sano has some pop. If he can stay healthy for a full season he could hit 40 plus homeruns at first base or DH. This lineup has the potential for three or more 40 plus homerun hitters in their lineup and another season of 300 plus homeruns. Jose Berrios could turn into the ace the Twins need to cut down on those losing streaks.

Bad - The bullpen looks a little leaky. They will rely on Taylor Rogers to repeat his 30 save performance. He entered the 2019 season with only two saves. Relievers can be temperamental. Expecting back to back seasons from first year closers is asking a lot. Sergio Romo and Tyler Clippard are veterans who have done the role, but Trevor May has the closer stuff if Rogers falters. The starting pitching looks a little thin after Berrios and Jake Odorizzi. Kenta Maeda and Homer Bailey have had issues being reliable for full seasons. The return of Michael Pineda from suspension in May would lengthen the rotation, dropping Maeda and Bailey to more acceptable back of rotation spots. Byron Buxton could be a star but he has played in more than 100 games once in his five years in the major leagues. Marwin Gonzalez could fill the outfield role if Buxton does not play but the defense and offense would be impacted.

Ugly - If the balls are not flying out of the park the Twins could be hurting. Also, the lack of depth in their starting rotation cannot afford an injury to Berrios or Odorizzi. Not a lot of big time pitching prospects waiting in the minor leagues to replace them.

Rookies - This is a veteran laden roster. Injuries to the starting rotation could provide opportunities for Devin Smeltzer or Lewis Thorpe. Neither are considered ace material pitchers. If either Alex Kirilloff or Trevor Larnach tear it up in the minors and injuries hit the outfield depth they could get opportunities. Royce Lewis is also waiting for his opportunity if an infield spot should open up.

Expected Finish - First place, and if their offense is running on all cylinders they should get past the first round in the playoffs.

Chicago White Sox

Good - It is a young team with a lot of upside. Eloy Jimenez last year had a rookie season in which he hit 31 homeruns. His defense in left field is very dicey and he belongs more at the DH. Everyone expects Luis Robert to play center and put up Cody Bellinger like numbers. His centerfield defense may be challenged as a rookie. The starting rotation has a lot of depth and promise. Lucas Giolito seemed to figure it all out last year and Dallas Keuchel will show him what it is like to be an ace. The White Sox hope Reynaldo Lopez figures it out, making the trade with the Nationals for Adam Eaton a steal. If not, Michael Kopech could be ready. Before the Tommy John surgery he had an easy triple digit fastball. Gio Gonzalez could make it a ex-Nationals threesome for the White Sox rotation, but his best years are behind him. Yoan Moncada finally pulled it all together last year. The White Sox hope that more improvement is on the horizon. Yasmani Grandal was a good free agent signing. He has hit 20 plus homeruns in his last four years, turning last year’s starter James McCann into a backup and future catcher prospect Zach Collins an after thought or a move to first base or DH.

Bad - There still appears to be a hole at second base. Yolmer Sanchez won a gold glove there last year but was not much of a bat. The White Sox may go with Leury Garcia there this year but his glove may not be as strong as Yolmer and his bat is very vanilla. With a good spring Nick Madrigal could win the starting job. The defense does not look very strong with Jimenez in left field and average or below average defenders at every position except catcher. If Leury Garcia is starting at second base the White Sox lack a utility option they can fill in at a number of positions.

Ugly - The starting staff is young and if injuries or poor performance hit too many of them any shot at contending for the playoffs will be eliminated. Though there is some depth in the rotation it only goes six deep. There is a lack of depth in the outfield should Roberts struggle or injuries make for extended absences.

Rookies - Luis Robert and Michael Kopech are the two big rookies since they are expected to play big roles on the team. Nick Madrigal is a sleeper and could be called up by midyear.

Expected Finish - Second place but just short of the wild card berth and the playoffs.

Cleveland Indians

Good - Francisco Lindor is one of the best shortstops in baseball, but the Indians have spent a lot of time trying to trade him. He provides offense and defense. This would become a big hole if he is traded. Roberto Perez had a break out year behind the plate, hitting 24 homeruns. His batting average (.231) was a little weak. Shane Bieber and Mike Clevinger are new names in the rotation that had solid years last year. If they can stay healthy the Indians can be competitive for two of their five games. Carlos Carrasco has to prove he is healthy before myworld mounts him as a benefit to this rotation. Jose Ramirez needs to show the 2019 season was a fluke and bounce back to his previous years numbers to make third base a strength.

Bad - A lot of vanilla in the outfield. Jordan Luplow is a terror against left handed pitching (.320) but an automatic out versus right handers (.216). Franmill Reyes is a defensive liability, but can hit the ball a long ways, as his 37 homers show. Oscar Mercado had a nice rookie season but his numbers fall far short of others at the position. Not a lot at the back end of the rotation, especially if Carlos Carrasco does not stay healthy. The DH spot seems like an empty hole for offense. They hope for better production from Jake Bauers or Carlos Santana or Franmil Reyes could be moved there.

Ugly - By midseason it could get ugly after the Indians fall out of the playoff race and trade Francisco Lindor and other veterans for prospects. They will then fall closer to the Tigers and Royals than contend with the White Sox and Twins.

Rookies - The farm system is loaded more at the lower levels than the upper levels. Logan Allen could be ready for the Indians rotation by mid season. He was acquired from the Padres with Franmil Reyes in the three team Trevor Bauer trade. Bobby Bradley could move to first or fill the DH slot if there continues to be lack of production. He is capable of 30 plus homerun pop. Emmanuel Clase could take over the closer role by the end of the season if the Indians start to trade their veterans and send Brad Hand packing.

Expected finish - Third place, far from the playoffs

Detroit Tigers

Good - They have a future starting five in Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Tarik Skubal, Alex Faedo and Franklin Perez. This will not help them much in 2020 but fans could see a sprinkle of their abilities before the season ends. Matt Boyd showed ace potential with 200 plus strikeouts last year, but was still too inconsistent to be placed in the ace category. The best “good” that can come for the Tigers with Boyd is that he meets his ace potential and the Tigers get a bagful of prospects for him. Niko Goodrum is good as a utility player but falls short as a starter at one position.

Bad - Let’s just say they are stacking their lineup with a bunch of fillers. They hope Christin Stewart has a better year but all the other positions are filled with journeyman who have no future in the Tigers rebuild. Miguel Cabrera will eat a lot of salary at the DH spot.

Ugly - The starting rotation behind Boyd will give up lots of runs. Can’t imagine the starter ERA being any less than 5.

Rookies - A lot of potential in the starting five mentioned in the “good”. During a bad season there is little incentive to lose service time calling them up, but Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal could fit in the rotation by mid-season. Isaac Paredes could win the third base job out of spring training. He may not have the power for the corner infield spot but he can find the gaps. Willie Castro and Jake Rogers lack the offense to make an impact, but they both got major league time last year.

Expected Finish - They will battle the Royals for last place in this division. Whoever wins that battle may get the number one pick next year.

Kansas City Royals

Good - Like the Tigers the Royals are collecting a number of good arms for the future starting rotation. Brady Singer, Daniel Lynch and Jackson Kowar are three first round picks rising up the minor league ladder. Jorge Soler has a good bat but a terrible glove. His 48 homeruns last year will see most of his games at DH. Salvador Perez used to be one of the best catchers in the major leagues. He missed last year because of Tommy John surgery. He should be ready to play this year. Whit Merrifield may not be with the Royals before the year ends. He has hit .300 his last two years and can play either second base or centerfield. Adalberto Mondesi, the son of Raul, relies on his legs to create havoc. The shortstop has stolen 30 or more bases his last two years. Last year was a down year compared to his breakout 2018.

Bad - The corner infielders are question marks. Ryan O’Hearn had a down year last year slugging just .369. That is more than 200 points lower than last year’s numbers. Maikel Franco signed as a free agent this year. Last year in Philadelphia his slugging was just .409. Teams expect more offense from their infield corners. The team resigned Alex Gordon to play left field, but his best days are behind him. Last year he slugged .396. Nicky Lopez is their promising rookie second baseman, but he finished the year with an OBA of .276. These bats are not going to support a rag tag group of pitchers who will give up runs in bunches. Their bullpen will not protect a lot of leads. The biggest issue is getting a lead to Ian Kennedy, who converted from starter to bullpen and saved 30 games.

Ugly - The starting rotation will eat up innings and give up runs. There is no real ace and they are just filling a need until Singer, Lynch and Kowar are ready.

Rookies - Khalil Lee could see some time in centerfield if the Royals trade Merrifield or return him to second base. Most of the other minor league prospects are too low in the minor leagues to rush to a last place team and waste service time.

Expected Finish - The Royals have more offensive talent than the Tigers. That talent may not stay with the team the whole year. Expect them to battle the Tigers for that first round pick in 2021.

Myworld Top 100 - 40 -31

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

Pitchers and catchers are reporting to spring training. Baseball is drawing near. Below is the continuation of our top 100 prospects.

40. Jasson Dominguez OF (Yankees) - Not a lot of history on Jasson. But then he is only 17 years old. A 17 year old that just got richer by signing a $5.1 million bonus with the Yankees in 2019. He has drawn comparisons to Juan Soto, but because he is a switch hitter there have even been some Micky Mantle comps. He is not a big guy at 5′10″ but he shows massive power, a strong arm and the speed to play center field. There is no history on Jasson since his bonus signing was a 2020 contract. His professional debut could begin in the Dominican Summer League and if he does well there he could participate in the rookie leagues. If he meets his hype he could rise quickly like Juan Soto, reaching the major leagues in 2023 at 20 years of age.

39. Riley Greene OF (Tigers) - Riley was the Tigers 2019 first round pick, the fifth overall pick in the draft. He is the first position player they have drafted first since 2014 (Derek Hill). Like Hill, Greene is also an outfielder, but the two have different skills. Hill relies more on speed and centerfield defense. Greene has a big time power bat, but his lack of speed and arm will limit him to left field. In his first professional season he got promoted to Low A, where he struggled a bit (.219). His left handed bat could produce 40 plus homerun numbers once he reaches the major leagues. While he accumulated a number of strikeouts last year (22/63 walk to whiff in 57 games) he is expected to hit for average. Riley is still a few years from the Tigers with an expected arrival time of 2023 or 2024 depending on his performance as he climbs the minor league ladder.

38. Grayson Rodriguez RHP (Orioles) - Grayson was a first round pick of the Orioles in 2018. Last year he pitched in Low A and in the Future’s Game, all as a teenager. He dominated at Low A, limiting the opposition to a .171 average, while striking out 12.4 hitters per nine innings. At 6′5″ he has good height and with his fastball sitting at the higher ends of the low 90s, and reaching the high 90s it flashes quickly towards the plate. He complements the fastball with two plus breaking pitches, and his change appears to have the makings of being an above average pitch. The tools appear to be that of an ace, but the Orioles have been through that program before. He is still early in his development and will probably not see the major leagues until 2022 as he climbs one level at a time through the minor leagues.

37. Nick Madrigal 2B (White Sox) - The White Sox made Nick the fourth overall pick in the 2018 draft after he led Oregon State to a College World Series championship. The White Sox are hoping that eventually a World Series championship will be in their future. Nick is not a dynamic player. He seems to play above his tools. The talk is that he has the defensive tools to play short, but his teams always have someone better and he ends up at second base. His power is lacking but he should hit for a high average. The speed is also there but it won’t result in high stolen base numbers. What he has that the tools don’t measure is that intensity to win and do the things necessary to achieve that goal. Last year he reached AAA, hitting .341 at AA and .331 at AAA. With a good spring he could end up going north with the White Sox, but if not in April he will be in the major leagues at some point in 2020 as their starting second baseman. All Star seasons await.

36. Nolan Jones 3B (Indians) - Myworld will always get Nolan Jones confused with Nolan Gorman. Both play third base and both carry prodigious power that will result in a plethora of homeruns. Gorman was a 2018 first round pick while Jones was the Indians second round 2016 pick. The Indians drafted Will Benson in the first round in 2016. Jones will never be considered a great defender at the hot corner, but he should have enough tools to stay at third base. The power in his bat would still fit at first, but he would not be as valuable at that position. Last year he slugged 15 homeruns between High A and AA, hitting .272 with a .442 slugging percentage. He shows good patience at the plate with 96 walks, but he also struck out 148 times in 126 games. If he gets more elevation to his balls he could be a regular 30 homerun bat at the hot corner. The 2020 season will see him start at AA with a possible debut in the major leagues if he is raking, or 2021.

35. Mitch Keller RHP (Pirates) - Mitch has spent a pretty long career in the minor leagues after being drafted in the second round in 2014. After a lot of hype he finally made his major league debut last year and it was a bit of a flop, with a 7.13 ERA in 11 starts. He did collect a high number of strikeouts (12.2/9 innings), but major leaguers hit him at a .348 clip. The stuff is there with a mid-90s fastball that can hit the high 90s and above average breaking pitches. He still needs to develop a change, which at this point is a below average pitch. A good spring should see him in the Pirates rotation, though they may want to start him in AAA to extend his service time.

34. JJ Bleday OF (Marlins) - Myworld witnessed some of the Bleday power at the College World Series. The Marlins were also impressed, selecting him with a first round pick in 2019, the fourth player selected in the draft. Last year he led all NCAA players with 27 homeruns, leading Vanderbilt to the finals of the College World Series. He added three more homeruns in his 38 game minor league debut. He lacks the speed to play center, but has plenty of arm to fit in right. He makes good contact, hits to all fields and should hit for both a high average and power. The Marlins thought enough of his tools to begin his minor league season in High A. That appears to show a plan for a quick rise through the minor league season, with an expected arrival time around 2021.

33. Ian Anderson RHP (Braves) - Another in a collection of Braves number one drafted pitchers, Ian a first round pick of the Braves in 2016. Last year Ian struggled in five starts with the Braves in AAA (6.57 ERA). In previous seasons his ERA was 3.14 or less and his strikeout per nine innings was near 11 per nine innings. His fastball sits in the low 90s with lots of upside to his secondary pitches and the command to throw them to different areas of the strike zone. The Braves have a lot of depth in the starting rotation in the minor leagues. Ian is part of that depth and will probably start the season in AAA, with a mid-season promotion a strong possibility, depending on which pitchers are hot.

32. Marco Luciano SS (Giants) - The Giants signed Lucius Fox for $6 million in 2015, but traded him to the Rays in 2016 when his bat seemed to be a cause of concern. Luciano was signed for $2.6 million in 2018 and now appears to be the shortstop of the future, with a better hit tool than Fox. Last year Luciano made his debut stateside and hit .322 in the Arizona Rookie League. He also showed big time power with 10 homeruns and a .616 slugging percentage. The defensive tools, including a strong arm are there for him to stay at short. His speed is above average but he could get bulky as he ages making him unable to cover the ground necessary to play short. The power would be there for him to play at third. At 18 he is a few years away from the major leagues. With Brandon Crawford on the down side of his career, the Giants could use some help at shortstop prior to Luciano being ready.

31. A.J. Puk LHP (Athletics) - Puk appeared ready to make the major league staff out of spring training in 2018. The 2016 first round pick experienced elbow problems, which resulted in Tommy John surgery and a missed 2018 season. He did pitch in 2019, making his major league debut with 10 relief appearances. The fastball is electric, hitting the high 90s, and with his 6′7″ frame visions of Randy Johnson dance in the hitter’s heads. His slider and change also appear to be quality pitches. What is a cause of concern is a lack of command of those pitches. The Athletics hope to use him in the starting rotation in 2020, but if he has trouble finding the plate a closer role could be another option. Whatever the role, the Athletics plan on having his arm on the major league roster in 2020.

Myworld’s Top 100 Prospect List - 100 to 91

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020

All prospect lists are subjective. We hate subjective assessments. They are usually incorrect as the years confirm. To make matters simpler, this isn’t really my Top 100 list. It is a combination of five top 100 lists. That way I can be more objective. MLB.com, Baseball America, CBS Sports, Rotochamp and Brickwall were the five Top 100 lists used this year. Because it takes so much time putting them together, we are breaking them down into ten prospect lists. This will be list 100-91.

100. Jordan Balazovic RHP (Twins) - Jordan was born in Canada. The Twins waited until the fifth round of the 2016 draft before acquiring him. He lingered away from any top ten prospect lists until his 6′5″ inch frame began throwing fastballs above the 95 mile per hour readings. His strikeout numbers were impressive (129 whiffs in 93 innings) and his opposition average (.193) confirmed his ability to get hitters out. Despite his height he showed good command of his pitches. Jordan has yet to pitch 100 innings in one year. A promotion to AA is expected and the Twins hope to have him hit the 100 inning mark in 2020. Don’t expect him with the Twins until 2021, unless they want to manage his innings in a bullpen role.

99. Josh Lowe OF (Rays) - Josh is the brother of Nate, who is a first baseman in the Rays organization. Josh was a first round pick out of high school in 2016 while his brother waited until the 13th round of that same draft to hear his name called. Nate was the first of the two to make the big league roster, appearing in 50 games, but Josh should make more of an impact. Josh had a break out year last year with his first double digit homerun year, blasting 18 homeruns. His whiff numbers were a tad high (132) resulting in a .252 average, which is just one below his career minor league average. The speed exists for him to play centerfield and steal bases (30). At 6′4″ the power numbers should only increase. All of his damage occurred at AA last year so Rays fans could see him in 2020 if a need arises.

98. George Valera OF (Indians) - George was born in New York but moved to the Dominican Republic as a youth. The Indians signed him for $1.3 million. If he had stayed in New York, where the baseball weather is not ideal, he would have been part of the draft last year. Not a lot of million dollar contracts given to New York high schoolers. He made his stateside debut in 2018 but an injury limited him to just six games. The 2019 season saw him play more games but not doing a lot of damage (.236). The Indians hope they have another Juan Soto, but he has to show a little more damage with the bat. The tools are all just above average so the speed is marginal enough where he could play centerfield, and the arm is strong enough to survive in right. The bat will have to play for him to earn his spot in the outfield, probably left field like Soto.

97. Tyler Freeman SS (Indians) - The Indians first round pick in the 2017 draft. In 2018 he mauled the New York Penn League for a .352 average. The 2019 season was his first in full season and the bat continued to mulch pitchers, hitting .306 between High A and Low A. Power does not appear to be in his game, with just 7 homeruns in his first three years in the minors. He sprays the gaps, with 32 doubles and makes contact, rarely striking out. The tools are there for him to play short, but not at the Francisco Lindor capacity. Defensively, his best fit may be second base, but with the willingness of the Indians to trade Lindor he may be called on earlier than expected. At best he will see a half season in AA and be ready for the major leagues in 2021.

96. Clark Schmidt RHP (Yankees) - The Yankees selected Clark in the first round of the 2017 draft, despite having Tommy John surgery that made him unable for him to pitch that year. The 2018 season was a rehab year where he only threw 23 innings. Last year the Yankees let him throw just over 90 innings and he showed a low to mid 90s fastball with good command and lots of swings and misses (102 whiffs in 90.2 innings). A smaller frame (6′1″) is cause for some durability concerns, despite being two inches taller than the Yankees top pitching prospect of the moment (Deivi Garcia). He did start three games in AA last year and drafted out of college if the Yankees feel his arm is ready they could give him a call next year, more likely out of the bullpen.

95.Bobby Dalbec 3B (Red Sox) - Bobby is one of the reasons there is a lot of downtime in baseball. He draws a lot of walks and has his share of strikeouts. This year the strikeout numbers dropped significantly but that failed to result in a higher average (.239) or power production (.460). His power numbers actually dropped from the previous season. At 6′4″ Dalbec is a little stiff for third base, but the Red Sox have too many players whose best position is first base. His lack of speed makes it not an advantage to move him to the outfield. So the Red Sox have to hope his power bat continues to progress and makes up for any defensive inefficiencies he shows at third. Bobby will start the season in AAA but is an injury away from being called up. If the Red Sox are seeking power next year he is the bat that will show it for them.

94. Sam Huff C (Rangers) - High school catchers have a tough career in the minor leagues. Most do not make it, and many of those who do play another position because they have a productive bat. That may be the eventual route of Huff. The seventh round pick in the 2016 draft continues to increase his power numbers, hitting 18 in 2018 and combining for 28 last year. A 33/154 walk to whiff ratio shows a lack of patience at the plate. His defense is still a work in progress, with a strong arm, but still to much stiffness behind the plate for his 6′4″ frame. The Rangers will find a position for him if he continues to hit 30 plus homeruns/year. While he dominated in Low A (.796 slugging) he struggled a bit in High A (.262). Huff is probably still at least until 2022 from reaching the Rangers, and it may be to get his bat into the lineup at a position other than catcher.

93. Orelevis Martinez SS (Blue Jays) - There is a lot to like in Orelevis, but not in huge waves. The Blue Jays opened their pocketbook for him, lavishing him with a $3.5 million bonus in 2018. His bat could be his best tool. The bat makes good contact and can spray the gaps, with more than half his hits going for extra bases last year. His speed is not great for the middle infield so staying at short will be a challenge. In 40 games at rookie ball he slugged .549 so a move to third base could be a possibility. If he stays at short he could be one of the more productive at the offensive end. Since he only played rookie ball last year he is a long ways away from wearing a Blue Jay uniform.

92. Geraldo Perdomo SS (Diamondbacks) - Myworld would bet that his name came up in the Starling Marte trade. Geraldo is a little more seasoned than Liover Peguero. The Diamondbacks spent $400,000 more for Peguero ($475,000) than Perdomo ($70,000). Perdomo lacks power but last year he showed enough patience to walk (70) more than he struck out (67). His batting average did not get rewarded for that patience (.262) but there was improvement when he was promoted to High A (.301). The tools are there for him to stick at short, with his arm his biggest asset. Despite lacking burner speed Geraldo is still able to turn singles into doubles with 26 stolen bases. The Diamondbacks will be patient with him. Expect it to be 2022 before he wears a Diamondback’s uniform.

91. Aaron Bracho SS (Indians) - The Indians win the lower spectrum of the prospect race with three in the bottom 10. Aaron signed out of Venezuela back in 2017, the same year as Valera. An arm injury left him sidelined in 2017 and 2018. He finally showed his tools in 2019 getting in 39 games and showing the ability to make contact which allowed him to hit for a decent average in rookie ball (.291). The power was there for him to slug .593. While the tools were there, they were not overwhelming. Because of his arm injuries the Indians played him at second base. His lack of speed and average arm may make that a permanent solution. Next year the kid gloves should come off and Aaron will be let loose to whereever his tools will take him. He is still a couple years away from having an impact on the Indians.

AL Central Lower Round Draft Pick Success

Friday, December 27th, 2019

A couple days ago we did the AL East teams and the players drafted 25th or lower who achieved major league success for more than a year, with some exceptions. Myworld started the review for drafts in 1998 when they limited the picks to 50 players and went to 2015 when we felt most players from that draft and later would still be in the minor leagues. Below is the AL Central major league success rate.

Chicago White Sox

Mark Buehrle LHP (1998/38th round) - 214-160, 3.81 in 518 games, 493 of them starts.
Joe Valentine RHP (1999/26th round) - 2-4, 6.70 in 42 games of relief except for one start
Jeff Bajenaru RHP (1999/36th round) - 0-2, 11.20 in 14 games of relief
Charlie Haeger RHP (2001/25th round) - 2-7, 6.40 in 34 games, 10 of them starts
Jay Marshall LHP (2002/25th round) - 1-4, 7.66 in 61 games of relief
Hector Santiago LHP (2006/30th round) - 47-50, 4.14 in 257 games, 139 of them starts
Chris Devenski RHP (2011/25th round) - 16-15, 3.21 in 221 games, 7 of them starts

Cleveland Indians

Tony Sipp LHP (2004, 45th round) - 26-22, 3.72 in 616 games of relief
Vidal Nuno LHP (2009/48th round) - 8-23, 4.06 in 155 games, 42 of them starts

Jon Van Every OF (2000/29th round) - .255, 2, 9 in 39 games
Roberto Perez C (2008/33rd round) - .216, 45, 162 in 414 games

Detroit Tigers

Eric Eckenstahler LHP (1999/32nd round) - 1-0, 3.80 in 27 games of relief
Jason Frasor RHP (1999/33rd round) - 35-35, 3.49 in 679 games of relief
Joe Mantiply LHP (2013/27th round) - 1-0, 12.71 in 6 games of relief

Dusty Ryan C (2003/48th round) - .257, 2, 11 in 27 games
Will Rhymes 2B (2005/27th round) - .266, 2, 29 in 130 games

Kansas City Royals

Ruben Gotay 2B/SS (2000/31st round) - .255, 12, 77 RBIs in 316 games
Jarrod Dyson OF (2006/50th round) - .247, 21, 170 with 250 stolen bases in 858 games
Clint Robinson 1B (2007/25th round) - .257, 15, 62 in 243 games

Minnesota Twins

Kevin Frederick RHP (1998/29th round) - 0-2, 7.59 in 30 games of relief
Nick Blackburn RHP (2001/29th round) - 43-55, 4.85 in 145 games, 137 of them starts
Michael Tonkin RHP (2008/30th round) - 3-3, 4.43 in 141 games of relief
A.J. Achter RHP (2010/46th round) - 2-1, 3.92 in 45 games of relief

Terry Tiffee 1B (1999/26th round) - .226, 5, 29 in 97 games
Rene Tosoni OF (2005/36th round) - .203, 5, 22 in 60 games

AL Central Baseball America Minor League All Stars

Sunday, December 1st, 2019

These are the All Stars selected by Baseball America for each of the classifications. They may not be the best prospects but they had some pretty good years. Below is the list of AL Central All Stars.

Chicago White Sox

Luis Robert (OF/AAA) - This Cuban will be one of the top five prospects in minor league baseball. He has all the tools, the speed to play center and create havoc on the basepaths, the arm to play right and the bat to hit for average and power. He could use better patience at the plate. His 28/129 walk to whiff ratio could get exploited by major league pitchers. Last year he hit .328 with 32 homeruns and 92 RBIs at three different levels.

Avery Weems (LHP/SS) - The sixth round pick from the 2019 draft out of Arizona put up some pretty dominating numbers, with a 2.09 ERA in 14 starts and 74 whiffs in 60 innings. Only one hitter slugged a homer off him as he is a ground ball machine. His fastball does not have great velocity but in this spin driven world he has the spin on the ball that makes it difficult to make contact.

Cleveland Indians

Nolan Jones (3B/High A) - The second round 2016 pick has the potential to develop some significant power. He only slugged .425 at High A but when promoted to AA it rose to .466. It is his plate discipline that is most impressive with OBAs of .435 and .370. His defense needs some improvement and because of his lack of speed the outfield would be a liability. So the Indians hope he can make it at third, otherwise a move to first would test his power.

Will Benson (DH/Low A) - At 6′5 the first round 2014 pick can generate some impressive power, including hitting four homeruns in one game. Last year he hit 18 homeruns in Low A for a .604 slugging. A promotion to High A resulted in some struggles (.189) that a little more plate discipline would improve. Last year he struck out 151 times in 123 games. His defense is best suited for the corners, with the arm to fit in right field. For a player drafted in 2014 and only advancing to High A is concerning.

Bryan Lavastida (C/SS) - The 15th round pick of 2018 displayed a solid bat last year with a .335 average. In his two years of minor league ball he is hitting .319. Drafted out of junior college and at 20 years old he may have been a bit too advanced for another season of short season ball. He has the potential to be a solid defensive catcher and is bilingual, a good trait for a catcher.

Ethan Hankins (RHP/SS) - A shoulder injury dropped him to the 35th player selected in the 2018 draft. He dominated at the New York Penn League (1.40 ERA) with a fastball that can hit the high 90s but sits at the mid-90s. After a promotion to Low A he got tagged around a bit (4.64 ERA) his opposition average going from .178 to .250. His breaking pitches need to improve so hitters do not sit on his fastball.

Detroit Tigers

Matt Manning (RHP/AA) - The Tigers 2016 number one pick is not even their top pitching prospect (Casey Mize). He did have a dominating season in AA with a 2.56 ERA, 148 whiffs in 133 innings and a .192 opposition average. At 6′6″ he is a skyscraper with a mid-90s fastball. He just needs to enhance his change and he could become an ace.

Drew Carlton (RHP/AA) - Relief pitchers drafted in the 32nd round as Drew was in 2017 are always suspect. The Tigers Erie rotation was filled with top ten prospects and who was asked to close the games but a player not on the Tigers prospect list. He saved 19 games, had a 1.46 ERA and limited the opposition to a .200 average. Since being drafted the Seminole has a career ERA of 1.74. Joe Jimenez had 30 saves in 2016 in the minor leagues so achieving saves does not guarantee major league success.

Tarik Skubal (LHP/AA) - One of the biggest surprises for the Tigers this year. The 9th round 2018 pick finished with a 2.13 ERA in AA, limiting the opposition to a .168 average and whiffing 82 in 42 innings, more dominating than he was in High A (2.58). His fastball can hit 97 but sits in the lower reaches of the mid-90s, plenty of juice for a lefthander. His improvement in his change would establish himself in the major leagues.

Kansas City Royals

Kris Bubic (LHP/High) - The supplemental first round pick in the 2018 draft out of Stanford posted a 2.30 ERA at High A. He also struck out a whisker more than a batter per inning and limited the opposition to a .215 average. He did all this with a fastball in the low 90s, but with a whacky delivery and effective change that made him tough to hit.

Adrian Alcantara (RHP/SS) - The Dominican was hard to hit with a .155 opposition average. This was an improvement from last year (.290). The twenty year old will face a key season next year, perhaps debuting at full season Low A.

Minnesota Twins

Devin Smeltzer (LHP/AAA) - The fifth round 2016 pick will not wow you with his tools but he does throw left handed and showed he could get hitters out in the rough and tumble AAA. His 3.63 ERA would not be so elevated if he did not give up 14 homeruns in just 74 innings. He showed enough to make his debut with the Twins for six major league starts.

Lewin Diaz (1B/High A) - The Twins traded Lewin to the Marlins mid-season for some relief help. Lewin mashed 27 homeruns. He hit 13 of those homeruns in High A with a .290 average and a .533 slugging percentage while with the Twins. At 6′4″ he has the length to deliver power. For a big man he makes good contact but his defense needs improvement if he does not want to spend most of his time at DH.

Trevor Larmach (OF/High A) - The 2018 first round pick hit for a nice average in the Florida State League (.316) and showed good gap power with 26 doubles and six homeruns. His lack of speed is not ideal for the outfield but his arm is strong enough for right field. A move to first base would require a bit more juice in the bat.

Cody Laweryson (RHP/SS) - The 14th round pick in the 2019 draft had a good professional debut with a 1.57 ERA in seven starts. The opposition could only hit him at a .168 clip. In one of his last starts he struck out 15 batters in six innings. At 6′4″ he relies on his fastball/change combination to keep hitters off balance. Next year in full season will be key to see if he can replicate those numbers.