Archive for the 'Royals' Category

Top 2021 Cuban Prospects in the American League

Friday, April 2nd, 2021

From last year’s list Luis Robert, the top prospect on last year’s list graduated. Ronald Bolanos and Randy Arozarena moved from the National League to the American League. If you included Arozarena’s at bats from the playoffs he would have graduated, but he is still eligible as a rookie. Julio Pablo Martinez, Yordys Valdes and Orlando Martinez dropped from the list. Two new players who were signed by the White Sox in 2021 were added to this list.

1. Rando Arozarena OF (Rays) - No one has ever been hotter in the playoffs when Arozarena, who hit 10 homeruns in 20 playoff games. For the longest time Babe Ruth held the record for most homeruns in the post season with 15, but then during that era they only played one seven game series. Arozarena almost equaled that amount in one playoff year. Don’t expect that power to result in Ruthian numbers during the regular season. He hits the ball hard but it’ll probably settle in the 30 plus homerun range. He was signed by the Cardinals in 2016 for what was then a modest bonus of $1.25 million. He has failed to fall high on prospect lists, but myworld did rate him as the second rated Cuban prospect in the National League last year. He appears to have a good hit tool, with the ability to hit in the neighborhood of .300. His speed will allow him to play centerfield, but he is a better fit in a corner with an arm strong enough for right field. The Rays acquired him from the Cardinals for Mike Liberatore. Arozarena should start at a corner for the Rays in 2021 with possible spot starts in centerfield.

2. Roberto Campos OF (Tigers) - The Tigers paid out $2.85 million to sign Campos. Like a lot of Cubans, not a lot is known about the 17 year old. In the United States he would still be in high school. He has the big, right field frame at 6′3″ and 200 pounds. He left Cuba at 13 and trained at a facility in the Dominican Republic for three years. His batting practices are impressive, but there is no game like action to show what he can do with a mixture of different offerings. The speed is there to play center, but like Arozarena his best fit appears to be right. He will probably start the 2021 season in Low A, since there will not be any rookie leagues.

3. Yusniel Diaz OF ( Orioles) - The tools are there for him to be a major leaguer. Some question whether he has the motivation. The Dodgers wheel barreled out $15 million to sign him back in 2015. They traded him to the Orioles for a half season use of Manny Machado. He slogged around in AA for more than two years. This spring he was hoping to win a job with the Orioles, but he will probably start the season in AAA. His tools are probably just above average in all categories, but power wise and defense fall far short of Manny Machado. Because he lacks the burner speed to play center, how his power develops will determine whether his bat can fit into a corner. His highest homerun total is 11 with a career slugging average of .440. Most teams want to see higher production from a corner outfielder. He will need a good season in AAA in 2021 and a couple injuries before he fits with the Orioles.

4. Yoelquis Cespedes OF (White Sox) - He is the younger brother of Yoennis Cespedes, who had a great early career in Cuba before he signed a major league contract. Yoelquis numbers in the Cuban league pale in comparison to Yoennis, yet the White Sox were still willing to pay $2.05 million for him. Yoennis signed a four year contract with the Oakland Athletics for $36 million, when there were not as many restrictions on bonuses for international players. Yoennis hit 177 homeruns in Cuba while Yoelquis has hit 12. Yoelquis only stands 5′9″, so we hold out little hope he will be a stand out player. His arm may be his strongest tool, but it is said he has some power, despite his vanilla .415 slugging percentage in Cuba. The speed is there to play center so if his power does not develop he could survive on his defense and moderate power. He reminds me a bit too much of Adolis Garcia. At 23, he should probably start the year in AA with a potential major league debut in 2022.

5. Alexander Vargas SS (Yankees) - The Yankees spent $2.5 million to sign Vargas in 2019. The 19 year old showed a smooth glove in his rookie league debut, but a little overmatched with the bat. His speed allowed him to steal 15 bases in 48 games and leg out 7 triples. At 5′11″ and only 150 pounds the power is a little short but should improve as he gets stronger. The defensive tools are there for him to stick at short. He needs to show a little better bat if he doesn’t want to fall into oblivion like a number of other Cuban shortstops that are short with the stick and battling for an opportunity to play in the major leagues. Alexander should start the 2021 season in Low A. The Yankees seem to be flush with shortstops so it would not surprise myworld if Vargas is not traded in a couple years for playoff pieces.

6. Norge Vera RHP (White Sox) - Norge is the son of Norge Luis Vera, who was a star for the Cuban National team that won a number of Olympic gold medals. At 6′4″ he has a good frame for a pitcher. The White Sox signed him for $1.5 million in 2021. That is over $3 million the White Sox spent for two Cubans. Norge throws his fastball in the low 90s but it should gain velo as he matures physically. He appears to have the requisite secondary pitches to fit in the middle of a rotation. His long levers had difficulty finding the plate when he pitched in the Cuban League, but he was only 18 then. The White Sox will start him in Low A in 2021.

7. Lazaro Armentaros OF (Athletics) - Lazaro came from Cuba with too much hype. The Athletics believed that hype and spent $3 million to sign him in 2016. He was advertised as a five tool athlete, but his arm is weak and dedicated to left field and he has trouble making contact. He struck out 227 times in 2019. If the pitch has a bend to it Lazaro has trouble making contact. He does have some speed and shows some power when he can make contact. He fell three homeruns short in 2019 from being a 20/20 player in the minor leagues. The 2021 season should see him start it in AA where he needs to focus on making more consistent contact.

8. Bryan Ramos 3B (White Sox) - The third White Sox on this list, but Ramos signed for only $300,000 in 2018. The power is there for him to stick at a corner infield position, but the glove at third may force a move to first. If that is the case there may be more pressure on him for his power to really perform. Major league teams have been reluctant to have right handed gloves who bat right handed play first base. His speed is not great, but he could also move to a corner outfield position. In his one season of Rookie level ball in 2019 he had trouble making contact with 44 whiffs in 51 games. The 2021 season should see him start in Low A.

9. Ronald Bolanos RHP (Royals) - Ronald appeared as the ninth top Cuban prospect in the National League last year. He appears as the ninth best prospect in the American League this year. The Padres signed Bolanos for $2 million in 2016, then included him in a trade to the Royals with Franchy Cordero for Tim Hill. He did get an opportunity to pitch with the Padres in 2019 and with the Royals in 2020, but his seven appearances result in an ERA of 6.94. Throwing strikes has been a bit of a challenge in the major leagues, resulting in 5 dingers in just 23 innings. His fastball hits the mid-90s and his curve has a good break, but if he wants to fit into the rotation he needs to enhance his change to get a third effective pitch. He will start the 2021 season in AAA.

10. Yolbert Sanchez SS (White Sox) - The fourth White Sox on this list. The White Sox signed him for $2.5 million. At 24 he is a veteran of the Cuban League, hitting just two homeruns in his three years there, with averages ranging from .255 to .350. In 2019 he played 29 games in the Dominican Summer League where he was playing against much younger players. The defensive tools are there to play shortstop but the bat needs to improve if he hopes to take on a regular role. A utility option exists if his bat fails to mature. The White Sox may be aggressive with him in 2021 and start him in High A or AA.

Myworlds 2021 Top 100 Prospects 20-11

Sunday, March 14th, 2021

The prospect countdown continues. Three Tigers and two Twins form half of this group.

20. Nick Gonzalez SS/2b (Pirates) - Pretty high ranking for a player who has yet to play a minor league season. He was the seventh player taken in the 2020 draft. He is also tearing it up this spring and if it was not the Pirates concern for service time he could earn the second base job in 2021. In college Gonzalez played at New Mexico State where balls can fly. It was not until he hit .351 with a .630 slugging percentage in the Cape Cod League that scouts took notice. His power may be limited more to the gaps rather than over the fence, but he could compete for batting titles once he is called up, the National League version of Nick Madrigal, with better offense and less defense. On defense he lacks the arm or range to play short, though he runs well. As a college drafted player he could rise quickly if service time issues are not followed. The 2022 season should see him in a Pirates uniform.

19. Joey Bart C (Giants) - Buster Posey opted out of the 2020 season. With no minor leagues the Giants rushed the second pick in the 2018 draft to the majors. It did not go well. Bart only hit .233 with a .288 OBA. Lesson learned. His minor league numbers indicate a player who will hit for a decent average (.270) with some pop (20 plus homeruns and .532 slugging). He also has a good arm with solid defensive tools behind the plate. With Posey back for the 2021 season Bart will be allowed to marinate some more in the minor leagues. He could get a late season callup in 2021, but should be the Giants starting catcher by 2023. It all depends on the Giants decision on moving Posey to first base to accommodate Bart.

18. Royce Lewis SS (Twins) - Royce has been on the prospect list for a long time. An injured knee will force him to miss the 2021 season. If this had happened prior to myworld putting this list together Royce would have dropped significantly. It is not that myworld has doubts about Royce recovering from this injury. It is just that many other shortstops have now surpassed him. He should take a look at Chipper Jones and his struggles with injuries that delayed his major league arrival. Royce has the hit tools and the speed to be an impact player. The Twins were actually moving him around to different positions (centerfield) to make him more attractive once a major league job opens up. The 2019 season was a rough year for him when hit just .236 with a .290 OBA. That left a sour taste in his mouth. With no minor leagues in 2020 and missing the 2021 season it will be a lot longer before Royce can lose that sour taste. Look for him to make the Twins sometime late in the 2022 season.

17. Riley Greene OF (Tigers) - For this Tiger first round pick in the 2019 draft it is all about the bat. His first year in the minor leagues he hit .271 with a .403 slugging percentage. At 6′3″ that power should increase as he gets stronger and becomes more confident in using wood bats. The speed is there to play center, but he fits better at a corner with a power bat and a strong arm. In 2019 the bat was good enough to reach Low A. He should be ready for High A in 2021 and reach the Tigers by the 2022 season.

16. Alex Kirilloff 1B/OF (Twins) - The 2016 first round pick is almost a carbon copy of Trevor Larnach, who is a bit lower down on the prospect ranking. They both have power bats, but lack the defensive tools for them to be good outfielders. With practice and repetition Alex can be an adequate outfielder. Ultimately he may have to move to first base, where the power in his bat needs to accompany him. In his first full season in 2018 he hit .348 with 20 homeruns and a .578 slugging percentage. He was not able to replicate that in 2019 (.283/.413). A wrist injury may have limited his swing in 2019. Knee surgery forced him to miss the 2017 season, so injuries have been a concern. The Twins released Eddie Rosario, their starting left fielder in 2020. With a good spring the left field position should go to Alex for the 2021 season.

15. Tarik Skubal LHP (Tigers) - Many have felt that Tarik came out of nowhere. He was a ninth round pick in 2018. That was not for lack of talent, but because of Tommy John surgery that limited his college career. The Tigers may have drafted him late but they paid above slot to sign him ($350,000). His first season he dominated with a 0.40 ERA and a .192 opponent average. His walk to whiff ratio was a pleasant 4/33. He continued to make waves in the 2019 season (2.42 ERA, .196 opponent average). Tarik has not had a poor minor league season. In 2020 he made his major league debut and while his ERA (5.63) was high his other numbers still impressed. Giving up nine homeruns in 32 innings hurt him. It may be sometime in May before the Tigers put him in the 2021 rotation, but with a mid 90s fastball and two quality secondary offerings his stuff will force the Tigers to bring him up early in the 2021 season.

14. Jasson Dominguez OF (Yankees) - When talking about Jasson it is difficult not to think about Mickey Mantle. Jasson is only 18 and has yet to make his stateside debut. The Yankees spent $5.1 million to sign him in 2019. The super star tools are there. He runs well, hits well and for power, and plays a mean centerfield. There is very little not to like when you watch this potential phenom play the game. Don’t be surprised after one minor league season in 2021 he will be number one on this list for 2022. Jasson will start 2021 in A ball and could see the Yankees by his 20th birthday. If Juan Soto can do it, so can Jasson Dominguez.

13. Matt Manning RHP (Tigers) - A third Tiger on this list and the second to fill the rotation. The 2016 first round pick stands an imposing 6′6″ with a fastball that strikes the lower edges of the mid-90s. That velocity could increase as he matures. The curveball could be his best pitch, with a high spin rate and a large drop that is ripe for swings and misses. Manning was a high school pick so it has taken him some time to climb up the minor league ladder. He had his best year in 2019 pitching at AA (2.56 ERA), limiting the opposition to a .192 average. With Casey Mize and Skubal just ahead of him Matt will take later in the 2021 season before he is promoted to the Tigers. That would make a talented trifecta for the Tigers rotation.

12. Luis Patino RHP (Rays) - Patino was traded by the Padres to the Rays after the 2020 season to acquire Blake Snell. The Padres found Luis while scouting in Colombia and signed him for just $130,000. At 6′1″ he is not a big presence like Manning, but he whips that fastball across the plate into the mid to high 90s. His slider is also a very good swing and miss pitch. Luis made his Padres debut last year, appearing in 11 games with one start. His command was shaky with the big club, walking 14 in just 17 innings for a poor 5.19 ERA. Prior to that he had only pitched two games in AA. The Rays can be patient with Patino and could start him in AA to begin the 2021 season. A promotion to the big club should happen sometime before the end of the year.

11. Bobby Witt Jr SS (Royals) - Myworld first saw Bobby hit when he won the homerun contest at the Futures Games in 2019, beating out Rece Hinds. The Royals must have liked what they saw because they made him the second player selected in the 2019 draft. His father was a major league pitcher for a number of years so the gene pool is there. The Junior plans on doing most of his damage with the bat. The defensive tools are there for him to stick at short. With his power bat that would make him an offensive shortstop in the mold of an Alex Rodriguez. He did get a brief 2019 minor league season, hitting .262 with a .354 slugging. He showed his speed by collecting five triples in just 37 games. The Royals are saving the shortstop job for Witt, meaning they may not sign Adalberto Mondesi to an extension. Witt could be the Royals shortstop in 2022, but that would require him to reach AA by 2021.

Myworlds Top 2021 Prospects 30-21

Wednesday, March 10th, 2021

With the speed of the Cuban playoffs, the prospect countdown continues.

30. Trevor Larnach OF (Twins) - Trevor is a little like the outfielder he is competing against for the left field position vacated by Eddie Rosario. The 2018 first round pick is not noted for his speed which makes playing the outfield a challenge for him. He was a teammate of Nick Madrigal for the Oregon State College World Series team in 2018. At 6′4″ he carries a hefty bat that will contribute a lot of power once in the lineup. The arm is a fit for right field, but the Twins opening outfield spot is left field. Trevor has a career .307 average in his two year minor league career with a .468 slugging. Alex will probably win the left field job, but Trevor has enough bat to find his way into the lineup, either as a DH or rightfielder in 2021. It would be a challenging outfield with both Alex and Trevor in the corners.

29. Grayson Rodriguez RHP (Orioles) - The 11th pick in the 2018 draft has an array of quality pitches in his arsenal. At 6′5″ he also has an impressive frame. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and a quality change up makes it appear faster. His slider is a swing and miss pitch and the curve gives him two quality breaking pitches. Grayson has so many weapons at his disposal. If he has a weak point it may be his inconsistent command. In 2019 he walked 36 hitters in 94 innings at Low A, a little more than teams prefer, but he only gave up 57 hits for a .171 opponent average. That equates to a WHIP less than one. Grayson will start 2021 in High A, but could be quickly promoted with success. By 2023 he should be pitching in the Orioles rotation and by 2025 he should be their ace.

28. Vidal Brujan 2B (Rays) - Speed will be his game. The Rays signed him to a $5000 bonus out of the Dominican Republic, so he has turned into quite a bargain, something the low cost Rays thrive on. In his last two years he stole 103 bases. The down side in his game is that he has very little power. More and more teams are looking for pop at this position. Stolen bases are also not as valued. Until 2019 his walks almost equaled his whiffs. As he rises up the minor league ladder and reaches the major leagues those walk to whiff ratios could expand even more. If Vidal could keep his OBA high it would create an ideal top of the lineup hitter, but a number of low power, high speed guys have failed to keep their second base job. Brujan does have the tools to play short, so he could be used in a utility role, which could increase his value to a major league club. Vidal will start the 2021 season in AA and could be promoted to the Rays that year to take advantage of his speed in a playoff race.

27. McKenzie Gore LHP (Padres) - McKenzie is considered to be by many the top pitching prospect in baseball. The third pick in the 2017 draft was troubled by blisters in 2018, which created ugly numbers in ERA (4.45) and batting average against (.260). He bounced back in 2019 improving those numbers to a 1.69 ERA and a .164 opposition average. His strikeout to walk ratio also improved. At 6′2″ he is not a big guy and his fastball is a less than overpowering low 90s. The two breaking pitches and the change, plus the movement on his fastball and his ability to locate his pitches make him a tough at bat. With a good spring he could sneak his way into the Padres rotation, but he struggled in AA in 2019 so that could be his location for the start of 2021. Expect a callup by mid-season.

26. Drew Waters OF (Braves) - While Drew is a pretty talented centerfielder, he falls a bit short defensively to Pache. The second round 2107 pick has the arm to play right and the bat to fill the corner outfield position. In 2019 he won the AA batting title with a .319 average and was voted the MVP of the league. His bat is probably more consistent than Pache, with a little more punch. For 2019 he showed enough pop to spray the gaps for 40 doubles. As he matures the Braves hope some of those gap hits will carry over the fence. The big concern in his game is the 164 whiffs in just 134 games. He also lacks the patience to take a walk, swinging too much at a pitcher’s pitch out of the strike zone. Pache was the first to reach the majors but Waters should join him in 2021 giving the Braves one of the most talented pair of outfielders defensively.

25. Ian Anderson RHP (Braves) - The 2016 first round pick will not overwhelm you with power. His fastball can ride up into the mid-90s, but it sits more comfortably in the low 90s, where Ian can control it more. His curveball plays well off his fastball which results in a ton of swings and misses. In 2019 Ian struck out 172 hitters in just 135.2 innings. The change is the third pitch that can get hitters chasing. Ian made his major league debut in 2020 and shined. He finished with a 1.95 ERA in six starts limiting major league hitters to a .172 average. He also continued to be a strike out machine, whiffing 41 batters in 32.1 innings. Ian can have bouts of inconsistency with his command, but those were limited with the Braves. A full season could define those warts, or allow them to show up more frequently. Ian should be in the Braves rotation in 2021.

24. Corbin Carroll OF (Diamondbacks) - The 2019 first round pick shows excellent speed to patrol centerfield and streak around the bases. In his one brief minor league season he hit seven triples in just 42 games and stole 18 bases. The 5′10″ outfielder may lack the strength to ever hit for any power, but his defense in centerfield should save some runs and he will create havoc on the bases. It also appears he shows some patience at the plate with 29 walks in just 42 games. The 2021 season should see him begin the year in A ball with quick promotions to AA if he handles himself well. He and fellow Diamondback outfielder Alek Thomas have the same speed first, lack of power tool set that will be tough to fit them both in the outfield. The Diamondbacks may choose one to play center and trade the other for roster help.

23. Asa Lacey LHP (Royals) - The first round 2020 pick has a wicked lefthanded arm that can scatter mid-90s fastballs all around the plate. A 6′4″ frame and two devastating breaking pitches creates a fastball that is just more dangerous. His change is also a plus pitch. The two big challenges for Asa is his inconsistency to find the plate, and the absence of a 2020 season that would have allowed him to get into a rhythm. Asa pitched three seasons for Texas A&M, so he could rise quickly. Royals fans should expect to see him in 2022.

22. Kristian Robinson OF (Diamondbacks) - Christian may be the top rated player out of the Bahamas. The Diamondbacks provided a $2.5 million bonus to sign him. All the tools exist to make him a five tool player. Power is probably his best tool, but even at 6′3″ he carries the speed that could result in 30 or more stolen bases. That speed and a strong arm will make any outfield position fit. The bat should make him a superstar. In 2019 he slugged 14 homeruns in just 69 games for a .514 slugging percentage. His speed allowed him to steal 17 bases. While he hit .287 there is still not a lot of contact in his swing. He struck out 77 times, but there is still enough patience in his at bats that he was able to walk 31 times. At only 20 years of age, Kristian still has a lot of development to do. A little more time at A ball in 2021 could lead to AA with some success. He could arrive in late 2022 with the Diamondbacks in a September callup.

21. Sixto Sanchez RHP (Marlins) - The Phillies originally signed Sixto in 2015 out of the Dominican Republic for a paltry $35,000. They included him in a trade for J.T. Realmuto in what they hoped would be a playoff run. That playoff never arrived and instead the Marlins surprised everyone by making the playoffs in 2020 and Sixto led the charge. Throwing a fastball that routinely hits triple digits, Sixto got seven starts with the Marlins and rewarded them with three wins and a 3.42 ERA in those starts. The fastball is his bread and butter, but Sixto has the ability to mix in a quality change, curve and cutter. He also knows how to command the pitches. The only concern about him is his smallish 6′0″ frame and his 230 plus pounds, which is not a recipe for health. Provided he can stay healthy he should be the ace of a talented Marlins staff in 2021.

Myworlds 2021 Top Prospects 60-51

Friday, February 26th, 2021

Myworld continues to whittle down our top prospect list, going through 60-51. This group of ten has a good mix, with lefthanded pitching taking the majority of slots.

60. Geraldo Perdomo SS (Diamondbacks) - Arizona got a bargain with Geraldo, signing him for just $70,000 in 2016. The Dominican has the defensive tools to remain a shortstop. The over the fence power is lacking, but he sprayed the gaps in 2019 with 21 doubles. He makes solid contact with a career walk to whiff ratio of 169/148. That could keep his on base skills (.411 OBA) high enough to fit at the top of the order. The speed is there for him to steal 20 plus bases per year. At 6′2″ the hope is that as he matures he develops additional power. The 2021 season should see him start at AA. If he continues to spray hits to keep that OBA at .400 he could see the Diamondbacks lineup some time late in 2021.

59. Jose Garcia SS (Reds) - The Cuban defector, who signed for a $5 million bonus in 2017 got a rough introduction to major league baseball last year, hitting just .194 with a .206 OBA. The highest level he reached in 2019 was High A where he hit .280, so struggling with major league pitching should not be a surprise. Not everyone is a Juan Soto. Jose has the defensive tools to be an asset at shortstop. At 22 years of age he may need some further refinement in the minor leagues, but the Reds still lack a shortstop. Garcia lacks power, but did contribute 37 doubles in 2019. The speed is decent but it will not result in a lot of stolen bases. Making better contact would enhance his batting average. In the minors his walk to whiff ratio was a woeful 44/195 in 229 games. With the Reds it was 1/26 in 24 games. With a good spring he could win the starting shortstop job in 2021, but it would be better for his development if he percolated a bit more in the minor leagues, with a mid season callup in 2021.

58. Nick Lodolo LHP (Reds) - The 2019 first round pick relies more on his command to retire hitters. The lefthander does not have an overpowering pitch, but at 6′6″ he has an intimidating presence. His fastball hovers around the low 90s and is made better by a quality slider and change up. Over time, as he gains strength one could see that fastball start reading the mid-90s pretty consistently. What helps him is his radar like command. In his only minor league season in 2019 he did not walk a batter in his 18 innings of work, striking out 30. Opposing hitters were able to bat .247 against him, so less time around the plate could be a positive. As a college drafted pitcher Nick should advance quickly in the minor leagues. Don’t be surprised to see a late season 2021 debut if his minor league numbers warrant it.

57. Josh Jung 3B (Rangers) - One of the best hitters in Texas Tech history was rewarded by being a first round pick in the 2019. The Rangers hope that he will be their Kris Bryant. While he played a little shortstop with Tech, the hot corner will be his position with the Rangers. His lack of speed will inhibit his range at short and at 215 pounds he is just not built for the position. The bat contains some power. Once he learns to pull more he could reach 30 plus homeruns a year in the major leagues. In his 2019 minor league debut he did hit .316 with two homeruns. Expect him to start the 2021 season in High A with a Ranger arrival date in 2022.

56. Daniel Lynch LHP (Royals) - Daniel is part of a fearsome four of pitchers selected in the 2018 draft. Lynch was drafted in the first round along with Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar and second round pick Jonathan Bowlan, who are all considered worthy of being in the Royals top ten prospect list. Lynch is the lone lefthander in the group. His fastball has some juice and like Nick Lodolo it is thrown from an angular 6′6″ frame. His slider is an excellent pitch and he also throws a decent curve and change. Despite the height and the difficulty it creates in getting the long levers to all operate in one smooth motion, Lynch has good command of his pitches. As a college drafted pitcher you would like to see him advance through the Royals minor league system at a faster rate. He finished the 2019 season in A ball, while Brady Singer is on the major league roster. The Royals could gamble with him and begin his 2021 season in AA. This would put him a stone’s throw from contributing to the major league club. Realistically, he can expect a callup to the Royals some time in 2022.

55. Nick Madrigal 2B (White Sox) - Madrigal came with enough hype in his college career to motivate the White Sox to draft him in the first round of the 2018 draft. There is a winner’s pedigree in him after leading the Beavers to a College World Series championship. If not for an injury in the 2020 season he may not have qualified for this list. He did hit .340 in his 29 game major league debut. His minor league career average sits at .309. Those numbers may look impressive, but they do not come with the power. His contribution will have to come from spraying the ball into the outfield and making quality defensive plays at second base. If not for an average arm, his defense could be proficient enough to play shortstop. Nick should be the White Sox starting second baseman to begin the 2021 season.

54. Zac Veen OF (Rockies) - The Rockies 2020 first round pick has the 6′4″ frame typical of rightfielders. The arm is a good fit for the position. He also carries some speed to be able to patrol centerfield, though not the burner speed a lot of teams prefer for the position. His path to the major leagues will be destined by the power in his lefthanded bat. Rockie offensive numbers are usually inflated because of the high altitude, but Zac does not need that to carry balls over the fence. Because there was no 2020 season Zac should begin the season in Low A. The second high school player taken in the 2020 draft is still a couple years away from impacting the Rockies lineup, but the 2023 season should see his major league debut.

53. Francisco Alvarez C (Mets) - Venezuela is noted for developing pretty good catchers. The Mets paid a $2.7 million bonus to sign him in 2018. Francisco has some impressive tools, especially on the offensive side. His bat should contribute power as well as a high average. In 2019 he was able to hit .312 with seven homeruns and a .510 slugging percentage. There appears to be enough patience not to swing at anything close to the plate, his 26 walks in just 42 games producing a .407 OBA. On defense his arm is strong enough to slow a running game. He also moves well behind the plate, shifting his 220 pounds with ease. The other intricacies to the game such as pitch calling will come with more experience. The 19 year old will start the 2021 season in A ball with a Met appearance sometime in the 2023 season.

52. Edward Cabrera RHP (Marlins) - The Marlins signed the Dominican way back in 2015. He cost them a measly $100,000 signing bonus. Edward is one of many flame throws elevating up the Marlins system. The 6′5″ righthander hits the plate with a fastball travelling in the mid-90s. His slider is also a pretty effective pitch. Enhancing his change and improving his command will be game changers, allowing him to fit at the top of a rotation. His 2019 season was a break out season with his 2.23 ERA almost two runs better than his three previous minor league seasons. Hitters also struggled to hit just .190 against him, an improvement of 80 points or more from his three previous seasons. The 2021 season will determine whether this vast improvement was a fluke, or part of his increased understanding of becoming a pitcher. Unfortunately, it has not gotten off to a good start, with an arm injury that will sideline him for the early spring. The Marlins were considering him for the rotation towards the end of the 2020 season but arm and back issues kept him away from making his major league debut. Let us hope these injuries are not part of a pattern. Otherwise he should make his major league debut sometime in the 2021 season.

51. Matthew Liberatore LHP (Cardinals) - The Cardinals were so enamored with Liberatore that they traded the homer machine Randy Arozarena to acquire him. Of course, that was before Arozarena hit all those playoff homeruns. The Rays drafted Liberatore in the first round of the 2018 draft. In the long run he could end up being the better player than Arozarena. The lefthander stands 6′5″, can throw in the low 90s and could see some increase in velo as he grows into his frame. His curveball is his quality second pitch and the slider and change also exist in his repertoire. He has no problems finding the plate. The last level Matthew pitched was in Low A. He could see High A in 2021 and hopes to show Cardinal fans, sometime in 2023 that the Cardinals got the better deal in acquiring him.

Top Canadian Prospects

Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

Abraham Toro was the top Canadian prospect last year. He graduated from this list but has two major league seasons of hitting less than .200. The list is not strong on can’t miss prospects. None of these players appear on Top 100 prospect lists. Many of the players were recently drafted. Players from the list last year who dropped off include Tristan Pompey, Andy Yerzy and Adam Macko. Macko was born in Serbia so he could make a European list if I can find enough players from Europe to make the list. Most of their players are born in Curacao, a Dutch colony. So below is the list of the top ten Canadian prospects.

1. Jordan Balazovic RHP (Twins) - Jordan was a fifth round pick in 2016. He was taken on his potential, with a 6′5″ frame that showed promise. When his fastball started hitting the mid to upper 90s that turned him into a prospect. He still needs to perfect his secondary pitches (slider and change) in order to stay in the rotation. Jordan has no problems finding the plate. After a poor 2017 season he had two years where he progressively improved, limiting the opposition to a .233 average in 2018 and a 193 average in 2019. Pitching at the A level he had a walk to whiff ratio of 25/129 in just 93.2 innings. Jordan should start the season in AA and could at least start his major league career in the Twins bullpen to help them with their playoff run.

2. Bo Naylor C (Indians) - The younger brother of Josh, Bo has the better tools and the more accepted playing weight. Like Josh, Bo was a first round pick, except a few rounds later in 2018. At 6′0, 190 he should be able to stay behind the plate where he has decent defensive tools. What will separate Bo from the other catchers is his offensive potential. In 2019 he hit only .243, but contributed 18 doubles, 10 triples and 11 homeruns. His speed is above average for a catcher and better than Josh, but it may not be enough to move to the outfield if the Indians want to find another position for him. Bo could be ready to tackle AA in 2021 or the Indians could be conservative with him and start him at High A. Catchers normally move slower than other position players because of the intricacies of the catching position, but Bo should arrive sometime late in 2023 with the Indians.

3. Owen Cassie Of (Cubs) - Owen was a second round pick of the Padres in 2020, the highest Canadian drafted that year. The Padres included him in the Yu Darvish trade with the Cubs. The plan was for him to play for the Michigan Wolverines, but the Padres shelled out $1.2 million to convince him otherwise. At 6′4″ he carries a power bat and has a solid arm that fits well in right field. He has enough speed to survive in center but the corner appears to be his best fit. There is some concern in his swing over his ability to make contact. That has not been tested at the professional level. There will be no Rookie league in 2021 so Owen will need to start his first professional season probably in Low A. It will be a few years before he sees a major league outfield.

4. Adam Hall SS (Orioles) - The second round 2017 pick is a smooth fielding defensive shortstop. His best role could end up being a utility player. The big concern is with a quiet bat that may not hit enough to be an every day player. He does not have a large frame so power is lacking. The 2018 season saw him hit just one homerun in 62 games with a .374 slugging percentage. Those numbers climbed to five homeruns and .395 in 2019. In both years the batting average falls a tick or two below .300. The Orioles could start him in AA for the 2021 season, but it may be more prudent to get his feet wet at High A before a mid-season promotion to AA. When and where he plays will all depend on his maturation process and his ability to develop more power.

5. Otto Lopez SS (Blue Jays) - Otto was born in the Dominican Republic but grew up in the Montreal area. He moved back to the Dominican Republic before his draft eligible year and signed an international contract for $60,000. He lacks any stand out tools, which could result in a utility role. His arm needs to get stronger for him to play shortstop on an every day basis. His best tool may be his ability to make contact. There is not enough power in his bat to reach double digit homerun totals, but he makes enough contact to finish north of .300. The speed is not great but he carries enough savy to steal 34 bases in his last two years. His 2019 season ended in Low A Lansing so the Blue Jays could be aggressive with him and start him in AA or have him ease his way back in the minors at High A. Either way, he will probably not see the Blue Jays until some time in 2023.

6. Trei Cruz SS (Tigers) - The 2020 third round pick in 2020 has a pretty good gene pool. His father and grandfather (both named Jose) and his two great uncles (Hector and Tommy) both played professional baseball. Trei hopes to continue with that tradition. Despite being drafted after high school he decided to take a different route to his professional career and play for Rice. The last great position player from that school was a player by the name of Anthony Rendon. Unlike Rendon, the tools Trei carries are only average or fringe. He lacks the range to play short and the power is not there to fit at third. At best he could play second or be used in a utility role. Trei will start his 2021 search for a position in the Tigers Low A affiliate.

7. Dasan Brown OF (Blue Jays) - Unlike the other players mentioned above, Dasan has one impressive tool. That is speed. It makes him a good defensive candidate for centerfield. The big question mark is whether he can hit enough to be in the starting lineup, or end up as a fourth outfielder who is used for defense or as a pinch runner. Dasan was drafted in the third round in the 2019 draft. In his short 2019 minor league season he only hit .222, but he showed enough acumen to get on base, walking nine times in 14 games for a .444 OBA. He also struck out 17 times. So there are some holes in his swing that need to be fixed as he climbs the minor league ladder. The 2021 season will probably be spent in Low A.

8. David Calabrese OF (Angels) - A team mate of Owen Cassie on the junior national team for Canada. The Angels drafted him in the third round in 2020. Like Brown, speed is his only real above average tool. His bat lacks power. So what was said about Brown can also be repeated for Calabrese, except he lacks any minor league history. David will begin his minor league career in Low A in 2021.

9. Jordan Nwogu OF (Cubs) - Jordan was a third round pick in 2020. He starred for the Michigan team in 2019 while they played in the finals in the College World Series. He runs well and his bat can carry some pop. At 6′3″ there is a lot of potential for growth. If he can fit in centerfield his value would increase, but his route to balls are suspect. The arm is not strong enough to fit in right. So if he has to play in left the power has to materialize for him to be a good fit at that position. The power/speed tools are there for him to be a 20/20 player, but the ability to hit major league pitching is a concern. Jordan will begin the 2021 season in Low A.

10. Brandon Marklund RHP (Royals) - Brandon was an undrafted player, signed by the Royals in 2019. They saw him pitching in the Australian Baseball League and thought well enough of him to sign him. His fastball velocity climbed after the signing, hitting consistently in the mid to upper 90s. In his 2019 minor league debut he fashioned a 0.46 ERA in 24 relief appearances with 44 whiffs in 39 innings. Opponents hit just .162 off him. He lacks an effective third pitch to survive as a starter. His fastball/slider combination could prove effective in the pen. That will be decided upon as he rises through the minor league ranks. He will probably start the 2021 season in Low A. At 24 he could move through the system quickly.

Myworlds Top 100 Prospects - 90 to 81

Saturday, February 13th, 2021

Our next ten in the top prospect list. This group is filled with 2019 international signings and 2020 first round draft picks. Not a lot of players here with minor league history.

90. Erick Pena OF (Royals) - The Royals signed the Dominican for $3.9 million. The lefthanded power bat is only 17 and stands 6′3″. Power will be his best tool. He lacks the speed to be an impact player in centerfield so the corner appears to be his future position. The arm is not right field quality but if he gets stronger he could fit well there. He really has no stats to indicate what kind of player he could be but the Royals spent a lot of coin to sign him. He could start next year in extended spring and start the season in Low A. The Royals will have to wait until 2023 before he joins their outfield.

89. Robert Puason SS (Athletics) - Another 2019 signing who the Athletics signed for $5.1 million. The only player who got a higher bonus was Jasson Dominguez, who appears later on this list. Unlike Pena, power is probably the weakest part of his game. Robert is a wiry 6′3″ who has a strong arm and fast legs. He should have the defensive tools to stick at short. Like Pena he has yet to accumulate any stats to magnify his tools. He may also start the season in extended spring before starting his career in Low A. The Athletics should not expect him until 2023.

88. Orelvis Martinez SS (Blue Jays) - Another Dominican who signed for a big bonus ($3.5 million) but signing in 2018. The potential five tool prospect may get too big to stay at shortstop, but the power in his bat is suited for third base. He got to play some rookie ball in 2019 and showed good patience at the plate with 14 walks in 40 games for a .352 OBA. Also more than 50 percent of his hits went for extra bases for a .549 slugging percentage. Like Pena and Puason he is still a long way from making his major league debut. He will start the 2021 season in Low A with a major league debut in 2023. The longer he plays the more he will dictate what position is in his future.

87. Brendan McKay LHP (Rays) - Brenadan was the fourth pick in the 2017 draft. At that time his bat was his best tool while the Rays were intrigued by his arm while pitching out of the bullpen in college. They thought they had found a two way player who could hit and pitch like Shohei Ohtani. The surprise was that when he focused on pitching the arm advanced far more than his bat. The lefthanded arm throws a low 90s fastball that can hit the mid 90s. A cutter and his ability to throw strikes may be his best tools. After dominating the minors in 2019 (1.10 ERA) the Rays promoted him to make his major league debut. Major league hitters seemed to feast on his strike throwing ability hitting him at a .268 clip that resulted in a 5.14 ERA. Last year shoulder issues that required surgery in August prevented him from pitching. Despite the surgery he should be able to pitch in 2021 but it may require some time in AAA. The bat may still be used in the majors, but it will be secondary to the arm.

86. Robert Hassell OF (Padres) - Another player who has not been able to show off his tools. The Padres made him the eighth pick in the 2020 draft. He shined for the United States 18 and under national team, selected to the All World team for his .514 average and his .886 slugging average. He hit two homeruns and drove in 14 runs. His performance made him the first high school selection in the draft. A pitcher in high school, his arm is strong enough for right field, but his legs may not be fast enough to play center. This could create some pressure on him to hit for power. His bat will dictate how fast Hassell rises but don’t expect him to be in the Padres outfield until sometime late in 2023.

85. Deivi Garcia RHP (Yankees) - The Yankees are not normally a team to rely on rookie pitchers for their rotation. They normally trade them for veteran prospects. The Yankees signed the Dominican for $200,000 in 2015. With no minor leagues Garcia made his major league debut in 2020. His 4.98 ERA was impacted by the six homeruns he gave up in 34 innings. He stands only 5′9″ so there is some concern about his durability. Despite the height he can still dial up his fastball in the mid-90s. His breaking pitches are top quality making his fastball a better pitch. He did have issues with his command in his 2019 minor league season, but that lack of command did not seem to be a problem with the Yankees. Garcia will be competing for the fifth spot in the rotation in 2021. If he does not make the starting rotation he could still be used out of the bullpen.

84. Luis Matos OF (Giants) - One of the many young outfielders climbing up through the Giants system. Marco Luciano was the big international signing for the Giants in 2018, but Matos was a nice second choice, signing for $725,000. Matos has borderline five tools. In 2019 he showed a sharp bat with a .367 average in the Dominican Summer League. This got him five games in the Rookie League where he hit .438. His bat is more gap oriented now but an increase in power could develop. That maturation could slow him down creating a future for the corner rather than centerfield. Currently his speed resulted in 21 stolen bases, but number should lesson as he matures. Matos should be able to start the 2021 season in Low A, but he is still a couple years away from joining the Giants outfield.

83. Garrett Crochet LHP (White Sox) - Garrett was a first round pick of the White Sox in 2020. The talented arm was too strong to hold him back and he made his major league debut in September. He did not give up a run in his six innings of work. He also had one post season appearance, striking out both hitters he faced. Pitching out of the bullpen Crochet consistently hit triple digits with his fastball. The lefthander also has a decent slider and change to be used in the rotation. He was a starting pitcher for Tennessee in college. At 6′6″ he pitches downhill. He could probably fit in the White Sox bullpen in 2021 but they may start him in AAA to see how he might fit as a starter. It all depends on the White Sox greatest need in the playoff run.

82. Brendan Rodgers (SS) Rockies - The Rockies have traded Nolan Arenado. Next on their list may be Trevor Story. That will create an opening for Rodgers, who was destined for second base until then. Rodgers was a first round pick of the Rockies in 2015. Injuries have prevented him from an extended major league career. In 2019 a shoulder injury limited him to 25 games. Injuries limited him to just seven games in 2020. His major league average hangs at a low .196, but the Rockies have seen double digit power in the minor leagues. In 2019 he hit .350 with 9 homeruns in just 37 minor league games. That led to his abbreviated major league promotion. The tools are there for him to be a solid major league shortstop with 20 plus homerun power. He may have to start the 2021 season as the Rockies second baseman, until Story is traded.

81. George Kirby RHP (Mariners) - Kirby was the Mariners first round pick in 2019. At 6′4″ he has the frame to be a dominant starting pitcher. The fastball sits in the mid-90s but can creep higher. He has two breaking pitches and a change. All his pitches are thrown for excellent command. In his 2019 minor league debut he showed his command with a 0/25 walk to whiff ratio in 23 innings. Having the ball consistently cross the plate could be a weakness, allowing hitters to whack him around for a .270 average. If he can change his command to hitting the corners and throwing his pitches out of the strike zone to get hitters chasing he could lower that average. This could increase his path to the Mariners rotation. If he can reach AA in 2021 the Mariners could have him in their rotation by 2022.

Top Right Handed Pitching Prospects

Thursday, December 24th, 2020

Below are the top right handed pitching prospects. Because of five man rotations myworld has decided to list our top 20.

1. Casey Mize (Tigers) - Not a lot of first picks in the draft are the best prospects once they test the minor leagues. Mize was the first player selected in 2018 after starring at Auburn. The 2019 season was his only full minor league season where he could eat up innings. In 21 starts he chewed up 109 innings. That appeared to be good enough for him to make his major league debut in 2020, starting seven games while piecing together 28 innings. It was a struggle. He gave up seven homeruns, the same number he gave up in the minor leagues in almost 100 more innings. Major league hitters raked him for a .252 average, 43 points higher than his career minor league average. His best pitch may be his splitter, but he also throws a mid 90s fastball with a mid-80s slider. The splitter in the mid-80s can act as his off speed pitch. The Tigers could start his 2021 season in AAA then call him up after he achieves some success there. He needs a confidence booster after being mauled in 2020.

2. Nate Pearson (Blue Jays) - The 2017 pick is one of the hardest throwers in baseball. His fastball can dart across the plate at 102 miles per hour. The secondary pitches, especially the slider will keep him in the rotation. His command could probably use a little more enhancement, especially in the major leagues. Nate made his major league debut in 2020, walking 13 batters in 18 innings. He also let five balls leave the yard. He pitched much better in 2019 pitching at three different minor league levels. At 6′6 inches his pitches come right at you. Minor leaguers hit just .173 againt him. Like Casey Mize, he could start the 2021 season in AAA, then get called up once he achieves some success and gets his confidence back. A good spring could see him start his season with Toronto.

3. Sixto Sanchez (Marlins) - Sixto may have pitched the Marlins to the 2020 playoffs. He was originally signed by the Phillies for the paltry sum of $35,000 back in 2015 out of the Dominican Republic. The Phillies included him in a trade for J.T. Realmuto. Ironic that the rebuilding Marlins saw the playoffs before the Phillies. Standing at just 6′0 usually does not spell success for a right handed starter. Sixto proved to be an exception, like his native countryman Pedro Martinez. Sixto slings his fastball in the high 90s and occasionally clips the three digit territory. His change is also a quality pitch and the slider acts as a third pitch enough to allow him to survive in the rotation. He made his major league debut last year and started seven games, finishing with a 3.46 ERA. Without that contribution the Marlins would not have made the playoffs. For a pitcher with his velocity he doesn’t strike out a lot of batters, but they make enough soft contact for Sixto to achieve success. He should start the 2021 season in the Marlins rotation.

4. Spencer Howard (Phillies) - This 2017 second round pick also made his major league debut in 2020. Like Mize and Pearson above him he struggled, with major leaguers hitting him at a .300 clip, resulting in a 5.92 ERA in six starts. In the minors in 2019 Spencer limited the opposition to just a .173 average. His fastball is explosive, hitting the mid-90s consistently and reaching the high 90s. It has enough movement that he gets a lot of swings and misses. His secondary breaking pitches (slider and curve) are a tick above average to allow him to survive in the rotation, but his change has turned into an above average pitch. His command can get off kilter but with a little more experience he could become the ace of the Phillies rotation. It would not hurt to start his 2021 season in AAA with a callup a little later in the season. The Phillies keep on acquiring veteran players, trading top prospects to achieve their goal. It could be a top prospect like Howard that could finally get the Phillies into the playoffs.

5. Forrest Whitley (Astros) - The 6′7″ first round pick in 2016 may have the best stuff of the pitchers on this list. Staying healthy and finding the strike zone have always been a challenge. He also missed 50 games for violating the minor league drug policy. In 2019 shoulder problems left his delivery out of whack and he finished with a 7.99 ERA in just 60 innings, walking 44 batters. In his four seasons he has yet to surpass 100 innings pitched. The fastball can travel across the plate in the mid-90s and a quality slider and change feed off the fastball to make him difficult to hit, if he can find the plate. If his command stays inconsistent he could always turn into a closer, but he has too many quality pitches not to keep in the rotation. Expect him to start the 2021 season in AAA, where he finished with a 12.21 ERA in 2019 in five starts.

6. Michael Kopech (White Sox) - The 2014 first round pick opted out of the 2020 season. This after missing all of the 2019 season because of Tommy John surgery. Michael seemed to have announced his arrival after being able to find the plate in four major league starts in 2018, but his elbow did not allow him to finish the season. His fastball cuts across the plate in the triple digits, even hitting 105 in one game. His slider has plus quality, but finding a third pitch and the plate set him back. It will be interesting to see if he can find the plate after his two year absence. The White Sox made the playoffs last year without him. If he could fill the White Sox rotation in 2021 it would be an asset to repeating a playoff run in 2021.

7. Grayson Rodriguez (Orioles) - The Orioles 2018 first round pick stands at a sturdy 6′5. He pitched out of Texas. The Orioles hope he can mimic a couple Texas icons in Roger Clemons and Nolan Ryan. With a mid-90s fastball and a quality slider, he gathers up the swings and misses in the minor leagues. In 20 starts in Low A he held opponents to a .171 average with 129 whiffs in 94 innings. He has enough command of his four pitches that should allow him to be the ace of the Orioles rotation in a couple years. For the 2021 season he will probably spend most of it in AA, not seeing the major leagues until sometime during the middle of the 2022 season.

8. Luis Patino (Padres) - The Padres signed the 6′1″ righthander for just $130,000 out of Colombia back in 2016. Despite his lack of height he has built up enough bulk to reach the mid 90s with his fastball, often lighting up the radar in the high 90s. He also has a quality slider that elicits swings and misses. In his three minor league seasons he has never had an ERA above 2.57 and he has limited opponents to a .208 average. He gets lots of swings and misses and limits balls from traveling over the fence, giving up just seven taters in 234 innings. Luis made his major league debut in 2020 and struggled with his command, walking 14 in 17 innings. Opponents hit him at a .257 clip leaving his ERA at an elevated 5.19. This will probably result him starting the 2021 season in AAA and waiting until he achieves some success there before being promoted to the Padres.

9. Matt Manning (Tigers) - The first round 2016 pick was drafted out of high school so he is taking a more patient rise up the minor league ladder than Mize. Manning is one year younger than Mize and after achieving success in AA in 2019 (2.56 ERA) he should be joining Mize in the rotation sometime in 2021. He has a nice 6′6 frame that gives him challenges finding a consistent release point, but his control improved in 2019. He is the son of Rich Manning, who played in the NBA, a sport Matt played while in high school. The fastball sits at the lower edges of the mid-90s, but it is probably his second best pitch, with a curveball that dives to the ground and gets awkward swings and misses. An improved change in 2019 gives him the requisite three pitches to survive in the starting rotation. He will probably start the 2019 season in AAA and at some point may join Mize and Tarik Skubal to make an awesome front three for the rotation.

10. Max Meyer (Marlins) - Max was the third player selected in the 2020 draft. He pitched in relief early in his career with Minnesota but moved to the starting rotation midway through his sophomore year. At 6′0″ he does not carry the height that you like to see in right handed pitchers. His best pitch may be his slider, and when combined with his mid-90s fastball that touched triple digits, it will garner lots of swings and misses. His change shows flashes of brilliance, which should be enough for him to stick in the rotation. The 2021 season will be his first in the minor leagues, but he should rise up quickly. If he has success and the Marlins are making another playoff run do not be surprised if they don’t use him in relief to begin his major league career, with a later transition to the starting rotation.

11. Logan Gilbert (Mariners) - The 2018 first round pick is another giant, who stands at 6′6″. The fastball crosses the plate in the mid-90s and his breaking pitches and change show enough quality that will allow him to stick in the rotation. His pitches are enhanced by his ability to find the strike zone consistently, something not common among pitchers his height. Logan has only one minor league season under his built, seeing three levels in 2019. He finished in AA with a 2.13 ERA putting together 26 starts and 135 innings. Opponents hit him at a .198 clip, including a .194 average in 9 AA starts. This should make him major league ready sometime during the mid-season of 2021 after starting the year in AAA.

12. Ian Anderson (Braves) - The 2016 first round pick can hit the mid-90s with his fastball. Hitters can have a difficult time getting elevation on the pitch because of its downward spike as it travels across the plate. He mixes in a curve and a change that keeps hitters off balance. In his first three years he had only allowed three homeruns in 243 innings. In 2019 he gave up an uncharacteristic 13 homeruns in just 135 innings. The 2020 season saw him make his major league debut where he baffled major league hitters to a .172 average and a 1.95 ERA in six starts. It will be interesting if he can replicate that success in 2021. Unless he bombs during spring training he should start the 2021 season in the Braves rotation.

13. Emerson Hancock (Mariners) - The second 2020 draft pick to appear on this list and the sixth player selected in the draft. The 6′4″ righthander can reach the high 90s with his fastball, but sits in the mid-90s. He complements his fastball with two quality breaking pitches (slider and curve) and a quality change. All of those pitches are enhanced by his above average command. With no minor league experience he should begin the 2021 season in A ball and could rise quickly with some success. Mariner fans should not expect to see him until late in the 2022 season.

14. Dane Dunning (Rangers) - The Nationals first round pick in 2016 is on his third team. The Nationals traded him to the White Sox with two other pitchers (Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez) for Adam Eaton. The White Sox traded Dunning to the Rangers after the 2020 season to get a veteran pitcher for the 2021 season. Dunning missed all of the 2019 season after Tommy John surgery but had progressed enough that the White Sox put him in their rotation for the 2020 season seven times. He had a 3.97 ERA and limited the opposition to a .197 average. Lynn in 13 starts for the Rangers carried a 3.32 ERA. Lynn only has one more year in his contract before becoming a free agent while Dunning will be controlled by the Rangers for at least five more years. Dunning should start the season in the Rangers rotation in 2021.

15. Triston McKenzie (Indians) - The Indians supplemental first round pick in 2015 had surprising success in the Indians rotation last year, despite being limited to just 90 innings his last two years because of injuries. He did not pitch at all in 2019 because of back issues. The lanky 6′5″ righthander spun together a 3.24 ERA in six starts and 33 innings in the major leagues. Major league hitters hit only .179 against him. At 23 years of age he should gain more weight on his 165 pound frame. This should add some velocity to his low 90s fastball that can reach the mid-90s. He has a quality curveball to go with a slider and change that keeps hitters off balance. It will be interesting to see if he can replicate his success in 2021. The Indians will start him in the rotation in 2021 and whether he stays there will be dictated by his success.

16. Edward Cabrera (Marlins) - The Marlins signed the Dominican in 2015 for the bargain price of $100,000. He has journeyed through the minor leagues impressing hitters with a mid-90s fastball that touches triple digits. At 6′5″ and 217 pounds his frame carries intimidation. His secondary pitches could use some improvement. The slider has enough downward bite to get hitters to beat the ball to the ground and there is enough separation of his change compared to his fastball to get swings and misses. The lack of quality secondary pitches and inconsistent command could move him to the bullpen. His 2019 season was a breakout year with a 2.23 ERA and .190 opposition average, both much better than his previous years. Edward could start the 2021 season in AAA with a possible promotion to the Marlins if he achieves success, or a propensity to pitch out of the bullpen.

17. Jordan Balazovic (Twins) - The Canadian was not drafted until the fifth round of the 2016 draft. He has sprouted to 6′5″ and packed on 45 additional pounds to get his fastball consistently in the mid-90s. The secondary pitches (slider and change) are commendable pitches that could see him stick in the rotation, but his skills seem to fit better in the bullpen. Jordan has no trouble finding the plate, which should help him stay in the rotation. He has made a slow trek through the minors, finally reaching full season ball in 2019, reaching High A. He will probably start the 2021 season in AA with a Twins appearance sometime in 2022.

18. Hunter Greene (Reds) - It has been a long, slow trek for the player picked second in the 2017 draft. The fastball was triple digit quality but he failed to find the plate. His first year he finished with a 12.46 ERA in three starts covering 4 innings. That improved to 4.48 in 2018. Tommy John surgery forced him to miss the 2019 season. It will be interesting if he can sustain his three digit heat into the 2021 season. His secondary pitches (slider and change) could allow him to survive in the rotation. His surgery and his premier fastball could move him into the bullpen. He finished his 2018 season in Low A. It will not be until late in the 2022 season before the Reds see him in their rotation.

19. Shane Baz (Rays) - The Rays do a good job of developing starting pitchers. Shane was a first round pick of the Pirates in 2017. The Rays stole him, Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows from the Pirates for Chris Archer. If Baz makes the Rays it will be one of the biggest swindles in baseball. Baz has a fastball that lights the radar gun in the triple digits, sitting in the mid-90s. His inability to find the plate will make it difficult for him to stay in the rotation. He also lacks a quality third pitch, showing a fastball/slider combination with a pedestrian change. Shane has yet to check in at the 100 inning level in any of his three minor league seasons. The 2021 season could see him start it in AA. Rays fans will have to wait until at least 2022 before they see him in the bullpen, or 2023 before he hits the rotation.

20. Jackson Kowar (Royals) - Kowar pitched with Brady Singer at Florida. The Royals made Singer their first pick and Kowar became pick 1A as he was drafted as a supplemental first round pick. He hopes to join Singer in the Royals rotation in 2021. His fastball sits at the lower edges of the mid-90s, but it is has change that complements the fastball that makes him a quality pitcher. His curveball has decent enough action to put him in the middle of the Royals rotation. He finished the 2019 season in AA, but was pretty hittable at that level, the opposition teeing off for a .254 average. His control is good and he gets about one whiff per inning with his fastball/change combination. Jackson should start the 2021 season in AA and could join Singer in the rotation late in 2021 or sometime in 2022.

Top Lefthanded Pitching Prospects

Sunday, December 20th, 2020

Lefthanded pitchers are a bit different than righthanders. They tend to throw with less velocity but have more movement on their pitches. They also have to face a batting order that traditionally has more right handed hitters than left handed. But lefthanded pitchers are more valued because there are less of them, and those few are needed to retire some of the more powerful lefthanded bats. Below are the top left handed pitching prospects, some of whom will ultimately end up as relievers. Lefthanders may be one of the more valuable commodities in baseball.

1. MacKenzie Gore (Padres) - The third pick in the 2017 draft may be considered the top pitching prospect in baseball. Others who have laid that claim but with little success include Archie Bradley and Mark Prior. The Padres hope Gore will have a better fate. He has four quality pitches, which is something that can not be said about most people on this list. A fastball, curveball, slider and change. The fastball slices through the plate with readings between the low to mid 90s, but it carries a lot of dart and dash. The slider is probably his best strikeout pitch. There are no issues with command of his four pitches. In 2018 when he experienced blister problems his ERA stood ugly at 4.45. When healthy in 2017 and 2019 his ERAs were an impeccable 1.27 and 1.69. Opponents have hit less than .200 in both years in which he was healthy. Myworld would not be surprised if with a good spring he is with the Padres in 2021, though mid season would be the best bet.

2. A.J. Puk (Athletics) - Injuries have prevented him from making a major league impact. The 2016 first round pick got some major league time in relief in 2019, putting together an impressive 3.18 ERA. He was ticketed for the starting rotation in 2020 but shoulder issues ended his season. Puk had Tommy John surgery that prevented him from pitching in 2018, so injuries have been an issue. At 6′7″ he does not have the same reach as Randy Johnson, but his fastball travels as fast, hitting the high 90s and clipping three digits pretty consistently. He also has more command than Randy, but the Athletics would like to see a little improvement in that area. His slider is an above average pitch but his change is average. It may be best that he abandon his curve. He is supposed to be healthy to start the 2021 season and is slotted to fit in a rotation spot. Whether he can stay healthy is another issue.

3. Brailyn Marquez (Cubs) - The 6′4 inch Dominican lefthander signed for only $600,000 in 2015. That was still the highest international signing for a pitcher that year. At 16 years of age he was already hitting the low 90s with his fastball. Now he probably has the highest readings of any minor league lefthander in baseball, hitting triple digits consistently. He made one appearance in 2020 with the Cubs and only retired two batters, walking three and giving up two hits resulting in a 67.50 ERA. He should get another opportunity at major league hitters to lower that ERA. His other pitches do not have the quality as his fastball, with his slider and change at just average. Command has also been an issue, with a little less than one walk every two innings pitched in 2019. If he can enhance his slider and change he could become a number one starter in the major leagues. If not, there is an opportunity to fill a closer role. The 2021 season should see the Cubs give him opportunities to fill their major league rotation.

4. Tarik Skubal (Tigers) - The Tigers scooped up Tarik in the ninth round of the 2018 draft. He was a promising pitcher out of Seattle University who had missed a season because of Tommy John surgery. He has been dominant in his two minor league seasons, finishing with a 0.40 ERA his first year and 2.42 ERA his second year in 2019. Opponents hit him at a .195 clip and he struck out 212 hitters in just 145 innings. The Tigers called him up mid season in 2020 and he struggled with a 5.63 ERA, giving up 9 homeruns in just 32 innings. His other numbers were good with a .235 opponent batting average and 37 whiffs in 32 innings. The fastball hits the mid 90s and when combined with a quality slider result in a lot of swings and misses. He still needs to improve his changeup and perhaps abandon his curve to have success in the major leagues. Tarik could start the 2021 season in AAA and then get another mid-season callup. A lot of that will depend on how successful his spring is.

5. Garrett Crochet (White Sox) - The 2020 first round pick of the White Sox was still able to pitch in five major league games, despite not having a minor league season. In those five relief appearances he did not allow a run in six innings and struck out eight, without allowing a walk. He also showed a fastball that hit the high 90s and climbed into the triple digit category. The fastball is his premier pitch, but it will probably hover closer to the mid-90s range if the White Sox use him in a starter capacity. At 6′6″ his long arms can get out of synch at times, leading to struggles with command. While his slider is a quality pitch the change and curve need some work. The White Sox will probably have him start the season as a starter in AA and could call him up before the season expires if he is doing well. Last year was their first playoff appearance in a number of years. They don’t need to wait for Garrett to percolate in the minors accruing service time. If he can help them with their rotation, or even in the bullpen in 2021, they will call him up for the playoff run.

6. Daniel Lynch (Royals) - Daniel was one of three first round pitchers for the Royals in 2018. Brady Singer made the rotation last year. Jackson Kowar could make it in 2021. Lynch needs to eat up more innings before he is ready. Minor injuries limited him to just 96 innings in 2019. The signature pitch for Lynch is his slider. His fastball is in the mid-90s but when he wants to get a strikeout the slider is his go to pitch. The change also has potential to be a quality pitch. Standing at 6′6″ Lynch has an intimidating presence on the mound. The Royals will give him time in AA and after the 2021 season he will join Singer and Kowar in the rotation in 2022.

7. Matthew Liberatore (Cardinals) - Matthew was a first round pick of the Rays in 2016. They used his talented left arm to entice the Cardinals to trade them Jose Martinez and Randy Arozarena. The more heralded Martinez turned into a bust but Arozarena became a homerun machine for the Rays during the playoffs. The Cardinals hope the Rays short term gain will be the Cardinals long term success. The 6′5 lefthander relies more on his breaking pitches to retire hitters. His fastball sits in the low 90s, but can climb to 95, but his curveball drops off the table, resulting in lots of ground outs. Liberatore has only seen two balls leave the park in his 111 innings of minor league work. His change is also a promising pitch, while his slider is still in the work in progress stage and may not surpass his curve. The lost 2020 season will probably delay his major league debut until sometime in 2022. He’ll start 2021 in AA and hope that success will carry him to the major leagues.

8. Asa Lacey (Royals) - The first round pick of the Royals in 2020 stands an impressive 6′4″ and carries 215 pounds. His fastball has climbed to the low and mid 90s and when used against a quality slider leave hitters guessing. He also throws a quality change that keeps hitters off balance. The area he needs to work on is the command of his pitches. Not having a 2020 season did not help with that development. After having three years of pitching success with Texas A&M, it won’t take long for him to reach the major leagues. The Royals may start him at AA and he could join Lynch in the rotation sometime by the middle of the 2022 season.

9. Shane McClanahan (Rays) - The 2018 first round supplemental pick lacks the height of the other players rated ahead of him, standing just 6′1″. Despite lacking the long levers of the taller pitchers, Shane can still sling his fastball across the plate in triple digits. He used that fastball to get himself on the Rays playoff roster, without pitching in a regular major league game. He was used in relief in the playoffs and that may be his ultimate role in the major leagues. He got 22 starts in the minor leagues in 2019, but a lack of control results in a high number of walks. The slider is a quality pitch but the change needs some work to give him the requisite three pitches to make it in the starting rotation. The Rays will send him down to the minors in 2021, perhaps placing him in AA where he struggled to a 8.35 ERA in four starts there last year. To save on innings they may then call up him up for the playoff run to use him out of the bullpen again.

10. Brendan McKay (Rays) - Myworld is not a real fan of this multi disciplined pitcher use at the DH or a position role. It has not really worked for Shohei Ohtani at the major league level and McKay has also struggled with it as well. McKay seemed very hittable in his major league debut in 2019 after dominating in the minors. Opponents hit him at a .268 clip in the majors after being limited to a .178 average in his three years in the minors. While he was mainly a hitter in college who pitched in relief, his hitting of major league pitching has become a challenge. He did not pitch the 2020 season because of shoulder issues that ultimately required surgery. He relies more on the command of his pitches to retire hitters, pinpointing his mid 90s fastball while mixing in a quality cutter. His curve ball and change still need some work to be quality major league pitches. Brendan will probably spend the 2021 season pitching in AAA, rehabbing his shoulder. Rays fans may see him late in the 2021 season, depending on how his rehab process goes.

11. Nick Lodolo (Reds) - Lodolo was a first round pick of the Reds in 2019. He pitched briefly that year, striking out 30 in his 18 innings while not allowing one hitter to reach base via a walk. A towering 6′6″, his fastball stays in the low 90s but can hit the mid 90s. Despite his tall frame, he relies on the command of his pitches to retire hitters. It is possible he relies too much in the strike zone as hitters slapped him around for a .247 average. Further development of his slider and change should allow him to remain in the starting rotation, especially with his capability to move the ball to the corners of the plate. Having pitched in college it should not take him long to be fitted into the Reds rotation. Expect him to start the season in High A and move up quickly as he achieves success, making his major league debut in 2022.

12. D.L. Hall (Orioles) - The 2017 first round pick is one of many quality arms the Orioles are collecting in the minor leagues. The 6′2 lefty packs mid-90s heat to his fastball, but his biggest challenge is finding the plate enough to get called strikes. In 2019 he walked 54 hitters in 81 innings. The wildness may help because when the hitters want to hit they have been limited to .203 and .189 averages the last two years. Hall throws a change and a curve, but those pitches still need some work to become quality offerings. If he fails to develop a third pitch and continues to struggle finding the strike zone he could be moved to the bullpen. Next year Hall will start the season in AA. They may first use him out of the bullpen when they call him up to the major leagues, but they probably will not do that until 2022.

13. Seth Corry (Giants) - Corry drooped to the third round of the 2017 draft for the Giants. He was just a vanilla pitcher until his curveball developed into a plus pitch in 2019, resulting in a breakout year. In 26 starts in 2019 he limited the opposition to a .171 average, resulting in an impressive ERA of 1.76. He saw no game action in 2020. The 2021 season will determine whether he can continue the mastery of the curveball. The fastball sits in the low 90s and can have occasional mid-90s readings. His change has improved enough to be an above average offering. The 2021 season will see him start in AA with a major league debut in 2022.

14. Reid Detmers (Angels) - The Angels have always been hurting for pitching. They drafted Reid in the first round of the 2020 draft to address that need. Detmers got a lot of whiffs pitching for Louisville in college. He relies more on his curve to retire hitters since his fastball travels across the plate at a pedestrian low 90s. Whether that repertoire will work in striking out major league hitters is open to question. While the Angels need help in pitching now, it may take Detmers a couple years to toe the rubber with the Angels. The Angels may leapfrog him to AA to see how he handles the competition.

15. Jay Groome (Red Sox) - The 2016 first round pick has a pretty impressive fastball. Injuries have prevented his rise up the minor league ladder. He missed the entire 2018 season because of Tommy John surgery. He came back to make three rehab starts in shortseason ball in 2019. Besides injuries, finding the plate was also a problem. At 6′6″ with a fastball ticking in the high 90s can be intimidating, especially if it is flying all over the place. His curveball was also rated as the best in the 2016 draft. Enhancing his change would give him the three requisite pitches to make it in the starting rotation. Injuries and struggles with command may leave him in a bullpen role. Expect him to start the 2021 season in AA at best. He has had the entire 2020 season to use as rehab. The Red Sox bullpen was a shambles last year, so using him in the bullpen in 2022 is a possibility before a starting role opens up for him.

Top Centerfield Prospects

Monday, December 14th, 2020

These are the shortstops in the grass. They are expected to cover a lot of ground and should have decent throwing arms. If they have average to weak throwing arms they should have a quick release. If they lack exceptional speed they move to a corner. Because these are the most athletic of the outfield prospects, my world will rate 15 top centerfield prospects.

1. Jarred Kelenic (Mariners) - The Mets made a good choice by drafting Kelenic in the first round of the 2018 draft. They made a poor choice by trading him and a couple other prospects for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. Jarred has all the tools you want in a centerfielder. Speed to patrol the outfield and an arm baserunners have to respect. He also has above average hitting tools that should make him a 20-20 player when he reaches the major leagues. His stolen base production may decrease if he moves to the third slot in the lineup. He was a 20-20 player in 2019 in the minor leagues, slugging 23 homeruns and stealing 20 bases. A reduction in strikeouts (111) could make his average slide above the .300 neighborhood. Expect him to be with the Mariners some time in 2021.

2. Cristian Pache (Braves) - The Braves signed Cristian in 2015 for $1.4 million out of the Dominican Republic. Shortly after that the Braves were penalized severely for violating international signing limits, losing a number of international players signed in 2015 and 2016. Fortunately for the Braves, Pache was not one of the 12 players lost. He is a better defensive centerfielder than Kelenic, with a stronger arm and greater speed. Once he arrives with the Braves he will appear every year on Gold Glove lists. His bat is not as strong and his tremendous speed does not result in a lot of stolen bases. He made his major league debut with the Braves in 2020 but only got four at bats. In 2019 in the minor leagues he hit .277 with 12 homeruns and 8 stolen bases. His strikeout numbers increased dramatically, but this didn’t seem to impact his overall numbers. Cristian should start the 2021 season as the Braves starting centerfielder.

3. Drew Waters (Braves) - A luxury of riches for the Braves. Obviously both can not play centerfield. The Braves could use the second round 2017 pick as trade bait, or move him to a corner outfield. They could also keep him in centerfield and move Pache to right field, though Pache is the better defensive player. Currently Waters is a player who can drive the ball from gap to gap hitting from both sides of the plate. His Achilles heel is his inability to make consistent contact, with a 39/164 walk to whiff ratio in 2019. More contact and a better read of pitchers could lead to more power and a higher average. He should also arrive with the Braves sometime late in 2021. With both Pache and Waters patrolling the outfield they should have one of the better defensive outfields in the major leagues.

4. Jasson Dominguez (Yankees) - Jasson signed with the Yankees out of the Dominican Republic in 2019 for $5.1 million. As a Yankee signing he comes with a lot of accolades. Since he has yet to swing a bat in the minor leagues a lot is unknown about what kind of numbers he will put up. The tools are impressive. He could bulk up, lose some speed and he would still probably be swift enough to cover centerfield. Combine his bat and his speed he should hit in the neighborhood of .300 consistently while creating 30-30 homerun/stolen base numbers. Since there was no 2020 season the 2021 season will do a lot to define this pending superstar. The Yankees will start him somewhere in A ball where he can exhibit his plus five tools. Yankee fans should not expect to see him until 2023.

5. Garrett Mitchell (Brewers) - The 2020 first round pick can run with the wind and has a power arm. The big question mark is whether he can hit minor league pitching. An injury prevented him from putting up any decent numbers in his last college season prior to the draft. His draft prospects dropped and the Brewers could not be happier. Major plusses for Garrett are his 6′3″ frame with a left handed bat that should develop power. The power is already evident in his batting practice swings. A concern is how he will keep his health and maintain his Type 1 diabetes. Since Garrett lacked a minor league season he will probably start 2021 in A ball and will not be seen by Brewer fans until late 2022 at the earliest. As a college drafted player he should move a lot quicker.

6. Hunter Bishop (Giants) - The 2019 first round pick of the Giants is one reason the Giant outfield of the future looks so promising. Heliot Ramos and Alexander Canario are two more reasons. Hunter may have the more complete tools, with the speed to play center and an arm that is strong, but a little light to compete with Ramos for right. Prior to being drafted he showed power with his 22 homeruns in college. That power continued in the minor leagues with five more homeruns in 32 games. A propensity to swing and miss kept his batting average low (.229) but a 38/39 walk to whiff ratio had his OBA rise to .438. Perhaps a little more aggressiveness at the plate could improve his numbers. At 6′5″ he is a pretty intimidating presence at the plate, but he also carries a large strike zone. A good athlete, Bishop thought of playing football as a wide receiver, but chose to focus on baseball. He will rise quickly in the minor leagues, seeing the Giants outfield sometime in 2022.

7. Corbin Carroll (Diamondbacks) - The 2019 first round pick of the Diamondbacks is another player who covers a lot of grass when he chases flyballs in the outfield. The big question with Corbin is his ability to hit for power. He slugged .487 in his minor league debut in 2019, but those numbers were inflated by his speed to hit 7 triples and 9 doubles. His speed should consistently result in 30 plus stolen bases per year. The patience is there to take walks (.409 OBA) but he needs to improve his ability to make more consistent contact to take advantage of his speed. While his arm is strong enough for right field, he could lack the power expected from a corner outfielder. Next year he should start at A ball with a 2023 major league debut sometime late in the season.

8. Leody Taveras (Rangers) - Like Corbin, the 2015 Dominican signing has a lot of speed to cover the middle of the outfield. The questions remain about his ability to hit. He has spent a lot of years in the minors, stitching together a career .260 batting average with a .358 slugging. Those numbers fall short of being welcome in a corner outfield, but could be acceptable with gold glove defense in centerfield. The glove is exceptional and the speed will result in 20 plus stolen bases per year. Leody made his major league debut last year. The bat was a little light (.227) but he slugged four homeruns for a .395 slugging percentage in 33 games. The batting average was a career low but the slugging was a career high. Spring training will dictate where he plays in 2021. Myworld suspects he will start in AAA and be promoted mid season if he improves his bat.

9. Khalil Lee (Royals) - Myworld has a soft spot for the 2016 third round pick. We coached his sister for a little bit ( a couple clinics) in volleyball. He played high school at Flint Hill where he earned Gatorade player of the year for Virginia. The arm is suited for right field but his speed is enough to patrol center. His bat showed some trouble making contact in 2019 with 154 strikeouts, limiting his average to .264. He did have an impressive 53 steals in 2019. With improved barrel of bat on ball contact his power should rise as his ability to get on base improves. The Royals did not see enough in him to call him up in 2020 so expect him to spend the year in AAA in 2021, with a callup late in the year.

10. Daz Cameron (Tigers) - The son of Mike and the Astros supplemental first round pick in 2015 has the above average tools to be a five tool player light. The Tigers acquired him in the Justin Verlander trade. It has been awhile since the Tigers had a true centerfielder. Daz could fit that role. The one major question mark is his ability to hit. In 2019 he could only muster a .214 average with 152 whiffs. The Tigers gave him an opportunity to roam their outfield last year, but in 17 games his bat was only good for a .193 average. He has shown patience at the plate, taking enough walks to keep his OBA above .330. With that he would be on base enough to steal 30 plus bases per year. With a good spring, showing an improved bat he could start out the 2021 season as the Tigers centerfielder. Myworld suspects AAA will be his most likely start.

11. Estevan Florial (Yankees) - As he bulks up myworld suspects right field will be his ultimate destination, but he missed out on making the top ten there. The Yankees outfield is a little crowded and Estevan did not help himself any by putting up a .237 average in 2019. He has also been limited to less than 100 games his last two years because of injuries. The power is there but he has not slugged over .500 since his first year in the minors in 2015. Haitian born, based on his birth certificate, he spent most of his youth going to school in the Dominican Republic. Last year Estevan appeared in one major league game, striking out in two of his three at bats, but getting a single in his other. He will start 2021 in AAA but with the always fragile Yankee outfield, it would not be a surprise to see him in the Yankee outfield at many points during the season.

12. Pete Crow-Armstrong (Mets) - Like Hassell on the right field prospect list, Armstrong also made the All World team at the 18 and under World Cup. It was enough for the Mets to make him a first round pick in 2020. He lacks the tools of a Jarred Kelenic, especially in the power department. There is the ability to make good contact to hit for a decent average. He did hit .364 with three triples and three stolen bases at the 18 and under world cup. Since he has not seen any professional time, Pete will probably begin the season in A ball. Mets fans should not expect to see him until 2023, right after Kelenic wins the American League rookie of the Year award.

13. Josh Lowe (Rays) - The 2016 first round pick has a big time power bat that is expected from a 6′4″ frame. He also carries a strong arm and glides with deer like speed in the outfield. In 2019 he had a breakout season, slugging 18 homeruns with a career high .442 slugging. His 132 whiffs in 121 games was too much for his batting average, keeping it at .252. Last year he stole a career high 30 bases. Since he will be hitting in a power spot in the lineup, this should not be expected to last. The position he may be best suited for is right field but he needs to develop more power in the games, rather than leave it at batting practice. Next year he should be patrolling the Rays AAA outfield with a good chance of promotion in 2021 to take advantage of his power bat and cheap salary.

14. Gilberto Jimenez (Red Sox) - Jimenez signed for the paltry amount of $10,000 in 2017. The tools have been in evidence, especially his blazing speed. The power is negligible. He did hit his first three homeruns last year. His career .444 slugging percentage is attributed to his speed, turning singles into double and doubles into triples. He has stolen 30 bases in his two minor league seasons. In 2019 he won the batting title in the New York Penn League with a .359 average. Gilberto has yet to play full season ball and with short season absent for 2021 he should start next year somewhere in A ball with a major league appearance expected for 2023.

15. Luis Barrera (Athletics) - The 2012 Dominican signing has risen past Lazaro Armenteros, Austin Beck and Skye Bolt for outfield relevance in the Athletics minor league system. His speed is top shelf but his power is invisible. His highest homerun total in his snailish pace up the minor league ladder was seven in 2017. His ability to hit triples keeps his slugging average at a respectable .412. Despite his blazing speed his stolen base numbers are tame, but that could be the result of the Athletics deemphasis on the stolen base. His 2019 season was shortened to 54 games, but not before he hit .321, with a .513 slugging, both of which would have been career highs if he maintained that pace. The 2021 season should be spent in AAA, but Luis deserves a shot in the Athletics outfield at some point during the season.

Top Left Field Prospects

Saturday, December 5th, 2020

Player with below average arms are destined for leftfield. If they do not have burner speed they are passed over for centerfield. Right fielders usually have the cannon arm and centerfielders the burner speed. Leftfielders lack in excess both qualities. So myworld takes a look at who are the best leftfielders in the game. These are usually the less likely to succeed in the majors. Two players with cannon arms who share the same outfield are bound to split the corners, as a case in point Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton of the Yankees. The one that lacks the defensive tool is relegated to DH.

1. Riley Greene (Tigers) - There are conflicting reports on the arm of the first round pick in 2019. His speed may be a tick above average but not enough to patrol centerfield with some of the other speedsters like Daz Cameron. Fortunately for the Tigers Riley has some decent pop in his bat and hits the ball hard when he makes contact. There is sometimes an issue with him consistently making contact, with 63 strikeouts in his 57 games in 2019. Currently his power is exhibited only in batting practice. In his one minor league season he hit 5 homeruns and only 26 percent of his hits went for extra bases. Riley reached A ball in his first year. The 2021 season should see him start in High A with a quick promotion if he has a good season.

2. Alex Kirilloff (Twins) - One of the reasons the Twins did not tender a contract to Eddie Rosario is because of the readiness of Alex for the major leagues. Myworld has seen his arm post Tommy John surgery at the Prospect game during the All Star break and we were impressed by it. Most reports say his arm is below average and with Rosario gone left field seems like a natural transition for him in 2021. The first round 2015 pick had a good season his first year (.305) then Tommy John surgery nixed his attempt to have a 2017 season. The 2018 season was probably his best season when he hit .348 with 20 homeruns. Injuries came back to haunt him in 2019, dropping his average to .283, but more alarming his slugging average to .413, though wrist injuries could have sapped his power. The power should return to his lefthanded bat for the 2021 season, but it will probably range below 30 per year. He should hit consistently for a decent average. With a good spring he has a chance to be the starting left fielder for the Twins in 2021.

3. Alek Thomas (Diamondbacks) - His above average speed could allow a centerfield position, but a below average arm will relegate him to left field. The second round 2018 pick may lack the power that is expected of a corner outfielder. During his two seasons in the minor leagues Alek has hit 12 homeruns. His bat makes decent contact with power to the gaps, relying more on his speed to take the extra base. In 2019 he had 23 doubles and seven triples, with a career .312 average. He only played 23 games in High A ball in 2019 so expect him to start the 2021 season at the same location with a quick promotion to AA if he shows success.

4. Zac Veen (Rockies) - Not a lot is known about the 2020 first round pick. He has yet to appear in a professional game so only his high school stats are germane to what he can do in the minor leagues. His speed and arm are both about a tick above average but not enough to overcome some of the other top arms or speedsters. At 6′4″ he should possess a power lefthanded bat that should get stronger as he matures. He was the highest rated offensive player from high school in the 2020 draft. The start of the 2021 season should see him in Low A ball.

5. Taylor Trammell (Mariners) - Lots of tools in the tool box for this first round supplemental pick in 2016. The Mariners have some depth in their outfield with Jarred Kelenic, Kyle Lewis and Julio Rodriguez all rated higher than him. Taylor has already played for three teams, first drafted by the Reds, then traded to the Padres and lastly jettisoned to the Mariners. The speed is sufficient for him to cover centerfield and steal 20 plus bases per year, but the arm is below average. The 2019 season saw him struggle with the bat, only hitting .234 with a .349 slugging percentage. With those kind of numbers it will be difficult to find any outfield spot for him. He could reach AAA in 2021, but with his poor season a repeat of AA is possible.

6. Heston Kjerstad (Orioles) - The Orioles surprised a lot of people by making Heston the second player drafted in 2020. Many thought he had the best college power bat in the 2020 draft. His below average speed could make it a challenge in the outfield defensively, but the arm would play in right. His power bat showed in Arkansas enough to lead his team to back to back College World Series runs. Because there was no 2020 minor league season there are no numbers to show for him. Making contact can be a problem but he has a strong 6′3″ frame. He should start the 2021 season in A ball.

7. Jarren Duron (Red Sox) - Jarren dropped to the seventh round of the 2018 draft. His prospect stats climbed rapidly when he hit .357 with 11 triples and 24 stolen bases in just 67 games his first season. He didn’t stop hitting until he reached AA in his second year, when he came crashing down with a .250 average after hitting .387 in High A. A 2020 season would have defined which results were real, but now we will have to wait for 2021. There is no double that he has the speed to play centerfield with his 46 stolen bases. His weak arm is a poor fit in right so if he fails to make it as a centerfielder his alternative option is left field. The lack of power in his bat is not what most teams look for in a left fielder. After his poor AA performance in 2019, he should repeat there for the 2021 season with a major league opportunity possible before the end of the year.

8. Jordyn Adams (Angels) - The Angels are another team with some talented outfielders in Mike Trout, Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh. With the first pick of the 2018 draft the Angels added one more to the list. Adams has burner speed that could move Trout to a corner outfield position. His arm though is better suited for left. His tools are still relatively raw, having played both baseball and football in high school. Strikeouts can come in bunches restricting his average to the .250 range and his power has yet to develop. In his two years he has only hit 8 homeruns, all of them during the 2019 season. Despite having tremendous speed the stolen bases are low, with only 21 the last two years. Now that Jordyn has focused on baseball the raw tools should refine at a quicker pace. He is still a couple years from the majors with the 2021 season starting in AA.

9. Erick Pena (Royals) - The Dominican native has yet to showcase his stuff in the minor leagues, signed in 2019 for $3.9 million. He is not a burner in the outfield and his arm is just a tick above average, so he is slated for left field if his bat carries him to the major leagues. At 6′3′ the bat should develop power. He also makes good contact and he has some of the intangibles that make him valued, such as good character and sharp baseball instincts. At 17 years of age he is still young so he could start the season in extended spring training and then get promoted to a full season league at mid season.

10. Cole Roederer (Cubs) - The Cubs could be in rebuilding mode, which could be an opportunity for Cole to make his appearance in the outfield sooner than anticipated. The release of Kyle Schwarber opens a hole in left field but it will take awhile for Cole to take it. An arm injury dropped him to the second round of the 2018 draft. Compared to his 2018 season (.275) his 2019 season was a bust (.224). His arm is below average so his raw tools need to develop if he wants to show the power expected of a corner outfielder. A career .392 slugging percentage would not cut it at the major league level. He needs to improve his numbers in 2021 if he hopes to keep his prospect status but the tools exist for him to succeed. Expect him to continue A ball in 2021 with quick promotions if he has success.