Archive for the 'White Sox' Category

MyWorlds Top 100 - 20-11

Monday, March 20th, 2017

20. Michael Kopech RHP (White Sox) 7.83 - Michael was the Red Sox first round pick in the 2014 draft. He created quite a buzz last year when his fastball hit 105. The Red Sox made him part of the prospect haul of the White Sox in the David Price trade. Maturity issues are his big obstacle. He has two suspensions in his short career, one for drugs and one for fighting. His fastball is probably one of the top five in the minor leagues consistently hitting triple digits. He complements that fastball with a nice low 90s slider, with a change that he can throw as his third pitch. Single A hitters managed to hit only .147 against him and he was filthy with the strikeouts. Command could use improvement but that should come with time. The White Sox will probably start Kopech in AA. Because he has not eaten up a lot of innings they will be patient with his pitch count. If a major league promotion occurs it will not be until September.

19. Anderson Espinoza RHP (Padres) 8.05 - At 6′0″ with a fastball in the mid 90s the Domincan Espinoza is compared to Pedro Martinez. The Red Sox shelled out a $1.8 million bonus to sign him then traded him to the Padres for Drew Pomeranz. What separates Anderson from many pitchers his age is his ability to throw his change with a similar delivery as his fastball, giving him two plus pitches. His curve needs more consistency but it has the makings to be a plus pitch. Despite the glowing reports on his mid-90s fastball that can hit triple digits and a plus change hitters had success against him last year with a .276 opposition average at Low A. His small stature brings discussions of durability, which could result in a move to the pen as a closer. Expect Anderson to start the 2017 season in High A.

18. Nick Senzel 3B (Reds) 8.27 - Myworld has not seen much of Senzel. He was the Reds first round pick in the 2016 draft and to rise this high in many prospect rankings this early in his career is impressive. He has a college bat so a lot is already known about him. In his professional debut in Low A he hit .329. He also had a .982 OPS hitting seven homeruns. What was surprising was his 15 stolen bases, a lot for a player with average speed who plays the hot corner. More will be known about him as he rises up the minor league ladder and faces better pitching. A .415 OBA with a 32/45 walk to whiff ratio was also eye opening and his defensive tools should play out at third. As a college bat expect him to rise quickly in the minor leagues, with a start in High A and a promotion to AA if he continues to find success.

17. Willy Adames SS (Rays) 8.3 - The Tigers originally signed Adames but traded him to the Rays in their playoff drive to acquire David Price. Adames has a lot of upside with a bat that could hit for average and the power to hit for 20 plus homeruns. His tools should allow him to stay at short, though there is some question about his range. A strong arm and quick feet should help with that issue. The Rays have a shortstop opening and Adames hit .274 with a .802 OPS last year in AA. Myworld expects him to start the season in AAA but would not be surprised to see him with the major league club by mid-season.

16. Ozzie Albies 2B/SS (Braves) 8.38 - Ozzie was one reason the Braves felt they could trade Jose Peraza. The 20 year old from Curacao lost out on the shortstop job to Dansby Swanson and appears to be destined for second base. A late season injury last year may have prevented him from joining Dansby on the major league club. Ozzie has speed, the tools to play shortstop and the bat to stay near .300. What he lacks is power. An ability to draw walks with a .358 OBA between AA and AAA will allow him to hit at the top of the order to set the stage for the run producers. Myworld expects him to start his season in AAA with a quick callup when the Braves need help at second base or in a super utility role.

15. Tyler Glasnow RHP (Pirates) 8.68 - Tyler was a fifth round pick in 2012 but at 6′8″ with a lefty arm that hits the mid to upper 90s with his fastball his stock rose quickly. He also has a curve that misses bats and a change that is serviceable. His big issue is finding command. The opposition only hit .190 against him and he averaged over a strikeout per inning. Runners reached base consistently as he walks more than one hitter per two innings. In the major leagues his 4.24 ERA was inflated by a 13/24 walk to whiff ratio in just 23 innings. That lack of command also impacts hitters looking for the fastball when he gets behind in the count and major league hitters burned him for a .250 average. Expect him to start the 2017 season in AAA as he further tries to improve his command by working on a consistent delivery.

14. Rafael Devers 3B (Red Sox) 8.78 - Devers is one player the Red Sox tried to avoid having in conversations in trade talks. The Red Sox have hopes that he will take over the third base position when Pablo Sandoval is done. His lefthanded swing should find the .300 neighborhood with 30 plus homeruns an achievable goal. As a teenager in High A he slugged .448 with most of his power dedicated towards the gaps. As he matures and gets stronger those gap shots should get closer to the fences. His fielding at third will not win any gold gloves but it should do the job. If not a move to first is still a possibility. He lacks the foot speed to fit in the outfield. The 2017 season will see him do damage to AA pitchers.

13. Lucas Giolito RHP (White Sox) 8.82 - Lucas was a first round pick of the Nationals in 2012. Tommy John surgery prevented him from pitching but one start that year and in 2013 it was only rehab. He was considered the top pitching prospect entering the 2016 season but struggles against major league hitters in his major league debut dropped him down a notch. It also convinced the Nationals that they could include him in a trade for Adam Eaton. At 6′6″ with a fastball in the mid to high 90s Giolito can be intimidating. He also has a nice break to his curve and a dropping changeup that leads to a lot of swings and misses in the minor leagues. His velocity dropped when promoted to the major leagues and his command was poor with a 12/11 walk to whiff ratio. He also saw seven balls leave the park in just 21 innings of work, equaling the number of jacks he gave up in the minors in 115 innings. A good spring and a return to the high 90s in velocity could see him open the season in the White Sox rotation. The better bet is he starts the season in AAA.

12. Austin Meadows OF (Pirates) 8.83 - Austin was a first round pick of the Pirates in 2013. Injuries last season limited him to just 87 games. He did reach AAA but in 126 at bats he only hit .214 with a .297 OBA. The left handed stroke of Austin should hit for average as his .311 batting average in AA attests. His power should also come where he should hit 20 plus homeruns every year. The speed is there for him to steal 20 plus bases and cover centerfield, but the arm is below average so if centerfield is not a possibility a move to left would be an alternative. The Pirates outfield is a little crowded so expect Austin to spend his 2017 season in AAA. He is just a major injury away from getting a callup, or a Andrew McCutchen trade away if the Pirates should fall out of the playoff race.

11. Victor Robles OF (Nationals) 8.85 - Victor Robles has all five tools to make him a superstar. He will hit for average (.305 in low A), carries the potential power to hit 20 plus homeruns, has the foot speed to steal 50 plus bases and the tools and arm to play either center or right. At 19 years of age he held his own in High A, hitting .262 with a .354 OBA. A good work ethic and a leader in the clubhouse could add a sixth tool to his skills. It is difficult to watch these tools and show patience with him to allow him to develop in the minor leagues. With less than 200 at bats it may be best for Robles to start the season in High A with a promotion to AA once he achieves success.

MyWorld’s Top 100 - 60-51

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

60. Zack Collins C (White Sox) 3.62 - The 2016 first round pick of the White Sox would have been their top prospect if not for the acquisitions of Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Michael Kopech. Now he has to share the spotlight. Zack is a power hitting catcher whose defensive skills are not fully developed yet. If he does not make it as a catcher he has enough pop to move to first base, though he would be more valuable as a catcher. Next season should see him break out in a full season league after he hit six homeruns in just 36 games in rookie ball. Pitchers were a little hesitant pitching to him, walking him 33 times.

59. Sean Reid-Foley RHP (Blue Jays) 3.75 - Sean had a breakout season last year, lowering his ERA by more than a run and striking out more than a hitter per inning. The opposition had trouble making hard contact off him with an opposition average less than .200. His fastball sits in the low 90s but he can touch north of 95 with a solid curve and developing slider. If he can find the feel for his change he could move fast. Last year he reached High A for 10 starts. Sean should start the season in AA with a possible major league callup if he continues to achieve success.

58. Erick Fedde RHP (Nationals) 3.75 - The Nationals like to collect those pitches who have to undergo Tommy John surgery prior to the draft, dropping them lower in the draft. They did that with Lucas Giolito and Erick was drafted in the first round of the 2014 draft even after he found out he needed Tommy John surgery. Erick pitched 121 innings last year and will need to start the season in the minors to control his innings count. With the trade of Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito he could be considered the number six starting pitcher for the Nationals after their first five. He has a low 90s fastball and a high 80s slider. His change needs to develop more consistency if he hopes to make it as a starter.

57. Amir Garrett LHP (Reds) 3.82 - Until last year Amir was a basketball player who dabbled a bit in playing baseball. He has now decided to focus on baseball. That may jump start his career. At 6′5″ he has impressive height with a fastball in the low 90s complemented by a plus slider. His change is still a work in progress. Amir dominated at AA with a 1.75 ERA, 9.1 whiffs per nine innings and a .184 opposition average in 12 starts. A promotion to AAA gave him a little bit of a struggle but the opposition still only hit him at a .202 clip. A 31/54 walk to whiff ratio shows he was more hittable with less command. A repeat of AAA will be in store for Amir in 2017.

56. A.J. Puk LHP (Athletics) 4.05 - Puk was the Athletics first round pick in 2016. He was drafted ahead of his Florida teammate Logan Shore, who was their Friday night starter, usually reserved for the best pitcher on the team. The Athletics chose Puk but then had the opportunity to snag Logan Shore in the second round when his name was still on the list. At 6′7″ Puk has an intimidating plane he brings to hitters with a fastball that can cross the plate in the high 90s. His secondary pitches (slider and change) still need a lot of work, but once he figures it out his fastball will be that much better. While he finished the season 0-4 Puk averaged just 3.3 innings per start.

55. Jorge Alfaro C (Phillies) 4.07 - Injuries have slowed down Alfaro’s development, leaving him on prospect lists for at least five years. The Colombian was signed by the Rangers but traded to the Phillies in the Cole Hamel deal. His bat has pop and his arm can slow down a running game. The big concern with Jorge is the 5/1 strikeout to walk ratio (105/22 last year) that can be exposed by better pitchers. Cameron Rupp is currently ahead of him on the major league roster so Jorge will probably see a full season in AAA.

54. Triston McKenzie RHP (Indians) 4.12 - The only pitcher we witnessed pitch this year that made me go wow. He has long arms that seem to fly all over the place in his delivery. At 6′5″ his fastball can already hit 95. Once he gets more meat on his bones that fastball velocity should increase. His curve has a nice break but his change still needs more consistency. Rookie league hitters had no chance against him with a .180 opposition average. A 0.55 ERA in nine starts got him a promotion to Low A. That is where he will begin the 2017 season. For a young pitcher he is very good at throwing strikes.

53. Carson Kelly C (Cardinals) 4.18 - Carson has a superb glove who frames pitches well and controls the running game with a strong arm. The big question mark with him is whether his bat can develop. That will determine whether he will be a starter or backup. Last year he hit around .290 splitting time between AA and AAA. A promotion to the major leagues saw that average dip to .154. With Yadier Molina the Cardinals catcher for the next couple years Carson will improve his craft in 2017 in AAA with a possible back up role for Yadier by mid-season.

52. Alex Verdugo OF (Dodgers) 4.4 - Verdugo was a second round pick in the 2014 draft. Last year he hit a career high 13 homeruns in AA, showing the power is there to play a corner. Slow foot speed prevents him from playing centerfield, but a strong arm is a nice fit for right. If Yasiel Puig continues his downfall the Dodgers could call up Verdugo to take his place. Mark saw a full season in AA so the 2017 season should start in AAA. Alex needs to maintain his focus to win the right field job. There are times when he has a tendency to dial it back.

51. Luke Weaver RHP (Cardinals) 4.48 - Luke was a first round pick of the Cardinals in 2014. His fastball neighbors the mid-90s and he complements that well with a plus change. After dominating the minor leagues last year Luke was given a promotion to the Cardinals. In nine starts a 5.70 ERA and .311 opposition average with seven homeruns given up in his 36 innings showed he was not ready yet. He had only given up a total of seven homeruns in his last three minor league seasons. On the bright side he did strike out 11.1 hitters per nine innings proving he has swing and miss stuff. A good spring could find him in the starting rotation, but expect more a mid-season callup.

Myworlds Top 100 - 90 - 81

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

A compilation of the six top 100 lists rolled into one. Below is 90-81.

90. Matt Chapman 3B/SS (Athletics) 1.35 - Myworld does not think Chapman will be playing shortstop, but with so many corner infielders the Athletics will have to find room for them all. Chapman is probably the best defensive third baseman of the group and has a strong arm. His range is good for third base but would fall far short of what is needed for a shortstop. His bat also gives the Athletics power, with 36 homeruns last year. There is a tendency for him to swing and miss (173 whiffs) which could lead to averages falling below .250.

89. Max Fried RHP (Braves) 1.4 - He was drafted in the first round by the Padres. The Padres traded him to the Braves to acquire Justin Upton. Tommy John surgery has knocked some luster off his prospect status. Last year was his first year back and he averaged 9.8 whiffs per nine innings with a fastball that sat at 92-95. With a little more pitching that velocity could increase. His secondary pitches (slow breaking ball and change) need some improvement as does his control. He’ll start the season in High A and could see AA by the end of the year.

88. Chance Sisco (Orioles) 1.4 - Playing for so long at Bowie myworld has seen a lot of Chance. His defense behind the plate needs work and his power is absent. As he matures he may hit ten plus homeruns. The best part of his game is his ability to get hits and strike the gaps. He is not afraid to take walks and will give you OBAs of over .400. Being a catcher he does not have great speed but he will not clog the bases. Expect him to make his major league debut this year after at least half a season in AAA. With Matt Wieters gone the Orioles do not really have a viable catching option blocking him from making a contribution. His lack of power makes a move to first base questionable.

87. Cal Quantril RHP (Padres) 1.42 - The son of All Star reliever Paul Quantril and the 2016 first round pick of the Padres. Cal hopes to make it in the starting rotation with a fastball that slides between low to mid 90s. He also has a good change and is working to improve his slider to give him three pitches for the rotation. Tommy John surgery as a sophomore in high school is a concern. He should make his debut next season in full season Low A where he can work on improving his slider and his command of pitches.

86. Carson Fulmer RHP (White Sox) 1.43 - The White Sox may have rushed him last year. Fulmer only stands 6′0″ and with the recent acquisitions of Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech and Reynaldo Lopez his best spot may be in the bullpen. Despite being the same height as Lopez he lacks his velocity, hitting the low 90s with his fastball. His best pitch may be his curveball and he does throw a plus change to give him three above average pitches. A 8.49 ERA, 7 walks in 12 innings and a .273 opposition average in eight relief outings in the major leagues is not what the White Sox were looking for but many top prospects struggle in their first exposure to major league hitters.

85. Brady Aiken RHP (Indians) 1.5 - The Astros drafted him as the first pick in the draft in 2014 but concerns over his arm led them to reduce his bonus leaving a sour taste in Brady’s mouth for not signing. Brady later had to undergo Tommy John surgery. This did not prevent the Indians from selecting them as their number one pick when he fell to them as the 17th pick in the 2015 draft. He struggled in his first professional debut in 2016 with an ERA combined of 5.83 between two rookie leagues with an opposition average of .274. The bright spot is his K rate was 11.1 per nine innings and his fastball sat in the low 90s but touched 97. He also throws an above average curve and change. This was his rehab year so 2017 should see greater velocity on his fastball and sharper breaks on his curve with improved command, at least that is how the Indians would like it drawn up on their blueprint.

84. German Marquez RHP (Rockies) 1.58 - Soon he will have to deal with pitching in the high altitudes of Colorado. German throws the ball hard with a mid-90s fastball touching into the high 90s. He also carries an above average curve with a changeup in the developmental stages. Last year he made his major league debut with three starts and three relief appearances, fashioning a 5.23 ERA. His strikeout rate has never been above 9 but has always been in the neighborhood, but against major league hitters it dropped to 6.5. Expect at some point the Rockies stick him in their rotation after he has success in AAA.

83. Willie Calhoun 2B (Dodgers) 1.6 - At 5′8″ you could compare him to Jose Altuve, except he does not have his speed and he is not a good defensive player. What he does have is the ability to carry the ball over the fence with 27 homeruns in AA. Ideally, he could fit in left field but slow foot speed and a below average arm make that a liability. His best position may be DH but they don’t have that in the National League so the Dodgers will keep him at second base and if he keeps on hitting bombs they will not complain.

82. Stephen Gonsalves LHP (Twins) 1.67 - Stephen is a pitcher the Twins used to thrive on putting in their rotation during their playoff years. He doesn’t throw hard with a fastball in the low 90s, but he is able to hit the corners, throw up and down in the strike zone and give hitters different looks. Despite the lack of velocity he still struck out more than a hitter an inning last year and kept opponents to a batting average at less than .200. He also throws a change and a curve with the changeup being his second best pitch. After dominating in 13 starts at AA expect him to begin next season in AAA with a shot at making his major league debut before mid-season.

81. Ian Anderson RHP (Braves) 1.83 - Anderson is one of many number one draft pick pitchers in the Braves camp. However, with Anderson he will be a home grown pick, drafted by the Braves in the first round in 2016. The New Yorker throws hard with a fastball sliding in to the mid-90s and touching 97 with the potential for an above average curveball and change. He made a promising professional debut and should start 2017 in Low A.

30 Teams in 30 Days - White Sox

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

We got the bookends right for this division, predicting the Indians to win the division and the Twins to hold up the bottom. The middle three were scattered a bit. This division looks like the Indians to cruise through with two teams rebuilding, the Tigers aging and the Royals possibly jettisoning contracts if they fall out of the race early.

Overview - The White Sox thought they had what it takes to win this division for a couple years. Once they could not get over .500 they realized the roster was flawed and are in the process of trading the veteran players to rebuild. It will be a long year for White Sox fans, but the good news is the trades have brought them an impressive group of prospects. Their minor league system will easily fit in the top five for 2017.

Strengths - Jose Abreu does not seem to be on the trading block. He gives the White Sox some power at first base. Jose Quintana is still on the team, but that should only be a temporary stay until the White Sox find a suitable trading partner. That leaves them with Carlos Rodon as the ace. He has everything you want in an ace except experience. The trouble will be the Sox will have nothing to offer behind him. Tim Anderson is a young shortstop who could have a breakout season in 2017. He is a cog the team can fill a championship roster around.

Weaknesses - Lots of them. The trade of Adam Eaton slices their outfield, leaving them without an established centerfielder or rightfielder. Spring training may decide who plays those positions but it looks ugly. Charlie Tilson is listed as the centerfielder and Avisail Garcia the rightfielder for now, but that can’t last. Rymer Liriano could make the team based on his upside, if he can stay healthy. Melky Cabrera is not a strength in left field but he is not a weakness. Because of his age the White Sox could still trade him furthering the decent down into deplorable. The Designated Hitter spot does not really have a big bat here. Matt Davidson has some power but he has had trouble staying healthy. Behind the plate the White Sox have two rookies on the roster who have combined for 40 major league games. A veteran signing is expected before the season begins, but it will be a backup catcher type. You have to expect James Shields to have a better year than he did last year. Unlike Jose Quintana, Shields poor year left him untradeable. The White Sox can hope for a comeback and find a team interested in mid-season, but they will have to eat up much of his salary. David Robertson did not fill the closer role as the White Sox expected. He will be traded by season’s end leaving the bullpen a bit tattered. When you are a last place team the bullpen is the last of your worries.

Impact Prospects - Just like their weakness the White Sox are stocked with prospects, some of them ready to contribute next year. Yoan Moncada will get a little more seasoning in AAA but he should be up by midseason. Moncada has a combination of speed and power that will surpass current second baseman Brett Lawrie. The starting rotation has some veterans to trade or release, depending on their years. Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez should slide into the rotation before the season is out. Giolito has better stuff but last year Lopez performed better in the major leagues. Carson Fulmer was a first round pick in 2015 but he got lit up pretty good last year in both the major and minor leagues. His lack of size (6′0″) and ability to control his pitches may put him in the bullpen. The outfield will see two rookies before the year is out. Charlie Tilson is listed as the starter for the season, but myworld feels he is more a fourth outfielder. We are more impressed with Rymer Liriano, who could provide a power bat in right field. His big issue is staying healthy. Courtney Hawkins continues to linger, dropping further down the prospect list, but an awakened bat could get him an opportunity.

Prospects to Watch - Two pitchers who are too far down to see the rotation in 2017 but could be knocking on the door in 2018 are Michael Kopech and Alec Hanson. Kopech probably has the best fastball in the major leagues, hitting three digits with ease. Hanson limited the opposition to a .133 average in 12 starts. His fastball is also pretty wicked but only hits the mid to high 90s, a mere pedestrian pitch when compared to Kopech. Zach Collins, their first round pick in 2016 gives them a catcher with pop. Currently his bat is ahead of his glove but he has time to progress. Zach Burdi is another 2016 first round pick who was used primarily in the bullpen last year. He is the brother of Nick and his fastball can get three digit readings. If he stays in the bullpen he could be with the team by mid-season, but the White Sox may show patience and save his service time. Trey Michalczewski is a third baseman who lacks great tools, but he has enough to start. If Todd Frazier is traded a good year could find him at third. Dane Dunning was the Nationals first round pick in 2016, giving the White Sox three first rounders from that year. He has a good fastball but must develop his secondary pitches, so he is a couple years away. Watch for a breakout year from outfielder Micker Adolfo. A couple years ago he was considered one of the top ranked international prospects who the White Sox shelled out $1.6 million to sign. He has power in his bat but lacks plate discipline.

Expected Finish - It is a rebuilding year. Last place will give them a high draft choice next year. With their roster and a few mid season trades they could find themselves with the top pick in 2018. That is about the only thing the White Sox can feel good about for the 2017 season.

Breakout Prospects and Prospects to Watch AL Central

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

Myworld continues to look at prospects who will have a major league impact in 2017 and other prospects to watch to see if they will find themselves on the cusp of making the major league team in 2018. Some of these prospects to watch are veteran minor leaguers trying to over come surgery, former top prospects who have tripped in their minor league ascension or Cubans who have no history at the professional level in the United States. Today myworld takes a look at the AL Central.

Chicago White Sox

Breakout Prospects - (Yoan Moncada 2B, Lucas Giolito RHP, Reynaldo Lopez RHP) - The White Sox are rebuilding which creates a process where prospects can make an immediate impact. Yoan struggled in his first exposure to major league pitching. The Red Sox used him at an unfamiliar position, third base because second base was occupied by Dustin Pedroia. The White Sox have no such blockage at second base. A good spring could get him on the roster when the season begins or the White Sox could save some service time by giving him more time in AAA. Yoan has power and speed that will have an impact on a major league offense. Reynaldo Lopez performed better at the major league roster last year than Lucas Giolito. The White Sox acquired both in the Adam Eaton trade. Giolito was considered the best pitching prospect in baseball last year as Moncada was considered the best offensive prospect, but Giolito has struggled when exposed to major league hitters. His fastball can hit the high 90s with his 6′6″ frame bearing down on hitters and his curve is above average. His command was non-existent with the Nationals resulting in a abhorrent 12/11 walk to whiff ratio in 21.2 innings. Reynaldo Lopez does not have as much upside and at 6′0′ does not have the size of Giolito, but he performed better against major league hitters. His mid-90s fastball had more swing and miss qualities than Giolito. The curve is of less quality and he struggled with his command as well when facing major league hitters (22 walks in 44 innings).

Prospects to Watch (Alec Hansen RHP) - It will be interesting to see if the 6′7″ righthander can replicate his 2016 performance. Alec was virtually unhittable with rookie league hitters batting below .100 against him. When promoted to a full season league he got tattooed a bit more in his two starts, giving up 11 hits in 11 innings. His fastball sits in the mid-90s but can tick close to three digits with an above average slider to mix in to confuse hitters. His season did end early because of arm soreness. With Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech and Reynaldo Lopez also set for future rotation status the White Sox pitching looks solid for years to come despite the absence of Sale and soon to be disappearing Quintana..

Cleveland Indians

Breakout Prospect (Greg Allen CF) - Myworld is not enamored with the centerfield capabilities of Bradley Zimmer. He is probably best suited for right. Tyler Naquin also is not a centerfielder. This should provide an opening for Allen by mid-season. He has game breaking speed which allows him to cover a lot of ground. The fact that he is also an Aztec colors my bias. The power is lacking, but he has the plate discipline to take a walk (77/78 walk to whiff ratio) to stir the drink for the power hitters. He will probably start the season in AA with a major league call up expected once it is realized there is too much green for Naquin and Zimmer to cover in centerfield.

Prospect to Watch (Tristan McKenzie RHP) - Myworld was awed watching the 6′5″ lanky right hander with the prey mantis limbs have his way against Rookie League hitters. He was not quite so dominant once promoted to Low A, but overall the opposition could only hit him at a .195 clip. He also had a 22/104 walk to whiff ratio with his low 90s fastball which should continue to grow as he develops physically. He already has developed two above average pitches in the curveball and change. It will be interesting to see how his fastball velocity increases as he matures and whether that will be enough to continue has mastery over higher level minor leaguers.

Detroit Tigers

Breakout Prospect (Joe Jimenez RHP) - The Tigers are always looking for a closer. They thought they had one with a triple digit fastball in the name of Bruce Rondon, but he has not provided the answer. Now they are looking at the mid-90s fastball of Joe Jimenez, who saved 30 games at three different levels last year. Joe is built for the bullpen, with only two pitches in a fastball and slider. The start of the season will see him in a setup role, but if the Tigers continue their search for a closer the Puerto Rican righthander will be given an opportunity.

Prospect to Watch (Grayson Greiner C) - Not because he is a great prospect, but because his 6′6 inch frame is a bit unusual for a catcher. Despite his size he is not noted for his power. The bat has some potential, but he will sit around .250 with homerun numbers in the teens. His arm is solid and whether his tall frame can weather the assaults a hot summer day can bring upon a catcher will be the real test. Matt Wieters made it as a tall catcher, but the list is small.

Kansas City Royals

Breakout Prospect (Alec Mill RHP) - He has made his comeback from Tommy John surgery to have some success in the minors. The Royals are a little short on pitching from a depth perspective. It seems natural for the righthander with the low to mid-90s fastball to be one of the first to be called upon to help the rotation. Last year he dominated in AA but struggled a bit when promoted to AAA. In 9 less innings he allowed six more balls to leave the park which ballooned his ERA by two runs. Alec has an assortment of quality pitches to bode well to achieve success at the major league level.

Prospect to Watch (Meibrys Vilaria C) - The Colombian with the .376 average was exceeded by no one. He also complemented that with 28 doubles and a 1.042 OPS. The big question with Meibrys is whether his defense tools can develop enough to be used as a catcher. He was a shortstop when signed by the Royals in 2013 so his arm is strong. Whether he can block, frame and call pitches will be decided at the higher levels. If he doesn’t make it as a catcher the Royals will find another spot for him if he continues to hit over .350.

Minnesota Twins

Breakout Prospect (Stephen Gonsales LHP) - Last year Gonsalves dominated, with his ERA improving from 2.33 to 1.82 after a promotion from High A to AA. The opposition struggled to make barrel of the bat contact on the ball, hitting him at a .179 clip. He stands 6′5″ with a fastball that can buzz to the plate in the low 90s. His change may be his best pitch making the fastball appear to have more velocity. The Twins will probably start him in AA but their rotation is full of holes. Gonsalves is their most advanced pitcher in the minors who has achieved success at each level he has pitched. Since being drafted in the fourth round in 2013 he has yet to have an ERA higher than 3.19 and his career opposition average is .204.

Prospect to Watch (Aaron Whitfield OF) - The Orioles drafted a softball player out of New Zealand and tried to make a baseball player out of him but they had little success. Aaron Whitfield was a national team level softball player when the Twins drafted him. He has had a better transition to the game of baseball than Pita Rona hitting .298 last year at the Rookie Level. He has also shown some pop in the Australian Baseball League where he hit three homeruns in a double header last weekend, improving his average to .330 and his OPS to .933. The big test is when he gets promoted to full season ball and the adjustments pitchers make to him after they have seen him hit a number of times.

The Sox Rosters Based On the Domestic Drafts

Monday, December 19th, 2016

There are 8 teams to go, six after these two. With Christmas coming up it is time to hang up the stockings up by the fireplace and take a look at the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox domestic drafts to see what kind of rosters await us for 2017. The Red Stockings seem to have trouble finding starting pitching. They pack up on the outfielders, so maybe a few of those players could step on the mound. The White Stockings have drafted a couple top of the line pitchers, but they would be hurting to score runs with the lineup they would be forced to put out there every day. It is probably one of the worst rosters we’ve seen of the first 22 teams we’ve taken a look at. Dustin Pedroia was drafted in the second round of the 2014 draft and is not included on this roster since we are only looking at players drafted from 2005 and later. With all their first round picks over the years you would think the Red Sox could have done better.

Boston Red Sox

2005 - Jacoby Ellsbury (1) OF, Clay Buchholtz (1) RHP, Jed Lowrie (1) 2B, Pedro Alvarez (14 - DNS) 1B, Charlie Blackmon (20-DNS) OF, Kirby Yates (26 - DNS) RHP, Jason Castro (45 - DNS) C
2006 - Justin Masterson (2) RHP, Kris Negron (7) UTL, Brandon Belt (11 - DNS) 1B, Josh Reddick (17) OF, Logan Shafer (31- DNS) OF
2007 - Nick Hagadone (1) LHP, Will Middlebrooks (5) OF/3B, Anthony Rizzo (6) 1B, Ryan Pressly (11) RHP, Justin Grimm (13 - DNS) RHP, Hunter Strickland (18) RHP, Yasmani Grandal (27 - DNS) C
2008 - Casey Kelly (1) RHP, Ryan Lavarnway (6) C, Christian Vazquez (9) C, Alex Meyer (20 - DNS) RHP, Anthony DeSclafani (22 - DNS) RHP, Travis Shaw (32 - DNS) 3B, Yan Gomes (39 - DNS) C
2009 - Reymond Fuentes (1) OF, Alex Wilson (2) RHP, Luke Maile (43) C
2010 - Bryce Brentz (1) OF, Anthony Ranaudo (1) RHP, Garin Cecchini (4) 3B, Jason Garcia (17) RHP, Hunter Renfroe (31-DNS) OF
2011 - Matt Barnes (1) RHP, Blake Swihart (1) C, Henry Owens (1) LHP, Jackie Bradley (1) OF, Mookie Betts (5) OF, Travis Shaw (9) 3B, Mac Williamson (46 - DNS) OF
2012 - Deven Marrero (1) SS, Brian Johnson (1) LHP, Pat Light (1) RHP, Alex Bregman (29 - DNS) SS
2015 - Andrew Benintendi (1) OF

Roster

C - Jason Castro, Yasmani Grandal, Yan Gomes, Ryan Lavarnway, Christian Vazquez, Luke Maile, Blake Swihart
1B - Anthony Rizzo, Brandon Belt, Pedro Alvarez
2B - Jed Lowrie, Kris Negron (Dustin Pedroia drafted in 2004 second round)
3B - Travis Shaw, Will Middlebrooks, Gavin Cecchini
SS - Alex Bregman, Deven Marrero
OF - Jackie Bradly, Mookie Betts, Jacoby Ellsbury, Charlie Blackmon, Josh Reddick, Andrew Benintendi, Logan Shafer, Reymond Fuentes, Bryce Brentz, Hunter Renfroe, Mac Williamson
SP - Clay Buchholtz, Alex Meyer, Anthony DeSclafani, Matt Barnes, Henry Owens
RP - Hunter Strickland, Kirby Yates, Justin Masterson, Nick Hagadone, Ryan Pressly, Justin Grimm, Casey Kelly, Alex Wilson, Anthony Ranaudo, Jason Garcia, Brian Johnson, Pat Light

Chicago White Sox

2005 - Clayton Richard (8) LHP, Chris Carter (15) 1b, Jordan Danks (19 - DNS), Bobby LaFromboise (23 - DNS) LHP
2006 - Hector Santiago (30) LHP, Jacob Petricka (38 - DNS) RHP
2007 - Nate Jones (5) RHP, Jabari Blash (29 - DNS) OF
2008 - Gordon Beckham (1) 2B, Daniel Hudson (5) RHP, Jordan Danks (7) OF, James McCann (31- DNS) C, Marcus Semien (34 - DNS) SS, C.J. Cron (44 - DNS) 1B
2009 - Josh Phegley (1) C, Tracye Thompson (2) OF, David Holmberg (2) LHP, Brian Goodwin (17 - DNS) OF, Kevin Chapman (50 - DNS) LHP
2010 - Chris Sale (1) LHP, Jake Petricka (2) RHP, Addison Reed (3) RHP, Tyler Saladino (7) UTL
2011 - Erik Johnson (2) RHP, Marcus Semien (6) SS, Chris Bassitt (16) RHP, Chris Devenski (25) RHP
2012 - Chris Beck (2) RHP, Micah Johnson (9) 2B
2013 - Tyler Danish (2) RHP
2014 - Carlos Rodon (1) LHP
2015 - Carson Fulmer (1) RHP

Roster

C - James McCann, Josh Phegley
1B - Chris Carter, C.J. Cron
2B - Gordon Beckham, Micah Johnson
3B - Tyler Saladino
SS - Marcus Semien
OF - Jordan Danks, Jabari Blash, Trayce Thompson, Brian Goodwin
SP - Chris Sale, Carlos Rodon, Hector Santiago, Daniel Hudson, Chris Devenski
RP - Clayton Richard, Bobby LaFromboise, Jacob Petricka, Nate Jones, David Holmberg, Kevin Chapman, Addison Reed, Erik Johnson, Chris Bassitt, Chris Beck, Tyler Danish, Carson Fulmer

Right Handed Starting Pitcher Prospect Review

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

Just like shortstops there were a number of right handed starting pitchers to review so myworld extended it to the top 20 prospects in this category. The below list was the top 20 prospects as rated by myworld.

1. Lucas Giolito (Nationals) - The top pitching prospect struggled with his command. He dominated minor league hitters splitting time between AA and AAA but when promoted to the Nationals struggled, walking more hitters than he struck out (11/10). When the Nationals picked a starter to pitch in the bullpen in relief it was Reynaldo Lopez, who myworld had rated 28th. Gio Gonzalez will probably be gone (the Nationals not picking up his option) so it will be a battle between Reynaldo and Lucas for the fifth spot, leaving the Nationals without a lefty in the rotation. Both throw in the mid-90s so it becomes a luxury of riches with the loser getting an opportunity to prove himself by mid-season, when Strasburg is due to go on the DL.

2. Alex Reyes (Cardinals) - A 50 game drug of abuse suspension delayed his appearance in the starting rotation for the Cardinals. If they had him in the rotation at the beginning of the year they may have made the playoffs. He was pretty dominating, first in relief and then in the rotation when he was promoted to the Cardinals. Command issues were a problem with a walk every two innings. Expect him to be in the rotation next season.

3. Tyler Glasnow (Pirates) - Another pitcher with command issues which prevented him from making the rotation at the beginning of the season. He had success in AAA (1.87 ERA) despite walking 62 hitters in just 111 innings. The opposition hit only .148 against him and he struck out 133. Those command issues did not do so well when promoted to the Pirates (4.91 ERA with more hits than innings pitched and not as great a whiff rate). In spring training he will compete for a spot in the rotation and the improvement he shows with his command will determine whether he makes the rotation. He has swing and miss stuff if he can improve the location of his pitches.

4. Anderson Espinoza (Padres) - The Red Sox best prospect pitcher was traded to the Padres for Drew Pomeranz. Drew was more damaged than the Padres medical records showed and A.J. Preller was suspended for not disclosing the complete medical history of Pomeranz. The Red Sox still chose not to nullify the trade and Espinoza is still a Padre. The Red Sox may have been troubled by the struggles of Espinosa in Low A (4.38 ERA). He was not better in his seven starts with the Padres (4.78). He stands only 6′0″ so there is some durability concerns but at 18 years of age he still has a lot of time to mature. Because of his short stature and his triple digit fastballs there are a lot of comparisons to Pedro Martinez.

5. Francis Martes (Astros) - Another pitcher short of stature (6′1″) who throws a fastball in the triple digits. He pitched well in AA (3.30 ERA) striking out more than a batter per inning. He should start the 2017 season in AAA but it should not take him long to reach the Astros rotation by mid-season.

6. Jose Deleon (Dodgers) - Julio Urias was our top rated lefthanded starter. With all the injuries to the Dodgers rotation this season both got opportunities to start for the Dodgers. Urias had a little more success so this could leave Deleon with another season in AAA or starting the season in the Dodgers bullpen. He dominated in AAA (2.92 ERA with a .181 opposition average) so he has nothing to prove by repeating AAA. A lot will depend on his performance in spring training and the Dodgers needs.

7. Jose Berrios (Twins) - His starts in AAA showed the makings of an ace (2.51 ERA and .171 opposition average) but his major league opportunities were a disaster. He had trouble throwing strikes, walking almost a batter per inning and baseballs left the park with great regularity, coughing up a homerun every four innings of pitching. A good spring could earn him another opportunity in the rotation but expect him to begin the 2017 season in AAA. Success or injury in the rotation will give him another big league opportunity.

8. Robert Stephenson (Reds) - Another pitcher who can hit triple digits with his fastball. The Reds are in rebuilding mode so despite his struggles when called up he could still make the rotation with a good spring. He also had trouble keeping the ball in the park, giving up more than a homerun for each four innings of work. The Reds would have liked to see more minor league success (4.41 ERA in AAA) but 71 walks in just 137 innings spells command issues.

9. Jon Gray (Rockies) - The third pick in the 2013 draft started 28 games for the Rockies. His 4.5 plus ERA is credible considering the hitters atmosphere in Colorado. He should be a foundation for the Rockies rotation, perhaps inserting himself in the ace role in 2017.

10. Michael Fulmer (Tigers) - He almost saved the Tigers season, becoming the ace in the rotation. He tired a bit towards the end of the season as his innings pitched increased. Expect him to win the AL Rookie of the Year Award for 2016. Fulmer will also be a foundation in the Tigers rotation for the 2017 season.

11. Kenta Maeda (Dodgers) - Not really a rookie because of his success in Japan. He pitched well early in the season but the length of the major league season may have caught up with him. He averaged just over 5 innings per start but was the one Dodger that got over 30 starts. He was the number two starter behind Kershaw until the Dodgers acquired Rich Hill. He will be an important cog in the Dodgers rotation for 2017 despite a fastball that barely breaks 90.

12. Jorge Lopez (Brewers) - Jorge had a season to forget in AAA (6.81). He walked a lot of hitters and gave up more hits than innings pitched. With a good season he could have been promoted to the Brewers by mid-season. Instead, he saw more time in AA to build up his confidence with a little more success. The 2017 season will probably see him begin it in AAA and with success he could see a mid-season promotion.

13. Aaron Blair (Braves) - Another pitcher who struggled in his 14 starts with the Braves. Blair was one of the players the Diamondbacks gave up for Shelby Miller. As hard as it was Blair had a worst season than Miller. His AAA numbers were not impressive and myworld saw a back end of the rotation pitcher when we watched him pitch in the spring. With all the talented young pitchers the Braves have in their farm system it would not surprise myworld to see the Braves attempt to trade him.

14. Luis Ortiz (Brewers) - One of the players the Brewers acquired in the Jonathan Lucroy trade. He pitched in AA and seemed to be pretty easy to hit (.290 opposition average) with less than impressive whiffs per innings pitched. He starred for the United States 18 and under team, winning the MVP award at the World Cup in 2014. Poor conditioning and weight issues could prevent him from achieving success as he gets older.

15. Brent Honeywell (Rays) - A screwball gives him a different pitch than other pitchers. He was the Rays 2015 version of Blake Snell without the shutout innings. Blake was rated as out second best lefthanded starter. Honeywell had success splitting his time between High A and AA, limiting the opposition to an average of just over .200. Expect him to join Snell in the Rays rotation by mid-season in 2017.

16.Jeff Hoffman (Rockies) - The first round pick of the Blue Jays, the Rockies acquired Hoffman last year for Troy Tulowitski. He made his major league debut late in the season but struggled, giving up lots of homeruns, lots of hits with a walk to whiff ratio of 1/1. Not a promising debut to see him start the 2017 season in the Rockies rotation. His minor league numbers were not impressive (4.02 ERA) so expect him to repeat AAA and get a major league callup upon the Rockies need and his success.

17. Dillon Tate (Yankees) - The Yankees picked him up in the Carlos Beltran trade. Tate was the Rangers first round pick in 2015. The Yankees used him in the bullpen to decrease his innings count. He struggled in the Rangers Low A rotation (5.12 ERA) but did better with the Yankees (3.12 ERA). Combined the opposition hit over .300 against him. He could repeat Low A, but expect the Yankees to promote him to High A. Don’t expect to see him in the Yankee rotation until 2018.

18. Carson Fulmer (White Sox) - The White Sox called him up early in the season to use him in the bullpen. His ERA neighbored a run per inning pitched so he was sent back down to AAA to finish his year in the minors as a starter. Expect him to spend the 2017 season in AAA until he can address his command issues. In AA he walked 51 hitters in his 87 innings of work. That will have to improve if he hopes to make the White Sox rotation.

19. Grant Holmes (Athletics) - The Dodgers traded their 2014 number one pick to the Athletics in the Rich Hill trade. At 6′1″ he is small in stature and his success in the minor leagues has been limited. After the Athletics acquired him they shifted him to the High A California League where the opposition tagged him for a .355 average. The Athletics could promote him to AA in 2017 but he is still a couple years away from making the Athletics rotation.

20. Jake Thompson (Phillies) - The Phillies are rebuilding and Jake could be part of their rotation next year. His numbers for the Phillies last year were poor with a 5.70 ERA and a 28/32 walk to whiff ratio. He also gave up one homerun for each five innings he pitched. Those kind of numbers will not keep him in a major league rotation. Expect him to start the season in AAA where he had success. His strikeout numbers are not impressive but he is not an over powering pitcher.

Shortstop Prospect Review

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Shortstop was a very talented position this year so myworld will take a look at the top 20 prospects at the position as rated by Baseball America to see how their 2016 season went.

1. Corey Seager (Dodgers) - Not much needs to be said here. Corey is on his way to winning the NL rookie of the year award, leading the Dodgers to the NL West Division crown. He’s hit for power and average and kept his miscues on the field to a minimum.

2. J.P. Crawford (Phillies) - Still the Phillies shortstop of the future despite his struggles at AAA (.244). He hit well at AA but with only seven homeruns and 12 stolen bases at the two levels his offensive production falls short of what is expected. He finished the season with a .688 OPS. While his defense will get him to the major leagues the Phillies would like to see a little more offense. Freddy Galvis is all that stands in his way in the major leagues.

3. Orlando Arcia (Brewers) - Compared to his 2015 season his offensive production in AAA was a bit of a disappointment this year. Like Crawford defense is his calling card and a late season major league callup has seen his offensive struggles continue. The Brewers could always move Jonathan Villar back to short if they feel Arcia is not yet ready for the major leagues to begin the 2017 season. It is only a matter of time before he takes over the position.

4. Trea Turner (Nationals) - With an earlier callup and more at bats he would be giving Seager a run for the rookie of the year honors. Turner has moved to centerfield and has filled the leadoff roll for the Nationals, hitting .340. What has been a surprise to his season is the power he has shown in his bat.

5. Dansby Swanson (Braves) - A trade the Diamondbacks will ultimately regret and could lead to massive changes in the administration. Swanson has been rotating with Ozzie Albies for the Braves shortstop job, but Swanson appears to have the upper hand at the position. Swanson got the head start with the first September callup. He should provide an offensive bat with power for the position.

6. Jorge Mateo (Yankees) - His ultimate position may be at second base after the season for Didi Gregorious this year and the late season acquisition of Gleyber Torres. Mateo has shown a little pop but speed is his big tool. A mid-season suspension because of his impatience about not being promoted to AA is the only taint to the 2016 season, though his offensive numbers have fallen short of what he produced last year. His stolen base production especially dropped in half from 82 to 36.

7. Raul Mondesi (Royals) - The only player to appear in a World Series game before he ever appeared in a regular season game. Offense will be the big question mark for the son of Raul Mondesi Sr. He lacks the power of his father but has a smooth glove to play the position. A mid season major league callup has resulted in an offensive struggle to hit major league pitching (.181). The Royals would like to see better than a .484 OPS at the position.

8. Brendan Rodgers (Rockies) - The Rockies 2015 number one pick may have to find another position after the explosion from Trevor Story, who was rated 19th on this list. Story was a first round supplemental pick in 2011 and got the first opportunity. Rodgers is expected to have the bat and the power to play third base, but Nolan Arenado sits there. Fortunately, the Rockies have a couple more minor league seasons to figure out what they want to do with Rodgers, but his potent bat will get him in the lineup.

9. Gleyber Torres (Cubs) - The Yankees acquired Torres from the Cubs in the Aroldis Chapman trade. The Yankees will have to find a position for him. He did hit 11 homeruns and slugged .421 and at age 19 it is expected his power will continue to develop, so third base could be an option. The Yankees currently have a hole there, with Chase Headley the current alternative. Miguel Andujar is a possible suitor for Torres in the minor leagues.

10. Tim Anderson (White Sox) - Last year with the Dodgers Jimmy Rollins lost his shortstop job to Corey Seager. This year he lost the position to Tim Anderson. Tim lacks the offensive numbers of Seager but his glove is better. It has been a disappointing season for the White Sox but Anderson gives them a building block at shortstop.

11. Willy Adames (Rays) - The Rays picked up Adames from the Tigers in the David Price trade. The Rays are still unsettled at short but Adames had a solid season to punch his ticket in for the position in 2017. He had a solid season at AA so expect him to take over the position at the mid season mark.

12. Javier Guerra (Padres) - He was the big piece the Padres acquired from the Red Sox in the Craig Kimbrel trade. The 2016 season was a big disappointment with a .199 average and 141 whiffs. The Padres hope the 2016 season is an anomaly and will hope for a bounce back in 2017.

13. Nick Gordon (Twins) - Another son for Tom Gordon from a different mother than Dee Gordon. Nick shows good speed but lacks power. His defense will get him to the major leagues, but his lack of offense may make a utility role his best option.

14. Amed Rosario (Mets) - The Mets have been hunting for a shortstop for a long time. What they have had at the position for the last couple years have been good bats who lacked range to cover the position. Amed should solve all that. His bat should be good enough to create some havoc, after hitting .341 in a mid-season callup to AA. Power is not there but his defense is something the Mets have not seen at the position in a long time.

15. Christian Arroyo (Giants) - He will not supplant Brandon Crawford at the position. He could be one of those in between players who lacks the range to play short and is a little short of power to play third. Second base could be his ultimate destination. He does not have a lot of speed and his power is absent so he is a bit vanilla in the talent department. A utility role could be his best hope for a major league job.

16. Ozzie Albies (Braves) - The Braves traded Jose Peraza to the Reds last year after seeing what they have in Albies. With the acquisition of Swanson the ultimate position for Albies may be second base. Fortunately for Albies the Braves have no player at the position with the talent to block him. Speed is his best tool, power his worst.

17. Jorge Polanco (Twins) - Polanco may get an opportunity to play short before Nick Gordon. His defense is not as flashy but he shows a better bat. He has held his own in the major leagues with a .283 average, playing second, third and short. A utility role may be his ultimate position.

18. Deven Marrero (Red Sox) - Deven is blocked at short by Xander Boegarts. His glove is smooth but his bat comes up short. A utility role or trade to another team is all he can hope for, but even after a trade his .198 average in AAA falls far short for what teams want to see in a bat at the position.

19. Trevor Story (Rockies) - A Jose Reyes domestic assault charge gave Story an opportunity at short and he ran with it, slugging 27 homeruns in 97 games before an injury ended his season early. He will get consideration for rookie of the year but failed to get the at bats to win the award. The big question with Trevor is his ability to play defense to stay at the position.

20. Gilbert Lara (Brewers) - Arcia will have to fail at the shortstop position if Lara hopes to get the job. Lara is still in rookie ball as an 18 year old so the Brewers have plenty of time to see if Arcia can earn the position. Lara has shown a quiet bat, but he is still young and developing. Defense is his calling card.

AL Central Predictions and Looking Forward

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

It appears myworld got this division right, except for picking the Royals to finish second. The Indians superior pitching has paid off. Below are the teams current standings with myworld’s prediction in parenthesis. We have also listed the five top prospects, excluding anyone currently at the major league level who we feel will not be considered a prospect next year.

Cleveland Indians (1) - The pitching has been solid even with the step backward from Corey Kluber, now the third best starter on this team. They need to get Mickey Brantley back in the outfield picture. Tyler Naquin has been has been filling one of the outfield positions. Francisco Lindor has proved that last year was not a fluke. A bullpen meltdown could prevent them from holding this lead and acquiring a catcher for the stretch run is on the priority list.

The Indians probably have the strongest prospect system in the Central and could use some of that surplus to fill the holes at catcher or in the outfield. 1) Clint Frazier should see the Indians outfield next year. He shows a good mix of power and average with the defensive chops to play centerfield. 2) Bradley Zimmer is said to be a better centerfielder than Frazier, but from what we’ve seen we like Frazier there. Zimmer is probably a less consistent hitter than Frazier but he has a nice combination of power and speed. 3) Bobby Bradley is a slugging first baseman with a lot of swing and miss to his game. His lack of speed leaves him as a first base or DH candidate only. 4) Tristan McKenzie is a stick figure who can throw a fastball in the mid-90s. Imagine what he can do once he fills out. An impressive 0.61 ERA after 8 starts in the rookie league. 5) Francisco Mejia has a 40 game hitting streak and a .347 average. His arm is a rocket that will make runners think twice before stealing a base.

Detroit Tigers (4) - Who would have thought Michael Fulmer would be the ace of this staff? Justin Verlander is having a better year than last year but he is still short of his Cy Young stuff. The power bats of Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez and the emergence of Nick Castellanos gives them one of the best offenses in this division. As the season winds down the Tigers would like to see more from Justin Upton and get back a healthy J.D. Martinez. They seem to finally have found a closer in Francisco Rodriguez, something they have been missing in their other playoff runs.

The Tigers have a veteran lineup that makes it difficult for prospects to crack. 1) Christin Stewart has slugged his way to prospect status, bashing homers in the Florida State League. His defense will limit him to left field and he will strike out a lot. 2) Joe Jimenez does not throw as hard as Bruce Rondon but he may end up a better closer. He has 23 saves and a 1.17 ERA at three minor league levels. 3) Jacoby Jones was acquired from the Pirates and was suspended for a drug of abuse. He has a lot of making up to do. If his offense does not come around he could be a solid utility player. 4) Matt Manning was a first round pick, throws in the high 90s and is 6′6″. We’ll give him some creds for that. 5) Derek Hill will be a speed guy at the top of the order, patrolling centerfield. He seems to have resurrected his prospect status with a solid year.

Chicago White Sox (3) - Their pitching almost rivaled the Indians but Carlos Rodon is still inconsistent and now needs to get healthy. Jose Abreu has not matched his rookie year and Todd Frazier may be hitting for power but his average is way down. It is hard to conceive that at one time in his career David Robertson was to be the replacement for Mariano Rivera as the Yankees closer. It appears the White Sox are selling so a drop in the standings is likely.

The farm system is ugly. Myworld had a hard time finding five players to get excited about. The 2016 draft crop dominates this list. 1) Zack Collins was criticized for his poor defense behind the plate. Some say he may have to move to first. He has the power bat to survive at the position but the White Sox will give him a chance behind the plate. 2) Zach Burdi was another first round pick who has a fastball that hits triple digits. Coming out of the bullpen he could be a fast riser. 3) Adam Engel has impact speed that can create chaos from the leadoff spot. He still needs to do a better job of getting on base. 4) Alec Hanson is another 2016 pick, a second rounder who carries a mid to high 90s fastball. Command was said to be an issue but in six starts he has only walked six hitters with a .119 opposition average. 5) Trey Michalczewski is having trouble making contact this year resulting in a lower than expected average.

Kansas City Royals (2) - We were a little more optimistic about the Royals but an end of season injury to Mike Moustakas and a down year from free agent signee Alex Gordon has hurt the offense. The starting rotation lacks an ace and the bullpen does not have the same firepower it had in their first World Series run. Ian Kennedy has been a big disappointment after signing a multi year contract. The Royals may be in sell mode and Kennedy would be tops on the list.

Another weak farm system that has been decimated by trades to fulfill playoff ambitions. 1) Hunter Dozier has a power bat but Cheslor Cuthbert appears to have this position covered after the Mike Moustakas free agent departure. Dozier lacks the speed to be a rangy outfielder but it may be the best way to get his bat in the lineup. 2) Jorge Bonafacio has finally discovered his power. It won’t take him long to fill one of the Royals outfield positions. 3) Alec Mills had some dominant starts in AA. He has struggled a bit in AAA but a good pitcher’s frame and solid fastball will get him to the major leagues next year. 4) Brooks Pounders is a big boy who throws hard. His best bet may be to fill the closer role. He puts up video game numbers when pitching out of the pen. 5) Ashe Russell is a first round pick from last year with a explosive fastball slider combination. He needs to develop a third pitch to remain in the rotation.

Minnesota Twins (5) - The Twins are having such a disappointing year they fired Terry Ryan, who came out of retirement to try to resurrect the team. He had built up the roster to many playoff appearances years ago but the magic did not return in his second stint. Korean free agent signee Byung Ho Park struggled making contact leading to a demotion to the minors. Miguel Sano has not progressed from his rookie year and his outfield defense was poor forcing a move to DH/first base. The starting rotation lacks an ace and even a number two starter, though Ervin Santana, the only starter with an ERA below 4 can mime one on occasion.

1) Jose Berrios was used in the starting rotation but found major league hitters a bit of a challenge. He will be back next year. 2) Nick Gordon, the son of Flash Tom Gordon and half brother of Marlin Dee Gordon will try to stick at shortstop. He does not have the speed of Dee but his defensive tools should allow him to play the positiont. 3) Tyler Jay was a reliever in college but the Twins are using his arm in the rotation because he has four average to above average pitches. 4) J.T. Chargois could be the Twins future closer with his three digit fastball. 5) Stephen Gonsalves fastball is not overpowering but a plus changeup gives it more giddy yup.

AL Central Review of Number One Picks

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

The number one picks selected by the teams in the Central have had much more impact for their teams than the AL East. Perhaps that is why the AL East is no longer the dominant conference in the American League.

Chicago White Sox

2015 - Carson Fulmer (RHP) - Fulmer is having a little bit of a struggle after being promoted to AA to start the 2016 season (5.44 ERA). Command is a big issue with 36 walks in 52 innings. Based on these results he will not rise as fast as two other first round picks, Chris Sale and Carlos Rodon. His fastball hits the mid-90s consistently and he has a power curve, but developing a third pitch has been a challenge. Expect him to see a full season in AA.

2014 - Carlos Rodon (LHP) - Carlos has a devastating slider to go with a hard fastball. He is taking his lumps in the major leagues but eventually he will settle as a number two starter behind Chris Sale.

2013 - Tim Anderson (SS) - Jimmy Rollins is temporarily holding the shortstop position for Tim. The White Sox are in a pennant race, not the best time to debut a rookie shortstop, but with a .302 average in AAA that is better than what they are getting from Jimmy. The only down side is the 8/58 walk to whiff ratio which could lead to a low OBA.

2012 - Courtney Hawkins (OF) - He has had a roller coaster minor league career, hitting .178 in 2013 but with 19 homeruns. His strikeouts come in bunches so expect an average in the low .220s. Defensively he will not win any gold gloves so unless he is contributing offensively he will have a limited major league role.

2011 - No pick

2010 - Chris Sale (LHP) - He may have been slight of build but that has not prevented him from becoming the ace of the staff. There was a lot of early discussion about moving him to the bullpen because of durability concerns, but that is no longer an issue.

Cleveland Indians

2015 - Brady Aiken LHP - The Astros made him the first pick in the 2014 draft, had some concerns with his arm and tried to convince him to sign a lower valued contract. The Astros failed to sign him and Aiken tried to pitch in an Independent League game but left after his first start and had Tommy John surgery shortly after that. He dropped to the 17th player selected and signed for $2.5 million, half of what the Astros had offered him last year in their revised contract. The 2016 season will be a rehab year for Aiken to recover the velocity on his fastball and the break on his curve. He has yet to make an appearance this year and probably won’t until sometime near the end of the season when the rookie leagues begin.

2014 - Bradley Zimmer (OF) - The younger brother of Kyle Zimmer who was drafted in the first round by the Royals in 2012. Bradley is the centerfielder of the future for the Indians, though myworld was not impressed with his defense in the one game we saw him play. He has a power bat and an arm that could shift to right if centerfield does not pan out. The 2016 season has been plagued by whiffs resulting in a .225 average, though more than half his hits have gone for extra bases. The power and speed are there to produce a 20/20 player.

Justus Sheffield (LHP) - A bonus pick for the Orioles signing Ubaldo Jimenez. The Indians will take that trade anytime. Not a tall pitcher at 5′10″ but he has some lefthanded heat. Pitching well in the Carolina League (3.10 ERA) but at 20 years of age the Indians will be patient with him.

2013 - Clint Frazier OF - Another option for centerfield, though his power bat fits better in right. He lacks the speed of Zimmer so his range would be limited. A good year in Akron (.304 average with .401 OBA) could result in a September callup by the Indians. Should give the Indians some 20 plus homerun power in the outfield something they are lacking this year.

2012 - Tyler Naquin OF - Got an opportunity to start in centerfield for the Indians this year. After a hot start he slowed down and was returned to the minors. May not have the range to stay in center or the power to be a corner. He returned to the Indians outfield and got on a power streak with homeruns in three consecutive games, elevating his average to .338. This should keep him with the big club but myworld projects his future as a fourth outfielder.

2011 - Francisco Lindor (SS) - Second in the rookie of the year voting to Carlos Correa last year. To prove the offensive numbers of last year were not a fluke he has repeated those numbers this year. One of the best defensive shortstops in the game who has found his bat once promoted to the major leagues. Expect some gold gloves in his future.

2010 - Drew Pomeranz (LHP) - The Indians packaged Pomeranz to the Rockies for Ubaldo Jimenez. He has bounced around to a number of teams since that trade but this year is pitching well for the Padres with a 2.44 ERA in 12 starts.

Detroit Tigers

2015 - Beau Burrows RHP - Beau has not allowed a run in his last three starts covering 16 innings. His fastball sits between 93-95 but his strikeout numbers are down when compared to last year. In 19 appearances and 17 starts over the last two years he has yet to give up a homerun.

Christin Stewart OF - He hit a lot of homeruns in Georgia as a high schooler, setting the record with 26 as a junior. That homerun swing has not wavered as he starts his professional career. He hit 10 last year in 71 rookie ball games. This year he is battling for the minor league homerun lead with 16 in 56 games in the pitcher friendly Florida State League. A player to watch for a corner outfield spot.

2014 - Derek Hill OF - Hill has not panned out. He has burner speed to cover a lot of ground in center field, but he needs to hit better than his minor league career average of .227. He is still struggling in Low A while Stewart has surpassed him in High A.

2013 - Jonathan Crawford RHP - Included in the Alfredo Simon trade with the Reds. Last year he only started five games, ending his season for shoulder surgery. He has yet to pitch this year.

2012 - No pick.

2011 - No pick.

2010 - No pick

Kansas City Royals

2015 - Ashe Russell RHP - Failed to put up great numbers last year with a 4.11 ERA and 13/24 walk to whiff ratio in 36 innings. Has yet to pitch this year.

Nolan Watson RHP - His numbers were the same as Ashe (4.91 ERA with a 11/16 walk to whiff ratio in 29 innings). He was allowed to start in the Low A league this year and it has been ugly (1-6, 8.72). He may need to spend some time with Ashe in extended spring training. Not overpowering so if his stuff is lacking he becomes pretty hittable. Opponents are hitting .315 against him the last two years.

2014 - Brandon Finnagan LHP - The only pitcher to appear in a college World Series and a major league World Series in the same year. The Royals included him in a trade to the Reds for the brief use of Johnny Cueto for their World Series run. He should fit as a number three starter. The Royals bounced him around between the bullpen and the starting rotation.

Foster Griffin LHP - Not a hard thrower like Watson so his numbers have been underwhelming. This year he had some success in Low A (3.38 ERA) but after a promotion to High A the struggles have continued (6.62 ERA with 13/14 walk to whiff ratio).

2013 - Hunter Dozier 3B - The Royals paid less for him than their second pick (Sean Manaea) who they eventually traded to the Athletics. Dozier has had trouble making contact, but this year he already has a career high 13 homeruns. He was initially drafted for his potential power but that power has been absent until this year. His .545 slugging average this year in AA/AAA is more than 100 points higher than his career average.

2012 - Kyle Zimmer RHP - He has trouble staying healthy, pitching 217 innings in three years. Shoulder and elbow issues have shelved him a number of times. When drafted out of college the Royals were hoping he would make an immediate contribution. Those injuries continue in 2016 with three starts and a little over five innings his only contributions for the year.

2011 - Bubba Starling OF - A local boy with lots of tools. The Royals still hold out hope the tools will come together but a .202 average in AA with a .276 OBA is not promising.

2010 - Christian Colon SS - The season ending injury to Mike Moustakas has given Colon an opportunity. For a corner infielder his power has been absent. He has close to 200 major league at bats and has yet to go deep. Expect Dozier to get an opportunity if the Royals continue to struggle and Colon continues to show the tools better utilized in a utility role.

Minnesota Twins

2015 - Tyler Jay (LHP) - Last year all his games were in relief after a heavy college role. This year he is in the rotation and is doing well. He has not given up a run in his last two starts and his 2.44 ERA would be better if not for one poor outing. Eventually should work himself in a mid-rotation role.

2014 - Nick Gordon (SS) - The son of Tom Gordon and half brother of Dee Gordon is the future shortstop of the Twins. The Twins have no one there now but Nick is still a couple years away. His bat will not offer a lot of power and he needs to improve on his 7 for 14 success rate in stolen bases.

2013 - Kohl Stewart RHP - His numbers have failed to generate a lot of excitement. Still could win a role as a mid-rotation starter.

2012 - Byron Buxton OF - His tools have advertised a top five prospect the last couple years. His appearances in the major leagues have resulted in failure. Demoted again in 2016 an injury to Miguel Sano gave him another opportunity and Buxton is starting to show his potential. The Twins have a history of toolsy centerfielders taking time to make it in the major leagues, ala Denard Span and Aaron Hicks. Expect an All Star at this position.

2011 - Levi Michael SS - He’s still around but hitting .194 in AA. If he is lucky he will make it as a utility infielder.

2010 - Alex Wimmers RHP - Wimmers is in the bullpen in AAA. Myworld would be surprised if the Twins use a 40 man roster spot on Wimmers. Expect him to be a minor league free agent next year.