Archive for the 'White Sox' Category

Top Ten Cuban Prospects - American League

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top Prospects from Panama

Friday, March 20th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top Prospects from Puerto Rico

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

A couple years ago Puerto Rico was flush with prospects like Javier Baez, Francisco Lindor, Eddie Rosario, Jose Berrios and the list goes on. The discussion about the major league draft stunting the development of Puerto Rican players from being drafted seemed to have disappeared (high school baseball does not exist in Puerto Rico so they rely on academies for players between 14-18). Finding prospects the last couple years has been difficult. Even having Puerto Ricans drafted higher than the second round is rare. Below are the top rated prospects that myworld was able to link to Puerto Rico.

Isan Diaz (# 2 prospect) and Tomas Nido (#3) were the only players to graduate from last year’s list. Four players dropped off. That left room for six new players to appear on the list, one of those who has appeared in previous lists when he was a Dodger.

1. Heliot Ramos OF (Giants) - The only true top rated prospect on this list, he was the number one Puerto Rican prospect last year and he will probably be number one next year. Heliot was a first round pick of the Giants in 2017, the last first round pick from Puerto Rico. The tools are average or above in all areas of his game. The speed is there to play centerfield, but he may fit better in right. Last year he hit .306 with 13 homeruns in High A but slumped to .242 in AA. The power is there but so is the ability to swing and miss. With his arrival, along with Hunter Bishop, to the major league club it would end the drought the Giants have had of developing outfielders. It will be 2021 before he wears a Giant uniform, unless he tears it up in the minor leagues.

2. Mario Feliciano C (Brewers) - The island nation has been a breeding ground for developing catchers with Ivan Rodriguez, the Molina brothers, etc. as exemplary examples. Mario hopes to add his name to that list. The Brewers drafted him in the second round (supplemental) draft in 2016. He was eighth on this list last year but his season was limited to 42 games because of injuries and he hit only .205. His strong defense and arm got him placed on this list. This year his bat showed up with a .273 average and 19 homeruns in High A for a .477 slugging. A 29/139 walk to whiff ratio is cause for concern, but the underlying factor is Mario plays a solid defense, and if that power shows up enough it will be good enough to get him in the starting lineup. He is still a year away from the Brewers.

3. Willi Castro SS (Tigers) - Myworld just assumed Willi was from the Dominican Republic, but he was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in the Dominican. The Indians signed him in 2013 then shipped him off to the Tigers in the Leonys Martin trade. While Martin now spends his time in Japan, Castro made his major league debut with the Tigers last year. There are not any tools that wow you with Castro. He is a decent fielder, could hit for double digit homerun power and last year in AAA slapped the ball around for a .301 average. That will probably translate to a .250 average in the major leagues, especially if he does not improve on his 6/34 walk to whiff ratio in his major league debut. While the Tigers rebuild he could fill the shortstop position, then move to a utility role once they find a better alternative.

4. Edwin Rios 1B (Dodgers) - The Dodgers drafted Rios in the sixth round of the 2015 draft. Last year the souped up baseball in AAA allowed Edwin to slug 31 homeruns. He hit another four when making his major league debut with the Dodgers. Defensively there is not a lot there to make you want to play him, so the bat needs to stay alive to keep him in the lineup. The Dodgers seem to be loaded with power bats they can put at first base and at 26 the time for Rios to be playing is now. His best bet for a starting role may be a trade or movement to the KBO.

5. Matthew Lugo SS (Red Sox) - Lugo was the highest Puerto Rican selected in the 2019 draft, the last pick of the second round regular phase. He is the nephew of Carlos Beltran and trained in his facility. The bat has the potential for power, even though it failed to show last year with his .326 slugging percentage in 46 rookie league games. His lower half could be a bit thick to stay at short so a move to second is in his future. Expect him to play full season ball next year. Any discussion of the major leagues is a few years away.

6. Yan Contreras SS (Reds) - Another Puerto Rican middle infielder drafted in 2019, but Yan lasted until the 12th round. He was signed mostly for his defense but he will need to hit better than .145 for the Reds to continue to throw him out there. The bright spot was that he drew 14 walks in 20 games, so his ability to get on base (.298 OBA) was not bad. He also runs well, hitting two triples and stealing four bases. He will probably see another year in rookie ball before the Reds expose him to full season ball pitching. He is a few years away from the major leagues, and if his bat does not produce may never climb higher than A ball.

7. Victor Torres C (White Sox) - Victor was an 11th round pick in 2019. He was expected to go higher in the draft. Defense is his calling card with the arm and quickness to control a running game. He also has the ability to call a game and run a pitching staff. Last year he hit only .219, with just two of his 21 hits going for extra bases (both doubles). The Sox thnk he has the ability to hit, but he will probably need one more year in short season ball to prove that. If he can play defense making it as a backup is a possibility, but the bat will have to show up to be an impact catcher in the majors.

8. Erik Rivera OF/LHP (Angels) - Rivera was a fourth round pick in 2019. The Angels are looking at him as a two way player to take advantage of the new roster rules. The big hitting tool for Rivera will be his power, but his inability to make contact will inhibit his ability to get to that power. Last year he failed to go deep in 72 at bats, hitting just .208. His arm is strong enough to play right field, where when pitching his fastball sits in the low 90s. He needs to work on a third pitch if he wants to work as a starter.

9. Delvin Perez SS (Cardinals) - Delvin was a first round pick of the Cardinals in 2016, despite rumors that he had failed a drug test prior to the draft. Perez dominated in the Puerto Rican leagues. Once arriving in the major leagues his bat has grown silent, with just two homeruns in four years. Myworld kept him on the list because he did make the All Star team in Low A last year and the tools are there for him to play short. He needs to raise that .317 slugging percentage and lower his 24 errors to have a chance at the major leagues.

10. Jose DeLeon RHP (Reds) - Jose was drafted in the 24th round of the 2013 draft. While with the Dodgers he was considered a top prospect. The Dodgers traded him to the Rays in 2017 for Logan Forsythe and then the injuries happened. Despite being major league ready injuries limited DeLeon to one major league appearance in 2017. Tommy John surgery in 2018 kept him out of action that year. He rebounded in 2019 with 15 starts and three major league appearances. He struck out 73 in 51 AAA innings. After the year ended the Rays traded him to the Reds where he hopes to squeeze himself onto the major league roster. At 27 years of age he doesn’t have that much more time to make prospect lists.

Major League Farm Rankings - 5 - 1

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

Myworld saved the best for last. The top five farm teams. Unfortunately for all these teams you had to tank a few seasons to get here. Time will tell whether it was worth it.

5. Detroit Tigers (27.68)

The pitching in the minors may be the best in baseball. It all starts with Casey Mize, the first pick in the 2018 draft. Shoulder issues last year created an early ending to his season, which is a cause of concern. Matt Manning, the Tigers first round pick in 2016 was the top pitcher in the organization until Mize was picked. Tarik Skubal seemed to come out of nowhere to have a special season. You look at his minor league track record and it is impressive for a ninth round pick (2018). He is the one lefthander in the group. Outfielder Riley Greene was their first round pick in 2019. He is tearing it up this spring, already with two homeruns as a 19 year old. His defense will limit him to left field. Isaac Paredes was signed out of Mexico in 2015 and is listed at shortstop. His bat will get him in the lineup, but it will probably be either at third, second or as a utility player. The range isn’t there to stay at shortstop.

Alex Faedo and Franklin Perez are two other top of the line pitchers who could complete the five man rotation. Faedo was a first round pick in 2017 and Perez was acquired from Houston. He has battled injuries the last two seasons, limiting him to just 9 starts and 27 innings. Parker Meadows is the brother of Austin and was the Tigers second round pick in 2018. At 6′5″ he carries some power in his bat. Roberto Campos is another outfielder to watch. He was signed out of Cuba in 2019 for $2.85 million and will make his debut in 2020. Adinso Reyes is a middle infielder the Tigers signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2018 for $1.45 million. He hit .331 with a .508 slugging percentage in the Dominican Summer League, good numbers if he can stay at short. Jose dela Cruz is an outfielder that they also signed out of the Dominican Republic for $1.85 million in 2018. He hit .307 with 11 homeruns, a .556 slugging percentage and 16 stolen bases in Rookie ball as a 17 year old. He currently has centerfield speed.

4. Seattle Mariners (28.59)

Jarred Kelenic was a first round pick of the Mets in 2018. They traded him to the Mariners in the Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz deal. Kelenic has five tool potential, with centerfield speed and middle of the order power potential. Julio Rodriguez is a Dominican who the Mariners signed in 2017 for $1.75 million. He does not have the speed of Kelenic, but his power will be special. Logan Gilbert was the Mariners first round pick in 2018 who has already pitched himself to AA. He could make his major league debut sometime by mid-season in 2020. Evan White recently signed a long term contract. The 2017 first round pick is a defensive wiz at first base who will hit but may be a bit short in power for a typical first baseman. Noelvi Marte was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2018 for $1.55 million. His hit tool including his power is more impressive than his glove at short at this point. Justin Dunn was another Mets first round pick (2016) they traded to the Mariners in the Cano/Diaz deal. He made his major league debut last year and will be competing for a rotation spot this year. Justus Sheffield was a first round pick of the Yankees in 2014 but sent to the Mariners in the James Paxton trade. The lefthander has ace like tools if he can enhance his command. Kyle Lewis was the Mariners first round pick in 2016. He appears fully recovered from his gruesome knee injury in 2016 and is poised to take over one of the corner outfield spots. George Kirby was the Mariners first round pick in 2019 and made a good debut last year, not walking a hitter in 23 innings, a 0/25 walk to whiff ratio.

We named a lot of prospects in the Top 100, which fill their top ten prospect list. Brandon Williamson was a second round pick in 2019. The lefthander has a good fastball that got 14.7 whiffs per 9 innings in his minor league debut.

3. Chicago White Sox (31.34)

Luis Robert was the second best prospect after Wander Franco. The Cuban outfielder signed a $26 million bonus in 2017. Last year he had a break out season with 32 homeruns after going homerless in 2018. Andrew Vaughn was the first pick in the 2019 draft. His right handed swing is sweet and should live in the .300 neighborhood. He could rise quickly and reach the major leagues in 2021. Michael Kopech was the hardest thrower in the minor leagues two years ago but Tommy John surgery forced him to sit out the 2019 season. Command is still a question with him. Nick Madrigal led Oregon State to the College World Series championship in 2018, with the White Sox rewarding him by making him a first round pick in 2018. He will be an excellent defensive second baseman who makes consistent contact, but his bat may lack power.

Matthew Thompson is a second round 2019 pick to be watched. He throws in the mid-90s and has a full array of pitches, impressive for a high schooler. Yolbert Sanchez was signed out of Cuba in 2019. He was a teammate of Luis Robert on Cuba’s Under-18 World Cup team. At 22 the White Sox will move him quickly. His hit tool is ahead of his glove and he may eventually have to move from short to second.

2. San Diego Padres (31.92)

MacKenzie Gore was the Padres first round pick in 2017. The lefthander currently could be the best pitching prospect in the minor leagues. Luis Patino throws from the opposite side. He was signed out of Colombia for just $130,000 but his 6′0″ frame can zip the fastball across the plate in the high 90s. CJ Abrams was the Padres 2019 first round pick. Speed is his tool but he hit .401 in his 32 game debut in rookie ball. Taylor Trammell was a first round supplemental pick of the Reds in 2016, winning the MVP in the Futures Game in 2018. He was sent to the Padres in the three team trade with the Indians to acquire Trevor Bauer. Luis Campusano will be a premium catcher with good offensive and defensive tools. He was the Padres second round pick in 2017. Adrian Morejon is a lefthanded pitcher the Padres signed out of Cuba in 2016 for $11 million. He was voted the MVP of the 15 and Under World Cup, defeating the United States in the gold medal game with a complete game victory.

Gabriel Arias has a smooth glove that could win gold. He also brings a decent bat to the plate. The Padres signed him for $1.9 million in 2016 out of Venezuela. Last year he made his debut in the .300 neighborhood (.302) at High A, slugging 17 homeruns. Reggie Preciado was signed for $1.3 million out of Panama in 2019. His bat is ahead of his glove and his slow foot speed may require a move from shortstop to third base. Ismael Mena was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2019 for $2.2 million. He has excellent speed with a 6′3″ frame that could hit for power.

1. Tampa Bay Rays (32)

Not only will they make the playoffs, but their farm system is brimming with prospects that could help with their playoff roster. Wander Franco is the top prospect in baseball. He could become a superstar shortstop. Brendan McKay was noted more for his bat than his glove in college, the Rays rewarding him by making him the first round pick in 2017. His arm is what got him to the majors last year. He needs to improve with the bat if the Rays hope to use him as a two way player. Vidal Brujan has a small frame but the legs have the speed to steal 40 plus bases. He won’t hit for a lot of power. Xavier Edwards is the third shortstop prospect on this list. He may have the best glove of this group and will hit in the neighborhood of .300 with very little power. He was a 2018 first round supplemental pick of the Padres who sent him to the Rays in the Tommy Pham trade. Brent Honeywell has not pitched the last two seasons because of two separate arm injuries. The 2014 second round supplemental pick was supposed to follow Blake Snell in the rotation before the injuries shelved his climb. Shane Baz is a first round 2017 pick with a fastball that can hit triple digits. Josh Lowe is the brother of Nate. The 2016 first round pick had a break out power season last year with 18 homeruns. He still must improve on his contact issues. Greg Jones was the Rays first round pick in 2019 who hit .335 in his minor league debut. Speed is his main attribute, which may move him from short to center. Shane McClanahan is a 2018 first round pick who can hit the radar in triple digits, excellent for a lefthander. Yoshitomo Tsutugo was signed out of Japan. He had 40 homerun seasons there but can be a defensive liability. Joe Ryan was a seventh round 2018 pick who had a fabulous season last year, striking out more than 14 hitters per nine innings last season.

Ronaldo Hernandez is a catcher out of Colombia who has both a good glove and bat. His arm is a rifle and will control the running game. The Rays parted with $1.5 million to sign Jhon Diaz in 2019. He has a small frame with above average grades in all areas but power.

AL Central Predictions

Sunday, February 23rd, 2020

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

Minnesota Twins

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

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

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

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

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

Chicago White Sox

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

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

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

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

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

Cleveland Indians

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

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

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

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

Expected finish - Third place, far from the playoffs

Detroit Tigers

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

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

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

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

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

Kansas City Royals

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

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

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

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

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

Myworld Top 100 - 10-1

Thursday, February 20th, 2020

The final ten.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Myworld’s Top 100 - 20 - 11

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

The penultimate ten.

20. Brendan McKay LHP (Rays) - In college he was noted more for his bat. The Rays drafted him in the first round of the 2017 draft with the expectation of making him a two way player. Now it is the arm that has gotten him to the major leagues with a fastball that sits in the upper edges of the low 90s. He also has quality breaking pitches in his cutter and curveball and his change has potential to be major league quality. All of those pitches are thrown with tight command resulting in a 0.84 ERA at AAA Durham in six starts and one relief appearance. AAA hitters hit only .156 against him. When promoted to the majors he could not replicate that success (5.14 and .268 opposition average) but in time the Rays expect he will. The bat does not appear to be major league ready. There is some power in his swing, but he could only put together a .200 average and a .629 OPS in AAA/AA. That will not cut it in the major leagues. Expect him to be in the Rays rotation next season as a starting pitcher. The Rays could also use him in a pinch hitting role as well as an occasional DH to qualify him as a two way player.

19. Bobby Witt Jr. SS (Royals) - The son of the major league pitcher of the same name was the Royals first round pick in the 2019 draft. Junior has chosen to take his journey to the major leagues as a shortstop, while his dad was a pitcher. Myworld watched him at the homerun derby send balls far into the left field bleachers using an aluminum bat. The tools are there defensively for him to play shortstop. He has a strong arm like his dad and good range to cover the position. The power in his bat and his ability to hit to all fields will make him an A-Rod type shortstop with a little more speed and the ability to consistently hit for 30 plus homeruns each year. In his debut season last year he only hit one homerun in 164 at bats in rookie ball. In 2020, when he is playing his first season of full season ball he should eclipse double digits. His major league arrival time probably will not occur until 2023, unless he finds success at each level quickly and then it could come as early as 2021, provided the Royals are not fixated by service time.

18. Brendan Rodgers SS (Rockies) - Back in 2015 three shortstops were the first three picks in the draft. Rodgers was the third shortstop selected with Dansby Swanson and Alex Bregman selected ahead of him. Rodgers was drafted out of high school and finally made his major league debut last year. Trevor Story sits at shortstop now for the Rockies, so the best hope for Rodgers to see the major leagues will be at second base. He has a strong arm and enough range to play the position. The bat is what the Rockies are hoping will be special. Last year he hit .350 with a 1.035 OPS in 37 AAA games, earning him a promotion to the major leagues. Season ending shoulder surgery ended his season after just 25 major league games. Rodgers has the potential to hit for power and average. His 2020 season will be delayed as he recovers from his surgery, but expect him to be back in the major leagues sometime late in 2020.

17. Cristian Pache OF (Braves) - This Dominican has tremendous speed to cover centerfield and a rocket arm to fit easily in right. He signed with the Braves back in 2015. With Ronald Acuna, Drew Waters and Pache patrolling the outfield they have the potential to steal all the gold gloves once they all arrive in the major leagues. Cristian stole 32 bases in 2017 but his speed has not resulted in any significant stolen base numbers after that. His walk to whiff ratio could be better (43/122) but he tends to sit in the .270 to .280 area. The lack of power could be an issue if he has to play corner, but last year he did hit 12 homeruns. Last year he played 26 games in AAA. He is on target to make his Braves debut sometime in 2020.

16. Forrest Whitely RHP (Astros) - The 2016 first round pick of the Astros lost some development time in 2018 because of a 50 game drug suspension. When he returned oblique injuries limited him to just eight starts and 26 innings. The Astros started him at AAA to begin the 2019 season but he was absolutely horrific. He had a 12.21 ERA with the opposition hitting him at a .343 clip. He had real issues trying to find the plate. If not for those struggles he would already be a member of the Astros starting rotation. His stuff is much better than his performance last year. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and hits the high 90s. His cutter, slider and change are all excellent pitches. His ability finding the strike zone can be a little dicey and at 6′7 there are a lot of moving pieces that make that more of a challenge. If Forrest can find the strike zone more consistently he will be a solid member of the Astros starting rotation in 2020.

15. Andrew Vaughn 1B (White Sox) - If you are a right hand hitting first baseman and you only stand 6′0, there must be something special in you that makes a team draft you as the third overall pick in the 2019 draft. What the White Sox think is special about Vaughn is his bat. Last year in college he hit .374 with a .704 slugging. In his major league debut he hit well enough (.278) to get promoted to High A in his first year. Andrew could be a fast riser with a good hit tool and power. Last year he showed good contact ability with a 30/38 walk to whiff ratio. His defense is not considered a strong suit, but it would not be any worse than current first baseman Jose Abreu. Vaughn will be a fast riser as long as he continues to have success with the bat as he rises up the minor league level. With the White Sox having playoff aspirations his bat could be in the lineup by 2021.

14. Royce Lewis SS (Twins) - Royce was the first pick in the 2017 draft. All the tools are there. He has the speed that could result in a move to center if the Twins do not have a need at short. He also has the tools to play short. The power is also there that he could be a fit for third base. Last year was a bit of a struggle for him. His batting average cratered to .236 at High A and AA, with his inability to make good contact creating his low batting average. If he can simplify his swing the power is there for him to hit 20 plus homeruns. The speed is also there for him to steal 20 bases. His arrival to the Twins will depend on need and Royce’s ability to improve his hit tool. If the bat plays the 2020 season could be the year when he makes his major league debut.

13. Dylan Carson OF (Cardinals) - The Cardinals 2016 first round pick is a fringe five tool athlete. His arm is borderline for right and his speed could allow him to play center but it would be better utilized at a corner. The two biggest tools for Dylan are his power and his ability to hit for average. Last year was a break out year for him with 26 homeruns, with five in 18 games at AAA for a .681 slugging average. Between AA and AAA he slugged .542 with a .914 OPS. He also stole 20 bases putting him on a list of ten minor leaguers to hit 20 homeruns and steal 20 bases. The Cardinals are always loaded in the outfield, but they traded a couple outfielders in the offseason to possibly make room for Carson. A good spring could find Dylan in the Cardinal outfield in 2020.

12. Julio Rodriguez OF (Mariners) - At 6′4 inches this Dominican has that rightfielder look. The Mariners signed him for $1.75 million in 2017. Last year he made his stateside debut at Low A and High A as a 19 year old, hitting .326 with a .540 slugging and a .929 OPS. In 17 games in the California League he hit .462. When the ball hits off his bat it makes its own unique explosive sound, which makes people turn and take notice. He could be a quick riser like Juan Soto, reaching the major leagues by 2021. His speed is a better fit for the corners and his arm is a cannon best fitted for right field. Julio has super star potential.

11. Carter Kieboom SS/3B/2B (Nationals) - Gone is Anthony Rendon. The Nationals don’t want to say the first round 2016 pick is the player to replace him, but whether he plays second or third, his is the new name in the lineup. Last year Carter made his major league debut and in 11 games he hit .128. His natural position is shortstop, but Trea Turner has that position covered. There is some pop in Carter’s bat, with 16 homeruns last year in AAA. He also hit .303. As a shortstop, he has the range to play second and the arm to cover third. Unless he trips and stumbles in the spring he should be going north with the Nationals. Starlin Castro was signed as insurance and Asdrubal Cabrera and Howie Kendrick were resigned so the Nationals are not obligated to put Kieboom on the roster after spring training. If he earns the spot the Nationals will be pleased.

Myworld Top 100 - 30-21

Friday, February 14th, 2020

And the list goes on.

30. Drew Waters OF (Braves) - The question for the Braves is who do you put in center, Christian Pache or Drew Waters. Pache is the faster runner with the stronger arm, but Waters is no slouch. The 2017 second round pick may be the better fit for center because of his lack of power. He has good speed and a strong arm to play any outfield position. With Acuna, Pache and Waters covering the green hits will turn into outs. The one down side with Waters is his inability to make consistent contact. Last year he struck out 164 times in 134 games. It didn’t seem to impact his average as he combined to hit .309 filtering between AA and AAA, with just 26 games in AAA. Pache also played 26 games in AAA. Either could be called up in 2020, with who you choose depending on who is having a better 2020 minor league season.

29. Dustin May RHP (Dodgers) - The red headed 2016 third round pick put major league teams on notice last year that he is ready to be put in a major league rotation. In 14 appearances, four of them starts he finished with a 3.63 ERA, a .250 opposition average and a 5/32 walk to whiff ratio in 34.2 innings. His fastball sits in the mid to high 90s and his sinker reached triple digits. His low 90s cutter acts as his change and is his swing and miss pitch, though he does have a curve and change in his repertoire. He keeps the ball on the ground, making it difficult to elevate his pitches. He should start the 2020 season in the Dodger rotation, unless a poor spring makes the team pause.

28. CJ Abrams SS (Padres) - The 2019 first round pick is a very fast runner. It may have been one of the reasons the Padres felt Xavier Edwards was available. CJ destroyed rookie ball hitting .401 in just 32 games and stealing 14 bases. This resulted in a promotion to Low A for just a two game trial. There is not a lot of power in the bat, but he makes good contact and can take the extra base. If the Padres prefer not to move Tatis from shortstop Abrams has the speed to play center or the instincts to move to second. The tools are there to play shortstop. Next year he will start the season at Low A. He could be with the Padres by 2022 if he continues to dominate in the minor leagues.

27. Joey Bart C (Giants) - Buster Posey appears to be sliding in his ability to catch. The hope was that Posey would maintain his power and slip over to first, but last year that power was absent. Joey was a first round pick in 2018 to eventually take over the catching duties once the Giants felt it was time to move Posey to first. Last year Bart’s development was stunted by injuries that limited his playing time to just 79 games. He did reach AA for 22 games where he hit .316. There is enough power in his bat to hit 20 plus homeruns and he has the hit tool to stay close to .300. His arm is strong and he seems to maneuver well behind the plate. The lack of speed makes catching or first base his only viable position options. If he can avoid injuries he could take over the catching duties for Buster Posey in 2021.

26. Alec Bohm 3B (Phillies) - At 6′5″ the Phillies 2018 first round pick has big time power. The question remains will he be flexible enough to play third base. The arm is strong but the lack of speed in his legs makes moving to the outfield dicey. If Alec does not survive at third the Phillies would then have to choose between Hoskins or Bohm for first base and trade the other. Last year Alec reached AA. He totaled 21 homeruns between the three levels and combined for a .305 average. For a power hitter the bat does a pretty good job of making contact with the ball. He only struck out 73 times in 125 games. The Phillies have one more year of minor league ball before making a position decision for Alec. In 2021 they will have to decide whether his defense is adequate enough to play third base.

25. Luis Patino RHP (Padres) - Luis signed for $130,000 out of Colombia in 2016. The 6′0 right hander can hold his fastball in the mid 90s, reaching the high 90s. His legs are a big reason for his velocity. That could minimize any durability concerns. His breaking pitches are good enough for the starting rotation but his change still needs some work. He doesn’t appear to have too many issues with finding the plate. Last year he rose to AA where he had two starts (1.17 ERA). He gets lots of swings and misses with his rising fastball, averaging 11.7 per nine innings. In High A the opposition hit him at only a .192 clip. The Padres have a number of top pitching prospects in the minor leagues. Patino will begin the 2020 season in AA and depending on need he could be called up in 2020. More realistically his debut will be 2021.

24. Sixto Sanchez RHP (Marlins) - The Phillies originally signed the Dominican in 2015 for just $35,000. They traded him to the Marlins in the J.T. Realmuto deal. Like Patino, Sanchez only stands 6′0. His fastball also sits in the mid to high 90s, ticking the radar gun on occasion north of 100. The 2018 season was limited to eight starts because of elbow issues. Last year he was able to start 20 games, reaching AA for 18 games. His change may be his best secondary pitch. For all the zip on his fastball the strikeouts are not prevalent. AA hitters only hit him at a .225 clip. Sixto could join Sandy Alcantara in the 2020 rotation this year, followed by another fireballer in Edward Cabrera, giving the Marlins one of the fastest rotations velocity wise in baseball.

23. Matt Manning RHP (Tigers) - The 2016 first round pick stands 6′6, adding a lot of plane to his low to mid-90s fastball. He was the Tigers top pitching prospect until Casey Mize was selected first overall in 2018. With Tarik Skuball, Alex Faedo and Franklin Perez lurking in the shadows the Tigers are set for the rotation of the ages, if they all can stay healthy. Manning gets his swings and misses from his excellent curveball, last year striking out 10 per 9 innings in 24 AA starts. The opposition hit him at just a .192 clip. A little more refinement on the change and Manning has the potential to be a 1a ace. There is no reason the Tigers have any expectation for a playoff opportunity in 2020 so don’t expect to see Manning in a Tigers uniform until 2021.

22. Alex Kirilloff OF (Twins) - The Twins drafted Alex in the first round of the 2016 draft. Tommy John surgery force him to sit out the 2017 season. He came back strong in 2018 hitting 20 homeruns with a .348 average splitting time at the two A levels. Myworld saw him in the Future’s Game in 2019 and we came away impressed with his arm, though most would give it an average grade. His speed is geared more toward the corners and if more athletic players squeeze him out of the outfield Alex could move to first. His 2019 season was restricted to just 94 games because of wrist issues. Alex has a good hit tool with few strikeouts in his bat and enough pop in his swing to reach 20 plus homeruns per year. If he can stay healthy he could see the Twins in 2020.

21. Michael Kopech RHP (White Sox) - The 2014 first round pick appeared ready for the major leagues in 2018. He was throwing strikes, was up for four starts and then elbow issues encroached, resulting in Tommy John surgery that forced him to miss all of 2019. Prior to that he had the best fastball in baseball, regularly hitting Triple Digits. Even with his control major leaguers were still able to find his fastball and hit him for a .328 clip in his four starts. Time will tell whether Michael can replicate his improved command and change when he returns to the mound in 2020. If he doesn’t flinch he could be in the White Sox starting rotation in 2020. If he struggles the White Sox will be careful with him, not wanting to throw him too many innings.

Myworld Top 100 - 40 -31

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AL Central Lower Round Draft Pick Success

Friday, December 27th, 2019

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

Chicago White Sox

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

Cleveland Indians

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

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

Detroit Tigers

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

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

Kansas City Royals

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

Minnesota Twins

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

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