Archive for the 'Tigers' Category

Bay Sox on a Roll

Saturday, August 3rd, 2019

The two hottest teams in the Eastern League are the Bowie Bay Sox and the Erie Seawolves. Both are playing .700 ball in the second half, with the Seawolves holding a one game lead. They Bay Sox are the AA team of the Orioles while the Sea Wolves are the AA team of the Tigers, two major league teams fighting for the worst record in baseball.

Myworld was in Bowie to watch the Bay Sox play the Portland Sea Dogs. Michael Bauman was pitching for the Bay Sox. He has been one of the top minor league pitchers for the Bay Sox entering the game with a 2-1 record and a 1.86 ERA in eight appearances, six starts. At 6′4″ with a fastball consistently clocked in the high 90s he is a prospect to watch.

If you arrived late for the game you may have missed Bauman. The first two hitters ripped singles against him and after that he had trouble finding the plate. He walked two and gave up another single and when he attempted to throw a curve it broke in against the left handed hitter, it hit him to drive in the third run. Bauman was gone after that. He did show an impressive fastball that was consistently in the high 90s but myworld did not see too much but his fastball. His breaking pitch did not seem to have a lot of bite and the few times he threw the pitch it did not break across the plate. Marcus Wilson had the big hit with a two run single in the inning.

The Bay Sox battled back after falling behind 3-0. Konner Wade had shut the Bay Sox down for the first four innings but T.J. Nichting broke the shutout in the fifth with an RBI single. Wade left the game after the sixth still holding a 3-1 lead.

Adam Lau came on to pitch the seventh for the Sea Dogs. He walked Jesmeul Valentin to lead off the inning. With one out Preston Palmeiro hit a one out hit and run single to right. The ball was booted by Marcus Wilson allowing Valentin to score and Palmeiro to advance to second. Palmeiro scored on a infield single up the middle by Ryan Ripken to tie the game. Yes. Palmeiro and Ripken are sons of Rafael and Cal, but they do not have their major league tools. Palmiero is a first baseman who lacks power and only stands 5′11″. Ripken is tall (6′6″) but at 26 he has not shown power to play the corners.

The Bay Sox ripped Matthew Gorst in the eighth to take a three run lead. Ryan McKenna started the inning with a bunt single. Palmiero walked with the bases loaded and T.J. Nichting singled to drive in two. Nichting was caught between first and second and Wilson held the ball watching Palmeiro at third. When he threw to first Nichting broke for second. Palmeiro was caught leaning too far off third and Joey Curletta gunned him down at third instead of throwing to second.

The Bay Sox brought out their closer Christian Alvarado to pitch the ninth. Like McKenna the lead off hitter Jarren Duran bunted down the third base line. Alvarado threw it past the first baseman and Duran stopped at second. C.J. Chatham singled to drive in Duran. Two strikeouts and a walk to Luke Tendler put two runners on. Just as a father was explaining to his daughter about wanting to pitch carefully to Marcus Wilson because a homerun would give the Sea Dogs the lead, Wilson hit the next pitch over the left field fence. Too bad Alvarado was not listening. Wilson drove in five of the seven Sea Dog runs.

The Bay Sox did not score in the home half.

Game Notes: The Bay Sox pitchers struck out 17 Sea Dogs. The bullpen was responsible for 16 of those K’s. Steven Klimek showed a wicked curve ball and his fastball hit the mid 90s. He threw two shutout innings, striking out four. He will be a pitcher to watch…It was Navy night at Bay Sox stadium and daddy/daughter date night with 7,900 in attendance…Bobby Dalbec swung and missed at a breaking pitch in the dirt from Klimek. Dalbec struck out three times from the DH spot. Sea Dog catcher Austin Rei struck out all four times he came to the plate…Carlos Perez had trouble holding on to the ball during stolen bases. The Sea Dogs stole four bases against him, two when he could not throw the ball because the ball slipped out of his hand when he came up throwing…Jarren Duran shows some good speed. He was a seventh round pick of the Red Sox in 2018…A 20-7 June record by the Bay Sox was the best in franchise history.

Top Venezuelan Prospects in the American League

Friday, July 12th, 2019

It is pretty clear that the Dominicans have the top prospects in baseball. Cuba is a distant second. The prospect wave from Venezuela has gotten smaller because of the humanitarian crisis there, but there are still enough players filtering out of the country to break it down into the two leagues, American and National. This list was put together before the season started so we are not influenced by their numbers this season. Six of the ten players in the American League are pitchers, something you would not see from the Dominican Republic, where they like to hit themselves off the island.

The players who graduated from the list created last year are Gleybor Torres, who was number one and Franklin Barreto who was number three. Barreto has not really won a full time job with the Athletics yet but is getting another opportunity to play with the major league club. A number of players dropped off the list as new players earned a spot to the higher rankings

1. Brusdar Graterol RHP (Twins) - Last year he missed making the top five. This year he is the best Venezuelan prospect in the American League. At 6′1″ he is not a big guy but his fastball sits at the lower end of the high 90s. He has two breaking pitches with the slider the most effective of the two. His change still needs some work. If he can improve his command and does not face durability issues he will fit in the starting rotation. If the change never develops or he has trouble staying healthy to stick in the rotation he could be used as a closer. This year he is limiting the opposition to a .188 average in AA. Last year he had success at the two A levels. His strikeout numbers are not impressive but he does get a lot of ground ball outs. Expect to see him in a Twins uniform before the season is done. He did miss the 2016 season because of Tommy John surgery and has yet to pitch more than 102 innings in a season.

2. Franklin Perez RHP (Tigers) - Franklin was signed by the Astros in 2014 for $1 million. The Astros traded him to the Tigers as the primary player in the Justin Verlander trade. Since arriving with the Tigers Franklin has had trouble staying healthy. The pitches are there with a fastball reaching the mid-90s, two above average breaking pitches and a change that is good. Last year he only pitched 19 innings because of a lat strain and shoulder issues that cropped up after his return from the lat strain. This year he has gotten two starts and has thrown less than 10 innings. At one time he was the top pitching prospect with the Tigers, but Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Alex Faedo and Beau Burrows are all surpassing him. Perez still has the nastier stuff, but you have to pitch on the mound in order to show that stuff.

3. Jose Suarez LHP (Angels) - The Angels always seem to be short of pitchers. At 5′10 and 225 pounds Jose would not give one an impression that he is a pitcher if you saw him at the grocery store. The left handed arm does not throw an overpowering fastball, usually sitting in the low 90s. His ability to control the fastball and mix in an excellent change up makes his fastball play better. His breakout season came in 2018 when he went from High A to 17 starts in AAA, which rose him into the top ten on this list all the way to number three. Success followed him in 2019 (3.18 ERA) which led to a promotion to the major leagues. There his lack of stuff proved less mysterious to major league hitters who spanked him at a .273 clip, while the minor league bats could only hit .200. If you are looking for a number five pitcher for your rotation Jose could be your man. If you want better pass him by.

4. Kevin Maitan 3B (Angels) - Kevin was once considered a superstar when he first signed with the Braves for $4.25 million. He was allowed to leave as a free agent because the Braves were involved in illegal international signing discretions. Once he was declared a free agent the Angels swooped in and signed him for $2.2 million. His superstar status has now slipped and now there are questions of whether the bat will play for him to reach the major leagues. His lack of range forced a move from shortstop to third base. The bat carries enough power to play third base, but the swings and misses and soft average (.214) does not allow that power to show up with much frequency. He still is only 19 years old but Ronald Acuna and Gleyber Torres were in AAA at 20 years of age and Maitan is still swinging and missing in A ball. This needs to be his break out season if he wants to make a similar jump.

5. Luis Oviedo RHP (Indians) - Luis signed for a generous $375,000 in 2015. He has a good pitcher’s frame (6′4″) and a fastball that sits in the mid-90s. That will keep him on prospect lists. His secondary pitchers are good enough to keep him in the rotation and he throws strikes. If he can improve one of his breaking pitches and the change he could climb from a back or mid rotation starter to a number two starter. He has yet to throw more than 63 innings in a season but last year was his most successful one. He did get two starts in Low A and walked seven in just nine innings. This year he has already reached 83 innings in Low A with numbers that are not impressive (5.40 ERA, .244 average) but he is getting the work in. Don’t expect him to rise too quickly. He needs to find consistent success at the lower levels before they consider him for the majors.

6. Darwinzon Hernandez LHP (Red Sox) - Darwinzon is another big guy at 6′2″ and 245 pounds who must watch his conditioning if he hopes to continue his career playing baseball. Back in 2013 the Red Sox signed him for just $7,500. As the years passed his fastball was hitting the high 90s and the swings and misses were becoming more prevalent, putting him on the prospect radar. He has the breaking pitches and the change to make it in the starting rotation. What he lacks is the ability to throw the ball across the plate or hit his spots in the strike zone. That is one reason he might be best used in the bullpen. Despite his lack of success in the minor leagues this year (5.04) the Red Sox promoted him to the major leagues where he had one start and one appearance in relief. Finding the strike zone was still a challenge with six walks in just 5.1 innings resulted in an ugly 5.06 ERA. The Red Sox bullpen is a little erratic so he may be called up again to help out in the pen if he can show strike one is not a difficult pitch to make.

7. Luis Rengifo 2B/SS (Angels) - The Mariners signed Rengifo for $360,000. He was traded to the Rays where the Angels acquired him just before spring training 2018 for C.J. Cron. With the Angels he climbed up their minor league system hitting over .300 in High A and AA putting him in AAA where he hit .276. Luis does not offer a lot of power but he makes contact with a 75/75 walk to whiff ratio in the minor leagues last year. Luis does not have great speed but it was good enough to swipe 41 bases last year. After hitting .273 this year in AAA the Angels had a need for a middle infielder. With the Angels he has played most of his games at second base with the remaining games at shortstop. Luis is best used as a utility infielder. The tools are a little light to be a starter.

8. Luis Arraez 2B (Twins) - Base hits seem to come easy for this Luis. He lacks power and the speed is below average but his hits seem to find the grass. His career minor league average entering the 2019 season was .329 with a 98/114 walk to whiff ratio. Because of his lack of tools in other areas he will need to keep on finding the grass to stick in the major leagues. He missed all but three games of the 2017 season because of ACL surgery but came back last year to hit .310. This year he abused AA pitchers with a .342 average. A promotion to AAA did not phase him as he continued to hit (.348). No balls travelled over the fence in his more than 200 at bats, but it got him a promotion to the major leagues. There he hit .393 in close to 100 at bats, including two homeruns. The return of Marwin Gonzales from the disabled list and the hitting of Jonathan Schoop complicates his status as a major leaguer. But any hitter who has a .976 OPS in 100 at bats deserves a spot in the major league lineup. In the minors his walk to whiff ratio is 24/15 while with the Twins it was 10/8.

9. Bryan Mata RHP (Red Sox) - The Red Sox found another bargain when they signed Bryan for $25,000. At 6′3″ he has a nice pitcher’s frame. Adding some weight could put some more mustard on his low 90s fastball, allowing it to sit consistently in the mid-90s. Last year finding the strike zone was a bit of a challenge with 58 walks in just 72 innings at High A. He doesn’t get a lot of swings and misses but he limited the opposition to a .229 average. This year the Red Sox started him in High A where he seemed to locate the strike zone for just 18 walks in 51 innings and a 1.75 ERA. He was rewarded with a promotion to AA where in two starts the strike zone has gotten a little more elusive. If Bryan can locate the strike zone again the Red Sox could promote him this year to help in the bullpen. If not, you could see him late in 2020.

10. Everson Pereira OF (Yankees) - The Yankees signed Everson for $1.5 million in 2017. There is the potential for a borderline five tool player here. The arm rates as average but all the other tools are impressive. Last year the Yankees brought him up to rookie ball where as a 17 year old he was able to hit .263. There were a lot of strikeouts in his game (60 whiffs in 41 games) but the potential is there. This year he is playing in the New York Penn League, hitting .171 with a .257 slugging percentage. It will be a struggle early in his career but the Yankees have plenty of outfield talent to wait for him. Don’t expect to see Pereira in a Yankee uniform until September 2021 at the earliest.

Forbes List of Top Paid Baseball Players

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Soccer players are the top three salaried athletes on the Forbes Top 100 Highest Paid Athletes list. The process was to figure out a player’s salary or winnings and endorsements, add them up and come up with their 2019 earnings. The one difficulty with that is the endorsements were based on publicly identified endorsements or word of mouth by talking with representatives about the worth of those endorsements. So the list may not be totally accurate.

Soccer takes the first three, a boxer is number four, tennis at five, football takes 6-7, basketball dominates 8-10 and golf is at 11. You have to go to the 17th spot to find your baseball player. Only one woman makes this list and she plays tennis. Myworld will force you to go the Forbes list to get the names of the above listed athletes associated with their sport.

For baseball, endorsement money was a small portion of their value. I’ll list the endorsement money for the top three, but after that it was under $1 million.

17. Mike Trout (Angels) - $56 million ($3 million in endorsements)
23. Bryce Harper (Phillies) - $44.5 million ($6.5 million in endorsements)
30. Manny Machado (Padres) - $34.8 million
50. David Price (Red Sox) - $31.7 million
54. Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) - $30 million
61. Justin Verlander (Astros) - $29.5 million
62. Yoennis Cespedes (Mets) - $29.4 million
63. Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) - $29.2 million
68. Jake Arrieta (Phillies) - $28.8 million
73. Albert Pujols (Angels) - $28 million
77. Giancarlo Stanton (Yankees) - $27.4 million ($2 million in endorsements)
84. Felix Hernandez (Mariners) - $26.6 million
94. J.D. Martinez (Red Sox) - $25.6 million
96. Joey Votto (Reds) - $25.4 million

Top Ten Mexican Prospects

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

Only one player graduated from last year’s top ten. Victor Arano was myworld’s number 5 prospect from Mexico and he appeared in 60 games of relief for Philadelphia last year. We expect a couple players to graduate from this year’s list. A number of new faces to keep this list fresh.

1. Alex Verdugo OF (Dodgers) - Alex was born in Tucson but his dad is from south of the border. That was enough to qualify Alex for the Mexican national team. He probably should have made the list last year. A second round pick of the Dodgers in 2014 Alex is more of a gap hitter than over the fence power. The arm is strong enough for right field but he lacks the speed for center. He will hit for average but the homerun numbers could fall shy of 20. This could put him in the fourth outfielder category. The trade of Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig opened up some outfield room for Verdugo this year. The average is there (.345) and his .635 slugging comes with three homeruns. That will be enough to graduate from this list after this year. The Dodgers outfield is crowded so playing time will be dependent on a productive bat.

2. Florencio Serrano RHP (Rangers) - The Cubs had originally signed him for $1.2 million but major league baseball voided the contract after a dispute with Mexico over the distribution of the bonus money. When major league baseball and Mexico came to an agreement the Rangers swooped in and signed Serrano for $850,000. Serrano was born in Texas but moved to Mexico after his freshman year in high school. He signed with the Mexican League team the Tijuana Toros. His fastball sits in the low 90s but has reached the mid-90s in try outs. He also has a decent slider and developing change. At 19 years of age he has time to develop his pitches. After pitching in extended spring training he will join one of the short season leagues.

3. Luis Urias 2B/SS (Padres) - He was supposed to start the season as the Padres shortstop but Fernando Tatis impressed so much in spring training that Urias was sent down while Tatis was kept to play shortstop. Luis was later called up to play second but struggled with the bat and was sent down. In the minor leagues Luis has no problem hitting for a high average. His struggles have come in the major leagues where hitting for an average above .200 has been a struggle. He has the defensive tools to play short but will probably fit better at second base, deferring to Tatis at short. The power is lacking and his legs do not carry enough speed to steal bases, so he needs to hit for average to make an impact. Expect him to be called up again by mid-season and at some point figure out major league pitching.

4. Isaac Paredes 2B/3B (Tigers) - The hit tool is impressive. Isaac was originally a shortstop but his lower half is a bit thick to have the range to play that position. This year the Tigers have moved him to third base where the power could be there to play the position. Last year he hit 15 homeruns. He tends to be a pull heavy hitter where most of his power is and as he rises up the minors the pitchers could become more savvy to that approach. How he responds to being pitched away could have an impact on his major league development. At worst he will become a solid utility player with the Tigers. At best he could be an offensive oriented second baseman or solid third baseman. He is currently playing in AA where last year he hit .321 in 150 at bats last year. He should hit for a high enough average and decent power to be a good major league contributor.

5. Luis Verdugo SS (Cubs) - The Cubs seem to do a pretty good job of mining prospects down in Mexico. They lost Serrano but they have three other prospects in the minor leagues who were discovered in Mexico. Verdugo may be the best, signed in 2017 for $1.2 million. He played on the Mexican National team as a 15 year old. The arm is there to play short but a lack of speed could limit his range for the position. His bat is solid with some potential for power, which could allow for a move to third base if his range is found lacking. Last year he struggled with a .193 average in the Arizona Rookie League. At 18 years old he is young enough to repeat at that level.

6. Andres Munoz RHP (Padres) - The Padres are the closest team to take advantage of the south of the border talent. Andres was signed by the Padres in 2015 for a $700,000 bonus. His fastball has gone from the low 90s as a 16 year old to touching triple digits now that he is 20. Last year he pitched 25 games in relief for the Padres and averaged 100 miles per hour with his fastball. Over his three year minor league career he has only had one start, but his whiffs per nine innings sit at 11.8. Command and the improvement on his slider would make him closer material. It is unusual to find a hard thrower out of Mexico, but Munoz fits the bill.

7. Jose Albertos RHP (Cubs) - The Cubs shelled out $1.5 million in 2015 to sign Jose. There is a lot of talent in his arm, with a fastball that can rise to the mid-90s but often falls to the low 90s. This resulted in a horrible year last year where he could not get anyone out. His ERA was in double digits, hitters whacked him at an over .300 average and his walks to whiff ratio hit an ugly 65/38 in just 30 innings. That is usually not the numbers for a prospect but he has shown the Cubs some good seasons. The 2019 season will be key to determine whether he stays a prospect or becomes a journeyman. Some time in extended spring to work on his delivery is best and perhaps a callup to Low A or wait until the short seasons starts before making his 2019 debut. At 20 years old he needs to start showing more consistency on the mound.

8. Reivaj Garcia SS (Cubs) - Garcia was signed in 2017 for $500,000. He doesn’t have the tools of Verdugo and lacks the power bat to fit at third base. The ability to make contact is there so if he can hit for a high average he could eventually move to second base. Last year in his minor league debut he hit .302, but only nine of his 52 hits went for extra bases. At 18 years of age coming into this season he will probably see another year of short season. As he matures the Cubs hope enough power develops to give him a shot at making it as a utility player.

9. Gerardo Carrillo RHP (Dodgers) - The Dodgers got a bargain with Carrillo, signing him for just $75,000 in 2016. Despite his lack of size (6′0″, 155) he throws the ball hard, hitting the mid 90s with his fastball. He also has the ability to find the plate and as pitchers in Mexico learn, uses a multitude of pitches to retire hitters. His change is probably his best pitch. Last year when promoted to Low A he put together a 1.65 ERA in nine starts, limiting hitters to a .200 average. He relies more on soft contact than swings and misses to retire hitters, but as he bulks up that could change.

10. Tirso Ornelas OF (Padres) - Tirso signed for $1.5 million in 2016. At 6′3″ he has the potential to hit for some pop, last year hitting eight homeruns in Low A. The speed is lacking but the arm is enough to allow him to play either corner. Once he learns to pull the ball more effectively the power numbers should improve. He makes good contact for a power hitter. As he grows he will have to watch his weight. A move to first base would lesson his value and require that he fulfill his power potential to make it to the major leagues. The big advantage he has is he hits lefthanded.

Seawolves Down Bay Sox

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

Myworld went to our first minor league game. Matt Manning was the attraction. He went 4.2 solid innings, being taken out in the fifth because of his pitch count. He has plenty of swing and miss with his pitches, striking out eight. The Erie Seawolves romped over the last place Bowie Bay Sox 8-3.

Veteran minor leaguer Ademar Rifaela was the biggest nemesis for Manning. After Manning walked Yusniel Diaz, Ademar ripped a double down the first base line. Diaz was able to motor home from first. In the fourth Ademar blasted one into right center for a double. He scored on a Jesmeul Velentin single.

Marcus Molina got the start for the Bay Sox. He was at one time a top ten prospect for the Mets. They let him go midway through the 2018 season. A couple weeks later he was suspended for the remainder of the season for a performance enhancing drug violation. He retired the first six hitters he faced, three of them on whiffs. The Seawolves raked him in the third with a walk, three singles and a sacrifice fly to score two.

A four hit inning in the sixth to score three broke a 2-2 tie and put the game out of reach. Chance Numata led the Seawolves with three RBIs. He hit a two run single in the sixth and contributed a sacrifice fly in the eighth.

Myworld is impressed with the quick bat of Yusniel Diaz. He also showed some speed on the bases and a strong arm in right field. Sergio Alcantara showed a smooth glove at short. There is some question whether he will hit, but there is no doubt of his defensive qualities. He forced Isaac Paredes to move to third. Matt Manning shoed the ability to get a lot of swings and misses. Didn’t really see too much of his curveball.

Top 100 - 30-21

Saturday, March 23rd, 2019

Though the Braves added one more righthanded pitcher after including three in the 40-31 prospect list, the White Sox dominated this ten with two righthanded pitchers and an infielder.

30. Mike Soroka RHP (Braves) - The Canadian pitcher and first round pick of the Braves in 2015 was limited to 11 starts last year because of injury, five of those starts in the major leagues. At 6′4″ with a fastball that sits in the low 90s but can touch mid 90s he has the quality secondary pitches to be a perfect fit as a mid-rotation starter. Injuries to Mike Foltynewicz and Kevin Guasman could improve his opportunities. The Braves will be in a pennant race but it may be wise to limit his innings and start his 2019 season in AAA. What sets Soroka apart from other pitchers is his excellent command. He throws it to all quadrants of the plate and appears to have a purpose for each pitch.

29. Nick Madrigal 2B/SS (White Sox) - Nick was a first round pick of the White Sox in 2018. He played second base for NCAA champion Oregon, but he could have just as well played shortstop. At 5′8″ he is small in stature but his bat sprays line drives to all parts of the park. His bat will not hit for a lot of power, but batting titles could be in his future. The arm may be better suited for second base but if Nick can make it as a shortstop he would increase his value to the lineup. He should rise quickly, finishing at AA in 2019.

28. Dylan Cease RHP (White Sox) - The Cubs traded Cease to the White Sox in the Jose Quintana trade sacrificing a pitcher for the future for one that could help them in the present. The sixth round pick in 2014 throws in the mid 90s and can hit triple digits. His secondary pitches lack consistency and he has trouble finding the plate. Last year he had success in AA with a 1.72 ERA, limiting the opposition to a .168 average. The White Sox are in rebuilding mode. Dylan will probably start the season in AAA and be promoted to the major league team by mid-season if he shows success in AAA.

27. Mitch Keller RHP (Pirates) - Last year Mitch Keller struggled for the first time since being drafted in the second round in 2014. He finished with an ERA of 4.82 in 10 AAA starts. His fastball hits the mid-90s and reaches the high 90s. Normally it is unhittable, but AAA hitters assaulted him for a .280 average last year. Both his fastball and curveball are the best in the Pirates system so they expect a bounce back. He is a better alternative than Nick Kingham or Jordan Lyles in the rotation so after a few starts in AAA he will be the Pirates number five starter by mid-May.

26. Francisco Mejia C (Padres) - With Manny Machado at third and the Padres outfield crowded Mejia will have to make it as a catcher. His arm is one of the strongest in baseball but his other tools for the position are fringy. Austin Hedges is the better defensive catcher but Mejia has the better bat. The Padres acquired the Dominican from the Indians last year for relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber. Francisco has the potential to hit for a high average with good gap power. Last year he slugged 17 homeruns. If he starts the season with the Padres he will be the starting catcher with Hedges taking on the back up role.

25. Austin Riley 3B (Braves) - The Josh Donaldson signing delayed the arrival of Riley to the Braves by one year. The 2015 first round pick is a potential All Star who can provide quality defense and hit bombs far over the fence. If Riley has an Achilles heel it is his penchant for not making contact. The Braves will accept that as long as it comes with light tower pops. Last year Riley played at AAA hitting .282 with 11 homeruns. His .456 slugging average was below his norm. For the 2019 season he will start the season in AAA and if Donaldson is injured or struggles to find any offensive consistency Riley will be with the Braves by mid-season.

24. Alex Reyes RHP (Cardinals) - Drug suspensions, Tommy John surgery and injured lat muscles have kept Alex on the prospect lists two years longer than he would like. He was supposed to be in the Cardinals rotation a couple years ago. Because of his injuries he may start the year in the bullpen to lesson his innings and could move into the rotation towards the end of the year. His fastball is electric, consistently hitting the mid-90s and shaving the triple digits. He’s also got excellent secondary pitches which would make a move to the bullpen a waste. If he can’t stay healthy enough to stay in the starting rotation Alex would be a top notch closer. He should start the 2019 season in the Cardinals bullpen.

23. Casey Mize RHP (Tigers) - Casey was a first round pick of the Tigers in 2018. He has lept ahead of the other Tiger pitching prospects by being the first player selected in that draft. The fastball flashes across the plate in the mid-90s but what makes it so impactful is a quality splitter that gets a lot of swings and misses as it dives out of the strike zone. As a college drafted pitcher Casey should rise quickly. Last year he got four starts in High A, but hitters attacked him for a .295 average. High A is where he should begin his 2019 season.

22. Michael Kopech RHP (White Sox) - He owned the best fastball in the minor leagues, reaching triple digits consistently and sitting north of 95. Tommy John surgery will put a halt to his 2019 season. Command of his pitches had been his biggest impediment, but just when he appeared to be mastering his control he was felled by his UCL. Prior to his injury he did get four starts in the major leagues and they hit him at a blistery .328 clip. It will be probably sometime in mid 2020 before he can again try to make an impact with the White Sox.

21. Luis Urias SS/3B (Padres) - The 2016 signing out of Mexico will begin the 2019 season playing shortstop for the Padres. Once Tatis is called up he will move over to second base. The arm is strong enough to play short but the range is lacking. Second base he could win gold gloves. His bat lacks power but will fill the gaps. In time Luis could win batting averages. Rookie of the year will be within his grasp for 2019 if his teammate Fernando Tatis does not take it away from him.

AL Central Predictions

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

This is perhaps the worst division in baseball now that the Cleveland Indians have lost a number of players through free agency.

1. Minnesota Twins

Strengths - Myworld likes their new pickups. Jonathan Schoop has something to prove in 2019. He is not the player he was last year. Marwin Gonzalez can provide depth at every position and is bound to also bounce back from a difficult 2018 season. Nelson Cruz is a 40 homerun machine, though with his age he is not the player he once was. C.J. Cron is an improvement from what they had at the position last year.

Weakness - Hoping for bounce back years from Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano is asking a lot. They are gifted players but appear to have flaws in their game that prevent them from reaching their potential. The bullpen lacks a closer so that could hurt in the later innings. After Jose Berrios their starting rotation appears a little slim.

Prospects to Make an Impact - While the farm system is rich it is filled with too many players who have yet to play AA ball. Nick Gordon could see time at middle infield, especially if Schoop continues his struggles. Lewis Thorpe and Stephen Gonsalves could contribute to the starting rotation. Gonsalves started four games last season and dominated at AA and AAA. He is not overpowering so his lack of command (22 walks in 25 innings) resulted in failure when called up to the major leagues.

Expected Finish - In a weak division they will hang on to win with a record that will only be a couple games over .500.

2. Cleveland Indians

Strengths - They still have the strong pitching with Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco. Mike Clevinger proved a solid replacement for Danny Salazar. The left side of the infield with Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez is probably the best in baseball. The Indians have to hope the calf injury to Lindor does not linger well into the season.

Weakness - As good as the starting pitching is they will get little offensive production from their outfield. Losing Mickey Brantley to free agency left the outfield with nothing. If Hanley Ramirez makes the team as a DH that will move Carlos Santana to first base and Jake Bauers to the outfield. Some pop will be sacrificed for defense. If Bauers stays at first the collection of Jordan Luplow, Leonys Martin and Tyler Naquin will be lucky to hit 30 homeruns between the three of them. The bullpen has been hurt by the loss of Cody Allen and Andrew Miller. Like the Twins they will be spending much of the season searching for a closer.

Prospects to Make an Impact - Triston McKenzie could be in the rotation but his early season injury will delay things. He is one of the top pitchers in the minor leagues. If first base wasn’t so crowded Bobby Bradley could get some opportunities. He will have to settle for another 20 plus homerun season in the minor leagues. The outfield could get a shot in the arm from Dan Johnson. He was over shadowed in the Nationals system by Juan Soto and Victor Robles. Last year injuries limited him to just 96 games.

Expected Finish - Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez will provide plenty of production but they will need help from the rest of the lineup. The starting rotation can keep them close through six but after that the losses will mount.

3. Chicago White Sox

Strengths - The rebuilding is over so expect a number of prospects to be sprinkled in as the season progresses to add some spark to the team. The rotation has promise with Carlos Rodon, Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito adding another year of education to their major league careers. Daniel Palka could be a rising star in left field. The White Sox will hope he improves on his 27 homeruns from last season but the bats around him are weak. Once Eloy Jimenez gets promoted in May he will have to move to right.

Weakness - The starting eight appears punchless. Myworld once liked Yoan Moncada but his struggles to make contact may keep his numbers down. He is moving to third base where he must reduce his 217 strikeouts to raise his average above .250 and hit 20 or more homeruns. Up the middle the White Sox are weak. Centerfielder Adam Engel, middle infielders Yolmer Sanchez and Tim Anderson and catcher Wellington Castillo are not players who will lead you to a playoff party.

Prospects to Make an Impact - Eloy Jimenez will be promoted in May and should provide more punch to the lineup. The White Sox need to hold him back for another month to get one more year out of him. He is not good defensively but he is one of the top hitters in the minor leagues. Dylan Cease and Kodi Medeiros could find themselves in the rotation. In 2014 Kodi was a first round pick of the Brewers. Tommy John surgeries will delay the rise of Michael Kopech and Dane Dunning.

Expected Finish - Rebuilding teams always seem to start winning a year early. Myworld still thinks they are a year away with most of their top prospects ready to contribute by 2020.

4. Detroit Tigers

Strengths - There is always Miguel Cabrera. If he can stay healthy he will produce, though with limited bats around him he may not get the pitches to hit. For a rebuilding team they have a pretty decent top four in their rotation with Jordan Zimmerman, Matt Boyd and Moore and Tyson Ross. This will keep them ahead of the Royals. Losing Michael Fulmer to Tommy John knocked it down a notch and left them without a critical trade piece. Soon they will be replaced by Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Franklin Perez, and Alex Faedo.

Weakness - The infield has two Pirate rejects in Jody Mercer and Josh Harrison which says a lot. The bullpen lacks a closer and will give away a lot of games. They have two backup catchers who will share playing time behind the plate.

Prospects to Make an Impact - Christin Stewart will be there starting left fielder. He could hit 20 plus homeruns but he does not play a good defense. If the Tigers were not tanking this year you would probably see Daz Cameron see more centerfield time. He is more talented than the players they have on their roster to begin the season. Jake Rogers may see another year in the minor leagues but he is one of the better defensive catchers in baseball. Another year of service time would not hurt. The Fulmer injury could give Spencer Turnbull an opportunity in the rotation. He is having an excellent spring and started three games for the Tigers last year.

Expected Finish - While they are tanking they still have too many talented players to make a free fall. Miguel Cabrera and Nick Castellanos will drive in some runs and the starting pitching is serviceable.

5. Kansas City Royals

Strengths - Hmmm. They have the potential for a good middle infield in Whit Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi. Adalberto surprised many with his 14 homeruns and .276 average in just 75 games after hitting just .170 the previous year. Whether he can replicate that production is open to question. If not then you just have Merrifield and if the Royals can not sign him to an extension they will trade him.

Weakness - The starting rotation will get battered around. Having a pitcher named Homer Bailey tells it all. You may see a lot of openers in this group just to prevent the starters from seeing the top end of an opposing lineup three times. Third base is a hole with the departure of Mike Moustakas. Losing Salvador Perez to Tommy John is a punch in the gut to their offensive production.

Prospects to Make an Impact - With Salvador Perez out for the year rookies Meibrys Viloria and M.J. Melendez will see some time behind the plate. Viloria saw some time there last year and is having an excellent spring. Melendez may be the more talented prospect but needs more seasoning in the minor leagues.

Expected Finish - They will be competing with the Orioles and Marlins for the first pick in the 2020 draft.

Top 100 - 70-61

Thursday, March 7th, 2019

Continuing with our Top 100 list

70. Nate Pearson RHP (Blue Jays) - In the Arizona Fall League Nate was consistently reaching the plate north of 100 miles per hour. The reason the 2017 first round pick was pitching in the AFL is because injuries limited him to just one start and less than two innings for the regular season. In 2017 he started eight games, tossing 20 innings and limited the hitters to a .106 average. While he possesses lots of heat his secondary pitches are a little raw and he needs to find the plate more. This could force him into a bullpen role. At 22 years of age the Jays will start him in High A and hope for quick promotions to get him ready for the major league roster. At 6′6″ he has the intimidation factor going for him.

69. Jazz Chisholm SS (Diamondbacks) - The smooth fielding shortstop is just one of many players that seem to be cropping up from the Bahamas. The Diamondbacks were actually in the Bahamas to watch Lucius Fox when they spotted Jazz. His price ($200,000) was more reasonable than Fox ($6 million) and now it appears Jazz may be the better prospect. The defensive tools are there for him to stay at shortstop. The bat looks like it can carry some pop with 25 homeruns last year. The hope is that he reduces his strikeouts (149 in 112 games) to allow him to be an offensive threat. The AA season in 2019 should be a real test for him.

68. Luis Garcia SS/2B (Nationals) - This is the oldest and best of the two Luis Garcias. The other is a shortstop prospect for the Philadelphia Phillies. Luis has the bat to hit for average with his .298 last year and .303 in 2017. The concern is finding a position for him. Trea Turner plays short, Carter Kieboom will play second or third and the Nationals would like to sign Anthony Rendon to an extension. That fills up the infield. A super utility role could be in his future. There is not a lot of power in his bat but he has the capability to compete for batting titles. He could start the 2019 season in AA.

67. Travis Swaggerty OF (Pirates) - The 2018 first round pick was part of the United States gold medal winning national team in the 18 and under division. He does have raw power that allows him to clear the fence pretty easily. His other tools are also average to plus with a solid arm that will put him in right and decent speed that will allow him to play centerfield in a pinch. Last year he struggled in his first taste of full season ball (.129) so expect him to repeat that level in 2019.

66. Matt Manning RHP (Tigers) - The Tigers 2016 first round pick has a fastball that can fly across the plate in the mid-90s. His 6′6″ inch frame also makes him an intimidating presence on the mound. His hammer curve is a tough pitch for hitters to make contact with, resulting in 154 whiffs in 117 innings. His success resulted in two appearances in AA which is where he should start the 2019 season. The Tigers have four pitchers competing to be the ace of the future staff.

65. Sean Murphy C (Athletics) -Sean will be a solid defensive catcher whose arm will scare base stealers from trying to take the extra base against him. His bat carries some power but it could be a challenge to hit north of .250. He came into the 2018 season with a .246 minor league average. In AA he hit .288 with a .498 slugging average until a July injury put him out for two months. If not for the injury he probably would have seen his major league debut in 2018. Barring another injury expect that to happen in 2019, with a start to the season in AAA.

64. Adrian Morejon LHP (Padres) - Another pitcher who pitched in the Junior Nationals for the 15 and Under World Cup Team in Mexico City, but he threw for Cuba, defecting as a 16 year old. At 6′0″ he is not a big pitcher, but he throws lefthanded and knows where the strike zone is located. While he can get the ball across the plate in the mid-90s his best pitch may be a knee buckling curve ball. The majority of his starts were in High A so expect a promotion to AA in 2019.

63. Estevan Florial OF (Yankees) - After a break out season last year where the Haitian born Florial hit .298 with 13 homeruns in the two A leagues, the Yankees were expecting big things in 2018. Injuries slowed him down, limiting him to just 84 games. His results were disappointing with a .256 average in A ball with just three homeruns. The strikeouts need to be reduced but the five tools are there for him to be a superstar. Strong arm, deer like speed and a power bat make him a player to watch. The Yankees have a crowded outfield so he will probably see a full season in AA in 2019.

62. Drew Waters OF (Braves) - The Braves just don’t develop pitchers. They also appear to develop outfielders with Ronald Acuna winning rookie of the year last year and Cristian Pache and Drew ready to contribute in a couple years. The second round 2017 pick went to high school in Georgia. The speed exists to play centerfield but if Acuna captures that position he has the arm to play right. His current power is dedicated towards the gaps but with time and maturity he could hit twenty plus homeruns. He should see AA next year which would make him a knock on the door away from the Braves.

61. Luis Patino RHP (Padres) - The Colombian righthander dominated in low A with a 2.16 ERA in 17 starts, with the opposition hitting him at a .220 clip. At 6′0″ he is small in stature, but his fastball hits the high 90s, usually sitting in the low 90s. His slider is a swing and miss pitch and the change is a work in progress. Continued success could see him hit AA in 2019.

Tigers to Tank 2019 Season to Rebuild

Saturday, January 5th, 2019

The Tigers have never been noted for their elite farm system. Since 2009 myworld has never rated them in the top ten. To their credit they have put their focus on making the playoffs, trading prospects like John Smoltz to get Doyle Alexander or Cameron Maybin to get Miguel Cabrera. They have also sacrificed number one picks in 2010, 2011 and 2012 to sign free agents Jose Valverde, Victor Martinez and Prince Fielder. Perhaps 2019 will be the year they appear in the top ten farm systems in baseball. Last year they had five players who made a Top 100 list, Beau Burrows, Christin Stewart, Alex Faedo, Matt Manning and Franklin Perez. 2019 saw them number 20, but of course there is more pride in winning a pennant race than a prospect race.

As noted by the number of pitchers rated in the Top 100, pitching is the biggest strength in the Tigers system, galvanized by a number of first round picks over the last couple years. Casey Mize was their top pick of the 2018 draft, the first player selected in the draft. The Auburn pitcher has three quality pitches, the best of which is a splitter that if it does not get swings and misses forces hitters to pound the ball on the ground. His fastball delivers mid-90s velocity and he has a quality slider. At 6′3″ and 220 he has the perfect pitcher’s build to eat up innings as an ace. Last year he made four starts at High A and was very hittable (.295 opposition average) despite his quality stuff.

Alex Faedo was their 2017 first round pick, but the 18th selection in the draft. Alex is another college drafted pitcher (Florida) who should rise quickly. At 6′5″ his mid-90s fastball comes down at the hitter with good sink. A plus slider and decent change are also in his repertoire. He does seem to give up a lot of fly balls, which led to 15 homeruns in 60 innings at Erie in his first year of professional pitching. In the more pitcher friendly Florida State League those fly balls resulted in only three homeruns in 60 innings. Those homeruns impacted his ERA (3.10 to 4.95).

Matt Manning was the 2016 first round pick coming out of high school. At 6′6″ he is another tower that bores a mid-90s fastball with excellent plane. His strikeout numbers were pretty impressive over three different levels (154 in 117 innings). Unlike Mize and Faedo, Manning relies on a curveball and change combination to complement his fastball. His father Rich played in the NBA and his brother plays basketball for Air Force, but Matt chose baseball as his profession and many hitters are ruing that choice.

Beau Burrows is the last of the fearsome foursome, drafted in the first round of the 2015 draft out of high school. His fastball also clocks in the mid-90s, but his secondary offerings (slider, curveball and change) are not quite as impressive. Last year the opposition hit him at a .251 clip and like Faedo he is prone to the fly ball. He started 26 games at Erie last year and may be the most ready to pitch in the major leagues by mid-season, if he can keep the ball in the park.

The best of the bunch may be Franklin Perez, who was acquired from the Astros in the Justin Verlander trade. Injuries last year limited him to just seven starts, three of those of the rehab variety. In his four starts in High A he had trouble finding the plate (8 walks in 11 innings) resulting in a .341 opposition average and a 7.94 ERA. He may have the best fastball in this group dialing just above the mid-90s with quality secondary pitches (slider, curve and change). The Tigers are hoping for a healthy season where he will likely pitch again in High A.

Kyle Funkhouser is not a guy with great stuff, drafted in the fourth round in 2016 but he can eat up some innings for you at the back end of a rotation. His fastball can reach the mid-90s but his secondary stuff is average. Early in his career he had issues with his command but he has improved in that area, though he will still have relapses where he struggles to find the plate. Last year he got two starts in AAA. With a good start to the 2019 season he could see himself in the Tigers rotation by mid-season.

Logan Shore is a pitcher similar to Funkhouser, not quality stuff but a good fit in the back end of the rotation. He was a second round pick of the Athletics in 2016 and was considered the ace of the Gators rotation that also included first round pick A.J. Puk. Shore was acquired in the Mike Fiers trade. The change is his best pitch with a fastball that sits in the low 90s. Last year in AA Midland he struggled to get hitters out (.306 opposition average) struggling to miss bats. The Tigers will probably have him start at Erie in 2019.

The Tigers are probably lacking in position prospects, but they have some good bloodlines. Daz Cameron could be their centerfielder my mid-2019. He is the son of Mike and like his father he can play a pretty good centerfield. Daz is another prospect acquired in the Verlander deal with the Astros. His hitting tools are not exceptional but if he can play centerfield he could be a productive bat near the end of the order.

Parker Meadows was a second round pick in 2018. He is the brother of Austin who was a first round pick of the Pirates in 2013. His tools are not as extensive as his older brother, but they could develop. There is some power in his bat and speed in his legs to cover centerfield.

Kody Clemons is the son of Roger. For Kody it will be his bat and not his arm that will separate himself from other major leaguers. While he plays second base his bat will keep him in the lineup. A lack of speed and an empty arm could prevent him from moving to the outfield or playing third base.

Christin Stewart was the Tigers first round pick in 2015. The Tigers have waited a long time for his development. The bat will hit for power but the glove is best suited to stay on the bench while he fills the DH spot. Like J.D. Martinez he could be put in left field and play a decent defense. With Miguel Cabrera geared for more DH time in 2019 to see him stay healthy Stewart may have to see more time in the outfield than should be necessary. Stewart does show good plate discipline taking his fair share of walks.

The Tigers acquired Isaac Paredes from the Cubs. While he hit .321 at AA Erie his tools don’t scream out at you. He makes good contact with the ball, drives it to the gaps and will provide you with decent defense up the middle. His best utilization may be as a utility player but the Tigers may be forced to make him their starting shortstop by 2020.

Jake Rogers may be one of the better defensive catchers in the minor leagues. His arm will stop a running game and he has all the tools to be a top defender behind the plate. The big question with Jake is whether his bat will carry enough production to fit as a starter behind the plate. Last year at AA he hit just .219. There is enough pop in his bat that he could hit 20 plus homeruns if he can win a starting spot behind the plate.

Dawel Lugo is another middle infielder whose tools would make him best used as a utility player. The arm is strong enough to play short but the range is lacking to play there on a regular basis. Second base would be his best starting option. The bat is best for the gaps. Last year he made his major league debut, hitting .213 in 27 games.

AL Central All Stars

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

Baseball America broke out their classification All Star teams. These are the players from the AL Central to make the team.

Chicago White Sox

Eloy Jimenez OF (AAA/AA) - He could be the next super star in baseball. The Cubs originally signed him but included him in a trade for Jose Quintana. He hits for power and average but lacks the speed and the arm to be a five tool player. His lack of defensive tools will limit him to left field where he could end up being a force like J.D. Martinez.

Michael Kopech RHP (AAA) - Tommy John surgery will set him back a year. Just when he appeared to get command of his pitches he suffers a set back. One of the hardest throwers in baseball, Michael was originally a Red Sox but included in the Chris Sale deal. Control was his main weakness but in four major league starts he only walked two in 14 innings.

Rigo Fernandez LH Relief (Rookie) - A 24th round pick in the 2018 draft had an excellent rookie season, saving 8 games and finishing with a 1.87 ERA. Opponents hit him at a .178 clip. The lefthander does not have dominating stuff, so his prospect status will be dictated by how well he performs at higher levels.

Cleveland Indians

Tyler Freeman SS (SS) - A 2017 pick may lack the defensive tools to be a shortstop. Currently his power is restricted towards the gap, but it could grow as he matures and learns how to pull pitches. Last year he powered 29 doubles which accounted for his .511 slugging average. His best bet may be as a second baseman or utility player.

Luis Oviedo SP (SS) - The Venezuelan does not have an overpowering fastball but it carries enough movement to get a lot of swings and misses at the lower levels. At 6′4″ the fastball could carry more heat as he matures. Currently it sits in the low 90s but it can hit the mid-90s. The change is his best secondary pitch. The biggest decision for Luis is whether he should focus on his slider or curve as his breaking pitch.

Detroit Tigers

Rodolfo Fajardo SP (Dominican) - This was his second year in the Dominican summer league. His ERA dropped more than two runs to 1.07 in 13 starts. Next year he should make it state side.

Kansas City Royals

Marcelo Martinez LH SP (Rookie) - Last year Martinez pitched in the Mexican League. In the Rookie League he had back to back games where he struck out 12 and 10 hitters. In the latter game he threw six no hit innings before he relieved. The Mexican native did strike out 71 in 57 innings but at age 22 he was old for the league.

Minnesota Twins

Stephen Gonsalves LHSP (AAA) - The lefty will not wow you with his heat but he will dazzle you with his change and the location of his pitches. At AAA he limited the opposition to a .187 average. Once promoted to the major leagues the hitters there did not find his stuff so dazzling, ripping him for a .291 average. Stephen is a pitcher who survives on his location and in the major leagues he walked 18 hitters in 21 innings. He needs to show better control if he is to survive.

Alex Kirilloff OF (High and Low A) - Despite his Tommy John surgery last year myworld thought he had the best arm of the outfielders in the Future’s game. He does carry enough power to hit for 20 plus homeruns. The 2015 first round pick makes excellent contact, giving him a .348 average in A ball.

Royce Lewis SS (Low A) - The first pick in the 2017 draft has borderline defensive tools to stay at short. His arm and range are not great but his bat is strong and his speed is electrifying. Last year he stole 84 bases in A ball. If Byron Buxton does not pan out don’t be surprised with a move to center field, where his speed could cover tons of acreage.

Ryan Jeffers C (Rookie) - The second round 2018 pick tore through the rookie league hitting .422 with a 1.121 OPS. He walked 20 times to his 16 K’s. He found the promotion to Low A a bit more challenging, hitting .288 with a .807 OPS, still good numbers.

Victor Heredia 1B (Dominican) - Victor found his second season in the Dominican League beneficial, hitting .330 with 8 homeruns. He raised his OPS 200 points from .708 to .906. As a right handed hitting first baseman, he has not shown over whelming power, which could be a deciding factor when determining major league service time.