Archive for the 'Angels' Category

Top Puerto Rican Prospects

Saturday, March 6th, 2021

The major league draft has been a drain for youths who wish to play baseball in Puerto Rico. Prior to being included in the draft major league teams followed international rules and signed Puerto Rican players once they reached 16 years of age. Once Puerto Rico was included in the draft major league teams could not sign players until after they completed high school.

The challenge with that is many high schools in Puerto Rico do not play baseball. So if a youth beyond 16 wants to continue his baseball career he has to go to one of the academies. If the family does not have money that can be a drain on the pocketbook, though myworld is certain scholarships are offered to talented prospects with pay back coming once the youth signs a contract.

Last year, in the 2020 shortened five round draft no Puerto Rican was selected by major league baseball. The draft will now be chopped to twenty rounds from the traditional forty rounds. That will make it even tougher for Puerto Rican youngsters to be drafted. That is a loss for baseball, as youths now turn to soccer or basketball for their sport of choice. If not for the academies, baseball would probably be dead in Puerto Rico.

Below are the top ten prospects to watch from Puerto Rico. I could have missed someone because many Puerto Ricans now travel stateside to continue their baseball careers. Willi Castro is the only player to graduate from last year’s list. He was the third rated prospect. Edwin Rios saw some major league time.

1. Heliot Ramos OF (Giants) - I believe he may have been the last Puerto Rican drafted in the first round, selected by the Giants in 2017. Ramos has above average grades in all the tools categories, but power and a strong right field arm may be his best tools. While he has the speed to play center, it is not in the burner category, so right field could be his best fit. Much of the speed he had when drafted has been lost as he has matured and gotten bigger. The power should equate to 25-30 homeruns per year, though hitting homeruns in the Giants stadium is not easy. He did recover from a poor 2018 season when he slugged just .396. In 2019 he raised his average 45 points (.290) and his slugging average almost 100 points (.496). Expect him to make his major league debut sometime late in 2021, especially if he has a good spring.

2. Mario Feliciano C (Brewers) - Mario was the 75th player selected in the 2016 draft, a second round supplemental pick. Puerto Rico has been known for developing catchers with the Molina brothers, Sandy Alomar Jr., Ivan Rodriguez, Jorge Posada and Benito Santiago, just to name a few. Mario hopes to add his name to that list. His arm is top notch, but his bat could be even better. In 2019 his bat broke out for 19 homeruns with a .270 average. There is still too much swing and miss in his game (143 whiffs in 119 games) and he needs to improve in the other defensive areas of the game, such as pitch framing and calling a game. He played three games in AA in 2019. That may be where he starts the 2021 season with a callup possible this year. Catchers can sometimes take longer to develop so don’t expect a larger role for him until 2023.

3. Edwin Rios 3B/1B (Dodgers) - The Dodgers resigned Justin Turner, but for baseball he is at that age where he will need soe down time to rejuvenate. Expect Edwin to be that replacement. The sixth round 2015 pick saw a lot of power in 2020, with eight homeruns in just 32 games. While his slugging average reached .645 his OBA was only .301. In a brief appearance with the Dodgers in 2019 he slugged .617 with a .393 OBA. That year he also hit a career high 31 homeruns in AAA. So the power in his bat is a real threat. His defense at third can be a little awkward as might be expected from someone who is 6′3″ so his best position could be first base. If the DH arrives in the National League next year he could see a more permanent presence in the Dodgers lineup. Expect him to be with the Dodgers in 2021 playing a bench role to cover the corner infield positions.

4. Matthew Lugo SS (Red Sox) - The second round 2019 second round pick has some pretty impressive blood lines. He is the nephew of Carlos Beltran. If he can harness just half of Beltran’s production the Red Sox would consider him a success. The power genes have so far not appeared with Matthew as they did for Carlos. In his first and only minor league season in 2019 he only hit one homerun and slugged .326. The Red Sox hope the power will come as he matures. His defensive actions at short may rely more on his quickness than his speed. Matthew carries above average speed to stick at short and his arm is strong, but it will never measure up to the elite shortstops on defense. The Red Sox have Jeter Downs rated ahead of him for a middle infield spot, but with a good 2021 season Matthew could put himself on the spot light. Expect him to start the 2021 season in A ball, with a Red Sox arrival time delayed until 2023.

5. Jose DeLeon RHP (Reds) - Jose has been on this list for a number of years. It took until the 24th round for the Dodgers to draft him in 2013. That would not make him a drafted player in 2021. He was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays prior to the 2017 season but arm injuries limited his first year with the Rays and Tommy John surgery prevented him from playing in 2018. The Rays traded him to the Reds after the 2019 season. Now that he is finally healthy he could be a back end rotation piece or fill a bullpen role for the Reds in 2021. His fastball has increased a couple ticks, getting to the low end of the mid-90s spectrum. His change has been his best pitch, but with the increased velocity on his fastball there is clearer separation. A slider gives him a third pitch to be a starter. The Reds gave him five opportunities to pitch in the bullpen in 2020 but he gave up 12 runs in those six innings, walking 11 and striking out 10. At 29 years of age he needs to make the Reds pitching mix for the 2021 season or be released to the free agent market. Whether he makes the team will be dependent on his spring performance.

6. Erik Rivera LHP/OF (Angels) - The Angels love their duality. After signing Shohei Ohtani from Japan as a pitcher/hitter they have made a practice of drafting players who have the ability to pitch and hit. Erik was a fourth round pick in 2019 for his ability to both hit and pitch. With a fastball that sits in the low 90s, a big bender curveball and change his best rout to the majors may be his arm. There is power in his bat, but that comes with a lot of difficulty making contact. In 2019 he struck out 31 times in 21 games. Erik should start the 2021 season in A ball, with a more games behind the mound than at the plate.

7. Yan Contreras SS (Reds) - Yan did not get drafted until the 12th round of the 2019 draft. Right now defense is his game and the tools are there for him to stick at shortstop. The big question is whether his bat will hit enough to see the major leagues. Currently, he lacks any kind of power, but the hope is that at 6′2″ that power can be developed. In his 20 game minor league debut in 2019 he hit only .145. He did show the ability to walk with 14 and his two triples and four stolen bases in five attempts does show some game like speed. It will be a stretch for him to be a major leaguer, but 2021 will see his journey start in A ball.

8. Jivani Moran LHP (Twins) - A seventh round 2015 draft pick. His first year with the Twins they put him in the rotation, but after that most of his time has been spent in the bullpen. The strikeout numbers are very impressive, but that is not because of the velocity of his fastball. His career totals are 224 whiffs in just 158 innings. Those swings and misses can be attributed to his change that is unhittable at the minor league level. Those strikeout numbers increased at AA (13.1 per 9 innings) but his ERA sky rocketed (4.98). The big challenge will be whether his change can fool major league hitters. That test may come sometime in 2021.

9. Edwin Diaz utility (Athletics) - The 2013 15th round pick has been shuttling around the game a bit. The 2019 season could see him make his debut as a utility player for the Athletics. In 2019 he played a lot of third and short. Edwin lacks the range to play short on a consistent basis and his bat lacks the power to be a starter at third, but if you need a fill in he could be a valuable commodity to play both. His minor league career high for homeruns is 15 in 2018, but he hit 14 in 2019. His batting average can be a bit problematic, sitting in the low .200s the last couple years. The Athletics have a shortage at the middle infield position so the 2021 season will be an opportunity for Diaz to fill a role. At 25 years of age, his time is now.

10. Delvin Perez (Cardinals) - To be honest myworld could not find anyone else. Delvin was a first round pick of the Cardinals in 2016. Perez dominated in the Puerto Rican leagues, but his bat has fallen short in the minor leagues. The defensive tools are there but the bat is awfully silent. The lack of a 2020 season gave him no opportunity to improve on his paltry .325 slugging percentage in 2019. His career slugging percentage in the minor leagues since being drafted is .317. Defensively, he made 24 errors in 2019 at short and that will also need to improve. His best hope is some power develops, he gains some defensive consistency and he rises up the minor league ladder after a successful 2021 season in High A.

Myworlds Top 2021 Prospects 50-41

Sunday, February 28th, 2021

Shortstops dominate this ten, especially if you fit in Jeter Downs as a shortstop. Righthanded pitchers follow with four. The cool thing about today is that spring training games for the major leagues began. Looking at box scores again was a pleasant experience.

50. Max Meyer RHP (Marlins) - Meyer is a 2020 first round pick, the third player taken in the draft. He starred at Minnesota, beginning his college career as a closer and then moving into the starting rotation as a sophomore. At only 6′0″ he does not have the height that scouts would like to see in a righthander, but his fastball sits in the mid-90s, touching triple digits on occasion. He also has a nasty slider that he used quite effectively closing for the collegiate national team. Those two pitches will allow him to reach the major leagues as a closer. Where he fits will depend on the development of his change. Meyer has no issues with command, so if his change can represent a solid third pitch he could fit in a rotation. If it lags behind he could always fill the role of the closer. As a college drafted pitcher his window is short, much shorter if the Marlins want to use him out of the bullpen. If used in relief he could be in the major leagues in late 2021, but service time issues will probably delay his arrival until 2022 as the Marlins tune him up to be in the rotation.

49. Brandon Marsh OF (Angels) - Early in his career the second round 2016 pick had trouble generating power. At 6′4″ the build and strength exists for him to carry the ball a long ways. He was also projected as a right fielder. Those attitudes have changed now. For a big man he does have excellent speed that will allow him to patrol centerfield. Presently Mike Trout could be a barrier and in the future Jordyn Adams will be his nemesis for that spot. The arm could easily allow him to fit in right field. The expected power in his bat has yet to manifest itself, with just a .408 slugging percentage the last two years. The 2021 season may change that. Marsh improved on his swing and miss proclivities in 2019 from 2018. In 2018 he struck out 158 times in just 127 games, while in 2019 that improved to just 99 times in 101 games. His speed will make him a threat on the basepaths, with the possibility to eclipse 20 steals per year. With some good numbers Marsh could see the Angels outfield sometime in 2021. Jo Adell will get the first opportunity to play the outfield, but if his struggles continue Marsh is next on the depth chart.

48. Alek Thomas OF (Diamondbacks) - The second round 2018 pick of the Diamondbacks carries three impressive tools. His lefthanded bat scorches line drives through the infield which could make him a consistent .300 hitter. He also has impressive speed that will make him an above average defensive centerfielder and a pest once on the bases. What is lacking in his game is the ability to hit for power, and an arm to fit in right field. The homerun numbers could reach the double digit teens, but with greater strength he may be able to improve on those numbers. A quick release may allow him to stay in centerfield. A move to left would require greater power numbers in his bat. His career minor league slugging average of .455 is not bad. Alek should see the Diamondbacks sometime in 2022, after starting this year in AA.

47. Jeter Downs SS/2B (Red Sox) - The supplemental first round pick of the Reds has already bounced around a couple times. The Reds first traded him to the Dodgers in the Yasiel Puig/Matt Kemp trade and the Dodgers later traded him to the Red Sox in the Mookie Betts/David Price transaction. He was named after his father’s favorite shortstop. His overall tools are not extraordinary, but he is above average in all categories. The arm and range exist for him to stay at shortstop, but those tools work better for him at second base. If he had a monster bat the Red Sox could choose to keep him at short. His bat should carry decent power and swim around the .270 pool. In 2019 he combined for 24 homeruns and he also stole 24 bases. Where he plays in the middle infield could be determined by the Red Sox needs. He will start the 2021 season in AA and is just a phone call away from making his major league debut.

46. Logan Gilbert RHP (Mariners) - The Mariners 2018 first round pick stands an imposing 6′6″. That height becomes more imposing when you have to stand in the batter’s box to face his mid-90s fastball. Fortunately for hitters he has pretty good command of his pitches. The slider is his preferred breaking pitch and the change is an impressive third offering. In his lone season in 2019 he rose to AA, going 10-5 with a 2.15 ERA. The opposition only hit .198 against him and he had a fabulous 33/165 walk to whiff ratio. The Mariners are still rebuilding and service time appears to be an issue with Mariners personnel, so despite his quick ascent in 2019 Gilbert will probably not size up for a Mariners uniform until 2022, unless for some reason the Mariners find themselves in the playoffs in 2021.

45. Spencer Howard RHP (Phillies) - This 2017 second round pick throws hard. His fastball sits in the mid-90s but it consistently bleeds into the high 90s. His changeup may be his second best pitch, which if played off his fastball makes him tough to hit. He also throws two breaking pitches, with the slider being his preferred pitch. Shoulder issues limited his 2019 season to 15 starts. He was pretty dominant during those starts with a 2.03 ERA and a .173 opposition average. He carried a 16/94 walk to whiff ratio in 71 innings. This performance put him on the Phillies radar and he made his major league debut in 2020. It was not awe inspiring performance (5.92 ERA, .300 opposition average). His command deserted him in the major leagues with 10 walks in 24 innings and six taters. This should be a wake up call for what he needs to do to have success in a major league rotation. Expect him to return to the Phillies rotation sometime in the middle of the 2021 season and achieve a little more success.

44. Noelvis Marte SS (Mariners) - The Mariners signed him for $1.55 million in 2018. He has yet to play state side, but he put up some impressive numbers in the Dominican Summer League (.309/.371/.511) with 9 homeruns and 17 stolen bases. He carriers some speed but as he has grown bigger some of that speed has disappeared. This could limit his range at short and force a move to third base. Fortunately, the bat contains enough power that he could be a fit at third base. His arm can be a little erratic, but it is strong. The Mariners will probably start him somewhere in A ball in 2021 with a major league arrival time delayed until 2023. The baseball world will know more in 2021 what he can do once he hits stateside.

43. Nolan Jones 3B (Indians) - The second round 2016 pick has some thunder in his bat. Many considered him the best high school bat in the 2016 draft. He tends to be extra patient at the plate, walking 96 times in .2019. The last three minor league seasons he has had OBAs over .400. That patience at the plate also results in a lot of strikeouts, more than one per game. If he can reach his projected 30 per year homerun power the Indians will accept the abundant swings and misses. While he played shortstop in high school, his lack of foot speed limits his range and has forced a move to third base. His 6′4″ height creates challenges for his defensive prowess, but he should be able to stick at the position. The Indians could move him to AAA in 2021, which means a late season callup could be in his future in 2021.

42. Ronny Mauricio SS (Mets) - While he is listed at shortstop, this 2017 international signing will eventually move to third base. The Mets shelled out $2.1 million to sign him, so they have faint hopes they can keep him at short. His lack of foot speed creates range issues. The move to the hot corner will put pressure on him to develop more power. His current minor league slugging percentage is .374. His power is limited to the gaps, but at 6′3″ the Mets are confident that his strength will grow with maturity. Ronny will probably begin the 2021 season in High A. With Bret Baty projected to be the Mets third baseman of the future it will be interesting to see where Ronny is destined when he is ready to reach the Mets sometime in 2023.

41. Jazz Chisolm SS (Marlins) - The Marlins traded a successful pitcher in Zac Gallen to get “all that Jazz”. The Diamondbacks signed him out of the Bahamas for just $200,000. The hope is that Jazz will make that trade look beneficial in 2021. His first spring training at bat this year was a homerun. He made his major league debut in 2020 but struggled for a .161 average. In his last two minor league seasons he has slugged 46 homeruns. Making contact has been his biggest challenge. In those last two minor league seasons he whiffed 296 times in just 224 games. The defensive tools are there for him to stick at shortstop. If he does not improve his contact ability he could be a 30 homer, .230 average type of player who can steal 20 bases per year. The Marlins will give him another opportunity to play shortstop in 2021, but they are probably grooming him more for 2022 to be a starter.

Top Canadian Prospects

Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Myworlds 2021 Top 100 Prospects - 70 - 61

Monday, February 22nd, 2021

The top 2021 prospect list continues. A number of veteran minor league pitchers on this group of ten, trying to overcome injuries and inconsistency with their command.

70. D.L Hall LHP (Orioles) - The Orioles are picking up some pitching pieces in their rebuilding effort. Hall was drafted in the first round in 2017. Lefthanders are a nice commodity and when they can consistently hit the mid-90s like Hall they are gold. Plus he has two quality breaking pitches (slider and curve) and a change. There are times when he has trouble finding the plate, but with more experience he should be able to refine that. When he does gain command he will be ready for the O’s rotation sometime in 2022. Minor league hitters have a career .201 batting average against him, so once he finds the plate more his 3.46 ERA will see significant reduction. Hall should start the 2021 season in AA.

69. Michael Kopech RHP (White Sox) - Michael opted out of the 2020 season. The 2014 first round pick was just beginning to harness his control when pitching for the White Sox in 2018 when an elbow injury resulting in Tommy John ended his season. He did not pitch in 2019 because of the injury and he opted out for 2020. That is a lot of time off for a pitcher who struggled with finding the plate early in his career. Prior to the Tommy John surgery he was considered the hardest thrower in baseball, consistently hitting triple digits with his fastball, popping as high as 105. He also has a nice dive with his slider. If his control issues return he could move to the pen, but he does have a change and curve which gives him the requisite number of pitches to vary his repertoire. At 24 years of age he is at the point in his career where he needs to be in the major league starting rotation. After being out of baseball for two years expect him to start in AAA with a mid-season callup once he achieves success.

68. Clark Schmidt RHP (Yankees) - One thing Clark lacks is having a flashy name for a team like the Yankees. The 2017 first round pick also lacks intimidating height, standing at 6′1″. The fastball can reach the mid-90s, but normally sits in the low 90s. The curve ball may be his best pitch, keeping hitters off balance as they wait for his fastball. Clark throws strikes and gets his swings and misses in the minor leagues. Last year he made his major league debut, and the results indicate it was a little more challenging. He did struggle with his command, walking five in just six innings, so taking control of the strike zone as he does with the minor league hitters would improve his performance. The fifth starter spot in the Yankees rotation is an open competition, but expect him to start the season in AA. At 25 years of age he is ready for a second major league opportunity and that should come sometime in the 2021 season.

67. Hunter Greene RHP (Reds) - The 2017 first round pick is another hard thrower that consistently hits triple digits with his fastball. Unfortunately, Tommy John surgery prevented a 2019 season and the corona virus prevented him from pitching in any meaningful games in 2020. When he did appear in games he had struggles finding the plate and hitters found his stuff presentable, batting .261 against him. Locating his pitchers better would improve those results and enhancing his secondary offerings would give him something other than heat. Hunter throws a quality slider at times, but it lacks consistency. At 6′5 inches he has a nice plane to his delivery. If the rotation does not work out he could find a spot as the closer. Pitching in the pen would only require him to focus on commanding two pitches, rather than three or four as a starter. The last time he pitched in 2018 was in low A. He is still a couple years away from the Reds rotation and should begin 2021 in high A.

66. Simeon Woods-Richardson RHP (Blue Jays) - The Blue Jays have stocked up for a play off run. The last level this 2018 second round pick pitched was at High A. The Mets originally drafted him but sent him to the Jays to acquire Marcus Stroman. Simeon is not an overpowering pitcher by today’s standard, sitting in the low 90s, but reaching the mid-90s on occasion. A quality changeup makes the fastball seem to have more zip and two breaking pitches give him a varied repertoire. Simeon can also find the plate with all his pitches. Expect him to start the 2021 season in AA. With another prospect Nate Pearson slated for the starting rotation, it would be difficult for the Jays to rely on two rookies to fill their rotation during a playoff run.

65. Daulton Varsho C (Diamondbacks) - Our first non-pitcher to this group of ten. This second round 2017 pick is not your typical catcher. He has some speed, which allows him to roam in the outfield. For the 2020 season the Diamondbacks had him play some left field. He made his major league debut in 2020 with 101 at bats, but only hit .188 with a .366 slugging average. He will need to improve on those numbers if he hopes to play outfield in the future. As a catcher those numbers are acceptable if he can bring the defense. That may not be his strength, with a fringe average arm and no spectacular attributes behind the plate to make up for his average throwing arm. He did hit 18 homeruns in the minors in 2019, so perhaps a second look at major league pitching may improve his performance. Expect the Diamondbacks to start him in AAA. He could be used as a super utility player who can play outfield and DH, but also act as a second or third catcher.

64. Triston Casas 1B (Red Sox) - The Red Sox have a glut of corner infielders. Finding a spot for their 2018 first round pick among this glut will be a challenge for the Red Sox. He has a big time power bat and a strong arm that would allow him to play in the outfield, but his legs have too much tortoise in them to allow him to cover much ground in the grass. He did play for the 18 and under United States national team that won the gold medal, hitting three homeruns but hitting just .250. That could be what he does in the major leagues, hit around .250 with 30 plus homeruns. In his one full minor league season in 2019 he did hit 20 homeruns with a .256 average. Eventually the Red Sox will have to make room for him, but that may have to wait until the 2023 season. Triston will start 2021 in High A.

63. Jo Adell OF (Angels) - The major league struggles may have took the shine off his prospect status. The Angels brought him up towards the end of the 2020 season and he hit just. 161 with 55 whiffs in 38 games. The acquisition of Dexter Fowler will keep Jo down in AAA for at least half the 2021 season. Jo has the potential to be a five tool athlete, with power, speed and a strong arm to play right field. His power has yet to show itself in the minor leagues, with 12 homeruns his high for a year. His speed does not create stolen base opportunities. On defense in 2020 he had two balls pop out of his glove and go over the fence for homeruns. So those tools still are raw and there is a lot of swing and miss present in his swing. Expect the Angels to start Jo in AAA and promote him to the Angels once he shows success.

62. Ke’Bryan Hayes 3B (Pirates) - The son of Charlie and a first round pick of 2015 had a mini super star major league season in 2020. He hit .376 with five homeruns and a .682 slugging percentage in 24 major league games. Prior to that he was considered a great defensive third baseman whose glove would lead to gold, but a questionable bat that would not hit enough to justify his position at the hot corner. His minor league career average is .279 with a .399 slugging. He shows good patience at the plate, so if his break out major league season is the result of better recognition of pitches, then he should be an All Star third baseman for the Pirates in 2021. Expect him to start the season there, but don’t be surprised if offensive struggles result in a demotion to the minor leagues.

61. Forest Whitely RHP (Astros) - At one point the velocity and stuff coming out of this first round 2016 pick’s arm had him rated as one of the top pitchers in baseball. With his 6′7″ inch frame his reach to the plate was scary for hitters. Or maybe not. He has had issues staying healthy and a 50 game suspension because of drugs has limited his development. The fastball hits triple digits but it has trouble finding the plate. His curve and change are considered quality pitches, but lack consistency. The 2019 results (7.99 ERA) show all those quality pitches do not have trouble finding bats. Opponents hit him at a .259 clip with 11 homeruns in 60 innings. He also walked 44, but struck out 86, meaning his pitches sometimes found their mark. The Astros have spent a lot of time working on his mechanics. Depending on where that process is, he could start the season in extended spring, or at the lower minor league levels, but once they are happy with where he is at he should be pitching in AAA. With success there the Astro fans should see him on the mound in 2021.

Myworlds Top 100 Prospects - 100 to 91

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021

It is kind of a funky list. We used Baseball America, MLB.com, Razball, Rotoball and Prospects 365. Razball and Prospects 365 seemed to be on the same page in ignoring top pitching prospects like Mackenzie Gore, Nate Pearson, Spencer Howard, Max Meyer, Matthew Liberatore, Clark Schmidt and Michael Kopech, creating a little lower rating for these players than is probably expected.

100. Gilberto Jimenez OF (Red Sox) - The Red Sox signed Gilberto for just $10,000 in 2017. His speed in centerfield is his top carrying tool, creating a stellar defensive centerfielder who can cause havoc on the basepaths once he arrives in the major leagues. He lacks power, but won the batting title in the New York Penn League with a .359 average his first season stateside. Gilberto is a slap hitter who likes to go the opposite way. Only 20 percent of his hits went for extra bases. As he matures he could get stronger, but expecting double digit homerun totals from him is asking a lot. It will still be about three years before Red Sox fans see him patrolling center field, but if he can remind fans of Johnny Damon he will be well worth the wait.

99. Jordan Balazovic RHP (Twins) - Jordan slipped to the fifth round of the 2015 draft. The Canadian righthander had the intent to play for Auburn. At 6′5″ 215 pounds he can be very intimidating on the mound, especially after he throws his mid 95-97 mile per hour fastball past the plate. The path through the minors has been slow so far. He only reached High A in 2019 and last year did not pitch in any regular games. The starters repertoire is there with his slider and change as decent second and third pitches. In 2019 he created a lot of swings and misses with his slider, recording a 129 to 93 walk to innings pitched ratio. Jordan could start the 2021 season in AA putting him on the spot light to the Twins rotation around 2023.

98. Lewin Diaz 1B (Marlins) - At one point Lewin was a Twin. They traded him to the Marlins for relief help (Sergio Romo). The Twins signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 2013 for $1.4 million. At 6′4″ he packs a lot of power. The 2019 season was his breakout year when he hit 27 homeruns. His lack of speed will restrict him to first base. Normally a decent contact hitter for someone carrying his kind of power he struggled in a Marlins call up in 2020, hitting just .154 with a .205 slugging percentage. He struck out 12 times in 39 at bats. His career minor league average is .268 so that could be an aberration. He will get another opportunity to show he belongs in the major leagues, though it may have to wait until the return of the designated hitter to the National League in 2022.

97. Jordyn Adams OF (Angels) - The Angels outfield is crowded with Mike Trout and prospects Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh set to surround him at the corners. Jordyn was a first round pick of the Angels in 2017 and is only 21 years old so they can wait for him. He has terrific speed, the kind of athlete who could have played college football for North Carolina after graduating from high school. At 6′2″ he has some power to go with that speed. In 2019 he slugged 8 homeruns while stealing 16 bases. When he is ready to be called up to the outfield for the Angels Mike Trout may have to shift to a corner outfield position. Don’t expect that to happen until 2024.

96. Aaron Bracho 2B (Indians) - Aaron was a $1.5 million bonus baby signing by the Indians in 2017 out of Venezuela. Signed as a shortstop he lacks the tools to stay there in a full time role. The Indians hope he turns into an offensive oriented second sacker. He makes good contact with a 28/29 walk to whiff ratio. The ability to hit the gaps for power is there as well, with a .570 slugging percentage in short season ball in 2019. There are no tools that stand out but he also has no glaring weaknesses. Aaron could fit in a utility role if a starting job is not available. That won’t happen until sometime in 2023.

95. Keibert Ruiz C (Dodgers) - Keibert is currently blocked by Will Smith in the major leagues, but many consider Ruiz the better defensive catcher. Smith arrived first in the major leagues and showed the ability to hit. Keibert was signed for $140,000 out of Venezuela in 2014. He may be a better defensive catcher but he needs to show effectiveness with the bat. His power falls far short of Smith but he did homer in his first major league at bat. His major league showing was only for two games, where he hit .250 in eight at bats. Injuries have slowed Ruiz ascent to the major leagues, limiting him to just 85 games in 2019. The Dodgers will start him in AAA in 2021 to give him his at bats. At some point the Dodgers will have to choose between Ruiz or Smith as their starting catcher and trade the other.

94. Hunter Bishop OF (Giants) - The Giants are starting to stock up on outfielders, with Heliot Ramos, Bishop and Alexander Canario a good threesome to work from. Hunter was the Giants first round pick in 2019. At 6′5″ he has the typical look of a major league right fielder but the speed is there to patrol center. He shows a lot of patience at the plate, but perhaps too much with a 38/39 walk to whiff ratio in 32 games for the 2019 season. A wide receiver in high school he has the athleticism to make an impact with his speed in centerfield and his bat for power. The Giants do not expect him to patrol their outfield until 2023.

93. Randy Arozarena OF (Rays) - There are a number of rookies who put on quite a power display in the major leagues, but are never heard from again after their rookie season. We don’t expect that to happen to Randy, but we also don’t expect the homerun barrage he put on in the playoffs and his .641 slugging percentage in 2020 with the Rays. Myworld always wondered why the Cardinals did not give Arozarena an opportunity to play in their outfield, but they traded him for Matthew Liberatore, who may have a greater long term impact. Randy was singed for $1.25 million out of Cuba in 2016. The biggest change in his game was elevating his swing, turning ground balls into fly balls. If that power continues he could become the coveted five tool superstar who patrols centerfield for the Rays until they can no longer afford him. They will at least have him for the 2021 season.

92 Heston Kjerstad OF (Orioles) - Heston was an early second pick in the 2020 draft by the Orioles. A couple players were projected to go with that pick, but the Orioles are not complaining. He was considered to have the best lefthanded power in the draft, so he should be bouncing balls off the scoreboard in right field at Camden Yards in a couple years. His lack of speed will limit him to a corner outfield. He also proved himself on the International scene becoming one of the best hitters on the United States college national team. Since there was no 2020 minor league season Heston may start in extended spring training before being given a chance to perform in High A. As a college player he could rise quickly, with an arrival in the Orioles lineup as early as late 2022.

91. A. J. Puk LHP (Athletics) - If not for the injuries this 6′7 lefthander would already be an established major league starter. He has had two seasons where he was expected to pitch in the Athletics starting rotation, but injuries limited his participation. The 2016 first round pick has a piercing fastball that can hit triple digits as it crosses the plate, consistently hitting the high 90s. A lack of command has also created some difficulty for him, making some think that his best fit may be in the bullpen. His fastball and slider are a deadly combination and his change is decent enough to make it work in the rotation. The Athletics will hope the third time in the starting rotation is the charm in 2021. If injuries continue to slay him perhaps it is time to move him to the bullpen where he could fit in the closer role.

Top Lefthanded Pitching Prospects

Sunday, December 20th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top Right Field Prospects

Friday, December 11th, 2020

These are the players with the strong arms that are not fleet afoot. They also have power bats. In a previous post we did the top left field prospects, whose arms are usually suspect. The throw from right field to third base is the longest in baseball, requiring a strong arm. Next myworld will list our top centerfield prospects. Some players left off the centerfield prospect list could probably make the right field or left field prospect list because the centerfielders tend to be the more athletic of the three positions.

1. Julio Rodriguez (Mariners) - Only 19 years old, the Dominican signed for $1.75 million in 2017. Most five tool players are planted in centerfield. For Julio, he has all five tools, but speed may be his shortcoming. As he matures and gets bigger that speed may drop to average. A strong arm and a power bat makes him a cinch for right field. His bat was only allowed to show itself for one minor league season in the United States, where he hit .326 with 12 homeruns and a .540 slugging percentage. The bulk of those numbers were accrued in the California League where in 17 games he hit .468 with a .738 slugging percentage. He has the potential to be one of the most potent bats in the major leagues in the next couple years. Expect him to play a full season in AA in 2021 with a possible late season major league promotion in 2022. Or he could pull a Juan Soto and hit so impressively in AA that he gets a mid-season promotion.

2. J.J. Bleday (Marlins) - The Marlins 2019 first round pick has a big time power bat. His speed is a tick below average but his arm is strong. Myworld saw him play in the College World Series in 2019, so we could be a bit biased in this ranking. He was the NCAA Division homerun leader in 2019 with 27. He had part of a season in the Florida State League and slugged three more dingers, with a .257 batting average and a disappointing .379 slugging percentage. College players who have played into the World Series come into the minor league season with their energy a bit sapped. His 6′3″ frame is built for power with a lefthanded swing that makes consistent contact. He should rise quickly in Miami, perhaps making his major league debut as early as 2021.

3. Dylan Carlson (Cardinals) - The 2016 first round pick made his major league debut last season. Major league pitching proved to be a bit elusive for him, with a .200 batting average in 35 games and a poor 8/35 walk to whiff ratio. He had a breakout season in 2019 with 26 homeruns and a .542 slugging percentage. Prior to his 2019 season his batting average hovered around the .250 range, but the 2019 season saw it climb to .292, despite his poorer walk to whiff rate. The speed exists to play center, but it is not burner speed and the arm is above average, but it would not rank at the level of Rodriguez. Dylan should be the starting rightfielder for the Cardinals in 2021.

4. Kristian Robinson (Diamondbacks) - The toolsy outfielder from the Bahamas signed for a sweet $2.5 million in 2017. Like Rodriguez, he has all the tools to play center, but his speed lacks the burner quality of most of the top prospects who play that position. His arm has plenty of zip for right. As a 17 year old he was already playing in the United States rookie leagues and hitting .279, showing some pop with his seven homeruns and a .428 slugging percentage. His youth made him a bit overmatched against the top pitchers, which could explain his high 144 whiffs in 126 minor league games. The expectation is that his contact rate will improve as he sees more pitches. Expect to see him reach the major league some time late in the 2022 season.

5. Brandon Marsh (Angels) - This 2016 second round pick has all the quality tools to play centerfield. The Angels appear to have a more talented player at that position in Mike Trout. Perhaps Marsh will force Trout to slide over to right field. So far, Marsh has not shown the power his 6′4″ frame would seem to carry. He did slug .548 in his first season of minor league ball in 2017, but the next two seasons his slugging average dropped to .408. His ability to make contact seemed to improve in 2019. The Angels outfield is crowded, but Marsh should have the ability to squeeze in a role sometime in 2021.

6. Heliot Ramos (Giants) - The 2017 first round pick out of Puerto Rico took a little back step in 2018, struggling with a .245 average with 136 strikeouts in 124 games. He improved on those numbers in 2019, polishing up his prospect luster with a .290 average and raising his slugging average from .396 to .481. Speed will be his weakest tool, but it is more than capable for playing centerfield if the Giants choose to use him there. As he puts on more weight to his 6′0″ frame that speed may decrease. Over the years the Giants outfield has been traditionally weak, ever since the departure of Barry Bonds. Over the last couple years it has strengthened the farm system with Hunter Bishop and Alexander Canario also being considered top level prospects. Ramos should see his tools test major league pitching sometime in 2021.

7. Jesus Sanchez (Marlins) - The 2014 signing out of the Dominican Republic was a bargain for Tampa Bay at $400,000. They eventually traded him to the Marlins for a couple pitchers (Nick Anderson and Trevor Richards). Early in his career he carried the speed to play centerfield. He has added a bit to his 6′3″ frame and now carries about 220 pounds, making right field a better fit for him. With Bleday in right he may have to move to left field. His bat does not carry the explosive power of Bleday and could be a little short for left field. His minor league slugging percentage sits at .459, but that has been inflated by his earlier years when his numbers were much higher. Jesus made his major league debut last year and could only muster one hit, a double in 25 at bats. The 2021 season should see him start the season in AAA with another promotion from the Marlins if his minor league numbers warrant it.

8. Robert Hassell (Padres) - Not a lot is known about the 2020 first round pick. He played for the United States 18 and under team and was selected to the All World team after hitting .514 with a .886 slugging percentage created from 5 doubles and two homeruns. He also drove in 14 runs. That motivated the Padres to make him the first high school player selected in the 2020 draft. His arm is not a cannon and his speed is a tick above average. His best tool could be his ability to hit for average. It will be a couple years before the Padres see him patrolling their outfield grass.

9. Brennen Davis (Cubs) - The 2018 second round pick has the speed to cover centerfield. As his 6′4″ frame fills out his speed should reduce, making him more adaptable for right field. His power is beginning to develop. In his first year of minor league ball he failed to send a ball over the fence in 57 at bats, slugging a weak .333. The next year eight balls left the yard and his slugging average elevated to .525. He was limited to 50 games that year because of injuries. Despite his above average speed it has not translated to stolen bases. It will still be a couple more years before he sees the Cubs outfield. The 2019 injury only allowed him to play 50 games in A ball. He will probably start the 2021 season in A ball with a quick promotion if the season warrants it.

10. Austin Hendrick (Reds) - Austin was the 12th pick in the 2020 draft. The lefthanded bat carries impressive power with speed just above average that would allow him to survive in center. There is a question on his ability to make contact, but since there was no 2020 minor league season it is unclear how he will adapt to professional pitching. He struggled a bit with Team USA when facing quality pitching. Reds fans will probably have to wait until 2024 before they see him roam their outfield.

Top Left Field Prospects

Saturday, December 5th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top Second Base Prospects

Sunday, November 22nd, 2020

Finding prospects at second base is one of the more difficult challenges. These players are usually shortstops who failed to make it at that position because another player was better. Myworld does not want to guess what shortstops will eventually move to second so the players on this list have played some games at second base, even though for some their primary position may still be shortstop.

1. Vidal Brujan (Rays) - Myworld likes his speed. The Rays are deep at shortstop with major leaguer Willy Adames and minor leaguers Wander Franco, the top prospect in baseball and the smooth fielding Xavier Edwards. Vidal was a bargain basement $15,000 signing out of the Dominican Republic. He is probably the fastest player on this list, stealing over 100 bases combined the last two years. He does not have a lot of power but he has hit over .300 in two of his five seasons. He is primarily a second baseman but last year played some shortstop. He has the range and the arm for short but his defensive tools are better suited at second. He did not see any time last year, but should start 2021 at AAA with the likelihood of making his major league debut.

2. Jeter Downs (Red Sox) - Jeter was drafted as a supplemental first round pick in 2017 by the Reds and has already played for three different teams. The Reds traded him to the Dodgers in the Yasiel Puig/Matt Kemp trade and in 2020 the Red Sox acquired him in the Mookie Betts/David Price trade. His primary position is shortstop, named after one of the best in the game (Derek Jeter) but his tools may be better for second base. There is some pop in his bat as his 24 homeruns in 2019 showed. He did not play any last year. He also has enough speed to steal bases with 61 in the last two seasons. In 2019 he was a 20/20 player. While he has yet to hit for average (.267) he does show the ability to take walks with OBAs above .350 the last three years. He has only played in 12 games at AA but could make his major league debut in 2021 with a good minor league season. Second base is a wide open position for the Red Sox.

3. Nick Madrigal (White Sox) - The 2018 first round pick is said to also be skilled at shortstop, but he has lived at second base during his college and professional career. He lacks power but can spray the ball to all fields with line drives. At 5′8″ power is not expected, but as he matures he could elevate his homerun numbers to double figures. He has hit over .300 at every level he has played, including a 29 game major league debut last year when he hit .340. Only three of his 35 hits with the White Sox went for extra bases. In his two year minor league career he had a 51/21 walk to whiff ratio, so he makes contact with the best of them. He should be the White Sox second baseman starting the 2021 season.

4. Michael Busch (Dodgers) - Busch was the Dodgers first round pick in 2019. He only played 10 games in the minor leagues until an injury ended his season, hitting just .125, but with an impressive 7/5 walk to whiff ratio for a .371 OBA. He lacks speed and has a below average arm playing primarily at left field and first base in college. He lacks the power teams look for at first base but it should consistently be 20 plus with an average near .300. The lost season did not help in his development, especially defensively, where the Dodgers were hoping he could fit at second base. Expect him to start the 2021 season at A ball. The Dodgers are hoping he will provide solid offensive tools for the position and be adequate defensively.

5. Jahmai Jones (Angels) - The Angels drafted Jones in the second round in 2015 as an outfielder. With a crowded outfield they moved him to second base after his first season, a position he had played in high school. The last two seasons in the minor leagues he has failed to hit over .250. He made his major league debut last year and hit .429 in seven at bats. He does not have a lot of power so he needs to hit for a better average to be an effective major league player. The patience is there to take walks and the speed exists to steal 20 plus bases a year. He has the versatility to play outfield so his ultimate role could be as a utility player in the outfield and at second base. A good spring could see him start the season at the major league level, but expect some time at AAA to start the season to further develop his offensive tools.

6. Justin Foscue (Rangers) - The first round 2020 pick led Mississippi State to a couple college World Series. His lack of speed makes outfield a question so the Rangers are hoping he will be an offensive second baseman who can provide adequate defense. The power is there to hit 20 plus homeruns a year. He did play third base his first year at Mississippi State so that is another defensive option. He has yet to play in the minor leagues. Expect him to start the 2021 season in A ball.

7. Aaron Bracho (Indians) - Aaron was signed out of Venezuela in 2017 for $1.5 million. He did not play in the minor leagues until 2019, never getting past rookie ball. He showed some pretty good sock with a .570 slugging and good patience at the plate with a 28/29 walk to whiff ratio. His arm and speed are just average, which makes playing shortstop a stretch for him. The tools for playing second base should make him an above average defensive player with the offensive capability to hit 20 plus homeruns per year. He will probably start the 2021 season in A ball and hope to continue his offensive exploits to the major leagues in 2022.

8. Xavier Edwards (Rays) - The 2018 supplemental first round pick is a smooth fielder with an arm that lacks the strength of a true shortstop. He spent most of the 2019 season at second base. The Rays acquired him from the Padres in the Tommy Pham/Jacob Cronenworth trade. Now that Hunter Renfroe has been released Xavier may be the only piece to make that trade look good. The bat lacks power but he does carry a .326 minor league average with an excellent 75/79 walk to whiff ratio. The speed is there to steal bases with 56 in his two years. So while he will lack power there are other tools in his game that will make him an offensive force. Next year he should see time in AA and could make a September debut with a solid minor league season.

9. Brice Turang (Brewers) - The 2018 first round pick was a star on the junior circuit of the United States national team. The tools exist for him to play shortstop, but he would be no more than average at that position. With a potent line drive bat and excellent speed he could be a major contributor at second base. His power has not really developed yet, but it could come with a little more maturation and elevation in his swing. Currently he is a gap hitter with the ability to use his speed to stretch bases. He stole 30 bases last season. If the power develops he could turn into a 20/20 player but expect the homerun numbers to settle in the teens. There is still some development time needed so 2021 should be spent in AA with a major league debut time somewhere in 2022.

10. Nick Gonzales (Pirates) - Another 2020 first round pick, the seventh player taken overall. He has had some pretty impressive hitting numbers where ever he has played, but many feel his numbers at New Mexico State were inflated because of the environment. Not having a 2020 season raises questions about his offensive abilities. There is the ability to make contact and he showed some power in the Cape Cod League with seven homeruns, including a .351 average. He lacks the range and the power arm to play short, but his defensive tools should make him a solid second baseman. The 2021 season will see him start in A ball. How fast he moves up will be dependent on how well he hits.

Top Venezuelan Prospects - American League

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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