Archive for the 'Angels' Category

MyWorld’s Top 100 Prospects - 100 -91

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

They are not really our top 100 prospects. They are a collection of top 100 lists that we have put together and then assigned values, i.e. 10 points for a number 1 and 9.9 for a number 2 all the way down to a .1 for a number 100. The numbers are compiled and averaged. Below are the 100-91 prospects.

100. Bobby Bradley 1B (Indians) 0.85 - When Bradley is ready for the major leagues Carlos Santana will move to DH. There is pop in is bat, but also a lot of swing and miss. He will hit 30 plus homeruns in the majors but may also fall below .250 with his average. Don’t expect an upgrade over Santana at first base and his lack of speed makes the outfield not an option.

99. Casey Gillespie 1B/3B (Rays) 0.88 - Casey will have to hope for a better career than his brother Conner. The Rays drafted him in the first round but he appears to be more a gap hitter. The homeruns will not be frequent but he could hit for a decent average with lots of doubles. It doesn’t hurt that he is a switch hitter and can play two positions, though he appears to be more suited defensively for first base.

98. Franklin Perez RHP (Astros) 1.03 - The Venezuelan has increased his fastball to where it is now hitting in the mid-90s. At 6′3″ and 220 pounds he has a good frame for pitching. He also throws two breaking pitches (slider and curve) and a change so he has the repertoire to start. Another good season at High A will raise his profile.

97. Grant Holmes RHP (Athletics) 1.03 - Originally drafted by the Dodgers in the first round in 2014. They soured on his numbers and less than overpowering fastball (92-95) trading him to the Athletics in the Rich Hill and Josh Reddick trade. Lefthanded hitters had his way against him (.303) and in five starts California League hitters smacked him around for a .355 average. He will begin his Athletic career in High A.

96. Luiz Gohara LHP (Braves) 1.05 - The Brazilian pitcher can throw hard, his fastball zipping across the plate in the mid to high 90s, sometimes even hitting triple digits. His big issue is getting control of his pitches. Lefties with hard fastballs tend to take a bit longer to develop. His secondary pitches also need improvement (slider/change) otherwise he will end up in the bullpen.

95. Cody Reed LHP (Reds) 1.2 - Cody also has a slider/fastball combination, but his fastball sits more in the 93-95 range. He got beat and battered a bit in 10 starts with Cincy (7.39 ERA, .328 opposition ave) so it will be back to AAA where he needs to enhance the change to give him a third pitch. He also gave up 12 homeruns in the majors in just 48 innings of work.

94. Jahmai Jones OF (Angels) 1.23 - The Angels do not have the strongest farm system but the second round pick in 2015 has been a pleasant surprise. Speed is his best asset with developing power. He does not have any one outstanding tool, but he has five above average tools that will play.

93. Tyler Beede RHP (Giants) 1.25 - Beede was drafted in the first round of the 2013 draft. He’s been a bit slow to develop for a pitcher drafted out of college, but his fastball had dropped in velocity as he tried to acclimate to professional baseball and pitching twice a week instead of once. The fastball is back in the low 90s and there is more swing and miss in the hitter’s swing. He could make his major league debut this year after starting the season in AAA.

92. Ronald Acuna OF (Braves) 1.32 - Acuna had it rough over the winter having to play baseball in Australia. The Venezuelan has the potential to bring to the major leagues five impressive tools, with the speed to steal bases and play centerfield, the arm to play right and the hit tool to fit in the .300 neighborhood and as he matures the power to fit in a corner outfield.

91. Albert Almora OF (Cubs) 1.32 - With Dexter Fowler gone via free agency Cub fans will see a lot more of Almora patrolling centerfield. He has excellent defensive tools. The big concern is whether his bat can survive against major league pitching. In a brief major league 100 plus at bat debut Almora hit .270 with a .763 OPS. They will take that kind of production with his defensive tools.

30 Teams in 30 Days - Angels

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

General Overview - When you have the greatest player on the planet you should at least make the playoffs. The Angels are now a couple years away from the playoffs, even after having Mike Trout win two MVP awards. Maybe they should go back to calling themselves the Anaheim Angels. At some point Mike Scioscia has to get this team into the playoffs to keep his job, but you look at the farm system and the current roster and they define below average. Better health to the starting pitchers could help the Angels achieve average.

Strengths - If Cameron Maybin can repeat his .300 hitting season he had with the Tigers this will be a very formidable outfield. Maybin does not have the power of Mike Trout or Kole Calhoun but he is a centerfielder playing left field. Trout is just the best player in baseball and Calhoun has shown he can hit 20 plus homeruns per year (though he fell two homeruns shy last year). Ben Revere provides excellent depth as a fourth outfielder having the capability to play all three outfield positions, though his arm makes right field a challenge. He has speed and can hit for average, though last year was a failure. The defense up the middle with Andrelton Simmons and Danny Espinosa should cut off a number of runs. The offense will suffer, though Espinosa did hit 24 homeruns last year, most of them in a early season outburst. Albert Pujols will settle into the DH spot and hit 30 plus homers and drive in 100 plus runs. You can’t ask for more than that from your DH. His mobility for playing defense at first base now is in question with all his foot problems.

Weaknesses - They don’t have any proven starter behind the plate. This is an area the Angels may still try to still fill on the short term. Taylor Ward was a first round pick but he is still at least a couple years away, struggling behind the plate with 19 passed balls last year. He still has a ways to go to be ready for the major leagues. Martin Maldonado and Carlos Perez are the two players on the 40-man roster listed as catchers but they are better used in backup roles. Starting pitching was plagued by injuries last year and the Angels do not have any knowledge of how those pitchers stuff will play out when they return. Garrett Richards will get back to being the ace but following him will be a bunch of back end pitchers having to pitch the front end. They have veterans in Ricky Nolasco and Matt Shoemaker and unproven youth in Tyler Skaggs and Alex Meyer. Alex could be better suited for the bullpen. Finally, the Angels lack a talented left handed option for the bullpen. Jose Alvarez is the best left handed option but he struggled last year.

Impact Prospects - The Angels have done a good job of picking up other teams rejects to enhance their slim pitching depth. Alex Meyer was acquired from the Twins. He could fit in the starting rotation, but his fragility may make it best he pitch out of the bullpen. His mid to high 90s stuff makes him a potential closer. Other pitchers who could find themselves in the bullpen before the year is out is hard throwing righty Brooks Pounders, who got smacked around a bit last year in his major league debut. His fastball can hit triple digits. Vicente Campos has found himself bouncing around a number of different teams in his minor league career. He started 25 games last year in the minors but the Angels could use him in the bullpen. Abel de los Santos has pitched mainly in the bullpen. Last year he bounced around the waiver wire appearing on three different teams. His fastball can hit mid-90s and the opposition in the Southern League only hit .134 against him in 17 appearances. Manny Banuelos was once one of the Yankees top prospects until Tommy John surgery impacted the velocity on his fastball. It could be just a matter of time before he recovers that velocity or perfects his other pitches to be effective. Lastly, Nolan Fontana could make the team as a utility player. He doesn’t walk as frequently as he did in college but he plays a number of positions. His bat will not be a factor.

Prospects to Watch - The Angels have a propensity to draft power hitters who have no position to play but first base. Matt Thaiss fits that mold. The 2016 first round pick was a catcher in college but the Angels already have Taylor Ward developing there so they moved his lefthanded bat to first base. He had an .824 OPS in his minor league debut. Taylor Ward could become the catcher of the future. He was the Angels first round pick in 2015 but the Angels have kept him behind the plate. His 19 passed balls last season in High A shows there is still a lot of development needed in his game and his .337 slugging and .659 OPS were a disappointment when compared to his debut season in 2015. If Ward doesn’t make it behind the plate it will be tough to find a second position for him. Roberto Baldoquin was signed out of Cuba for $8 million. Last year he hit .198 with a .233 slugging. If the Angels had not made such a big investment in him Roberto would have been released. He needs to show better numbers in 2017.

2017 Finish - They will finish ahead of the Athletics but will not be a force in the AL West playoff run. They have made a couple nice signings to add depth to their roster but they fall far short of being a playoff team, despite having the best player in the game on their roster.

Breakout Prospects or Prospects to Watch - AL West

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

It’s a bit slow in the baseball world. The Cuban and Caribbean Leagues have taken some days off and the Australian League only plays on weekends so myworld thought we would look at some of the top prospects of each division. Myworld will select a prospect to have a major league impact in 2017 and another prospect to watch to see if he will find himself on the cusp of making the major league team in 2018. Some of these prospects to watch are veteran minor leaguers trying to over come surgery, former top prospects who have tripped in their minor league ascension or Cubans who have no history at the professional level in the United States. Today myworld takes a look at the AL West.

Los Angeles Angels

Breakout Prospect (Alex Meyer RHP) - The cupboard is bare but the Angels need starting pitching. A pitcher who has had trouble staying healthy, Alex Meyer was recently acquired from the Twins. He stands 6′9″ and heaves an upper 90s fastball. The problem has been injuries limiting the number of innings he has thrown. A lack of command has also destroyed his major league opportunities. Last year he pitched only 54 innings, with 25 of them being in the major leagues. He will be 27 in 2017 so his time is now. Because of a fragile arm expect him to start the season in the bullpen, but as shallow as the Angels are in the rotation with some success he could be moved to the starting rotation by the end of the year. The Angels will probably limit his inning count to less than 120.

Prospect to Watch (Manny Banuelos LHP) - At one point he was a top prospect with the New York Yankees and was on tap for making the major league roster out of spring training when his elbow failed him and he had to undergo Tommy John surgery. Since that surgery he has not been the same. Prior to the surgery he had a fastball that could hit the mid-90s. After the surgery it has wallowed in the low 90s. This will require him to rely more on some of his other pitches, especially his change to give the fastball the appearance of greater velocity. Elbow soreness stalled his 2016 season so expect the Angels to be cautious with him next year and move him along slowly. If he has success in the minor leagues he could be a September callup or a bullpen option if a lefty is needed.

Houston Astros

Breakout Prospect (David Paulino RHP) - Myworld is a sucker for tall pitchers and at 6′7″ David meets the height requirement. Many feel his best role will be in the bullpen but the Astros have too many holes in their starting rotation not to give Paulino a shot. Last year he got two relief appearances and one start but lacked the strikeout pitch he showed in the minor leagues to have success with the big boys. His fastball can blaze across the plate in the mid-90s and his curveball is a legitimate second pitch. Injuries have limited his innings so the Astros would not want to have him pitch more than 120 innings. Expect him to start in the bullpen if he makes the Astros at the beginning of the year, or work under a more controlled environment as a starter in AAA. If his arm is healthy he has the potential to be a number one or two starter. If his arm continues to be fragile and his change maintains inconsistency he could work as the Astros closer.

Prospect to Watch (Cionel Perez LHP) - Not a lot is known about the Cuban lefty. He initially signed for a bonus of greater than $5 million but after a physical it was reduced significantly. At 5′11″ he does not have imposing height, but that is not as important when you throw from the left side. He throws in the low 90s and has the typical array of pitches, curveball, slider and change that probably come from many different arm slots. He made his Cuban debut as a 17 year old and led the league in ERA at 2.06. Myworld had identified him as one of the top pitchers in Cuba in December 2014 when he pitched for Matanzas. At 20 years old he will probably begin the season in Low A, but if he shows the success he did as a 17 year old against Cuban veterans he will be promoted to the higher levels quickly.

Oakland Athletics

Breakout Prospect (Renato Nunez 3B) - The Venezuelan native is powering his way through the winter league, hitting 11 homeruns in Venezuela. The Athletics have a number of corner infielders stacked at AAA but none with the power of Nunez. He did struggle in a brief call up last year with a .133 average and some feel his fielding for third base is a bit spotty, making a move to first base a possibility. He lacks the foot speed to fit in a corner outfield. Expect him to club 30 plus homeruns for the Athletics once he finds a position.

Prospect to Watch (Norge Ruiz RHP) - Another Cuban pitcher recently signed. He is a smallish righthander at 5′11″ in the vein of Yunesky Maya. The Athletics hope he has more success than Yunesky. He is not really a hard thrower, sitting in the low 90s with the ability to mix in a slider, splitter and change. The hope is that he avoids the barrels of bats and when he puts men on base his ability to force the hitters to pound the ball on the ground will result in inning ending double plays. He could end up in the bullpen, but the Athletics will start him off in the starting rotation at High A. At 22 years of age he could move up quickly. A younger Cuban who the Athletics signed for a higher bonus is Lazaro Armenteros. At 17 years of age he is packed with a bundle of tools that could make him a Yasiel Puig sensation, hopefully without the attitude and lack of discipline. As he develops he could be an offensive oriented centerfielder or a complete basket case with more confidence than ability.

Seattle Mariners

Breakout Prospect (D.J. Peterson 1B/3B) - In 2014, a year after being drafted in the first round by Seattle D.J. slugged 31 homeruns in High A and AA. Things have not been so easy since as pitchers have adjusted to his pull only approach and he was slow to recognize it. 2015 was a disaster with a disappearance of his power, but last year he saw a resurgence. It still did not equal his 2014 season but his slugging average went over .400. His defense may force a shift from third base to first, and with Kyle Seager at third base that job was not open. So all he has to do is beat out Dan Voglebach for the first base job. Dan is more suited at DH. First D.J. has to improve on his power swing.

Prospect to Watch (Kyle Lewis OF) - This is a player with lots of tools but an early season injury to his knee prevented many from seeing his tool box. He was drafted in the first round by the Mariners out of a small college. Many were curious to see how he would handle the major league setting. He did quite well with a .915 OPS. Speed may have been one of his lesser tools so it will be interesting to see how the knee injury will impact that in 2017. He could be one of those hitters who bats over .300 with 30 plus homeruns if he develops. His best bet would be to play right field since his average speed may limit his range in center.

Texas Rangers

Breakout Prospect (Connor Sadzeck RHP) - The Rangers have traded away many of their top prospects to continue their playoff runs. As to be expected Connor is tall at 6′7″ and throws hard with a fastball in the high 90s. At AA last year myworld was not overwhelmed with his whiff to innings pitched ratio (140.2 to 133) and the opposition hit him at a .244 clip, but that heat will give him some attention. He still needs to develop his change as an effective third pitch, otherwise he will utilize his craft in the bullpen. His command also needs to improve as he walks three per nine innings. Major league development guys are attracted to the heat and few pitchers have a fastball that can match Connor.

Prospect to Watch (Yeyson Yrizarri SS) - The Rangers pay out huge bonuses to young prospects and nobody pays attention to them when they are 16 in the rookie league. It is when they begin raking at the higher leagues that the attention becomes focused. The Rangers paid $1.35 million for the Dominican back in 2013 and he has percolated up through their system. Last year he played in Low A where he showed he could be an offensive shortstop with power who also carries good defensive skills. He needs to improve on his 9/91 walk to whiff ratio as more advanced pitchers will exploit his tendency to swing at anything. Expect the Rangers to promote the 19 year old to High A with a move to AA possible if he achieves success.

Angels and Dodgers Roster by the Draft

Monday, November 14th, 2016

Myworld has been going back to the 2005 draft to the present to see what kind of rosters major league teams would have if they were reliant on only domestic players for their roster. Today we look at the Dodgers and Angels, who both have a better roster when you consider players they drafted late but did not sign. Both teams have drafted the same players on two occasions. The Dodgers have had some horrendous drafts when the only players who made a major league roster were players they did not sign.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

2005 - Sean O’Sullivan (3) RHP, Brian Matusz (4 - DNS) LHP, Peter Bourjos (12) OF, Deunte Heath (23 - DNS) RHP, Chris Davis (35 - DNS) 1B, Buster Posey (50 - DNS) C

2006 - Hank Conger (1) C, Jordan Walden (12) RHP

2007 - Matt Harvey (3 - DNS) RHP, Andrew Romine (5) UTL, Efren Navarro (50) 1B

2008 - Tyler Chatwood (2) RHP, Will Smith (7) LHP, Taylor Jungman (24 - DNS) RHP, John Hicks (31 - DNS) C, Kyle Hendricks (39 - DNS) RHP

2009 - Randall Grichuck (1) OF, Mike Trout (1) OF, Tyler Skaggs (1) LHP, Garrett Richards (1) RHP, Pat Corbin (2) LHP, David Carpenter (9) RHP

2010 - Kaleb Cowart (1) 3B, Cam Bedrosian (1) RHP, Josh Osich (7 - DNS) LHP, Kole Calhoun (8) OF, A.J. Schugel (25) UTL

2011 - C.J. Cron (1) 1B, Jett Bandy (31) C

2012 - R.J. Alvarez (3) RHP, Michael Roth (9) LHP

2013 - NONE

2014 - Sean Newcomb (1) LHP

Roster

C - Buster Posey, Hank Conger, John Hicks, Jett Bandy

1B - Chris Davis, C.J. Cron, Efren Navarro

2B - A.J. Schugel

3B - Kaleb Cowart

SS - Andrew Romine

OF - Mike Trout, Randal Grichuck, Kole Calhoun, Peter Bourgos

SP - Kyle Hendricks, Matt Harvey, Garrett Richards, Pat Corbin, Tyler Skaggs, Sean Newcomb

RP - Cam Bedrosian, Sean O’Sullivan, Brian Matusz, Deunte Heath, Jordan Walden, Tyler Chatwood, Will Smith, Taylor Jungmann, David Carpenter, Josh Osich, R.J. Alvarez, Michael Roth

Los Angeles Dodgers

2005 - Luke Hochevar (1 - DNS) RHP, Jody Mercer (26 - DNS), Justin Wilson (37 - DNS), Tony Cruz (42 - DNS) C, Chase d’Arnaud (44 - DNS) SS

2006 - Clayton Kershaw (1) LHP, Bryan Morris (1) RHP, Roberto Perez (29 - DNS) C, Aaron Barrett (44 - DNS) RHP, Paul Goldschmidt (49 - DNS) 1B

2007 - Rob Rasmussen (27 - DNS), Matt Szczur (38 - DNS) OF

2008 - Dee Gordon (4) 2B, Nathan Eovoldi (11) RHP, Danny Coulombe (17 - DNS) LHP, Allen Webster (18) RHP, Jett Bandy (41 - DNS) C

2009 - Richie Shaffer (25 - DNS) 3B, Stephen Piscotty (45 - DNS) OF/1B, Christian Walker (49 - DNS) OF/1B

2010 - Zach Lee (1) RHP, Kevin Gausman (6 - DNS) RHP, Joc Pederson (11) OF, Scott Schebler (26) OF, Shawn Tolleson (30) RHP

2011 - Chris Reed (1) LHP

2012 - Corey Seager (1) SS, Paco Rodriguez (2) LHP, Ross Stripling (5) RHP, Jharel Cotton (20) RHP, Danny Coulombe (25) LHP

2013 - Jose Deleon (24) RHP

2014 - Brock Stewart (6) RHP

Roster

C - Tony Cruz, Roberto Perez, Jett Bandy

1B - Paul Goldschmidt, Christian Walker

2B - Dee Gordon

3B - Richie Shaffer, Chase d’Arnaud

SS - Corey Seager, Jody Mercer

OF - Joc Pederson, Stephen Piscotty, Scott Schebler, Matt Szczur

SP - Clayton Kershaw, Luke Hochevar, Nathan Eovaldi, Kevin Gausman, Jharel Cotton, Jose Deleon

RP - Justin Wilson, Bryan Morris, Aaron Barrett, Rob Rasmussen, Danny Coulombe, Allen Webster, Zach Lee, Shawn Tolleson, Chris Reed, Paco Rodriguez, Ross Stripling, Brock Stewart

Al West Predictions and Looking Forward

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

Myworld has so far picked this division in order.

Texas Rangers - Ian Desmond has been a good one year free agent signing. After a slow start and beginning with a position switch in left field the Rangers made him their centerfielder one month into the season. That became necessary after the Rangers called up Nomar Mazara and Delino Deshields struggled with the bat. Cole Hamels has replaced the injured Yu Darvish as the ace. When Yu Darvish gets fully healthy this duo will be tough to stop in a playoff scenario. Roughned Odor has elevated his game to All Star status with the potential to hit 30 plus homeruns. Jurickson Profar has gotten healthy and the Rangers need to find a position for his .300 average. The Rangers still need to find a closer but other than that the team is playoff ready.

Lewis Brinson would have made the top of the prospect list but he was traded to the Brewers as one of the players in the Jonathan Lucroy trade. That makes the top prospect 1) Joey Gallo. No minor league player has more power but there is a lot of swing and miss to his swing and no position in Texas for him to play. 2) Andy Ibanaz is a Cuban professional who will not need a lot of time to make the professional ranks. His defense is solid and his bat will neighbor .300 with gap power. 3) Ronald Guzman generates a lot of power with his line drive swing. His lack of speed limits him to first base. 4) Ryan Cordell could be the centerfielder of the future after the trade of Lewis Brinson. His bat has shown some power this year with 19 homeruns and he has the speed to steal 20 or more bases. 5) Jairo Beras is a big guy at 6′6″. His strike zone is large which creates a lot of strikeouts but his arm is a gun and his bat generates power.

Houston Astros (2) - Jose Altuve is having an MVP type of season. George Springer is having a breakout year. It is surprising how well Houston has done considering how poorly their starting pitching has performed and being forced to use Marwin Gonzalez at first base because their other three candidates failed to win the position. Will Harris will eventually cede the closer position to Ken Giles. Harris ERA is going north while Giles is heading south.

Alex Bregman has been promoted and may get too many at bats to qualify for this list. He has to improve on an average that has dropped to below .050. 1) A.J. Reed fits the top spot. The Astros were hoping he would take over the first base job after hitting 34 homeruns in his first full season last season. A .156 average in a brief promotion shows he still needs some time. 2) Kyle Tucker is the younger brother of Preston. He stands about four inches taller than Preston and shows more power in his bat. Of the two he should make the most impact. 3) J.D. Davis has a nice power bat for third base. He strikes out too much which will restrict his average. 4) Francis Martes is a hard thrower that needs to find a third pitch. 5) Yulieski Gurriel may find too many at bats to qualify for this list, but he is still waiting for his work visa and will need a couple weeks in the minor leagues to refresh his swing. His last season in Cuba he hit an unbelievable .500 in over .200 at bats before defecting. It will be interesting to see if he continues his high contact rate with major league pitching.

Seattle Mariners (3) - They started strong but their pitching did not pan out. Felix Hernandez was good but he had to go on the disabled list. Hisahsi Iwakuma, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton have disappointed. Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano have put some fear in pitchers when hitting back to back in the middle of the order. Dae-Ho Lee has been the best of the Korean signings, his experience in the Japanese League giving him an edge.

1) Kyle Lewis was the Mariners first pick in 2016. An injury has cut his first season short but a .530 slugging has shown his power potential early. 2) Tyler O’Neil bashed 32 homeruns last year. That mashing has continued this year with 19 homeruns to date. His defense could limit him to left field. 3)Luiz Gohara is a Brazilian with a 95 mile per hour fastball thrown from the left side. He has risen two levels with a 1.94 ERA. 4) D.J. Peterson had an off year last. It would be better if his power played third, but his big frame leaves him ticketed for first base. 5) Brayan Hernandez is a Cuban defector with the defensive tools to play center. Some question whether his bat will have success against major league pitching.

Los Angeles Angels (4) - Another disappointing season for the Angels despite having the best player in baseball in Mike Trout. Injuries have hurt the rotation and Albert Pujols is just a shell of himself that the Angels are paying $20 million plus. They are also paying Josh Hamilton a lot of money to not play for them.

With such a poor major league roster you would hope the farm system would be strong. It isn’t. Myworld is so unimpressed with their minor league system that we are only naming three prospects. With the system so weak you have to go with 1) Matt Thaiss, their first round pick as the top prospect. He plays first base, a position with plenty of depth on the Angels. His power is a question mark but his lack of speed leaves first base as his only viable position. 2) Taylor Ward was their first round pick last year. A solid defensive catcher who may carry a soft bat. 3) Victor Alcantara can hit the mid-90s with his fastball. Without a third pitch he may be destined for the pen. Poor control is also a problem.

Oakland Athletics (5) - Not much was expected from them this year. Sonny Gray was their only talent and he has struggled this year. Khris Davis was a late trade acquisition and he has shown excellent power, challenging for the American League homerun crown. His defense in left field is weak. Marcus Semien has lessoned his errors but increased his homerun totals. Rich Hill has shown last year was not a fluke, but he’s been traded to give the Athletics a future.

1) Franklin Barreto is one of the best prospects in the game, acquired from Toronto. His bat is strong but his defense may force him to move from short. 2) A.J. Puk at 6′7″ is a lefthander with a fastball in the high 90s. He was the Athletics first round pick this year. 3) Richie Martin is a better fielding shortstop than Barreto but may not have the bat to support the position. 4) Lazaro Armentaros is a Cuban signing with lots of tools that remind many of Yasiel Puig. The Athletics hope his character is better. 5) Grant Holmes was a recent acquisition from the Dodgers. Despite hitting the mid-90s with his fastball he gives up lots of hits and has trouble finding the strike zone. A small frame (6′1″) could destine him for the bullpen.

Homer Happy O’s Down Angels

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

The Orioles used a tried and true recipe for winning the last game before the All Star break. They glopped in seven innings from their only effective starter this year Chris Tillman, sprinkled in a couple homeruns, a two run shot from Chris Davis in the fourth and a solo shot from J.J. Hardy in the eighth, and then topped it all off with a save from Zach Britton who is now 27 for 27 in save opportunities to beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-2. Their 136 homeruns before the All Star break is the highest number in the history of baseball. It allows the Orioles to enter the break with a two game lead over the Boston Red Sox, despite the horrendous starts from their rotation.

The day did not start well for Chris Tillman. He walked Kole Calhoun in the first inning, the first of his five walks he would issue in his first four innings of work. Mike Trout crushed a ball to right field. Mark Trumbo chose to play the ball off the scoreboard, but it landed on the warning track just in front of the scoreboard. Calhoun raced home. The throw from cutoff man Jonathan Schoop was true and the umpire ruled Calhoun out. The Angels asked for a review and the call was reversed. It was a ball Trumbo should have caught if he had raced to the fence. Behind 1-0 the Orioles had the infield playing in against Albert Pujols. He lined a shot to the right of shortstop J.J Hardy who reached out to snare it. It may have been the turning point in the game. The Orioles got out of the inning giving up only one run.

Chris Tillman bent but did not break. He left at least one man on in the first six innings but other than the first inning no Angel scored. In his last inning he retired the side in order but needed a nice catch from Chris Davis to retire the side in order. The win would improve his record to 12-2, but he was snubbed from pitching in the All Star game, a few stinky outings raising his ERA to 3.41.

Tim Lincecum also put runners on in the first three innings but kept the Orioles off the scoreboard. In the fourth Mark Trumbo lined a lead off single to left field. Chris Davis got ahead in the count 2-1 and then stroked a bomb deep into the left centerfield bleachers to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead to match the count.

In the sixth inning a communication breakdown between Ji-Man Choi and Andrelton Simmons cost Tim a run. He had struck out the first two hitters. Pedro Alvarez lifted a pop up to short left field. Choi was not close to the ball but apparently called out to Simmons to take the ball, triggering Simmons to back away from the ball thinking he had called it. The ball dropped to the grass for a double. Simmons picked the ball up, threw to second but the ball skipped past both the second baseman and the first baseman to allow Alvarez to advance to third. J.J. Hardy lined the first pitch he saw into centerfield to score Alvarez.

A Mark Trumbo fielding error in the eighth allowed the Angels to pull within one run. Kole Calhoun hit a sinking liner to Trumbo in right. He tried to make a sliding catch but the ball skipped past him. By the time Trumbo retrieved the ball Calhoun trotted into to third where he scored on a Albert Pujols sacrifice fly to center.

J.J. Hardy returned the lead to two runs with a lined shot into the left field bleachers. Zach Britton came on in the ninth, gave up a lead off single to Andrelton Simmons but retired the next three hitters for the save. Geovany Soto gave O’s fans reason to gasp when he lifted one to deep center, but it was caught just shy of the warning track by Jones.

Game Notes: The game saw two Koreans in left field. Hyun-Soo Kim is the more heralded player. Ji-Man Choi was signed by the Mariners only after he was asked to catch a Korean pitcher the Mariners scouts wanted to see. The scouts were impressed with the way Choi caught this pitcher and signed both of them to contracts. Choi reached the majors first, getting his second hit of the 2016 season, slicing a double to left field to double his average to .083…Hyun-Soo Kim pulled his hamstring on a ground ball to second base in the first inning. Joey Rickard came out in the second inning to replace him on defense. The Orioles have a couple days with the All Star break to decide whether they want to place Kim on the disabled list…Albert Pujols grounded into a double play, plodding to first base. He was never a fast runner, but he runs now like a base clogger…Yunel continues not to impress with his defense at third. He backed off a ball in the second that went into left field for a single. In the first inning he had a ball bounce off him, then ricochet to Simmons who made the 5-6-3 play at first. If Simmons had not made the play a runner would have scored from third…Escobar was tossed from the game in the seventh just after a check swing was ruled in favor of the Orioles. Don’t know what magical words he said.

AL West Review of Number One Picks

Friday, June 10th, 2016

Below are the number one picks of the AL West teams for the past five years. The Angels and Mariners have done the worst job while Houston and Oakland have drafted impact major leaguers with their picks. Unfortunately, the Athletics traded away one of those impact players.

Houston Astros

2015 - Alex Bregman SS - Despite drafting Carlos Correa with the first pick in 2012 this did not stop the Astros from selecting another shortstop. He may eventually move to third or be used as a trade chip in a playoff run. His bat will play at third and his glove should provide gold glove defense. This year he has slugged 12 homeruns with a .573 slugging percentage in AA. The Astros have a hole at third which Bregman can fill in 2017.

Kyle Tucker OF - The Astros already had his brother on the major league 40 man roster. His younger brother may end up the better player. At 6′4″ he stands a few inches taller, but I would imagine he lacks the huge forearms of Preston. The power has yet to show with only one homerun this year, but he is hitting .305 at Low A with 23 stolen bases in 28 attempts.

2014 - Brady Aiken LHP - The Astros selected him as their first pick, found a problem with his arm and offered him less than their initial offer. The fact he didn’t sign impacted their ability to sign a lower round pick who they eventually had to compensate because they lacked the cap room to sign the midround pick after promising him the bonus money. So they lost two draft choices as a result of the botched pick. Brady was drafted by the Indians in the first round of 2015 but has yet to pitch after having Tommy John surgery.

2013 - Mark Appel RHP - Another botched pick who they signed, but he had trouble getting minor league hitters out. They eventually packaged him in a deal for Ken Giles and now his inconsistency is the Phillies problem. He may eventually reach the majors but only because of his status as the first pick in the draft and the hope of salvaging some hidden talent.

2012 - Carlos Correa SS - They got this one right. Though his sophomore year isn’t as impressive as his rookie year he will still be an impact player at shortstop and can move to third with his bat if the Astros prefer Bregman as their shortstop. The first Puerto Rican selected at the top of the draft.

2011 - George Springer OF - Another solid pick. He swings and misses a lot, but there is five tool talent there. He currently hits lead off for the Astros with double digit homerun power that could reach 30/30. A solid defensive player in right field with center field tools.

2010 - Delino Deshields 2B - His father had a number of good years with the Montreal Expos. Delino did not show case his talent with the Astros and was lost in the Rule V draft to the Texas Rangers. Last year he had a solid season for the Rangers starting in centerfield. This year he struggled, lost his job to Ian Desmond and was sent back down to the minors. He will return but more as a fourth outfielder who offers a team speed off the bench.

Mike Foltynewicz RHP - He could hit triple digits with ease. The Astros traded him to the Braves for Evan Gattis fearing he would never control his fastball. Command has always been an issue, but this year he has a 3.24 ERA in six starts before being placed on the disabled list with arm soreness. Most think his best role will be in the bullpen as a closer.

Los Angeles Angels

2015 - Taylor Ward C - After raking for half a season last year (.349) reality has struck now that he is playing full season ball (.230). The Angels are hoping he will become a solid defensive catcher with a potent bat. Mike Trout could use some help in the lineup.

2014 - Sean Newcomb LHP - The Angels did not have a lot of pitching depth but they traded two of their better ones to the Braves for Andrelton Simmons. Now injuries to their rotation forced them to sign Tim Lincecum when they could have considered calling up either Chris Ellis or Newcomb.

2013 - No pick

2012 - no pick

2011 - C.J. Cron 1B - The Angels were hoping Cron would show more power. He has been blocked by Albert Pujols, but with Albert’s foot problems more playing opportunities have opened up for Cron. A .433 slugging percentage in the major leagues is not what teams are looking for in a first baseman.

2010 - Kaleb Cowart 3B - The Angels went out and traded for Yunel Escobar, not confident Kaleb was ready to fill the third base job. He is hitting .304 with doubles power but those numbers are padded by the hitter friendly Pacific Coast league parks. The concern is the power is not there for third base and there is some thought to move him to second.

Cam Bedrosian RHP - The son of Steve, the Angels tried him as a starter. When that didn’t work they put him in the bullpen. That has not worked either. At some point he needs to get major league hitters out or be released.

Chavez Clarke OF - The Angels released him in 2014. The White Sox signed him but released him in 2015. Now he is playing in Independent ball.

Oakland Athletics

2015 - Richie Martin SS - A solid defensive player who many question his ability to hit. Injuries have limited him to just 11 games this year after he hit .237 in half a season last year. The Athletics don’t seem to keep the shortstops they draft so expected him to get traded before he makes the big club.

2014 - Matt Chapman 3B - A slugging corner who may eventually have to move to first. Last year he slugged 23 homers in just 80 games in the California League. The balls are still flying over the fence with 14 this year, but his average is down at .234.

2013 - Billy McKinney OF - The Athletics traded him to the Cubs in their ill fated pennant run two years ago. Billy needs to play centerfield to be effective. He lacks the power to be a corner, but his arm is not strong and his speed is not great. Myworld expects he will settle as a fourth outfielder type.

2012 - Addison Russell SS - Another player traded by the Athletics to the Cubs. Eventually he stole the shortstop job from Starlin Castro, playing a more consistent defense. If the Athletics had kept him he would be their starting shortstop now.

2011 - Sonny Gray RHP - Despite his lack of height (5′10″) he has given the Athletics a couple All Star seasons. This year has started out being a clunker with the Athletics putting him on the disabled list hoping the rest will rejuvenate him.

2010 - Michael Choice OF - Not one of the best choices by the Athletics. The Athletics traded him to the Rangers in 2013 and he appears to be minor league fodder.

Seattle Mariners

2015 - no pick

2014 - Alex Jackson OF - He was a catcher in high school when the Mariners drafted him. They converted him to the outfield to quicken his pace of getting his bat in the lineup. Unfortunately for the Mariners his bat has disappeared since he has been drafted. His bat has been so bad that he started the 2016 season in extended spring training to work on his swing, but that has not seemed to be effective as he has started the season hitting .129 with four homeruns.

2013 - D.J. Peterson 3B - His first full season started with promise with 31 homeruns. The followup was a dud with just seven homeruns and an average in the .220s. The Mariners have hopes that he will bounce back in 2016 but only a recent hot streak has got his average up to .242. At least he has surpassed his homerun totals from last year (8) but his slugging (.423) falls far short of what they want from him now that he has moved to first base.

2012 - Mike Zunino C - A slugging bat in the minor leagues but too many swings and misses in the major leagues sapped a lot of that power. A number of balls cleared the fence in the major leagues but his average kept dropping in his three years with the Mariners, from .214 to .176. Now he is back in AAA trying to discover a more consistent stroke. He is hitting .266 with 13 homeruns which could earn him another callup this year.

2011 - Danny Hultzen LHP - Arm injuries have limited him to 10 starts in four years.

2010 - No pick

Texas Rangers

2015 - Dillon Tate RHP - His alma mater UC Santa Barbara is still in the College World Series. A overpowering fastball and hard slider give him two good pitches that could make him a closer. The Rangers are working him in the rotation where he has struggled (6.44).

2014 - Luis Ortiz RHP - The MVP of the 18 and under United States team. He is also a fastball/slider pitcher with a developing change up. Luis dominated early in the hitter friendly California League (2.60 ERA) but a promotion to AA has proved a little more challenging (4.61 ERA). He has given up a few more hits per innings pitched and his strikeouts have decreased as he gets acclimated to the more advanced hitters.

2013 - Chi Chi Gonzalez RHP - The Rangers brought him up quickly (2015) where he pitched well (3.90 ERA). His walk to whiff numbers (32/30) were a concern. The Rangers started him in AAA this year and he has struggled (5.52 ERA) giving up a lot of hits (68 in 60 innings) with a vanilla walk to whiff ratio (20/39). He will need to improve on those numbers to get another callup.

Travis Demeritte SS - After missing much of last year because of injury Travis has made up for it early in the 2016 season with a torrid start. His 15 homeruns is only a couple behind the minor league homerun leaders. His batting average is down (.255) because his strikeouts are excessive (79 in 56 games) and need to be reduced. He has also moved to second base.

2012 - Lewis Brinson OF - Ian Desmond will be a free agent next year and Lewis Brinson is poised to take over the centerfield job. He covers a lot of ground in centerfield but still must find more consistency in the bat. His power is beginning to show with seven homeruns but a .221 average in AA will not get him to the major leagues. He has the potential to be a 20/20 player in the major leagues.

2011 - Kevin Matthews LHP - Injuries prevented him from pitching in 2015 and have limited him to 21 innings in three years. He has made six bullpen appearances in 2016 (6.48 ERA) with 11 walks in 8 innings in rehab appearances in Low A.

2010 - Jake Skole OF - Sold to the Yankees in 2015 where he is playing outfield in the Florida State League. Not where a 26 year old player wants to be at this point in his career.

Kellin Deglan C - His claim to fame is breaking the Australian baseball league homerun record. The Rangers would like to know where that power stroke is state side. He will hit in the double digits for homeruns, but the last couple years he has struggled to get his average above .220. He doesn’t walk enough (5/38) swinging at pitches out of the strike zone.

Hot Prospects for May 17

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Not a lot of big names on this list.

Josh Naylor 1B (Marlins) - He may not be as tall as Giancarlo Stanton but he hits the ball as hard and as far. He walloped his fourth homerun of the year on Tuesday to drive in five runs. His contact rate is improving in the month of May with a 6/7 walk to whiff ratio in 15 games. One of the down sides for Josh his inability to make contact. The other is a large frame (6′0″, 225) that limits his speed to playing the outfield.

Hunter Renfroe OF (Padres) - Hunter extended his five game multiple hit streak and a homer streak that sits at three games. During that streak he is 12 for 27 with three homeruns and eight RBIs. Hunter is batting .318 but until the Padres can trade Matt Kemp he will have to continue to bide his time in AAA.

Jose Azocar CF (Tigers) - The Venezuelan had a perfect 4 for 4 day to raise his average to .310. Power is absent from his game so his 5/36 walk to whiff ratio needs to improve for him to occupy the lead off spot and take advantage of his speed. This is his first season in a full season league so there is plenty of time to improve the hit tool.

Matt Chapman SS/3B (Athletics) - Matt has been playing mostly third, but Tuesday he was at short. He raked on a 4 for 8 day, his other four at bats resulting in strikeouts. The 2014 first round pick has yet to play in more than 100 games in his first two seasons. Last year wrist surgery limited him to 80 games but he still smoked 23 homeruns. This year he has nine.

Pitchers

Adam Plutko RHP (Indians), Sandy Baez RHP (Tigers), Nick Pivetta RHP (Phillies) and Nick Traveiso RHP (Reds) - All four pitchers tossed seven innings of shutout ball. Plutko was a Bruin star. His five hitter was his second straight outing without allowing a run covering 13 innings. Traveiso had the gem with a one hitter ending a streak of three starts where he gave up three or more runs in less than six innings. Pivetta and Baez each gave up two hits.

Jordan Kipper RHP (Angels) - The Angels need some good news regarding their starting pitching. Jordan gave them some good news with a nine inning no hitter in AA. He faced the minimum 27 batters but walked one, striking out eight. Two of his last three starts he was banged around for 10 hits so this no hitter was a bit unexpected.

Hot Prospects for May 9 and 10

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Volleyball coaching and attending some baseball games have prevented me from doing the research necessary to identify the hot prospects. We’re catching up with a two day post today.

Dan Vogelbach 1B (Cubs) - It seemed only a couple days ago we talked about Vogelbach after a five RBI game. On Wednesday he drove in four runs with two homeruns, his fourth and fifth of the year. Ironic that his only RBIs for the month of May are on the two days when he drove in five and four runs. A .337 batting average in AAA could have the Cubs promote him in an American League park to use as a DH. That is how Kyle Schwarber got his first major league opportunity.

Alex Verdugo OF (Dodgers) - Verdugo had a big RBI night with seven, six of them a result of a two run and grand slam homerun in the first two innings of a game the Tulsa Drillers won 10-0 over the Springfield Cardinals. Verdugo finished the day 3 for 4.

Bradley Zimmer CF (Indians) - The 2014 first round pick went 3 for 4 with a homerun and four RBIs. The homerun was the culmination of three consecutive games in which he hit one homerun. His final RBI total for those three days was eight. The three homeruns give him seven for the year. Bradley has also been stealing his fair share of bases with 14 in 18 attempts to date.

J.D. Davis 3B (Astros) - After hitting .289 with 26 homeruns last year, the third round 2014 pick has gotten off to a slow start this year. A 3 for 4 day in which he hit his second homerun and drove in four runs raised his average to .205. He went his first 21 games without hitting a homerun and then hit two in his next three games.

Anfernee Seymour SS (Marlins) - A 4 for 5 day was the third game of a four game hitting streak that has raised his average to .230. So far only one of his 28 hits have gone for extra bases. He has yet to hit a homerun since he was drafted in the seventh round in 2014.

Kyle Wren LF (Brewers) - A 4 for 5 day has raised his average to .277. Most of his time at Biloxi has been in left field, but he lacks the power to play that position. He does have the speed to play centerfield but Brett Phillips has been seeing most of the time there. This makes Wren look more like a fourth outfielder type.

Phillip Ervin CF (Reds) - The Reds expect Phillip to carry a power bat. His two homeruns on Tuesday give him five for the year. He also walked and stole his 13th base without being caught. Currently, the 2013 first round pick is only hitting .229.

Harrison Bader CF (Cardinals) - The Cardinals 2015 third round pick has been a beast against AA pitching. A 4 for 5 day with two solo shots has extended his hitting streak to 13 games and increased his homer total to 7. There have been three four hit games during this 13 game hitting streak, increasing his average to .379. In 10 games for the month of May his batting average is .455. The only down side to his season is a 4 for 11 success rate in stolen bases.

Austin Dean LF (Marlins) - Austin had a two homerun day and added a triple to finish 3 for 5 with five RBIs. The two homeruns give Austin three for the season.

Austin Slater CF (Giants) - A big 5 for 5 day has increased his average 50 points. He was a triple short of the cycle. Austin currently has a five game hitting streak with doubles in three consecutive games.

Roeman Fields CF (Blue Jays) - Roeman has gotten hot with two four hit games within four games to raise his average to .262. Only one of the 8 hits went for extra bases (triple) his only extra base hit for the month of May. Fields will not hit for a lot of power, but will be relied on to be a leadoff hitter whose legs will carry him around the bases (11 for 14 success rate in stolen bases).

Pitchers

Jake Jewell RHP (Angels), Mitch Keller RHP (Pirates), Tyler Mahle RHP (Reds) and Yaisel Sierra RHP (Dodgers) - All pitchers went six innings allowing just two hits. Jake (8.54 ERA) and Yaisel (5.40) hope the shutouts will turn around a slow start to their 2016 season. For Keller this is his fourth start of six in which he has not given up a run to lower his ERA to 0.79.

Ben Lively RHP (Phillies), Chris Ellis RHP (Braves) and Shawn Morimando LHP (Indians) - Lively and Ellis improved their records to 5-0, Lively throwing six innings of four hit shutout ball, Ellis pitching seven innings of three hit shutout ball. Ellis was drafted by the Angels but included with Sean Newcomb in the Andrelton Simmons trade. Simmons is now injured and the Angels are desperate to find pitching. Lively lowered his ERA to 1.80 and Ellis to 1.77. Morimando gave up two runs in his eight innings of work but has won all six of his starts to begin the season to 6-0. He has not given up more than two runs in any of his six starts.

Julio Urias LHP (Dodgers) and Dinelson Lamet RHP (Padres) - Both pitchers did not give up a run in six innings of work, allowing only four hits. For Lamet he picked up his fifth win, which equaled the amount he won last year. The shutout was his second in a row giving him at least 12 innings of shutout ball. He has also only given up one run in his last five outings covering 23 innings to lower his ERA to 1.18. The next start for Urias may be in the Dodger pen after his third straight appearance in which he did not give up a run, covering 15 innings.

Ryan Merritt LHP (Indians) - Ryan got a rare complete game shutout victory, giving up just four hits. He threw just 97 pitches. Merritt will not overpower anyone with a fastball in the upper 80s. He wins games by command and a excellent changeup that makes his fastball feel like the low 90s.

Andrew Moore RHP (Mariners) - Andrew was dominant for his second start. Earlier he had thrown seven innings of no hit ball. Monday he went six innings and just allowed one hit.

Stephan Gonsalves LHP (Twins) - This was Gonsalves fourth start in which he has given up only two hits. Three of the four starts he has not given up a run. In his last five starts he has given up only two runs with four two hitters in those starts. His ERA dropped to 1.21.

Hot Prospects for April 30

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

Mostly pitchers for this day. Some of them are finding themselves on this list again.

Aquino Aristedes OF (Reds) - The Dominican had an off year last year after slugging 16 homeruns in 2014. He hopes to bounce back from a slow start this year with a 3 for 5 day accompanied by a homerun and five RBIs a good way to break out of his lethargy. Aquino has homered the last two days peppering pitchers for an 8 for 13 streak over the last four games, boosting his average to .229.

Sherman Johnson 2B (Angels) - The Angels do not have a lot of recognized prospects and at 25 Sherman may be a bit old for some to get excited about. The Angels did not draft him until the 12th round in 2012 out of Florida State. He raked with a 5 for 5 day on April 30th and in the second game of a double header the next day went 4 for 4 with another homerun to raise his average to .393 at AA Arkansas. He is currently in the middle of a 10 game hitting streak. The lefthanded hitter is averaging .412 against lefthanders with a 14/13 walk to whiff ratio. Sherman will have to continue to prove this run is not a fluke after he hit just .204 last year at Arkansas, though he did walk 89 times.

Jeff Gardner LF (Nationals) - Jeff got a late start to the season. His first start was not until April 27 when he hit a homerun and drove in three runs at Hagerstown. His second start was April 30th when he slugged two homeruns and drove in four of the five Suns runs. That’s three homeruns and seven RBIs in his first two games. The Hagerstown manager may have to find more playing time for him, though his 2015 season with the team has to be a part of the memory when he only hit .226 with five homeruns in 403 at bats.

Pitchers

Jairo Labourt LHP (Tigers) - The 6′4″ Dominican lefty gave up just one hit in his six innings of work for Lakeland, walking three and striking out eight. The six innings pitched were a season high. What is impressive about Jairo is he has only given up 6 hits in his five appearances covering 21 innings. That is just over one hit per appearance. Lefthanded batters have hit to get a hit off him in 22 plate appearances, with 12 of those hitters grabbing some pine after a strikeout.

Rookie Davis RHP (Reds) - Rookie was one of the players acquired from the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman trade. Many experts thought the Reds did not get enough for Aroldis. The 6′5″ Rookie with a mid-90s fastball is making these experts rethink that assessment tossing five innings of two hit shutout ball. In his four starts he has only given up two runs for a sparkling 0.78 ERA.

Chad Kuhl RHP (Pirates) and Jaime Schultz RHP (Rays) - Both pitchers allowed just two hits in six innings of work. For Kuhl this was his second shutout in his last three starts. He has only given up one run in those 16 innings to lower his ERA to 1.31. For Schultz, this is the second time he has appeared on this list and his third start in which he has not given up a run. Unfortunately, Jaime sandwiched in a seven run stinker in between the three shutout starts.

Ofelky Peralta RHP (Orioles) - The 19 year old Dominican struck out 10 in his 5 innings of work. He gave up one run and allowed just two hits.

Ryan Yarbrough LHP (Mariners) - Ryan threw a complete game seven inning three hit shutout.

Cody Reed LHP (D-Backs) - The other Cody Reed, drafted in the second round of the 2014 draft had another 11 strikeout gem, giving him back to back 11 strikeout games in his first two starts of the season. Cody has yet to walk a batter putting his walk to whiff ratio at an impressive 0/22 for his 11 innings of work. He has struck out 22 of the 40 hitters he has faced.