Archive for the 'Athletics' Category

Myworld’s Top Rightfielders

Monday, December 11th, 2017

These are players with a strong arm who can hit for pop. We have excluded any player with a strong arm that also has speed to play center. Or at least we tried. We never thought Michael Conforto would get so much centerfield time with the Mets.

1. Eloy Jimenez (White Sox) - Easily the best of the group here. Average speed prevents him from being a five tool player and having the ability to play centerfield. He has a strong arm and the plus pop that should hit for 30 plus homeruns in the major leagues. The Cubs signed him out of the Dominican Republic for $2.8 million in 2013 but then traded him to the White Sox in the Jose Quintana trade. Last year he slugged 19 homeruns playing in three different cities, hit .312 and slugged .568. A promotion to AA did not seem to phase him where he hit .353 with three homeruns and a .559 slugging percentage. The White Sox have Avisail Garcia for right field, but he is not a big impediment for a Jimenez promotion. Expect Eloy to be playing with the White Sox by mid-season 2018.

2. Kyle Tucker (Astros) - Kyle has been playing a lot of centerfield since being drafted in the first round of the 2015 draft. He is more talented than his brother Preston who had a brief cameo with the Astros a couple years ago. Expect Kyle to make a longer stay. While his speed and instincts make centerfield a possibility, the speed is not of the burner variety and at 6′4″ he may lose a step as he bulks up. His bat does carry power as evidenced by his 25 homeruns split between High A and AA. He did steal 21 bases last year but expect those numbers to drop. The Astros outfield is still a bit crowded, though playing centerfield could be his first opportunity to make it with the Astros. Expect him to start the season in AA with a major league promotion in September, unless his numbers are so staggering the Astros need him to compete for the playoffs.

3. Kyle Lewis (Mariners) - A significant knee injury and surgery ended the 2017 season early for Kyle. How will it impact the speed of the 2016 first round pick is not known. His games in the Arizona Fall League were cut short when he appeared to experience some uneasiness in the knee. The arm is certainly strong enough to play right field if his legs are slower. The juice in his bat can carry the ball over the fence to all fields. Last year he hit 7 homeruns in 49 games, slugging .412 at two levels. The Mariners could start the season rehabbing him at Low A or having him play in extended spring training. Once his knee appears ready he could return to High A with the possibility to be promoted to AA. Don’t expect him in the major leagues before 2019.

4. Brett Phillips (Brewers) - The sixth round 2012 pick has one of the strongest arms in baseball. He also has the speed to cover ground in center. The Brewers have Lewis Brinson, a player with better defensive skills slotted for center. Brett doesn’t carry the power ideal for right so that could put him in a fourth outfielder category. Last year his power was good for 23 homeruns, including 4 in 37 games for the Brewers. There does seem to be too much swing and miss in his bats with 153 whiffs in 142 games. Brett had 34 of those whiffs in 87 at bats at the major league level. The 2018 season should see Brett start the season in AAA but a good spring could motivate the Brewers to take him to Milwaukee with them.

5. Dylan Cozens (Phillies) - The second round 2012 pick packs more power than Rhys Hoskins, though when he hit his 40 plus homeruns in AA a couple years ago it was played at the hitter friendly Reading park. The big challenge for Dylan is making contact, with 194 whiffs in 135 games last year. That resulted in a disappointing .210 average, which prevented him from joining Hoskins in the major leagues last year. Myworld expects some improvement next year as he repeats AAA and gets used to the better pitching at that level. His arm is not a cannon but it is good enough to throw runners out from right field. His average speed could actually force him to move to left. The Phillies are rebuilding so a good spring could create opportunities for him.

6. Aristides Aquino (Reds) - The Reds signed him back in 2011 out of the Dominican Republic. He didn’t get his first opportunity to play full season ball until 2015. Since that time he has been moving up a level each year. Next year should be AAA. There is power in his bat, though that power disappeared in major stretches in 2017. In 2016 he hit 23 homeruns with a .519 slugging. Last year he dropped to 17 homeruns with a .397 slugging percentage. He struggled to make contact last year with 145 whiffs in 131 games, resulting in his average dropping 60 points to .216 last year. Those struggles could see him repeat AA.

7. Harrison Bader (Cardinals) - The Cardinals outfield is crowded. The third round pick in the 2015 draft seems to have the best combination of power, arm and speed of those outfielders to slot in right field. Last year he slugged 23 homeruns, three of them at the major league level. His tool box is enough to give him the classification of a five tool player who exhibits attributes that are average or just above in all five tools. The one attribute he could improve on is patience. If he can narrow the 34/118 walk to whiff ratio that could put his average possibilities nearer the .300 mark. A good spring training could give him a shot at one of the outfield spots, but he has a lot of veterans ahead of him to surpass.

8. Alex Verdugo (Dodgers) - Alex was a second round pick of the Dodgers in 2014. He has a rocket for an arm, ideal for a rightfielder. His best attribute is his ability to make contact with a 52/50 walk to whiff ratio last year. The concern is his inability to show his over the fence power. His line drive stroke is good for gap hits, but adding some loft into his swing could turn some of those gappers into homers. That switch could impact his ability to make contact. His speed is not quick enough to cover the ground he needs for centerfield. Last year he saw some major league September action, hitting .174 in 23 at bats. Yasiel Puig currently has right field occupied so if Verdugo is to play next year he could have to fit in centerfield where the Dodgers lack a consistent bat.

9. Socrates Brito (Diamondbacks) - Socrates has had his opportunities but injuries have held him back. Injuries limited him to 78 games last year and no major league appearance. Socrates has the speed to play center and the arm to fit in right. The bat has not shown a lot of power so his best bet could be if he could win the centerfield job. His most likely role could be as a utility fourth outfielder. Last year in the 78 games he played his OPS was .785 with a .449 slugging average and a .291 batting average. At 25 years old, if he is going to make an impact in the outfield his time would be in 2018.

10. Austin Hays (Orioles) - The third round 2016 pick seemed to come out of nowhere to hit 33 homeruns last year. One of those homeruns came in his major league debut where he hit .217 in a September callup. The Orioles outfield situation is not crowded. Mark Trumbo plays right field but he should spend most of his time at DH next year. What myworld has seen of Hayes is a decent arm that can play in right field, not like the rockets of Verdugo or Phillips. While he showed power last year, whether he can maintain that against major league pitching is open to question. In the minor leagues he has shown the ability to hit in the .300 neighborhood. Time will tell whether the power and batting tools the Atlantic Coast Conference star has shown is a mirage or part of his daily repertoire. The right field job is there for the taking if he has a good spring training.

Others to Note

Khalil Lee (Royals) - The third round 2016 pick has a better arm for throwing out runners than the speed in his legs for catching fly balls. This does not mean he does not have the speed for centerfield, just that his overall tools may be better suited for right. Last year he slugged 17 homeruns in Low A, evidence of his power. He also struck out 171 times in 121 games, indicative of his capability to swing and miss at a lot of pitches.

Seuly Matias (Royals) - The 19 year old Dominican has perhaps the best arm on the Royals. His average speed and power in his bat makes right field the best fit.

Brandon Marsh (Angels) - At 6′4″ with a cannon for an arm makes right field the best fit for Brandon. His legs also are quick enough to cover ground in center. Can’t imagine him usurping Mike Trout from his position so we will fit the second round 2016 pick for right.

Tristan Lutz (Brewers) - The 2017 supplemental first round pick has the arm for right and the bat for the position. He also has decent speed to play center. The Brewers do have a crowded deck of outfielders. The Brewers can start Tristan at Low A and show patience with him as he develops his skills for the major leagues.

Austin Beck (Athletics) - Beck was a first round pick of the Atletics in 2017. He had a prevalence to swing and miss in his professional debut with 51 strikeouts in 41 games, limiting his average to .211. His arm was one of the best in the draft last year.

Myworld’s Top Ten Shortstops

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

These are the players who can make or break a major league team. Many of these players move on to other positions such as second base, third base or centerfield because of their athleticism and there are only 30 spots open to them in the major leagues. This is probably the most crowded position, with many of the major league teams already filled at shortstop. The Yankees have Didi Gregorius, the Mets will have Amed Rosario, the Nationals Trea Turner, the Indians Francisco Lindor, the Astros Carlos Correa, the Dodgers Corey Seager and on and on we can go. Some teams still need shortstops to make their lineup complete. They are the quarterback of an NFL team, the point guard in the NBA. Without a quality player at this position it is difficult to win in the major leagues. Below are some of the best that are waiting for their opportunity to prove themselves.

1. Willy Adames (Rays) - Signed by the Tigers but traded away in the David Price deal. Now that the Tigers are rebuilding he would be a good piece to have in that quest. The defense is there to make the plays and the bat will be productive. The strikeouts need to be tamed (132) but his high walk total (65) gave him a .360 OBA in AAA. He has the potential to hit 30 plus doubles with double digit homerun power approaching 20. Tampa is still looking for a shortstop and Willy could grab the position out of spring training in 2018.

2. Royce Lewis (Twins) - The Twins first round pick in 2017 and the first pick overall. His bat is solid and his defensive tools are strong. The big criticism is his lack of power and an average arm that could create a move to second base. Currently his power is built for the gaps with the speed to turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples. He makes consistent contact with the patience to draw walks. With his speed he could steal 40 plus bases. Royce is still a couple years away and won’t be introduced to the major leagues until 2020 at the earliest as a possible September callup.

3. Gleyber Torres (Yankees) - Gleyber was signed by the Cubs in 2013 for $1.7 million. They traded him to the Yankees to acquire Aroldis Chapman for half a season. Didi Gregorius stands in his way at the major league level and Tommy John surgery cut his 2017 season short by 100 games last year. The bat seems to be his most impressive tool with the ability to hit for average and power. This would allow a move to third base if Didi stays at short. The arm is strong but his range may not be as great as Didi. Don’t be surprised if Gleyber makes an impact to the 2018 season after spending the first couple months in the minors rehabbing his elbow.

4. Fernando Tatis Jr. (Padres) - The son of Fernando Sr. he carries the power of his father with the speed and tools to cover ground in the middle infield. At 6′3″ he may eventually have to move to third. He made a brief appearance at AA, combining for 22 homeruns at the two levels. There is still a lot of non contact with his at bats (77 walks with 141 whiffs) but the walks but his OBA close to .400 (.379). The Padres currently lack a shortstop so a good year at AA could convince the Padres to promote him by mid-season in 2018.

5. Kevin Maiten (To be determined) - The Braves signed him for $4.25 million in 2016. He immediately appeared on Top 100 lists as a 16 year old. His bat was a little quiet in his first season, producing an unimpressive .629 OPS in rookie ball. He didn’t show the bat or the defensive tools to justify the high bonus, but some have to remember he would still be a high school kid if still in the United States. Kevin is one of 13 players the Braves had to release because of the shenanigans the team practiced in circumventing the international salary cap.

6. Carter Kieboom (Nationals) - His father played in the Netherlands. His brother Spencer is a catcher and was first drafted by the Nationals, but lacks the tools of Carter. Carter was a first round pick in 2016 and struggled to stay healthy in 2017. The bat will be strong and spray the gaps, but he may need to move to third. At 6′2″ he may lose the range to stick at short. Whether he can move to third will depend on his gap hits turning into homeruns. He is still a couple years away so Trea has no worries to peer in the rear view mirror until sometime in 2020.

7. Brendan Rodgers (Rockies) - A first round pick in 2015 Brendan’s bat is ready for the major leagues in 2018. Trevor Story stands in his way at shortstop. One will have to move to second base if the Rockies want to get Brendan’s bat in the lineup. The power exists for 30 plus homeruns in Colorado, which would make him a offensive force in the middle infield. Neither Story or Rodgers has the speed to cover a lot of ground at short so it could be rock, paper, scissors to see who moves to second.

8. Delvin Perez (Cardinals) - The Cardinals first round pick in 2016. He may have not fallen to them if not for a drug failure prior to the draft. At 6′3″ the Puerto Rican reminds scouts of Carlos Correa, with less power but a more consistent glove. He also has good stolen base speed. A taller Francisco Lindor may be a better comparison, with Lindor not developing the power until he hit the major leagues. Last year Delvin was limited to 34 games because of injury. His bat was disappointing with a .203 average and .585 OPS. Delvin is still a couple years away from thinking about the major leagues.

9. J.P. Crawford (Phillies) - The Phillies keep waiting for his tools to make an appearance. His bat has produced two consecutive years of disappointing performances. Most were expecting him to move Freddy away from shortstop by now, but based on performance Freddy is the better shortstop and J.P. may have to move to second or third. He does draw a lot of walks which makes his .243 average more tolerable and he did hit a career high 15 homeruns. A .214 major league average and .656 OPS may keep him in AAA to start the 2018 season. The Phillies may make him earn his promotion to shortstop.

10. Andres Gimenez (Mets) - His defense at short would make him gold glove eligible but his lack of hitting tools makes him better as a utility player. His speed should give him 20 plus stolen bases. His lack of power stunted his slugging (.349). In 2016 in the Dominican Summer League he walked more than he struck out (21/13). Against better pitching state side those numbers were reversed (28/61). At 19 the Mets can be patient with him so don’t expect him to sniff the major leagues until 2020.

Others to Consider

Jorge Mateo (Athletics) - The acquisition of Gleyber Torres moved him to second. Dealt to the Athletics in the Sonny Gray trade he has returned to short. Speed is his best asset though he has shown some surprising pop. The Athletics are a little crowded at short so a move to center field to take advantage of his speed is still in the cards.

Cole Tucker (Pirates) - Not a lot of tools. A Jody Mercer clone once Jody leaves as a free agent. Does have the speed to steal 30 plus bases.

Richard Urena (Blue Jays) - A defensive shortstop who lacks a strong bat. Injuries to Troy Tulowitski will give him opportunities to prove himself at the position, but last year only hit .206 in his major league debut.

Wander Javier (Twins) - The Twins shelled out $4 million for Wander in 2015. Royce and Wander are the same age, but Royce has seen Low A. Wander is still in Rookie ball with injuries in 2016 restricting him to 9 games. He has the tools to play the position and the bat to be an impact player but needs the reps to let those tools shine.

Alfredo Rodriguez (Reds) - Not a lot of Cubans to fill the shortstop position. The glove is there to play the position but the bat is light, lacking power and the patience.

Yu-Cheng Chang (Indians) - Chang is the atypical Asian shortstop. He hits for power but his defensive tools may force a move to third. Too many swings and misses (134) kept his average low (.220).

Hoy-Jun Park (Yankees) - An expensive sign out of Korea ($1 million), Park has a smooth glove but a silent bat.

Richie Martin (Athletics) - The 2015 first round pick has the best glove in the Athletics organization. A questionable bat that lacks power may make him fall short as a major leaguer.

Kevin Newman (Pirates) - Another Jody Mercer clone that lacks the speed of Cole Tucker. His bat lacks power but makes solid contact to hit .270 plus.

Wander Franco (Rays) - At 16 years of age he is still a long ways away. The Rays paid $3.8 million to sign him. His bloodlines are good being the nephew of Eric Aybar. Dominicans have a tendency to outgrow shortstop.

Lucius Fox (Rays) - A defensive wizard with good speed the big impediment towards Lucius making an impact is a weak bat. Willy Adames will have claimed the position by the time Fox is ready so a move to second base or center field is a possibility. He has the speed to cover the grass in center.

Logan Warmoth (Blue Jays) - The Jays 2017 first round pick hit .302 in his half season professional debut. Not great defensive tools with power more suited for second base.

Myworld’s Top Ten Third Base Prospects

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

This is a position reserved for power hitters. Many of those power hitters like Jim Thome or Miguel Sano get too big for the position and have to move to first base or DH. Below are the players myworld sees as the top ten at third base.

1. Nick Senzel (Reds) - The first round pick of the Reds in 2016 and the second player drafted overall should hit for both average and power. Last year he combined to hit .321 between High A and AA, with his average increasing from .305 to .340 when promoted to AA. He also hit 14 homeruns with a slugging average of .514. Defensively, he has the quickness to stay at the position, but do not expect any gold gloves. The Reds traded Todd Frazier to make room for Senzel. Eugenio Suarez, the current occupier of the position can play a super utility role, having played second, short and left field in his time with the Reds. Expect to see Senzel at this position in 2018.

2. Vladimir Guerrero (Blue Jays) - His bat may not be as productive as his father and his arm is not as strong. He does carry more patience, walking 76 times last year. In his last three years in the major leagues his father walked 71 times, though he did show more patience earlier in his career (or pitchers feared him so much they did not give him a pitch to hit). The big question with Junior is whether he can handle the position defensively. Last year he hit .323 with 13 homeruns and a .485 slugging average between Low and High A. Those numbers should increase as he matures. Myworld would not be surprised if he is moved to left field or first base, though his lack of speed would make him a liability on defense in the outfield.

3. Michael Chavis (Red Sox) - Rafael Devers had some success last year at third base for the Red Sox. That seems to create an impediment for Chavis to move there at the major league level. Chavis may not have the hit tool of Devers (.282) but he hits for more power with his 31 homeruns between High A and AA. Like Devers, defense is not a strong point for Chavis. His lack of speed will make moving to the outfield difficult. The Red Sox have one more year to decide who they move to first base, or use one of them as trade bait.

4. Brian Anderson (Marlins) - Myworld was impressed how frequently the third round 2014 pick peppered the gap during spring training. The ball seems to jump off his bat when he makes contact. Currently his power is more dedicated to the gaps. In a brief major league callup he hit 7 doubles in 84 at bats. At AA and AAA he combined for 22 homeruns and 21 doubles, hitting .275. His power could improve once he shows better patience at the plate. Defensively he has all the tools to play the position. He should be the starter at the position for the Marlins in 2018.

5. Austin Riley (Braves) - Austin is currently tearing it up in the Arizona Fall League. This after he hit 20 homeruns at High A and AA last year. If Austin can tame his swings and misses the average could go higher and more balls would carry the fence. Defensively he is adequate at third. With another solid performance in AA he could be with the Braves by mid-season in 2018. They do not have any top player to stop him from advancing.

6. Miguel Andujar (Yankees) - The Yankees have a glut of middle infielders (Gleyber Torres), some of whom they may have to accommodate at third to get their bat in the lineup. Currently, most of his power fills the gaps, with 38 doubles last year, two in the major leagues. As he matures those 16 homeruns he hit last year could translate to 30 plus. It would be hard to find a better arm than Miguel and if he had the speed a move to right field would be perfect (but that would require supplanting Aaron Judge). Last year he hit .571 in a seven at bat major league September callup. Expect him to see more time at the major league level next year.

7. Jake Burger (White Sox) - Jake was a first round pick of the White Sox last year. There is little doubt he will be a hitting machine, though in a 13 at bat minor league debut he hit just .154. The big concern with Jake is his stay puff marshmellow physique, which could force a move away from third. Currently his physique allows him the quickness to play third. If he continues to bulk up he may have to move to first. Not a lot of players can match his work ethic. Drafted out of college if Jake hits he will be moved up quickly.

8. Colton Walker (Rockies) - Unlike Ryan McMahon, Colton as a few more years in the minor leagues to play third base before the Rockies have to make a decision on whether to keep Nolan Arenado. The biggest strength for Colton is his defense. He was a shortstop in high school, so playing third is a good transition for him, especially because of his lack of speed. Last year in his first full season at Low A he hit .350. The power is still absent (6 homeruns) but it should come as he gains strength.

9. Lucas Erceg (Brewers) - The second round 2016 pick has the power to play the position. He struggled with the bat a little bit more last year than his debut 2016 half season, hitting just .256 at High A. The power showed mainly in the gaps with 33 doubles, but he did slug 15 homeruns for a .417 slugging average. As he gets stronger the power will carry more balls over the fence. He should be a stand out defensively and eventually move Travis Shaw to first base.

10. Adrian Rondon (Rays) - The Rays shelled out $2.95 million to sign him. At the time he was a shortstop. A lack of speed forced a move to third base. Too many swings and misses (129) impacted his average (.221). When he makes contact the ball travels well off the bat. Only 19, myworld would not be surprised if he spends another season in Low A to deal with his lack of contact issues. The defense will be solid.

Other players to note:

Ryan McMahon (Rockies) - On talent alone he would make this top ten just after Andujar. We already listed him at second base and do not see him playing third for the Rockies as long as Arenado fills this spot. Defensively he is not as strong as Walker so when Walker is ready and Arenado gone McMahon will be at first or second.

Ryan Mountcastle (Orioles) - He does not have the range to play short. When promoted to AA last year he played third. The power could be short for the position making a move to second more logical.

Bobby Dalbec (Red Sox) - That shortage at third base for the Red Sox is turning into a surplus. There is still too much swing and miss in his bat (132 in 85 games). If that can be toned down the power is there to play the position.

Colin Moran (Astros) - He was an RBI machine in college. That did not transition to the major leagues. Last year he had a break out season with 18 homeruns, earning a promotion to the major leagues. A hit by pitch put an early stop to his season. It will be interesting if last year was an aberration or part of his new self.

J.D. Davis (Astros) - Davis has some power in his bat but a lack of quickness and Bregman and Moran could force a move to another position. A lack of speed leaves first base as the most desirable option.

Hunter Dozier (Royals) - The first round 2013 pick has taken some time to develop. Injuries limited him to 33 games last year. Alex Gordon struggled for a number of years with the Royals while trying to play third base until they moved him to the outfield. Perhaps this will have to be done for Dozier to get his bat working.

Renato Nunez (Athletics) - He has good power in his bat but an inability to make consistent contact. His poor fielding makes a move to first almost guaranteed, especially with the depth the Athletics have at third.

Ke’Bryan Hayes (Pirates) - The Pirates first round pick in 2015 lacks the power for the position. He is an above average defender.

Christian Arroyo (Giants) - A tweener. The first round 2013 pick does not have the range for short or the power for third.

Top Ten Second Base Prospects

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

Not the position that is filled with the best prospects in baseball. In the major leagues the players who end up at second base are the more athletic shortstops who are a bit slow or do not have the arm to play short. Not a lot of players start as second baseman in the minor leagues and move up to the major leagues as second baseman. Below is myworld’s ten second base prospects that we like.

1. Nick Gordon (Twins) - Nick saw most of his time at shortstop but with top pick Royce Lewis ahead of him in the depth chart a more permanent move to second may be in his future. His half brother Dee Gordon started as a shortstop and was moved to second. Nick is less erratic at the position than Dee and has the arm to play the position. There is some concern he may not have the quickness. Nick lacks the speed and the stolen base ability of his brother Dee but he carries more power in his bat. Last year he hit .270 with 9 homeruns. He whiffs (134) too much for a middle infielder who does not have a lot of power.

2. Bo Bichette (Blue Jays) - His mother is from Brazil so Bo got to play for that country in the World Baseball Classic. His dad Dante was a power hitter in the major leagues and his brother, Dante Jr, plays in the minor leagues for the Yankees. Bo lacks the power of his father but carries better speed and could hit for average. He saw a limited amount of time at second base but 21 errors at shortstop in 86 games shows his inconsistency and a move to second may become more permanent. His bat was the talk of the minor leagues after hitting .384 in 70 low A games. The previous year he had hit .427 in 22 rookie league games. Promoted to the Florida State League he still hit a blistering .323, blasting 14 homeruns at the two levels. He will be an offensive oriented middle infielder who should make an impact with the Blue Jays in 2019.

3. Franklin Barreto (Athletics) - The Athletics have traded a number of shortstops, but Franklin was acquired from the Blue Jays in the Josh Donaldson trade. He also played more shortstop than second base this year but inconsistent fielding and Marcus Semien may call for a move to second. His arm is strong enough for third but he may not develop the power to play there. He struggled when promoted to the major leagues (.197) after hitting .290 with 15 homeruns in AAA. Franklin should be one of the candidates for the second base position next year.

4. Ryan McMahon (Rockies) - He started his career as a third baseman but with Nolan Arenado there that position is blocked. Defense will be his biggest challenge at second since he lacks the foot speed to cover a lot of ground. Getting his bat in the lineup is the Rockies biggest objective and there won’t be many second baseman that will match his power numbers. He has the potential to hit 20 plus homeruns and last year between AA and AAA hit .355, showing a lot of gap power with 39 doubles. In a brief major league showing he struggled, hitting just .158.

5. Scott Kingery (Phillies) - The first player here whose natural position is second base. Last year he went on a tear in a hitters park with 18 homeruns in 69 games. That kind of power was uncharacteristic for Kingery. When promoted to AAA his power dropped to 8 homeruns in 63 games with a slugging average going from .608 to .449. He has good speed falling one base shy of 30 stolen bases and plays a solid defense at second. The Phillies currently have a log jam at second so expect Scott to see one more year in AAA. If he can show that AA power was not a fluke he will get a quick promotion to the Phillies.

6. Willie Calhoun (Rangers) - He was an atrocious defensive second baseman with the Dodgers last year. When they traded him to the Rangers he played a lot of left field. That may be where he ultimately lands, though his arm is weak. What teams like in Calhoun is his 30 plus homer bat. For a power bat he also makes good contact with the ball. The Rangers will have to find a position for Joey Gallo and Roughned Odor is not being replaced at second base. The bat is ready for the major leagues, the glove will never be, now the Rangers have to find him a position to play him.

7. Luis Urias (Padres) - Urias started at second base but has seen some time at short. He has the arm for the position but there are questions about his consistency. One tool not questioned is his bat. It lacks power but he should never stray far from the .300 neighborhood. Last year he walked (68) more than he struck out (65). The Padres don’t really have anyone blocking Urias at short so that may be his ultimate position. He showed his bat is ready for the majors, hitting .298 in AA with a .398 OBA. Expect him to be with the Padres by mid season in 2018.

8. Travis DeMeritt (Braves) - The Braves like the power in his bat and acquired him from the Rangers. His arm and his power may make a move to third also a possibility. He has a tendency to swing and miss a lot (134 whiffs) which keeps his average down. Last year he was mired in AA with a .234 average with the power (15 homeruns and a .402 slugging) not appearing with regularity. The previous year he broke out for 28 homeruns while still hitting .266, with much of the power coming at a hitter friendly park (High Desert). Expect to see him play a full year in AAA with a September callup in his future.

9. Keston Hiura (Brewers) - The 2017 first round pick only played three games at second base in 2017. He played the rest of his games at DH because of an elbow that will need Tommy John surgery after the season. His glove is not his strongest asset and his arm is still a mystery but no one questions his bat. He hit .371 at two levels last year (rookie and Low A) with four homeruns. He should challenge for batting titles and hit in the double digits for homeruns. There is enough speed in his legs for a move to left field if second base does not pan out.

10. Andy Ibanez (Rangers) - At 25 entering the 2018 season Andy is ready for major league action now. That may come as a utility player. He was a star for Cuba at the tender age of 19, good enough to make their 2013 World Baseball Classic team. The bat has not developed into anything special once he went state side. Power is lacking and his hit tool may not be better than .270. He also does not take a lot of walks so his OBA won’t be much farther than .320. He did miss two years after his defection so 2018 will be his third year trying to make the major leagues. He will probably spend most of that time in AAA.

Others to watch

Shed Long (Reds) - Like the name but he doesn’t really have one glittering tool that makes you want to say Wow. Did hit .312 last year with 16 homeruns. That will play.

Nick Solak (Yankees) - Don’t really know a lot about him other than he was the Yankees second round pick in 2016. He got a late season callup to AA last year so myworld should get a look at him in 2018.

Ildemaro Vargas (Diamondbacks) - A star in the Independent Leagues and already 26. He did hit .308 in a brief callup to the major leagues. Myworld expects him to compete in a utility role for the Diamondbacks next year. He makes solid contact with gap power.

Tzu Wei Lin (Red Sox) - Signed out of Taiwan Lin is a natural shortstop with a smooth glove. His bat will probably not play to be a regular so expect a utility role for him, where he played last year when called up briefly by the Red Sox.

Gavin Cecchini (Mets) - The Mets have a number of gold glove shortstops that will have to move to second or in a utility role once they are ready for the major leagues. Gavin does not have the glove to match them but his bat could be better. Gavin will probably end up a utility player.

Max Schrock (Athletics) - He hits screaming line drives with the bat but his glove is a question mark. What helps him is his lefthanded bat.

AL West Minor League All Stars

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Baseball America came out with their minor league classification All Stars. Below are the players who made the list from the AL West. They may not be the best prospects, but they had the best seasons for 2017.

Houston Astros

Derek Fisher OF (AAA) - Derek would have had a third consecutive 20/20 season if not for an early callup to the Astros. His production made Nori Aoki obsolete in Houston. He has a combination of power and speed with a left handed bat that will make him popular in the lineup. A weak arm will restrict him to left field.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

None

Oakland Athletics

Jorge Mateo SS (AA) - The Yankees included him in a trade to acquire Sonny Gray. It extended his stint at short, but do not be surprised to see an eventual move to the outfield. His main attribute is his speed, stealing 52 bases last year. Jorge also has some emerging power with a career high 12 homeruns. That speed and power mix also produced 18 triples.

Greg Deichmann OF (short season) - Greg does not have any overwhelming tools. Power and a strong arm will have him fit best in right field. At 22 years of age he was one of the older players in short season.

Parker Dunshee SP (short season) - He pitched 38 innings and did not allow a run, limiting the opposition to a .119 average. When the playoffs started he was tattooed for seven runs in less than three innings. The seventh round pick out of Wake Forest does not have dazzling stuff and at 22 years of age he was a bit older than his competetion, so what he does as he rises up a level will be key.

Seattle Mariners

Nick Neidert SP (High A) - The second round 2015 pick is not overpowering, with a fastball in the low 90s. His best pitch at this point is his change up and his ability to command his pitches. He did get knocked around when promoted to AA, the opposition hitting him at a .324 clip.

Joseph Rosa 2B (short season) - Does not seem to possess any top of the scale tools. He did hit a career high 6 homeruns for a .531 slugging average. This is his third season in short season ball so he needs to prove himself at the higher classifications.

Juan Then SP (Dominican) - Pitched well in the Dominican League but that is all we can say about him. Juan struck out 8.2 hitters per 9 innings and limited the opposition to a .220 average.

Texas Rangers

Willie Calhoun DH (AAA) - The Dodgers traded him to the Rangers as part of the Yu Darvish deal. With the Dodgers Calhoun played second base but his defense is lacking there. A move to left field would be ideal to accommodate his suspect glove. What he does possess is a bat that carries homerun power with 31 last year and 27 the previous year.

Cole Ragens SP (short season) - A first round pick in the 2016 draft, the lefty throws a decent fastball in the low 90s but complements it with a solid curveball and change. Cole had a quite impressive 13.7 whiffs per 9 innings, but needs to find the plate more with 35 walks in 57 innings.

Hans Crouse SP (rookie) - The second round 2017 pick has a plus fastball that sits in the mid-90s and can reach the high 90s. That overpowering stuff resulted in a walk to whiff ratio of 13.5 whiffs per nine and a .109 opposition average. At 6′4″ he has good height for a starting pitcher.

Myworlds Top Ten Texas League Prospects

Sunday, August 6th, 2017

Myworld struggled to find ten quality players to make a top ten. Not an impressive lot. These are prospects based on their production while in the Texas League. A number of Dodger pitchers filter this list.

1. Walker Buehler RHP (Dodgers) - Walker was a first round pick of the Dodgers in 2015. Tommy John surgery prevented him from playing in 2015 and in 2016 he was limited to five regular season innings and two playoff starts that also was five innings. The Dodgers have been aggressive with him this year, starting him in High A ball where it only took five starts and a 1.10 ERA to get him promoted to AA. It took him 11 AA starts with a 3.49 ERA to get him promoted to AAA. Combined opponents are hitting only .190 against him with 112 whiffs in 80 innings pitched. Don’t be surprised to see the Dodgers limit his innings, shutting him down after August to protect his arm. As is, his starts have only averaged four innings per start, limiting his ability to produce victories. His fastball sits in the mid-90s with a combination curve/slider and a change that he throws for strikes. He has a good shot of making the Dodgers rotation sometime next year.

2. Jack Flaherty RHP (Cardinals) - Jack was a first round pick of the Cardinals in 2014. He started the season in AA and was almost unhittable in his 10 starts, stitching together a 1.42 ERA. That resulted in his promotion to AAA where he has not been as dominant (3.21 ERA) but he has still been effective. Despite his 6′4″ frame he is not overpowering, hitting the low 90s with his fastball with a plus changeup that gives the fastball the appearance of greater velocity. He also has little difficulty throwing strikes, though this has resulted in a greater homerun stroke by the AAA opposition. With continued success expect a September promotion by the Cardinals.

3. Magneruris Sierra CF (Cardinals) - This Dominican was a bargain sign when he inked his $105,000 bonus in 2012. Defense in centerfield and speed will be his calling card. There is very little power in his bat but he does have the ability to hit over .300. His speed can turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples. He started this year in High A, was quickly promoted to AA and after hitting .286 with 13 stolen bases in 61 games he was promoted to the major league club. In the majors he is hitting .365 with no extra base hits in 13 games. If he is not to become a fourth outfielder he needs an OBA of .330 or better, something he was able to accomplish in the minor leagues except for this year.

4. Yohander Mendez LHP (Rangers) - Yohander was signed out of Venezuela in 2011 for $1.5 million. Last year he made his major league debut, pitching two games of relief for the Rangers but showing great difficulty retiring hitters. Despite his dominance at AAA last year the Rangers have placed him in AA again where he has started 20 games with a 3.86 ERA. The opposition is hitting him at a .230 rate. The fastball can reach the mid-90s but mostly sits in the low 90s, good enough velocity for a lefthander. His change may be his best pitch but he lacks a third pitch which could keep him in a bullpen role. Expect a September promotion this year.

5. J.D. Davis 3B (Astros) - J.D. was a third round pick in 2014. His two biggest tools are a rocket arm and the ability to hit for power. Last year he hit 23 homeruns in AA. With Colin Moran in AAA J.D. repeated AA and slugged 21 homeruns in just 87 games, still tops in the Texas League. That led to a promotion to AAA after Moran was promoted to the Astros where J.D. added five dingers in 16 games. The 26 homeruns match his career high he set in 2015. With Moran and Correa injured the Astros have promoted him to the major league club to provide some depth in the infield. He will stay there until Correa gets healthy.

6. Grant Holmes RHP (Athletics) - Grant was a first round pick of the Dodgers in 2014. The Dodgers included him in a trade to the Athletics for Josh Reddick and Rich Hill. While his ERA is not good (4.90) he does lead the Texas League in whiffs with 115. Opponents do seem to make hard contact off him (.279) despite his ability to hit the mid-90s with his fastball. The trade of Sonny Gray gives Grant a better opportunity to work his way into the Athletics rotation. For a first round pick he has been a disappointment but expect him to find a spot in the Athletics rotation sometime next year.

7. Luis Urias SS/2B (Padres) - Luis was signed out of Mexico in 2013. His slow foot speed probably makes him a better fit for second base. This year he has seen more games at short (56) but 34 games at second. His best shot of making a major league team is in a utility role. He lacks power but can hit for average. Last year his .330 average won the California League batting title. This year he is hitting .314. His slow foot speed will not result in stolen bases so the only tool he has is his ability to hit for average and solid defensive play at second base. Expect him to get an opportunity with the Padres in September.

8. Dakota Hudson RHP (Cardinals) - Dakota was a first round pick out of Mississippi State in 2016. He leads the Texas League in ERA by more than a run. His 2.53 ERA has already led to a recent promotion to AAA. Despite his impressive numbers his whiffs are not prevalent (77 whiffs in 114 innings) and the opposition seems to have the ability to make hard contact off him (.255). He sits in the mid-90s with his fastball with a curve, slider and change combination. He has already reached 121 innings pitched so expect the Cardinals to slow down the number of innings he eats.

9. Richie Martin SS (Athletics) - Richie was a first round pick of the Athletics in 2015. The Athletics appear to have a surplus at shortstop, but if they want defense Richie is the man. The concern for him is whether he will have enough bat to play in the major leagues. This year he is only hitting .224 in AA. With the acquisition of Jorge Mateo from the Yankees the Athletics demoted him back to High A to find his bat while at the same time putting Jorge at short.

10. Samir Duenez 1B (Royals) - Samir was signed out of Venezuela in 2012. While he shows good ability to hit for contact and average he plays a position where teams look for power. Until this year he had yet to show that power. The power increase seems to have come at a lowering of his batting average (.267). The 15 homeruns is a career high but the average is down below normal. His slugging average of .429 is still a bit below average. His below average speed makes a move to the outfield difficult so if he is to make it to the majors he must continue to carry the balls over the fence at the cost of 20 to 30 points to his average.

Others to Watch

Yasiel Sierra RHP (Dodgers) - Yasiel was signed out of Cuba in 2016 for six years and $30 million that included a $6 million bonus. At 25 years of age the bonus did not count against the Dodgers international cap, but it does put pressure on the Dodgers to promote him quickly to get some bang for their buck. The Dodgers moved him to the bullpen this year after he struggled as a starting pitcher last year (6.20 ERA). It only took him 26 relief appearances with a 2.54 ERA to get him a promotion to AAA. He struck out 64 in 50 innings but a .244 opposition average is alarming. His fastball hits the mid to high 90s. Without a third pitch it might be best he work out of the bullpen. Though the Dodgers do not appear to need any help a September callup may be a possibility just to get him exposure to major league hitters.

Yadier Alvarez RHP (Dodgers) - Myworld might find room for him in the top ten with more starts and less walks. The Dodgers paid him a $16 million bonus in 2015. Only Hector Olivera and his $28 million bonus is higher. At 21 with a fastball that has hit triple digits the Dodgers can be patient with him. He got a promotion to AA despite his struggles with command at High A that was responsible for his 4.88 ERA. In three starts in the Texas League his ERA sits at 2.84 but with 12 walks in 12.2 innings pitched he needs to find the plate more. Coming into this season the opposition average last year was .185. This year it is .268. For some reason his pitches are easier to hit and with a 1.57 WHIP that is too many runners on base.

A.J. Puk RHP (Athletics) - Performance wise the first round 2016 pick may not deserve to be here. His 5.88 ERA in eight starts is a bit high. But he has pitched games with 11 and 13 whiffs and has struck out 46 hitters in 35 innings. Opponents are hitting only .229 against him but 19 walks has given him too many baserunners. At 6′7″ he has good height which makes his mid to high 90s fastball that much more intimidating when it comes to the plate. The down side of that height is it makes it difficult for him to repeat his delivery making command of the fastball difficult. He also needs to develop his secondary pitches (slider and change) if he wants to stick as a starter.

Jorge Mateo SS (Athletics) - A new comer to the league since his acquisition from the Yankees. Jorge would probably be in the top five if he played more games. A toolsy player with speed and surprising power. When the Yankees acquired Gleyber Torres it forced Mateo to move to second. Some feel a average arm may make second base the best position for him. In six Texas League games Jorge has already accumulated three triples and is hitting .267. The Athletics will see how he handles short, demoting Richie Martin, their best defensive shortstop to give him opportunities.

Myworld’s Top Pacific League Prospects

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

This appears to be a more offensive oriented league. Myworld was not too impressed with the collection of pitchers, but this may be a result of the offensive conditions many of the parks offer their hitters. The assessment is based on numbers. Potential does not arrive until you put up the numbers to prove you can produce.

1. Amed Rosario SS (Mets) - The Mets signed Amed out of the Dominican Republic for $1.75 million in 2012. Myworld was impressed with his defense this spring. Now he is putting up some impressive offensive numbers in Las Vegas, a hitter friendly park where he is hitting .330. His seven homeruns are a career high. The Mets need a shortstop. Don’t know what their reluctance is in not promoting Amed. Perhaps they are saving some service time. Expect a September promotion. The Mets have a lot of depth at this position percolating up through their minor league systems, with some of them moving to second base but Amed is ready to make an impact now.

2. Luke Weaver RHP (Cardinals) - Luke was a first round pick of the Cardinals in 2014. The Cardinals gave him his major league debut last year but he struggled in 8 starts (5.79). This year he has appeared in two games in relief. He has been the most dominant pitcher in the Pacific Coast League this year (9-1, 1.91 ERA). With more innings he would be leading the league in ERA by close to two runs. His command is good with a fastball that sits in the low 90s made faster with an excellent changeup. The Cardinals have found themselves struggling this year. If they fall out of the pennant race they may give Weaver some more opportunity to pitch to major league hitters. Expect a September callup if not sooner if the Cardinals fall out of the race.

3. Derek Fisher OF (Astros) - Derek was a 2014 number one pick of the Astros. He got a brief callup to the major league club where he did well, slugging two homeruns. At AAA his 21 homeruns is tied for third in the league. He also has the ability to steal bases with 16 in 26 attempts. At this point he has to be a better offensive alternative than Nori Aoki, though the Astros like to use Marwin Gonzalez out there as well. His defense is below average but the offensive numbers he can put up are excellent. Of course, at this point the Astros have plenty of offense, even with the injury to Carlos Correa.

4. Ryan McMahon 2B (Rockies) - He made our Eastern League list. The Rockies made him their second round pick in 2013. Last year his bat was very quiet, only hitting .242 with 12 homeruns. That kind of production is not going to usurp Nolan Arenado from his third base job. This year his bat has been explosive. After tearing up AA pitching for a .326 average with six homeruns in 49 games the Rockies promoted him to AAA. He has been even better there with a .379 average and 9 homeruns in 41 games. They have also been playing him at second base where he has the potential to be an offensive oriented player at that position. And he does not have to worry about Nolan.

5. Alex Verdugo OF (Dodgers) - Another second round pick, this one by the Dodgers in 2014. Alex is a line drive swinger with battle title possibilities. His balls filter the gaps rather than travel over the fence. Because his lack of speed makes centerfield difficult on the defensive side of the equatione, he needs to play corner where many teams look for power. A plus arm allows him to play right field. If Tony Gwynn can survive as a rightfielder winning batting titles without hitting homeruns Verdugo can find a spot there as well.

6. Lewis Brinson OF (Brewers) - Brinson was originally a first round pick of the Rangers in 2012. He was part of the Jonathan Lucroy trade that saw him go to the Brewers. He is assaulting AAA pitchers, which led to a brief promotion to the Brewers where he struggled for a .097 average. Back in AAA he is hitting .346 while showing some power with his 10 homeruns. There is some pop in his bat and there is speed in his legs to cover a lot of ground in centerfield. Expect the Brewers to give him another opportunity in September.

7. Willie Calhoun 2B (Dodgers) - Listed at 5′8″ the 14th round pick in 2014 snuck up on a lot of people with his 27 homeruns last year. He did show some power in junior college hitting 31 homeruns in 61 games. After a slow start to the season this year the power has returned. Willie has slugged 20 homeruns that has come with a .302 average. His defense at second base is a bit spotty which could create a move to left field. The Dodgers have used him in 11 games this year but most of his time has been spent at second base.

8. Dinelson Lamet RHP (Padres) - Dinelson was a bargain, signing for just $100,000 out of the Dominican Republic. He only got eight starts in the Pacific League before being promoted by the Padres. His 3.23 ERA would have been second to Weaver in the Pacific League ERA race. At 6′4″ he has a little more meat than Weaver with a fastball hitting the mid-90s, to go along with a slider/change combination. While his ERA is higher in the major leagues (6.40) his opposition average is equal (.222 in AAA versus .229). What has been a challenge for Lamet is keeping the ball in the park. He has given up 11 dingers in his 45 major league innings.

9. Carson Kelly C (Cardinals) - The Cardinals second round pick in 2012 is expected to be the successor to Yadier Molina behind the plate. The Cardinals recently called him up to the major league club. This after he hit .283 with 10 homeruns. Last year he made his major league debut and only hit .154. There is power in the bat with gold glove caliber defense, tools that should get him to the major leagues. All he has to do is hit .250 to be an impact player. Carson began his career as a third baseman but the Cardinals moved him behind the plate after they drafted him.

10. Colin Moran 3B (Astros) - Colin was a first round pick of the Marlins in 2013 after he led the NCAA in RBIs. The big question with Colin was his lack of power at what is a power position. The Marlins traded him to the Astros for Jarred Cosart in 2014 when the power numbers did not show. Last year he hit a career high 10 homeruns, but still not what you want to see from a third baseman who does not have stellar defensive tools for third base. At 6′4″ you would expect the power to come. This year it arrived with 18 homeruns in 79 games with a .308 average. It was enough to get him a promotion to the major leagues after the injury to Carlos Correa. Last year in his major league debut he hit .130. In his first game this year he hit a triple and homerun. Times may be looking good for Moran.

Others to Mention

Dominic Smith 1B (Mets) - Another player criticized for his lack of a power bat. The Mets drafted him in the first round in 2013. What myworld saw of him in spring was a lackadaisical way of playing defense where he committed two errors on bone head plays in a span of three innings. With missing power defense was supposed to be his road to the major leagues. Last year the power began to show with 14 homeruns. This year it has crashed the minor league party with 13 homeruns, a .336 average and a career high .515 slugging. If the Mets trade Lucas Duda expect Dominic to see some major league time.

Tony Kemp 2B (Astros) - Not one of those toolsy players who will make prospect lists. The fifth round pick in 2013 also plays the same position as Jose Altuve. But his .333 average could see him as a utility player in the major leagues. Right now Marwin Gonzalez has the patent on that and the defensive capabilities for Kemp are not strong. Kemp though is playing some outfield but is limited to left field by a weak arm. He mostly finds himself at second base, where his defense is considered fringe. At 25 his time is now so myworld expects the Astros to use him as a trade piece with no role for him on their current roster.

Harrison Bader OF (Cardinals) - The outfield is crowded for the third round 2015 pick. His defense is more suited for the corner but there was some concern for his lack of power for a corner spot. Last year he slugged 19 homeruns. This year in 94 games he has already hit 19 homeruns, to go along with a .302 average. Harrison has been playing centerfield. With the recent acquisition of Tyler O’Neil it might be best he stay there, even though his range is just average for a centerfielder.

Brett Phillips OF (Brewers) - Brett was a sixth round pick of the Astros in 2012. The Astros traded him to the Brewers in mid 2015 for Carlos Gomez. With the Astros his batting average never dropped below .300. With the Brewers he had trouble staying healthy and the average last year dived to .229. Scouts began pegging him as more of a fourth outfielder. This year he has found his lost swing breaking out with a .293 average and 17 homeruns. His .582 slugging was just short of his career high. The Brewers have now promoted him to the major leagues where he is hitting .227 with two homeruns in 12 games. He does show a tendency to swing and miss so expect a lot of streaks in his season.

Renato Nunez 3B/1B (Athletics) - The best position for the Venezuelan who signed for $2.2 million in 2010 is probably DH. The positions he is listed for are first base and third base. The Athletics are crowded at those positions. Currently he leads the Pacific League in homeruns with 25. A .254 average, a propensity for strikeouts and poor defense are big downsides for Renato, but you have to like the power. A lack of speed makes moving him to the outfield a concern, but he has seen some time there.

A.J. Reed 1B (Astros) - Reed was a second round pick for the Astros in 2014. The Astros were so impressed with his power possibilities he competed for a major league job right out of spring training in 2015. He continues to show a power bat with 20 homeruns this year but a low average (.248) and sub par defense makes his wait continue. Last year he struggled with major league pitching (.164). Yuli Gurriel does not show as much power but he is more consistent with the bat and plays better defense. A.J. will just have to wait. He could still be used as a trade chip in the Astros playoff run.

Wilmer Font RHP (Dodgers) - At 27 years of age the prospect winds have probably passed him by. But he leads the Pacific Coast League in whiffs with 138 in only 101 innings. The opposition is hitting him at only a .225 clip and he shows good command of his pitches. The Dodgers have some depth in their starting rotation but if Wilmer keeps putting up the numbers it will be tough to keep him down. Look what happened to Brandon Morrow.

2017 Top Ten Prospects from Venezuela - American League

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

No one from the list last year had any significant major league time last year. A couple players who made the National League list last year are now on the American League list. As a result only five players from the list last year made the list this year. The others dropped off. Myworld is not confident of the major league qualities of any of the players on this list after you get past the top five.

1. Gleyber Torres SS (Yankees) - Tommy John surgery has prevented him from making his major league debut. Originally signed by the Cubs in 2013 for $1.7 million, Gleyber was traded to the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman trade rental last year. Gleyber has the tools to play shortstop but may not get the opportunity to play there now that Didi Gregorious has established roots at the position. With Chase Headley a disappointment at third there was talk of moving him there but his injury has stalled that development. Prior to his injury he got 15 games at third base. His bat shows the potential for plus power as he matures and should play at third. He slugged .480 between AA and AAA but at 20 years of age he has room to grow. With Chase Headley a free agent expect Gleyber to take over the third base position, though Miguel Andujar could have some influence over that and his injury could delay his start there.

2. Franklin Barreto SS (Athletics) - Franklin was signed by the Blue Jays in 2012 for $1.45 million. Like Gleyber he was packaged in a trade for a pennant race, Josh Donaldson going to the Jays and Barreto and a number of other prospects going to the Athletics. Franklin does not quite have the defensive tools of Gleyber or the power bat so if shortstop does not work for him he may move to second. The injury to Marcus Semien forced the Athletics to call up Barreto sooner than they wanted. In 11 games he hit .190 with two homeruns, playing mostly at short but getting some time at second. In AAA he has seen most of his time at short but has found some time to play second. His bat has been as expected with a .279 average but he has shown a little more pop with 9 dingers. His minor league high has been 13 and including his two major league homeruns Franklin is two short of his career high. Expect him to get a September callup and more opportunities at second. The Athletics have a number of options at short in Semien, Chad Pinder and Richie Martin so versatility is a key.

3. Yohander Mendez LHP (Rangers) - Yohander was signed by the Rangers for $1.5 million in 2011. It has been a patient ascent up the minor league ladder for Yohander but last year he made his major league debut with a September callup. The Rangers have him repeating AA even though he did well last year in seven AAA appearances (0.57 ERA). His fastball has gained velocity over the years, now touching the mid-90s and his change is an excellent pitch. An inability to find a third breaking pitch has been stalling his major league career. That may ultimately see him finding a role in the bullpen.

4. Franklin Perez RHP (Astros) - Franklin was signed by the Astros for $1 million in 2014. He was originally a third baseman but the Astros saw an arm destined for the mound. His fastball currently sits in the low 90s but can touch the mid-90s. He has the potential for a good change with a nice break on his curveball and the command of the strike zone needed for a starting pitcher. A 6′3″ frame gives him good height for coming down on the hitters. The Astros have him at High A in the Carolina League where he has limited hitters to a .191 average. He has more than three whiffs to every walk and is just short of a strikeout per inning. A 2.98 ERA could lead to a promotion to AA before the season is out. It will be 2018 before Franklin sees the major leagues and that may be as a September call up.

5. Renato Nunez 3B (Athletics) - Renato was one of the big bonus babies of 2010, signing for $2.2 million. The Athletics are crowded at the corner infield positions with power bats. It may result in the best defensive player earning the right to play the corner positions. Renato falls short of that and may see a move to first base with DH as his best position. He does have a power bat with consistent seasons of double digit homeruns. This year there seems to be more swing and miss in his at bats but the 24 homeruns he has hit in AAA are already just five short of his career high. Last year he struggled with a .228 average but this year despite the increased strikeouts he has raised it to .250. The Athletics have been playing him a lot in left field this year but a lack of speed will never make him a gold glove there. Expect a September callup where Renato hopes to improve on his .133 average from his debut last year.

6. Luis Alexander Basabe OF (White Sox) - The Red Sox signed both him and his twin brother Luis Alejandro as a package. The Red Sox traded his brother to the D-backs in July of 2016 and included Luis in a trade to the White Sox with more heralded players Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech in the Chris Sale trade. Luis is expected to be the better of the twins. The tools are there for him to be a quality defensive outfielder, with the range to play center and the arm to play right. An inability to make consistent contact has prevented him from showing his offensive tools. The power is there but getting barrel of the bat on the ball is not. Down in the Carolina League Luis is hitting just .218 with a .641 OPS. If he can improve his ability to get on base his steal (15 for 19) opportunities will increase. His brother is also in High A with the D-Backs hitting .229 with a .655 OPS.

7. Anthony Santander 1B/OF (Orioles) - The Indians signed Santander in 2011. Injuries to his elbow limited his 2013 and 2014 seasons. He stayed healthy for 2016 hitting 20 homeruns while playing 128 games. The Orioles made Santander a Rule V acquisition in an attempt to spruce up their farm system. Another arm injury has prevented Anthony from making a 2017 appearance. If the Orioles can not put him on their major league roster this year because of the injury they will be forced to keep him on their major league roster in 2018 if they hope to keep him. This will slow his development for a player who did not get past High A last year. Anthony has good power but his arm issues could force a move to first base, a position the Orioles find quite crowded with Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and Trey Mancini.

8. Samir Duenez 1B (Royals) - Samir was signed by the Royals in 2012. His first three years the Royals moved him slowly, reaching Low A in 2015. During that time he hit all of two homeruns in the three years. Last year his promotion was a little more accelerated as he hit three levels, finishing at AA. During that time he slugged 13 homeruns. This year he already has 12 in AA. His speed will limit him to first so the power will have to develop if he hopes to play there in the major leagues.

9. Miguelangel Sierra 2B (Astros) - The Astros signed Miguelangel for $1 million in 2014. Last year in the rookie league he showed some pop with 11 homeruns and a .620 slugging percentage. With Carlos Correa firmly planted at short Miguel may have to play another position if he hopes to reach the major leagues with the Astros. The tools are there for him to play short. This year the power bat has been absent with two homeruns in 19 games in short season ball with a slugging average buried at .317. Sierra is a long way away from the majors so they will keep him at short. They can always move him to another position as he gets higher in the minors or use him as trade bait to acquire a veteran to help them in a playoff race.

10. Wilkerman Garcia SS (Yankees) - The Yankees are not shy about throwing around money in the international arena. They signed Garcia for $1.35 million in 2014. Last year in rookie ball he struggled hitting .198 with a .284 slugging. He has the tools to play short but with so many ahead of him with better tools his best position could be at second. The bat is expected to be able to hit for average but not with a lot of power. This year Garcia is hitting much better in the short season Penn League (.276) but still lacking power (.303 slugging). With the amount of depth in the middle infield positions for the Yankees Wilkerman may have to be traded to see the major leagues.

Top 2016 Venezuelan prospects in the American League

Future Games Rosters Selected

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

The futures game is played before the All Star team and features the best prospects outside of the United States against the best prospects inside the United States. The game is scheduled for July 9. Below are the rosters of the two teams.

World Team

Pitchers

Domingo Acevedo (Dom Rep/Yankees), Yadier Alvarez (Cuba/Dodgers), Jaime Barria (Panama/Angels), Luis Escobar (Colombia/Pirates), Tayron Guerrero (Colombia/Marlins), Jonathan Hernandez (Dominican Republic/Rangers), Jairo Labourt (Dom Rep/Tigers), Cal Quantrill (Canada/Padres), Mike Soroka (Canada/Braves), Thyago Vieira (Brazil/Mariners)

Catchers

Tomas Nido (Puerto Rico/Mets), Francisco Mejia (Dom Rep/Indians)

Infielders

Yordan Alvarez (Cuba/Astros), Josh Naylor (Canada/Padres), Yoan Moncada (Cuba/White Sox), Mauricio Dubon (Honduras/Brewers), Lucius Fox (Bahamas/Rays), Ahmed Rosario (Dom Rep/Mets), Rafael Devers (Dom Rep/Red Sox), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Dom Rep/Blue Jays)

Outfielders

Ronald Acuna (Venezuela/Braves), Estevan Florial (Haiti/Yankees), Eloy Jimenez (Dom Rep/Cubs), Victor Robles (Dom Rep/Nationals), Alex Verdugo (Mexico/Dodgers)

United States team

Beau Burrows (Tigers), Jon Duplantier (Diamondbacks), Jack Flaherty (Cardinals), Foster Griffen (Royals), Jimmy Hegert (Reds), Brent Honeywell (Rays), Michael Kopech (White Sox), Triston McKenzie (Indians), A.J. Puk (Athletics), Tanner Scott (Orioles)

Catcher

Zack Collins (White Sox), Chance Sisco (Orioles)

Infielders

Rhys Hoskins (Phillies), Ryan McMahon (2B/3B) Rockies, Scott Kingery (Phillies), Bo Bichette (Blue Jays/Brazil), Nick Gordon (Twins), Brendan Rodgers (Rockies), Brian Anderson (Marlins), Nick Senzel (Reds)

Outfielders

Lewis Brinson (Twins), Derek Fisher (Astros), Corey Ray (Brewers), Bryan Reynolds (Giants), Kyle Tucker (Astros)

2017 Top Cuban Prospects - American League

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

Not included in his list are any players signed after April, which include players like Luis Robert, who may have topped this list and Hector Mendoza. They will qualify for the 2018 list. Last year myworld put together a top 20 list. Seven of our top 10 were not on a major league roster. All of those players have signed now with Yulieski Gurriel the only player on a major league roster. Aledmys Diaz is the only other player on this top 20 from last year that played in the major leagues. He was rated number 16 in this top 20 list and had a nice rookie season.

1. Yoan Moncada 2B (White Sox) - Last year he was the number one rated prospect on our top 20 list. He has all the tools. Speed, power and the ability to hit for average. With all those tools it is interesting he plays second base and not shortstop. The Red Sox paid $62 million to sign him, $31.5 million bonus and a $31.5 million penalty for going over there salary cap. They traded him a year later to the White Sox as one of the players for Chris Sale. He has had some major league opportunities but struggled, striking out 12 times in 19 at bats with a .211 average. This year he is hitting .282 showing a little bit of power (.432 slugging). Don’t be surprised if the White Sox promote him after the All Star break. Only Yolmer (ex-Carlos) Sanchez stands in his way.

2. Lourdes Gurriel LF/3B (Blue Jays) - He was the number two rated prospect last year but had yet to sign with a team. He waited until he turned 23 to sign with the Blue Jays, maximizing his financial opportunities. His seven year $22 million contract appears to be a bargain when compared to Moncada. Lourdes doesn’t really have a position. Myworld thinks he will fit best in the outfield. As a shortstop and third baseman in the Cuban League he made numerous errors. His older brother Yulieski was considered an excellent fielding third baseman but is now playing first for the Astros. Lourdes started hitting in his last season in the Cuban League. Once he develops he could be a .300 hitter with 20 plus homerun pop. The Blue Jays began his career in the Florida State League but he got injured after his first game and was placed on the disabled list. He only was activated a couple days ago and in four games is hitting .267. Only one of his four hits has gone for extra bases. Lourdes could advance quickly and be ready for the major leagues by mid 2018 once he finds a position. So far Lourdes has played four games at shortstop committing seven errors for a .611 fielding percentage. That is not going to cut it.

3. Lazaro Armentares OF (Athletics) - He created a little hype with his brash personality trying to achieve a Yoan Moncada sized contract. The Athletics signed him for a relatively modest $3 million. At 17 years of age he has a lot of development in his future. In the United States he would still be playing high school. The reports are that he will hit for power and steal bases. His speed should translate to centerfield capability. Playing in the 15 and under World Cup he dominated with a .462 average. The Athletics have started him in the Dominican Summer League. He has only played in six games there but is struggling with a .167 average and 9 whiffs in 18 at bats. He has not played since June 12 so he may be back at extended spring training or injured.

4. Yandy Diaz OF/3B (Indians) - Myworld did not have him rated in our top 20 list last year and then he went out and hit .325 in AAA with a .461 slugging, winning the International League batting title. At 26 years of age he is already pretty well developed. There will be a lot of contact in his game but his power will be soft if he doesn’t learn to elevate his hits more. His defense is excellent at third but he can also play second base and the outfield, making a utility role an ideal fit for him. This year at Columbus he is hitting .318 with 28 walks to his 22 whiffs. The power is still soft (.439 slugging). The Indians gave him a major league callup and he was a bit overmatched (.203 average and .219 slugging). His main positions this year are third base and left field.

5. Andy Ibanez 2B (Rangers) - Ibanez signed for $1.6 million in 2015. Last year he was number 15 on our list. He could end up like Carlos Baerga, with a thick lower half eliminating his range at second base, meaning his bat will have to justify his staying at the position. The power is not really there to play the hot corner. Last year he did hit 13 homeruns skipping High A to move to AA. It will be tough with his skill set to usurp Rougned Odor from the second base position. This year he missed a month in the season because of injury but now healthy he is hitting .261 with a .405 slugging. Most of his game has been at second base. The tools could be there if he could master a utility role but myworld thinks he is a bit short to make it as a starter.

6. Yanio Perez OF (Rangers) - The Rangers signed him in 2016 for $1.1 million. He played for the 18 and under World Cup team in 2015, sharing the outfield with Luis Robert. There is power in his bat but his foot speed appears to destine him for a corner spot. His minor league debut in A ball this year has seemed to justify the bonus payment. He hit nine homeruns in just 49 games at Low A resulting in a promotion to High A. In nine games in the Carolina League he has yet to get an extra base hit.

7. Yordan Alvarez LF/1B (Astros) - Yordan will turn 20 in a couple days. He is another new comer, not appearing on our Top 20 list last year. The Dodgers initially signed Yordan for $2 million then traded him to the Astros for Josh Fields before even playing a game in a Dodgers minor league uniform. The Astros had him play in the Dominican Summer League where he hit .341. Yordan will hit for average. As a 17 year old he hit .351 in the Cuban Nacional Series. His big challenge is to develop the power expected for the first base position. His lack of speed makes a move to the outfield a poor alternative. He dominated at Low A hitting .357 with 10 homeruns (.670 slugging) which led to a promotion to High A yesterday. With his 33 RBIs in 32 games he has shown he can be a run producer. The Astros have been using him mostly in left field this year.

8. Guillermo Heredia OF (Mariners) - With his success in the major leagues myworld should move him up on this list on general principal. He is a plus defender with the ability to cover a lot of ground in centerfield. The big concern for my world was his bat. There is no power there. To be effective he needs to hit for a higher average. During his 45 game major league debut last year he hit .250. This year he has won the starting centerfield job for the Mariners, hitting .279 and showing enough pop for five homeruns. The power will still be short but if he can keep his average above .270 he should be effective for his defensive ability. Despite pretty decent speed he is not a stolen base threat.

9. Yulieski Gurriel 1B (Astros) - The Astros went out on a limb to sign him to a five year $47.5 million contract despite his age of 33. When he was younger scouts considered him the best player in Cuba. His main position then were third and second base. The Astros have moved him to first where his power may be a bit short. The bat will provide a lot of doubles power and his international experience should provide some leadership qualities to a young team. With A.J. Reed ready to take over the position next year Yulieski could move to a utility role, a spot currently filled by Marwin Gonzalez.

10. Norge Ruiz RHP (Athletics) - The Athletics signed Norge for $2 million in 2016. Interesting he is the only pitcher to make this list, though there will be a couple to make the National League list. Norge is not overpowering, with a fastball that sits in the high 80s to low 90s. At 5′10″ he is also not a tall pitcher making his lack of velocity an impediment for a starting role. He does throw a lot of junk with a change and slider being his best pitches. He gets hitters to hit the ball on the ground resulting in a number of double play grounders. Pitching at the lower level it is not surprising that he is dominating hitters with his breaking pitches. In four starts he has only allowed one run for a 0.47 ERA, a .141 opposition average and 14 whiffs in 19 innings.