Archive for the 'Mariners' Category

Mariners Continue to Chart Course to World Series

Saturday, January 6th, 2018

The Mariners set an American League record in 2001 when they won 116 games in the Ichiro Suzuki era. But they lost in the playoffs to the Yankees and have yet to appear in a World Series. Only the Washington Nationals (originally the Montreal Expos franchise) are the only other franchise in major league baseball that has failed to appear in a World Series. The Mariners feel their chances of making the playoffs are near, so they have been trading prospects for veterans to complete their roster. This has put a dimmer on their minor league system as far as premium prospects.

Their one and only top prospect from a tool stand point is outfielder Kyle Lewis. He suffered a severe knee injury in 2016 which restricted his 2017 season to just 49 games. The Mariners first round 2016 pick was to play in the Arizona Fall League last year but had to leave the season early because of continued knee issues. The Mariners do not think the setback is serious, which would be good news for a player they feel has all five tools. Kyle can hit for both power and average, has the speed to play center and the arm for right. Because of the knee issues he could start the season in extended spring but when ready will play at High A. As a college drafted player he should move up quickly once his knee is determined to be fully healthy.

They drafted another college experienced player in the first round last year in Evan White, despite already having someone who they were grooming for first base in Dan Vogelbach. At first base White has the defensive attributes to win a gold glove, but he also has the speed and arm to play the outfield. There could be some question on his power but he slugged .532 in rookie ball with three homeruns in his first minor league season in rookie ball. Next year he should start the season in full season ball at Low A and if he does well should be quickly promoted to High A.

This could put Dan Vogelbach in the DH spot, which is possibly his best spot. The Cubs drafted Vogelbach in the second round of the 2011 draft. His physique reminded scouts of Prince Fielder. Defensively, it was a challenge for him to play first so the Cubs traded him to the Mariners to allow him to squeeze into the DH role. To play there his bat needs to show a little more productivity. In 2016 he only slugged .422 with the Mariners. Last year he showed a little improvement with 17 homeruns and a .455 slugging. Another major league promotion showed continued struggles to hit for power so another season in AAA is likely. The Mariners do not really have an option for first base, though they traded for Ryan Healy. Nelson Cruz is their preferred choice at the DH spot though they could stick him out in right field to get Vogelbach’s lefthanded bat in the lineup. A good spring should give Vogelbach an opportunity to play for the Mariners in April, with both Healy and Cruz righthanded hitters.

Unfortunately there is no one else in the system that myworld is intrigued by. None of the pitchers excite me. It could be the most vanilla farm system in the major leagues. Joe Rizzo was drafted in the second round in 2016 with what was considered the best bat in the minor leagues. In his first two seasons his bat has shown very little power and his defense at third has just been marginal.

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.

Top First Base Prospects

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

Major league first baseman come from a number of different positions. Catchers who can not make it behind the plate, outfielders who lack the speed to cover the grass and third baseman who lose their mobility to react to balls hit at them. Those players who start as first baseman in the minor leagues have a large pool to compete against. The below list is composed of those players in the minor leagues who played first base. We don’t try to project other players having to move positions.

1. Pavin Smith (Diamondbacks) - The 2017 first round pick of the Diamondbacks has Paul Goldschmidt in his way at first. The college drafted hitter had more balls carry over the fence than strikeouts last year while playing in college. In his 195 official at bats in the minor leagues he could not lift any balls over the fence but he hit .318 with a .401 OBA and a 27/24 walk to whiff ratio. There is no speed to his legs so moving to the outfield would be difficult. The D-backs have a couple years to figure out what they want to do with Smith. He will need to hit for more power to make it to the major leagues, but his defense is solid at the position.

2. Brendan McKay (Rays) - Is he a hitter or a left handed pitcher? The first round pick in 2017 was drafted ahead of Smith in the first round. The lefthander does not have an overpowering fastball, but some project the velocity would increase if he focused more on the mound. A wicked curve ball and command are what he uses to retire hitters, traits that some lefthanded pitchers use to thrive in the major leagues. As a hitter the bat is strong, with the ability to hit a consistent .300, though he only hit .232 last year. The power is not great but good enough to hit 20 plus homeruns. Brendan also lacks the speed to move to the outfield but his defensive skills around the bag are good.

3. Josh Naylor (Padres) - The Canadian has the power you look for in a first baseman. The Marlins drafted him in the first round then traded him to the Padres to acquire Andrew Cashner. For a player who makes contact with the ball he does not hit for a high average. In the California League he did hit .297 but when promoted to AA he dropped to .250. Defense and speed will not be part of his game, so if he cannot make it at first base he needs to be traded to the American League where he can fit as a DH. His lack of speed will limit him to one base at a time baserunning.

4. Chris Shaw (Giants) - The first round pick in 2015 has the power to hit at the position. Last year he hit 24 homeruns between AA and AAA. Brandon Belt currently stands in his way. The Giants have tried to move Chris to left field but his lack of speed is a liability there. Belt may not hit for the power of Shaw but he is a better defender at first base and will hit for a better average. Shaw needs to consistently get his 6′4″ frame into the pitch to line drive balls into the gaps or carry them over the fence. At 24 years of age Chris is ready for the major leagues now.

5. Bobby Bradley (Indians) - Myworld likes the power of Bradley. The 2014 third round pick needs to make more consistent contact to see those power numbers jump. Last year he slugged 23 homeruns in AA while cutting down on the swings and misses. His lack of speed will prevent him from moving to another position but his below average defense at first base may leave the DH position as his best alternative. With the power he can carry to all fields the Indians will eventually want to see his bat in the lineup. Expect that to happen sometime in the 2018 season.

6. Sam Travis (Red Sox) - The second round 2014 pick may lack the power of your conventional firstbaseman. His hits will find the gaps to drive in runs and the bat should stick around the .300 neighborhood. Travis did suffer a tear in his ACL in 2016 but appears to have recovered, seeing some time in the major leagues last year. The bat failed to carry a ball over the fence in over 70 major league at bats. His defense is good at the position and his moderate speed could allow him to move to the outfield. His weak arm would limit him to left field.

7. Peter Alonso (Mets) - The second round 2016 pick has already reached AA. His defense is better than Dominic Smith and he carries more power. The speed is not there for him to move to the outfield. The Mets will give Dominic the chance to keep the position and if he succeeds the Mets could use Alonso as trade bait. Myworld thinks they would do better trading Dominic. Last year Alonso hit 18 homeruns with a .524 slugging percentage. The Mets can use him one more year in the minor leagues but in 2019 they may have to make a decision between the two for their first baseman of the future.

8. Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays) - You have to like the name. Drafted in the 30th round of the 2013 draft most teams did not like the skills. He does show power in his 6′4″ inch frame and he hits left handed. Last year that power did not show (.333 slugging) and he struggled to stay above the Mendoza line with his batting average (.222). His defense is not that strong for him to be put out at first if the bat does not make an appearance. Last year he slugged .530 with 23 homeruns so we will give him a mulligan on the 2017 season. His lack of speed will make a move to the outfield a liability.

9. Matt Thaiss (Angels) - The first round pick in 2016 was drafted as a catcher. To speed up the ascent of his bat to the major leagues the Angels moved him to first base. Right now his power is limited to the gaps. There is good contact in his swing and the ability to hit .300. If his good contact can carry 20 balls over the fence each year the Angels will take that. His defense at first base still needs some work but he has the ability to be an average defender. With the plethora of players the Angels have at the position his bat needs to find a way for the Angles to make room for him. His lack of speed will make movement to the outfield difficult.

10. Brent Rooker (Twins) - The supplemental first round pick in the 2017 draft played some at first base, but his speed allowed him to spend most of his time in the outfield. In his minor league debut he slugged 18 homeruns with a .566 slugging, finding himself carrying balls over the Florida State League fences. With Miguel Sano planted at first base for the Twins future myworld expects the Rooker move to the outfield more permanent.

Others to consider

Samir Duenez (Royals) - With Eric Hosmer a free agent the Royals may have to find room for Samir. His bat falls short in power, though he hit 17 homeruns last year. The lack of tools make him a tweener at all the positions.

Casey Gillaspie (White Sox) - The 2014 first round pick is another one of those players who is just below average in all the tools to make for a dynamic player at first base. He will clog the bases when running so his speed would be a liability in the outfield.

Nick Pratto (Royals) - A 2017 first round pick who could be the Royals long term answer at first base. He was also a two way player but the Royals like his bat better than his arm. His defense is good around the bag and he has the ability to hit for power and average.

Evan White (Mariners) - Another 2017 first round pick, Evan has the speed to move to the outfield but the glove to save a lot of runs at the position. Power may be an issue but at 6′3″ he has the frame to extend and develop that power.

Jake Bauers (Rays) - His best position is probably first base but the Rays are using him in left field. His tools may make him a tweener, not enough power for first and lacks the defense to be an attribute in the outfield.

Ronald Guzman (Rangers) - The Rangers spent $3.45 million to sign him. His lack of speed forced a move to first. His power is more oriented towards the gaps.

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.

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.

Hot Prospects for the End of May

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

Memorial Day has ended and with it the month of May. Myworld will take a look at those prospects heating up as the month draws to a close.

Jose Marmolejos 1B (Nationals) - Jose got a late start to the season but it did not take his bat long to get heated. A 5 for 6 day in which he hit his second homerun for the year and drove in five began a nine game assault on AA pitching. He got his average up to .420 but the next five games he cooled down to drop it to .385. Jose was signed by the Nationals out of the Dominican Republic in 2011. His power is probably lacking to be an every day first baseman, but last year he hit a career high 13 homeruns.

Ryan Mountcastle SS (Orioles) - The Orioles need to prepare for the day when J.J. Hardy and Manny Machado depart from the Orioles and they need to fill the hole at short. Ryan could be that fit. He had a three homerun day with four runs scored and three RBIs to up his tater total to 11. Ryan was a first round pick of the Orioles in 2015. Last year he hit a career high 10 homeruns for Delmarva but hit only .281. This year he is raking with a .330 average.

Max Moroff 2B (Pirates) - The Pirates waived prospect Alen Hanson and optioned Gift Ngoepe to the minor leagues. One of the players expected to be called up to replace them is Moroff, who has a career high 13 homeruns in AAA. He did have nine major league at bats earlier in the season, garnering only one hit. Max has been seeing most of his time at shortstop, but he has been playing second and third base. Strikeouts can be a problems (48 in 42 games but he does show patience at the plate with a high walk rate.

Socrates Brito CF (Diamondbacks) - The oft injured Brito is working his way back to the major leagues with a .375 average at AAA Omaha. He has gone 8 for 14 in his last three games with two doubles and two triples. The Diamondbacks would like to see Brito patrol centerfield for the Diamondbacks but he has not been able to stay healthy.

Shed Long 2B (Reds) - Shed has been ripping through the Florida State League with a .321 average. That has been fueled by a .350 average in his last 10 games that have included three three hit games. Three of his nine homeruns have been hit in his last four games. A 12th round pick of the Reds in 2013 has an opportunity to be an offensive oriented second baseman despite his 5′8″ frame.

Francisco Mejia C (Indians) - Francisco is heating up in AA, his .436 average in his last 10 games elevating his season average to .331. Francisco also has one of the strongest arms for a catcher in the minor leagues. This year he has thrown out 8 of the 20 baserunners who have attempted to steal against him. Last year he threw out 30 of 69 baserunners.

Nick Williams OF (Phillies) - Nick is sending balls out of the park. He had a three game stretch in which he sent four over the fence to give him 10 for the year. Nick has always shown batting practice power but the swings and misses have stunted his homerun production. The strikeouts are still prevalent (57 in 50 games) but the homerun totals are seven shy of his career high of 17.

Scott Kingery 2B (Phillies) - Reading tends to be a friendly park for homeruns and Williams teammate Kingery is leading the minors in homeruns with 16. The career high for the second round 2015 pick is five. It was expected that most of the power for Scott would be to the gaps but he has been rewriting that book. He also had a recent six game multiple hit hitting streak that has raised his average to .309. Power is not his only tool. Scott has also stolen 12 bases in 48 games, on his way to a 30/30 season.

Orlando Calixte LF (Giants) - Injuries to the Giants outfield has provided an opportunity for Orlando to show his power bat this season is not a fluke. Orlando was originally signed by the Royals but after six years became a minor league free agent. The Giants signed him this year and his eight homeruns is just six shy of his career high 14. Orlando has also shown some speed with 11 stolen bases in 12 attempts.

Colton Welker 3B (Rockies) - Colton has been on this list before, but when you keep on hitting myworld feels an obligation to keep noting that. An eight game hitting streak has seen his average rise to .370, especially after the last four games when he has gone 11 for 16. Expect Colton to see a promotion to High A soon.

Tyler Marlette C (Mariners) - Four games ago Tyler had hit one homerun in 32 games. After those four games his homerun total climbed to five. He also drove in 10 runs in that four game stretch. RBIs have not been a problem for Tyler with 37 in 36 games. Tyler was the fifth round draft pick of the Mariners in 2011. His career high for homeruns has been 17.

Derek Fisher CF (Astros) - Derek is hot for the Astros with homeruns in three consecutive games, bringing his homeruns total to 13. The supplemental first round pick of the Astros has a six game hitting streak (12 for 25) that has raised his average to .335. His one down side to the season is being caught stealing 10 times in 19 attempts. The Astros outfield is not crowded with talent so if Fisher keeps on hitting he could get a call up.

Max Schrock 2B (Athletics) - The last time we saw Max he was spraying line drives for Potomac. Now he is doing that for AA Midland. A nine game hitting streak (17 for 36) has raised his average to .304. During that streak he had a two homerun game to give him five for the season, four shy of his career minor league high. Max does not have a lot of tools except for the line drives that are sprayed from his bat.

Jon Duplantier RHP (Diamondbacks) - In his 10 appearances, nine of them starts Jon has only given up runs in one of those appearances. His latest shutout start he gave up one hit in six innings, striking out six. That extends his shutout streak to 29 innings. During that time his ERA is 0.50 and the opposition is hitting .139 against him. A third round 2016 pick his best pitch is his curveball. His fastball is not overpowering, reaching 95 at its peak.

Domingo Acevedo RHP (Yankees) - The 6′7″ righthander was promoted to AA and threw two shutouts in his first two starts covering 13.2 innings. He gave up only seven hits in those two starts and struck out 14. His last outing he got smacked around a bit, allowing three runs in 5.2 innings, but he did not walk anyone. In 19 innings of AA ball Domingo has only walked two. His delivery is a lot of arms, but his fastball can cross the plate in triple digits. He also has an excellent change. The development of a breaking pitch will determine whether he spends his time in the bullpen or the starting rotation.

Jake Junis RHP (Royals) - Drafted in the 29th round in 2011 Jake has already gone above expectations with three appearances and one start in the major leagues. His latest minor league start Jake struck out 12 in seven innings, allowing just two hits in the shutout outing. With a major league ERA at 2.70 and an opposition average in AAA at .222 Jake will get another opportunity on a major league mound.

Taylor Clarke RHP (Diamondbacks) - Watch out for the young pitching down on the farm in the Diamondbacks system. Taylor is another pitcher with double digit whiffs, striking out 12 in just 6.1 innings. In ten starts Taylor has kept his ERA at 2.70 with a 17/53 walk to whiff ration in 50 innings. The opposition is hitting him at a .215 clip.

Vladimir Gutierrez RHP (Reds) - The Reds paid a $4.5 million bonus to sign the Cuban. The smallish 6′0″ Cuban has a fastball that sits in the low 90s with a good curveball and developing slider and change. It has been two years since he has pitched in a competitive environment so in his nine starts he has been tagged around some. His ERA dropped below 5.00 after his last outing when he failed to give up a run in 6.1 innings. Like future team mate Raisel Iglesias, Vladimir was a reliever in Cuba but the Reds are trying to convert him as a starter.

A.J. Puk LHP (Athletics) - In his last two outings Puk has given up just one hit in 10.1 innings. After pitching five innings of no hit ball Puk followed that up with five innings of one hit ball. He struck out 15 in the two outings lowering his ERA to 3.43. Finding the plate is a bit of a challenge with 8 walks in his last two games. For the year A.J. has a 20/69 walk to whiff ratio in 44.2 innings with a .179 opposition average.

Thomas Hatch RHP (Cubs) - The third round 2016 draft pick had an impressive outing in his last start, whiffing 13 in just 5.1 innings. He did give up two runs and allowed six hits so he was not unhittable. Despite the 13 K’s Thomas finds himself with an 0-5 record with a 5.19 ERA.

Alec Hanson RHP (White Sox) - The 6′7″ righthander struck out 15 hitters in a seven inning outing in which he gave up one run. That gives him 25 whiffs in his last two starts and 67 total whiffs in 54.2 innings. Alec was drafted in the second round in 2016. His fastball lights up the radar in the high 90s but usually sits at 95 of below. Before Hanson can reach the major leagues he needs to develop more consistency with his secondary pitches.

Nick Neidert RHP (Mariners) - Nick went on to pitch six innings of no hit ball in the California League. The no hitter lasted until the ninth with Modesto eventually losing the game in the tenth. Nick struck out nine on the day and walked one. Nick keeps the ball around the plate with just 10 walks in 56.2 innings.

Tyler Mahle RHP (Reds) - Tyler already has a nine inning no hitter to his resume, as well as a one hitter in just seven innings. In his last start he gave up just three hits in seven innings, walking one and striking out a career high 9. With a fastball that sends radar guns buzzing in the high 90s Tyler has struck out 72 in 69 innings with an opposition average at .177.

Cruz Late Shot Leads Mariners

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

In the opener Nelson Cruz misplayed a fly ball that turned a possible one run inning into an eight run inning. He made up for it in the third game with a three run homer off reliever Jacob Turner to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead. Cruz giveth and he taketh away. The Mariners went on to win the game 4-2.

Because of potential thunderstorms in the afternoon the game was moved up from 4 PM to 12. It accounted for the sparse crowd that attended the game. The weather held up and the game was played in its entirety to beautiful weather. The rains came around 5:30 PM.

Both pitchers were sharp to begin the game. Ariel Miranda did not give up his first hit until the fifth inning. Up until that time the only Nationals baserunners were a walk and a two base error by firstbaseman Danny Valencia. Unfortunately the first hit Miranda gave up was rocked into the left field bleachers by Anthony Rendon to lead off the fifth inning. For Rendon it was his fourth homerun in three games against the Mariners.

Michael Taylor followed with a walk but was caught stealing second. That proved costly when Jose Lobaton pulled a double into the left field wall, lumbering his way into second just ahead of the throw. Trea Turner walked and Jayson Werth ripped a single into centerfield. Lobaton was sent home and the throw was off line, cut off before reaching the plate. A good throw from Guillermo Heredia may have gotten Lobaton at home.

Gio Gonzalez had a no hitter until the fifth when Kyle Seager rifled a one out double into right field. Gonzalez walked the next two hitters to load the bases with just one out. It would be his third and fourth walks of the game. He bore down and got Mike Zumino with a 91 mile per hour fastball. It took Gonzalez only three pitches to whiff pitcher Ariel Miranda to extinguish the inning.

Gonzalez was not so lucky in the sixth. Jean Segura led off the inning with a line drive single into left field. Guillermo Heredia struck out on a 2-2 pitch. Mariners manager Scott Servias seemed to step out of the dugout and was given the heave ho by the home plate umpire. An argument ensued and this seemed to motivate the Mariners. Robinson Cano lined a single into centerfield. Gio was given the hook to have righthander Jacob Turner replace Gio to face the right handed bat of Nelson Cruz. Nelson didn’t seem to get good wood on the ball but it carried far enough into centerfield to reach the Red Porch bleachers and give the Mariners a 3-2 lead. Turner gave up a walk and single to the next two hitters but was able to get out of the inning without further damage.

Turner gave up two singles to lead off the sixth inning, Boog Powell with a pinch hit single and Segura with a single. A hard grounder to Trea Turner seemed like a double play but Heredia was able to beat the ball to first. Jacob Turner was replaced by the lefty Matt Grace to face Robinson Cano who singled to drive in a run. Blake Treinen came on to replace Grace to face Cruz and walked him to load the bases. The double play tends to be Blake’s best friend and he got Kyle Seager to hit into a 4-6-3 DP, Murphy making a nice play on the hard hit grounder to prevent it from going into right field.

The Nationals could not do anything against five relievers the Mariners threw out there. Bryce Harper beat the shift by bouncing a slow grounder past the third base bag. Since the third baseman was playing shortstop Bryce easily turned the hit into a double. Neither Ryan Zimmerman or Daniel Murphy could drive him in. Edwin Diaz pitched the last inning to pick up the save.

Game Notes: Matt Albers struck out the side in the eighth, his fastball hitting 95. Myworld does not recall Matt ever throwing the ball that hard, at least not when he was with the Orioles. He has been the Nationals best reliever but that is not saying a lot from a group that has seen nothing but failure in protecting leads…With runners on first and second and two out in the fifth Harper grounded one to second, slowly jogging to first. If the second baseman would have bobbled the ball myworld would have been upset with Harper’s lack of hustle. Myworld does not expect a sprint to first on every routine grounder, but a slow jog is unacceptable unless you are a pitcher or are trying to protect a leg injury…Attendance was listed at 18,881 but the stadium seemed much emptier.

Nats Run Support Continues for Ross

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

In his first three starts for Joe Ross the Nationals have provided him with ample run support, winning by scores of 14-4, 15-12 and 23-5. Poor pitching on his part left him with only one victory. The run support was not as great last night but Ross will take the 10 runs. He also pitched well, allowing just one run in his eight innings of work for a Nationals 10-1 win.

It was an overcast night with the clouds raining drizzle from the first inning to the eighth. During the third through fourth innings the rain came down harder creating small pools of water collecting throughout the infield. The grounds crew came on a couple times to pour dirt into those pools to dry out the infield. When the rain tapered down in the fifth the pools of water failed to reappear.

The Mariners started Christian Bergman. All their normal starters are on the disabled list so the Mariners are going with a new group of five. Bergman pitched decent his first three innings. Anthony Rendon tagged him for a towering homerun near the foul pole in short left field for two runs. When Bergman got to the fourth inning it was a disaster.

The Nationals hit for the cycle in the fourth. Anthony Rendon started the inning with a double into the right centerfield gap. Matt Wieters drove him in with a single. A Michael Taylor single put runners on first and second with no out and pitcher Joe Ross up. Dusty Baker had Joe swinging and he hit a sharp grounder to Jean Segura who turned a double play.

Just as things looked as if they were going good for Bergman, Trea Turner lifted a high drive in right field that could not be caught by Nelson Cruz, who was caught turning the wrong way on the ball. Trea Turner glided around the soggy infield for a triple. Jayson Werth blasted a pitch from Bergman over the left field bleachers for a homerun. Bryce Harper followed by powering a pitch over the 402 marker in right center that banged against the back wall, easily a 450 foot blast. Bergman stayed out there and the assault continued. Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy hit hard singles. Anthony Rendon lifted one into right center that just carried over the 402 foot mark for his second homer of the day. When the inning was over the Nationals had scored eight runs. The only fear from Nats fans is the rain would continue, the Nationals would not make an out and the game would be called before it reached the fifth inning.

The final out was made and Ross quickly disposed of the Mariners in the top of the fifth. Mike Zunino gave the Mariners their only run by leading off the sixth with a homerun into the left field bleachers. Jean Segura hit a two out single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Ben Gamel drove one into right center but Michael Taylor leaped and caught the ball at the scoreboard to end the inning. The Mariners would threaten no more with Joe Ross striking out the side in his last inning of work, the eighth.

Hats off to Emilio Pagan who came in to start the sixth. He gave up a leadoff single to Michael Taylor, but then retired the next 12 Nationals. With the game out of reach the Mariners saved their pen by having him bat twice and complete the game. His ERA went south to 6.75 while Bergman’s travelled north to 6.30.

Game Notes: Rendon had a chance for his second three homer game of the year in the seventh but popped up to second…Hard to believe the run support for Ross would drop after the Nats scored 10 runs for him. In four games the National bats have scored 62 runs, the most in major league history to start the season according to Elias…This was Robisnson Cano’s first game back from the disabled list. He failed to cover a lot of ground in the second inning on a single by Ryan Zimmerman. Robinson was shading him to pull, playing more up the middle but Zimmerman grounded it to the second base side of the bag.

Hot Prospects for April 24

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

A couple players identified as hot prospects, Christian Arroyo and Cody Bellinger were recently promoted to their major league team. They will not be the last.

Raimel Tapia CF (Rockies) - Tapia hits .300 no matter where he plays. The one concern is his lack of power. While he has speed his defensive tools are not ideal for center and his absence of power makes a corner position suspect. A rocket of an arm makes right field his best fit. Tapia slapped three hits yesterday to increase his average to .356. The Rockies outfield could get crowded with the improved health of David Dahl and Ian Desmond so expect Raimel to get most of his time in AAA. He did play two major league games early this season finishing 0 for 7.

Andrew Pullin LF (Phillies) - Reading is a hitter’s ballpark. Last year Pullin hit 10 homeruns in 46 games there. Yesterday he slugged two to put him at five for the year. That is halfway towards his production of last year. One of those homeruns was a grand slam to give him a big 5 RBI night. Pullin has gone 11 for 19 in his last four games to raise his average to .381. Last year in his 46 games at Reading Andrew hit .346.

Joe Rizzo 3B (Mariners) - Rizzo made a late debut to the season going 4 for 5 in his second game to raise his average to .625. A 2 for 4 day the next day dropped his average to .583. Rizzo was a second round pick of the Mariners in 2016. The one big criticism with Rizzo is how much power can he pack in his 5′9″ frame.

Jon Duplantier RHP (Diamondbacks) - More shutout innings for Duplantier. In four appearances, three starts he has gone 20.1 innings without allowing an earned run. Yesterday he threw five innings, allowing just three hits, striking out 8 without walking anyone. Opponents are hitting .121 against him. Jon was a third round pick last year appearing in only one inning. He did not allow a run in that inning.

Gregory Soto LHP (Tigers) - In his third start Soto tossed six shutout innings. That increases his 2017 shutout streak to 17. Gregory struck out eight and walked two. His fastball can touch the mid-90s but sits more comfortably in the low 90s. Expect him to get promoted soon to High A.

Grayson Long RHP (Angels) - Grayson got a quick promotion to AA where he threw six shutout innings in his first start. He only allowed one hit, a leadoff single to start the game but did not allow a hit after that.