Archive for the 'Rockies' Category

NL West Predictions

Sunday, March 8th, 2020

We start out west with the National League. This is a pretty obvious race to predict the winner.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

Good - The acquisition of Mookie Betts transformed this outfield into one of the best in baseball. Mookie and Cody Bellinger combine both offense and defense and are probably 1-2 in the National League as far as top outfielders. Joc Pederson and A.J. Pollock will form a solid platoon in left. The infielders have no slackers either with Max Muncy, Justin Turner and Corey Seager combining for 92 homeruns last year. The open spot will be filled by super rookie Gavin Lux at second base. The starting pitching does not have as much depth as last year but Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler make a good one two punch.

Bad - Not a lot to find here. The relief pitching appears a little spotty. Kenley Jensen had an off year last year and the Dodgers are relying on retreads Joe Kelly and Blake Treinen to set up for him if he struggles. This will mean they will have to pitch better than last year.

Ugly - Nothing ugly about this team, but it could get ugly if the Dodgers under perform and fail to win 100 games.

Rookies - Gavin Lux is a strong favorite to win rookie of the year with his play at second base. He can also play short if something should happen to Seager. Also, keeping the glove of Max Muncy away from second base improves the defense. The lack of depth in the rotation with the departures of Kenta Maeda and Hyun-Jin Ryu will give Dustin May an opportunity to start. He pitched mostly in relief last year but did get four starts. Will Smith would have to be injured before Keibert Ruiz would be given an opportunity to catch. With a good spring Tony Gonsolin could work himself in the rotation. He could begin the season in the bullpen.

Expected Finish - If they don’t win this division it may be one of the biggest shocks in baseball. They should win it by at least 20 games.

2. Arizona Diamondbacks

Good - The acquisition of Starling Marte gives them a strong outfield with David Peralta and free agent acquisition Kole Calhoun surrounding him at the corners. It also allows Ketel Marte to move to second and Eduardo Escobar to play third, strengthening those two positions. Those five have the potential to combine for 150 homeruns. The big question marks are Ketel Marte replicating his break out 2019 season and Peralta staying healthy. Nick Ahmed shows he can play defense with any shortstop, but his bat is a little soft.

Bad - The acquisition of Madison Bumgarner would be good if it had been done four years ago. He has hit 30 and it has been since 2016 when he last had a good season. Maybe he can find the Justin Verlander juice and resurrect his career in a new city. Robbie Ray, who starts behind him in the number two spot has seen his numbers drop, including the velocity on his fastball. Not really sold on Christian Walker, though he did outperform Paul Goldschmidt last year, the player he replaced at first base.

Ugly - Couldn’t find anything ugly here other than being in the same division as the Dodgers.

Rookies - If Jon Duplantier can avoid injury he could squeeze himself into this rotation by mid-season. Last year he struggled finding the plate resulting in a 5.21 ERA in AAA. Josh Rojas could win a job in a utility roles. Rojas was the player that almost sunk the Justin Verlander trade when Jeff Luhnow thought it was a big ask by the Diamondbacks to add him as a third player in the trade.

Expected Finish - Second place, but out of the wild card race.

3. Colorado Rockies

Good - They have an MVP over at third base in Nolan Arenado. The Rockies were looking to trade him so if that happens this position would drop. If Trevor Story can stay healthy the left side of the infield would be exceptional.

Bad - Daniel Murphy has just lost too much in the bat to fit at first base. His defense there also does not justify him playing the position. No real alternatives except possibly moving Ryan McMahon there. David Dahl needs to stay healthy and Raimel Tapia needs to find the bat that hit over .300 in the minor leagues. They will be battling the over paid Ian Desmond for one of two outfield spots. Charlie Blackmon is not the outfielder he used to be, but he was good enough to hit 30 plus homeruns last year.

Ugly - The pitching. There is no ace in the rotation or closer in the bullpen. They need to find bounce back years from German Marquez and Kyle Freeland. Wade Davis couldn’t get anyone out last year (8.65 ERA). Getting the three to put up 2018 numbers would help in crafting more wins. It will be a battle in the spring to find the closer.

Rookies - Brendan Rodgers shoulder injury will prevent him from playing until mid-season. He seems to be blocked at all the infield positions. Sam Hilliard does not have to do much but bash 30 plus homeruns to win the left field job. He needs to improve his ability to make contact.

Expected Finish - The starting pitching will have to make a big turn around to finish anything higher than third place.

4. San Diego Padres

Good - They got one of the strongest left sides in baseball in Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado. Tatis needs to stay healthy and Machado needs to improve his numbers in a pitcher’s park. Machado has hit 30 plus homeruns in his last five seasons but last year was the second year of those five when he slugged less than .500. Chris Paddack has ace like potential and the Padres have some young hurlers like McKenzie Gore and Luis Patino who may improve the rotation toward the end of the year. Kirby Yates is a solid closer. The Padres may trade him before the trade deadline to acquire more prospects, leaving the recently acquired Emilio Pagan as the closer. Both are solid in the bullpen.

Bad - The starting rotation after Paddock is very vanilla and will give up a lot of runs. Short outings may tax what is a good bullpen, leaving them tired and performing below expectations. Eventually the youngsters will filter in and that will result in inconsistency. The potential for this starting rotation is good, but they are still a year or two away. The hope is Jurickson Profar can replicate his 2018 season when he hit .254 with 20 homeruns. He hit 20 homeruns last year but his batting average sunk to .218. Veteran Brian Dozier was acquired to fill the position in case Profar struggled, but his best days are behind him.

Ugly - Putting Josh Naylor out in left field. His best position is DH, though he might be able to be passable at first. Putting him out into the outfield is an impending disaster. Fortunately for the Padres they have a lot of depth in the outfield, but the Padres would like to find a spot for Naylor’s bat.

Rookie - They have three pitchers who could see significant time in the starting rotation in MacKenzie Gore, Luis Patino and Adrian Morejon. None of them will probably be up before June. Both Michel Baez and Andres Munoz have closer stuff and may break camp in the Padres bullpen. Jake Cronenworth is a possible two way/utility player. His primary position is short but he can play multiple positions, including pitch, with a fastball that reaches the mid-90s.

Expected Finish - Their farm system is one of the best in baseball, but the talent is still a year or two away from competing for a playoff spot.

San Francisco Giants

Good - They really have no good in this lineup. Buster Posey, Evan Longoria and Brandon Crawford were once good in their prime but now they are just average, waiting for their replacement to rise up and fill their position in a couple years. In the meantime they will produce average numbers.

Bad - As usual the outfield lacks any big names. It would be asking a lot to have Mike Yastrzemski put up similar numbers to last year. His name is the biggest name, but it is only because his grandfather is Carl. The corners could be rotated a lot with Jaylin Davis being given an opportunity. Last year Jaylin hit 35 homeruns in the minor leagues and he added one in the majors. The bullpen lacks a closer. They will turn to Tony Watson and if he fails it could become bullpen by committee.

Ugly - With the departure of Madison Bumgarner the Giants rotation lacks an ace. Johnny Cueto is coming off injury, Jeff Samardzija is just a year away from a 6.25 ERA and Kevin Gausman has never met his potential. Before the season ends you could see 10 or more different arms trying to salvage this rotation.

Rookies - Joey Bart is having a good spring and is ready to replace Buster Posey. Posey could move to first, but his anemic bat no longer supports that position. This could move Brandon Belt to the outfield, weakening the defense. Mauricio Dubon is battling for the second base job. Last year he became the first Honduran to play major league baseball. Jaylin Davis could squeeze his 35 homeruns into a fluid outfield.

Expected Finish - Not quite catching the Padres, so last in the division.

Major League Farm Rankings - 30-16

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

With the top 100 out myworld has ranked the farm teams in major league baseball. This is principally done by ranking how many top 100 players each major league team has since those players will have the greatest impact. Not the most analytic, but myworld has been doing it this way for awhile now. We’ll rank from worst to first, beginning with 30-16.

30. Milwaukee Brewers (0.04)

The barely significant prospect on the Brewers is Brice Turang, their first round pick in 2018 who plays shortstop. He also starred for the gold medal USA baseball team. The Brewers have been trading their top prospects to stay in the playoff race. The players who could make an impact next year are Tristin Lutz (outfielder), Ethan Small (LHP) and Mario Feliciano. Lutz was a first round pick in 2017, Small a first rounder in 2019 and Feliciano a second round supplemental in 2016.

29. New York Mets (4.48)

The Mets have always gone the bargain basement route when searching for primetime players and their prospects reflect that. Ronny Mauricio is their top prospect, a shortstop who may have to move to third. He signed for $2.1 million in 2017. Francisco Alvarez is a Venezuelan catcher who signed with the Mets in 2018 for $2.7 million. Brett Baty is another power bat that can play third base. He was the Mets first round pick in 2019. Andres Gimenez is a slick fielding shortstop who will probably reach the majors in a utility role who signed way back in 2015 for $1.2 million.

A couple players to watch are two 16 year olds from the Dominican Republic, Robert Dominguez, a right handed pitcher who can hit 97 and outfielder Alexander Ramirez who has the potential to be a power/speed player.

28. Texas Rangers (5.82)

Years ago they used to be the cream of the crop in the international market. Those years have passed. Their top prospect is 2019 first round pick Josh Jung, who has good hit tools. Nick Solak should make the Rangers roster in 2020 in a utility role and catcher Sam Huff is getting a lot of buzz because of his power bat. Hans Crouse is their top rated pitcher on a team looking for pitching pieces.

Luisangel Acuna is the younger brother of Ronald and he hopes to be making some noise. He signed in 2018 but does not have the same tools as his older brother. Bayron Lora was a 2019 international signing for $3.9 million. The Dominican outfielder has big time power.

27 Cincinnati Reds (7.58)

The Reds are hoping that Hunter Greene can come back from his Tommy John surgery and keep the triple digit velocity he had prior to the surgery. Nick Lodolo does not have the same heat but the 2019 first round pick can hit the mid 90s, sitting at the higher edges of the low 90s. His curve ball is his bread and butter pitch. Jonathan India like Nick Senzel is a first round pick (2018) who plays third base but may have to move because of Eugenio Suarez. Shogo Akiyama was signed out of Japan and could win the centerfield job, or roam around all three outfield spots, hitting .300 with double digit homerun power just below 20.

Rece Hinds is another third baseman who is a player to watch. He was a second round pick in the 2019 draft who participated in the high school homerun derby at Nationals park against Bobby Witt Jr and lost, but he took some balls deep.

26. Boston Red Sox (7.8)

The trade with the Dodgers of Mookie Betts got them a couple farm pieces, one of them Jeter Downs, who has already been traded twice. He could be a shortstop with 20 plus homerun pop. Triston Casas and Bobby Dalbec play the infield corners and also carry some big time pop. Unfortunately for the Red Sox that position is crowded on the major league roster.

Jarren Duran was a seventh rounder in the 2018 draft but he shows excellent centerfield speed and hit .387 in a 200 at bat performance in High A. Jay Groome has only pitched 66 innings in his three years with the Red Sox because of Tommy John surgery but the 2016 first round pick has good velocity with a 6′6″ frame.

25. Houston Astros (8.68)

Losing two years of number ones because of the cheating scandal will keep them down. Also, there top prospect Forest Whitely has struggled with control, drug suspensions and injury. If he can overcome these obstacles he has the stuff to be an ace. Jose Urquidy has already made his presence known in the playoffs. He lacks the stuff of Whitely but has better command. Abraham Toro has a good hit tool but may lack the power to play third base.

Bryan Abreu could be the next rookie to make the Astros rotation. He has three plus pitches but lacks the ability to find the strike zone.

24. Colorado Rockies (8.8)

Brendan Rodgers is their big time prospect who could win the second base job in 2020. Shoulder surgery limited him to 25 major league games and it could delay his 2020 season until May. Sam Hilliard is an outfielder with power who could win the left field job in 2020, or at worst platoon with Ian Desmond, playing against righthanders. He has power that could be accentuated in Colorado. Ryan Rolison was the Rockies 2018 first round pick who relies on a sweeping hammer that can get swings and misses.

Keep an eye on newcomers Adael Amador, a Dominican shortstop who signed in 2019 for $1.5 million and Michael Toglia, a 2019 first round pick who has good power.

23. Washington Nationals (8.88)

The Nationals hope Carter Kieboom puts up decent numbers as he replaces Anthony Rendon in the lineup, either at third base or second base. He struggled in a brief trial last year. Luis Garcia has been a recent ask from a lot of teams. He plays shortstop and has been one of the younger players at each classification he plays, so his numbers have not been impressive.

Jackson Rutledge is the Nationals 2019 first round pick with a mid to high 90s fastball and an impressive 6′8″ frame. Mason Denaburg, the Nationals 2018 first round pick had a rough 2019 season in rookie ball but he has a good fastball/curve combination. Andry Lara is another pitcher, a 2019 international signing out of Venezuela who already stands 6′4″ and throws mid-90s.

22. Cleveland Indians (9.54)

Nolan Jones shows big time power at third base who was the Indians second round pick in 2016. Tyler Freeman and Brayan Rocchio are both middle infielders, Freeman a second round supplemental pick in 2017 and Rocchio a 2017 signing out of Venezuela. Freeman is the better hitter while Rocchio has the smoother glove. George Valera is a Dominican outfielder that draws comparisons to Juan Soto. Triston McKenzie was the Indians first round pick in 2015 who did not pitch last year because of back issues. Injuries have prevented him from reaching the major leagues. Aaron Bracho could be a nice utility player with hit tools. Daniel Espino was the Indians first round pick in 2019 who was born in Panama and slings his fastball in the upper 90s.

Bo Naylor was a first round pick in 2018, a catcher from Canada with a little bit of pop in his bat. He is the younger brother of Josh. Bobby Bradley is a first baseman with pop. Emmanuel Clase was acquired from the Rangers last year. He hits triple digits with his fastball and is a possible closer. Last year Will Benson hit four homeruns in a game. He is a 2016 first round pick who needs to make more contact before he plays left field for the Indians.

21. New York Yankees (9.62)

Jasson Dominguez has superstar stuff but he is only 16, The Yankees signed the outfielder for $5.1 million in 2019. The Tommy John surgery to Luis Severino may put Deivi Garcia in the rotation. He stands only 5′10″ but his fastball has some fire. Clarke Schmidt is the rare Yankee draft pick (2017 first round) that is high on the Yankee prospect list. He throws a mid-90s fastball and a plus change makes the fastball harder to read. Estevan Florial has five tools, but a rough year dropped him down many prospect rankings. All he needs is to replicate his 2017 numbers.

Everson Pereira is an outfielder to watch. He was a lessor version of Dominguez when he signed with the Yankees for $1.5 million in 2017. Luis Medina, Albert Abreu and Luis Gil are all pitchers from the Dominican ready to make an impact in the Yankees rotation in 2020.

20. Chicago Cubs (10.76)

Nico Hoerner is their 2018 first round draft pick who may have to move from shortstop to second base to make the Cubs roster. Brailyn Marquez is a lefthander out of the Dominican with heat that hits triple digits. The Cubs have been waiting for years to develop a pitcher and Marquez could be the first. Brennen Davis split his time between basketball and baseball, but now that he is focusing on baseball he could become a nice power hitting outfielder. The Cubs have Wilson Contreras, but Miguel Amaya has a good hit/glove tool that could be ready for the Cubs in 2021.

Ryan Jensen was the Cubs first round pick in 2019, a pitcher with a mid-90s fastball who needs to develop a third pitch and find the plate more to stay in the rotation, otherwise he becomes a bullpen piece.

19. Los Angeles Angels (11.96)

Jo Adell is a five tool outfielder who could be playing right field for the Angels in 2020. Brandon Marsh is another outfielder who will have to wait until 2021. Marsh has not shown a lot of power but at 6′4″ he could be a late bloomer.

Jordyn Adams is a first round pick in 2018 who has tremendous centerfield speed with a bat that can hit. His development could make the outfield crowded. Arol Vera is a 2019 signing out of Venezuela who plays shortstop but may eventually have to move to third. His bat carries some impressive pop. Jose Soriano will miss the 2020 season because of Tommy John surgery, but the Dominican had a break out year last year with a mid-90s fastball that hit triple digits.

18. Kansas City Royals (13.34)

Bobby Witt Jr was the Royals first round pick in 2019. He plays shortstop and has impressive power, winning the high school homerun derby during the All star break at Nationals park last year. His dad was a pitcher in the major leagues. Daniel Lynch, Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar could make three fifths of the Royals rotation in two years. Kowar and Singer were teammates in Florida who the Royals drafted in the first round in 2018. Lynch is a lefthander who was also drafted in the first round in 2018. Erick Pena signed an international contract in 2019 out of the Dominican Republic. At 6′3″ he has the potential for impressive power.

Khalil Lee is knocking on the centerfield door for the Royals. Kris Bubic is a lefthander who was also drafted in 2018 in the supplemental first round.

17. Philadelphia Phillies (13.36)

Alec Bohm has a power bat but his 6′5″ height may force a move from third to first. He was the Phillies 2018 first round pick. Spencer Howard throws hard, touching triple digits. The 2017 second round pick could see the Phillies rotation sometime in 2020, but missed two months last year because of shoulder issues and needs to eat innings. Bryson Stott was the Phillies first round pick in 2019 who may lack the tools to stay at short.

Adonis Medina throws hard but struggled in the second half last year.

16. Pittsburgh Pirates (13.88)

Mitch Keller has spent a lifetime in the minor leagues, drafted in the second round in 2014. He finally made his major league debut last year but got lit up. He has ace like stuff with a mid-90s fastball that rises to the high 90s. O’Neil Cruz is 6′7″ but plays shortstop with tremendous power potential. Many expect him to eventually move to the outfield. Ke’Bryan Hayes is the son of Charlie that plays excellent defense at third base but may not hit enough for a corner.

Ji-Hwan Bae had originally signed with the Braves, but had to negate the signing when they were found in violation of international signing rules. The Pirates took advantage and signed Bae, a shortstop with speed but very little power. Travis Swaggerty was a first round pick in 2018 who carries average or above average tools in all categories.

Myworld’s Top 100 - 20 - 11

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

The penultimate ten.

20. Brendan McKay LHP (Rays) - In college he was noted more for his bat. The Rays drafted him in the first round of the 2017 draft with the expectation of making him a two way player. Now it is the arm that has gotten him to the major leagues with a fastball that sits in the upper edges of the low 90s. He also has quality breaking pitches in his cutter and curveball and his change has potential to be major league quality. All of those pitches are thrown with tight command resulting in a 0.84 ERA at AAA Durham in six starts and one relief appearance. AAA hitters hit only .156 against him. When promoted to the majors he could not replicate that success (5.14 and .268 opposition average) but in time the Rays expect he will. The bat does not appear to be major league ready. There is some power in his swing, but he could only put together a .200 average and a .629 OPS in AAA/AA. That will not cut it in the major leagues. Expect him to be in the Rays rotation next season as a starting pitcher. The Rays could also use him in a pinch hitting role as well as an occasional DH to qualify him as a two way player.

19. Bobby Witt Jr. SS (Royals) - The son of the major league pitcher of the same name was the Royals first round pick in the 2019 draft. Junior has chosen to take his journey to the major leagues as a shortstop, while his dad was a pitcher. Myworld watched him at the homerun derby send balls far into the left field bleachers using an aluminum bat. The tools are there defensively for him to play shortstop. He has a strong arm like his dad and good range to cover the position. The power in his bat and his ability to hit to all fields will make him an A-Rod type shortstop with a little more speed and the ability to consistently hit for 30 plus homeruns each year. In his debut season last year he only hit one homerun in 164 at bats in rookie ball. In 2020, when he is playing his first season of full season ball he should eclipse double digits. His major league arrival time probably will not occur until 2023, unless he finds success at each level quickly and then it could come as early as 2021, provided the Royals are not fixated by service time.

18. Brendan Rodgers SS (Rockies) - Back in 2015 three shortstops were the first three picks in the draft. Rodgers was the third shortstop selected with Dansby Swanson and Alex Bregman selected ahead of him. Rodgers was drafted out of high school and finally made his major league debut last year. Trevor Story sits at shortstop now for the Rockies, so the best hope for Rodgers to see the major leagues will be at second base. He has a strong arm and enough range to play the position. The bat is what the Rockies are hoping will be special. Last year he hit .350 with a 1.035 OPS in 37 AAA games, earning him a promotion to the major leagues. Season ending shoulder surgery ended his season after just 25 major league games. Rodgers has the potential to hit for power and average. His 2020 season will be delayed as he recovers from his surgery, but expect him to be back in the major leagues sometime late in 2020.

17. Cristian Pache OF (Braves) - This Dominican has tremendous speed to cover centerfield and a rocket arm to fit easily in right. He signed with the Braves back in 2015. With Ronald Acuna, Drew Waters and Pache patrolling the outfield they have the potential to steal all the gold gloves once they all arrive in the major leagues. Cristian stole 32 bases in 2017 but his speed has not resulted in any significant stolen base numbers after that. His walk to whiff ratio could be better (43/122) but he tends to sit in the .270 to .280 area. The lack of power could be an issue if he has to play corner, but last year he did hit 12 homeruns. Last year he played 26 games in AAA. He is on target to make his Braves debut sometime in 2020.

16. Forrest Whitely RHP (Astros) - The 2016 first round pick of the Astros lost some development time in 2018 because of a 50 game drug suspension. When he returned oblique injuries limited him to just eight starts and 26 innings. The Astros started him at AAA to begin the 2019 season but he was absolutely horrific. He had a 12.21 ERA with the opposition hitting him at a .343 clip. He had real issues trying to find the plate. If not for those struggles he would already be a member of the Astros starting rotation. His stuff is much better than his performance last year. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and hits the high 90s. His cutter, slider and change are all excellent pitches. His ability finding the strike zone can be a little dicey and at 6′7 there are a lot of moving pieces that make that more of a challenge. If Forrest can find the strike zone more consistently he will be a solid member of the Astros starting rotation in 2020.

15. Andrew Vaughn 1B (White Sox) - If you are a right hand hitting first baseman and you only stand 6′0, there must be something special in you that makes a team draft you as the third overall pick in the 2019 draft. What the White Sox think is special about Vaughn is his bat. Last year in college he hit .374 with a .704 slugging. In his major league debut he hit well enough (.278) to get promoted to High A in his first year. Andrew could be a fast riser with a good hit tool and power. Last year he showed good contact ability with a 30/38 walk to whiff ratio. His defense is not considered a strong suit, but it would not be any worse than current first baseman Jose Abreu. Vaughn will be a fast riser as long as he continues to have success with the bat as he rises up the minor league level. With the White Sox having playoff aspirations his bat could be in the lineup by 2021.

14. Royce Lewis SS (Twins) - Royce was the first pick in the 2017 draft. All the tools are there. He has the speed that could result in a move to center if the Twins do not have a need at short. He also has the tools to play short. The power is also there that he could be a fit for third base. Last year was a bit of a struggle for him. His batting average cratered to .236 at High A and AA, with his inability to make good contact creating his low batting average. If he can simplify his swing the power is there for him to hit 20 plus homeruns. The speed is also there for him to steal 20 bases. His arrival to the Twins will depend on need and Royce’s ability to improve his hit tool. If the bat plays the 2020 season could be the year when he makes his major league debut.

13. Dylan Carson OF (Cardinals) - The Cardinals 2016 first round pick is a fringe five tool athlete. His arm is borderline for right and his speed could allow him to play center but it would be better utilized at a corner. The two biggest tools for Dylan are his power and his ability to hit for average. Last year was a break out year for him with 26 homeruns, with five in 18 games at AAA for a .681 slugging average. Between AA and AAA he slugged .542 with a .914 OPS. He also stole 20 bases putting him on a list of ten minor leaguers to hit 20 homeruns and steal 20 bases. The Cardinals are always loaded in the outfield, but they traded a couple outfielders in the offseason to possibly make room for Carson. A good spring could find Dylan in the Cardinal outfield in 2020.

12. Julio Rodriguez OF (Mariners) - At 6′4 inches this Dominican has that rightfielder look. The Mariners signed him for $1.75 million in 2017. Last year he made his stateside debut at Low A and High A as a 19 year old, hitting .326 with a .540 slugging and a .929 OPS. In 17 games in the California League he hit .462. When the ball hits off his bat it makes its own unique explosive sound, which makes people turn and take notice. He could be a quick riser like Juan Soto, reaching the major leagues by 2021. His speed is a better fit for the corners and his arm is a cannon best fitted for right field. Julio has super star potential.

11. Carter Kieboom SS/3B/2B (Nationals) - Gone is Anthony Rendon. The Nationals don’t want to say the first round 2016 pick is the player to replace him, but whether he plays second or third, his is the new name in the lineup. Last year Carter made his major league debut and in 11 games he hit .128. His natural position is shortstop, but Trea Turner has that position covered. There is some pop in Carter’s bat, with 16 homeruns last year in AAA. He also hit .303. As a shortstop, he has the range to play second and the arm to cover third. Unless he trips and stumbles in the spring he should be going north with the Nationals. Starlin Castro was signed as insurance and Asdrubal Cabrera and Howie Kendrick were resigned so the Nationals are not obligated to put Kieboom on the roster after spring training. If he earns the spot the Nationals will be pleased.

Top European Prospects

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

There are no Max Kepler’s on this list. Carter Kieboom has the potential to be a Kepler, but it was his dad who played in the Netherlands. Carter grew up with his brother Spencer playing baseball in the United States. There are a number of players from Curacao, which is a colony of the Netherlands. They have not been generating ballplayers as talented as Andrelton Simmons, Andruw Jones, Kenley Jansen and Jonathan Schoop. Only Carter Kieboom from the list last year made the major leagues, and he only appeared in 11 games. Not a list rich in potential major leaguers, but there is potential.

1. Carter Kieboom SS/2B (Nationals/Netherlands) - His dad played baseball in the Netherlands. Carter has played all his ball in the United States. He played so well that in 2016 the Nationals made him their first round pick. Last year he made his major league debut, playing in 11 games but only hitting .128. With Anthony Rendon departing via free agency there is an opportunity for Carter to make the roster at third base or second. His natural position is short, but Trea Turner occupies that position. Carter has some pop in his bat and has hit for a high batting average in the minors. His power will play at third, but it would be extra special at second. Expect Kieboom to contribute to the Nationals roster quite a bit in 2020.

2. J.B. Bukauskas RHP (Diamondbacks/Lithuania) - His Wikipedia page says he is of Lithuanian origin so we will add him here. He was drafted by the Astros in the first round of the 2017 draft. The Astros later included him in the trade to acquire Zack Greinke. At 6′0 J.B. does not have the height scouts look for in righthanded pitchers. His fastball does cross the plate in the high 90s, but it crosses straight and true with very little plane. His slider is an impressive swing and miss pitch. Last year was a struggle for J.B. in AA. His ERA was above 5.25 and he struggled with command, walking 59 batters in 93 innings. The Diamondbacks could promote him to AAA next year, or return him to AA and hope he achieves some success.

3. Dean Kremer RHP (Orioles/Israel) - Dean was part of the unimpressive haul the Orioles got for Manny Machado. He was a Dodgers 14th round pick in 2016. Dean pitched for Israel in the World Baseball Classic qualifier but did not pitch for Team Israel that qualified for the Olympics. Dean throws in the low 90s with a plus curveball that gives enough swings and misses to get above 9 strikeouts per 9 innings. He had four rough starts in AAA last year (8.84 ERA) where the opposition hit him at a .366 clip. He hopes to return there in 2020 and pitch well enough to make his major league debut.

4. Sherten Apostel 3B (Rangers/Curacao) - The Pirates initially signed Apostel but traded him to the Rangers in the Keone Kela deal. Last year was his first year in full season ball and he broke out with 19 homeruns. In two previous years of rookie ball he did not hit double digit homerun numbers, but he hit for enough power to slug .450 or greater. At 6′4″ his height and weight could get so bulky that it would force a move from third base to first base. Sherten is still a couple years at best away from the major leagues.

5. Shervyton Newton 2B/SS (Mets/Curacao) - The tool that stands out most for Newton is his 6′4″ height, which translates into above average power. The Mets got a bargain signing him for just $50,000 in 2015. Last year was his first year in full season ball and it will not be a season to remember. He hit only .209 with a 37/139 walk to whiff ratio. In rookie ball he showed more patience at the plate so he needs to focus on waiting for his pitches to hit. The Mets are crowded at short and defensively he may be a better fit at second. The arm is strong enough to move to third or play a corner outfield, but he lacks the speed to cover a lot of ground in center. He is still a few years away from making it on the Mets roster.

6. Hendrik Clementina C (Reds/Curacao) - Hendrik originally signed with the Dodgers for $50,000 way back in 2013. The Reds traded Tony Cingrani to the Dodgers to acquire Clementina in 2017. After four years playing in rookie ball Hendrik made his full season debut in 2018 and blossomed with 18 homeruns. Last year he played in the spacious parks of the Florida State leagues and still hit 14 homeruns. He is only 6′0″ weighing 250, which calls into question how mobile he will be behind the plate as his body ages. He does not have a strong arm and only had a 14 percent success rate in throwing out runners, so he still has some issues. The power could allow a team to carry him as a backup catcher with the new 26 man rosters. Next year he should start in AA so a callup could happen in 2020 if injuries force the Reds to dig deep for a catcher. Hendrik lacks the tools to surpass Tyler Stephenson for the number one role.

7. Donny Breek RHP (Twins/Netherlands) - The Twins signed Donny after his performance in the Under 18 World Cup in Thunder Bay, Canada. While he did not make the all tournament team myworld identified him as a player to watch after his 1-1, 1.08 ERA in 16.2 innings where he limited the opposition to a .151 average. He also pitched the Netherlands to the European championships in 2019 in a win over Italy. His fastball sits in the low 90s and he complements it with a decent change. Last year he was dominant in his second year of Rookie ball, finishing with a 0.74 ERA with a .165 opposition average. His command can be a little spotty, but he has yet to give up a homerun in 74 innings. Myworld believes he will win a full season role in 2020, which could begin his journey to the major leagues.

8. Sem Robberse RHP (Blue Jays/Netherlands) - The Blue Jays signed Sem for $125,000 in 2019, which is a pretty generous bonus for a European player. He rewarded them with a 2-0, 0.87 ERA in rookie ball. He only pitched 10 innings so it is a small sample size. Sem showed pretty good command, not walking a single hitter, but they did hit .275 off him. He won’t turn 19 until October. Currently his fastball sits in the high 80s/low 90s but the Blue Jays feel that as he puts on more weight the velocity will increase. The secondary pitches are still in their development phase. He will probably see one more year in rookie ball before advancing to full season ball in 2021.

9. Leonardo Seminati 1B (Reds/Italy) - Leonardo did make the All Tournament team in Thunder Bay, Canada for the 18 and under team as the first baseman. He hit .423 with two homeruns and seven RBIs. Some others who made the all tournament team are Cesar Prieto from Cuba who is a about to sign a large contract, Brice Turang and Alek Thomas. Matthew Liberatore, Triston Casas, Victor Mesa and Korean superstar Baek-Ho Kang are four players who did not make the all tournament team. Leonardo has the potential for big time power, slugging 9 homeruns in 58 games in the Rookie Pioneer League. He also shows the ability to swing and miss with 80 whiffs. He also played a little outfield and third base but may lack the speed to be a viable outfielder. If he can eliminate the lack of contact Leonardo could make an impact in the minor leagues. Next year should be his debut in full season ball.

10. Martin Cervenka C (Orioles/Czech Republic) - We have not given up on Martin despite his 27 years of age falling outside normal prospect range. He will probably never make it as a number one catcher, but with some injuries he could make it as a back up. He signed initially with the Cleveland Indians way back in 2009. Last year injuries limited him to just 58 games but he reached AAA. If he can stay healthy the Orioles catching depth is not strong. Last year when he played in AA he had a 46 percent success rate in nabbing baserunners, so the defensive tools are there. He also hit .372 in a short 12 game debut with AAA Norfolk. This is his fifth and probably last year on our top European prospect team. Way back in 2014 he made our under 21 world cup all tournament team with Taiwan superstar Po Jung Wang and Japan All Star Seiya Suzuki. All he needs is a couple months and he earns a pretty sweet major league pension.

Other true Europeans to consider who are all in the Rookie League are Niklas Rimmel RHP (Twins/Germany), who was signed the same time as Breek, Anton Kuznetsov LHP (Phillies/Russia) and Darryl Collins OF (Royals/Netherlands)

NL West Lower Draft Pick Success

Tuesday, December 31st, 2019

Myworld takes a look at the NL West to see how they have done selecting with the 25th round pick or later. This division seems to have pretty good success with late round picks, especially the Giants and Padres. We start with 1998 when drafts were established at 50 picks, further reduced to 40 a few years later. Also, we did not include any player signed in the 25th round or later who did not sign but made the major leagues after a later draft. Myworld did not look at draft years 2015 or later since any late round picks making the major league roster in four years or less would be slim to none.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Mike Koplove RHP (1998/29th round) - 15-7, 3.82 in 222 games of relief
Tommy Layne LHP (2007/26th round) - 8-5, 3.61 in 216 games of relief
Evan Scribner RHP (2007/28th round) - 5-4, 4.15 in 145 games of relief
Ryan Cook RHP (2008/27th round) - 15-13, 3.58 in 236 games of relief

Jake Elmore 2B (2008/34th round) - .215, 4, 37 in 217 games

Colorado Rockies

Justin Hampson LHP (1999/28th round) - 5-4, 3.23 in 92 games, one of them a start.
Xavier Cedeno LHP (2004/31st round) - 10-7, 3.65 in 254 games of relief
Bruce Billings RHP (2007/30th round) - 0-0, 9.82 in five games of relief
Kenny Roberts LHP (2010/25th round) - 1-1, 7.24 in 15 games of relief

Eric Young Jr 2B (2003/30th round) - .245, 13, 112 and 162 stolen bases in 651 games

Los Angeles Dodgers

Matt Magill RHP (2008/31st round) - 8-7, 4.52 in 31 games
Shawn Tolleson RHP (2010/30th round) - 14-8, 3.92 in 215 games of relief
Danny Coulombe LHP (2012/25th round) - 6-4, 4.27 in 153 games of relief

Victor Diaz 2B (2000/37th round) - .256, 24, 73 in 147 games
Andy LaRoche SS (2003/39th round) - .226, 22, 113 in 404 games
Justin Ruggiano OF (2004/25th round) - .256, 53, 163 in 483 games
Jerry Sands OF (2008/25th round) - .238, 10, 57 in 156 games, currently playing in Korea
Scott Schebler OF (2010/26th round) - .240, 61, 167 in 379 games

San Diego Padres

Cliff Bartosh LHP (1998/29th round) - 1-2, 5.08 in 53 games of relief
Jack Cassel RHP (2000/25th round) - 2-2. 4.92 in 15 games, seven of them starts
Steve Delabar RHP (2003/29th round) - 15-9, 4.07 in 190 games of relief
Branden Kintzler RHP (2004/40th round) - 20-20, 3.37 in 430 games of relief
Dylan Axelrod RHP (2007/30th round) - 9-15, 5.27 in 59 games, 34 starts
Colt Hynes LHP (2007/31st round) - 0-0, 8.55 in 27 games of relief
Brad Brach RHP (2008/42nd round) - 36-27, 3.33 in 482 games of relief

Kevin Reese OF (2000/27th round) - .385, 0, 1 in 12 games
Drew Macias OF (2002/35th round) - .198, 3, 12 in 69 games
Kyle Blanks 1B (2004/42nd round) - .241, 33, 111 in 278 games
Andy Parrino 2B (2007/26th round) - .175, 2, 14 in 131 games
Dean Anna SS (2008/26th round) - .130, 1, 3 in 13 games
Dan Robertson OF (2008/33rd round) - .262, 1, 36 in 148 games

San Francisco Giants

Brian Burres LHP (2000/31st round) - 18-25, 5.75 in 106 games, 56 starts
Scott Munter RHP (2001/47th round) - 3-2, 4.75 in 84 games of relief
Matt Palmer RHP (2002/31st round) - 13-7, 4.56 in 63 games, 20 starts
Jonathan Sanchez LHP (2004/27th round) - 39-58, 4.70 in 194 games, 137 starts
Sergio Romo RHP (2005/28th round) - 40-32, 2.92, 129 saves in 708 games, two starts
Jake Dunning SS (2009/33rd round) - 0-2, 2.77 in 30 games of relief
Joe Biagini RHP (2011/26th round) - 14-25, 4.86 in 217 games, 22 starts

Antoan Richardson OF (2005/35th round) - .350, 0, 1 in 22 games
Thomas Neal OF (2005/36th round) - .184, 0, 2 in 15 games
Matt Downs 3B (2006/36th round) - .230, 20, 66 in 254 games
Johnny Monell C (2007/30th round) - .161, 0, 5 in 35 games

NL West Minor League All Stars

Friday, December 13th, 2019

Baseball America identified the All Stars from each of the classifications. Below are the All stars from the National League West. These teams seem to have the bulk of the players selected on the All Star teams.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Kevin Cron 1B/AAA - The 2014 14th round pick demolished pitchers in AAA with 38 homeruns in just 82 games. If he had not gotten called up to the major leagues he could have hit 60. He hit six more homeruns in the majors but his batting average (.211) was more than 100 points lower than his AAA average. At 27 years of age when the 2020 season starts, his time is now.

Daulton Varsho C/AA - The son of major leaguer Gary and a 2017 second round supplemental pick showed a nice lefthanded bat with power, slugging 18 homeruns and hitting .301. His defense behind the plate may lack major league quality, but fortunately he has enough speed that a move to the outfield would not be a problem. Last year he stole 21 bases.

Seth Beer DH/AAA - The 2018 first round pick of the Astros has the bat, but he lacks a defensive position. The Diamondbacks traded Zack Greinke for Beer and a number of other minor leaguers. If he plays a position it will be first base, but his only tool is his ability to hit. His speed is slow and his defense non-existent. By the time he is ready perhaps the National League will adopt the DH.

Josh Green SP/High A - The 14th round pick in the 2018 draft had a nice year in High A (9-1, 1.73). He serves up a lot of ground balls with a low to mid 90s fastball and a couple ordinary breaking pitches.

Mack Lemieux RP/High A - The sixth round 2016 pick throws left handed and limited lefthanders to a .111 average. There is a lot of swing and miss with his low 90s fastball (72 whiffs in 53 innings). This was his first year in relief after struggling as a starter his first three years.

Alek Thomas OF/Low A - The second round 2018 pick displayed a good bat in Low A (.312) but lacks the power to fit well in a corner. His arm would be better suited for left field than right. Alek will survive on doubles and triples into the gap, which could make him solid as a fourth outfielder.

Levi Kelly SP/Low A - The 2018 eighth round pick has the height (6′4″) and the mid to low 90s fastball/slider combination to get swings and misses. He went 5-1, 2.15 ERA in 22 Low A starts, striking out 126 hitters in 100 innings. He limited the offense to a .199 average against him.

Kristian Robinson OF/short season - Signed out of the Bahamas in 2017 for $2.5 million he showed five tool ability in short season, hitting .319 with 9 homeruns and a .966 OPS. He has the tools to play centerfield, but will probably eventually settle into a corner. He struggled a bit when promoted to Low A (.217).

Luis Frias SP/short season - The Dominican can bring his fastball in the upper 90s. Signed for just $50,000 in 2015 he would constitute a bargain after his 1.99 ERA in 10 short season starts, with 72 whiffs in 50 innings. Luis still has trouble finding the strike zone.

Zac Gallen SP/AAA - Zac was drafted in the third round in 2016 by the Cardinals and then included in the Marcell Ozuna trade to the Marlins. After 14 starts in AAA (1.79) he was promoted to the majors (Marlins) then traded to the Diamondbacks. He combined for a 2.81 ERA in the majors. Not a hard thrower but changes speeds well.

Josh Rojas 2B/AAA - Another player acquired by the D-backs in the Zack Greinke trade. He could end up being a solid utility player after hitting .332 with 33 doubles and 23 homeruns in the minor leagues. He had a .606 slugging and a 1.023 OPS but is absent from the prospect lists because of his lack of tools.

Colorado Rockies

Aaron Schunk 3B/short season - The Rockies second round pick in the 2019 draft showed a little pop in his bat with six homeruns in short season for a .503 slugging. Needs a little more work on defense but he should be able to handle third if Nolan Arenado is not around. A good contact hitter that should hit for average power.

Jacob Wallace RP/short season - He pitched out of the bullpen in college and was drafted in the third round of the 2019 draft to pitch out of the bullpen. In 22 relief appearances he limited the opposition to a .129 average. His fastball has a lot of velocity, reaching the high 90s but he needs to develop a third pitch to leave the bullpen. Should rise quickly if he stays in the pen.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Gavin Lux SS/AAA & AA - The 2016 first round pick of the Dodgers will probably play second base after bashing 26 homeruns in AA and AAA and hitting .347. He played enough games to be voted as an All Star for both AA and AAA. His defensive tools are probably better fitted for second.

Devin Mann 2B/High A - The Dodgers 2018 fifth round pick blasted 19 homeruns in High A for a .496 slugging. Doesn’t possess overwhelming tools.

Jeter Downs SS/High A - The Dodgers stole Jeter from the Reds in the Yasiel Puig/Matt Kemp deal. The Reds had made Jeter a supplemental first round pick in 2017. He showed some pretty good pop at the shortstop position to hit 19 homeruns and rack up 33 doubles in the hitter friendly California League. His arm may fall short for playing short and with Lux branded for second another trade may be in his future.

Miguel Vargas 3B/Low A - He was one of the Dodgers cheaper signings out of Cuba, shelling out only $300,000 for him. The 20 year old hit .325 in Low A but may lack the power to stay at third. He does make good contact with a 35/43 walk to whiff ratio in 70 games. Needs some help defensively to stay at third and lacks the speed to move to outfield.

Brandon Lewis 3B/Rookie - The Dodgers 2019 fourth round pick slugged 12 homeruns in Rookie ball for a 1.146 OPS and .369 average. Does have some swing and miss so as he climbs up the ladder that could pose a challenge to his continued success.

Andy Pages OF/Rookie - The Dodgers signed the Cuban in 2018 for $300,000. After struggling in his first year he slugged 19 homeruns in 63 games for a 1.049 OPS his second year. Lacks the speed to play center so his power will fit in a corner.

Melvin Jimenez Relif/Rookie - The Dominican dominated Rookie ball, limiting the opposition to a .119 average. He almost gave up as many runs (6) as he did hits (8), striking out 43 in 20 innings, which led to a promotion to High A. Finding the plate has always been a challenge.

San Diego Padres

Austin Allen C/AAA - Traded this year to the Oakland Athletics for Jurickson Profar. Austin has some pop hitting just over 20 homeruns his last three seasons. Last year he hit .330 in AAA which got him a promotion to the Padres. Not a strong defensive player behind the plate, especially with his mobility. Could be a better fit at first but at 26 his minor league days are done.

Ty France 3B/AAA - Despite his .399 average and 27 homeruns in AAA he is a man without a position with Manny Machado at third. His major league numbers were more pedestrian (.234). The Padres used him some at second base but his defense will not impress. His homerun swing seemed to begin in 2018 when he went from 5 to 22. Last year it went from 22 to 34 so he bears watching.

Owen Miller 2B/AA - The third round 2018 pick is short on tools but the bat always seems to produce. After hitting .336 last year at two levels the Padres bumped him up to AA where he hit .290 with 13 homeruns. Could end up as a solid utility player.

Luis Campusano C/High A - The second round 2017 pick should be a solid player with the bat as well as the glove, something they currently lack behind the plate. Luis hit .325 with a .509 slugging in High A, tripling his career homerun output from seven to 22. He has a strong arm that will make baserunners hesitant to run against him.

MacKenzie Gore SP/High A - The first round 2017 pick is one of the top five pitchers in the minor leagues. Blisters limited him in 2018 but in 15 California League starts in 2019 he had a 1.02 ERA with a .137 opposition average. He has a wide array of pitches including a mid-90s fastball. He should make his debut by mid-season next year.

Xavier Edwards 2B/Low A - There was not a lot of room for the smooth fielding first round supplemental pick in the 2018 draft so the Padres traded him to the Rays in the Tommy Pham transaction. Xavier hit .322 at two levels in the minors but has very little power. In his two year minor league career he has only hit one ball over the fence. The tools are there for him to stay at short.

Joey Cantilo SP/Low A - The Padres waited until the 16th round of the 2017 draft to scoop up the lefthander. His tools are not great, nor is his velocity but he got hitters out with a .173 opposition average and 128 whiffs in just 98 innings.

C.J. Abrams SS/Rookie - The Padres 2019 first round pick hit .401 in 142 Rookie at bats. Power is lacking but he has sprinters speed that resulted in 14 stolen bases. With his speed he may end up in centerfield.

San Francisco Giants

Jaylin Davis OF/AAA - Jaylin has been around for awhile, originally drafted by the Twins in the 15th round in 2015. The Giants traded for him mid-season last year after he hit a quiet 35 homeruns for three different minor league teams, including 25 in AAA. A major league promotion added one more dinger but a .167 average compared to his .332 AAA average. His previous high for homeruns was 16 in 2016. Mainly a corner outfielder but he can play centerfield in a pinch.

Heliot Ramos OF/High A - The 2017 first round pick out of Puerto Rico has the potential to be a five tool player. The 2018 season was a disappointment but the 2019 season he bounced back with 13 homeruns and a .306 average in High A. He needs to improve his bat on ball contact where more advanced hitters can get him chasing.

Seth Corry SP/Low A - The lefthander drafted in the third round of the 2017 draft has a dynamite swing and miss curve ball that elicited 172 whiffs in just 123 innings. He also has a low 90s fastball that can reach the mid-90s, impressive for a lefthander. He finished with a 1.76 ERA and a .171 opposition average in Low A. He does have trouble finding the strike zone with 58 walks.

Alexander Canario OF/short season - Since the departure of Barry Bonds the Giants have had trouble finding outfielders. This Dominican that they signed for $60,000 could team with Ramos to make a formidable duo. The tools are not up there with Ramos but he has the speed to play center and the power in his bat to slug 16 homeruns. A lack of patience resulted in 80 whiffs in just 49 games, though he still hit .318.

Franklin Labour DH/short season - Another bargain basement signing out of the Dominican Republic ($70,000). He lacks the speed to fit in center but has the power to slide into a corner, with 15 homeruns at two levels, 14 of them in short season. He had a power outage once promoted to Low A (.299 slugging in 31 games).

Marco Luciano DH/Rookie - The Giants did not spare any expense for this shortstop from the Bahamas, whipping out their check book to sign him for $6 million. He hit .322 with 10 homeruns and a 1.055 OPS in Rookie ball. He has the tools to play short.

Top Right Field Prospects

Friday, November 1st, 2019

These players lack the burner speed to play centerfield but have the strong arm to get the ball home or to third base with some juice. They also are good enough with the bat that they can provide run production.

1) Heliot Ramos (Giants) - Heliot Ramos was a first round pick in 2017 by the Giants. The Puerto Rican slugger had a solid year last year, showing the power potential in his bat with 13 homeruns and a .500 slugging percentage in High A. He slumped a bit when promoted to AA, his slugging percentage dropping to .421. His swing and miss is a little high, averaging a little over one whiff per game. As he fills out his speed will decrease making him a liability in centerfield. The arm is there for him to slide over to right. The Giants have never been good about developing outfielders. Heliot should change that, with an arrival time expected in 2021.

2) Jarred Kelenic (Mariners) - The Mets drafted Jarred in the first round, as the sixth pick in 2018. They sacrificed long term wealth for short term benefit by trading him and a package of other prospects to the Mariners for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. Neither veteran panned out and Jarred is looking to be a superstar. He has all five tools with the speed to play center, but with the arm to shift to right. Last year he displayed his power with 23 homeruns at three different levels. With his 20 stolen bases he became a 20/20 player, a feat he should easily accomplish once he makes it to the major leagues. Since he played 21 games in AA expect an arrival time of 2021.

3) Jesus Sanchez (Marlins) - Another five tool talent, Jesus signed with Tampa Bay for $400,000 out of the Dominican Republic. The Rays shipped him off to the Marlins for Nick Anderson and Trevor Richards, two players who will not come close to reaching the level of Sanchez. It makes you wonder what the Rays saw in Sanchez that they traded him for what appears to be low cost. As he gets bigger (6′3″, 230) his speed will tap down, making a potential move to right field inevitable. The power exists for him to hit for at least 20 plus homeruns per year, but he did not show that last year. Even in the rabbit ball of AAA he could not slug for higher than .440. The Marlins do not have any outfielders in their major league system to prevent Jesus from winning a starting job. Expect that process to begin next year when he competes for an outfield job in spring training.

4) Estevan Florial (Yankees) - Estevan is Haitian born, but went to school in the Dominican Republic. The Yankees signed him for $300,000 in 2015 after he was suspended one year from signing for using a false name. Florial had a break out year in 2017 slugging 13 homeruns, but a broken hamate bone in 2018 forced him to miss two months of the season. He struggled a bit in the Florida State League, hitting just .255 with only a .361 slugging average. His season was again limited last year with a broken wrist and when he got to play his numbers were again disappointing in his third season in the Florida State League. The five tools are there to be an impact player but an inability to make contact puts his numbers down. Next year he should see AA. The Yankees have a surplus of outfielders in their system, but like Florial they struggle to stay healthy. If he can stay injury free he should make his Yankee debut in 2021.

5) Brandon Marsh (Angels) - The 2016 second round pick is not a flashy player. The speed is lacking to play centerfield and the power from his 6′4″ frame has yet to emerge. There is still too much swing and miss in his game, though he managed to cut it back in 2019. An ankle injury limited him to just 96 games last year. Despite his average speed and the ankle injury he was able to steal 18 bases. A .428 slugging average is evidence that he has yet to tap into his power. With Trout in center and outfielder Jo Adell rated as the Angels top prospect, the Angels can be patient with Marsh and allow his power to develop in AAA. The earliest he will be an Angel is 2021.

6) J.J. Bleday (Marlins) - Myworld saw a bit of Bleday’s power in the College World Series. The 2019 first round pick also has a rocket for an arm. His 27 homers were instrumental in Vanderbilt winning the College World Series. After being drafted as the fourth pick he went on to hit three more homeruns in the pitcher friendly Florida State League. Bleday does not have the speed to play center. He does make pretty good contact for a power hitter. With the Marlins in rebuilding mode, Bleday should be a fast riser. Expect him to reach AA in 2020 with a possible major league debut in 2021. There is 30 to 40 homerun potential in his bat.

7) Sam Hilliard (Rockies) - Hilliard is a 15th round pick in 2015 who lacks the speed to play centerfield. It doesn’t prevent him from stealing bases. He had his second year of stealing over 20 bases and slugging at least 20 homeruns. His lowest stolen base total in his four minor league seasons is 23. Last year his power numbers went through the roof with 35 homeruns and a .558 slugging percentage. That resulted in a promotion to Colorado where he added seven more homeruns to put him over 40 with a .649 slugging. The Rockies have a number of young outfielders competing for spots, but none hit for his power. Expect him to compete for the starting right field job in 2020. The one concern was his 164 whiffs in AAA, though he seemed to make more consistent contact when promoted to the major leagues.

8) Khalil Lee (Royals) - Khalil is a third round pick in 2016 that is blessed with all five tools. The speed was especially apparent in 2019 with 53 stolen bases. The arm is built for right field and the legs can cover center. Many teams considered drafting him as a pitcher, but for now he is patrolling the outfield. Khalil’s biggest challenge is making contact, which depresses his average and prevents him from showing off his power. Last year he struck out 154 times, limiting his average to .264 and his slugging to .372 in AA. Next year he should make his major league debut for the rebuilding Royals sometime after the All Star break.

9) Austin Hays (Orioles) - Injuries have prevented the third round 2016 pick from replicating his 2017 season. He had the right field position sewn up in 2018 but injuries and a poor season prevented a callup. Injuries again limited him in 2019 but he put up better power numbers (.464) in AAA that led to a promotion to the major leagues. There he shined with a .304 average and .574 slugging. This should make him the favorite to win the right field job next year, with Trey Mancini moving to first base.

10) D.J. Peters (Dodgers) - Myworld loves his power. We hate his inability to make contact. Last year the 2016 fourth round pick struck out 168 times in just 125 games, while slugging 23 dingers. At 6′6″ he has a large strike zone, but get those hands extended with the barrel of the bat making contact and that ball will go a long way. The arm is good for right field and he has the speed to be a solid defender, perhaps as a lesser version of an Aaron Judge. Yasiel Puig is gone but Cody Bellinger and Alex Verdugo appear to be ahead of him in right field. His best bet may be to be traded to give him an opportunity to play. At 23 years of age and in AAA his time is now. He should make his major league debut in 2020.

Top Second Base Prospects

Saturday, August 24th, 2019

Normally your second baseman of the future are shortstops who have to move to second base because another shortstop is better than them. This list is thin with a number of former shortstops on it. Not a big fan of Isan Diaz, though he is currently up with the Marlins.

1. Brendan Rodgers (Rockies) - Rodgers was the Rockies first round pick in 2015. He has Trevor Story ahead of him on the Rockies roster. Last year he was troubled by shoulder issues. This year his season ended early because of a torn labrum that required surgery. He did hit .350 with 9 homeruns in his 37 AAA games before getting a callup to the Rockies after a Story injury. He did not put up awe inspiring numbers, hitting just .224 with a .250 slugging. That is when they discovered the torn labrum. The defensive tools are there to play shortstop, but this surgery could make a move to second base more likely. His bat is solid with a .490 slugging percentage entering the 2019 season. If he recovers from his shoulder issues and the Rockies find an alternative at second base (Ryan McMahon) he could become trade bait. Expect him to start the 2020 season in the minor leagues if he is healthy and a later promotion once he has seen some games.

2. Vidal Brujan (Rays) - The Rays found a bargain in Brujan, signing him for just $15,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2014. His bat has shown the ability to make contact with more walks (150) than whiffs (136) during his minor league career. His speed could make him a top of the order hitter, with 55 stolen bases last year. The down side in Brujan’s game is his lack of power. Despite his small frame (5′9″) he does not drive the ball like an even smaller Jose Altuve or Jose Ramirez. Defensively the tools are there for him to play short, but with Wander Franco climbing the minor league ladder the Rays have been using him at second base. This year he has stolen 46 bases in 93 games. His strikeouts have increased since his climb to AA (18/31 walk to whiff) resulting in a drop in average (.263). Brujan can make an impact if he can get on base and allow his speed to create havoc.

3. Nick Madrigal (White Sox) - Nick was the White Sox first round pick in 2018. He led Oregon State to the College World Series. The defensive tools are there for him to play shortstop, with an arm that may be borderline, but there always seems to be a better defensive option ahead of him. At Oregon he was forced to play second because of a better defensive shortstop. The White Sox have been using him at second base. Despite his small frame (5′8″) Nick has some pop in his bat. That pop will be defined mainly by hits into the gaps but he should reach double digit homerun numbers. Last year he did not hit a ball out of the park in 155 at bats but did hit .303. This year he has already found himself in AAA, hitting .307 at the three levels with a .414 slugging percentage. He has also stolen 34 bases. Defensively he will be an asset to the White Sox at second base and with Yoan Moncada moving to third there is little to stop him from playing there in 2020.

4. Jahmai Jones (Angels) - Jones was a second round pick of the Angels in 2015. Because of a crowded outfield the Angels moved him to second base in 2018. What appeared to be a solid bat struggled in his first year at second base, dropping below .250 with a slugging average under .400. When he played outfield his bat played above those numbers. The speed is there for him to steal 20 plus bases per year. The Angels were hoping he would become comfortable in his second year at second base and his bat would return to their 2016 and 2017 numbers, but he continues to struggle (.236). His power numbers have also dropped. His defense is not at the level where he will survive in the major leagues at second base unless the bat returns to where it was at when he played the outfield.

5. Isaac Paredes (Tigers) - Isaac may be best used as a utility player. He lacks the range to play short on an every day basis and his power is not there for third base. Second base could be a move but his 225 pound frame makes playing a middle infield position challenging. He will need his bat to carry him if he is to play second base. He was first signed by the Cubs out of Mexico for $500,000 in 2015. The Cubs traded him to the Tigers for some relief help (Justin Wilson). The one big tool Isaac has is his bat. Power could come like a Jose Ramirez later in his career. As it is now he is hitting .288 in AA with 11 homeruns. That is about where his bat should be in the major leagues. Speed and defense are lacking from his game.

6. Xavier Edwards (Padres) - Edwards has the defensive tools to play shortstop but with Fernando Tatis there the Padres have been using him more at second base. He was a first round supplemental pick of the Padres in 2018. In his first season at rookie ball Xavier hit .346. He lacks the strength to hit for power so he needs to rely on his ability to make contact. Speed will be a big part of his game. Last year he stole 22 bases in just 45 games. His arm may be a little weak for short, but it will be fine at second base, making him above average defensively. This year his bat continues to shine at the full season level with a .323 average and 31 stolen bases. As he matures he could pick up some gap power.

7. Nick Gordon (Twins) - The half brother of Dee Gordon and son of Tom “Flash” Gordon started his career as a shortstop, just like his half brother Dee. He was a first round pick in the 2014 draft. It has taken some time for him to climb the minor league ladder, but he has finally reached AAA where he is hitting .298 with four homeruns. That is a big improvement over his .212 average in AA last year. Like Dee, Nick does not hit for power and his speed lacks the burner capability of Dee. He will need to hit if the Twins want to keep a spot open for him. The concern is there is no one tool that makes him great. His best spot may be as a utility player.

8. Mauricio Dubon (Giants) - Mauricio is the only player in minor or major leagues born in Honduras. He came to the United States at 15 years old to attend high school and improve his baseball abilities. The Red Sox originally drafted him in the 26th round of the 2013 draft and then made him part of the Travis Shaw trade to acquire the recently released Tyler Thornburg. The Brewers traded him to the Giants this year for bullpen help. His bat carries very little power but he had a career .299 batting average entering the 2019 season. His range falls a little short to be playing short on a regular basis. With Marco Luciano ahead of him in the depth chart a move to second base is in his future.

9. Freudis Nova (Astros) - The Astros signed Nova for $1.2 million in 2016. He could have gotten more but he failed a drug test and his signing price dropped in half. Nova has the tools to play short, with a strong arm his best tool, but with Carlos Correa at short he has played some second in anticipation that short will not be available when he is ready. His bat has the potential to hit for power, though that power has yet to appear. This year is his first in a full season league. A 12/61 walk to whiff ratio shows a lack of patience and could result in a lower batting average as he rises up the minor league ladder if he does not improve. At Low A he is hitting .255 with a .293 OBA. He has good speed to run the bases, but it appears not to be stolen base speed. It will take some time for him to reach the major leagues. At 19 years of age and playing in Low A expect him to be ready no earlier than 2021.

10. Luis Garcia (Nationals) - Luis was signed by the Nationals in 2016 for $1.3 million. That is similar to Nova, but Luis is already playing at AA. Shortstop is occupied by Trea Turner and the power is lacking to move to third. It could develop as he matures but not in time to play third after Rendon’s departure next year. Last year he split time between Low A and High A, his average falling just a couple points short of .300. This year he is finding AA a bit of a challenge. His lack of patience is being exposed with the AA pitchers (17/81 walk to whiff) resulting in a lower batting average (.253). The Nationals have no barriers in front of him to take over second base in 2020 if he can show the bat to play the position. He may have to start the first part of 2020 in AAA.

Murphy, Desmond Go Deep in Rockies Win Over Nationals

Friday, July 26th, 2019

Both Ian Desmond and Daniel Murphy hit solo shots in the eighth and ninth innings to tie the game and the Rockies went on to beat the Nationals 8-7 to prevent a sweep of the four game series. Wade Davis struck out the side in the ninth, but did issue a walk to pick up his 15th save. Fernando Rodney is running low on arrows as he dropped to 0-4, blowing his second save by giving up the two runs in the ninth.

Max Scherzer got the start for the Nationals. Normally a quick worker, Nate was a little more methodical in this game. He did have a bad inning in the fourth when he gave up an RBI single to Ryan McMahon and a two run shot to Garrett Hampson that easily found the centerfield bleachers that gave the Rockies an early 3-0 lead. Scherzer only went five innings, striking out eight.

Jeff Hoffman looked solid in the first four innings with his 96 mile per hour fastball tough to hit after hitters saw his mid 70s curveball. He gave up just two hits, but walked three and hit one batter, an explanation for his 6.60 ERA coming into the ball game. In the fifth the Nationals finally got to him with a Trea Turner single and a walk to Adam Eaton putting two runners on for Anthony Rendon. Rendon did not disappoint, hitting a high shot into the left field bull pen, just over the glove of a leaping Raimel Tapia to tie the game at 3-3.

As with many teams, the bullpen has been a big disappointment for the Nationals. Matt Grace came on in relief of Scherzer to face four lefties in the sixth. He could only retire two of them. Daniel Murphy hit a single and Ryan McMahon blasted a pitch deep into the right field bleachers to give the Rockies the lead again, 5-3.

The Rockies also went to their pen, calling on Bryan Shaw. After retiring the first hitter he walked Brian Dozier and Victor Robles. Brian took advantage of a disinterested Shaw and stole third, taking off while Shaw was still in his stretch. Robles took off for second on the pitch and the throw from the catcher Wolters was late. Pinch hitter Gerrado Parra took advantage of the gaffe, lining a double into right center to score both and tie the game. Trea Turner blooped a single over the head of the shortstop scoring Parra and giving the Nationals a 6-5 lead.

Tanner Rainey and Tony Sipp combined to put up a zero in the seventh but Rainey put two runners on. Sipp was able to snag a hard ground ball up the middle to end the inning. Matt Adams deposited a pitch into the right field bleachers in the bottom of the seventh to give the Nationals a 7-5 lead. It looked pretty good for the Nationals to complete the sweep.

Sipp stayed in to pitch to the lefties coming up. Daniel Murphy clobbered a 3-2 pitch deep into the right field bleachers to lead off the inning. With Sean Doolittle not available Fernando Rodney came on in the ninth to protect a one run lead. Ian Desmond did not make the lead last long with a leadoff homerun just over the flower beds in the centerfield bleachers. Rodney had trouble finding the plate, walking Blackmon, striking out Trevor Story but having the pitch sail to the back stop for a wild pitch to advance Blackmon to second. A single into left field put runners on first and third with one out. Daniel Murphy hit a slow grounder to the left of Rendon. His natural throw was to second, Turner pivoted with a throw to first but Murphy just beat the throw, Blackmon scoring the go ahead run.

Juan Soto was able to walk in the ninth and steal second but the Nationals could not bring him in.

Game Notes: Jeff Hoffman baffles hitters with a slow curve at 76 and then mixes in his mid to plus 90s fastball. Finding more control of his curve and issuing less walks would lower that ERA. He walked four in five innings and now has issued 17 walks in 38 innings. He also has given up 8 homeruns…The victory was only the Rockies third in their last 20 games. That has probably put them in the seller’s category…With Max Scherzer coming back from the IL with a bursa sac issue and the bullpen taxed from a double header the previous day, it may not have been ideal to pitch Scherzer if you felt he was only going to give you five innings and your closer Sean Doolittle was not available…Austin Voth does not look like he will be available as a fifth starter. He has been shut down with shoulder tendinitis…Northern Virginia resident and World Cup soccer star Ali Krieger threw out the first pitch for Thursday’s game.

Trea Cycles Nationals to Win Over Rockies

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

The bucket list for myworld got whittled down. For the first time we have watched a major league player hit for the cycle. Trea Turner hit for the cycle last night in the Nationals 11-1 win over the Rockies. It was the second cycle for Trea. The last time he hit for the cycle was in 2017 and it was against the same Rockies, but in Colorado.

Stephen Strasburg got the start for the Nationals and his curveball was unhittable. He struck out six in the first three innings. His pitch count was high with a lot of three and two ball counts, which limited his innings to six. During that time he only gave up three hits and walked two and left the game without giving up a run.

Trea Turner got things started for the Nationals with his line drive leadoff homerun into the centerfield bleachers. Adam Eaton followed with a double into right center. With two outs and Eaton on third Matt Adams ripped a line drive single into right center to make it 2-0. Rockies starter Peter Lambert settled down after the first.

Turner got his single in the second inning, hitting a ball off Lambert’s leg and beating the throw to first. That had followed a Stephen Strasburg single, but with runners on first and second and two out Adam Eaton struck out.

The Nationals next opportunity for a run came in the fifth after a Trea Turner leadoff triple bounced off the glove of a diving Blackmon. Eaton followed with a walk to put runners on first and third with no outs. Lambert was able to strike out Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto and Matt Adams to keep the game at 2-0.

In the sixth the Nationals drove Lambert from the game. Brian Dozier led off the inning with a double down the third base line. Yan Gomes hit a ball over the drawn in shortstop to score Dozier from third. It also drove Lambert from the game. Andrew Stevens pinch hit for Strasberg and hit a slow line drive between short and third. He used his speed to beat the throw to first. This brought up Trea Turner and the fans were hoping for a double. He hit a “double” but it was followed by “play” for a double play to end the inning and bringing groans from the crowd.

Turner got another opportunity to bat when the Nationals erupted for 8 runs in the seventh inning. This time he hit his double. Two throwing errors by the Rockies on plays to the plate allowed the Nationals to take extra bases, one of them by ex-Nat Ian Desmond that hit the foot of a sliding Robles and went into the camera well. After eight batters had hit Turner came up to hit his double into right center. The cycle was complete.

The Rockies finally scored their only run in the ninth inning on a Ryan McMahon double.

Game Notes: Both Daniel Murphy and Ian Desmond got cheers from the crowd when they went up to the plate in the second inning back to back. They both tipped their cap. Murphy and Desmond left as free agents. Desmond had left a year earlier for the Rockies and moved to the outfield to accommodate Murphy at first base…Ian Desmond is next to last in defensive rating for centerfielders. Last night he was playing in left field while David Dahl played center…With Seung-Hwan Oh undergoing season ending elbow surgery and out for the year, the team released him when they picked up Yonder Alonso. Yonder plays first base so this could complicate the lineup with Daniel Murphy, also a lefthanded hitter playing first base. Last year Murphy saw most of his time at second base, but his defensive ratings there were poor.