Archive for the 'Diamondbacks' Category

Top Prospects From the Dominican - National League

Saturday, January 9th, 2021

Myworld will go around the world to identify the top prospects from various areas of the world playing in the minor leagues. In order to do this effectively we have to find enough prospects who have a chance to appear in the major leagues. The Dominican Republic is one of the best places to find prospects so we have broken them out into American and National League. Below are the top Dominican prospects in the National League.

1. Marco Luciano SS (Giants) - You have to like a shortstop that has the potential to hit for power. At the rookie level in 2019 Marco slugged .564 with 10 homeruns and 13 doubles in just 47 games. He also showed some patience at the plate with 32 walks. At 6′2″ he has some length and his speed is not his greatest asset, so he could move to third base. This would slightly tarnish his prospect ranking, but finding a player to hit .300 with 30 plus homeruns at any position is still a skill any team would want. He has yet to play full season ball so how he adapts as he faces better pitching will soon be discovered. Next year will be his first season in full season ball.

2. Christian Pache OF (Braves) - He has gold glove potential as a centerfielder. His speed allows him to track down fly balls but it seems to be deficient when it comes to stealing bases. He did steal 32 in 2017 but the last two years he only combined for 15. The power is there for him to hit in double digits for homeruns, but he will not be a power source. The Braves would like to see him be more patient at the plate so he could draw more walks to better fit at the top of the lineup. In 2018 his OBA was only .307 but in 2019 he drew more walks to elevate it to .340. Last year he made a brief major league debut, appearing in just two games and getting four at bats. If he can show the bat and the patience to get on base consistently he could be the Braves starting centerfielder in 2021. The glove is ready, the bat is still a work in progress.

3. Sixto Sanchez RHP (Marlins) - By the end of the 2020 season Sixto had entrenched himself as one of the top three pitchers in the Marlins rotation. His fastball hits the upper ranges of the 90s and reaches triple digits. He complements that pitch with a changeup that dives into the dirt. He doesn’t get the swings and misses you would expect from a pitcher with his stuff, but he should fit in the middle of the rotation next year for the Marlins. If he can harness a quality third pitch those strikeout numbers could climb. The one concern myworld has is his 6′0 body carrying 234 pounds. That could have an impact on his health if he doesn’t improve his conditioning.

4. Brailyn Marquez LHP (Cubs) - Scouts drool when they see a lefthander consistently hit triple digits with his fastball. At 6′4″ Brailyn also carries an ideal pitcher’s frame. While the fastball is special his secondary offerings (slider and change) line the average spectrum and his command can be spotty. To be effective in the major leagues he needs to enhance those pitches. Last year he made one appearance in the major leagues and retired two hitters, giving up two hits and walking three for a 67.50 ERA. The Cubs will give Brailyn some time in AAA to enhance his secondary pitches and fine tune his control. Once he finds improvements there he could be the ace of the Cubs rotation. If those struggles continue he could always fill the closer role.

5. Ronny Mauricio SS (Mets) - Don’t know if the Mets trade of Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez is a call of faith for the future of the shortstop capabilities of Mauricio. Ronny has not shown the power of Luciano and his speed could be described as below average, so staying at shortstop does not appear to be in the cards. But at 6′3″ the Mets are expecting the power to arrive, enough so that a move to third base is practical. His career slugging percentage in the minor leagues is .374, which falls short of what teams look for at the hot corner. However, gaining strength and learning how to elevate the ball could result in more power production. He still is a couple years away from the Mets, giving Francisco Lindor the reign at short for that time period.

6. Oneil Cruz SS (Pirates) - Hard to imagine a 6′7″ shortstop in the major leagues. That is Cruz at the moment in the minor leagues. He doesn’t seem burdened by the height. If the Pirates consider moving him the speed and the arm are good enough for him to patrol right field. There are few players that can match Cruz for power once his arms are extended. Despite all that power he has yet to slug .500 at any level in the minor leagues. With that height comes a larger strike zone and holes in his swing that pitchers can exploit. Cruz was involved in a traffic accident in the Dominican in which a couple people were killed. He appears to have avoided any major consequences for that event and is playing shortstop in the Dominican winter league. If there are no delays in getting a visa he could see some time with the rebuilding Pirates in 2021.

7. Geraldo Perdomo SS (Diamondbacks) - The fourth and last shortstop in this list, but unlike the other three players above him Geraldo has a greater possibility of sticking at the position. He has good speed, a strong arm and all the other attributes to make a solid defensive shortstop. His hitting tools are not as strong as those others mentioned above. At 6′2″ the power could develop. In 2019 he had an impressive 70/67 walk to whiff ratio. This put his OBA at .397 and with his speed on the bases allowed him 67 steals. That would be enough to stick at the top of an order. He still is a couple years away from making his major league debut, but perhaps by the end of the 2022 season Geraldo could make an appearance.

8. Edward Cabrera RHP (Marlins) - Cabrera is another rotation candidate who could hit triple digits with his fastball. At 6′5″ that delivery would be more intimidating than Sixto. Early in his career Edward had challenges commanding his pitches. Hitters raked him at a .280 clip and his ERA was above 4. Last year the command improved, the slider had more break and hitters struggled with a .190 average, resulting in a breakout 2.23 ERA. With all the injuries in the Marlins rotation last year while they surprisingly fought for a playoff appearance, their was some talk of sliding Cabrera into the rotation. That did not happen. It could though as the 2021 season develops.

9. Jesus Sanchez OF (Marlins) - Sanchez was first a Devil Ray. At that time he had the speed to be considered a centerfielder. The Marlins sent the Rays some pitching help to acquire Sanchez. His speed depleted as his body matured so now he is probably better suited for the corners. It is hoped his bat can start generating power to justify the move. His last three years those power numbers have dropped from a .478 slugging percentage to .433, to finally .398 last year. In 2019 he also hit a career low .260. Last year he did make his major league debut, but he was able to piece together just one hit in 25 at bats. For the 2021 season he will try to show some improvement in his offense to justify putting him at a corner outfield position, where a modicum of power is expected.

10. Lewin Diaz 1B (Marlins) - The fourth Marlin on this list, but the third that was acquired via trade. Diaz was originally a Twin but the Marlins acquired him for Sergio Romo. Lewin had a nice breakout season last year from a power perspective hitting 27 homeruns and 33 doubles for a .530 slugging percentage. He was called up last year, appearing in 14 games while hitting just .154 with a .205 slugging. The Marlins will give him another opportunity before they spin the wheel again in search of a first baseman. His speed is below average but his defense can get him on the field. It will not win any gold gloves so the bat must come alive if he hopes to secure a permanent spot in the lineup. The Marlins will give him another chance in 2021, provided he hits in AAA.

Top Centerfield Prospects

Monday, December 14th, 2020

These are the shortstops in the grass. They are expected to cover a lot of ground and should have decent throwing arms. If they have average to weak throwing arms they should have a quick release. If they lack exceptional speed they move to a corner. Because these are the most athletic of the outfield prospects, my world will rate 15 top centerfield prospects.

1. Jarred Kelenic (Mariners) - The Mets made a good choice by drafting Kelenic in the first round of the 2018 draft. They made a poor choice by trading him and a couple other prospects for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. Jarred has all the tools you want in a centerfielder. Speed to patrol the outfield and an arm baserunners have to respect. He also has above average hitting tools that should make him a 20-20 player when he reaches the major leagues. His stolen base production may decrease if he moves to the third slot in the lineup. He was a 20-20 player in 2019 in the minor leagues, slugging 23 homeruns and stealing 20 bases. A reduction in strikeouts (111) could make his average slide above the .300 neighborhood. Expect him to be with the Mariners some time in 2021.

2. Cristian Pache (Braves) - The Braves signed Cristian in 2015 for $1.4 million out of the Dominican Republic. Shortly after that the Braves were penalized severely for violating international signing limits, losing a number of international players signed in 2015 and 2016. Fortunately for the Braves, Pache was not one of the 12 players lost. He is a better defensive centerfielder than Kelenic, with a stronger arm and greater speed. Once he arrives with the Braves he will appear every year on Gold Glove lists. His bat is not as strong and his tremendous speed does not result in a lot of stolen bases. He made his major league debut with the Braves in 2020 but only got four at bats. In 2019 in the minor leagues he hit .277 with 12 homeruns and 8 stolen bases. His strikeout numbers increased dramatically, but this didn’t seem to impact his overall numbers. Cristian should start the 2021 season as the Braves starting centerfielder.

3. Drew Waters (Braves) - A luxury of riches for the Braves. Obviously both can not play centerfield. The Braves could use the second round 2017 pick as trade bait, or move him to a corner outfield. They could also keep him in centerfield and move Pache to right field, though Pache is the better defensive player. Currently Waters is a player who can drive the ball from gap to gap hitting from both sides of the plate. His Achilles heel is his inability to make consistent contact, with a 39/164 walk to whiff ratio in 2019. More contact and a better read of pitchers could lead to more power and a higher average. He should also arrive with the Braves sometime late in 2021. With both Pache and Waters patrolling the outfield they should have one of the better defensive outfields in the major leagues.

4. Jasson Dominguez (Yankees) - Jasson signed with the Yankees out of the Dominican Republic in 2019 for $5.1 million. As a Yankee signing he comes with a lot of accolades. Since he has yet to swing a bat in the minor leagues a lot is unknown about what kind of numbers he will put up. The tools are impressive. He could bulk up, lose some speed and he would still probably be swift enough to cover centerfield. Combine his bat and his speed he should hit in the neighborhood of .300 consistently while creating 30-30 homerun/stolen base numbers. Since there was no 2020 season the 2021 season will do a lot to define this pending superstar. The Yankees will start him somewhere in A ball where he can exhibit his plus five tools. Yankee fans should not expect to see him until 2023.

5. Garrett Mitchell (Brewers) - The 2020 first round pick can run with the wind and has a power arm. The big question mark is whether he can hit minor league pitching. An injury prevented him from putting up any decent numbers in his last college season prior to the draft. His draft prospects dropped and the Brewers could not be happier. Major plusses for Garrett are his 6′3″ frame with a left handed bat that should develop power. The power is already evident in his batting practice swings. A concern is how he will keep his health and maintain his Type 1 diabetes. Since Garrett lacked a minor league season he will probably start 2021 in A ball and will not be seen by Brewer fans until late 2022 at the earliest. As a college drafted player he should move a lot quicker.

6. Hunter Bishop (Giants) - The 2019 first round pick of the Giants is one reason the Giant outfield of the future looks so promising. Heliot Ramos and Alexander Canario are two more reasons. Hunter may have the more complete tools, with the speed to play center and an arm that is strong, but a little light to compete with Ramos for right. Prior to being drafted he showed power with his 22 homeruns in college. That power continued in the minor leagues with five more homeruns in 32 games. A propensity to swing and miss kept his batting average low (.229) but a 38/39 walk to whiff ratio had his OBA rise to .438. Perhaps a little more aggressiveness at the plate could improve his numbers. At 6′5″ he is a pretty intimidating presence at the plate, but he also carries a large strike zone. A good athlete, Bishop thought of playing football as a wide receiver, but chose to focus on baseball. He will rise quickly in the minor leagues, seeing the Giants outfield sometime in 2022.

7. Corbin Carroll (Diamondbacks) - The 2019 first round pick of the Diamondbacks is another player who covers a lot of grass when he chases flyballs in the outfield. The big question with Corbin is his ability to hit for power. He slugged .487 in his minor league debut in 2019, but those numbers were inflated by his speed to hit 7 triples and 9 doubles. His speed should consistently result in 30 plus stolen bases per year. The patience is there to take walks (.409 OBA) but he needs to improve his ability to make more consistent contact to take advantage of his speed. While his arm is strong enough for right field, he could lack the power expected from a corner outfielder. Next year he should start at A ball with a 2023 major league debut sometime late in the season.

8. Leody Taveras (Rangers) - Like Corbin, the 2015 Dominican signing has a lot of speed to cover the middle of the outfield. The questions remain about his ability to hit. He has spent a lot of years in the minors, stitching together a career .260 batting average with a .358 slugging. Those numbers fall short of being welcome in a corner outfield, but could be acceptable with gold glove defense in centerfield. The glove is exceptional and the speed will result in 20 plus stolen bases per year. Leody made his major league debut last year. The bat was a little light (.227) but he slugged four homeruns for a .395 slugging percentage in 33 games. The batting average was a career low but the slugging was a career high. Spring training will dictate where he plays in 2021. Myworld suspects he will start in AAA and be promoted mid season if he improves his bat.

9. Khalil Lee (Royals) - Myworld has a soft spot for the 2016 third round pick. We coached his sister for a little bit ( a couple clinics) in volleyball. He played high school at Flint Hill where he earned Gatorade player of the year for Virginia. The arm is suited for right field but his speed is enough to patrol center. His bat showed some trouble making contact in 2019 with 154 strikeouts, limiting his average to .264. He did have an impressive 53 steals in 2019. With improved barrel of bat on ball contact his power should rise as his ability to get on base improves. The Royals did not see enough in him to call him up in 2020 so expect him to spend the year in AAA in 2021, with a callup late in the year.

10. Daz Cameron (Tigers) - The son of Mike and the Astros supplemental first round pick in 2015 has the above average tools to be a five tool player light. The Tigers acquired him in the Justin Verlander trade. It has been awhile since the Tigers had a true centerfielder. Daz could fit that role. The one major question mark is his ability to hit. In 2019 he could only muster a .214 average with 152 whiffs. The Tigers gave him an opportunity to roam their outfield last year, but in 17 games his bat was only good for a .193 average. He has shown patience at the plate, taking enough walks to keep his OBA above .330. With that he would be on base enough to steal 30 plus bases per year. With a good spring, showing an improved bat he could start out the 2021 season as the Tigers centerfielder. Myworld suspects AAA will be his most likely start.

11. Estevan Florial (Yankees) - As he bulks up myworld suspects right field will be his ultimate destination, but he missed out on making the top ten there. The Yankees outfield is a little crowded and Estevan did not help himself any by putting up a .237 average in 2019. He has also been limited to less than 100 games his last two years because of injuries. The power is there but he has not slugged over .500 since his first year in the minors in 2015. Haitian born, based on his birth certificate, he spent most of his youth going to school in the Dominican Republic. Last year Estevan appeared in one major league game, striking out in two of his three at bats, but getting a single in his other. He will start 2021 in AAA but with the always fragile Yankee outfield, it would not be a surprise to see him in the Yankee outfield at many points during the season.

12. Pete Crow-Armstrong (Mets) - Like Hassell on the right field prospect list, Armstrong also made the All World team at the 18 and under World Cup. It was enough for the Mets to make him a first round pick in 2020. He lacks the tools of a Jarred Kelenic, especially in the power department. There is the ability to make good contact to hit for a decent average. He did hit .364 with three triples and three stolen bases at the 18 and under world cup. Since he has not seen any professional time, Pete will probably begin the season in A ball. Mets fans should not expect to see him until 2023, right after Kelenic wins the American League rookie of the Year award.

13. Josh Lowe (Rays) - The 2016 first round pick has a big time power bat that is expected from a 6′4″ frame. He also carries a strong arm and glides with deer like speed in the outfield. In 2019 he had a breakout season, slugging 18 homeruns with a career high .442 slugging. His 132 whiffs in 121 games was too much for his batting average, keeping it at .252. Last year he stole a career high 30 bases. Since he will be hitting in a power spot in the lineup, this should not be expected to last. The position he may be best suited for is right field but he needs to develop more power in the games, rather than leave it at batting practice. Next year he should be patrolling the Rays AAA outfield with a good chance of promotion in 2021 to take advantage of his power bat and cheap salary.

14. Gilberto Jimenez (Red Sox) - Jimenez signed for the paltry amount of $10,000 in 2017. The tools have been in evidence, especially his blazing speed. The power is negligible. He did hit his first three homeruns last year. His career .444 slugging percentage is attributed to his speed, turning singles into double and doubles into triples. He has stolen 30 bases in his two minor league seasons. In 2019 he won the batting title in the New York Penn League with a .359 average. Gilberto has yet to play full season ball and with short season absent for 2021 he should start next year somewhere in A ball with a major league appearance expected for 2023.

15. Luis Barrera (Athletics) - The 2012 Dominican signing has risen past Lazaro Armenteros, Austin Beck and Skye Bolt for outfield relevance in the Athletics minor league system. His speed is top shelf but his power is invisible. His highest homerun total in his snailish pace up the minor league ladder was seven in 2017. His ability to hit triples keeps his slugging average at a respectable .412. Despite his blazing speed his stolen base numbers are tame, but that could be the result of the Athletics deemphasis on the stolen base. His 2019 season was shortened to 54 games, but not before he hit .321, with a .513 slugging, both of which would have been career highs if he maintained that pace. The 2021 season should be spent in AAA, but Luis deserves a shot in the Athletics outfield at some point during the season.

Top Right Field Prospects

Friday, December 11th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top Left Field Prospects

Saturday, December 5th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top Shortstop Prospects

Sunday, November 29th, 2020

This position holds the cream of the crop. Everyone signed out of the Dominican Republic or Venezuela seems to start out as a shortstop, even Miguel Cabrera. Many of them eventually move to second or third base, or even the outfield. Some because they have gotten bigger as they have matured so they lack the range to play the position, others because a player ahead of them also plays shortstop and the bat is there to put him in the lineup at another position. Because of this, we are going to rank 20 players at this position.

1. Wander Franco (Rays) - Wander is possibly the number one ranked prospect in baseball. So was Jurickson Profar and Yoan Moncada at one time. That ranking does not carry with it automatic stardom in the major leagues, but Wander does have a big time bat that has hit over .300 at each level he has played in the minor leagues. During his 2019 season he reached full season ball, and compared to the Rookie Leagues, his power numbers dropped a little. The Rays don’t question the bat, expecting it to hit 30 plus homeruns and hit over .300 consistently in the major leagues. What is impressive about those power numbers is that he has an 83/54 walk to whiff ratio during that two year period, facing pitchers that are three to four years older than him. His speed is not great so his range is limited at the position. The Rays already have Willy Adames at short. By the time Franco is ready for short, it may also be the time the Rays are prepared to cut salary and say goodbye to Adames. Wander should see some major league time by 2022. He went down to the Dominican to get some playing time since he did not have a 2020 season, but that was cut short as he was forced to return to the United States to have a look at his injury.

2. Bobby Witt Jr (Royals) - The 2019 first round pick has a leaner build than Franco. He is also projected to have a little more power and settle as a better fielder. What Witt won’t be able to do is hit with the consistency of Franco. He has more swing and miss plate appearances, which translates into weaker bat to ball contact, lowering that batting average as he faces more superior pitching. Myworld saw him swinging an aluminum bat at the homerun derby during the All Star break. He was top dog in the competition. Witt has a father of the same name who was a pitcher in major league baseball. The legs carry good speed, which equates to good range at shortstop. There is confidence that he has the defensive tools to stay at the position. The biggest concern is improving his ability to make contact. Witt had no 2020 season, so that put a quiet stall in his development. Myworld expects him to make his major league debut some time around the end of 2022.

3. Jazz Chisholm (Marlins) - The Bahama native was originally signed by the Diamondbacks in 2015 for $200,000. Signed the same year out of the Bahamas was another shortstop Lucius Fox, who you do not see on this list. The Diamondbacks traded him straight up in 2019 for Zac Gallen. In the last two years in the minors he has shown enough power to hit 20 plus homeruns. The bat has shown many holes with a .220 average in 2019 and whiffs of greater than 140 in those two seasons. He did get to play a bit for the Marlins in 2020, hitting just .161 over just 21 games. His tendency to swing and miss lessoned and he appeared to show better discipline at the plate the more he plays. The defensive tools are there to play a quality shortstop. If he can tweak his discipline at the plate he could become a multiple all star at the position. The 2021 season will see him start at AAA with another callup to the Marlins if he does well.

4. Royce Lewis (Twins) - The first pick in the 2017 draft has been a top prospect for so long that sometimes you take him for granted. In his 2019 minor league season he reached AA, but with the Twins in a playoff race, they did not see a reason to call him up for the 2020 season. Royce had what you could call a down 2019 season, hitting just .236 in a season split between A and AA. His OBA was a dreadful .290. That is far below his two previous seasons when he hit .279 or greater. He seemed to lack patience at the plate in 2019 with a strikeout to walk rate at better than 3 to one, much worse than his previous two seasons. Royce is one of the fastest players in the minors and could use his speed in centerfield, where the Twins used him a bit in 2019. His bat is anticipated to play in the majors and it could show 20 plus homerun pop if he can make more consistent, solid contact. The 2021 season should finally see his arrival with the Twins.

5. Ronny Mauricio (Mets) - The Mets already have two solid shortstops competing for a job in Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez. Ronny could make it a third, though at 6′3″ he could bulk up too much to force a move to third. Since the lack of speed is one of his only down sides, he may lack the range to play short in the major leagues. His bat is expected to hit. The Mets signed him for $2.1 million in 2017. In 2019 he reached Low A, hitting .268 with four homeruns. His walk to whiff ratio was a concerning 23/99, which is a major reason Rosario has struggled with major league pitching. The Mets anticipate that his power will develop enough for a move to third base. Any major league time probably won’t be seen until late 2022 at the earliest.

6. Marco Luciano (Giants) - Marco signed with the Giants in 2018 for $2.6 million. They hope he turns out better than Lucius Fox, who they signed for $6 million, but traded away for a song. Marco is a different player than Lucius, one who can hit for power. He only got to play 47 games in the minors in 2019, but he hit 10 homeruns with a .564 slugging percentage. He batted .302 with a 32/45 walk to whiff ratio. If his walk percentage continues that trend he will be a slugging bat who gets on base a lot. A shortstop that hits .300 with 30 plus homeruns and a .400 OBA would be a dream for the Giants. As with Mauricio, speed is not a big part of his game, so a move to third base looks to be in his future. Myworld does not anticipate him being with the Giants until 2023.

7. Austin Martin (Blue Jays) - Myworld saw Austin in the College World Series in 2019. The 2020 season was cancelled early but Austin was good enough to be a first round pick in 2020. That means there are no stats on Austin. He hit .392 in college with a high OBA. The power was not great and is expected to be above average. He also played multiple positions with Vanderbilt. Many conjectured that he would be the first player selected in the draft but he fell to being the fifth pick. His ultimate position could be centerfield or second base since he had problems with consistency at shortstop with Vanderbilt. The bat though should allow him to reach the majors quickly, say sometime in 2022.

8. O’Neil Cruz (Pirates) - If the 6′7″ O’Neil can bend down to play shortstop consistently, why not allow him to play. The consensus is the Dominican with the rocket arm will eventually move to right field. The power in his bat is immense, with the potential to hit 40 plus homeruns per year. Making consistent contact is not a major problem but he could always seek improvement, with walk to whiff ratios around 30/100. Despite his large frame, speed is not a weakness. The 2020 season was a wasted season of development. He stayed in the Dominican where he got into a car accident in which two people were killed. What kind of impact this will have on his psyche for the future is open for question. Last year he reached AA, so it is a concern the Pirates did not have room for him to work out in the alternate camp. Maybe that is why they are the Pirates and fail to develop their prospects. Cruz is playing in the Dominican Winter League and should see some major league playing time late in 2021.

9. Anderson Tejeda (Rangers) - Anderson was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014 for just $100,000. He seemed to have a nice breakout season in 2018 when he hit 19 homeruns. His 2019 season was cut short to 43 games because of an injured shoulder. He got an opportunity to play with the Rangers in 2020, making his major league debut and hitting three homeruns in 23 games. One of the major issues with Tejeda is poor strike zone discipline, with walk to whiff ratios of 40/130. That will keep his batting averages at .250 or below unless he improves that discipline. His speed is just a tick above average, so there is concern about his range at short. He does make up for that with one of the strongest arms in the minor leagues. With a good spring Tejeda could be the starting shortstop for the Rangers in 2021.

10. Jose Garcia (Reds) - The Cuban prospect surprised many with his power swing in spring training. Power is not expected to be his strong suit. At 6′2″ he is not considered a small guy so perhaps some power is developing. The Reds signed Garcia for his smooth defense. He improved his bat in 2019, advancing to High A and hitting .280 with an OBA of .343 (compared to .245/290). What was surprising is the Reds called him up early to play shortstop during their playoff run last season. He struggled with a .194 average and a 1/26 walk to whiff for a .206 OBA, but they still played him because of his defense. None of his 13 hits went for extra bases. He will probably need another season in the minors, but the Reds could still have him return sometime in 2021.

11. C.J. Abrams (Padres) - A 2019 first round pick by the Padres is tough to tag. He had a nice minor league debut hitting .393 with a .647 slugging. All but two of his 34 games were played in Rookie ball. He runs with the wind, ala Trea Turner, stealing 15 bases in those 34 games. If his Rookie League stats can be deciphered accurately he makes good contact with a 11/14 walk to whiff ratio. The defensive tools exist to play shortstop, including a strong arm. However, with all that speed he may be best utilized in center field. Abrams has a long way to reach the Padres. When he does, if he wants to play shortstop he will have to usurp Tatis Jr. The Padres will probably not have to make that decision until 2023, with a possible late season callup in 2022.

12. Geraldo Perdomo (Diamondbacks) - Perdomo was a bargain signing at $70,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2016. In 2019 he played in A ball, showing the ability to make good contact, but lacking in power. His career walk to whiff ratio is 169/148 with a batting average of .278. There is some gap power but currently his slugging average is a wimpish .368. At 6′2″ he could develop more power but not to the detriment of his defense. He has Gold Glove potential for the position so anything his bat can do is a plus. The lack of any organized play in 2020 hurt his development process so the best Geraldo can hope for in his major league debut is sometime late 2022.

13. Jordan Groshans (Blue Jays) - Bo Bichette is the current Blue Jays shortstop with the newly drafted Austin Martin right behind him. At 6′3″ Jordan has the length to develop big time power. After hitting .296 with five homeruns in 48 games in his minor league debut in 2018, his 2019 season was cut short by a foot injury, limiting him to just 23 games. With the cancellation of the 2020 minor league season the development process has been slowed even further. Currently, Jordan’s hits are gap to gap with the potential to send more of those balls over the fence as he gains strength. Jordan has the potential to hit for power and average. His speed is a tick above average, which could slow after he matures, meaning a move to third base. His power at short is not as beneficial to the team if he has to move to third. The Jays have time to develop him so myworld does not expect to see him playing with the Blue Jays before 2022.

14. Bryson Stott (Phillies) - The 2019 first round pick has all the tools except for power. That could develop with time as his 6′3″ frame develops. He slugged six homeruns in 48 games in his 2019 minor league debut. His ability to draw walks and spank the ball to the opposite field could make him an ideal number two hitter. The tools are there to stick at short as an above average defensive player. Stott is a college drafted player so he needs to rise quickly after a wasted 2020 season. Expect the Phillies to push for his major league debut time to be 2021.

15. Robert Puason (Athletics) - Puason was a recent 2019 signing, eliciting a bonus from the Athletics for $5.1 million. That is a lot of cheddar. At 6′3″ his body is currently lean and stringy. The strength can come as he matures. He currently has good speed, but he does not want to lose that with bulk. A strong arm and plus range makes him a potential Gold Glove shortstop. All we can go on now is his high signing bonus, second to potential Yankee super star outfielder Jasson Dominguez, and the reports that all his tools have the potential to be above major league average. His start time in the majors will have to wait until 2024.

16. Gabriel Arias (Indians) - The Venezuelan prospect was signed by the Padres in 2016 for $1.9 million. His bat is still a little soft but his glove is golden. Gabriel saw some power break out in 2019 when he slugged 17 homeruns and raised his slugging average from 2018 120 points to .470. The Padres included Gabriel in a trade with the Indians for Mike Clevenger. With Abrams and Tatis Jr. at shortstop the Padres are stacked. He needs to show better plate discipline if he hopes to achieve offensive success. He has a 78/344 walk to whiff ratio in his minor league career. The Indians have been talking about trading Francisco Lindor. Arias is probably a couple steps from taking the reigns at short, so do not expect a major league debut until sometime late in 2022.

17. Oswald Peraza (Yankees ) - Yankee prospects can sometimes be a bit over hyped. Peraza was signed for just $175,000 in 2016. He reached A ball in 2019. His batting averages have hovered around .260 and he has yet to hit over 4 homeruns. leaving him with a slugging average of just .346. The Yankees hope the tools defy the numbers. The speed is there to steal 23 bases in 2019 and provide the range to play short. The arm is strong. The power may always lack. With the Yankees prospects like Peraza are normally used as trade bait to acquire a veteran to make a playoff run. Trusting a rookie shortstop not named Derek Jeter to play a critical position for a win now team is not to be expected. Perhaps he will see a platoon role for the Yankees sometime in 2022.

18. Tyler Freeman (Indians) - We just see a little too much average in the 2017 first round supplemental pick. He has hit well with a .319 career minor league average, including a .352 average in rookie ball in 2018. Over the fence power is absent, but he does have the ability to spray the gaps to hit 61 doubles his last two seasons. The speed is not supposed to be great, but he has the savvy to steal 19 bases in 2019. His defensive tools may be better used in a utility role, lacking the power to play corner and the range to play short. He could see that role in 2022.

19. Keoni Cavaco (Twins) - A 2019 first round pick, he played at Eastlake High School, which is where my niece went to school. Myworld has to give him props for that. His one and only season of 25 games he hit just .172, with a 4/35 walk to whiff ratio. That is very foreboding. He was primarily a third baseman in high school, but the Twins have been impressed with his tools at short. Obviously he will have to improve his discipline at the plate if he wishes to hit for average. He is still a far cry from any major league consideration, possibly late 2023.

20. Yasel Antona (Nationals) - The last player on a Top 20 list is normally someone special. Not that any of his tools are anything special, but Yasel is above average in all phases. He also seemed to show some increased pop in camp that had a lot of players going “Wow”. The Nationals signed him in 2016 for $3.9 million. Tommy John surgery ended his 2018 season early and he only saw three games in 2019. In 2018 he was only hitting .220 with a .331 slugging. So most of the reason he appears on this list is because of hype. A lack of speed may force him to move to third, where the power needs to show if he wants to play. Expect that to be sometime in late 2022.

Top First Base Prospects

Thursday, November 19th, 2020

Without a 2020 minor league season, ranking prospects has become difficult. Myworld did not attend any games this year, so how we rank is based on 2019 results and what we have read about the prospects progress in camps. Some of the first base prospects may now be playing prominent roles at other positions, but we still feel they will end up at first base.

1. Andrew Vaughn (White Sox) - The 2019 first round pick had a brief season last year, showing some pop with his six homeruns in 55 games. He hit .278 with a .449 slugging. Normally, those numbers would be short of the power many expect for first base. The expectation is that there will be so much more in the bat. His defense will not be at a gold glove level and his lack of speed prevents a move to the outfield. So the bat needs to work for him to succeed. Most say time will show that Vaughn will be a first class hitter. He showed he can make decent contact, with a 30/38 walk to whiff ratio in his 2019 minor league season. Vaughn should move quickly once he gets some at bats. Don’t be surprised that with a little success next year he will see some major league time towards the end of the season.

2. Spencer Torkelson (Tigers) - Spencer was the first pick in the 2020 draft. He has shown some power in college with 25 homeruns his freshman season at Arizona State. He followed that up with 23 in his sophomore year. Unfortunately his junior year was cut short, but he was off to a monster start. His big time power will fit at first base and he should have the ability to hit for average. He is a decent defensive player that the Tigers were talking about moving to third base. He should have enough arm to play the position. Spencer will start the season in a full season league. If there had been a 2020 season he would have probably reached High A before the season ended. Where he starts in 2021 will depend on his spring and how he looked at the camps. When given his opportunity Spencer should advance quickly. The right handed bat has power to both the left and right side.

3. Alex Kirilloff (Twins) - Normally scouts frown on first baseman that bat and throw right handed, as the top two players do. Alex is our first prospect that bats and throws lefthanded. He is also the third player from the Al Central. Alex played mostly the outfield last year, but the Twins also used him at first base. The 2016 first round pick could be an adequate corner outfielder, but he could also be an above average defensive first baseman. His power is good enough to hit 20 plus homeruns per year, but injuries have prevented him from playing full seasons. He missed all of 2017 because of Tommy John surgery and much of 2019 because of wrist injuries. There was no 2020 season for him to get injured, but that did not help his development. He does not have the power of Torkelson or Vaughn, but he has the potential to hit for a high average, if his 2018 season of .348 is a whisper of what he can do. Myworld would not be surprised if he did not make his major league debut in 2021.

4. Triston Casas (Red Sox) - Triston was a 2018 first round pick. There is some big time power in his bat, but there is a lot of swing and miss. That swing and miss could keep his average down at the .250s or below, but his homerun numbers should be 30 plus. His defense is above average but his legs are slow, which makes a move to the outfield risky. Rafael Devers ability to play third base will allow Tristan to move to first. Even if Devers defense is not good enough to play third, Casas is the superior defensive player at first base. Triston could start the season in AA. Bobby Dalbec is another corner infielder who could impact the future of Casas.

5. Ryan Mountcastle (Orioles) - Defensively, the Orioles have too many first baseman with Chris Davis, Renato Nunez and Trey Mancini. Davis should not be on the roster and Mancini is probably the better outfielder than Mountcastle. The throws of Mountcastle are like rainbows and that is not a good thing. It reminds me a lot of Henry Urrutia, when the Orioles tried to use his powerless bat and weak arm in left field. At least Mountcastle can hit for some pop. If you want to hide his arm you stick him at first base. Ryan got a major league callup and hit .333 with a .492 slugging. He makes good, hard contact, with the ability to find the gaps and drive in runs. The Orioles will find a spot for him in the lineup in 2021. That will be a mixture of DH, left field and first base.

6. Bobby Dalbec (Red Sox) - The 2016 fourth round pick has some massive power when he makes contact. Last year he hit 8 homeruns for the Red Sox in 23 games for a .600 slugging percentage. There is also a lot of swing and miss in his at bats. With Rafael Devers at third Dalbec spent most of his time at first base. At 6′4″ he may have out grown third base. His speed is below average, but his arm is strong so left field at Fenway is not a bad alternative. Eventually, he may split time with Casas at first base and DH. It would be hard not to see Dalbec with the Red Sox next year, either at first base or DH based on his abbreviated 2020 production.

7. Lewin Diaz (Marlins) - The Twins signed him in 2013 for $1.4 million. He climbed up slowly through their system, but seeing themselves in a playoff race the Twins traded him mid-season in 2019 for relief help. The 2019 season may have been his breakout season when he hit 27 homeruns. The Marlins gave him his major league debut last year but he struggled with a .154 average and a .205 slugging percentage. The power bat could only hit two extra base hits (both doubles) in his 39 at bats. The left handed bat with the 6′4″ frame carries a lot of power. He just needs to be more selective with his pitches when he gets another opportunity at the major league level. That will surely come in 2021, after he starts the season in AAA.

8. Bryce Ball (Braves) - A nothing season is not what the 24th round pick of 2019 needed after he slugged 17 homeruns in 62 games last year. That produced a .628 slugging percentage. Though it was only one year, it was the kind of numbers Paul Goldschmidt was putting up in the minor leagues. At 6′6″ Bryce has a large frame so when he makes contact the ball flies. His defense is spotty and his foot speed is non-existent, so if his bat fails to produce he could die in the minor leagues. Next year he should start his season in AA. He needs to replicate the power he showed in 2019 to continue to advance in the Braves system. It will be difficult to take the first base job away from Freddie Freeman.

9. Seth Beer (Diamondbacks) - The Astros drafted him in the first round in 2018. They were convinced to include him in a trade for Zack Greinke in 2019. His best position is probably designated hitter. He has been put in the outfield, but his lack of speed and below average arm makes that a defensive liability. His bat is what will get him to the majors. The 2019 season saw him breakout for 26 homeruns. Once the National League embraces the DH he will probably see little time at first base. The 2021 season should see him making his major league debut, after he starts the season in AAA.

10. Aaron Sabato (Twins) - The 2020 first round pick could keep Kirilloff in the outfield, depending on how quickly he develops. The lack of a 2020 season did not help him. His only full season playing college was as a freshman when he hit 18 homeruns in 58 games. He was drafted as a sophomore so he had an abbreviated 2020 college season and no minor league season. He lacks speed and arm strength to play the outfield so if his right handed bat does not produce enough power for first base he could be a bust. The 2021 season should see him starting somewhere in A ball, but that will depend on his spring.

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.

Top Ten Canadian Prospects

Saturday, February 29th, 2020

Many of last year’s top ten Canadian prospects graduated to the major leagues last year. The top four prospects, Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Mike Soroka, Tyler O’Neil and Josh Naylor all had impacts on their major league teams and are no longer considered rookies. Cal Quantrill, the number 6 prospect also pitched enough major league innings to no longer qualify for this top ten list. That leaves the pickings for this current top ten list very slim, with just three returners. There is no sure fire major leaguer among this list. It is possible we could have missed a player who lived in Canada long enough as a youth to qualify, but if we learn of him we’ll add him to the list for next year, like Abraham Toro..

1. Abraham Toro 3B (Astros) - Last year he did not make this list because we were not aware he was born in Canada. He may have been rated seventh on the list if we had known his origins last year. This year he was voted by Canadian baseball as the top Canadian player, which gave us a hint to look him up. He has some good offensive tools, hitting .306 in AA and then .424 in a 16 game AAA debut, which got him a promotion to Houston. He has Alex Bregman in his way at third, and his bat may not carry enough power to start at a corner infield spot. He did hit 19 homeruns last year, including two in the major leagues, so the power could be developing. Defensively he is a average to below average, so that will hinder him in his quest to start a third if his bat doesn’t develop. His best bet would be to earn a job as a bench player, perhaps playing some second base and left field.

2. Bo Naylor C (Indians) - He is the younger brother of Josh and possibly the best bet to win regular major league time. Josh weighs in at over 250 while Bo is a more svelte 190. The Indians drafted him in the first round of the 2018 draft. His bat shows decent gap power with 18 doubles and 10 triples and there was enough power to carry 11 balls over the fence. The 10 triples tells you he has decent speed for a catcher, more than his brother Bo who is trying to make it as an outfielder. His arm is strong and his defensive tools are strong enough to stay behind the plate. Next year he should see time in High A.

3. Adam Hall SS (Orioles) - Adam is more a defensive shortstop. The Orioles drafted him in the second round of the 2017 draft. His one big attribute is his speed which allowed him to steal 22 bases in 2018 and 33 in 2019. His bat has also been decent the last two years, hitting just a few points shy of .300 both years. The power is limited with slugging averages less than .400 and as he rises up the ranks those numbers could decrease. His best bet may be to make it as a utility player if the bat does not improve. His defense will play.

4. Jordan Balazovic RHP (Twins) - The Twins waited until the fifth round in 2016 to draft Jordan. His first two seasons did not light any fires to draw the scouts attention, but last year he had a breakout season, striking out more than 12 hitters per nine innings between Low A and High A. He also limited the opposition to a .193 average. The fastball sits in the low to mid 90s and he complements it with a quality slider and change. Next year will be key when he will face more advanced AA hitters.

5. Dasan Brown OF (Blue Jays) - Dasan was the first Canadian selected in the 2019 draft, the Blue Jays grabbing him in the third round. Speed and the ability to cover centerfield will be his game. His bat does not show a lot of power now, but he was one of the youngest players selected in the draft so it could develop as he matures. He has excellent bat speed. With his speed defensively he should cover a lot of ground in centerfield. Last year he hit just .222 in 14 Rookie league games. He may have to start the season in extended spring, get a few games of Rookie league ball in him and with success move on up to Low A.

6. Otto Lopez SS/2B (Blue Jays) - Otto was born in the Dominican Republic but his parents moved to Canada when he was young. He got his start playing ball in Canada before his dad moved him down to the Dominican where he felt he could get a better opportunity to be seen by major league scouts. The Blue Jays signed him for $60,000. Not much was thought of him until he hit .324 in Low A, winning the Midwest League batting title. Lopez is not flashy for shortstop so his best bet would be at second base or in a utility role.

7. Tristan Pompey OF (Marlins) - The younger brother of Dalton. Dalton may have the more impressive tools but injuries hurt his major league development time. Tristan was selected in the third round of the 2018 draft, much earlier than his brother Dalton who had to wait until the 16th round in 2010. Tristan has above average speed, but his arm is short and will limit him to left field. At 6′4″ he could develop some power in the bat to fit in left field. Last year he started the season in extended spring training, got a late callup and struggled with a .194 average in the Florida State League. His .271 slugging with no homeruns needs to improve.

8. Brandon Markland RHP (Royals) - Brandon was a player who never got drafted after a high school or college (Bryan College) career. It was only after he pitched in the Coastal Plain Independent League that he got some interest in a team from Australia, the Auckland Tuatara, who are actually a team from New Zealand that plays in the ABL. The Royals found his mid-90s fastball there getting Australian hitters out with ease. In his first season stateside he finished with a 0.46 ERA, getting lots of ground ball outs and limiting the opposition to a .162 average. He is probably destined for the bullpen because of his control issues and ability to only throw two quality two (fastball and slider). At 23 years of age he might have been a bit old for Low A.

9. Andy Yerzy 1b/C (Diamondbacks) - Yerzy was a second round pick of the Diamondbacks in 2016. Last year Andy split his time between catching and first base. His tools to stay behind the plate are limited. While he has a little bit of pop, his bat may not have enough to stay at first base. He struggled at High A, hitting just .104 in 33 games, resulting in a demotion back to Low A. He did hit six homeruns in Low A but his .220 average was 70 points lower than his 2018 average. The 2020 season will be a critical season where he needs to replicate the slugging numbers he put up in 2017 and 2018.

10. Adam Macko LHP (Mariners) - He was born in Slovakia and just missed making the European list. The Mariners drafted him in the seventh round of the 2019 draft. The other choice for this slot would be Demi Orimoloye, who is blessed with tools but has trouble making contact. Adam studied pitching in Slovakia by watching YouTube videos of David Price and Justin Verlander. He moved to Ireland where he played for a Little League team ironically named the Mariners and then moved to Alberta, Canada. He doesn’t throw hard, with a fastball that sits in the high 80s, but he relies on his breaking pitches and command to retire hitters. In Rookie ball he struck out 31 hitters in 21 innings and limited the opposition to a .224 average. As he climbs up the minor league ladder he will find better hitters who have the ability to hit breaking pitches if he lacks the command to throw them where they can’t be hit.

Major League Farm Rankings - 15 - 6

Friday, February 28th, 2020

These are the next 10 as ranked by myworld. Last week we ranked 30-16. Since there are more prospects to write about we limited this list to the next ten and will finish out the final five next week.

15. Arizona Diamondbacks (14.32)

This is a team filled with mid-level prospects. The cream could be Bahamian outfielder Kristian Robinson, who they signed for $2.5 million in 2017 and another outfielder, 2018 second round pick Alek Thomas, who in two years has a .312 minor league average. Their 2019 first round pick Corbin Carroll will fill out their future outfield. Catcher Daulton Varsho is about to make his presence known with a .301 average and 18 homeruns in AA last year. Geraldo Perdomo is a smooth fielding shortstop who carries very little power. Another Dominican shortstop, Liover Peguero, who was signed a year after Geraldo will have the better bat but not the better glove. Seth Beer was drafted in the first round by the Astros but traded to the Diamondbacks. He has a big time bat but his best position may be DH, a position that does not yet exist in the National League.

Blake Walston is a left handed pitcher to watch. He stands 6′5″, was drafted in the first round of the 2019 draft and lights the radar in the mid-90s. Two other players drafted in the first round of the 2019 draft are Brennan Malone and Drey Jameson, both righthanded pitchers. Brennan has the height (6′4″) and the fastball to achieve success while Drey stands just 6′0″ but has a swing and miss curveball. Pavin Smith is a first baseman/outfielder with a good hit tool that lacks elevation. Last year he slugged .466, which is a good sign.

14. Toronto Blue Jays (16.06)

The top prospect that lights up the radars in the triple digits is Nate Pearson, a first round pick in 2017. He could be in the Blue Jay rotation in 2020. Jordan Groshans was a 2018 first round pick who has a decent glove for short, but will probably need to move to third. The power bat is there for the corner spot. Don’t know how they will fit the name Simeon Woods Richardson on the back of his uniform but the 2018 second round pick has shown the ability to hit all four quadrants of the plate with a low 90s fastball with plus movement. Orelvis Martinez was signed out of the Dominican Republic for $3.51 million. He has impressive power but lacks the range to stick at short.

Others to watch are 2019 first round pick Alek Manoah, who in his debut struck out 14.3 hitters per nine innings with his mid-90s fastball.

13. St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals traded two pretty good outfielders to improve the opportunity of 2016 first round pick Dylan Carson making the roster out of spring training. He hit .361 with five homeruns in his 18 game debut at AAA last year. Those outfielders were traded to acquire the Rays 2018 first round pick Matthew Liberatore, a lefthander with a mid-90s fastball. Nolan Gorman, the 2018 first round pick is a power bat that plays third base.

Zack Thompson was the Cardinals first round pick in 2019. He is a lefty who now has the best curveball in the organization. Elehuris Montero had an off year last year. The Dominican third baseman doesn’t have the power of Gorman but he should hit 20 plus homeruns per year. Malcolm Nunez is another third baseman who came from Cuba in 2018. He showed massive power his first year, slugging .774 with 13 homeruns in 44 games in Rookie ball. That power disappeared last year when promoted to Low A.

12. San Francisco Giants (20.46)

The Giants are rebuilding and what better way to start than the replacement for Buster Posey. Joey Bart was the Giants first round pick in 2018, the second overall pick in the draft after Casey Mize. He will be a good hit and glove man behind the plate. Marco Luciano has some pretty impressive power with the tools to play shortstop. The Giants signed him for $2.6 million out of the Dominican Republic in 2018. He could be the next Wander Franco. Heliot Ramos, the Giants first round pick in 2017 out of Puerto Rico will end the Giants dearth of weak hitting outfielders. Hunter Bishop, a 2019 first round pick and Venezuelan Luis Matos, who was also signed in 2018, could join Ramos in the outfield. Seth Corry, a 2017 third round pick dominated last year at Low A (9-3, 1.76 ERA) with a low to mid 90s fastball. Mauricio Dubon became the first player born in Honduras to play in the major leagues. He was acquired from the Brewers and should win the second base job this year.

Alexander Canario showed some impressive power in rookie ball with 16 homeruns in 59 games. He could be ready for a break out season in 2020 if he can avoid the strikeouts. Will Wilson was a first round pick in 2019 and hopes to fill a middle position with the Giants. His lack of speed could prevent a permanent job at shortstop. Jaylin Davis may not be a prospect next year after slugging 35 homeruns last year. The Giants acquired him from the Twins last year, who acquired him in the 24th round of the 2015 draft.

11. Minnesota Twins (20.75)

Royce Lewis was the first player selected in the 2017 draft. Last year he struggled with the bat, failing to get it over .250 but he could become a power hitting shortstop, or move to third if Polanco stays at short. Alex Kirilloff was a first round pick in 2016, had Tommy John surgery then came back to hit .348 with 20 homeruns. Injuries again plagued the outfielder last year (wrist) which sapped the power from his bat. Trevor Larnach led Oregon State to the College World Series championship in 2018. His power bat will join Alex in the outfield after being drafted by the Twins in the first round in 2018. Jordan Balazovic is a burley Canadian pitcher who saw his fastball hit the mid to high 90s last year. Brent Rooker is a defensively challenged outfielder who may move to first base where his power bat will fit. He was a first round supplemental first round pick in 2017.

Misael Urbina is an outfielder from Venezuela who played last year in the Dominican Summer League. He is a good contact hitter with good speed to play centerfield. Keoni Cavaco was the Twins 2019 first round pick. He struggled in his first year, hitting just .172.

10. Baltimore Orioles (20.76)

Adley Rutschman was the first player selected in the 2019 draft who also played on the Oregon State College World Series champions in 2018. If he can survive injuries behind the plate he will be a special kind of catcher with a power bat and top rated defensive skills. Grayson Rodriguez throws from the right side while D.L. Hall throws from the left. Grayson is a big 6′5″ fireballer of a pitcher with a fastball in the mid-90s drafted in the first round in 2018. Hall was a first round pick in 2017, is not as tall (6′0″) but has excellent stuff, including a fastball that consistently hits the mid-90s. His curveball is a knee bender for hitters. Ryan Mountcastle is a hitter without a position to play. The 2015 first round pick was the MVP of the International League with his 25 homeruns. Austin Hays recovered from his poor, injury prone 2018 season and is expected to win the centerfield job in 2020.

Gunnar Henderson was drafted in the second round of the 2019 draft and signed him for $2.3 million. His tools may not fit at short but his power bat will look good at third. Adam Hall was also a second round pick (2017) but he is more a defensive shortstop with a questionable bat.

9. Oakland Athletics (21.22)

They have perhaps two of the best lefthanded pitchers in the minor leagues in Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk. Injuries prevented them from making the Athletics rotation last year, but if they stay injury free this year they will be in the starting rotation. Jesus was a third round pick of the Nationals in 2016, dropping in the draft after Tommy John surgery in his senior year in high school. Puk was the Athletics first round pick in 2016 and had Tommy John surgery in 2018. Sean Murphy a 2016 third round pick may be one of the best defensive catchers in the game who could provide a little pop with the bat. Robert Puason was signed out of the Dominican for $5.1 million in 2019. He appears to be a smooth fielding shortstop who will have a good bat.

Logan Davidson was the Athletics first round pick in 2019. The son of ex-major league Mark has the tools to stick at short but the power to move to third. Lazaro Armenteros was supposed to be a Cuban sensation when he signed for $3 million in 2016. The bat has not justified the hype to this point, but last year he did hit 17 homeruns, despite a poor .222 average to go with 227 whiffs in 126 games. If he can figure out how to hit a breaking ball he could justify his 2016 hype.

8. Miami Marlins (22.38)

Sixto Sanchez is a fireballing Dominican the Marlins acquired from the Phillies. He is slight of frame and has durability issues, but the fastball sizzles in triple digits. Jesus Sanchez is a five tool outfielder the Marlins acquired from the Rays. The Dominican could win the centerfield job in 2020 if Lewis Brinson continues to struggle. JJ Bleday is a slugging right fielder out of Vanderbilt the Marlins selected with their first pick in the 2019 draft. Jazz Chisholm was acquired from the Diamondbacks. The shortstop was signed out of the Bahamas in 2015 and slugged 21 homeruns last year. The tools are there for him to be a power hitting shortstop. Edward Cabrera is another pitcher that can hit the radar in triple digits, but at 6′4″ the Dominican has a towering plane. Monte Harrison is the last player in the Christian Yelich trade that has yet to reach the major leagues. He has good power and speed, but his swing and miss resulted in 215 whiffs in 2018. A wrist injury last year limited him to 58 games.

Lewin Diaz is a big power hitting first baseman the Marlins acquired from the Twins. Last year he slugged 27 homeruns. Jose Devers is the younger brother of Rafael, but is more a defensive stalwart at shortstop. He lacks the power of his brother. Jorge Guzman may be the hardest thrower in baseball but he has no command and lacks a third pitch. He is destined for the bullpen, perhaps in a closer role. Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Mesa Jr. are two brothers signed out of Cuba, whose dad was a star on the early Cuban teams. Victor Victor is said to have the better tools. Jerar Encarnacion hit two homeruns early in spring training, showing the power the outfielder possess.

7. Atlanta Braves

Lots of pitching on this team but outfielders Chistian Pache and Drew Waters could join Ronald Acuna in a couple years to form an impressive outfield. Both have burner speed to fit in center and good power to move to a corner. Ian Anderson, Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson will all compete for the Braves starting rotation before the 2020 season ends. Bryse was a fourth round pick in 2018 while Anderson (2016) and Wright (2017) were first rounders. Shea Langliers was the Braves first round pick in the 2019 draft. The catcher may always get lost in the shadow of Rutschman but he is a superb defensive catcher with good hit tools.

Braden Shewmake was a first round supplemental pick in the 2019 draft and has already played in AA. He is a 6′4″ shortstop who could develop into a pretty impressive two way shortstop. Bryce Ball had to wait until the 24th round to hear his name called in the 2019 draft, but the first baseman hit .329 with 17 homeruns in his minor league debut.

6. Los Angeles Dodgers (27.14)

Not only is their major league team stacked, but their minor leagues is filled with prospects. Gavin Lux, the 2016 first round pick should win the second base job, but has the tools for short. He pulverized minor league pitcher for 26 homeruns in 113 games. Dustin May could fit in the Dodgers rotation this year. The 2016 third round pick has a red mane with a mid to high 90s fastball that makes it appear fire his coming out of his right hand. The Red Sox did not like Brusdar Graterol because he did not have the arm to start. The Dodgers will use his triple digit fastball out of the bullpen. Keibert Ruiz is blocked by Will Smith at the catcher position. A finger fracture ended his season early, but he can hit for average and has good defensive tools. Josiah Gray was acquired from the Reds in the Yasiel Puig/Matt Kemp deal and last year rose three levels to AA with good life on his low to mid 90s fastball. He could be the next rookie in the Dodger rotation for 2021. Tony Gonsolin had a big homerun bat in college but the Dodgers drafted him as a pitcher and in 2018 he was their pitcher of the year. He will be competing for a rotation spot in 2019. Kody Hoese was their first round pick in 2019. The third baseman slugged .779 in college and should carry that power to the major leagues. Diego Cartaya is a Venezuelan catcher the Dodgers signed for $2.5 million in 2018. He is an above average defensive catcher with a strong arm that has good hit tools.

Michael Busch was another first round 2019 pick who has a good bat, despite his .182 average last year. The Dodgers are trying him at second base but he has yet to establish himself at a defensive position. Outfielder Luis Rodriguez was signed out of Venezuela in 2019 for $2.6 million. He has all five tools to be a difference maker in centerfield. Andy Pages is an outfielder from Cuba who swatted 19 homeruns in 63 games in rookie ball.

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)