Archive for the 'Diamondbacks' Category

NL West Lower Draft Pick Success

Tuesday, December 31st, 2019

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

Arizona Diamondbacks

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

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

Colorado Rockies

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

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

Los Angeles Dodgers

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

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

San Diego Padres

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

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

San Francisco Giants

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

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

NL West Minor League All Stars

Friday, December 13th, 2019

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

Arizona Diamondbacks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Colorado Rockies

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

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

Los Angeles Dodgers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

San Diego Padres

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

San Francisco Giants

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top Minor League Right Handed Pitching Prospects

Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

There were so many talented righthanders that myworld extended the prospect list to 20 players. Some notable pitchers we left off include Ian Anderson, Hunter Greene, Tristan McKenzie, Deivi Garcia and Logan Gilbert. Not that we don’t like those pitchers, the others just appeal to me more. Predicting pitchers is a crap shoot. One injury can ruin a prospect standing.

1. Casey Mize (Tigers) - The first pick of the 2018 draft dominated at High A (0.88 ERA) which led to a quick promotion to AA. He continued to pitch well (3.20 ERA) in AA but his opposition average went from .110 to .234. Despite a fastball that rides the plate in the mid-90s, his strikeout numbers are rather pedestrian, less than a whiff per inning. You would expect more from a pitcher with that kind of heat and two other above average pitches (slider and splitter) that he commands well. The Tigers hope he will be an ace in the rotation, a position the team has a plethora of potential candidates to take over that role. Casey was a bit injury prone in college and saw his AA season end with three poor starts that led to a mid-August shutdown. Expect to see him pitch by mid-summer in 2020, unless the Tigers hold him back in order to not eat up service time in what is expected to be a wasted 2020.

2. Nate Pearson (Blue Jays) - The Jays first round pick of the 2017 baseball draft woke up the baseball world in the Arizona Fall League by blazing triple digit fastballs across the plate. Prior to that a series of injuries in 2018 (back and fractured arm) limited him to just one start of two innings in 2018. This year he got his innings count above 100, finishing with three starts in AAA. His fastball was still hitting triple digits, sitting in the high 90s and he complemented that pitch with three above average secondary pitches. His one down side is some inconsistency in his command. He walked 21 in 63 innings in AA. He should compete for a spot in the starting rotation in 2020 but the Jays may want to control his innings by starting him in AAA. They don’t want to go beyond 150 innings for him next year.

3. Forrest Whitley (Astros) - Despite their battle for the playoffs the Astros were able to hang onto their 2016 first round pick. At 6′7″ with a mid-90s fastball he gives a number of batters shaky knees when they come up to the plate. Last year he was considered the top pitcher in baseball, but was limited to just eight starts because of a couple injuries. The 2019 season saw some struggles with command which resulted in elevated ERAs. In the homer happy AAA he served up nine homeruns in just 24 innings. The 2019 season was his third complete season and he has yet to throw over 100 innings. The Astros could start him in AA next year after his struggles in (AAA). He has the quality secondary pitches and heat on his fastball to dominate so the 2020 season could be a critical year.

4. Sixto Sanchez (Marlins) - The Phillies traded Sixto to the Marlins to acquire J.T. Realmuto, thinking they had a replacement for him in the minor leagues (Adonis Medina). Sixto had good success in the minors (2.53 ERA) while Adonis struggled. The Phillies only shelled out $35,000 to sign him out of the Dominican Republic. While he only stands 6′0″ his fastball crosses the plate in triple digits. He lacks the swing and miss results you expect to see with someone with his heat, but he has success with weak ground ball outs. Sixto also has a good breaking pitch and change with excellent command to keep hitters off balance. The Marlins are getting deeper in the rotation with all the prospects they have acquired in trade, but having had success in AA Sixto is due to pitch in Miami some time by mid-2020.

5. Matt Manning (Tigers) - The Tigers have a pretty impressive future rotation in the minor leagues with leftyTarik Skubal and righthanders Franklin Perez, Beau Burrows, Alex Faedo and Casey Mize. Manning was a first round pick of the Tigers in 2017, nine picks ahead of Faedo. At 6′6″ Manning was the top pitcher in the Tigers minor league system until they drafted Casey Mize with the first pick of the 2018 draft. Manning hits the mid-90s with his fastball, but sits in the low 90s, so the blazing heat isn’t there. The secondary pitches are quality (curve and change) and his command is above average. His stuff would seem to indicate a mid-rotation starter instead of an ace, but he should start showing that with the Tigers some time next year. In AA last year he limited the opposition to a .192 average in 24 starts with a 2.56 ERA.

6. Jon Duplantier (Diamondbacks) - Myworld still cannot forget his 2017 season when he finished with an ERA below 1.50, the lowest ERA in the minor leagues since some dude named Justin Verlander. Even last year he was dominant in AA but he was limited to 16 starts because of injuries. And that has been his down fall. Last year he made his major league debut mostly in relief but hitters did not find his pitches a mystery, raking him at a .283 clip. His season was hijacked by his inability to throw strikes. His fastball has radars spitting out mid-90 readings and his secondary pitches are quality enough to stay in the rotation. The third round 2016 pick needs to maintain his health to stay in the rotation, otherwise the Diamondbacks may want to move him to the bullpen. He should compete for a spot in the rotation in 2020. Pitch counts could keep him in AAA to limit his innings.

7. Michael Kopech (White Sox) - The 2014 first round pick at one time had the top fastball in the minor leagues hitting well into the triple digits. With his first four starts in the major leagues it appeared he would become a main stay in the rotation, but a torn elbow ligament resulted in Tommy John surgery and prevented him from pitching in 2019. A lack of command of his pitches has always haunted him, but it appeared he had controlled those demons in 2018. Now after the surgery he will need some time in AAA to get his pitches back and hope his control returns. His slider is a nice swing and miss pitch. Expect the White Sox to call him up once he shows his velocity has returned and he has command of his pitches.

8. Brady Singer (Royals) - The 2018 first round pick had dropped to the number 18 pick, even after winning the College Baseball Player of the Year award. He did not pitch in the 2018 season because of the heavy work load the Florida Gators had put him through in college games. The 2019 season saw the Royals call his number 26 times, 16 of them in AA. His fastball sits in the low 90s, but can hit the mid-90s, with an above average slider. His change could need more work if he wants to stick in the rotation. A 6′5″ build can be intimidating but a .247 opposition batting average tells a story that his pitches are not impossible to hit. The slider does force more ground balls and will keep the ball in the park. The Royals are on a rebuilding path so they will be patient with Singer, not wanting to use up his service time. He could be a September callup in 2020 with a move to the Royals permanent rotation spot in 2021.

9. Grayson Rodriguez (Orioles) - The Orioles have always had trouble developing major league pitchers that came to them with superstar potential based on their performance in high school or college. Super studs like Matt Riley, Hunter Harvey and Dylan Bundy have never reached their potential. They hope that changes with this new regime and Rodriguez will be one of their first examples. The 2018 first round pick has a fastball that sits in the low 90s, but it can hit the mid 90s, with good movement. He also has two good breaking pitches and a decent changeup to stay in the rotation. Last year the opposition hit only ,171 off him and he struck out 129 batters in just 94 innings at Low A. His 6′5″ height and decent command allows him to hit the edges of the plate where he tended to dominate at this level. A rise to High A and AA should occur in 2020 with a major league shot sometime late in 2021. By that time the Orioles hope their rebuilding process will be bearing fruit.

10. Brent Honeywell (Rays) - Blake Snell has turned into a pretty good pitcher in the major leagues. Brent was taking a similar career path in the minors following Blake but Tommy John surgery put an end to his 2018 season. The Rays were hoping to see him return in 2019 but a fracture in his elbow during rehab ended his 2019 season. Brent has an amazing array of pitches that includes a screwball, fastball in the low to mid 90s, slider and change, as well as command of those pitches to be a co-ace with Snell. How those pitches react after his return from a second surgery will determine whether he can join Snell as the co-ace in the rotation or fill in at the back end. The Rays will be patient with him in 2020 and at best he could get a September call up as a reward for all his work in rehab. Brent did not rely on his fastball for his success so Myworld thinks his route to the major leagues will not be altered much because of the injuries.

11. Dustin May (Dodgers) - The long, flowing locks of the 2016 third round pick is the first thing you notice about the righthander. After that comes the mid-90s fastball and the sharp breaking curve that bites downward towards the plate. His pitches create a number of ground ball outs, as well as swings and misses. Last year minor leaguers hit just .231 off him. The Dodgers saw another Walker Buehler possibility and promoted him. He worked a little bit in the starting rotation but pitched mostly in relief, with major leaguers hitting him at a better .250 clip. He does not have the stuff of Buehler but he has enough to fit in the middle of the rotation. A good spring could see him start the season with the Dodgers.

12. Mitch Keller (Pirates) - The Pirates 2014 second round pick has been one of the top pitching prospects for a number of years now. Last year he got his first opportunity to face major league hitters and his .348 opposition average, 7.13 ERA and six homeruns given up in 48 innings is evidence the debut did not go well. Keller has too good of stuff for that to continue. His fastball hits the high 90s and settles in the low 90s with a curve ball and change good enough to keep hitters honest. Perhaps a better sequencing of the pitches and improved command will result in better outcomes. Mitch has been sitting too long in the minor leagues to stay there. At some point the Pirates have to see what they have and 2020 should be the year Keller rises to a level where he will battle for Rookie of the Year consideration.

13. Michel Baez (Padres) - At 6′8′ the Cuban fireballer is a very intimidating pitcher with his high 90s heat. That heat may fit better in the bullpen. Michel does have two breaking pitches and a decent change to stay in the rotation but the pitches lack consistency. He has also been limited by back issues which has prevented him from pitching long stretches. The Padres used him out of the bullpen last year and he made his major league debut, limiting hitters to a .223 average. His future for the Padres could be as their closer. His fastball carries more velocity in shorter spurts and with his innings limited his health will be good. Expect him to compete for a Padre bullpen job in 2020 and take over the closer job after the departure of Kirby Yates.

14. Shane Baz (Rays) - Shane was the Pirates first round pick in 2017. The Rays stole him in the Chris Archer trade mid season in 2018. His first two years Shane was stuck in Rookie ball. A lack of command sabotaged many of his outings. Last year he got 17 starts in Low A. His command improved and his ERA went from 4.26 in Rookie ball to 2.99 in Low A. The opposition only hit .213 off him, a vast improvement over the .273 average in two seasons of Rookie ball. His fastball rides the plate in the mid-90s and can hit triple digits. It is the command of that fastball that has been the real challenge. He has a good slider and improving change. If his command stays inconsistent and his change does not develop he could always work out of the bullpen. His fastball shows closer stuff. Shane is still a couple years away from the big leagues, especially with the patience the Rays show with their pitchers. Don’t expect a major league appearance until sometime late in 2021.

15. Spencer Howard (Phillies) - The second round 2017 pick has gotten his fastball up into the high 90s and it consistently hits the mid-90s. The previous year he had some triple digit readings. His secondary pitches (slider, curve and change) are not outstanding but they show average potential. His big issue is finding consistent command with those pitches. In 2018 he walked 40 in 118 innings. Last year it was 16 in 91. He does get a lot of swings and misses with his pitches. Last year opponents hit him at a .173 clip, which is 70 points less than last year. Spencer was limited to 91 innings because of shoulder issues. Because he only got six starts in AA he will probably start his season there with the possibility of joining the major league rotation by mid-season, if he continues to dominate hitters in the minors.

16. Luis Patino (Padres) - The Colombian is not big at 6′0″ but his fastball shoots across the plate in the mid-90s, hitting in the high 90s on occasion. The Padres signed him for $130,000. He does throw two good breaking pitches, as well as a change that should improve with more use. At 20 years old he was one of the youngest players in AA. In the California League opponents hit him at a .192 clip and he struck out 113 hitters in just 87 innings. Two more dominant starts in AA (1.17 ERA) show that he could be ready in 2020. Despite his small stature his innings total continue to rise, hitting 95 last season. The Padres will try to get him above 100 in 2020. With success in AA he could get a September callup with the Padres.

17. Adonis Medina (Phillies) - With the trade of Sixto Sanchez the Phillies expected Adonis to step in his place as the fireballing Dominican with a mid-90s fastball. The Phillies got a bargain with Adonis, signing him for just $70,000 in 2014. In addition to his mid-90s fastball Adonis has a swing and miss slider and solid change that gives his fastball a greater velocity look. In 2018 his ERA rose by a run to 4.12. The Phillies were hoping for a bounce back season for him in 2019 but a poor second half saw his ERA climb to 4.94. His secondary pitches have been inconsistent allowing opponents to sit on his fastball, raking him at a .254 clip. With his stuff he should put up better numbers. The 2020 season will be a critical one for him. He could see his second season in AA. If he does well during the season the Phillies could promote him to their major league staff. But Spencer Howard has leap frogged Adonis as their possible first choice for the rotation.

18. Kyle Wright (Braves) - Kyle was a first round pick of the Braves in 2017. The Braves seem to have a bucketful of pitchers in their minor league system and any one of them can slip into the rotation with a good season. Wright worked four major league starts and failed miserably (8.94 ERA) showing a lack of command that allowed hitters to swat him at a .304 rate. His 4.17 ERA in AAA may have been hurt by the super juiced baseballs that saw 13 of his pitches leave the yard. His fastball is electric, crossing the plate in the mid-90s with the potential to hit high 90s, with two quality breaking pitches and an above average change. So the pitches are there for him to have success. He just needs to find the strike zone once he reaches the major leagues. With a good spring he could fit into the rotation, but the Braves will probably start him in AAA and call him up when they have a need.

19. Justin Dunn (Mariners) - Justin was a first round pick of the Mets in 2016. They included him in a trade with the Mariners to acquire Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. It could be a trade that could haunt the Mets if Cano and Diaz do not have better years. Dunn sits at the lower end of the mid-90s. His two breaking balls have the potential to be quality pitches but his change still needs work. Dunn pitched well at AA (3.55 ERA), striking out 158 hitters in just 131 innings and limiting the opposition bats to a .236 average. This earned him a promotion to the Mariners where there was some good (2.70 ERA and .105 opposition average) and some ugly (9 walks in just 6.2 innings) in his outings. He showed pretty decent command in AA walking just 39 in 131.2 innings. The Mariners will probably start him in AAA next year and see how he performs before promoting him to the Mariners in 2020.

20. Brusdar Graterol (Twins) - The Dominican signed for $150,000 in 2014 and had Tommy John surgery shortly after. He has put on some weight to his 6′1″ frame since, carrying 265 pounds. That has to be watched if he wants to remain effective. The extra weight has allowed his fastball to climb into the triple digits and sit in the high 90s. His secondary pitches need to improve if he hopes to stay in the rotation. The slider has some swing and miss qualities, but he needs to develop a slower pitch to keep hitters off balance. He pitched well enough in the minors with a .179 opposition average to earn a callup to the Twins. There he pitched in the bullpen and was hit a little more often (.278). Next year he may start the season in the rotation at AAA. How the Twins use him will depend on their need in 2020.

Top Ten Left Field Prospects

Thursday, October 17th, 2019

These may not be the top ten outfielders in the minor leagues. They usually lack the defensive prowess to be considered a first rate outfielder. Some of them lack the arm, some of them lack the speed. All of them have a pretty good bats that they are needed in the lineup. Consider them the Kyle Schwarber’s or Greg Luzinski’s of the world.

1) Riley Greene (Tigers) - Riley was the fifth player taken in the 2019 draft. On the defensive side his arm is not great and he lacks the speed to cover centerfield. What he does have is an impressive bat. He played 57 games in the minor leagues and showed enough to already get a promotion to a full season league. Currently his power shows up better in batting practice than in games, but as he becomes more experienced and learns when to pull the ball the power numbers will begin to appear. There were some issues with making contact and his OBA dropped significantly when promoted to Low A, but as he gains more experience projections are for him to hit in the neighborhood of .300 with 30 plus homeruns. He is still a couple years away from appearing on the Tigers roster.

2) Julio Rodriguez (Mariners) - A 2017 Dominican signing lacks the speed to play center and has a decent enough arm to play right, but myworld sees him eventually fitting into left. What separates Julio is his ability to hit for power. The Mariners shelled out $1.75 million to sign him. In 2018 he won the MVP for his Dominican Summer League team with a .929 OPS. The 2019 season saw him make his first appearance state side and he did not disappoint with another .929 OPS year. A fractured hand limited him to 84 games, but when promoted to the hitter friendly California League he hit .462 with a .738 slugging average in just 17 games. At 6′4″, 225 pounds he has a large frame and needs to watch his weight if he wants to stay in the outfield. If he stays healthy and his hitting continues he could see AA next year and be with the Mariners in 2021.

3) Dylan Carlson (Cardinals) - Dylan was a first round pick of the Cardinals in 2016. Defensively, he could probably hack it in centerfield and his arm is strong enough for right. For overall tools myworld feels he fits best in left. His first three years after being drafted he failed to show any offensive tools, hitting just .245 and slugging .376. His one bright spot was his ability to get on base. This year was a break out season for him when his tools came to fruition with a .292 average and 26 homeruns at AA and AAA. He also had a .914 OPS. The Cardinals always seem to have a surplus of outfielders, but the time for Carlson to make his major league debut looks to be next year. His bat needs to continue to produce like it did in 2019.

4) Lazaro Armenteros (Athletics) - The Athletics signed the Cuban prospect for $3 million. The best part of his game is his speed, which would make him ideal for centerfield. His arm is not strong so if centerfield does not happen left field would be his best position. The Athletics were hoping for a five tool player, but his lack of arm strength and an inability to make contact call into question his ability to hit for average. The 2018 season was plagued by injuries, limiting him to just 79 games, but in those games he whiffed 115 times. This past season he was healthier but in 126 games he struck out 227 times. The tools are there for him to be an impact major leaguer, but if he doesn’t figure out when a pitch will break his .222 average will not get him to the major leagues. Next year could see him in AA or the Athletics could choose to repeat him at High A and hope the second look allows him to make better contact.

5) Kristian Robinson (Diamondbacks) - The Diamondbacks signed Kristian out of the Bahamas for $2.5 million in 2017. The tools are borderline for centerfield. Myworld believes his best corner outfield fit will be left field. The bat carries big time power that slugged 14 homeruns last year in just 69 games. The Diamondbacks kept him in extended spring training until June. He is only 18 but played well enough to get a promotion to full season ball before the season was done. At 6′3 and 190 he still has room to fill out. A healthy season next year could see him reach AA and a major league debut late in 2021. The Diamondbacks believe he has the pop to hit 30 plus homeruns per year.

6) Alex Kirilloff (Twins) - Myworld saw him in right field in the Futures game and thought he had an excellent arm. The 2016 first round pick had Tommy John surgery after the 2016 season and missed all of 2017. He came back strong in 2018, hitting .362 with a .550 slugging percentage in High A. The bat cooled off a bit in AA last season, hitting just .283 with just a .413 slugging. He missed the first month of the season because of a wrist injury and that could have impacted his ability to swing. Alex is a contact hitter who should hit consistently above .300. The homeruns should come as he learns to pull the ball more. The Twins currently have a talented group of outfielders, so a move to first base could be an option to get his bat in the lineup. Otherwise one of Buxton, Kepler or Rosario needs to be traded to make room for him. He should be ready for the major leagues next year.

7) Steele Walker (White Sox) - Gotta like the name. The second round 2018 pick will move Eloy Jimenez to DH. While he is not plus in any of the five tools, he is still above average. He has the speed to play center and the arm to play right, but myworld feels he will eventually fit best in left. He was one of the star players on Team USA and as a college drafted player should rise quickly through the minor leagues. Last year was his first full season in the minor leagues. After raking in Low A (.365 average) he was promoted to High A. His numbers were more indicative of a fourth outfielder (.269 ave, .426 slugging) but they should improve with more exposure. The White Sox do have a deep minor league system so Steele will have to earn his way to the White Sox. Expect that to happen in 2021. If he continues to put up the vanilla numbers he produced in High A a fourth outfielder role will be in his future.

8) Trevor Larnach (Twins) - Trevor was the 2018 first round pick of the Twins. He is the second Twin outfielder on this list. His fringy arm and lack of speed may force a move to first base. He and Nick Madrigal led Oregon State to the 2018 College World Series title. The Twins are moving him aggressively through the minor leagues. The 2019 season was his first full season and already he saw AA, hitting .295 with a .455 slugging average. His power is currently more prevalent for hitting the gaps with 30 doubles, but eventually the homeruns will come in bunches. As stated with Kirilloff, the Twins outfield is crowded, but Larnach appears to have the bat ready to crash the crowd. That may come in 2021.

9) Jhailyn Ortiz (Phillies) - The Phillies dished out $4 million for the Dominican back in 2016. An inability to make contact in 2018 limited his average to .225. His struggles continued last year with 149 whiffs in 100 games depressing his average to .200 in High A. His power numbers keep improving and if he can develop a bit more maturity to recognize pitches he could be a force. A lack of speed will limit him to a corner outfield. When he reaches the major leagues will depend on his improvement on recognizing pitches and not chasing pitches out of the strike zone. Expect a couple years to pass before that happens.

10) Jarren Duran (Red Sox) - Jarren was not a high draft pick in 2018, the Red Sox selecting him in the seventh round. In half a season he surprised the Red Sox with his bat, hitting .357 with 11 triples in just 67 games. That magic in his bat continued last year in High A when he hit .387 in 50 games. A promotion to AA saw him struggle a bit (.250). Duran will terrorize teams with his speed, which resulted in 46 stolen bases last year. The speed would be ideal for centerfield, an ideal replacement for Jackie Bradley, but the below average arm could move him to left field. The Red Sox are talking about letting Jackie Bradley go because of his high contract and minimal production. Duran is probably not ready to replace him next year but should be ready in 2021.

Top First Base Prospects in Minor Leagues

Monday, August 12th, 2019

Not a stellar list. Many of your top first base prospects struggle in the outfield in the minor leagues but have a good bat and eventually move to first base, making it tougher for minor leaguer first baseman to make the major leagues. Right hand hitting first baseman are not liked by scouts. For one, their glove is on the wrong side of their hand for making a tag during pickoffs and two, if you are going to have a left handed bat in the lineup put him at first base. Christian Walker is one of those rare right handed bats who plays first base, but it took him until his 28th year to become a major league starter. He still platoons with the left hand hitting Jake Lamb. So on to the unimpressive list of first base prospects.

1. Andrew Vaughn (White Sox) - He is the right handed bat that many scouts fear putting at first. The third pick in the 2019 draft is said to have a productive bat that will force itself into the lineup. He was the Golden Spikes winner in 2018 in college while playing for California, finishing his college career with a .374 average and a .688 slugging percentage. His bat is expected to produce power that is slotted for the position and because he hits the ball to all fields he will be impossible to defend with shifts. At 6′0″ he does not have the tall frame that you want to see from a first baseman, but his defense will be steady. He pitched a bit in college so he has the arm for a move to third base. In his first minor league season he has already seen himself promoted to High A. His bat has been below average in the full season leagues, hitting just above .250 with a slugging average below .430. Major league teams will want to see more from their first baseman, but he is still learning, getting his first exposure to minor league pitching.

2. Ryan Mountcastle (Orioles) - The arm is his biggest down side. The Orioles tried him at short and third but the loopy throws to first would not cut it in the major leagues. Left field is another option but the arm could be a hindrance there. His bat is what will get him to the major leagues and while he does not have the power of Yordan Alvarez, a rotation between first base and DH will be in his future. This year has been a breakout season for him power wise. His 20 homeruns is a career high and he is slugging .516. The big cause of concern is his 17/107 walk to whiff ratio, which means his .314 average in AAA will not be sustainable if he keeps swinging at pitcher’s pitches. The Orioles roster is filled with first baseman/DH types (Chris Davis, Trey Mancini, Mark Trumbo) so finding room for him will mean the O’s will have to say bye to Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo and keep Mancini and his sub par defense in the outfield (Renato Nunez is another DH player on their roster). His bat should be ready for the major leagues next year and a September callup is a strong possibility this year.

3. Seth Beer (Diamondbacks) - The bat is what will get him into a major league lineup. The Astros drafted him with their first pick in 2018. He was included in a trade to the Diamondbacks for Zack Greinke. So he has gone from a DH league to a non-DH league, depriving him of an opportunity to play his best position, unless the major leagues adopts the DH for both leagues. He is the first left handed bat in this list, but he throws right handed, meaning his glove is on the wrong side for pickoffs. The Astros have used him in the outfield, but his lack of speed and weak arm make him a liability there. His best position is DH. Last year he hit himself into High A, slugging 12 homeruns. He struggled a bit when trying to hit High A pitching (.262 average, 4/22 walk to whiff ratio). This year he was better at High A (.314, .602 slugging) that the Astros promoted him to AA after only 35 games. He has 25 homeruns (none in his 8 games with the D-backs AA team) with 93 RBIs. If he was in AAA with the juiced baseballs his homer numbers could be video game like. Christian Walker and his inconsistent bat is his only impediment in the major leagues so there is no one stopping him from a promotion if his bat keeps producing.

4. Triston Casas (Red Sox) - The Red Sox first round pick in 2018. He only played in two games last year because a torn ligament in his thumb ended his season early. At 6′4″ he has the size teams are looking for in their first baseman. He also throws right handed so the Red Sox are looking at him for third. That size is normally a hindrance at that position if he lacks the quickness and flexibility to handle the hot shots. He has tremendous power, so his bat is what will get him in the lineup somewhere. He played for Team USA where he showed an ability to hit to all fields, making him tough to shift against. This year he has been a bit strikeout prone with 105 whiffs in 101 games. He has clobbered 17 homeruns, but his .247 average keeps his slugging average at .468. Those are Bobby Bradley like numbers. Next year the Red Sox will promote him to High A. If he does well there that could result in a quick promotion to AA but at 19 years of age there is no reason to rush his bat until it is ready for the next level. It will be a couple years before he sees the major leagues, especially with Bobby Dalbec, Michael Chavis and Rafael Devers ahead of him.

5. Evan White (Mariners) - Evan was a first round pick in 2017. He is noted for his defense, which is good. There is some question about his power, which is bad when you are playing first base. He also hits right handed, another tick against him. But he throws lefthanded so good for pickoff throws. Bottom line is if Evan can hit he will make the major leagues. Last year in High A he sprayed the gaps with 27 doubles, but hit only 11 homeruns, resulting in a .458 slugging. His batting average was an impressive .303 which led to a promotion to AAA, skipping AA. This year Evan finds himself in AA and his power has impressed with 16 homeruns and a .500 slugging. With his superior glove that could get him to the major leagues. It is not like the Mariners have anyone there that can stop his promotion in 2020 except for the DH entrenched Dan Vogelbach.

6. Bobby Bradley (Indians) - The third round pick in 2014 has been hitting a lot of balls out of minor league parks. A troubled glove and an inability to hit for average has kept him pummeling minor league pitchers. Last year at AA he repeated that level and his average dropped 40 points. Despite the struggles (.214 average) he still got his promotion to AAA. This year he has hacked at AAA pitching for a .272 average and a career high 29 homeruns. It led to his first promotion to the major leagues, where he struggled (.178), hitting only one homerun in 45 at bats. Next year he may be given more of an opportunity. He’ll get to show his stuff in September. DH may still be his best position in the major leagues.

7. Nate Lowe (Rays) - Nate Lowe, like catcher Will Smith (Dodgers) may not be considered a prospect next year if he gets a few more at bats. He was a 13th round pick in 2016 out of college. His younger brother was a first round pick of the Rays in the 2016 draft out of high school. Nate is the one that has made an impact for the Rays, with a .294 average and 5 homeruns. At 6′4″ and 245 pounds he can mash a baseball when he gets ahold of it. His large frame hinders his speed for the outfield making first base his only viable position. His younger brother is the same 6′4″ and 205 pounds with the speed to one day join him with the Rays playing the outfield. Defensively Nate can handle first base, but he will not win any gold gloves. Expect Nate to be the Rays starting first baseman next year.

8. Nick Pratto (Royals) - Nick was a first round pick of the Royals in 2017, a couple picks ahead of White. Like White, Nick is noted for his glove at first base. There is some concern whether his bat will break out enough to be an offensive contributor at the position. To go along with that lack of power he also has a propensity to swing and miss with 150 whiffs last year and already 145 this year in less games. Last year he slugged .443 with just 14 homeruns, but had the ability to find the gaps with 33 doubles. This year he is really struggling with a .185 average and a .302 slugging. We’ll chalk it up to a bad season. One tool he is above average in for a first baseman is speed. Last year he stole 22 bases and this year he has 15. It is still not enough to make him an effective outfielder at any position but possibly left field.

9. Lewin Diaz (Marlins) - Diaz was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013 for $1.4 million by the Twins. They traded him to the Marlins for bullpen help (Sergio Romo). Myworld likes his 6′4″ height and his lefthanded bat. Diaz has had a breakout year with his power, slugging 24 homeruns between High A and AA. His ability to hit for average has improved, raising his High A average from .225 last year to .290, resulting in a promotion to AA. His lack of speed will restrict him to first base where his defense will be adequate. For a power hitter he does have a good ability to make contact. He could make a contribution to the Marlins next year.

10. Bobby Dalbec (Red Sox) - The 2016 fourth round pick will rely on his power. Bobby can also play third base, but Michael Chavis and Rafael Devers could hinder his major league progress there. He is one of those players whose at bats do not result in a lot of balls hit in play. He takes a lot of walks, whiffs a ton and sends many a ball over the fence. Last year he slugged 32. This year he has 22. The strikeouts will leave his batting average below .250 but his OBA should still be good with his walks. He has a solid arm and just below average speed so a move to left field could be an option, but the Red Sox outfield is a little crowded now for that to happen. He will probably see the Red Sox next year and if J.D. Martinez is not resigned he could see time as a DH.

Force is with the Diamondbacks

Sunday, June 16th, 2019

It was Obi Sean Kenobi bobblehead day at Nationals stadium. The first 10,000 fans received Sean Doolittle bobbleheads. They also promoted a Star Wars theme with the Nat pack all dressed in Star Wars characters. But the force was with the Diamondbacks. They blasted five homeruns in their 10-3 drubbing of the Nationals and ensured at least a split of this series.

It did not start off well for Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals. Ketel Marte deposited the first pitch from Strasburg into the Nationals bullpen in right field. Before the shock could wear off two outs later Adam Jones belted a pitch just over the left field wall. Juan Soto attempted a leap to catch the ball but the wall was too high.

The Nationals did come to life in the bottom of the first. Trea Turner bounced the first pitch he saw into the left field corner. When left fielder David Peralta fell trying to retrieve the ball Turner hustled to third for a triple. He scored on a fly ball to center by Adam Eaton. With two outs the Nationals created some fireworks of their own with back to back homeruns from Juan Soto and Matt Adams. Adams shot went over the right field bullpen into the second deck.

It did not take long for the Diamondbacks to respond. In the top of the second Christian Walker led off the inning with a blast into the centerfield bleachers. Nick Ahmed hit a ball into the left centerfield gap. Soto stabbed at the ball but it hit the fence and bounced past Soto, rolling along the left field warning track. By the time Eaton retrieved the ball Ahmed was standing on third with a triple. A Carson Kelly single put the Diamondbacks up 4-3.

Taylor Clarke was not sharp but after the first inning he bent but he did not break. He did not last the requisite five innings to get the win, falling one out shy. The Nationals could only muster four more hits off him.

The Diamondbacks continued to have their way with Strasburg. In the third Strasburg was able to retire the first two hitters. Eduardo Escobar and Christian Walker followed with singles. Nick Ahmed slashed a pitch into the hole. Turner dove for the ball it but it tipped off his glove. The ball rolled into left field while Ahmed could glide into second with a double, the Diamondbacks tacking on another run for a 5-3 lead.

Ketel Marte went deep again off Strasburg to lead off the fifth. Strasburg was able to retire the next six hitters in a row but the damage prior to that was too great. Down 6-3 the Nationals bats went quiet with just three hits off the Diamondbacks pen.

The Nationals pen was not as stingy. They have been failing much of the year and they failed again today to keep this game close. Javy Guerra pitched two shutout innings. In the eighth Kyle Barraclough gave up a two run homer to Kevin Cron. He failed to find the strike zone after that, walking the next two hitters. Tony Sipp came on to replace him to try to get the last out but gave up an RBI single to David Peralta to ante up the score to 9-3.

The Nationals have their unique specialty reliever. Instead of using a position player to pitch in a blow out game, the Nationals turn to Trevor Rosenthal. He brought his 21.60 ERA to the mound, walked the first two hitters, coughed up a single to Nick Ahmed and gave up an SF to Nick Ahmed to put the Diamondbacks in double digits. He was able to get Kevin Cron to hit the ball hard to the shortstop that was turned into a double play, lowering his 21.60 ERA to 19.50.

Game Notes: Not too much to get excited about in this loss. Davey Martinez has a couple arms he can trust in Tanner Rainey and Sean Doolittle. Most of the arms he can not trust. The Nationals bullpen from those arms can turn close games into blowouts…There were 38,044 at the game for the bobblehead day, enough to call the game a sellout. This was not the performance the Nationals wanted to put on the field to get the fans returning to the park…Stephen Strasburg had a little talk with the umpire when the top of the fourth inning ended. Davey Martinez joined in the discussion…The score could have been worse, but with runners on third and second and one out in the eighth Sipp was able to get a double play ground out. Adam Jones hit a ground ball to Anthony Rendon. He threw home to tie up Ildemaro Vargas, who was tagged out trying to return to third. Rendon then threw to second where he got Peralta wandering too far off second base. Peralta was tagged out to end the inning…The last time Strasburg gave up 9 hits in a game was back in 2016, 65 starts ago…The Nationals came into this series hot. Unfortunately, the Diamondbacks are also hot. The Diamondbacks have won eight of their last 10 games to get closer to the wild card hunt. The Nationals can put together winning streaks against teams playing below .500, but have trouble finding victories against teams who are above them in the standings. They fall further from the wild card position…The Nationals are now 16-17 at home. The only team that has a losing streak at home are the Diamondbacks. They are 24-18 on the road while the Nationals are 16-21.

Scherzer Rights Nats Ship

Saturday, June 15th, 2019

The Nationals scored some runs for Scherzer and Max gave the team seven solid innings to avenge their opening day loss with a 7-3 win. Michael Taylor got a rare start and his speed proved to be troublesome for the Diamondbacks.

The Diamondbacks were the first team to strike. Carson Kelly, who in St. Louis was more noted for his defense than his offense, launched a 96 mile per hour fastball that Max got a little bit up deep into the left field bleachers for an early 1-0 lead. Up until that time he seemed unhittable, striking out four of the seven hitters he faced.

Robbie Ray also looked pretty tough but a critical mistake by him in the bottom of the third allowed the Nationals to bounce back. Michael Taylor started the inning with a single to right center. Max Scherzer attempted a bunt but struck it too hard and Ray fielded it just short of the mound. He went to second but may have rushed his throw seeing Michael Taylor running and threw it into centerfield. Taylor advanced to third. A Trea Turner double down the left field line tied the game up. Victor Robles hit a fly ball to center and Scherzer tagged, hustling home to give the Nationals a 2-1 lead. A Juan Soto checks swing single into left field scored Turner, his slide home coming just ahead of the throw.

With a 3-1 lead and Scherzer pitching you feel pretty confident. In the fifth Nick Ahmed rocketed another high fastball hitting the plate at 95 mph over the left field bleachers to pull the Diamondbacks to within one. National fans squirmed in their seats. If it is one weakness of Scherzer it is he likes to give up homeruns. This year he has been pretty good at limiting the homerun balls. The Ahmed homer made it the first time Scherzer had given up two homers in a game this year.

The Nationals responded in the bottom of the sixth with two gigantic shots. Anthony Rendon blasted a pitch from Ray far into the centerfield bleachers. One batter later Howie Kendrick lined a shot into the left field bleachers. As he circled the bases fans chanted “this is Howie do it.”

The Diamondbacks went to the bullpen in the seventh. Michael Taylor got things started laying a perfect bunt down the third base line for a single. He stole second. A walk to Turner put runners on first and second. A little TnT followed as Taylor and Turner pulled a double steal. Victor Robles lined a single past the outstretched glove of third baseman Eduardo Escobar to score Taylor. Rendon hit one deep enough into center to score Turner on a sacrifice fly.

Scherzer departed for a pinch hitter in the seventh. With the Nationals bullpen a 7-3 lead is not safe. Wander Suero made things interesting in the eighth. A one out walk to Ketel Marte and two out single to Adam Jones put runners at first and second. Eduardo Escobar lined a pitch the opposite way that one hopped into the right field bullpen fence for a double. That was it for Suero and in came Tanner Rainey, a bullpen savior since being called up. Kevin Cron lined a pitch off the leg of Rainey. He was able to find the ball, rifled a throw to first and just nipped Cron to lesson the damage to just one run.

Doolittle has not been the most effective closer this season, giving up a number of ninth inning runs. Carson Kelly drove a pitch just left of the left field foul pole or he would have had a two homerun game. He did line a pitch to Taylor in centerfield, who took a bad rout to the ball and it went past him for a double. A two out walk to pinch hitter Christian Walker made things even more interesting. Doolittle finally got Ketel Marte to swing and miss at his high 96 mile per hour fastballs to end the game.

Game Notes: Scherzer struck out 10 batters last night to slip past two Hall of Famers, Warren Spahn and Bob Feller on the all time strikeout list. His 2,585 whiffs put him in 27th place on the all time strikeout list. Next on the list is Tom Glavine at 2,607. Justin Verlander and C.C. Sabathia are the only active pitchers ahead of him on the strikeout list. Scherzer currently leads the National League in strikeouts with 136…At one point Carson Kelly was considered one of the top catching prospects in baseball. Unfortunately, Yadier Molina stood in his way as the starting catcher for the Cardinals. The trade of Kelly to the Diamondbacks has given Carson the opportunity to show what he can do with his bat. Kelly is hitting .264 with eight homeruns, numbers most teams would love to have from their catchers. Coming into this season Kelly had a career major league average of .154 with 0 homeruns in 117 at bats…Kind of like the dark gray uniforms of the Diamondbacks. On day games, when it is really warm they look the color of light gray uniforms dripping with sweat…Did learn at the game that a book written by Eddie Dominguez, who was a security agent for the Red Sox and eventually a cop with the DOI for major league baseball, titled “Baseball Cop” spoke of David Ortiz and his habit of hanging out with shady characters. Back in 2005, one of those characters named Monga was betting on baseball and to Ortiz objections was banned from the locker room. That ban had to be taken back when Ortiz threatened not to play. Monga was later arrested at Ortiz residence for immigration violations. The book was released in 2018. David Ortiz denied any link to gambling after the book came out.

Greinke Stymies Nationals

Friday, June 14th, 2019

Looking at the pitching matchups it did not look good for the Nationals. The Diamondbacks were throwing their ace Zack Greinke, while the Nationals were throwing their number five starter Erik Fedde, who began the season in the bullpen. Greinke shut down the Nationals on two hits in just over eight innings, while Fedde had trouble throwing strike one. The weather and not the National bats was the only element that could remove Greinke from the game. An unexpected rainstorm hit after Greinke had retired the first hitter in the eighth, delaying the game for just over an hour. The Diamondbacks went to the bullpen and they were able to reserve the 5-0 shutout win.

Greinke had a no hitter until the seventh inning. His fastball may no longer touch the 90s with great regularity, and the swings and misses are rare, but the Nationals hit 8 balls in the outfield with no result. The first hit came in the seventh when Trea Turner grounded a ball through the hole to the right side of the infield. Christian Walker made a tremendous diving stop, but bobbled the ball as he transferred it from his glove to his hand. Turner beat the throw. Adam Eaton lined a clean single to left to finally give Nationals fans something to get excited about. Up until that point Greinke had faced the minimum 18 hitters, with the only baserunner eliminated on a line out double play. Anthony Rendon hit the ball hard, but right at the shortstop for a 6-4-3 double play. Juan Soto hit a weak ground ball to the pitcher and the rally was ended.

Greinke only throws 88-90 at max. He locates his pitches well and mixes in a slider and a slow curve ball that hits between 67-77. Hitters whacked at the ball and carried it to the outfield, but they were “at em” balls. That is when you wonder whether Greinke’s success is with a low batting average on balls in play. The hitters probably felt pretty good about hitting the ball to the warning track, hoping to face him another time where they were confident they could get a hit. And again Greinke would get them to hit the ball into an out. He struck out three in his 8.1 innings of work with mostly 1-2 or 0-2 counts on the hitter when he hit the ball (10 of his 23 hitters faced).

Erik Fedde was not so fortunate with his pitches. He had trouble finding the plate early. A lead off double by Jarrod Dyson on a ball hit into right field got things started for the Diamondbacks. Two walks loaded the bases. Fedde did get Adam Jones to hit a hard grounder to Anthony Rendon that should have been turned into a double play, but Rendon dropped the ball and could only get the out at first on a slow moving Adam Jones. Eduardo Escobar hit a line drive single to left field that dropped in front of Soto and the Diamondbacks were up 2-0.

Alex Avila got ahead in the count 3-1 against Fedde, then blasted the next pitch into the centerfield bleachers for a 3-0 lead. In the fourth the usually light hitting Jarrod Dyson lifted a ball into the right field bleachers for a two run homer and a 5-0 Diamondbacks lead.

That was all the Diamondbacks needed for victory. The rains came visiting with one out in the eighth. Greinke had only thrown 75 pitches so it would have been an easy complete game for him if not for the rains.

Game Notes: Myworld does not believe the Nationals have the personalities and the bullpen to get back in the race. With three teams ahead of them in the standings they have a better shot at the wild card than the division. That means beating teams with a better record than them. The Diamondbacks were 36-33 and are not going to catch the Dodgers. The win now puts them five games ahead of the Nationals in the wild card race. Above the Diamondbacks in the wild card are the Cubs, Phillies and Rockies. The Nationals are 8.5 games behind the Braves in the Division race…Greinke has not thrown a no hitter in his career, but if you listen to him he would prefer not to throw one. It only comes with a bunch of “hassles”…After Greinke hit Eaton and the decision was being reviewed by the umpires, Zack actually walked over to first base and spoke with Eaton. That was a nice gesture. The umpire had initially ruled the ball did not hit Eaton, but as Eaton was talking to Greinke he was pointing to his foot…The homerun for Alex Avila made it three consecutive games in which he has hit a homerun…Trevor Rosenthal pitched his second consecutive shutout inning in relief. This one he retired all three hitters he faced, striking out two…In bullpen news both Koda Glover and Justin Miller have been shut down because of shoulder or elbow issues. It could be July before you see them next on the mound.

Top Cuban Prospects in National League

Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

The list from last year had a player traded to the American League (Yusniel Diaz) and three drop from the list. No player from the list from last year graduated to the major leagues. We expect that to change after this year with Yoan Lopez providing the Diamondbacks with good bullpen work.

1. Adrian Morejon LHP (Padres) - Since pitching for the 15 and under gold medal team and winning the MVP, Adrian has added some meat on his bones. That has upped his velocity to a steady diet of 93-95 mile per hour fastballs with an occasional helping of 97-98. His curve ball is also a high quality pitch. The Padres signed him for $11 million as a 17 year old. The pitches are all there, the command of those pitches can be a little spotty. This year he is pitching at AA as a 20 year old. He is struggling a bit with 11 walks in 20.2 innings, resulting in a 5.66 ERA. Unless he improves his command he will probably pitch all season in AA and will not see the major leagues until late next year. One of the strengths of the Padres is their depth in starting pitching.

2. Victor Victor Mesa OF (Marlins) - The Marlins season is not going well and the attendance is lagging. They did pull a coup signing one of the top international prospects and his brother in 2018. The father, Victor Mesa was a star of many international tournaments and played with Lourdes Gurriel, whose youngest son Lourdes Jr. appeared on this list last year. The big tool for Mesa is his speed, which will allow him to cover a lot of ground in center field with a strong arm. There is some question whether his bat will be one that will have an impact. Victor Victor signed for $5.25 million with his younger brother Victor signing for $1 million. The older brother had some up and down seasons in the Nacional Series, but felt the pressure of being the son of a legend. He is not making much of an impact in the Florida State League, hitting just .224 with a .274 OBA and a .260 slugging. All the defense in the world will not support that offense.

3. Michel Baez RHP (Padres) - The Padres signed Baez for $3 million, the same year they signed Morejon (2016). He is an imposing figure at 6′8″ 220 pounds. His fastball splits the plate in the mid-90s. His secondary pitches are promising but with his long limbs a consistent delivery is difficult resulting in poor command. If he fails to make it as a starter he has the velocity and intimidating presence to make it as a closer. He got a late start to the season but in AA he has made four relief appearances, striking out 13 in 8.2 innings, but giving up 10 hits. If he can show dominance in the bullpen he could see some time with the Padres as a September callup.

4. Malcom Nunez 3B (Cardinals) - The Cardinals signed Malcom in 2018 for just $300,000, the maximum salary they could sign international players because of penalties. They stuck him in the Dominican Summer League where he crashed the party, hitting .415 with 13 homeruns. The bat carries some big time power, with the potential to hit for 30 plus homeruns once he reaches the major leagues. He led Cuba to the gold medal in the 15 and under World Cup in Japan in 2016. His defense needs improvement, otherwise a move to first may be necessary, chipping away at his value. He is finding the Midwest League a little tougher than the Dominican Summer League, hitting just .183 in 21 games. Currently only one of his 13 hits has gone for extra bases, resulting in a paltry .197 slugging average.

5. Yadier Alvarez RHP (Dodgers) - The Dodgers spent a rich $16 million in 2015 to sign Yadier. His high 90s fastball convinced the Dodgers to give him his suitcase full of cash. His breaking ball pitches show promise but his change needs more work. His control is poor and he will need to improve on that if he hopes to stay in the rotation. This is his fourth year of pitching in the minors and the results have been mixed. Last year he walked 43 hitters in just 48 innings in AA, leading to a inflated 4.66 ERA. This year has not looked any better with a 14.73 ERA in two starts. Yadier needs to harness his command to get an opportunity to pitch for the Dodgers sometime in 2020.

6. Yoan Lopez RHP (Diamondbacks) - Yoan signed for $8 million in 2015. His indoctrination to United States baseball was rough as he quit his minor league teams his first two seasons in baseball. After his first year the D-Backs moved Yoan from the rotation to the bullpen. There his fastball hits in the high 90s. His persistence has paid off with his major league debut being made last year. This year he has been one of the better bullpen arms for the D-Backs major league team with a 1.52 ERA. The swings and misses are not prevalent but the opposition average is just .223.

7. Adolis Garcia OF (Cardinals) - The Cardinals paid him $2.5 million to leave Cuba. In the Nacional Series back in 2016 he was voted the MVP. Adonis is his older brother, who played briefly with the Braves before leaving for Korea to play in the KBO. Adolis is bigger than his brother and carries a bit more power. Last year he slugged 22 homeruns, leading to a promotion to the major leagues where he could only muster a .118 average. This year he has slugged 12 homeruns but is only hitting .224 in AAA. Strikeouts have been a big problem with 74 in 56 games.

8. Vladimir Gutierrez RHP (Reds) - At 6′0″ and throwing right handed, Vladimir is not a big presence. The Reds still shelled out $4.7 million to sign him in 2016. He does not throw hard, with his fastball sitting in the low 90s, but he can dial it up to the high 90s. His big swing and miss pitch is a quality curveball. His first two seasons Vladimir has been kind of vanilla, with ERAs above 4 and strikeouts to innings pitched just a shade under 9 per 9 innings pitched. This year he is struggling even more with a 7.64 ERA in 11 starts in AAA. He has been a victim of the new AAA balls, where 9 have left the park in just 74 innings. Vladimir needs to turn his 2019 season around if he hopes to reach the Reds this year.

9. Jose Israel Garcia SS (Reds) - The Reds paid $5 million to sign Jose to a contract in 2017. He is a defensive oriented player with a questionable bat. Last year the Reds placed him in Low A where he hit .245 with a .290 OBA. His walk to whiff ratio was 19/112. This year the Reds promoted Garcia to the Florida State League where he shows more of the same (.252, 9/31 walk to whiff). He is still a few years away from impacting the Reds.

10. Miguel Vargas 3B (Dodgers) - Miguel is the son of another Cuban legend, two time gold medalist Lazaro Vargas. Miguel starred on the Cuban youth teams before leaving with his father for the States. The Dodgers signed Miguel for $300,000 in 2017. Defensively he may lack the tools to play third so he will have to develop the power to fit at first. His slow foot speed rules out the outfield. Last year he dominated at the rookie levels, hitting .400. He struggled a little at Low A, hitting just .213 in 75 at bats. Another year in the Midwest League and he is hitting .316. The power is lacking but a 29/30 walk to whiff is evidence that he could hit for average.

Stat of the Week - Speed

Monday, June 3rd, 2019

Who is the fastest player in major league baseball? Some would say Byron Buxton. Others could argue Billy Hamilton. The fastest player will surprise you. Below is the top ten fastest players in the major leagues according to baseballsavant. It measures feet per second travelled by the player.

1. Tim Locastro (Diamondbacks) - 30.4. He was drafted in the 13th round by the Blue Jays in 2013. The Blue Jays traded him to the Dodgers in 2015 for two international bonus slots and Chase DeJong. He got into 21 major league games for the Dodgers in 2017 and 2018, hitting less than .200. The Dodgers traded him to the Yankees at the end of the 2018 season for Drew Finley and cash. In January 2019 the Yankees traded Locastro to the Diamondbacks for Ronald Roman and cash. A couple nights ago he hit a walk off single for the Diamondbacks and is hitting .275 while playing the outfield. He has yet to hit a homerun, but is 4 for 4 in stolen bases making him 9 for 9 in the major leagues. What is even more amazing is he has been hit 8 times in just 20 games this year.

2. Byron Buxton (Twins) - 30.3. The Twins keep waiting for him to have his breakout season after drafting him in the first round of the 2012 draft, the second player selected in the draft. Injuries have kept him harboring in the minor leagues for too long. Currently the starting centerfielder for the Twins.

3. Trea Turner (Nationals) - 30.2. Led the league in stolen bases last year with 43. The Padres drafted him in the first round in 2014 then traded him to the Nationals in 2015 for basically Will Myers. Injuries have kept from making a larger impact in the major leagues.

4. Terrance Gore (Royals) - 30.2. A player whose only worth so far in the major leagues is as a pinch runner. Drafted in 2011 by the Royals in the 20th round he has appeared in more games (86) than at bats (46). He has also stolen more bases (33) than he has gotten base hits (11). The 2019 season has been his first year where he has actually gotten an opportunity to play going 10 for 30 for a .333 average, racing for a double and triple, the first extra base hits of his career.

5. Isaac Galloway (Marlins) - 30.1. Drafted in the 8th round way back in 2008. Finally got a major league opportunity in 2018 only to be designated by the Marlins to the minors this year. A career .186 major league average. You can’t steal first base.

6. Adalberto Mondesi (Royals) - 30.0. The second Royal on this list and the first international player, signed in 2011 and making his major league debut in 2014. The son of slugger Raul Mondesi. Leads the majors in stolen bases this year with 20.

7. Jon Berti (Marlins) - 30.0. The second Marlin on this list, but those teams accentuating speed are at the bottom of the standings. Berti has bounced around, drafted by the Blue Jays in the 18th round in 2011 and being released and signed by teams throughout his career. He signed with the Marlins after the 2018 season. This season has been his biggest major league opportunity with 22 games.

8. Socrates Brito (Blue Jays) - 29.8. Once a top prospect for the Diamondbacks but injuries set him back. Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2010 and released by the Diamondbacks in spring training this year. The Padres picked him up on waivers and traded him to the Blue Jays where he was hitting .077 in 43 at bats. Despite his speed he has not stolen a base in the major leagues since 2016.

9. Keon Broxton (Orioles) - 29.6. The Diamondbacks drafted him in the third round of the 2009 draft. Traded a couple times, most recently by the Mets to the Orioles in May 2019 for international bonus slot money.

10. Garrett Hampson (Rockies) - 29.6. Recently called up by the Rockies and played centerfield. Only hitting .194 this year, and is just 1 for 3 in stolen bases. Drafted in the third round of the 2016 draft.

To date, only two of the top ten speed players are impact players in the major leagues (Turner and Mondesi). Two others have a chance (Hampson and Buxton). The others appear to be disappointments, though teams continue to pick them up via free agency based on the current stat metrics.