Archive for the 'Dodgers' Category

30 Teams in 30 Days - Los Angeles Dodgers

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Overview - The Los Angeles Dodgers have won the National League West the last four years, yet have not appeared in the World Series during that streak. They have gone 28 years since their last World Series win. Their counterparts in the division, the San Francisco Giants have won two World Series in the last five years. The Dodgers pay roll has ballooned to the largest in baseball and with that comes a large luxury tax. Management is trying to pare down this mountain of a salary structure, limiting their free agent signings to their own players. They resigned Rich Hill, Brandon McCarthy and Justin Turner and hope that will be enough for them to win the division. They also hope to have Hyun-Jin Ryu return healthy to the rotation.

Strengths - The biggest strength for the Dodgers is their ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw. Despite missing two months of the season Clayton finished 12-4 with a 1.69 ERA, falling just 28 whiffs short of 200. With all his Cy Young winnings it is hard to believe that Clayton is only 29. The starting pitching should continue to be a strength with the return of Ryu, the resignings of McCarthy and Hill and Kenta Maeda on the mound. Julio Urias could have the potential to be another Kershaw in the making. The Dodgers should get a full season from him, though his innings pitched will be controlled. The pen will be bolstered by one of the top closers in the game. Kenley Jansen finished the 2017 season with 47 saves. The Dodgers also have the rookie of the year at short in Corey Seager. Some argue his defense is better suited for third base, but his bat with his 26 homeruns is not in question. Justin Turner and Adrian Gonzalez filled the corner positions with 90 RBIs each. For Gonzalez it was a down year and at 35 years old the Dodgers should start looking for a replacement as his production goes down. The acquisition of Logan Forsythe to play second gives them a power packed infield. Last year Forsythe hit 20 homeruns for the Rays. That would give them an infield where all their players have the potential to hit 20 or more homeruns.

Weaknesses - There was a time when the Dodgers had more quality outfielders than they had positions in the outfield. Now they would like to see more production from their disappointing outfielders. Yasiel Puig has seen his numbers drop each year from his rookie season. His OPS for last year was .739. Joc Pederson tends to strike out too much but he has the ability to hit the long ball. Last year he hit 26 homeruns. Andre Ethier was injured much of last year giving an opportunity for Andrew Toles to show what he has got. Toles struggled against lefthanded pitching and Etheir also hits lefthanded so expect Trayce Thompson, Enrique Hernandez or Franklin Gutierrez to compete for those righthanded at bats.

NonRoster Invitees - It’ll be tough for any of these players to make the roster out of spring training. Brandon Morrow is an interesting name, but he has not had the ability to stay healthy.

Break Out Prospects - This is a veteran team so it will be tough for any rookies to make this roster. If Adrian Gonzalez gets injured for a significant part of the season expect the Dodgers to call up their top prospect Cody Bellinger. He is a potential gold glove fielding first baseman that has the power to hit 30 plus homeruns. Alex Verdugo is a solid outfielder who could put himself in the outfield mix by mid season. The lefty hitter is a solid corner outfielder with a little bit of pop. Willie Calhoun at 5′8″ is a powder keg, hitting 27 homeruns at AA. His defense is not strong at second base so the Dodgers may try him in left field. A weak arm makes that the only viable position for him besides second base. Austin Barnes could make the roster as a catcher/utility player. Despite his lack of speed he was able to steal 18 bases in 21 attempts. Andrew Toles still qualifies as a rookie outfielder and based on his 2016 performance (.314 average) should see some time in left field. A good spring training would cement that position for him.

Prospects to Watch - The Dodgers have not had a lot of luck with their Cuban signings, shelling out large bonuses for little production. Yadier Alvarez could change all that with his fastball that hits three digits. He still needs to improve on throwing the pitch across the plate for strikes. Yusniel Diaz is a Cuban outfielder the Dodgers paid $15.5 million. He shows a good bat with the potential to hit for power. His speed is a fit for centerfield and his arm can take a move to right. Yasiel Sierra is another right handed pitcher who throws in the mid 90s but at 26 there is not a lot more projection for him. The Dodgers signed him for $30 million for six years. A lack of command and under development of his secondary pitchers created struggles for him in his first season in the United States. Non-Cubans to watch are Gavin Lux, the Dodgers first round 2016 pick. The shortstop played well in his first season, hitting .296 in over 200 at bats, though none of his hits went over the fence. Walker Buehler was the Dodgers first round pick in 2015. Tommy John surgery prevented him from pitching that season and he only got in five innings in 2016. This is a big year to see if his mid-90s fastball is still alive.

Expected Finish - The Dodgers should win this division though the Giants will again give them a battle.

Myworld’s Top 100 - 40 -31

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Spring training games and the WBC games are making it hard to complete this list. Here are the next ten, 40-31 as we trudge down to number one.

40. Mike Soroka RHP (Braves) - The Canadian was the Braves second first round pick in the 2015 draft. Not an overpowering pitcher with a fastball in the low 90s, he relies on the command of his above average curveball and change to force hitters to make weak contact. Last year he averaged just 7.9 whiffs per nine innings at Low A. Next year should see a promotion to High A. Eventually he will fill a role in the middle or back end of a rotation.

39. Blake Rutherford OF (Yankees) - Blake was the Yankees first round pick in 2016. He starred for the under 18 United States baseball team that won the gold medal, batting in the middle of their lineup. The Yankees hope to see enough power from him to bat in the middle of their lineup. Last year he hit .351 in rookie ball in a little over 100 at bats, slugging .570. Average speed will leave him in right field, the only tool he lacks from competing as a five tool player.

38. Bradley Zimmer OF (Indians) - Bradley was the Indians first round pick in 2014. The Indians still have hopes to put him in centerfield, but myworld thinks he lacks the speed to play there. We think he is a better fit in right field, but perhaps we have seen him on bad days when he takes poor routes. His bat should hit for enough power to fit in right field with 15 homeruns last year. That included a power outage in AAA when he could only hit one over the fence in 150 at bats. Zimmer has the speed to be a 20/20 player. If he can cut down on his strikeouts his average could rise above .250.

37. Yadier Alvarez RHP (Dodgers) - The Dodgers continue to spend big bucks on Cuban players with little success. Yadier was signed to a $16 million bonus, which is the second highest bonus they have paid to a prospect, the $28 million they signed for Hector Olivera the number one bonus. Yusniel Diaz ($15.5 million), Yasiel Puig ($12 million) and Alex Guerrero ($10,000) round out the top five bonuses for the Dodgers and they all happen to be Cuban players. Since arriving in the United States Yadier has seen his fastball hit triple digits, sitting mainly in the mid-90s range. Commanding that fastball can be an issue with 21 walks in 59 innings. Adding a change as a third pitch will put him in the rotation, otherwise he will fill a role as a closer. The Dodgers could start him in Low A where he has already achieved success in 9 starts or push him with a promotion to High A. At 6′3″ he has a good frame for a pitcher.

36. Kyle Tucker OF (Astros) - The Astros already have his brother Preston on the team as a fifth outfielder. When Kyle is ready to play he will be the starting centerfielder for the Astros. Kyle was the first round pick of the Astros in 2015. All the tools are there to make him an impact bat, especially since he hits from the left side. The one tool he may be short on is speed, which could move him to right field where his arm is more than adequate to play the position Last year in a brief call up to High A he hit .339 with a 1.096 OPS. The Astros may start him there to begin the 2017 season and then promote him if he continues to maul High A pitching.

35. Josh Hader LHP (Brewers) - He has already been traded twice, from the Orioles to the Astros and now to the Brewers. For the Orioles he was their 19th round pick in 2012. His hair has grown since then and his velocity has increased, hitting the mid-90s. That is plenty of speed for a left handed pitcher. Last year he average 11.5 whiffs per nine innings at AA and AAA. A slider gives him a good second pitch but his change is still lacking. Trouble with finding the strike zone in AAA resulted in a 5.22 ERA when he walked 36 in 69 innings. The Brewers would like to see him have success at AAA before they promote him to their major league rotation. They would also like to see him improve his change to give him three pitches.

34. Vladimir Guerrero Jr 3B (Blue Jays) - His talent level falls short of his dad. His arm is not as powerful and his hitting tools also fall short. He’s probably a little better at taking pitches, but still puts his bat on the ball when he swings (33/35 walk to whiff). His arm is not a rifle but it is good enough for third. More stocky than his dad, he should hit for power. Despite his 15 steals last year Vladimir is not fleet afoot. This makes third base a better position for him. Expect to see him start the 2017 season in Low A.

33. Franklin Barreto SS (Athletics) - The Athletics may regret trading Addison Russell but they got Barretto in the Josh Donaldson trade. He could be the player Russell is now, with good pop for a shortstop. His defensive tools do not stand out so a shift to second is possible, but the Athletics will keep him at short to let his average tools develop. He has decent speed, stealing 30 bases last year so a move to centerfield is also a possibility. Where ever he plays a plus bat that should hit in the neighborhood of .300 with 20 plus homerun pop will find a position to play. Expect the A’s to start him at AAA with a promotion to the major league team in September. Marcus Semien also has average tools for a shortstop so the Athletics will have to find a match and move one of the players to second.

32. Kolby Allard LHP (Braves) - The Braves traded for a number of pitching prospects who were first round picks from other teams. Kolby was drafted by the Braves in the first round of the 2015 draft. The fastball is not overpowering, sitting in the low 90s but he complements it with a plus curve and a solid change, besides throwing lefthanded. His command is also excellent. He didn’t appear to be bothered by a back problem that dropped him in the draft and limited his 2015 season to three starts. For the 2017 season he may start it in Low A where he had some success last year.

31. Jason Groome LHP (Red Sox) - Jason would not have dropped as far as he did in the 2016 draft to get to the Red Sox in the first round if not for some questions about his character. At 6′6″, throwing lefthanded with a fastball hitting the mid-90s with room for more growth as he matures, Jason could end up in the top of a rotation. His curve is good and his change is in the developmental stage since he did not use it much in high school. The Red Sox hope to begin his 2017 season in Low A.

MyWorld’s Top 100 - 60-51

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

60. Zack Collins C (White Sox) 3.62 - The 2016 first round pick of the White Sox would have been their top prospect if not for the acquisitions of Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Michael Kopech. Now he has to share the spotlight. Zack is a power hitting catcher whose defensive skills are not fully developed yet. If he does not make it as a catcher he has enough pop to move to first base, though he would be more valuable as a catcher. Next season should see him break out in a full season league after he hit six homeruns in just 36 games in rookie ball. Pitchers were a little hesitant pitching to him, walking him 33 times.

59. Sean Reid-Foley RHP (Blue Jays) 3.75 - Sean had a breakout season last year, lowering his ERA by more than a run and striking out more than a hitter per inning. The opposition had trouble making hard contact off him with an opposition average less than .200. His fastball sits in the low 90s but he can touch north of 95 with a solid curve and developing slider. If he can find the feel for his change he could move fast. Last year he reached High A for 10 starts. Sean should start the season in AA with a possible major league callup if he continues to achieve success.

58. Erick Fedde RHP (Nationals) 3.75 - The Nationals like to collect those pitches who have to undergo Tommy John surgery prior to the draft, dropping them lower in the draft. They did that with Lucas Giolito and Erick was drafted in the first round of the 2014 draft even after he found out he needed Tommy John surgery. Erick pitched 121 innings last year and will need to start the season in the minors to control his innings count. With the trade of Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito he could be considered the number six starting pitcher for the Nationals after their first five. He has a low 90s fastball and a high 80s slider. His change needs to develop more consistency if he hopes to make it as a starter.

57. Amir Garrett LHP (Reds) 3.82 - Until last year Amir was a basketball player who dabbled a bit in playing baseball. He has now decided to focus on baseball. That may jump start his career. At 6′5″ he has impressive height with a fastball in the low 90s complemented by a plus slider. His change is still a work in progress. Amir dominated at AA with a 1.75 ERA, 9.1 whiffs per nine innings and a .184 opposition average in 12 starts. A promotion to AAA gave him a little bit of a struggle but the opposition still only hit him at a .202 clip. A 31/54 walk to whiff ratio shows he was more hittable with less command. A repeat of AAA will be in store for Amir in 2017.

56. A.J. Puk LHP (Athletics) 4.05 - Puk was the Athletics first round pick in 2016. He was drafted ahead of his Florida teammate Logan Shore, who was their Friday night starter, usually reserved for the best pitcher on the team. The Athletics chose Puk but then had the opportunity to snag Logan Shore in the second round when his name was still on the list. At 6′7″ Puk has an intimidating plane he brings to hitters with a fastball that can cross the plate in the high 90s. His secondary pitches (slider and change) still need a lot of work, but once he figures it out his fastball will be that much better. While he finished the season 0-4 Puk averaged just 3.3 innings per start.

55. Jorge Alfaro C (Phillies) 4.07 - Injuries have slowed down Alfaro’s development, leaving him on prospect lists for at least five years. The Colombian was signed by the Rangers but traded to the Phillies in the Cole Hamel deal. His bat has pop and his arm can slow down a running game. The big concern with Jorge is the 5/1 strikeout to walk ratio (105/22 last year) that can be exposed by better pitchers. Cameron Rupp is currently ahead of him on the major league roster so Jorge will probably see a full season in AAA.

54. Triston McKenzie RHP (Indians) 4.12 - The only pitcher we witnessed pitch this year that made me go wow. He has long arms that seem to fly all over the place in his delivery. At 6′5″ his fastball can already hit 95. Once he gets more meat on his bones that fastball velocity should increase. His curve has a nice break but his change still needs more consistency. Rookie league hitters had no chance against him with a .180 opposition average. A 0.55 ERA in nine starts got him a promotion to Low A. That is where he will begin the 2017 season. For a young pitcher he is very good at throwing strikes.

53. Carson Kelly C (Cardinals) 4.18 - Carson has a superb glove who frames pitches well and controls the running game with a strong arm. The big question mark with him is whether his bat can develop. That will determine whether he will be a starter or backup. Last year he hit around .290 splitting time between AA and AAA. A promotion to the major leagues saw that average dip to .154. With Yadier Molina the Cardinals catcher for the next couple years Carson will improve his craft in 2017 in AAA with a possible back up role for Yadier by mid-season.

52. Alex Verdugo OF (Dodgers) 4.4 - Verdugo was a second round pick in the 2014 draft. Last year he hit a career high 13 homeruns in AA, showing the power is there to play a corner. Slow foot speed prevents him from playing centerfield, but a strong arm is a nice fit for right. If Yasiel Puig continues his downfall the Dodgers could call up Verdugo to take his place. Mark saw a full season in AA so the 2017 season should start in AAA. Alex needs to maintain his focus to win the right field job. There are times when he has a tendency to dial it back.

51. Luke Weaver RHP (Cardinals) 4.48 - Luke was a first round pick of the Cardinals in 2014. His fastball neighbors the mid-90s and he complements that well with a plus change. After dominating the minor leagues last year Luke was given a promotion to the Cardinals. In nine starts a 5.70 ERA and .311 opposition average with seven homeruns given up in his 36 innings showed he was not ready yet. He had only given up a total of seven homeruns in his last three minor league seasons. On the bright side he did strike out 11.1 hitters per nine innings proving he has swing and miss stuff. A good spring could find him in the starting rotation, but expect more a mid-season callup.

Myworlds Top 100 - 90 - 81

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

A compilation of the six top 100 lists rolled into one. Below is 90-81.

90. Matt Chapman 3B/SS (Athletics) 1.35 - Myworld does not think Chapman will be playing shortstop, but with so many corner infielders the Athletics will have to find room for them all. Chapman is probably the best defensive third baseman of the group and has a strong arm. His range is good for third base but would fall far short of what is needed for a shortstop. His bat also gives the Athletics power, with 36 homeruns last year. There is a tendency for him to swing and miss (173 whiffs) which could lead to averages falling below .250.

89. Max Fried RHP (Braves) 1.4 - He was drafted in the first round by the Padres. The Padres traded him to the Braves to acquire Justin Upton. Tommy John surgery has knocked some luster off his prospect status. Last year was his first year back and he averaged 9.8 whiffs per nine innings with a fastball that sat at 92-95. With a little more pitching that velocity could increase. His secondary pitches (slow breaking ball and change) need some improvement as does his control. He’ll start the season in High A and could see AA by the end of the year.

88. Chance Sisco (Orioles) 1.4 - Playing for so long at Bowie myworld has seen a lot of Chance. His defense behind the plate needs work and his power is absent. As he matures he may hit ten plus homeruns. The best part of his game is his ability to get hits and strike the gaps. He is not afraid to take walks and will give you OBAs of over .400. Being a catcher he does not have great speed but he will not clog the bases. Expect him to make his major league debut this year after at least half a season in AAA. With Matt Wieters gone the Orioles do not really have a viable catching option blocking him from making a contribution. His lack of power makes a move to first base questionable.

87. Cal Quantril RHP (Padres) 1.42 - The son of All Star reliever Paul Quantril and the 2016 first round pick of the Padres. Cal hopes to make it in the starting rotation with a fastball that slides between low to mid 90s. He also has a good change and is working to improve his slider to give him three pitches for the rotation. Tommy John surgery as a sophomore in high school is a concern. He should make his debut next season in full season Low A where he can work on improving his slider and his command of pitches.

86. Carson Fulmer RHP (White Sox) 1.43 - The White Sox may have rushed him last year. Fulmer only stands 6′0″ and with the recent acquisitions of Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech and Reynaldo Lopez his best spot may be in the bullpen. Despite being the same height as Lopez he lacks his velocity, hitting the low 90s with his fastball. His best pitch may be his curveball and he does throw a plus change to give him three above average pitches. A 8.49 ERA, 7 walks in 12 innings and a .273 opposition average in eight relief outings in the major leagues is not what the White Sox were looking for but many top prospects struggle in their first exposure to major league hitters.

85. Brady Aiken RHP (Indians) 1.5 - The Astros drafted him as the first pick in the draft in 2014 but concerns over his arm led them to reduce his bonus leaving a sour taste in Brady’s mouth for not signing. Brady later had to undergo Tommy John surgery. This did not prevent the Indians from selecting them as their number one pick when he fell to them as the 17th pick in the 2015 draft. He struggled in his first professional debut in 2016 with an ERA combined of 5.83 between two rookie leagues with an opposition average of .274. The bright spot is his K rate was 11.1 per nine innings and his fastball sat in the low 90s but touched 97. He also throws an above average curve and change. This was his rehab year so 2017 should see greater velocity on his fastball and sharper breaks on his curve with improved command, at least that is how the Indians would like it drawn up on their blueprint.

84. German Marquez RHP (Rockies) 1.58 - Soon he will have to deal with pitching in the high altitudes of Colorado. German throws the ball hard with a mid-90s fastball touching into the high 90s. He also carries an above average curve with a changeup in the developmental stages. Last year he made his major league debut with three starts and three relief appearances, fashioning a 5.23 ERA. His strikeout rate has never been above 9 but has always been in the neighborhood, but against major league hitters it dropped to 6.5. Expect at some point the Rockies stick him in their rotation after he has success in AAA.

83. Willie Calhoun 2B (Dodgers) 1.6 - At 5′8″ you could compare him to Jose Altuve, except he does not have his speed and he is not a good defensive player. What he does have is the ability to carry the ball over the fence with 27 homeruns in AA. Ideally, he could fit in left field but slow foot speed and a below average arm make that a liability. His best position may be DH but they don’t have that in the National League so the Dodgers will keep him at second base and if he keeps on hitting bombs they will not complain.

82. Stephen Gonsalves LHP (Twins) 1.67 - Stephen is a pitcher the Twins used to thrive on putting in their rotation during their playoff years. He doesn’t throw hard with a fastball in the low 90s, but he is able to hit the corners, throw up and down in the strike zone and give hitters different looks. Despite the lack of velocity he still struck out more than a hitter an inning last year and kept opponents to a batting average at less than .200. He also throws a change and a curve with the changeup being his second best pitch. After dominating in 13 starts at AA expect him to begin next season in AAA with a shot at making his major league debut before mid-season.

81. Ian Anderson RHP (Braves) 1.83 - Anderson is one of many number one draft pick pitchers in the Braves camp. However, with Anderson he will be a home grown pick, drafted by the Braves in the first round in 2016. The New Yorker throws hard with a fastball sliding in to the mid-90s and touching 97 with the potential for an above average curveball and change. He made a promising professional debut and should start 2017 in Low A.

Breakout Prospects and Prospects to Watch NL West

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Myworld continues to look at prospects who will have a major league impact in 2017 and other prospects to watch to see if they will find themselves on the cusp of making the major league team in 2018. Some of these prospects to watch are veteran minor leaguers trying to over come surgery, former top prospects who have tripped in their minor league ascension or Cubans who have no history at the professional level in the United States but were stars in Cuba. Today myworld takes a look at the NL West.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Breakout Prospect (Socrates Brito OF) - He had his opportunity to make an impact last year but stumbled with a .179 average in 79 at bats. Above average speed and minimal power makes centerfield an ideal position for him, but his arm is suited for right. In AAA he showed the ability to hit for average (.294) but he needs to improve his patience (13/65 walk to whiff ratio). His lack of patience was even more pronounced in the major leagues (2/23). Despite his speed he does not seem to rack up a lot of stolen bases. If he can establish a little more power he could fit in the seventh or eighth spot in the batting order but a poor OBA makes it difficult for him to win a leadoff role. With very little in the outfield Brito has an opportunity to establish himself this year if he can improve on his ability to get on base.

Prospect to Watch (Andy Yerzy C) - Myworld was going to put Peter O’Brien on this list but the Diamondbacks traded him after putting him on waivers. So we will take a look at the Canadian Yerzy, who impressed at the high school homerun hitting contest at the 2015 All Star game in Cincinnati, making it to the finals. This upped his draft stock with the Diamondbacks selecting him in the second round of the 2016 draft. Teams are always looking for lefthanded hitting catchers and when one shows the power as Yerzy the eyes light up. He is a clone of O’Brien, needing a lot of work defensively and his plate discipline is below average (4/38 at two levels) but there are tools there that the Diamondbacks can work with. And he hits lefthanded.

Colorado Rockies

Breakout Prospect (Jeff Hoffman RHP) - It is always tough for pitchers to succeed in Colorado. The 2014 first round pick got six starts at the major league level last year and fared well finishing with a 4.88 ERA. The opposition tagged him at a .287 clip and his 17/22 walk to whiff ratio was disappointing. Those numbers will have to improve if he is going to have success in 2017. He throws three very good pitches in a fastball, curveball and change, though his fastball has not gained the high 90s it had prior to his Tommy John surgery. Jeff was drafted by the Blue Jays in the first round and the Rockies acquired him in the Troy Tulowitski trade. All Hoffman has to do is pull ERAs just above 4.00 and win games when Rockie bats score more runs than the opposition. After all, the altitude is not friendly to visiting pitchers either.

Prospect to Watch (Forest Wall 2B) - The Rockies drafted him in the first round supplemental draft in 2014. The defensive work at second base is below average but the bat is supposed to be good. There was some talk about moving him to centerfield but that has not come to fruition. If Wall is going to play his bat will be his ticket to the major leagues. Last year he hit .264 with a .355 slugging. That is not going to cut it with a below average glove at second base. In 2015 he slugged .438 at Low A with a better strikeout to walk ratio. He needs to bounce back to be a viable player for the Rockies in the future.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Breakout Prospect (Jose Deleon RHP) - The Twins want Deleon included in any trade for Brian Dozier. The Dodgers are reluctant to trade Jose. The 24th round pick out of Puerto Rico has given the Dodgers a number of reasons to want to keep him. His mid-90s fastball and excellent changeup give the Dodgers at least two reasons. There was a bit of a struggle in his major league callup (6.35 ERA and .288 opposition average) but his minor league numbers were dominant (2.61 ERA and .194 opposition average). Coming into the 2016 season he averaged 12.3 whiffs per nine innings. In AAA he struck out 111 in just 86.1 innings.

Prospect to Watch (Willie Calhoun 2B) - He is a small second baseman, standing just 5′8″, a little taller than Jose Altuve. The quick lefthanded bat managed to drive 27 balls over the fence in AA. This was a breakout season for him when you consider in 2015 he hit just 11 homeruns. He did show power in junior college with 31 homeruns in 61 games. It will be interesting to see if his small, powerful frame can continue to send balls over the fence. His defense is not exemplary and the fact he did not steal any bases last year says a lot about his foot speed. The Dodgers have yet to acquire Brian Dozier so second base is still an open spot for Willie.

San Diego Padres

Breakout Prospect (Manuel Margot OF and Hunter Renfroe OF) - It is tough for teams to compete for a playoff when they have two rookies patrolling their outfield. The Padres know they are in rebuilding mode and it is time to see what these two talented players can do. Margot has the greater set of tools with the speed and athleticism to play center field. His power is good enough to split the gaps. Last year in a September callup he hit .243 in 37 at bats. Five of his nine hits went for extra bases (four doubles and one triple), but he failed to draw a walk, giving him a low OBA. Renfroe is the slugger who mashed four homeruns in a brief 35 at bat September callup. He is a little more plodding than Margot, but he has enough speed to cover the outfield. His arm is one of his best attributes so right field appears to be the perfect position for him. The Padres have to hope this duo reminds them of when the Red Sox brought up Fred Lynn and Jim Rice as rookies.

Prospects to Watch (Josh Naylor 1B and Javier Guerra SS) - Josh Naylor was drafted in the first round by the Marlins. They traded him to the Padres shortly after he cut Stone Garrett with a knife that was classified as horse play but some reports have stated was a little more serious than that. Not a lot of players are packed with the power that Naylor possesses but there is also a lot of swing and miss to his game. Last year could be classified as a disappointing season for him with his 12 homeruns resulting in a ugly .407 slugging percentage. That is a little south of .500 that teams want to see from their first baseman. Slow foot speed would make a move to the outfield not wise. Guerra had an off season where his average dropped more than 100 points to a .202 clip. His OPS also fell below .600 and his walk to whiff ratio (34/141) was ugly. All of the tools exist for him to play a quality defensive shortstop, but the bat has to work to get him in the lineup.

San Francisco Giants

Breakout Prospects (Christian Arroyo SS. Clayton Blackburn RHP) - We can’t get really too excited about any Giant making an impact this year. Arroyo is more suited for a utility role. With Brandon Crawford staffing short his only opportunity to get a full time gig in the lineup will be at third base. Myworld doesn’t think he has the power for that position. A move to the outfield would not be to his advantage because of below average foot speed. He did have a career minor league average of .303 coming into 2016 but hit just .274 at AA, so he can hit. A more likely player to make an impact is Blackburn. The problem with Blackburn is his stuff is more back of the rotation starter. His fastball is in the low 90s with average breaking balls and change. What he does have is command with the ability to locate the pitches and miss the barrel of bats.

Prospect to Watch (Chris Shaw 1B) - We like his power bat, which could eventually move Brandon Belt to left field. The 2015 first round pick hit 12 homeruns in his rookie season in 2015. He slugged 21 homeruns last year, but struggled in he AA Eastern League only slugging .414. There is not any speed to his game so a move to the outfield is out of the question and his defense is a little stiff at first. Expect him to repeat AA. If he has some success first base may be his position in 2018, or he could become trade bait for another team to allow the Giants to stock up on veteran players in a playoff run.

A Cuban Defects and Another Signs

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

A promising Cuban ball player Luis Robert defected, while another player Jose Miguel Fernandez signed according to Baseball America and a number of other sights. In a post myworld put up on November 15 of last year we identified Robert as one of the top young players in the Cuban League. At the time he was leading the league in homeruns, but after we posted the article we never saw him in the starting lineup again.

Luis Robert was also named to the under 18 All tournament team after hitting .406 with two homeruns, 11 RBIs, and four stolen bases. Other players named on that team were Josh Naylor, first round pick of the Marlins and later traded to the Padres and Blake Rutherford, a first round pick of the New York Yankees. The very first player selected in the draft by the Phillies Mickey Moniak played for the United States team and was not named to the all tournament team. Luis was one of the better players in that tournament so expect first round money for him.

Roberts is only 19 and appears to have the potential to be an All Star caliber player when he develops. When he left Cuba he was leading the Cuban League in homeruns with 12 with a .401 average. While the Cuban League has been sapped of their high caliber players, those numbers are still pretty impressive for a 19 year old against some of the veteran Cuban pitchers that are still on the island. At 6′3″ he has the power and speed that could define a five tool player for centerfield.

The key for Roberts is to get a quick approval so he can sign by June 15th if he wants to get a large bonus. After June 15th major league baseball teams will have to abide by the rules in place under the new collective bargaining agreement, where teams are handcuffed by a hard international salary cap. They can trade with other teams to increase the cap, but there is no going over the cap that was in place previous seasons when teams would be penalized with restrictions once they exceeded the cap. Many teams have already committed salary to Dominican players for next year who have not reached their 16th birthday yet, so Roberts opportunity to earn a big bonus will be restricted after June 15th of this year.

The Cuban player who signed is Jose Miguel Fernandez. He has been floating around tryout camps for the last two years since his defection. The 28 year old signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for a meager bonus of $200,000. His signing may have been delayed by his attempts to get a greater bonus. The reality is Fernandez is a second baseman who will not hit for a lot of power or steal a lot of bases. His defense lacks gold glove quality. His hope is that he hits for high average with his ability to make consistent contact. He may earn a job as a starting second baseman, but he will put up very vanilla results. If he was flexible enough to play a number of different positions he could fit in as a utility player, but he has been mostly a second baseman.

In the 2013 World Baseball Classic Fernandez wowed the scouts with his .524 average. His big contribution is if he can hit line drives that will keep his average in the neighborhood of .300. The fact he has been inactive for two years, is 28 years old and will need at least a half a season in the minor leagues could be three strikes against him achieving a major league career. In his last year in Cuba he was voted the top offensive second baseman after hitting .326 with five homeruns and 42 RBIs.

The Dodgers have had limited success after signing middle infielders from Cuba with large bonuses. Alexander Guerrero left for Japan and Erisbel Arruebarrena saw one limited season in the majors in 2014 where he hit .195 in 45 at bats. Both players created more headaches for the team with their personality traits. The Dodgers suspended Erisbel for most of the season in 2015 and 2016 so his playing time has been limited. The Dodgers eventually released Guerrero and once no other major league teams appeared interested in signing him he has taken his skills to Japan.

Angels and Dodgers Roster by the Draft

Monday, November 14th, 2016

Myworld has been going back to the 2005 draft to the present to see what kind of rosters major league teams would have if they were reliant on only domestic players for their roster. Today we look at the Dodgers and Angels, who both have a better roster when you consider players they drafted late but did not sign. Both teams have drafted the same players on two occasions. The Dodgers have had some horrendous drafts when the only players who made a major league roster were players they did not sign.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

2005 - Sean O’Sullivan (3) RHP, Brian Matusz (4 - DNS) LHP, Peter Bourjos (12) OF, Deunte Heath (23 - DNS) RHP, Chris Davis (35 - DNS) 1B, Buster Posey (50 - DNS) C

2006 - Hank Conger (1) C, Jordan Walden (12) RHP

2007 - Matt Harvey (3 - DNS) RHP, Andrew Romine (5) UTL, Efren Navarro (50) 1B

2008 - Tyler Chatwood (2) RHP, Will Smith (7) LHP, Taylor Jungman (24 - DNS) RHP, John Hicks (31 - DNS) C, Kyle Hendricks (39 - DNS) RHP

2009 - Randall Grichuck (1) OF, Mike Trout (1) OF, Tyler Skaggs (1) LHP, Garrett Richards (1) RHP, Pat Corbin (2) LHP, David Carpenter (9) RHP

2010 - Kaleb Cowart (1) 3B, Cam Bedrosian (1) RHP, Josh Osich (7 - DNS) LHP, Kole Calhoun (8) OF, A.J. Schugel (25) UTL

2011 - C.J. Cron (1) 1B, Jett Bandy (31) C

2012 - R.J. Alvarez (3) RHP, Michael Roth (9) LHP

2013 - NONE

2014 - Sean Newcomb (1) LHP

Roster

C - Buster Posey, Hank Conger, John Hicks, Jett Bandy

1B - Chris Davis, C.J. Cron, Efren Navarro

2B - A.J. Schugel

3B - Kaleb Cowart

SS - Andrew Romine

OF - Mike Trout, Randal Grichuck, Kole Calhoun, Peter Bourgos

SP - Kyle Hendricks, Matt Harvey, Garrett Richards, Pat Corbin, Tyler Skaggs, Sean Newcomb

RP - Cam Bedrosian, Sean O’Sullivan, Brian Matusz, Deunte Heath, Jordan Walden, Tyler Chatwood, Will Smith, Taylor Jungmann, David Carpenter, Josh Osich, R.J. Alvarez, Michael Roth

Los Angeles Dodgers

2005 - Luke Hochevar (1 - DNS) RHP, Jody Mercer (26 - DNS), Justin Wilson (37 - DNS), Tony Cruz (42 - DNS) C, Chase d’Arnaud (44 - DNS) SS

2006 - Clayton Kershaw (1) LHP, Bryan Morris (1) RHP, Roberto Perez (29 - DNS) C, Aaron Barrett (44 - DNS) RHP, Paul Goldschmidt (49 - DNS) 1B

2007 - Rob Rasmussen (27 - DNS), Matt Szczur (38 - DNS) OF

2008 - Dee Gordon (4) 2B, Nathan Eovoldi (11) RHP, Danny Coulombe (17 - DNS) LHP, Allen Webster (18) RHP, Jett Bandy (41 - DNS) C

2009 - Richie Shaffer (25 - DNS) 3B, Stephen Piscotty (45 - DNS) OF/1B, Christian Walker (49 - DNS) OF/1B

2010 - Zach Lee (1) RHP, Kevin Gausman (6 - DNS) RHP, Joc Pederson (11) OF, Scott Schebler (26) OF, Shawn Tolleson (30) RHP

2011 - Chris Reed (1) LHP

2012 - Corey Seager (1) SS, Paco Rodriguez (2) LHP, Ross Stripling (5) RHP, Jharel Cotton (20) RHP, Danny Coulombe (25) LHP

2013 - Jose Deleon (24) RHP

2014 - Brock Stewart (6) RHP

Roster

C - Tony Cruz, Roberto Perez, Jett Bandy

1B - Paul Goldschmidt, Christian Walker

2B - Dee Gordon

3B - Richie Shaffer, Chase d’Arnaud

SS - Corey Seager, Jody Mercer

OF - Joc Pederson, Stephen Piscotty, Scott Schebler, Matt Szczur

SP - Clayton Kershaw, Luke Hochevar, Nathan Eovaldi, Kevin Gausman, Jharel Cotton, Jose Deleon

RP - Justin Wilson, Bryan Morris, Aaron Barrett, Rob Rasmussen, Danny Coulombe, Allen Webster, Zach Lee, Shawn Tolleson, Chris Reed, Paco Rodriguez, Ross Stripling, Brock Stewart

Right Handed Starting Pitcher Prospect Review

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

Just like shortstops there were a number of right handed starting pitchers to review so myworld extended it to the top 20 prospects in this category. The below list was the top 20 prospects as rated by myworld.

1. Lucas Giolito (Nationals) - The top pitching prospect struggled with his command. He dominated minor league hitters splitting time between AA and AAA but when promoted to the Nationals struggled, walking more hitters than he struck out (11/10). When the Nationals picked a starter to pitch in the bullpen in relief it was Reynaldo Lopez, who myworld had rated 28th. Gio Gonzalez will probably be gone (the Nationals not picking up his option) so it will be a battle between Reynaldo and Lucas for the fifth spot, leaving the Nationals without a lefty in the rotation. Both throw in the mid-90s so it becomes a luxury of riches with the loser getting an opportunity to prove himself by mid-season, when Strasburg is due to go on the DL.

2. Alex Reyes (Cardinals) - A 50 game drug of abuse suspension delayed his appearance in the starting rotation for the Cardinals. If they had him in the rotation at the beginning of the year they may have made the playoffs. He was pretty dominating, first in relief and then in the rotation when he was promoted to the Cardinals. Command issues were a problem with a walk every two innings. Expect him to be in the rotation next season.

3. Tyler Glasnow (Pirates) - Another pitcher with command issues which prevented him from making the rotation at the beginning of the season. He had success in AAA (1.87 ERA) despite walking 62 hitters in just 111 innings. The opposition hit only .148 against him and he struck out 133. Those command issues did not do so well when promoted to the Pirates (4.91 ERA with more hits than innings pitched and not as great a whiff rate). In spring training he will compete for a spot in the rotation and the improvement he shows with his command will determine whether he makes the rotation. He has swing and miss stuff if he can improve the location of his pitches.

4. Anderson Espinoza (Padres) - The Red Sox best prospect pitcher was traded to the Padres for Drew Pomeranz. Drew was more damaged than the Padres medical records showed and A.J. Preller was suspended for not disclosing the complete medical history of Pomeranz. The Red Sox still chose not to nullify the trade and Espinoza is still a Padre. The Red Sox may have been troubled by the struggles of Espinosa in Low A (4.38 ERA). He was not better in his seven starts with the Padres (4.78). He stands only 6′0″ so there is some durability concerns but at 18 years of age he still has a lot of time to mature. Because of his short stature and his triple digit fastballs there are a lot of comparisons to Pedro Martinez.

5. Francis Martes (Astros) - Another pitcher short of stature (6′1″) who throws a fastball in the triple digits. He pitched well in AA (3.30 ERA) striking out more than a batter per inning. He should start the 2017 season in AAA but it should not take him long to reach the Astros rotation by mid-season.

6. Jose Deleon (Dodgers) - Julio Urias was our top rated lefthanded starter. With all the injuries to the Dodgers rotation this season both got opportunities to start for the Dodgers. Urias had a little more success so this could leave Deleon with another season in AAA or starting the season in the Dodgers bullpen. He dominated in AAA (2.92 ERA with a .181 opposition average) so he has nothing to prove by repeating AAA. A lot will depend on his performance in spring training and the Dodgers needs.

7. Jose Berrios (Twins) - His starts in AAA showed the makings of an ace (2.51 ERA and .171 opposition average) but his major league opportunities were a disaster. He had trouble throwing strikes, walking almost a batter per inning and baseballs left the park with great regularity, coughing up a homerun every four innings of pitching. A good spring could earn him another opportunity in the rotation but expect him to begin the 2017 season in AAA. Success or injury in the rotation will give him another big league opportunity.

8. Robert Stephenson (Reds) - Another pitcher who can hit triple digits with his fastball. The Reds are in rebuilding mode so despite his struggles when called up he could still make the rotation with a good spring. He also had trouble keeping the ball in the park, giving up more than a homerun for each four innings of work. The Reds would have liked to see more minor league success (4.41 ERA in AAA) but 71 walks in just 137 innings spells command issues.

9. Jon Gray (Rockies) - The third pick in the 2013 draft started 28 games for the Rockies. His 4.5 plus ERA is credible considering the hitters atmosphere in Colorado. He should be a foundation for the Rockies rotation, perhaps inserting himself in the ace role in 2017.

10. Michael Fulmer (Tigers) - He almost saved the Tigers season, becoming the ace in the rotation. He tired a bit towards the end of the season as his innings pitched increased. Expect him to win the AL Rookie of the Year Award for 2016. Fulmer will also be a foundation in the Tigers rotation for the 2017 season.

11. Kenta Maeda (Dodgers) - Not really a rookie because of his success in Japan. He pitched well early in the season but the length of the major league season may have caught up with him. He averaged just over 5 innings per start but was the one Dodger that got over 30 starts. He was the number two starter behind Kershaw until the Dodgers acquired Rich Hill. He will be an important cog in the Dodgers rotation for 2017 despite a fastball that barely breaks 90.

12. Jorge Lopez (Brewers) - Jorge had a season to forget in AAA (6.81). He walked a lot of hitters and gave up more hits than innings pitched. With a good season he could have been promoted to the Brewers by mid-season. Instead, he saw more time in AA to build up his confidence with a little more success. The 2017 season will probably see him begin it in AAA and with success he could see a mid-season promotion.

13. Aaron Blair (Braves) - Another pitcher who struggled in his 14 starts with the Braves. Blair was one of the players the Diamondbacks gave up for Shelby Miller. As hard as it was Blair had a worst season than Miller. His AAA numbers were not impressive and myworld saw a back end of the rotation pitcher when we watched him pitch in the spring. With all the talented young pitchers the Braves have in their farm system it would not surprise myworld to see the Braves attempt to trade him.

14. Luis Ortiz (Brewers) - One of the players the Brewers acquired in the Jonathan Lucroy trade. He pitched in AA and seemed to be pretty easy to hit (.290 opposition average) with less than impressive whiffs per innings pitched. He starred for the United States 18 and under team, winning the MVP award at the World Cup in 2014. Poor conditioning and weight issues could prevent him from achieving success as he gets older.

15. Brent Honeywell (Rays) - A screwball gives him a different pitch than other pitchers. He was the Rays 2015 version of Blake Snell without the shutout innings. Blake was rated as out second best lefthanded starter. Honeywell had success splitting his time between High A and AA, limiting the opposition to an average of just over .200. Expect him to join Snell in the Rays rotation by mid-season in 2017.

16.Jeff Hoffman (Rockies) - The first round pick of the Blue Jays, the Rockies acquired Hoffman last year for Troy Tulowitski. He made his major league debut late in the season but struggled, giving up lots of homeruns, lots of hits with a walk to whiff ratio of 1/1. Not a promising debut to see him start the 2017 season in the Rockies rotation. His minor league numbers were not impressive (4.02 ERA) so expect him to repeat AAA and get a major league callup upon the Rockies need and his success.

17. Dillon Tate (Yankees) - The Yankees picked him up in the Carlos Beltran trade. Tate was the Rangers first round pick in 2015. The Yankees used him in the bullpen to decrease his innings count. He struggled in the Rangers Low A rotation (5.12 ERA) but did better with the Yankees (3.12 ERA). Combined the opposition hit over .300 against him. He could repeat Low A, but expect the Yankees to promote him to High A. Don’t expect to see him in the Yankee rotation until 2018.

18. Carson Fulmer (White Sox) - The White Sox called him up early in the season to use him in the bullpen. His ERA neighbored a run per inning pitched so he was sent back down to AAA to finish his year in the minors as a starter. Expect him to spend the 2017 season in AAA until he can address his command issues. In AA he walked 51 hitters in his 87 innings of work. That will have to improve if he hopes to make the White Sox rotation.

19. Grant Holmes (Athletics) - The Dodgers traded their 2014 number one pick to the Athletics in the Rich Hill trade. At 6′1″ he is small in stature and his success in the minor leagues has been limited. After the Athletics acquired him they shifted him to the High A California League where the opposition tagged him for a .355 average. The Athletics could promote him to AA in 2017 but he is still a couple years away from making the Athletics rotation.

20. Jake Thompson (Phillies) - The Phillies are rebuilding and Jake could be part of their rotation next year. His numbers for the Phillies last year were poor with a 5.70 ERA and a 28/32 walk to whiff ratio. He also gave up one homerun for each five innings he pitched. Those kind of numbers will not keep him in a major league rotation. Expect him to start the season in AAA where he had success. His strikeout numbers are not impressive but he is not an over powering pitcher.

Dodgers Advance to National League Finals

Friday, October 14th, 2016

The San Francisco Giants have given the city of San Francisco three consecutive World Series in even numbered years. That streak ended this year. The Washington Nationals have given D.C. fans three consecutive first round eliminations in the playoffs for even numbered years. A playoff advance has not happened in D.C. since they last won the World Series in 1925. The Dodgers advance to the National League finals with a 4-3 win. The Nationals have to wait till next year, another playoff disappointment without the participation of Stephen Strasburg.

Myworld was part of the many that had to leave after the seventh inning when the game dragged on for three hours, with the seventh inning lasting over an hour. The public address announcer informed those at the game the time the last train would leave the Metro stop. Myworld was part of the 44,000 that chanted Metro sucks in front of a national television audience of millions. Metro management did not seem to have a concept for the bad branding that will haunt them for years when they made the decision not to run the trains late for a once in a lifetime playoff game. The Metro system is 1) expensive, 2) unreliable and 3) does not meet the needs of its customer base. If myworld has a choice of transport Metro is at the bottom of the list.

The game started well for the Nationals. An RBI single in the second scored Daniel Murphy, who evaded the throw from right fielder Josh Reddick to score the first run. That was a case of Bob Henley sending a runner and the ball beating him to the plate, but the throw was too much to the third base side and Murphy danced around the catchers sweep tag. Later in the inning the Nationals were able to put runners on first and third with just one out, beginning a series of missed opportunities to win the game. Jose Lobaton stranded the runner at third by striking out. Max Scherzer also struck out to end the inning.

In the third they again had a runner at third with one out. Trea Turner had singled, stole second and advanced to third on a fly ball from Bryce Harper to deep centerfield. Jayson Werth left him stranding at third with a strikeout. Daniel Murphy was intentionally walked and with Anthony Rendon at the plate Dodger manager Dave Roberts went with right hander Joe Blanton. On a 3-2 pitch Blanton got Rendon to fly to center field, part of 22 baserunners he stranded in this post season series.

Max Scherzer was sharp early in the game. His pitch count went up on a 13 pitch at bat by Jacob Turner in the fourth inning. He gave up his first hit to Josh Reddick to lead off the fifth. Two other hits would follow to load the bases with one out. Andre Ethier pinch hit for Blanton and struck out. Chase Utley grounded a ball up the middle but Danny Espinosa made a nice play to retire Utley.

The sixth inning saw Jayson Werth draw a lead off walk. With two out Ryan Zimmerman pulled a double down the left field line. The aggressive Bob Henley sent Werth even though Corey Seager had caught the relay throw from Andrew Toles 20 feet behind third base just as Werth was rounding the bag. Werth was thrown out by 20 feet. He did not quite know what to do when he saw the catcher with the ball and he was still so far from reaching home plate.

The bad karma for the Nationals continued when Joc Pederson went the other way and drove the first pitch of the top of the seventh inning over the left field fence into the Dodgers bullpen. Dusty Baker pulled Scherzer and brought in Mark Rzepcynski, who was one of six pitchers the Nationals called on in the inning. Carlos Ruiz had a pinch hit single past the diving glove of Anthony Rendon to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. Jacob Turner had the back breaking hit with a two run triple over the head of Trea Turner.

Myworld was gone after that. Chris Heisey pulled the Nationals to within one with a pinch hit two run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning. Jayson Werth would strike out with runners on first and third with one out in the same inning and Anthony Rendon strikes out with the bases loaded to end the inning.

The Nationals again made it interesting in the ninth putting two runners on base. The Dodgers brought in Clayton Kershaw, coming back from just one days rest and he got Daniel Murphy to pop out and Wilmer Difo to strike out to end the game. For the second time since 2012 the Nationals had to watch another team celebrate a playoff advance on their home field.

Game Notes: Bryce Harper got picked off at first base by Julio Urias in the fifth inning. Many who saw the pick off throw thought it was a balk as the foot of Urias seemed to step toward home plate. It was the sixth pickoff by Urias in the major leagues despite pitching only 18 innings…Josh Reddick almost misplayed a fly ball in the sixth inning from Daniel Murphy that could have resulted in a big inning if it got past him…Max Scherzer had thrown 98 pitches after the Joc Pederson homerun. Up until that time the Nationals bullpen had performed well. It was not to be in the crucial fifth game…Julio Urias appeared in the game to become the youngest Dodger in post season history at 20 years of age…Clayton Kershaw relieved Kenley Jansen to pick up the save. The only other save Kershaw has picked up in his career was in 2006 against the Gulf Coast Nationals in a minor league game. Kenley Jansen was his catcher in that game.

A Homerun by Lobaton Evens Series for Nationals

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

The Nationals were down 2-0 in the fourth. Jose Lobaton had grounded into a double play his first time up with the bases loaded and one out. This time he had runners on first and second with two outs. Rich Hill had struck out seven in three innings with the Nationals limited to two hits, struggling to hit his curveball. On a 1-1 pitch Lobaton drove a pitch into the left field bullpen to give the Nationals a 3-2 lead, resulting in an eventual 5-2 win.

The game started with a ground hog day first inning. Just like Friday Corey Seager hit a solo homerun to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. The Nationals came up and Rich Hill struck out the side, just as Clayton Kershaw had accomplished on Friday. The script changed a bit after the first inning.

Tanner Roark was not sharp. The Dodgers loaded the bases with one out in the second, third and fifth innings yet could not score. In the second Rich Hill struck out and Chase Utley grounded to first to end the first threat. Yasmani Grandal grounded into a double play in the third to spoil a potential big inning. Grandal struck out in the fifth and pinch hitter Howie Kendrick ripped a line drive to left field to strand three runners.

The Dodgers were able to score a run in the third. Justin Turner coaxed a one out walk from Roark, the second of three walks issued by Roark in his less than five innings of uninspiring work. Adrian Gonzalez singled and Josh Reddick followed lining a single into right field. The throw from Bryce Harper drifted to the first base side of home plate, allowing Turner to score and the runners to advance to second and third. Joc Pederson was walked intentionally, which loaded the bases to set up the double play ground out by Grandal.

In the bottom of the fourth a walk to Daniel Murphy and a pitch off the foot of Danny Espinosa, his second hit by pitch of the game put runners on first and second with two out. That set up the three run homer for Lobaton, only the third hit allowed by Hill.

The Nationals added another run in the fifth. Trea Turner led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a stolen base. Bryce Harper smoked a single to left field and the crowd moaned when the usually aggressive third base coach Bob Henley held Turner at third. Jayson Werth popped up to first for the first out. Daniel Murphy ran the count to 2-2 before coming through in the clutch with a line single into right center field to score Turner. Yasiel Puig attempted to throw to third to gun down Bryce Harper, but he had no chance. Anthony Rendon lifted a fly ball to shallow left. Bryce Harper tagged and tried to score on the weak armed Howie Kendrick in left, but the throw easily beat Harper to the plate to end the inning.

Murphy came through in the clutch again in the seventh inning. Jayson Werth lined a two out double into the left centerfield gap. Daniel Murphy went the other way with a single into left field. Werth raced home and this time the throw from Kendrick was too late.

The Nationals bullpen would shut down the Dodgers on one hit after the sixth. Adrian Gonzalez had a chance to give the Dodgers the lead in the sixth with runners on first and second with two out. Sammy Solis got him out on a fly ball into left field. That was the first of eight in a row retired by the Nationals bullpen. Mark Melancon gave up a one out single in the ninth but retired the next two hitters to give the Nationals the victory.

Game Notes: Nationals pitchers walked six hitters in the first six innings with one hit batsmen. The Dodgers stranded 11 runners in those first six innings…Andy LaRoche threw out the first pitch at the game with his son catching the pitch. LaRoche retired this year after the White Sox management cautioned LaRoche that he could not continue to bring his son to every game…Many conservatives refer to California as being the left coast. If you looked at the Dodger lineup and their rotation in the first two games everyone batted lefthanded or threw lefthanded. That is probably a first…The homerun by Corey Seager came on a 3-0 count. That is a lot of faith to put on a rookie…There were 89 fewer people at today’s game than Friday, 43,826 to 43,915…Danny Espinosa was hit in the elbow his first time up and in the foot his second time up. He struck out in his other two at bats meaning he has yet to make contact in fair territory in seven at bats…Wonder what Met fans are thinking with the two clutch hits by Daniel Murphy in this game? National fans were chanting MVP in his at bats. Last year Nats fans did not like Daniel Murphy.