Archive for the 'Nationals' Category

MyWorlds Top 100 - 20-11

Monday, March 20th, 2017

20. Michael Kopech RHP (White Sox) 7.83 - Michael was the Red Sox first round pick in the 2014 draft. He created quite a buzz last year when his fastball hit 105. The Red Sox made him part of the prospect haul of the White Sox in the David Price trade. Maturity issues are his big obstacle. He has two suspensions in his short career, one for drugs and one for fighting. His fastball is probably one of the top five in the minor leagues consistently hitting triple digits. He complements that fastball with a nice low 90s slider, with a change that he can throw as his third pitch. Single A hitters managed to hit only .147 against him and he was filthy with the strikeouts. Command could use improvement but that should come with time. The White Sox will probably start Kopech in AA. Because he has not eaten up a lot of innings they will be patient with his pitch count. If a major league promotion occurs it will not be until September.

19. Anderson Espinoza RHP (Padres) 8.05 - At 6′0″ with a fastball in the mid 90s the Domincan Espinoza is compared to Pedro Martinez. The Red Sox shelled out a $1.8 million bonus to sign him then traded him to the Padres for Drew Pomeranz. What separates Anderson from many pitchers his age is his ability to throw his change with a similar delivery as his fastball, giving him two plus pitches. His curve needs more consistency but it has the makings to be a plus pitch. Despite the glowing reports on his mid-90s fastball that can hit triple digits and a plus change hitters had success against him last year with a .276 opposition average at Low A. His small stature brings discussions of durability, which could result in a move to the pen as a closer. Expect Anderson to start the 2017 season in High A.

18. Nick Senzel 3B (Reds) 8.27 - Myworld has not seen much of Senzel. He was the Reds first round pick in the 2016 draft and to rise this high in many prospect rankings this early in his career is impressive. He has a college bat so a lot is already known about him. In his professional debut in Low A he hit .329. He also had a .982 OPS hitting seven homeruns. What was surprising was his 15 stolen bases, a lot for a player with average speed who plays the hot corner. More will be known about him as he rises up the minor league ladder and faces better pitching. A .415 OBA with a 32/45 walk to whiff ratio was also eye opening and his defensive tools should play out at third. As a college bat expect him to rise quickly in the minor leagues, with a start in High A and a promotion to AA if he continues to find success.

17. Willy Adames SS (Rays) 8.3 - The Tigers originally signed Adames but traded him to the Rays in their playoff drive to acquire David Price. Adames has a lot of upside with a bat that could hit for average and the power to hit for 20 plus homeruns. His tools should allow him to stay at short, though there is some question about his range. A strong arm and quick feet should help with that issue. The Rays have a shortstop opening and Adames hit .274 with a .802 OPS last year in AA. Myworld expects him to start the season in AAA but would not be surprised to see him with the major league club by mid-season.

16. Ozzie Albies 2B/SS (Braves) 8.38 - Ozzie was one reason the Braves felt they could trade Jose Peraza. The 20 year old from Curacao lost out on the shortstop job to Dansby Swanson and appears to be destined for second base. A late season injury last year may have prevented him from joining Dansby on the major league club. Ozzie has speed, the tools to play shortstop and the bat to stay near .300. What he lacks is power. An ability to draw walks with a .358 OBA between AA and AAA will allow him to hit at the top of the order to set the stage for the run producers. Myworld expects him to start his season in AAA with a quick callup when the Braves need help at second base or in a super utility role.

15. Tyler Glasnow RHP (Pirates) 8.68 - Tyler was a fifth round pick in 2012 but at 6′8″ with a lefty arm that hits the mid to upper 90s with his fastball his stock rose quickly. He also has a curve that misses bats and a change that is serviceable. His big issue is finding command. The opposition only hit .190 against him and he averaged over a strikeout per inning. Runners reached base consistently as he walks more than one hitter per two innings. In the major leagues his 4.24 ERA was inflated by a 13/24 walk to whiff ratio in just 23 innings. That lack of command also impacts hitters looking for the fastball when he gets behind in the count and major league hitters burned him for a .250 average. Expect him to start the 2017 season in AAA as he further tries to improve his command by working on a consistent delivery.

14. Rafael Devers 3B (Red Sox) 8.78 - Devers is one player the Red Sox tried to avoid having in conversations in trade talks. The Red Sox have hopes that he will take over the third base position when Pablo Sandoval is done. His lefthanded swing should find the .300 neighborhood with 30 plus homeruns an achievable goal. As a teenager in High A he slugged .448 with most of his power dedicated towards the gaps. As he matures and gets stronger those gap shots should get closer to the fences. His fielding at third will not win any gold gloves but it should do the job. If not a move to first is still a possibility. He lacks the foot speed to fit in the outfield. The 2017 season will see him do damage to AA pitchers.

13. Lucas Giolito RHP (White Sox) 8.82 - Lucas was a first round pick of the Nationals in 2012. Tommy John surgery prevented him from pitching but one start that year and in 2013 it was only rehab. He was considered the top pitching prospect entering the 2016 season but struggles against major league hitters in his major league debut dropped him down a notch. It also convinced the Nationals that they could include him in a trade for Adam Eaton. At 6′6″ with a fastball in the mid to high 90s Giolito can be intimidating. He also has a nice break to his curve and a dropping changeup that leads to a lot of swings and misses in the minor leagues. His velocity dropped when promoted to the major leagues and his command was poor with a 12/11 walk to whiff ratio. He also saw seven balls leave the park in just 21 innings of work, equaling the number of jacks he gave up in the minors in 115 innings. A good spring and a return to the high 90s in velocity could see him open the season in the White Sox rotation. The better bet is he starts the season in AAA.

12. Austin Meadows OF (Pirates) 8.83 - Austin was a first round pick of the Pirates in 2013. Injuries last season limited him to just 87 games. He did reach AAA but in 126 at bats he only hit .214 with a .297 OBA. The left handed stroke of Austin should hit for average as his .311 batting average in AA attests. His power should also come where he should hit 20 plus homeruns every year. The speed is there for him to steal 20 plus bases and cover centerfield, but the arm is below average so if centerfield is not a possibility a move to left would be an alternative. The Pirates outfield is a little crowded so expect Austin to spend his 2017 season in AAA. He is just a major injury away from getting a callup, or a Andrew McCutchen trade away if the Pirates should fall out of the playoff race.

11. Victor Robles OF (Nationals) 8.85 - Victor Robles has all five tools to make him a superstar. He will hit for average (.305 in low A), carries the potential power to hit 20 plus homeruns, has the foot speed to steal 50 plus bases and the tools and arm to play either center or right. At 19 years of age he held his own in High A, hitting .262 with a .354 OBA. A good work ethic and a leader in the clubhouse could add a sixth tool to his skills. It is difficult to watch these tools and show patience with him to allow him to develop in the minor leagues. With less than 200 at bats it may be best for Robles to start the season in High A with a promotion to AA once he achieves success.

Stevenson With Walkoff Hit for Nationals

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

Andrew Stevenson lined a single over the drawn in outfielder’s heads to drive in Wilmer Difo with the winning run to give the Nationals a 5-4 win over the Astros. Myworld was supposed to be in Miami to watch Colombia take on the Dominican Republic, but we couldn’t deal with a third day of snarling traffic and searching for parking that we went to the quiet, sedate surroundings of Nationals/Astros spring training complex. We traded the party atmosphere and cleavage for controlled applause and tank tops.

It was not quite as noisy and there were no instruments blaring but they were still playing baseball. We left for the park fifteen minutes before game time, there was no line for the large lot that charged for parking and it was $5 cheaper than parking in the back yard of a house. We would have arrived inside the park at game time if we didn’t pay by credit card and they had to wait for paper to print out my receipt. Of course, they only had to accommodate for 5,400 while the Marlins had to prepare for 36,000.

The Nationals scored their first three runs on homeruns. Adam Eaton hit a solo shot in the fourth inning that at first appeared to be a little pop up but carried over the fence just inside the left field foul pole. Bryce Harper hit a ball a little farther in the fifth, a two run shot that carried to the top of the grassy berm in right field.

The Astros bounced back in the top of the seventh with one swing of the bat by one of their hottest hitters this spring A.J. Reed. He came into the game late, replacing Josh Reddick. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Reed. Jacob Turner continued to struggle to throw strikes, fell behind to Reed 3-1 and he drove the next pitch into the right field bullpen for a grand slam homerun to give the Astros a 4-3 lead. It was his third homerun of the spring.

Drew Ward tied the game in the eighth with a two out opposite field homerun down the left field line. In the ninth a Pedro Severino lead off single got the ninth inning started. Wilmer Difo pinch ran for him, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored when Stevenson hit his single over the drawn in outfield.

Game Notes: Ryan Zimmerman continues to hit .000 for the spring. He grounded out to third twice and walked. Zimmerman is 0 for 5 with three ground outs to third and two walks since we’ve watched him…Jack Mayfield looked good at short, diving at a ball up the middle to rob Corban Joseph of a hit. Mayfield also singled into right field to load the bases for Reed…Joe Nathan had a jump in velocity the second time myworld saw him. His fastball hit 91 but he still had trouble controlling the pitch. He walked one and ran three ball counts to two hitters…Jacob Turner was hitting 97 with his fastball, but he also had trouble finding the plate. He gave up six hits and four runs in less than three innings. He did strike out four…There were pockets of “Nats. Nats. Nats. Woo.” shouted around the stadium, but it was not in unison.

Nationals Battle Marlins to a Tie

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Prior to the WBC game between Dominican Republic and Canada myworld was in West Palm Beach to watch the Washington Nationals tie the Miami Marlins 2-2. It was why we were late to the WBC game. Neither team got a hit until the Nationals Adam Eaton led off the fourth with a single. Nothing worse than watching a tie in a baseball game.

The 5′9″ Dillon Peters threw three shutout innings. He walked leadoff hitter Trea Turner but retired his next nine batters. A.J. Cole worked four innings without giving up a hit. He walked the leadoff batter in the third inning.

The Marlins scored their only two runs off Joe Nathan in the fifth. His fastball was in the high 80s with Destin Hood doubling off him while singles by Ramon Cabrera and Adeiny Hechevarria drove in the two runs. Dee Gordon grounded into a double play to end the inning. Joe needs to show more if he wants to make the Nationals roster.

The Nationals scored their two runs on a solo leadoff homerun by Bryce Harper in the sixth and another solo leadoff homerun by Derek Norris in the seventh. The Harper homeruns was a line drive into left field.

Game Notes: For a small pitcher Dillon Peters threw hard, hitting 92-94 miles per hour with his fastball. That is more than enough velocity for a lefthander. He threw only 13 pitches in the second and third innings…Ryan Zimmerman is still not hitting. The spring is too long for him but he may need that length to get his first hit…Adam Lind has not gotten off to a good start. He had two strikeouts, swinging and missing or taking 6 pitches for the two strikeouts. It is early in the spring but his bat is very slow…The Presidents race for spring training has William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover and Calvin Coolidge, or the B-team Presidents…Screech walks around the field trying to entertain the crowd. One group called him the big chicken…Moises Sierra was caught off second looking at the third base coach to see if he should advance to third on a single. Clint Robinson threw behind him to pick Moises off. The Marlins third base coach was not too pleased with the baserunning blunder.

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.

Top European Prospects

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

There is one graduate from the 2016 list which is a good thing for Europe. Max Kepler put up decent numbers for the Twins and will get another opportunity to start in right field. The current list is filled with players from Curacao (a colony of the Netherlands). Ozzie repeats as the number one prospect on this list. There are only two other countries represented in this list, the other eight are from the Netherlands. Perhaps next year Netherlands gets its own billing.

1. Ozzie Albies 2B/SS (Braves) Curacao - Ozzie was the number one last year and if not for an elbow injury he may have made his major league debut with a September callup. The tools are there to play shortstop but the Braves have chosen Dansby Swanson to play there. Ozzie will move to second base. The speed is there to steal 20 plus bases per year. Coming into the 2017 season his career minor league average was .310. With the combination of speed and high OBA Ozzie could find himself perched in the leadoff position for the Braves with a good spring.

2. Carter Kieboom SS (Nationals) Netherlands - His father was born in the Netherlands, moving to the States at 17, His brother Spencer was drafted by the Nationals a couple years ago, but Carter was a first round pick. Carter also plays the middle of the diamond while Spencer is a catcher. Carter has all the tools to play shortstop and his bat showed some life with a .452 slugging percentage. The one area of concern was his tendency to strike out in bunches. Last year he struck out 43 times in just 36 games. Expect Carter to start the 2017 season in Low A Hagerstown

3. Davydas Noverauskas RHP (Pirates)Lithuania - Myworld is not aware of any major leaguer born in Lituania. Dovydas could be the first. The Pirates spotted him at a European academy in Italy and signed him for $60,000. His fastball climbs the radar guns into the high 90s and he mixes in a slider and cutter. Last year he pitched in relief moving all the way to AAA. While he limited the opposition to a .129 average in AA, in AAA that shot up to .308. He was suspended last year for a week towards the end of the season because of his involvement in a fight at a bar. With a good season next year could be his major league debut.

4. Marten Gasparini 2B/SS (Royals) Italy - Marten broke the signing bonus record held by Max Kepler, the Italian signing for $1.3 million in 2013. He has had trouble keeping up with the hype, last year hitting only .198 in his first year of full season ball. His actions are smooth at shortstop but he needs to develop some consistency fielding the ball, last season committing 48 errors. Those errors may force a move to the outfield where centerfield could be a pretty good fit. He could repeat Low A for the first part of the 2017 season, then get promoted once he finds some success.

5. Ray-Patrick Didder (Braves) Aruba - Aruba is also a Dutch colony. Didder has the speed to play centerfield and the arm to slot into right field. The one tool he is missing is power, but that does not prevent him from lining the ball into the gaps. With his lack of power he needs to show he can play centerfield with the corners reserved for the outfielders who show the power. Last year the speed of Didder copped him 37 stolen bases in 49 attempts.

6. Juremi Profar 2B/SS (Brewers) Curacao - His younger brother Jurickson was at one time the top prospect in baseball until injuries delayed his major league career by two years. Juremi does not have the range or speed of Jurickson to fit at shortstop. In fact most of his tools fall below his older brother. Last year he did break out for some power, hitting a career high 13 homeruns with a .473 slugging average. He has never stolen more than one base in any league. If Juremi can hit .250 with 20 plus homeruns he has a major league career ahead of him.

7. Chris Pieters RHP (Cubs) Curacao - Chris signed out of Curacao for $350,000 in 2011 as a lefthanded pitcher. He was converted to a hitter in 2015 and showed enough promise the Cubs decided to keep him. The arm is good enough for him to slot in any outfield position. While he does not have great speed he was good enough to steal 20 bases last year in 23 attempts. There was more swing and miss in his bat last season than he had in the 2015 season. He also drew fewer walks. Expect Chris to start the 2017 season in Low A.

8. Stijin Vandermeer SS (Astros) Netherlands - Myworld saw him play in the Honkball tournament in Haarlem last year. He was voted the MVP of the tournament. With Carlos Correa cemented at short for the next ten or so years Stijin may want to learn to play another position other than shortstop. Stijin was recently named to the Dutch roster for the WBC to replace outfielder Chris Garia. Last year the 34th round pick hit .329 in his 29 game professional debut. He had a nice 7/12 walk to whiff ratio.

9. Spencer Kieboom C (Nationals) Netherlands - Spencer was drafted in the fifth round of the 2012 draft. The Nationals have a number of good young catchers ahead of him in Pedro Severino, Jakson Reetz and Raudy Read. Spencer continues to be a better glove man than bat, hitting only .230 with a .314 slugging. He will probably always be considered a back up catcher type if the bat does not improve. His ability to make contact continues to excel with a 43/61 walk to whiff ratio, but that contact does not result in hits.

10. Martin Cervenka C (Indians) Czech Republic - We were impressed with what we saw of Cervenka when we watched him in a tournament in Taiwan two years ago. He was one of the better hitters on the team and a leader of the pitching staff. Unfortunately, the bat did not translate to the minor leagues. Until this year when Martin hit .263. There is little to brag about from the power side but give him a couple more years to see if he gets increased playing time. The 2017 season could be his make or break year. With Francisco Mejia behind the plate the best hope Martin has for the major leagues is as a backup.

2016 top European Prospects

Breakout Prospects and Prospects to Watch - NL East

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

This is the last group of prospects myworld will look at who have a chance to make 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 East.

Atlanta Braves

Breakout Prospect (Dansby Swanson) - The Diamondbacks are going to regret trading Swanson to the Braves for an established pitcher Shelby Miller who struggled last year. Even if Miller bounces back in 2017 Swanson will be the starting shortstop for the Braves. He got a brief 100 at bat callup last year and hit .302 with an .803 OPS. Most teams would trade a starting pitcher to get a shortstop who can hit .300 or better. Defensively he is not a stellar shortstop, but he has the tools to play the position. If a better shortstop comes along his bat is good enough to move to second or third, though his lack of immense power will limit him to the low teens in homeruns. Hitting doubles in the gap will be his forte.

Prospects to Watch (Balbino Fuenmayor 1B, Touki Touissant RHP and Max Fried LHP) - With Freddie Freeman at first base and no DH Balbino will not get a big opportunity to play. He was the Independent League player of the year a couple years ago when the Royals picked him up. Last year he struggled with his bat so the Braves were able to pick him up on a waiver claim. An injury mid-season that ended his season in 2015 probably prevented him from making his major league debut after he had a monstrous season in batting average and homeruns. Myworld really likes the long limbed Touki who the Diamondbacks also traded to the Braves to rid themselves of a large contract (Bronson Arroyo). Dave Stewart did not think Touki would ever make it to the major leagues, but myworld begs to differ. His command must improve (71 walks in 132.1 innings) but you have to like his tools. The curveball may be his best pitch, but his fastball can zip past the plate at 95 miles per hour. If he can’t develop a third pitch the bullpen is always an option. Max Fried was a high school teammate of Lucas Giolito. Scouts flocking to see Giolito pitch were also impressed with Fried. When arm problems and scholarship offers scared scouts away from Giolito the Padres drafted Fried in the first round before Giolito was drafted. Tommy John surgery could have been the motivating factor for the Padres to trade Fried to the Braves during their fire sale, but Justin Upton was not going to be traded away cheap by the Braves. Fried was able to get 20 starts last year after being restricted to just five in the 2014 season and missing all of 2015. A low 90s fastball packs plenty of heat for a lefthander and his curveball is one of the best. Last year he pitched in Low A so expect him to begin in High A with a promotion to AA if he does well.

Miami Marlins

Breakout Prospect (Tayron Guerrero RHP) - Myworld was going to say Luis Castillo but the Marlins traded him a second time. They originally traded him to the Padres last year but got him back after Colin Rea came back as damaged goods. This year they traded Luis Castillo to the Reds as part of the package for Dan Straily. Myworld is not impressed with the rest of their farm system for a break out major leaguer. Tayron Guerrero is a pitcher to be watched for the bullpen. The 6′8″ Colombian throws hard, hitting triple digits with his fastball. As long as he continues to pitch out of the bullpen he could be a quick callup.

Prospects to Watch (Destin Hood OF) - Tayron was our player to watch, but we’ve bumped him up so our prospect to watch is Destin Hood. Once a highly touted prospect with the Nationals he made his major league debut with the Marlins last year. His .240 batting average did not overwhelm last year and he had some defensive lapses. With a good spring he should make the team as a fifth outfielder behind Ichiro. Stanton is also always getting hurt so he could be insurance against that. His defense is best suited for a corner.

New York Mets

Breakout Prospect (Ahmed Rosario SS) - Ahmed is a fireplug who will beat you many different ways. Power is the one tool he currently lacks, but as he matures he should hit in the teens in homerun. The Mets have Asdrubal Cabrera signed through next year but Ahmed is probably the better defensive shortstop. All Ahmed is lacking is consistency. The bat is also filled with explosiveness with many of his future hits destined for the gaps. If the Mets fail to contend Cabrera will be traded and the job will be given to Rosario. It has been a long time since the Mets have had a natural shortstop who could also hit. Ruben Tejeda was the last Met true shortstop, but he lacked the offensive swag.

Prospect to Watch (Thomas Szapucki LHP) - Myworld has to admit we don’t know a lot about Szapucki. The lefthander was a fifth round pick in 2015 but an opposition batting average of .145 with 86 whiffs in 52 innings is pretty impressive. At the lower levels pitchers with good breaking pitches can amass a lot of strikeouts but Szapucki has good velocity on his fastball, hitting 92-96. A full season of work in Low A will determine whether his body of work in 2016 was a mirage or the real thing. The Mets always seem to have a knack for finding good pitchers from the lower levels of the draft.

Philadelphia Phillies

Breakout Prospect (Jorge Alfaro C) - Injuries have prevented him from making a major league impact. The Phillies already have a pretty good catcher in Cameron Rupp, but Alfaro has more tools in his tool box. The bat has power and the arm is a rifle that will limit the run game. The intangibles need to be improved such as calling a game and managing a pitching staff but that will come as he stays healthy to catch more games. A 22/105 walk to whiff ratio is a bit worrisome, which could result in a low batting average. He also struck out in close to 50 percent of his major league at bats. Jorge is the second player from Colombia on this list.

Prospect to Watch (Mickey Moniak OF) - He was the first player drafted in 2016. Those kind of players draw your attention. A .409 slugging average and one homerun gives myworld the impression power may be lacking so if his defense is not of centerfield quality he could be a bust. He runs well and makes consistent hard contact but the ball does not carry over the fence. For 2017 the Phillies should give him an opportunity for a full season league. The high school pick is still a couple years away from the major leagues,

Washington Nationals

Breakout Prospect (Koda Glover RHP) - The Nationals need a closer and Glover throws hard, hitting the high 90s with his fastball. The Nationals will probably not trust the closer role to a rookie, but expect him to get in a lot of innings as the set up reliever before the season is over. Last year he was promoted to three different levels before making his major league debut. At each level his strikeouts to innings pitched ratio was reduced but overall the opposition could only hit him at a .197 clip. That continued to ring true in the major leagues with a .200 opposition average but only 16 whiffs in 19.2 innings. At 6′5″ and 225 he is a pretty imposing force on the mound.

Prospect to Watch (Carter and Spencer Kieboom SS/C and Victor Robles OF) - Most teams wanted Victor Robles when the Nationals looked at enhancing their playoff roster. Victor is that five tool athlete with gold glove defensive ability and the speed to steal 50 plus bases, ideal for a leadoff hitter. The power is still lacking in his game but the Nationals expect it will break out once he matures. When Bryce Harper is ready to sign his $400 million free agent contact with the Yankees Victor will be ready to take his place with an outfield role in centerfield. The Kieboom brothers have a father who played baseball in the Netherlands. Carter is considered the better prospect after being drafted in the first round last year. Carter has the tools to play shortstop, but that defensive capability will not win him any gold gloves. His bat will carry him to a major league lineup. His older brother Spencer is a fringe prospect who was drafted in the fifth round in 2012. He is still down a couple levels in the totem pole of catchers ready to make a major league impact. His defense behind the plate is average, but his bat is lacking and his speed is non-existent. It would be nice if the two of them make it to the Nationals major league roster, but only Carter really has a chance for that.

Dominican Winter Wonders to Watch in 2017

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Below are some of the players to watch in the Dominican Republic winter leagues. They are either highly considered prospects or veterans having a good winter that they hope will bring some attention to them when they enter spring training in 2017.

Rafael Bautista (Nationals/Escojido) CF - He will not hit for a lot of power but if he can hit for average with his speed and defense he could win the starting job in centerfield for the Nationals, moving Trea Turner to second or shortstop. With Leones he is hitting .314 with eight stolen bases in ten attempts. That could get him some playing time for the Nationals.

Manuel Margot (Padres/Toros) CF - Margot has some pop to go with his speed. A good winter could give the Padres a tough choice between him and Travis Jankowski for the centerfield starting job. In the Dominican he is hitting .263 with two homeruns and eight stolen bases in 9 attempts. He could fit in the three hole if he shows double digit pop or the leadoff spot if he can improve his patience at the plate. In a brief major league callup he did not walk once in his 37 at bats.

Dylan Cozens (Phillies/Aguilas) RF - Last year Cozens hit 40 homeruns to lead the Eastern League. It is not easy hitting homeruns in the Dominican, but his four lead the Dominican league. Unfortunately, the more experienced pitchers are finding the holes in his swing resulting in 32 strikeouts in 85 at bats for a .165 average. They are passionate about their game in the Dominican and Dylan will have to be more consistent if he hopes to stay on the roster. He is 0 for his last 13 but appears to have gone home for the winter, his last game on the 21st.

Rhys Hoskins (Phillies/Gigantes) 1B - They are playing for different teams in the Dominican but Rhys and Dylan hope to both be playing for the Phillies by September 2017. Rhys is tied with Dylan for the Dominican homerun lead. Last year his 38 homeruns were second in the Eastern League to his teammate Dylan. He is making better contact than Dylan with just 14 whiffs in 76 at bats but his .224 average is still disappointing. He is 0 for his last 14 and may be home for the winter, his last game on the 22nd.

Willy Adames (Rays/Licey) SS - Willy has struggled early this season with a .167 average. Of his five hits none have gone for extra bases. He has the tools to play shortstop and showed a potent bat in AA last year. The 30 at bats are a small sample size but they could be indicators that he needs another year in the minor leagues before he takes over the Rays shortstop job.

Alec Asher (Phillies/Gigantes) RHP - He made a nice end of the season debut with the Phillies with a 2.28 ERA in five starts. He is achieving the same amount of success with a 2.14 ERA in eight starts for the Gigantes. Right handed hitters are batting only .145 against him. Myworld expects his last start was on the 27th, his worst start of the winter when he coughed up three runs in four innings.

Orioles and Nationals Drafts from 2005

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

Myworld took a look at the drafts of the Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles since 2005 to see what team they would have for 2017 of major league players if their roster was exclusively limited to drafted players. Myworld chose 2005 because that was the year the Montreal Expos move to D.C.

Washington Nationals

2005 - Ryan Zimmerman (1) 1B, Justin Maxwell (4) OF, Marco Estrada (6) RHP, Scott Barnes (43 - DNS) RHP

2006 - Khris Davis (29 - DNS) OF, Brad Peacock (41) RHP

2007 - Ross Detwiler (1) LHP, Josh Smoker (1) LHP, Jordan Zimmerman (2) RHP, Steven Souza (3) OF, Derek Norris (4) C

2008 - Destin Hood (2) OF, Danny Espinosa (3) SS, Tommy Milone (10) LHP, Alex Dickerson (48 - DNS) OF

2009 - Stephen Strasburg (1) RHP, Drew Storen (1) RHP, Michael Taylor (6) OF, Nate Karns (12) RHP, Marcus Stroman (10 - DNS) RHP

2010 - Bryce Harper (1) OF, Sammy Solis (2) LHP, A.J. Cole (4) RHP, Robbie Ray (12) LHP

2011 - Anthony Rendon (1) 3B, Alex Meyer (1) RHP, Billy Burns (32) OF, Brian Goodwin (1) OF

2012 - Lucas Giolito (1) RHP

2015 - Koda Glover (8) RHP

Baltimore Orioles

2005 - Nolan Reimold (2) OF, David Hernandez (16) RHP

2006 - Pedro Beato (1) RHP, Zach Britton (3) LHP, Tony Watson (17 - DNS) LHP

2007 - Matt Wieters (1) C, Jake Arrieta (5) RHP, Russell Wilson (41 - DNS) QB

2008 - Brian Matusz (1) LHP, Caleb Joseph (7) C, Chris Hermann (10 - DNS) C, Oliver Drake (43) RHP

2009 - Mychal Givens (2) RHP, Tyler Naquin (33 - DNS) OF, Mike Flacco (31) Brother of Joe QB

2010 - Manny Machado (1) 3B/SS

2011 - Dylan Bundy (1) RHP, Mike Wright (3) RHP, Tyler Wilson (10) RHP, Zach Davies (26) RHP

2012 - Kevin Gausman (1) RHP, Christian Walker (4) 1B/OF

2013 - Trey Mancini (8) 1B, Donnie Hart (27) RHP

Washington Nationals Lineup/Roster

C - Derek Norris

1B - Ryan Zimmerman

2B - empty, but lots of outfielders who could try second base

SS - Danny Espinosa

3B - Anthony Rendon

OF - Khris Davis, Bryce Harper, Steven Souza, Justin Maxwell, Michael Taylor, Billy Burns, Brian Goodwin and Destin Hood

SP - Marco Estrada, Jordan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Marcus Stroman, Robbie Ray, Scott Barnes and Lucas Giolito

RP - Brad Peacock, Ross Detwiler, Tommy Milone, Alex Meyer, Drew Storen, Nate Karns, Sammy Solis, A.J. Cole and Koda Glover

Baltimore Orioles Lineup/Roster

C - Matt Wieters, Caleb Joseph, Chris Hermann

1B - Trey Mancini

2B - empty

3B - empty

SS - Manny Machado

OF - Nolan Reimold, Tyler Naquin, Christian Walker

SP - Jake Arriata, Dylan Bundy, Zach Davies, Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright

RP - David Hernandez, Pedro Beato, Zach Britton, Tony Watson, Brian Matusz, Oliver Drake, Mychal Givens, Tyler Wilson, Donnie Hart

QBs - Russell Wilson, Mike Flacco

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.