Archive for the 'Nationals' Category

Corbin Leads Nats to Series Win Over Giants

Friday, April 19th, 2019

With only Doolittle effective in the Nationals bullpen, getting eight innings from Patrick Corbin was critical. He gave them one out short of eight and the Nationals bullpen was able to hold off the Giants for the last four outs to preserve a 4-2 win. Even Sean Doolittle gave up a run in the last inning to make the game interesting. For Patrick Corbin it was his first win as a National.

The Nationals scored off Drew Pomeranz in each inning, except the second. A two out walk to Juan Soto in the first was followed by a Ryan Zimmerman blast over the right fielder’s head. Steven Duggar tried to make a diving catch but came up short. Soto was able to easily score from first.

Pomeranz retired the Nats in order in the second. In the third he retired the first two hitters but Anthony Rendon lined a double off the left field wall, just a couple feet short of finding the bleachers. Juan Soto went opposite field, hitting another ball over the head of Brandon Belt to one hop the wall, scoring Rendon.

Wilmer Difo blasted a two out homer in the fourth, a ball that carried at least into the 15th row in left field. The Nationals scored their last run in the fifth on a bases loaded walk to Yan Gomes. That finished the day for Pomeranz.

Myworld was gone after the fifth. We saw seven of his nine whiffs. There were also stellar defensive plays by Wilmer Difo at short and Ryan Zimmerman at first.

Nats Notes: Interesting Brandon Belt was playing left field and Tyler Austin was at first base. Austin was an outfielder in the minor leagues. Belt has spent most of his time at first base and lacks the speed to really cover the outfield. Austin had just returned from the disabled list after a sore left elbow and is not ready yet for the long throws from the outfield. Belt had two balls travel over his head for doubles and threw to third, allowing Victor Robles to advance to second base. In defense of Belt, Crawford was in front of third acting as the cutoff…It was spring break and with a day game there were a lot of kids at the ball park. Attendance was 26,085…Again, the Nats took a lot of called third strikes, including Ryan Zimmerman with the bases loaded and one out. Myworld would prefer they take a more aggressive approach at the plate, rather than glare at the umpire when the strike call does not go their way…Bruce Bochy was tossed in the fifth for arguing a third strike call against Brandon Belt. It was pretty automatic since he went out immediately to argue the call. Two manager ejections for arguing balls and strikes, though Martinez was tossed from the dugout. For Bochy it was his first ejection after 25 years as manager…Brandon Belt was later tossed in the seventh inning for arguing strikes.

Giants Pounce on Listless Nats

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

Perception means a lot. The Nationals are noted for their less than inspiring play on the field. They took a lot of called strikes, gave the umpire disapproving glares but continued to take too many pitches. Davey Martinez finally said something from the dugout that the umpire did not like and was tossed. He went out to say his peace, perhaps in an effort to motivate his troops. It failed. The Giants crushed the Nationals 7-3, their bullpen failing to hold the score to give the Nationals offense an opportunity to come back.

The Nationals struck first in the second inning. Wilmer Difo hustled a hit into left centerfield into a double. With one out Stephen Strasburg was given permission to swing the bat and he lined a pitch into right center that rolled to the wall to score Difo for a 1-0 lead. Dereck Rodriguez was too much for the Nationals after that, not getting a runner to second base in his five innings of work. Two tried, but Brian Dozier was caught stealing in the third and Victor Robles was caught in the fifth. A replay seemed to show Dozier had beaten his throw to second but the umpire watching the video did not agree.

Strasburg had a two hit shutout through four, striking out four. The wheels came off for him in the fifth. Evan Longoria led off the inning with a homerun into the right field bleachers. Steven Duggar deposited a Strasburg fastball into the left field bullpen for a two run shot to give the Giants a 3-1 lead. They tacked on another run in the sixth on a line drive from Brandon Belt into the Nationals bullpen in right field. Strasburg left after that inning, his ERA rising to 5.56.

In the seventh the Nationals brought in the new guy Austen Williams to help with their bullpen woes. It did not work. He walked Kevin Pillar, who stole second and was driven in by Gerardo Parra on a double down the left field line. Williams left without retiring a batter and Matt Grace and his double digit ERA came in to pitch. After striking out the first hitter he booted a grounder to put runners on first and third. Joe Panik executed a safety squeeze, Ryan Zimmerman turned to throw to first, but Dozier was late covering the bag. That put the Giants up 6-1.

In the bottom of the seventh Matt Adams blasted the first pitch from Sam Dyson just inside the right field foul pole into the second deck to lead off the inning. The Nationals tacked on another run when Adam Eaton grounded one just underneath the glove of Brandon Belt for a double. He scored on a Anthony Rendon single up the middle. That brought in Tony Watson to retire Juan Soto on a grounder to short to end the inning.

The Nationals had Trevor Rosenthal warming up in the bullpen. When they started to rally another pitcher began warming up, sending the signal that if the game got too close Rosenthal was not to be trusted. The game did not get close enough. Trevor came in, threw a first pitch strike and then hit Brandon Belt. He walked Brandon Crawford and heard the boos. Even Longoria struck out too derisive cheers. Kevin Pillar ran the count to 2-2 and blooped a single into right center to score Belt with another run. Trevor was able to retire the last two hitters, the last out recorded on a over the shoulder catch by Difo on a blooper into right center that appeared to be destined to be another hit. The Nationals players slapped Rosenthal on the back for completing the inning, even though he gave up one run, lowering his ERA to 40.50.

The Nationals bats were retired easily by Mark Melancon and Will Smith in the last two innings. Watching them they do not appear to have the talent to be a playoff club. The bullpen is weak and does not appear to have the capability to protect leads. This could force Martinez to leave his starters in too long, tiring them as the season wears down. They make too many base running errors and sloppy fundamentals in the field. In April they have not been a pretty team to watch.

Nats Notes: It was Jackie Robinson day. All the players wore number 42. That can be a nightmare for a score keeper to keep track of the changes on the field…The Nationals trotted out four relievers. When their day was done the ERAs for the four were Austen Williams (infinity), Matt Grace (8.53), Trevor Rosenthal (40.50) and Tony Sipp (13.50)…Brian Dozier is not helping his cause to stay with the Nationals. Howie Kendrick pinch hit for him in seventh. Kendrick is hitting .471 while Dozier is hitting .152…The RBI single by Anthony Rendon in the seventh extended his hitting streak to a career best 14. He is hitting .397…Rosenthal threw mostly fastballs, hitting 96-100. He still had difficulty finding the plate, saddling himself with two ball counts to three hitters and walking another. Despite giving up a run National players congratulated him on finishing the inning, the first time he has been able to do that this season…Buster Posey is now 6 for 10 in throwing runners out trying to steal against him. His bat may be struggling (.192) but he is still playing solid defense.

Rosenthal versus Davis; Matter/Anti Matter

Monday, April 8th, 2019

What would the result be if Trevor Rosenthal of the Nationals faced Chris Davis of the Orioles. It kind of reminds me of a Star Trek episode where two identical people from different universes could not come into contact with each other otherwise the world would explode. A sci fi matter/antimatter thing that goes beyond my intellect.

For those of you not paying attention Trevor Rosenthal has faced 9 batters this season. He has given up hits to four of them, walked four and hit a batter. That is an ERA of infinity and a WHIP that is also not calculable. The last pitcher to allow the first 9 hitters to reach base was John Hope, who did it in 1995. His career was not too memorable. Rosenthal did not pitch last year after Tommy John surgery so he could be a bit rusty after having a year off.

Chris Davis as a hitter this year has gone 0 for 23 with 13 whiffs. He has walked four times and driven in two runs so at least there has been some positives in his at bats. The previous year he did not get a hit in his last 21 at bats. Tony Bernazard holds the record for most hitless plate appearances with 57 (1974). Eugenio Velez holds the record for most consecutive at bats without a hit at 46 (2010-2011). Velez ended his major league career without getting that hit so the record stopped at 46 by default.

Since Trevor Rosenthal can not find the plate and Chris Davis is patient enough to take a walk the result would probably end in a walk. But if we took that result away as a possibility who would win this battle? The universe would probably not survive to find that question out.

Top 100 - 10 -1

Friday, April 5th, 2019

Finally complete. Lots of good bloodlines in the top ten. The Blue Jays and Astros were able to squeeze two players each in the top ten.

10. Bo Bichette SS (Blue Jays) - The son of Dante has a potent bat. It’s a mixture of power and batting average. The power is mainly in the gaps, with 42 doubles, but as he matures the balls will carry over the fence. His defense should be adequate for short. It would be better at third or even second but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio, two other sons of Hall of Famers have those positions covered. So the Blue Jays will take his adequate defense at short. He also has the speed and instincts to steal 32 bases last year. He will not be as fast as Trea Turner, but he could make just as big of an impact. The second round pick of 2016 will start the season in AAA and could be with the Blue Jays by mid-season, joining Vladimir.

9. Kyle Tucker OF (Astros) - His older brother Preston was also drafted by the Astros. Kyle has a lot more talent. Preston could make it as a fourth outfielder. Kyle should be an All Star. The Astros outfield is currently crowded but many think Kyle will earn a starting spot by mid-season. Josh Reddick has the most to fear. Last year Kyle hit .332 with 24 homeruns, evidence of his ability to hit for power and average. He stumbled in his promotion to the majors last year, hitting just .141. His fringe speed will limit him to a corner with his best fit in left field. AAA is where Kyle will spend his time until the Astros feel he is ready.

8. Nick Senzel OF/3B/2B (Reds) - The Reds are trying to find a position for him. His original position is third base, but Eugenio Suarez has that position covered. He could find himself at second base after the Scooter Gennett injury. The Reds insist he will be in AAA to learn to play centerfield. If he can stay healthy it will not take him long before he reaches the Reds. Vertigo last year limited him to 44 games. The bat has big time power and his career minor league average is .314. That is incentive enough to get his bat to the major leagues after the Reds drafted him in the first round in 2016.

7. Forest Whitley RHP (Astros) - The only pitcher in the top ten. The Astros 2016 first round pick has a plethora of pitches, including a mid-90s fastball that can touch triple digits. He also works with the technology to improve the spin rates on his breaking balls (curve and slider) to make them quality pitches and his change up is a swing and miss pitch. Injuries limited him to just eight starts last year where the opposition only hit .160 against him in AA. He did some extra credit work in the Arizona Fall League (AFL) to eat up innings and should be ready for AAA to start the 2019 season. Expect him to be called up by mid-season.

6. Wander Franco SS (Rays) - It may be too early in his career to anoint him the next Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the minor leagues. The Rays signed him in 2017 for $2.8 million. His first year in rookie ball he hit .351 with 11 homeruns. The bat hits for power and average. His defense will not be Gold Glove caliber for shortstop, but the bat will play at third where he would be an above average defensive player. The only tool that is not above average is his speed. Wander will see his first season at Low A in 2019 as an 18 year old. He should rise through the minor league system quickly, something the Rays are not normally prone to do.

5. Royce Lewis SS (Twins) - The first player selected in the 2017 draft has the tools to be a premium shortstop. The bat should be something special, hitting for both power and average. His speed should also play havoc on the bases, making him a threat to be a 30/30 player if his power develops more than expected. Lewis struggled a bit in the Florida State league last year (.255) so the Twins may start him there to begin the 2019 season with a quick promotion to AA if he finds success. A five tool infielder once he is ready.

4. Victor Robles CF (Nationals) - With Bryce Harper leaving for Philly, the center field job was given to Victor. Currently his speed is the best part of his game. It will allow him to be a Gold Glover on defense in centerfield and a pest on the bases. His bat should hit for average, but it won’t be as potent as teammate Juan Soto. The concern for some is his average exit velocity for the ball off his bat is just 82-84. He needs to get over 86 to reach the average exit velocity of major leaguers. The Nationals will be patient with him and allow the speed to create havoc as they wait for the power to arrive.

3. Eloy Jimeniz OF (White Sox) - The White Sox rewarded him with a major league spot on opening day after he signed a big contract extension that gave them one year after free agency. The bat will be special. The defense in left field will not. He could spend most of his time at the DH spot. Once the Dominican develops he could vie for batting titles with 40 plus homerun power. Don’t be surprised to see him win a Triple Crown before his career is complete. Eloy will start his season with the White Sox in left field.

2. Fernando Tatis Jr SS (Padres) - The son of Fernando Sr., he did not sign a long term extension as Eloy, but he had newly signed free agent Manny Machado recommending Padre management forget keeping him in the minors for a couple weeks to get an extra year. The Padres agreed. Fernando is ready now. His defense at short should be passable, better than what Manny could provide at short, which is a reason why Manny is playing third. The bat will generate big time power and hit for a decent average. He will battle with Victor Robles for the National League Rookie of the Year award.

1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr 3B (Blue Jays) - The son of Vladimir Sr. was going to be sent to the minor leagues to give the Blue Jays another year of service time despite the fact he is ready for the major leagues now. An early season injury will give them an opportunity to have him spend some time in rehab and then get promoted. His defense is average and his body could get too bulky for third. So a move to first could be in his future. His bat will be special with a .330 career minor league average and a slugging average of .529. Unlike his dad Vladimir is not afraid to take a walk. Expect him to be called up by May and win the American League rookie of the year award.

Top 100 - 20 - 11

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

20. Carter Kieboom 2B (Nationals) - Two homeruns in spring training off Justin Verlander this year is pretty impressive. The 2016 first round pick will follow in the footsteps of Juan Soto and Victor Robles to vie for rookie of the year in 2020. Shortstop is his main position and he has the tools to play it. With Trea Turner cemented at short for the Nationals Carter will need to move to second or third. The power is there to hit 20 plus homeruns which would also make him a good fit for third base. If the Nationals do not sign Rendon to an extension that position will be open in 2020. The Nationals will promote Kieboom sometime late this year to get him ready for the 2020 season.

19. Sixto Sanchez RHP (Marlins) - The Phillies included Sixto in a trade as one of the players to send to the Marlins for J.T. Realmuto. Sixto has a good fastball, sitting in the mid-90s and hitting the high 90s. He also has quality secondary pitches (slider and change) and the command to carve the plate. The 6′1″ height brings out questions of durability. Last year injuries limited him to just 8 minor league starts. The Marlins are rebuilding and will be in no rush to promote Sanchez to the major leagues. They could start his year in High A and promote him to AA once he achieves success.

18. Brent Honeywell RHP (Rays) - Brent missed the 2018 season after Tommy John surgery. The 2014 second round supplemental pick has a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and reaches high 90s. He also has a quality screwball that can enhance his repertoire. How those pitches survive after Tommy John is open to question. After the success he was having in AAA and during spring training the Rays were ready to promote him to they Rays to take the same flight path to the majors as Blake Snell. The Tommy John surgery delayed that major league arrival by a year. Expect him to be in their rotation by 2020.

17. Mackenzie Gore LHP (Padres) - Blisters interrupted his 2018 season after dominating in Rookie ball in 2017. The first round 2017 pick may have the best stuff of any pitcher in the minors. His fastball sits in the mid-90s with a curve, slider and change as quality pitches. Last year the blisters limited him to 16 starts and impacted the quality of his pitchers. Hitters hit .260 off him after barely making contact the previous year (.180). If healthy he should start the 2019 season in High A.

16. Alex Kiriloff RF (Twins) - One of the top outfielders did not play in 2017 because of Tommy John. The 2016 first round pick bounced back last year hitting .348 between Low A and High A, with 20 homeruns and 101 runs driven in. Myworld also saw him at the Future’s Game and despite his surgery he seemed to have a very strong arm. He lacks the speed to play center leaving the corners where his power will fit well. Expect him to begin the 2019 season in AA with a September promotion a possibility. The 2020 season he will join Byron Buxton to form an impressive outfield group.

15. Taylor Trammell OF (Reds) - Another Future game player, he won the MVP award with a homeruns and triple. The 2016 supplemental first round pick is one of those five tool players, minus the arm. The speed is there to play center and steal bases. The arm is fringe which limits him to left field if he is moved from center. His bat will produce power and if he can contain his whiff rate hit for average. Don’t be surprised if his bat breaks out for power when he starts the season in AA in 2019. A promotion to the major leagues is just around the corner.

14. Jesus Luzardo LHP (Athletics) - The Nationals 2016 third round pick will see his season delayed because of arm issues. The Nationals traded him to the Athletics along with Blake Treinen for Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. He missed much of his senior year of high school after Tommy John surgery, which dropped him to the third round. Jesus has excellent control of a fastball that sits in the low 90s but can reach north of 95. His best pitch may be his change which produces a lot of his swings and misses. Once he returns from his injury he will have to start his season at the lower levels of the minor leagues for rehab before being assigned to AAA, where he struggled last year in his four starts.

13. Brendan Rodgers SS/2B (Rockies) - The 2015 first round pick is ready for the major leagues if the Rockies can find a position for him. Nolan Arenado was just signed to an extension, Trevor Story is cemented at short, so second base will be his best option. He will battle Ryan McMahon for at bats there. Last year he hit 17 homeruns. The tools are there to play short and those tools should easily transfer to second. He will eventually win the second base job over Ryan McMahon because of his superior defense.

12. Keston Hiura 2B (Brewers) - Perhaps the best pure hitter in the 2017 draft. Tommy John surgery limited him to DH duties his senior year in college. The Brewers drafted him in the first round despite not seeing him play defense at second. Last year his bat was good enough to play AA. In the majors it could be could be good enough to win batting titles. He won’t be a gold glover at second but he will not hurt you on defense. At some point the Brewers will want his bat in the lineup to make a playoff run for the 2019 season.

11. Jo Adell OF (Angels) - It won’t be long before the Angels have another super star outfielder to join Mike Trout. The 2017 first round pick is a legitimate five tool player. He will hit for power and average and have the speed to play center. The biggest question for the Angels when Adell is ready for the majors is who plays centerfield, Mike Trout or Adell. Fortunately for the Angels they will not need to make that decision until 2020.

NL East Predictions

Friday, March 29th, 2019

The last of our division predictions.

1. Philadelphia Phillies

Strengths - The new guys. Bryce Harper is the most publicized new guy, but there were more important additions prior to the Harper signing. The trade for J.T. Realmuto provides a more experienced catcher to lead a younger starting rotation. They traded their previous catcher Jorge Alfaro to upgrade at this position. The same holds true for Jean Segura, a quality shortstop who they acquired from the Mariners, including in the trade their previous shortstop J.P. Crawford and again upgrading this position. Signing Andrew McCutchen as a free agent upgrades left field from a defensive stand point and moves the big bat of Rhys Hoskins to first base where his power belongs. Seranthony Dominguez won their closer job last year and did a good job in saving games. Newly acquired David Robertson provides the team choices at the closer position and gives the team an experienced arm in case Dominguez falters.

Weakness - The starting rotation looks slim after Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta. Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin and Vince Velasquez all have talent but suffer from youthful inconsistency. They certainly fall short of the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves starting rotation. Defense is not a strength here. No gold glovers covering the infield or outfield.

Prospects to Make an Impact - Most of their top prospects who were close to the major leagues were traded. What’s left are mostly relievers like Enyel de los Santos and Ranger Suarez. Ranger could help in the rotation but his ceiling is as a fifth starter.

Expected Finish - It will be a four team battle but the Phillies will rise to the top because of improvement in their offense, provided injuries don’t eat into their depth.

2. Washington Nationals

Strengths - The top three starters are the best trio in baseball. Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin can not be matched by any other team, provided they stay healthy. That is no sure thing for Strasburg and Corbin needs to show that last year was not a fluke. The left side of the infield with Anthony Rendon and Trea Turner is strong both offensively and defensively. Turner provides the speed while Rendon shows the power.

Weakness - The Nationals have failed to make the playoffs twice, both times when they were favored to win the division. When they make the playoffs they get eliminated in the first round. Much of that is blamed on a lack of leadership in the locker room. That is still a problem, with too many quiet players reluctant to lead. Max Scherzer is the one vocal leader but pitchers are tough to lead since they only appear in the lineup every five days. The outfield lacks depth. Adam Eaton gets injured a lot. This could create a problem if Victor Robles struggles as a rookie and Michael Taylor stays inconsistent.

Prospects to Make an Impact - Victor Robles will not make as great an impact as Juan Soto. His defense will be better but the bat will not be as productive. The speed should create havoc on the bases provided he has the instincts to make the right choices. Carter Kieboom shined during spring training, hitting two homeruns off Justin Verlander. He could be called up by mid-season once injuries eat away at depth. Tanner Rainey has trouble finding the plate but the fastball hits triple digits. The Nationals traded Tanner Roark for him so expect him to get an opportunity.

Predicted Finish - They will fight with the Braves for the wild card spot and win it by a game or two. Starting pitching will prove the difference.

3. Atlanta Braves

Strengths - The depth of the Braves starters is impressive. It is being used early with the injuries to Mike Foltynewicz and Kevin Guasman. Not a good start to the season. The rookie of the year Ronald Acuna should have a better year his sophomore season, moving from the leadoff spot to the middle of the lineup. Freddie Freeman is a potential MVP at first base.

Weakness - When the Braves were winning consecutive division titles one of their weak areas was the bullpen. This could create a problem in 2019. A.J. Minter served as the closer last year but he will also start the season on the disabled list. Arodys Vizcaino is another option but he has had trouble staying healthy.

Prospects to Make an Impact - Lots of possibilities to fill the rotation to begin the year. Touki Toussaint, Kyle Wright, Mike Soroka and Bryse Wilson are part of the first wave. Ian Anderson and Luiz Gohara are the second options. On the offensive side Austin Riley could be ready for third base. If Josh Donaldson struggles to stay healthy or his bat fails the Braves will not hesitate to bring up Riley. Kolby Allard is a lefthander who lacks explosiveness with his fastball. Command is his strength and he could fill out the bullpen.

Predicted Finish - Starting pitching lacks experience and this will prove critical as they fall short of the Nationals for the last wild card spot.

4. New York Mets

Strengths - Starting pitching if they stay healthy. They don’t get any better than Jacob deGrom, who won the Cy Young last year. Noah Syndergaard has the potential to win a Cy Young but has struggled to stay healthy the last two years. Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz are two other talented pitchers who have spent much of their career on the disabled list. The acquisition of Edwin Diaz gives them a 50 save closer from last year.

Weakness - Too many hopes and ambitions. They hope Amed Rosario will be one of the best shortstops in baseball. They hope Peter Alonso and Dominic Smith can provide answers at first base. And they hope Yoennis Cespedes can come back healthy to enhance an outfield lacking in power, except for Michael Conforto. They hope Wilson Ramos can stay healthy for a full year and Robinson Cano does not start feeling his age. And they hope their starting rotation stays healthy. All those hopes will not come to fruition.

Prospects to Make an Impact - Peter Alonso has a powerful bat that has the potential of hitting 30 plus homeruns. His defense is not good but if his bat can be productive the Mets will take the tradeoff. Tomas Nido will act as the back up for Ramos, but this will result in a lot of playing time to keep Ramos healthy. Andres Gimenez and Luis Guillorme will vie for the Mets utility job. Both are superior defensive players but Gimenez may have the better bat.

Predicted Finish - Health and lack of depth will drop them down to fourth but they will stay competitive for a playoff spot into September.

5. Miami Marlins

Strengths - They have the strength to play poorly enough to fight for the first pick in the 2020 draft, if they can be called a strength. Brian Anderson may lack the power to play third but he is the one bat to fear in the lineup. Starlin Castro is a veteran bat who will probably be traded before the year is out.

Weakness - Two of their three outfielders they traded, Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich both won MVPs the last couple years. The outfield the Marlins are trotting out this year would be hard pressed to make an All Star team in AAA. Starting rotation will not limit runs and it will get ugly. Same holds true for the bullpen. A lot of ugly on this roster. This team would be more competitive in AAA.

Prospects to Make an Impact - The Marlins have no motivation to use up service time on another wasted season. Isan Diaz could be called up mid-season after Castro is traded. He has been highly touted but his strikeouts have hampered his offensive performance. Sandy Alcantara has made the rotation. His fastball is impressive but his command is lacking.

Predicted Finish - They will fight with the Orioles and Royals for the first pick in the 2020 draft.

deGrom spoils Nationals Opener

Friday, March 29th, 2019

Jacob deGrom won the Cy Young last year. He carved out the Nationals bats in the opener, creating a good start to the 2019 season. The Nationals had opportunities to score runs off him early, but once those failed deGrom cruised through six, striking out 10 Nats. The bullpen completed the final three innings to shut out the Nationals 2-0.

Max Scherzer was brilliant as well, finishing second to deGrom in the Cy Young voting. He gave up a solo homerun to Robinson Cano on a changeup in the first inning with two outs that landed in the centerfield bleachers. Except for Cano he struck out the side in the first inning. He went to strike out 12 for his 7.2 innings of work. He only gave up two hits on the day. The Nationals chose not to pinch hit for him in the seventh with two out and no one on, behind 1-0, but he only worked two outs into the eighth before walking Dominic Smith and seeing his day complete without the win.

Robinson Cano drove in the second run with a single in the eighth off Matt Grace, scoring Dominic Smith. The Mets received good production in the trade with the Mariners that got them Cano and Edwin Diaz when Diaz came on in the ninth and closed out the game with a save. He retired the side in order.

The Nationals had opportunities to score early in the game. With runners on first and second and two outs in the first Ryan Zimmerman lined one between short and third. Jeff McNeil made a diving catch for the third out. The ball was hit so hard it may have been difficult for Trea Turner to score from second.

In the third the Nationals had runners on first and third with no outs. Trea Turner showed some impatience, swinging at a couple high pitches and striking out when he probably could have drawn a walk. Victor Robles then made a base running mistake when Anthony Rendon grounded to third. Robles darted back to third, McNeil threw to second to get the second out, Robles broke for the plate and Cano threw it home to get Robles in a run down. He was tagged out to end the inning.

There are still 161 games to play. The two players acquired by the Mets in the Mariners trade were responsible to win game one. With another four months of the season left to play the other 161 games can turn out very differently.

Nats Notes - It was a sellout crowd of 42,263. The concessions were crowded. Myworld chose one of the stands with the least amount of people. We tried the pupusas on the first floor near the third base side and would highly recommend them…Both Scherzer and deGrom were hitting the radar at 95-97 with excellent secondary pitches. They became only the second duo to strike out 10 or more batters on opening day since Dave McNally and Sam McDowell did it in 1950…Jake Noll made the opening day roster. On opening day every trainer, coach and player is introduced. Noll made his opening day introduction unique. As he was introduced he stumbled getting out of his crouch as he ran to the first base line to join his other teammates. Rookie mistake, but one that did not hurt as much as Victor Robles in the third inning…Lots of activity at the Shake Shake and the Chinese/Korean concession nest to it Chieko. I can’t imagine people getting their food until two innings had passed.

Nats Win Last Exhibition Game

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

In front of a sparse crowd on a cold day, the Nationals pulled out a 5-3 win in their last exhibition game of the 2019 season. With the Yankees in town starting their top lineup myworld would have expected a larger crowd. The listed attendance was 22,000 but with the threat of rain and the cold weather there was less than half that in attendance.

Anthony Rendon got things started for the Nationals by sending a ball deep into the left field bleachers off Stephen Tarply in the first inning for an early 2-0 lead.

Anibal Sanchez pitched well for the Nationals, going 5.1 innings. He gave up a solo homerun to Troy Tulowitski, who smacked a line drive into the centerfield bleachers. That was all the Yankees could muster off Sanchez, despite have their big guns in the lineup. Those big guns were gone by the fourth inning.

The Nationals added two more in the fourth. Juan Soto started the inning lining a double over the head of Giancarlo Stanton. A walk to Rendon put two runners on and a single by Ryan Zimmerman loaded the bases with no outs off Tommy Kahnle. He struck out Matt Adams but Kurt Suzuki drove one far enough into left field to score Juan Soto. Brian Dozier dropped a single in front of Aaron Judge to score the second run of the inning to make it 4-1.

The two teams traded runs in the sixth. A leadoff walk to Zack Zehner by Aaron Barrett set up the run scoring double by Greg Bird. The ball was poorly played by Juan Soto in left allowing Zehner to score. Matt Adams clubbed a line drive into the right field bleachers off Nestor Cortes Jr. to give the Nationals a run putting the score at 5-2.

The Nationals pulled most of their starters after the sixth inning, but the weather proved too much of a factor. Myworld said adios. Until the home opener on Thursday.

Nats Notes: The Rendon homer came with such an easy swing and the ball just seem to glide into the middle of the left field bleachers…The Nationals have no place on the scoreboard for their pitchers. Since they were using the DH it was tough to know who was pitching without a scorecard. Nestor Cortes Jr. was announced as the starting pitcher but it was actually Stephen Tarpley who started and Cortes came on in the fourth. He pitched 3.1 innings…Good to see Aaron Barrett back on the mound. He could be a nice addition to the Nats bullpen.

Top 100 - 70-61

Thursday, March 7th, 2019

Continuing with our Top 100 list

70. Nate Pearson RHP (Blue Jays) - In the Arizona Fall League Nate was consistently reaching the plate north of 100 miles per hour. The reason the 2017 first round pick was pitching in the AFL is because injuries limited him to just one start and less than two innings for the regular season. In 2017 he started eight games, tossing 20 innings and limited the hitters to a .106 average. While he possesses lots of heat his secondary pitches are a little raw and he needs to find the plate more. This could force him into a bullpen role. At 22 years of age the Jays will start him in High A and hope for quick promotions to get him ready for the major league roster. At 6′6″ he has the intimidation factor going for him.

69. Jazz Chisholm SS (Diamondbacks) - The smooth fielding shortstop is just one of many players that seem to be cropping up from the Bahamas. The Diamondbacks were actually in the Bahamas to watch Lucius Fox when they spotted Jazz. His price ($200,000) was more reasonable than Fox ($6 million) and now it appears Jazz may be the better prospect. The defensive tools are there for him to stay at shortstop. The bat looks like it can carry some pop with 25 homeruns last year. The hope is that he reduces his strikeouts (149 in 112 games) to allow him to be an offensive threat. The AA season in 2019 should be a real test for him.

68. Luis Garcia SS/2B (Nationals) - This is the oldest and best of the two Luis Garcias. The other is a shortstop prospect for the Philadelphia Phillies. Luis has the bat to hit for average with his .298 last year and .303 in 2017. The concern is finding a position for him. Trea Turner plays short, Carter Kieboom will play second or third and the Nationals would like to sign Anthony Rendon to an extension. That fills up the infield. A super utility role could be in his future. There is not a lot of power in his bat but he has the capability to compete for batting titles. He could start the 2019 season in AA.

67. Travis Swaggerty OF (Pirates) - The 2018 first round pick was part of the United States gold medal winning national team in the 18 and under division. He does have raw power that allows him to clear the fence pretty easily. His other tools are also average to plus with a solid arm that will put him in right and decent speed that will allow him to play centerfield in a pinch. Last year he struggled in his first taste of full season ball (.129) so expect him to repeat that level in 2019.

66. Matt Manning RHP (Tigers) - The Tigers 2016 first round pick has a fastball that can fly across the plate in the mid-90s. His 6′6″ inch frame also makes him an intimidating presence on the mound. His hammer curve is a tough pitch for hitters to make contact with, resulting in 154 whiffs in 117 innings. His success resulted in two appearances in AA which is where he should start the 2019 season. The Tigers have four pitchers competing to be the ace of the future staff.

65. Sean Murphy C (Athletics) -Sean will be a solid defensive catcher whose arm will scare base stealers from trying to take the extra base against him. His bat carries some power but it could be a challenge to hit north of .250. He came into the 2018 season with a .246 minor league average. In AA he hit .288 with a .498 slugging average until a July injury put him out for two months. If not for the injury he probably would have seen his major league debut in 2018. Barring another injury expect that to happen in 2019, with a start to the season in AAA.

64. Adrian Morejon LHP (Padres) - Another pitcher who pitched in the Junior Nationals for the 15 and Under World Cup Team in Mexico City, but he threw for Cuba, defecting as a 16 year old. At 6′0″ he is not a big pitcher, but he throws lefthanded and knows where the strike zone is located. While he can get the ball across the plate in the mid-90s his best pitch may be a knee buckling curve ball. The majority of his starts were in High A so expect a promotion to AA in 2019.

63. Estevan Florial OF (Yankees) - After a break out season last year where the Haitian born Florial hit .298 with 13 homeruns in the two A leagues, the Yankees were expecting big things in 2018. Injuries slowed him down, limiting him to just 84 games. His results were disappointing with a .256 average in A ball with just three homeruns. The strikeouts need to be reduced but the five tools are there for him to be a superstar. Strong arm, deer like speed and a power bat make him a player to watch. The Yankees have a crowded outfield so he will probably see a full season in AA in 2019.

62. Drew Waters OF (Braves) - The Braves just don’t develop pitchers. They also appear to develop outfielders with Ronald Acuna winning rookie of the year last year and Cristian Pache and Drew ready to contribute in a couple years. The second round 2017 pick went to high school in Georgia. The speed exists to play centerfield but if Acuna captures that position he has the arm to play right. His current power is dedicated towards the gaps but with time and maturity he could hit twenty plus homeruns. He should see AA next year which would make him a knock on the door away from the Braves.

61. Luis Patino RHP (Padres) - The Colombian righthander dominated in low A with a 2.16 ERA in 17 starts, with the opposition hitting him at a .220 clip. At 6′0″ he is small in stature, but his fastball hits the high 90s, usually sitting in the low 90s. His slider is a swing and miss pitch and the change is a work in progress. Continued success could see him hit AA in 2019.

Top Dominican Prospects National League

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

The National League list is pretty similar to the list from last year. Only Juan Soto graduated to the major leagues. The last three players from the top ten dropped out, though Jorge Guzman was close. Adbert Alzolay was limited by arm injuries and Jhailyn Ortiz struggled to make contact. That left room for four new additions.

1. Fernando Tatis SS (Padres) - He replaced Victor Robles, who appeared atop this list last year. Tatis showed the tools he could play shortstop defensively with a strong arm and good range. He needs to show a little more consistency with his fielding, committing 12 errors in 83 games at shortstop. His bat should be productive, with the power to hit 20 plus homeruns. While he hit .288 in AA he needs to make better contact (109 whiffs in 88 games) if he hopes to hit for average in the major leagues. A broken left thumb in late July ended his season early, limiting him to 88 games. Expect him to make his major league debut by mid-season next year. He should make a bigger impact in the major leagues than his father, Fernando Sr.

2. Victor Robles OF (Nationals) - If not for an elbow injury early in the season he may not have been on this list. When the Nationals were short of outfielders he was on the disabled list. Juan Soto was called up and Robles lost out on an opportunity. Victor got a major league opportunity later in the year and acquitted himself well, hitting .288 with three homeruns for a .525 slugging average. The five tool player has not shown the power yet in the minor leagues but it should arrive making him a 30/30 player. His routes in center need work but his speed makes up for mistakes. His arm is also super sonic. Expect him to be the Nationals centerfielder breaking camp.

3. Sixto Sanchez RHP (Marlins) - The Phillies traded Sixto to acquire J.T. Realmuto. Jorge Guzman can still hit triple digits more consistently than Sixto, but Sixto has a lot more command of where his fastball is crossing the plate. Myworld would expect more K’s with his velocity, striking out just 45 in 46.2 innings. A little more improvement with his secondary pitches (curve and change) would make him an ace in the rotation. The one area of concern is his small 6′0″ stature, but he has a strong build. Elbow issues limited him to just 8 starts last year. The Marlins will probable have him start in High A to test his arm health and promote him to AA by mid-season where he will join Guzman to make for an electrifying rotation.

4. Francisco Mejia C (Padres) - Last year Mejia was on the American League list. Few catchers have a stronger arm. His other defensive tools have been holding him back. Balls have a tendency to visit the back stop when Mejia is behind the plate. Last year the Indians put him in the outfield where his lack of speed makes him a defensive liability. Because his bat is so potent, with the ability to hit for average and power, the Padres may not have the patience to wait for Mejia to develop his defensive tools behind the plate. Last year they used him extensively behind the plate, but they have one of the better defensive catchers, Austin Hedges starting for the major league club.

5. Alex Reyes RHP (Cardinals) - His time will come. His major league debut was supposed to have occurred three years ago. Suspensions and injuries have prevented him from seeing significant major league time. With his lack of innings the Cardinals may use him out of the bullpen this year to prevent his arm from eating up too many innings. He did have a fastball that sat in the upper 90s. Whether that can continue over sustained time after Tommy John surgery is open to question. He does have three pitches to be an effective starter, but command of those pitches has always been a challenge. Expect him to be used by the Cardinals out of the bullpen to start the season. By the end of the season if the Cardinals need a starter they may ease him in.

6. Adonis Medina RHP (Phillies) - The Phillies would have preferred to make Medina the pitcher sent to the Marlins in the Realmuto trade. Medina does not throw as hard as Sixto Sanchez, but he can get it up to the mid-90s, sitting comfortably at the higher ends of the low 90s. His command is better than Sanchez, with a slider/change combination to complement his fastball. A .245 opposition average was a little more than what the Phillies would have liked for a pitcher with his explosive stuff. He will start next year in AA and could get a glimpse of the major leagues before the season ends.

7. Christian Pache OF (Braves) - Christian is a potential gold glove centerfielder. Currently Ender Inciarte blocks his major league path but a couple years of minor league seasoning will prepare him best. His speed allows him to cover a lot of ground in centerfield, but it is absent for stealing bases (7). There is some raw power in his bat, but that has yet to really show itself in games. Last year he slugged 8 homeruns in the Florida State League for a .431 slugging percentage. Taking a few more walks would enhance his offensive game, making him a top of the lineup hitter.

8. Luis Garcia SS/2B (Nationals) - Trea Turner blocks his path at shortstop. The tools are there for him to play the position with a strong arm and good range. Last year he reached High A so the Nationals have some time before deciding his position. A contact hitter whose power currently is limited to the gaps. As he matures more power could come. He seemed to handle High A pretty well last year in a 49 game performance so the Nationals could bump him to AA where he would be one of the youngest players.

9. Sandy Alcantara RHP (Marlins) - Sandy has a wicked fastball that can hit the mid-90s. He made his Marlins major league debut with six effective starts, limiting the major leaguers to a .214 average. The Marlins acquired him from the Cardinals for Marcell Ozuna. The secondary pitches are there to make him a starter. The command of those pitches still need work. That may explain his low strikeout to innings pitch ratio (96 whiffs in 127 innings). With the Marlins he walked 23 hitters in just 34 innings. A good spring could have him make the Marlins starting rotation out of spring training.

10. O’Neil Cruz SS/OF (Pirates) - At 6′6″ he could become the tallest shortstop in the major leagues. Many feel that because of that height he could move to the outfield or first base. The bat will play anywhere. That height packages big time power, with the potential for over 30 plus homeruns per year once he fills out. If shortstop does not work out he carries an arm suitable for right field. Last year he played 103 games at Low A. Expect him to start the season at High A