Archive for the 'Astros' Category

2017 Top Cuban Prospects - American League

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

Not included in his list are any players signed after April, which include players like Luis Robert, who may have topped this list and Hector Mendoza. They will qualify for the 2018 list. Last year myworld put together a top 20 list. Seven of our top 10 were not on a major league roster. All of those players have signed now with Yulieski Gurriel the only player on a major league roster. Aledmys Diaz is the only other player on this top 20 from last year that played in the major leagues. He was rated number 16 in this top 20 list and had a nice rookie season.

1. Yoan Moncada 2B (White Sox) - Last year he was the number one rated prospect on our top 20 list. He has all the tools. Speed, power and the ability to hit for average. With all those tools it is interesting he plays second base and not shortstop. The Red Sox paid $62 million to sign him, $31.5 million bonus and a $31.5 million penalty for going over there salary cap. They traded him a year later to the White Sox as one of the players for Chris Sale. He has had some major league opportunities but struggled, striking out 12 times in 19 at bats with a .211 average. This year he is hitting .282 showing a little bit of power (.432 slugging). Don’t be surprised if the White Sox promote him after the All Star break. Only Yolmer (ex-Carlos) Sanchez stands in his way.

2. Lourdes Gurriel LF/3B (Blue Jays) - He was the number two rated prospect last year but had yet to sign with a team. He waited until he turned 23 to sign with the Blue Jays, maximizing his financial opportunities. His seven year $22 million contract appears to be a bargain when compared to Moncada. Lourdes doesn’t really have a position. Myworld thinks he will fit best in the outfield. As a shortstop and third baseman in the Cuban League he made numerous errors. His older brother Yulieski was considered an excellent fielding third baseman but is now playing first for the Astros. Lourdes started hitting in his last season in the Cuban League. Once he develops he could be a .300 hitter with 20 plus homerun pop. The Blue Jays began his career in the Florida State League but he got injured after his first game and was placed on the disabled list. He only was activated a couple days ago and in four games is hitting .267. Only one of his four hits has gone for extra bases. Lourdes could advance quickly and be ready for the major leagues by mid 2018 once he finds a position. So far Lourdes has played four games at shortstop committing seven errors for a .611 fielding percentage. That is not going to cut it.

3. Lazaro Armentares OF (Athletics) - He created a little hype with his brash personality trying to achieve a Yoan Moncada sized contract. The Athletics signed him for a relatively modest $3 million. At 17 years of age he has a lot of development in his future. In the United States he would still be playing high school. The reports are that he will hit for power and steal bases. His speed should translate to centerfield capability. Playing in the 15 and under World Cup he dominated with a .462 average. The Athletics have started him in the Dominican Summer League. He has only played in six games there but is struggling with a .167 average and 9 whiffs in 18 at bats. He has not played since June 12 so he may be back at extended spring training or injured.

4. Yandy Diaz OF/3B (Indians) - Myworld did not have him rated in our top 20 list last year and then he went out and hit .325 in AAA with a .461 slugging, winning the International League batting title. At 26 years of age he is already pretty well developed. There will be a lot of contact in his game but his power will be soft if he doesn’t learn to elevate his hits more. His defense is excellent at third but he can also play second base and the outfield, making a utility role an ideal fit for him. This year at Columbus he is hitting .318 with 28 walks to his 22 whiffs. The power is still soft (.439 slugging). The Indians gave him a major league callup and he was a bit overmatched (.203 average and .219 slugging). His main positions this year are third base and left field.

5. Andy Ibanez 2B (Rangers) - Ibanez signed for $1.6 million in 2015. Last year he was number 15 on our list. He could end up like Carlos Baerga, with a thick lower half eliminating his range at second base, meaning his bat will have to justify his staying at the position. The power is not really there to play the hot corner. Last year he did hit 13 homeruns skipping High A to move to AA. It will be tough with his skill set to usurp Rougned Odor from the second base position. This year he missed a month in the season because of injury but now healthy he is hitting .261 with a .405 slugging. Most of his game has been at second base. The tools could be there if he could master a utility role but myworld thinks he is a bit short to make it as a starter.

6. Yanio Perez OF (Rangers) - The Rangers signed him in 2016 for $1.1 million. He played for the 18 and under World Cup team in 2015, sharing the outfield with Luis Robert. There is power in his bat but his foot speed appears to destine him for a corner spot. His minor league debut in A ball this year has seemed to justify the bonus payment. He hit nine homeruns in just 49 games at Low A resulting in a promotion to High A. In nine games in the Carolina League he has yet to get an extra base hit.

7. Yordan Alvarez LF/1B (Astros) - Yordan will turn 20 in a couple days. He is another new comer, not appearing on our Top 20 list last year. The Dodgers initially signed Yordan for $2 million then traded him to the Astros for Josh Fields before even playing a game in a Dodgers minor league uniform. The Astros had him play in the Dominican Summer League where he hit .341. Yordan will hit for average. As a 17 year old he hit .351 in the Cuban Nacional Series. His big challenge is to develop the power expected for the first base position. His lack of speed makes a move to the outfield a poor alternative. He dominated at Low A hitting .357 with 10 homeruns (.670 slugging) which led to a promotion to High A yesterday. With his 33 RBIs in 32 games he has shown he can be a run producer. The Astros have been using him mostly in left field this year.

8. Guillermo Heredia OF (Mariners) - With his success in the major leagues myworld should move him up on this list on general principal. He is a plus defender with the ability to cover a lot of ground in centerfield. The big concern for my world was his bat. There is no power there. To be effective he needs to hit for a higher average. During his 45 game major league debut last year he hit .250. This year he has won the starting centerfield job for the Mariners, hitting .279 and showing enough pop for five homeruns. The power will still be short but if he can keep his average above .270 he should be effective for his defensive ability. Despite pretty decent speed he is not a stolen base threat.

9. Yulieski Gurriel 1B (Astros) - The Astros went out on a limb to sign him to a five year $47.5 million contract despite his age of 33. When he was younger scouts considered him the best player in Cuba. His main position then were third and second base. The Astros have moved him to first where his power may be a bit short. The bat will provide a lot of doubles power and his international experience should provide some leadership qualities to a young team. With A.J. Reed ready to take over the position next year Yulieski could move to a utility role, a spot currently filled by Marwin Gonzalez.

10. Norge Ruiz RHP (Athletics) - The Athletics signed Norge for $2 million in 2016. Interesting he is the only pitcher to make this list, though there will be a couple to make the National League list. Norge is not overpowering, with a fastball that sits in the high 80s to low 90s. At 5′10″ he is also not a tall pitcher making his lack of velocity an impediment for a starting role. He does throw a lot of junk with a change and slider being his best pitches. He gets hitters to hit the ball on the ground resulting in a number of double play grounders. Pitching at the lower level it is not surprising that he is dominating hitters with his breaking pitches. In four starts he has only allowed one run for a 0.47 ERA, a .141 opposition average and 14 whiffs in 19 innings.

Astros Sign Cuban Elian Rodriguez

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

They paid $2 million to sign the righthander who according to Baseball America has a fastball that sits in the low to mid-90s with two breaking pitches. Myworld is not familiar with him. Elian has never appeared on our radar but the Astros must have seen something in him. Because the Astros are over their international salary cap they will pay an extra $2 million in penalties for him, bringing the total cost to acquire him up to $4 million.

It would not surprise myworld he spends a few years in the minors before appearing in a major league game. At 20 years of age the Astros can be patient with him. Whether he sees the major leagues will be dependent on his performance in the minors.

Another Cuban lottery winner.

Top Caribbean Prospects

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

Not a lot of can’t misses on this list. Last year we did a top ten for Panama alone, but the prospects were not that great to try to come up with another top ten. There is one major leaguer on this list, but that is because he is a Rule V pick.

1) Ariel Jurando (Rangers/Panama) RHP - Ariel relies more on command than heat. His fastball hits the mid-90s with downward spin that entices numerous ground balls. For his career his ground ball to air ball rate is 2.12. At 6′1″ he is not the ideal height for a righthander and the lack of quality secondary pitches could spell trouble against major league hitters. This year teams are hitting him at a .278 clip with seven homeruns in just 58 innings. Ariel has not given up seven homeruns in a season in his career. His strikeout numbers have also fallen off. Ariel is expected to find himself in the back end of the rotation or as a middle reliever. He could see a September callup if his year improves.

2) Edmundo Sosa (Cardinals/Panama) SS - Edmundo got a bonus of $425,000 in 2012, which was the largest for any Panamanian that year. The best tool for Edmundo is his glove with the ability to make the spectacular plays as he glides to the ball. The bat appears to be a little light despite the .300 average in the rookie leagues. The 2016 season was shortened by a wrist injury that ended his season in July after just 97 games. The power also seems a little light. He is playing in the Florida State League where he is hitting a soft .269. If stolen bases were in his tool box he could be a possible starter but he also falls short in that department. The Cardinals seem to be set at short with Aledemys Diaz so the best hope for Sosa could be as a utility player or be included in a trade package if the Cardinals want to load up for a playoff run.

3) Mauricio Dubon (Brewers/Honduras) SS - They don’t play a lot of baseball in Honduras where Mauricio was born. Fortunately for Dubon he moved to the United States to play high school ball. The Red Sox drafted him in the 26th round of the 2013 draft then traded him to the Brewers last year in the Tyler Thornburg trade. He makes solid contact with good gap power. His over the fence power could improve with added strength. He will never be an elite fielder at short, but his bat could make him a good utility player. He is currently hitting .294 at AA while showing some impressive speed with 23 stolen bases in 30 attempts. Last year he stole a career high 30 stolen bases. Myworld expects him to be more a utility player than starter.

4) Touki Toussaint (Braves/Haiti) RHP - Touki was born in Florida but moved to Haiti when he was three months old. He returned to the United States at six years of age and began his baseball career. At 6′3″ he has good height for a pitcher. The Diamondbacks drafted him in the first round of the 2014 draft but grew frustrated with his lack of command and traded him to the Braves to rid themselves of the Bronson Arroyo salary. His command is still suspect where he walks more than 4.5 hitters per nine innings. His fastball hits the mid-90s and the curveball is a stellar pitch, but his lack of command and a missing third offering could prevent him from pitching in the rotation. A bullpen role could be in his future. This year he seems more hittable with the opposition hitting him at a .251 clip when his last two years hitters stayed below .230. This has elevated his ERA to 6.80 in nine starts.

5) Roniel Raudes (Red Sox/Nicaragua) - What Roniel lacks in velocity he makes up for in his arsenal of pitches. While his fastball can barely touch 90 he mixes it well with his curveball and change. With his above average command he sends hitters back to the bench frustrated. Last year the opposition hit him at a .260 clip but he did create a lot of swings and misses with 8.8 whiffs per nine innings pitched, winning 11 games and being voted the Red Sox minor league pitcher of the year. This year the success has been lacking in High A with the opposition hitting him at .293. A couple days ago the Red Sox placed Roniel on the minor league disabled list.

6) Jaime Barria (Angels/Panama) - Another pitcher from Panama who lacks the heat, but controls the plate with his command. The Angels signed him in 2013 and last year he debuted in the full season Low A pitching well enough to make the All Star team. His best pitch may be the change, with a curve ball also in his arsenal. With the promotion to the California League, known for hitters abusing pitchers Jaime is dominating with a 2.48 ERA and limiting the opposition to a .202 average. The Angels will do good if he can make the back end of the rotation.

7) Jonathan Arauz (Astros/Panama) - The Phillies signed Arauz for $600,000 in 2014 then traded him to the Astros along with closer Ken Giles for a package of prospects. There is very little flashy about his game. The bat is light, lacking power. His range is also light with little to no stolen base speed. His 2017 season has not started yet, which could be the result of his 50 game suspension for testing positive for drugs.

8) Estevan Florial (Yankees/Haiti) - Estevan was actually born in Haiti. Originally signed to a six figure contract it was reduced to $200,000 after an identity problem. Speed is his best tool but it has not resulted in stolen bases. It does help him cover ground in centerfield. His bat shows some power but his inability to make contact hampers the power from showing. Last year at Pulaski he hit .225 with 78 whiffs in just 60 games. This year his average is improved (.270) with better extra base power. His 11 doubles has already surpassed his total from last year. If Estevan can improve his ability to make contact he could have a future as a lead off hitter. If his power develops he could find himself in a power spot.

9) Javier Guerra (Padres/Panama) SS - Javier had a rough year last year (.202 average) after hitting 15 homeruns and batting .279 in 2015. The Red Sox signed him in 2012 for $250,000 then traded him to the Padres for Craig Kimbrel after the 2015 season. The Padres may be wondering who they got in the trade especially after those struggles continue this year (.212). His ability to make contact has suffered after 2015 striking out 141 times in 105 games last year and 65 times in just 48 games this year. His OBA sits at .264 this year, the same as it was last year. His defense is exceptional but if his bat does not improve his major league opportunities will be limited.

10) Allen Cordoba (Padres/Panama) - The Padres stole him from the Cardinals in the Rule V draft. In rookie ball he showed an ability to hit with a .309 career average. Since he had not played past rookie ball many did not expect him to make the major league roster. The Padres are not going anywhere so they kept him where he has surprised with the bat (.304 average). Not expected to hit for any power he has hit three homeruns for the Padres for a .435 slugging average. In the minors he had a career slugging average of .395 with just four homeruns in four years. The Cardinals drafted him as a shortstop but Allen has seen most of his time in the outfield.

Hot Prospects Heading Towards the End of May

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Scott Kingery 2B (Phillies) - Perhaps the hottest hitter in the minors, Scott has blasted four homeruns in his last three games to give him 13 for the season. He was drafted by the Phillies in the second round of the 2015 draft and his total number of homeruns in his first one and a half years covering 197 games is 8. In 2017 he has hit 13 in 37 games. Reading is a hitters park but five of his 13 blasts have been on the road. He is also hitting .300 on the road versus .280 at Reading. His road OPS (1.026) is better than his home OPS (1.010) so it doesn’t seem to matter where Scott plays.

Luis Urias 2B (Padres) - He does not hit a lot of homeruns but is known for his ability to make contact (25/20 walk to whiff). An eight game hitting streak (14 for 37) has kept his average at .344. Luis has scored 29 runs in 41 games with enough gap power to collect 11 doubles for a .485 slugging. Don’t expect Luis to dazzle you with speed or power. He just makes contact and hopes the ball finds the gaps.

Sam Travis 1B (Red Sox) - Sam had back to back games in which he went deep, then followed that up with a five hit game. The four game multiple hitting streak rose his average to .299. Sam is considered the Red Sox first baseman of the future. Last year injuries limited him to 47 games so this appears to be the bounce back season he was looking for.

Danny Jansen C (Blue Jays) - After hitting .369 with five homeruns and a .963 OPS Danny got his promotion to AA. That has not proved much of a challenge as he rounded up seven hits in his first 16 at bats for a .438 average. His four extra base hits have all been doubles. Danny was a 16th round pick in 2013. His best average going into the 2017 season was .282. The five homeruns he hit early this season has tied his career high (2014 and 2015). Danny has found that magical mystery zone.

Alfredo Rodriguez SS (Reds) - The Cuban with the slick glove is trying to make people notice his bat. A 5 for 5 day in which he drove in four runs raised his average to .278. At 22 years of age he is due a promotion from Low A. Only six of his 45 hits have gone for extra bases, all of them doubles dragging his slugging percentage to .309. In his last 10 games he has hit .439.

Estevan Florial CF (Yankees) - One of the few players born in Haiti, Estevan has gone 6 for 9 in his last two games, crossing the plate five times and driving in three. He tends to strike out too much (50 in 39 games), which has kept his average at .282.

Willie Calhoun 2B (Dodgers) - The balls are jumping off his bat. In his last seven games Willie has gone deep five times. Of his last 10 hits five of them have carried over the fence. His average has creeped above .300 (.310). If he can improve his defense Willie could be ready for a major league opportunity. There was some talk of moving him to left field but all 30 of his games have been at second base.

Parker Bridwell RHP (Angels) - The Orioles traded Parker to the Angels for cash after he gave up 8 runs in four innings in his first two appearances with Norfolk. The Angels started him in AA and have now promoted him to AAA after he gave up only two runs in nine innings. In AAA the opposition is hitting him at only a .143 clip and he has a 1.02 ERA after three starts. Only 25 the Angels could have him in the rotation by mid-season if the injuries keep piling up.

Jose De Leon RHP (Rays) - After throwing five innings of no hit ball in the Florida State League the Rays have promoted De Leon to AAA. A couple good starts there could have him on their major league roster. The Rays traded Logan Forsyth to acquire De Leon from the Dodgers but arm issues have delayed the start of his season.

Jon Duplantier RHP (Diamondbacks) - Each time Jon goes out on the mound another shutout is thrown. His last three times out covering 17 innings he has not given up an earned run. In his eight appearances, seven of them starts he has not given up an earned run. The opposition is hitting just .149 against him and his ERA sits at a gaudy 0.64.

Rogelio Armenteros RHP (Astros) - The Cuban did not give up a hit in five innings of work in his last outing. He has gone 13 innings since he has last given up a run dropping his ERA to 1.25. Rogelio was signed in 2015, pitched for Spain in the 2016 WBC qualifier and is limiting AA hitters to a .181 average.

Austin Sodders LHP (Tigers) - The seventh round 2016 pick has been dominating at Low A with a 5-0, 0.73 ERA. He has only given up runs in two of his seven starts. In a three start span he struck out 28 in 17 innings. Expect a promotion to High A if he continues this domination.

Mike O’Reilly RHP (Cardinals) - Mike was two outs from pitching a nine inning no hitter. A one out single ended those hopes and ended his outing after 8.1 innings. During that time he struck out 10 with only one walk. In six appearances, three of them starts Mike has only walked three hitters in his 26 innings. The opposition is hitting just .156 against him.

Scott Moss LHP (Reds) - Scott threw the first six innings of the first no hitter thrown by the Dayton Dragons. Moss walked three in the outing but it was his second consecutive shutout appearance covering 11 innings, dropping his ERA to 1.91. The win improved his record to 6-1. The Reds drafted Moss in the fourth round of the 2016 draft.

Corbin Burnes RHP (Brewers) - The fourth round pick of the 2016 draft has dominated the Carolina League. In his last four starts he has only given up one run. His last start he struck out a career high 10 in seven innings. After nine starts Corbin sits at 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA and a .189 opposition average. He is ready for a promotion to AA.

Hot Prospects to Start May

Friday, May 5th, 2017

Many ballparks are promoting Star War giveaways on the fourth of May. These are the players who have the force with them as April turns to May.

Yandy Diaz 3B (Indians) - The first two days of May Yandy drove in 8 runs. He finished the first three days of May 6 for 11 to raise his average to the magical .400 spot. Yandy began the season with the Indians. With a 10/2 walk to whiff ratio he deserves another call back for his bat alone, though a .236 average and 5 for 14 walk to whiff ratio shows major league pitching is a little tougher than AAA. The 25 year old Cuban has been playing some outfield as well as third base.

A.J. Reed 1B (Astros) - Marwin Gonzalez has five more homeruns than A.J. and Gurriel is over .300 so there will not be a lot of first base action for Reed. He did have a 10 for 15 streak that raised his average to .306. He did not hit any homeruns during that streak and has only four for the year so the Astros would like to see more power from his bat before they promote him ahead of Gonzalez or Gurriel.

Rafael Devers 3B (Red Sox) - Red Sox third baseman have made 12 errors on the year, the most in the league. Rafael has only made three. A five for five day with two homeruns at AA shows a pretty good bat. With a .333 average and a .590 slugging percentage the Red Sox will only show so much patience before promoting him. They will wait for Pablo Sandoval to come back from the disabled list to see if he can perform better. They can always try to null and void the Travis Shaw trade that got them Tyler Thornburg.

Zack Granite CF (Twins) - The Marlins have got Stone but the Twins have got Granite. Myworld will take Granite. Zack started the year on the disabled list but two three hit games in his first five has put his average at .368. Only two of his seven hits have gone for extra bases. Power will be lacking but steals should be prevalent, with three already in his first five games.

Aneury Tavarez RF (Red Sox) - Aneury was a Rule V pick of the O’s. He failed to make the major league roster and the O’s returned Aneury to the Red Sox. After tearing up AA with a .377 average the Red Sox promoted him to AAA. In his first two games he was 5 for 8 with two homeruns for a .625 average. The Red Sox do not have a lot of room in their outfield, but if his bat keeps stinging they will find a spot for him.

Raimel Tapia CF (Rockies) - Raimel currently has a 11 game hitting streak. In his first 20 minor league games he has failed to get a hit in only one of them. The Rockies outfield is also a bit crowded, especially with Ian Desmond playing some outfield. Raimel had a streak of seven straight games in which he got at least two or more hits. He is currently hitting .376 with seven stolen bases in 9 attempts.

Yoan Moncada 2B (White Sox) - Yoan is in the stretches of a 10 game hitting streak that has raised his average to .340. The stolen bases are absent, with just six in 8 attempts but he has shown some pop with five homeruns and a .536 slugging average. Myworld doesn’t expect him to be the in minors for too long, especially with no one blocking him at second base.

Patrick Mazeika C (Mets) - An eighth round player to watch. Patrick hit .354 after being drafted in 2015, leading the Appalachian League in doubles with 27. The 2017 season is seeing some of the same with a recent 8 game hitting streak (14 for 28) raising his average to .361. With a .602 slugging percentage in the Florida State League this could be a player to watch.

Franklin Barreto SS (Athletics) - Despite Marcus Semian’s injury the Athletics have kept Franklin in AAA where he is raking with a .364 average. The strikeouts are high with 34 in 25 games but the need is there.

Franchy Cordero CF (Padres) - Franchy had the force with him on May 4 with a 5 for 5 day raising his average to .253. He drove in four runs on the fourth and has four triples, four homeruns and four stolen bases on the year.

Mike Gerber CF (Tigers) - Mike also had a 5 for 5 game, but that was the day before the fourth. That raised his average to .310. He has been playing CF in the 24 AA games he has played, giving the Tigers another option for the black hole on their major league club. Mike is better suited for right, but so are many of the other Tiger outfielders. They might as well put someone there with a bat.

Josh Staumont RHP (Royals) - Josh got his second 12 K performance on the first day of May. The whiffs are coming with 38 in 26 innings and the opposition is hitting just .188 against him. Too many walks (16) has left his ERA at 3.81.

Logan Allen LHP (Padres) - Logan is one of the obscure players the Padres got for Craig Kimbrel. In five starts for the Padres at Low A Logan has a 1.50 ERA with 34 whiffs in 24 innings and just a .146 opposition average. Manuel Margot is already making his presence felt on the major league roster but Logan could be there in a few years.

Hot Prospects at the Close of April

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

Hard to believe that the baseball season has already finished April. Some of those hot prospects we have identified have already been called up. Others have been promoted. Even though April has ended there are still five more months of baseball to be played, with those coveted September call ups a reward for an outstanding season.

Gleyber Torres SS (Yankees) - Gleyber spent a little time on the disabled list. He was hitting .237 with nary a homerun. Upon his return the ball started jumping off his bat. His last two games he has gone 5 for 7 with his first homerun and four RBIs. Now his average has climbed to a more respectable .292. He still needs to work on his stolen base efficiency, going 2 for 4 in stolen base success rate.

Elias Diaz C (Pirates) - Elias is noted for his superb defense. A four game hitting streak in which he has gone 7 for 15 with a homerun and six RBIs, plus a Francesco Cervelli toe injury has gotten him a call up to the Pirates. For the season Elias is hitting .305. Last year Elias had trouble staying healthy, playing in only 34 games. The year before he won the Captains Choice award for being the best defensive catcher in the minor leagues.

Yanio Perez RF (Rangers) - Yanio has five straight multiple hit games to go with an 8 game hitting streak that has his average shooting to .348. The Cuban has also homered in three consecutive games and in his last four games driven in 12 runs. A 1.095 OPS could result in a promotion to High A for the 21 year old. Yanio signed a minor league contract with the Rangers in September 2016.

Danny Jansen C (Blue Jays) - The 22 year old is raking in the Florida State League. A 4 for 5 day put his average at .416. The 16th round pick in 2013 has been a bit of a surprise with the bat. The last two season injuries have limited him to less than 60 games.

Jon Kemmer OF (Astros) - Jon was another late round draft pick, drafted by the Astros in the 21st round in the 2013 draft. In his last three games Jon has been raking at a 10 for 15 clip with two homeruns and seven RBIs. At 26 Jon is a little old to be considered a prospect, but 5 got 5 days are enough to get him major league attention.

Ryan Mountcastle SS (Orioles) - In a couple years Manny Machado and J.J. Hardy will be gone and the Orioles will be looking for a replacement. Ryan could be that guy, especially after a 4 for 5 performance in which he hit a homerun and drove in four. The homerun was his fifth to go along with his blistering .323 average.

Garrett Stubbs C (Astros) - The 8th round 2015 pick has been smoking in the Texas League. A five game hitting streak in which he has gone 10 for 20 to raise his average to 341. Garrett has homered three times in his last two games, which equals his number for the year.

Trent Clark RF (Brewers) - Trent was a first round pick of the Brewers in 2015. The Brewers outfield is crowded in the minor leagues. Last year Trent hit just .231 with hamstring issues limiting his season to 59 games. He got off to a slow start this year with a .183 average entering the Sunday game. A 5 for 6 performance raised that average to .239.

Luis Guillorme SS (Mets) - Luis is noted more for his glove and takes a back seat on the prospect ladder to Amed Rosario. A 4 for 5 day put his average in AA to .342, almost 100 points higher than his average from last year. Luis has no power with just one homerun as he enters his fifth year in pro ball. Only five of his 26 hits have gone for extra bases, all of them doubles.

Dustin Fowler OF (Yankees) - Dustin hit for the cycle on Sunday, going 5 for 6 with a walk off homerun in the 11th inning to complete the cycle. A 9 for 13 spurt has raised his average to .293 with a .573 slugging average. Dustin was an 18th round pick in 2013 that is starting to show that he could be a five tool player.

Anderson Franco 1B and Carter Kieboom SS (Nationals) - On the same day Anthony Rendon drove in 10 runs in the Nationals 23-5 win over the Mets, the Hagerstown team beat the Lexington Legends 22-4 with Anderson and Carter combining for 10 RBIs. Carter exploded for three homeruns and five RBIs on his 5 for 7 performance. Anderson only hit one homerun but he drove in five runs in a 4 for 6 day.

Sean Newcomb LHP (Braves) - Not a day noted for pitching highlights, but Sean had a game with 11 whiffs in seven innings of work. He allowed just one hit. This is his second shutout performance in a row in which he has only allowed three hits in 12 innings. After his first three starts his ERA was 5.65. Now it is 3.08.

Austin Sodders LHP (Tigers) - Austin also pitched his second shutout start in a row and has three in the four games he has started. In the six inning outing he struck out 10 and allowed just three hits. He has struck out 19 in his last two starts covering 11 innings. Austin lacks a power packed pitch, with a fastball that sits at a pedestrian 88-92. He gets outs with command of his pitches.

Hot Prospects to Watch

Saturday, April 29th, 2017

Raimel Tapia CF (Rockies) - The Rockies outfield situation is a little crowded, especially with the return of Ian Desmond who may see some outfield time once he gets back from the disabled list. That has not deterred Raimel, who is in the middle of a six game hitting streak, with the last three games being multiple hit games. He has driven in seven runs during the streak and raised his average to .382. Raimel has yet to have a season in the minors where his average has fallen below .300.

Samir Duenez 1B (Royals) - If the Royals decide to rebuild and trade their veterans Samir could be called up to play first base. In a recent three game spin he drove in 8 runs, blasting his third homerun of the year. Samir has driven in 23 runs in 19 games, which leads the Texas AA League by five.

Rhys Hoskins 1B (Phillies) - Rhys has left the hitter friendly Reading park but the homeruns keep on coming. He had a two game homerun streak to up his total for the year to six. He is also showing a bit more diversity with a .343 average and only 14 whiffs in 21 games. That will get him a callup before the year is out with Tommy Joseph struggling to get past the Mendoza line.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr 3B (Blue Jays) - Vladimir has an 11 game hitting streak to prop his average up to .348. He has driven in seven runs in his last five games and had a streak in which he scored at least one run in five consecutive games. He has an impressive 14/11 walk to whiff ratio proving he is better at taking pitches than his father.

Braxton Davidson OF (Braves) - The Braves 2014 first round pick has been scuffling early in the season. A 4 for 4 game in which he also drew two walks brought that average back up to .200. He also socked his first homerun of the year in this game, driving in three runs. Last year Braxton struck out 184 times in 128 games. This inability to make contact continues with 33 whiffs in just 21 games to start the season.

Francisco Mejia C (Indians) - Francisco also hit his first homerun of the year, but his bat has still been hot with a .333 average. He has been filling the gaps with seven doubles.

Daz Cameron OF (Astros) - The son of Mike had a big seven RBI game with a triple and double driving in most of the runs. The 3 for 5 day brought his average to .208. Despite the low average Daz has been productive with 17 runs driven in and 16 runs scored in just 20 games.

Josh Naylor 1B (Padres) - Josh is starting to show the Padres his power. He has homered in two consecutive games, with multiple hits in five consecutive games. His hitting streak is now at 7 raising his average to .305. He is 15 for 31 during his hitting streak with three dingers and nine runs batted in. Josh has also shown some speed with four stolen bases in four attempts.

Max Pentecost C (Blue Jays) - Max was a first round pick of the Blue Jays in 2014. Injuries have prevented him from playing in more than 74 games. He is hoping this year will be different. A 14 game hitting streak has his average up to .328. The only game he has failed to get a hit was his first game. In his last eight games he has powered five of his six homeruns. That has given him 13 of his 16 RBIs for the year.

Tyler Mahle RHP (Reds) - Tyler followed his perfect game with six shutout innings, giving up just four hits. After five starts the opposition is just hitting .104 against him. Last year he started 14 games in AA and spun together an ERA of 4.92. This year he sits at 0.55. As putrid as the Reds starting pitching has been he could be called up as a solution to the rotation woes.

Jeff Hoffman RHP (Rockies) - It is just a matter of time before Jeff is called up. Last year the Rockies gave him six starts and he struggled with a 4.88 ERA. He threw seven innings of one hit shutout ball in his latest start to lower his AAA ERA to 3.86.

Jorge Lopez RHP (Brewers) - Last year Jorge was destined for the Brewers rotation. A 6.81 ERA in 16 starts got him a trip to AA Biloxi instead. That is where he is starting the 2017 season. After a 10 strikeout, six inning two hitter AAA is calling him. Last year he struggled to throw strikes. In five starts this year he has a 4/30 walk to whiff ratio in 26 innings.

Adalberto Mejia LHP (Twins) - Adalberto pitched well enough in spring to earn a spot in the Twins starting rotation to begin the season. He had trouble finding the plate, walking 8 in just over nine innings in his first three starts. That led to a demotion to AAA. In his first AAA minor league start Mejia didn’t walk a batter, striking out six in a seven inning two hit shutout outing. He needs to have a couple more outings like this to show the Twins that this was no fluke.

More Prospects Raking from Walker to Palka

Monday, April 17th, 2017

Below are some more prospects doing it with the arms and the bats.

Christian Walker 1B (Diamondbacks) - He got knocked from first base to the outfield by Trey Mancini and this year the Orioles released him. Back at his normal first base position his bat has returned in the early season. Christian hit his fourth home run and drove in a season high four runs with a 2 for 5 performance. The 16 RBIs for the year have put him in a tie for first in the Pacific Coast League with Jeimer Candelario, another player featured here for his bat. At 26 years of age Walker’s prospect status is just a glimmer, but there are teams who could use a right handed bat off the bench.

Ian Happ 2B (Cubs) - Ian was already leading the Pacific Coast League in homeruns with five, but he added another one to the total to take a two homer lead. Ian has pasted two hits in five of his last six games to up his average to .311. He has also found a home at second base, with eight of his 11 games there, though he has made two errors.

Cody Bellinger 1B (Dodgers) - The Dodgers have been in talks with the Brewers for Ryan Braun. After kicking the tires for Braun they may want to move Bellinger to the outfield. Cody hit his third homerun yesterday and his 2 for 3 day raised his average to .395. He has also driven in a run in his last four games. Strikeouts have been a concern with 12 in his 10 games and at least one whiff in his last six games. The Dodgers have put Bellinger in the outfield for one of his 10 games. On Saturday night he played centerfield.

Daniel Palka LF (Twins) - Daniel is not going to make you notice him because of his glove in the outfield. It is the bat that defines Palka’s game and yesterday that bat was sizzling with a 4 for 4 day. He was a triple short of the cycle but in his fourth at bat he went deep for his second homerun of the game, his fourth of the season, rather than hitting that paltry triple for the first cycle of the 2017 season. He was in a 1 for 21 slump through Friday, a slump that began after his first two homerun game. The Twins hope another 1 for 21 does not follow.

Ofelky Peralta RHP (Orioles) - The Orioles have been criticized by their lack of international resolve in looking for prospects. Ofelky is one of the rare Dominicans signed by the Orioles. At 6′5″ he has good height for a pitcher. Yesterday he allowed just one hit in five innings of work in a game the Frederick Keys lost when their bullpen gave up a trio of runs each in the last three innings. Ofelky has had some issues with command, walking 9 in 9 innings. On the bright side he has also struck out 14 with a 1.00 ERA. The opposition has a batting average of .138 against him.

Francis Martes RHP (Astros) - Another pitcher who has trouble finding the plate. Francis walked 6 in 4.1 innings of work, but no one crossed the plate in his second shutout appearance of the year in two games. Francis has walked 9 in 9.1 innings but he has struck out 10 and left the game with his 0.00 ERA intact. He left the game after throwing 93 pitches.

Jonathan Dziedzic RHP (Royals) - In a game against the New Orleans Baby Cakes Jonathan no hit them for 6.2 innings. After striking out Destin Hood on his 100th pitch the Storm Chasers removed him from the game. The Baby Cakes got their one and only hit in the ninth inning. Jonathan walked one and struck out six. It was his third start, and second without giving up a run, extending his shutout string to 13.1 innings. His ERA is now a svelte 1.04. If the Royals are looking for a starter Jonathan could be their man.

Hot Prospects in Mid-April

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

Kyle Tucker OF (Astros) - Sometimes a season can be defined by one game. For Kyle Tucker that season could have been Saturday night. Coming into the game he was hitting a modest .267. After a 4 for 5 day with two doubles, a homerun and seven RBIs that average had spiked to .343. His RBI total for the year now sits at 11 for nine games. To date 8 of Kyle’s 12 hits have gone for extra bases to put his slugging percentage at .714.

Jose Medina OF (Padres) - Coming into this game Jose was hitting .167 with no homeruns. After a 4 for 5 day with three homeruns Jose was hitting .304 and was no longer embarrassed about seeing his batting average displayed on the scoreboard. The five RBIs he produced in the Lake County 17-5 rout over Lansing were his first five RBIs of the year.

Marcus Wilson OF (Diamondbacks) - Marcus was already having a pretty solid season prior to his 3 for 5 day with two homeruns and six RBIs. The special day upped his average to .405 and doubled his homerun output for the year to 4. Pitchers have been hesitant about pitching to Marcus with 8 walks in 10 games for an OBA of .511. He has an 8/5 walk to whiff ratio.

Anthony Alford OF (Blue Jays) - The fourth outfielder on this list. Anthony has slashed hits in seven of his first eight games. All of those hits have been singles, until last night when he doubled and homered to record his first extra base hits of the year. Alford should have a combination of speed and power. His four stolen bases early in the year have shown off his speed. Now he hopes his most recent production will show off his extra base hit potential.

Chance Sisco C (Orioles) - Chance has struggled in the early part of April but he hopes a 3 for 3 day sparks his season to life. It raised his average to .276. Part of his struggles could be attributed to his inability to make contact. Chance had struck out 11 times in his first seven games, a trait not associated with his skill set.

Luis Ortiz RHP (Brewers) - Luis was slapped around in his first start for five runs in just four innings of work against Montgomery. He was much better in his second start, not allowing a hit in five innings of work. His command was a little off with four walks in the outing. Ironic he did not walk a batter in his first start. Maybe a little wildness is good. It creates an atmosphere of unpredictability.

Jake Jewell RHP (Angels) - So far Jake is having a jewel of a season. He shutout Visalia in the California League for seven innings, allowing just two hits and walking nary a soul. He did strike out eight. After two starts Jake has only allowed one runner to cross the plate for a 0.82 ERA. The Angels could use pitchers like that to fit in their rotation.

Merandy Gonzalez RHP (Mets) - The Mets seem to find a way to discover good pitching. Merandy is another one of these obscure finds. He pitched his second straight game of shutout ball, working 7.2 innings without allowing a run. In his first start he did not allow a run in his six innings of work. That gives him 13.2 innings of shutout ball to start the season with a .149 opposition average and a 1/11 walk to whiff ratio.

Walker Buehler RHP (Dodgers) - The start did not seem so special when he gave up hits to two of the first three hitters he faced. Then he struck out the last eight hitters to raise his season shutout streak to six innings. The Dodgers are being careful with Walker after his Tommy John surgery has limited Walker to five innings of work since he was drafted in the first round in 2015. The two three inning outings have exceeded the five innings he pitched in his first two years with the team.

A No Hitter in the Minor Leagues

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

Scott Copeland RHP (Marlins) - At 29 years of age Copeland is not considered a prospect. He still threw seven innings of no hit ball before being removed from the game in the top of the eighth for a pinch hitter. He walked one and struck out eight. Two different relievers came on to preserve the no hitter, though a couple walks spoiled the shutout.

Enyel de los Santos RHP (Padres) - Enyel pitched six innings of perfect ball, striking out seven. The bullpen failed to preserve the no hitter giving up a single in the ninth inning. San Antonio was still able to beat Arkansas 2-0. It was the second start for Santos, who has only given up one run in his 12 innings of work. The opposition is hitting just .053 against him. The Padres were able to steal the mid-90s fastball pitcher off the Mariners for Joaquin Benoit.

Ryan Olson RHP (Reds) - Ryan threw a complete game nine inning shutout, giving up just four hits in the first complete game shutout in the minor leagues this year. It was his second start of the year. In his first start he worked seven innings without allowing a run, giving up just two hits. After two starts the opposition is hitting him at a .122 clip. He has only walked one hitter in those 16 innings for a WHIP of 0.44.

Luis Escobar RHP (Pirates) - Luis Escobar struck out 11, which was one less than his first outing. That gives him 23 strikeouts in the young season, tops in the minor leagues. He allowed just one run in each of his starts to fashion a 1.64 ERA. Luis has only walked one hitter in his 11 innings of work with more than two whiffs per each inning of work.

Shane Bieber RHP (Indians) - Believe in the Bieber. He struck out 11 in six innings of work allowing just the one run. In two starts covering 10.2 innings Shane has yet to walk a batter, striking out 18. The fourth round 2016 pick is not overpowering but relies on his command to retire hitters.

Franklin Perez RHP (Astros) - In the low minors the Astros like to rotate their pitchers starting and relieving. Franklin gave up just one hit in 5.1 innings in his start. In a relief outing he picked up a save with four innings of perfect relief. That is one hit given up in 9.1 inning of work for an opposition average of .034.

Jomar Reyes 3B (Orioles) - Jomar has six multiple hit games in the nine games he has played. That has put his average at .444 to start the season. He is repeating his assignment in the Carolina League after hitting just .228 there last year. Last year Jomar stole three bases and he has stolen one base this year. Not noted for his speed Jomar has yet to be caught stealing in his minor league career going 7 for 7 in stolen bases.

Francisco Mejia C (Indians) - Last year Francisco put together a 50 game hitting streak in his two level performance hitting .342. He continues to hit this year with an 8 game hitting streak to start the season and a .414 average. Seven of his 12 hits have gone for doubles. If Yan Gomes struggles with the bat this year Francisco could find himself in the major leagues.

Chris Shaw 1B (Giants) - Chris is finding AA pitching to his liking, raking for a .382 average in 10 games. He is 8 for 12 in his last three games with homeruns in consecutive games and seven RBIs during that three game stretch. Brandon Belt will be a tough bat to replace and Chris does not have the foot speed to move to the outfield.

Christian Arroyo SS (Giants) - Christian has an eight game hitting streak and a 3 for 3 performance Friday raised his average to .467. Only four of his 14 hits have gone for extra bases.