Archive for the 'Astros' Category

Myworld’s Top Rightfielders

Monday, December 11th, 2017

These are players with a strong arm who can hit for pop. We have excluded any player with a strong arm that also has speed to play center. Or at least we tried. We never thought Michael Conforto would get so much centerfield time with the Mets.

1. Eloy Jimenez (White Sox) - Easily the best of the group here. Average speed prevents him from being a five tool player and having the ability to play centerfield. He has a strong arm and the plus pop that should hit for 30 plus homeruns in the major leagues. The Cubs signed him out of the Dominican Republic for $2.8 million in 2013 but then traded him to the White Sox in the Jose Quintana trade. Last year he slugged 19 homeruns playing in three different cities, hit .312 and slugged .568. A promotion to AA did not seem to phase him where he hit .353 with three homeruns and a .559 slugging percentage. The White Sox have Avisail Garcia for right field, but he is not a big impediment for a Jimenez promotion. Expect Eloy to be playing with the White Sox by mid-season 2018.

2. Kyle Tucker (Astros) - Kyle has been playing a lot of centerfield since being drafted in the first round of the 2015 draft. He is more talented than his brother Preston who had a brief cameo with the Astros a couple years ago. Expect Kyle to make a longer stay. While his speed and instincts make centerfield a possibility, the speed is not of the burner variety and at 6′4″ he may lose a step as he bulks up. His bat does carry power as evidenced by his 25 homeruns split between High A and AA. He did steal 21 bases last year but expect those numbers to drop. The Astros outfield is still a bit crowded, though playing centerfield could be his first opportunity to make it with the Astros. Expect him to start the season in AA with a major league promotion in September, unless his numbers are so staggering the Astros need him to compete for the playoffs.

3. Kyle Lewis (Mariners) - A significant knee injury and surgery ended the 2017 season early for Kyle. How will it impact the speed of the 2016 first round pick is not known. His games in the Arizona Fall League were cut short when he appeared to experience some uneasiness in the knee. The arm is certainly strong enough to play right field if his legs are slower. The juice in his bat can carry the ball over the fence to all fields. Last year he hit 7 homeruns in 49 games, slugging .412 at two levels. The Mariners could start the season rehabbing him at Low A or having him play in extended spring training. Once his knee appears ready he could return to High A with the possibility to be promoted to AA. Don’t expect him in the major leagues before 2019.

4. Brett Phillips (Brewers) - The sixth round 2012 pick has one of the strongest arms in baseball. He also has the speed to cover ground in center. The Brewers have Lewis Brinson, a player with better defensive skills slotted for center. Brett doesn’t carry the power ideal for right so that could put him in a fourth outfielder category. Last year his power was good for 23 homeruns, including 4 in 37 games for the Brewers. There does seem to be too much swing and miss in his bats with 153 whiffs in 142 games. Brett had 34 of those whiffs in 87 at bats at the major league level. The 2018 season should see Brett start the season in AAA but a good spring could motivate the Brewers to take him to Milwaukee with them.

5. Dylan Cozens (Phillies) - The second round 2012 pick packs more power than Rhys Hoskins, though when he hit his 40 plus homeruns in AA a couple years ago it was played at the hitter friendly Reading park. The big challenge for Dylan is making contact, with 194 whiffs in 135 games last year. That resulted in a disappointing .210 average, which prevented him from joining Hoskins in the major leagues last year. Myworld expects some improvement next year as he repeats AAA and gets used to the better pitching at that level. His arm is not a cannon but it is good enough to throw runners out from right field. His average speed could actually force him to move to left. The Phillies are rebuilding so a good spring could create opportunities for him.

6. Aristides Aquino (Reds) - The Reds signed him back in 2011 out of the Dominican Republic. He didn’t get his first opportunity to play full season ball until 2015. Since that time he has been moving up a level each year. Next year should be AAA. There is power in his bat, though that power disappeared in major stretches in 2017. In 2016 he hit 23 homeruns with a .519 slugging. Last year he dropped to 17 homeruns with a .397 slugging percentage. He struggled to make contact last year with 145 whiffs in 131 games, resulting in his average dropping 60 points to .216 last year. Those struggles could see him repeat AA.

7. Harrison Bader (Cardinals) - The Cardinals outfield is crowded. The third round pick in the 2015 draft seems to have the best combination of power, arm and speed of those outfielders to slot in right field. Last year he slugged 23 homeruns, three of them at the major league level. His tool box is enough to give him the classification of a five tool player who exhibits attributes that are average or just above in all five tools. The one attribute he could improve on is patience. If he can narrow the 34/118 walk to whiff ratio that could put his average possibilities nearer the .300 mark. A good spring training could give him a shot at one of the outfield spots, but he has a lot of veterans ahead of him to surpass.

8. Alex Verdugo (Dodgers) - Alex was a second round pick of the Dodgers in 2014. He has a rocket for an arm, ideal for a rightfielder. His best attribute is his ability to make contact with a 52/50 walk to whiff ratio last year. The concern is his inability to show his over the fence power. His line drive stroke is good for gap hits, but adding some loft into his swing could turn some of those gappers into homers. That switch could impact his ability to make contact. His speed is not quick enough to cover the ground he needs for centerfield. Last year he saw some major league September action, hitting .174 in 23 at bats. Yasiel Puig currently has right field occupied so if Verdugo is to play next year he could have to fit in centerfield where the Dodgers lack a consistent bat.

9. Socrates Brito (Diamondbacks) - Socrates has had his opportunities but injuries have held him back. Injuries limited him to 78 games last year and no major league appearance. Socrates has the speed to play center and the arm to fit in right. The bat has not shown a lot of power so his best bet could be if he could win the centerfield job. His most likely role could be as a utility fourth outfielder. Last year in the 78 games he played his OPS was .785 with a .449 slugging average and a .291 batting average. At 25 years old, if he is going to make an impact in the outfield his time would be in 2018.

10. Austin Hays (Orioles) - The third round 2016 pick seemed to come out of nowhere to hit 33 homeruns last year. One of those homeruns came in his major league debut where he hit .217 in a September callup. The Orioles outfield situation is not crowded. Mark Trumbo plays right field but he should spend most of his time at DH next year. What myworld has seen of Hayes is a decent arm that can play in right field, not like the rockets of Verdugo or Phillips. While he showed power last year, whether he can maintain that against major league pitching is open to question. In the minor leagues he has shown the ability to hit in the .300 neighborhood. Time will tell whether the power and batting tools the Atlantic Coast Conference star has shown is a mirage or part of his daily repertoire. The right field job is there for the taking if he has a good spring training.

Others to Note

Khalil Lee (Royals) - The third round 2016 pick has a better arm for throwing out runners than the speed in his legs for catching fly balls. This does not mean he does not have the speed for centerfield, just that his overall tools may be better suited for right. Last year he slugged 17 homeruns in Low A, evidence of his power. He also struck out 171 times in 121 games, indicative of his capability to swing and miss at a lot of pitches.

Seuly Matias (Royals) - The 19 year old Dominican has perhaps the best arm on the Royals. His average speed and power in his bat makes right field the best fit.

Brandon Marsh (Angels) - At 6′4″ with a cannon for an arm makes right field the best fit for Brandon. His legs also are quick enough to cover ground in center. Can’t imagine him usurping Mike Trout from his position so we will fit the second round 2016 pick for right.

Tristan Lutz (Brewers) - The 2017 supplemental first round pick has the arm for right and the bat for the position. He also has decent speed to play center. The Brewers do have a crowded deck of outfielders. The Brewers can start Tristan at Low A and show patience with him as he develops his skills for the major leagues.

Austin Beck (Athletics) - Beck was a first round pick of the Atletics in 2017. He had a prevalence to swing and miss in his professional debut with 51 strikeouts in 41 games, limiting his average to .211. His arm was one of the best in the draft last year.

Myworlds Top Leftfield Prospects

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

These are not necessarily the top outfield prospects. They are usually limited because they either lack the arm to play right field or are absent of the speed in their legs to patrol centerfield. One thing they do have is a bat and a crowded infield situation that a manager finds a spot for them in the lineup. Not included here are centerfielder types who end up playing left field because of an already crowded centerfield position like Starling Marte or years ago Mike Trout when Peter Bourgos was the Angels centerfielder.

1) Corey Ray (Brewers) - The 2016 first round pick of the Brewers has an average arm that could fit in right. His legs have the speed to cover centerfield, but it is not burner speed that covers wide patches of green. The Brewers hope his power bat will get him in the lineup. Last year an injury gave him a late start to the season and he struggled to make contact, hitting .237 with 156 whiffs in 112 games. The power was also not prevalent with a .367 slugging average. The year before in a half season he made better contact (54 whiffs in 57 games) but his other numbers were not much better (.247 ave. and a .385 slugging). He will need to do better with thee bat if he wants to play left. As a college drafted player he is 23 so the Brewers do not have the luxury of time to show a lot of patience with him. A promotion to AA is not deserved but will probably occur out of necessity.

2) Willie Calhoun (Rangers) - Willie was drafted in the fourth round in 2015 by the Dodgers. At 5′8″ he is small of stature but his bat carries a lot of wallop. The Dodgers used him at second base and were playing him more in left field when they traded him to the Rangers in the Yu Darvish deal. The Rangers stuck him out in left field where he flourished. His power bat made a statement in 2016 when he slugged 27 homeruns, though his slugging percentage was greater in 2015 (.519 to .469) but not as recognized because he played just half a season covering three different levels. After a slow start Willie turned on the after burners in 2017, blasting 32 homeruns, with a .572 slugging percentage in what is usually a hitter friendly Pacific Coast League. This resulted in his major league debut where his power was absent but in minimal at bats. Look for him to compete for the Rangers left field job next year.

3) Blake Rutherford (White Sox) - The Yankees made Blake their first pick in the 2016 draft. Last year they traded him to the White Sox in the Todd Frazier deal. The Yankees outfield is a bit crowded with prospects Aaron Judge and Clint Frazier forming the nucleus of their outfield for years to come so Blake was an extra piece. He does not have a rocket arm that you expect for right or the burner speed for center, but he could play both positions adequately if he makes it as a fourth outfielder. In a half a season with the Yankees shorter season clubs Blake raked, hitting .351 with a .570 slugging. He failed to replicate those numbers when promoted to full season ball, carrying only two balls over the fence (.348 slugging). His lefthanded bat has the potential for power once he adds some lift in his swing to allow balls to glide over the fence. Expect him to start the 2018 season in AA.

4) Austin Meadows (Pirates) - A highly touted first round pick of the Pirates in 2013. His high school baseball rival in Georgia Clint Frazier has already seen time in the major leagues. Injuries have curbed the career of Austin, limiting him to just 81 games last year. In 2016 injuries limited him to just 87 games. His arm is fringy but his speed could allow him to play center. Because of his injuries, his play has been sporadic, but still good enough to be promoted to AAA. Last year Meadows strung together a career low slugging average of .384. With McCutchen ready to become a free agent after next year the Pirates could slide Starling Marte to centerfield and place Austin in left. In order for that to be accomplished Austin needs to improve his stock with the bat and stay healthy.

5) Tyler O’Neil (Cardinals) - Tyler was a third round pick of the Mariners in 2013. The Canadian born Tyler is the son of a body builder so he lifts weights as well, giving him biceps that can carry balls far over the fence. Last year he hit 31 homeruns, 19 of them with the Mariners AAA team and the remaining 12 with the AAA team of the Cardinals. In 2015 he had hit 32. That power comes with a number of swings and misses (151 in 130 games) but teams will take that for a power hitter. The Cardinals outfield is crowded but Tyler possesses power that few can match. His speed is below average and arm above average so a corner is the best place for him.

6) Jesse Winker (Reds) - It has taken some time for the 2012 first round supplemental pick of the Reds to germinate into a major league player. He lacks the speed or the arm to be anything but a leftfielder. First base might be his best position but with Joey Votto there he has no chance of finding major league time. Jesse does have a sweet left handed swing that should hit for a high average. It may not hit for a lot of power. Last year in AAA he only hit two homeruns with a .408 slugging. For his minor league career his slugging average sits at .455. In his major league debut last year he showed a little bit of pop in the hitter friendly Reds stadium, hitting seven homeruns for a .529 slugging. If he can replicate those numbers he will be the Reds starter in 2018.

7) Cedric Mullins (Orioles) - Cedric was a 13th round pick in 2015. His small 5′8″ stature may have resulted in teams holding back on him when selecting for the draft. A hot start to the season last year was stunted by a hamstring injury that forced him to miss two months. His bat did not sizzle after that, but he finished the season with 13 homeruns. He showed off his power with 33 of his 82 hits going for extra bases to produce a .460 slugging. He has the speed to play center but the arm is weak so left field is his next option. The Orioles will need some help in the outfield next year with Adam Jones eligible to become a free agent. Cedric should make his major league debut sometime by next season, judging by how short the Orioles outfield situation is depth wise.

8) Hunter Dozier (Royals) - The first round pick of the Royals in 2013 saw a lot of time in left field last year. The impending free agency of Mike Moustakas next year could seal Hunter’s position. If Moustakas is not signed Hunter could find a slot open at third. If he does sign, Hunter could battle with the disappointing Alex Gordon for left field starts. Oblique and hamate bone injuries limited his minor league play to just 33 games. In 2016 he made his major league debut (.211). The injuries and the struggle to make contact (37 whiffs in 24 games) stunted his average (.226) and prevented him from seeing more major league time. Hunter should compete for a major league role in 2018, though his limited playing time last year is a big impediment to that progress.

9) Jorge Ona (Padres) - Like the Dodgers, the Padres have gone out and signed a number of Cuban defectors. Like the Dodgers they are still waiting for success. With Jorge, there is some power in his bat, though an inability to make consistent contact led to many unproductive at bats. In his state side United States debut Jorge hit 11 homeruns at Low A. At 20 years of age the Padres can be patient with him. His lack of speed will restrict him to a corner. His arm is strong enough for right but myworld feels it is a better fit for left. With a little more experience he could rise quickly.

10) Christin Stewart (Tigers) - The Tigers are rebuilding and there is no better time for Christin to be coming up from the minor leagues. In 2016 he hit 30 homeruns. Last year he hit 28 at AA with a .256 average. There still is a little too much swing and miss in his swing, but few Tigers carry as much wallop in the bat. His lack of speed and a weak arm will keep him in left field or at DH. The Tigers could start him in AAA next year with a quick rise to the majors by mid-season.

Others Worth Noting

Christian Walker (Diamondbacks) - At 27 years of age his gentrification has made him less of a prospect. He did hit 32 homeruns and drove in 115 runs, production that is difficult to ignore. He played first base with the Orioles but always seems to be blocked at that position. With the Diamondbacks he is blocked by Paul Goldschmidt

Anthony Santander (Orioles) - The Rule V pick was sidelined until the summer by shoulder surgery. When he got healthy the bat was smoking (.382). Next year Anthony has a good shot of making the major league club, rotating between left field, first base and DH.

Yordan Alvarez (Astros) - The 20 year old Cuban is a big kid (6′5). That height carries arm length which gives him impressive power. Last year he hit 12 homeruns between Low and High A. His best position may be first base because of his lack of speed.

Brent Rooker (Twins) - Rooker was a first round 2017 pick who hit 18 homeruns in a half season of 62 games. He played first base at college but the Twins moved him to left field for his professional debut.

Myworld’s Top Ten Third Base Prospects

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

This is a position reserved for power hitters. Many of those power hitters like Jim Thome or Miguel Sano get too big for the position and have to move to first base or DH. Below are the players myworld sees as the top ten at third base.

1. Nick Senzel (Reds) - The first round pick of the Reds in 2016 and the second player drafted overall should hit for both average and power. Last year he combined to hit .321 between High A and AA, with his average increasing from .305 to .340 when promoted to AA. He also hit 14 homeruns with a slugging average of .514. Defensively, he has the quickness to stay at the position, but do not expect any gold gloves. The Reds traded Todd Frazier to make room for Senzel. Eugenio Suarez, the current occupier of the position can play a super utility role, having played second, short and left field in his time with the Reds. Expect to see Senzel at this position in 2018.

2. Vladimir Guerrero (Blue Jays) - His bat may not be as productive as his father and his arm is not as strong. He does carry more patience, walking 76 times last year. In his last three years in the major leagues his father walked 71 times, though he did show more patience earlier in his career (or pitchers feared him so much they did not give him a pitch to hit). The big question with Junior is whether he can handle the position defensively. Last year he hit .323 with 13 homeruns and a .485 slugging average between Low and High A. Those numbers should increase as he matures. Myworld would not be surprised if he is moved to left field or first base, though his lack of speed would make him a liability on defense in the outfield.

3. Michael Chavis (Red Sox) - Rafael Devers had some success last year at third base for the Red Sox. That seems to create an impediment for Chavis to move there at the major league level. Chavis may not have the hit tool of Devers (.282) but he hits for more power with his 31 homeruns between High A and AA. Like Devers, defense is not a strong point for Chavis. His lack of speed will make moving to the outfield difficult. The Red Sox have one more year to decide who they move to first base, or use one of them as trade bait.

4. Brian Anderson (Marlins) - Myworld was impressed how frequently the third round 2014 pick peppered the gap during spring training. The ball seems to jump off his bat when he makes contact. Currently his power is more dedicated to the gaps. In a brief major league callup he hit 7 doubles in 84 at bats. At AA and AAA he combined for 22 homeruns and 21 doubles, hitting .275. His power could improve once he shows better patience at the plate. Defensively he has all the tools to play the position. He should be the starter at the position for the Marlins in 2018.

5. Austin Riley (Braves) - Austin is currently tearing it up in the Arizona Fall League. This after he hit 20 homeruns at High A and AA last year. If Austin can tame his swings and misses the average could go higher and more balls would carry the fence. Defensively he is adequate at third. With another solid performance in AA he could be with the Braves by mid-season in 2018. They do not have any top player to stop him from advancing.

6. Miguel Andujar (Yankees) - The Yankees have a glut of middle infielders (Gleyber Torres), some of whom they may have to accommodate at third to get their bat in the lineup. Currently, most of his power fills the gaps, with 38 doubles last year, two in the major leagues. As he matures those 16 homeruns he hit last year could translate to 30 plus. It would be hard to find a better arm than Miguel and if he had the speed a move to right field would be perfect (but that would require supplanting Aaron Judge). Last year he hit .571 in a seven at bat major league September callup. Expect him to see more time at the major league level next year.

7. Jake Burger (White Sox) - Jake was a first round pick of the White Sox last year. There is little doubt he will be a hitting machine, though in a 13 at bat minor league debut he hit just .154. The big concern with Jake is his stay puff marshmellow physique, which could force a move away from third. Currently his physique allows him the quickness to play third. If he continues to bulk up he may have to move to first. Not a lot of players can match his work ethic. Drafted out of college if Jake hits he will be moved up quickly.

8. Colton Walker (Rockies) - Unlike Ryan McMahon, Colton as a few more years in the minor leagues to play third base before the Rockies have to make a decision on whether to keep Nolan Arenado. The biggest strength for Colton is his defense. He was a shortstop in high school, so playing third is a good transition for him, especially because of his lack of speed. Last year in his first full season at Low A he hit .350. The power is still absent (6 homeruns) but it should come as he gains strength.

9. Lucas Erceg (Brewers) - The second round 2016 pick has the power to play the position. He struggled with the bat a little bit more last year than his debut 2016 half season, hitting just .256 at High A. The power showed mainly in the gaps with 33 doubles, but he did slug 15 homeruns for a .417 slugging average. As he gets stronger the power will carry more balls over the fence. He should be a stand out defensively and eventually move Travis Shaw to first base.

10. Adrian Rondon (Rays) - The Rays shelled out $2.95 million to sign him. At the time he was a shortstop. A lack of speed forced a move to third base. Too many swings and misses (129) impacted his average (.221). When he makes contact the ball travels well off the bat. Only 19, myworld would not be surprised if he spends another season in Low A to deal with his lack of contact issues. The defense will be solid.

Other players to note:

Ryan McMahon (Rockies) - On talent alone he would make this top ten just after Andujar. We already listed him at second base and do not see him playing third for the Rockies as long as Arenado fills this spot. Defensively he is not as strong as Walker so when Walker is ready and Arenado gone McMahon will be at first or second.

Ryan Mountcastle (Orioles) - He does not have the range to play short. When promoted to AA last year he played third. The power could be short for the position making a move to second more logical.

Bobby Dalbec (Red Sox) - That shortage at third base for the Red Sox is turning into a surplus. There is still too much swing and miss in his bat (132 in 85 games). If that can be toned down the power is there to play the position.

Colin Moran (Astros) - He was an RBI machine in college. That did not transition to the major leagues. Last year he had a break out season with 18 homeruns, earning a promotion to the major leagues. A hit by pitch put an early stop to his season. It will be interesting if last year was an aberration or part of his new self.

J.D. Davis (Astros) - Davis has some power in his bat but a lack of quickness and Bregman and Moran could force a move to another position. A lack of speed leaves first base as the most desirable option.

Hunter Dozier (Royals) - The first round 2013 pick has taken some time to develop. Injuries limited him to 33 games last year. Alex Gordon struggled for a number of years with the Royals while trying to play third base until they moved him to the outfield. Perhaps this will have to be done for Dozier to get his bat working.

Renato Nunez (Athletics) - He has good power in his bat but an inability to make consistent contact. His poor fielding makes a move to first almost guaranteed, especially with the depth the Athletics have at third.

Ke’Bryan Hayes (Pirates) - The Pirates first round pick in 2015 lacks the power for the position. He is an above average defender.

Christian Arroyo (Giants) - A tweener. The first round 2013 pick does not have the range for short or the power for third.

AL West Minor League All Stars

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Baseball America came out with their minor league classification All Stars. Below are the players who made the list from the AL West. They may not be the best prospects, but they had the best seasons for 2017.

Houston Astros

Derek Fisher OF (AAA) - Derek would have had a third consecutive 20/20 season if not for an early callup to the Astros. His production made Nori Aoki obsolete in Houston. He has a combination of power and speed with a left handed bat that will make him popular in the lineup. A weak arm will restrict him to left field.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

None

Oakland Athletics

Jorge Mateo SS (AA) - The Yankees included him in a trade to acquire Sonny Gray. It extended his stint at short, but do not be surprised to see an eventual move to the outfield. His main attribute is his speed, stealing 52 bases last year. Jorge also has some emerging power with a career high 12 homeruns. That speed and power mix also produced 18 triples.

Greg Deichmann OF (short season) - Greg does not have any overwhelming tools. Power and a strong arm will have him fit best in right field. At 22 years of age he was one of the older players in short season.

Parker Dunshee SP (short season) - He pitched 38 innings and did not allow a run, limiting the opposition to a .119 average. When the playoffs started he was tattooed for seven runs in less than three innings. The seventh round pick out of Wake Forest does not have dazzling stuff and at 22 years of age he was a bit older than his competetion, so what he does as he rises up a level will be key.

Seattle Mariners

Nick Neidert SP (High A) - The second round 2015 pick is not overpowering, with a fastball in the low 90s. His best pitch at this point is his change up and his ability to command his pitches. He did get knocked around when promoted to AA, the opposition hitting him at a .324 clip.

Joseph Rosa 2B (short season) - Does not seem to possess any top of the scale tools. He did hit a career high 6 homeruns for a .531 slugging average. This is his third season in short season ball so he needs to prove himself at the higher classifications.

Juan Then SP (Dominican) - Pitched well in the Dominican League but that is all we can say about him. Juan struck out 8.2 hitters per 9 innings and limited the opposition to a .220 average.

Texas Rangers

Willie Calhoun DH (AAA) - The Dodgers traded him to the Rangers as part of the Yu Darvish deal. With the Dodgers Calhoun played second base but his defense is lacking there. A move to left field would be ideal to accommodate his suspect glove. What he does possess is a bat that carries homerun power with 31 last year and 27 the previous year.

Cole Ragens SP (short season) - A first round pick in the 2016 draft, the lefty throws a decent fastball in the low 90s but complements it with a solid curveball and change. Cole had a quite impressive 13.7 whiffs per 9 innings, but needs to find the plate more with 35 walks in 57 innings.

Hans Crouse SP (rookie) - The second round 2017 pick has a plus fastball that sits in the mid-90s and can reach the high 90s. That overpowering stuff resulted in a walk to whiff ratio of 13.5 whiffs per nine and a .109 opposition average. At 6′4″ he has good height for a starting pitcher.

2017 Top Ten Prospects Carolina League

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

These are the players myworld would rate as the top ten prospects in the Carolina League. A pretty impressive group at the top of the list with some impressive names at the lower end. These prospects have put up the numbers to earn a spot on this list and are not named for just potential.

1. Tristan McKenzie RHP (Indians/Lynchburg) - Myworld remembered when we watched the then 19 year old Clayton Kershaw pitch in an early spring training game at Vero Beach. That is the same kind of Wow we had watching Tristan pitch in a short season game at Williamsport last year. The supplemental first round pick in 2015 reminds me of a praying mantis, all arms and legs as his 6′5″ stick frame comes at you with a mid-90s fastball. There were a lot of swings and misses in that game. Those swings and misses continue in the Carolina League with 150 in 118.2 innings. While the opposition is hitting only .199 against him, some of those balls have gone a long way, with 13 homeruns given up. His command could use some improvement, but as his body fills out with maturity that fastball could be impressive if the secondary pitches improve with it.

2. Victor Robles OF (Nationals/Potomac) - Myworld likes Victor over Eloy because of his speed and ability to play a quality defense in centerfield. As he matures the power should increase. The Dominican has the five tools you look for in a superstar. The Nationals signed him for $225,000 in 2013. His speed allows him to cover a lot of ground in centerfield. A .289 average with a .872 OPS resulted in a promotion to AA. Currently his power is restricted to the gaps where he blasted 25 doubles and 7 triples. The 9 homeruns he has hit over the two levels is a career high. Expect him to fit into a crowded Nationals outfield sometime in September of next year.

3. Eloy Jimenez OF (White Sox/Winston Salem) - The Cubs signed the Dominican Eloy for a splashy $2.8 million in 2013, the same year they signed Gleyber Torres for $1.7 million. Now both have left the Cubs, Eloy traded to the White Sox in the Jose Quintana trade. Eloy has a power bat but his lack of blazing speed or a strong arm will restrict him to left field. The trade from the Cubs to the White Sox has seemed to give him a power surge. He batted .271 with 8 homeruns in 42 games for Myrtle Beach in the Carolina League. For the White Sox he is hitting .362 with 8 homeruns in 28 games. It may be too late in the season to promote him to AA, but Eloy appears to be ready for that level now.

4. Forrest Whitley RHP (Astros/Buies Creek) - The 2016 first round pick was called up from Low A after 10 starts. He has not had a lot of time in the Carolina League but in six starts he has struck out 50 in 31.1 innings. At 6′7″ with a mid to high 90s fastball he can dominate games with above average breaking pitches (curve and slider) and a decent change. Opponents still get some hits off him with a .243 opposition average between the two levels. Forrest has shown good command of his pitches, walking just 9 in his 31.1 innings. Drafted out of high school it will take him a couple more years before he reaches the Astros.

5. Austin Hays RF (Orioles/Frederick) - The third round 2016 pick did not last long in the Carolina League after hitting .328 with 16 homeruns. That batting average (.350) and power (12 homeruns) have improved since his promotion to AA. He did hit 16 homeruns for Jacksonville his junior year to lead the Atlantic Sun Conference in homeruns. After being drafted he slugged another four homeruns and hit .336 in the New York Penn League. The Orioles had him skip Low A to move to the Carolina League. Austin has a right fielders arm and decent enough speed to cover ground out in right field. That speed will not result in a lot of stolen bases. The way he is tearing up each league in the minors expect Austin to be with the Orioles sometime next year. They do not have a lot of players there right now to hold him back.

6. Michael Chavis 3B (Red Sox/Salem) - Michael was a first round pick of the Red Sox in 2014. It has been a disappointing first three years for Michael. The Red Sox have a need for a third baseman and if Michael had hit like he has this year perhaps he would get the call. It has been a breakout year for Michael with 17 homeruns in just 59 games with a .318 average and a 1.029 OPS in the Carolina League. His strikeouts are still prevalent, but they have been reduced from his first three years. In AA he has added 12 homeruns to give him 29 for the year. His defense at third is still a little suspect with 14 errors, which could result in a move to first base or left field.

7. Zack Collins C (White Sox/Winston Salem) - Zack was a first round pick of the White Sox in 2016. The 117 whiffs in 110 games has kept his average down at .220, but he does have 17 homeruns with 75 walks for a .362 OBP. His bat should always play but a thick lower half and plodding feet has resulted in 16 passed balls. He has thrown out 45 runners so he can sling it to second. The White Sox will be patient with him. The power will play well behind the plate, but if his defense remains weak he could move to first. It is still way too early for the White Sox to give up on his catching tools.

8. Alec Hansen RHP (White Sox/Winston Salem) - The White Sox drafted Alec in the second round of the 2016 draft. At 6′7″ with a mid to high 90s fastball he can dominate games, with frequent double digit strikeout outings. He started the season in Low A and after dominating there was promoted to High A, where he had back to back 12 K games. His secondary pitches need improvement (slider, curve and change) but that will come with time. The opposition hits him at a .210 clip with 155 whiffs in 119 innings.

9. Kyle Tucker OF (Astros/Buies Creek) - Kyle was a 2015 first round pick of the Astros. His brother Preston plays in AAA for the Astros Fresno affiliate. Kyle got the height (6′4″) while the shorter framed Preston inherited the Popeye arms. Kyle has the greater prospect potential. He has the speed to cover the ground necessary in centerfield and the arm and power to play right. He didn’t last long in the Carolina League, promoted to AA after hitting .288 with 9 homeruns and a .932 OPS in the Carolina League. AA has been a bit more of a struggle but expect Kyle to show case his outfield abilities at Minute Maid park some time next year.

10. Dane Dunning RHP (White Sox/Winston Salem) - The Nationals drafted Dunning in the first round of the 2016 draft, then traded him to the White Sox in the Adam Eaton trade. He was the lessor of Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito but in the long run he may turn out to be the greater. His fastball sits in the low 90s but can touch the mid 90s but his secondary pitches need improvement (slider/change). Dunning started his season in the South Atlantic League but needed only four starts to get his 0.35 ERA promoted to the Carolina League. His numbers (3.43 ERA) would be a little better if not for an 8 run outing in July when he coughed up four of his 12 homeruns. His command is good but a .260 opposition average could be indicative of being around the plate too much.

Other Players to Watch

Ryan Mountcastle SS (Orioles/Frederick) - We talked about him in the AA Eastern League top ten prospects. He was leading the Carolina League in batting average at .314 but after his promotion he will not carry enough at bats to win the title. He also slugged 15 homeruns. His eventual position may be third base but the Orioles will keep him at short until he proves he can’t play it.

Ademar Rifaela OF (Orioles/Frederick) - The native of Curacao leads the Frederick League in homeruns with 22. Last year he broke out with 13 homeruns but this year he could double that quantity. The batting average (.290) and homeruns are a career high. It will be interesting if he can continue to produce as he rises up the minor league ladder.

Chase Vallot C (Royals/Wilmington) - A lesser version of Zach Collins the supplemental first round pick does not hit for average (.231) but has some pop (12 homeruns). He also has the patience to draw walks (.380). His defense with 10 passed balls and 12 errors may force a move from catcher. He only has thrown out 13 baserunners.

Josh Ockimey 1b (Red Sox/Salem) - The 2014 fifth round pick has shown the ability to hit for power. After hitting .275 with 11 homeruns in 100 games he was promoted to AA. Josh is not afraid to draw walks (.388).

A.J. Puckett RHP (White Sox/Winston Salem) - A second round pick of the Royals in 2016, he was traded to the White Sox mid year in the Melky Cabrera trade. He has not had a great year in the Carolina League (4.01 ERA) with a .262 opposition average, but 102 whiffs in 112 innings shows a swing and miss quality.

Myworlds Top Ten Texas League Prospects

Sunday, August 6th, 2017

Myworld struggled to find ten quality players to make a top ten. Not an impressive lot. These are prospects based on their production while in the Texas League. A number of Dodger pitchers filter this list.

1. Walker Buehler RHP (Dodgers) - Walker was a first round pick of the Dodgers in 2015. Tommy John surgery prevented him from playing in 2015 and in 2016 he was limited to five regular season innings and two playoff starts that also was five innings. The Dodgers have been aggressive with him this year, starting him in High A ball where it only took five starts and a 1.10 ERA to get him promoted to AA. It took him 11 AA starts with a 3.49 ERA to get him promoted to AAA. Combined opponents are hitting only .190 against him with 112 whiffs in 80 innings pitched. Don’t be surprised to see the Dodgers limit his innings, shutting him down after August to protect his arm. As is, his starts have only averaged four innings per start, limiting his ability to produce victories. His fastball sits in the mid-90s with a combination curve/slider and a change that he throws for strikes. He has a good shot of making the Dodgers rotation sometime next year.

2. Jack Flaherty RHP (Cardinals) - Jack was a first round pick of the Cardinals in 2014. He started the season in AA and was almost unhittable in his 10 starts, stitching together a 1.42 ERA. That resulted in his promotion to AAA where he has not been as dominant (3.21 ERA) but he has still been effective. Despite his 6′4″ frame he is not overpowering, hitting the low 90s with his fastball with a plus changeup that gives the fastball the appearance of greater velocity. He also has little difficulty throwing strikes, though this has resulted in a greater homerun stroke by the AAA opposition. With continued success expect a September promotion by the Cardinals.

3. Magneruris Sierra CF (Cardinals) - This Dominican was a bargain sign when he inked his $105,000 bonus in 2012. Defense in centerfield and speed will be his calling card. There is very little power in his bat but he does have the ability to hit over .300. His speed can turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples. He started this year in High A, was quickly promoted to AA and after hitting .286 with 13 stolen bases in 61 games he was promoted to the major league club. In the majors he is hitting .365 with no extra base hits in 13 games. If he is not to become a fourth outfielder he needs an OBA of .330 or better, something he was able to accomplish in the minor leagues except for this year.

4. Yohander Mendez LHP (Rangers) - Yohander was signed out of Venezuela in 2011 for $1.5 million. Last year he made his major league debut, pitching two games of relief for the Rangers but showing great difficulty retiring hitters. Despite his dominance at AAA last year the Rangers have placed him in AA again where he has started 20 games with a 3.86 ERA. The opposition is hitting him at a .230 rate. The fastball can reach the mid-90s but mostly sits in the low 90s, good enough velocity for a lefthander. His change may be his best pitch but he lacks a third pitch which could keep him in a bullpen role. Expect a September promotion this year.

5. J.D. Davis 3B (Astros) - J.D. was a third round pick in 2014. His two biggest tools are a rocket arm and the ability to hit for power. Last year he hit 23 homeruns in AA. With Colin Moran in AAA J.D. repeated AA and slugged 21 homeruns in just 87 games, still tops in the Texas League. That led to a promotion to AAA after Moran was promoted to the Astros where J.D. added five dingers in 16 games. The 26 homeruns match his career high he set in 2015. With Moran and Correa injured the Astros have promoted him to the major league club to provide some depth in the infield. He will stay there until Correa gets healthy.

6. Grant Holmes RHP (Athletics) - Grant was a first round pick of the Dodgers in 2014. The Dodgers included him in a trade to the Athletics for Josh Reddick and Rich Hill. While his ERA is not good (4.90) he does lead the Texas League in whiffs with 115. Opponents do seem to make hard contact off him (.279) despite his ability to hit the mid-90s with his fastball. The trade of Sonny Gray gives Grant a better opportunity to work his way into the Athletics rotation. For a first round pick he has been a disappointment but expect him to find a spot in the Athletics rotation sometime next year.

7. Luis Urias SS/2B (Padres) - Luis was signed out of Mexico in 2013. His slow foot speed probably makes him a better fit for second base. This year he has seen more games at short (56) but 34 games at second. His best shot of making a major league team is in a utility role. He lacks power but can hit for average. Last year his .330 average won the California League batting title. This year he is hitting .314. His slow foot speed will not result in stolen bases so the only tool he has is his ability to hit for average and solid defensive play at second base. Expect him to get an opportunity with the Padres in September.

8. Dakota Hudson RHP (Cardinals) - Dakota was a first round pick out of Mississippi State in 2016. He leads the Texas League in ERA by more than a run. His 2.53 ERA has already led to a recent promotion to AAA. Despite his impressive numbers his whiffs are not prevalent (77 whiffs in 114 innings) and the opposition seems to have the ability to make hard contact off him (.255). He sits in the mid-90s with his fastball with a curve, slider and change combination. He has already reached 121 innings pitched so expect the Cardinals to slow down the number of innings he eats.

9. Richie Martin SS (Athletics) - Richie was a first round pick of the Athletics in 2015. The Athletics appear to have a surplus at shortstop, but if they want defense Richie is the man. The concern for him is whether he will have enough bat to play in the major leagues. This year he is only hitting .224 in AA. With the acquisition of Jorge Mateo from the Yankees the Athletics demoted him back to High A to find his bat while at the same time putting Jorge at short.

10. Samir Duenez 1B (Royals) - Samir was signed out of Venezuela in 2012. While he shows good ability to hit for contact and average he plays a position where teams look for power. Until this year he had yet to show that power. The power increase seems to have come at a lowering of his batting average (.267). The 15 homeruns is a career high but the average is down below normal. His slugging average of .429 is still a bit below average. His below average speed makes a move to the outfield difficult so if he is to make it to the majors he must continue to carry the balls over the fence at the cost of 20 to 30 points to his average.

Others to Watch

Yasiel Sierra RHP (Dodgers) - Yasiel was signed out of Cuba in 2016 for six years and $30 million that included a $6 million bonus. At 25 years of age the bonus did not count against the Dodgers international cap, but it does put pressure on the Dodgers to promote him quickly to get some bang for their buck. The Dodgers moved him to the bullpen this year after he struggled as a starting pitcher last year (6.20 ERA). It only took him 26 relief appearances with a 2.54 ERA to get him a promotion to AAA. He struck out 64 in 50 innings but a .244 opposition average is alarming. His fastball hits the mid to high 90s. Without a third pitch it might be best he work out of the bullpen. Though the Dodgers do not appear to need any help a September callup may be a possibility just to get him exposure to major league hitters.

Yadier Alvarez RHP (Dodgers) - Myworld might find room for him in the top ten with more starts and less walks. The Dodgers paid him a $16 million bonus in 2015. Only Hector Olivera and his $28 million bonus is higher. At 21 with a fastball that has hit triple digits the Dodgers can be patient with him. He got a promotion to AA despite his struggles with command at High A that was responsible for his 4.88 ERA. In three starts in the Texas League his ERA sits at 2.84 but with 12 walks in 12.2 innings pitched he needs to find the plate more. Coming into this season the opposition average last year was .185. This year it is .268. For some reason his pitches are easier to hit and with a 1.57 WHIP that is too many runners on base.

A.J. Puk RHP (Athletics) - Performance wise the first round 2016 pick may not deserve to be here. His 5.88 ERA in eight starts is a bit high. But he has pitched games with 11 and 13 whiffs and has struck out 46 hitters in 35 innings. Opponents are hitting only .229 against him but 19 walks has given him too many baserunners. At 6′7″ he has good height which makes his mid to high 90s fastball that much more intimidating when it comes to the plate. The down side of that height is it makes it difficult for him to repeat his delivery making command of the fastball difficult. He also needs to develop his secondary pitches (slider and change) if he wants to stick as a starter.

Jorge Mateo SS (Athletics) - A new comer to the league since his acquisition from the Yankees. Jorge would probably be in the top five if he played more games. A toolsy player with speed and surprising power. When the Yankees acquired Gleyber Torres it forced Mateo to move to second. Some feel a average arm may make second base the best position for him. In six Texas League games Jorge has already accumulated three triples and is hitting .267. The Athletics will see how he handles short, demoting Richie Martin, their best defensive shortstop to give him opportunities.

Mancini Leads O’s Over Astros; Britton Breaks AL Save Record

Monday, July 24th, 2017

Myworld could only stay for the first five innings of the Orioles 9-7 win over the Astros. A volleyball camp caused our early departure. The Orioles were ahead 6-3 when we left, Trey Mancini getting two clutch two out hits to drive in runs. The Astros did roar back to take the lead in the sixth but the Orioles scored two in the eighth for the win. Zach Britton came on in the ninth to get his first save since April but his 55th consecutive save to break an AL record.

Neither Lance MuCullers or Dylan Bundy pitched well in the game. McCullers was wild with his 96 mile per hour fastball zipping away from the plate. In the first inning he was bailed out of a big inning by a ground out double play, one of four for the Orioles. In the second inning Chris Davis pushed a single into left field, past where the third baseman should have been, but with the shift Bregman was at the shortstop position. McCullers hit Mancini, walked Caleb Joseph and then hit Hyun-Soo Kim to force in a run. Reben Tejeda grounded into the first of his two double plays allowing the second run to score. Adam Jones slapped the second of his four hits to the right side to score the third run.

Bundy couldn’t hold the lead. Nori Aoki hit a ball over the head of Mark Trumbo that bounced into the bleachers. It was a ball a good right fielder may have caught. Jake Marisnick bunted a ball down the third base line. Machado tried to make the bare hand pick up but it slipped out of his hand. Jose Altuve tied the game by taking the first pitch from Bundy into the left field bleachers.

In the third Trey Mancini got the first of his two clutch hits. Jonathan Schoop started the inning with a double. Two ground ball outs moved him to third. Mancini lined a single into right center to give the O’s a 4-3 lead.

They extended the lead in the fifth. Jonathan Schoop hit another single down the left field line, but another fine defensive play by Aoki prevented the hit from being a double. Trumbo lined a ball down the left field line that even Aoki could not cut off and it rolled into the corner for a double. Chris Davis drove a pitch deep to center but Marisnick made the catch despite crashing into the fence. Schoop tagged up and scored, with Trumbo advancing to third. Trey Mancini lined a double over the head of Reddick to give the O’s a 6-3 lead.

After myworld departed the Astros exploded for four runs to take a 7-6 lead. Aoki hit a three run homer to tie it and later in the inning Reddick hit a sacrifice fly to give the Astros the lead. Bundy was tagged for all seven runs, continuing the struggles of the Orioles starting pitching.

The Orioles tied it in the seventh on a Mark Trumbo solo shot. They took the lead for good in the eighth by scoring two. Tejeda made amends for spoiling rallies by grounding into two double plays by hitting a one out double. Jones fourth hit of the game advanced him to third where he scored on a sacrifice fly by Machado. Schoop drove in Jones with a single.

Zack Britton came on in the ninth to get the save, his first since April but his 55th consecutive save to break the AL record. Tom Gordon had the AL mark. Eric Gagne has the overall mark with 84, still a long trek for Britton to go.

Game Notes: Nori Aoki showed why he is a solid defensive outfielder, racing down the left field line to prevent Schoop from getting two doubles. He also carried some thunder in his bat, hitting his second homerun and also contributing a ground rule double and single. That will keep Derek Fisher stabilized in the minor leagues until September…Last time myworld watched Machado hit he seemed off balance with his swing. Even though he went 0 for 3 today he seemed more balanced. Expect a hot streak from him soon…Davis beat the shift in the second by pushing a single down the third base line. The shift beat him in the third when he lined a pitch into short right field, with Altuve taking it on one hop and throwing him out at first…Marwin Gonzalez looks very smooth at shortstop. If not for Correa he could fill the starting shortstop position. Over the long haul maybe he shows his defensive weaknesses, but myworld saw some good hands…Trumbo made two poor defensive plays in centerfield, turning two potential outs into doubles. Only one of those runs scored. Ruben Tejeda threw Altuve out at home as he broke on contact on a ground ball with one out to prevent one of the misplays from scoring…A disappointing attendance of 21,533 to watch the best team in the American League play. Perhaps Oriole fans have given up on this season.

Myworld’s Top Pacific League Prospects

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

This appears to be a more offensive oriented league. Myworld was not too impressed with the collection of pitchers, but this may be a result of the offensive conditions many of the parks offer their hitters. The assessment is based on numbers. Potential does not arrive until you put up the numbers to prove you can produce.

1. Amed Rosario SS (Mets) - The Mets signed Amed out of the Dominican Republic for $1.75 million in 2012. Myworld was impressed with his defense this spring. Now he is putting up some impressive offensive numbers in Las Vegas, a hitter friendly park where he is hitting .330. His seven homeruns are a career high. The Mets need a shortstop. Don’t know what their reluctance is in not promoting Amed. Perhaps they are saving some service time. Expect a September promotion. The Mets have a lot of depth at this position percolating up through their minor league systems, with some of them moving to second base but Amed is ready to make an impact now.

2. Luke Weaver RHP (Cardinals) - Luke was a first round pick of the Cardinals in 2014. The Cardinals gave him his major league debut last year but he struggled in 8 starts (5.79). This year he has appeared in two games in relief. He has been the most dominant pitcher in the Pacific Coast League this year (9-1, 1.91 ERA). With more innings he would be leading the league in ERA by close to two runs. His command is good with a fastball that sits in the low 90s made faster with an excellent changeup. The Cardinals have found themselves struggling this year. If they fall out of the pennant race they may give Weaver some more opportunity to pitch to major league hitters. Expect a September callup if not sooner if the Cardinals fall out of the race.

3. Derek Fisher OF (Astros) - Derek was a 2014 number one pick of the Astros. He got a brief callup to the major league club where he did well, slugging two homeruns. At AAA his 21 homeruns is tied for third in the league. He also has the ability to steal bases with 16 in 26 attempts. At this point he has to be a better offensive alternative than Nori Aoki, though the Astros like to use Marwin Gonzalez out there as well. His defense is below average but the offensive numbers he can put up are excellent. Of course, at this point the Astros have plenty of offense, even with the injury to Carlos Correa.

4. Ryan McMahon 2B (Rockies) - He made our Eastern League list. The Rockies made him their second round pick in 2013. Last year his bat was very quiet, only hitting .242 with 12 homeruns. That kind of production is not going to usurp Nolan Arenado from his third base job. This year his bat has been explosive. After tearing up AA pitching for a .326 average with six homeruns in 49 games the Rockies promoted him to AAA. He has been even better there with a .379 average and 9 homeruns in 41 games. They have also been playing him at second base where he has the potential to be an offensive oriented player at that position. And he does not have to worry about Nolan.

5. Alex Verdugo OF (Dodgers) - Another second round pick, this one by the Dodgers in 2014. Alex is a line drive swinger with battle title possibilities. His balls filter the gaps rather than travel over the fence. Because his lack of speed makes centerfield difficult on the defensive side of the equatione, he needs to play corner where many teams look for power. A plus arm allows him to play right field. If Tony Gwynn can survive as a rightfielder winning batting titles without hitting homeruns Verdugo can find a spot there as well.

6. Lewis Brinson OF (Brewers) - Brinson was originally a first round pick of the Rangers in 2012. He was part of the Jonathan Lucroy trade that saw him go to the Brewers. He is assaulting AAA pitchers, which led to a brief promotion to the Brewers where he struggled for a .097 average. Back in AAA he is hitting .346 while showing some power with his 10 homeruns. There is some pop in his bat and there is speed in his legs to cover a lot of ground in centerfield. Expect the Brewers to give him another opportunity in September.

7. Willie Calhoun 2B (Dodgers) - Listed at 5′8″ the 14th round pick in 2014 snuck up on a lot of people with his 27 homeruns last year. He did show some power in junior college hitting 31 homeruns in 61 games. After a slow start to the season this year the power has returned. Willie has slugged 20 homeruns that has come with a .302 average. His defense at second base is a bit spotty which could create a move to left field. The Dodgers have used him in 11 games this year but most of his time has been spent at second base.

8. Dinelson Lamet RHP (Padres) - Dinelson was a bargain, signing for just $100,000 out of the Dominican Republic. He only got eight starts in the Pacific League before being promoted by the Padres. His 3.23 ERA would have been second to Weaver in the Pacific League ERA race. At 6′4″ he has a little more meat than Weaver with a fastball hitting the mid-90s, to go along with a slider/change combination. While his ERA is higher in the major leagues (6.40) his opposition average is equal (.222 in AAA versus .229). What has been a challenge for Lamet is keeping the ball in the park. He has given up 11 dingers in his 45 major league innings.

9. Carson Kelly C (Cardinals) - The Cardinals second round pick in 2012 is expected to be the successor to Yadier Molina behind the plate. The Cardinals recently called him up to the major league club. This after he hit .283 with 10 homeruns. Last year he made his major league debut and only hit .154. There is power in the bat with gold glove caliber defense, tools that should get him to the major leagues. All he has to do is hit .250 to be an impact player. Carson began his career as a third baseman but the Cardinals moved him behind the plate after they drafted him.

10. Colin Moran 3B (Astros) - Colin was a first round pick of the Marlins in 2013 after he led the NCAA in RBIs. The big question with Colin was his lack of power at what is a power position. The Marlins traded him to the Astros for Jarred Cosart in 2014 when the power numbers did not show. Last year he hit a career high 10 homeruns, but still not what you want to see from a third baseman who does not have stellar defensive tools for third base. At 6′4″ you would expect the power to come. This year it arrived with 18 homeruns in 79 games with a .308 average. It was enough to get him a promotion to the major leagues after the injury to Carlos Correa. Last year in his major league debut he hit .130. In his first game this year he hit a triple and homerun. Times may be looking good for Moran.

Others to Mention

Dominic Smith 1B (Mets) - Another player criticized for his lack of a power bat. The Mets drafted him in the first round in 2013. What myworld saw of him in spring was a lackadaisical way of playing defense where he committed two errors on bone head plays in a span of three innings. With missing power defense was supposed to be his road to the major leagues. Last year the power began to show with 14 homeruns. This year it has crashed the minor league party with 13 homeruns, a .336 average and a career high .515 slugging. If the Mets trade Lucas Duda expect Dominic to see some major league time.

Tony Kemp 2B (Astros) - Not one of those toolsy players who will make prospect lists. The fifth round pick in 2013 also plays the same position as Jose Altuve. But his .333 average could see him as a utility player in the major leagues. Right now Marwin Gonzalez has the patent on that and the defensive capabilities for Kemp are not strong. Kemp though is playing some outfield but is limited to left field by a weak arm. He mostly finds himself at second base, where his defense is considered fringe. At 25 his time is now so myworld expects the Astros to use him as a trade piece with no role for him on their current roster.

Harrison Bader OF (Cardinals) - The outfield is crowded for the third round 2015 pick. His defense is more suited for the corner but there was some concern for his lack of power for a corner spot. Last year he slugged 19 homeruns. This year in 94 games he has already hit 19 homeruns, to go along with a .302 average. Harrison has been playing centerfield. With the recent acquisition of Tyler O’Neil it might be best he stay there, even though his range is just average for a centerfielder.

Brett Phillips OF (Brewers) - Brett was a sixth round pick of the Astros in 2012. The Astros traded him to the Brewers in mid 2015 for Carlos Gomez. With the Astros his batting average never dropped below .300. With the Brewers he had trouble staying healthy and the average last year dived to .229. Scouts began pegging him as more of a fourth outfielder. This year he has found his lost swing breaking out with a .293 average and 17 homeruns. His .582 slugging was just short of his career high. The Brewers have now promoted him to the major leagues where he is hitting .227 with two homeruns in 12 games. He does show a tendency to swing and miss so expect a lot of streaks in his season.

Renato Nunez 3B/1B (Athletics) - The best position for the Venezuelan who signed for $2.2 million in 2010 is probably DH. The positions he is listed for are first base and third base. The Athletics are crowded at those positions. Currently he leads the Pacific League in homeruns with 25. A .254 average, a propensity for strikeouts and poor defense are big downsides for Renato, but you have to like the power. A lack of speed makes moving him to the outfield a concern, but he has seen some time there.

A.J. Reed 1B (Astros) - Reed was a second round pick for the Astros in 2014. The Astros were so impressed with his power possibilities he competed for a major league job right out of spring training in 2015. He continues to show a power bat with 20 homeruns this year but a low average (.248) and sub par defense makes his wait continue. Last year he struggled with major league pitching (.164). Yuli Gurriel does not show as much power but he is more consistent with the bat and plays better defense. A.J. will just have to wait. He could still be used as a trade chip in the Astros playoff run.

Wilmer Font RHP (Dodgers) - At 27 years of age the prospect winds have probably passed him by. But he leads the Pacific Coast League in whiffs with 138 in only 101 innings. The opposition is hitting him at only a .225 clip and he shows good command of his pitches. The Dodgers have some depth in their starting rotation but if Wilmer keeps putting up the numbers it will be tough to keep him down. Look what happened to Brandon Morrow.

2017 Top Ten Prospects from Venezuela - American League

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

No one from the list last year had any significant major league time last year. A couple players who made the National League list last year are now on the American League list. As a result only five players from the list last year made the list this year. The others dropped off. Myworld is not confident of the major league qualities of any of the players on this list after you get past the top five.

1. Gleyber Torres SS (Yankees) - Tommy John surgery has prevented him from making his major league debut. Originally signed by the Cubs in 2013 for $1.7 million, Gleyber was traded to the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman trade rental last year. Gleyber has the tools to play shortstop but may not get the opportunity to play there now that Didi Gregorious has established roots at the position. With Chase Headley a disappointment at third there was talk of moving him there but his injury has stalled that development. Prior to his injury he got 15 games at third base. His bat shows the potential for plus power as he matures and should play at third. He slugged .480 between AA and AAA but at 20 years of age he has room to grow. With Chase Headley a free agent expect Gleyber to take over the third base position, though Miguel Andujar could have some influence over that and his injury could delay his start there.

2. Franklin Barreto SS (Athletics) - Franklin was signed by the Blue Jays in 2012 for $1.45 million. Like Gleyber he was packaged in a trade for a pennant race, Josh Donaldson going to the Jays and Barreto and a number of other prospects going to the Athletics. Franklin does not quite have the defensive tools of Gleyber or the power bat so if shortstop does not work for him he may move to second. The injury to Marcus Semien forced the Athletics to call up Barreto sooner than they wanted. In 11 games he hit .190 with two homeruns, playing mostly at short but getting some time at second. In AAA he has seen most of his time at short but has found some time to play second. His bat has been as expected with a .279 average but he has shown a little more pop with 9 dingers. His minor league high has been 13 and including his two major league homeruns Franklin is two short of his career high. Expect him to get a September callup and more opportunities at second. The Athletics have a number of options at short in Semien, Chad Pinder and Richie Martin so versatility is a key.

3. Yohander Mendez LHP (Rangers) - Yohander was signed by the Rangers for $1.5 million in 2011. It has been a patient ascent up the minor league ladder for Yohander but last year he made his major league debut with a September callup. The Rangers have him repeating AA even though he did well last year in seven AAA appearances (0.57 ERA). His fastball has gained velocity over the years, now touching the mid-90s and his change is an excellent pitch. An inability to find a third breaking pitch has been stalling his major league career. That may ultimately see him finding a role in the bullpen.

4. Franklin Perez RHP (Astros) - Franklin was signed by the Astros for $1 million in 2014. He was originally a third baseman but the Astros saw an arm destined for the mound. His fastball currently sits in the low 90s but can touch the mid-90s. He has the potential for a good change with a nice break on his curveball and the command of the strike zone needed for a starting pitcher. A 6′3″ frame gives him good height for coming down on the hitters. The Astros have him at High A in the Carolina League where he has limited hitters to a .191 average. He has more than three whiffs to every walk and is just short of a strikeout per inning. A 2.98 ERA could lead to a promotion to AA before the season is out. It will be 2018 before Franklin sees the major leagues and that may be as a September call up.

5. Renato Nunez 3B (Athletics) - Renato was one of the big bonus babies of 2010, signing for $2.2 million. The Athletics are crowded at the corner infield positions with power bats. It may result in the best defensive player earning the right to play the corner positions. Renato falls short of that and may see a move to first base with DH as his best position. He does have a power bat with consistent seasons of double digit homeruns. This year there seems to be more swing and miss in his at bats but the 24 homeruns he has hit in AAA are already just five short of his career high. Last year he struggled with a .228 average but this year despite the increased strikeouts he has raised it to .250. The Athletics have been playing him a lot in left field this year but a lack of speed will never make him a gold glove there. Expect a September callup where Renato hopes to improve on his .133 average from his debut last year.

6. Luis Alexander Basabe OF (White Sox) - The Red Sox signed both him and his twin brother Luis Alejandro as a package. The Red Sox traded his brother to the D-backs in July of 2016 and included Luis in a trade to the White Sox with more heralded players Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech in the Chris Sale trade. Luis is expected to be the better of the twins. The tools are there for him to be a quality defensive outfielder, with the range to play center and the arm to play right. An inability to make consistent contact has prevented him from showing his offensive tools. The power is there but getting barrel of the bat on the ball is not. Down in the Carolina League Luis is hitting just .218 with a .641 OPS. If he can improve his ability to get on base his steal (15 for 19) opportunities will increase. His brother is also in High A with the D-Backs hitting .229 with a .655 OPS.

7. Anthony Santander 1B/OF (Orioles) - The Indians signed Santander in 2011. Injuries to his elbow limited his 2013 and 2014 seasons. He stayed healthy for 2016 hitting 20 homeruns while playing 128 games. The Orioles made Santander a Rule V acquisition in an attempt to spruce up their farm system. Another arm injury has prevented Anthony from making a 2017 appearance. If the Orioles can not put him on their major league roster this year because of the injury they will be forced to keep him on their major league roster in 2018 if they hope to keep him. This will slow his development for a player who did not get past High A last year. Anthony has good power but his arm issues could force a move to first base, a position the Orioles find quite crowded with Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and Trey Mancini.

8. Samir Duenez 1B (Royals) - Samir was signed by the Royals in 2012. His first three years the Royals moved him slowly, reaching Low A in 2015. During that time he hit all of two homeruns in the three years. Last year his promotion was a little more accelerated as he hit three levels, finishing at AA. During that time he slugged 13 homeruns. This year he already has 12 in AA. His speed will limit him to first so the power will have to develop if he hopes to play there in the major leagues.

9. Miguelangel Sierra 2B (Astros) - The Astros signed Miguelangel for $1 million in 2014. Last year in the rookie league he showed some pop with 11 homeruns and a .620 slugging percentage. With Carlos Correa firmly planted at short Miguel may have to play another position if he hopes to reach the major leagues with the Astros. The tools are there for him to play short. This year the power bat has been absent with two homeruns in 19 games in short season ball with a slugging average buried at .317. Sierra is a long way away from the majors so they will keep him at short. They can always move him to another position as he gets higher in the minors or use him as trade bait to acquire a veteran to help them in a playoff race.

10. Wilkerman Garcia SS (Yankees) - The Yankees are not shy about throwing around money in the international arena. They signed Garcia for $1.35 million in 2014. Last year in rookie ball he struggled hitting .198 with a .284 slugging. He has the tools to play short but with so many ahead of him with better tools his best position could be at second. The bat is expected to be able to hit for average but not with a lot of power. This year Garcia is hitting much better in the short season Penn League (.276) but still lacking power (.303 slugging). With the amount of depth in the middle infield positions for the Yankees Wilkerman may have to be traded to see the major leagues.

Top 2016 Venezuelan prospects in the American League

Future Games Rosters Selected

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

The futures game is played before the All Star team and features the best prospects outside of the United States against the best prospects inside the United States. The game is scheduled for July 9. Below are the rosters of the two teams.

World Team

Pitchers

Domingo Acevedo (Dom Rep/Yankees), Yadier Alvarez (Cuba/Dodgers), Jaime Barria (Panama/Angels), Luis Escobar (Colombia/Pirates), Tayron Guerrero (Colombia/Marlins), Jonathan Hernandez (Dominican Republic/Rangers), Jairo Labourt (Dom Rep/Tigers), Cal Quantrill (Canada/Padres), Mike Soroka (Canada/Braves), Thyago Vieira (Brazil/Mariners)

Catchers

Tomas Nido (Puerto Rico/Mets), Francisco Mejia (Dom Rep/Indians)

Infielders

Yordan Alvarez (Cuba/Astros), Josh Naylor (Canada/Padres), Yoan Moncada (Cuba/White Sox), Mauricio Dubon (Honduras/Brewers), Lucius Fox (Bahamas/Rays), Ahmed Rosario (Dom Rep/Mets), Rafael Devers (Dom Rep/Red Sox), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Dom Rep/Blue Jays)

Outfielders

Ronald Acuna (Venezuela/Braves), Estevan Florial (Haiti/Yankees), Eloy Jimenez (Dom Rep/Cubs), Victor Robles (Dom Rep/Nationals), Alex Verdugo (Mexico/Dodgers)

United States team

Beau Burrows (Tigers), Jon Duplantier (Diamondbacks), Jack Flaherty (Cardinals), Foster Griffen (Royals), Jimmy Hegert (Reds), Brent Honeywell (Rays), Michael Kopech (White Sox), Triston McKenzie (Indians), A.J. Puk (Athletics), Tanner Scott (Orioles)

Catcher

Zack Collins (White Sox), Chance Sisco (Orioles)

Infielders

Rhys Hoskins (Phillies), Ryan McMahon (2B/3B) Rockies, Scott Kingery (Phillies), Bo Bichette (Blue Jays/Brazil), Nick Gordon (Twins), Brendan Rodgers (Rockies), Brian Anderson (Marlins), Nick Senzel (Reds)

Outfielders

Lewis Brinson (Twins), Derek Fisher (Astros), Corey Ray (Brewers), Bryan Reynolds (Giants), Kyle Tucker (Astros)