Archive for the 'Brewers' Category

Hot Prospects for the Weekend - Arroyo Makes the Most of the Weekend

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

Myworld was coaching volleyball over the weekend in Minnesota. The Twins were in town but all my time was spent in the gym. Now that we are back it is time to look back to see who was hot over the weekend.

Christian Arroyo SS (Giants) - My world has never been enamored with Arroyo but his bat is certainly changing my mind. It is difficult to find a hitter hotter than Christian. He had his first 0 for of the season on Thursday but bounced back with a 4 for 6 Sunday that raised his average to .446. After that outburst the Giants promoted him to their major league team to help at both third base and shortstop. His OPS for his first 16 games in AAA is 1.171.

Demi Orimoloye OF (Brewers) - Unlike Christian Demi is a player who flashes some impressive tools. His challenge has always been in his ability to make contact with the ball. An 8 game hitting streak raised his average to .300. He hit four homeruns while driving in 9. What is most impressive about his at bats is only two whiffs in his last 24 at bats. For the year Demi has five homeruns with five stolen bases. Before the season is over his average will probably dip below .250.

Luis Urias 2B/SS (Padres) - Back to back four hit games raised his average to .357. Luis scored five runs in his second four hit game. The native from Mexico is not supposed to carry any power in his bat but a .650 slugging percentage includes a couple homeruns with six doubles and three triples. Eleven of his 21 hits have gone for extra bases. A second baseman coming into this season the Padres have used him 14 games at short early in the season.

Amed Rosario SS (Mets) - Met fans are clamoring for the promotion of Rosario. He is a better fielding shortstop than what they currently have on their major league roster. A 6 for 9 streak in his last two games has raised his average to .403. Only four of his 27 hits have gone for extra bases but the Mets will not complain about his 23 singles when combined with his gold glove fielding potential.

Marcus Wilson CF (Diamondbacks) - Marcus sprayed the Midwest league with four three hit games in a six game span to raise his average to .411. He drove in 11 runs during that streak with three homeruns. The Diamondbacks drafted Marcus in the second round of the 2014 draft, moving him up slowly because of his .244 career average coming into this season. His biggest challenge is an ability to make consistent contact.

Bo Bichette SS (Blue Jays) - The son of Dante has a 12 game hitting streak that has raised his average to .373. He was able to play for Brazil in the qualifier last year because of his Brazilian mother. Brazil failed to qualify for the 2017 WBC but Bo was not the reason hitting .400 with a .538 OBA. Bo has hit one homerun this year and that was on opening day as he splits his time between shortstop and second base.

Anthony Alford OF (Blue Jays) - Another Blue Jay prospect with a hot bat is Alford who had a streak of five games of two hits or more in six games to raise his average to .469. He hit two homeruns and drove in five during the streak with four stolen bases. Anthony has a potent combination of power and speed that will result in a quick ascent through the minors now that his focus is on baseball.

Tyler Mahle RHP (Reds) - Tyler threw the first nine inning no hitter of the season, a perfect game 1-0 win over the Mobile Bay Bears. He threw only 88 pitches in his complete game no hitter striking out eight. Tyler was a seventh round pick of the Reds in 2013 and has a checkered minor league career. The 2017 season has started out well with only two runs given up in his four starts for a 4-0 record and a 0.68 ERA. The opposition is hitting him at a .082 clip.

Jack Flaherty RHP (Cardinals) - Another pitcher who has started his season 4-0. In his four starts Jack has only given up one run for a 0.33 ERA. In his last two starts he has not allowed a run in 13.2 innings, giving up just eight hits. A 3/24 walk to whiff ratio and .161 opposition average could result in a promotion to the big club before the year is out.

Merandy Gonzalez RHP (Mets) - The Colombian has yet to give up a run in his three starts in the Low A South Atlantic League. The 20.2 shutout string has been because of a 1/18 walk to whiff ratio with a .143 opposition average. Merandy stands only 6′1″ but his fastball can still cross the plate in the mid-90s with an above average curve ball to keep hitters off balance.

Chavis Leads More Hot Prospects

Friday, April 21st, 2017

Michael Chavis 3B (Red Sox) - The 2014 first round draft pick has come back from injury with his bat on fire. A three homerun game after a homerun the day before has given him four homeruns in two games. In four games he is hitting .467 with 8 RBIs. His third homerun in yesterday’s game was a two run walk off homer giving the Salem Red Sox a 7-6 win over the Wilmington Blue Rocks. At some point the Red Sox need to find a replacement for Pablo Sandoval. Chavez is hitting .467 in the four games.

Christian Arroyo SS (Giants) - Christian has not shown the power for third or the range to play short. His bat is rocking early in the 2017 season. He hit his third homerun, his second in two days to equal the number of homeruns he hit in 119 games in 2016 in 12 games in 2017. A four hit game gives him four multi hit games in five games to raise his average to .479. Christian currently has a 12 game hitting streak since the start of the season.

Cody Bellinger CF - 1B (Dodgers) - Cody is seeing more games in centerfield to get his bat in the lineup. That should have Joc Pederson looking in the rear view mirror. Cody blasted two homeruns yesterday to give him five for the year. 16 whiffs in 13 games is Joc Pederson like but his .360 average is not. He played his second game in centerfield during the two homer game.

Brett Phillips RF (Brewers) - Brett also hit two homeruns including a grand slam to drive in six runs on the same day. The two hits gave him four consecutive games with two hits or more to raise his average to .318. Brett also coaxed two walks in the game to double his total for the year.

Bobby Bradley 1B (Indians) - Bobby Bradley started the season 3 for 28. His power is starting to show his last two games with his second and third homeruns of the year. Last night he drove in five to almost double his RBI total to 11, four more than his hit total. A 4 for 10 spree in his last three games has raised his average to .184. Bradley has big time power with 83 homers his last three years.

Tyler Krieger 2B (Indians) - In the same game that Bobby Bradley hit a three run homer and drove in five runs Tyler was a triple short of the cycle in a four for five day. He was two RBIs short of Bradley in the RBI production. Tyler has slashed hits in seven of his eight games for a .419 average.

Jon Duplantier RHP (Diamondbacks) - Jon pitched 5.1 innings of no hit relief, walking just one and striking out six in a game Kane County eventually won 1-0. The 2016 third round pick has yet to give up an earned run in 15.1 innings, allowing just five hits. The opposition is hitting him at a .104 clip and he has an impressive 4/20 walk to whiff ratio.

Dylan Cease RHP (Cubs) - Dylan threw six no hit innings in his last start, walking three and striking out seven. With his triple digit fastball many think his best role could be in relief as a closer, but in three starts he has only given up one run, a solo homerun in 15 innings for a 0.60 average. The opposition is hitting .125 against him and he has struck out 22 in 15 innings. Great Lakes got a hit in the seventh inning in a game they lost 3-0.

Stevenson Back to Back with the High Fives

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

Andrew Stevenson CF (Nationals) - When you get five hits in a game you tend to get noticed. When you get five hits in back to back games everyone starts talking about you. Andrew went 10 for 12 in back to back games as his team scored 25 runs in their two wins. They won a 16-14 13 inning game against Hartford. Stevenson flashes speed but lacks power. Of his 10 hits three of them were doubles giving him four extra base hits for the season. When you’re hitting .447 that is not much of an issue. Stevenson was the Nationals second round pick in 2015. They did not have a first round pick that year.

Ryan McMahon 3B-1B (Rockies) - In a 16-14 game there is bound to be a little offense and McMahon matched Stevenson with a 5 for 7 day on the losing end of that game. He drove in six runs and was a double short of the cycle. The five hits raised his average to .413 but an 0 for 3 the next day dropped it back down to .388. With third base occupied by Nolan Arenado the best opportunity for Ryan to make the major leagues with the Rockies is to find another position. The Rockies have used Ryan seven games at first and four games at second.

Mike Gerber CF (Tigers) - The Tigers would like to find someone to play centerfield. Gerber may not be that answer with the glove but the Tigers are using him there in AA. He does have a pretty good stick with his four hits on Monday raising his average to .302. An 0 for 4 day the next day dropped it down to .277. Earlier in the season Gerber struggled with 9 whiffs in 13 at bats. His power is borderline for a corner so he could end up a fourth outfielder.

Dominic Smith 1B (Mets) - Myworld was not impressed with what we saw of his glove during spring training, but he is raking it with the bat. A 3 for 5 day in which he hit his second homerun raised his average to .396. If back problems continue to plague Lucas Duda at first base Dominic could find himself with an opportunity to play for the Mets. Many think he lacks the glove and the power to play the position. He does have the potential to hit for average.

Ronald Guzman 1B (Rangers) - The Rangers shelled out $3.45 million to sign the 6′6″ Guzman. A lack of range forced a move from the outfield to first base where his absence of power is a concern. That power started to develop last year with 16 homeruns. This year he is hitting .373 with 16 of his 19 hits singles. He did club his second homerun on Monday night. If he can get his arms extended the ball can travel a long way.

Lewis Brinson CF (Brewers) - Injuries have curtailed the start of the season for Brinson. He has a hit in each of his six games played, with a 4 for 6 day yesterday raising his average to .357. During that game he drove in five runs with a double, two singles and a homerun. Brinson was acquired from the Rangers in the trade for Jonathan Lucroy.

Ryan Boldt CF (Rays) - Boldt was a second round pick of the Rays last year. In rookie season ball he struggled with a .218 average. The Rays were not deterred and this year they promoted Boldt to the High A Florida State League. Last night he went 4 for 5 with his first homerun and a double to drive in six runs. The four hit game almost doubled his hit total for the year raising his average to .306.

Jack Flaherty RHP (Cardinals) - Jack was a first round pick in 2014. A lack of overpowering stuff has kept him under the radar. His fastball sits in the low 90s but at 6′4″ the Cardinals hope to see more as he matures. Jack pitched 7.2 innings of shutout ball on Monday, allowing just two hits and striking out 9. In three starts this year he has allowed only one run and the opposition is hitting just .129 against him. With those kind of results the Cardinals could promote him from AA to the majors before the year is out.

Dakota Chalmers RHP (Athletics) - Dakota had a nice four inning relief outing in which he allowed just one hit and struck out 10 of the 13 hitters he faced. Dakota struck out the first six hitters he faced when he came on to pitch in the fifth inning. Up until then it has been a struggle for Dakota with an ERA of 9.00 coming into the game.

Dane Dunning RHP (White Sox) - Dane could end up being the best pitcher the White Sox acquired in the Adam Eaton trade. The 2016 first round pick had another stellar outing, not allowing a run in his six innings of work. After three starts that lowered his ERA to 0.45 with an opposition average of .153. He has a 1/26 walk to whiff ratio in 20 innings.

Gregory Soto LHP (Tigers) - Gregory is a 6′1″ Dominican who can hit the mid-90s with his fastball, but it sits mostly in the low 90s. That is pretty good for a lefthander, especially one who can throw a pretty good breaking ball. In two starts Gregory has yet to give up a run with his three hits allowed giving him a .086 opposition batting average. If he continues to shine Gregory could rise up the Tigers prospect ladder.

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.

Hot Starts for the Minor Leaguers

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

Myworld was in Philly last week for a volleyball tournament so we got a little behind on the minor league baseball season. Rather than go through each of the players day by day we will summarize some of the hottest players in this 2017 minor league season.

Cedric Mullins CF (Orioles) - There was some talk Cedric would be the break out prospect from the Orioles system in 2017. That breakout has started early in the season. In his first seven games he has gotten at least one hit, with three or more hits in three games. The 13th round pick of the 2015 draft out of Campbell is hitting 18 for 31 (.516) with three homeruns. He was hitting .577 but a 1 for 5 day dropped his average 60 points. Last year Mullins hit 14 homeruns with 30 stolen bases in 36 attempts. In his first seven games this year he has only stolen one base.

Carlos Rincon RF (Dodgers) - The Dominican hit four homeruns in three consecutive games. Half of his hits have been homeruns with a troubling 11 whiffs in 23 at bats. The Dodgers have a crowded outfield trying to find time for Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig and Andrew Toles. Last year Carlos hit 13 homeruns in 52 games for a .661 slugging percentage. At .913 slugging this early in the season he is a player to watch.

Willy Garcia RF (White Sox) - At one point he was a top prospect of the Pittsburgh Pirates. His bat failed him and the Pirates designated him for assignment in December 2016. The White Sox picked him up on waivers. He’s still only 24. Willy has collected at least one hit in his first six games for a .440 average. Two homeruns have travelled off his bat with RBIs in each game except one for a total of six. Garcia has shown the patience for eight walks and a .633 OBA, putting him in position to score 9 runs. It appears the White Sox have found an outfielder in their rebuilding plans.

Josh Ockimey 1B (Red Sox) - Josh has struggled his first three years in the minors. The fifth round pick in the 2014 draft did break out to hit 18 homeruns last year, but that came with a .226 average. He hopes to do better in 2017, working on his ability to make better contact. So far so good early in the season with a 12 for 27 start for a .444 average. His only homerun was hit on opening day but the power will come. The patience at the plate continues with four walks in seven games.

Jomar Reyes 3B (Orioles) - A six game hitting streak to start the season for the Manny Machado replacement at third base. The Dominican is repeating the Carolina League after hitting just .228 last year. He will not stay there for long after his 13 for 20 for a .520 average start of the year this year. His bat has only been able to power one homerun but the power will come.

Dane Dunning RHP (White Sox) - He was the other pitcher acquired from the Nationals for Adam Eaton. The less heralded pitcher was a first round pick in 2016. He made his opening day start, working six innings and allowing just one run. He struck out 8 in his six innings of work.

Marcos Diplan RHP (Brewers) - He threw five innings of no hit ball in his opening start in the minor leagues. The Brewers acquired Diplan from the Rangers in the Yovani Gallardo trade back in 2015. He walked three and struck out five. The Dominican is not a hard thrower with a fastball that sits in the low 90s. His slider is a good pitch. Last year Marcos struggled in the Florida State League (4.98 ERA).

Forrest Whitely RHP (Astros) - At 6′7 the 2016 first round pick of the Astros is a pretty intimidating presence. His fastball comes in at the mid-90s with lots of swings and misses (12.5 per nine in his opening season in 2016). His first start in Low A he allowed just one hit in five innings of work, striking out six in five innings of work.

30 Teams in 30 Days - Milwaukee Brewers

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

Overview - Another team in rebuilding mode. You’d think a team releasing a player who hit 41 homeruns in 2016 would have a solid lineup. Chris Carter was not much of a first baseman and the Brewers took a chance at KBO MVP Eric Thames to hold down the position. Cost was the biggest reason for the pink slip to Carter. They also have the stolen base leader in Jonathan Villar on their roster but the Brewers decided to keep him. It will still be a rebuilding year but some of the blocks will be appearing on the major league roster in 2017 giving the Brewers a sneak preview of what 2019 will be about.

Strengths - Enhanced by steroids or not Ryan Braun provides the Brewers some power in left field. He hit 30 homeruns and drove in 91 runs. Last year he had to spend some time in right field, but this year he will be at his more comfortable position in left field. The Brewers hope this will help him offensively. The Brewers will find a place for stolen base leader Jonathan Villar to play. After hitting .285 with 19 homeruns Villar stole a league leading 62 bases. The Brewers acquired Travis Shaw to play third base so expect Villar to knock Scooter Gennett into a utility role. Hernan Perez had a wonderful season hitting .272 with 13 homeruns and 34 stolen bases. The Brewers traded for Travis Shaw so Perez will probably fit in a utility role as well. This gives the Brewers a lot of flexibility with their infield.

Weaknesses - As a rebuilding club they have lots of them, and it usually starts off with pitching. There ace is Junior Guerra who a couple years ago was pitching in Europe. He came to the United States and limited the opposition to a .213 average. Repeating that success will be difficult. After Guerra finding a starting pitcher with an ERA under 4 is a real challenge. With the trade of Tyler Thornburg the bullpen lacks a big time closer. Nefteli Perez at one time was supposed to be the closer for the Rangers but arm injuries ended those hopes. Carlos Torres is another option. He led the team in appearances (72) last year with an ERA of 2.73. Jonathan Lucroy will be missed with his presence behind the plate. Jett Mandy, Andrew Susac and Manny Pina will battle for playing time at catcher. Finding any offense in that trio will be a challenge. The outfield will struggle to score runs unless Domingo Santana and Keon Broxton meet their potential. Myworld expects Lewis Brinson to be playing centerfield before the All Star break.

Non-Roster Invitees - The Brewers have a lot of arms in camp. Myworld likes Forest Snow as a sneaker pick with Joba Chamberlain trying to show he still has his fastball.

Breakout Prospects - Lewis Brinson could win the centerfield job by mid-season after Broxton gets injured or fails to produce any offense. Brinson has speed to play center and take the extra base with the bat to generate an offense to slug multiple balls over the fence. With Brinson, Villar and Perez in the lineup the Brewers will again lead the National League in stolen bases. Josh Hader is a pitcher who has bloomed late, a lefthanded arm that can dial it up at 98 to 99. He has already been on three teams in his short career in the minors. Luis Ortiz is another pitcher who can rise to the top spot in the rotation. He was acquired from the Rangers in the Jonathn Lucroy trade and will start his season in AAA. Jorge Lppez had a rough AAA last year but has been pitching well for the Puerto Rico WBC team and finished last year with a 3.97 ERA in eight starts in AA.

Prospects to Watch - Corey Ray was the Brewers first round pick in 2016. A combination of speed and power makes him a potential impact player. Isan Diaz is a hitting machine. His 2016 season paled in comparison to his 2015 but he did hit a career high 20 homeruns. Defense is his weakness and a move from shortstop to second base is necessary. Trent Clark had a rough year last year, hitting just .231 but injuries limited him to 59 games. He was the Brewers first round pick in 2015 but falls short of Ray in the power and speed category. Lucas Erceg hit .400 in a 100 at bat season in rookie ball. His bat has pop and the tools are there for him to stick at third. Keep an eye on Demi Orimoloye. The Nigerian born outfielder who settled in Canada has five tools, but an inability to recognize pitches and make contact with the ball has held him back.

Expected Finish - Both the Reds and Brewers are forfeiting the 2017 season as they rebuild with prospects. The Brewers are stronger in the position areas and this will put them ahead of the Reds.

Myworld’s Top Prospects - 30-21

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

30. Mitch Keller RHP (Pirates) 6.62 - Myworld was a little surprised to see him rated so highly in many of the Top 100s since we did not know that much about him. The Pirates 2014 second round pick had a breakout year last year with a 2.46 ERA in 23 starts. Increased velocity in his fastball, which now hits the mid-90s plus an improved change was the reason for the turn around. His curveball was already a swing and miss pitch. Mitch hopes to repeat his 2016 performance in High A in 2017.

29. Kyle Lewis OF (Mariners) 6.62 - Kyle was the Mariners first round pick in 2016. A gruesome knee injury cut his season short but not before he impressed with a .915 OPS. Kyle has all five tools to be an impact player. His speed, especially after the injury may be a little short to play center but his arm is good enough for right. Kyle makes good contact, is patient enough to take walks and should hit over .300 with 20 plus homeruns. The knee injury will delay the start of his 2017 season. Myworld expects him to begin the season in Low A.

28. Josh Bell 1B/OF (Pirates) 6.7 - Josh Bell began as an outfielder but the Pirates moved him to first base because his speed was not extraordinary and the Pirates outfield situation was already crowded. He was a second round pick in 2011 draft but the Pirates had to pay him a $5 million bonus to convince him to give up his football career. The power has yet to arrive but it showed flashes last season with 14 minor league homeruns and three major league shots. Defensively, his play at first is below average and needs to improve if he hopes to make the major league team in 2017. Expect him to start the season in AAA with Bell playing both the outfield and first base.

27 Brent Honeywell RHP (Rays) 6.87 - One of the better pitchers in the minor leagues with a different pitch in the screwball. He complements that pitch with a fastball in the low 90s with a plus change and a cutter that is above average. That is four pitches hitters have to look out for. He finished his season in AA with a 2.28 ERA in 10 starts, limiting the opposition to a .231 average. His command is good and with his mix of pitches he has a chance to be a number two starter. He should begin the 2017 season in AAA and should make his major league debut this year.

26 Clint Frazier OF (Yankees) 7.22 - A first round draft pick of the Indians, they traded him to the Yankees last year to acquire Aroldis Chapman to push themselves into the playoffs. Clint is a five tool player who will hit for both average and power. His above average speed could allow him to play centerfield but a plus arm makes right field a good fit. The Yankees would like to see Clint cut down on his strikeouts, an issue that may drive his average below .300. He will see next season in AAA and is just an injury to Jacoby Ellsbury away from getting promoted to the Yankees.

25 Jose Deleon RHP (Rays) 7.28 - Deleon was acquired recently from the Dodgers for Logan Forsythe. The Puerto Rican throws in the low to mid 90s, but his change is what gets hitters out. In AAA he struck out more than a hitter an inning, threw strikes and limited the opposition to a .194 average. When promoted to the majors his command disappeared, the opposition hit him at a .288 clip and he gave up five homeruns in 17 innings pitched. The Rays hope this was a learning experience for him. He will probably start the season in AAA but the Rays have the potential to have one of the best young rotations in baseball with Blake Snell, Brent Honeywell and Jose Deleon.

24. Mickey Moniak OF (Phillies) 7.48 - The Phillies 2016 number one pick, making him the top pick in the draft. Above average speed and a rocket arm makes him flexible for center or right field. The power is absent for now but it is expected to show as he fills out. He makes solid contact now, hitting balls into the gaps. Last year in rookie ball he slugged .409. Expect him to start the 2017 season in Low A. Don’t expect the power to become evident until 2018.

23. Manuel Margot OF (Padres) 7.52 - The Padres acquired Manuel from the Red Sox in the Craig Kimbrel deal. He has the speed to play center and the arm to fit in right. Last year that speed contributed to 32 stolen bases in 43 attempts. Power is lacking but he should get close to double digits and with his speed doubles should be frequent. Last year he made his major league debut hitting just .243. In AAA he was able to get the average up to .304. The Padres expect him to compete with Travis Jankowski for the centerfield job.

22. Francis Martes RHP (Astros) 7.77 - The Astros stole Martes from the Marlins in the Jarred Cosart trade. At that time he was still in rookie ball struggling to throw strikes. His control has gotten better and his fastball has climbed to the mid-90s, hitting triple digits when he really lets loose. Martes also has a plus curveball that sharply breaks down towards the plate. The one down side with Martes is his short height (6′1″) which does not give him any downward plane. After his success at AA last year it is expected the Astros will start him at AAA, with a promotion to the major leagues if an injury or ineffectiveness plagues the starting staff.

21. Lewis Brinson OF (Brewers) 7.77 - Brinson is a nice little centerfielder who the Brewers got from the Rangers in the Jonathan Lucroy trade. Brinson shows all five tools, with the ability to hit for power with 30 plus homeruns and the speed to play centerfield. That speed has not translated well to stolen bases. The Brewers would like to see him walk more to increase the OBA, making him better suited for the leadoff role. He reached AAA last year and hit .382 in less than 100 at bats. The 2017 season will see him back at AAA with the chance to see the outfield for the rebuilding Brewers.

Myworld’s Top 100 - 40 -31

Monday, March 13th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Myworld’s Top 100 - 50-41

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

50. James Kaprielian RHP (Yankees) - The Yankees 2015 first round pick has not panned out to date. A poor 2015 season was made worse by an abbreviated three start 2016 season, shortened by elbow issues. He did bounce back by having a strong Arizona Fall League. His fastball hits the mid-90s and he complements that pitch with two plus breaking pitches (curve and slider) and a change. If he could get on the mound healthy he could be a pretty good pitcher. After having three excellent starts at Tampa his season was ended early. He will begin the 2017 season in Tampa if healthy.

49. Nick Gordon SS (Twins) - Like his half brother Dee, Nick has started his career at shortstop. Dee had to eventually move to second. Nick does not quite have the speed of Dee but he has a stronger arm so he may have a future at short. A lack of range and not an average arm is the only tool that will move him to second. His bat lacks power but he can still spray balls into the gaps to hit .270 to .290. That should be good enough to hit in the lower end of the order. For the 2017 season Nick will spend his time in AA.

48. Tyler O’Niel OF (Mariners) - The Canadian has an opportunity to be the Mariners starting corner outfielder in 2017. This after he hit .293 with 24 homeruns and 102 RBIs. The Mariners do not have a lot of major league depth to rely on in their outfielders so only a poor spring will jolt him down to AAA. He has an above average arm for right field and decent speed to cover ground, but not enough to play center. His bat has middle of the order pop but he does swing and miss a lot, with 150 whiffs in 130 games. On the bright side he does take his share of walks so there looks to be some plate discipline there.

47.Hunter Renfroe OF (Padres) - Tyler and Hunter are similar but Hunter has a stronger arm and more power but Tyler has a little more speed. Hunter is the typical rightfielder with a cannon for an arm and lumbering speed. Last year he hit 34 homeruns between AAA and the Padres major league team, four of those homeruns with the Padres in September. Hunter finished the season with 119 RBIs. Hunter is the one player A.J. Preller did not trade, though he tried to. Drafted in the first round of 2013 Hunter should be the Padres right fielder playing alongside another rookie Manuel Margot.

46. Riley Pint RHP (Rockies) - Riley was drafted in the first round by the Rockies in 2016, giving them a nice arsenal of prospective arms for the thin air of Colorado. Riley can touch three digits with his fastball but mostly sits in the mid-90s. High school pitchers hitting three digits with their fastball used to create a lot of news but now it is becoming pretty common place. A curve and change still need development and in his rookie season he walked 23 in 37 innings so lack of command is an issue. The Rockies could start him in extended spring training so he can work on his secondary pitches and improve his delivery and then start him at Low A when they think he is ready.

45. Ian Happ 2B/OF (Cubs) - Ian broke the steady stream of Cub number one draft pick bats streaming to the major leagues in Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber. His bat is said to be good but he does not put up eye popping numbers in his minor league stints. Last year he hit a career high 15 homeruns but he still slugged below .500, his production aided by playing twice as many games. The Cubs have still not settled on a position for him, bouncing him between second and the outfield. In the long run that may be good with Cubs manager Joe Madden fond of using players at multiple positions. His defense at second base is below average so his bat will have to work for him to play there.

44. Jeff Hoffman RHP (Rockies) - The second Rockies pitcher appearing in this portion of the top ten. Jeff was drafted in the first round of the 2014 draft by the Blue Jays. The Rockies acquired him in the Troy Tulowitski deal. Tommy John surgery after he was drafted delayed his professional career until 2015. His fastball will sit in the lower portion of the mid-90s, reaching 99 mph. His curveball, slider and change are all good pitches but do not perform as well in the thin Colorado air. Jeff pitched eight credible starts in the major leagues with a 17/22 walk to whiff ratio. A good spring could see him make the rotation, but he may be better off starting the season in AAA.

43. Reynaldo Lopez RHP (White Sox) - Comparisons are made to Pedro Martinez because of his short frame (6′0″) and his mid 90s fastball. The Nationals traded him to the White Sox in the Adam Eaton trade. He had some struggles pitching for the Nationals, only striking out 8.6 hitters per nine innings while walking 4.5 hitters per nine innings. His curveball is a good strikeout pitch while his change is useable. What he needs the greatest improvement on is his location of pitches. Reynaldo should start the 2017 season in the White sox rotation unless he has a horrible spring.

42. Francisco Mejia C (Indians) - Lots of good things to say about Francisco. His arm gets 80 ratings by many, the highest rating that can be given to a catcher. His bat created a 50 game hitting streak, giving him a .342 average at two levels of the minor leagues. The Indians almost traded him for Jonathan Lucroy as they sought a playoff run, but now they are glad they kept him. His power and speed are lacking so whether he can maintain that plus .300 average through the rigors of a 140 game major league catching schedule is not known. Francisco still needs to work on the subtleties of catching. The 2017 season should see him work on those skills at AA Akron.

41. Corey Ray OF (Brewers) - The rebuilding Brewers drafted Ray in the first round of the 2016 draft. He was the fifth player drafted. Corey has a nice combination of power and speed that will make him an impact player that could see him have 20/20 years. His speed could play in center, but it is not burner speed and his arm may lack the strength to play right. Corey finished his 2016 season in Low A but it ended early after a knee injury resulted in minor surgery. Low A is where he should begin his 2017 season.

Top European Prospects

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016 top European Prospects