Archive for the 'Brewers' Category

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

My World’s Top 100 - 80 - 71

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

80. Dylan Cease RHP (Cubs) 2.03 - He had Tommy John surgery as a senior in high school dropping him to the sixth round where the Cubs selected him in 2014. He’s pitched the last two years in short season ball and reports have him hitting well into triple digits (103) with his fastball, sitting in the high 90s. Last year he struck out 13.3 hitters per nine innings. The real test will be full season ball in 2017 to see if he can maintain that velocity. Dylan also needs to work on his secondary pitches (curve and change) and improve his command.

79. Jesse Winker OF (Reds) 2.05 - Winker should carry some power but a wrist injury last year prevented him from showing it. If the power does not develop this year it will be tough for him to make a major league roster. His defense limits him to left field. The only contribution he can make to a team is with his bat driving in runs. In 2015 he did drive in 55 runs but he also walked 74 times. In 2016 he walked as many times as he struck out (59). Jesse can hit, but the Reds would like to see more balls carry over the fence.

78. Sean Newcomb LHP (Braves) 2.07 - Sean was a first round pick of the Angels in 2014. The Angels traded him to the Braves in the Andrelton Simmons trade. Sean misses bats (10.7 whiffs per nine) or gets hitters to make soft contact (.216 opposition average). Last year lefties hit better against him than righties. His fastball sits in the low 90s, plenty of velocity for a lefthander, and he throws a curve and change. One weakness in his game is a lack of control, walking a batter every two innings, resulting in an unattractive ERA (3.86).

77. Isan Diaz 2B/SS (Brewers) 2.17 - The Puerto Rican broke onto the scene with a .360 average in Rookie ball in 2015, his OPS sitting at a majestic 1.076. With an average arm and lack of speed his best position appears to be second base. Last year his average dropped to .260 but he did hit 20 homeruns. His slugging average dropped .180 points but the numbers he put up in Rookie ball would be difficult to sustain. Expect him to be an offensively oriented second baseman in the major leagues. In 2017 he will start the season in High A.

76. Justus Sheffield LHP (Yankees) 2.33 - Justus was the Indians first round pick in 2014. He was one of the many prospects the Indians traded to the Yankees for Andrew Miller. He appeared in one AA start for the Yankees and struck out nine hitters in four shutout innings. With a fastball that borders along the mid 90s neighborhood Justus should be tough to hit. A 5′10″ frame does not give the downward action he needs to intimidate hitters which could explain why he is more hittable (.251 opposition average) than he should be. He will start the 2017 season in AA where he will work on improving his secondary pitches (slider and change) and throw more strikes.

75. Yohander Mendez LHP (Rangers) 2.48 - Yohander had a nice break out year last year, rising all the way from High A to the major leagues. His strikeout numbers decreased every level he advanced, but in AAA he dominated with a 0.57 ERA in seven appearances, four of them starts. The opposition hit him at a .118 clip. This led to a promotion to the Rangers where he did not fare as well (18.00 ERA, .333 opposition average). An increase in velocity to the low 90s with his fastball added more separation from his changeup. At 6′5″ he also has a good downward plane on hitters. The 2017 season should see him start at AAA.

74. Luis Ortiz RHP (Brewers) 2.63 - Luis was the number one pitcher for the United States under 18 team, resulting in the Rangers drafting him in the first round of the 2014 draft. The Rangers traded him to the Brewers in the Jonathan Lucroy trade. Ortiz has good velocity on his fastball (mid-90s) complementing it with a nasty slider. Finding a third pitch could enhance his swing and miss capability, which currently sits at an uninspiring 7.1 per nine innings. He also got hit a little bit in AA (.290 opposition average). At 20 years of age he is still young so a repeat in AA would not be a surprise.

73. Delvin Perez SS (Cardinals) 2.7 - There was a lot of talk Delvin would be a top five pick in the 2016 draft. Coming from Puerto Rico many compared him to Carlos Correa. A positive drug test dropped him to the 23rd pick in the draft. At this point his glove is ahead of his bat. His defense and speed may be better than Correa, though he committed 17 errors, however his power at this point falls far below Correa. He failed to hit a homerun in over 150 Rookie league at bats. The power could come, but it will not be near what Correa can produce. The Cardinals could rush him and promote him to Low A after his .294 rookie season or they can continue his instruction in extended spring training and have him repeat a month in Rookie League before being promoted to Low A.

72. Jake Bauers 1B/OF (Rays) 2.85 - A seventh round pick in 2013 Jake is showing that he can provide some lefthanded pop to a lineup. At AA he slugged 14 homeruns with minimal swing and miss activity. With Casey Gillespie ahead of him and slated for first base the Rays gave Jake some outfield time. His speed is not great to cover a lot of ground in the outfield, but with enough repetition he could fit in the corner. Jake was acquired from the Padres in the Wil Myers trade. He should start the 2017 season in AAA.

71. Matt Manning RHP (Tigers) 2.98 - Matt was the Tigers 2016 first round pick. Coming out of high school he has a few years of minor league ball to swim through before he makes the Tigers. A 6′6″ frame and a mid to high 90s fastball resulted in him averaging 14.1 whiffs per nine innings at rookie ball. The fastball is his premium pitch but Matt can sling a decent curve and change. The 2017 season will see him begin it at the Low A level

Breakout Prospects and Prospects to Watch NL Central

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Myworld continues to look at prospects who will have a major league impact in 2017 and other prospects to watch to see if they will find themselves on the cusp of making the major league team in 2018. Some of these prospects to watch are veteran minor leaguers trying to over come surgery, former top prospects who have tripped in their minor league ascension or Cubans who have no history at the professional level in the United States but were stars in Cuba. Today myworld takes a look at the NL Central.

Chicago Cubs

Breakout Prospect (Duane Underwood RHP) - The Cubs have relied on free agent signings or trading position player prospects to build a major league pitching staff. At some point injuries will force them to go to their farm system to fill their rotation needs. Duane is the most advanced and highest rated prospect on the Cubs radar having gotten 13 starts in AA. He throws hard, with a high to mid - 90s fastball with lots of movement. A good breaking pitch and change gives him the requisite three pitches to make it as a starter. What he lacks is command of his pitches, putting together a 31/46 walk to whiff ratio in 58.2 AA innings. As hard as Duane throws those strikeout numbers seem quite low and a .280 opponent average needs to improve to lower that 4.91 ERA. If the command does not improve the bullpen may be his calling.

Prospect to Watch (Eloy Jimenez OF) - Eloy is a five tool player who will probably lose some speed as he fills out, making right field a natural calling for him. In 2013 the Cubs signed him for $2.8 million. The Dominican slugger has improved his average and power each of the three levels the Cubs have played him. Last year he slugged .532 with 40 doubles and 14 homeruns for a .901 OPS in his first season at full season ball. Next year he will start the season at High A with a mid-season promotion to AA likely if he continues to have success. He should be ready for the major leagues by mid - 2018 if he continues to rake in the minor leagues. This year he will be listed in the top ten in a lot of prospect Top 100 lists.

Cincinnati Reds

Breakout Prospects (Amir Garrett LHP) - Last year was the first year he focused on baseball. In previous years his main focus was basketball while baseball filled his summertime activities. The 6′5″ lefthander whiz his fastball to the plate in the mid-90s. He complements that pitch with a slider and change that should develop more consistency now that his focus is on baseball. Last year he dominated at AA with a 1.75 ERA and a .184 opponent average. A promotion to AAA saw a little struggle with command. The Reds are rebuilding starting the process with a young rotation. Amir will probably start the season in AAA but a major league callup should be in the mix before the All Star break. A number one starter is his ceiling.

Prospect to Watch (Vladimir Gutierrez RHP) - The recent Cuban signing is not a big man at 6′0″. Reports from his workouts show a fastball that hits triple digits. In Cuba he worked mainly out of the bullpen, but like Raisel Iglesias, another Cuban reliever signed before Vladimir the Reds will try him as a starter. The experiment failed with Raisel as injuries moved him back to the bullpen. The Reds shelled out a $4.75 million bonus to acquire Vladimir so they will allow him to fail as a starter before they move him to the bullpen. He won the Cuban rookie of the year award in 2013/2014 and could be the best pitcher signed out of Cuba since Aroldis Chapman.

Milwaukee Brewers

Breakout Prospect (Josh Hader LHP and Lewis Brinson OF) - The Brewers are rebuilding so opportunities will exist for rookies to establish themselves in the major leagues. Josh has turned some heads as his fastball gets clocked in the mid-90s, transforming himself into a nondescript Orioles prospect traded to the Houston Astros to a decent prospect traded to the Brewers to a super prospect with the Brewers. Now he is ready to make his impact in the Brewers rotation. His command could see improvement, but hitters have a hard time making contact off him striking out more than 11 times per nine innings. He should be part of the Brewers rotation by the All Star break in 2017. Brinson is the Brewers best defensive alternative for centerfield in 2017. A .382 average in the high altitude of Colorado Springs has to be compared to his .237 average at AA Frisco. A little more development time in AAA is needed as he transforms himself into a power hitting centerfielder for the Brewers before the All Star break in 2017.

Prospect to Watch (Jorge Lopez RHP and Demi Orimoloye OF) - Both players struggled last year. In 2015 Jorge had what many thought was a breakout season resulting in two major league starts. The opposition barely hit above the Mendoza line against him and he struck out a batter an inning with a fastball slicing across the plate in the mid-90s. The 2016 season was a different animal with a 1-7, 6.81 ERA in AAA with a .312 opposition average. He seems to have bounced back pitching in the Caribbean Winter League in his home town of Puerto Rico, but the opposition there is far below major league caliber. The Brewers will be patient with him. Demi is one of those players with five tools if he could improve his ability to make contact. The projected first rounder slipped to the fourth round because of concerns with his ability to make contact. After having success in his first season of rookie ball after being drafted Demi stumbled in 2016 with a .205 average in the short season leagues. The Nigerian born player who moved to Canada at 10 months old may need a lot of time before he can reach his potential.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Breakout Prospect (Tyler Glasnow) - He fits all the criteria myworld likes to see in a pitcher. His height is a intimidating at 6′8″ with a fastball that comes at you in the mid to upper 90s. Minor league hitters have only hit above .200 against him in one AAA stay, a .220 average after 8 starts. Major leaguers found him a little easier to hit (.250) but his command was off (13 walks in 23.1 innings). That brief time in the major leagues should prepare him for making the opening day roster in the rotation in 2017.

Prospect to Watch (Nick Kingham RHP) - Nick was a highly touted pitching prospect for the Pirates last year who many thought would make the Pirates rotation. A rough start to the season resulted in Tommy John surgery and a delay to his major league opportunity. His 6′6″ frame and ability to reach the mid-90s with his fastball prior to his surgery put him in the elite prospect category. His recovery from Tommy John appears to be complete, allowing him to spend some time in the minor leagues on the mound in an attempt to reach his elite level status. Once he is ready the rotation should be crowded with Glasnow and Jameson Taillon sharing the top sport with Kingham, who is probably more a mid-term rotation starter.

St. Louis Cardinals

Breakout Prospect (Alex Reyes RHP) - Last year he missed the first part of the season because of a drug of abuse testing violation. If not for the suspension he would have made the Cardinals rotation out of spring training. Perhaps the hardest thrower in the Cardinals rotation, he hits 95 miles per hour with his fastball. After a couple starts he should make the rotation early next year. His fastball regularly hits triple digits and he can hold the heat into the late innings. At 6′3″ he could be more durable than Carlos Martinez. Alex saw success in his very limited 2016 major league debut. Command is the one tool he needs to improve on to have success in the major leagues. If his command falters he could find his role as a closer on the major league roster.

Prospect to Watch (Marco Gonzalez LHP) - The first round 2012 pick has been a disappointment. He saw some major league time in 2014 and 2015 but Tommy John surgery in 2016 put a blank to his season last year. The lefthander is not overpowering, with a fastball that sits in the low 90s. His big pitch was the changeup, which the Tommy John surgery should not impact. His major league numbers were spotty with a minimum quantity of strikeouts. The Cardinals will be patient with him and work him in the minors for the majority of the 2017 season. Depending on what kind of success he achieves he could return to the major leagues in 2018.

Reds and Brewers Domestic Draft Rosters

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

Not the two most exciting teams. Small market teams who must rely on the draft to build their rosters since competing for free agents and international stars can be expensive. Both teams have done a decent job building a roster but there are no real superstars. The Reds have done a good job of promoting at least one first round pick to the major leagues from 2005 to 2011. Though it is still early, the Brewers are still waiting for a player to make a significant contribution to their major league roster since the 2013 draft. Below are the rosters for the Reds and Brewers if they only relied on the players they selected in the domestic draft.

Cincinnati Reds

2005 - Jay Bruce (1) OF, Travis Wood (2) LHP, Sam LeClure (4) RHP, Adam Rosales (12) 3B/1B, John Axford (42 - DNS) RHP
2006 - Drew Stubbs (1) OF, Justin Turner (7) 3B, Chris Heisey (17) OF
2007 - Devin Mesoraco (1) C, Todd Frazier (1) 3B, Zack Cozart (2) SS, Taylor Jordan (18 - DNS) RHP, Jimmy Nelson (33 - DNS) RHP
2008 - Yonder Alonso (1) 1B, Pedro Villarreal (7) RHP
2009 - Mike Leake (1) RHP, Brad Boxberger (1) RHP, Billy Hamilton (2) OF, Tuccker Barnhart (10) C, Deven Marrero (12 - DNS) SS
2010 - Yasmani Grandal (1) C, Ryan LaMarre (2) OF, Kyle Waldrop (12) OF, Josh Smith (21) RHP, Tyler Wilson (35- DNS) RHP
2011 - Robert Stephensen (1) RHP, Tony Cingrani (3) LHP
2012 - Jon Mozcot (4) RHP, Matt Boyd (13 - DNS) LHP
2013 - Michael Lorenzen (1) RHP, Andrew Benintendi (31 - DNS) OF

Roster

C - Yasmani Grandal, Devin Mesoraco, Tucker Barnhart
1B - Yonder Alonso, Adam Rosales
2B - Deven Marrero
3B - Todd Frazier, Justin Turner
SS - Zack Cozart
OF - Jay Bruce, Billy Hamilton, Drew Stubbs, Chris Heisey, Ryan LaMarre, Kyle Waldrop, Andrew Benintendi
SP - Mike Leake, Jimmy Nelson, Robert Stephensen, Michael Lorenzen, John Axford, Travis Wood
RP - Sam LeCure, Taylor Jordan, Pedro Villarreal, Josh Smith, Tyler Wilson, Tony Cingrani, John Moscot, Matt Boyd

Milwaukee Brewers

2005 - Ryan Braun (1) LF, Michael Brantley (7) OF, Jemile Weeks (8 - DNS) 2B, Andrew Bailey (16 - DNS) RHP, Jake Arriata (26 - DNS) RHP
2006 - Jeremy Jeffress (1) RHP, Cole Gillespie (3) OF
2007 - Jonathan Lucroy (3) C, Eric Fryer (10) C, Donavan Hand (14) RHP
2008 - Brett Lawrie (1) 3B/2B, Jake Odorizzi (1) RHP, Logan Schafer (3) OF, Rob Wooten (13) RHP, Lucas Luetge (21) LHP, Sean Nolin (50 - DNS) LHP
2009 - Khris Davis (7) OF, Scooter Gennett (16) 2B, Tyler Cravy (17) RHP, Caleb Thielbar (18) LHP, Mike Fiers (22) RHP
2010 - Jimmy Nelson (2) RHP, Tyler Thornburg (3) RHP, Yadiel Rivera (9) SS, Jason Rogers (32) 1B
2011 - Taylor Jungmann (1) RHP, Jorge Lopez (2) RHP, Michael Reed (5) OF, David Goforth (7) RHP, Carlos Rodon (16 - DNS) LHP
2012 - Mitch Haniger (1) OF, Tyler Wagner (4) RHP, Buck Farmer (15 - DNS) RHP

Roster

C - Jonathan Lucroy, Eric Fryer
1B - Jason Rogers
2B - Scooter Gennett, Jemile Weeks
3B - Brett Lawrie
SS - Yadiel Rivera
OF - Ryan Braun, Michael Brantley, Cole Gillespie, Logan Schafer, Khris Davis, Michael Reed, Mitch Haninger
SP - Jake Arriata, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Fiers, Jimmy Nelson, Carlos Rodon
RP - Andrew Bailey, Jeremy Jeffress, Donovan Hand, Rob Wooten, Lucas Luetge, Sean Nolin, Tyler Cravy, Caleb Thielbar, Tyler Thornburg, Taylor Jungmann, Jorge Lopez, David Goforth, Buck Farmer, Tyler Wagner

Puerto Rican Winter Wonders to Watch in 2017

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Not a lot of big time prospects spending their winters in Puerto Rico playing baseball but there are some once upon a time prospects who are trying to regain their credibility.

Reymond Fuentes (Free Agent/Aguidilla) OF - Time is running out for the first round pick of the Red Sox in 2009 that has now bounced around between the Padres and Royals. He is the cousin of Carlos Beltran but lacks the pop of Beltran. In 2016 he hit .317 for the Royals in just 41 at bats but they still released him. Only one of his 13 hits went from extra bases and he was caught stealing in both of his attempts. In Puerto Rico he is still flirting with .300 (.294) but he has gone deep once and is a perfect 5 for 5 in stolen bases. Reymond will have to show steady defense and an ability to hit lead off for teams to be attracted to him. Outfielders with spend can make it as bench players.

Hector Olivera (Free Agent/Santurce) 3B/2B - After his domestic violence issues, his inability to hit and his advancing age teams are no longer that interested in the former Cuban super star. His purpose is to try to tickle some interest but his bat still shows too much silence. He has a 10/4 walk to whiff ratio and a batting average of .267. With his past it will take more for a team to take a chance on him.

Jorge Lopez (Brewers/Mayaguez) RHP - He was one of the Brewers top prospects until last year when his 6.81 ERA in 17 AAA starts scratched some shine off his status. In six starts in Puerto Rico he has been absolutely amazing with a 1.05 ERA. He has only given up a run in two of his six starts and opponents have scratched together just 9 hits in his 25.2 innings of work. That translates to an opponent average of .107. In his second and last start he has combined for seven innings of perfect baseball. Expect Jorge to get another opportunity to pitch in AAA. With some success he should see the major leagues by the summer of 2017.

Brewers Sign KBO MVP Eric Thames

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

Eric Thames is getting another opportunity with major league baseball. He had a brief two year career playing for Seattle and Toronto. He showed some pop in those two years with 21 homeruns. In 2013 he spent all his time in the minor leagues. The Mariners traded him to the Orioles and after being put on waivers in September he was claimed by the Astros. The Astros released him in December so he could pursue his career in Korea with the NC Dinos.

In the KBO Thames hit 124 homeruns and drove in 379 runs, numbers good enough to win him the MVP award in 2015. Those kind of numbers were also good enough for the Brewers to release Chris Carter and to sign Eric Thames to play first base for them next year.

The contract is interesting in that Eric has the right to decline an option to the minors, similar to what the Orioles had to go through with Syun Woo Kim. The contract is worth $16 million guaranteed over three years with another $7.5 million he can earn on a team option in 2020. He gets $4 million in 2017 with $1 million salary increases each of the next two years. If the team does not exercise the $7.5 million option they must pay him $1 million.

Last year Carter hit 41 homeruns with the Brewers. His batting average is low while his strikeout numbers are high. Defensively Carter was a bit challenged in the outfield and at first base. The Brewers may get the same kind of player in Thames but with less power and a better average and contact rate. This production will also come at a lower price than the $8 million plus Carter was expected to get in arbitration this year.