Archive for the 'Cubs' Category

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

MyWorld’s Top 100 Prospects - 100 -91

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

They are not really our top 100 prospects. They are a collection of top 100 lists that we have put together and then assigned values, i.e. 10 points for a number 1 and 9.9 for a number 2 all the way down to a .1 for a number 100. The numbers are compiled and averaged. Below are the 100-91 prospects.

100. Bobby Bradley 1B (Indians) 0.85 - When Bradley is ready for the major leagues Carlos Santana will move to DH. There is pop in is bat, but also a lot of swing and miss. He will hit 30 plus homeruns in the majors but may also fall below .250 with his average. Don’t expect an upgrade over Santana at first base and his lack of speed makes the outfield not an option.

99. Casey Gillespie 1B/3B (Rays) 0.88 - Casey will have to hope for a better career than his brother Conner. The Rays drafted him in the first round but he appears to be more a gap hitter. The homeruns will not be frequent but he could hit for a decent average with lots of doubles. It doesn’t hurt that he is a switch hitter and can play two positions, though he appears to be more suited defensively for first base.

98. Franklin Perez RHP (Astros) 1.03 - The Venezuelan has increased his fastball to where it is now hitting in the mid-90s. At 6′3″ and 220 pounds he has a good frame for pitching. He also throws two breaking pitches (slider and curve) and a change so he has the repertoire to start. Another good season at High A will raise his profile.

97. Grant Holmes RHP (Athletics) 1.03 - Originally drafted by the Dodgers in the first round in 2014. They soured on his numbers and less than overpowering fastball (92-95) trading him to the Athletics in the Rich Hill and Josh Reddick trade. Lefthanded hitters had his way against him (.303) and in five starts California League hitters smacked him around for a .355 average. He will begin his Athletic career in High A.

96. Luiz Gohara LHP (Braves) 1.05 - The Brazilian pitcher can throw hard, his fastball zipping across the plate in the mid to high 90s, sometimes even hitting triple digits. His big issue is getting control of his pitches. Lefties with hard fastballs tend to take a bit longer to develop. His secondary pitches also need improvement (slider/change) otherwise he will end up in the bullpen.

95. Cody Reed LHP (Reds) 1.2 - Cody also has a slider/fastball combination, but his fastball sits more in the 93-95 range. He got beat and battered a bit in 10 starts with Cincy (7.39 ERA, .328 opposition ave) so it will be back to AAA where he needs to enhance the change to give him a third pitch. He also gave up 12 homeruns in the majors in just 48 innings of work.

94. Jahmai Jones OF (Angels) 1.23 - The Angels do not have the strongest farm system but the second round pick in 2015 has been a pleasant surprise. Speed is his best asset with developing power. He does not have any one outstanding tool, but he has five above average tools that will play.

93. Tyler Beede RHP (Giants) 1.25 - Beede was drafted in the first round of the 2013 draft. He’s been a bit slow to develop for a pitcher drafted out of college, but his fastball had dropped in velocity as he tried to acclimate to professional baseball and pitching twice a week instead of once. The fastball is back in the low 90s and there is more swing and miss in the hitter’s swing. He could make his major league debut this year after starting the season in AAA.

92. Ronald Acuna OF (Braves) 1.32 - Acuna had it rough over the winter having to play baseball in Australia. The Venezuelan has the potential to bring to the major leagues five impressive tools, with the speed to steal bases and play centerfield, the arm to play right and the hit tool to fit in the .300 neighborhood and as he matures the power to fit in a corner outfield.

91. Albert Almora OF (Cubs) 1.32 - With Dexter Fowler gone via free agency Cub fans will see a lot more of Almora patrolling centerfield. He has excellent defensive tools. The big concern is whether his bat can survive against major league pitching. In a brief major league 100 plus at bat debut Almora hit .270 with a .763 OPS. They will take that kind of production with his defensive tools.

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.

Indians and Cubs Draft History

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

The Cleveland Indians are playing the Chicago Cubs in the 2016 World Series. When taking a look at their draft choices since 2005 the Cubs recent drafts show why they are playing for the championship. The Indians have not really acquired any superstars through the draft. Below are the players and the roster for these drafted players.

Cleveland Indians

2005 - Desmond Jennings (18 - DNS) OF, Tim Lincecum (42- DNS) RHP

2006 - David Huff (1) LHP, Steven Wright (2) RHP, Matt McBride (2) C, Chris Archer (5) RHP, Josh Tomlin (19) RHP, Vinnie Pestano (20) RHP, Mike Bolsinger (34 - DNS) RHP

2007 - T.J. McFarland (4) LHP, Bryce Brentz (30 - DNS) OF

2008 - Lonnie Chisenhall (1) OF, Zach Putman (5) RHP, T.J. House (16) LHP, Roberto Perez (33) C, Adam Warren (36 - DNS) RHP

2009 - Jason Kipnis (2) 2B, Preston Guillmet (9) RHP, Max Muncy (41- DNS) 3B, Vidal Nuno (48) LHP

2010 - Drew Pomeranz (1) LHP, Cody Allen (16- DNS) RHP, David Goforth (31- DNS) RHP

2011 - Francisco Lindor (1) SS, Cody Anderson (14) RHP, Ryan Merritt (16) LHP, Shawn Armstrong (18) RHP, Cody Allen (23) RHP, Michael Roth (31 - DNS) LHP

2012 - Tyler Naquin (1) OF

2013 - Kyle Crockett (4) LHP

Chicago Cubs

2005 - none

2006 - Jeff Samardzija (5) RHP, Steve Clevenger (7) C

2007 - Josh Donaldson (1) 3B, Darwin Barney (4) Utl, Brandon Guyer (5) OF, James Russell (14) LHP, Andrew Cashner (29 - DNS) RHP

2008 - Andrew Cashner (1) RHP, Ryan Flaherty (1) UTL, Josh Harrison (6) 2B, Alex Wilson (10) RHP

2009 - D.J. LeMahieu (2) 2B, Justin Baur (25) 1B, Colin Kaepernick (41- DNS) QB

2010 - Matt Szczur (5) OF, Dallas Beeler (41) RHP, Jared Eickhoff (46 - DNS) RHP

2011 - Javier Baez (1) UTL, Tony Zych (4) RHP, Jacob Lindgren (12) LHP

2012 - Albert Almora Jr (1) OF

2013 - Kris Bryant (1) 3B, Zack Godley (10) RHP

2014 - Kyle Schwarber (1) C-LF

Cleveland Indians Roster

C - Matt McBride, Roberto Perez

1B - Bryce Brentz

2B - Jason Kipnis

SS - Francisco Lindor

3B - Max Muncy

OF - Lonnie Chisenhall, Tyler Naquin, Desmond Jennings

Starting Pitcher - Chris Archer, Josh Tomlin, Drew Pomeranz, Ryan Merritt, TimLincecum, Adam Warren, Steven Wright

Relief - Cody Allen, David Huff, Vinnie Pestano, Mike Bolsinger, T.J. McFarland, Zach Putnam, T.J. House, Preston Guillmet, Vidal Nuno, David Goforth, Cody Anderson, Shawn Armstrong, Michael Roth, Kyle Crockett

Chicago Cubs Roster

C - Kyle Schwarber, Steve Clevenger

1B - Justin Bour

2B - Darwin Barney, Josh Harrison, D.J. LeMahieu

SS - Javier Baez

3B - Josh Donaldson, Ryan Flaherty

OF - Kris Bryant, Brandon Guyer, Albert Almora, Matt Szczur

Starting Pitching - Andrew Cashner, Sonny Gray, Jeff Samardzija, Jared Eickhoff, Jacob Lindgren

Relief - James Russell, Alex Wilson, Jeff Beliveau, Tony Zych, Dallas Beeler, Tony Zych, Zack Godley

Catcher Prospect Review

Saturday, October 8th, 2016

These were the top ten catchers at the beginning of the year as rated by myworld. We could not find our Baseball America magazine that rated the top ten catchers, lefthanded pitchers and righthanded pitchers so we will go with our list for these three positions, even though we hate using our bias.

1. Gary Sanchez (Yankees) - He did not get a lot of major league at bats because of his late callup but his homerun production when promoted to the major leagues was record breaking. With more playing time he would be the cinch American League rookie of the year, but he may still win it. His defense has improved to such an extent that he is now considered above average. Brian McCann will be the back up next year despite his large contract while Sanchez takes over the starting role. Expect a drop in production but his bat should still carry 20 plus over the fence each year.

2. Wilson Contreras (Cubs) - Another player who got a major league promotion mid-season. Wilson played a lot in left field because the Cubs had more veteran catchers to use behind the plate. Wilson has 20 plus homerun power and an arm to limit base stealing. His pitch calling and handling of a veteran playoff pitching staff still needs more work. With Kyle Schwarber coming back next year to play left field and Anthony Rizzo at first Wilson will have to get more playing time behind the plate to justify him staying in the major leagues. David Ross retirement will ensure him of at least a back up spot.

3. Jorge Alfaro (Phillies) - His tools have always exceeded his production. Injuries have also limited his playing time. This year he played at Reading, a hitters park, but he was one of the better players on one of the top minor league teams in baseball. He slugged 15 homeruns and stayed free of any major injury. The Phillies have a young catcher in Cameron Rupp but Jorge offers more offensive and defensive potential. Alfaro won the Captains Choice catcher award for being the best defensive catcher in the minor leagues. He did get a September callup for the Phillies to get his feet wet for a mid-season 2017 role.

4. Andrew Knapp (Phillies) - When it rains it pours. Tommy Joseph was a top Philly catching prospect but moved to first base after concussion issues. This year Tommy took over the first base job from Ryan Howard. The Phillies will have to do something about their trio of catchers. Knapp is a couple years older than Alfaro and is playing at AAA. Next year Alfaro will be ready for AAA and Knapp does not have the power or arm to compete with Alfaro. Don’t be surprised to see Knapp traded next year or getting promoted to the Phillies to be the back up to Rupp.

5. Tom Murphy (Rockies) - The Rockies catcher of the future. He hit for power (19) and average (.327) in AAA and those tools were evident in a late promotion to the Rockies. Expect him to be looked at as the starting catcher for the Rockies next year. The third round 2012 pick can also handle the defensive side of the game with a strong arm and good pitch calling abilities. Playing in the high altitude of Colorado can only accentuate his offensive numbers.

6. Tyler Stephenson (Reds) - Eventually he could team up with Robert Stephenson to give the Reds a Stephenson/Stephenson battery. The 2015 first round pick is still a couple years away from playing for the Reds. Last year he struggled in Low A hitting only .216. Injuries limited him to just over 100 at bats. At 6′4″ he might be too big to catch. The arm is strong enough to limit a baserunning game and his bat is better than the .216 he showed in 2016.

7. Jacob Nottingham (Brewers) - The Athletics acquired Jacob from the Astros as one of the players for Scott Kazmir. They then traded him to the Brewers for Khris Davis. Davis hit 40 plus homeruns for the Athletics in 2016. Nottingham may take four years to reach that homerun figure, though at 6′3″ he is said to have raw power. Last year he hit 11 homeruns in AA but a 29/138 walk to whiff ratio brought his average below .250. His defense needs some improvement before it can be considered major league ready, but he does have a strong arm that can gun down baserunners.

8. Reese McGuire (Blue Jays) - The Pirates sent Reese McGuire and other prospects to the Blue Jays to rid themselves of the Francisco Liriano contract. McGuire has been a disappointment for a first round 2013 pick. He has shown little power with too much of a vanilla bat. With a little more electricity in his offense his defense is strong enough to play in the major leagues. McGuire does a good job of making contact but it is just too much soft contact. The Blue Jays do not really have a catcher they can brag about. If they can not find anyone with a bat next year McGuire has the defense to fill the position.

9. Clint Coulter (Brewers) - With the acquisition of Nottingham this takes the pressure off the Brewers to put Coulter behind the plate. He will continue to see more time in the outfield. His defense will always be below major league average but his bat carries enough power to play right field. It has now been two years since he has seen any time behind the plate. The 2016 season saw a big drop in his power numbers (.358 slugging). He will need to improve upon that to make up for his defensive deficiencies in the outfield.

10. Chance Sisco (Orioles) - His power numbers took a big drop in 2016 but he raised his average over the .300 mark again (.319). Defense is not his strong suit. Matt Wieters will be a free agent next year so the Orioles have a catcher opening. Chance probably needs a full season in AAA to get major league ready.

Shortstop Prospect Review

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Shortstop was a very talented position this year so myworld will take a look at the top 20 prospects at the position as rated by Baseball America to see how their 2016 season went.

1. Corey Seager (Dodgers) - Not much needs to be said here. Corey is on his way to winning the NL rookie of the year award, leading the Dodgers to the NL West Division crown. He’s hit for power and average and kept his miscues on the field to a minimum.

2. J.P. Crawford (Phillies) - Still the Phillies shortstop of the future despite his struggles at AAA (.244). He hit well at AA but with only seven homeruns and 12 stolen bases at the two levels his offensive production falls short of what is expected. He finished the season with a .688 OPS. While his defense will get him to the major leagues the Phillies would like to see a little more offense. Freddy Galvis is all that stands in his way in the major leagues.

3. Orlando Arcia (Brewers) - Compared to his 2015 season his offensive production in AAA was a bit of a disappointment this year. Like Crawford defense is his calling card and a late season major league callup has seen his offensive struggles continue. The Brewers could always move Jonathan Villar back to short if they feel Arcia is not yet ready for the major leagues to begin the 2017 season. It is only a matter of time before he takes over the position.

4. Trea Turner (Nationals) - With an earlier callup and more at bats he would be giving Seager a run for the rookie of the year honors. Turner has moved to centerfield and has filled the leadoff roll for the Nationals, hitting .340. What has been a surprise to his season is the power he has shown in his bat.

5. Dansby Swanson (Braves) - A trade the Diamondbacks will ultimately regret and could lead to massive changes in the administration. Swanson has been rotating with Ozzie Albies for the Braves shortstop job, but Swanson appears to have the upper hand at the position. Swanson got the head start with the first September callup. He should provide an offensive bat with power for the position.

6. Jorge Mateo (Yankees) - His ultimate position may be at second base after the season for Didi Gregorious this year and the late season acquisition of Gleyber Torres. Mateo has shown a little pop but speed is his big tool. A mid-season suspension because of his impatience about not being promoted to AA is the only taint to the 2016 season, though his offensive numbers have fallen short of what he produced last year. His stolen base production especially dropped in half from 82 to 36.

7. Raul Mondesi (Royals) - The only player to appear in a World Series game before he ever appeared in a regular season game. Offense will be the big question mark for the son of Raul Mondesi Sr. He lacks the power of his father but has a smooth glove to play the position. A mid season major league callup has resulted in an offensive struggle to hit major league pitching (.181). The Royals would like to see better than a .484 OPS at the position.

8. Brendan Rodgers (Rockies) - The Rockies 2015 number one pick may have to find another position after the explosion from Trevor Story, who was rated 19th on this list. Story was a first round supplemental pick in 2011 and got the first opportunity. Rodgers is expected to have the bat and the power to play third base, but Nolan Arenado sits there. Fortunately, the Rockies have a couple more minor league seasons to figure out what they want to do with Rodgers, but his potent bat will get him in the lineup.

9. Gleyber Torres (Cubs) - The Yankees acquired Torres from the Cubs in the Aroldis Chapman trade. The Yankees will have to find a position for him. He did hit 11 homeruns and slugged .421 and at age 19 it is expected his power will continue to develop, so third base could be an option. The Yankees currently have a hole there, with Chase Headley the current alternative. Miguel Andujar is a possible suitor for Torres in the minor leagues.

10. Tim Anderson (White Sox) - Last year with the Dodgers Jimmy Rollins lost his shortstop job to Corey Seager. This year he lost the position to Tim Anderson. Tim lacks the offensive numbers of Seager but his glove is better. It has been a disappointing season for the White Sox but Anderson gives them a building block at shortstop.

11. Willy Adames (Rays) - The Rays picked up Adames from the Tigers in the David Price trade. The Rays are still unsettled at short but Adames had a solid season to punch his ticket in for the position in 2017. He had a solid season at AA so expect him to take over the position at the mid season mark.

12. Javier Guerra (Padres) - He was the big piece the Padres acquired from the Red Sox in the Craig Kimbrel trade. The 2016 season was a big disappointment with a .199 average and 141 whiffs. The Padres hope the 2016 season is an anomaly and will hope for a bounce back in 2017.

13. Nick Gordon (Twins) - Another son for Tom Gordon from a different mother than Dee Gordon. Nick shows good speed but lacks power. His defense will get him to the major leagues, but his lack of offense may make a utility role his best option.

14. Amed Rosario (Mets) - The Mets have been hunting for a shortstop for a long time. What they have had at the position for the last couple years have been good bats who lacked range to cover the position. Amed should solve all that. His bat should be good enough to create some havoc, after hitting .341 in a mid-season callup to AA. Power is not there but his defense is something the Mets have not seen at the position in a long time.

15. Christian Arroyo (Giants) - He will not supplant Brandon Crawford at the position. He could be one of those in between players who lacks the range to play short and is a little short of power to play third. Second base could be his ultimate destination. He does not have a lot of speed and his power is absent so he is a bit vanilla in the talent department. A utility role could be his best hope for a major league job.

16. Ozzie Albies (Braves) - The Braves traded Jose Peraza to the Reds last year after seeing what they have in Albies. With the acquisition of Swanson the ultimate position for Albies may be second base. Fortunately for Albies the Braves have no player at the position with the talent to block him. Speed is his best tool, power his worst.

17. Jorge Polanco (Twins) - Polanco may get an opportunity to play short before Nick Gordon. His defense is not as flashy but he shows a better bat. He has held his own in the major leagues with a .283 average, playing second, third and short. A utility role may be his ultimate position.

18. Deven Marrero (Red Sox) - Deven is blocked at short by Xander Boegarts. His glove is smooth but his bat comes up short. A utility role or trade to another team is all he can hope for, but even after a trade his .198 average in AAA falls far short for what teams want to see in a bat at the position.

19. Trevor Story (Rockies) - A Jose Reyes domestic assault charge gave Story an opportunity at short and he ran with it, slugging 27 homeruns in 97 games before an injury ended his season early. He will get consideration for rookie of the year but failed to get the at bats to win the award. The big question with Trevor is his ability to play defense to stay at the position.

20. Gilbert Lara (Brewers) - Arcia will have to fail at the shortstop position if Lara hopes to get the job. Lara is still in rookie ball as an 18 year old so the Brewers have plenty of time to see if Arcia can earn the position. Lara has shown a quiet bat, but he is still young and developing. Defense is his calling card.

Third Base Prospects Review

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Myworld has already taken a look at the first and second base prospects as ranked by Baseball America. Now we take a look at the third base prospects who were rated in the top ten before the season and analyze what kind of season they had in 2016 and where will that take them in 2017.

1. Joey Gallo (Rangers) - You would have expected a permanent position in the major leagues this year after back to back 40 homerun seasons in 2013 and 2014. His primary position is taken by Adrian Beltre, who signed an extension to play a couple more years at third base. With Prince Fielder retired the DH spot is open and he has seen some time in the outfield. Better contact at the major league level would help his cause as 68 whiffs in 125 at bats is just not going to cut it. Spring training next year will determine whether he plays first base, left field, third base or DH. Nomar Mazara was able to have success when promoted to the Rangers to play right field. Gallo has to show success too if he wants to stick.

2. Rafael Devers (Red Sox) - Just what the Red Sox need, another player with primo hit tools. Fortunately for other major league teams he played all of this year in High A so he has a couple years before he sees the major leagues. Fielding issues could be a problem forcing a move to first base. The power has yet to show but he won’t turn 20 until October of this year. This year he hit .284 with 11 homeruns. There is no one to block his path at third base and Hanley Ramirez could be ready for DH if Devers needs to move to first.

3. Ryan McMahon (Rockies) - The Rockies already have a third baseman in Nolan Arenado. That has not forced the Rockies to move Ryan from third base. Like Gallo he strikes out too much (161) which leads to low averages (.240). His homerun numbers (12) also took a dip. His lack of speed makes a move to the outfield a problem so if Arenado stays a Rockie the only alternative for McMahon is first base. For that position he needs to show more power.

4. Ke’Bryan Hayes (Pirates) - The Pirates drafted the son of Charlie in the first round of the 2015 draft. There is still a lot of minor league ball in his career, with just 250 at bats in Low A. His bat is supposed to show power but last year in 180 at bats he did not hit a homerun. This year he sent 6 over the fence. Hayes has the defensive chops to play the position but at 210 pounds he needs to keep his body toned to stay there. Hayes still has a couple more years in the minors before his future is determined.

5. Matt Chapman (Athletics) - The Athletics have a number of corner infielders in their minor league system. Chapman last year slugged 36 homeruns to put him on the radar for either first or third base. Like many power hitters he also strikes out a lot (173) so those will have to be reduced if he wants to hit for a decent average. A .197 average in 76 at bats in the AAA Pacific Coast League is a little disappointing, but he played in Nashville, not considered one of the Pacific Coast League hitter’s parks.

6. Austin Riley (Braves) - Riley was a supplemental first round pick for the Braves in 2015. Ahead of him in AAA is Rio Ruiz, a second round pick of the Astros who the Braves acquired in their 2016 franchise sale of all their veterans. Riley has some pop (20 homeruns) but at 230 pounds he may need to move from the hot corner. Freddie Freeman will have first base for awhile and Riley lacks the speed to move to the outfield. His power should win him the third base job over Ruiz if he can show he can defend the position.

7. Colin Moran (Astros) - The Marlins made him a first round pick in 2013 after he led all college players in RBIs. The Marlins later traded him to the Astros. With the Astros there is just no room for him at third base with Yulieski Gurriel and Alex Bregman already sharing the position. Colin has not shown the power to star at the position but at 24 and playing in AAA he is ready for the major leagues. His best opportunity to make the major leagues is if the Astros trade him for a veteran player to help them navigate a playoff race. Myworld does not see a lot of major league opportunity for him.

8. Jomar Reyes (Orioles) - At 6′4″ Jomar may be a little too big to settle at third base. A move to first base is a strong possibility. He needs to show a better hit tool to be considered for a major league position. His walks to strikeouts is poor (25/102) leading to a poor average (.228). He is still down in High A so the Orioles can still show a lot of patience with him.

9. Miguel Andujar (Yankees) - He seemed to tap into his power this season, rising to AA where he combined for 12 homeruns. His average sits in the .270s despite a propensity to strike out. Miguel has all the tools to play the position and no one on the depth chart to impede his path to the major league roster. He still needs to play another year or two in the minors before the Yankees consider promoting him.

10. Jeimer Candelario (Cubs) - He may move Kris Bryant permanently to the outfield. His power falls way short of Bryant but his defense at third base is much better. He also makes better contact (70/99) with the ability to draw walks. The Cubs gave him his major league debut this year but a .091 average with five whiffs in 11 at bats shows he needs more seasoning.

Second Base Prospects Review

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

Myworld is taking a look at each of the positions in which Baseball America identified as the top ten players in the minor leagues. Today we will take a look at second base.

1. Yoan Moncada (Red Sox) - He is considered the best prospect in baseball, but the position of need for the Red Sox appears to be third base. That is the position he is playing since his callup to the Red Sox. His speed is his best tool (45 stolen bases) but Yoan has a thunderous bat that is potent enough to play third. He has the potential to become a 30/30 player if his power develops. He makes contact to consistently hit .300.

2. Jose Peraza (Reds) - He had been playing utility for the Reds, riding the roller coaster ride from the minors to majors. In his recent callup he collected a series of multihit games that raised his average from .250 to .350. The Reds are now looking at him as a permanent solution to shortstop. Their hope was to trade Brandon Phillips and move Peraza to second base, but Phillips rejected a trade to the Nationals. So Pereza was stuck in a utility role, playing centerfield, shortstop and second base. When his at bats were limited he was demoted to the minors to get at bats. The Reds have talked about trading the injury plagued Cosart after the season.

3. Ian Happ (Cubs) - The Cubs have bounced him around from second base to the outfield. The position for this year is second base. He shows a little power with 15 homeruns and a .445 slugging percentage. His strikeout numbers are high and his defense is not gold glove so there are still things he needs to work on in the minor leagues.

4. Brandon Drury (Diamondbacks) - He was originally a third baseman, but with Jake Lamb taking over the position the Dbacks moved him to second. He showed power for the position, but his defense was suspect. He has seen more time in the outfield this year because of injuries to the Dbacks outfielders where he is hitting .263 with 10 homeruns. Once the outfield finds its health the Dbacks will have to find another position for him. His power is probably a little short for a corner spot and he lacks the speed and range to play center.

5. Alen Hanson (Pirates) - Next year he may find a role as a utility player. Alen has speed but his bat could be a question mark. He has nothing more to prove in the minors. Josh Harrison seems to have second base covered for the Pirates but he will soon be eligible to ask for the big bucks, which could give Hanson an opportunity. The Pirates called him up for some September appearances to see if he can help them next year. He has at least been suspended by two different managers for his surly attitude.

6. Alex Blandino (Reds) - Alex is not having the kind of year that will get him promoted to the Reds. A .232 average will guarantee at least one more season in AA. In a brief callup last year to AA he only hit .235 in limited at bats. His gap power of previous years has also been muted, with only a career low .337 slugging percentage. Jose Peraza will get the major league opportunity next year while Alex will see at least one more season in the minors.

7. Rob Refsnyder (Yankees) - His defense at second is suspect and Starlin Castro also owns the position. Rob does not appear to have the power to play third or a corner outfield on a more permanent basis. He does have the potential to hit for a high average, but that will only give him a utility role for the Yankees.

8. Forrest Wall (Rockies) - The Rockies first round pick has an electric bat but suspect defense. The bat has failed to reach the .300 neighborhood after his first year, but that is where many think he will reside. Playing in Colorado will enhance that possibility. His power has not really developed with a career .408 slugging percentage. With his struggles on defense Wall will need to improve on that to get a major league opportunity.

9. Scott Kingery (Phillies) - A second round pick of the Phillies last year, Kingery has not shown a thunderous bat. Playing in the band box of Reading his slugging average has dropped to .333. His walk to whiff has also worsened to 5/36. He needs to improve on those if he expects to be an offensive oriented second baseman. His defense is not that stellar to support a weak bat.

10. Willie Calhoun (Dodgers) - The Dodgers have to be pleasantly surprised by the power he has shown in AA (27 homeruns). At only 5′8″ that kind of power was a little unexpected. If his defense does not pan out at second base the Dodgers will find a position for him to accommodate his 30 homeruns bat. Myworld would like to see him replicate those numbers next year before we get too excited.

Seong-Min Kim Drafted by the Wyverns

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

For those not familiar with Kim, he was the player the Orioles attempted to sign a couple years ago without getting permission from the KBO. The Orioles were penalized for the signing.

The KBO held their draft on August 22 and Kim was a first round pick for the SK Wyverns. Other names of note drafted in the first round according to myKBO.net were Jin-Young Kim who was a pitcher in the Cubs minor league system drafted by the Hanwha Eagles and Jin-Ho Shin who was a catcher in the Royals minor league system drafted by the NC Dinos.