Archive for the 'Cubs' Category

Another Perfect Game and Other Prospect Notes

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Domenic Mazza LHP (Giants) - Not really considered a prospect. Players drafted in the 22nd round as Domenic was in 2015 fall far from that criteria, unless large bonuses are associated with their name to get them to sign. Mazza did make some press by throwing the second perfect game of the year and the first nine inning perfect game in South Atlantic League history. For Domenic that is a welcome start after lasting under three innings and giving up seven runs in his first start of the season. During that game he gave up Tim Tebow’s first professional career homerun, publicity he would just as soon avoid. The lefty needed only 85 pitches to toss his perfecto.

Dane Dunning RHP (Nationals) - It was pay back time for the ex-National as he threw six innings of two hit ball against Low A Hagerstown, a Nationals farm team. For Dunning that was his third consecutive shutout outing to lower his ERA to 0.35. He has only given up two runs in four starts with only one of them earned. He has a 2/33 walk to whiff ratio in 26 innings and the opposition is hitting him at a .143 clip. He was traded to the Nationals along with Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito for Adam Eaton. Dane is making the Nationals begin to regret that deal.

Nik Turley LHP (Twins) - In his fourth appearance and second start Nik Turley gave up his first run. He also struck out 14 in the seven inning outing, at one point striking out eight hitters in a row. In 20.1 innings he has now struck out 36 hitters with a 0.44 ERA and a .076 opposition average. At age 27 his prospect status is sagging but the Twins starting rotation could use some help.

Michael Kopech RHP (White Sox) - Michael was throwing bb’s in his six inning one hit shutout. The 2014 first round pick of the Red Sox struck out eight in his outing. The opposition is only hitting .145 against him but 14 walks in just 18 innings have plagued him. During his one hitter he walked four. The Red Sox traded him to the White Sox as part of the Chris Sale trade.

Dinelson Lamet RHP (Padres) - Myworld remembers writing about Dinelson a lot last year. After a 13 K performance in his third start he came back with a 9 K performance, throwing seven innings of shutout ball. Like Kopech, Lamet does not give up a lot of hits (.171 opposition average) but his walks could be tapered down (9 in 20 innings). After four starts the Dominican has seen his ERA lowered to 0.45.

Ronald Acuna OF (Braves) - After dominating in Australia Acuna is wreaking his wrath on Florida State League pitchers. The Venezuelan banged out three hits, including his second homerun of the year and five RBIs. Acuna was a double short of the cycle. Strikeouts have been a bit of a problem with 25 in 17 games, but his last two games in which he went 5 for 9 have come without a whiff. He has 10 stolen bases in 11 attempts.

Alex Jackson C (Braves) - Another Fire Frog, Jackson has seen his bat come alive now that he is no longer a Mariner. In the same game Acuna banged out three hits Alex collected three hits including a homerun and two RBIs. Alex was a double short of the cycle. The three hits raised his average to .338. While with the Mariners he struggled to get his average above the .250 neighborhood. The Braves have returned Alex back to his high school position as a catcher.

Willie Calhoun 2B (Dodgers) - The homerun drought has ended for Willie with his first yesterday. Last year the 5′8″ slugger bashed 27 over the fence. Despite the paucity of homeruns Willie has been hitting with his average at .333.

Jorge Alfaro C (Phillies) - The Phillies don’t have room for Jorge behind the plate for their major league team. So they will show patience with him as he assaults AAA pitching. Back to back three hit games in which he hit a homerun in each game raised his average to .377. The Phillies would like to see some improvement on his 1/17 walk to whiff ratio (22/105 in 2016).

Edward Olivares OF (Blue Jays) - With the two perfect games comes the first cycle that myworld has become aware of in the minor leagues. Edward singled, doubled, tripled and homered in a four RBI event a couple days ago. His batting average needed the outburst as it was sitting at .172 before the game. Edward now has a four game hitting streak to raise his average to .231. He has driven in 8 of his 14 runs during that streak.

Jason Vosler 3B (Cubs) - Jason is not considered one of the more touted Cub prospects. Last year he hit three homeruns. In a game last night Vosler equaled his 2015 homerun out put with three dingers to give him four for the year. The third baseman drove in six runs to double his RBI output for the year.

Chavis Leads More Hot Prospects

Friday, April 21st, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Prospects Raking from Walker to Palka

Monday, April 17th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Hot Prospects to Report

Friday, April 14th, 2017

The number of prospects who have started the season with sizzling bats or power arms continues to impress. Below are some of the current prospects we have our eyes on.

Dawel Lugo 3B (D-backs) - He is playing third base and showing some power, slugging three homeruns in two days. On Sunday he clobbered two homeruns and drove in four runs in a 4 for 6 day. His next start was Wednesday when he hit another homerun. Lugo normally plays shortstop but he has played five of his six games this year at third base.

Jeimer Candelario 3B (Cubs) - Candelario is turning into an RBI machine. His five RBIs on Tuesday matched the back to back five RBI games he had last week to give him 15 RBIs on the season. To date 10 of his 11 hits have gone for extra bases with six doubles, two triples and two homeruns for a .900 slugging average. There is no room for Candelario in the Cubs lineup but if he keeps hitting AAA pitching like this the Cubs will have to find room.

Ian Happ 2B (Cubs) - His teammate Ian Happ has been just as hot with back to back homerun days to give him five for the season. Happ has also driven in at least one run in five of his last seven games to give him 9 for the year. So far this year Happ has seen seven games at second base and two games in the outfield. The Cubs are still trying to figure out his best position but his bat will play somewhere in the lineup.

Tyler Wade SS (Yankees) - Not the most heralded of Yankee shortstops, with Gleyber Torres expected to fill the position in a couple years. The hottest Yankee shortstop is currently Tyler with a six game hitting streak to start the season. Tyler had a 9 for 12 streak in between that six game streak. So far of his 12 hits none of them have gone for extra bases and he has driven in just one run. He does have three stolen bases in three attempts.

Luis Guillorme SS (Mets) - If the Yankees have a hot shortstop the Mets will have to answer with one of their own. Luis had a 5 for 5 day with a 7 for 9 peppering in his last two games to raise his average to .423. Like Tyler Luis is not considered the Mets shortstop of the future, that position being reserved for the short term to Amed Rosario.

Juan Soto OF (Nationals) - The future superstar is abusing Low A pitchers, hitting his first homerun Wednesday night. Juan is in the midst of a six game hitting streak in which he has gone 12 for 26 with five runs driven in his last two games. In 14 at bats he has only struck out once, scoring eight runs.

Albert Abreu RHP (Yankees) - The righthanded Dominican can hit triple digits with his fastball. That fastball was hard to touch on Wednesday night with 11 whiffs on just two hits in 5.2 innings. It was the second start of the year for Abreu. In his first start he struck out 6 in four innings, giving up his only run of the year for a 0.93 ERA.

Logan Shore RHP (Athletics) - The Athletics second round pick in 2016 pitched four innings of shutout relief to pick up his first professional save, striking out six. A couple days earlier he had gotten a start working through four innings and allowing just one run. After two appearances his ERA sits at a shining 1.13.

Joe Palumbo LHP (Rangers) - The 30th round 2013 pick is making a name for himself. In previous years he has pitched some relief and started some games. This year he has made two starts. His first start he only went three innings but gave up just one run and struck out five. In start number two he was unhittable going six shutout innings, allowing just two hits and striking out 10 hitters. Early in the season the opposition is hitting .097 against him. Last year he struck out 122 in 96 innings with a .202 opposition average in just under 100 innings of starting and relieving.

Myworld’s Top 100 - 10 -1

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Myworld finally finishes our top 100 list. It took awhile to post the top ten. Next in line are the organizational rankings for the major league farm teams.

10. J.P. Crawford SS (Phillies) 8.85 - J.P. did not have a good year from an offensive perspective, hitting just .244 in AAA with a .318 slugging percentage. He does have a smooth glove and makes solid contact, walking almost as many times as he whiffs (232/243). The Phillies current shortstop Freddy Galvis also has a smooth glove so J.P. will have to show a better bat if he wants to replace Galvis. The power may be less than Galvis but the overall consistency with the bat and glove may tip the job to Crawford. He lacks the speed to steal bases but the Phillies hope his high walk rate will be enough to make him a successful leadoff hitter.

9. Brendan Rodgers SS/2B (Rockies) 8.87 - The Rockies currently have Trevor Story at short but his 27 homeruns would make him a nice fit at third. A lot will depend on how Rodgers handles short as he climbs the minor league ladder. Last year he hit .281 with 19 homeruns at Low A. The 2015 first round pick also has the power to move to third. Brendan won’t give you tremendous range at short, but he will give you consistency, though he did make 16 errors in 70 plus games in Low A last year. Look for Brendan to start the season in High A. His bat will determine if he gets a promotion to AA.

8. Eloy Jimenez OF (Cubs) 8.87 - The Cubs have another big bat lying in wait in Low A. Last year the Dominican hit .329 with 14 homeruns in Low A, stitching together a .901 OPS. Eloy would be a five tool player if he carried a better arm. If his speed does not allow him to play center field he will move to left. The speed is not burner so there will not be a plethora of stolen bases. What will separate Eloy from the others is his power accompanied by a high batting average.

7. Cody Bellinger 1B (Dodgers) 9.12 - Combine a glove that should win gold gloves with a bat that should produce 30 plus homeruns a year and you could have an Anthony Rizzo type of player. Adrian Gonzalez is currently occupying first base for the Dodgers so Cody is getting some playing time in the outfield. His speed is good for a first baseman and he has a strong arm, but he won’t win any gold gloves in the outfield as he will do at first base. In an 11 at bat debut at AAA he hit three homeruns and hit .545. This is where he will start the 2017 season. At AA he socked 23 balls over the fence for a .843 OPS.

6. Amed Rosario SS (Mets) 9.13 - The Mets have been dealing with the redwoods of Asdrubal Cabrera and Wilmer Flores at shortstop. Once they see the ground Amed can cover in the dirt Met fans will realize what a true shortstop can do. Last year he hit .324 at High A and AA with five homeruns. He will not show a lot of power but if he can hit above .270 his defense will justify his play at short. Expect him to start the season in AA. Myworld was impressed by what we saw from him in spring training. The dilemma the Mets face in a couple years is they have another gold glove fielding shortstop in Andres Gimenez, who will make his United States debut in 2017.

5. Gleyber Torres SS (Yankees) 9.58 - The Yankees acquired Torres in the Aroldis Chapman trade. Torres spent the season in High A. With Didi Gregorius at shortstop the Yankees can show patience with him. When he is ready he will show tools far greater than Didi, with the bat and with the glove. The power began maturing last year with a career high 11 homeruns. He shows enough patience at the plate to take walks, putting together a .354 OBA. The only tool in his game that is not above average is his speed, which is considered average. Torres should start the season in AA in 2017.

4. Alex Reyes RHP (Cardinals) 9.72 - He would not be on this list if not for a 50 game suspension for a drug of abuse that delayed his start to the major league season. He should appear on this list next year after learning he will undergo Tommy John surgery, forcing him to miss the 2017 season. His fastball explodes to the plate in the high 90s, occasionally hitting triple digits. His breaking ball and change are also plus pitches leading to 10.2 whiffs per nine innings in a 46 inning major league debut. The Cardinals were hoping he would team up with Carlos Martinez to give them two fireballers to head their rotation. Time will tell how much his pitches will be impacted upon his return in 2018.

3. Dansby Swanson SS (Braves) 9.73 - The Diamondbacks made Dansby the first pick in the 2015 draft. They made a horrible trade, giving him away to the Braves as one of three players for Shelby Miller. Dansby went from High A to the Braves major league roster last year, hitting .302 for the Braves. He appears to have beaten out Ozzie Albies for the Braves shortstop job. Miller struggled with the Diamondbacks for a 6.15 ERA. Dansby will be the starting shortstop for the Braves next year. His defense is smooth, his offense should contend for batting titles and his all around game should make him an All Star.

2. Yoan Moncada 2B (White Sox) 9.8 - He was number one on this last year but his struggles in his major league debut dropped him down a notch. Now he has traded his Red Sox for White Sox. There is no question that Moncada will hit, but 12 whiffs in 20 major league at bats indicate he still has some issues to work on. Perhaps trying to learn a new position (third base) impacted his bat. The White Sox will keep him at second. His bat should hit for power and average and his speed could translate to 30 plus stolen bases. As he matures he could eventually be a 30/30 player (homeruns/stolen bases). Expect Yoan to start the season in AAA with a major league callup possible once he achieves consistent success.

1. Andrew Benintendi OF (Red Sox) 10 - Andrew should win batting titles with enough power to hit 30 plus homeruns. He also has the speed and range to play centerfield but the Red Sox have that position covered with Jackie Bradley. Andrew will fit in left field. If he finds success in the major leagues maybe his next goal will be to find world peace. There doesn’t seem to be anything Andrew has trouble achieving success at. Starting the season Andrew will be favored to win the Rookie of the year award.

30 Teams 30 Days - Chicago Cubs

Monday, March 27th, 2017

Overview - These are the defending World Series champions. It is not hard to pick them to win this division. They have lost Dexter Fowler and that puts a hole in centerfield and at the lead off spot. The team is young so the upside is still apparent. The pitching was number one in the major leagues last year but the loss of Jason Hammel could put another chink in their armor. They hope to replace him internally with Mike Montgomery. The big question that will be facing the Cubs next season is where to put Kyle Schwarber. He is more a DH playing in a league without a DH so left field or an occasional catching assignment will be enough to get his bat in the lineup.

Strengths - When John Maddon sets the lineup he really does not have a set positional pattern. Kris Bryant will see most of his time at third base. He can also play a corner outfield. His 39 homeruns and the Cubs division win got him the MVP award last year. The Cubs need a spot to play Javier Baez so when Bryant plays a corner outfield the Cubs will use that opportunity to play Baez at third. Last year Baez showed his versatility by playing every position on the infield. The Cubs could use his bat in the lineup. Shortstop is capably handled by Addison Russell. His batting average was low last year (.238) but his defense was strong and he slugged 21 homeruns with his 95 RBIs third on the team. The veteran Ben Zobrist can also play any position, but second base is his main spot. He hit 18 homeruns with 76 RBIs, fourth on the team. Anthony Rizzo could have also won the MVP when you look at his numbers, finishing fourth in the voting. He drove in more runs than Bryant (109 versus 102) and equaled him in just about every other statistical category. Kyle Schwarber provides a solid bat in the outfield but his glove is shaky. He missed almost all of last season due to a knee injury. Jayson Hayward is a gold glove winner in right field but his bat has never met his promise. Combine the skills of Schwarber and Heyward and you would have a superstar. Starting pitching is strong with the first three starters. Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks all finished in the top ten in Cy Young award voting. They each won 16 or more games. The bullpen lost Aroldis Chapman but they hope to replace him with Wade Davis. Davis is coming off an arm injury so there may be a little drop off. Hector Rondon has closing capability and it will be interesting to see how long Koji Uehara will stay effective. At 42 years of age with a fastball not near 90 he still strikes out more than a hitter per inning.

Weakness - Not a lot of weaknesses. The loss of Dexter Fowler leaves a hole in centerfield. They signed Jon Jay to replace him but his skill sets fall far below that of Fowler. It also lessons their bat at the leadoff spot. Albert Almora Jr. is a prospect who can also play the position but he is not proven. His defense is excellent but his bat has been light. A third option would be to move Jason Heyward to center and allow Ben Zobrist to play the outfield. This would open a more permanent spot for Javier Baez at second base.

Breakout Prospects - A number of young players are already in the Cubs starting lineup leaving little room for prospects. Albert Almora Jr. has an opportunity to squeeze into centerfield as a result of the departure of Dexter Fowler to the Cardinals. No one questions his glove, which many consider gold glove caliber. The bat has always been light, last year hitting .303 but with a .317 OBA in AAA. Rob Zastryzny is a lefthanded starter who could see time in the bullpen or fit into the fifth rotation spot if Mike Montgomery struggles. He is one of those lefties that relies more on deception rather than power. Alec Mills is a right handed arm who can fill the back end of the rotation. He lacks overwhelming stuff and needs to locate his pitches well to get hitters out.

Prospects to Watch - Eloy Jimenez has the potential to be an All Star, with excellent power, a solid arm for right field and the ability to hit for average. The only tool he lacks is speed. Ian Happ is a man without a position, bouncing back and forth between second and outfield. His bat should play if a position can be found for him. Dylan Cease and Duane Underwood are two hard throwers who can hit mid to high 90s with their fastball. Injuries have slowed both in their progression to major league opportunity. Jeimer Candelario is a hit machine who plays the same position as Kris Bryant. Defensively he could require a move to first, but that position is occupied by Anthony Rizzo. A trade is more likely for him to get playing time.

Expected Finish - Myworld does not see a lot of competition for them and a first place finish is pretty certain. How far they can travel in the playoffs is the biggest concern.

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.