Archive for the 'Pirates' Category

Myworlds 2021 Top 100 Prospects 20-11

Sunday, March 14th, 2021

The prospect countdown continues. Three Tigers and two Twins form half of this group.

20. Nick Gonzalez SS/2b (Pirates) - Pretty high ranking for a player who has yet to play a minor league season. He was the seventh player taken in the 2020 draft. He is also tearing it up this spring and if it was not the Pirates concern for service time he could earn the second base job in 2021. In college Gonzalez played at New Mexico State where balls can fly. It was not until he hit .351 with a .630 slugging percentage in the Cape Cod League that scouts took notice. His power may be limited more to the gaps rather than over the fence, but he could compete for batting titles once he is called up, the National League version of Nick Madrigal, with better offense and less defense. On defense he lacks the arm or range to play short, though he runs well. As a college drafted player he could rise quickly if service time issues are not followed. The 2022 season should see him in a Pirates uniform.

19. Joey Bart C (Giants) - Buster Posey opted out of the 2020 season. With no minor leagues the Giants rushed the second pick in the 2018 draft to the majors. It did not go well. Bart only hit .233 with a .288 OBA. Lesson learned. His minor league numbers indicate a player who will hit for a decent average (.270) with some pop (20 plus homeruns and .532 slugging). He also has a good arm with solid defensive tools behind the plate. With Posey back for the 2021 season Bart will be allowed to marinate some more in the minor leagues. He could get a late season callup in 2021, but should be the Giants starting catcher by 2023. It all depends on the Giants decision on moving Posey to first base to accommodate Bart.

18. Royce Lewis SS (Twins) - Royce has been on the prospect list for a long time. An injured knee will force him to miss the 2021 season. If this had happened prior to myworld putting this list together Royce would have dropped significantly. It is not that myworld has doubts about Royce recovering from this injury. It is just that many other shortstops have now surpassed him. He should take a look at Chipper Jones and his struggles with injuries that delayed his major league arrival. Royce has the hit tools and the speed to be an impact player. The Twins were actually moving him around to different positions (centerfield) to make him more attractive once a major league job opens up. The 2019 season was a rough year for him when hit just .236 with a .290 OBA. That left a sour taste in his mouth. With no minor leagues in 2020 and missing the 2021 season it will be a lot longer before Royce can lose that sour taste. Look for him to make the Twins sometime late in the 2022 season.

17. Riley Greene OF (Tigers) - For this Tiger first round pick in the 2019 draft it is all about the bat. His first year in the minor leagues he hit .271 with a .403 slugging percentage. At 6′3″ that power should increase as he gets stronger and becomes more confident in using wood bats. The speed is there to play center, but he fits better at a corner with a power bat and a strong arm. In 2019 the bat was good enough to reach Low A. He should be ready for High A in 2021 and reach the Tigers by the 2022 season.

16. Alex Kirilloff 1B/OF (Twins) - The 2016 first round pick is almost a carbon copy of Trevor Larnach, who is a bit lower down on the prospect ranking. They both have power bats, but lack the defensive tools for them to be good outfielders. With practice and repetition Alex can be an adequate outfielder. Ultimately he may have to move to first base, where the power in his bat needs to accompany him. In his first full season in 2018 he hit .348 with 20 homeruns and a .578 slugging percentage. He was not able to replicate that in 2019 (.283/.413). A wrist injury may have limited his swing in 2019. Knee surgery forced him to miss the 2017 season, so injuries have been a concern. The Twins released Eddie Rosario, their starting left fielder in 2020. With a good spring the left field position should go to Alex for the 2021 season.

15. Tarik Skubal LHP (Tigers) - Many have felt that Tarik came out of nowhere. He was a ninth round pick in 2018. That was not for lack of talent, but because of Tommy John surgery that limited his college career. The Tigers may have drafted him late but they paid above slot to sign him ($350,000). His first season he dominated with a 0.40 ERA and a .192 opponent average. His walk to whiff ratio was a pleasant 4/33. He continued to make waves in the 2019 season (2.42 ERA, .196 opponent average). Tarik has not had a poor minor league season. In 2020 he made his major league debut and while his ERA (5.63) was high his other numbers still impressed. Giving up nine homeruns in 32 innings hurt him. It may be sometime in May before the Tigers put him in the 2021 rotation, but with a mid 90s fastball and two quality secondary offerings his stuff will force the Tigers to bring him up early in the 2021 season.

14. Jasson Dominguez OF (Yankees) - When talking about Jasson it is difficult not to think about Mickey Mantle. Jasson is only 18 and has yet to make his stateside debut. The Yankees spent $5.1 million to sign him in 2019. The super star tools are there. He runs well, hits well and for power, and plays a mean centerfield. There is very little not to like when you watch this potential phenom play the game. Don’t be surprised after one minor league season in 2021 he will be number one on this list for 2022. Jasson will start 2021 in A ball and could see the Yankees by his 20th birthday. If Juan Soto can do it, so can Jasson Dominguez.

13. Matt Manning RHP (Tigers) - A third Tiger on this list and the second to fill the rotation. The 2016 first round pick stands an imposing 6′6″ with a fastball that strikes the lower edges of the mid-90s. That velocity could increase as he matures. The curveball could be his best pitch, with a high spin rate and a large drop that is ripe for swings and misses. Manning was a high school pick so it has taken him some time to climb up the minor league ladder. He had his best year in 2019 pitching at AA (2.56 ERA), limiting the opposition to a .192 average. With Casey Mize and Skubal just ahead of him Matt will take later in the 2021 season before he is promoted to the Tigers. That would make a talented trifecta for the Tigers rotation.

12. Luis Patino RHP (Rays) - Patino was traded by the Padres to the Rays after the 2020 season to acquire Blake Snell. The Padres found Luis while scouting in Colombia and signed him for just $130,000. At 6′1″ he is not a big presence like Manning, but he whips that fastball across the plate into the mid to high 90s. His slider is also a very good swing and miss pitch. Luis made his Padres debut last year, appearing in 11 games with one start. His command was shaky with the big club, walking 14 in just 17 innings for a poor 5.19 ERA. Prior to that he had only pitched two games in AA. The Rays can be patient with Patino and could start him in AA to begin the 2021 season. A promotion to the big club should happen sometime before the end of the year.

11. Bobby Witt Jr SS (Royals) - Myworld first saw Bobby hit when he won the homerun contest at the Futures Games in 2019, beating out Rece Hinds. The Royals must have liked what they saw because they made him the second player selected in the 2019 draft. His father was a major league pitcher for a number of years so the gene pool is there. The Junior plans on doing most of his damage with the bat. The defensive tools are there for him to stick at short. With his power bat that would make him an offensive shortstop in the mold of an Alex Rodriguez. He did get a brief 2019 minor league season, hitting .262 with a .354 slugging. He showed his speed by collecting five triples in just 37 games. The Royals are saving the shortstop job for Witt, meaning they may not sign Adalberto Mondesi to an extension. Witt could be the Royals shortstop in 2022, but that would require him to reach AA by 2021.

Myworlds 2021 Top Prospects 40-31

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021

The continuation of our Top 100 prospects for 2021.

40 Brailyn Marquez LHP (Cubs) - A left handed arm who hits triple digits on the radar gun is a prized commodity. When he signed in 2015 for $600,000 he was already hitting the low 90s. Like a weed in a garden he has grown to 6′4″, a nice frame for a pitcher. His secondary pitches (slider and change) need further refinement and he has issues finding the strike zone. If this continues Brailyn could find himself in the bullpen. If his secondary pitches improve and he locates his pitches better he could find himself in the number one starter’s slot. The Cubs have developed a number of hitters through their farm system, but finding pitching has been a challenge. Marquez could be the first pitching star developed by the Cubs in the Theo Epstein era. He did make his major league debut last year, appearing in relief in one game, retiring only two batters while walking three and giving up two hits. He left after that outing with a 67.50 ERA. He could find himself in the Cubs rotation or bullpen by mid-season of 2021.

39. Brennen Davis OF (Cubs) - Another Cub, but Brennen was a second round pick of the 2018 draft. He signed for $1.1 million. Brennen has all the tools you look for in a superstar player. He has the speed to stick in center, the arm to move to right, the bat to hit .300 and the power to slug 20 plus homeruns per season. A finger injury limited him to 50 games in his lone full season minor league opportunity. He hit .305, slugged eight homeruns for a .906 OPS. He is also a very good athlete, having starred in basketball in high school and winning the defensive player of the year honors while leading his team to a state championship. A absent 2020 season hurt Brennen in the development department. He will probably start the 2021 season in High A and hope to be playing in Wrigley sometime late in 2022 or 2023.

38. Nolan Gorman 3B (Cardinals) - The Cardinals are loaded with third baseman. They traded one of them to Colorado but in return obtained one of the best third baseman in the game in Nolan Arenado. That creates some difficulty for the 2018 first round pick to squeeze into the starting lineup. Nolan has some impressive power, but his ability to make consistent contact is a concern. Last year he struck out 152 times in 125 games to keep his average at .248. On defense Nolan has a strong arm, but lacks quickness to be an elite defender. His lack of speed makes him a liability if he was to move to the outfield. Nolan may have to move to first base or be traded if he wants to have a major league career as a third baseman. Once he learns to make better contact he could be a 30 plus homerun hitter in the major leagues in 2023.

37. Jordan Groshans 3B/SS (Blue Jays) - While Jordan is listed as a shortstop, he lacks the range to play the position on a permanent basis. The 2018 first round pick of the Blue Jays has the power to move to third. He just has to be fortunate Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is a defensive liability at that position. A foot injury ended his 2019 minor league season early after only 23 games. He hit .337 with two homeruns for a .482 slugging. At 6′3″ he is expected to develop more power to be a good fit at third. Jordan walked 13 times in those 23 games for a .427 OBA. This walk total almost equaled his 2018 half a season when he played 48 games. The 2021 season may be the year Jordan moves permanently to third, starting off in High A and hopefully moving up quickly so he can arrive with the Blue Jays sometime in 2023.

36. Christian Pache OF (Braves) - There is speed and quality defense from this 2015 Dominican who signed for $1.4 million. Whether he wins any gold gloves is not a detraction of his defensive prowess, but whether his bat will be good enough to play as a major league regular. If his rating for speed, arm and defense were reversed and applied to his hitting tools Pache would be a super star top five prospect. He made his major league debut last year, playing in two games and coming to the plate four times. In 2019 he hit .277 and reached double digits in homeruns for the first time (12). His first two years in minor league ball covering 689 at bats he failed to hit a homerun. His strikeouts can be excessive (122 in 130 games) and his speed does not create stolen base numbers. He will start the 2021 season in AAA and provided he puts up good numbers will earn his way to the starting centerfield spot before the All Star break.

35. Dylan Carlson OF (Cardinals) - The first round 2016 pick is a plus in the tools department. He has the speed to play center, the arm to fit in right, the bat to hit for power and the patience to lay off pitches out of the strike zone. Like many prospects who did not have a 2020 minor league season, he made his major league debut last year and struggled. In 110 at bats he hit just .200 with a .252 OBA the result of a poor 8/35 walk to whiff ratio. He had his breakout season in 2019 when he hit 26 homeruns with a .292 batting average in the minor leagues. The 2021 season will be key to determine if he can replicate those numbers and get another opportunity to play in the major leagues. With a good spring it would be tough for the Cardinals to send him down.

34. Emerson Hancock RHP (Mariners) - Not a lot is known about the 2020 first round pick other than what he did in college pitching for Georgia. He may have been the best pitcher in college early in 2019, but an injury forced him to miss a couple weeks. When he returned from the injury and extending in the shortened 2020 season he has not been as dominant. He has a deep repertoire with a mid-90s fastball that can rise into the high 90s. two quality breaking pitches and a top of the bell change. He also has solid command of his pitches and carries himself at 6′4. The tools are there for him to be an ace. The 2021 season will confirm whether he can meet those expectations. He will probably start the season in A ball and as a college drafted player move quickly once he achieves success. The Mariners seem to be in no rush to promote players so don’t expect Hancock to see the Mariners until late 2022 or 2023, or when they are ready to make a playoff run.

33. O’Neil Cruz SS (Pirates) - Can a player who stands 6′7 really fit at shortstop? The Pirates hope so. Originally signed by the Dodgers in 2015 for $950,000, they traded him to the Pirates for Tony Watson. He has grown three inches since the signing. The power he can generate when he extends his arms is impressive, but his strike zone is large. A very strong arm gives him an opportunity to move to right field but his athleticism give the Pirates hope he can continue at short. A foot injury limited his 2019 season to just 73 games. He also stayed in the Dominican for much of the 2020 season, got into a traffic accident where two people were killed. There was some concern he could be criminally charged for creating the accident, but he is in spring training so everything appears to have been resolved. He should make his Pirates debut in 2021 after starting the season in AA.

32. J.J. Bleday OF (Marlins) - Myworld witnessed one of his homeruns in the College World Series. The Marlins were also pretty impressed, making him the fourth player selected in the 2019 draft. The Marlins had him start his career in the Florida State League, where he hit .257 with a .379 slugging percentage. His lack of speed will never allow him to fit in center, but he has a strong arm and plays a solid defense without a lot of speed. In his college career he walked more than he struck out, but his first minor league season that did not ring true with a 11/29 walk to whiff ratio in 38 games. J.J will be a fast riser up the Marlins minor league season, beginning 2021 in AA with a major league promotion in 2022.

31. Nate Pearson RHP (Blue Jays) - You can probably count the number of pitchers who throw harder than Nate on one hand. His fastball visits triple digits regularly and he combines it with a excellent slider. The Blue Jays 2017 first round pick also has an above average change and the command to stick in the rotation. His 6′6 frame makes him a terror for batters to face. In 2019 he limited minor league hitters to a .176 average, striking out 119 hitters in just 101.2 innings. Last year he made his major league debut, struggled with his command (13 walks in 18 innings) resulting in five homeruns and a 6.00 ERA. The Blue Jays hope he can find his command issues and if so he could squeeze into the Blue Jays starting rotation out of spring training in 2021.

Myworlds 2021 Top 100 Prospects - 70 - 61

Monday, February 22nd, 2021

The top 2021 prospect list continues. A number of veteran minor league pitchers on this group of ten, trying to overcome injuries and inconsistency with their command.

70. D.L Hall LHP (Orioles) - The Orioles are picking up some pitching pieces in their rebuilding effort. Hall was drafted in the first round in 2017. Lefthanders are a nice commodity and when they can consistently hit the mid-90s like Hall they are gold. Plus he has two quality breaking pitches (slider and curve) and a change. There are times when he has trouble finding the plate, but with more experience he should be able to refine that. When he does gain command he will be ready for the O’s rotation sometime in 2022. Minor league hitters have a career .201 batting average against him, so once he finds the plate more his 3.46 ERA will see significant reduction. Hall should start the 2021 season in AA.

69. Michael Kopech RHP (White Sox) - Michael opted out of the 2020 season. The 2014 first round pick was just beginning to harness his control when pitching for the White Sox in 2018 when an elbow injury resulting in Tommy John ended his season. He did not pitch in 2019 because of the injury and he opted out for 2020. That is a lot of time off for a pitcher who struggled with finding the plate early in his career. Prior to the Tommy John surgery he was considered the hardest thrower in baseball, consistently hitting triple digits with his fastball, popping as high as 105. He also has a nice dive with his slider. If his control issues return he could move to the pen, but he does have a change and curve which gives him the requisite number of pitches to vary his repertoire. At 24 years of age he is at the point in his career where he needs to be in the major league starting rotation. After being out of baseball for two years expect him to start in AAA with a mid-season callup once he achieves success.

68. Clark Schmidt RHP (Yankees) - One thing Clark lacks is having a flashy name for a team like the Yankees. The 2017 first round pick also lacks intimidating height, standing at 6′1″. The fastball can reach the mid-90s, but normally sits in the low 90s. The curve ball may be his best pitch, keeping hitters off balance as they wait for his fastball. Clark throws strikes and gets his swings and misses in the minor leagues. Last year he made his major league debut, and the results indicate it was a little more challenging. He did struggle with his command, walking five in just six innings, so taking control of the strike zone as he does with the minor league hitters would improve his performance. The fifth starter spot in the Yankees rotation is an open competition, but expect him to start the season in AA. At 25 years of age he is ready for a second major league opportunity and that should come sometime in the 2021 season.

67. Hunter Greene RHP (Reds) - The 2017 first round pick is another hard thrower that consistently hits triple digits with his fastball. Unfortunately, Tommy John surgery prevented a 2019 season and the corona virus prevented him from pitching in any meaningful games in 2020. When he did appear in games he had struggles finding the plate and hitters found his stuff presentable, batting .261 against him. Locating his pitchers better would improve those results and enhancing his secondary offerings would give him something other than heat. Hunter throws a quality slider at times, but it lacks consistency. At 6′5 inches he has a nice plane to his delivery. If the rotation does not work out he could find a spot as the closer. Pitching in the pen would only require him to focus on commanding two pitches, rather than three or four as a starter. The last time he pitched in 2018 was in low A. He is still a couple years away from the Reds rotation and should begin 2021 in high A.

66. Simeon Woods-Richardson RHP (Blue Jays) - The Blue Jays have stocked up for a play off run. The last level this 2018 second round pick pitched was at High A. The Mets originally drafted him but sent him to the Jays to acquire Marcus Stroman. Simeon is not an overpowering pitcher by today’s standard, sitting in the low 90s, but reaching the mid-90s on occasion. A quality changeup makes the fastball seem to have more zip and two breaking pitches give him a varied repertoire. Simeon can also find the plate with all his pitches. Expect him to start the 2021 season in AA. With another prospect Nate Pearson slated for the starting rotation, it would be difficult for the Jays to rely on two rookies to fill their rotation during a playoff run.

65. Daulton Varsho C (Diamondbacks) - Our first non-pitcher to this group of ten. This second round 2017 pick is not your typical catcher. He has some speed, which allows him to roam in the outfield. For the 2020 season the Diamondbacks had him play some left field. He made his major league debut in 2020 with 101 at bats, but only hit .188 with a .366 slugging average. He will need to improve on those numbers if he hopes to play outfield in the future. As a catcher those numbers are acceptable if he can bring the defense. That may not be his strength, with a fringe average arm and no spectacular attributes behind the plate to make up for his average throwing arm. He did hit 18 homeruns in the minors in 2019, so perhaps a second look at major league pitching may improve his performance. Expect the Diamondbacks to start him in AAA. He could be used as a super utility player who can play outfield and DH, but also act as a second or third catcher.

64. Triston Casas 1B (Red Sox) - The Red Sox have a glut of corner infielders. Finding a spot for their 2018 first round pick among this glut will be a challenge for the Red Sox. He has a big time power bat and a strong arm that would allow him to play in the outfield, but his legs have too much tortoise in them to allow him to cover much ground in the grass. He did play for the 18 and under United States national team that won the gold medal, hitting three homeruns but hitting just .250. That could be what he does in the major leagues, hit around .250 with 30 plus homeruns. In his one full minor league season in 2019 he did hit 20 homeruns with a .256 average. Eventually the Red Sox will have to make room for him, but that may have to wait until the 2023 season. Triston will start 2021 in High A.

63. Jo Adell OF (Angels) - The major league struggles may have took the shine off his prospect status. The Angels brought him up towards the end of the 2020 season and he hit just. 161 with 55 whiffs in 38 games. The acquisition of Dexter Fowler will keep Jo down in AAA for at least half the 2021 season. Jo has the potential to be a five tool athlete, with power, speed and a strong arm to play right field. His power has yet to show itself in the minor leagues, with 12 homeruns his high for a year. His speed does not create stolen base opportunities. On defense in 2020 he had two balls pop out of his glove and go over the fence for homeruns. So those tools still are raw and there is a lot of swing and miss present in his swing. Expect the Angels to start Jo in AAA and promote him to the Angels once he shows success.

62. Ke’Bryan Hayes 3B (Pirates) - The son of Charlie and a first round pick of 2015 had a mini super star major league season in 2020. He hit .376 with five homeruns and a .682 slugging percentage in 24 major league games. Prior to that he was considered a great defensive third baseman whose glove would lead to gold, but a questionable bat that would not hit enough to justify his position at the hot corner. His minor league career average is .279 with a .399 slugging. He shows good patience at the plate, so if his break out major league season is the result of better recognition of pitches, then he should be an All Star third baseman for the Pirates in 2021. Expect him to start the season there, but don’t be surprised if offensive struggles result in a demotion to the minor leagues.

61. Forest Whitely RHP (Astros) - At one point the velocity and stuff coming out of this first round 2016 pick’s arm had him rated as one of the top pitchers in baseball. With his 6′7″ inch frame his reach to the plate was scary for hitters. Or maybe not. He has had issues staying healthy and a 50 game suspension because of drugs has limited his development. The fastball hits triple digits but it has trouble finding the plate. His curve and change are considered quality pitches, but lack consistency. The 2019 results (7.99 ERA) show all those quality pitches do not have trouble finding bats. Opponents hit him at a .259 clip with 11 homeruns in 60 innings. He also walked 44, but struck out 86, meaning his pitches sometimes found their mark. The Astros have spent a lot of time working on his mechanics. Depending on where that process is, he could start the season in extended spring, or at the lower minor league levels, but once they are happy with where he is at he should be pitching in AAA. With success there the Astro fans should see him on the mound in 2021.

Yang and Yamaguchi Blast From the Past

Monday, February 15th, 2021

Lefthanded pitcher Hyeon-jong Yang recently signed a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers. Shun Yamaguchi was recently released by the Toronto Blue Jays. Yang was the starter for Korea in the Premier 12 finals between Japan and Korea. Yamaguchi was the starter for Japan.

While the game was to determine the qualifications for the Olympics scheduled for 2020 and now postponed to 2021, Japan had already qualified by hosting the games. Korea had also qualified by appearing in the championship. So the game was played mostly for pride and prize money. Yamaguchi was knocked out in the first inning, giving up two homeruns. Japan ultimately won the game 5-3. Interesting how the two pitchers have now entered upon different paths to their major league careers.

The big game was when Mexico defeated the United States 3-2 to qualify for the Olympics. Those pitchers were Cody Ponce and Arturo Reyes. Ponce pitched well tossing five shutout innings. He also made his major league debut in 2020 with the Pirates. Reyes also pitched five shutout innings but has never appeared in a major league game. He has spent a lot of time in the minor leagues. Last year he pitched in Taiwan in the China Professional Baseball League, getting only four starts for the China Trust Brothers.

Top Prospects From the Dominican - National League

Saturday, January 9th, 2021

Myworld will go around the world to identify the top prospects from various areas of the world playing in the minor leagues. In order to do this effectively we have to find enough prospects who have a chance to appear in the major leagues. The Dominican Republic is one of the best places to find prospects so we have broken them out into American and National League. Below are the top Dominican prospects in the National League.

1. Marco Luciano SS (Giants) - You have to like a shortstop that has the potential to hit for power. At the rookie level in 2019 Marco slugged .564 with 10 homeruns and 13 doubles in just 47 games. He also showed some patience at the plate with 32 walks. At 6′2″ he has some length and his speed is not his greatest asset, so he could move to third base. This would slightly tarnish his prospect ranking, but finding a player to hit .300 with 30 plus homeruns at any position is still a skill any team would want. He has yet to play full season ball so how he adapts as he faces better pitching will soon be discovered. Next year will be his first season in full season ball.

2. Christian Pache OF (Braves) - He has gold glove potential as a centerfielder. His speed allows him to track down fly balls but it seems to be deficient when it comes to stealing bases. He did steal 32 in 2017 but the last two years he only combined for 15. The power is there for him to hit in double digits for homeruns, but he will not be a power source. The Braves would like to see him be more patient at the plate so he could draw more walks to better fit at the top of the lineup. In 2018 his OBA was only .307 but in 2019 he drew more walks to elevate it to .340. Last year he made a brief major league debut, appearing in just two games and getting four at bats. If he can show the bat and the patience to get on base consistently he could be the Braves starting centerfielder in 2021. The glove is ready, the bat is still a work in progress.

3. Sixto Sanchez RHP (Marlins) - By the end of the 2020 season Sixto had entrenched himself as one of the top three pitchers in the Marlins rotation. His fastball hits the upper ranges of the 90s and reaches triple digits. He complements that pitch with a changeup that dives into the dirt. He doesn’t get the swings and misses you would expect from a pitcher with his stuff, but he should fit in the middle of the rotation next year for the Marlins. If he can harness a quality third pitch those strikeout numbers could climb. The one concern myworld has is his 6′0 body carrying 234 pounds. That could have an impact on his health if he doesn’t improve his conditioning.

4. Brailyn Marquez LHP (Cubs) - Scouts drool when they see a lefthander consistently hit triple digits with his fastball. At 6′4″ Brailyn also carries an ideal pitcher’s frame. While the fastball is special his secondary offerings (slider and change) line the average spectrum and his command can be spotty. To be effective in the major leagues he needs to enhance those pitches. Last year he made one appearance in the major leagues and retired two hitters, giving up two hits and walking three for a 67.50 ERA. The Cubs will give Brailyn some time in AAA to enhance his secondary pitches and fine tune his control. Once he finds improvements there he could be the ace of the Cubs rotation. If those struggles continue he could always fill the closer role.

5. Ronny Mauricio SS (Mets) - Don’t know if the Mets trade of Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez is a call of faith for the future of the shortstop capabilities of Mauricio. Ronny has not shown the power of Luciano and his speed could be described as below average, so staying at shortstop does not appear to be in the cards. But at 6′3″ the Mets are expecting the power to arrive, enough so that a move to third base is practical. His career slugging percentage in the minor leagues is .374, which falls short of what teams look for at the hot corner. However, gaining strength and learning how to elevate the ball could result in more power production. He still is a couple years away from the Mets, giving Francisco Lindor the reign at short for that time period.

6. Oneil Cruz SS (Pirates) - Hard to imagine a 6′7″ shortstop in the major leagues. That is Cruz at the moment in the minor leagues. He doesn’t seem burdened by the height. If the Pirates consider moving him the speed and the arm are good enough for him to patrol right field. There are few players that can match Cruz for power once his arms are extended. Despite all that power he has yet to slug .500 at any level in the minor leagues. With that height comes a larger strike zone and holes in his swing that pitchers can exploit. Cruz was involved in a traffic accident in the Dominican in which a couple people were killed. He appears to have avoided any major consequences for that event and is playing shortstop in the Dominican winter league. If there are no delays in getting a visa he could see some time with the rebuilding Pirates in 2021.

7. Geraldo Perdomo SS (Diamondbacks) - The fourth and last shortstop in this list, but unlike the other three players above him Geraldo has a greater possibility of sticking at the position. He has good speed, a strong arm and all the other attributes to make a solid defensive shortstop. His hitting tools are not as strong as those others mentioned above. At 6′2″ the power could develop. In 2019 he had an impressive 70/67 walk to whiff ratio. This put his OBA at .397 and with his speed on the bases allowed him 67 steals. That would be enough to stick at the top of an order. He still is a couple years away from making his major league debut, but perhaps by the end of the 2022 season Geraldo could make an appearance.

8. Edward Cabrera RHP (Marlins) - Cabrera is another rotation candidate who could hit triple digits with his fastball. At 6′5″ that delivery would be more intimidating than Sixto. Early in his career Edward had challenges commanding his pitches. Hitters raked him at a .280 clip and his ERA was above 4. Last year the command improved, the slider had more break and hitters struggled with a .190 average, resulting in a breakout 2.23 ERA. With all the injuries in the Marlins rotation last year while they surprisingly fought for a playoff appearance, their was some talk of sliding Cabrera into the rotation. That did not happen. It could though as the 2021 season develops.

9. Jesus Sanchez OF (Marlins) - Sanchez was first a Devil Ray. At that time he had the speed to be considered a centerfielder. The Marlins sent the Rays some pitching help to acquire Sanchez. His speed depleted as his body matured so now he is probably better suited for the corners. It is hoped his bat can start generating power to justify the move. His last three years those power numbers have dropped from a .478 slugging percentage to .433, to finally .398 last year. In 2019 he also hit a career low .260. Last year he did make his major league debut, but he was able to piece together just one hit in 25 at bats. For the 2021 season he will try to show some improvement in his offense to justify putting him at a corner outfield position, where a modicum of power is expected.

10. Lewin Diaz 1B (Marlins) - The fourth Marlin on this list, but the third that was acquired via trade. Diaz was originally a Twin but the Marlins acquired him for Sergio Romo. Lewin had a nice breakout season last year from a power perspective hitting 27 homeruns and 33 doubles for a .530 slugging percentage. He was called up last year, appearing in 14 games while hitting just .154 with a .205 slugging. The Marlins will give him another opportunity before they spin the wheel again in search of a first baseman. His speed is below average but his defense can get him on the field. It will not win any gold gloves so the bat must come alive if he hopes to secure a permanent spot in the lineup. The Marlins will give him another chance in 2021, provided he hits in AAA.

Mel Rojas Jr. Gets Big Pay Day in Japan

Wednesday, December 9th, 2020

Mel Rojas Jr. could not make a major league roster. He was signed by a Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) team where he shined for three years, winning MVP last year after hitting 47 homeruns and driving in 135 runs. The Hanshin Tigers in Japan have rewarded him for his efforts, signing him to a contract that is worth an estimated $5 million over two years with $500,000 in incentives for each year of the deal.

Major league teams and other Japanese teams such as the Yomiuri Giants were also interested in signing Rojas. The major league teams were not close to reaching the $5 million that Hanshin reportedly gave Rojas. The Giants may have had foreign roster limits that may have made it difficult to sign Rojas for that kind of money. Any KBO team could not financially afford such a large contract. So Rojas Jr. has seen his big pay day, after going from the United States, to Korea to Japan.

Eric Thames is another ex KBO player that put up similar numbers as Rojas in the KBO and also winning MVP honors. He returned to the major leagues, signing with the Milwaukee Brewers, becoming a free agent after disappointing seaons and then signing with the Washington Nationals. The Nationals did not sign him after this season after he put up disappointing numbers. Thames has not put up the numbers in the major leagues that he put up in the KBO, which could have been a reason any contract offers did not match the Hanshin Tigers.

Mel Rojas Jr. is the son of ex-major leaguer Mel Rojas. He was a third round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates way back in 2010.

Top Shortstop Prospects

Sunday, November 29th, 2020

This position holds the cream of the crop. Everyone signed out of the Dominican Republic or Venezuela seems to start out as a shortstop, even Miguel Cabrera. Many of them eventually move to second or third base, or even the outfield. Some because they have gotten bigger as they have matured so they lack the range to play the position, others because a player ahead of them also plays shortstop and the bat is there to put him in the lineup at another position. Because of this, we are going to rank 20 players at this position.

1. Wander Franco (Rays) - Wander is possibly the number one ranked prospect in baseball. So was Jurickson Profar and Yoan Moncada at one time. That ranking does not carry with it automatic stardom in the major leagues, but Wander does have a big time bat that has hit over .300 at each level he has played in the minor leagues. During his 2019 season he reached full season ball, and compared to the Rookie Leagues, his power numbers dropped a little. The Rays don’t question the bat, expecting it to hit 30 plus homeruns and hit over .300 consistently in the major leagues. What is impressive about those power numbers is that he has an 83/54 walk to whiff ratio during that two year period, facing pitchers that are three to four years older than him. His speed is not great so his range is limited at the position. The Rays already have Willy Adames at short. By the time Franco is ready for short, it may also be the time the Rays are prepared to cut salary and say goodbye to Adames. Wander should see some major league time by 2022. He went down to the Dominican to get some playing time since he did not have a 2020 season, but that was cut short as he was forced to return to the United States to have a look at his injury.

2. Bobby Witt Jr (Royals) - The 2019 first round pick has a leaner build than Franco. He is also projected to have a little more power and settle as a better fielder. What Witt won’t be able to do is hit with the consistency of Franco. He has more swing and miss plate appearances, which translates into weaker bat to ball contact, lowering that batting average as he faces more superior pitching. Myworld saw him swinging an aluminum bat at the homerun derby during the All Star break. He was top dog in the competition. Witt has a father of the same name who was a pitcher in major league baseball. The legs carry good speed, which equates to good range at shortstop. There is confidence that he has the defensive tools to stay at the position. The biggest concern is improving his ability to make contact. Witt had no 2020 season, so that put a quiet stall in his development. Myworld expects him to make his major league debut some time around the end of 2022.

3. Jazz Chisholm (Marlins) - The Bahama native was originally signed by the Diamondbacks in 2015 for $200,000. Signed the same year out of the Bahamas was another shortstop Lucius Fox, who you do not see on this list. The Diamondbacks traded him straight up in 2019 for Zac Gallen. In the last two years in the minors he has shown enough power to hit 20 plus homeruns. The bat has shown many holes with a .220 average in 2019 and whiffs of greater than 140 in those two seasons. He did get to play a bit for the Marlins in 2020, hitting just .161 over just 21 games. His tendency to swing and miss lessoned and he appeared to show better discipline at the plate the more he plays. The defensive tools are there to play a quality shortstop. If he can tweak his discipline at the plate he could become a multiple all star at the position. The 2021 season will see him start at AAA with another callup to the Marlins if he does well.

4. Royce Lewis (Twins) - The first pick in the 2017 draft has been a top prospect for so long that sometimes you take him for granted. In his 2019 minor league season he reached AA, but with the Twins in a playoff race, they did not see a reason to call him up for the 2020 season. Royce had what you could call a down 2019 season, hitting just .236 in a season split between A and AA. His OBA was a dreadful .290. That is far below his two previous seasons when he hit .279 or greater. He seemed to lack patience at the plate in 2019 with a strikeout to walk rate at better than 3 to one, much worse than his previous two seasons. Royce is one of the fastest players in the minors and could use his speed in centerfield, where the Twins used him a bit in 2019. His bat is anticipated to play in the majors and it could show 20 plus homerun pop if he can make more consistent, solid contact. The 2021 season should finally see his arrival with the Twins.

5. Ronny Mauricio (Mets) - The Mets already have two solid shortstops competing for a job in Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez. Ronny could make it a third, though at 6′3″ he could bulk up too much to force a move to third. Since the lack of speed is one of his only down sides, he may lack the range to play short in the major leagues. His bat is expected to hit. The Mets signed him for $2.1 million in 2017. In 2019 he reached Low A, hitting .268 with four homeruns. His walk to whiff ratio was a concerning 23/99, which is a major reason Rosario has struggled with major league pitching. The Mets anticipate that his power will develop enough for a move to third base. Any major league time probably won’t be seen until late 2022 at the earliest.

6. Marco Luciano (Giants) - Marco signed with the Giants in 2018 for $2.6 million. They hope he turns out better than Lucius Fox, who they signed for $6 million, but traded away for a song. Marco is a different player than Lucius, one who can hit for power. He only got to play 47 games in the minors in 2019, but he hit 10 homeruns with a .564 slugging percentage. He batted .302 with a 32/45 walk to whiff ratio. If his walk percentage continues that trend he will be a slugging bat who gets on base a lot. A shortstop that hits .300 with 30 plus homeruns and a .400 OBA would be a dream for the Giants. As with Mauricio, speed is not a big part of his game, so a move to third base looks to be in his future. Myworld does not anticipate him being with the Giants until 2023.

7. Austin Martin (Blue Jays) - Myworld saw Austin in the College World Series in 2019. The 2020 season was cancelled early but Austin was good enough to be a first round pick in 2020. That means there are no stats on Austin. He hit .392 in college with a high OBA. The power was not great and is expected to be above average. He also played multiple positions with Vanderbilt. Many conjectured that he would be the first player selected in the draft but he fell to being the fifth pick. His ultimate position could be centerfield or second base since he had problems with consistency at shortstop with Vanderbilt. The bat though should allow him to reach the majors quickly, say sometime in 2022.

8. O’Neil Cruz (Pirates) - If the 6′7″ O’Neil can bend down to play shortstop consistently, why not allow him to play. The consensus is the Dominican with the rocket arm will eventually move to right field. The power in his bat is immense, with the potential to hit 40 plus homeruns per year. Making consistent contact is not a major problem but he could always seek improvement, with walk to whiff ratios around 30/100. Despite his large frame, speed is not a weakness. The 2020 season was a wasted season of development. He stayed in the Dominican where he got into a car accident in which two people were killed. What kind of impact this will have on his psyche for the future is open for question. Last year he reached AA, so it is a concern the Pirates did not have room for him to work out in the alternate camp. Maybe that is why they are the Pirates and fail to develop their prospects. Cruz is playing in the Dominican Winter League and should see some major league playing time late in 2021.

9. Anderson Tejeda (Rangers) - Anderson was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014 for just $100,000. He seemed to have a nice breakout season in 2018 when he hit 19 homeruns. His 2019 season was cut short to 43 games because of an injured shoulder. He got an opportunity to play with the Rangers in 2020, making his major league debut and hitting three homeruns in 23 games. One of the major issues with Tejeda is poor strike zone discipline, with walk to whiff ratios of 40/130. That will keep his batting averages at .250 or below unless he improves that discipline. His speed is just a tick above average, so there is concern about his range at short. He does make up for that with one of the strongest arms in the minor leagues. With a good spring Tejeda could be the starting shortstop for the Rangers in 2021.

10. Jose Garcia (Reds) - The Cuban prospect surprised many with his power swing in spring training. Power is not expected to be his strong suit. At 6′2″ he is not considered a small guy so perhaps some power is developing. The Reds signed Garcia for his smooth defense. He improved his bat in 2019, advancing to High A and hitting .280 with an OBA of .343 (compared to .245/290). What was surprising is the Reds called him up early to play shortstop during their playoff run last season. He struggled with a .194 average and a 1/26 walk to whiff for a .206 OBA, but they still played him because of his defense. None of his 13 hits went for extra bases. He will probably need another season in the minors, but the Reds could still have him return sometime in 2021.

11. C.J. Abrams (Padres) - A 2019 first round pick by the Padres is tough to tag. He had a nice minor league debut hitting .393 with a .647 slugging. All but two of his 34 games were played in Rookie ball. He runs with the wind, ala Trea Turner, stealing 15 bases in those 34 games. If his Rookie League stats can be deciphered accurately he makes good contact with a 11/14 walk to whiff ratio. The defensive tools exist to play shortstop, including a strong arm. However, with all that speed he may be best utilized in center field. Abrams has a long way to reach the Padres. When he does, if he wants to play shortstop he will have to usurp Tatis Jr. The Padres will probably not have to make that decision until 2023, with a possible late season callup in 2022.

12. Geraldo Perdomo (Diamondbacks) - Perdomo was a bargain signing at $70,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2016. In 2019 he played in A ball, showing the ability to make good contact, but lacking in power. His career walk to whiff ratio is 169/148 with a batting average of .278. There is some gap power but currently his slugging average is a wimpish .368. At 6′2″ he could develop more power but not to the detriment of his defense. He has Gold Glove potential for the position so anything his bat can do is a plus. The lack of any organized play in 2020 hurt his development process so the best Geraldo can hope for in his major league debut is sometime late 2022.

13. Jordan Groshans (Blue Jays) - Bo Bichette is the current Blue Jays shortstop with the newly drafted Austin Martin right behind him. At 6′3″ Jordan has the length to develop big time power. After hitting .296 with five homeruns in 48 games in his minor league debut in 2018, his 2019 season was cut short by a foot injury, limiting him to just 23 games. With the cancellation of the 2020 minor league season the development process has been slowed even further. Currently, Jordan’s hits are gap to gap with the potential to send more of those balls over the fence as he gains strength. Jordan has the potential to hit for power and average. His speed is a tick above average, which could slow after he matures, meaning a move to third base. His power at short is not as beneficial to the team if he has to move to third. The Jays have time to develop him so myworld does not expect to see him playing with the Blue Jays before 2022.

14. Bryson Stott (Phillies) - The 2019 first round pick has all the tools except for power. That could develop with time as his 6′3″ frame develops. He slugged six homeruns in 48 games in his 2019 minor league debut. His ability to draw walks and spank the ball to the opposite field could make him an ideal number two hitter. The tools are there to stick at short as an above average defensive player. Stott is a college drafted player so he needs to rise quickly after a wasted 2020 season. Expect the Phillies to push for his major league debut time to be 2021.

15. Robert Puason (Athletics) - Puason was a recent 2019 signing, eliciting a bonus from the Athletics for $5.1 million. That is a lot of cheddar. At 6′3″ his body is currently lean and stringy. The strength can come as he matures. He currently has good speed, but he does not want to lose that with bulk. A strong arm and plus range makes him a potential Gold Glove shortstop. All we can go on now is his high signing bonus, second to potential Yankee super star outfielder Jasson Dominguez, and the reports that all his tools have the potential to be above major league average. His start time in the majors will have to wait until 2024.

16. Gabriel Arias (Indians) - The Venezuelan prospect was signed by the Padres in 2016 for $1.9 million. His bat is still a little soft but his glove is golden. Gabriel saw some power break out in 2019 when he slugged 17 homeruns and raised his slugging average from 2018 120 points to .470. The Padres included Gabriel in a trade with the Indians for Mike Clevenger. With Abrams and Tatis Jr. at shortstop the Padres are stacked. He needs to show better plate discipline if he hopes to achieve offensive success. He has a 78/344 walk to whiff ratio in his minor league career. The Indians have been talking about trading Francisco Lindor. Arias is probably a couple steps from taking the reigns at short, so do not expect a major league debut until sometime late in 2022.

17. Oswald Peraza (Yankees ) - Yankee prospects can sometimes be a bit over hyped. Peraza was signed for just $175,000 in 2016. He reached A ball in 2019. His batting averages have hovered around .260 and he has yet to hit over 4 homeruns. leaving him with a slugging average of just .346. The Yankees hope the tools defy the numbers. The speed is there to steal 23 bases in 2019 and provide the range to play short. The arm is strong. The power may always lack. With the Yankees prospects like Peraza are normally used as trade bait to acquire a veteran to make a playoff run. Trusting a rookie shortstop not named Derek Jeter to play a critical position for a win now team is not to be expected. Perhaps he will see a platoon role for the Yankees sometime in 2022.

18. Tyler Freeman (Indians) - We just see a little too much average in the 2017 first round supplemental pick. He has hit well with a .319 career minor league average, including a .352 average in rookie ball in 2018. Over the fence power is absent, but he does have the ability to spray the gaps to hit 61 doubles his last two seasons. The speed is not supposed to be great, but he has the savvy to steal 19 bases in 2019. His defensive tools may be better used in a utility role, lacking the power to play corner and the range to play short. He could see that role in 2022.

19. Keoni Cavaco (Twins) - A 2019 first round pick, he played at Eastlake High School, which is where my niece went to school. Myworld has to give him props for that. His one and only season of 25 games he hit just .172, with a 4/35 walk to whiff ratio. That is very foreboding. He was primarily a third baseman in high school, but the Twins have been impressed with his tools at short. Obviously he will have to improve his discipline at the plate if he wishes to hit for average. He is still a far cry from any major league consideration, possibly late 2023.

20. Yasel Antona (Nationals) - The last player on a Top 20 list is normally someone special. Not that any of his tools are anything special, but Yasel is above average in all phases. He also seemed to show some increased pop in camp that had a lot of players going “Wow”. The Nationals signed him in 2016 for $3.9 million. Tommy John surgery ended his 2018 season early and he only saw three games in 2019. In 2018 he was only hitting .220 with a .331 slugging. So most of the reason he appears on this list is because of hype. A lack of speed may force him to move to third, where the power needs to show if he wants to play. Expect that to be sometime in late 2022.

Top Third Base Prospects

Thursday, November 26th, 2020

Just like at second base, a number of shortstops become third baseman, but those are players who lack the range to play middle infield, but carry power in their bat. And a lot of players who start as third baseman are forced to move to first base or the outfield because of their inability or lack of quickness to react to the ball. That is why it is called the hot corner. Below are the players who currently play third who myworld believes are the top prospects for the position.

1. Ke’Bryan Hayes (Pirates) - The son of Charlie Hayes was a first round pick in 2015. One of the biggest criticisms of his game was his lack of offense. His defense was gold glove caliber. The Pirates promoted him in September and in 24 games and close to 100 at bats he hit .376 with five homeruns for a .682 slugging average. Replicating that production will be difficult, but if his bat can produce just a portion of those numbers he can be an All Star. In the minors his best slugging percentage was .444 and his career average is .399, almost 300 points lower than his major league production. His speed is above average for a third baseman, but they would lose a lot of defense of they move him to the outfield. The 2021 season should see him starting at third base.

2. Nolan Jones (Indians) - If not for Hayes 2020 major league production, Jones, a second round 2016 pick would have been the top third base prospect. He has a nice power bat that hits from the left side. In 2019 he mashed 15 homeruns, a slight decline from his 2018 season of 19 homeruns. There is a lot of swing and miss in his game, but that also comes with a high number of walks. The 2019 season showed him with a 96/148 walk to whiff ratio in 126 games. He should be able to hit 30 plus homeruns per year once he is major league ready. His arm is good and he has the defensive chops to be an average to possibly above average third baseman. His lack of speed prevents him from being a top caliber outfielder, but the arm keeps that possibility open. He finished the 2019 season with 48 games at AA. This should allow him to start the 2021 season in AAA with a major league promotion a possibility.

3. Nolan Gorman (Cardinals) - The 2018 first round pick is one of many third base prospects for the Cardinals. His scouting report would be similar to Jones. He hits lefthanded, has good power, limited speed, a strong arm with the ability to be an average to above average fielder. The big difference in their two games is his ability to take walks. Gorman’s walk to whiff ratio in 2019 was 45/152. This could result in lower batting averages. In 2019 he hit just .248, which could be better if he showed more patience. Gorman will probably begin the 2021 season in AA, not seeing the Cardinals lineup until 2022. Elehuris Montero is ahead of him in the depth chart and Cuban Malcolm Nunez is right behind him. The Cardinals also drafted third baseman Jordan Walker in the first round of the 2020 draft.

4. Josh Jung (Rangers) - The Rangers first round 2019 pick is a big time power bat. Unfortunately, he has not had a lot of minor league games to show it off. In 2019 he only played in 44 games with two homeruns. He did show the ability to hit for average finishing at .316. Drafted out of Texas Tech, the 23 year old should advance quickly. The 2019 season showed him being primarily a gap to gap hitter but as he strengthens and becomes more aware of the pitches he can drive he should hit consistently 30 plus homeruns each year. His speed is lacking, but his defense should be average to possibly above average. Josh should start the 2021 season in AA with a possible late season promotion.

5. Brett Baty (Mets) - Like Josh, the 2019 first round pick of the Mets played a minimum amount of games (51). His swing and miss was more severe (65) which resulted in a much lower average (.234). Brett showed that when he makes contact the ball will fly, with seven homeruns for a .452 slugging percentage. The left handed bat can drive the ball to all fields with 30 plus homerun a year power once he arrives in the major leagues. While he stands 6′3″ the athleticism will allow him to stay at third. The arm is strong but the speed is below average so a move to the outfield is doubtful. As an older high school pick the Mets may be more aggressive in his promotions than normal high school picks. He should start the 2021 season in A ball with quick promotions occurring with success.

6. Jonathan India (Reds) - The 2018 first round pick needs to increase his power to stick at the position. His career two year slugging percentage is .410 with 11 homeruns in 2019. As a college drafted player there may not be a lot of increase in strength. He does have the patience to take walks and gives the Reds an excellent OBA option. Defensively he has the ability to be an above average third baseman but his average speed could allow him to move to a corner or play second base. India reached AA in 2019 so he could make his major league debut in 2021. His numbers may fall short of what a team expects from a top five pick but he could end up a suitable major leaguer with decent numbers as a utility option.

7. Blaze Jordan (Red Sox) - Like Bryce Harper before him Blaze received a lot of publicity for his youthful power exploits. He was thought to be a 2021 draft pick but graduated from high school one year early. Signing concerns dropped him to the third round in the 2021 draft where the Red Sox were able to sign him for $1.75 million, which could be a bargain. Blaze was hitting 500 foot homeruns as a 13 year old. There are some concerns about his ability to make contact, his speed is below average and he lacks the quickness to field the position. He may ultimately move to first base. Since he was drafted as a 17 year old, losing a season does not hurt Blaze as other players selected in 2020. He could start the 2021 season in extended spring with a promotion to full season ball or short season if the minor leagues still have short season leagues.

8. Rece Hinds (Reds) - The 2019 second round pick only played three games in 2019 because of injuries. He failed to get a hit in his 8 at bats. Rece may have more power potential than any player on this list, but the concern is that he may have more swing and miss. There is also question marks on his ability to stay at third base. His arm is strong enough to move to a corner outfield, but his lack of speed would be a detriment to his defense. Rece is the last person on this list who needed to miss the 2020 season. He will be 21 years old in September with only 8 minor league at bats. Where he ends up on defense is a big question mark. If the National League adopts the DH that may be his best position, or a move to first base.

9. Isaac Paredes (Tigers) - Isaac is one of those players who spent most of his minor league career as a shortstop, but finally had to move to third because of his lack of range. His bat should be able to hit for a decent average, bordering around the .300 range. He makes good contact with the ability to take walks (57/61 walk to whiff ratio in 2019). His power should manifest itself into doubles and borderline 20 homerun power. He made his major league debut last year and hit .220 in a little over 100 at bats, a poor 8/24 walk to whiff ration a reason for the dismal performance. His defense should be above average at third because of his soft hands and strong arm. The Tigers lack an option at third base so with a good spring expect him to start at that position in 2021.

10. Kody Hoese (Dodgers) - A 2019 first round pick who showed some pop and hit for average in his brief 41 game performance in the minors. At 6′4″ he has good length to carry the ball when he makes contact. He also has the patience to take walks and the contact ability to avoid high strikeout rates. Lack of speed will prevent him from moving to the outfield, but there is enough power in his bat for a move to first base. His defense should be passable to settle at third base. Kody will be turning 24 during the 2021 season so he needs to advance quickly. Expect him to start the season in AA with a good spring.

Top Second Base Prospects

Sunday, November 22nd, 2020

Finding prospects at second base is one of the more difficult challenges. These players are usually shortstops who failed to make it at that position because another player was better. Myworld does not want to guess what shortstops will eventually move to second so the players on this list have played some games at second base, even though for some their primary position may still be shortstop.

1. Vidal Brujan (Rays) - Myworld likes his speed. The Rays are deep at shortstop with major leaguer Willy Adames and minor leaguers Wander Franco, the top prospect in baseball and the smooth fielding Xavier Edwards. Vidal was a bargain basement $15,000 signing out of the Dominican Republic. He is probably the fastest player on this list, stealing over 100 bases combined the last two years. He does not have a lot of power but he has hit over .300 in two of his five seasons. He is primarily a second baseman but last year played some shortstop. He has the range and the arm for short but his defensive tools are better suited at second. He did not see any time last year, but should start 2021 at AAA with the likelihood of making his major league debut.

2. Jeter Downs (Red Sox) - Jeter was drafted as a supplemental first round pick in 2017 by the Reds and has already played for three different teams. The Reds traded him to the Dodgers in the Yasiel Puig/Matt Kemp trade and in 2020 the Red Sox acquired him in the Mookie Betts/David Price trade. His primary position is shortstop, named after one of the best in the game (Derek Jeter) but his tools may be better for second base. There is some pop in his bat as his 24 homeruns in 2019 showed. He did not play any last year. He also has enough speed to steal bases with 61 in the last two seasons. In 2019 he was a 20/20 player. While he has yet to hit for average (.267) he does show the ability to take walks with OBAs above .350 the last three years. He has only played in 12 games at AA but could make his major league debut in 2021 with a good minor league season. Second base is a wide open position for the Red Sox.

3. Nick Madrigal (White Sox) - The 2018 first round pick is said to also be skilled at shortstop, but he has lived at second base during his college and professional career. He lacks power but can spray the ball to all fields with line drives. At 5′8″ power is not expected, but as he matures he could elevate his homerun numbers to double figures. He has hit over .300 at every level he has played, including a 29 game major league debut last year when he hit .340. Only three of his 35 hits with the White Sox went for extra bases. In his two year minor league career he had a 51/21 walk to whiff ratio, so he makes contact with the best of them. He should be the White Sox second baseman starting the 2021 season.

4. Michael Busch (Dodgers) - Busch was the Dodgers first round pick in 2019. He only played 10 games in the minor leagues until an injury ended his season, hitting just .125, but with an impressive 7/5 walk to whiff ratio for a .371 OBA. He lacks speed and has a below average arm playing primarily at left field and first base in college. He lacks the power teams look for at first base but it should consistently be 20 plus with an average near .300. The lost season did not help in his development, especially defensively, where the Dodgers were hoping he could fit at second base. Expect him to start the 2021 season at A ball. The Dodgers are hoping he will provide solid offensive tools for the position and be adequate defensively.

5. Jahmai Jones (Angels) - The Angels drafted Jones in the second round in 2015 as an outfielder. With a crowded outfield they moved him to second base after his first season, a position he had played in high school. The last two seasons in the minor leagues he has failed to hit over .250. He made his major league debut last year and hit .429 in seven at bats. He does not have a lot of power so he needs to hit for a better average to be an effective major league player. The patience is there to take walks and the speed exists to steal 20 plus bases a year. He has the versatility to play outfield so his ultimate role could be as a utility player in the outfield and at second base. A good spring could see him start the season at the major league level, but expect some time at AAA to start the season to further develop his offensive tools.

6. Justin Foscue (Rangers) - The first round 2020 pick led Mississippi State to a couple college World Series. His lack of speed makes outfield a question so the Rangers are hoping he will be an offensive second baseman who can provide adequate defense. The power is there to hit 20 plus homeruns a year. He did play third base his first year at Mississippi State so that is another defensive option. He has yet to play in the minor leagues. Expect him to start the 2021 season in A ball.

7. Aaron Bracho (Indians) - Aaron was signed out of Venezuela in 2017 for $1.5 million. He did not play in the minor leagues until 2019, never getting past rookie ball. He showed some pretty good sock with a .570 slugging and good patience at the plate with a 28/29 walk to whiff ratio. His arm and speed are just average, which makes playing shortstop a stretch for him. The tools for playing second base should make him an above average defensive player with the offensive capability to hit 20 plus homeruns per year. He will probably start the 2021 season in A ball and hope to continue his offensive exploits to the major leagues in 2022.

8. Xavier Edwards (Rays) - The 2018 supplemental first round pick is a smooth fielder with an arm that lacks the strength of a true shortstop. He spent most of the 2019 season at second base. The Rays acquired him from the Padres in the Tommy Pham/Jacob Cronenworth trade. Now that Hunter Renfroe has been released Xavier may be the only piece to make that trade look good. The bat lacks power but he does carry a .326 minor league average with an excellent 75/79 walk to whiff ratio. The speed is there to steal bases with 56 in his two years. So while he will lack power there are other tools in his game that will make him an offensive force. Next year he should see time in AA and could make a September debut with a solid minor league season.

9. Brice Turang (Brewers) - The 2018 first round pick was a star on the junior circuit of the United States national team. The tools exist for him to play shortstop, but he would be no more than average at that position. With a potent line drive bat and excellent speed he could be a major contributor at second base. His power has not really developed yet, but it could come with a little more maturation and elevation in his swing. Currently he is a gap hitter with the ability to use his speed to stretch bases. He stole 30 bases last season. If the power develops he could turn into a 20/20 player but expect the homerun numbers to settle in the teens. There is still some development time needed so 2021 should be spent in AA with a major league debut time somewhere in 2022.

10. Nick Gonzales (Pirates) - Another 2020 first round pick, the seventh player taken overall. He has had some pretty impressive hitting numbers where ever he has played, but many feel his numbers at New Mexico State were inflated because of the environment. Not having a 2020 season raises questions about his offensive abilities. There is the ability to make contact and he showed some power in the Cape Cod League with seven homeruns, including a .351 average. He lacks the range and the power arm to play short, but his defensive tools should make him a solid second baseman. The 2021 season will see him start in A ball. How fast he moves up will be dependent on how well he hits.

Pirates Sign Taiwan Righthander

Thursday, October 8th, 2020

The Pittsburgh Pirates spent a lot of cheddar to sign a righthander from Taiwan. Po-Yu Chen signed for $1.25 million, one of the highest international signing bonuses for this year.

Chen pitched for the U18 Taiwan national team, working six innings of one run ball against Korea in a start and getting the final outs in the championship game against the United States while pitching in relief. He stands 6′2″ and throws a fastball in the low 90s.