Archive for the 'Reds' Category

Myworld’s Top Southern League Prospects

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

Last week myworld took a look at the Pacific Coast League and had trouble finding pitchers we liked. This week we took a look at the Southern League and found plenty of pitchers to include in our top ten. Again, the prospects are selected based on the numbers they have put up this year. If they do not have good numbers they do not appear on this list.

1. Michael Kopech RHP (White Sox) - The first round pick of the Red Sox in 2014 is one of the hardest throwers in baseball. He was one of the headline players the Red Sox shipped to the White Sox for Chris Sale. As a starting pitcher his fastball can hit triple digits, but it will sit in the 95-97 range. His slider and change need to be enhanced to achieve success in the major leagues, but if not his velocity will allow him to survive in the bullpen as a closer. There were off field incidents last year that make some question his character but he appears to be pretty behaved this year. Command has been a problem with more than one walk every two innings. A .191 opposition average and 126 whiffs in just 98 innings of work make him an ace in process, if he can avoid injury, improve his secondary pitches and find the strike zone a little bit more.

2. Ronald Acuna OF (Braves) - The Braves have been aggressive with the promotions of the Venezuelan native. Every level he has played at he has found success. Ronald was signed out of Venezuela in 2014 for just $100,000 and his speed and power mix now finds him knocking on the major league door at AAA. Many compare him to Andrew Jones. Ronald started his year in the High A Florida State League and is currently playing in AAA. During that time he has combined for a .305 average with 15 homeruns and 35 stolen bases. His OPS has never fallen below .814 at all three levels. Expect a September promotion before the season is done.

3. Mike Soroka RHP (Braves) - The Braves drafted the Canadian in the first round of the 2015 draft. He is not the kind of pitcher who will light your eyes up with his velocity. He works around the plate with a low 90s fastball, curveball and changeup to achieve soft barrel on the ball contact. Last year he pitched at Low A. The Braves decided to skip him past High A and put him in AA. In 19 starts he has a 2.32 ERA, a .224 opposition average and 97 whiffs in 112 innings. His walk to whiff ratio is greater than 4 to 1. At 19 years of age he is one of the younger pitchers in AA. Expect his major league debut to be some time next year.

4. Luis Castillo RHP (Reds) - Castillo was originally signed by the Marlins in 2011. For some reason they were very intent on trading him, first dealing him to the Padres until an injury to one of the players (Colin Rea) the Marlins acquired brought Castillo back to the Marlins. The Marlins then found a taker in the Reds to acquire Dan Straily. Castillo, with his triple digit fastball that sits in the high 90s has the potential to be a much better pitcher than Straily. But the Marlins thought they were playing for now. Castillo also has a slider and change for his secondary pitches. Castillo had a nice 14 starts (2.58 ERA) though you would expect more whiffs (81 K’s in 80 innings) based on his fastball. The success has resulted in a promotion to the Reds. There he has held his own (4.05 ERA) but giving up too many long balls in the small park (7).

5. Kolby Allard LHP (Braves) - Kolby was the Braves first round pick in 2015 who dropped in the draft because of a back injury that limited his high school season. Last year he was able to start 16 games, rising to Low A for 11 starts. His fastball sits in the low 90s, plenty of heat for a left handed pitcher with an excellent curveball. His change is a third pitch. Like Mike Soroka the Braves skipped him past A ball and put him in AA where at 19 he is nine days younger than Soroka. In twenty starts he has not had as much success with a 3.75 ERA, a .268 opposition average and 86 whiffs in 105 innings. Expect the Braves to be patient with him and keep him at AA.

6. Brian Anderson 3B (Marlins) - A third round pick in 2014 myworld was impressed with what we saw of him in the spring. He had power to the gaps, played solid defense and carried a couple balls over the fence. Drafted out of college the Marlins can be aggressive with his promotion. With Martin Prado missing the remainder of the season this may be a good opportunity for Anderson to make his major league debut. In AA he slugged 14 homeruns with a .251 average leading to a promotion to AAA. In 12 games at AAA Brian is hitting .349 with three homeruns. Between the two levels his OPS is .816.

7. Tyler Mahle RHP (Reds) - Players drafted in the seventh round, as Tyler was drafted in 2013, are not considered the best prospects. Tyler had height (6′4″) and a skinny frame to fill. Once he matured his fastball went from low 90s to mid 90s. Tyler threw a no hitter last year and a complete game no hitter this year. In the Southern League he dominated the hitters with a 1.59 ERA and a .190 opposition average. A promotion to AAA has not led to the same success (2.88 ERA) but enough so that he should see a September callup this year if not sooner.

8. Nick Gordon SS (Twins) - The half brother of Dee Gordon was drafted in the first round in 2014. Unlike his half brother he may have the tools to stick at short. The power is a little short but the speed is there for him to be an impact player on the bases. Like Dee he would move to second if the Twins felt shortstop was a bit too much of a challenge for him. Nick is hitting .292 but showing a little more pop with a career high seven homeruns. He does not steal as frequently as his brother and the strikeout numbers need to be reduced, but a .362 OBA is good enough to fill the lead off role. The Twins have played Nick a little bit at second this year, but they have a bigger need at short. Expect him to make his debut there next year.

9. Luis Ortiz RHP (Brewers) - Luis was a first round pick of the Rangers in 2014. The Rangers traded him to the Brewers in the Jonathan Lucroy trade. His claim to fame was winning the MVP award at the 18 and under World Cup in 2014. As he has gotten older the weight has gotten greater and he will have to watch that. His fastball sits in the mid-90s with a slider and change as his secondary pitches. He still needs a lot of work on the change to make it an effective third pitch. He is repeating AA where he has limited the opposition to a .207 average. Injuries have been the biggest impediment to his advancement to date.

10. Luiz Gohara RHP (Braves) - The Mariners originally signed Luiz out of Brazil in 2012. Just before spring training this year they traded him to the Braves in the Mallex Smith deal. At 6′3″, 210 Luiz is a big boy with triple digit velocity to his fastball. The challenge has always been finding the plate. His secondary pitches (slider and change) were also below average so it appeared he would be destined for the bullpen. The Braves kept him in the rotation and he won a promotion to AA from High A and just recently his success at AA has led to a promotion to AAA. His combined opposition average at the two levels is .228 with 99 whiffs in 88 innings. He may still end up in the bullpen with the surplus of starters the Braves have, but with the success he is having the Braves will keep him in the rotation.

Other Prospects to Like

Mauricio Dubon SS (Brewers) - Originally signed by the Red Sox after drafting the Honduran born Dubon in the 26th round of the 2013 draft. He was made part of the Travis Shaw trade to acquire Tyler Thornburg, which could turn into a disaster if Dubon pans out. Dubon lacks power and is probably a bit short on the tools to play shortstop full time. But he appears to have the ability to hit for average and steal bases. Coming into this season he has a .306 minor league average. He hit .276 at AA with 31 stolen bases to earn a promotion to AAA where he is hitting .300 with six stolen bases. The Brewers have been rotating him between second and short. He could end up being a solid utility player.

Jen-Ho Tseng RHP (Cubs) - The Cubs signed Tseng out of Taiwan for $1.6 million in 2013. With a fastball in the low 90s he is not overpowering and at 6′1″ he will not intimidate hitters. His numbers up until this year have not been good. In 15 starts at AA this year he finished with a 2.99 ERA with more whiffs per innings pitched than in previous years (83 whiffs in 90 innings). His opposition average is at .232 when last year at AA it was .308. This success earned him a promotion to AAA where his success has continued with a 1.42 ERA and a .204 opposition average.

Fernando Romero RHP (Twins) - Romero was signed out of the Dominican Republic way back in 2011. He missed the 2015 season because of Tommy John surgery. Despite his 6′0″ height he still gets the ball to the plate in the mid-90s. In his first season at AA Fernando has been good with a 2.64 ERA in 19 starts and 112 whiffs in 105 innings. He has held the opposition to a .231 average. At 105 innings pitched he has reached his career high so expect him to stay in AA with the Twins watching his work load, especially after the Tommy John surgery. If he continues to see success expect him to make his major league debut next year, though the Twins could promote him for the bullpen this year if they want to limit his innings.

Stephen Gonsalves LHP (Twins) - The fourth round 2013 pick is not overpowering, but he can hit the mid-90s, but generally sits in the low 90s. A plus change is what leads to his success. In 13 starts he has a 2.47 ERA with a .206 opposition average. Despite his lack of heat he still strikes out more than a hitter an inning, the changeup making that heater look that much better. An injury resulted in a late start to the season but after his success in AA last year Gonsalves earns at least a promotion to AAA.

Future Games Rosters Selected

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

The futures game is played before the All Star team and features the best prospects outside of the United States against the best prospects inside the United States. The game is scheduled for July 9. Below are the rosters of the two teams.

World Team

Pitchers

Domingo Acevedo (Dom Rep/Yankees), Yadier Alvarez (Cuba/Dodgers), Jaime Barria (Panama/Angels), Luis Escobar (Colombia/Pirates), Tayron Guerrero (Colombia/Marlins), Jonathan Hernandez (Dominican Republic/Rangers), Jairo Labourt (Dom Rep/Tigers), Cal Quantrill (Canada/Padres), Mike Soroka (Canada/Braves), Thyago Vieira (Brazil/Mariners)

Catchers

Tomas Nido (Puerto Rico/Mets), Francisco Mejia (Dom Rep/Indians)

Infielders

Yordan Alvarez (Cuba/Astros), Josh Naylor (Canada/Padres), Yoan Moncada (Cuba/White Sox), Mauricio Dubon (Honduras/Brewers), Lucius Fox (Bahamas/Rays), Ahmed Rosario (Dom Rep/Mets), Rafael Devers (Dom Rep/Red Sox), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Dom Rep/Blue Jays)

Outfielders

Ronald Acuna (Venezuela/Braves), Estevan Florial (Haiti/Yankees), Eloy Jimenez (Dom Rep/Cubs), Victor Robles (Dom Rep/Nationals), Alex Verdugo (Mexico/Dodgers)

United States team

Beau Burrows (Tigers), Jon Duplantier (Diamondbacks), Jack Flaherty (Cardinals), Foster Griffen (Royals), Jimmy Hegert (Reds), Brent Honeywell (Rays), Michael Kopech (White Sox), Triston McKenzie (Indians), A.J. Puk (Athletics), Tanner Scott (Orioles)

Catcher

Zack Collins (White Sox), Chance Sisco (Orioles)

Infielders

Rhys Hoskins (Phillies), Ryan McMahon (2B/3B) Rockies, Scott Kingery (Phillies), Bo Bichette (Blue Jays/Brazil), Nick Gordon (Twins), Brendan Rodgers (Rockies), Brian Anderson (Marlins), Nick Senzel (Reds)

Outfielders

Lewis Brinson (Twins), Derek Fisher (Astros), Corey Ray (Brewers), Bryan Reynolds (Giants), Kyle Tucker (Astros)

2017 Top Cuban Prospects - National League

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

Myworld only includes those Cubans signed prior to April so Luis Robert and Hector Mendoza would not be included on this list. They will probably appear on the 2018 list. The Dodgers seem to control the Cuban market in the National League, though they have not been getting their money’s worth yet as far as major league contribution. Alex Guerrero is leading the NPB in homeruns with 20, but that does not do the Dodgers much good.

1. Yadier Alvarez RHP (Dodgers) - His fastball has tweaked triple digits on the radar gun but sits in the mid-90s. That is something not common with Cuban pitchers. While he throws hard he struggles with command. He did not make the Cuban 18 and under team because of his inability to throw strikes. The potential exists for a plus curve and change, which would put him in the rotation. Last year he started 14 games in rookie ball and Low A. The Dodgers controlled his pitches limiting him to under five innings per start. This year he is pitching in the California League which can be tough on pitchers. For Yadier it has been tough on him with a .275 opposition average and a 5.32 ERA.

2. Adrian Morejon LHP (Padres) - He does not throw as hard as Yadier but he is more a complete pitcher. While Yadier did not make the 18 under team because of his lack of control Adrian won the MVP award in the 15 and under World Cup tournament. He sits in the low 90s, touching the mid 90s, pretty good for a lefthanded arm. His curve and change are a little more developed than Yadier and his command of the strike zone is better. The tools may not be as great but his potential to succeed is better. The two starts at Tri-City are his first as a professional. He did not walk any in his 11 innings but the opposition hit him at a .333 clip.

3. Yusniel Diaz OF (Dodgers) - Yusniel left Cuba after his first season in the Cuban Nacional Series. He has decent speed, but like many Cubans does not steal bases because of poor jumps. Power is lacking in his bat but he should hit the gaps and hit for average. His speed and a strong arm will make him a good fit defensively in center field. He signed with the Dodgers after the 2015 season for $15 million and hit .272 in the California League. He is repeating the California League and is showing slightly better numbers across the board. His stolen base success is still poor going from seven out of 15 to five out of 13.

4. Jorge Ona OF (Padres) - The Padres paid Jorge a $7 million bonus in July 2016. His tools are not as impressive as Yusniel. His lack of speed will restrict him to a corner outfield with an average arm pinning him to left. What he does have is the potential to hit for power. The Padres are being aggressive with the 20 year old starting him at Low A for his first season. The power has not shown yet with a .406 slugging, but he has hit six homeruns with a .283 average. He needs to reduce the strikeouts (55 in 55 games) to keep that average up at the higher levels. The Padres have played him mostly in right field, but he has also played 12 games in left.

5. Vladimir Gutierrez RHP (Reds) - The Reds signed him for $4.75 million in 2016. He left his Cuban national team prior to their tournament in the Caribbean Series in 2015. His curveball was considered the best in Cuba and his fastball sits in the low 90s but has hit the mid-90s. He needs to develop his change to make it in the starting rotation. In Cuba he pitched as a reliever, picking up 13 saves. In his first minor league season he shows an ability to get the whiff with 74 in 68 innings. He does give up too much of the barrel on bats (.268) which has driven up his ERA (4.63). A couple poor starts have accounted for his pedestrian numbers.

6. Jose Adolis Garcia OF (Cardinals) - His older brother is Adonis. He is bigger than his brother which allows him to carry more power. The NPB Yomiuri Giants signed him but he struggled with them, hitting only .234 with a .396 slugging average in the minor leagues. He went 0 for 7 with three K’s with the Giants. His outfield defense is more suited for the corner and at 23 years of age he needs to move quickly. His brother Adonis was 27 when he defected and did not make his major league debut until he was 30 years old. The Cardinals have started Jose in AA where he is hitting .284 with six homeruns and a .432 slugging.

7. Randy Arozarena OF (Cardinals) - Randy played on the same 18 and under team as Yoan Moncada in 2013. The Cardinals only paid $1.25 million for him, a good bargain for a player with good speed and outfield skills that could see center. His bat will not hit for power but it should pepper the gaps. He played last year in the Mexican League struggling with a .100 average in only 20 at bats. The Cardinals have started him in High A and he is doing better, with a .276 average and eight homeruns with a .480 slugging. Most of his time has been spent in left field but he has played some center and right. The Cardinals were hoping for a leadoff type hitter but with the power he is showing in High A they could have a middle of the order hitter.

8. Albert Almora OF (Cubs) - A superb defender, the Cubs made him a first round pick in the 2012 draft. He is probably the Cubs top centerfielder but his bat is a little too quiet and may limit him to being a fourth outfielder. Despite his Cuban background he has played on a number of youth United States national teams. His father played baseball in Cuba before he defected but Albert was born in Florida. Albert has stayed up with the Cubs for the 2017 season, mostly as a backup, hitting a decent .270.

9. Omar Esteves 2B (Dodgers) - The Dodgers paid $6 million to a player lacking in above average tools. His defense at second is below average, his speed is not great and his arm is weak. His bat could play but it will be limited to gap power. Omar made his debut in 2015 hitting .255 with a .389 slugging. He was an 18 year old playing in Low A. This year he is playing in High A hitting just .232. Myworld doesn’t believe the Dodgers will get much major league production from their $6 million investment.

10. Alfredo Rodriguez SS (Reds) - Alfredo has some defensive tools but his bat is lacking. The Reds signed him for $7 million at the same time they signed Vladimir Gutierrez. He hit .234 in the Dominican League absent any power (.299 slugging). He does have the speed to steal bases. While he hit his first minor league homerun in the Florida State League this year his slugging sits at .308 but his batting average has improved to .266. At best he could end up as a utility player or a number 8 hitter in a potent offense that can ignore his bat for his glove.

Nats Blow Up Reds with TnT Demolition

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

The Nationals brought out the TnT with Trea Turner stringing together five hits and a walk in a five for five day and Michael Turner going deep twice in a 4 for 5 afternoon, resulting in a 18-3 slaughter of the Cincinnati Reds. Joe Ross did his magic again. For the sixth time in his 10 starts the Nationals have scored 10 or more runs. Unfortunately for Joe he has only won three of the six starts when the Nats have scored more than 10 runs.

Homer Bailey got his first start of the year, trying to come back from bone spur surgery. It was not a promising start with the Nationals bats tagging him for eight runs before he could get the third out in the second inning. Ryan Zimmerman drove in the first two runs with a line drive double into the right field corner in the first inning. Daniel Murphy emptied the bases in the second inning with a three run double with the Nationals scoring six in the inning. Bailey had walked the two previous batters to load the bases for Murphy.

The Reds showed a little sloppiness in the fourth. Ryan Zimmerman had struck out for what appeared to be the second out but the pitch went to the back stop allowing Ryan to reach first. After two were out Lisalverto Bonilla walked Anthony Rendon. Matt Wieters singled to right field scoring Zimmerman. Right fielder Scott Schebler threw to third but the ball skipped past Suarez and into the dugout to allow Murphy to score the second run of the inning. It was the third error of the game for the Reds. Michael Taylor followed with his first of two homeruns.

Patrick Kivlehan came in to pinch hit for Joey Votto to lead off the sixth with the score 13-0. He drove a ball into the left field bleachers to put the Reds on the score board. Joe Blanton would give up the other two Red runs. He came on to pitch in the eighth entering the game with a 9.19 ERA. He gave up hits to the first three hitters he faced and left the game with a 9.72 ERA.

Both Turner and Taylor scored four runs. Daniel Murphy drove in four.

Game Notes: Brian Goodwin and Bryce Harper were heroes in the game the day before. Goodwin hit two homeruns and Bryce had the walkoff single. In this game Goodwin walked twice but also struck out twice. He got his only hit in the eighth inning. Bryce struck out his first three times up, getting his only hit in his fourth at bat. Ryan Raburn batted for him in the sixth. This offense can provide different heroes every night…Adam Duvall showed a strong arm in left field…Joe Blanton lacked command and velocity in the one inning he pitched…For Michael Taylor it was the first four hit game of his career.

Reds Sign Cuban Jose Israel Garcia

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

The Reds have signed Cuban shortstop Jose Isreal Garcia. The 19 year old agreed to a $5 million bonus. Because the Reds are over their international salary cap they will have to pay an additional $5 million bonus. The international signing period closes June 15 so there may be a wave of Cuban signings before that date reaches.

Garcia is a mystery to myworld. He is listed at 6′3″, pretty tall for a shortstop. Baseball America reports his power is limited to the gaps.

Hot Prospects for the End of May

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

Memorial Day has ended and with it the month of May. Myworld will take a look at those prospects heating up as the month draws to a close.

Jose Marmolejos 1B (Nationals) - Jose got a late start to the season but it did not take his bat long to get heated. A 5 for 6 day in which he hit his second homerun for the year and drove in five began a nine game assault on AA pitching. He got his average up to .420 but the next five games he cooled down to drop it to .385. Jose was signed by the Nationals out of the Dominican Republic in 2011. His power is probably lacking to be an every day first baseman, but last year he hit a career high 13 homeruns.

Ryan Mountcastle SS (Orioles) - The Orioles need to prepare for the day when J.J. Hardy and Manny Machado depart from the Orioles and they need to fill the hole at short. Ryan could be that fit. He had a three homerun day with four runs scored and three RBIs to up his tater total to 11. Ryan was a first round pick of the Orioles in 2015. Last year he hit a career high 10 homeruns for Delmarva but hit only .281. This year he is raking with a .330 average.

Max Moroff 2B (Pirates) - The Pirates waived prospect Alen Hanson and optioned Gift Ngoepe to the minor leagues. One of the players expected to be called up to replace them is Moroff, who has a career high 13 homeruns in AAA. He did have nine major league at bats earlier in the season, garnering only one hit. Max has been seeing most of his time at shortstop, but he has been playing second and third base. Strikeouts can be a problems (48 in 42 games but he does show patience at the plate with a high walk rate.

Socrates Brito CF (Diamondbacks) - The oft injured Brito is working his way back to the major leagues with a .375 average at AAA Omaha. He has gone 8 for 14 in his last three games with two doubles and two triples. The Diamondbacks would like to see Brito patrol centerfield for the Diamondbacks but he has not been able to stay healthy.

Shed Long 2B (Reds) - Shed has been ripping through the Florida State League with a .321 average. That has been fueled by a .350 average in his last 10 games that have included three three hit games. Three of his nine homeruns have been hit in his last four games. A 12th round pick of the Reds in 2013 has an opportunity to be an offensive oriented second baseman despite his 5′8″ frame.

Francisco Mejia C (Indians) - Francisco is heating up in AA, his .436 average in his last 10 games elevating his season average to .331. Francisco also has one of the strongest arms for a catcher in the minor leagues. This year he has thrown out 8 of the 20 baserunners who have attempted to steal against him. Last year he threw out 30 of 69 baserunners.

Nick Williams OF (Phillies) - Nick is sending balls out of the park. He had a three game stretch in which he sent four over the fence to give him 10 for the year. Nick has always shown batting practice power but the swings and misses have stunted his homerun production. The strikeouts are still prevalent (57 in 50 games) but the homerun totals are seven shy of his career high of 17.

Scott Kingery 2B (Phillies) - Reading tends to be a friendly park for homeruns and Williams teammate Kingery is leading the minors in homeruns with 16. The career high for the second round 2015 pick is five. It was expected that most of the power for Scott would be to the gaps but he has been rewriting that book. He also had a recent six game multiple hit hitting streak that has raised his average to .309. Power is not his only tool. Scott has also stolen 12 bases in 48 games, on his way to a 30/30 season.

Orlando Calixte LF (Giants) - Injuries to the Giants outfield has provided an opportunity for Orlando to show his power bat this season is not a fluke. Orlando was originally signed by the Royals but after six years became a minor league free agent. The Giants signed him this year and his eight homeruns is just six shy of his career high 14. Orlando has also shown some speed with 11 stolen bases in 12 attempts.

Colton Welker 3B (Rockies) - Colton has been on this list before, but when you keep on hitting myworld feels an obligation to keep noting that. An eight game hitting streak has seen his average rise to .370, especially after the last four games when he has gone 11 for 16. Expect Colton to see a promotion to High A soon.

Tyler Marlette C (Mariners) - Four games ago Tyler had hit one homerun in 32 games. After those four games his homerun total climbed to five. He also drove in 10 runs in that four game stretch. RBIs have not been a problem for Tyler with 37 in 36 games. Tyler was the fifth round draft pick of the Mariners in 2011. His career high for homeruns has been 17.

Derek Fisher CF (Astros) - Derek is hot for the Astros with homeruns in three consecutive games, bringing his homeruns total to 13. The supplemental first round pick of the Astros has a six game hitting streak (12 for 25) that has raised his average to .335. His one down side to the season is being caught stealing 10 times in 19 attempts. The Astros outfield is not crowded with talent so if Fisher keeps on hitting he could get a call up.

Max Schrock 2B (Athletics) - The last time we saw Max he was spraying line drives for Potomac. Now he is doing that for AA Midland. A nine game hitting streak (17 for 36) has raised his average to .304. During that streak he had a two homerun game to give him five for the season, four shy of his career minor league high. Max does not have a lot of tools except for the line drives that are sprayed from his bat.

Jon Duplantier RHP (Diamondbacks) - In his 10 appearances, nine of them starts Jon has only given up runs in one of those appearances. His latest shutout start he gave up one hit in six innings, striking out six. That extends his shutout streak to 29 innings. During that time his ERA is 0.50 and the opposition is hitting .139 against him. A third round 2016 pick his best pitch is his curveball. His fastball is not overpowering, reaching 95 at its peak.

Domingo Acevedo RHP (Yankees) - The 6′7″ righthander was promoted to AA and threw two shutouts in his first two starts covering 13.2 innings. He gave up only seven hits in those two starts and struck out 14. His last outing he got smacked around a bit, allowing three runs in 5.2 innings, but he did not walk anyone. In 19 innings of AA ball Domingo has only walked two. His delivery is a lot of arms, but his fastball can cross the plate in triple digits. He also has an excellent change. The development of a breaking pitch will determine whether he spends his time in the bullpen or the starting rotation.

Jake Junis RHP (Royals) - Drafted in the 29th round in 2011 Jake has already gone above expectations with three appearances and one start in the major leagues. His latest minor league start Jake struck out 12 in seven innings, allowing just two hits in the shutout outing. With a major league ERA at 2.70 and an opposition average in AAA at .222 Jake will get another opportunity on a major league mound.

Taylor Clarke RHP (Diamondbacks) - Watch out for the young pitching down on the farm in the Diamondbacks system. Taylor is another pitcher with double digit whiffs, striking out 12 in just 6.1 innings. In ten starts Taylor has kept his ERA at 2.70 with a 17/53 walk to whiff ration in 50 innings. The opposition is hitting him at a .215 clip.

Vladimir Gutierrez RHP (Reds) - The Reds paid a $4.5 million bonus to sign the Cuban. The smallish 6′0″ Cuban has a fastball that sits in the low 90s with a good curveball and developing slider and change. It has been two years since he has pitched in a competitive environment so in his nine starts he has been tagged around some. His ERA dropped below 5.00 after his last outing when he failed to give up a run in 6.1 innings. Like future team mate Raisel Iglesias, Vladimir was a reliever in Cuba but the Reds are trying to convert him as a starter.

A.J. Puk LHP (Athletics) - In his last two outings Puk has given up just one hit in 10.1 innings. After pitching five innings of no hit ball Puk followed that up with five innings of one hit ball. He struck out 15 in the two outings lowering his ERA to 3.43. Finding the plate is a bit of a challenge with 8 walks in his last two games. For the year A.J. has a 20/69 walk to whiff ratio in 44.2 innings with a .179 opposition average.

Thomas Hatch RHP (Cubs) - The third round 2016 draft pick had an impressive outing in his last start, whiffing 13 in just 5.1 innings. He did give up two runs and allowed six hits so he was not unhittable. Despite the 13 K’s Thomas finds himself with an 0-5 record with a 5.19 ERA.

Alec Hanson RHP (White Sox) - The 6′7″ righthander struck out 15 hitters in a seven inning outing in which he gave up one run. That gives him 25 whiffs in his last two starts and 67 total whiffs in 54.2 innings. Alec was drafted in the second round in 2016. His fastball lights up the radar in the high 90s but usually sits at 95 of below. Before Hanson can reach the major leagues he needs to develop more consistency with his secondary pitches.

Nick Neidert RHP (Mariners) - Nick went on to pitch six innings of no hit ball in the California League. The no hitter lasted until the ninth with Modesto eventually losing the game in the tenth. Nick struck out nine on the day and walked one. Nick keeps the ball around the plate with just 10 walks in 56.2 innings.

Tyler Mahle RHP (Reds) - Tyler already has a nine inning no hitter to his resume, as well as a one hitter in just seven innings. In his last start he gave up just three hits in seven innings, walking one and striking out a career high 9. With a fastball that sends radar guns buzzing in the high 90s Tyler has struck out 72 in 69 innings with an opposition average at .177.

Hot Prospects Heading Towards the End of May

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Scott Kingery 2B (Phillies) - Perhaps the hottest hitter in the minors, Scott has blasted four homeruns in his last three games to give him 13 for the season. He was drafted by the Phillies in the second round of the 2015 draft and his total number of homeruns in his first one and a half years covering 197 games is 8. In 2017 he has hit 13 in 37 games. Reading is a hitters park but five of his 13 blasts have been on the road. He is also hitting .300 on the road versus .280 at Reading. His road OPS (1.026) is better than his home OPS (1.010) so it doesn’t seem to matter where Scott plays.

Luis Urias 2B (Padres) - He does not hit a lot of homeruns but is known for his ability to make contact (25/20 walk to whiff). An eight game hitting streak (14 for 37) has kept his average at .344. Luis has scored 29 runs in 41 games with enough gap power to collect 11 doubles for a .485 slugging. Don’t expect Luis to dazzle you with speed or power. He just makes contact and hopes the ball finds the gaps.

Sam Travis 1B (Red Sox) - Sam had back to back games in which he went deep, then followed that up with a five hit game. The four game multiple hitting streak rose his average to .299. Sam is considered the Red Sox first baseman of the future. Last year injuries limited him to 47 games so this appears to be the bounce back season he was looking for.

Danny Jansen C (Blue Jays) - After hitting .369 with five homeruns and a .963 OPS Danny got his promotion to AA. That has not proved much of a challenge as he rounded up seven hits in his first 16 at bats for a .438 average. His four extra base hits have all been doubles. Danny was a 16th round pick in 2013. His best average going into the 2017 season was .282. The five homeruns he hit early this season has tied his career high (2014 and 2015). Danny has found that magical mystery zone.

Alfredo Rodriguez SS (Reds) - The Cuban with the slick glove is trying to make people notice his bat. A 5 for 5 day in which he drove in four runs raised his average to .278. At 22 years of age he is due a promotion from Low A. Only six of his 45 hits have gone for extra bases, all of them doubles dragging his slugging percentage to .309. In his last 10 games he has hit .439.

Estevan Florial CF (Yankees) - One of the few players born in Haiti, Estevan has gone 6 for 9 in his last two games, crossing the plate five times and driving in three. He tends to strike out too much (50 in 39 games), which has kept his average at .282.

Willie Calhoun 2B (Dodgers) - The balls are jumping off his bat. In his last seven games Willie has gone deep five times. Of his last 10 hits five of them have carried over the fence. His average has creeped above .300 (.310). If he can improve his defense Willie could be ready for a major league opportunity. There was some talk of moving him to left field but all 30 of his games have been at second base.

Parker Bridwell RHP (Angels) - The Orioles traded Parker to the Angels for cash after he gave up 8 runs in four innings in his first two appearances with Norfolk. The Angels started him in AA and have now promoted him to AAA after he gave up only two runs in nine innings. In AAA the opposition is hitting him at only a .143 clip and he has a 1.02 ERA after three starts. Only 25 the Angels could have him in the rotation by mid-season if the injuries keep piling up.

Jose De Leon RHP (Rays) - After throwing five innings of no hit ball in the Florida State League the Rays have promoted De Leon to AAA. A couple good starts there could have him on their major league roster. The Rays traded Logan Forsyth to acquire De Leon from the Dodgers but arm issues have delayed the start of his season.

Jon Duplantier RHP (Diamondbacks) - Each time Jon goes out on the mound another shutout is thrown. His last three times out covering 17 innings he has not given up an earned run. In his eight appearances, seven of them starts he has not given up an earned run. The opposition is hitting just .149 against him and his ERA sits at a gaudy 0.64.

Rogelio Armenteros RHP (Astros) - The Cuban did not give up a hit in five innings of work in his last outing. He has gone 13 innings since he has last given up a run dropping his ERA to 1.25. Rogelio was signed in 2015, pitched for Spain in the 2016 WBC qualifier and is limiting AA hitters to a .181 average.

Austin Sodders LHP (Tigers) - The seventh round 2016 pick has been dominating at Low A with a 5-0, 0.73 ERA. He has only given up runs in two of his seven starts. In a three start span he struck out 28 in 17 innings. Expect a promotion to High A if he continues this domination.

Mike O’Reilly RHP (Cardinals) - Mike was two outs from pitching a nine inning no hitter. A one out single ended those hopes and ended his outing after 8.1 innings. During that time he struck out 10 with only one walk. In six appearances, three of them starts Mike has only walked three hitters in his 26 innings. The opposition is hitting just .156 against him.

Scott Moss LHP (Reds) - Scott threw the first six innings of the first no hitter thrown by the Dayton Dragons. Moss walked three in the outing but it was his second consecutive shutout appearance covering 11 innings, dropping his ERA to 1.91. The win improved his record to 6-1. The Reds drafted Moss in the fourth round of the 2016 draft.

Corbin Burnes RHP (Brewers) - The fourth round pick of the 2016 draft has dominated the Carolina League. In his last four starts he has only given up one run. His last start he struck out a career high 10 in seven innings. After nine starts Corbin sits at 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA and a .189 opposition average. He is ready for a promotion to AA.

Hot Prospects to Watch

Saturday, April 29th, 2017

Raimel Tapia CF (Rockies) - The Rockies outfield situation is a little crowded, especially with the return of Ian Desmond who may see some outfield time once he gets back from the disabled list. That has not deterred Raimel, who is in the middle of a six game hitting streak, with the last three games being multiple hit games. He has driven in seven runs during the streak and raised his average to .382. Raimel has yet to have a season in the minors where his average has fallen below .300.

Samir Duenez 1B (Royals) - If the Royals decide to rebuild and trade their veterans Samir could be called up to play first base. In a recent three game spin he drove in 8 runs, blasting his third homerun of the year. Samir has driven in 23 runs in 19 games, which leads the Texas AA League by five.

Rhys Hoskins 1B (Phillies) - Rhys has left the hitter friendly Reading park but the homeruns keep on coming. He had a two game homerun streak to up his total for the year to six. He is also showing a bit more diversity with a .343 average and only 14 whiffs in 21 games. That will get him a callup before the year is out with Tommy Joseph struggling to get past the Mendoza line.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr 3B (Blue Jays) - Vladimir has an 11 game hitting streak to prop his average up to .348. He has driven in seven runs in his last five games and had a streak in which he scored at least one run in five consecutive games. He has an impressive 14/11 walk to whiff ratio proving he is better at taking pitches than his father.

Braxton Davidson OF (Braves) - The Braves 2014 first round pick has been scuffling early in the season. A 4 for 4 game in which he also drew two walks brought that average back up to .200. He also socked his first homerun of the year in this game, driving in three runs. Last year Braxton struck out 184 times in 128 games. This inability to make contact continues with 33 whiffs in just 21 games to start the season.

Francisco Mejia C (Indians) - Francisco also hit his first homerun of the year, but his bat has still been hot with a .333 average. He has been filling the gaps with seven doubles.

Daz Cameron OF (Astros) - The son of Mike had a big seven RBI game with a triple and double driving in most of the runs. The 3 for 5 day brought his average to .208. Despite the low average Daz has been productive with 17 runs driven in and 16 runs scored in just 20 games.

Josh Naylor 1B (Padres) - Josh is starting to show the Padres his power. He has homered in two consecutive games, with multiple hits in five consecutive games. His hitting streak is now at 7 raising his average to .305. He is 15 for 31 during his hitting streak with three dingers and nine runs batted in. Josh has also shown some speed with four stolen bases in four attempts.

Max Pentecost C (Blue Jays) - Max was a first round pick of the Blue Jays in 2014. Injuries have prevented him from playing in more than 74 games. He is hoping this year will be different. A 14 game hitting streak has his average up to .328. The only game he has failed to get a hit was his first game. In his last eight games he has powered five of his six homeruns. That has given him 13 of his 16 RBIs for the year.

Tyler Mahle RHP (Reds) - Tyler followed his perfect game with six shutout innings, giving up just four hits. After five starts the opposition is just hitting .104 against him. Last year he started 14 games in AA and spun together an ERA of 4.92. This year he sits at 0.55. As putrid as the Reds starting pitching has been he could be called up as a solution to the rotation woes.

Jeff Hoffman RHP (Rockies) - It is just a matter of time before Jeff is called up. Last year the Rockies gave him six starts and he struggled with a 4.88 ERA. He threw seven innings of one hit shutout ball in his latest start to lower his AAA ERA to 3.86.

Jorge Lopez RHP (Brewers) - Last year Jorge was destined for the Brewers rotation. A 6.81 ERA in 16 starts got him a trip to AA Biloxi instead. That is where he is starting the 2017 season. After a 10 strikeout, six inning two hitter AAA is calling him. Last year he struggled to throw strikes. In five starts this year he has a 4/30 walk to whiff ratio in 26 innings.

Adalberto Mejia LHP (Twins) - Adalberto pitched well enough in spring to earn a spot in the Twins starting rotation to begin the season. He had trouble finding the plate, walking 8 in just over nine innings in his first three starts. That led to a demotion to AAA. In his first AAA minor league start Mejia didn’t walk a batter, striking out six in a seven inning two hit shutout outing. He needs to have a couple more outings like this to show the Twins that this was no fluke.

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

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A No Hitter in the Minor Leagues

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

Scott Copeland RHP (Marlins) - At 29 years of age Copeland is not considered a prospect. He still threw seven innings of no hit ball before being removed from the game in the top of the eighth for a pinch hitter. He walked one and struck out eight. Two different relievers came on to preserve the no hitter, though a couple walks spoiled the shutout.

Enyel de los Santos RHP (Padres) - Enyel pitched six innings of perfect ball, striking out seven. The bullpen failed to preserve the no hitter giving up a single in the ninth inning. San Antonio was still able to beat Arkansas 2-0. It was the second start for Santos, who has only given up one run in his 12 innings of work. The opposition is hitting just .053 against him. The Padres were able to steal the mid-90s fastball pitcher off the Mariners for Joaquin Benoit.

Ryan Olson RHP (Reds) - Ryan threw a complete game nine inning shutout, giving up just four hits in the first complete game shutout in the minor leagues this year. It was his second start of the year. In his first start he worked seven innings without allowing a run, giving up just two hits. After two starts the opposition is hitting him at a .122 clip. He has only walked one hitter in those 16 innings for a WHIP of 0.44.

Luis Escobar RHP (Pirates) - Luis Escobar struck out 11, which was one less than his first outing. That gives him 23 strikeouts in the young season, tops in the minor leagues. He allowed just one run in each of his starts to fashion a 1.64 ERA. Luis has only walked one hitter in his 11 innings of work with more than two whiffs per each inning of work.

Shane Bieber RHP (Indians) - Believe in the Bieber. He struck out 11 in six innings of work allowing just the one run. In two starts covering 10.2 innings Shane has yet to walk a batter, striking out 18. The fourth round 2016 pick is not overpowering but relies on his command to retire hitters.

Franklin Perez RHP (Astros) - In the low minors the Astros like to rotate their pitchers starting and relieving. Franklin gave up just one hit in 5.1 innings in his start. In a relief outing he picked up a save with four innings of perfect relief. That is one hit given up in 9.1 inning of work for an opposition average of .034.

Jomar Reyes 3B (Orioles) - Jomar has six multiple hit games in the nine games he has played. That has put his average at .444 to start the season. He is repeating his assignment in the Carolina League after hitting just .228 there last year. Last year Jomar stole three bases and he has stolen one base this year. Not noted for his speed Jomar has yet to be caught stealing in his minor league career going 7 for 7 in stolen bases.

Francisco Mejia C (Indians) - Last year Francisco put together a 50 game hitting streak in his two level performance hitting .342. He continues to hit this year with an 8 game hitting streak to start the season and a .414 average. Seven of his 12 hits have gone for doubles. If Yan Gomes struggles with the bat this year Francisco could find himself in the major leagues.

Chris Shaw 1B (Giants) - Chris is finding AA pitching to his liking, raking for a .382 average in 10 games. He is 8 for 12 in his last three games with homeruns in consecutive games and seven RBIs during that three game stretch. Brandon Belt will be a tough bat to replace and Chris does not have the foot speed to move to the outfield.

Christian Arroyo SS (Giants) - Christian has an eight game hitting streak and a 3 for 3 performance Friday raised his average to .467. Only four of his 14 hits have gone for extra bases.