Archive for the 'Marlins' Category

NL East Minor League All Stars

Saturday, October 14th, 2017

Below are the NL East Minor League All Stars by classification as broken out by Baseball America. Next myworld will take a look at who we think are the top ten prospects at each position. The best prospect in baseball (Ronald Acuna) is not listed here because he did not spend enough time at the three classifications he played at.

Atlanta Braves

Mike Soroka SP (AA) - The Canadian righthander is not the most overpowering pitcher in the game. The number one pick of the Braves in 2015 relies on command and the quality of his secondary pitches to retire hitters. His fastball sits in the low 90s but the opposition hit him at only a .233 clip. At 6′5″ he has good height that makes that low 90s fastball seem like it has more velocity.

Alex Jackson C (High A) - Alex was a first round pick of the Mariners in 2014. A catcher in high school the Mariners moved him to the outfield where he struggled making contact. The Mariners traded him to the Braves last year were he was returned to his high school position. Coincidence or not his bat came alive last year with 19 homeruns and a .480 slugging. There is still a lot of swing and miss with his bat. He has a strong arm but the other tools for catching need to be refined.

Joey Wentz SP (Low A) - The lefthander may have been a supplemental first round pick in 2016 but he was paid a higher bonus than their first round pick that year. Joey has good height (6′5″) and a blazing fastball that hits mid-90s but is more comfortable in the low 90s. His secondary pitches (curve and change) are quality. He should rise quickly once he exercises better command of his pitches.

Bryse Wilson SP (Low A) - The Braves are stocked with pitchers. Bryse was a fourth round pick in 2016. The righthander does not share the same height as his teammate Wentz (6′1″) but his fastball can reach the mid-90s. While he was called on for 26 starts last year his best position with all the arms in the Braves system may be in the bullpen.

William Contreras C (Rookie) - The Venezuelan is the younger brother of Wilson so he has good bloodlines. He still has some work to do on his defense, eliminating the passed balls, but his bat was potent in the rookie league hitting .290 with a 24/30 walk to whiff ratio. He has a 28 percent success rate in gunning down baserunners.

Miami Marlins

None - Derek Jeter has a lot of work to do to make this Marlin team whole.

New York Mets

Amed Rosario SS (AAA) - The Dominican has a smooth glove with a bat that should fit at the top of a lineup. His AAA OBA was .367. That dropped below .300 in the major leagues. If he can show more patience with the big club he could fit in the leadoff spot. The bat also shows enough pop (.466) that he could find himself in the three hole. The glove plays well. Think Francisco Lindor light.

Corey Oswalt SP (AA) - With all their young pitchers you would think they would be set there. Think again. Injuries have played havoc on the rotation and now not even Matt Harvey is in their future. Corey is a 7th round 2012 pick who will fit more in the back end of a rotation. He lacks overpowering stuff but at 6′5″ the low 90s fastball comes at the hitters with the appearance of greater velocity.

Pete Alonso 1B (High A) - The second round 2016 pick carries a little more natural power than Dominic Smith and will be insurance should Smith struggle. His lack of speed prevents any kind of move to the outfield. If Smith succeeds Alonso will be trade bait.

Philadelphia Phillies

Rhys Hoskins 1B (AAA) - If the Phillies had called up Hoskins earlier he may have challenged Cody Bellinger for the rookie of the year honor. He had a nice homerun pace in AAA (29) but enhanced that when promoted to the major leagues (18 in 50 games). His lack of speed makes playing outfield a challenge so one of either Tommy Joseph or Rhys must be moved.

Tom Eshelman SP (AAA) - The second round 2015 pick is noted mostly for his command. He walks hardly anyone. A lack of overpowering stuff means he has to locate his pitches well to achieve success. AAA hitters made soft contact against him (.227 average) but he only struck out 6 hitters per nine innings. His upper 80s fastball will restrict him to a back end of a rotation or emergency starter.

Scott Kingery 2B (AA) - He went on an early homerun binge in AA hitting 18 in just 69 games for a .608 slugging. That homerun pop slowed a bit in AAA (8 homeruns and .449 slugging). History tells us the latter production is more accurate. He can hit for average (.304) and has the speed to steal bases (19). The Phillies have to find a position for him with Freddy Galvis, Cesar Hernandez and J.P. Crawford all fitting the middle infield mold. He may lack the power to move to third, unless he can replicate his AA production.

Darick Hall 1B (Low A) - The 14th round pick in 2016 banged 27 homeruns with a .533 slugging. At 21 he was advanced for low A but his 6′4″ 234 pound frame projects for power. The Phillies appear to be crowded at first base.

Nick Fanti SP (Low A) - Another late round pick (31 in 2015) to have success in Low A. The lefty has a pedestrian fastball that rarely touches 90 but he did pitch a couple no hitters in the minors in 2017. A lot of hitters had trouble with his pitches (.200 opposition average). Whether that can continue as he rises to the higher levels is open to question.

Jhailyn Ortiz OF (short season) - The Phillies shelled out $4 million for the Dominican prospect. Power is his big tool. While he has an above average arm a lack of speed may restrict him to left field. He hit .302 with a .560 slugging to show an impressive bat.

Jhordany Mezquita SP (rookie) - The lefthander was a 8th round pick in 2017. He dominated in rookie ball with a 0.72 ERA in nine starts and a .160 opposition average. His 8.4 whiffs per nine innings indicates a lack of overpowering stuff but myworld does not know really a lot about him.

Leonel Aponte SP (Dominican) - Like Mezquita, other than his 0.77 ERA in 13 starts and his .194 opposition average not a lot is known about Aponte. Pitchers tend to put up good numbers in the Dominican summer league. He appears to have command of his pitches walking only 9 hitters in 81 innings.

Washington Nationals

Victor Robles OF (High A) - A five tool athlete the Dominican was fortunate to see some time in the major leagues. He has the speed to play centerfield and steal bases and the bat to hit for average. The power has yet to come but many project it will arrive as he matures. The arm is powerful enough to move to right. Many suspect Robles will be the right fielder after the free agency departure of Bryce Harper.

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)

Prospects Raking in May

Saturday, May 13th, 2017

Below are the prospects making a name for themselves in the month of May. Some of them have earned a call up to the major leagues or a promotion to the next level of the minor leagues.

Raimel Tapia CF (Rockies) - Tapia had a 16 game hitting streak where he saw his batting average climb from .341 to .400. That got him a promotion to the major league club. Tapia does not hit for a lot of power but he spreads the gaps with 9 doubles and three triples during his streak. He can also move around the outfield with the arm to play right and the range to play center. Stolen bases are also in his repertoire with 8 in 10 attemepts.

Josh Ockimey 1B (Red Sox) - Josh was a fifth round pick of the Red Sox in 2014. A nine game hitting streak was recently ended where he drove in nine runs. He’s hitting .327 but his biggest contribution is his RBIs. His 31 RBIs is second in the Carolina League. The power has not been eye popping with just four homeruns, but he has a .529 slugging percentage and a .961 OPS.

Jake Gatewood 3B/1B (Brewers) - Jake was a first round pick of the Brewers in 2014. He has gotten a hit in all the games he has played in May to extend his hitting streak to 22 games. The strikeouts are a little prevalent with 39 in 34 games but his hitting streak has maintained his average at .333. His 13 doubles top the Carolina League.

Alex Jackson C (Braves) - The trade of Alex to the Braves has rejuvenated his career, or perhaps it is his return to catching. The number one pick of the Mariners in 2014 is hitting .312 with 10 homeruns in the pitcher friendly Florida State League. He is 9 for 21 in his last five games. His 10 homeruns and 30 RBIs lead the Florida State League. Alex has bounced between catching and designated hitter.

Brendan Rodgers SS (Rockies) - Raimel is not the only Rockie minor leaguer to raise his average to .400. A 10 game hitting streak in which he hit .488 moved his average from .276 to .400. Brendan has driven in 12 runs during the streak. All this production will only get him a promotion to AA despite the early season struggles of Trevor Story.

Yoan Moncada 2B (White Sox) - Yoan is making AAA look easy with a .352 average and six homeruns. His OPS sits at .971 and he has stolen 10 bases in 12 attempts. Despite all that and a hole at second base on the major league roster the White Sox are not calling him up. At least not right now. If he continues to assault AAA pitching they may have no choice.

Victor Caratini C (Cubs) - The Cubs are loaded at catcher. Back to back four hit games by Victor put his average at .361. If Wilson Contreras does not get out of his hitting funk Caratini will make his presence known. The defense is not as strong but the Cubs needs some offense and Victor has shown he can provide that. The second round 2013 pick of the Braves was traded to the Cubs in 2014 for Emilio Bonafacio.

Mauricio Dubon SS (Brewers) - Mauricio was drafted in the 26th round by the Red Sox but was born in Honduras. The Red Sox traded him to the Brewers as part of the Tyler Thornburg swap. A six game hitting streak (11 for 27) has raised his average to .294. Mauricio has speed stealing 30 bases in 2015 and 2016. In only 35 games this year Mauricio has stolen 18 bases in 22 attempts.

Carson Kelly C (Cardinals) - No one questions his defense. Some say his bat is a little soft. Carson is trying to change that with a 15 for 26 seven game hitting streak that has raised his average to .329. With Yadier Molina still functioning behind the plate the Cardinals can be patient with Carson. His bat is also showing a little pop with five homeruns and a .576 slugging percentage.

Ronald Acuna CF (Braves) - The 19 year old Venezuelan was recently promoted to AA and he keeps on raking. After hitting .287 with three homeruns and five triples in the Florida State League Ronald had back to back three hit games in his AA debut. He hit homeruns in each of those games and is now batting .500 after four games. Many compare his quick ascent up the minor league ladder to Andrew Jones.

Travis Demeritte 2B (Braves) - The bat is starting to come to life for Travis. After slugging 28 homeruns last year Travis had just one in his first 28 games of 2017. He has now slugged three in his last five games and a 10 for 23 six game hitting streak has elevated his average to .274. The whiffs are still there with 33 in 33 games.

James Nelson 3B (Marlins) - The 2016 15th round pick is raising eyebrows in the South Atlantic League with his .357 average. A recent 10 game hitting streak (19 for 41) has seen his average climb 150 points. The production is still lacking with only seven RBIs.

Mike Gerber CF (Tigers) - Mike may not solve the Tigers center field problem from a defensive perspective, but there is some juice in his bat. He has hit three homeruns in his last two games to give him five for the year. A four game multiple hit streak (11 for 18) has raised his average to .331. Last year Mike slugged 18 homeruns between High A and AA. The Tigers could be prepared to sacrifice some defense for offense if they continue their struggles in centerfield.

Rhys Hoskins 1B and Dylan Cozens RF (Phillies) - The duo have taken their homerun show to the International League where their 8 homeruns are tied with two others for the league lead. Last year the duo were 1-2 in the Eastern League in homeruns. Rhys is having the more consistent year with a .339 average. His 26 RBIs tie him for the league lead. Dylan is struggling a little bit, but a three game hitting streak of 8 for 15 has raised his average to .221. He has hit three homeruns and driven in five during that streak.

Jorge Mateo SS (Yankees) - Jorge has not been heard from in awhile, with his batting average slumming around the low .200 range. This is his third year in A ball and he would like to get promoted before he throws another temper tantrum. Last night could be the impetus to that after a 4 for 6 day in which he hit his first two homeruns. The whiffs need to be reduced with 39 in just 35 games but he has stolen 15 bases in 17 attempts despite his struggles to get on base (.290 OBA).

Cole Tucker SS (Pirates) - The 2014 first round pick had a day with two homeruns, a triple and a double in a 4 for 6 performance in which he drove in seven. Cole was just a single short of the cycle. A three game multiple hit streak (8 for 16) has raised his average to .285. The seven RBIs in one game almost equaled the 9 he drove in for his first 33 games.

Jack Flaherty RHP (Cardinals) - The 2014 first round pick is dominating AA with a 0.99 ERA in seven starts. The two runs he gave up in his last start is the most he has given up this year. The start previous to that he struck out 12. The opposition is hitting him at .185 and he has only walked 6 in 45 innings for a 0.79 WHIP. Expect a promotion to AAA or the Cardinals soon.

Mitch Keller RHP (Pirates) - Mitch has not given up a run in his last three starts covering 18.2 innings. He was taken out of his last start after just 4.2 innings when a bee stung him. The bee may have been confused by the black and yellow uniforms the Marauders wear. For the year Mitch has an ERA of 2.54 with the opposition hitting him at .196.

Ronald Herrera RHP (Yankees) - Ronald gave up his first run after three starts, a span covering 18.1 innings. That puts his ERA at 0.49. The Venezuelan stands only 5′11″ and does not put up the strikeout numbers but the soft contact is evident by the .188 opposition average. This is his third year in AA for the 22 year old.

Luke Weaver RHP (Cardinals) - Another Cardinal heard from. Luke was put on the disabled list after his first two inning start. Returning in May Luke has not given up a run in 13 innings to extend his 2017 scoreless streak to 15 innings. He has yet to walk a batter and the opposition is hitting just .167 against him. If Luke can show he is healthy it could result in a quick promotion to the major leagues.

Jon Duplantier RHP (Diamondbacks) - The third round 2016 pick only saw one appearance last year. This year in six appearances and five starts he has only given up runs in one of those appearances. His ERA sits at 0.86 and the opposition is hitting him at a .146 clip. He has 40 whiffs in 31.1 innings.

Logan Shore RHP (Athletics) - Logan tossed five innings of no hit ball in his last start. The 2016 second round pick has now lowered his ERA to 2.37. The five inning outing was the longest of the year.

Josh Staumont RHP (Royals) - Josh had his second double digit strikeout game with 10 in five innings. His five walks continue to show his wild side with a 23/52 walk to whiff ratio in 37 innings. This has kept his AAA ERA at 3.62 and given pause by the Royals brass for a promotion. Almost half of his 15 runs were given up in his opening start.

Adam Lind for the Pinch Hit Win

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

Adam Lind got his first hit as a National today. In the seventh inning he pinch hit for Steven Strasburg and drove a pitch from David Phelps into the right centerfield bleachers for a two run homer. New acquisition Matt Wieters had just singled prior to that. The pinch hit homerun turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead enough to give Steven Strasburg the win in his opening day start.

Edinson Volquez pitched five shutout innings for the Miami Marlins. The game did not start out so well for him in the opening frame. Trea Turner lined a 3-2 pitch into the wall in the left field corner for a double. Adam Eaton walked on four pitches. The Nationals could not take advantage. Bryce Harper struck out on the third pitch with a checked swing. The Nationals pulled a double steal with Daniel Murphy up to put runners on second and third with one out. Murphy swung and missed at a 82 mile per hour slider at his feet. Ryan Zimmerman ended the inning swinging and missing at a 96 mile per hour fastball.

The Marlins scored all their runs in the fourth. J.T. Realmuto started the inning with a blast over the head of Adam Eaton in left centerfield for a double. He advanced to third on a deep fly to center by Christian Yelich. Giancarlo Stanton hit the first pitch from Strasburg to one hop the wall in right centerfield to score the first run of the game. A ground out to short moved Stanton to third. He scored on a Marcell Ozuna single.

The Nationals had another opportunity to score in the bottom half of the inning. Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman started the inning lining singles into right center and left field. Jayson Werth followed with his second poor at bat, swinging and missing at a pitch that he went fishing for from his knees. Stephen Drew grounded into the first of his two 4-6-3 double plays.

Strasburg was sharp for seven innings. In the top of the fifth he gave up two singles, giving up his second hit to pitcher Edinson Volquez. With runners on first and second and two outs Christian Yelich hit a deep fly to right. Bryce Harper went back for the ball and made an over the shoulder, falling down catch at the warning track to save the Marlins from scoring two more runs. Strasburg then mowed down the Marlins in order the next two innings.

Bryce Harper has a knack for hitting opening day homeruns. He did it again with a solo shot, no doubter in the sixth that landed deep into the right field bleachers. For Harper it was his fifth opening day homerun. David Phelps had come in the game in the sixth to replace Edinson Volquez. Volquez had struck out six in his five innings of work, allowing just four hits.

Phelps also started the seventh inning. He retired the first two hitters. Matt Wieters extended the inning with a single. Adam Lind pinch hit for Strasburg. The Marlins could not counter with a lefthander from the pen. Phelps stayed in the game to pitch to Lind and on a 2-0 count Lind drove a line drive that just escaped into the bleachers in the right centerfield corner to give the Nationals a 3-2 lead. Nat fans stood until Lind came out for a curtain call to honor his first hit as a National, a go ahead two run homer.

Stephen Solis retired the Marlins in order in the eighth. Junichi Tazawa came on to pitch the bottom frame for the Marlins. He threw only one strike to Adam Eaton and Bryce Harper for back to back walks. Daniel Murphy bounced a single into right field to score Adam Eaton with an insurance run. That ended the day for Tazawa. Ryan Zimmerman singled off Brad Ziegler to load the bases for the Nationals with no one out. Jayson Werth took another feeble third strike swing for the first out, his third whiff of the game. Stephen Drew grounded into his second 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Blake Treinen came on to fulfill his recently announced role as the closer. He seemed to throw nothing but 94 mile per hour fastballs. It was enough to retire the Marlins in order, two of those for strikeouts. Marcell Ozuna ended the game taking a 94 mile per hour fastball for the third out.

Nats Notes: The concessions get an F for the opening day service. Many of the stands were not ready with any food five minutes before the start of the game. The Virginia Ham stand did not have the chicken ready and there were no chips, but myworld still paid the full $8.50 for the sandwich without the chips. A total failure for many of the concession stands in the upper decks…The game was a sellout with 42,744 at the game…Edinson Volquez came into the game hitting .087. He got two hits in two at bats against Strasburg…Trea Turner showed a solid arm at short, diving into the hole to grab a Adeiny Hechavarria grounder and having enough arm to gun him out at first base. It proved a critical play when the Marlins followed with two more hits in the inning…Jayson Werth made a leaping catch at the bullpen fence on a Giancarlo Stanton drive. The ball would not have gone over the fence, but Jayson robbed Stanton of a double. Jayson could not do anything with the bat, striking out three of his four times at the plate…After the Harper falling down over the shoulder catch the Marlins failed to get a hit the rest of the game. Strasburg retired the next six hitters and Solis and Treinen retired the final six hitters…Anthony Rendon did not play in the game because of a bruised left calf. He is expected to play on Wednesday.

30 Teams in 30 Days - Miami Marlins

Friday, March 31st, 2017

Overview - The 2016 season had to be one of the worst for the Marlins. Even though they finished in third place how can you close out a season when one of your more popular players, Jose Fernandez dies in a boating accident. Myworld does not know how anyone can motivate themselves to finish the remainder of the season, especially when there were no playoff implications. It will be difficult replacing their ace pitcher. Another third place finish awaits them because they lack their ace. Edinson Volquez was signed as a free agent to replace the lost arm of Fernamdez, but he falls far short of what Fernandez could give the Marlins. It would be ideal if they could finally get one complete season out of Giancarlo Stanton to determine if he could hit 40 homeruns. It is a large park they play in and the team was 29th in the majors in homeruns.

Strengths - Their outfield is one of the best in baseball. Giancarlo Stanton provides the power and is a solid defender in right field. Marcell Ozuna has some pop in his bat and will move over to left field. Christian Yelich should compete for batting titles and his superior defensive skills will put him in center field. Yelich does not have the arm for center but covers more ground than Ozuna. Ichiro Suzuki is more than a capable backup in left or right field. Myworld likes J.T. Realmuto and what he can provide behind the plate and with the bat. Last year he hit .303 with 11 homeruns, strafing righthanded pitching at a .322 clip. It would not surprise myworld to see Realmuto make the All Star team this year. Dee Gordon has speed and with a full season can still 50 plus bases. He does need to improve on his .305 OBA.

Weaknesses - The starting pitching has holes. Wei-Yin Chen is not an ace. He is usually good for six innings but then his pitches start to fade. Last year was a bit of a struggle for him, giving up 22 homeruns in just 123 innings. He is better suited for someplace in the middle of the rotation. Myworld does not really see an ace on this staff with Edinson Volquez and his 5.37 ERA taking on that role. Dan Straily was acquired from the Reds but he is more back end of the rotation. His 3.76 ERA would be tops in this rotation. Adam Conley and Tom Koehler should complete this very vanilla starting staff. Adeiny Hechivarria is a superb defensive shortstop but he provides little in offense. Justin Bour provides the potential for power at first base but he struggles against left handed pitching and his defense is suspect.

Break out Prospects - Myworld liked what we saw from Brian Anderson at spring training. He showed some good pop with defensive skills to play third base. His only chance to play this year would be an injury to Martin Prado and Dee Gordon that forces Derek Dietrich to move to second. Tayron Guerrero needs to work on throwing strikes. His whole minor league career has been spent in the bullpen, but he throws hard and misses bats. We also liked what we saw from Drew Steckenrider. He has a burly frame at 6′5″ and splits the plate in the mid-90s. He pitched out of the pen last year but that could have been because of his 2013 Tommy John surgery. Myworld would like to see him in the rotation. J.T. Riddle could break out as a utility player but he does not offer a lot to get excited about.

Prospects to Watch - It will be the professional debut for Braxton Garrett, their 2016 number one pick. The Marlins decided to rest him after he pitched for the 18 and under USA team. His best pitch is his curveball but the lefthander can get low 90s velo on his fastball. Tyler Kolek was the Marlins first round pick in 2014 but missed all of last year after Tommy John surgery. He is 6′5″ and 260 with a fastball that hits the triple digits on the radar guns. We put Stone Garrett on this list because we like his name. He does have some potential for power but has a lot of swing and miss in his swing, which is a reason for his .213 batting average.

Expected Finish - This team will be closer to fourth than to second.

Twins Blast Marlins in Spring Training Tuneup

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Myworld returned to Jupiter for our last spring training game of 2017. The next two games will be WBC. The Twins took it to the Marlins today 8-2 on the day Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich left to represent the United States in the WBC.

The Marlins scored the first run in the opening frame when Ichiro lined a single through the second base hole. J.T. Realmuto sliced a double down the right field line. Ichiro had to stop at second when the ball bounced over the fence. Justin Bour grounded a ball up the middle but right at the shortstop in the shift for the ground out, but Ichiro scored on the play.

That was the last lead for the Marlins. The Twins scored the next two runs, John Ryan Murphy hitting a solo shot over the left field wall in the second inning after two were out. Byung-Ho Park also hit a solo homerun in the third inning after two were out. For Park it is his third homerun of the spring.

The Twins put the game away in the last three innings scoring six runs. Kyle Barraclough hit a batter and walked four to score two runs in the seventh. Dan Rohfing grounded into a double play just as the bullpen was warming up to put the Marlins out of their misery.

The Marlins scored a run in the eighth on a walk and passed ball. Eduardo Escobar singled to drive in a run. Miami loaded the bases in the bottom frame but Brandon Barnes struck out to strand the runners.

In the top of the ninth Rohlfing made amends for his grounding into a double play with the bases loaded by crushing a three run homer over the left field wall to give the Twins a 8-1 lead. In his only at bat for the Marlins Brian Anderson hit a two out homerun off a J.T. Chargois three digit fastball over the centerfield fence to end the game at 8-2.

Game Notes: Byung-Ho Park seems to have trouble hitting any pitch that has a bend to it. His homerun came off a fastball…J.T. Realmuto had a nice throw to second to get Eduardo Escobar caught stealing. He has a nice arm…This game had its own WBC flair to it with Wei-Yin Chen (Taiwan) starting on the mound, Adeiny Hechevarria (Cuba) at short, Miguel Rojas (Venezuela) at third, Marcel Ozuna (Dominican Republic) in right field, Ichiro Suzuki (Japan) at DH, Byung-Ho Park (Korea) playing first base and Max Kepler (Germany) in right field…The Jupiter stadium has the best concessions on the East Coast. Tacos, bbq nachos, various types of hot dogs, sliders and the traditional flair…All spring training parks now charge $10 for parking. That may be standard now.

Nationals Battle Marlins to a Tie

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Prior to the WBC game between Dominican Republic and Canada myworld was in West Palm Beach to watch the Washington Nationals tie the Miami Marlins 2-2. It was why we were late to the WBC game. Neither team got a hit until the Nationals Adam Eaton led off the fourth with a single. Nothing worse than watching a tie in a baseball game.

The 5′9″ Dillon Peters threw three shutout innings. He walked leadoff hitter Trea Turner but retired his next nine batters. A.J. Cole worked four innings without giving up a hit. He walked the leadoff batter in the third inning.

The Marlins scored their only two runs off Joe Nathan in the fifth. His fastball was in the high 80s with Destin Hood doubling off him while singles by Ramon Cabrera and Adeiny Hechevarria drove in the two runs. Dee Gordon grounded into a double play to end the inning. Joe needs to show more if he wants to make the Nationals roster.

The Nationals scored their two runs on a solo leadoff homerun by Bryce Harper in the sixth and another solo leadoff homerun by Derek Norris in the seventh. The Harper homeruns was a line drive into left field.

Game Notes: For a small pitcher Dillon Peters threw hard, hitting 92-94 miles per hour with his fastball. That is more than enough velocity for a lefthander. He threw only 13 pitches in the second and third innings…Ryan Zimmerman is still not hitting. The spring is too long for him but he may need that length to get his first hit…Adam Lind has not gotten off to a good start. He had two strikeouts, swinging and missing or taking 6 pitches for the two strikeouts. It is early in the spring but his bat is very slow…The Presidents race for spring training has William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover and Calvin Coolidge, or the B-team Presidents…Screech walks around the field trying to entertain the crowd. One group called him the big chicken…Moises Sierra was caught off second looking at the third base coach to see if he should advance to third on a single. Clint Robinson threw behind him to pick Moises off. The Marlins third base coach was not too pleased with the baserunning blunder.

Mets Pound Marlins in Spring Game

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

On Sunday myworld drove to Florida to begin our one week of spring training baseball. The first game was in Jupiter to watch the New York Mets pound the Miami Marlins 8-2. A six run eighth inning broke a 1-1 tie to put the game out of reach.

Homeruns scored the first two runs. Travis d’Arnaud led off the fourth inning with a solo shot into left field. The Mets later loaded the bases with one out but Matt Reynolds grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning. Giancarlo Stanton hooked a homer into left field in the sixth inning to tie the game 1-1.

Nick Maronde came on to start the eighth and could only get one hitter out. Doubles by Travis Taijeron and Phillip Evans and a homerun by L.J. Mazilli put five runs on the board before Maronde was forced to leave the mound.

Two poor fielding plays in the bottom of the eighth by Dominic Smith almost allowed the Marlins to get back in the game. Two flips to the pitcher never reached the pitcher, one was ruled a hit and the other an error putting two runners on base. They scored a run on a Moises Sierra single with a walk loading the bases with no outs. A strikeout, ground out pitcher to home and fly to right ended the inning.

Game Notes - Victor Payano looks taller than 6′5″. Tayron Guerrero is listed at 6′8″ and Victor appeared as tall as him or taller…Tayron Guerrero was the hardest thrower in the game, hitting 96-98 on the radar. He is too slow to the plate with his all arm and leg delivery and runners stole second off him easily…Ben Rowen is another tall pitcher who throws submarine. Not one of his pitches went over 76…Myworld was not impressed with the arm of J.T. Realmuto. Two warmup tosses and another throw to second on a pitch out were very loopy…Myworld was also not impressed with the speed of Amed Rosario on two ground outs to third…Tyler Moore had a ball glance off his glove, hit the wall and then caught it, but Wuilmer Becerra was credited with a double…Brian Anderson impressed on defense at third base…Drew Steckenrider is a big guy with a 95 mile per hour fastball. An error by J.T. Riddle on a double play grounder should have ended the inning with no runs scored but with the inning extended Drew got wild, walked two and was replaced by Payano…The first at bat for L.J. Mazzilli this spring was a two run homer…Dominic Smith did not look good at first defensively. He made two straight flips to the pitcher to first that did not reach the pitcher. He also swung and missed at a pitch in the dirt for a strikeout and a late swing and miss on a 94 mile per hour fastball for another strikeout…Juan Lagares made a nice over the shoulder catch on a drive by Brian Anderson in the eighth. Brian would have finished the day 2 for 2 if not for the Lagares catch.

Myworld’s Top 100 Prospects - 70 - 61

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

70. Kevin Maitan SS (Braves) 3 - The Braves shelled out $4.25 million for him in 2016. At 17 years of age he has no minor league experience so this rating may be a bit optimistic. He can hit for power from both sides of the plate and is expected to hit for average. The Braves compare him to Chipper Jones. At 6′2″ he may have to move to third, but Dansby Swanson could also be a reason for that move. It will be interesting if the Braves have him start in the Dominican League or bring him to the United States for the rookie leagues.

69. Aaron Judge OF (Yankees) 3.15 - With a good spring he could win the right field job, though Aaron Hicks will have a say about that. At 6′7″ Judge has tremendous athleticism. He can cover ground in right field and has a strong throwing arm. What makes Yankee fans drool is his Giancarlo Stanton type power possibilities. What is a cause of concern is his plethora of strikeouts. He cut down on the whiffs last year in the minor leagues, but when promoted to the majors the whiffs returned, 42 of them in less than 100 at bats.

68. Raimel Tapia OF (Rockies) 3.25 - In the minor leagues Raimel has yet to hit less than .300. His career minor league average is .317. The Rockies outfield situation is a bit crowded so he will have to again spend most of his time in the minor leagues. With a little more meat on his bones he could surpass 20 homerun power but 40 double gap power is his current projection. The arm is good enough for right field and his defensive prowess should put him at the top of the league. If he wants to steal bases he must improve his jumps. A 63 percent career success rate will not allow managers to give him the green light.

67. Dominic Smith 1B/Of (Mets) 3.32 - Dominic may be the second coming of James Loney, with a little better bat and less of a glove. In 2016 he did break out for 14 homeruns after hitting only seven in his first two years. Also at 250 pounds Dominic will have to watch his weight so Pablo Sandoval comparisons do not creep into the conversation. He is a Lucas Duda injury away from making the Mets. His glove is solid despite his girth, however his speed would make him a liability in the outfield. Dominic hits the gaps and should consistently hit near the .300 neighborhood. If he could sprinkle in some power that would be ideal.

66. Braxton Garrett LHP (Marlins) 3.35 - The Marlins 2016 first round pick. He pitched for the gold medal winning United States team in the 18 and under World Cup of baseball. His fastball does not have great velocity, sitting in the low 90s. The curve is his best pitch, allowing him to strike out two hitters per inning in high school. He did not pitch in 2016 so extended spring training with rookie league action seems a possibility.

65. Kevin Newman SS (Pirates) 3.47 - Kevin was the Pirates first round pick in 2015. He should replace Jody Mercer at shortstop at some point in 2018. He’ll start this season in AA with a possible late season callup to get him acclimated to the major leagues. He is not a player who will light you up with his tools, but neither was Jody Mercer. He makes contact, does not have a lot of power, is consistent at shortstop but lacks gold glove type range.

64. Leody Taveras OF (Rangers) 3.5 - Leody is a $2.1 million bonus baby out of the Dominican Republic. He is a potential five tool talent, though he only took one ball over the fence in over 300 at bats in rookie ball last season. At that point he was a high school player competing against first round picks. He makes solid contact, is patient enough to draw walks, has the speed to play center and the arm to fit in right. He should begin the 2017 season in full season Low A.

63. Anthony Alford OF (Blue Jays) 3.53 - Anthony would be a five tool player with a better arm. His speed and range are good enough for center, but if that doesn’t work out he will be a better fit in left field. A top notch defensive back in football he has the speed to steal bases but the power to sail balls over fences. He did strike out 117 times in 92 games but the Blue Jays hope that gets reduced now that his focus is on baseball. A knee injury in 2016 slowed him down so the Blue Jays hope a healthy 2017 will show the real Alford.

62. David Paulino RHP (Astros) 3.57 - A history of injuries may keep Paulino in the bullpen. At 6′7″ with a mid to high 90s fastball he can be a very intimidating presence on the mound. He missed the 2014 season because of Tommy John surgery and has not pitched close to 100 innings in his last two seasons. David did make his major league debut last year, throwing seven innings. With potential for a plus slider and change Paulino has the requisite number of pitches to be a successful starter. He just needs to stay healthy.

61. Jorge Mateo 2B/SS (Yankees) 3.6 - The acquisition by the Yankees of Gleyber Torres will move Jorge to second base. It is unclear how he will take that since the Yankees had to suspend him last year after he pouted about not being promoted to AA last season. Compared to the numbers he put up in 2015 Jorge was not deserving of the promotion, his stolen base totals dropping from 82 to 36 and his batting average slipping 20 points. Speed will be his game but Jorge has deceptive power. Last year he showed it with 8 homeruns.