Archive for the 'Mets' Category

Forbes List of Top Paid Baseball Players

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Soccer players are the top three salaried athletes on the Forbes Top 100 Highest Paid Athletes list. The process was to figure out a player’s salary or winnings and endorsements, add them up and come up with their 2019 earnings. The one difficulty with that is the endorsements were based on publicly identified endorsements or word of mouth by talking with representatives about the worth of those endorsements. So the list may not be totally accurate.

Soccer takes the first three, a boxer is number four, tennis at five, football takes 6-7, basketball dominates 8-10 and golf is at 11. You have to go to the 17th spot to find your baseball player. Only one woman makes this list and she plays tennis. Myworld will force you to go the Forbes list to get the names of the above listed athletes associated with their sport.

For baseball, endorsement money was a small portion of their value. I’ll list the endorsement money for the top three, but after that it was under $1 million.

17. Mike Trout (Angels) - $56 million ($3 million in endorsements)
23. Bryce Harper (Phillies) - $44.5 million ($6.5 million in endorsements)
30. Manny Machado (Padres) - $34.8 million
50. David Price (Red Sox) - $31.7 million
54. Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) - $30 million
61. Justin Verlander (Astros) - $29.5 million
62. Yoennis Cespedes (Mets) - $29.4 million
63. Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) - $29.2 million
68. Jake Arrieta (Phillies) - $28.8 million
73. Albert Pujols (Angels) - $28 million
77. Giancarlo Stanton (Yankees) - $27.4 million ($2 million in endorsements)
84. Felix Hernandez (Mariners) - $26.6 million
94. J.D. Martinez (Red Sox) - $25.6 million
96. Joey Votto (Reds) - $25.4 million

Ramos Further Buries Nationals

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

The bullpen has been bad for the Nationals as has been their defense. It was their defense that extended the first inning. Wilson Ramos made them pay with a grand slam homerun to give the Mets a 6-2 win over the Nationals. The loss dropped the sliding Nationals to 16-25. With the win the Mets pounced back onto .500 at 20-20.

Jeremy Hellickson was again the victim of the poor defense. It appeared to be a quick inning after a double play grounder hit by Robinson Cano appeared to end the inning. The call was originally ruled out at first base, but upon further review it was determined that Gerrado Parra was drawn off the bag by the throw from Wilmer Difo and never secured the ball as he fell off the bag.

Hellickson had an opportunity to still get out of the inning. Pete Alonso grounded the slowest of ground balls that somehow squirted through the infield out into centerfield. Michael Conforto walked to load the bases. Wilson then hit a line drive that had enough elevation to carry into the left field bleachers for an early 4-0 lead.

It was all the runs Noah Syndergaard needed. The Nationals were one hit on Sunday by the Dodgers. Noah did not give up a hit to the Nationals until the sixth inning. Wilmer Difo and pinch hitter Adrian Sanchez hit back to back singles. Adam Eaton grounded a ball up the middle which Ahmed Rosario turned into a double play. Victor Robles then blasted one deep into the middle row of the left field bleachers to close the Mets lead to 6-2.

The Nationals poor defense also gave the Mets a run in the top of the sixth. Hellickson gave up a single to Michael Conforto and walked Wilson Ramos to start off the inning. That ended the day for him and brought on lefty Matt Grace. Brandon Nimmo lined a 1-2 pitch into centerfield. Victor Robles seemed to dart left, then shifted his feet to try to move backwards but it was too late. The ball travelled over his head for an RBI double. Grace was able to get out of the inning, retiring the next three hitters without allowing another run to score.

In the top of the ninth pinch hitter Dominic Smith mashed a pitch into centerfield, over the 402 foot marker. On this day the Mets would not need their closer, though he was warming up in the bullpen.

Nats Notes: It was a sparse crowd on this night, with the temperatures dipping more towards fall like weather. Attendance was listed at 23,315, but it was a late arriving crowd…Noah was hitting 97-99 with his fastball. Jeremy Hellickson was hitting 87-90….The Nationals have to lead the league in called third strikes. Juan Soto took two called strikes and struck out swinging once. His average has dropped to .235. Brian Dozier took a called third strike and Gerrado Parra ended the game with a called third strike…Eric Fedde pitched two innings of solid relief, but he did have some adventures in the seventh inning. On a ground ball to first where he went to cover, his foot missed the base and then he tried to swipe over the bag and barely made contact. The next batter popped one up, but instead of waiting on the mound for the catcher or third baseman to make the catch he ran off the mound, called it and barely secured it in his glove…The Nationals have now lost 14 of their last 19 games. They have the second worst record in the Nationals League. Only the Marlins have a worse won/loss record…The good news is that Trea Turner is playing some rehab games and could be available

NL East Predictions

Friday, March 29th, 2019

The last of our division predictions.

1. Philadelphia Phillies

Strengths - The new guys. Bryce Harper is the most publicized new guy, but there were more important additions prior to the Harper signing. The trade for J.T. Realmuto provides a more experienced catcher to lead a younger starting rotation. They traded their previous catcher Jorge Alfaro to upgrade at this position. The same holds true for Jean Segura, a quality shortstop who they acquired from the Mariners, including in the trade their previous shortstop J.P. Crawford and again upgrading this position. Signing Andrew McCutchen as a free agent upgrades left field from a defensive stand point and moves the big bat of Rhys Hoskins to first base where his power belongs. Seranthony Dominguez won their closer job last year and did a good job in saving games. Newly acquired David Robertson provides the team choices at the closer position and gives the team an experienced arm in case Dominguez falters.

Weakness - The starting rotation looks slim after Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta. Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin and Vince Velasquez all have talent but suffer from youthful inconsistency. They certainly fall short of the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves starting rotation. Defense is not a strength here. No gold glovers covering the infield or outfield.

Prospects to Make an Impact - Most of their top prospects who were close to the major leagues were traded. What’s left are mostly relievers like Enyel de los Santos and Ranger Suarez. Ranger could help in the rotation but his ceiling is as a fifth starter.

Expected Finish - It will be a four team battle but the Phillies will rise to the top because of improvement in their offense, provided injuries don’t eat into their depth.

2. Washington Nationals

Strengths - The top three starters are the best trio in baseball. Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin can not be matched by any other team, provided they stay healthy. That is no sure thing for Strasburg and Corbin needs to show that last year was not a fluke. The left side of the infield with Anthony Rendon and Trea Turner is strong both offensively and defensively. Turner provides the speed while Rendon shows the power.

Weakness - The Nationals have failed to make the playoffs twice, both times when they were favored to win the division. When they make the playoffs they get eliminated in the first round. Much of that is blamed on a lack of leadership in the locker room. That is still a problem, with too many quiet players reluctant to lead. Max Scherzer is the one vocal leader but pitchers are tough to lead since they only appear in the lineup every five days. The outfield lacks depth. Adam Eaton gets injured a lot. This could create a problem if Victor Robles struggles as a rookie and Michael Taylor stays inconsistent.

Prospects to Make an Impact - Victor Robles will not make as great an impact as Juan Soto. His defense will be better but the bat will not be as productive. The speed should create havoc on the bases provided he has the instincts to make the right choices. Carter Kieboom shined during spring training, hitting two homeruns off Justin Verlander. He could be called up by mid-season once injuries eat away at depth. Tanner Rainey has trouble finding the plate but the fastball hits triple digits. The Nationals traded Tanner Roark for him so expect him to get an opportunity.

Predicted Finish - They will fight with the Braves for the wild card spot and win it by a game or two. Starting pitching will prove the difference.

3. Atlanta Braves

Strengths - The depth of the Braves starters is impressive. It is being used early with the injuries to Mike Foltynewicz and Kevin Guasman. Not a good start to the season. The rookie of the year Ronald Acuna should have a better year his sophomore season, moving from the leadoff spot to the middle of the lineup. Freddie Freeman is a potential MVP at first base.

Weakness - When the Braves were winning consecutive division titles one of their weak areas was the bullpen. This could create a problem in 2019. A.J. Minter served as the closer last year but he will also start the season on the disabled list. Arodys Vizcaino is another option but he has had trouble staying healthy.

Prospects to Make an Impact - Lots of possibilities to fill the rotation to begin the year. Touki Toussaint, Kyle Wright, Mike Soroka and Bryse Wilson are part of the first wave. Ian Anderson and Luiz Gohara are the second options. On the offensive side Austin Riley could be ready for third base. If Josh Donaldson struggles to stay healthy or his bat fails the Braves will not hesitate to bring up Riley. Kolby Allard is a lefthander who lacks explosiveness with his fastball. Command is his strength and he could fill out the bullpen.

Predicted Finish - Starting pitching lacks experience and this will prove critical as they fall short of the Nationals for the last wild card spot.

4. New York Mets

Strengths - Starting pitching if they stay healthy. They don’t get any better than Jacob deGrom, who won the Cy Young last year. Noah Syndergaard has the potential to win a Cy Young but has struggled to stay healthy the last two years. Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz are two other talented pitchers who have spent much of their career on the disabled list. The acquisition of Edwin Diaz gives them a 50 save closer from last year.

Weakness - Too many hopes and ambitions. They hope Amed Rosario will be one of the best shortstops in baseball. They hope Peter Alonso and Dominic Smith can provide answers at first base. And they hope Yoennis Cespedes can come back healthy to enhance an outfield lacking in power, except for Michael Conforto. They hope Wilson Ramos can stay healthy for a full year and Robinson Cano does not start feeling his age. And they hope their starting rotation stays healthy. All those hopes will not come to fruition.

Prospects to Make an Impact - Peter Alonso has a powerful bat that has the potential of hitting 30 plus homeruns. His defense is not good but if his bat can be productive the Mets will take the tradeoff. Tomas Nido will act as the back up for Ramos, but this will result in a lot of playing time to keep Ramos healthy. Andres Gimenez and Luis Guillorme will vie for the Mets utility job. Both are superior defensive players but Gimenez may have the better bat.

Predicted Finish - Health and lack of depth will drop them down to fourth but they will stay competitive for a playoff spot into September.

5. Miami Marlins

Strengths - They have the strength to play poorly enough to fight for the first pick in the 2020 draft, if they can be called a strength. Brian Anderson may lack the power to play third but he is the one bat to fear in the lineup. Starlin Castro is a veteran bat who will probably be traded before the year is out.

Weakness - Two of their three outfielders they traded, Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich both won MVPs the last couple years. The outfield the Marlins are trotting out this year would be hard pressed to make an All Star team in AAA. Starting rotation will not limit runs and it will get ugly. Same holds true for the bullpen. A lot of ugly on this roster. This team would be more competitive in AAA.

Prospects to Make an Impact - The Marlins have no motivation to use up service time on another wasted season. Isan Diaz could be called up mid-season after Castro is traded. He has been highly touted but his strikeouts have hampered his offensive performance. Sandy Alcantara has made the rotation. His fastball is impressive but his command is lacking.

Predicted Finish - They will fight with the Orioles and Royals for the first pick in the 2020 draft.

deGrom spoils Nationals Opener

Friday, March 29th, 2019

Jacob deGrom won the Cy Young last year. He carved out the Nationals bats in the opener, creating a good start to the 2019 season. The Nationals had opportunities to score runs off him early, but once those failed deGrom cruised through six, striking out 10 Nats. The bullpen completed the final three innings to shut out the Nationals 2-0.

Max Scherzer was brilliant as well, finishing second to deGrom in the Cy Young voting. He gave up a solo homerun to Robinson Cano on a changeup in the first inning with two outs that landed in the centerfield bleachers. Except for Cano he struck out the side in the first inning. He went to strike out 12 for his 7.2 innings of work. He only gave up two hits on the day. The Nationals chose not to pinch hit for him in the seventh with two out and no one on, behind 1-0, but he only worked two outs into the eighth before walking Dominic Smith and seeing his day complete without the win.

Robinson Cano drove in the second run with a single in the eighth off Matt Grace, scoring Dominic Smith. The Mets received good production in the trade with the Mariners that got them Cano and Edwin Diaz when Diaz came on in the ninth and closed out the game with a save. He retired the side in order.

The Nationals had opportunities to score early in the game. With runners on first and second and two outs in the first Ryan Zimmerman lined one between short and third. Jeff McNeil made a diving catch for the third out. The ball was hit so hard it may have been difficult for Trea Turner to score from second.

In the third the Nationals had runners on first and third with no outs. Trea Turner showed some impatience, swinging at a couple high pitches and striking out when he probably could have drawn a walk. Victor Robles then made a base running mistake when Anthony Rendon grounded to third. Robles darted back to third, McNeil threw to second to get the second out, Robles broke for the plate and Cano threw it home to get Robles in a run down. He was tagged out to end the inning.

There are still 161 games to play. The two players acquired by the Mets in the Mariners trade were responsible to win game one. With another four months of the season left to play the other 161 games can turn out very differently.

Nats Notes - It was a sellout crowd of 42,263. The concessions were crowded. Myworld chose one of the stands with the least amount of people. We tried the pupusas on the first floor near the third base side and would highly recommend them…Both Scherzer and deGrom were hitting the radar at 95-97 with excellent secondary pitches. They became only the second duo to strike out 10 or more batters on opening day since Dave McNally and Sam McDowell did it in 1950…Jake Noll made the opening day roster. On opening day every trainer, coach and player is introduced. Noll made his opening day introduction unique. As he was introduced he stumbled getting out of his crouch as he ran to the first base line to join his other teammates. Rookie mistake, but one that did not hurt as much as Victor Robles in the third inning…Lots of activity at the Shake Shake and the Chinese/Korean concession nest to it Chieko. I can’t imagine people getting their food until two innings had passed.

Top 100 - 40 - 31

Thursday, March 21st, 2019

The Braves dominate this ten with 30 percent of the players, all of them right handed pitchers. The Dodgers and Mets both have a duo of position players that will impact their future lineup. That accounts for 70 percent of the players.

40. Kyle Wright RHP (Braves) - The Braves 2017 first round pick is having such a strong spring that he may force his way into the rotation. Last year he appeared in four games in relief. His low to mid 90s fastball and curve are good one-two punches but 43 walks in 109 innings is a cause for concern. Even in his six inning major league debut he had a 6/5 walk to whiff ratio. Another half season in AAA would be ideal. He was the first player in the 2017 draft to get promoted to the major leagues.

39. Andres Gimenez SS (Mets) - Andres may be a better defensive shortstop than Ahmed Rosario, but that is like trying to argue over which of two models is the most beautiful. Since Ahmed did not do anything to disappoint Andres will have to move to second. Offensively he does not appear to be a difference maker in the lineup. His power is lacking and except for his debut season in the Dominican Summer League he has not hit over .300 in his two years playing in the States. Robinson Cano has the next couple years at second base so Gimenez will play one more season at AA/AAA. A September callup is in the cards and a utility role may be his assignment in 2020.

38. Alex Verdugo RF (Dodgers) - Alex Verdugo may hit for average. Myworld looks at his tools and sees a fourth outfielder. The arm has the strength to play right field but his ability to hit for power is lacking. He also feels a bit of entitlement to the right field job after only hitting .260 last year with a .706 OPS. That is not the kind of production playoff teams look for in their corner outfielders. Perhaps he will mature and earn his position in right field with solid production. The Dodgers traded their two corner outfielders from last year, Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp so there is an opening for Alex to take.

37. Keibert Ruiz C (Dodgers) - The Venezuelan has the chance to be a two way player. He has the arm and defensive tools to be a solid defensive catcher. He also has the bat to hit for average and power. He has a .309 minor league career average and slugged 12 homeruns last year. The Dodgers do not have any catchers on their roster who can prevent Ruiz from taking over the position once he is ready. Trusting a rookie catcher with playoff implications on the line is tough so he will start the season in AAA and could be promoted by mid-season if injuries or struggles give the Dodgers no choice to salvage the 2019 season.

36. Peter Alonso 1B (Mets) - In the Futures game myworld witnessed a jaw dropping homerun that landed on the pavilion at Nationals Park. Only Albert Pujols has hit one there. The second round 2016 pick is not a defensive specialist at first base and has a propensity to swing and miss. His batting average will probably float around the .250 range but when he hits the ball it will travel a long way. Last year he slugged 36 homeruns between AA and AAA. Dominic Smith has been a disappointment at first base and also plays a poor defense. Both are having excellent springs. If push comes to shove Dominic has the most experience which will mean Alonso has to spend at least a half season in the minor leagues. Eventually he will beat out Smith for the first base job and if the National League adopts the DH the Mets could keep both and DH one.

35. Ian Anderson RHP (Braves) - Ian Anderson was a first round pick of the Braves in 2016. He has a lively fastball that can hit the mid-90s with a curve to buckle knees. The walks could be reduced but High A hitters struggled with a .198 average against him. Drafted out of high school he is still a couple years away from being considered for a rotation spot but at 6′3″ he has a good frame to be a durable starting pitcher. Ian got four AA starts last year and will probably start the 2019 season there. The Braves have no reason to rush him with their surplus of pitching.

34. Touki Toussaint RHP (Braves) - Dave Stewart did not think he would ever become a major league pitcher and sent him to the Braves with Bronson Arroyo to reduce salary. In his defense Toussaint did have trouble finding the plate but those issues appear to be rectified. Touki made his major league debut last year and is the favorite to win a spot in the back end of the rotation in 2019, especially with Mike Foltynewicz starting the season on the disabled list. Touki was born in Florida but his parents come from Haiti. The Diamondbacks wasted a first round pick for him in 2014 to get nothing in return.

33. Joey Bart C (Giants) - Joey “Bay Area Rapid Transit” Bart has a perfect name for San Francisco. With Buster Posey declining in his catching skills Bart is in a great position to take over that spot, especially now that the Giants are close to that tank and rebuild mode. Bart was the Giants first round pick in 2018. The bat will hit for big time power as his 13 homeruns in rookie ball prove. His arm is strong enough to control the running game. The other intangibles will develop with experience. Joey will start the 2019 season in a full season league. As a drafted college player he should move up the ranks quickly.

32. A.J. Puk LHP (Athletics) - Tommy John surgery prevented him from pitching in 2018, just as he was dominating in spring and the talk was that he was earning a spot in the Athletics rotation. The 2016 first round pick has an explosive fastball that is clocked in the high 90s. At 6′7″ and throwing lefthanded that is a keeper. He needs to improve on his third pitch (change) and enhance his control to make it as a starter. Also, after missing all of last season the Athletics will be patient with him as he eats up innings in rehab. Myworld does not expect to see him in the Athletics rotation until 2020.

31. Brendan McKay 1B/LHP (Rays) - The Rays are hoping to make the 2017 first round pick a two way player. Currently his arm is way ahead of his bat. During his college days his primary position was at first base and he was used as a reliever. Facing minor league pitching he has only been able to hit .221 with a .366 slugging. That will not cut it as a first baseman in the major leagues. It could make him a third or fourth pinch hitting possibility. His left handed arm has been a pleasant surprise with a fastball in the low 90s with an excellent feel for the strike zone. Joe Kelly found his arm rising higher up the minor league level than his bat could keep up and eventually focused on pitching. The same may apply to McKay as his arm outpaces his bat. He could start next season in AA but his bat may not be ready yet for that level.

Mets Metamorhphasis Staggered

Sunday, December 16th, 2018

One year you think the Mets are rebuilding. Then they get a new General Manager and they trade prospects for veterans. It was a farm system pretty bare before they traded Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn, two first round picks of the Mets. Last year the only Met to make a Top 100 prospect list was Andres Gimenez and he has been subject of trade talk for the acquisition of J.T. Realmuto.

Gimenez is probably their top prospect this year. With Ahmed Rosario at shortstop Gimenez may have to move to second. He has all the tools except power with the speed, arm and glove to stay at shortstop. The Venezuelan sprays his hits through the gaps and uses his speed and instincts to take the extra base.

One strength of the Mets is shortstop. If they should trade Gimenez they have a gold glove fielding shortstop in Luis Guillorme but his bat is questionable. Last year he made his major league debut and hit .209. In the minors he has a career average of .287 but just a .701 OPS. He is more suited for a utility role. Ronny Mauricio may have the bat but his range to play the position is a bit sketchy. He signed in 2017 for $2.1 million and has yet to escape rookie ball, so he is still a few years away. He needs to develop the power to play third base. If the power is absent then a move to second is a possibility.

Another intriguing candidate is Curacao native, but Netherlands born Shervyen Newton. Like Mauricio he did not escape rookie ball last year after signing in 2015 for $50,000. At 6′4″ and only 19 he may eventually outgrow the position. He is not afraid to take a walk putting together a .408 OBA but he also swings and misses a lot with 84 whiffs in just 56 games. Power should come as he matures.

The jewel of the farm system may now be first baseman Peter Alonso who can hit the ball a long way. His defense is poor and his speed is nonexistent so if the balls do not carry over the fence his worth is little. Last year Alonso hit 36 homeruns. He is ready to debut with the Mets this year.

Mark Vientos was once considered a shortstop but his range is not adequate there. He has moved to third where the Mets hope his power develops. Currently he is more a gap hitter whose power should materialize as he matures. At 19 Mark spent all his time in rookie ball last year hitting .287 with 11 homeruns for a .489 slugging average.

The outfield is a little short on prospects. A lot was thought of Desmond Lindsay at one time but his shine has softened. He has the speed to play centerfield but last year in the Florida State League he struggled with a .218 average and a .320 slugging, his season ended early with an arm injury. Staying free from injuries have been a challenge for Desmond preventing him from getting a full season of development after he was a second round pick in 2015.

Pitching is a bit suspect after their fantastic four of Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob de Grom and Steven Matz appeared to be anchors in the rotation for many years to come. Harvey has departed and Syndergaard and Matz have had trouble staying healthy. Like the Royals the Mets are counting on two first round picks to fill their rotation. David Peterson (2017) and Anthony Kay (2016) are both lefthanders who rely more on command than power to get hitters out. Peterson is 6′6″ with excellent control, relying on a low 90s fastball, slider and change combination. Kay also has a low 90s fastball but needs to find a breaking pitch if he hopes to stay in the rotation. Last year the opposition hit him at a .270 clip in A ball.

When it looked like the Mets were rebuilding last year they traded Asdrubal Cabrera to the Phillies for Franklyn Kilome. Franklyn has a fastball that hits the high 90s and at 6′6″ can be intimidating on the mound. He struggles with his command and lacks an offspeed pitch, which could result in a future in the bullpen if he can not improve on those traits.

Simeon Woods-Richardson was the Mets second round pick in 2018. Currently his fastball sits in the low 90s but at 18 the Mets feel confident that it will hit the mid-90s as he matures. He still needs to work on his secondary pitches. Last year he started four games in rookie ball and struck out more than one batter per inning, limiting the opposition to a .224 average, a nice start to his professional season.

With the Mets new GM now on the road to trading prospects for veterans in a belief that the Mets can contend in 2019 don’t expect this farm system to improve. They do have some promising prospects at the lower levels of the minors that could make an impact as they percolate through the system. By mid-season the Mets will know whether they are contenders or pretenders and the staggering may continue.

Voth and Bullpen Stymie Mets

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

The Nationals do not have a lot of depth in their starting rotation at the upper levels of the minor leagues. They traded most of that depth for Adam Eaton. The Nationals chose to start Austin Voth against the Mets. In 24 starts in AAA he had an ERA of 4.87. In two starts and three appearances with the Nationals his ERA sits at 6.10. In his major league debut against the Mets back in July he gave up seven runs on nine hits in just four plus innings of work. Nats fans came into this game with their fingers crossed.

Voth started the game retiring the first two hitters. His command got a little shaky after that, throwing just one strike in his next 9 pitches to put two runners on. Against Todd Frazier he got the big whiff. After that he only allowed one more base runner in his five innings of work, an infield single to the right of Anthony Rendon, who was playing at shortstop in the right field shift against Michael Conforto.

The bullpen only allowed two base runners, both on walks, giving the Mets just one hit in their nine innings, a 6-0 loss to the Nationals in front of a large group of disappointed bussed in Mets fans.

The Nationals got all the runs they needed when Trea Turner launched a pitch from Corey Oswalt into the left field bleachers in the third inning. Victor Robles had started the inning with a line drive ground rule double that one hopped over the wall down the left field line. It would be the only runs Oswalt allowed in his five innings of work. Like Voth the Mets expect Oswalt to provide them with starting depth next year.

Jeremy Blevins came on to pitch the sixth. Anthony Rendon ripped a double into the left centerfield gap. With two outs and Rendon standing on third the Mets chose to walk Ryan Zimmerman intentionally to face the disappointing Matt Wieters, who is hitting below the Mendoza line while batting righthanded. In his last at bat hitting lefthanded Wieters drove a pitch to the right field wall. This time Wieters crushed a pitch into the left field bullpen. That gave the Nationals a 5-0 lead.

They added their last run in the seventh after Trea Turner walked. He stole second, his 41st of the season and his 122nd career stolen base with the Nationals, tying him with Ian Desmond for most career stolen bases by a National. Bryce Harper then drove a hard grounder down the first base line for a double to put the score at 6-0.

Game Notes: The Nationals have a lot of needs for 2019. The general feeling is they won’t be able to address those needs economically if they sign Harper to a large contract. The bullpen needs to be rebuilt, unless they want to rely on youngsters Jimmy Cordero, Austen Williams and Koda Glover. Two starting pitchers may have to be signed. And a catcher needs to be found. If Harper leaves it would also be nice to get a veteran outfielders in case Robles continues to struggle…Jimmy Cordero has been hitting three digits with his fastball. His big issue is command of his pitches. In 15 innings he has walked 10 hitters, two of those intentionally…The Nationals were officially eliminated from the playoffs after Saturday play. In a year they were supposed to walk away with the division they finished third…The walk to Bryce Harper in the first innings was his 125th of the year. That is a Nationals franchise record…The win put the Nats one game over .500. Even though they are out of the pennant race it would be nice if they could finish over .500. They will not finish over .500 against the Mets, coming into the last game of the series against them 8-10.

Top 20 AFL Players to Watch

Friday, September 14th, 2018

Below are the top 20 players who will be playing in the Arizona Fall League that myworld will try to get out to watch. Austin Hays, one of the players we initially had on the list will now not be playing because of ankle surgery.

1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr (Blue Jays/Surprise) 3B - The son of the Hall of Famer and the minor league player of the year in most organization readings. How could you not want to go out and watch him if you have not seen him play already? Flirted with .400 this year and showed impressive power. Some question his defense at third and think a move to first may be required.

2. Luis Robert (White Sox/Glendale) OF - He came hyped with lots of tools. Those tools, especially the power did not make an appearance in his second minor league season, though he was limited to 50 games because of injuries. There were no homeruns in his bat.

3. Forrest Whitley (Astros/Scottsdale) RHP - Most pitchers who appear in the AFL are there because they pitched little in the regular season because of injuries. Forrest was limited to 8 starts last year. At 6′7″ he has length and a blazing fastball that can hit triple digits. He needs to increase the 26 innings he pitched in the regular season and show the fastball is difficult to hit.

4. Domingo Acevedo (Yankees/Glendale) RHP - The same that was said of Forrest also applies to this 6′7″ righthander except he had a few more starts (12) and innings (69) to his season. The strikeout numbers (55) were not impressive, especially when you consider he can hit the high 90s with his heat.

5. Jon Duplantier (Diamondbacks/Salt Lake) RHP - Last year he had an unbelievable season with a 1.39 ERA. Only Justin Verlander has had a lower ERA in the minors. This year his season was delayed by injuries. He did squeeze in 16 starts and his numbers were excellent (2.55 ERA) but not when compared to last year. Myworld expects only four starts from him in the AFL before he is gone, so get there early if you want to see him.

6. Peter Alonso (Mets/Scottsdale) 1B - In the Futures game he hit one of the longest and highest homeruns myworld has ever seen at Nationals park. He has power. Right handed hitting firstbaseman are not given a lot of respect by major league analyzers, but his 36 homeruns last year could change some minds.

7. Taylor Trammell (Reds/Scottsdale) OF - He was voted the MVP of the Futures Game, almost hitting two homeruns in his two at bats. His first almost homerun he ran into a triple after it hit the top of the wall. He began his circle around the bases with a homerun trot, but then had to shift it in high gear after the ball did not travel over the fence. This year the toolsy outfielder hit only 8 homeruns in the Florida State League, but his resume shows the potential for power and speed.

8. Bo Bichette (Blue Jays/Surprise) SS - The son of Dante is not said to have the tools to play major league shortstop. Myworld was impressed with what we saw of him in the Futures game. He does have a potent bat that sprays the gaps with doubles (40 plus) and hits his fair share of balls over the fence (15 plus).

9. J.B. Bukauskas (Astros/Scottsdale) RHP - He does not carry a lot of height (6′0″) for a right handed pitcher but he was the Astros first round pick in 2017. Last year injuries restricted him to 14 starts but they were an impressive 14 starts (2.14 ERA and .199 opposition average). He throws in the mid 90s.

10. Sixto Sanchez (Phillies/Scottsdale) RHP - Another smallish pitcher (6′0″) who throws gas. Last year injuries limited him to 8 starts (2.51 ERA). A good AFL and strong spring will put him in AA, a stone’s throw from the major leagues.

11. Keston Hiura (Brewers/Peoria) 2B - Maybe one of the purest hitters in the Fall League. Batting titles are in his future. Elbow issues restricted most of his appearances to DH duties. When he does play defense it is at second base. He may get a lot of second base playing time in the AFL.

12. Keibert Ruiz (Dodgers/Glendale) C - One of the better catching prospects in the minor leagues. He can hit for pop (12 homeruns) and has a decent arm, though he was only able to gun down 26 percent of those who stole against him. Makes solid contact striking out just 33 times in over 400 at bats.

13. Carter Kieboom (Nationals/Salt Lake) SS - A first round pick of the Nationals in 2016. The reports on him is that his arm and range may be short to play shortstop in the major leagues. Since Turner has that spot locked up (whose scouting report was similar to Carter) second base may be his best position. Expect him to get some time there. He shows good pop with the bat with 16 homeruns last year.

14. Daulton Varsho (Diamondbacks/Salt River) C - The son of Gary, an ex-major leaguer, he was named after Darren Daulton. Another catcher with some pop who had a little more success nabbing base runners (40 percent). He showed some speed for a catcher with 19 stolen bases in 22 attempts. If he is half the player of Darren Daulton he will make it at least as a back up.

15. Estevan Florial (Yankees/Glendale) OF - The Haitian born prospect was all the talk of the Yankees prospect system last season after hitting .298 with 13 homeruns in 2017. Last year he had difficulty replicating those numbers, though his season was limited to 84 games because of injury.

16. Buddy Reed (Padres/Peoria) OF - The Padres have a wealth of minor league and young major league outfielders. Buddy shows some good tools to play center field, but will they be enough to beat out Manuel Margot. Last year he stole 51 bases to go with his 13 homeruns.

17. Pavin Smith (Diamondbacks/Salt Lake) 1B - The Diamondbacks drafted him in the first round of the 2017 draft. That is pretty high for a first baseman who may be a bit short in the power numbers. Last year he hit 11 homeruns but his batting average was only at .255, not indicative of his college numbers (.342). Pavin needs to hit for pop to justify his first round selection.

18. Bobby Dalbec (Red Sox/Mesa) 1B - Because there is someone we want to see play at Mesa. The power is there with 32 homeruns last year, but it comes at the expense of having a right handed bat. There is still a lot of swing and miss in his swing that he will have to learn to tame if he wants to see Fenway park.

19. Lucius Fox (Rays/Peoria) SS - All the tools and gracefulness to play short but his bat may hold him back. The Giants signed him out of the Bahamas but made him one of the players included in the Matt Moore trade.

20. Alfredo Rodriguez (Reds/Scottsdale) SS/2B - There was a lot of hype about him and his glove when he came out of Cuba. The glove has been good but the bat has been blah (.241/.294/298 slash line for average/OBA/slugging). Injuries limited him to 46 games last year. At 24 he should be knocking on the major league door rather than scuffling in the Florida State League.

Nats Score Four Touchdowns in Rout of the Mets

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

The Redskins should hire Dave Martinez as their offensive coordinator. Their 25 runs yesterday were more than the Redskins scored points in seven of their 16 games. Jose Reyes got to pitch in the eighth giving up six runs. Yet that was a better outing than Steven Matz who only got two outs while giving up seven runs in the first inning. The Nationals first five innings looked more like a zipcode than a scoreboard as they went on to win 25-4.

It did not start well for the Nationals. Daniel Murphy did not look good trying to field a grounder hit by leadoff hitter Ahmed Rosario. He was charged with an error. Fortunately Rosario was caught stealing for the second out of the inning. Wilmer Flores bashed a double against the left field wall, Juan Soto not playing the ball well off the wall and having it fly past him. Conforto popped up and the Nationals were out of the inning.

That is when the fireworks began. Wilmer Flores did not look good playing first base. He had two balls fly by his glove that if he would have caught could have kept the score 0-0 after one. He mysteriously left the game after the Mets made a pitching change and it was not a double switch. The biggest decision in the inning was deciding to walk Matt Wieters intentionally with runners on first and third and a 2-1 count. Tanner Roark lined a double into left center to plate three runs. Ironic Matz struck out the two hitters he retired in the inning. Turner also stole two bases off him after he led off the inning with a single past the glove of Flores.

Daniel Murphy led the charge in the second inning with a two run shot into the right field bleachers. Michael Taylor followed with a triple that hit the top of the centerfield fence. Matt Wieters made it 10-0 by lining a single into right field past the drawn in infield.

Daniel Murphy made it 13-0 after three with his three run blast deep into the Nationals pen in the third. In the fourth Ryan Zimmerman made it 16-0 with his three run bomb into the right field bleachers. In the fifth Anthony Rendon drove in three more with a bases clearing double making the line score after the first five innings 7-3-3-3-3.

A sprinkle came down after the fifth inning and would not stop. If this was an international game it would have ended because of the mercy rule. Myworld treated it as an international game and departed. There was nothing left to see. The Mets were toast.

Game notes: Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper took their fifth at bat in the fifth inning…The 25 runs were the most runs the Nationals have scored since their arrival from Montreal…Ironic that Shawn Kelly was designated for assignment after his glare into the dugout when he was called on to mopup in the eighth. Brandon Kintzler was also traded. The Nationals wanted to trade Ryan Madson and may during the waiver period. There was grumbling in the bullpen when it was felt Dave Martinez was overusing them earlier in the season. Could the shakeup in the bullpen be a response to the complaints…All nine players inked in the starting lineup for the Nationals scored at least two or more runs. Daniel Murphy drove in six runs but he was replaced in the top of the sixth by Wilmer Difo. Matt Adams replaced Bryce Harper and was put in the lineup spot for Murphy. Adams hit a two run homer giving that lineup spot eight RBIs…Jose Reyes led all Met pitchers with 48 pitches. He threw all his pitches in the eighth inning, walking two and hitting Ryan Zimmerman… The last time a team scored more than 25 runs was in 2007 when the Texas Rangers destroyed the Baltimore Orioles 30-3. Myworld had a ticket for that game. The last time myworld watched the Nationals play they blasted the Miami Marlins 18-4. That is 43 runs in two games….Ryan Zimmerman surpassed Tim Wallach with his 1,695th hit in the game…Reports are out that Wilmer exited the game because of dizziness and dehydration…The 21 run loss was a franchise worst for the Mets. They lost to the Phillies 26-7 June 11, 1985…The Nationals will probably be shutout in their afternoon game, if their manner of being inconsistent throughout the season continues.

2018 Top Ten Venezuelan Prospects - National League

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

This completes our top ten lists from around the world. I put this together before the season started so players like Ronald Acuna might not be considered prospects anymore. Eiias Diaz and Jose Martinez graduated from this list because of their major league time last year.

1. Ronald Acuna OF (Braves) - Hard to believe he was only number four on the list from last year. After one year in the minor leagues he shot up to the best prospect in baseball (tied with Shohei Ohtani from myworld’s list). After a short 17 game warm up in AAA where he looked a bit rusty, hitting just .232 Acuna was promoted to the Braves. He started out strong but has cooled down to a .265 average with 5 homeruns. A knee injury in late May put him on the disabled list. He will be a player who provides all five tools, gold glove defense in centerfield, a strong arm, power, speed and the ability to hit for average.

2. Keibert Ruiz C (Dodgers) - When the 2017 list was put together Keibert was playing in rookie ball. Maybe myworld should have noted his .374 average in 56 games. Last year in full season ball his bat kept on raking, hitting .316 between Low and High A. He also showed a little bit of pop with 8 homeruns and good patience at the plate with a 25/53 walk to whiff ratio. He needs a little work on his defensive game and teams are not afraid to run against him. Last year he only caught 26 runners while 91 achieved success. This year he is 11 for 43 in catching base stealers. The bat has also cooled this year in AA (.255). At 19 he is one of the youngest players in AA and playing at a very demanding position. The Dodgers will show some patience with his development.

3. Anderson Espinoza RHP (Padres) - Last year he appeared at the top of the list but Tommy John surgery forced him to miss the 2017 season and dropped him down a couple notches. Ironic the Padres acquired Espinoza for Drew Pomeranz, then complained about a pre-existing injury and it was Espinoza to miss the 2017 season because of injury. He still has not started the 2018 season and will probably pitch a rehab in rookie ball before he sees full season. Prior to the surgery Espinoza hit mid to high 90s with his fastball and threw a plus change. Only time will tell whether those pitches will be impacted after the surgery.

4. Andres Gimenez SS (Mets) - Many consider him the best fielding shortstop in their system, and that is including Ahmed Rosario. Whether he can push Rosario off of shortstop once he establishes himself is another story. The big question with Andres is whether he can hit. There is very little power in his bat, but last year he showed a good ability to make contact in his first season at Low A, hitting .265. This year in the pitcher friendly Florida State League he has shown some pop in his bat, hitting .273 with four homeruns, 13 doubles and a .421 slugging percentage. A move to second base is still a possibility, but Andres is still a couple years away from seeing the major leagues.

5. Gabriel Arias SS (Padres) - Another gold glove potential shortstop with a rocket for an arm. The Padres paid him a $1.9 million bonus in 2016 to sign him. Last year he got his first exposure to playing in the minor leagues, hitting .265 with nary a homerun. Still a teenager at 18 entering the 2018 season he is hitting just .212 in Low A, but he did hit his first homerun. The Padres would like to see him make better contact as he strikes out like a power hitter (61 times in 55 games). His fielding has been a little erratic with 16 errors in 49 games at shortstop.

6. Eduardo Diaz OF (Diamondbacks) - The Diamondbacks got a bargain when they signed Eduardo, shelling out just $10,000 on him. Last year he exhibited some power, hitting .312 with 7 homeruns and a .510 slugging percentage. He has the speed and the arm to play center or right field. As he gets older and packs some more muscle on his frame there could be more juice from his bat. This year that juice is absent, with a .226 average and only two homeruns in 31 games. A poor 3/36 walk to whiff ratio shows a lack of patience and possible pitch recognition.

7. William Contreras C (Braves) - The brother of Wilson with similar tools. The bat can hit for power and the arm is above average. The last three years since his signing he has only played rookie ball, hitting .295 with a .414 slugging percentage in those three years. This is his first year in full season ball and he is impressing with a .290 average and .410 slugging percentage. The power will improve as he matures. There are still some things he needs to work on from his defensive side of the game, such as lessoning his 8 errors in 22 games at catcher, but he has a long ways to go before reaching the major leagues.

8. Yonathan Daza OF (Rockies) - A late bloomer since he signed in 2010. Last year he broke out for a .341 average. His power is restricted to the gaps, but it did get him 34 doubles with 87 RBIs, a lot of runs driven in for a player who only hit 3 homeruns. He also showed some speed with 31 stolen bases. That speed will allow him to play centerfield. This year in AA Yonathan is hitting .306 but the stolen base speed has been absent with more caught stealings (5) than stolen bases (4). The Rockies outfield situation is very crowded so he will probably stay in AA the entire season.

9. Ranger Suarez LHP (Phillies) - Last year his velocity jumped to the Low 90s and his strikeout rate increased to over one per inning, putting him on many prospect lists. He also dominated at Low A with a 1.59 ERA in 14 starts. Signed in 2012 Ranger shows control and pitching smarts from having to survive with a less than explosive fastball. In 2017 he only got 8 starts in AA but the Phillies thought that was enough and promoted him to AA to start the 2018 season. The numbers have not been awe inspiring but with a 3.25 ERA in 10 starts the results have been good.

10. Arquimedes Gamboa SS (Phillies) - Arquimedes has the tools to be a solid defensive shortstop. There was some questions about his bat, but last year at Low A he hit .261 with 6 homeruns, respectable numbers for someone with his defensive chops. His power will stay below average, but with the speed to steal double digits and the ability to hit over .260 would put him at a utility role at worst and a starting shortstop job at best. This year in High A his hitting is making progress (.273) and he shows enough patience at the plate to have his OBA rise to .351.

2017 top Venezuelan Prospects - National League