After being at home for a day and a half myworld will be on the road again for a drive to Florida to catch some spring training baseball. The first game we will catch will be the Phillies at the Yankees on March 1, a game in which Masahiro Tanaka is scheduled to be making his major league debut. Myworld will report on every game we attend, just as we have done over the twenty or so plus years we have attended spring training.
Archive for February, 2014
Myworld has put together the top 100 prospect lists from MLB.com, scouting book, baseball haven and baseball america, averaged them out and come up with our own top 100 list. Below myworld will start with 100 - 91 and work our way to number 1. If you want to take a look at previous top 100 lists for myworld you can go to http://www.myworldofbaseball.com/id13.html.
!00. J.P Crawford SS (Phillies) - Who says the Phillies do not have any prospects? Crawford was their number one pick in 2013 and is the cousin of Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford. His father also played in the Canadian football league, which could make him eligible for the Canadian WBC team. He has the defensive actions to stick at shortstop and hit .345 in 142 Gulf Coast League at bats. The one thing he appears to lack is power, but at 6′2″ he could mature late. Jimmy Rollins is getting a bit long in the tooth and Crawford is poised to take his place at shortstop.
99. Jonathan Schoop 2B/SS (Orioles) - The Curacao native played for the Netherlands in the last WBC. In 2014 he could be playing utility or second base for the Orioles. Last year he was plagued by injuries which limited him to just 80 games. He did make his major league debut with a September callup. He is expected to hit for 20 plus homeruns and could start at the major league level if Manny Machado is not ready to answer the bell on opening day. If Ryan Flaherty can’t handle second base he could be called on to fill that role. Expect a .270 hitter with 20 plus homeruns who can play a solid second base. He also has the ability to play short with a strong arm.
98. Braden Shipley RHP (Diamondbacks) - The Diamondbacks 2013 first round pick finds himself on the inner edges of the top 100. He started as a shortstop in college but with a rifle for an arm moved to pitcher with the University of Nevada where his fastball hits the mid-90s. He also has a good changeup and quality curveball, the three pitches needed to become an effective starting pitcher. He should rise quickly. In his major league debut he reached low A going 0-3, 4.99, but his innings per outing should be stretched out in 2014 giving him more opportunities to see some wins on his ledger.
97. Blake Swihart C (Red Sox) - Drafted in the first round of the 2011 draft out of New Mexico Swihart made himself the Red Sox catcher of the future with his .298 average and a .366 OBA in High A. He did not hit for a lot of power with only two homeruns, but it is anticpated he could reach the double digits in that area as he matures physically and learns to pull the ball and get some lift on his line drive gappers. He moves well behind the plate, has a good arm and calls a good game.
96. J.R. Graham RHP (Braves) - Myworld became aware of Graham when we saw him hit 100 miles per hour in spring training last year. Arm injuries limited him to just eight starts and a 4.04 ERA with just 28 whiffs in just 36 innings of work. J.R. was a fourth round 2011 pick from Santa Clara. Standing only 6′0″ his best bet may be to pitch out of the bullpen. In addition to the three digit fastball which sits in the high 90s, he also throws a slider and change, the three requisite pitches needed from starters. He can also throw two and four seam fastballs, giving him four pitches. He should start in AA and given some success could see a mid-season callup.
95. Michael Choice OF (Rangers) - Myworld thought it was an odd trade for the Athletics to trade one of their top prospects for a fourth outfielder type who can provide depth at centerfield. The Rangers have hopes that Choice will see some time in right field for them in 2014. Michael was a first round pick in 2010 out of Texas-Arlington. He has had some seasons where he has hit for power (2011 - 30 homeruns) and average (2013 - .302). That potential power should play better in Texas. The big swing will give him 100 plus strikeouts per season but he should also get 20 plus homeruns with a .280 average. His defense is good enough to play centerfield, but with a solid arm and not blazing speed he is better suited for right field.
94. Chris Owings SS (Diamondbacks) - The Diamondbacks traded a pretty good pitching prospect (Trevor Bauer) to get a pretty good shortstop in Didi Gregorius. Chris Owings gives them a better shortstop who may be just a tad short of Didi on defense but Chris can hit much better. Chris was a first round supplemental pick in 2009. He hit .330 in AAA, leading to a major league call up where he hit .291. One of his weaknesses is very few walk totals and high strikeouts which could result in low OBAs at the major league level. If the Diamondbacks do not want to move Didi from short they can put Chris at second, but that would mean trading Aaron Hill. They could also settle for Chris as a super utility player for third, short and second in 2014 and find him a more permanent position in 2015.
93. Joey Gallo 3B (Rangers) - The 2012 first round pick out of Las Vegas led all of minor league baseball with 40 homeruns, despite missing most of July with a groin injury. He also set the Nevada high school record with 65 career homeruns. If that is not impressive enough, Joey also sent out a tweet of a picture of him in a youth all star game on the mound with then catcher Bryce Harper. With that power comes a plethora of whiffs, 165 of them in just 106 games last year. Other problems are a lack of foot speed, which creates a lack of range for the hot corner. A possible move to first base could be in his future.
92. Brian Goodwin OF (Nationals) - Brian was a first round supplemental pick in 2011 out of Miami Dade Junior College. He comes with the speed to play centerfield. That speed has not generated a lot of stolen bases, going just 19 for 30 in his success rate in 2013. Brian also has the bat speed to generate a lot of power, hitting in the triple doubles last year with 19 doubles, 11 triples and 10 homeruns. The strikeouts (121) need to be reduced if he wants to fulfill a leadoff spot in the order, but Brian shows enough patience to draw walks (66 last year for a .355 OBA). The Nationals have Denard Span for centerfield in 2014 but 2015 should be the opportunity for Brian to claim the centerfield position. He will have to look into the rear view mirror for the equally talented Michael Taylor coming from the lower minor league levels to keep his job in centerfield.
91. Erik Johnson RHP (White Sox) - The 2011 second round pick out of the University of California made his major league debut last year, getting five starts and handling himself well (3.25 ERA). With that success he should find himself in the White Sox starting rotation in 2014. Erik comes with a fastball in the low 90s that can hit 95. He also throws a slider. His other two pitches, a curveball and change need to be improved if he wants to stay in the starting rotation. If those pitches do not improve, he could find himself in the bullpen or never get beyond being a mid-rotation starter. Despite his major league success Erik only had a 11/18 walk to whiff ratio, something a bit below what you want to see from a pitcher. Major leaguers also hit him at a .281 clip compared to his under .200 average in the minors and 40 to 131 walk to shiff ratio.
One of the requirements for expanding to two additional teams in the Korean Baseball Organization (KB)) was to improve the level of play for the youth. The organization that takes responsibility for that is the Korean Baseball Association (KBA).
It appears a number of employees of the KBA are suspected of embezzling its funds. So much for the improvement of Korean youth baseball. These employees, including the secretary general ripped the agency, taking from its coffers $667,000 by cooking the books.
A total of ten national and regional sports organizations were reviewed where 337 different corrupt practices were uncovered at 493 agencies including accounting practices, nepotism in hiring executives and embezzlement.
You can find the story here: http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/yonhap-news-agency/140227/prosecution-raids-amateur-baseball-body-over-corruption-alle courtesy of mykbo.
The French national team coached by Eric Gagne will be going to Arizona for a week to participate in a week in spring training. While there they will play some games against major league clubs, more than likely “B” games against the Dodgers, Padres, Mariners and White Sox. They will also play a couple of colleges.
The practices will begin March 4 and last until March 12. The schedule can be found at http://www.mister-baseball.com/france-spring-training-united-states/ but for those who do not want to click on the link it is listed below:
Overall - The Mets are the equivalent to the younger brother of the New York Yankees. They may try harder but no matter how strong the effort the older brother usually wins out. The Madoff scandal put restrictions on their salary structure since the ownership group invested heavily, putting a ceiling on the amount of money they could spend. That is no longer an impediment but the Mets have still not been big spenders. Despite having David Wright on the roster the Mets found their offense next to last among the 30 teams in batting and slugging and near the bottom in runs scored. They also finished next to last in completing double plays. The bright spot seems to be their young pitching is coming around, though this year they will have to do without Matt Harvey, who will be out the whole year because of Tommy John surgery. The last time the Mets had a winning record was when two pitchers (Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey) threw 200 innings. With Harvey out they will find it tough to have two pitchers throw 200 innings this year. Citifield tends to make the pitchers better and the hitters worse. They are playing with a rebuilt outfield, a questionable infield and young pitching staff. That is usually a recipe for disaster.
Key Additions: They have rebuilt they’re outfield with the acquisitions of Chris Young and Curtis Granderson. Chris has trouble making contact but is an excellent defensive player. He will play right field. Curtis Granderson was injured most of last year and is far from the centerfielder he once was a couple years ago. He will move to left field. Bartolo Colon is a veteran pitcher who continues to get the job done. He is no longer the workhorse he used to be as age sets in. They signed a couple relievers, Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde to minor league contracts. If one of them works out the investment was worth it. They also signed John Lannan to a minor league contract to compete for the fifth starting spot with Daisuke Matsuzaka and a host of younger pitchers for the fifth starting spot.
Key Subtractions - They did not lose any key players who they could not replace with younger players. Volatile Jordany Valdespin and utilityman Justin Turner had the most at bats.
Catcher - This should be the unveiling of Travis d’Arnaud, provided he can stay healthy. Injuries have prevented him from having a full year. If healthy he could produce some offensive numbers, with the potential to his 20 plus homeruns. His defense is also solid. In a brief 99 at bat 2013 he only hit .202. That is a reason they need to find a veteran to back up d’Arnaud. They have Anthony Recker and Juan Centeno on the 40 man roster but both players would have trouble filling the position if asked to do it on a full time basis. Taylor Teagarden was signed to a minor league contract and he would be the perfect back up. In the minors the Mets are intrigued by Kevin Plawecki, who put up impressive offensive numbers (.305, 8, 80) with solid defensive tools. The best thing is he has not shown a propensity for injury like d’Arnaud.
First Base - This will be a battle between two players who had difficult offensive years, Lucas Duda and Ike Davis. The Mets tried Duda in left field and learned he had little range for the position. This would not have been so bad if he could show an ability to generate some offense. For Davis, his offense has regressed since his rookie year. He claims to have been injured much of last year. The Mets tried to trade one of them this year since they both provide the same tools, a bevy of homeruns with low averages and lots of strikeouts, with neither of them being a jewel defensively. Another option is to shift Wilmer Flores to first base. His best positions, second and third are filled and the Mets could use his bat. The Mets 2013 number one pick Dominic Smith is their best hope for the future but is still raw. He did not show power in his debut, parking only three in close to 200 at bats last year. Since he appears to be at least two to three years away the Mets will have to call upon AAA minor leaguers Josh Satin or Zachary Lutz to fill back up roles. Because Davis and Duda struggled against lefthanders the Mets may go with the right handed bats of Flores, Satin or Lutz.
Second Base - Dan Murphy needs to hit if he wants to see playing time at second base. His defense is horrendous. Last year he hit .286, driving in 78 runs with 13 homeruns so the Mets could tolerate his porous defense (16 errors). If he doesn’t hit the Mets could turn to Wilmer Flores for the position. Flores only hit .211 in 100 major league at bats but he hit .321 with 15 homeruns in the dry air of AAA Las Vegas. His defense is slightly better than Murphy but it will not garner any gold glove votes. Eric Young is best used in a utility role, but second base is his best position. When he plays he gives the Mets their best leadoff option with 48 stolen bases last year. Young can also play centerfield to spell Juan Lagares. There are not a lot of answers to this position at any level of the minor leagues. They did draft L.J. Mazzilli in the fourth round last year and he hit .278 with the Brooklyn Cyclones. He is the son of Lee, the Mets first round pick 40 years ago. Dilson Herrera is a talented player from Colombia who bashed 11 homeruns in Low A.
Shortstop - This is the biggest hole for the Mets. Scott Boras has tried to convince them to sign Stephen Drew to a multi year contract but they don’t want to spend the money on a player who they feel is not much better than their current shortstop Ruben Tejeda. Ruben was injured or toiled in AAA much of last year, but when he did play for the Mets he only hit .202. At AAA Vegas he hit .288. The Mets would like to see more of the latter. With that kind of major league production he needs to play gold glove defense, which he doesn’t, to win a major league job. He also came into camp in poor shape, or not the kind of shape the Mets would like him to be in to play shortstop. The Mets were forced to give Omar Quintanilla the most starts at short last year and he is a non-roster invitee, his .222 average not good enough to stay on the 40 man roster. Wilmer Flores played most of his minor league season at short and is lacking a position, but he is woefully inadequate in range. However, if Tejeda is in poor shape to play defense you might as well go with the better bat. The Mets have a good fielding shortstop in AA in Wilfredo Tovar, but his offense is as anemic as Tejeda (.267). The Mets real hope for the future is Gavin Cecchini, their first round pick in the 2012 draft. He hasn’t hit as they hoped, failing to hit a homerun in over 200 at bats and producing only a .314 slugging.
Third Base - The Mets would like to get a healthy year from David Wright. He did play 112 games last year, socking 18 homeruns and hitting .307. The Mets would like to see this kind of production in 150 games. Despite the high homerun numbers and the .514 slugging he only drove in 58 runs. Wilmer Flores best position may be third base and he will move here if Wright gets hurt. Josh Satin and Zach Lutz play the back up role as well. They have no one in the minor leagues to take over at this position in the long run if Wright gets injured.
Left Field - At 33 Curtis Granderson has lost the range to play centerfield. Last year he only got a little over 200 at bats with the Yankees. He signed as a free agent with the Mets. The Mets can only hope Curtis can rejuvenate his 2011 ad 2012 seasons when he slugged 41 and 43 homeruns. Eric Young does not have a strong arm, so his best outfield spot if the Mets wanted to get his bat in the lead off spot. Lucas Duda could also see action here if Terry Collins wants to put both Davis and Duda in the lineup. Brandon Nimmo was the Mets first round pick in 2011, the highest high school player drafted out of Wyoming. The Mets seem to have a lot of options in right field but only one position to fill there. Left field will go to one of those players. Nimmo did not hit for a lot of power last year but he walked 71 times. With more physical maturity the Mets hope more of his hits travel over the fence, otherwise he may have to move to centerfield to find playing time.
Centerfield - Juan Lagares covers a lot of ground in centerfield and won the job last year. His bat is a bit anemic but the Mets hope to see improvement in his second year. Last year he hit just .242 with 4 homeruns. His .281 OBA and lack of stolen base speed does not make him ideal for the leadoff spot. Eric Young can also play here, but a weak arm makes him better suited for left field. The best defensive centerfielder is Matt den Dekker, but he has yet to show he can hit major league pitching. He comes with intriguing power but lots of strikeouts. He batted .207 with 23 whiffs in 58 at bats in his major league debut. At 27 he is getting a bit long in the tooth to still be considered a prospect. Chris Young is another player who could move to right field to play center if Cesar Puello is called up.
Right field - Chris Young covers a lot of ground for a right fielder. It has been some time since he has been an offensive threat. The concern is whether he will hit. Last year he hit just .200 with a .280 OBA. He has the ability to hit for power with 12 homeruns, but that comes with a lot of swings and misses. He struck out 93 times in 107 games last year. If he fails to hit Cesar Puello hit .326 with 16 homeruns and a .547 slugging percentage in 91 games in AAA before being suspended in the Biogeneses scandal. The previous year he hit .260 with a .423 slugging in just 66 games in a season plagued by injuries. Andrew Brown is a AAA lifer, but he did hit .346 in 41 games in AAA earning him a backup role in the major leagues. There he could only hit .227 but still he went deep 7 times in 68 games.
Starting Pitching - With Matt Harvey gone the Mets may turn to veteran Bartolo Colon as their ace. At 41 years of age he went 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA in 30 starts. The Mets will take some of that success in the number one spot but he may not have a lot of bullets left in that pitching arm. Zack Wheeler hopes to show he is ready in his first complete major league season. The Mets traded Carlos Beltran for him. He was 7-5, 3.42 in 17 starts for the Mets last year. After that the pitching gets pretty spotty from a quality perspective. Jon Niese put in 24 starts last year with lots of inconsistent performances that saw his ERA sit at 3.71. Dillion Gee is another pitcher with underwhelming stuff who went 12-11, 3.62. The fifth and final spot will be a competition between Jenry Mejiia, John Lannan and Daisuke Matzusake. Mejia is coming off an arm injury while both Lannan and Matzusake are coming off poor seasons. The Mets will hope that one of Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Jake Degrom find success to make the major league roster. One and possibly two of those pitchers will fill the starting rotation before the 2014 season is complete.
Bullpen - The biggest problem for the Mets could be here. Hard throwing Bobby Parnell was the closer for much of 2013 but a bulging disk in his neck put him out for the rest of the season. Jeurys Familia has closer stuff but elbow injuries sidelined him the last couple years. Vic Black showed closer stuff in the Pirates minor league level. He finished with 17 saves in AAA. Kyle Farnsworth has also had closing experience, picking up 25 saves in 2011 with the Rays. At 37 he is better utilized as a set up man. Josh Edgin will be the lefty out of the pen, though lefthanders hit him better (.250) than righthanders last year (.236). Scott Rice is another lefty who gets lefthanded batters out (.172) but not righthanders (.362). They can also take some of their younger starters and move them to the bullpen to get their career started.
Potential Rookie Candidates - Travis d’Arnaud should win the starting catcher job and if he remains healthy would be one of the rookie of the year candidates. Jeurys Familia could also get some recognition if he takes over the closer role. Noah Syndergaard should see a callup before the All Star break. A good spring could see him open in the starting rotation. Wilmer Flores could see a lot of time at a number of positions. If he hits throw his name into the rookie of the year consideration. Cesar Puello could take over the right field job if young struggles and if he shows the drug suspension was not responsible for his .326 average and 16 homeruns he could make waves in the major leagues. Finally, the Mets could go with Wilfredo Tovar at short if Tejeda disappoints and Flores can’t play defense. The Mets are rebuilding and many of their younger players are percolating up to fill major league roles. Their success will tell a lot about the future of the Mets and their competition with the Yankees of the back pages of the press.
2008 draft - Ike Daviis was their number one pick. He looked like a star after his first year but has struggled to hit for average the last two seasons, showing a real inability to hit lefthanded pitching. Kirk Nieuwenhuis was a fourth round pick who saw some playing time last year but failed to hit (.189). He may still be able to make it as a fourth outfielder because of his defense. Josh Satin is a sixth round pick that will fit a bench role as a corner infielder. Those are the only three players to contribute to the major league cause.
Expected Finish - With Harvey gone they will continue to rebuild. They have two weak teams in their division, one in the rebuilding Marlins and the second in the aging Phillies. It will be a three way battle between these teams for the bottom division. Expect the Mets to finish in third place.
In January the New York Yankees signed 17 year old Brandon Stenhouse, a 17 year old righthanded pitcher who has hit 90 miles per hour with his fastball to a minor league contract. The figures of the contract were not stated, but he did receive an educational scholarship, a bag of merchandise and a Yankee cap. The article can be found here: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/01/29/aussie-teen-signs-yankees
Recently the Twins signed 18 year old infielder Jack Barrie to a contract. Barrie hit for the cycle playing for the Queensland Bandits in the 18 and under national championship in Canberra, Australia. It was reported to be a six figure contract. The article can be found here: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/02/24/qld-teen-barrie-signs-mlbs-minnesota
The Dodgers signed the teammate of Jose Abreu, Erisbel Arruebarruena to a contract while myworld was travelling the Caribbean. Without those two players the Cienfuegos Elephants finished at the basement of the Cuban league. With them the Elephants were always at the top of the division. These two players will be solid additions for their major league team, Abreu hitting for power for the White Sox and Erisbel providing stellar defense for the Dodgers.
Interesting to note the Dodgers signed the backup shortstop for Erisbel when the national team was formed, Alexander Guerrero, and are planning to move Guerrero to second base. Guerrero at this point has a better bat than Erisbel, but his glove does not come close to matching that of Erisbel. Cuba has always valued defense when putting the national team together. Erisbel has a superior glove and could be playing shortstop for the Dodgers by mid season when they tire of Hanley Ramirez lack of hustle and range at short.
Erisbel was a consistent .300 hitter in the Cuban leagues, but he was still a bottom of the order hitter. When the college national team played the Cuban national team this year Erisbel struggled with the bat. He was often pinch hit for in the later innings. The Dodgers will need to work with him on his ability to recognize pitchers and his approach at the plate or he will become another Jose Gonzalez.
He has good physical characteristics, listed at between 6 - 6′2″ and 190-195 pounds. If someone can teach him the fundamentals myworld believes he can hit double digits in homeruns and bat around .270 once he gains some maturity and physical strength. He is only 23 so he will have time to grow with the Dodgers. He doesn’t run particularly well but he still covers a lot of ground at short and has a tremendous arm. He will need to hit if he wants to start for the Dodgers.
Taichung, Taiwan will be the host of the first under 21 baseball tournament that will be held from November 7-16. Teams participating in this tournament will also be able to add three players between the age of 21-23.
The Hanshin Tigers stadium Koshien, where they hold the high school tournament has been selected for the site of the 2015 under 18 tournament. This is a stadium that is recognized by its all dirt infield. It is also noted for its 40,000 plus attendance for its high school tournaments.
Canada has been selected to host the 2017 under 18 tournament. An exact city location has not been identified.
Baja California Sur, Mexico is preparing for the under 15 tournament beginning August 1.
Myworld has arrived in Daytona Beach a day before the Daytona 500 race, this after a two week tour of Mexico, Costa Rica and Colombia. There was no time to stop by a café to sign onto the internet so myworld died for a couple weeks. We will be back in action with postings February 26.
After reading email, catching up with the news that I missed and pay the bills that were sitting for the last two weeks. my world will continue our analysis of each major league team, prepare our top ten prospects from each area of the world, beginning with Europe, and rank the top 100 prospects in baseball. We will also be back in Florida on March 1 to report on spring training games.
So myworld continues to live. It’s contributor had to spend two weeks doing our own kind of living. We will also report on some of our travel findings.
After a thrilling extra inning win the day before the Heat rode the pitching of Brian Baker to edge the Canberra Cavalry 2-1. Baker allowed only two hits in his six plus innings of work, one of those a solo shot from Jeremy Barnes in the seventh to pull the Cavalry to within one. Warwick Saupold tossed the last two innings to earn the save, striking out four and allowing only one baserunner via a walk.
The Heat scored their first run in the opening frame on a Brandon Tripp single. Corey Adamson had started the inning off with a single, was sacrificed to second and stole third. Perth scored their second run in the sixth. Matt Kennelly socked a one out triple into right field. He scored on a Allan de San Miguel single.
Canberra had a great opportunity to score in the fifth but failed. Jack Murphy got the inning started with a triple. Mike Crouse got on base after third baseman Sam Kennelly booted his grounder. Murphy stayed bolted to third. Crouse was thrown out attempting to steal second and again Murphy stayed anchored on third base. Michael Wells struck out and Jason Sloan grounded out to third, Sam Kennelly successfully winging the ball to first for a Kennelly to Kennelly (Matt) 5-3. A third Kennelly (Tim) played designated hitter for the Heat. Sam, at 17 is the youngest of the Kennelly brothers, who have seen significant minor league team but very little major league time up to this point.
You can see the box score for the championship game here: http://web.theabl.com.au/stats/stats.jsp?gid=2014_02_08_canwin_prtwin_1&t=g_box&sid=l595