Archive for June, 2016

NL East Review of Number One Picks

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

The last of our reviews of the divisions number one picks the last five years. A slight delay in putting this one together because of my travel schedule. The Marlins, Nationals and Mets each picked up a franchise player from this time period. The Phillies hope to have one. The Braves hope to see their franchise players via the trade market.

Atlanta Braves

2015 - Kolby Allard LHP - Back problems sidelined him early in the season. He has returned to pitching at Low A but his first two starts were a struggle. He was recently sent to rookie ball to work on his pitches. In his last two starts covering 9 innings he has struck out 11 hitters without walking a batter.

Mike Soroka RHP - The Canadian is not overpowering, with a fastball in the low 90s, but he has excellent command of his pitches. Only one of his pitches in 112 innings has left the park. Wins have been difficult in Low A (2-6) but he has been having success.

2014 - Braxton Davidson OF - The Braves first round pick is a bit overshadowed by all the number one picks the Braves have traded for the last couple years. He has some pop to hit balls over the fence but this year is having trouble making contact. Last year his walk to whiff ratio was 84/135 which gave him an acceptable .381 OBA despite a .242 average. This year it is 34/90 in just 71 games giving him a .337 OBA and a .235 average. He has the arm for right but needs to make more consistent contact to give him the bat for the position.

2013 - Jason Hursh RHP - The Braves have moved Hursh to the bullpen where his fastball has more velocity. A struggle with the strike zone and a lack of a third pitch foiled his ability to continue as a starter.

2012 - Lucas Sims RHP - Not overpowering, AAA was a bit of a challenge for him this year (7.56 ERA in 10 starts). Giving up a long ball every four innings did not help the ERA. A demotion back to AA where he had some success last year has been met with success this year (2.29 ERA) with 32 whiffs in just 19.2 innings. It will be difficult for him to make the rotation with all the new talent the Braves have moved to the organization.

2011 - Sean Gilmartin LHP - The Braves traded him to the Twins in 2013 for catcher Ryan Doumit. The Mets acquired Sean in the Rule V draft in 2014. Myworld saw him pitch for the Mets last night. He had some success with the Mets in the bullpen last year but the Mets sent him to Vegas to start this year only recently calling him up to help in the pen. At best a back of the rotation pitcher of middle inning reliever.

2010 - No pick

Miami Marlins

2015 - Josh Naylor 1B - A second Canadian drafted in the first round. Naylor has tremendous power with the ability to make contact. At 6′0″, 225 Josh is a big boy who doesn’t move fast, despite his 9 stolen bases this year. Now that he is in full season ball his average has dropped 70 points (.327 to .257) but he is still showing an ability to make contact.

2014 - Tyler Kolek RHP - Another big boy at 6′5″ 260 pounds with a triple digit fastball coming out of high school. The Marlins will have to wait to see what they have with him. Tommy John surgery will force him to miss the 2016 season. He was quite hittable the last two years (.261 average) with a paucity of whiffs for a pitcher who shows his velocity (6.8 K’s per 9 innings).

2013 - Colin Moran 3B - He led the college circuit in RBIs in 2013. The Marlins traded him to the Astros for Jarred Cosart. May lack the power to fit at third base. He also has a number of talented prospects in the Astros system that will move him back on the depth chart.

2012 - Andrew Heaney LHP - Andrew was packaged to the Dodgers to acquire Dee Gordon in 2014. The same year the Dodgers traded him to the Angels for Howie Kendrick. He will fit in the middle of a rotation though injuries have sapped him of his effectiveness and limited him to just one start this year. Instead of Tommy John surgery he is exploring stem cell to heal arm.

2011 - Jose Fernandez RHP - A true ace. An automatic win for the Marlins when he is on the mound. The problem is they will not sign him after he becomes a free agent so they may have to trade him.

2010 - Christian Yelich - A weak arm prevents him from playing centerfield. Lacks the traditional power of a corner outfielder, but provides centerfield defense and has the potential to win batting titles. A solid pick.

New York Mets

2015 - No Pick

2014 - Michael Conforto LF - Not a good defensive player but the Mets love his power. He shined with them last year and after a good April he nose dived to a .150 average after that month. Perhaps the Mets rushed him. He has been sent back down to the minors to find his bat.

2013 - Dominic Smith 1B - Despite the injury to Lucas Duda the Mets were not confident to give him the first base job. A solid defensive firstbaseman lacking a power bat. He could become a James Loney type player but needs to improve the .259 average.

2012 - Gavin Cecchini SS - Another player that should have seen a call up if the Mets were confident in his ability to handle the position. A second straight .300 average (.327) with a 24/26 walk to whiff ratio is impressive. Many feel he lacks the range to play shortstop, but his power is absent to play third. If he continues to hit .300 the Mets will find a position for him.

2011 - Brandon Nimmo OF - The first player from Wyoming to be drafted in the first round. He was called up to replace Michael Conforto in the outfield. Myworld thought he would be playing centerfield instead of Yoenis Cespedes, but the Mets have put him in left field. If he can’t beat out Cespedes in centerfield and needs to play a corner he may lack the power to play the position.

2010 - Matt Harvey RHP - The Mets ace with a fastball at 95-98 miles per hour.

Philadelphia Phillies

2015 - Cornelius Randolph OF - Cornelius needs to hit for power if he plays a corner outfield. A sore shoulder has prevented him from playing since April. He was only hitting .240 with a .340 slugging when he got hurt.

2014 - Aaron Nola RHP - Aaron had some success pitching in the major leagues last year and early this year. In his last four starts he has not reached the fourth inning, giving up at least four or more runs in those starts. Not an overpowering fastball so without command he can give up a lot of hits. Aaron may need some more time in the minors to find his stuff.

2013 - J.P. Crawford - The future shortstop of the Phillies recently promoted to AAA. The Phillies have no reason to promote him and eat up valuable service time. Needs to figure out AAA (.219 average) but expect a September promotion.

2012 - No Pick

2011 - No Pick

2010 - Jesse Biddle LHP - The local boy never quite made it. The Phillies traded him to the Pirates this year for much released Yorvis Medina. The Pirates took him off the 40 man roster and the Braves picked him up on waivers. Probably will not pitch in 2016 because of Tommy John surgery.

Washington Nationals

2015 - No Pick

2014 - Erick Fedde RHP - He doesn’t have the talent of Giolito but the Nationals drafted him in the first round despite Tommy John surgery delaying his debut until 2015. Lacks the fastball of Giolito but he commands it well.

2013 - No Pick

2012 - Lucas Giolito RHP - He was rumored to be the first pick of the 2012 draft but arm issues and a commitment to Stanford dropped him down to the Nationals. He did have Tommy John surgery delaying his start until 2013. Lucas made his major league debut last night showing a fastball that sizzles at 95 thrown from a 6′6″ frame.

2011 - Anthony Rendon 3B - The Nationals starting third baseman has been hampered by injuries.

Alex Meyer RHP - The Nationals traded the 6′9′ giant with the triple digit fastball for Denard Span. His inability to find the plate appears to cement him in a bullpen role. The Twins hope to make him a closer. Continues to battle arm injuries.

2010 - Bryce Harper - Not much needs to be said about the MVP last year.

Coastal Carolina Sends it to a Game Three

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

The Chanticleers nipped Arizona 5-4 to take the College World Series to a third game. Anthony Marks started the scoring with a two run single in the third and J.K. Young ended the scoring with a two run single in the eighth. Arizona almost came back in the bottom of the eighth, scoring twice and putting the tying run at second with the go ahead run on third. Cody Ramer popped out to end the threat.

Cameron Ming, the Wildcats shutdown reliever was victimized for the three runs in the eighth.

Lucas Defeats the Dark Knight

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

An hour and a half rain delay only allowed him to pitch four innings so he did not get credit for the victory, but the Nationals were up 1-0 when he left. In those four innings he allowed one bloop single to left field by leadoff hitter Curtis Granderson. His consistent 95 mile per hour heat had the Mets hitters off balance. Even though he struck out just one while he walked two the balls that were hit were not hit hard. There were not a lot of swings and misses but the Nationals went on to win 5-0 once they were allowed to play the game again with Matt Harvey no longer on the mound.

Matt Harvey appears to have his stuff back. He was hitting 96-98 consistently. There were some command problems with three walks but he also struck out three. In the second inning he gave up a single to Wilson Ramos and then Anthony Rendon rode one of his pitches to the right center field gap allowing Ramos to score from home. In order for that to happen the outfielders had to do a pretty poor job of chasing the ball down in the outfield, with Granderson in right and Cespedes in center. Rendon landed on third when the throw home was late.

Harvey did not come back after the rain delay. Bryce Harper hit a two run homer in the fifth and Ramos a two run double in the seventh to account for the final four runs. Myworld was not there to see that action after leaving with the second rain delay so we can not provide too many details on the game.

Game Notes: Harvey threw a couple curveballs but most of his pitches are hard. His slider comes in at 91 while his curve ball hits the mid-80s. Giolito has a bit more variety with the velocity in his pitches. His curveball is at 79 and his slider comes to the plate in the high 80s low 90s…There was a 45 minute rain delay that pushed back the start of the game to 8:45. The second rain delay was an hour and a half. Those people who relied on Metro for their commute could only see a couple more innings before they had to leave the game to catch the last train home.

Future Rosters Announced

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

The United States team has dominated this event the last couple years. Myworld will list the international players and identify their country of birth. There are some interesting countries that have not normally been represented in Futures Games. Dominican Republic has the most players while Venezuela was restricted to two and one of those players went to high school in the United States. Despite all the signings Cuba only has one player here.

Pitchers

Jharel Cotton (Virgin Islands), Chih-Wei Hu (Taiwan), Joe Jimenez (Puerto Rico), Adalberto Mejia (Dom Rep), Dovydas Neverauskas (Lithuania), Ricardo Pinto (Venezuela), Alex Reyes (Dominican Republic), Francisco Rios (Mexico), Dylan Unsworth (South Africa)

Catchers

Francisco Mejia (Dominican Republic), Gary Sanchez (Dominican Republic)

Infielders

Willy Adames (Dominican Republic), Carlos Asuaje (Venezuela), Jeimor Candelario (Dominican Republic), Ronald Guzman (Dominican Republic), Dilson Herrera (Colombia), Jorge Mateo (Dominican Republic), Yoan Moncada (Cuba), Josh Naylor (Canada)

Outfielders

Jorge Bonafacio (Dominican Republic), Eloy Jimenez (Dominican Republic), Manuel Margot (Dominican Republic), Tyler O’Neil (Canada), Raimel Tapia (Dominican Republic)

Arizona Shuts Down Coastal Carolina

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

In the opening match of the best two out of three JC Cloney threw a four hit complete game shutout to give the Wildcats a 3-0 win. Ryan Aguilar drove in two runs with RBI singles in the first and seventh innings and Mr. Reliable Zach Gibbons drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh. The shutout is the first to happen in the finals match.

Arizona needs just one win to secure their fifth NCAA championship. Coastal Carolina needs two wins to win their first championship.

Nats Run Noah Ragged

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Down 4-0 after two innings, with Noah Syndergaard on the mound for the Mets, there was not a lot of hope for a victory. The Nationals loaded the bases in the first inning but Wilson Ramos grounded into a double play to end that rally and you do not get a lot of opportunities against Thor and his 100 mile per hour heat. The Nats strung together five singles and a walk in the third inning, and took advantage of the deliberate motion of Syndergaard on the mound and stole four bases to punish him for five runs in the third inning. Noah was done after three but the Nats bats still had some runs left in them for a 11-4 win.

Joe Ross struggled early. Two singles and a sacrifice fly made it 1-0 after 1. Brandon Nimmo collected his first major league hit to help score the second run in the second inning, driven in on a single by Curtis Granderson. Ross gave up three singles and a double to the first four hitters he faced in the third to give the Mets what appeared to be an insurmountable 4-0 lead.

The Nats battled back with a five spot off Syndergaard in the third. They tacked on runs in the next three innings. Daniel Murphy drove in a run with a single in the fourth to give the Nationals an insurance run but Ramos hit into his second double play of the game to keep the rally limited to just one run.

Sean Gil Martin was spanked for four in the fifth, Joes Ross poking a single to keep the rally extended. James Loney made a low throw home on a bases loaded grounder by Ben Revere and they failed to get the out at home. Jayson Werth drove in two with a double and Bryce Harper legged out a single to drive in the fourth run. Because Loney bobbled the throw Werth broke for home, trying to score from second, but he was thrown out by Loney.

After that the game was about done. The Mets put two runners on in the seventh but a double play erased one of them. They loaded the bases in the eighth but Curtis Granderson stranded them by striking out. Rafael Martin came on to retire the side in order in the ninth, his first appearance in the major leagues for the 2016 season.

Game Notes: Myworld will be at the game today for the debut of Lucas Giolito. If he pitches well the Nationals have options. When Strasburg comes off the DL they could have him take the Gio Gonzalez role in the rotation, or they could shift him into a closer/setup role to save on the amount of innings his arm will throw for the 2016 season…Noah Syndergaard has a slow and deliberate delivery to the plate when he is in his stretch. Travis d’Arnaud isn’t a catcher with one of the strongest arms in the National League. The result was six stolen bases, three of them for Ben Revere, who finished the game 4 for 5. Perhaps the motivation for Revere is that Trea Turner was getting some work in centerfield in AAA…What is it about a Nats game that brings rain. There were drizzles in the first inning, which dampens my scorebook. Fortunately, the sprinkles stopped sometime in the second inning. They are calling for thunder showers tonight…Bryce Harper fouled a 100 mile per hour fastball off his foot. He also stumbled off the edge of the first base bag legging out an infield hit. Dusty took Bryce Harper out of the game for Michael Taylor in the eighth. It would not surprise myworld if he got the game off on Tuesday…On a steal by the Nats with lefty Sean Gil Martin on the mound Travis d’Arnaud double pumped on his throw to second, allowing Ben Revere to have his third stolen base of the game.

Orioles Continue Rays Slide

Monday, June 27th, 2016

The Tampa Bay Rays extended their losing streak to 11 games after a 12-5 loss to the Orioles. The game did not begin well for Drew Smyly and the Rays when the O’s fourth hitter of the game Chris Davis popped an opposite field grand slam homerun just inside the foul pole to start the game 4-0. Smyly lasted five innings but he gave up 8 runs, including a solo blast to Jonathan Schoop in the third and a two run shot from Mark Trumbo in the fifth.

The Rays had a shot with Tyler Wilson on the mound. He gave up solo homeruns to Desmond Jennings in the second and another to Oswaldo Arcia in the fourth. The Rays assaulted him for three hits, a walk and three runs in the fifth to close the game to 6-5. The Trumbo two run homer made it 8-5 and then Dylan Bundy pitched three innings of shutout relief to preserve the Orioles victory.

The Orioles also beat up on Ryan Webb in the eighth. After he retired the first two hitters the next five Orioles got hits off him to lead to four runs. That put the game out of reach for the Rays.

Game Notes: Not impressed with either Drew Smyly or Tyler Wilson. Drew got his fastball as high as 91. He struck out six, including four in a row between the second and third innings, but he also gave up a lot of big hits. Wilson is a small righthander who sits at 88-90. Myworld can’t imagine him making another team’s starting rotation, but the Orioles are desperate for starting pitching. With the farm system bare and former O’s Jason Hamel and Jake Arriata starring for the Cubs the O’s need at least two more starting pitchers. The second half of the season may see Dylan Bundy in the rotation…The last five hitters in the Rays lineup are hitting .217 or less. The team may hit a number of homeruns, but the batting averages of the bottom of their order are abysmal. Tim Beckham, the former number one pick has finally made the major leagues but he is only hitting .190. The Rays had him at third base on Sunday where he showed his defense is limited at the position…Adam Jones did not go deep, but he finished the day 4 for 4 with a walk and two runs scored batting from the leadoff spot…Oswaldo Arcia shows no plate discipline. He went fishing, swinging and missing at a pitch in the dirt on a 2-0 count, after the pitcher had thrown five straight balls. He was a triple short of the cycle today (3 for 4), but myworld does not see sustained success unless he gets more control over the strike zone…Dylan Bundy was hitting 95 with his fastball. He struck out four in a row between the seventh and eighth innings.

Arizona and Coastal Carolina Advance to NCAA Finals

Monday, June 27th, 2016

The preseason top 25 polls did not have these two teams making it to the finals, or even appearing in their top 25 lists. Arizona at least has some history in appearing in NCAA finals, having won championships in 2012, 1986, 1980 and 1976 and finishing second in 1963, 1959 and 1956, but this was supposed to be a rebuilding season for them. For Coastal Carolina this is their first appearance in Omaha and they made it memorable by appearing in the NCAA championship.

Coastal Carolina beat TCU for the second time to qualify for the championships, getting some offensive production from Connor Owings, G.K. Young and Tyler Chadwick to beat TCU 7-5. Chadwick hit a solo shot in the second inning to give the Chanticleers an early 1-0 lead. Young added a two out two run triple in the third to up the ante to 3-0. Owings closed out a four run fourth with a two run double and Carolina had built a 7-1 lead.

The Horned Frogs pinched away at the lead, getting the score to 7-5 with the tying run at the plate and only one out, but Bobby Holmes got Michael Landestoy to ground into a double play to end the game and send the Chanticleers to the championship.

The path to the finals for Arizona was an early outburst on offense, led by the bat of Zack Gibbons, and the arm of Bobby Dalbec, who only allowed one run in his seven innings of work. Gibbons had RBI doubles in the first and second innings to fuel the Wildcats early 4-0 lead. An RBI single in the fourth gave him three RBIs in the 5-1 Arizona win.

The two teams will begin their best two out of three run to the championship today.

Coastal Carolina and Arizona Force Second Game in College World Series

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

Both Coastal Carolina and Arizona avoided elimination, forcing a second game by beating the teams sitting in the winner’s bracket in the NCAA College World Series. Arizona blasted an Oklahoma pitching staff that had pitched two 1-0 shutouts in Omaha. The Cowboys trotted out six different pitchers but the Wildcats exploded for nine runs in the 9-3 win. Zach Gibbons accounted for three hits and two RBIs and Cesar Salazar scored three runs in a 2 for 2 day, slapping a single and double to go with one walk to lead the offense. Closer Cameron Ming was asked to go five innings in relief so his availability for the final game is in question.

Coastal Carolina got a complete game from Andrew Beckwith to keep their season alive in their 4-1 win over TCU. Beckwith only allowed six hits, one of them an eighth solo shot from Dane Steinhagen to account for the only Horned Frogs run. Coastal Carolina only collected four hits in the game but they made them count. Two hits in the third, one a RBI bunt single by Anthony Marks led to two runs. Connor Owings driving in the other run with a sacrifice fly. Two hits in the seventh led to two more runs, Billy Cooke driving in one run with a sacrifice fly and David Parrett driving in the fourth run with a double.

Today both teams square off to see who will meet in the best two of three championship game.

Rondon has Monster Night

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

The Tampa Bay Rays signed Rondon to a $2.95 million bonus back in 2014 as a 16 year old. His first year he hit .166 in the Gulf Coast League as a 17 year old, failing to hit a homerun in 145 at bats and striking out 57 times in just 43 games. Patience pays off.

The next year he worked on his swing at extended spring training and it all seems to have paid off after the results from his second game in the Appalachian League. In the first inning he went deep for his first professional homerun, a two run shot to give his team an early lead. In the sixth he blasted a three run bomb to extend the Princeton lead over Burlington to 8-1. There was a 30 minute rain delay in the seventh, but when play resumed Princeton loaded the bases for Rondon in the eighth and he cleared them with a grand slam. That is 9 RBIs, a career high for the teenager and a number most do not reach in their professional career.

Princeton won the game 16-2.

Myworld just returned from our Pennsylvania minor league tour. In one of the games we witnessed Tyler Austin hit a solo homerun to account for the only run in a 1-0 Scranton Wilks-Barre win over Toledo. Two days later he did two better slugging three homeruns, a three run shot in the first and solo shots in the fourth and sixth to account for all the Railriders runs in an early 5-3 lead. Austin now has four homers in three days and his last six hits have gone for extra bases (two doubles prior to the homer barrage).

The Railriders tied the game but then in the ninth Donavan Solano, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez went back to back to back to give the Railriders an 8-5 win.