Archive for November, 2017

Acuna Leads Peoria to AFL Championship

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

Ronald Acuna was the MVP of the Arizona Fall League. He was also the MVP of the championship match, driving in four of the eight runs in the Peoria Javelinas 8-2 whipping of the Mesa Solar Sox. Mesa scored two runs in the first inning to take an early 2-0 lead but it was all Peoria after that.

Acuna drove in his first run in the third inning with a single to tie the game. Alex Jackson delivered the big hit of the inning with a two run single to give the Javelinas a 4-2 lead.

The fourth inning saw Acuna punch a single to drive in two to increase the Javelina lead to 6-2. in the eighth he hit a sacrifice fly to end the scoring for Peoria.

Mesa strafed 10 hits off the Peoria pitching staff but three double plays by the middle infield combination of Lourdes Gurriel and Luis Urias short circuited three innings. Mesa entered the game as defending champions. Peoria won for the first time since 2012. It was their sixth AFL championship.

Asia Series Results

Saturday, November 18th, 2017

In the past the Asia Series would pit the champions of the NPB, CPBL and KBO against each other, adding an All Star team from China and then later on the champion of the ABL. The attendance for these games was lacking resulting in the abandonment of the sponsor and the ending of the series. This year Japan, Korea and Taiwan have renewed the Asian Series, but this time they are pitting All Star teams of 23 and under prospects against each other. Each team is allowed to play three players who fall above that age requirement. Japan usually dominates these events, but the games are always competitive.

Japan 8 Korea 7

Japan rallied for four runs in the bottom of the tenth inning to win the game 8-7. Seiji Uebayashi slugged a three run homer to tie the game and Tatsuhiro Tamura got the walk off double to give Japan the victory. In the top of the tenth Korea had scored three runs to break a 4-4 tie.

Korea scored four runs in the fourth inning. Ha-Seong Kim started the inning off with a solo homerun. Jung-Hoo Lee ended the scoring with a two run double. Japan rallied back with Hotaka Yamakawa slugging a two run homer in the sixth. In the ninth the Korean pitchers got a little wild, walking two and giving up a hit to load the bases. Yota Kyoda walked to force in the tying run to send the game into extra innings.

Korea got the fireworks started in the tenth with an RBI double from Ji-Hyuk Ryu and a two run double from Ju-Suk Ha, who had driven in a run earlier with a sacrifice fly in the four run fourth. After the Korean bullpen could not protect a one run lead in the ninth, they failed to protect a three run lead in the 10th. With two runners put on base for the extra inning rule Uebayashi slugged a one out 3-run homer to quickly tie the game. Ryoma Nishikawa singled and stole second. Tatsuhiro Tamura ended the game with a double.

Korea 1 Taiwan 0

It was a pitcher’s duel. Kuan-Yu Chen gave up only one run in his 5.2 innings of work. Gi-Yeong Im only allowed two hits in his seven innings of shutout ball. He struck out seven and walked three.

A two out walk and a triple from Jung-Hoo Lee in the sixth inning scored the only run of the game. Pill-Joon Jang got the last four outs, striking out three to seal off the victory for Korea.

If Japan beats Taiwan tomorrow Korea and Japan will play in the championship. If Taiwan wins the series will knot into a three way tie for first at 1-1. A tie breaker will identify the two teams to square off in the championship match.

Australian League Opener

Friday, November 17th, 2017

The Australian Baseball League had its league opener across the waters between the Brisbane Bandits and the Canberra Cavalry. The Bandits stole the game with four runs in the seventh to break a 4-4 tie and ultimately win the game 8-5.

Logan Wade strung together two hits to drive in two runs to lead the Bandits. He hit a two run homer in the fourth to tie the game at 3-3. His two run single in the seventh drove in the first two runs of the inning to break a 4-4 tie. Catcher Adam Weisenburger drove in the other two runs in the inning with a single. Canberra pitchers walked three hitters in the inning, one of them intentionally.

David Kandilas smashed a two run homer for the cavalry in the fourth to give Canberra a 3-1 lead. Robbie Perkins delivered a solo shot in the 8th to close out the scoring for the Cavalry. T.J. Bennett hit a solo shot in the fifth for Brisbane to give the Bandits a brief 4-3 lead.

Myworld’s Top Ten Third Base Prospects

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

This is a position reserved for power hitters. Many of those power hitters like Jim Thome or Miguel Sano get too big for the position and have to move to first base or DH. Below are the players myworld sees as the top ten at third base.

1. Nick Senzel (Reds) - The first round pick of the Reds in 2016 and the second player drafted overall should hit for both average and power. Last year he combined to hit .321 between High A and AA, with his average increasing from .305 to .340 when promoted to AA. He also hit 14 homeruns with a slugging average of .514. Defensively, he has the quickness to stay at the position, but do not expect any gold gloves. The Reds traded Todd Frazier to make room for Senzel. Eugenio Suarez, the current occupier of the position can play a super utility role, having played second, short and left field in his time with the Reds. Expect to see Senzel at this position in 2018.

2. Vladimir Guerrero (Blue Jays) - His bat may not be as productive as his father and his arm is not as strong. He does carry more patience, walking 76 times last year. In his last three years in the major leagues his father walked 71 times, though he did show more patience earlier in his career (or pitchers feared him so much they did not give him a pitch to hit). The big question with Junior is whether he can handle the position defensively. Last year he hit .323 with 13 homeruns and a .485 slugging average between Low and High A. Those numbers should increase as he matures. Myworld would not be surprised if he is moved to left field or first base, though his lack of speed would make him a liability on defense in the outfield.

3. Michael Chavis (Red Sox) - Rafael Devers had some success last year at third base for the Red Sox. That seems to create an impediment for Chavis to move there at the major league level. Chavis may not have the hit tool of Devers (.282) but he hits for more power with his 31 homeruns between High A and AA. Like Devers, defense is not a strong point for Chavis. His lack of speed will make moving to the outfield difficult. The Red Sox have one more year to decide who they move to first base, or use one of them as trade bait.

4. Brian Anderson (Marlins) - Myworld was impressed how frequently the third round 2014 pick peppered the gap during spring training. The ball seems to jump off his bat when he makes contact. Currently his power is more dedicated to the gaps. In a brief major league callup he hit 7 doubles in 84 at bats. At AA and AAA he combined for 22 homeruns and 21 doubles, hitting .275. His power could improve once he shows better patience at the plate. Defensively he has all the tools to play the position. He should be the starter at the position for the Marlins in 2018.

5. Austin Riley (Braves) - Austin is currently tearing it up in the Arizona Fall League. This after he hit 20 homeruns at High A and AA last year. If Austin can tame his swings and misses the average could go higher and more balls would carry the fence. Defensively he is adequate at third. With another solid performance in AA he could be with the Braves by mid-season in 2018. They do not have any top player to stop him from advancing.

6. Miguel Andujar (Yankees) - The Yankees have a glut of middle infielders (Gleyber Torres), some of whom they may have to accommodate at third to get their bat in the lineup. Currently, most of his power fills the gaps, with 38 doubles last year, two in the major leagues. As he matures those 16 homeruns he hit last year could translate to 30 plus. It would be hard to find a better arm than Miguel and if he had the speed a move to right field would be perfect (but that would require supplanting Aaron Judge). Last year he hit .571 in a seven at bat major league September callup. Expect him to see more time at the major league level next year.

7. Jake Burger (White Sox) - Jake was a first round pick of the White Sox last year. There is little doubt he will be a hitting machine, though in a 13 at bat minor league debut he hit just .154. The big concern with Jake is his stay puff marshmellow physique, which could force a move away from third. Currently his physique allows him the quickness to play third. If he continues to bulk up he may have to move to first. Not a lot of players can match his work ethic. Drafted out of college if Jake hits he will be moved up quickly.

8. Colton Walker (Rockies) - Unlike Ryan McMahon, Colton as a few more years in the minor leagues to play third base before the Rockies have to make a decision on whether to keep Nolan Arenado. The biggest strength for Colton is his defense. He was a shortstop in high school, so playing third is a good transition for him, especially because of his lack of speed. Last year in his first full season at Low A he hit .350. The power is still absent (6 homeruns) but it should come as he gains strength.

9. Lucas Erceg (Brewers) - The second round 2016 pick has the power to play the position. He struggled with the bat a little bit more last year than his debut 2016 half season, hitting just .256 at High A. The power showed mainly in the gaps with 33 doubles, but he did slug 15 homeruns for a .417 slugging average. As he gets stronger the power will carry more balls over the fence. He should be a stand out defensively and eventually move Travis Shaw to first base.

10. Adrian Rondon (Rays) - The Rays shelled out $2.95 million to sign him. At the time he was a shortstop. A lack of speed forced a move to third base. Too many swings and misses (129) impacted his average (.221). When he makes contact the ball travels well off the bat. Only 19, myworld would not be surprised if he spends another season in Low A to deal with his lack of contact issues. The defense will be solid.

Other players to note:

Ryan McMahon (Rockies) - On talent alone he would make this top ten just after Andujar. We already listed him at second base and do not see him playing third for the Rockies as long as Arenado fills this spot. Defensively he is not as strong as Walker so when Walker is ready and Arenado gone McMahon will be at first or second.

Ryan Mountcastle (Orioles) - He does not have the range to play short. When promoted to AA last year he played third. The power could be short for the position making a move to second more logical.

Bobby Dalbec (Red Sox) - That shortage at third base for the Red Sox is turning into a surplus. There is still too much swing and miss in his bat (132 in 85 games). If that can be toned down the power is there to play the position.

Colin Moran (Astros) - He was an RBI machine in college. That did not transition to the major leagues. Last year he had a break out season with 18 homeruns, earning a promotion to the major leagues. A hit by pitch put an early stop to his season. It will be interesting if last year was an aberration or part of his new self.

J.D. Davis (Astros) - Davis has some power in his bat but a lack of quickness and Bregman and Moran could force a move to another position. A lack of speed leaves first base as the most desirable option.

Hunter Dozier (Royals) - The first round 2013 pick has taken some time to develop. Injuries limited him to 33 games last year. Alex Gordon struggled for a number of years with the Royals while trying to play third base until they moved him to the outfield. Perhaps this will have to be done for Dozier to get his bat working.

Renato Nunez (Athletics) - He has good power in his bat but an inability to make consistent contact. His poor fielding makes a move to first almost guaranteed, especially with the depth the Athletics have at third.

Ke’Bryan Hayes (Pirates) - The Pirates first round pick in 2015 lacks the power for the position. He is an above average defender.

Christian Arroyo (Giants) - A tweener. The first round 2013 pick does not have the range for short or the power for third.

Venezuela Winter League Update

Monday, November 13th, 2017

Not a lot of big time prospects in Venezuela with the perceived safety issues. If there are any prospects they are Venezuelan natives playing in their home town.

Aragua Tigres (17-9)

Jose Vargas (.244, 9, 24) got off to a fast homerun start but has cooled off. Strikeouts (26) have plagued the veteran. He is still the big bat on the Tigres, leading the team in homeruns and RBIs. Alberto Callaspo (.378, 0, 15) has been the top dog on the team with his 8 doubles. He also has a 17/7 walk to whiff ratio.

Pitching has been superb with a trio of starters in Guillermo Moscoso (2-1, 1.44), Robert Zarate (1-1, 1.85) and Freddy Garcia (2-0, 2.18). The three pitchers have combined for 10 walks in 15 starts.

Caracas Leones (17-12)

No big homerun bats on this team. Wilfredo Tovar (.381, 0, 17) is spraying the gaps with six doubles and four triples. Alexander Palma (.328, 0, 13) leads the team in doubles with 8 and runs scored with 23. The Leones are waiting for the bat of Jesus Guzman (.262, 2, 14) to get hot. He leads the team in strikeouts (24) but also walks (17).

No real dominating performances by any of their pitchers.

Zulia Aguilas (15-12)

Their two big bats are coming from Puerto Rican David Vidal (.274, 6, 17) and journeyman minor leaguer Zach Houchins (.265, 4, 19). David leads the team in homeruns and Zach in RBIs.

Cuban Reiner Roibal (2-1, 1.61) is turning into their ace. The opposition is hitting just .205 against him and he has a 3/25 walk to whiff ratio in 22 innings. He has only given up one run in his last two starts, covering 11 innings and striking out 16. Elieser Hernandez (2-1, 2.11) has five solid starts limiting the opposition to a .162 average against him.

Magallanes Navegantes (16-13)

Adonis Garcia (.406, 0, 5) has recently arrived with a hot bat, stringing together a seven game hitting streak. Veteran Mexican Leaguer Jesus Valdez (.358, 10, 35) leads the league in homeruns and RBIs. Luis Torrens (.277, 1, 14) was a Rule V pick from the Yankees by the Padres but is getting much needed at bats this winter. Ronny Cedeno (.347, 1, 13) and Andres Blanco (.345, 3, 9) are two more productive bats.

Hassan Pena (1-0, 0.63, 8 saves) has already picked up 8 saves, which includes half of Navegantes wins.

Anzo√°tegui Caribes (13-16)

Balbino Fuenmayor (.413, 3, 18) is one of my favorite players down there. His homerun bat is coming alive with three in his last 5 games. He also has split the gaps with four doubles in those five games. Rene Reyes (.404, 2, 10) gives the Caribes two hitters who have played 10 or more games who are hitting over .400. The veteran slugger Luis Jimeniz (.254, 2, 9) is dragging just a little.

No pitchers to note.

Lara Cardenales (12-15)

Henry Urrutia (.352, 2, 18) has hit two homeruns in his last two games. He needs to hit because he provides no defense in the outfield. Rangel Ravelo (.432, 2, 5) has recently arrived to assault Venezuelan pitchers. Jesus Montero (.305, 5, 15) has cooled off since his fast start. The former top prospect of the Yankees was released by two teams last year.

Ryan Kelly (0-1, 1.69, 7 saves) has been lights out in his closer role, limiting the opposition to a .140 average.

La Guair√° Tiburones (11-16)

With Ozzie Guillen managing they are sitting near the bottom of the standings. Recent arrival Jose Martinez (.452, 1, 8) is a hitting machine. He has 8 RBIs and 9 runs scored in 8 games.

Seth Rosin (2 saves) has yet to give up a run in 11 appearances.

Margarita Bravos

As a team they only have two homeruns. All other teams have at least one player on their roster with two or more homeruns. Cade Gotta (.362, 0, 11) is splitting the gaps with 10 doubles and has scored 22 runs.

Manny Corpas (0-2, 1.86, 2 saves) has been doing some closer work.

Mexican League Update

Saturday, November 11th, 2017

The Mexican Winter League is composed mainly of veteran Mexican summer league prospects and former journeymen major leaguers trying to make a living extending their baseball careers. There are not a lot of prospects to weed out from these teams. They have two halves, with the winner of the halves qualifying for the playoff. The other teams become eligible based on a point system. Below is an update of the season to date. Five teams are separated by just a game for first place.

Culiacan Tomateros (15-11)

Sebastian Elizalde (.367, 3, 13) is their top hitter, leading the team in all Triple Crown categories, including runs scored with 17. He also leads the team in stolen bases with 6. Not far behind is Alfredo Amezaga who is hitting .333. Both players have more walks than whiffs.

Pitching is the reason they hold the top spot with Dan Rodriguez (3-0, 0.87) the ace. In five starts he has limited the opposition to a .137 average and a 0.71 WHIP. Edgar Gonzalez (1-1, 1.88) and Anthony Vasquez (2-1, 2.76) have not been quite as dominant, but effective nonetheless. Chad Gaudin shores up the bullpen with five saves. He has yet to give up a run in his seven appearances.

Mexicali Aguilas (14-12)

Daniel Castro gets on base with his .387 average allowing him to score 17 runs. He has an 8/4 walk to whiff ratio. Walter Ibarra (.356, 5, 15) and C.J. Retherford (.211, 4, 16) drive the runs in. Chris Roberson (.340, 4, 10) is the igniter from the leadoff spot, second in runs scored with 16.

Rolando Valdez (1-0, 1.71) is their top starter. Ryan Kussmaul (1.98 ERA with 10 saves) has been racking up the saves.

Jalisco Charros (14-12)

Tony Tarrasco is their manager. Manny Rodriguez (.388, 4, 26) is their big bat. His 20 runs scored and 11 doubles are also team bests as well as the Triple Crown categories. Veteran Agustin Murrillo (.268, 4, 12) shares the team homerun lead with Manny. Billy Burns (.295, 13 runs scored) leads the team in stolen bases with 7. Japhet Amador is a recent arrival from Japan and in five games is making a difference, hitting .375 with one homerun and five RBIs. Chris Colabello (.246, 1,8) is trying to rejuvenate his bat in Mexico.

No pitchers to brag about except for closer Robert Stock, who has picked up four saves and has yet to give up a run in 11 appearances.

Hermosillo Naranjeros (14-12)

Domonic Brown (.365, 4, 10) is raking. His 20 runs scored is tied for the team lead with Efren Navarro (.343, 2, 19). Bryce Brentz (.205, 6, 20) leads the team in homeruns and RBIs but his 22 whiffs lead to too many quiet at bats. Hunter Dozier (.211, 4, 12) also has 22 whiffs. Fernando Perez (.361, 5, 15) is also another productive bat.

Cesar Vargas (1-2, 3.09) has only two starts but 8 relief appearances. He leads the team and league in whiffs with 30 in 24 innings. His two starts have been mixed with one shutout performance in four innings and one three run outing in 4.2 innings where he walked three of his season total five hitters. Chandler Shepherd (3-0, 2.59) has been the ace of the staff.

Mazatlan Venados (14-12)

Jeremias Pineda (.403, 0, 5) has been a difference maker in the 18 games he has played. He has stolen 16 bases without being caught and scored 21 runs. He has no power with just one double and one triple of his 31 hits. Brian Hernandez (.300, 3, 17) leads the team in RBIs while Corey Brown (.299, 4, 11) takes the top spot in homeruns. Garin Cecchini (.288, 1, 11), brother of Mets prospect Gavin, is trying to attract the attention of major league scouts.

Los Mochis Caneros (12-14)

Sebastian Valle (.190, 5, 9) has been providing too many swings and misses (26) but leads the team in homeruns. Minimal offense here.

The 6′6″ Akeem Bostick (2.78 ERA) has been lights out in his six starts, pitching in five innings in only two of his starts, limiting his ability to get any W’s. He has 25 whiffs in 22.2 innings. His ERA would be much lower but he gave up five of his season seven earned runs in his first start. Maikel Cleto (1-2, 3.63, 7 saves) has been a bit wild with 10 walks in 17 innings as the closer.

Navojoa Mayos (12-14)

The Cuban Randy Arozarena (.293,5, 14) is trying to spruce up his bat but a 4/24 walk to whiff ratio is cause for concern. His 20 runs scored leads the team. Jovan Rosa (.323, 6, 20) leads the team in homeruns and RBIs. Jesus Castillo (.323, 4, 18) and Alan Sanchez (.318, 4, 19) are two other productive bats worth noting.

Raul Carillo (0-4, 2.00) has been pitching in bad luck, taking four losses in five starts despite giving up only 8 runs. Zach Dodson (2-2, 2.97) and Tyler Kane (3-1, 3.09) have had a little more success in the rotation.

Obregon Yaquis (9-17)

Cedric Hunter (.262, 4, 10) is their most productive bat. Felix Pie (.305, 0, 5) is the only player hitting above .300. Alex Liddi (.156, 1, 3), Irving Falu (.212, 0, 4), Jake Smolinski (.184, 2, 5) and Reid Brignac (.206, 0, 1) are ex-major leaguers impressing no one.

David Reyes (2-0, 2.78) has pitched well in his four starts. Pablo Ortega (0-5, 5.70) has lost five of his six starts.

After Otani Who Else from Japan

Friday, November 10th, 2017

Shohei Otani has announced his intentions to play major league baseball. The Nippon Ham Fighters have agreed to post him. The only impediment to him playing in the United States is the Major League Players Association, who have some objections to the Nippon Ham Fighters getting a greater pot of gold than the player. They were to meet with Otani to discuss his posting soon.

Who else from Japan is ready to jump ship? There is Hideaki Wakui, who is eligible to be an international free agent. He is not restricted to a cap like Otani since he has been playing in the NPB for 13 years and is past age 25. Unfortunately, he is a couple inches shorter than Otani with a fastball that hits the low 90s, the equivalent of a changeup for Otani. But he does have command and an assortment of pitches.

He started his career with the Seibu Lions and then moved to the Lotte Marines in 2014. Last year he was 5-11 with an underwhelming 3.99 ERA. He gave up 20 homeruns, one less than his career high in 2010. His best years appear to be 2007 to 2009 when he pitched for Seibu. He wants to pitch in the major leagues but he may have to settle for a down sized contract. He will turn 32 next year.

The most interesting pitcher is Yusei Kikuchi, who was voted to the Pacific League Gold Glove team this year after putting up a 16-6, 1.97 ERA with 217 whiffs in 187 innings. He was Otani before Otani, declaring he did not want to be drafted after high school because he wished to play in the major leagues. There was pressure put on him to recant and he eventually submitted his paper work to make him eligible for the draft. Yusei took a few years develop. Last year was a break out season for him.

He may not throw as hard as Otani, but his fastball hits 95. As a lefthanded pitcher his small frame (6′0″) is not too much of a concern. He does have a few more years left in the NPB before becoming a international free agent. The Lions would have to post him to make him major league eligible and there have been no discussions on that this year. The Lions may want to see him replicate his performance next year to increase his posting value.

Top Ten Second Base Prospects

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

Not the position that is filled with the best prospects in baseball. In the major leagues the players who end up at second base are the more athletic shortstops who are a bit slow or do not have the arm to play short. Not a lot of players start as second baseman in the minor leagues and move up to the major leagues as second baseman. Below is myworld’s ten second base prospects that we like.

1. Nick Gordon (Twins) - Nick saw most of his time at shortstop but with top pick Royce Lewis ahead of him in the depth chart a more permanent move to second may be in his future. His half brother Dee Gordon started as a shortstop and was moved to second. Nick is less erratic at the position than Dee and has the arm to play the position. There is some concern he may not have the quickness. Nick lacks the speed and the stolen base ability of his brother Dee but he carries more power in his bat. Last year he hit .270 with 9 homeruns. He whiffs (134) too much for a middle infielder who does not have a lot of power.

2. Bo Bichette (Blue Jays) - His mother is from Brazil so Bo got to play for that country in the World Baseball Classic. His dad Dante was a power hitter in the major leagues and his brother, Dante Jr, plays in the minor leagues for the Yankees. Bo lacks the power of his father but carries better speed and could hit for average. He saw a limited amount of time at second base but 21 errors at shortstop in 86 games shows his inconsistency and a move to second may become more permanent. His bat was the talk of the minor leagues after hitting .384 in 70 low A games. The previous year he had hit .427 in 22 rookie league games. Promoted to the Florida State League he still hit a blistering .323, blasting 14 homeruns at the two levels. He will be an offensive oriented middle infielder who should make an impact with the Blue Jays in 2019.

3. Franklin Barreto (Athletics) - The Athletics have traded a number of shortstops, but Franklin was acquired from the Blue Jays in the Josh Donaldson trade. He also played more shortstop than second base this year but inconsistent fielding and Marcus Semien may call for a move to second. His arm is strong enough for third but he may not develop the power to play there. He struggled when promoted to the major leagues (.197) after hitting .290 with 15 homeruns in AAA. Franklin should be one of the candidates for the second base position next year.

4. Ryan McMahon (Rockies) - He started his career as a third baseman but with Nolan Arenado there that position is blocked. Defense will be his biggest challenge at second since he lacks the foot speed to cover a lot of ground. Getting his bat in the lineup is the Rockies biggest objective and there won’t be many second baseman that will match his power numbers. He has the potential to hit 20 plus homeruns and last year between AA and AAA hit .355, showing a lot of gap power with 39 doubles. In a brief major league showing he struggled, hitting just .158.

5. Scott Kingery (Phillies) - The first player here whose natural position is second base. Last year he went on a tear in a hitters park with 18 homeruns in 69 games. That kind of power was uncharacteristic for Kingery. When promoted to AAA his power dropped to 8 homeruns in 63 games with a slugging average going from .608 to .449. He has good speed falling one base shy of 30 stolen bases and plays a solid defense at second. The Phillies currently have a log jam at second so expect Scott to see one more year in AAA. If he can show that AA power was not a fluke he will get a quick promotion to the Phillies.

6. Willie Calhoun (Rangers) - He was an atrocious defensive second baseman with the Dodgers last year. When they traded him to the Rangers he played a lot of left field. That may be where he ultimately lands, though his arm is weak. What teams like in Calhoun is his 30 plus homer bat. For a power bat he also makes good contact with the ball. The Rangers will have to find a position for Joey Gallo and Roughned Odor is not being replaced at second base. The bat is ready for the major leagues, the glove will never be, now the Rangers have to find him a position to play him.

7. Luis Urias (Padres) - Urias started at second base but has seen some time at short. He has the arm for the position but there are questions about his consistency. One tool not questioned is his bat. It lacks power but he should never stray far from the .300 neighborhood. Last year he walked (68) more than he struck out (65). The Padres don’t really have anyone blocking Urias at short so that may be his ultimate position. He showed his bat is ready for the majors, hitting .298 in AA with a .398 OBA. Expect him to be with the Padres by mid season in 2018.

8. Travis DeMeritt (Braves) - The Braves like the power in his bat and acquired him from the Rangers. His arm and his power may make a move to third also a possibility. He has a tendency to swing and miss a lot (134 whiffs) which keeps his average down. Last year he was mired in AA with a .234 average with the power (15 homeruns and a .402 slugging) not appearing with regularity. The previous year he broke out for 28 homeruns while still hitting .266, with much of the power coming at a hitter friendly park (High Desert). Expect to see him play a full year in AAA with a September callup in his future.

9. Keston Hiura (Brewers) - The 2017 first round pick only played three games at second base in 2017. He played the rest of his games at DH because of an elbow that will need Tommy John surgery after the season. His glove is not his strongest asset and his arm is still a mystery but no one questions his bat. He hit .371 at two levels last year (rookie and Low A) with four homeruns. He should challenge for batting titles and hit in the double digits for homeruns. There is enough speed in his legs for a move to left field if second base does not pan out.

10. Andy Ibanez (Rangers) - At 25 entering the 2018 season Andy is ready for major league action now. That may come as a utility player. He was a star for Cuba at the tender age of 19, good enough to make their 2013 World Baseball Classic team. The bat has not developed into anything special once he went state side. Power is lacking and his hit tool may not be better than .270. He also does not take a lot of walks so his OBA won’t be much farther than .320. He did miss two years after his defection so 2018 will be his third year trying to make the major leagues. He will probably spend most of that time in AAA.

Others to watch

Shed Long (Reds) - Like the name but he doesn’t really have one glittering tool that makes you want to say Wow. Did hit .312 last year with 16 homeruns. That will play.

Nick Solak (Yankees) - Don’t really know a lot about him other than he was the Yankees second round pick in 2016. He got a late season callup to AA last year so myworld should get a look at him in 2018.

Ildemaro Vargas (Diamondbacks) - A star in the Independent Leagues and already 26. He did hit .308 in a brief callup to the major leagues. Myworld expects him to compete in a utility role for the Diamondbacks next year. He makes solid contact with gap power.

Tzu Wei Lin (Red Sox) - Signed out of Taiwan Lin is a natural shortstop with a smooth glove. His bat will probably not play to be a regular so expect a utility role for him, where he played last year when called up briefly by the Red Sox.

Gavin Cecchini (Mets) - The Mets have a number of gold glove shortstops that will have to move to second or in a utility role once they are ready for the major leagues. Gavin does not have the glove to match them but his bat could be better. Gavin will probably end up a utility player.

Max Schrock (Athletics) - He hits screaming line drives with the bat but his glove is a question mark. What helps him is his lefthanded bat.

NPB Golden Glove Awards

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

Below are the golden glove awards issued by the NPB. These are not given to the best defensive players at these positions, but the best players at the various positions. Like major league baseball, sometimes the best is based on a popularity contest. The surprise was that Shohei Otani did not receive any votes as either an outfielder or pitcher. Injuries left him with minimal playing time.

Central League

Pitcher - Tomoyuki Sugano (Yomiuri Giants)
Catcher - Seiji Kobayashi (Yomiuri Giants)
First Base - Jose Lopez (Yokohama Bay Stars)
Second Base - Ryosuke Kikuchi (Hiroshima Carp)
Third Base - Takashi Toritani (Hanshin Tigers)
Shortstop - Hayato Sakamoto (Yomiuri Giants)
Outfield - Yoshihiro Maru (Hiroshima Carp), Seiya Suzuki (Hiroshima Carp), Masayuki Kuwahara (Yokohama Bay Stars)

Pacific League

Pitcher - Yusei Kikuchi (Seibu Lions)
Catcher - Takuya Kai (Softbank Hawks)
First Base - Ginji Akaminai (Rakuten Golden Eagles)
Second Base - Daichi Suzuki (Lotte Marines)
Third Base - Nobuhiro Matsuda (Softbank Hawks)
Shortstop - Kenta Imamiya (Softbank Hawks)
Outfield - Shogo Akiyama (Seibu Lions), Yuki Yanagita (Softbank Hawks), Haruki Nishikawa (Nippon Ham Fighters)

Cuban Julio Pablo Martinez Defects

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

21 year old Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez left Cuba in search of a major league contract. He will be one of the first Cuban stars subject to the new international rules. He would be eligible to sign this period once he finds a foreign country to list as his place of residence and is approved. Or he could wait until the next July 2 signing period when teams have more money at their disposal.

The problem with this signing period is most teams have already reached their international bonus caps. Those that have not are waiting for the posting of Shohei Otani. Perhaps the loser of that posting will then be able to use that money to sign Martinez.

Martinez hit .333 with a .498 slugging percentage in the Nacional Series last year. Currently, most of his power is to the gaps with six leaving the fence. He has the speed to play centerfield