Archive for January, 2018

Granma Reaches Cuban Finals

Friday, January 12th, 2018

The defending champion Granma Stallions have advanced to the finals after beating Matanzas 4-2 in game five of their best of seven series. Geydi Soler got the big hit with a two run single in the bottom of the 8th to break a 2-2 tie. Raidel Martinez worked the last two innings, retiring all six hitters he faced to pick up the win in relief.

Matanzas had trouble generating any offense after the second game. Eduardo Blanco accounted for all the runs for Matanzas with a two run homer in the fifth. In game three his two run homer also accounted for the only Crocodile runs in a 7-2 loss. Matanzas had won the opener 7-1 and lost game two 13-12. After the second game their bats went quiet, scoring only five runs in their last three games. Blanco accounted for four of those five runs with two run homeruns.

Ace Yoanni Yera started for Matanzas and worked 6.2 innings giving up just two runs. In the first inning a leadoff walk to Roel Santos hurt as he ended up scoring on a Guillermo Aviles sacrifice fly. Ulfrido Garcia got the start for Granma. He allowed the two run homer to Blanco in the fifth, giving up 8 hits in his seven innings of work.

Industriales evened their series against Las Tunas at a game each with their 4-0 win. Yordanis Samon generated all the offense for Industriales with a three run homer in the first inning and a RBI single in the fifth. Misael Villa scattered eight hits in 7.1 innings before turning the mound duties over to Vladimir Garcia who completed the shutout.

Las Tunas was able to get a hit in every inning but the ninth, doubling up with two hits in the fifth, but they could not get the big hit to drive in a run.

Top Ten European Teams

Friday, January 12th, 2018

Mister Baseball came up with the Top 50 European teams. You can go to their site to see the complete list. Myworld lists below the top ten.

1. Curacao Neptunus (Netherlands)
2. T&A San Marino (San Marino - plays in Italian League)
3. ASD Rimini Baseball (Italy)
4. L&D Amsterdam (Netherlands)
5. CNF Unipolsai Bologna (Italy)
6. Draci Brno (Czech Republic)
7. Heidenheim Heidekopfe (Germany)
8. Bonn Capitals (Germany)
9. Rouen Baseball 76 (France)
10. Tenerife Marlins P.C. (Spain)

Marlins on Another Rebuild

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

The Marlins have traded their biggest fish in their pond and gotten tiny fishes in hopes they will grow to be big fish. They are taking a page from the book of the Cubs and Astros, decimating the team, lowering the salary structure and hope to receive high draft picks to build a playoff team that will bring fans to the park. The two big fish they have traded are Giancarlo Stanton, the MVP in the National League last year and Marcell Ozuna. That is not going to make the fan base happy. This will be their fourth or fifth rebuild. The Marlins want you to think this one will be different because it is being orchestrated by Derek Jeter. That may not be enough to motivate the fans to come out.

The trade of Stanton to the Yankees got the Marlins hard throwing righty Jorge Guzman. His fastball consistently hits triple digits but it has trouble finding the plate. Last year the Dominican pitched in the rookie league, limiting the opposition to a .212 average and striking out 88 hitters in just 66.2 innings. He also walked about 2.43 batters per nine innings. Next year he should see his debut in the full season league. This is the second time Guzman has been traded, acquired by the Yankees from the Astros in the Brian McCann trade.

The trade of Ozuna got the Marlins the hard throwing Sandy Alcantara from the Cardinals. He is almost a clone of Guzman but stands a couple inches taller at 6′4″ and has more experience. His fastball also easily slices the plate in triple digits but a lack of command led to 3.88 walks per nine innings. He also needs to develop a third pitch to remain in the rotation. Sandy pitched in AA and made his major league debut last year pitching 8 games of relief. His numbers are not as impressive as Guzman with just 7.61 whiffs per nine innings and a .262 opposition average in the minor leagues, but he did pitch against more experienced hitters.

Magneuris Sierra was also acquired from the Cardinals in the Ozuna trade. A swift outfielder he should move Christian Yelich to left field. While his range is good on defense his bat could use a little more consistency on offense. There is no power in his bat so he needs to play the fast man’s game to make an impact. To do that he will need to get on base more to take advantage of his speed. Last year he combined for a .318 OBA, not good enough to hit in the leadoff spot.

The Marlins hope their number one pick of 2017 and 2016, Trevor Rogers and Braxton Garrett pan out. They both throw lefthanded. Rogers is the 2017 pick. He has not pitched yet in the minor leagues. Standing at 6′6″ he rains down mid 90s fastballs, which is excellent velocity for a lefthander. How his pitches play out will be tested in the 2018 season. Garrett was the 2016 first round pick. He will miss the 2018 season because of Tommy John surgery. He relied more on his curveball as his outpitch. How that spin comes back after Tommy John only time will tell.

Two pitchers who could have an impact for the Marlins in 2018 are Dillon Peters and Nick Neidart. At 5′9″ Dillon is small of frame, but his lefthanded arm throws mid-90s fastballs. He started six games for the Marlins last year but his 5.17 ERA was reflective more on his struggles to find the strike zone. Neidert is more a back end of the rotation pitcher. He throws from the right side and relies more on a change to make his pedestrian fastball look more menacing. He was acquired from the Mariners in the Dee Gordon trade. His six poor starts in AA say that is where he will start the 2018 season but the young Marlins could use some rotation help so he could be up by mid-season with a good year.

Brian Anderson should be the starting third baseman for the Marlins next year. As he matures his current gap power could start sending balls over the fences. Last year he made his major league debut, hitting .264 but failing to hit a homerun in 84 at bats. He did hit 22 in the minor leagues with a .492 slugging average. That seems to have dispelled some doubts that he would not hit for enough power to fit at the hot corner. Next year will be a big year for him.

Magallanes Earns Fourth Spot in the Venezuelan Playoffs

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

After losing a best of seven series to Caribes in five Magallanes got some redemption by qualifying for the Venezuelan playoffs by beating Aragua 4-1 in the wild card game. Aragua had lost to Caracas in six. Magallanes now joins Caribes, Caracas and Lara, all three winners in their best of seven series in a best of seven semi-final playoff.

Magallanes got off to a quick start, opening the game up with three singles, Jesus Valdez roping the third single to score Endy Chavez with the first run. Mario Lisson drove in Ronny Cedeno with a single to up the score to 2-0. The Navegantes would never trail after that.

Omar Bencomo fell two outs short of working five innings to get the win so Magallanes relied on their pen to silence the Tigers bats. Five different relievers shutout Aragua for the final 4.2 innings on three hits to preserve the victory. Pedro Rodriguez pitched the final inning to earn the save.

Japan Retains Number One Ranking in Baseball

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

The United States earned more points than any other country in 2017 but it was not enough to surpass Japan for the number one ranking. For the third year in a row Japan is the number one ranked country in baseball. They earned the second most points in baseball last year and now lead the United States by 244 points. The 2018 season will be difficult for the United States to surpass Japan since they are not participating in the Under 23 Baseball World Cup in Nicaragua in October, one of the two tournaments that hand out the most points for the 2018 season. In a couple weeks the rankings could shuffle as points from 2014 expire, but if the United States should surpass Japan because of subtracted points their reign will be short.

Below are the top 12 teams in baseball, plus number 13 waiting to crack into the top 12. The top 12 teams will qualify for the Premier 12, which is the third most prestigious baseball tournament after the Olympics and the World Baseball Classic.

1. Japan (5658 points)
2. United States (5414 points)
3. Korea (4950 points)
4. Taiwan (3808 points)
5. Cuba (3677 points)
6. Mexico (3012 points)
7. Australia (2634 points)
8. Netherlands (2377 points)
9. Venezuela (2363 points)
10. Canada (2142 points)
11. Puerto Rico (1827 points)
12. Italy (1686 points)

13. Nicaragua (1636 points)

Granma One Win From Finals

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

Rain delayed the playing of the semi-finals. Granma got two games in at home and beat Matanzas while the Las Tunas game versus Industriales is still delayed by the weather.

Granma assaulted Matanzas starter Dachel Duquesne for five runs in the first inning to win 7-2. Matanzas could only retire one batter in the inning. Jonder Martinez came on in relief to get out of the inning but gave up two runs in the second. He shut down the Granma bats for the next five innings but Matanzas could not generate enough offense against Granma pitcher Alain Sanchez, who worked seven innings and allowed just two fifth inning runs.

The big bat for Granma was Carlos Benitez who drove in three runs. Guillermo Aviles strung together three hits and scored twice. Two players the major leagues would like to see in their lineup, Alfredo Despaigne and Yoelkis Cespedes combined to go 0 for 4, though Despaigne scored once. Yoelkis is the younger brother of Yoennis and is rumored to be heading to Japan on a contact with Hanshin.

Eduardo Blanco drove in both runs for Matanzas in the fifth with a two run homer.

Granma went up in the series three games to one with a 3-1 victory in game four. Lazaro Blanco threw a complete game, allowing just four hits and one first inning run on an RBI double by Frederich Cepeda. Blanco then shut out Matanzas for the next eight innings with Ariel Sanchez getting two of the last three hits for Matanzas.

Raul Gonzalez drove in two of the three runs for Granma without benefit of a hit. Despaigne and Aviles each hit doubles and scored one run each to lead the offense. Yosvany Torres went 7.2 innings for Matanzas in the loss, walking five and allowing six hits.

The fifth game will be tomorrow in Granma. The Stallions would like to end it so they would not have to return to Matanzas for the final two games.

Myworld’s Top Ten Righthanded Pitchers

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

The last group of position players rated by myworld. This is the largest and most important one since no playoff teams can survive without an ace. Most of your aces throw from the right side. Below is myworld’s top ten right handed pitchers and others to watch:

1. Shohei Ohtani (Angels) - A coup for the Angels to sign the best pitcher coming out of Japan since Yu Darvish. The big question is whether his elbow can hold up. If so he could become the best pitcher in major league baseball. If not he could transform himself into an All Star power hitting rightfielder. Right now, the Angels plan on him doing both, restricting his offensive performance to DH duties. To protect his elbow the Angels may go to a six man rotation. No major league starting pitcher had an average velocity higher than Otani last year, though injuries limited his starts. His splitter is also a pretty good pitch but he limited that offering severely after his elbow issues. He still has a number of other pitches in his repertoire to retire hitters. For the Angels to compete in the playoffs he needs to turn into their ace. In order to do that he needs to stay healthy, something he had trouble accomplishing in Japan.

2. Jon Duplantier (Diamondbacks) - Last year he finished with an ERA of 1.39 after 24 starts. No pitcher in the history of minor league baseball has had a lower ERA since Justin Verlander and we know what kind of pitcher he became once he arrived in the major leagues. Like Ohtani the biggest concern with Duplantier is the health of his arm. Both shoulder and elbow problems have restricted his innings. In 2016 a balky elbow limited him to just one inning after he was drafted in the third round in 2016 and a shoulder injury impacted his college appearances. His fastball reaches the mid-90s and is complemented by a plus curveball and change. Last year the opposition hit him at a .192 clip in addition to his 165 whiffs in 136 innings. After having success in High A last year he should start the season in AA, but that could depend on the success of his spring. A September callup is a possibility with a good season but it will probably be restricted to the bullpen.

3. Tristan McKenzie (Indians) - Myworld has already stated that the last 19 year old we saw pitch impress me so much was Clayton Kershaw. We can still picture the smile on Joe Torre’s face after Kershaw was done pitching his one exhibition inning. That same smile will appear on the face of Terry Francona after he sees Tristan pitch. A 6′5″ inch preying mantis with long arms and a skinny frame should start slinging the ball in the high 90s once he puts some meat on his bones. His curveball and change are plus pitches resulting in a plethora of swings and misses. Like Duplantier he should start the season in AA and if the Indians need rotation help for the playoffs don’t be surprised if they do not call him up. Because of his youth and his sleight frame the Indians will be protective of his innings.

4. Michael Kopech (White Sox) - The Red Sox first round 2014 pick was acquired by the White Sox in the Chris Sale trade. Kopech throws harder than Sale, hitting triple digits with his fastball. Many scouts say he is the hardest thrower in the minor leagues. Throwing hard and getting outs are two different issues. A promotion to AAA saw the opposition average increase from .184 to .263, though the sample size for AAA was very small. Kopech has a good slider which allows him to get a number of swings and misses. With a good spring he could squeeze into the rotation but the White Sox have a number of pitchers higher on the depth chart to consider first. Myworld suspects mid-season will see his major league debut.

5. Franklin Perez (Tigers) - The Venezuelan started his career as a third baseman. The Astros converted him to pitcher because they liked his arm. His fastball can light up the radar in the high 90s with a couple good breaking pitches and a plus change to keep hitters guessing. The Astros traded him to the Tigers in the Justin Verlander deal, initially signing him to a $1 million bonus in 2014. At 6′3″ he still has some frame to fill out. After starting the season at AA it should not take him long to find himself in the Tiger’s rotation, unless they do not want his option clock running by placing him on the roster too early.

6. Hunter Greene (Reds) - There was some talk of making him a two way player, but playing shortstop and having him pitch was felt to be too demanding. His fastball spits the plate in triple digits, giving Ohtani and Kopech a run for the hardest fastball. His secondary pitches could still use some polish. If they fail to develop he could always be used as a closer, or put back in the lineup as a shortstop. The first round 2017 pick struggled in his three minor league starts, giving up 8 hits in his 4.1 innings of work. Hunter may need more time in extended spring training before joining a full season team.

7. Alex Reyes (Cardinals) - Reyes has had some bad luck. First he was suspended in 2016 for 80 games after testing positive for drugs, then missing 2017 to Tommy John surgery. Prior to the surgery Reyes hit the high 90s with his fastball. Control has been his big issue, which could be corrected if he did not miss so much time due to suspensions and injuries. Alex did not play last year and will need some time in extended spring training and then in the minor leagues before the Cardinals risk him for the rotation. They will limit his innings since he has only pitched in 111 innings the last two years, all of those pitched in 2016. By mid-year he could be ready for a short relief role, fitting perhaps into the closer role.

8. Brent Honeywell (Rays) - He falls short in velocity when compared to the other pitchers on this list. The supplemental first round pick in 2014 can hit the mid-90s with his fastball but settles in the low 90s. The big pitch that gets the most publicity is the screw ball, which he does not throw that much, but it is a unique pitch. His change is also a pretty good pitch, enhancing the velocity of his fastball. Last year he pitched at AAA and struck out more than a hitter per inning but the opposition hit him at a .268 clip. He may stay around the plate too much making his pitches more hittable. Next year he should start the season in the Rays rotation. The team has already lost one pitcher to free agency (Chris Archer) and have another on the trading block. Spring training will seal his fate to begin the 2018 season.

9. Sandy Alcantara (Marlins) - Another one of those Cardinal finds in the Dominican Republic who slings the ball across the plate in triple digits. The Cardinals included him in the Marcell Ozuna trade giving the Marlins the benefit of his triple digit fastball. He sits in the high 90s using a slider as his breaking pitch. His change shows good potential but his command needs work. Last year he walked 54 in 125 innings and the opposition hit him at a .262 clip. Despite the heat on his fastball he struck out less than a batter per inning. Better command will result in better location of his pitches and more swings and misses. He could start the season in the Marlins rotation with a good spring, but more likely will see AAA. Last year he made his major league debut pitching eight games in relief.

10. Mitch Keller (Pirates) - He seemed to arrive out of nowhere in 2016 to become a top ranked pitcher. He was a second round pick in 2014 and with his fastball hitting the mid 90s and a plus curveball and change he had a breakout 2016. Last year he did not disappoint limiting the opposition to a .202 average and whiffing a hitter per inning. Mitch is a pitcher who mixes his pitches well and locates them with precision. Last year he started six games in AA, which is where he will start the 2017 season. A good spring and an excellent start to the season will see him make his major league debut by mid season.

Others to Note:

Mike Soroka (Braves) - A first round pick in 2015. The Canadian does not throw hard but he locates well. At 6′5″ he has a good pitcher’s frame. Expect him to see the Braves rotation by mid season.

Touki Toussaint (Braves) - Once he overcomes his lack of command he will rise quickly. His fastball reaches the high 90s and his long arms give it a good whip like quality. He will start the season in AA.

Hunter Harvey (Orioles) - A first round pick and son of closer Bryan Harvey has seen his career stalled by injury. The 2018 season he hopes will be a complete season where he can unleash his mid-90s fastball to go along with his excellent curveball. A late season promotion could be in his future, but the Orioles want to be patient with him and control his innings.

Jesus Liranzo (Orioles) - Every pitch out of his arm hits the radar in triple digits with an easy delivery. He is probably slated for the bullpen because of a lack of control and secondary pitches. He is one of those pitchers who could have a breakout career if he can find a second and third pitch and the control improves. Watch out for him in the Orioles pen or rotation in 2018.

Dylan Cease (White Sox) - A sixth round pick of the Cubs in 2014 he began to draw attention to himself when he started humming his fastball in the triple digits. The Cubs traded him to their cross town rival White Sox in the Jose Quintana trade. The White Sox have a lot of young depth in the rotation and Dylan needs to improve his command. He will start the season in High A.

Alec Hansen (White Sox) - Myworld likes his 6′7″ frame and his long wing spans that allows him to sizzle his fastball in the high 90s. He gets a ton of swings and misses and the opposition struggled against him, hitting just .216. He is another pitcher who needs to locate his pitches better. That will be done as he starts the season in AA.

Dane Dunning (White Sox) - The Nationals first round pick in 2016 who they traded to the White Sox for Adam Eaton. Don’t be surprised to see three ex-Nationals in the White Sox rotation next year in Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito and Dunning. His fastball reaches the mid 90s with good secondary pitches. Next year he will begin the season in AA.

Tyler Mahle (Reds) - The Reds 7th round 2015 pick made a name for himself in 2016 with a 9 inning no hitter. He had a breakout season last year catapulting him to the major league rotation for four starts. His fastball has good velocity and he has excellent command of four pitches. Expect him to fill the Reds rotation next season.

Riley Pint (Rockies) - The fourth pick in the 2016 draft hits the triple digits but tends to sit on the high side of the mid-90s. He also has got excellent command of four pitches. Despite his stuff his strikeout rate was disappointing and the opposition hit him at a .264 clip in Low A. Next year he will start the season in High A.

Matt Manning (Tigers) - The Tigers will have an excellent rotation in a couple years with Perez, Manning, Faedo and Beau Burrows. Manning stands 6′6′ and rains mid to high 90s fastballs on hitters. The 2016 first rounder has the pitches to shine at the top of a rotation, beginning that ascent at High A in 2018.

Alex Faedo (Tigers) - The 2017 first round pick has an excellent fastball slider combination. Last year he pitched Florida to the College World Series championship and was held back by the Tigers. Another top of the rotation starter should begin his year in Low A and as a college drafted pitcher move quickly through the Tigers system.

Forest Whitely (Astros) - The Astros 2016 first round pick is a popular conversation piece during trade talks. At 6′7″ and 240 pounds his mid-90s fastballs sizzle across the plate. His tall frame does not seem to impact his command. With a good season in AA he should fit in the Astros rotation by mid-season.

Walker Buehler (Dodgers) - The Dodgers first round 2015 pick made the Dodgers bullpen last year. His control wavered a bit in the major league callup, but he has four above average pitches that he can throw for strikes. The Dodgers will want to limit his innings after Tommy John surgery in 2015. He will start the season in AAA and by mid-season could be in the rotation or used out of the bullpen.

Yadier Alvarez (Dodgers) - The Dodgers signed the Cuban for $16 million. His velocity hits triple digits but he has trouble finding the plate. If he continues to struggle throwing strikes he could move to the bullpen, but he has the pitches to fit in the rotation.

Jorge Guzman (Marlins) - The Marlins were able to pry this Dominican with the triple digit fastball away from the Yankees in the Giancarlo Stanton trade. There is a challenge of finding the plate and the lack of a third pitch may relegate him to the bullpen.

Domingo Acevedo (Yankees) - Another Yankee Dominican with a triple digit fastball, Domingo dominated at AA and shows better command of his pitches than Guzman. He also has three pitches to fit into a rotation. Expect him to start the season in the AAA rotation but with a good spring he could be going to New York in April.

Sixto Sanchez (Phillies) - At 6′0″ he is not a tall pitcher but his arm can sling a fastball to the plate in the mid 90s. Sixto also shows good command of his pitches. A good spring could see him start the season in AA but after only five starts in High A the Phillies may want to begin his 2018 season in the warm weather of Florida.

Anderson Espinoza (Padres) - Another small pitcher (6′0″) with a small frame (165 pounds), Espinoza succumbed to Tommy John surgery late in 2016 and did not pitch in 2017. It will be interesting how his mid-90s fastball responds. Noted for his plus change Anderson will probably start the season in extended spring training and see his first games in Low A if he is ready before July or in rookie ball if the Padres want to show patience. The hope is that he ends the season in High A.

Michael Baez (Padres) - A 6′8″ Cuban with high 90s heat. The Padres shelled out $3 million for him at the end of 2016 and last year he made an impressive debut. The opposition hit him at a .188 clip and he struck out 89 in 63.2 innings. He should start 2018 in High A.

Jack Flaherty (Cardinals) - The Cardinals 2104 first round pick has been percolating up the Cardinals minor leagues for a few years. Last year he made his major league debut and the Cardinals hope to see more of his mid-90s fastball in the rotation. What sets him apart is an excellent change that enhances the velocity of his fastball. A good spring could see him in the rotation.

Lara and Caribe Advance in Venezuelan Playoffs

Monday, January 8th, 2018

Lara scored five runs in the ninth to beat Zulia 7-3 to win their seven game series in five. Jecksson Flores delivered a pinch hit RBI single to drive in the go ahead run in the top of the ninth. Elvis Escobar followed with the biggest hit of the game, driving a pitch over the right fielder’s head for a three run triple.

Caribes eliminated Magallanes in five with their 8-7 win. Luis Jimenez got the scoring started with a three run homer in the first. Magallanes was able to battle back to take a 6-5 lead. In the bottom of the sixth Rafael Ortega tied the game with a double and Niuman Romero drove in two runs with a single to center to give Caribes the path to victory. Romero had driven in a run earlier in the second inning with a single.

Dustin Martin hit a solo homer to lead off the top of the ninth. Victor Capellan was able to contain the damage by retiring the last three hitters in order. Capellan worked two innings giving up just the one hit, the homerun by Martin.

Aragua was able to extend their series to a sixth game with a 6-5 win over Caracas. Jose Vargas delivered the walk off single in the bottom of the ninth to score Gustavo Nunez with one out for the game winner.

There do appear to be a number of ejections in these playoff games. It seems every game summary myworld reviews finds at least one ejection.

Novojoa First Team to Advance; Mexicali Follows

Monday, January 8th, 2018

The Novojoa Mayos beat the Hermosillo Naranjeros 4-3 to win their best of seven series in five. Randy Arozarena broke out of a slump with a 4 for 4 day, scoring two runs and driving in one. Jesus Castillo drove in three runs with his three hits. The two combined for 7 of the 10 Mayos hits and were responsible for driving in all four runs.

Eddie Gamboa picked up the win going 5.1 innings and allowing four hits and two unearned runs. Daniel Moskos put two runners on in the ninth but was still able to wiggle out of trouble to pick up the save.

The next day Mexicali blasted Mazatlan 10-1 to win their series in six games. The Aguilas hammered out 20 hits with Chris Roberson, Walter Ibarra and Luis Juarez leading the way with three hits each. Xorge Carrillo slugged a two run homer in the sixth inning and led all players in RBIs with three. Sergio Mitre pitched six innings of one hit ball, striking out five and walking none. Mitre gave up his only hit in the fourth inning and after Mexicali rallied for four in the bottom of the sixth to take a 7-0 lead the Aguilas went to the bullpen.

Jalisco extended their series to a seventh game with a 2-0 win over Culiacan. Japhet Amador cranked a solo shot in the fourth and newly minted Yankee Jabari Blash added another solo shot in the ninth to account for all the Jalisco runs. David Reyes pitched five innings of no hit ball before turning it over to the bullpen for the final four innings.

Mariners Continue to Chart Course to World Series

Saturday, January 6th, 2018

The Mariners set an American League record in 2001 when they won 116 games in the Ichiro Suzuki era. But they lost in the playoffs to the Yankees and have yet to appear in a World Series. Only the Washington Nationals (originally the Montreal Expos franchise) are the only other franchise in major league baseball that has failed to appear in a World Series. The Mariners feel their chances of making the playoffs are near, so they have been trading prospects for veterans to complete their roster. This has put a dimmer on their minor league system as far as premium prospects.

Their one and only top prospect from a tool stand point is outfielder Kyle Lewis. He suffered a severe knee injury in 2016 which restricted his 2017 season to just 49 games. The Mariners first round 2016 pick was to play in the Arizona Fall League last year but had to leave the season early because of continued knee issues. The Mariners do not think the setback is serious, which would be good news for a player they feel has all five tools. Kyle can hit for both power and average, has the speed to play center and the arm for right. Because of the knee issues he could start the season in extended spring but when ready will play at High A. As a college drafted player he should move up quickly once his knee is determined to be fully healthy.

They drafted another college experienced player in the first round last year in Evan White, despite already having someone who they were grooming for first base in Dan Vogelbach. At first base White has the defensive attributes to win a gold glove, but he also has the speed and arm to play the outfield. There could be some question on his power but he slugged .532 in rookie ball with three homeruns in his first minor league season in rookie ball. Next year he should start the season in full season ball at Low A and if he does well should be quickly promoted to High A.

This could put Dan Vogelbach in the DH spot, which is possibly his best spot. The Cubs drafted Vogelbach in the second round of the 2011 draft. His physique reminded scouts of Prince Fielder. Defensively, it was a challenge for him to play first so the Cubs traded him to the Mariners to allow him to squeeze into the DH role. To play there his bat needs to show a little more productivity. In 2016 he only slugged .422 with the Mariners. Last year he showed a little improvement with 17 homeruns and a .455 slugging. Another major league promotion showed continued struggles to hit for power so another season in AAA is likely. The Mariners do not really have an option for first base, though they traded for Ryan Healy. Nelson Cruz is their preferred choice at the DH spot though they could stick him out in right field to get Vogelbach’s lefthanded bat in the lineup. A good spring should give Vogelbach an opportunity to play for the Mariners in April, with both Healy and Cruz righthanded hitters.

Unfortunately there is no one else in the system that myworld is intrigued by. None of the pitchers excite me. It could be the most vanilla farm system in the major leagues. Joe Rizzo was drafted in the second round in 2016 with what was considered the best bat in the minor leagues. In his first two seasons his bat has shown very little power and his defense at third has just been marginal.