Archive for June, 2018

Top Minor League Third Base Prospects

Saturday, June 23rd, 2018

Below are myworld’s Top minor league third base prospects for 2018. Nick Senzel would be here but we listed him as a second base prospect since we don’t anticipate him playing there with Eugenio Suarez signed to a long term contract.

1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays) - The son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Sr. may be the best prospect in baseball right now. He is on the disabled list currently with a leg injury. Prior to the injury his bat could not be quieted hitting .407 with 11 homeruns in AA in just 53 games. His OPS was 1.124. If not for the injury he could be up with the Blue Jays playing third base. The concerns over his inability to play the position have evaporated. His arm is strong like his dad and his glove has developed more consistency. Unlike his dad he does not swing at everything, having the patience at the plate to take a walk. His 20/21 walk to whiff ratio is impressive for a hitter with power.

2. Austin Riley (Braves) - Another player currently on the disabled list since early June. Prior to that the 2015 supplemental first round pick was tearing it up in both AA and AAA. Combined he is hitting .308 with 10 homeruns and a .922 OPS. Last year he slugged 20 homeruns. If not for the injury he also could be playing with the Braves. He does swing and miss a lot (66 in 53 games) and ideally the Braves would like to see him show more patience. This lack of patience could be exploited by major league pitchers. He has improve his quickness at third base and should be an above average defensive player.

3. Kevin Maitan (Angels) - At one point he was with the Braves signing for $4.25 million out of Venezuela in 2016. The Braves had to release him after they were found in violation of international salary cap rules. The Angels signed him for $2.2 million. Signed as a shortstop his body has gotten too stocky in the lower half to play the position. The Angels have still played him five games at short and two at third in the Rookie League this year. He has made four errors in the seven games he has played, three of them at short. His bat has been explosive with a .433 average. His only extra base hit of his 13 hits has been a homerun. Maitan is only 18 years old and should develop power as he matures in the minor leagues.

4. Lucas Erceg (Brewers) - The 2016 second round pick has a big time power bat. Last year he hit 15 homeruns with 33 doubles. Improving his plate discipline (35/95 walk to whiff ratio) would help improve his batting average (.256) and consistency at the plate. Waiting to swing at his pitch rather than the pitchers would increase the homerun output. This year in AA his power has dropped with only five homeruns and a .342 slugging average. His walk to whiff ratio has improved (21/44) but his batting average has not (.235). It may take him some time to acclimate to AA pitching. He should have a good glove for third though he needs to be more consistent there as well and reduce his error total (13 in 64 games).

5. Taylor Ward (Angels) - Originally drafted as a catcher in the first round of the 2015 draft the Angels felt his bat would be better served if he did not have to catch. His arm was good for behind the plate and he showed some of the other intangibles needed for catching but his bat was a disappointment. This year he moved to third and his bat has exploded, hitting .336 with 9 homeruns between AA and AAA. Defensively he has been a bit shaky with 8 errors in 47 games but the Angels hope with continued repetition he will adapt to the position. If he continues to hit as he does expect him to make his major league debut sometime in September to help the Angels make the playoffs.

6. Randy Cesar (Astros) - The Astros signed the Dominican back in 2011. He played a couple years in the Dominican League and a couple years in the short season leagues. In 2016 in the New York Penn League he showed what he could do with a .389 average. This year he is setting the Texas League on fire, breaking their record for the longest hitting streak at 37. As his frame has filled out his power is starting to develop. This year he is hitting .354 with 8 homeruns and a .927 OPS. Better patience at the plate (14/58) could enhance those numbers. His defense at third is a bit marginal with 9 errors 39 games. He also has played some first base this year to improve his versatility. Wherever he plays the Astros have a crowded position but as long as his bat plays the Astros will find room for him.

7. James Nelson (Marlins) - James was a 15th round pick in 2016. He is the nephew of former 2004 first round pick Chris Nelson, who did not have a long major league career. As a 15th round pick James does not come with the high expectations. A quick bat has produced 41 doubles in 145 games with a .302 average. That got him the Marlins player of the year award last year. This year he has spent most of his time on the disabled list. Recently activated he is hitting .300 in eight games in High A. With Brian Anderson seeing most of his time in the outfield the third base job is open for him in a couple years.

8. Nolan Jones (Indians) - The second round 2016 pick has a power bat, last year slugging 4 homeruns with a .482 slugging in the short season league. He showed excellent patience at the plate with 43 walks for a .430 OBA. This year that power is being shown for the first time in a full season league with 8 homeruns and a .425 slugging. His patience is still there (40 walks, .385 OBA) leading to a .266 average. Defensively he still needs to find more consistency at third, committing 13 errors in 50 games. A move to the outfield is still a possibility.

9. Colton Welker (Rockies) - The fourth round 2016 pick has Nolan Arenado in his way at third. By the time Colton is ready for the major leagues Nolan will be a free agent or signed to a long term deal. In the California League Colton is showing good pop with 7 homeruns, 16 doubles and a .448 slugging percentage. A lack of speed will prevent a move to the outfield. This year his third base play has improved so he appears to have the arm and glove for the position. A lack of quickness may impact his range, but if his bat continues to hit for power the Rockies will keep him at third.

10. Ke’Bryan Hayes (Pirates) - The son of Charlie was drafted in the first round by the Pirates in 2015. His power has been a disappointment, a tool he will need to play this position. Last year he only hit two homeruns with a .363 slugging. This year in AA he has improved on that with three homeruns and a.428 slugging, still a bit short of what teams are looking for in a third baseman. He is a plus defender, so if the bat develops the glove will be an asset at the position.

Florida Eliminated; Oregon State Stays Alive

Saturday, June 23rd, 2018

Oregon State 12 Mississippi State 2

Oregon State erupted for six runs in the first two innings and Mississippi State could not mount a comeback to address the early offense. Brandon Eisert pitched 5.1 innings of one hit relief to earn the victory. Nick Madrigal and Trevor Lamach led all hitters with three hits apiece. Madrigal drove in two runs and scored twice while Lamach drove in three and scored twice. The Bulldog pitchers helped the cause by walking 9 Beaver hitters.

Oregon State will play Mississippi State in the finals for the right to play Arkansas in the best two out of three championship.

Arkansas 5 Florida 2

The Gators had the more glorified pitching staff but the Razorbacks showed they had some arms. Isaiah Campbell no hit the Gators through the first four innings until he gave up two runs on two hits in the fifth. By then Arkansas had built him a 4-0 lead, fueled by the RBI single and solo homerun by Dominic Fletcher in the second and fourth innings. Jake Reindl and Matt Cronin shut the Florida bats down on one hit for the last 3.2 innings. Florida went with their ace Brady Singer, but he was not effective getting tagged for four runs in just five innings.

Soto Leads Nationals Over O’s

Friday, June 22nd, 2018

Juan Soto has been a revelation to the Nationals. With runners on first and third and no outs Anthony Rendon had just struck out. The previous inning the Nationals had a runner on third with no out and could not score. National fans were getting a little anxious as they faced another opportunity wasted. Soto took the next pitch for a strike. The second pitch he drove into left centerfield for a two run double, scoring Bryce Harper and Trea Turner to give the Nationals a 4-2 lead. Without Soto providing some clutch hits to this injury marred lineup the Nationals would be a non-contender. Sean Doolittle came on to pitch the ninth and retired the Orioles in order.

Max Scherzer got the start for the Nationals. In the second inning Colby Rasmus carried him deep into centerfield to give the Orioles an early 1-0 lead. Scherzer got some swings and misses, striking out nine in seven innings of work, but he had a number of balls hit hard against him. One nice thing about Scherzer. When he pitches games are usually less than three hours.

The Nationals were able to tie the game off Kevin Gausman in the bottom of the third. Wilmer Difo started the inning lining a single into left field. Pedro Severino has been showing a quiet bat this year, but he lined a double into the left field corner to advance Difo to third. After a Max Scherzer strike out Bryce Harper poked one far enough into left field to score Difo with the tying run.

Scherzer has been a little prone to the homerun ball. Trumbo reminded him of that fact in the fourth when he took him deep into the right centerfield bleachers to lead off the fourth inning. He smoked the first pitch thrown by Scherzer.

Gausman was aided by a couple double play balls, but in the sixth he had come close to 100 pitches. Anthony Rendon led off the sixth and smoked a 1-2 slider into the Brew House in centerfield to tie the game at 2-2. Gausmann would retire the next three hitters and did not come out for the seventh.

Other than the two solo shots the Orioles could not mount much of an offense. Kelvin Herrera retired them in order in the eighth and Doolittle retired them in order in the ninth.

Game Notes: Chris Davis has been absent from the lineup. Myworld does not even see him in the dugout. In the seventh inning the Orioles chose to pinch hit Danny Valencia for the pitcher with a runner on first and two out. Valencia struck out. Reports have him working with Brady Anderson on his swing. He will be available for the next series…Jonathan Schoop is another player who is underperforming. His average dropped to .209 after an 0 for 4 day…Bryce Harper had his average drop to .209 entering this game. His slump had extended to 2 for 32 in his last nine games. A double in the sixth, in addition to two walks and a sacrifice fly raised it back to .213. His drop in offense will lose him $10 million or so a year in salary…Steve Wilkerson made his Oriole starting debut at third base. He made a stellar defensive play, diving for a ball and throwing Michael Taylor out. Offensively he went 0 for 2 with a walk…Max Scherzer threw a wild pitch that dropped 10 feet in front of home and two feet outside the plate…The Nationals will play the Phillies this weekend. The Orioles will travel to Atlanta to play the Braves.

Gators Eliminate Texas Tech in College World Series

Friday, June 22nd, 2018

Only one game was played in the College World Series. The Florida Gators used their bats to eliminate Texas Tech 9-6 in the finals of the elimination bracket. Jack Leftwich pitched six shutout innings and J.J. Schwartz slugged a two run homer to give Florida an early 6-0 lead. Jonathan India scored the first run for the Gators in the fourth with a walk, a wild pitch, a stolen base and another wild pitch to score.

The Red Raiders knocked Leftwich out of the game with a three spot in the seventh. Florida responded with a three spot in the top of the eighth and Texas Tech stayed in the game with a three spot of their own in the bottom frame. Michael Byrne came on with the bases loaded and two out, giving up a two run single to Grant Little before retiring the final hitter. Little finished the game with three RBIs. The Gators scored an extra insurance run in the ninth but Byrne did not need it, retiring Texas Tech in order in the bottom of the ninth.

The final four teams are set. Oregon State plays Mississippi State and needs to beat them twice to advance to the finals. The Florida Gators play Arkansas and need to beat them twice to advance to the finals. The finals are a best two out of three. Both Oregon State and Florida beat the team that knocked them into the elimination bracket when they played them in the finals of the elimination bracket.

College World Series Update - Oregon State Advances

Thursday, June 21st, 2018

Oregon State 11 North Carolina 6

The Beavers scored four runs each in the eighth and ninth innings to overcome a 6-3 deficit and defeat the Tarheels. Adley Rutschman had the big hit with a three run double in the eighth inning to tie the game. Rutschman also hit a solo homerun in the first inning to get the scoring started for the Beavers. Luke Heimlich had his second straight ineffective start lasting only 2.2 innings before giving up six hits and three runs.

After the Rutschman double three straight walks allowed the go ahead run to score. Nick Madrigal started the ninth inning with a double and Tyler Malone connected on a two run blast to tack on four more insurance runs, advancing Oregon State to the winner’s bracket to play Mississippi State. The Tarheels go home to think about next year.

Arkansas 7 Texas Tech 4

The Razorbacks won the winner’s bracket game 7-4, Dominic Fletcher driving in four of the runs on a 4 for 4 spree. His two run double in the first inning gave the Razorbacks an early 2-0 lead. He led off the fourth inning with a homerun and added an RBI single in the eighth. Texas Tech drops to the elimination bracket to play the number one seed Florida.

Myworld envisions an Oregon State vs Florida College World Series with Oregon State coming out on top, though Mississippi State seems to be living a charmed existence in these games.

Turner Leads Nationals Over O’s

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

Myworld was in D.C. to watch the O’s play the Nationals. In the past the O’s have beaten up on the Nationals even though they were not the better team. In their first series in Baltimore this year the Nationals swept them. With Trea Turner hitting a triple short of the cycle in a 4 for 4 day the Nationals outslugged the Orioles 9-6.

Trea Turner started out the scoring for the game, turning on a pitch from David Hess in the second inning for a solo homerun into the Orioles bullpen. Jefry Rodriguez was getting his second start in the majors for the Nationals and after sailing through the first two innings he gave up a pair of two run homeruns in the next two innings. Jace Peterson tagged a pitch into the Nationals bullpen in the third inning to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead. Trey Mancini slugged a two run homerun into the Orioles bullpen in the fourth inning to give the Orioles a 4-1 lead.

The Orioles tacked on another run in the top of the fifth when Rodriguez walked pitcher David Hess to lead off the inning. A walk to Jace Peterson and a hit by pitch to Adam Jones loaded the bases with no outs. Rodriguez wiggled out of the inning coaxing Machado to hit into a 4-6-3 double play. A Trumbo strikeout ended the inning and kept the Nationals deficit to 5-1.

David Hess had a one hitter through four, the Turner solo shot in the second. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with no outs. Pinch hitter Brian Goodwin popped to short. With one out Adam Eaton hit a slow roller into the hole at third base. Machado broke for the ball but it just missed the glove, dribbling out to left field and allowing two runs to score. A walk to Juan Soto loaded the bases again for a Anthony Rendon sacrifice fly to pull the Nationals within one. The slumping Bryce Harper blooped a double over third base to tie the game and ended the day for Hess. Miguel Castro got Daniel Murphy to ground to first to end the rally.

In the top of the sixth Jonathan Schoop led the inning off with a triple. After a walk to Danny Valencia, Trey Mancini bounced one back to the pitcher. Schoop broke off third base too far and was run down by Trea Turner for the first out. The Nationals tried to turn two with the bases loaded, allowing a run to score to give the Orioles a 6-5 lead. A double steal with Corban Joseph going to second and Trey Mancini breaking for home after the throw to second proved disastrous after Mancini was gunned down at home for the third out.

Down by one the Nationals turned on rookie Tanner Scott. Adam Eaton started the inning with a drag bunt single to second base. Juan Soto lined a single into centerfield. Anthony Rendon doubled to left centerfield to score two runs to give them the lead. With a runner on third and one out George Wright replaced Scott. Michael Taylor grounded a single past a drawn in infield, hitting the glove of Machado. A Wilmer Difo RBI single upped the Nationals lead to 9-6. Spencer Kieboom laid down a bunt but Turner was caught too far off third base. He was eventually tagged out as he encouraged Difo to take third. Wilmer Difo broke too late for third and he was also tagged out.

The Nationals used recently acquired Kelvin Herrera for the first time. He retired the side in order in the eighth. Sean Doolittle came on in the ninth and gave up a solo homerun to Joey Rickard to close to within two. That was all the O’s could accomplish.

Game Notes: Jefry Rodriguez had a fastball consistently hitting 96-98. He rarely threw his curveball, but when he did he got swings and misses. Judging from his performance, at this point he appears to be a two pitch pitcher, fastball and curve. Jace Peterson hit a first pitch fastball for his homerun in the third inning. Trey Mancini went deep against Rodriguez on a 2-2 count. The walk to the pitcher in the fifth was damaging…Trea Turner made an exceptional play at short, sliding to his back hand side to pick up a ground ball and gunning down the runner at first. Defensively he is superior to Machado at short…Buck walked Bryce Harper intentionally in the eighth with runners on first and second with two out. It paid off for him when Pedro Severino popped out to second…Kelvin Herrera was hitting 98 with his fastball.

College World Series Update

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

The surprising Mississippi State Bulldogs are heading to the finals of the winner’s bracket in Bracket One. They lost their coach three games into the season and have put together three walk off victories in their surprising run to the finals.

Mississippi State 12 North Carolina 2

No walkoff needed here. An eight run eighth put the game away against the Tar Heels. Jordan Westburg drove in seven runs for the Bulldogs in the win. He hit a grand slam in the second inning to give State a 4-1 lead. His single in the eighth helped fuel the eight run rally. In his second at bat of the inning he punched a ticket to the winner’s bracket clearing the bases with a three run double to make it 12-2. Konnor Pilkington worked six innngs, giving up two runs to get the win.

Oregon State 14 Washington 5

Oregon State got two or more RBIs from five different players, scoring 14 runs in innings 5 through 8, eliminating the Huskies from the tournament.

Florida 6 Texas 1

The number one seed in the tournament kept their hopes alive with a 6-1 win. Jonathan India had a 3-run homer and drove in four runs to lead the offense. Jackson Kowar shut down the Longhorns offense with 13 whiffs in 6.2 innings, giving up just one run. Michael Byrne worked the last two innings to secure the win.

College World Series Results - Bracket Two

Monday, June 18th, 2018

Yesterday myworld summarized bracket one. Today we take a look at bracket two.

Arkansas 11 Texas 5

Arkansas used an “8″ run fifth to run away with the Bracket Two opener 11-5. Luke Bonfield went deep with a two run homerun and Heston Kjerstad drove in three runs with his three hits. Texas did rally for three runs in the last two innings but it was too late.

Texas Tech 6 Florida 3

Gabe Holt drove in three of the six Tech runs to help them down the champions of last year. Brady Singer got the start for Florida but was saddled with the loss, giving up five runs. Only two of those runs were earned. Florida has to advance from the elimination bracket to defend their championship.

College World Series Results Bracket One

Sunday, June 17th, 2018

The final eight have gone to Omaha to play in the college World Series. It is two brackets of double elimination with the two winners of the double elimination brackets identifying the finalists in a best two out of three championship match. The first day of the series saw the temperatures go above 90 degrees. The temperature for the team occupying the sunny side of the dugout is 110 degrees.

Bracket One

North Carolina 8 Oregon State 6

Oregon State ace Luke Heimlich had his worst outing in these college world series, giving up six runs in just over two innings. A five run third inning gave the Tar Heels a 6-1 lead. Ben Casparius led the team with three RBIs on his two hits. North Carolina used six pitchers to pull out the victory, their opening day starter removing himself after complaining of a dead arm. All 11 of the North Carolina hits were singles. The Beavers outhit the Tar Heels 13-11.

Mississippi State 1 Washington 0

Baseball can be a game of threes, outs, strikeouts, innings and lineups in multiples of threes. Mississippi State has embraced the threes. Ethan Small pitched seven shutout innings for Mississippi State and Joe Demers matched him for seven shutout innings for the Huskies. The game eventually went to the bullpens and Mississippi State chalked up their third walk off hit of the Series and the third walk off hit of the season for Luke Alexander to win their opener 1-0. It was also the third hit of the inning and the third hit by Luke Alexander in the game to give Mississippi State a 1-0 win and their seventh walk off win of the season. They also had to change coaches after the third game of the season. It has been a remarkable season for the Bulldogs.

Burns Getting Hot for Lotte

Sunday, June 17th, 2018

Andy Burns had a six at bat major league debut in 2016. When the season ended Burns was released by the Blue Jays. That gave the Lotte Giants an opportunity to sign him. Myworld knew nothing of Andy Burns signing since he was never really considered a prospect. He was an 11th round pick of the Blue Jays in 2011 draft. His minor league high for homeruns is 15, which he achieved in 2013 and 2014.

Burnse had a decent 2017 season with the Lotte Giants. He hit .303 with 15 homeruns and 57 RBIs. In a hitter friendly league where foreign players are expected to produce those numbers were disappointing. The Giants still had Burns return for the 2018 season.

The 2018 season started out slow. He was hitting .253 with six homeruns coming into June 13. The next four games Burns has gone 8 for 15 with six homeruns and 12 RBIs. He has now homered in four consecutive games, raising his average 20 points to .273. The Lotte Giants are now on a three game winning streak improving their record to 31-36, just two games behind the fifth place team, which is where they need to be to make the playoffs. Burns may not be able to continue his hot streak, but the power has certainly caught myworld by surprise.