Archive for July, 2018

Foreign Athletes Taxes to Rise in Korea

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Foreign athletes will see their tax rate rise from three percent of their income to 20 percent of their income. The reason for this is to encourage foreign athletes to file an after earnings global income tax to possibly recover some earnings. In the past foreign athletes would depart the country without filing a return resulting in a loss of revenue of 9.2 billion won. The larger tax withholding will encourage foreign athletes to file a tax return.

This increase mainly applies to soccer, volleyball, basketball and baseball which account for the majority of athletes. This information was obtained through mykbo.net from a joongang daily article.

Myworlds Top Centerfield Prospects

Monday, July 30th, 2018

These are the shortstops of the outfield. They usually have burner’s speed. Ideally it would be nice to have a productive bat but defensively they need to stop the runs. Ideally, these players would be five toolers with the arm to throw and the legs to steal bases. Power is probably the last thing you need from the centerfielder.

Mike Trout started his major league career as a left fielder, deferring to the defensively superior Peter Bourjos. Bourjos struggled with the bat and Trout was moved to centerfield while Bourjos became a bench player. Sometimes teams will stick with the veteran (Andrew McCutchen) even though the rookie (Starling Marte) is the better defensive centerfielder.

Myworld did not include any of the players we named as left fielders or right fielders, or at least we hope we did not include them. Some of those corner outfielders could still pan out as centerfielders depending on how the roster shakes out.

1. Victor Robles (Nationals) - At one time he was considered a better prospect than Juan Soto. The success Soto has had in the major leagues has moved him to the second best Nationals outfield prospect, but still one of the top ten in the minors. An elbow injury early in the 2018 season sidelined him for much of the year but he has recently returned to AAA. He has all five tools. If not for his injury he would have been called up before Soto. Last year he made his major league debut but hit only .250. This year he has been showing some impressive discipline at the plate, walking 11 times to just 8 strikeouts. Victor should see some time with the Nationals in September. If Bryce Harper leaves as a free agent Robles could fight for the centerfield job with Michael Taylor.

2. Jo Adell (Angels) - Jo was a first round pick of the Angels in 2017. While he only played half a season he still displayed all five tools. His defense is top notch in center, his bat can hit for power and average and his legs can steal bases and cover a lot of real estate in center. He won’t be a prolific basestealer since he will eventually fit in the middle of the order. This year he is hitting .296 with a .557 slugging average. The Angels would like to see some improvement on his 14/60 walk to whiff ratio. Expect him to reach AA before the season is done and find himself in the Angels lineup sometime before the 2019 season is complete. It will be interesting if he moves Trout from centerfield or if Adell is the player who is forced to move to one of the corners.

3. Jesus Sanchez (Rays) - Jesus is another five tool player. His power began to show last year when he hit 15 homeruns in Low A. This year he has already deposited 10 balls into the bleachers. Jesus has the speed to cover ground in center, but he does not steal a lot of bases (six this year to put his career total at 23). His career minor league slugging percentage is .492, but this year he sits at .472. He is probably still a couple years away from competing for the Rays center field job.

4. Leody Taveras (Rangers) - The Dominican has already reached High A at 19 years of age. This is already his third year in the minor leagues. Leody possesses all five tools but his batting average and power have yet to appear in High A. His slugging percentage is only .317. Perhaps the Rangers have been too aggressive with him. Last year in a full season at Low A he hit .249. He needs to improve his ability to make solid contact, though his strikeout rate is not high (71 in 98 games). Don’t be surprised if the Rangers keep him in High A to begin the 2019 season. A lot will depend on his ability to finish out the 2018 season.

5. Esteven Florial (Yankees) - Last year Estevan had a break out season hitting .298 with 13 homeruns and 23 stolen bases. He finished the season with an impressive .850 OPS. A promotion to High A has seen him revert to the struggles he had prior to the 2017 season with a .247 average and 56 whiffs in 46 games. He is only slugging .343 which is more than 100 points below his career average. The Florida State League has some large parks so perhaps he is having some struggles coping. In rehab assignments at the Gulf Coast League he is hitting over .500 in 31 at bats against pitchers that match his 20 years of age.

6. Christian Pache (Braves) - Pache covers a lot of territory in center field. In his first two seasons covering close to 700 at bats he had yet to see a ball carry over the fence. His batting averages have been solid (.290) but his slugging has been weak (.358). This year he has found his homerun swing with 8 without sacrificing his average (.287). He makes decent contact but the Braves would like to see him walk more to raise his .311 OBP. The Dominican is probably still a couple years away from patrolling center field but Ronald Acuna could force him to find another position. Christian has more speed but Acuna has a stronger arm.

7. Jeren Kendall (Dodgers) - Myworld is not enamored with his strikeout totals. Last year he struck out 45 times in 40 games, but in college he also had the propensity to whiff. If he can improve his contact rate he has the speed and defensive tools to win gold gloves. The Dodgers currently lack a true centerfielder but Jeren may still be a couple years away. This year he is showing some power with 10 homeruns, but his propensity to swing and miss (117 whiffs in 85 games) keeps his batting average low (.223). A first round pick out of Vanderbilt in 2017 the Dodgers were hoping Kendall would acclimate to the minor league pitching quicker than he has so far. His speed could make him a 20/20 player once he reaches the major leagues.

8. Monte Harrison (Marlins) - Monte was a second round pick of the Brewers in 2014. He was one of the players sent to the Marlins in the Christian Yelich trade. The Brewers outfield situation was crowded and Monte struggled with his bat early in his minor league career. Last year he broke out with his power hitting 21 homeruns split between Low and High A. The Marlins promoted him to AA and his power is still there (13 homeruns) but his average has struggled (.233). He has regressed in his ability to make contact with a worrisome 166 whiffs in just 104 games. His speed combined with his power will make him a 20/20 major leaguer but he needs to improve his ability to make contact if he wants to see a major league outfield. Lewis Brinson has been playing centerfield for the Marlins but he has had difficulty generating offense.

9. Khalil Lee (Royals) - A local boy (Flint High School) who was drafted by the Royals in the third round in 2016. He is a five tool player that can handle all three outfield positions but the Royals would prefer he play center. As a high school draftee the Royals have been aggressive with his promotion. This year he went from High A to AA where he has combined for a .253 average with six homeruns. His patience at the plate is good with 48 walks in just 71 games at High A. Khalil still has a couple years to play in the minors before the Royals need to put him on the 40 man roster so expect him not to arrive until 2020.

10. Jorge Mateo (Athletics) - Last year the Athletics gave Jorge a lot of centerfield time. This year all his time has been at shortstop or second base. We see those two positions blocked for the immediate future and Jorge is ready to get his major league opportunity now. He is not the prolific base stealer he was in 2015 when he stole 81 bases. Last year he found his happy feet with 52 stolen bases, but this year he has slowed again with only 18 in 28 attempts. Jorge shows some sneaky power with 12 homeruns last year, but this year the bat has been quiet. His .236 average and .285 OBA will not get him promoted in 2018 but we still like the potential for Mateo to make an impact in the major leagues. His speed is indicative of the 31 triples he has hit in the last two seasons.

Braves Benefit from Cheating Ways

Monday, July 30th, 2018

Major league baseball punished the Atlanta Braves for multiple rules violations when signing amateur players. Some of those violations included underreporting the amount given to five foreign players subject to international cap rules and then overreporting the amount given to a foreign player that was not subject to the international cap rule, then giving the overpayments to the five players. If those overpayments were given to the five players the Braves would have exceeded their salary cap and been subject to a penalty where the following year they could not sign any players for bonus payments greater than $300,000.

As a result the Braves were able to sign nine players for contracts greater than $300,000 the following year in which they should have been penalized. The Atlanta Braves were forced to release those 14 players and allow them to sign with other clubs. There were other signing violations to a domestic draft pick and recently signed foreign players who had yet to join the Atlanta Braves. They lost a third round pick in the 2018 domestic draft and the two foreign players who had yet to join the club had their contracts voided, becoming free agents.

Other penalties the Braves were forced to endure in addition to the release of the 14 players, the loss of a third round pick and the voiding of two international contracts was the lifetime ban of GM John Coppolella, the one year suspension of assistant Gordon Blakely and the restriction placed on the Braves that will not allow them to sign a player for more than $10,000 for the 2019-2020 international signing period. For the 2018-2019 international signing period the Braves are restricted to international contracts of less than $300,000.

What major league baseball did not do was to limit the international salary cap bonus of $4,983,500 allotted to them. Since the Braves will not exceed that amount because of the restrictions placed on them they traded some of that international salary for Brad Brach. Brach should help the bullpen in the Braves pennant race, perhaps a trade they would not have made if not for the penalties. It appears major league baseball gave the Braves some wiggle room where they could still take advantage of their international money.

2018 Baseball World Cup to be Held in Barranquilla, Colombia

Monday, July 30th, 2018

Barranquilla, Colombia will be the hosts for the under 23 Baseball World Cup that will be played October 19-28, 2018. As the host they will get an automatic bid to participate in the tournament. It is also hoped that the tournament will help bring new stadiums to Repelon and Manati, which are part of an $8 million investment by the Colombia Atlantico Department, though it would be nice to have some of the funds from the games go to help finance the stadiums. Pending inspection by the WBSC the games will be played at the Santa Marte Baseball Stadium. Don’t know if the stadium will pass muster but the fact there are probably no other alternatives seems to indicate it will pass. The WBSC probably should have waited to inspect the stadium before making the announcement about hosting if they had alternatives.

The following teams have qualified for the tournament. The last event was played in 2016:

Africa: South Africa
Asia: Japan (defending champions), Taiwan, Korea (third place)
Europe: Netherlands and Czech Republic
Americas: Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic
Oceania: Australia (second place)
Host: Colombia

The United States is not eligible for the event because they did not participate in the qualifiers. Because of that they may lose their number one ranking to Japan this year. This tournament is the most important international event this year, distributing the largest amount of points given to teams who do well in this event. Cuba is another traditional baseball power absent from this event.

Orioles Bats Stay Hot Against Rays

Monday, July 30th, 2018

The Orioles may have traded Manny Machado but their bats have gotten hot since that trade. For the third straight day they have scored double digits in runs. That could be the Rays pitching staff. Or perhaps the Oriole bats are coming to life. For the second straight game they scored 11 runs in their 11-5 win against the Rays.

Yonny Chirinos got the start for the Rays. He had trouble throwing strikes in the first inning, walking two batters and throwing 17 balls to his ten strikes. Chris Davis got the big hit in the inning when he hit one deep to centerfield. Mallex Smith leaped and had the ball in his glove, but as his arm hit the wall on his way down the ball came out of the glove and landed beyond the fence for a two run homer. Adam Jones had the slide of the day. Mark Trumbo hit a double play ground ball to third with runners on first and third and one out. Jones slide knocked Daniel Robertson to the ground negating the double play. It also eventually knocked Robertson from the game.

Dylan Bundy pitched well for the Orioles. He only allowed four hits in his seven innings of work. Unfortunately for him three of those hits traveled over the fence. The even numbered innings were his biggest challenge. C.J. Cron hit two solo shots against him, once in the second and again in the fourth. Jake Bauer blasted a solo shot against Bundy in the sixth.

Chirinos gave up another run in the second, but his defense let him down in the inning. Austin Wynns hit a slow grounder to Willy Adames at short. Willy did not get his glove down low enough as he charged the ball and it glanced off his glove. Tim Beckham followed with a single to left. Left fielder Joey Wendle had the ball glance off his glove allowing Wynns to advance to third. Adam Jones bounced a single up the middle to score Wynns. The Orioles stranded runners on first and third with one out when Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis whiffed.

In the fourth inning the Rays brought in Hunter Wood to pitch. Wynns attacked the first pitch thrown by Wood and lined it into the first row of the left field bleachers. In the fifth the Orioles added another run with an RBI single from Jace Peterson to up the lead to 6-2.

The Orioles put the game away with two big homeruns. Jonathan Schoop blasted a three run homer in the seventh. In the eighth Chris Davis hit his second homerun of the game, a two run shot into the centerfield bullpen.

Game Notes: Last year the Orioles would put the American League standings on the scoreboard followed by the individual league leaders. This gave the fans something to look at as they strolled into the stadium. With the Orioles having the worst record in the major leagues the only the individual leaders are shown on the scoreboard, eliminating the listing of the standings…Dylan Bundy was getting some called third strikes with his curveball. His fastball maxes out at 92. Earlier in his career he could hit 95. Injuries have sapped the velocity from his fastball, but his curveball appears to be a tough pitch for the hitters to recognize…The Orioles traded Brad Brach to the Atlanta Braves. What they got for him was a shock. International cap bonus money. The Orioles are usually the team trading international bonus money…Jonathan Schoop has gotten hot with seven homeruns in his last nine games…Daniel Robertson left the game in the fourth inning. He was replaced by Adeiny Hechevarria, with Willy Adames moving to second. He is day to day.

Yamaguchi Tosses No Hitter

Saturday, July 28th, 2018

Shun Yamaguchi of the Yomiuri Giants tossed a no hitter against the Chunichi Dragons in the Giants 5-0 win. It was the first no hitter in the NPB by a single pitcher since the Seibu Lions Takayuki Kishi threw one in 2014 against the Chiba Lotte Marines. Last year Yamaguchi was part of a combined no hitter against the Softbank Hawks. The lone baserunner for the Dragons was a walk in the seventh inning.

The Giant offense got a bit of a spark when developmental player Jorge Martinez slugged a solo shot in the second inning in his first NPB at bat to get the scoring started. He had just signed an NPB contract that day. Kazuma Okamoto put the game out of reach with a three run homer in the eighth. Casey McGehee had an RBI single in the sixth, but more importantly made the defensive play of the game with a leaping grab in the eighth on a line drive to preserve the no hitter.

After starting only four games last year because of shoulder discomfort Yamaguchi is 8-6 with a 3.51 ERA this year. Also Last year Yamaguchi got into some trouble at a hospital a month after throwing his combined no hitter. He got into a fight with a security guard and damaged property at a hospital after being drunk at a restaurant and injuring his finger. He was suspended after that incident.

Myworld hopes he can behave himself after this no hitter.

Major League Baseball and their International Psuedo Money

Friday, July 27th, 2018

Major league baseball enforces a salary cap on how much teams can spend on foreign players (Canadian, Puerto Rican and players over 25 years of age not included). The Cincinnati Reds, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays have the highest international cap of just over $6 million. The Baltimore Orioles are down the next level with a number of other teams at $5.5 million. What major league baseball tries to do is provide smaller market teams a higher revenue cap to sign international players, creating more parity in major league baseball yet reducing overall costs. Without this cap richer teams would flood the international market with their dollars, increasing the bonuses poorer teams would have to pay to sign foreign players and increasing the overall costs to major league teams.

Of course, this assumes the Cincinnati Reds will spend their $6 million for international free agents. Recognizing this, major league baseball allows teams to trade their international salary cap for players. The teams acquiring the extra salary cap can not trade for more than 75 percent over their salary cap bonus, but a team can trade all of their salary cap. This gives a smaller market team an opportunity to trade something they really haven’t got (major league pseudo money) for something of value (a player). Is this good?

The Baltimore Orioles do not have a large international scouting staff. This also costs money. So why spend $5.5 million on players you don’t spend the resources on to scout because you have to spend an additional multi million paying salary for scouts, travel and training facilities to support an international program. It would be like asking a blind man to find the easter eggs. Use this money to sign players in the draft and major league free agents. Sounds like a winning formulae? The Orioles thought so.

The Orioles used this philosophy and now have the worst record in baseball. They traded all or most of their salary cap for fringe prospects in an effort to save money. They missed out on signing the Juan Soto’s and Ronald Acuna’s of the world and now have the worst record in baseball, spending the $10 or so million they saved on free agents Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner. If you look at every team’s prospect list you will see a glaring absence of international players signed by the Orioles. Myworld is not aware of any player the Orioles acquired for salary cap space who made a big impact on their major league roster, but it may still be too early to measure that success rate. This strategy is akin to the Boston Red Sox refusal to sign black players after the integration of baseball until they realized they were missing out on a valuable resource to improve their franchise.

So as the poorer teams who do not want to spend their generous international bonus cap trade it to the richer teams who have the money, the poor still get poorer while the rich still grow richer. Because the poorer teams are not spending the money on international players they also reduce their international resources eliminating any hope of finding the next Juan Soto or Ronald Acuna. The richer teams use the resources to scout the players, spend the money to sign the players and if they go over their cap find a poorer team to trade for more cap.

Some of the teams with the lowest international salary cap have the best international prospects. The New York Yankees roster is filled with future stars yet only the Philadelphia Phillies have a lower international salary cap. The Washington Nationals top prospects are filled with Dominican players and they have the same low international cap as the Yankees.

The Orioles have indicated they will change their ways and begin focusing on the international market. It will be interesting to see if some of the other small market teams will go the same route. The Cincinnati Reds recently traded some of their international cap space to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a recent trade. Hopefully, they do not travel the same route as the Orioles.

Perhaps major league baseball should punish teams for not using their pseudo money. If teams trade more than 50 percent of their international bonus cap the amount for next year is reduced. Perhaps major league baseball has that policy in place when assigning the following year’s bonus caps. The ultimate solution may be to have teams recognize that this pseudo money major league baseball gives them is a resource they should use wisely. Not trade it for some fringe prospect to fill an organizational need in the minor leagues.

Orioles Future

Thursday, July 26th, 2018

Back in 2012 not much was expected of the Orioles. They had a losing streak of some 14 seasons in a row and the roster did not appear strong. They surprised by making the playoffs, fueled by winning a number of one run games. They remained a competitive team despite the baseball experts saying the playoff run was a fluke, winning the division in 2014 and making the playoffs as a wild card team in 2016.

Again not much was expected from the Orioles in 2017, but that has never prevented them from making a wild card run. The offense appeared formidable and they had gone out into the free agent market to sign two decent starting pitchers in Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner to add to their threesome of Chris Tillman, Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy. They still had one of the best closers in the bullpen in Zach Britton.

No one expected the 2018 season to end with the Orioles ending up with the worst record in baseball. Manny Machado and Zach Britton have been traded. Adam Jones becomes a free agent and Chris Davis is having one of the worst seasons ever by a major league player. And the Orioles are still committed to him for over $20 million for another three years. With the losses through trade and free agency the immediate future looks bleak for the Orioles.

So what is the long term future of the Orioles. The hope is they improve their prospect stock with the trades of Machado and Britton and possibly other veterans. Their farm system has also been improving, but a lack of resources in the international arena hurts them. It is not that they ignore the international arena. Myworld has met one of their international scouts while in Taiwan. It is just they do not have a lot of resources dedicated to that area.

Below are some of the players myworld believes are gong to be key if the Orioles are going to contend in the future. Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Jonathan Schoop will be at the end of their player control contracts by that time and will have already become free agents or will be heading that direction the following year before the Orioles become competitive again. The decision to keep them will depend on their performance and if they perform well if the Orioles want to meet their market price.

Outfield:

1. Yusniel Diaz RF - The Cuban is a promising prospect acquired from the Dodgers in the Manny Machado trade. A number of years ago the Orioles signed a couple free agent Cubans but they never made an impact. They hope better from Diaz. His future is probably as a rightfielder, though the speed is there to play center. He needs to hit for a little more power if he wants to become an impact rightfielder. Currently in AA he should be ready for the Orioles in 2020.

2. Austin Hayes RF - Another player that can play right field. Interesting he should develop heel and ankle issues after signing an Under Armour contract. Hopefully it was not the shoes. Hayes has already shown his ability to hit for power with his 32 homer season in the minor leagues in 2017. He was expected to take over the right field slot for the Orioles this year but a poor spring got him a minor league assignment and his foot injuries have limited him to 43 games in 2018 with an unhealthy .224 average. When he gets healthy he will have to see more time in the minors in 2019 to get that average up.

3. Cedric Mullins CF - He could be the centerfielder of the future for the Orioles if he can show the offense. The speed is there. The arm could move him to left. After having some success in AA (.313) he was promoted to AAA (.278). Despite his 5′8′ size he shows some juice in his bat. He could get a September callup this year and with Adam Jones leaving via free agency become the Orioles starting centerfielder at the start of the 2019 season.

4. Ryan McKenna CF - He appears to be the Orioles Austin Hays of 2018. A fourth round pick who suddenly emerges, but hitting more for average in High A (.377) to get a promotion to AA than power. He covers a lot of ground in centerfield but myworld will have to see more of his bat before we anoint him an Oriole of the future. His expected arrival time is 2019 as a late season callup.

5. D.J. Stewart LF - Myworld only mentions him because he was a first round pick of the Orioles in 2015. His defensive flaws limit him to left field. Currently he is in AAA hitting just .237 with 9 homeruns. With his poor defense in the outfield he needs to show more offense to become a factor with the Orioles.

Catching

1. Chance Sisco - There is not a lot to like behind the plate in the minor leagues. Sisco is the best opportunity for the Orioles but he is struggling at the major league level this year. His defense is not strong so to be effective he must show a potent bat. That has yet to make an appearance with the Orioles.

Infield

1. Ryan Mountcastle 2B - The Orioles currently have him at third base at AA. He did not have the arm to stick at short and he does not have the arm to play third. His ultimate position may be second base or left field. His bat will be productive but the Orioles will need to find a position for him.

2. Anthony Santander 1B - A Rule V acquistion, his ultimate position may be at first base. He does not have the defensive tools to be a quality outfielder. His bat does show some power but it did not appear when the Orioles were forced to keep him on the roster for the first part of this year. The Orioles currently have too many first baseman trying to play defense in Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and Trey Mancini so finding Santander playing time so he can develop at his more natural position may be difficult. Expect his arrival to be more mid-2019.

3. Adam Hall SS - He was a second round pick in 2017. So far he has not really rocked the minor leagues to show that he can be an asset to the Orioles future. He has shown very little power with zero homeruns and a .296 slugging percentage this year in the rookie ball. His glove has also showed some inconsistency.

4. Cadyn Greinier SS - The Orioles shelled out $1.8 million to sign him as the 37th pick in the 2018 draft. The jury is still out on his impact. He has shown some gap power but a .237 average in Low A is not promising. Give him some time.

5. Rylan Bannon 3B - An 8th round pick in 2017, Bannon was one of the players acquired in the Machado trade. He hit 20 homeruns while playing in the California League. The Orioles have started him in AA where one of his two hits in 11 at bats carried over the fence. It would nice to see his power bat continue because the Orioles lack a player at this position.

Pitching

It would be nice if the Orioles could sign Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman to long term contracts. They will be at their free agent years when the younger players are ready to make an impact. Pitching arms though can be very fragile.

1. Hunter Harvey RHP - Another year another injury. Electric stuff but an inability to stay healthy. Myworld does not hold a lot of hope that he will make an impact with the Orioles but he is a top level prospect.

2. DL Hall LHP - The lefty was a first round pick of the Orioles in 2017. Since he was drafted out of high school it will take a couple years before he is ready. Pitching at Delmarva he shows quality stuff (2.44 ERA, .199 opposition average) but must learn to harness his command.

3. Grayson Rodriguez RHP - The Orioles first round pick in 2018, he is further away than Hall. In seven innings he has yet to give up a run in rookie ball but has issued more walks (5) than whiffs (4) something you don’t want to see from your pitchers. But it is still early.

4. Dillon Tate RHP - The pitcher acquired from the Yankees in the Britton trade. He was orignally drafted by the Rangers but traded to the Yankees in the Carlos Beltran trade. At 24 years of age he is still pitching at AA. He could be ready to appear in the rotation in 2019. Being traded twice can mean two things, either two teams wanted him because of his talent, or two teams traded him because they saw too many flaws in his game.

5. Alex Wells LHP - Not the type of pitcher that will wow you with his velocity. His radar readings at the Prospect game in the All Star game were the lowest of any pitcher that appeared on the mound (91 mph), but he has been getting hitters out to keep his ERA below 4. Opponents are hitting .290 against him so it is his lack of walks that will get him to the major leagues.

6. Michael Baumann RHP - The third round pick in 2017 dominated at Delmarva (1.42 ERA) in seven starts. His lack of command and having just two pitches in his tool box (fastball/slider) make pitching at High A more of a challenge (3.67 ERA). If he fails to develop a quality third pitch he could end up in the bullpen as a closer.

7. Zac Lowther LHP - Another pitcher who dominated at Delmarva (1.16 ERA). He does not have the velocity on his fastball as Baumann but he has a better variety of pitches to achieve more success at High A Frederick (3.04 ERA).

8. Keegan Akin LHP - We like his stuff. Not a hard thrower but AA hitters are only hitting .205 against him. He could be a part of the Orioles rotation by mid-2019 if his success continues in AAA.

9. Branden Kline RHP - A bullpen arm that has had trouble staying healthy. He is already 26 but if he continues to keep the ERAs under 2.00 and the opposition average under .250 he will find a bullpen spot for the Orioles. Expect a September callup for Kline this year.

10. Zach Pop RHP - Another bullpen arm acquired from the Dodgers in the Machado trade. While he may be named Zach don’t expect him to replace Britton. He still needs some work improving his command. At least his ERA at Bowie is no longer infinity.

Myworld’s Top Right Field Prospects

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

Our last prospect post we did the top left field prospects. We forgot to include Eloy Jimenez in that list, saving him for the right field prospect list until we realized he will be more a leftfielder when he hits the major leagues. The right fielders tend to have the strong arms and the big bats. Eloy lacks the strong arm to play right. Below are the top right field prospects in the minor leagues, including 11 here. Next myworld will name the centerfielders and then the right handed and left handed pitchers.

1. Eloy Jimenez (White Sox) - What always fools me about Eloy is his 6′4″ height, which seems to be perfect for right fielders in this day and age. Unfortunately, the Dominican lacks the arm and the speed to play right so he is best suited for left. Since I did not include him among the leftfielders myworld will list 11 right fielders on this list. Most of his games this year have been in left field, but he has gotten some time in right. Because of his bat Eloy would rank at the top of either the leftfield or rightfield list. He will hit for power and average. At AAA Charlotte he is hitting .351 with a 1.022 OPS in 20 games. His .317 average with 10 homeruns in 50 plus games at AA got him promoted to AAA. Injuries have been the only issue stopping Eloy from being a superstar player. Expect him to get a September callup if he can stay healthy when September comes.

2. Kyle Tucker (Astros) - The younger brother of Preston was a first round pick of the Astros in 2015. Most of his time with the Astros has been in leftfield because that is the current positional opening for the Astros. In the minors he has been primarily a right fielder. His arm and speed are average making centerfield an emergency option. Despite his lack of burner speed he was able to steal 20 bases becoming a 20/20 player with 25 homeruns last year. This year he has stolen 14 bases with 14 homeruns as he gears towards another 20/20 year. His .304 batting average is the highest in his minor league career at those levels when he gets over 100 at bats. This year he has seen some time in the major leagues, struggling with a .162 average. Expect at least a September callup to give him additional at bats but a hot spell in the minors could get him promoted earlier.

3. Luis Robert (White Sox) - Currently the speed is there for the Cuban to play centerfield. As he gets older Luis may build bulk on his 6′3″ frame, losing the speed required to play centerfield. His arm is strong enough for right. Luis was a star as a teenager in the Cuban professional league. He slipped out of Cuba halfway through the 2016 season when he was on his way to winning the Triple Crown as a 19 year old. The tools are there for him to be a superstar. This was expected to be his first year in a full season league but thumb injuries have limited him to just 21 games. He has yet to carry a ball over the fence this year, but his bat makes solid contact with the potential to hit .300 or better. If the speed stays he could be a 30/30 player (homeruns/stolen bases). The White Sox would like him to play more games to assign him to AA to begin next year.

4. Heliot Ramos (Giants) - The Puerto Rican was the Giants first round pick in the 2017 draft. His first year in the rookie league he hit .348 with 6 homeruns and a 1.049 OPS. His legs have the carry to stay in centerfield and his arm is solid enough to fit in right. This year has been a little more of a challenge for Heliot, especially trying to make contact with pitches. He has a poor 28/101 walk to whiff ratio. Last year it was a more acceptable (10/48). This has resulted in a low batting average (.238). The power is still there with 8 homeruns, but it has been limited by his inability to make contact. Ranos was selected to the World Team.

5. Alex Kirilloff (Twins) - Alex was a first round pick in the 2016 draft with Tommy John surgery preventing him from playing the 2017 season. He was selected to play for the United States team in the prospect game and warming up he had the best arm of any of the outfielders we saw warming up. Right field has been his primary position in the minor leagues with a few games in center. In the rookie league he showed a good bat (.306 with a .454 slugging) but not much was expected of him after a year away from the game. Alex has been a hitting machine in Low A (.333 with a .607 slugging) that led to a promotion to High A where his bat continues to explode (.370, .571 slugging). His homerun numbers have dropped in some of the larger parks in the Florida State League but he has hit .525 in his last 10 games with seven multiple hit games. Expect him to be in AA next year.

6. Alex Verdugo (Dodgers) - We are not as enamored of Alex as many are. The second round pick of the 2014 draft seemed to lack the power to play right field. He also exhibits a low motor which could have an impact on his overall success. This year the power seems to have come with a .506 slugging, 70 points above his .438 slugging coming into the season. Alex does have the ability to make solid contact which could result in hitting for a high average (.305 career minor league average). That good contact continues in the major leagues, but the averages the last two years has been low (.174 and .213). His arm is excellent and perhaps his best tool, but that will not keep him on a major league roster by itself.

7. Brandon Marsh (Angels) - The second round 2016 pick was prevented from showing his stuff the first year because of a back issue. Last year in rookie ball he powered his way to a .350 average with a .944 OPS. He has the arm and speed to play center but the Angels already have a premium centerfielder there (Jo Adell) leaving right field for Brandon. His 2018 season has seen a little more time in centerfield. The bat will get his name in the lineup. Currently, his bat is doubles power but as he matures more balls should carry over the fence. He is hitting .274 with a .410 slugging percentage between Low and High A. A propensity to swing and miss (113 whiffs in 92 games) cuts into his production.

8. Tyler O’Neil (Cardinals) - The father of a weight lifter (Mr. Canada) also has a fondness for lifting the weights. The Mariners may have traded him so cheap (Marco Gonzalez) because of their concern that he did it to excess. Drafted in the third round of the 2013 draft two of his last three years he has hit for 30 or more homeruns. This year appears to be another 30 homerun season. Tyler has had 14 multiple homer games in his career and five taters in his last two games. Between AAA and the major leagues he has already jacked 28 balls over the wall in just 76 games. His major league time has been a struggle to make contact (20 whiffs in 44 at bats) resulting in a low .227 average, but if he continues to pop balls over the fence in the minor leagues he will get another opportunity with the Cardinals this year.

9. Monte Harrison (Marlins) - Monte was a second round pick of the Brewers in 2014. He was one of the players the Marlins acquired in the Giancarlo Stanton trade. This year centerfield has been his primary position with a smattering of games in right. His lack of burner speed and Lewis Brinson will probably result in his movement to right. Last year his bat showed some power with 21 homeruns between Low A and High A. The power continues with 13 homeruns this year, but a struggle to make contact has resulted in a 33/159 walk to whiff ratio and a poor .240 average in AA. The speed is there to steal 20 plus bases a year, which combined with his power should make him a 20/20 player.

10. D.J. Peters (Dodgers) - This is the outfielder myworld was hoping the Orioles got in the Manny Machado trade. At 6′6″ he reminds you of an Aaron Judge with the ability to hit for power (27 homeruns last year) but with the propensity to swing and miss (189 whiffs). Tame that whiff rate and the potential is tremendous. The Dodgers drafted him in the fourth round in 2016. This year in AA the whiffs are still prevalent (133) but the power is still perverse with 20 homeruns. His lack of contact puts his average at .238. This creates a risk of a Dave Kingman type player, but that is what critics were saying about Judge in the minor leagues. The difference is Peters does not have the ability to walk as much as Judge.

11. Yusniel Diaz (Orioles) - This is the player the Orioles got instead. Myworld watched the Cuban hit two dingers for the World team in the Prospect game. The speed is there to play centerfield but his best fit is to play right. The Dodgers paid a $15.5 million bonus to sign him so they recognized the tools. The power is more gap to gap now but it could expand as he matures and turns those line drive doubles into homers with a little more launch angle. Coming into this season he had a .281 career minor league average. This year he sits at .301. At Bowie he is struggling with a .125 average in his first 16 at bats as he tries to impress. At Tulsa he hit .314 with a 41/39 walk to whiff rate.

Japan Shuts Out Taiwan for Honkball Championship

Monday, July 23rd, 2018

Taiwan had beaten Netherlands earlier in the day 7-5 to earn the right to play the championship match against undefeated Japan. Masato Morishita got the start and pitched three innings of shutout ball. Japan turned to Wataru Matsumoto, who pitched two perfect innings, striking out four of the six hitters he faced to get the win. It was his third win of the tournament.

The big hit was the three run homerun by Shunya Iwaki in the sixth inning.