Archive for December, 2019

NL West Lower Draft Pick Success

Tuesday, December 31st, 2019

Myworld takes a look at the NL West to see how they have done selecting with the 25th round pick or later. This division seems to have pretty good success with late round picks, especially the Giants and Padres. We start with 1998 when drafts were established at 50 picks, further reduced to 40 a few years later. Also, we did not include any player signed in the 25th round or later who did not sign but made the major leagues after a later draft. Myworld did not look at draft years 2015 or later since any late round picks making the major league roster in four years or less would be slim to none.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Mike Koplove RHP (1998/29th round) - 15-7, 3.82 in 222 games of relief
Tommy Layne LHP (2007/26th round) - 8-5, 3.61 in 216 games of relief
Evan Scribner RHP (2007/28th round) - 5-4, 4.15 in 145 games of relief
Ryan Cook RHP (2008/27th round) - 15-13, 3.58 in 236 games of relief

Jake Elmore 2B (2008/34th round) - .215, 4, 37 in 217 games

Colorado Rockies

Justin Hampson LHP (1999/28th round) - 5-4, 3.23 in 92 games, one of them a start.
Xavier Cedeno LHP (2004/31st round) - 10-7, 3.65 in 254 games of relief
Bruce Billings RHP (2007/30th round) - 0-0, 9.82 in five games of relief
Kenny Roberts LHP (2010/25th round) - 1-1, 7.24 in 15 games of relief

Eric Young Jr 2B (2003/30th round) - .245, 13, 112 and 162 stolen bases in 651 games

Los Angeles Dodgers

Matt Magill RHP (2008/31st round) - 8-7, 4.52 in 31 games
Shawn Tolleson RHP (2010/30th round) - 14-8, 3.92 in 215 games of relief
Danny Coulombe LHP (2012/25th round) - 6-4, 4.27 in 153 games of relief

Victor Diaz 2B (2000/37th round) - .256, 24, 73 in 147 games
Andy LaRoche SS (2003/39th round) - .226, 22, 113 in 404 games
Justin Ruggiano OF (2004/25th round) - .256, 53, 163 in 483 games
Jerry Sands OF (2008/25th round) - .238, 10, 57 in 156 games, currently playing in Korea
Scott Schebler OF (2010/26th round) - .240, 61, 167 in 379 games

San Diego Padres

Cliff Bartosh LHP (1998/29th round) - 1-2, 5.08 in 53 games of relief
Jack Cassel RHP (2000/25th round) - 2-2. 4.92 in 15 games, seven of them starts
Steve Delabar RHP (2003/29th round) - 15-9, 4.07 in 190 games of relief
Branden Kintzler RHP (2004/40th round) - 20-20, 3.37 in 430 games of relief
Dylan Axelrod RHP (2007/30th round) - 9-15, 5.27 in 59 games, 34 starts
Colt Hynes LHP (2007/31st round) - 0-0, 8.55 in 27 games of relief
Brad Brach RHP (2008/42nd round) - 36-27, 3.33 in 482 games of relief

Kevin Reese OF (2000/27th round) - .385, 0, 1 in 12 games
Drew Macias OF (2002/35th round) - .198, 3, 12 in 69 games
Kyle Blanks 1B (2004/42nd round) - .241, 33, 111 in 278 games
Andy Parrino 2B (2007/26th round) - .175, 2, 14 in 131 games
Dean Anna SS (2008/26th round) - .130, 1, 3 in 13 games
Dan Robertson OF (2008/33rd round) - .262, 1, 36 in 148 games

San Francisco Giants

Brian Burres LHP (2000/31st round) - 18-25, 5.75 in 106 games, 56 starts
Scott Munter RHP (2001/47th round) - 3-2, 4.75 in 84 games of relief
Matt Palmer RHP (2002/31st round) - 13-7, 4.56 in 63 games, 20 starts
Jonathan Sanchez LHP (2004/27th round) - 39-58, 4.70 in 194 games, 137 starts
Sergio Romo RHP (2005/28th round) - 40-32, 2.92, 129 saves in 708 games, two starts
Jake Dunning SS (2009/33rd round) - 0-2, 2.77 in 30 games of relief
Joe Biagini RHP (2011/26th round) - 14-25, 4.86 in 217 games, 22 starts

Antoan Richardson OF (2005/35th round) - .350, 0, 1 in 22 games
Thomas Neal OF (2005/36th round) - .184, 0, 2 in 15 games
Matt Downs 3B (2006/36th round) - .230, 20, 66 in 254 games
Johnny Monell C (2007/30th round) - .161, 0, 5 in 35 games

AL West Lower Draft Round Success

Sunday, December 29th, 2019

Now we look at the AL West to see how they have done selecting with the 25th round pick or later. The Rangers could almost create a starting rotation. We start with 1998 when drafts were established at 50 picks, further reduced to 40 a few years later. Also, if any player signed in the 25th round or later did not sign they were not included in this list. Myworld did not look at draft years 2015 or later since any late round picks making the major league roster in four years or less would be slim to none.

Houston Astros

Mike Burns RHP (2000/30th round) - 3-5, 5.75, 15 games, 8 starts

Tyler White 3B (2013/33rd round) - .236, 26, 103 in 256 games

Los Angeles Angels

Bobby Wilson C (2002/48th round) - .203, 18, 102 in 386 games
Efren Navarro 1B (2007/50th round) - .241, 3, 22 in 157 games
Jett Bandy C (2011/31st round) - .218, 16, 45 in 156 games
Michael Hermosillo OF (2013/28th round) - .183, 1, 4 in 49 games

Oakland Athletics

Ron Flores LHP (2000/20th round) - 1-4, 3.05, in 53 games in relief
Connor Robertson RHP (2004/31st round) - 0-1, 8.00 in 9 games of relief
Jeff Gray RHP (2004/32nd round) - 9-3, 4.99 in 115 games of relief
Brad Kilby LHP (2005/29th round) - 1-0, 1.07 in 16 games, one start
Mickey Storey RHP (2008/31st round) - 0-1, 4.19 in 29 games of relief
Ryan Dull RHP (2012/32nd round) - 8-9, 4.31 in 171 games of relief

Seattle Mariners

Scott Atchison RHP (1998/49th round) - 17-11, 3.63 in 298 games with just one start

T.J. Bohn OF (2002/30th round) - .211, 1, 5 in 32 games

Texas Rangers

Jason Botts 1B (1999/46th round) - .230, 5, 28 in 93 games

Jesse Chavez RHP (2002/42nd round) - 41-58, 4.48 in 463 games, 79 starts
Scott Feldman RHP (2003/30th round) - 78-84, 4.43 in 342 games, 204 starts
Derek Holland LHP (2006/25th round) - 78-78, 4.54 in 295 games, 222 starts
Danny Herrera LHP (2006/45th round) - 5-8, 3.72 in 131 games of relief
Tanner Roark RHP (2008/25th round) - 74-64, 3.71 in 213 games, 172 starts
Cody Eppley RHP (2008/43rd round) - 2-3, 4.61 in 71 games of relief
Alex Claudio LHP (2010/27th round) - 15-8, 3.38 in 291 game, with two starts
Phil Klein RHP (2011/30th round) - 2-3, 5.50 in 40 games, with four starts
C.J. (Carl) Edwards (2011/48th round) - 9-8, 3.58 in 194 games of relief
Joe Palumbo LHP (2013/30th round) - 0-3, 9.18, seven games with four starts

Winter Roundup - Cuba

Saturday, December 28th, 2019

The Cuban League (Nacional Series 59) has been playing for awhile. The final six teams qualifying for the round robin were Camaguay, Las Tunas, Matanzas, Industriales, Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos. The first four teams have clinched spots in the final four. The winner of the final four will advance to the Series del Caribe, with additional reinforcements added to the roster.

Myworld has not been following Cuban baseball as faithfully as we should. Most of the stars have departed for the major leagues. You have some veterans who still have skills but are too old now for major league consideration and younger players, who if they didn’t leave by age 16 are still trying to make an impact. When Fidel Castro first set up the league it was supposed to be a pure egalitarian league with each player representing the province they were born in. They were to play for the people and since money was not an issue keep their amateur status. That did not turn out so well once they learned about the multi-million dollar contracts that were being offered further north.

Some of the hitting stars:

Jorge Aloma (Las Tunas) - .387 batting average leads the league with 14 homeruns and 66 RBIs.

Maikel Caceres (Holquin) - A career year for him with .380 average and 14 homeruns with 53 RBIs.

Stayler Hernandez (Industriales) - He leads the league with 19 homeruns and is second in RBIs with 79. Has a .348 average. In previous years he has never hit more than 12 homeruns.

Yurien Vizcaino (Villa Clara) - Leads the league in RBIs with 88. That is more than twice his career high. He also has a career high 12 homeruns and is hitting .302. This is his first year hitting over .300.

Yordanis Samon (Industriales) - Hitting .377 with 12 homeruns and 50 RBIs.

Carlos Benitez (Granma/Villa Clara) - Hitting .373 with 9 homeruns and 61 RBIs.

Yuniesky Larduet (Las Tunas) - Leads the league in stolen bases with 30 and runs scored with 88. Also hitting .328.

Frederich Cepeda (Sancti Spiritus) - He has played more than twenty years and continues to hit with 15 homeruns and a .340 average

The pitching stars:

Frank Medina (Industriales) - Leads in ERA with a 2.76 and a 9-7 record. The number of wins are a career high and his ERA is a career low.

Yariel Rodriguez (Camaguay) - The strikeout leader with 118 in 133 innings. His ERA sits at 3.38 and he is 8-6. The strikeout numbers and innings pitched are big jumps for him.

Dariel Gongora (Las Tunas) - He is 12-5 with a 3.44 ERA. His 12 wins lead the league as are his 6 complete games. His previous career high in wins was six and he has more than doubled that.

Yadian Martinez (Las Tunas) - He leads the league in innings pitched (135) but with his 10-3 record and 3.06 ERA why not keep him out there. He has four complete games.

Alain Sanchez (Villa Clara) - The veteran is 9-3 with a 2.79 ERA.

All stats were collected from baseballdecuba. Myworld finds a lot of variance in the Cuban stats with the various websties.

Major League Pitcher Trivia

Friday, December 27th, 2019

The average fastball for a major league pitcher in 2019 reached 93.1 miles per hour. This is the greatest speed since velocity has been measured. There were 149 pitchers who threw an average fastball 95 or harder.

There were only two pitchers in 2019 who averaged over 100 miles per hour, Jordan Hicks at 101.1 and Aroldis Chapman at 100.1. Following him were Andres Munoz (99.9), Emmanuel Chase (99.3), Brusdar Graterol (99.1) and Tayron Guerrero (99).

Gerritt Cole and Justin Verlander were the first two teammates to strikeout more than 300 hitters per season since Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling did it in 2002.

With major league rosters expanding to 26 with a maximum of 13 pitchers, it might be wise for teams to develop more two way players if they prefer to whittle their roster to 12 position players. The hitter with the greatest average exit velocity in major league baseball according to statcast was pitcher/outfielder Michael Lorenzon who averaged 97 miles per hour off the bat. His launch angel was disappointing Second was Aaron Judge who was measured at 96.7 miles per hour.

Shohei Ohtani was in the top 20 at 17th with a 93.4 exit velocity. He had a much better launch angle to his hits than Lorenzon.

AL Central Lower Round Draft Pick Success

Friday, December 27th, 2019

A couple days ago we did the AL East teams and the players drafted 25th or lower who achieved major league success for more than a year, with some exceptions. Myworld started the review for drafts in 1998 when they limited the picks to 50 players and went to 2015 when we felt most players from that draft and later would still be in the minor leagues. Below is the AL Central major league success rate.

Chicago White Sox

Mark Buehrle LHP (1998/38th round) - 214-160, 3.81 in 518 games, 493 of them starts.
Joe Valentine RHP (1999/26th round) - 2-4, 6.70 in 42 games of relief except for one start
Jeff Bajenaru RHP (1999/36th round) - 0-2, 11.20 in 14 games of relief
Charlie Haeger RHP (2001/25th round) - 2-7, 6.40 in 34 games, 10 of them starts
Jay Marshall LHP (2002/25th round) - 1-4, 7.66 in 61 games of relief
Hector Santiago LHP (2006/30th round) - 47-50, 4.14 in 257 games, 139 of them starts
Chris Devenski RHP (2011/25th round) - 16-15, 3.21 in 221 games, 7 of them starts

Cleveland Indians

Tony Sipp LHP (2004, 45th round) - 26-22, 3.72 in 616 games of relief
Vidal Nuno LHP (2009/48th round) - 8-23, 4.06 in 155 games, 42 of them starts

Jon Van Every OF (2000/29th round) - .255, 2, 9 in 39 games
Roberto Perez C (2008/33rd round) - .216, 45, 162 in 414 games

Detroit Tigers

Eric Eckenstahler LHP (1999/32nd round) - 1-0, 3.80 in 27 games of relief
Jason Frasor RHP (1999/33rd round) - 35-35, 3.49 in 679 games of relief
Joe Mantiply LHP (2013/27th round) - 1-0, 12.71 in 6 games of relief

Dusty Ryan C (2003/48th round) - .257, 2, 11 in 27 games
Will Rhymes 2B (2005/27th round) - .266, 2, 29 in 130 games

Kansas City Royals

Ruben Gotay 2B/SS (2000/31st round) - .255, 12, 77 RBIs in 316 games
Jarrod Dyson OF (2006/50th round) - .247, 21, 170 with 250 stolen bases in 858 games
Clint Robinson 1B (2007/25th round) - .257, 15, 62 in 243 games

Minnesota Twins

Kevin Frederick RHP (1998/29th round) - 0-2, 7.59 in 30 games of relief
Nick Blackburn RHP (2001/29th round) - 43-55, 4.85 in 145 games, 137 of them starts
Michael Tonkin RHP (2008/30th round) - 3-3, 4.43 in 141 games of relief
A.J. Achter RHP (2010/46th round) - 2-1, 3.92 in 45 games of relief

Terry Tiffee 1B (1999/26th round) - .226, 5, 29 in 97 games
Rene Tosoni OF (2005/36th round) - .203, 5, 22 in 60 games

Kikuchi to Stay in Japan

Friday, December 27th, 2019

One Japanese free agent has been taken off the market. Ryosuke Kikuchi has decided to stay in Japan. He was posted December 3 and would have needed to sign by January 2. Kikuchi is a gold glove fielding second baseman that has a questionable bat. Most major league teams have been sacrificing defense to get offense from their second base position. Because the market was slow for Kikuchi’s skills he made the decision to inform his team (Hiroshima Carp) early that he was returning to Japan.

There are still a number of major league veterans who play second base who are still looking for a team. There may not be enough positions open to fill all those slots. The Nationals still have two veteran second baseman still looking for work in Brian Dozier and Asdrubal Cabrera.

AL East Lower Round Draft Pick Success

Wednesday, December 25th, 2019

Major league baseball and the minor leagues are feuding over the number of minor league baseball teams to support in 2021. The major leagues want to upgrade facilities, increase the pay of minor league players and also lesson the number of players they draft for the minor leagues. In other words, lower their costs.

If they draft fewer players they will not need as many minor league teams or scouts to draft and scout minor league players. With the rise in analytics there are probably those that say the cost of drafting players below the 25th round is not worth the expense. So myworld will take a look at players drafted after the 25th round who made it to the major leagues. We began with the 1998 draft when the number of players was reduced to 50 each round, and later 40. Myworld did not include any players who were drafted after the 25th round but did not sign who may have been drafted later in their career during an earlier round and made the major leagues. We did not really look at players drafted after 2015 since most of them will still be playing in the minor leagues.

Baltimore Orioles

Kurt Birkins OF/LHP (2000/33rd round) - 6-4, 5.85, 60 games all but two in relief
Oliver Drake RHP (2008/43rd round) - 10-8, 4.19, 185 games in relief
Zach Davies RHP (2011/26th round) - 43-32, 3.91, 111 starts
Donnie Hart LHP (2013/27th round) - 2-0, 3.13, 98 games in relief

Boston Red Sox

Dennis Tankersly RHP (1998, 38th round) - 1-10, 7.61, 27 games
Dan Giese RHP (1999, 34th round) - 1-8, 4.22, 35 games
Kasen Gabbard LHP (2000, 29th round) - 9-7, 4.53, 34 games/31 of those starts

Mauricio Dubon SS (2013, 26th round) .274, 4, 9 in 30 games

New York Yankees

Brandon Claussen LHP (1998, 34th round) - 16-27, 5.04, 58 starts
Sean Henn LHP (2000, 26th round) - 2-10, 7.42, 64 games
Phil Coke LHP (2002, 26th round) - 22-27, 4.19, 407 games of relief
Justin Berg RHP (2003, 43rd round) - 0-1. 4.08, 60 games relief
Mike Dunn LHP (2004, 33rd round) - 34-26, 4.00, 555 games relief

Brandon Laird 3B (2007, 27th round) .197, 5, 11, 53 games, but having a good career in Japan

Tampa Bay Rays

Chad Gaudin RHP (2001, 34th round) 45-44, 4.44, 344 games/87 starts
Zac Rosscup LHP (2009, 28th round) 5-2, 5.16, 116 games in relief

Edgar Gonzalez SS (2000, 30th round) .255, 11, 51, 193 games
Joey Gathright OF (2001, 32nd round) .263, 1, 96, 81 stolen bases in 452 games
Kevin Kiermaier OF (2010, 31st round) .249, 68, 235 and 89 stolen bases in 680 games

Tampa Bay Rays

Erik Kratz C (2002, 29th round) - .205, 31, 101 in 316 games
Kevin Pillar OF (2011, 32nd round) - .261, 76, 318 in 851 games
Rowdy Tellez 1B (2013, 30th round) - .241, 25, 68 in 134 games

NL East Minor League All Stars

Sunday, December 22nd, 2019

Below are the All Stars for each classification by Baseball America for the teams in the NL East. These would not be the best prospects on each team. They would be the players in the minor leagues who had the best seasons. Other than the Atlanta Braves most teams were lacking All Stars.

Atlanta Braves

Bryce Wilson SP/AAA - The fourth round 2016 pick is a rare non-first rounder for the Braves who found himself in the Braves starting rotation in 2018. Because of his success there was an expectation that he could make the starting rotation in 2019. His numbers last year were not great (10-7, 3,42) but considering the offensive explosion in AAA they were All Star worthy. He struggled when promoted to the majors (1-1, 7.20). He does not seem to have overwhelming stuff to be anything more than a mid rotation or back end rotation pitcher with a low 90s fastball that can hit mid-90s and average secondary pitches.

Ian Anderson SP/AA - The 2016 first round pick has a similar fastball to Wilson, sitting in the low 90s with more quality secondary pitches. He had better numbers in AA (7-5, 2.68) with 147 whiffs in just 111 innings. The opposition hit only .202 against him. He was the victim of the AAA offensive explosion when promoted to AAA (1-2, 6.57).

Tucker Davidson SP/AA - The lefty drafted in the 16th round of the 2016 draft was tough to hit in AA (7-6, 2.03). He even had success when promoted to AAA (1-1, 2.84). He has good velocity on his fastball for a lefthander hitting the mid-90s but still lacks a quality third pitch to stay in the rotation. As a lefthander he could still survive in the pen.

Bryce Ball 1B/Rookie - At 6′6″ the 24th round pick has some intimidating size when facing pitchers. That size blasted 17 homeruns with a .628 slugging and a 1.023 OPS in rookie ball and Low A. He made good contact for a power hitter. Time will tell whether Ball can continue this production at higher levels.

Drew Waters OF/AA - Speed will win Drew the centerfield job for the Braves. The second round 2017 pick will compete with Christian Pache for the future job. Last year he stole 13 bases in AA hitting .319. He lacks the power that teams look for in a corner and a 28/121 walk to whiff ratio is a cause of concern.

Miami Marlins

Zac Gallen SP AAA - The Marlins traded the Cardinals 2016 third round pick for Jazz Chisholm. The Marlins had acquired Zac from the Cardinals in the Marcell Ozuna trade. After dominating at AAA (9-1, 1.77), the Marlins promoted him to their major league club where he achieved continued success (1-3, 2.72). Despite this success they traded him to the Diamondbacks where he continued to retire hitters (2-3, 2.89). He is noted more for his command than velocity so it is possible teams will catch up with him next year. He pitched like an ace but may be more suitable as a mid-rotation starter.

Sixto Sanchez SP/AA - Sixto has fiery stuff. The Marlins were able to nab him from the Phillies in the J.T. Realmuto trade. Fans would like to see more of his 6′0″ frame throwing triple digit fastballs but injuries have limited his innings. With his premier stuff you would expect more strikeouts but he falls below 9 whiffs per nine innings. If he can not stay healthy he could be used best out of the bullpen.

Luis Palacios SP/Rookie - The Venezuelan spent his first season state side in 2019 and was tough to hit, limiting the opposition to a .180 average and a 1.12 ERA. He showed superb command with a 2/42 walk to whiff ratio in 40 innings.

New York Mets

Corey Oswalt SP/AAA - The 2012 seventh round pick threw too many innings in 2018 to be considered a prospect prior to 2019. He returned to AAA and produced All Star numbers (10-4, 2.91). He lacks velocity, relying on command to retire hitters. At best he will fill the Mets back end of the rotation.

Francisco Alvarez C/Rookie - The Mets have had a number of high profile catching prospects disappoint. They hope Alvarez is not another. They signed the Venezuelan for $2.7 million in 2018. Despite his young age they skipped the Dominican League and promoted him to the short season league where he hit .312 with seven homeruns. He could end up being a two way player providing offensive numbers and defensive prowess.

Philadelphia Phillies

Alec Bohm 3B/AA - The 6′5′ 2018 first round pick may eventually have to move to first. After just one season the Phillies promoted him up to AA where he mashed 14 homeruns, hitting a total of 21 for his minor league season. He has the bop to be a big time homerun hitter, but lacks the speed to be effective in the outfield. He makes good contact for a power hitter.

Washington Nationals

None.

Status of KBO and NPB International Signings

Tuesday, December 17th, 2019

It was a big week for major league baseball as well as baseball in Japan and Korea. The Rays signed Yoshitomo Tsutsugo from Japan while the Cardinals inked lefthanded Korean pitcher Kwang-Hyun Kim. Both should make an impact for their teams.

Myworld has always liked Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. His defense is not that strong so it is unclear where he will play for Tampa Bay. Depth wise the Rays have better defensive outfielders in Hunter Renfroe, Austin Meadows and Kevin Kiermaier. The Rays also have a crowded first base field with Ji-Man Choi and Nate Lowe. That leaves the DH position as his most viable spot, with occasional starts in the outfield.

The bat is what attracts the Rays to Yoshitomo. In 2016 he had his best year for the Yokohama Bay Stars hitting 44 homeruns with a .322 average and 110 RBIs. His 2019 season was a disappointment with 141 whiffs, his only season in which he struck out more times than games played. He also drove in just 79 runs. Yokohama is a hitter’s park so the dimensions are small and homeruns are prevalent. Teammates Neftali Soto, who could not get major league playing time, slugged 43 homeruns and Jose Lopez hit 31.

The 28 year old only signed for two years and $12 million. Another $2.4 million will be paid to the Bay Stars as compensation for his posting. After the two years he could become another free agent at 30 years of age making him eligible for another rich contract if he shows success. He just needs to reduce those strikeouts that were so prevalent last year.

From another country Korean Kwang-Hyun Kim signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in his second posting opportunity. He was posted back in 2014 when the Padres won a bidding process for him. Kim seemed to be on the down side of his career at that point, suffering from injuries that saw his ERA climb by two runs the last two years. He and the Padres could not agree on a contract and he returned to Korea. He eventually had Tommy John surgery in 2017 and this seemed to be the answer to all his ailments. The last two years he has been the ace of the SK Wyverns pitching staff with ERAs under 3 the last two seasons. Last year the offense in Korea was down so the 2.51 ERA is not as impressive. He did go 17-6 in 30 starts.

Kim throws a fastball in the low 90s but it can hit the mid-90s. He also has an above average slider. The contract is for two years at $8 million. There are also incentives that can add an additional $1.5 million to the contract. How much the Cardinals will owe the SK Wyverns in the posting fee will depend on whether he meets any of those incentives.

There are three more professional international players out there looking for a contract after having been posted or as a free agent. Myworld thinks the Rays and Cardinals have signed the two top players.

Japanese pitcher Shun Yamaguchi had a good year for the Yomiuri Giants. He was 15-4 with a 2.91 ERA. There are reports that the Blue Jays have signed him to a contract. He will probably fit in the back end of the rotation, though in his early years he was the closer for the Yokohama Bay Stars. Last year was his career year so the Blue Jays may be signing buying him when his stock is at its peak, or perhaps he figured things out.

Shogo Akiyama was the free agent outfielder that may be the fourth outfielder type. He can play centerfield but there may be a question with his bat. Last year he hit .303 with 20 homeruns for the Seibu Lions. His last three years he has hit over 20 homeruns with a batting average over .300. Myworld would be surprised if his bat translates to the major leagues. He could be a solid player for a second division team, but a fourth outfielder for a playoff team. He is a free agent so there is no posting fee required to sign him.

The same can be said for Hiroshima Carp second baseman Ryosuke Kikuchi, though his defense is supposedly at the gold glove level. The problem for Kikuchi is his weak bat, where his average will sit around .250 and his OBA may fall below .300. He has hit double digits in homeruns the last four years but myworld would be surprised if he can reach those levels in the major leagues.

The Doosan Bears outfielder Jae-Hwan Kim has been posted but there has not been a lot of news on him. After hitting 35 or more homeruns between 2016-2018 and winning the MVP award in 2018, he had a down year last year. Offensive numbers were down in the KBO but Kim’s numbers were really down, at 15 homeruns and a .283 average. At 31 years of age it will be interesting to see if he gets any major league teams interested in him.

Not Korean, but playing in the KBO, Josh Lindblom signed a big contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. He was the teammate of Kim and may put in a good word for him, though the Brewers are a little stacked in the outfield. Lindblom won the KBO MVP award last year with his 20-3, 2.50 ERA. This is his third attempt at making a major league team. After having some success in the KBO in 2015-2016 he tried to return to the major leagues. He found himself back in the KBO late in 2017 after failing to stick on a major league roster. He signed a three year contract for a little over $9 million.

NC Central Minor League All Stars

Monday, December 16th, 2019

Baseball America ranked the All Stars from each of the classifications. The NL West had the strongest representation of all the divisions. The NC Central will have the least represented, until we do the NL East tomorrow and then they will have the least. Chicago and Cincinnati became the second and third teams without any All Star representative.

Chicago Cubs

None

Cincinnati Reds

None

Milwaukee Brewers

Keston Hiura 2B/AAA - The inability of Travis Shaw to hit gave Keston an opportunity to get an early start to his major league career. The 2017 first round pick hit .329 with 19 homeruns in just 57 AAA games, then got called up to the majors and hit another 19 homeruns in 84 game with a .303 average to cement his status as a major leaguer. Next year he should be an All Star performer.

Max Lazar SP/Low A - The 11th round 2017 pick does not rely on velocity to retire hitters. Eventually it may come from the maturity of his 6′3″ frame but currently it straddles the low 90s or below. The reliance on command gave him a 2.33 ERA and .224 average with 119 whiffs in 85 innings. The 20 year old could end up filling the back end of a rotation.

Trent Grisham OF/AAA - The 2015 first round pick of the Brewers is more noted for his error in the playoff game that gave the Nationals an opportunity to advance in the wild card game and win the World Series. When the season ended the Brewers dealt Grisham to the Padres in the Eric Lauer trade. He hit .384 with 13 homeruns in just 34 AAA games and had an additional 13 homeruns in AA. The callup to the majors was not as dominating (.236 average) but six additional homeruns gave him 32 for the year. His defense is not as bad as his error in the wild card game would seem to indicate, an error he will leave as a memory permanently etched in the minds of Brewer and Nationals fans.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Mitch Keller SP/AAA - The Pirates do not like to spend money, so they have kept their 2014 second round pick down in the minors forever. In AAA his numbers were not dominating (7-5, 3.56). Once promoted to the major leagues his performances turned awful (1-5, 7.13 ERA). His upper level mid-90s fastball says he should be in the Pirates rotation in 2020, but he needs to perform.

Mason Martin 1B/Low A - The power hitting firstbaseman slugged 35 homeruns last year, very good for a player the Pirates waited for until the 17th round of the 2017 draft. The whiffs are just as prevalent (168). His defense is not stellar and his lack of speed prevents a move to the outfield. He will have to hit if he wants a major league career.

St. Louis Cardinals

Randy Arozarena OF/AAA - He doesn’t have the tools of some of the other prospects in the Cardinals minor league system. The Cuban hit .358 with 12 homeruns in AAA. That led to a major league promotion and success (.300) in limited action. The bat does not carry big time power but the speed and defense will allow him to stay in centerfield.

Dylan Carlson OF/AA - The 2016 first round pick is possibly the Cardinals top prospect. He has five tools that are all just above average. Last year in AA he hit 21 homeruns. He outdid himself when promoted to AAA, hitting .361 with five additional homeruns. He should find himself patrolling the Cardinals outfield next year.

Ivan Herrera C/Low A - At some point in his career Yadier Molina will have to yield his catching position. This Panamanian who signed for $200,000 is next on the list. He is more noted for his defense but his bat showed promise with a .289 average and eight homeruns.

Jhon Torres OF/Rookie - The Indians signed this Colombian for $150,000 in 2016. They traded him to the Cardinals for Oscar Mercado. Torres hit six homeruns with a .242 average. His defense is good enough for centerfield but a powerful arm makes him a better fit in right.