Archive for February, 2020

Myworld Top 100 - 30-21

Friday, February 14th, 2020

And the list goes on.

30. Drew Waters OF (Braves) - The question for the Braves is who do you put in center, Christian Pache or Drew Waters. Pache is the faster runner with the stronger arm, but Waters is no slouch. The 2017 second round pick may be the better fit for center because of his lack of power. He has good speed and a strong arm to play any outfield position. With Acuna, Pache and Waters covering the green hits will turn into outs. The one down side with Waters is his inability to make consistent contact. Last year he struck out 164 times in 134 games. It didn’t seem to impact his average as he combined to hit .309 filtering between AA and AAA, with just 26 games in AAA. Pache also played 26 games in AAA. Either could be called up in 2020, with who you choose depending on who is having a better 2020 minor league season.

29. Dustin May RHP (Dodgers) - The red headed 2016 third round pick put major league teams on notice last year that he is ready to be put in a major league rotation. In 14 appearances, four of them starts he finished with a 3.63 ERA, a .250 opposition average and a 5/32 walk to whiff ratio in 34.2 innings. His fastball sits in the mid to high 90s and his sinker reached triple digits. His low 90s cutter acts as his change and is his swing and miss pitch, though he does have a curve and change in his repertoire. He keeps the ball on the ground, making it difficult to elevate his pitches. He should start the 2020 season in the Dodger rotation, unless a poor spring makes the team pause.

28. CJ Abrams SS (Padres) - The 2019 first round pick is a very fast runner. It may have been one of the reasons the Padres felt Xavier Edwards was available. CJ destroyed rookie ball hitting .401 in just 32 games and stealing 14 bases. This resulted in a promotion to Low A for just a two game trial. There is not a lot of power in the bat, but he makes good contact and can take the extra base. If the Padres prefer not to move Tatis from shortstop Abrams has the speed to play center or the instincts to move to second. The tools are there to play shortstop. Next year he will start the season at Low A. He could be with the Padres by 2022 if he continues to dominate in the minor leagues.

27. Joey Bart C (Giants) - Buster Posey appears to be sliding in his ability to catch. The hope was that Posey would maintain his power and slip over to first, but last year that power was absent. Joey was a first round pick in 2018 to eventually take over the catching duties once the Giants felt it was time to move Posey to first. Last year Bart’s development was stunted by injuries that limited his playing time to just 79 games. He did reach AA for 22 games where he hit .316. There is enough power in his bat to hit 20 plus homeruns and he has the hit tool to stay close to .300. His arm is strong and he seems to maneuver well behind the plate. The lack of speed makes catching or first base his only viable position options. If he can avoid injuries he could take over the catching duties for Buster Posey in 2021.

26. Alec Bohm 3B (Phillies) - At 6′5″ the Phillies 2018 first round pick has big time power. The question remains will he be flexible enough to play third base. The arm is strong but the lack of speed in his legs makes moving to the outfield dicey. If Alec does not survive at third the Phillies would then have to choose between Hoskins or Bohm for first base and trade the other. Last year Alec reached AA. He totaled 21 homeruns between the three levels and combined for a .305 average. For a power hitter the bat does a pretty good job of making contact with the ball. He only struck out 73 times in 125 games. The Phillies have one more year of minor league ball before making a position decision for Alec. In 2021 they will have to decide whether his defense is adequate enough to play third base.

25. Luis Patino RHP (Padres) - Luis signed for $130,000 out of Colombia in 2016. The 6′0 right hander can hold his fastball in the mid 90s, reaching the high 90s. His legs are a big reason for his velocity. That could minimize any durability concerns. His breaking pitches are good enough for the starting rotation but his change still needs some work. He doesn’t appear to have too many issues with finding the plate. Last year he rose to AA where he had two starts (1.17 ERA). He gets lots of swings and misses with his rising fastball, averaging 11.7 per nine innings. In High A the opposition hit him at only a .192 clip. The Padres have a number of top pitching prospects in the minor leagues. Patino will begin the 2020 season in AA and depending on need he could be called up in 2020. More realistically his debut will be 2021.

24. Sixto Sanchez RHP (Marlins) - The Phillies originally signed the Dominican in 2015 for just $35,000. They traded him to the Marlins in the J.T. Realmuto deal. Like Patino, Sanchez only stands 6′0. His fastball also sits in the mid to high 90s, ticking the radar gun on occasion north of 100. The 2018 season was limited to eight starts because of elbow issues. Last year he was able to start 20 games, reaching AA for 18 games. His change may be his best secondary pitch. For all the zip on his fastball the strikeouts are not prevalent. AA hitters only hit him at a .225 clip. Sixto could join Sandy Alcantara in the 2020 rotation this year, followed by another fireballer in Edward Cabrera, giving the Marlins one of the fastest rotations velocity wise in baseball.

23. Matt Manning RHP (Tigers) - The 2016 first round pick stands 6′6, adding a lot of plane to his low to mid-90s fastball. He was the Tigers top pitching prospect until Casey Mize was selected first overall in 2018. With Tarik Skuball, Alex Faedo and Franklin Perez lurking in the shadows the Tigers are set for the rotation of the ages, if they all can stay healthy. Manning gets his swings and misses from his excellent curveball, last year striking out 10 per 9 innings in 24 AA starts. The opposition hit him at just a .192 clip. A little more refinement on the change and Manning has the potential to be a 1a ace. There is no reason the Tigers have any expectation for a playoff opportunity in 2020 so don’t expect to see Manning in a Tigers uniform until 2021.

22. Alex Kirilloff OF (Twins) - The Twins drafted Alex in the first round of the 2016 draft. Tommy John surgery force him to sit out the 2017 season. He came back strong in 2018 hitting 20 homeruns with a .348 average splitting time at the two A levels. Myworld saw him in the Future’s Game in 2019 and we came away impressed with his arm, though most would give it an average grade. His speed is geared more toward the corners and if more athletic players squeeze him out of the outfield Alex could move to first. His 2019 season was restricted to just 94 games because of wrist issues. Alex has a good hit tool with few strikeouts in his bat and enough pop in his swing to reach 20 plus homeruns per year. If he can stay healthy he could see the Twins in 2020.

21. Michael Kopech RHP (White Sox) - The 2014 first round pick appeared ready for the major leagues in 2018. He was throwing strikes, was up for four starts and then elbow issues encroached, resulting in Tommy John surgery that forced him to miss all of 2019. Prior to that he had the best fastball in baseball, regularly hitting Triple Digits. Even with his control major leaguers were still able to find his fastball and hit him for a .328 clip in his four starts. Time will tell whether Michael can replicate his improved command and change when he returns to the mound in 2020. If he doesn’t flinch he could be in the White Sox starting rotation in 2020. If he struggles the White Sox will be careful with him, not wanting to throw him too many innings.

Top European Prospects

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

There are no Max Kepler’s on this list. Carter Kieboom has the potential to be a Kepler, but it was his dad who played in the Netherlands. Carter grew up with his brother Spencer playing baseball in the United States. There are a number of players from Curacao, which is a colony of the Netherlands. They have not been generating ballplayers as talented as Andrelton Simmons, Andruw Jones, Kenley Jansen and Jonathan Schoop. Only Carter Kieboom from the list last year made the major leagues, and he only appeared in 11 games. Not a list rich in potential major leaguers, but there is potential.

1. Carter Kieboom SS/2B (Nationals/Netherlands) - His dad played baseball in the Netherlands. Carter has played all his ball in the United States. He played so well that in 2016 the Nationals made him their first round pick. Last year he made his major league debut, playing in 11 games but only hitting .128. With Anthony Rendon departing via free agency there is an opportunity for Carter to make the roster at third base or second. His natural position is short, but Trea Turner occupies that position. Carter has some pop in his bat and has hit for a high batting average in the minors. His power will play at third, but it would be extra special at second. Expect Kieboom to contribute to the Nationals roster quite a bit in 2020.

2. J.B. Bukauskas RHP (Diamondbacks/Lithuania) - His Wikipedia page says he is of Lithuanian origin so we will add him here. He was drafted by the Astros in the first round of the 2017 draft. The Astros later included him in the trade to acquire Zack Greinke. At 6′0 J.B. does not have the height scouts look for in righthanded pitchers. His fastball does cross the plate in the high 90s, but it crosses straight and true with very little plane. His slider is an impressive swing and miss pitch. Last year was a struggle for J.B. in AA. His ERA was above 5.25 and he struggled with command, walking 59 batters in 93 innings. The Diamondbacks could promote him to AAA next year, or return him to AA and hope he achieves some success.

3. Dean Kremer RHP (Orioles/Israel) - Dean was part of the unimpressive haul the Orioles got for Manny Machado. He was a Dodgers 14th round pick in 2016. Dean pitched for Israel in the World Baseball Classic qualifier but did not pitch for Team Israel that qualified for the Olympics. Dean throws in the low 90s with a plus curveball that gives enough swings and misses to get above 9 strikeouts per 9 innings. He had four rough starts in AAA last year (8.84 ERA) where the opposition hit him at a .366 clip. He hopes to return there in 2020 and pitch well enough to make his major league debut.

4. Sherten Apostel 3B (Rangers/Curacao) - The Pirates initially signed Apostel but traded him to the Rangers in the Keone Kela deal. Last year was his first year in full season ball and he broke out with 19 homeruns. In two previous years of rookie ball he did not hit double digit homerun numbers, but he hit for enough power to slug .450 or greater. At 6′4″ his height and weight could get so bulky that it would force a move from third base to first base. Sherten is still a couple years at best away from the major leagues.

5. Shervyton Newton 2B/SS (Mets/Curacao) - The tool that stands out most for Newton is his 6′4″ height, which translates into above average power. The Mets got a bargain signing him for just $50,000 in 2015. Last year was his first year in full season ball and it will not be a season to remember. He hit only .209 with a 37/139 walk to whiff ratio. In rookie ball he showed more patience at the plate so he needs to focus on waiting for his pitches to hit. The Mets are crowded at short and defensively he may be a better fit at second. The arm is strong enough to move to third or play a corner outfield, but he lacks the speed to cover a lot of ground in center. He is still a few years away from making it on the Mets roster.

6. Hendrik Clementina C (Reds/Curacao) - Hendrik originally signed with the Dodgers for $50,000 way back in 2013. The Reds traded Tony Cingrani to the Dodgers to acquire Clementina in 2017. After four years playing in rookie ball Hendrik made his full season debut in 2018 and blossomed with 18 homeruns. Last year he played in the spacious parks of the Florida State leagues and still hit 14 homeruns. He is only 6′0″ weighing 250, which calls into question how mobile he will be behind the plate as his body ages. He does not have a strong arm and only had a 14 percent success rate in throwing out runners, so he still has some issues. The power could allow a team to carry him as a backup catcher with the new 26 man rosters. Next year he should start in AA so a callup could happen in 2020 if injuries force the Reds to dig deep for a catcher. Hendrik lacks the tools to surpass Tyler Stephenson for the number one role.

7. Donny Breek RHP (Twins/Netherlands) - The Twins signed Donny after his performance in the Under 18 World Cup in Thunder Bay, Canada. While he did not make the all tournament team myworld identified him as a player to watch after his 1-1, 1.08 ERA in 16.2 innings where he limited the opposition to a .151 average. He also pitched the Netherlands to the European championships in 2019 in a win over Italy. His fastball sits in the low 90s and he complements it with a decent change. Last year he was dominant in his second year of Rookie ball, finishing with a 0.74 ERA with a .165 opposition average. His command can be a little spotty, but he has yet to give up a homerun in 74 innings. Myworld believes he will win a full season role in 2020, which could begin his journey to the major leagues.

8. Sem Robberse RHP (Blue Jays/Netherlands) - The Blue Jays signed Sem for $125,000 in 2019, which is a pretty generous bonus for a European player. He rewarded them with a 2-0, 0.87 ERA in rookie ball. He only pitched 10 innings so it is a small sample size. Sem showed pretty good command, not walking a single hitter, but they did hit .275 off him. He won’t turn 19 until October. Currently his fastball sits in the high 80s/low 90s but the Blue Jays feel that as he puts on more weight the velocity will increase. The secondary pitches are still in their development phase. He will probably see one more year in rookie ball before advancing to full season ball in 2021.

9. Leonardo Seminati 1B (Reds/Italy) - Leonardo did make the All Tournament team in Thunder Bay, Canada for the 18 and under team as the first baseman. He hit .423 with two homeruns and seven RBIs. Some others who made the all tournament team are Cesar Prieto from Cuba who is a about to sign a large contract, Brice Turang and Alek Thomas. Matthew Liberatore, Triston Casas, Victor Mesa and Korean superstar Baek-Ho Kang are four players who did not make the all tournament team. Leonardo has the potential for big time power, slugging 9 homeruns in 58 games in the Rookie Pioneer League. He also shows the ability to swing and miss with 80 whiffs. He also played a little outfield and third base but may lack the speed to be a viable outfielder. If he can eliminate the lack of contact Leonardo could make an impact in the minor leagues. Next year should be his debut in full season ball.

10. Martin Cervenka C (Orioles/Czech Republic) - We have not given up on Martin despite his 27 years of age falling outside normal prospect range. He will probably never make it as a number one catcher, but with some injuries he could make it as a back up. He signed initially with the Cleveland Indians way back in 2009. Last year injuries limited him to just 58 games but he reached AAA. If he can stay healthy the Orioles catching depth is not strong. Last year when he played in AA he had a 46 percent success rate in nabbing baserunners, so the defensive tools are there. He also hit .372 in a short 12 game debut with AAA Norfolk. This is his fifth and probably last year on our top European prospect team. Way back in 2014 he made our under 21 world cup all tournament team with Taiwan superstar Po Jung Wang and Japan All Star Seiya Suzuki. All he needs is a couple months and he earns a pretty sweet major league pension.

Other true Europeans to consider who are all in the Rookie League are Niklas Rimmel RHP (Twins/Germany), who was signed the same time as Breek, Anton Kuznetsov LHP (Phillies/Russia) and Darryl Collins OF (Royals/Netherlands)

Myworld Top 100 - 40 -31

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

Pitchers and catchers are reporting to spring training. Baseball is drawing near. Below is the continuation of our top 100 prospects.

40. Jasson Dominguez OF (Yankees) - Not a lot of history on Jasson. But then he is only 17 years old. A 17 year old that just got richer by signing a $5.1 million bonus with the Yankees in 2019. He has drawn comparisons to Juan Soto, but because he is a switch hitter there have even been some Micky Mantle comps. He is not a big guy at 5′10″ but he shows massive power, a strong arm and the speed to play center field. There is no history on Jasson since his bonus signing was a 2020 contract. His professional debut could begin in the Dominican Summer League and if he does well there he could participate in the rookie leagues. If he meets his hype he could rise quickly like Juan Soto, reaching the major leagues in 2023 at 20 years of age.

39. Riley Greene OF (Tigers) - Riley was the Tigers 2019 first round pick, the fifth overall pick in the draft. He is the first position player they have drafted first since 2014 (Derek Hill). Like Hill, Greene is also an outfielder, but the two have different skills. Hill relies more on speed and centerfield defense. Greene has a big time power bat, but his lack of speed and arm will limit him to left field. In his first professional season he got promoted to Low A, where he struggled a bit (.219). His left handed bat could produce 40 plus homerun numbers once he reaches the major leagues. While he accumulated a number of strikeouts last year (22/63 walk to whiff in 57 games) he is expected to hit for average. Riley is still a few years from the Tigers with an expected arrival time of 2023 or 2024 depending on his performance as he climbs the minor league ladder.

38. Grayson Rodriguez RHP (Orioles) - Grayson was a first round pick of the Orioles in 2018. Last year he pitched in Low A and in the Future’s Game, all as a teenager. He dominated at Low A, limiting the opposition to a .171 average, while striking out 12.4 hitters per nine innings. At 6′5″ he has good height and with his fastball sitting at the higher ends of the low 90s, and reaching the high 90s it flashes quickly towards the plate. He complements the fastball with two plus breaking pitches, and his change appears to have the makings of being an above average pitch. The tools appear to be that of an ace, but the Orioles have been through that program before. He is still early in his development and will probably not see the major leagues until 2022 as he climbs one level at a time through the minor leagues.

37. Nick Madrigal 2B (White Sox) - The White Sox made Nick the fourth overall pick in the 2018 draft after he led Oregon State to a College World Series championship. The White Sox are hoping that eventually a World Series championship will be in their future. Nick is not a dynamic player. He seems to play above his tools. The talk is that he has the defensive tools to play short, but his teams always have someone better and he ends up at second base. His power is lacking but he should hit for a high average. The speed is also there but it won’t result in high stolen base numbers. What he has that the tools don’t measure is that intensity to win and do the things necessary to achieve that goal. Last year he reached AAA, hitting .341 at AA and .331 at AAA. With a good spring he could end up going north with the White Sox, but if not in April he will be in the major leagues at some point in 2020 as their starting second baseman. All Star seasons await.

36. Nolan Jones 3B (Indians) - Myworld will always get Nolan Jones confused with Nolan Gorman. Both play third base and both carry prodigious power that will result in a plethora of homeruns. Gorman was a 2018 first round pick while Jones was the Indians second round 2016 pick. The Indians drafted Will Benson in the first round in 2016. Jones will never be considered a great defender at the hot corner, but he should have enough tools to stay at third base. The power in his bat would still fit at first, but he would not be as valuable at that position. Last year he slugged 15 homeruns between High A and AA, hitting .272 with a .442 slugging percentage. He shows good patience at the plate with 96 walks, but he also struck out 148 times in 126 games. If he gets more elevation to his balls he could be a regular 30 homerun bat at the hot corner. The 2020 season will see him start at AA with a possible debut in the major leagues if he is raking, or 2021.

35. Mitch Keller RHP (Pirates) - Mitch has spent a pretty long career in the minor leagues after being drafted in the second round in 2014. After a lot of hype he finally made his major league debut last year and it was a bit of a flop, with a 7.13 ERA in 11 starts. He did collect a high number of strikeouts (12.2/9 innings), but major leaguers hit him at a .348 clip. The stuff is there with a mid-90s fastball that can hit the high 90s and above average breaking pitches. He still needs to develop a change, which at this point is a below average pitch. A good spring should see him in the Pirates rotation, though they may want to start him in AAA to extend his service time.

34. JJ Bleday OF (Marlins) - Myworld witnessed some of the Bleday power at the College World Series. The Marlins were also impressed, selecting him with a first round pick in 2019, the fourth player selected in the draft. Last year he led all NCAA players with 27 homeruns, leading Vanderbilt to the finals of the College World Series. He added three more homeruns in his 38 game minor league debut. He lacks the speed to play center, but has plenty of arm to fit in right. He makes good contact, hits to all fields and should hit for both a high average and power. The Marlins thought enough of his tools to begin his minor league season in High A. That appears to show a plan for a quick rise through the minor league season, with an expected arrival time around 2021.

33. Ian Anderson RHP (Braves) - Another in a collection of Braves number one drafted pitchers, Ian a first round pick of the Braves in 2016. Last year Ian struggled in five starts with the Braves in AAA (6.57 ERA). In previous seasons his ERA was 3.14 or less and his strikeout per nine innings was near 11 per nine innings. His fastball sits in the low 90s with lots of upside to his secondary pitches and the command to throw them to different areas of the strike zone. The Braves have a lot of depth in the starting rotation in the minor leagues. Ian is part of that depth and will probably start the season in AAA, with a mid-season promotion a strong possibility, depending on which pitchers are hot.

32. Marco Luciano SS (Giants) - The Giants signed Lucius Fox for $6 million in 2015, but traded him to the Rays in 2016 when his bat seemed to be a cause of concern. Luciano was signed for $2.6 million in 2018 and now appears to be the shortstop of the future, with a better hit tool than Fox. Last year Luciano made his debut stateside and hit .322 in the Arizona Rookie League. He also showed big time power with 10 homeruns and a .616 slugging percentage. The defensive tools, including a strong arm are there for him to stay at short. His speed is above average but he could get bulky as he ages making him unable to cover the ground necessary to play short. The power would be there for him to play at third. At 18 he is a few years away from the major leagues. With Brandon Crawford on the down side of his career, the Giants could use some help at shortstop prior to Luciano being ready.

31. A.J. Puk LHP (Athletics) - Puk appeared ready to make the major league staff out of spring training in 2018. The 2016 first round pick experienced elbow problems, which resulted in Tommy John surgery and a missed 2018 season. He did pitch in 2019, making his major league debut with 10 relief appearances. The fastball is electric, hitting the high 90s, and with his 6′7″ frame visions of Randy Johnson dance in the hitter’s heads. His slider and change also appear to be quality pitches. What is a cause of concern is a lack of command of those pitches. The Athletics hope to use him in the starting rotation in 2020, but if he has trouble finding the plate a closer role could be another option. Whatever the role, the Athletics plan on having his arm on the major league roster in 2020.

Myworld Top 100 - 50-41

Saturday, February 8th, 2020

The names start getting juicier.

50. Kristian Robinson OF (Diamondbacks) - Signed out of the Bahamas in 2017 for $2.5 million. The Bahamas are taking over the spot Curacao once had for discovering prospects in the surf. Kristian has the impressive five tool toolbox, with the ability to hit for average, power, the speed to steal bases and cover centerfield and the arm to play right. However, Kristian is still young and sometimes tools never quite leave the toolbox in their expected fashion. Last year Kristian showed the expected pop with 14 homeruns between rookie ball and low A. He also stole 17 bases. On the down side he did strike out 77 times in 69 games. Myworld likes a prospect who gets more hits than strikeouts and Robinson had five more whiffs than hits. He also hit only .217 in a 26 game trial in Low A. There is still a long journey before Kristian can say he is ready for the major leagues. That journey will not end until around 2023, depending on his success.

49. Logan Gilbert RHP (Mariners) - Gilbert was a first round pick of the Mariners in 2018 out of Stetson. Corey Kluber and Jacob deGrom were also drafted out of Stetson, so if Gilbert can match their careers he will be considered a success. He did not pitch during the 2018 season, but in 2019 worked 135 innings, rising all the way to AA. He limited the opposition to a .198 average and struck out 11 hitters per nine innings. There was no failure in his first year, which is sometimes not good for a minor league career. His fastball sits in the low 90s but hits the mid-90s. He also has quality secondary pitches and can command the strike zone. It would not surprise myworld to see Gilbert in the Mariner rotation in 2020.

48. Matthew Liberatore LHP (Cardinals) - A first round pick of the Rays in 2018, it did not take the Rays long to trade him, getting outfield help in Jose Martinez and Randy Arozarena. Liberatore was the ace of the gold medal winning 18 and under United States team in 2017. He finished second in the Arizona State High School state championships to a team led by Nolan Gorman, who is now his teammate with the Cardinals. Gorman also played for the 2017 team along with Triston Casas, Brice Turang, Jarred Kelenic and soon to be number one Kumar Rocker. Back issues last year limited Matthew to 15 starts in Low A. At 6′5″ with a low 90s fastball he does carry an intimidation factor with his pitches. His curveball may be his best pitch. Liberatore has a smooth delivery and knows where he is throwing it across the plate. As a high schooler he should rise quickly reaching the Cardinals by 2022.

47. Tarik Skubal LHP (Tigers) - Tarik seemed to come out of nowhere for the Tigers. With all their first round pitching prospects Tarik outperformed them all last year. Tommy John surgery in 2017 saw him available in the 9th round in 2018 to the Tigers. His 2018 performance should have given hints that a dominant 2019 season was on the horizon. He gave up just one earned run in 22 innings and struck out 33, limiting the opposition to a .192 average. He matched those numbers last year (.195 opposition average) with an amazing 17.4 whiffs per nine innings at AA. It was a little more impactful because of the number of innings he pitched. His fastball hits the mid-90s and at 6′3″ he carries himself pretty well on the mound. To continue his success he needs to improve his change and get a little more surgical with his command, but if his success continues as he climbs the minor leagues, who cares. If he is as dominant in 2020 as he was last year expect the Tigers to give him his major league debut this year. Myworld does expect a little less dominance in 2020.

46. Nico Hoerner SS (Cubs) - The Cubs could use a little help at second base in 2020. The 2018 first round pick could win the job with a good spring. Last year he got 20 games with the Cubs, hitting .282. Nico has a very good hit tool, with the ability to make contact and hit near .300. His other tools such as power and stolen base speed are not as impressive. His arm and range may not fit the tools of an above average shortstop, so second base would be his best fit. He lacks the power to stick at a corner. If the Cubs choose David Bote as their second baseman Hoerner could fill the utility role of Bote, even including playing outfield. A good spring should see him go north with the Cubs in 2020.

45. Taylor Trammell OF (Padres) - Myworld was first exposed to Taylor and his tools at the Futures Game during the All Star weekend in D.C. in 2018. He won the MVP award. The Reds drafted him in 2016 as a first round supplemental pick. They traded him to the Padres after that 2018 season in a three team trade with the Indians that got the Reds Trevor Bauer. Taylor is an arm short of being a five tool player. The speed is there to play center, but if he has to shift to a corner his best fit would be left field. Last year he struggled to hit for average, hitting just .234 at AA. He does bring a lot of athleticism to the game, but if he hopes to make an impact he needs to get that average back above .250. If he improves that average he could make his Padres debut in 2020. If not, he may have to wait until 2021 for his major league debut.

44. Sean Murphy C (Athletics) - The third round 2016 pick of the Athletics is one of the better defensive catchers in baseball. He has the rifle arm to tame the running game, though in this age of homerun derby the running game has taken less importance. He does have the other tools such as blocking and framing pitches and calling a game that make him a premier catcher. His bat is a bit of a question mark, though in his major league debut last year he tagged four homeruns and hit .245. The power is there to hit 20 plus homers, but the consistent barrell of bat on ball contact can be lacking. He has also been injury prone throughout his career, never playing in 100 games during a season. After the season ended he had a second surgery on his left knee. A good spring should see him as the Athletics starter, but it would be wise to get a good backup. The catching position is not kind to injuries.

43. Spencer Howard RHP (Phillies) - The Phillies drafted Spencer in the second round of the 2017 draft, outfielder Adam Haseley drafted in the first round. Howard has vaulted ahead of Haseley in prospect status. Spencer carries the best fastball in the Phillies organization, hitting triple digits regularly. His secondary pitches need a little more refinement to climb above the average category, but his slider could turn into a good swing and miss pitch. Last year he rose to AA, limiting the opposition to a .173 average and striking out 94 in just 71 innings. His innings were limited by a two month absence because of shoulder stiffness. The Phillies hope for a healthy 2020 season so they can increase his innings load. With a good season he could reach the Phillies in 2020, but they have to be careful about his work load. That is best controlled in the minor leagues.

42. Vidal Brujan 2B (Rays) - Speed will be his game. The Rays got a bit of a bargain, signing him for just $15,000 way back in 2014. He has the Jose Altuve syndrome, not a big guy but when it comes to playing baseball he comes up big. Vidal will lash line drives into the gaps, turning singles into doubles and doubles into triples. He also has the speed to steal 40 plus bases per year. His average arm makes him a better fit at second base, instead of shortstop, but his burner speed could make a move to centerfield a possible option. His career minor league average is .294, where it needs to stay if he wants to have success in the major leagues. Wander Franco, Xavier Edwards and Lucius Fox are making the middle infield position a little more crowded. Vidal finished the 2019 season with 55 games at AA. He should start the 2020 season there with a possible promotion if he is having a good season.

41. Nolan Gorman 3B (Cardinals) - See Matthew Liberatore to see their Arizona ties. Like Liberatore, Gorman was a first round pick in 2018, taken three picks after Liberatore. The big tool for Gorman is the power he carries in his bat. Last year he slugged 15 homeruns at Low A and High A. It would surprise no one if he hit 40 plus homeruns once he reached the major leagues. He is a bit of a stocky player for third base and some question whether he will have the reflexes to stay at third. He would be more valuable if he did not have to move to first, though one of the strengths of the Cardinals minor league system is third base, with Elehuris Montero and Malcolm Nunez also climbing up the the minor leagues at that position. Gorman will probably start the season in High A with an early promotion to AA if he achieves success. That would make a major league debut of 2021 reasonable.

Melbourne Sweeps Adelaide to Win Australian Championship

Saturday, February 8th, 2020

There would be no walkoff victories for Melbourne in game two, since the games were being held in Adelaide. The Aces scored all six of their runs in innings 3 through 5 to down the Giants 6-2.

Shane Robinson, the walk off hero in game one got things started for the Aces in game two with his two run homer in the third. Delmon Young, the ABL homerun champion made it 3-0 with his solo shot in the third.

Mikey Reynolds drove in the Giants first run with his solo shot in the bottom of the fourth to cancel out the Young shot and keep the game close. The top of the fifth saw Robinson and Young continue their assault. After a ground ball double play scored one run, Delmon Young singled to drive in Shane Robinson for run number six.

The Giants were able to tack on their second run in the seventh on a Jeremy Hazelbaker solo shot, but that was the extent of their scoring.

Wes Helsaback got the win, working 6.2 innings, giving up just three hits, but two of them solo shots. David Holmberg gave up five runs in 4.2 innings to take the loss. The attendance was listed at 1,907. Catcher Allan de San Miguel will retire as a champion, always a cool way to end your career.

Dominicans Series del Caribe Champions - End Seven Year Itch

Saturday, February 8th, 2020

The Dominicans dominated this game, scoring in five of the eight innings they batted in their 9-3 rout of Venezuela. Abraham Almonte led the charge driving in three runs. He ended the night with three hits, with an RBI double in the fourth and a two run double in the three run eighth that closed out the scoring.

Gorkys Hernandez drove in two runs for Venezuela with his RBI double in the fourth inning to score Venezuela’s first run and his single in the seventh to drive in the second run. Will Ledezma could not get an out in the fourth inning, giving up three runs to take the loss for Venezuela.

For the Dominicans Paolo Espino lasted five innings to earn the win. It has been 2012, a seven year drought since the Dominicans last won the Series del Caribe. They pride themselves on being the best the Caribbean has to offer in baseball, but those seven years were starting to be an anchor on their claim. Since the Series del Caribe was rejuvenated in 1970 the Dominicans have not seen a longer drought. Now their thirst is quenched and they can again lay claim to being the best in the Caribbean.

Panama, Mexico (three times), Puerto Rico (twice) and Cuba had all won Series del Caribe championships since 2012. Cuba had to drove out this year because of their inability to obtain visas to travel to Puerto Rico.

Aces Win in Walkoff in Australian Playoff Opener

Friday, February 7th, 2020

The Adelaide Giants had just scored two runs in the top of the ninth to take a 3-2 lead. In the inning the Giants failed to hit the ball out of the infield, but two walks, a hit by pitch, a bunt single and an infield single put them ahead 3-2.

The Melbourne Aces tied the score in the bottom of the ninth on a Allen de San Migeul (ex-Bowie Bay Sox) single into centerfield, which Aaron Whitefield booted, allowing Quincy Latimore (another Bowie star) to score and San Miguel to advance to second. With two outs Shane Robinson singled down the third base line into the left field corner and San Miguel found the legs to carry him home for the go ahead score.

The Aces scored their first two runs in the sixth inning on an errant throw by the third baseman that allowed two runs to score to give the Aces a 2-1 lead. Shane Robinson finished the day with three hits and the only RBI of the game for the Aces. Errors by the Giants allowed the other three runs to score.

Dominicans and Venezuela to Play in Series del Caribe Finals

Friday, February 7th, 2020

Both games were decided by one run, just as many of the round robin matches were decided. The Dominican Republic and Venezuela came out with victories and will face each other in the finals.

Dominican Republic 4 Puerto Rico 3

The hosts fell short. They scored two runs in the second to get an early 2-0 lead on a Roberto Pena bunt single and a Henry Ramos single. On the Ramos single Jan Hernandez was thrown out at the plate to end the inning. Yuniesky Maya walked two batters in the inning to set up the two runs. He went on to pitch five innings.

The Dominicans cut the lead in half in the third inning on a Pete O’Brien double. But Ramos got the run back with a ground out RBI in the fifth to give Puerto Rico a 3-1 lead.

The Puerto Rican offense ran cold after the fifth, getting only one more hit. The Dominicans pulled to within a run with an RBI single by Wilkin Castillo in the sixth. They could have tied it in the sixth but Abraham Almonte was thrown out at the plate trying to tag up on a fly ball. They tied the game in the eighth after a Fernando Cruz wild pitch scored one run. That also advanced a runner to third where Abraham Almonte got a little revenge, reversing the results of the sixth inning by hitting the sacrifice fly to score the go ahead run. The big hit in the inning was a Pete O’Brien double that put runners on second and third.

Fernando Abad retired the side in order in the ninth to pick up the win, punching out the last batter. He had come on in the eighth to retire the last batter.

Venezuela 1 Mexico 0

Zach Dodson held Venezuela to just two hits in his six innings of work, but a Wellington Dotel double scored the only run in the third inning to give Venezuela the win. A leadoff walk in the inning, the only walk issued by Dldson put the go ahead run on base.

Mexico scattered nine hits and had opportunities to score. They had the tying run thrown out at the plate in the fifth inning on a ground out with runners on second and third and one out. They had the leadoff batter on in the sixth through ninth innings but failed to take advantage, sacrificing twice to move the runner to second. The other two times they did not bunt they grounded into double plays.

Logan Darnell scattered seven hits in his six innings of work to get the win for Venezuela. Pedro Rodriguez came on to work the ninth to complete the win, despite giving up a leadoff single.

Myworld Top 100 - 60-51

Thursday, February 6th, 2020

We’ve hit the halfway point.

60. D.L. Hall LHP (Orioles) - The Orioles success at developing starting pitchers has been spotty. They either turn into relievers or like Jacob Arriata, achieve success after their departure. Dylan Bundy, Matt Riley, Hunter Harvey, Kevin Gausman, Zach Britton, Adam Loewen were once premium starting pitchers Oriole fans felt were can’t misses. They all missed on their potential. The 2017 first round pick hopes to be an exception to that can’t miss list. His fastball hits the upper edges of the low 90s, sometimes rising above, and his change and curve are potential plus pitches. The one area he needs to improve on is the command of those pitches. The opposition only hit .189 against him, yet Hall walked 54 hitters in just 80 innings, putting enough runners on base to raise his ERA to 3.46. The 2020 season should see him at Bowie with a major league debut expected in 2021. In this rebuilding year the Orioles will be in no rush to expedite service time.

59. Jeter Downs SS (Dodgers) - Named after Derek Jeter, the Dodgers stole him from the Reds in the Yasiel Puig/Matt Kemp trade. The Dodgers also got Josiah Gray in that deal. Jeter was a supplemental first round pick of the Reds in 2017. He has shown he can hit for power with 24 homeruns last year and a combined OPS of .888 at High A and AA. He also added 35 doubles and 24 stolen bases to this list. The tools exist to play short but with Corey Seager filling that position Jeter played a lot of second base last year. While his speed is not burner speed there is a possibility of moving to centerfield, but with the trade of Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger currently in center that may be a harder position to crack. Expect him to start the season in AA next year, but with all his positions occupied at the major league level by a super star or top prospect only an injury will result in his promotion. He may have to hope for a trade or 2021 to make his major league debut with the Dodgers. The skills appear to be there for him to reach the major leagues this year.

58. Kyle Wright RHP (Braves) - Kyle was the number one 2017 pick out of Vanderbilt. He has already seen two major league seasons, but with limited success. His command of his pitches is generally not a weak point, but when he gets to the major leagues that command deserts him. In his two combined major league seasons he has walked 19 hitters in 26 innings, which has led to his struggles and demotions back to the minor leagues. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and can hit the high 90s and his secondary pitches are quality offerings. With a good spring he has a chance to open the season in the Braves rotation. If he does not make it out of spring training he will see the rotation by mid-season. Staying in the rotation by throwing strikes will be his biggest challenge.

57. Trevor Larnach OF (Twins) - Nick Madrigal was the big name for the Oregon State 2018 College World Series team, but Larnach may turn out to be the better major league player. The Twins drafted him in the first round in 2018, about 15 picks after Madrigal. Unlike Madrigal, Larnach has some pop in his bat, last year slugging 13 homeruns and hitting .309 between High A and AA. He lacks speed so his defense will be limited to a corner outfield spot, where his arm is a perfect fit for right. If his below average speed forces a move to first his power needs to perform. Trevor will start the 2020 season in AA and could see some major league time near the end of the season, but more likely in 2021.

56. O’Neil Cruz SS (Pirates) - At 6′7″ myworld will be surprised if he stays at short. His best fit may be in right field, where he has the arm to throw rockets. He does have the athleticism where he could fit at shortstop. If so, his power could be a difference maker. A fracture to his right foot limited him to just 73 games last year where he hit 8 homeruns for an OPS of .832. His power seemed a bit stunted when he hit AA with only one homerun in 119 at bats. With his height comes a large strike zone, which means Cruz has to be patient to hit his pitch if he hopes to hit for a decent average and take advantage of his power. His swing and miss is still not bad but a 24/74 walk to whiff ratio shows his patience needs to improve. O’Neil should start the 2020 season in AA. Taller players tend to have foot problems so hopefully the fractured foot last year does not become a recurring issue. Expect Cruz to be in the outfield or at shortstop for the Pirates in 2021.

55. Evan White 1B (Mariners) - The Mariners signed the 2017 first round pick to a six year $24 million contract, so service time should not be an issue. Once Evan is ready to make a contribution to the major leagues the Mariners have no impediment to promoting him. His defense is already major league caliber and will win gold gloves as he gains experience. He has the speed to move to the outfield, but his glove would not win any gold in the green. Last year he showed the power to hit 18 homeruns in AA for a .488 slugging. His all fields approach to hitting should result in a high average (.293). With a good spring White could make the major league roster. There really is not a player at the position who matches all the skill levels White would add to the position.

54. Brusdar Graterol RHP (Twins/Red Sox) - Brusdar is the player holding up the Mookie Betts trade. His career has been injury prone and the Red Sox do not see a future starter in his right arm. Brusdar can hit triple digits with his fastball, but flashes of brilliance are not what teams are seeking. At 6′1, 265 pounds Brusdar has some conditioning issues. Injuries have not allowed him to throw more than 102 innings in a season. Last year he made his major league debut and pitched 10 games in relief. The fastball is closer material but the lack of quality secondary pitches appears to destine him to the bullpen. If the Red Sox agree to a second player along with Graterol he could fit into the Red Sox bullpen in 2020. If the Red Sox ask for a different prospect the Twins would use him out of the bullpen in 2020. His lack of innings would discourage any use as a starter, except if he begins the season in the minor leagues.

53. Ke’Bryan Hayes 3B (Pirates) - The 2015 first round pick of the Pirates is the son of Charlie Hayes. Defense is his stand out tool, with the ability to win gold gloves in the major leagues. The big question with Ke’Bryan is his power to play third base. Last year he hit 10 homeruns with a .415 slugging average. Those are numbers teams would accept for there gold glove fielding shortstop, but not their third baseman. Those 10 homeruns were hit in AAA so he is ready for the major leagues if his bat shows he can produce at the position. Currently, his power is restricted to the gaps. RBIs are not part of his skill set. The Pirates have another question mark bat in Colin Moran at third, so Ke’Bryan could get his opportunity if Colin fails to produce.

52. Heliot Ramos OF (Giants) - Heliot was the Giants first round pick in 2017. He is the last player drafted in the first round out of Puerto Rico. Carlos Correa was the first pick in the 2012 draft. Heliot will probably have a better career than the 2016 first rounder out of Puerto Rico, Delvin Perez. Heliot disappointed in 2018 with just 11 homeruns and a .396 slugging. Last year he showed his power with 16 homeruns and a .481 slugging. Currently, he has the speed to play centerfield, but as he fills out he will settle into a corner. The arm is more than capable of handling right field. Last year he struggled a bit in 25 games at AA so expect him to begin the 2020 season there. The Giants have had trouble developing outfielders and Heliot may be the first of a couple outfielders that could change that culture. Heliot should make his major league debut in 2021.

51. Jordan Groshans SS (Blue Jays) - Jordan was a first round pick of the Blue Jays in 2018. Last year he did not have much of a season, limited to just 23 games because of a foot injury. During that time he did hit .337 and showed the defensive tools to stick at shortstop. Eventually his lack of foot speed could require a move to third, where he could fit as an above average defensive player at the position. He should have the power and production to fit at third. In his 2018 debut season he drove in 39 runs in 37 games with a .500 slugging average. He also shows the patience at the plate to take walks. If Jordan can stay healthy he is still a couple years away from contributing to the major league club. Expect a debut sometime late in the 2022 season.

Australian Baseball Championship

Thursday, February 6th, 2020

Australia will play their baseball championship this weekend. The Melbourne Aces will play the Adelaide Giants (ex-Bites) in a best two out of three format. The Brisbane Bandits had won the championship the last four years, but this year did not even get to the semi-finals.

The Aces beat the New Zealand team, the Auckland Tuatara to get into the finals. The Giants downed the Canberra Cavalry. The league reported a 21 percent increase in attendance with the Brisbane Bandits leading the attendance at 1,507 spectators per game.

Delmon Young of the Melbourne Aces leads the ABL in homeruns with 13 and RBIs 42. This is his second season in the ABL. He also played in 2017 for the Aces.