Shortstop Prospect Review

September 24th, 2016

Shortstop was a very talented position this year so myworld will take a look at the top 20 prospects at the position as rated by Baseball America to see how their 2016 season went.

1. Corey Seager (Dodgers) - Not much needs to be said here. Corey is on his way to winning the NL rookie of the year award, leading the Dodgers to the NL West Division crown. He’s hit for power and average and kept his miscues on the field to a minimum.

2. J.P. Crawford (Phillies) - Still the Phillies shortstop of the future despite his struggles at AAA (.244). He hit well at AA but with only seven homeruns and 12 stolen bases at the two levels his offensive production falls short of what is expected. He finished the season with a .688 OPS. While his defense will get him to the major leagues the Phillies would like to see a little more offense. Freddy Galvis is all that stands in his way in the major leagues.

3. Orlando Arcia (Brewers) - Compared to his 2015 season his offensive production in AAA was a bit of a disappointment this year. Like Crawford defense is his calling card and a late season major league callup has seen his offensive struggles continue. The Brewers could always move Jonathan Villar back to short if they feel Arcia is not yet ready for the major leagues to begin the 2017 season. It is only a matter of time before he takes over the position.

4. Trea Turner (Nationals) - With an earlier callup and more at bats he would be giving Seager a run for the rookie of the year honors. Turner has moved to centerfield and has filled the leadoff roll for the Nationals, hitting .340. What has been a surprise to his season is the power he has shown in his bat.

5. Dansby Swanson (Braves) - A trade the Diamondbacks will ultimately regret and could lead to massive changes in the administration. Swanson has been rotating with Ozzie Albies for the Braves shortstop job, but Swanson appears to have the upper hand at the position. Swanson got the head start with the first September callup. He should provide an offensive bat with power for the position.

6. Jorge Mateo (Yankees) - His ultimate position may be at second base after the season for Didi Gregorious this year and the late season acquisition of Gleyber Torres. Mateo has shown a little pop but speed is his big tool. A mid-season suspension because of his impatience about not being promoted to AA is the only taint to the 2016 season, though his offensive numbers have fallen short of what he produced last year. His stolen base production especially dropped in half from 82 to 36.

7. Raul Mondesi (Royals) - The only player to appear in a World Series game before he ever appeared in a regular season game. Offense will be the big question mark for the son of Raul Mondesi Sr. He lacks the power of his father but has a smooth glove to play the position. A mid season major league callup has resulted in an offensive struggle to hit major league pitching (.181). The Royals would like to see better than a .484 OPS at the position.

8. Brendan Rodgers (Rockies) - The Rockies 2015 number one pick may have to find another position after the explosion from Trevor Story, who was rated 19th on this list. Story was a first round supplemental pick in 2011 and got the first opportunity. Rodgers is expected to have the bat and the power to play third base, but Nolan Arenado sits there. Fortunately, the Rockies have a couple more minor league seasons to figure out what they want to do with Rodgers, but his potent bat will get him in the lineup.

9. Gleyber Torres (Cubs) - The Yankees acquired Torres from the Cubs in the Aroldis Chapman trade. The Yankees will have to find a position for him. He did hit 11 homeruns and slugged .421 and at age 19 it is expected his power will continue to develop, so third base could be an option. The Yankees currently have a hole there, with Chase Headley the current alternative. Miguel Andujar is a possible suitor for Torres in the minor leagues.

10. Tim Anderson (White Sox) - Last year with the Dodgers Jimmy Rollins lost his shortstop job to Corey Seager. This year he lost the position to Tim Anderson. Tim lacks the offensive numbers of Seager but his glove is better. It has been a disappointing season for the White Sox but Anderson gives them a building block at shortstop.

11. Willy Adames (Rays) - The Rays picked up Adames from the Tigers in the David Price trade. The Rays are still unsettled at short but Adames had a solid season to punch his ticket in for the position in 2017. He had a solid season at AA so expect him to take over the position at the mid season mark.

12. Javier Guerra (Padres) - He was the big piece the Padres acquired from the Red Sox in the Craig Kimbrel trade. The 2016 season was a big disappointment with a .199 average and 141 whiffs. The Padres hope the 2016 season is an anomaly and will hope for a bounce back in 2017.

13. Nick Gordon (Twins) - Another son for Tom Gordon from a different mother than Dee Gordon. Nick shows good speed but lacks power. His defense will get him to the major leagues, but his lack of offense may make a utility role his best option.

14. Amed Rosario (Mets) - The Mets have been hunting for a shortstop for a long time. What they have had at the position for the last couple years have been good bats who lacked range to cover the position. Amed should solve all that. His bat should be good enough to create some havoc, after hitting .341 in a mid-season callup to AA. Power is not there but his defense is something the Mets have not seen at the position in a long time.

15. Christian Arroyo (Giants) - He will not supplant Brandon Crawford at the position. He could be one of those in between players who lacks the range to play short and is a little short of power to play third. Second base could be his ultimate destination. He does not have a lot of speed and his power is absent so he is a bit vanilla in the talent department. A utility role could be his best hope for a major league job.

16. Ozzie Albies (Braves) - The Braves traded Jose Peraza to the Reds last year after seeing what they have in Albies. With the acquisition of Swanson the ultimate position for Albies may be second base. Fortunately for Albies the Braves have no player at the position with the talent to block him. Speed is his best tool, power his worst.

17. Jorge Polanco (Twins) - Polanco may get an opportunity to play short before Nick Gordon. His defense is not as flashy but he shows a better bat. He has held his own in the major leagues with a .283 average, playing second, third and short. A utility role may be his ultimate position.

18. Deven Marrero (Red Sox) - Deven is blocked at short by Xander Boegarts. His glove is smooth but his bat comes up short. A utility role or trade to another team is all he can hope for, but even after a trade his .198 average in AAA falls far short for what teams want to see in a bat at the position.

19. Trevor Story (Rockies) - A Jose Reyes domestic assault charge gave Story an opportunity at short and he ran with it, slugging 27 homeruns in 97 games before an injury ended his season early. He will get consideration for rookie of the year but failed to get the at bats to win the award. The big question with Trevor is his ability to play defense to stay at the position.

20. Gilbert Lara (Brewers) - Arcia will have to fail at the shortstop position if Lara hopes to get the job. Lara is still in rookie ball as an 18 year old so the Brewers have plenty of time to see if Arcia can earn the position. Lara has shown a quiet bat, but he is still young and developing. Defense is his calling card.

Israel Advances to Winner’s Bracket with Shutout

September 24th, 2016

Israel 1 Brazil 0

Runs were scarce in the winner’s bracket match. Corey Baker pitched five innings of shutout ball, allowing just one hit and three walks to set the stage for Israel in their shutout win over Brazil. Four other pitchers extended the shutout with Brad Goldberg retiring the side in order in the ninth to rack up the save.

Bo Takahashi threw the first four innings for Brazil and allowed the only run of the game. Murilo Gouvea relieved Takahashi and silenced the Israeli bats for three innings.

Nate Freiman delivered a lead off double in the fourth inning that led to the only run. An error by first baseman Dante Bichette moved Freiman to third where he scored on a sacrifice fly by Cody Decker.

Brazil rallied in the 8th with back to back two out singles but came up short. Ryan Sherriff came on in relief of Jeremy Bleich to retire the last hitter of the inning.

Great Britain 14 Pakistan 0

Not much of a game here with a six run fifth putting the game out of reach. Champ Stuart drove in three runs and Albert Cartwright crossed the plate three times, hitting two triples to lead the Brit offense. Pakistan could not overcome 14 hits and 8 walks.

Brazil and Israel Win WBC Qualifier Openers in Brooklyn

September 23rd, 2016

The last qualifier country is being determined in Brooklyn this weekend. Brazil and Israel got off to good starts.

Brazil 10 Pakistan 0

Pakistan is the only country of the four who have no players in the minor leagues in the United States. They are coming here to compete and learn to get better. Brazil trounced them in the opener 10-0 in a game shortened to seven innings because of the slaughter rule. Jean Tome pitched 5.1 innings of three hit ball to quiet the Pakistan bats. Juan Carlos Muniz smashed a two run homerun in the fifth inning to extend the lead for Brazil from 4-0 to 6-0. Pakistan got a good lesson in the game today.

Israel 5 Great Britain 2

Michael Roth pitched a great game for Great Britain, working six innings of one run ball and departing with a 2-1 lead. When the Brits went to their bullpen the Israeli bats came alive.

The first two hitters Rhett Wiseman (single) and Scott Burcham (double) ripped hits off reliever Vaughn Harris. Mike Meyers hit a fly ball out deep enough to left field to score Wiseman and tie the game up. Zach Borenstein lined a single to right field to give Israel a 3-2 lead. Israel scored two more insurance runs when Ike Davis singled and Cody Decker hit a sacrifice fly to up the lead to 5-2.

Great Britain had just taken the lead in the top of the seventh after a Champ Stuart double with a wild pitch advancing him to third. Todd Isaacs drove him in with a sacrifice fly.

Brad Goldberg came on in the ninth to close out the game. He walked the leadoff hitter and then coughed up a double to Isaacs to put runners on second and third with no out. After a visit to the mound Goldberg ended the game with a popup and two strikeouts.

Great Britain will play Pakistan in a losers bracket game while Brazil faces off against Israel in the winners bracket contest. The winner of the losers bracket game will play the loser of the winners bracket contest.

Doosan Bears Clinch Pennant in KBO

September 22nd, 2016

The defending KBO champion Doosan Bears have clinched the pennant for the 2016 season, running away with the first place trophy. They now will receive a long bye as the 5th place team will do battle with the fourth place team. The winner of that match will face the third place team and the winner of that match will face the second place team. The Doosan Bears are guaranteed a game in a best of seven of the championship match.

Last year the Doosan Bears did not win the pennant, finishing third but won the championship by beating the Samsung Lions in the championship best of seven series. This year the Lions may not even make the playoffs.

The Bears are two wins away from breaking the KBO win record, made easier by an extended 144 game schedule. They lead the KBO in hitting and pitching, scoring 889 runs while no other KBO team has reached 800.

Rangers Sign Cuban Yanio Perez

September 22nd, 2016

With so many unsigned Cuban players out there myworld may change our policy about reporting every signing. Third baseman Yanio Perez was signed by Rangers for a bonus of $1.1 million. At 21 years of age Perez hits against the Rangers international salary cap but they have yet to reach that.

Perez saw minimal Nacional Series action so we are not that familiar with him. He is listed at 6′2 and 205 pounds. He did not show a lot of offensive promise in his brief Cuban professional season, but he was still a teenager when playing. Reports indicate he has some speed and potential power. He will get a chance to show those skills in the minor leagues next year at a level that will be determined by his spring training progress.

Nats Sign Yadiel Hernandez

September 21st, 2016

At 29 years of age and lacking power there were not a lot of suitors for Yadiel Hernandez. Despite putting up decent numbers in Cuba the tools were lacking. The Nationals were able to sign him for $200,000. He will start next season in AAA and try to fit in an outfield depth chart deep in outfielders, especially with Trea Turner moving to centerfield.

Below average speed and a vanilla arm will restrict him to left field. That position is usually reserved for power hitters, which Yadiel is not. It will be interesting what the Nationals do with him next year.

Third Base Prospects Review

September 19th, 2016

Myworld has already taken a look at the first and second base prospects as ranked by Baseball America. Now we take a look at the third base prospects who were rated in the top ten before the season and analyze what kind of season they had in 2016 and where will that take them in 2017.

1. Joey Gallo (Rangers) - You would have expected a permanent position in the major leagues this year after back to back 40 homerun seasons in 2013 and 2014. His primary position is taken by Adrian Beltre, who signed an extension to play a couple more years at third base. With Prince Fielder retired the DH spot is open and he has seen some time in the outfield. Better contact at the major league level would help his cause as 68 whiffs in 125 at bats is just not going to cut it. Spring training next year will determine whether he plays first base, left field, third base or DH. Nomar Mazara was able to have success when promoted to the Rangers to play right field. Gallo has to show success too if he wants to stick.

2. Rafael Devers (Red Sox) - Just what the Red Sox need, another player with primo hit tools. Fortunately for other major league teams he played all of this year in High A so he has a couple years before he sees the major leagues. Fielding issues could be a problem forcing a move to first base. The power has yet to show but he won’t turn 20 until October of this year. This year he hit .284 with 11 homeruns. There is no one to block his path at third base and Hanley Ramirez could be ready for DH if Devers needs to move to first.

3. Ryan McMahon (Rockies) - The Rockies already have a third baseman in Nolan Arenado. That has not forced the Rockies to move Ryan from third base. Like Gallo he strikes out too much (161) which leads to low averages (.240). His homerun numbers (12) also took a dip. His lack of speed makes a move to the outfield a problem so if Arenado stays a Rockie the only alternative for McMahon is first base. For that position he needs to show more power.

4. Ke’Bryan Hayes (Pirates) - The Pirates drafted the son of Charlie in the first round of the 2015 draft. There is still a lot of minor league ball in his career, with just 250 at bats in Low A. His bat is supposed to show power but last year in 180 at bats he did not hit a homerun. This year he sent 6 over the fence. Hayes has the defensive chops to play the position but at 210 pounds he needs to keep his body toned to stay there. Hayes still has a couple more years in the minors before his future is determined.

5. Matt Chapman (Athletics) - The Athletics have a number of corner infielders in their minor league system. Chapman last year slugged 36 homeruns to put him on the radar for either first or third base. Like many power hitters he also strikes out a lot (173) so those will have to be reduced if he wants to hit for a decent average. A .197 average in 76 at bats in the AAA Pacific Coast League is a little disappointing, but he played in Nashville, not considered one of the Pacific Coast League hitter’s parks.

6. Austin Riley (Braves) - Riley was a supplemental first round pick for the Braves in 2015. Ahead of him in AAA is Rio Ruiz, a second round pick of the Astros who the Braves acquired in their 2016 franchise sale of all their veterans. Riley has some pop (20 homeruns) but at 230 pounds he may need to move from the hot corner. Freddie Freeman will have first base for awhile and Riley lacks the speed to move to the outfield. His power should win him the third base job over Ruiz if he can show he can defend the position.

7. Colin Moran (Astros) - The Marlins made him a first round pick in 2013 after he led all college players in RBIs. The Marlins later traded him to the Astros. With the Astros there is just no room for him at third base with Yulieski Gurriel and Alex Bregman already sharing the position. Colin has not shown the power to star at the position but at 24 and playing in AAA he is ready for the major leagues. His best opportunity to make the major leagues is if the Astros trade him for a veteran player to help them navigate a playoff race. Myworld does not see a lot of major league opportunity for him.

8. Jomar Reyes (Orioles) - At 6′4″ Jomar may be a little too big to settle at third base. A move to first base is a strong possibility. He needs to show a better hit tool to be considered for a major league position. His walks to strikeouts is poor (25/102) leading to a poor average (.228). He is still down in High A so the Orioles can still show a lot of patience with him.

9. Miguel Andujar (Yankees) - He seemed to tap into his power this season, rising to AA where he combined for 12 homeruns. His average sits in the .270s despite a propensity to strike out. Miguel has all the tools to play the position and no one on the depth chart to impede his path to the major league roster. He still needs to play another year or two in the minors before the Yankees consider promoting him.

10. Jeimer Candelario (Cubs) - He may move Kris Bryant permanently to the outfield. His power falls way short of Bryant but his defense at third base is much better. He also makes better contact (70/99) with the ability to draw walks. The Cubs gave him his major league debut this year but a .091 average with five whiffs in 11 at bats shows he needs more seasoning.

Some Japanese Notes

September 19th, 2016

The Hiroshima Carp have won the Central Division in the NPB. The two other playoff teams are the Yomiuri Giants and Yokohama Bay Stars. For Yokohama this will be their first ever climax series. The last time they qualified for the playoffs there were no wild card teams so they went immediately to the Japan Series. The Bay Stars may qualify for the climax series with a record below .500.

The Nippon Ham Fighters still have a shot to overtake the Softbank Hawks for first place, but both teams have qualified for the playoffs. The Chiba Lotte Marines will play in the climax series against which ever team does not win the division.

Tetsuto Yamada became just the third player to have two 100 RBI seasons before they turned 24. The other two players to accomplish that feat are Sadaharu Oh and Hideki Matsui. That is like being compared to Babe Ruth and Willie Mays.

The above notes are courtesy of yakyudb.

Netherlands Downs Spain for European Championship

September 19th, 2016

The Netherlands was missing Kalian Sams, one of their top hitters when the game started because his wife was giving birth. He did arrive in the fourth inning and was put in the game in the 8th inning as a defensive replacement. That was the only inning in which Spain scored both their runs.

The Netherlands took an early 2-0 lead on a Nick Urbanus two run single in the second inning. With runners on first and third with one out Netherlands had the chance to score more but a fielder’s choice at home and a Yurendell de Caster strikeout with the bases loaded killed any remaining threat. Yurendell would make up for his failure in the 10th inning.

Antonio Noguera came on to pitch the third against the Netherlands and quieted their bats for the next five innings. He allowed just two hits and struck out seven. The Netherlands went with Rob Cordemans for the first four innings and Lars Huijer for the next three to keep Spain off the scoreboard. They finally put together a rally in the 8th off Shairon Martis, whose biggest claim to fame is pitching a no hitter in the first World Baseball Classic against South Africa.

Martis gave up a hit to the first batter he faced Oscar Angulo. The second hitter Engel Beltre also singled. The Dutch were fortunate to pick off Angulo at second for the first out. With two outs Jesus Martinez mashed a ball into right field for a two run homer to tie the game at 2-2.

The Netherlands blew an opportunity to take the lead in the bottom frame. With runners at first and second and one out Kalian Sams singled to left field. Yurendell de Caster, who had doubled to start the inning stopped at third, but Gianison Boekhoudt, who had been walked intentionally was caught advancing too far off second and was thrown out by the catcher. Randolph Oduber struck out to leave de Caster stranded at third.

Spain could not score in the top of the 10th with runners on second and third with one out. Oscar Angulo and Engel Beltre both struck out against Netherlands closer Loek Van Mil. The Netherlands had their opportunity to put runners on first and second. Andres Perez, facing his first batter in the tenth Christopher Garia hit him to load the bases with no one out. Yurendell de Caster ended the game with a walk off single up the middle, making amends for his failure to drive in a run in the second inning.

The Netherlands Van Der Meer Stijn won the MVP award for the tournament. It was his second MVP award in the last three months after being awarded the MVP of the Honkball tournament in July. Stijn was a 34th round pick by the Astros in the 2016 draft out of Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. He played in 21 rookie league games hitting .329. He plays shortstop for the Netherlands but for the Astros he bounced around between shortstop and second base, with some action at third.

For the Netherlands it was their second consecutive championship. Italy had won the previous two after the Netherlands had put together five straight championships. For Spain they had finished in third place for five out of the last six championships. The second place finish was their highest result since the championships began, when they finished in second for the first European championships in 1954 and won the second European championships in 1955. After those first two they have never been able to finish better than third.

Under 23 World Cup Pools

September 19th, 2016

The under 23 World Cup will be held in Monterrey, Mexico from October 28 to November 6. Noticeably absent from this group is the United States and Cuba. Since this event awards the third most points of all the tournaments based on performance, the United States and Cuba will suffer in the next rankings. Only the Premier 12 and the World Baseball Classic distribute the most points. If the major baseball powers are not attracted to participate in any event, it calls into question the significance of the event, i.e. dates or location not attractive. The United States national team office seems to shut down after the summer with international events.

The absence of some of the big time powers provides opportunities for newer countries to compete such as Argentina and Austria. South Africa is another country listed low in the rankings that will have an opportunity to bring out their baseball skills.

The teams for this event are (with their world rankings in parenthesis):

Pool A

Mexico (8), Korea (3), Venezuela (7), Czech Republic (14), Panama (15) and South Africa (35)

Pool B

Japan (1), Taiwan (4), Australia (13), Nicaragua (18), Argentina (27), Austria (33)