Myworld was going to take a look at our beginning of the year predictions and see how we looked once the mid-season arrived. The mid-season has come and gone but that does not mean myworld can not take a look at each of the divisions. We’ll also take a look at the top five or so prospects of each team in the division to see how they stack up. We have put the teams in order of their standings as of this writeup and in parenthesis we have our start of the season prediction of where they would finish.
Baltimore Orioles (5) - We under estimated their current roster with Manny Machado leading the charge and a solid bullpen in Zach Britton and Darren O’Day protecting the leads. The starting pitching is ugly and it will still be difficult for them to win the division, but as long as the homer happy team keeps on hitting balls out of the ball park they can score more runs than their starters give up.
The future does not look bright for the Orioles with a vanilla farm system lacking impact players. Hunter Harvey was one of the prized pitchers, but he will undergo Tommy John surgery and myworld can’t put him in the top five. 1) Trey Mancini will probably have to be traded since the only position he plays is the same as Chris Davis, unless they move Davis to third and Manny to short. Trey can hit but first base and DH are his only positions he can play. 2) Chance Sisco is hitting for average but his power numbers are absent with nary a homerun. Some question whether he can stay at catcher which would down grade his prospect status. 3) Jomar Reyes is a rare Dominican signing making the grade. He needs to improve his average (.228) but he has been making contact and his power is starting to show. 4) Ryan Mountcastle will probably have to yield the shortstop position now that they have found Machado can play shortstop in the major leagues. That does not leave him with a position to play since his bat is a little soft for third base. 5) Cody Sedlock was the Orioles first round pick this year. They have not had a lot of success with their recent first rounders so they cross their fingers on Cody. Cody did miss a lot of bats pitching for Illinois striking out 116 in 101 innings.
Toronto Blue Jays (2) - They need Jose Bautista to get healthy and Troy Tulowitski to begin hitting with some consistency. They have the bats to score a lot of runs but they lack an ace in the rotation. Marcus Stroman needs to pick it up.
They may lose both Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista to free agency next year so they need to do it this year or next year could be a rebuilding phase. They have traded a number of top prospects to keep their playoff runs alive so their farm system is a little light. Despite all these trades it is somehow stronger than the Orioles list of prospects, especially with pitching. 1) Sean Reid Foley was born in Guam with an arm that carries a fastball to the plate at 95 miles per hour. There is a lot of swing and miss in his pitches with the opposition hitting him at a .180 clip. 2) Jon Harris is having a breakout year though his numbers (2.23 ERA) are being strung together in Low A. How he will perform at higher levels will establish his true prospect status 3) Jose Urena is a smooth fielding shortstop who lacks tools that excel. 4) Conner Greene is having a good year but needs to improve his command. A promotion to the Eastern League has opened up those frailties. 5) Anthony Alford is the one player on this list with tremendous tools but injuries and lack of performance has kept those tools hidden.
Boston Red Sox (3) - They have had break out years from youngsters Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley. David Ortiz is having a nice retirement year. What needs to improve is their starting pitching and bullpen. They traded away one of their better prospects (Anderson Espinoza) to get NL All Star Drew Pomeranz. Now they have to get David Price on track. If not for Steven Wright this pitching staff would be a shambles. The Red Sox did not expect Craig Kimbrel and Koji Uehara to be spending so much time on the disabled list as their season wound down.
Trading Anderson Espinoza will hurt the future of the rotation five years from now, but the Red Sox needed to fix their rotation now. They have a deep farm system that is heavier on hitters so this trade will hurt in the long haul. 1) Yoan Moncada may be the best prospect in baseball now. The Cuban can hit for power, steal bases and hit for average. His defensive position (second base) is his only down side. 2) Andrew Benintendi has a power bat despite his 5′10 inch size. He will hit for average and power but the Red Sox need to find some room in the outfield for him. 3) Rafael Devers may have the most potent bat on the team but his defense is suspect. Right now he plays third but he eventually may have to move to first. 4) Michael Kopech was suspended for use of a stimulant and broke his hand in a fight but his fastball hits triple digits and sometimes that is the most important ingredient in a prospect. 5) Jason Groome is another pitcher with character flaws that dropped him in the 2016 draft but he throws lefthanded and hits the mid-90s.
New York Yankees (1) - We thought their pitching would be better than this and that did not include C.C. Sabathia. But Nathan Eovaldi, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda and Luis Severino have not panned out. The hitting has also disappeared with A-Rod the biggest bat that has molted into saw dust. The trade of Aroldis Chapman is a testament of what they think of the 2016 season. Their most consistent hitter Carlos Beltran may be the next Yankee packing for another team.
1) Gleyber Torres was recently acquired for Chapman and he has moved Mateo to second so that says a lot about his defense. Torres has the potential to hit for power at the position. 2) Jorge Mateo was recently suspended because he thought he should be in AA. It may hurt his feelings further now that they are moving him to second. Jorge has a lot of speed and is showing some unexpected power. 3) Gary Sanchez has been a Yankee prospect for a long time now. His defense is average for the position but he has a strong arm. His bat is electric so that will carry him. Like Jorge Posada waiting for Joe Giradi to retire Gary needs to wait out the contract of Brian McCann. Perhaps next year he will make the team as a back up. 4) Aaron Judge is a big dude who can hit the ball a long way. As is the case with big dudes they have large strike zones and a lot of swings and misses with their bats. A sprained knee has left Judge hobbled so his major league callup may have to wait until September. 5) Miguel Andujar needs to show more consistency at third base before he can take the spot from Chase Headley. His bat has a little more offensive spark than Headley, but that spark must be proven in the major leagues.
Tampa Bay Rays (4) - Not a lot here. Even their pitching has failed them. The injury to Kevin Kiermaier may have sent their team spiraling downward as it had a big impact on the quality of their defense. Evan Longoria is having a career year in a season that will not be remembered.
They have not been drafting well since they have started winning. Most of their top prospects are players they acquired when trading veterans after their season has blown up in flames. 1) Willy Adames was acquired from the Tigers. He could be an offensive shortstop with some power in his bat, but a move to third could also happen. 2) Brent Honeywell has been a lesser version of Blake Snell in his ride up the minor league ladder. 3) Jacob Faria needs to find some consistency with his mid-90s fastball. He misses a lot of bats but his ERA north of 4 and his inability to win games makes a reliever role a stronger possibility. 4) Adrian Rondon may slide Adames over to third. His defense is superior but his bat will be a little soft. 5) Chih-Wei Hu lacks the size to intimidate (6′1″) but his command and diversity of pitches has been getting hitters out in the Southern League.