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2018 Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List Announced

USA Baseball

DURHAM, N.C. – USA Baseball announced its 55-player preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list on Friday, beginning the process of identifying the top amateur baseball player in the country for the 2018 season. The 41st Golden Spikes Award will be presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation on June 28 in Los Angeles.

The preseason watch list features 55 of the nation’s top amateur players, from high school and college baseball. The Golden Spikes Award Advisory Board will maintain a rolling list of players, allowing athletes to play themselves into consideration for the award throughout the season.

Headlining the 2018 watch list is 2016 Golden Spikes Award finalist Seth Beer (Clemson), who has been named to the preseason watch list for the second year in a row, as well as Steven Gingery (Texas Tech) and Nick Madrigal (Oregon State), who were semifinalists for the award in 2017.

In addition to those three athletes, the watch list features seven athletes whom the Golden Spikes Award Advisory Board has recognized in the past. Joining Beer on the preseason watch list for the second consecutive year is Luken Baker (TCU), Colton Eastman (Cal State Fullerton), Madrigal and Jake Mangum (Mississippi State). Joey Bart (Georgia Tech), Gingery, Tyler Holton (Florida State), Nolan Kingham (Texas), Madrigal and Casey Mize (Auburn) were all named to the midseason watch list in 2017.

“We are excited to kick off the forty-first year of the Golden Spikes Award with the announcement of 55 preseason watch list nominees,” said Paul Seiler, Executive Director/CEO of USA Baseball. “We are anxiously awaiting the start of baseball season and we are excited to follow these players closely during the course of the season before ultimately recognizing one exemplary athlete to join the remarkable group of winners we have had in our history.”

Chris Acosta-Tapia (Oklahoma Wesleyan) and Tyler Pittmon (Antelope Valley) represent the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) on the list while Ethan Hankins (Forsyth Central), Matthew Liberatore (Mountain Ridge) and Brice Turang (Santiago) are high school athletes recognized by the advisory board on the watch list. These five athletes will look to join Alex Fernandez (1990) and Bryce Harper (2010) who claimed their respective Golden Spikes Awards as non-NCAA Division I athletes.

Fifteen different collegiate athletic conferences are represented on the 2018 preseason watch list. The Southeastern Conference leads the way with 15 representatives, while the Atlantic Coast Conference boasts nine selections, and the Big 12 and Pac-12 Conferences have six each.

The University of Florida leads all schools represented on the preseason watch list with four selections. Florida State follows with three athletes on the watch list and California, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Stanford, TCU, Vanderbilt and Wichita State all have a pair of athletes identified on the watch list.

Starting on March 26 and ending April 1, fans will be able to nominate their favorite players for the Golden Spikes Award prior to the reveal of the midseason watch list on April 10. The semifinalists list will be sent to a voting body consisting of baseball media members, select professional baseball personnel, current USA Baseball staff and the 40 previous winners of the award, representing a group of more than 200 voters.

Amateur baseball fans across the country will be able to vote for their favorite players at GoldenSpikesAward.com again in 2018, starting on May 21 with the naming of the Golden Spikes Award semifinalists. On June 6, USA Baseball will announce the finalists and voting will begin that day and last until June 22.

The winner of the 41st Golden Spikes Award will be named on Thursday, June 28, at a presentation in Los Angeles. The finalists and their families will be honored at the Rod Dedeaux Foundation Award Dinner that evening at Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles.

USA Baseball has partnered with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation to host the Golden Spikes Award since 2013. The Foundation was formed to honor legendary USC and USA Baseball Olympic team coach, Rod Dedeaux, and supports youth baseball and softball programs in underserved communities throughout Southern California.

Last year, Louisville’s Brendan McKay took home the prestigious award, joining a group of recent winners that include Kyle Lewis (2016), Andrew Benintendi (2015), A.J. Reed (2014), Kris Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009), Buster Posey (2008), and David Price (2007).

The 2018 Golden Spikes Award timeline:

  • Monday, March 26: Golden Spikes Award fan nominations begin
  • Sunday, April 1: Golden Spikes Award fan nominations end
  • Tuesday, April 10: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list announced
  • Monday, May 21: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists announced, voting begins
  • Sunday, June 3: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists voting ends
  • Wednesday, June 6: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists announced, voting begins
  • Friday, June 22: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists voting ends
  • Thursday, June 28: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award trophy presentation

A complete list of the 55-player USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award watch list is as follows:

Name, Position, Class, School, Conference
Chris Acosta-Tapia, OF, Sr., Oklahoma Wesleyan, Kansas Collegiate
Johnny Aiello, 3B, Jr., Wake Forest, ACC
D.J. Artis, OF, Jr., Liberty, Big South
Luken Baker, 1B/DH, Jr., TCU, Big 12
Joey Bart, C, Jr., Georgia Tech, ACC
Seth Beer, 1B/OF, Jr., Clemson, ACC
Alec Bohm, 3B, Jr., Wichita State, American Athletic
Kris Bubic, LHP, Jr., Stanford, Pac-12
Michael Byrne, RHP, Jr., Florida, SEC
Tim Cate, LHP, Jr., UCONN, American Athletic
Griffin Conine, OF, Jr., Duke, ACC
Trey Cumbie, LHP, Jr., Houston, American Athletic
Gianluca Dalatri, RHP, So., North Carolina, ACC
Tanner Dodson, UT, Jr., California, Pac-12
Colton Eastman, RHP, Jr., Cal State Fullerton, Big West
Jeremy Eierman, SS, Jr., Missouri State, Missouri Valley
Tyler Frank, SS, Jr., Florida Atlantic, Conference USA
Logan Gilbert, RHP, Jr., Stetson, Atlantic Sun
Steven Gingery, LHP, Jr., Texas Tech, Big 12
Ethan Hankins, RHP, Sr., Forsyth Central High School
Zack Hess, RHP, So., LSU, SEC
Sean Hjelle, RHP, Jr., Kentucky, SEC
Nico Hoerner, SS, Jr., Stanford, Pac-12
Tyler Holton, LHP/DH, Jr., Florida State, ACC
Niko Hulsizer, OF, Jr., Morehead State, Ohio Valley
Jonathan India, 3B, Jr., Florida, SEC
Julian Infante, 1B/DH, Jr., Vanderbilt, SEC
Jared Janczak, RHP, Jr., TCU, Big 12
Greyson Jenista, 1B/OF, Jr., Wichita State, American Athletic
Nolan Kingham, RHP, Jr., Texas, Big 12
Jackson Kowar, RHP, Jr., Florida, SEC
Shea Langeliers, C, So., Baylor, Big 12
Matthew Liberatore, LHP, Sr., Mountain Ridge High School
Nick Madrigal, 2B, Jr., Oregon State, Pac-12
Jake Mangum, OF, Jr., Mississippi State, SEC
Jake McCarthy, OF, Jr., Virginia, ACC
Shane McClanahan, LHP, Jr, South Florida, American Athletic
Drew Mendoza, 3B, So., Florida State, ACC
Casey Mize, RHP, Jr., Auburn, SEC
Konnor Pilkington, LHP, Jr., Mississippi State, SEC
Tyler Pittmon, IF, Sr., Antelope Valley, California Pacific
Tristan Pompey, OF, Jr., Kentucky, SEC
Patrick Raby, RHP, Jr., Vanderbilt, SEC
Cal Raleigh, C, Jr., Florida State, ACC
Alfonso Rivas, 1B, Jr., Arizona, Pac-12
Ryan Rolison, LHP, So., Ole Miss, SEC
Braden Shewmake, 2B, So., Texas A&M, SEC
Brady Singer, RHP, Jr., Florida, SEC
Nick Sprengel, LHP, Jr., San Diego, West Coast
Travis Swaggerty, OF, Jr., South Alabama, Sun Belt
Brice Turang, SS, Sr., Santiago High School
Andrew Vaughn, 1B, So., California, Pac-12
Steele Walker, OF, JR, Oklahoma, Big 12
Matt Wallner, UT, So., Southern Miss, Conference USA
Zach Watson, OF, So., LSU, SEC

Posted in N. America, News, College0 Comments

National High School Invitational Teams Announced

DURHAM, N.C. – USA Baseball has released the field for the annual 16-team National High School Invitational that will take place from March 28-31. This is the seventh time the event has been held, and six teams are returning that have participated in the past, including defending champion Orange Lutheran High School (Orange, CA).

Also returning to the event is two-time champion Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, CA). They are just one of three California teams in the 16-team field. Florida leads the way with four teams entered, with Arizona the only other state with more than one. Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Virginia, and Mississippi round out the event all with a single team participating.

The 2016 North Carolina 4-A baseball state runner-ups, Green Hope High School (Cary, NC) will serve as the host this year. The event will take place at the National Training Complex in Cary, NC. The event is a single-elimination championship tournament.

2018 National High School Invitational First Round Schedule:
Hanover vs. John Curtis (9:30 a.m. – Field 3)
George Jenkins vs. Mount Carmel (10:30 a.m. – Field 4)
Orange Lutheran vs. Florence (11:30 a.m. – Coleman Field)
American Heritage vs. Santiago (12:30 p.m. – Field 3)
Hattiesburg vs. Calvary Christian (1:30 p.m. – Field 4)
Mountain Ridge vs. Trinity Prep (2:30 p.m. – Coleman Field)
Sandra Day O’Connor vs. Mater Dei (3:30 p.m. – Field 3)
Walton vs. Green Hope (6:07 p.m. – Coleman Field)

You can view the 2018 NHSI Selection Show below.

For more on the National High School Invitational, click here.

Posted in N. America, Tournaments0 Comments

College: Baseball America Preseason Top 25

College baseball is just around the corner, so before the season kicks off we’d like to look at the Baseball America Preseason Top 25. The list is once again stacked with some of the best programs, but also includes some relative unknowns to the College World Series.

At the top you will see some of the most storied programs in NCAA history. The top 10 includes three teams that rank in the top 10 of appearances at the College World Series without a championship, including No. 3 ranked Florida State who is first all-time with 22 CWS appearances with zero championships. Also on that list are No. 4 Arkansas (8 appearances) and No. 10 Texas A&M (6 appearances).

The 2017 CWS Champion Florida Gators rank No. 1 in the nation to start the year. The Gators return 18 letter winners from a year ago and are stacked once again. They will be going through the always tough SEC which placed 8 teams in the Top 25.

The state of Texas stands pretty tall in the preseason poll with 4 teams in the Top 25, 3 in the Top 10. The surprising part of this is the most storied school of the 4 is the lowest ranked as Texas comes in at No. 14.

Baseball America Preseason Top 25

Team | ’17 Record | Final ’17 Rk.
1. Florida | 52-19 | 1

2. Oregon State | 56-6 | 3

3. FSU | 46-23 | 6

4. Arkansas | 45-19 | 19

5. Texas Tech | 45-17 | 12

6. UNC | 49-14 | 11

7. TCU | 50-18 | 3

8. Kentucky | 43-23 | 9

9. Stanford | 42-16 | 15

10. Texas A&M | 41-23 | 10

11. Cal State Fullerton | 39-24 | 7

12. Clemson | 42-21 | 23

13. UCLA | 30-27 | NR

14. Texas | 39-24 | 24

15. Virginia | 43-16 | 12

16. Mississippi | 32-25 | NR

17. LSU | 52-20 | 2

18. Vanderbilt | 36-25 | 18

19. Louisville | 53-12 | 5

20. Indiana | 34-24 | NR

21. Southern Miss | 50-16 | 16

22. UCF | 40-22 | NR

23. Mississippi State | 40-27 | 14

24. South Alabama | 40-21 | NR

25. St. John’s | 42-13 | NR

For more on College Baseball click here.

Posted in N. America, College0 Comments

MLB Network Presents: Lenny Randle The Most Interesting Man in Baseball

If I asked people who was the most interesting man in baseball, I would imagine I would get as many different answers as people asked. But if you asked Rolling Stone you might hear a different tune. According to the legendary magazine the most interesting man in baseball is someone many haven’t heard of, Lenny Randle.

Lenny Randle is not in the Hall of Fame. He never played in an All-Star Game, never won a World Series, and played on some of the worst teams in the 70’s and 80’s. But he was an interesting man.

Randle was featured in the MLB Network Presents show, Lenny Randle: The Most Interesting Man in Baseball. The show has been out for a few years, but I finally got a chance to watch it today. And I was glad I did.

I have two big memories of Lenny Randle. The first is the play in Seattle when he tried to blow the swinging bunt foul. That has been played on television many many times. The second was I knew he went to play in Italy after his tenure in the major leagues. But I never knew the impact he had there.

So why was he dubbed the most interesting man in baseball? Where do we start. Just a few things that he did during his time in the bigs was punch out his manager in Texas, took the roster spot of the late great Thurman Munson following his death in the middle of the season, and he was a part of some of the most infamous games. He played for the Washington Senators during their last season, including their last home game when the fans wound up storming the field causing the team to forfeit. He played for Texas in 1974 when they traveled to Cleveland for the worst promotion in history, 10 cent beer night. In 1977 he was at bat playing for the New York Mets when the lights went out as a blackout hit the city.

Randle also played with some of the greatest names in the game including Ted Williams and Billy Martin in Texas, Joe Torre with the Mets, and Maury Wills in Seattle. He was a journeyman player, but don’t let that fool you. Lenny could play. He stole 30 or more bases in season, twice. Randle hit over .300 twice, once in each league. He even played all over the field including every position but first base and pitcher.

Playing Baseball in Italy

Most interesting man in baseballAfter his days in the big leagues, he went to Italy where he became a cult hero. There playing with Nettuno he owned the league. But the most important part of him playing baseball in Italy was his love for the game. A guy who once made music records, did stand up in comedy clubs, and played with some of the games greats was now making the game of baseball in Italy grow.

In recent years Randle has been back to Italy in an effort to help grow the game. That shows the true nature of the man and his love for the game. The game has given him a lot over the years, but his effort to give back is what stands out to me. And to try and give back in a place like Italy makes it even better. Hopefully he can continue his efforts and get others to assist him.

So if you have a chance, check out the show on MLB Network. It is definitely worth it. I am hopeful one day I can have a cappuccino and chat with Lenny Randle one day, preferably while in Italy.

Posted in Europe, N. America, MLB0 Comments

MLB Network Presents: Harry Caray

Over Christmas Eve the MLB Network played a lot of their “MLB Network Presents” shows back-to-back. So, I recorded a bunch of them to watch later on. While sitting at home on Christmas day, I decided to go through a few of them and came across one on the late great Harry Caray.

I was fortunate enough to have heard Harry call a few games here and there. He was always fun to listen to. I wish I had been old enough to hear some of his games earlier on, but I’m still glad to have heard him.

Harry was a baseball lifer and a character that will never be forgotten. He ranks right up there with some of the others that I’d love to have had dinner with, and a few drinks afterwards. While watching the special on MLB Network, they played a short clip of his eulogy by his longtime friend Pete Vonachen. So, I had to go find it and thankfully YouTube came through once again.

It is a touching tribute to the guy who was always the life of the party. Vonachen leaves you teary eyed and laughing at the same time. I have always been one to think that funerals are a time to remember the good in people and to smile and talk about the good times. Yes they are sad and I’m not afraid to say I’ve shed a tear or two, but I love the funerals that leave you with a laugh or two. That is how I hope my funeral is one day. I want people to share good stories and have a laugh or two.

Harry Caray Eulogy

So here is the clip on YouTube of Vonachen’s eulogy. Holy cow it is a classic, just like Harry.

And if you haven’t seen the show on MLB Network, I highly recommend it. It is a very good series on different people and topics in the great game that we love.

Posted in N. America, MLB0 Comments

#BaseballJourneyman to Cooperstown Part II

I got to turn into #BaseballJourneyman to Cooperstown earlier this year. Over spring break I took off to the Hall of Fame so I could do some research. While there I had the chance to walk around the Hall of Fame and check it out. However, I did not get to spend as much as I would have liked in the Hall of Fame itself checking out the displays because I lost 2 days due to a snowstorm.

However, I saw some of the coolest things I’ve ever seen on my trips through the museum. And I thought I would share a few with you here. Forgive the not-so-great photos. I did not take  my good camera with me since it was more of a work trip, so all of my photos come with my phone. Besides if any of you have ever taken a nice camera into a museum it doesn’t always work out. There are usually too many reflective surfaces and not a lot of light. So without delay, here we go.

#BaseballJourneyman Cooperstown

One of the first things you see as you make  your way through the museum is a locker with things from each team. Being a die hard Atlanta Braves fan, thank you TBS, I couldn’t pass up a chance to snap a quick photo of their locker.

#BaseballJourneyman Cooperstown

It may be hard to read the plaque but it tells information about the team including year founded (1871), former locations, retired numbers, and world championships (4 times). Each team has this along with various items from the team which include Brian McCann’s bat, Tyler Flowers mask, and Billy Wagner’s shoes.

Keeping with the Braves theme, one of the coolest things I saw was a jersey made of baseball cards. It is a full-size replica of a Phil Niekro jersey made out of thousands of baseball cards cut and arranged just right. It comes from collage artist LaVern Brock, and I thought it was quite amazing.

Phil Niekro card jersey

Speaking of cards, I collected baseball cards when I was younger. I even had a small side business where I would sell cards at card shows. This was late 90s early 00s and it was a lot of fun. One card I would love to have come across, even just to see one, was the Honus Wagner T206.

Background of Wagner T206

The card was made by the American Tobacco Company as part of its T206 series between 1909 and 1911. However, Wagner did not want the production of the card to continue. I’ve read stories that said he did not like the fact it was a tobacco company making the card and others saying he simply wanted more money. For whatever reason, the card became very limited with just 50-200 being released. The exact number is unknown. While the card is not the rarest, it is among the most sought after. The most recent sale that I could find came in October 2016 when it sold for $3.12 million.

So as you can see there are extremely famous items in the museum and works of art. I will come back to art in a later post, but right now I want to talk about perhaps one of the strangest things I saw.

History in Cooperstown

I love history. In fact I am a high school history teacher, and I love my job. History encompasses so much, and I love historical places. And there are two places in Baltimore I’d love to visit that are no longer around. One is the St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, and the other is a saloon on Frederick Street. Both no longer exist and both deal with George Herman “Babe” Ruth.

Ruth attended the school and this is where he began to play organized baseball. The saloon was once owned by Ruth’s father. Both places hold history that I would love to learn more about. However, both are long gone. But the Hall of Fame somehow has a piece of each building which I found interesting.

The top brick was part of the saloon owned by Ruth’s father. The stone came from the school Ruth attended.

I don’t want to make this an extremely long post, so I am going to end it here. However, I have more in the works including some things about women in baseball, the sport in Latin America, and I want to talk about some of the plaques I saw.

Read up on our other posts on the Hall of Fame here.

Posted in N. America0 Comments

Travel to Cooperstown, NY: Hall of Fame

This past March I was fortunate to be able to travel to Cooperstown, NY and visit the Baseball Hall of Fame. The main reason I went was to do research for my master’s thesis at the Giamatti Research Center which is inside the Hall. And it turned out to be a crazy week.

Despite getting there on Monday, I was not able to get into town until Monday evening, so I missed one day of possible research. But at least I missed the snow, all 30+ inches of it.

Monday night the snow came and it just kept coming. I wound up being snowed in at my hotel for 2 straight days. I had rented a very small car and after the snow stopped it was completely covered.

I don’t know how much snow actually fell, but I heard reports from people at the hotel of upwards of 40+ inches. The Holiday Inn Express was where I stayed which was fortunately near a grocery store that was open. Twice I walked to the store since I could not get my car out until late Wednesday. I really liked the hotel and would recommend it to anyone traveling there. The only issue I had was the internet was not fast enough to stream MLB.tv which drove me nuts since the World Baseball Classic was going on and the hotel did not have MLB Network.

I spent the last two days of the week in the research library which was an amazing experience. The staff there was very helpful having pulled a lot of items I’d requested weeks before I arrived.

Food/Coffee in Cooperstown

It was a very quiet time to be in Cooperstown. Most stores weren’t even open, but the town has some fantastic spots. I really enjoyed Stagecoach Coffee which is in downtown Cooperstown. I loved the food here and the coffee was good too, and I am admittedly a bit of a coffee snob. But my favorite place, and I ate lunch here more than once, was the Doubleday Cafe. The food was fantastic, the beer was cold, and the staff was very nice.

Stagecoach Coffee

My breakfast sandwich at Stagecoach Coffee – it was amazing!

Since I was on a trip more to research than be a tourist, although I was both, I did not even bring my camera. So all my photos came from my phone unfortunately. With that in mind I want to close out this post with some photos of the Hall of Fame. I will be back to talk more about some of the things I saw inside the Hall, but for now I leave you with some photos of one of the coolest places I’ve ever been.

 

This is the first post in a series on the Baseball Hall of Fame and my trip there. Stay tuned and check back for more. You can stay up to date on all Hall of Fame posts here.

Posted in N. America0 Comments

2017 MLB Futures Game Rosters

Today the MLB Futures Game takes place as part of All-Star Weekend in Miami. Over the course of the event’s history the US team leads the series going 11-7, including a 6 game winning streak between 2010-2016. The World team is the defending champion winning last year in San Diego 11-3.

Yoan Moncada returns after winning the MVP award last year. He is currently having a nice season in AAA-Charlotte. He will be joined by a stout team from players all around the world. Players hail from Canada, Brazil, Honduras, Haiti, Bahamas, and other major baseball havens like Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.

2017 MLB Futures Game Rosters

U.S. Team

Pitchers

NAME ORG LEVEL B T HT WT BIRTHDATE BIRTHPLACE
Beau Burrows DET AA R R 6-2 200 9/18/1996 Fort Worth, TX
Jon Duplantier ARI A+ L R 6-4 225 7/11/1994 Newark, DE
Jack Flaherty STL AAA R R 6-4 205 10/15/1995 Burbank, CA
Foster Griffin KC AA R L 6-3 200 7/27/1995 Orlando, FL
Jimmy Herget CIN AAA R R 6-3 170 9/9/1993 Tampa, FL
Brett Honeywell TB AAA R R 6-2 180 3/31/1995 Carnesville, GA
Michael Kopech CWS AA R R 6-3 205 4/30/1996 Mount Pleasant, TX
Triston McKenzie CLE A+ R R 6-5 165 8/2/1997 Brooklyn, NY
A.J. Puk OAK AA L L 6-7 220 4/25/1995 Cedar Rapids, IA
Tanner Scott BAL AA R L 6-2 220 7/22/1994 Mogadore, OH

Catchers

NAME ORG LEVEL B T HT WT BIRTHDATE BIRTHPLACE
Zack Collins CWS A L R 6-3 220 2/6/1995 Pembroke Pines, FL
Chance Sisco BAL AAA L R 6-2 195 2/24/1995 Corona, CA

Infielders

NAME ORG LEVEL B T HT WT BIRTHDATE BIRTHPLACE
Brian Anderson MIA AA R R 6-3 185 5/19/1993 Edmond, OK
Bo Bichette TOR A+ R R 6-0 200 3/5/1998 Orlando, FL
Nick Gordon MIN AA L R 6-0 160 10/24/1995 Avon Park, FL
Rhys Hoskins PHI AAA R R 6-4 225 3/17/1993 Sacramento, CA
Scott Kingery PHI AAA R R 5-10 180 4/29/1994 Phoenix, AZ
Ryan McMahon COL AAA L R 6-2 185 12/14/1994 Yorba Linda, CA
Brendan Rodgers COL AA R R 6-0 180 8/9/1996 Winter Park, FL
Nick Senzel CIN AA R R 6-1 205 6/29/1995 Atlanta, GA

Outfielders

NAME ORG LEVEL B T HT WT BIRTHDATE BIRTHPLACE
Lewis Brinson MIL AAA R R 6-3 195 5/8/1994 Fort Lauderdale, FL
Derek Fisher HOU AAA L R 6-3 205 8/21/1993 Lebanon, PA
Corey Ray MIL AA L L 5-11 185 9/22/1994 Chicago, IL
Bryan Reynolds SF A+ S R 6-3 205 1/27/1995 Baltimore, MD
Kyle Tucker HOU AAA L R 6-4 190 1/17/1997 Tampa, FL

World Team

Pitchers

NAME ORG LEVEL B T HT WT BIRTHDATE BIRTHPLACE
Domingo Acevedo NYY AA R R 6-7 240 3/6/1994 Villa Los Almacigos, D.R.
Yadier Alvarez LA A+ R R 6-3 175 3/7/1996 Matanzas, Cuba
Jaime Barria LAA AA R R 6-1 210 7/18/1996 Panama City, Panama
Luis Escobar PIT A R R 6-1 155 5/30/1996 Cartagena, Colombia
Tayron Guerrero MIA AA R R 6-8 210 1/9/1991 Bocachica, Colombia
Jonathan Hernandez TEX A+ R R 6-2 175 7/6/1996 Santiago, D.R.
Jairo Labourt DET AA L L 6-4 205 3/7/1994 Azua, D.R.
Cal Quantrill SD A+ L R 6-2 165 2/10/1995 Port Hope, ON, Canada
Mike Soroka ATL A+ R R 6-5 225 8/4/1997 Calgary, AB, Canada
Thyago Vieira SEA AA R R 6-2 210 7/1/1993 Sao Paulo, Brazil

Catchers

NAME ORG LEVEL B T HT WT BIRTHDATE BIRTHPLACE
Francisco Mejia CLE AA S R 5-10 180 10/27/1995 Bani, D.R.
Tomas Nido NYM AA R R 6-0 205 4/12/1994 Oviedo, FL (Puerto Rico)

Infielders

NAME ORG LEVEL B T HT WT BIRTHDATE BIRTHPLACE
Yordan Alvarez HOU A+ L L 6-5 225 6/27/1997 Las Tunas, Cuba
Rafael Devers BOS AA L R 6-0 195 10/24/1996 Sanchez, D.R.
Mauricio Dubon MIL AA R R 6-0 160 7/19/1994 San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Lucius Fox TB A S R 6-1 175 7/2/1997 Nassau, Bahamas
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. TOR A R R 6-1 200 3/16/1999 Montreal, QC, Canada
Yoan Moncada CWS AAA S R 6-2 205 5/27/1995 Abreus, Cuba
Josh Naylor SD A L L 6-0 225 6/22/1997 Mississauga, ON, Canada
Amed Rosario NYM AAA R R 6-2 190 11/20/1995 Santo Domingo Centro, D.R.

Outfielders

NAME ORG LEVEL B T HT WT BIRTHDATE BIRTHPLACE
Ronald Acuna ATL AA R R 6-0 180 12/18/1997 La Guaira, Venezuela
Estevan Florial NYY A L R 6-1 185 11/25/1997 Port Au Prince, Haiti
Eloy Jimenez CHC A R R 6-4 205 11/27/1996 Santo Domingo Centro, D.R.
Victor Robles WAS AA R R 6-0 185 5/19/1997 Santo Domingo Este, D.R.
Alex Verdugo LA AAA L L 6-0 205 5/15/1996 Tucson, AZ (Mexico)

 

For more BaseballdeWorld posts on the All-Star Game, click here.

Posted in N. America, News, Minors0 Comments

All-Star Weekend – Home Run Derby Prediction

All-Star weekend begins today in the MLB with the Future’s Game kicking off the festivities. But today we are here to talk about the Home Run Derby that will take place tomorrow.

First of all, I love the changes they have made with the bracket format. I will miss seeing the likes of Josh Hamilton hitting 28 in a single round, but as Giancarlo Stanton showed us last year it can still be done. However, the changes do not seem as conducive to that happening much anymore.

There is just something about seeing guys hit 500+ foot bombs, and if you have never swung a bat you may not know just how hard something like that is. But what the new format does is allow talk about match ups and possible showdowns between sluggers.

Perhaps the biggest match up would be a finals match between defending champion Stanton vs. new superstar Aaron Judge. This could be a possible match in the finals, but I’m calling for a third member of the event to pull out the win.

I’m going to make the call for the no. 3 seed (players are seeded by current home run totals, except Stanton who is the no. 1 seed based on his championship last year) Cody Bellinger. There are a few reasons why I’m calling for the Dodgers rookie to pull out the upset. Firs of all, he has a swing to produce home runs which he has proven this year hitting 25 through his fist 69 games this year. Secondly, he isn’t one of the top two seeds. The top two seeds are the two guys that most are calling to win it all. Not to mention most people want to see the Stanton/Judge match in the finals. But most times things just don’t work out the way people want them.

No matter what happens, it is going to be a fun showcase on Monday night.

For more BaseballdeWorld posts on the All-Star Game, click here.

All-Star weekend

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Wild Finish with Cuba Coaching Staff Ejected

Cuba Coaching Staff EjectedA Cuban national team and the Can-Am League Rockland Boulders were mixed up in quite a finish the other night. The Cuban team is on a tour with several Can-Am League teams which they have done since 2016. Last year Cuba went 11-9 on its tour. But this year the most memorable thing will be the game with Rockland a few nights ago when its entire coaching staff got tossed.

It all started in the top of the 9th inning with Cuba trailing 6-5. There was 1 out and a runner on first. Victor Mesa hit a grounder to Rockland shortstop Mike Fransoso who flipped the ball to second baseman Dylan Tice. Yoeklis Cespedes running from first appeared to have beaten the throw, but he did not slide and bumped into Tice as he was trying to field and throw. Cespedes was called safe and Rockland manager Jamie Keefe quickly came out to argue interference.

All Hell Breaks Loose

After a brief meeting between the umpires, Cespedes was called out for interference. That’s when the chaos began. Cuba manager Roger Machado argued the call as well as coach Victor Mesa Sr. And before you know it there was dirt kicking, chest bumping, and the entire Cuba coaching staff being ejected from the game. Eventually you can see the umpires being chased into right field by the Cuban staff, and the umpires had to seek refuge leaving the field through the stands.

The game would end after 8.2 innings with a 6-5 Rockland win. Cuba began its tour in early June finishing it off with a series against Rockland which the Boulders won 2-games-to-1. It remains to be seen if the series will continue next season after the incident. Cuba was joined on tour by an independent minor league team from South Korea, the Yeoncheon Miracle.

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Sugar Land Skeeters Constellation Field #BaseballJourneyman

I had the chance to check out Constellation Field in Sugar Land, Texas last night to see the Sugar Land Skeeters play the Long Island Ducks. Both teams are members of the top independent league, the Atlantic League.

The Atlantic League has been around since 1998 and employs the top talent on the independent circuit. With eight teams spread out around the country, Sugar Land is the one team not in the east, and the only one nowhere near the rest of the league. However, they are the defending league champions defeating none other than Long Island in last years championship series. It was their first title in the league since joining in 2012. Long Island has won 3 league titles.

Sugar Land is a suburb of Houston, so there is potential for huge crowds. But on the night I was able to get down for a game only 3,498 showed up. The stadium holds 7,500 and it felt pretty empty, but it is a really nice stadium. So here is my short review of the stadium and my seats. Forgive the not so great photos. I did not take my camera in and just used my phone.

Sugar Land Skeeters Constellation Field

I chose to sit in the club level which is called the Insperity Club. The tickets, which I purchased for $55, included an all-you-can eat buffet for the first 2 hours after the gates open.

What’s on the buffet?

From what I understand the menu changes from game to game, but on this night it included some decent food. The buffet included baked ham, pulled pork quesadillas, hot dogs, sausages, nachos, a salad bar, and some sort of pasta. I wasn’t interested in eating pasta so I did not get a close look. There was also a station with popcorn and peanuts plus two soda machines.

I tried a few of the different items on the menu. The pork quesadillas were very good. They had sour cream and guacamole too if you like that sort of thing. I opted for just a little bit of barbecue sauce which was really good. I also tried the hot dogs which were big a very good. However, I do have one recommendation. Do not get the hot dogs when you first arrive. I got one right away and it did not have time to fully cook and was cold. Later on I went back and got one during the game, and it was great.

An hour after the game starts, or two hours after the gates open, the buffet shuts down. But that does not mean it just ends. Around the top of the 5th inning they pull out the ice cream cart, Blue Bell. There were about 4 different flavors to choose from. To top it off you could choose a number of topics, but I just went with good old cookies and cream. It was a nice touch. They also had baked cookies and what looked like peach cobbler, but I opted for just the ice cream.

The Insperity Club is very nice too. It is air conditioned so if it is too hot outside, or too humid given where the stadium is, you can watch the game inside. There are some comfortable seats, including a few couches as well. Tables are abundant and several of them line the windows where you could sit and watch the game. Here is the view before the game where I had dinner.

 

Insperity Club Sugar Land Skeeters

There were two televisions in the club. One was showing the Astros game and the other the Skeeters game. There was also a pool table and a shuffle board table.

There is also a bar. The bar seemed fully stocked and had a good selection of draft beer. I did not look too closely at all it had to offer, but I did grab a beer at the start of the game. There were about 6 or so draft options including a few from Karbach Brewery in nearby Houston. This was a nice touch and I was glad to see they had some craft beer options and not just your normal Bud Light. The cost wasn’t too bad but still a bit high. A Karbach draft was $7.50.

The seats in the Insperity Club were nice. They were wider than normal, cushioned, and had a nice rail in front for drinks and food. The club sits above the press box right behind home plate and has the best views in the house. Is it worth the money? It might be. It would definitely be worth it if the weather was horrendously hot and humid. I was lucky that the night I was there it was very nice out.

Overall the stadium is very nice. There is a pool in left field, a playground with rides in center field, and a Pavilion in right. You can also bring a blanket and sit out on the berm in right field. There is a lot to offer families at the park, and there is so much for kids to do.

I enjoyed my trip to Constellation Field in Sugar Land. The level of play was good and included several former Major Leaguers including Lew Ford, Rafael Perez, David Aardsma, and Scott Maine. Not to mention that the manager for the Skeeters was Gary Gaetti. The stadium made the game though. It has a lot to offer and a regular seat is a great value. I’d highly recommend the trip if you are in the area.

You can get tickets by visiting SugarLandSkeeters.com or check out the team on Twitter @SL_Skeeters.

Sugar Land Skeeters Constellation Field

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Stadium Travels with #BaseballJourneyman

One thing I want to begin here is reviewing ballparks that I have been to. This summer I will be going over some of the old ones that I have visited, both overseas and here at home in the United States. These will include MLB, minor league, and other stadiums that I have or will visit. Some are no longer in use so it will be a look back. Eventually I hope to make it to all MLB stadiums, and ideally most if not all of the minor league stadiums.

With this I intend to include the history of the ballparks and any little tidbits I find along with any photos that I take. Sometimes I take my camera into the park and really get some good shots, and sometimes it is just with my phone. But either way I like to walk around the park and take it all it has to offer.

I will start with the new stadiums I have/will see this summer. Those include stadiums in Washington D.C., Charlotte, Houston, and Sugar Land. I hope to add a few more new stadiums later in the summer but time will tell.

Sugar Land Skeeters – Atlantic League

Tonight I will be Tweeting from the Sugar Land Skeeters game and sharing some of the things that I see inside their Insperity Club on the 2nd level. I’m excited to see what the club has to offer, along with the rest of the stadium. I’m excited to see my first Atlantic League game. It is not my first independent league game, but with this being the highest level in independent ball I am excited to see how it plays out.

So with that I will bid you farewell for today. Over the next few days you will see some posts about stadiums. I hope you enjoy them.

Follow along with me on Twitter and share your thoughts on stadiums under hashtag #baseballjourneyman.

#baseballjourneyman

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International Players – MLB Top 100 Prospects List, Nos 1-10

We have reached the final part of our 10 part segments on breaking down the international players on the MLB Top 100 Prospects list. We have seen a lot of talent so far, but these guys are at the top of the heap and will be interesting to watch for years to come. So without further ado.

No. 10 Ozzie Albies, 2B/Atlanta Braves – Albies is one prospect that many Braves fans are both high on and will defend at every move. The speedy infielder who could play short or second will most likely end up paired with another Top 10 prospect in Dansby Swanson up the middle for Atlanta. He just turned 20 where he will most likely spend the season at AAA Gwinnett where he struggled a bit last year. He tore up AA at only 19. While the Braves traded for Brandon Phillips to hold down second base, the veteran is really holding down the spot until Albies is ready for the big leagues, so there is no need to rush him this season. Albies ranked no. 12 in 2016.

No. 7 Victor Robles, OF/Washington Nationals – Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013, Robles spent the 2016 season split between the South Atlantic League and the Carolina League. He possesses great speed and even stole 37 bases last season but is still learning the art of the stolen base after getting caught 14 times. He might be a few years away from the big leagues, but he could be a franchise type player. However, he won’t turn 20 until May, so he has to be given time to learn. Robles ranked no. 10 in 2016.

No. 5 Amed Rosario, SS/New York Mets – The Top 10 of the list is full of shortstops with Dominican Rosario being one of the brightest. He will play this season at just 21, and he is the future of the Mets at short, but there is no need to rush him to the big leagues. However, if he continues to impress he may force their hands. He spent half of last season at AA Binghamton impressing big time. He hit .341 with a .392 OBP in 54 games. While he might not turn out to be a 30+ home run hitter at the big league level, he plays above average defense and hits with contact and extra-base power. Rosario ranked no. 11 in 2016.

No. 3 Gleyber Torres, SS/New York Yankees – Torres is the top rated shortstop prospect in the game, and he will play the 2017 season at just 20-years old. Signed out of Venezuela in 2013, Torres was the biggest prize for the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman deal. He is advanced at the plate and could turn into a 20+ homer type shortstop. There is no need to rush him to the big leagues with Didi Gregorius holding down the spot in New York. Torres looks to be the centerpiece of the Yankees for years to come though when he is ready. Torres ranked no. 17 in 2016.

No. 2 Yoan Moncada, 2B/Chicago White Sox – Last season’s no. 1, Moncada is just 21-years old. The switch-hitting infielder out of Cuba has lived up to his big price tag to sign, $63 million by Boston. The big piece for the White Sox in the Chris Sale deal, Moncada could pair quite well with fellow youngster Tim Anderson up the middle in Chicago. He has the tools to be an impact player at the big league level with speed, power, and the ability to hit for average. He may not start off in Chicago to begin the season, but look for him to be there at some point this summer.

If you missed the first segments you can check them out here:

International Players – No. 11-20
International Players – No. 21-30
International Players – No. 31-40
International Players – No. 41-50
International Players – No. 51-60
International Players – No. 61-70
International Players – No. 71-80
International Players – No. 81-90
International Players – No. 91-100

International Players - MLB Top 100 Prospects List

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MLB Top 100 Prospects List International Players – Nos. 11-20

Today we have the penultimate step on our list of international players in the MLB Top 100 Prospects list. So here we go with nos. 11-20.

If you missed the first segments you can check them out here:

International Players – No. 21-30
International Players – No. 31-40
International Players – No. 41-50
International Players – No. 51-60
International Players – No. 61-70
International Players – No. 71-80
International Players – No. 81-90
International Players – No. 91-100

No. 20 Francis Martes, RHP/Houston Astros – Martes, out of the Dominican Republic, is a hard throwing righty who had a solid year in 2016 at Double-A Corpus Christi. he threw 125.1 innings allowing just 104 hits and striking out 9.4 per 9. He has a plus fastball that sits between 93-96, touching 98 at times. It is his secondary pitches that still need polishing, and he will need to work on his command. While he struck out more than one hitter per inning, he also walked 3.4 per 9 which is way too high to be an effective front line starter at the big league level.

No. 17 Rafael Devers, 3B/Boston Red Sox – Devers, out of the Dominican Republic, is just a 20-year old with power to all fields. Last season he played for Salem in High-A ball where he showed some power (32 doubles and 11 home runs) but more than anything he bounced back after a slow start to finish strong. Whether or not he stays at third will remain to be seen as he continues to grow as a player with a possible shift across the diamond to first.

No. 13 Eloy Jimenez, OF/Chicago Cubs – Jimenez, who hails from the Dominican Republic, will be just 20 this season. Last year he spent the entire season in Single-A ball with South Bend in the Midwest League. There he hit .329 with 14 home runs winning the leagues MVP award. He has plus power, even drawing comparisons to Giancarlo Stanton by some. He spent most of his time in left last season, but has the arm for right as he continues to improve his defense.

MLB Top 100 Prospects List International Players

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MLB Top 100 Prospects List International Players – Nos. 21-30

We move another step closer to the Top 10 in the MLB Top 100 Prospects List international players. Today we look at nos. 21-30

If you missed the first segments you can check them out here:

International Players – No. 31-40
International Players – No. 41-50
International Players – No. 51-60
International Players – No. 61-70
International Players – No. 71-80
International Players – No. 81-90
International Players – No. 91-100

No. 25 Anderson Espinoza, RHP/San Diego Padres – Espinoza signed for just under $2 million. This was a new record for a prospect out of Venezuela. He impressed last season, which was his first full season in A-ball. He split time between two leagues after being apart of the trade that sent Drew Pomeranz to Boston, where Espinoza was drafted. A power right arm that sits between 94-97, Espinoza has to improve on his secondary pitches though he will pitch this upcoming season at just 19-years old.

No. 23 Manuel Margot, OF/San Diego Padres – Margot is another former Red Sox farmhand to be traded to San Diego. This time it was for Craig Kimbrel. Margot is out of the Dominican Republic and was named a Pacific Coast League All-Star in 2016 before making his MLB debut in San Diego in September. He has shown great speed. Last year he stole 30 bases and hit 12 triples in AAA. With that speed he will be able to patrol centerfield in San Diego with the possibility of that coming as soon as 2017.

No. 21 Willy Adames, SS/Tampa Bay Rays – Adames worked his way to Double-A ball at just the age of 20. The Dominican prospect was named a Southern League All-Star in 2016 and played in the annual All-Star Futures Game for the World Team.  Last season in Montgomery Adames showed a little pop with 11 home runs, 31 doubles, and 6 triples. Many feel he has the makeup for a middle of the order shortstop at an All-Star-caliber. He looks to contribute to the big league club in 2018.

MLB Top 100 Prospects List international players

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MLB Top 100 Prospects List International Players – Nos. 31-40

Today we move closer to the top 10 of the MLB Top 100 Prospects List international players. Last time we took a look at nos. 41-50, and today go through 31-40.

If you missed the first six segments you can check them out here:

International Players – No. 41-50
International Players – No. 51-60
International Players – No. 61-70
International Players – No. 71-80
International Players – No. 81-90
International Players – No. 91-100

No. 40 Francisco Mejia, C/Cleveland Indians – The 21-year old out of the Dominican Republic has a bright future ahead of him. Last season he split time between the Single-A Midwest League and the High-A Carolina League. He hit well in both leagues. He had a 50-game hitting streak that stretched over two leagues. The switch-hitting catcher has a strong arm from behind the plate. While he might need another year of seasoning in the minors, he could compete for a spot in the big leagues as early as 2018. He ranked no. 85 on the 2016 list.

No. 34 Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B/Toronto Blue Jays – Born in Canada to future hall of famer Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. is only 17-years old and already ranks at the no. 3 third base prospect in the game. Guerrero posses speed (stole 15 bases in 62 games in 2016), power (hit 8 home runs and 12 doubles), and shows plate discipline having almost as many walks (33) as strikeouts (35). He spent all of the 2016 season with Bluefield in the Appalachian League. It will remain to be seen if he can stay at third base or possibly move to first or the outfield.

No. 33 Jose De Leon, RHP/Tampa Bay Rays – The 24th Round pick in 2013 struggled a bit in his pro debut, but the Puerto Rico native found his strike in 2014 in the Rookie-level Pioneer League. He tore up AAA last season before getting the call from the Los Angeles Dodgers making his MLB debut. In AAA he struck out 11.6 per 9. That did not translate over to his MLB debut, but the righty has a plus fastball that can top out at 96. He projects to be a mid-rotation starter which is why the Rays traded for him in January where he might get a shot at the rotation this spring. He will also be part of the designated pitcher pool for Puerto Rico in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

No. 32 Kevin Maitan, SS/Atlanta Braves – The 17-year old from Venezuela has not played a game yet in the Braves farm system, but he is already being heralded as the next big thing bout of Venezuela. With a plus arm, the switch-hitter is already being compared to Miguel Sano. He has pop from both sides of the plate and excellent range. Some think he might move off shortstop eventually with a move to third base. If that does happen, he should make the transition easily when it comes to defense.

MLB Top 100 Prospects List international players

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2017 National High School Invitational Teams Announced

The teams for the 2017 National High School Invitational have been announced. The annual tournament will be in its 6th season this year when the teams converge on Carey, North Carolina and the USA Baseball National Training Complex. The tournament will take place from March 29-April 1.

Back again from last year will be the 2016 NHSI champion Huntington Beach High School (Huntington Beach, CA). Several other schools are back for a second time, but none other has won a title.

Florida and California are the most represented states with the two combining for half the field. Illinois has its first ever contestant in the tournament with the invitation of Brother Rice High School out of Chicago.

The schedule for the 2017 edition of the tournament will be released February 21 as part of a pre-event video series that can be found at USABaseball.com.

2017 National High School Invitational Participants:
American Heritage High School (Plantation, Fla.)
Archbishop McCarthy High School (Southwest Ranches, Fla.)
Arlington High School (Arlington, Tenn.)
Brother Rice High School (Chicago, Ill.)
Canterbury School (Fort Meyers, Fla.)
Cullman High School (Cullman, Ala.)
Dana Hills High School (Dana Point, Calif.)
Hamilton High School (Chandler, Ariz.)
Hough High School (Cornelius, N.C.)
Huntington Beach High School (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Malvern Preparatory School (Malvern, Pa.)
Merritt Island High School (Merritt Island, Fla.)
Orange Lutheran High School (Orange, Calif.)
Rocky Mountain High School (Fort Collins, Colo.)
South Hills High School (West Covina, Calif.)
Winder-Barrow High School (Winder, Ga.)

2017 National High School Invitational

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International Players on the MLB Top 100 Prospects List – No. 41-50

We are halfway through our list of the international players on the MLB Top 100 Prospects List. Today we start the final 50 by taking a look at nos. 41-50.

If you missed the first five  segments you can check them out here:

International Players – No. 51-60
International Players – No. 61-70
International Players – No. 71-80
International Players – No. 81-90
International Players – No. 91-100

No. 50 Yadier Alvarez, RHP/Los Angeles Dodgers – Alvarez, who hails from Cuba, signed for a $16 million bonus in 2015. The hard throwing righty peaks in triple digits with his fastball while sitting between 94-97. Last season, his first in the US, he struck out 12.3 per 9 innings. He pitched well in his call up to A-ball in the Midwest League. He is still only 20 but is working on commanding his great fastball. While he may still be a few years away from the Dodgers rotation, he is one to really keep an eye on because he may be electric when he arrives.

No. 47 Jorge Mateo, SS, 2B/New York Yankees – Mateo comes out of the Dominican Republic and will be just 21 for half of this season. Last season he played 113 games in the Florida State League (A+) and showed some of his tools. He stole 36 bases, a year after swiping 82. He has the speed, although he might still need to learn the art of stealing. With his raw power, which might project out to about 15 home runs a year, he has enough tools to make him an exciting player to watch. With the arrival of Gleyber Torres from the Aroldis Chapman trade, Mateo might be forced into a second base only role.

No. 46 Reynaldo Lopez, RHP/Chicago Whitesox – Lopez comes out of the Dominican Republic and since 2014 has really proven himself in the Washington Nationals system before moving to Chicago in the Adam Eaton deal this winter. Lopez made his MLB debut his past season getting into 11 games at the big league level, including 6 starts. The hard thrower posted a 4.91 ERA over 44.0 innings and struck out 8.6 per 9. He has a power fastball, a solid curve, and a workable change but at times can struggle with control.

MLB Top 100 Prospects List

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International Players on the MLB Top 100 Prospects List – No. 51-60

Today we continue our look at the international players on the MLB Top 100 Prospects List for 2017. We have gone through segments look at nos. 61-100 and today we look at 51-60.

If you missed the first four segments you can check them out here:

International Players – No. 61-70
International Players – No. 71-80
International Players – No. 81-90
International Players – No. 91-100

No. 56 Yohander Mendez, LHP/Texas Rangers – Mendez hails from Venezuela where he was signed as a free agent in 2011. The 22-year old is one of the Rangers top prospects and even made his Major League debut last September pitching in 2 games out of the bullpen. Last season was a year of moves for Mendez. He started out in High-A ball and moved his way through AA, AAA, and then to the big league club. While he might not have the breaking stuff of some, his change up is quite good. Add that to his sinking low to mid-90s fastball and he could be a solid starter for years to come. Maybe not ace material, but could be a solid no. 3 starter for a long time. It remains to be seen where he will start the 2017 season, but he should contribute to the big league club very soon. This is his second straight year at no. 56 on the list.

No. 55 Leody Taveras, OF/Texas Rangers – Taveras is just 18 having played his first season at 17 last year. A legitimate 5-tool center fielder, he showed his speed last season in the Arizona League (Rookie) stealing 11 bases in just 33 games. He played at 3 different levels last year but struggled a bit at Spokane. He still has some things to learn and he is still filling out since he is still so young, but he could be a force to reckon with in the coming years if he lives up to his potential. He will definitely be one to watch as the years progress. On a side note, he is the cousin of former big league Willy Taveras.

No. 54 David Paulino, RHP/Houston Astros – The Astros took Paulino in a trade even though he was going to miss the entire next season with Tommy John surgery. It might turn out to be a great move. Paulino comes out of the Dominican Republic and at 6’7″ he has the power (tops out at 98) to go with a power curveball. He spent most of his 2016 season at AA Corpus Christi, but threw a few starts at AA Fresno before getting the call to the big leagues. He has started and finished games in the same season, but has never pitched 100 innings in a season. Last year was his high at 97 innings pitched, so health is a concern moving forward. Last season Paulino checked in at no. 70 on the list.

No. 52 Franklin Barreto, SS,2B/Oakland Athletics – Barreto was one of the key pieces in the deal that sent Josh Donaldson from Oakland to Toronto. The 20-year old middle infielder out of Venezuela has impressed at every level. He spent most of 2016 at AA Midland for Oakland where he played 119 games hitting .281 with 25 doubles, 10 home runs, and 30 stolen bases. The tools are there, but Barreto would benefit from more time in the minors to hone in on some skills like basestealing. He was thrown out 15 times last year at AA. He had a brief, but impressive, stint at AAA Nashville last year. And with him being blocked at the big league level by both Marcus Semien and Chand Pinder, look for him to gain some more experience at AAA next year. In 2016, Barreto was no. 43 on the list.

MLB Top 100 Prospects

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International Players on the MLB Top 100 Prospects List – No. 61-70

Continuing our look at the international players on the MLB Top 100 Prospects List, today we will look at nos. 61-70 as we get closer to the top 10 on the list.

f you missed the first three segments you can check them out here:

International Players – No. 71-80
International Players – No. 81-90
International Players – No. 91-100

No. 65 Isan Diaz, SS,2B/Milwaukee Brewers – Diaz, who hails from Puerto Rico, is a middle infielder who played in the Midwest League in 2016 (A-ball). He was the MVP of the Pioneer League in 2015 as a 19-year old after being lured away from Vanderbilt. He was drafted by Arizona in the 2nd Round of the MLB Draft in 2014 then traded to Milwaukee in the deal that sent Juan Segura to Arizona. Diaz possesses raw power showing that off last year by hitting 20 home runs. Many scouts profile him as a second baseman at the big league level where he could be a power hitting middle infielder. However, he is a few years away from having any impact for the big league club. He clocked in at no. 97 on the list in 2016.

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International Players on the MLB Top 100 Prospects List – No. 71-80

Lately we have taken a look at the international players on the MLB Top 100 Prospects List that recently came out. We have taken a look at nos. 81-100 and today we will look at 71-80.

If you missed the first two segments you can check them out here:

International Players – No. 81-90
International Players – No. 91-100

No. 73 German Marquez, RHP/Colorado Rockies – Marquez, originally from Venezuela, will turn 22 later this month before heading into season number 5 for the hard throwing righty. He was apart of a trade that brought prospect Jake McGee to the Rockies. He was a bit overlooked but quickly made a name for himself. He won the Eastern League (AA) pitcher of the year award last season after posting a 2.85 ERA over 21 starts. After a short stint in AAA, Marquez made his MLB debut last year pitching in 6 games with 3 starts. While he may not continue his 12.2 K/9 that he had over 20.2 innings in Colorado, he has a shot to be an impact starter for the big league club for years to come.

No. 72 Jorge Alfaro, C/Philadelphia Phillies – Alfaro was once a highly thought of prospect in the Texas Rangers farm system out of Colombia. Now after a trade that brought Cole Hamels to Texas in 2015, Alfaro went east to join Philly’s farm system. Last year marked Alfaro’s rise to the big leagues after a great season in AA. In Reading Alfaro showed off his power (21 doubles and 15 home runs) and showed he can be more consistent at the plate as he hit .285. While his strikeouts are still a bit high, he is still only 23. He has the defense to play at the big league level to the point that the talk of moving him out from behind the plate has slowed down. He has a high upside and might just earn a few more at bats sometime this season with the big league club. Alfaro ranked no. 59 on the 2016 Top 100 List.

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International Players on the MLB Top 100 Prospects List – No. 81-90

Yesterday we took a look at the international players from 91-100 which contained four players from across the globe. Today we will take a look at the only international player from 81-90.

International Players – 91-100

No. 90 Raimel Tapia, OF/Colorado Rockies – Tapia signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2010. The lefty will be 23 for this season when he will look to continue his strong hitting. He won the Pioneer League (Rookie-level) MVP in 2013. This past season he played at AAA Albuquerque where he hit .346 over 110 at bats. He spent most of the year tearing up the Eastern League where he posted a .323/.363/.450 line with 20 doubles, 5 triples, and 8 home runs. He has speed but hasn’t quite learned the art of the stolen base being only successful in 17/31 attempts last season in AA. He did make his MLB debut last September where he played in 22 games hitting .263 over 41 at bats.

Last season Tapia landed on the top 100 list at no. 71.

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Penalties Handed Down by MLB for Illegal Hacking of Astros’ Database

The Houston Astros have been awarded two draft picks and $2 million in compensation after former employee Christopher Correa hacked into the Astros’ baseball operations database while working for the St. Louis Cardinals. But I wondered, is this enough of a punishment to deter something like this from happening again.

First of all, let’s take a look at what punishment was handed out today. The Astros are to be paid $2 million dollars by the Cardinals. While this is not peanuts it is a drop in the bucket for a team such as St. Louis. However, it appears that is the maximum the commissioner is allowed to penalize a club. In addition, the Astros will recieve pick numbers 56 and 75 in the 2017 MLB Draft from the Cardinals.

So what exactly can you get at the nos. 56 or 75 pick. Here are a few players drafted in those spots over the years.

No. 56

1997 Scott Linebrink

1999 Rob Bowen (Brandon Phillips at no. 57)

2001 J.J. Hardy

No. 75

1993 Matt Perisho

1994 Brian Rose

1996 A.J. Hinch

1997 Jason Grabowski (Chase Utley at no. 58)

2000 Grady Sizemore

2004 Wade Davis

2005 Yunel Escobar

*I only looked at the drafts from 1990-2016.

The way it was worded when it was released was it was the first two picks of the Cardinals, which just happened to be the nos. 56 and 75. So if they would have had a 1st round pick, would they have given that to the Astros?

There is definitely talent at these positions, and it is all based on scouting and let’s face it a little luck. But another way to look at is why the picks were not just forfeited but actually given to the Astros. If I work for one of the 28 other clubs, I am not too happy here with the decision from MLB.

Correa wsa sentenced last summer to 46 months in federal and ordered to pay almost $280,000 in restitution.

So what do you think? Was this harsh enough? Was it too harsh? Hit us up here by leaving a comment or shoot us a message on Twitter – we are @BaseballdeWorld.

Posted in N. America, News, MLB0 Comments

International Players on the MLB Top 100 Prospects List – No. 91-100

One of my favorite days of the year is when MLB releases its Top 100 Prospects list. I love to see which teams have the most on the list (Braves/Yankees with 7 each), and I love to see who is moving and of course the top 10.

However, one exercise that I love to do is look at the foreign players on the list. After all, most of what we cover here are foreign leagues. So I will leave the debate up to  you as to whether or not Andrew Benintendi should be no. 1 or not, and I will take a look at the foreign players on the list starting with 91-100. Each day over the next week or so we will look at another set of players from the MLB Top 100 Prospects list. In total there are 27 that come from international markets.

MLB Prospects 91-100:

No. 97 Cal Quantrill, RHP/San Diego Padres – Quantrill, out of Port Hope, Ontario, Canada) might be a name you already know. His father, Paul Quantrill, pitched in the big leagues for 14 seasons. But despite Paul’s solid career, Cal’s might overshadow dad’s one day. Cal was drafted this summer 8th overall out of Stanford University despite not pitching in 2016 due to Tommy John surgery. He showed why the Padres drafted him so high late in the summer when he returned to the mound finishing the year in A-ball after a few starts in Rookie League and Low-A. While he might not project to be a no. 1 starter, he has the chance to have a long solid career with his solid three-pitch-mix. I got to see him in 2012 at the 18U World Baseball Championship in Seoul, and while he did not have the best tournament (1-1, 5.63) he did enough to impress upon me that he has a long future ahead of him.

No. 96 Jeimer Candelario, 3B,1B/Chicago Cubs – Candelario was born in New York but was raised in the Dominican Republic where his father ran a baseball training center. Signed in 2010, Candelario made his MLB debut this past July. However, he remains hopelessly blocked by 2016 NL MVP Kris Bryant. A switch-hitter with some pop, and the ability to walk, he has the bat to make it in the big leagues but where will he play. He has had some time at first base as well, but is blocked there as well by Anthony Rizzo. He could possibly be moved to a corner outfield spot, or he might be trade bait later in the year should the Cubs need a piece to make a run at a second title. Jeimer moves up from no. 100 on the list in 2016.

No. 94 Richard Urena, SS/Toronto Blue Jays – Urena comes out of San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic. He will turn 21 in just under a month. Signed in 2012, Urena reached AA at the age of 20. After fellow Blue Jays short stop prospect Franklin Barreto was traded away in the Josh Donaldson deal, Urena appears to be the heir to the shortstop thrown north of the border. Lack of focus at times causes Urena to commit a few too many errors. He does have the range and arm to stick to shortstop and has been a switch-hitter for just three years now. Despite falling from no. 74 on the list in 2016, Urena might be ready for his MLB debut in 2018.

No. 91 Delvin Perez, SS/St. Louis Cardinals – Delvin Perez comes in this year at no. 91 on the list. A newcomer on the list, Perez was drafted just last summer (1st Rd, no. 23) out of the International Baseball Academy in Ceiba, Puerto Rico. He played in just 43 games after signing, but already showed flashes of why he is in the top 100. With the Gulf Coast League Cardinals (Rookie), Perez hit .294 with 8 doubles, 4 triples, and 12 stolen bases. Despite his good offensive showing, his defense is where he will impact the game more right now. His speed allows him to cover a lot of ground defensively, and when  you add in his strong arm he will be a solid short stop where he projects to stay. However, he is already been the talk of controversy having tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs prior to the draft.

Posted in N. America, News, MLB0 Comments

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  • Puerto Rico (31%, 27 Votes)
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  • Other (8%, 7 Votes)
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