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American League

Top 5 Farm System’s

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With spring training starting, here are the top 5 minor league systems, along with there top three prospects.

Atlanta Braves

The Braves have the best pitching depth in their minor league system, along with one of the best overall prospects in outfielder Ronald Acuna.

1. Ronald Acuna OF– Acuna put together .325 21 82 with 44 steals across three levels in the minors. Acuna was also named MVP of the Arizona Fall League.

2. Kolby Allard LHP– Alford has an excellent curveball-changeup combination, with veteran savvy on the mound.

3. Luis Gohara LHP– Gohara went 7-4 with a 2.62 ERA in the minors last year. Gohara started five games for Atlanta last year posting a 4.91 ERA but posted 31 strikeouts in 29.1 innings pitched.

Chicago White Sox

The White Sox restocked their farm systems with trades, this should put the White Sox in position to contend in a few years.

  1. Eloy Jimenez OF– Jimenez has star quality. Jimenez put together a .312-19-65 season in single A and AAA.

2. Michael Kopech RHP–  Kopech is known for having the best fastball in the minor leagues. He has developed other pitches to advance his game to be a quality pitcher for the white sox when called upon.

3. Alec Hanson RHP– Hanson pitched in all three levels of the minors last year. Hanson has a mid 90s fastball, with a nasty slider. Hanson stuck out 191 batters in 141.1 innings.

New York Yankees

The Yankees have one of the deepest farm systems lead by Gleyber Torres.

  1. Gleyber Torres ss– Torres is a very mature young player with a good batting eye. Torres walked 30 times in 55 games. Torres had Tommy John surgery in June, look for Torres to get a shot at the every day third baseman job.

2. Chance Adams RHP– Adams really thrived when the Yankees moved him to a starting role. Adams went 15-5 with a  2.45 ERA. Adams has a mid 90s fastball and a power slider.

3. Justus Sheffield RHP– Sheffield is a sleeper in the Yankees system, he has a mid 90s fastball with 3 off-speed pitches a deadly combination.

San Diego Padres Padres

have a lot of pitching depth and star potential with her position players.

1 Fernando Tatis Jr. SS– Tatis is coming off a .278-22-75 season, Tatis made it up to AA at the age of 18. Tatis will get a full season of AA at the age of 19. The sky is the limit for this kid.

2. MacKenzie Gore LHP– Gore posted monster number at a North Carolina high school, going 11-0 with a 0.19 ERA. Gore also had a 158 to 5 strikeout/walk ratio. Gore could be a star in the making.

3. Michael Baez RHP– Baez is 6-8 220 with a fastball in the 100s and a nasty slider. Baez sounds like a right-handed Randy Johnson. Baez struck out 82 batters in 58.2 innings.

Los Angeles Dodgers

With Cody Bellinger and Cory Seager in the big leagues the Dodgers still have a minor league system full of top prospects.

  1. Walker Buehler RHP– Buehler is ready for his first full season coming off Tommy John surgery. Buehler has electric stuff and his command is getting better. Buehler has Ace upside.

2. Alex Verdugo OF– Verdugo is a high average, high on-base guy. Verdugo does not have much pop, but he has a rocket arm.

3. Keibert Ruiz– Ruiz could be the best catching prospect in baseball if he continues to improve at a rapid pace. Ruiz is a switch hitter and a good defender at the catching position.

 

 

American League

2018 ALCS: Astros Aiming To Repeat, Red Sox Looking For Revenge

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NBC.

This year’s American League Championship Series won’t be an unfamiliar scenario for baseball fans, because it’s a rematch of last year’s American League Division Series. Defending World Champion Houston will square off with Boston for the second consecutive postseason, this time with one more game and a lot more at stake. Houston wants a second consecutive pennant, Boston wants second blood.

The Astros defeated the Red Sox three games to one in one half of last season’s ALDS. The Red Sox were on the cusp on forcing a decisive Game 5, but questionable managerial decisions from ex-skipper John Farrell ultimately led to the team’s demise. The Astros then defeated the Yankees and then Los Angeles (both in thrilling seven game series) to bring the Commissioner’s Trophy to Texas for the first time ever.

Image result for George Springer

Postseason homer machine George Springer will look to send his team to another Fall Classic (The Houston Chronicle).

Both teams have different looks this time around in converse ways. Houston traded for superstar RHP Gerrit Cole last offseason while Boston signed slugging free agent OF/DH JD Martinez. What’s interesting is that both moves paid massive dividends. Aside Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton, Cole helped make the Astros’ starting rotation the unquestioned best in the game. Martinez, on the other hand, rejuvenated the Red Sox’ previously dormant offense and made it a force to be reckoned with again, coming within inches of the Triple Crown in the process.

What’s even more interesting is the new dynamic the rematch presents. As previously mentioned, the Sox parted ways with John Farrell last fall after his controversial pitching decisions killed the team’s rally and got them bounced from the ALDS for the second straight year. Who did they hire almost immediately after?  Houston Bench Coach Alex Cora, who resigned from AJ Hinch’s staff after Game 7.  Though there doesn’t appear to be any hard feelings on Houston’s side, it’s safe to bet that it will still serve as motivation.

Image result for alex cora

Red Sox rookie manager Alex Cora finds himself opposite the team he helped lead win it all last season (The Boston Globe).

Boston’s motivation is quite simple, don’t lose to the same team two years in a row. To do this, the team will have to find a way to topple that lethal trio of Verlander, Keuchel and Cole, but also to shut down Houston’s relentless offense, led in the ALDS by Alex Bregman and George Springer. Though he was injured for a majority of the year, Jose Altuve still goes without saying as well.

Don’t get it wrong, though. The Red Sox are no slouches, featuring two MVP front runners in Martinez and Mookie Betts alongside Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts. Chris Sale anchors a rotation that fared quite well against the Yankees in the LDS (with the obvious exception of David Price). Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi and Rick Porcello were all excellent vs. New York’s powerful core, Cora will be hoping they can replicate that success. He has announced that Price will start Game 2 despite yet another disaster in ALDS Game 2, the reasoning behind this decision is anyone’s guess.

Game 1 is Saturday at 8:09 PM ET on TBS from Fenway Park. Each team will lead off with its ace, Verlander vs. Sale. Don’t miss it!

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American League

Orioles Part Ways with Buck Showalter

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The Baltimore Orioles will be in search for a new manager as Buck Showalter will not return to his manager post in 2019 following a 9 year run with the organization, according to ESPN.

Showalter, 62, was at the helm for a nightmare 2018 that saw the team trade Mann Machado as they decided to start a massive youth movement, and the O’s went 47-115 to became just the fifth major league team since 1900 to lose 115 games or more in a season.

“Mr. Angelos’ family has been great to me and mine,” Showalter said on Sunday regarding the pending decision of owner Peter Angelos . “So whatever direction they decide to go, I’m at peace with it.”

“It’s about winning the game,” Showalter said at the conclusion of the season. “That’s one of the things I really feel like we need to get back to, the expectations of winning. That’s part of it. You’ve got to have expectations of winning, regardless of if you’re whatever they call it nowadays — building. I don’t believe in rebuild, the word rebuild. The first thing you have to accomplish, and one of the things I tried to do when I got here, is to raise the expectations of winning.”

Per the report, Showalter received official word in a meeting with brothers John and Lou Angelos on Wednesday morning.

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American League

White Sox Outright Dustin Garneau

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The Chicago White Sox have outrighted catcher Dustin Garneau to Triple-A Charlotte, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Daryl Van Schouwen.

With the move the White Sox created an open spot on their 40-man roster.

Garneau posted a dreadful .194/.269/.321 over 280 plate appearances at the major league level, a far drop off from his production at the Triple-A level this season, where he posted a .252/.340/.468 line to go along with seven homeruns.

 

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