#1 Handicapping Service

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Kids Are Not Alright: The Struggles of the Red Sox Minor League System

The Greenville Drive come to Columbia, SC this weekend to take on the Columbia Fireflies. If all things go as planned I will be there with media credential in hand on Friday night.

The Greenville Drive are the defending South Atlantic League Champions and last year's team was a lot of fun to watch. This year's team? Not so much. They are just 10-31 this season putting them 16.5 games out of first place in the first half standings of the Southern Division. It isn't just the Drive that are struggling. There is not a full season Red Sox minor league affiliate that is over .500 at this point in the season:

Pawtucket is 17-22 and sits in last place in their division

Portland is 15-26 and also sits in last place in their division

Salem is 20-20 and sits in third place.

Minor league records are not always an indication of minor league system health but the farm has definitely taken a hit since Dave Dombrowki has been in charge. Dombrowski has always been known as a guy who uses the minor league system to make the MLB team better. While the Red Sox are World Series contenders this year you can start to see potential problems in the near future.

The Red Sox are also dealing with the fact that their top prospect, Jay Groome is out for the season with injury and their #2 prospect Michael Chavis is serving a suspension for violating the PED policy. Not good at all.

Follow me on twitter @thepeskypole for updates, pictures and video from Friday's game as the Greenville Drive play the Columbia Fireflies.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Markakis for MVP?

Ozzie Albies has been better than expected and Ronald Acuna is as explosive as it gets. Both are reasons why the Braves are off to such a great start. What about Nick Markakis? Did you know that Nick Markakis leads the Braves with a WAR of 2.2, just barely ahead of Freddie Freeman at 2.1? Albies is third at 1.5

While record is one way to determine the best team in baseball, I like using the Simple Rating System (SRS) which takes into account run differential and strength of schedule. This has the Braves as the best team in baseball so far with Markakis being the best player so far on that best team.

The Astros have the second best SRS in all of baseball and Justin Verlander and his 2.3 WAR is best on the Astros

The Yankees have the third best SRS in all of baseball and Luis Severino and his 2.6 WAR lead the Yankees.

The Phillies are fourth in SRS with Aaron Nola leading the Phillies with a WAR os 2.8

The Nationals are fifth in SRS with Max Scherzer leading them with a WAR of 2.5

The Red Sox and Cubs are tied for 6th in SRS with Mookie Betts with an incredible WAR of 3.0 to lead the Sox and Kris Bryant with a WAR of 1.8

Friday, May 4, 2018

Royals' Prospects Shine in Loss to Fireflies

Seuly Matias

It is hard to believe it took me until May 3rd to cover my first minor league game of the baseball season. Let's hope the frequency picks up as we move into summer.

 The Lexington Legends (Kansas City Royals) were in town to play the hometown Columbia Fireflies (New York Mets) The Legends roster is a good one with the #1 and #3 prospect in the Royals organization but it was their 19th rated prospect who stole the show early before an improbable come from behind Fireflies win.

Daniel Tillo got the start for Lexington and struck out the first nine batters he faced. I was having flashbacks of Roger Clemens circa 1986. Here he is striking out Jeremy Vasquez in the second inning. This would be the fourth batter he struck out in a row.

Tillo would no-hit the Columbia Fireflies through 6 innings when two walks and a three run homer by Quinn Brodey would end his night. Tillo's final line was 6.1 innings pitched, 1 hit, 3 earned runs, 3 walks and 10 strikeouts.

Tillo is the 19th rated prospect in the Royals organization. He was drafted by the Royals in the third round of the 2017 draft. His fastball sits between 91-94 mph and is left handed. His fastball has late tail and sink and really bores in on left handed hitters. His fastball and slider project as plus pitches

Nick Pratto was playing high school baseball in California a year ago and now sits as the Royals #1 rated prospect. Pratto would go 1-4 on the night and in a crazy game of comebacks and blown leads, he would hit the game tying homerun in the top of the 9th of of Trey Cobb. Here is the video of the homerun.


Pratto is a left handed hitting and left handed throwing first baseman who was taken 14th overall by the Royals in the 2017 draft. He is projected to be the Royals starting first baseman in the 2021 season.

His slash line for the 2018 season is .270/.330/.427 with 3 HR and 12 RBI. He has only walked 8 times while striking out 28 times.

Pratto profiles as a middle-of-the-order thanks to a low maintenance swing, above average bat speed and the ability to use the whole field. His projected scouting grades are a 60 for Hit, 55 for Power, 45 for Speed, 60 for Fielding and 55 for Arm.

Seuly Matias is the #3 rated prospect in the Royals organization. He started in RF and went 1-4 with a homerun and struck out twice. Matias homered in the 7th inning which gave the Legends a 2-0 lead. Here is video of his solo shot.

Matias signed with the Royals in 2015 for $2.25 million of the Dominican Republic. He was the big prize out of their 2015 international signing class.

He is projected to be the Royals starting left fielder in 2021 His projected scouting grades are as follows: 45 for Hit, 60 for Power, 50 for Speed, 55 for Fielding, 60 for Arm.

His slash line so far for the 2018 season is .280/.326/.646 His homerun on Thursday night was his 8th on the season which leads all of the South Atlantic League. He has walked just 4 times with 33 strikeouts. Only 7 players in the entire league have struck out more times than Matias. His plate discipline has been an issue is the only thing that could really hold him back for reaching his full potential.

Despite the impressive games from the Royals' prospects, it was the Columbia Fireflies who came out with the improbable win. The Fireflies would win 4-3 in 10 innings and get just two hits the entire night. The hits were big ones though, a three run shot from Brody and a walk off double by Raphael Gladu in the 10th inning thanks to the new extra inning rule where the inning starts with a runner on second base. The Fireflies are now 14-13 and 4.5 back of the Augusta Greenjackets for first place in the Southern Division. The Fireflies finished just one game out of first during the first half of last season costing themselves a playoff spot. The GreenJackets were one of the worst teams in the South Atlantic League a year ago.



Cobb (1-0, 1.80) ;
Zuber (0-1, 0.96)
Matias (8) ,
Pratto (3) .
Brodey (3) .

Lexington Legends
Oliver Nunez2B210000020.259
Travis Jones3B401000101.287
Nick Pratto1B411001101.270
Seuly MatiasRF411001102.280
Sebastian RiveroC300000011.269
Jeison GuzmanSS401000001.231
Marten GaspariniCF200000010.208
Brewer HicklenDH400000002.063
Cal JonesLF200000010.188
HR: Matias (8, 7th inning off Hernandez, C, 0 on, 0 out); Pratto (3, 9th inning off Cobb, 0 on, 0 out).
TB: Jones, T; Matias 4; Pratto 4; Guzman.
RBI: Jones, T (11); Matias (18); Pratto (12).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Hicklen.
SAC: Gasparini.
GIDP: Guzman.
Team RISP: 1-for-3.
Team LOB: 3.

SB: Gasparini (6, 2nd base off Dibrell/Sanchez, A); Jones, T (8, 2nd base off Dibrell/Sanchez, A).
CS: Jones, T (3, 3rd base by Dibrell/Sanchez, A); Guzman (2, 2nd base by Cobb/Sanchez, A).
PO: Jones, T (2nd base by Sanchez, A); Guzman (3rd base by Sanchez, A).

E: Nunez, O (8, missed catch).
Columbia Fireflies
Edgardo FerminSS400000002.245
Hansel Moreno2B400000001.200
Matt WinakerLF210000022.228
Jeremy Vasquez1B310000011.329
Quinn BrodeyCF411001302.230
Ali SanchezC410000002.211
Rigoberto Terrazas3B400000001.214
Scott ManeaDH200000021.280
Raphael GladuRF401000103.222
HR: Brodey (3, 7th inning off Tillo, 2 on, 1 out).
TB: Brodey 4; Gladu.
RBI: Brodey 3 (18); Gladu (8).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Winaker 2.
Team RISP: 2-for-4.
Team LOB: 5.

E: Dibrell (2, pickoff).
DP: (Vasquez-Fermin).
Pickoffs: Sanchez, A 2 (Jones, T at 2nd base, Guzman at 3rd base).
Lexington Legends
Daniel Tillo6.113331013.68
Josh Mitchell1.20001301.13
Tyler Zuber (L, 0-1)1.11101200.96
Columbia Fireflies
Tony Dibrell6.01104604.91
Carlos Hernandez2.01111011.35
Trey Cobb (BS, 1)(W, 1-0)2.02110211.80
Game Scores: Tillo 65; Dibrell 69.
WP: Mitchell.
Groundouts-flyouts: Tillo 6-2; Mitchell 1-1; Zuber 0-1; Dibrell 6-1; Hernandez, C 4-1; Cobb 1-0.
Batters faced: Tillo 23; Mitchell 7; Zuber 6; Dibrell 21; Hernandez, C 8; Cobb 6.
Umpires: HP: Ben Fernandez. 1B: Kelvis Velez.
Weather: 83 degrees, clear.
Wind: 3 mph, R to L.
First pitch: 7:06 PM.
T: 2:51.
Att: 3,305.
Venue: Spirit Communications Park.
May 3, 2018

South Atlantic League Southern
Augusta GreenJackets (SF)188.692--6-312-512-58-2L1
Rome Braves (ATL)1610.6152.0437-69-46-67-3W1
Lexington Legends (KC)1312.5204.5419-54-710-54-6L2
Columbia Fireflies (NYM)1413.5194.5398-66-710-103-7W2
Charleston RiverDogs (NYY)1314.4815.5388-55-99-86-4W2
Asheville Tourists (COL)817.3209.5355-63-114-75-5L2
Greenville Drive (BOS)522.18513.5313-102-123-132-8L3

#1 Handicapping Service