Jose Adolis Garcia Joins the Yomiuri Giants

May 24th, 2016

Jose Adolis Garcia has joined the minor league team of the Yomiuri Giants. He is the younger brother of Braves third baseman Adonis Garcia, who was recently demoted to the minor leagues. The Cuban Nacional Series contracted out the services of Garcia to the Giants. The Giants have to hope Garcia does better than the last hitter they contracted out Frederich Cepeda, who struggled to hit Japanese pitching.

The one bright spot is Garcia is younger than Cepeda at 23 years of age, so there is a lot of future in his game. He also led the Nacional Series in RBIs with 71, batting .314 with 14 homeruns. He will be another player to watch to see how he does against the sophisticated Japanese pitching. Against Cuban pitching he had a somewhat poor 34/59 walk to whiff ratio. Most contact hitters will walk more than they strikeout against Cuban pitching.

Mets Rain Down Hits Against Gio

May 24th, 2016

If the line drives off the bats of the Mets were rain this game would have been called. Instead the skies only allowed a light mist to postpone the game for one hour. Gio would have rather the game not have been played. The Mets rained on Gio Gonzalez for 10 hits in his five innings of work, including three balls that went over the fence in their 7-1 win. Coming into the game Gio had only given up three homeruns in his first eight starts.

The Nationals got on the board first against Bartolo Colon, the Mets fifth starter. Singles by Jayson Werth, Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman gave the Nationals an early 1-0 lead. After those three first inning hits the Nats bats could only find two more hits in the next six innings for Colon. His wide girth became more Thor like.

Gio survived the first two innings with just sprinkles of hits, a line drive single into right field that a sliding Bryce Harper should have caught and a slow roller to third for an infield single to open the game. Gio was able to get out of the first inning with two strikeouts and retired the side in order in the second inning. The downpour occurred in the third. It was almost as if someone noticed something in his delivery that told the Mets what was coming and they slapped him hard.

With one out Curtis Granderson was hit on the wrists by an inside fastball. Juan Lagares took a swing at the first pitch he saw and laced a single into right field. On the next pitch Gio threw David Wright connected, launching one just over the fence in left field, hitting the flower pots and bouncing back into left field. Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker ripped singles, Gio only throwing four pitches, three of them to Cespedes. Asdrubal Cabrera bounced a hard grounder past the diving Dan Murphy on the second pitch he saw to drive in Cespedes with the fourth run. Eric Campbell swung at the first strike he saw and ripped a line drive to Ben Revere in center, deep enough to score Walker with the fifth run.

The fifth inning was another disaster for Gio. Yoenis Cespedes lifted one into centerfield that carried into the right centerfield bleachers on a 3-1 count. Neil Walker sent the next pitch from Gio high into left field, almost landing in the same spot as the first homerun hit by David Wright. The Nats were down 7-1 and with the anemic state of their bats there was not a lot of hope in a comeback.

The Nats did not mount much of a rally after the first inning. Ben Revere continues to try to pull the ball, hitting grounders to the second baseman. Bryce Harper spent much of his evening trying to go the other way to beat the shift, lifting weak popups to the left fielder and shortstop.

The Nats lineup is filled with poor OBAs. Jayson Werth (.294), Ben Revere (.216), Danny Espinosa (.306) and Ryan Zimmerman (.310) do not give a lot of RBI opportunities for Harper and Murphy in the middle of the lineup. Revere and Werth are the first two hitters in the order so it is critical they get on base. The combined walk to whiff ratio of the four players is 46/123. Those numbers will have to improve if the Nationals do not want to repeat the anemic bats of last year.

Game Notes: Bartolo Colon saw 14 pitches. He did not swing at one, striking out three times in the game. A stiff lower back made Bartolo decide not to swing at any pitches…Ryan Zimmerman also stole a base on Bartolo while he was standing on the mound in his stretch. He made no attempt to step off the mound to throw to second. By that time the Mets were up 7-1. With two outs Colon focused on Anthony Rendon and struck him out to negate the steal…It was another rainy day in D.C. with rain delaying the game by one hour. Myworld is in a softball league and we have not played since April 27 because of rain…Neil Walker had a number of grounders scoot past him into right field. It seems his range is a bit limited in getting to balls hit to his right, though all the grounders got through the infield quickly…A replay review negated an error by Anthony Rendon. The umpire had initially ruled that the throw from Rendon had pulled Zimmerman off the base. A review by the umpires indicated that was not the case and reversed the call. The reviews made available to myworld did not seem to show enough evidence to confirm Zimmerman kept his foot on the base.

Hot Prospects for May 19

May 21st, 2016

Matt Davidson 3B (White Sox) - Matt has been getting his name mentioned regularly in our hot prospects list. He had his second four RBI game for the month of May to give him 17 for the month. Matt finished the day 3 for 5 with two doubles to raise his average to .277.

J.D. Davis 3B (Astros) - The Astros called up Colin Moran to fill the third base hole in an attempt to get the team over .500. After his three homerun day they may want to look at J.D. He drove in five runs with the three dingers. The day before he hit a solo shot to give him four homeruns in two days. For the season to date J.D. has smoked seven homeruns.

Hunter Dozier 3B (Royals) - Hunter blasted a couple balls over the fence in a 3 for 5 day. Recently promoted to AAA he has yanked four over the fence in just 12 games after hitting eight in AA. Hunter currently has driven in a run in five consecutive games to give him 13 for AAA. In more than twice the number of games he drove in only 21 in AA.

Cody Bellinger 1B (Dodgers) - On the other side of the diamond Cody is struggling a bit with the bat. A perfect 4 for 4 day could only raise his average to .224. His two doubles, homerun and single put him a triple short of the cycle.

Max Kepler OF (Twins) - After hitting just .167 in a brief major league callup, Max is back assaulting pitchers in AAA. On Thursday he was a single short of the cycle, going 3 for 5. Kepler has not had any problems hitting triples this year with six. Max should get another callup to the majors later on this year, but he needs to put a little more thunder in his bat.

Chad Pinder SS (Athletics) - Pinder had his second 4 for 4 day within a five game period to raise his average to .250.

Pitching

Jameson Taillon RHP (Pirates) - Seems like every day there is a Pirates starter in AAA mentioned in this blog. After a two year absence Jameson has been getting it done for the Pirates with his third shutout start in eight. On Thursday he worked six innings and struck out eight. In his previous two outings he had given up three runs in each game, raising his ERA to 2.08. The six shutout innings brought his ERA down to 1.82. Jameson has been especially tough against lefthanded pitchers, limiting them to a .119 average and a .239 slugging average.

Hot Prospects for May 18

May 20th, 2016

A couple Cubs and another Astros catcher makes this list.

Eloy Jimenez OF (Cubs) - He won’t turn 20 until November so the Cubs can show patience with him. Down in Low A Eloy has strung together a six game hitting streak which has put his average at .326. A 4 for 5 day on Wednesday with all his hits singles was followed by a 2 for 4 day in which both his hits cleared the fence. During this six game hitting streak Eloy is 13 for 26. The Dominican still must cut down on his 40 whiffs in just 36 games to keep from being exploited by higher ranked pitchers.

Mark Zagunis OF (Cubs) - Down at AA fellow Cub outfielder Zagunis had a quiet 4 for 4 day in which he did not cross the plate or drive in a run, but Tennessee was shutout by Birmingham 5-0. His power is beginning to show with doubles in three consecutive games and four doubles in five games.

Tyler Stephenson C (Reds) - The Reds are rebuilding and the 2015 number one pick will be part of that rebuilding process, especially after his 3 for 6 day in which he drove in five runs, one of those hits being his first homerun of the season. Coming into the game Tyler was struggling with a .148 average. The five RBIs eclipsed the amount he had accumulated during the first 18 games of the season (3) and his three hits elevated his average to .179.

Garrett Stubbs C (Astros) - Garrett blasted two homeruns on Wednesday and then followed with another homer the next day to give him four for the year. In a three game span he has driven in nine runs and the two game homer barrage extended his hitting streak to 16 games. The Astros selected Garrett in the eighth round of the 2015 draft.

Pitchers

Zach Eflin RHP (Phillies) - Zach improved his AAA record to 5-0 tossing seven innings of two hit shutout ball on Wednesday. Two stinker starts in which he gave up five runs keeps his ERA at a 2.36. In his five starts in which he has picked up a victory he has only given up two runs in 35.1 innings. Zach has an impressive 7/39 walk to whiff ratio.

Jon Harris RHP (Blue Jays) - The Blue Jays 2015 first round pick got a lot of swings and misses, with 11 strikeouts on the day in seven innings of shutout baseball. Jon has not given up a run in his last four outings covering 21 innings and has not given up an earned run in his last five outings covering 25 innings placing his ERA at 1.05. The 11 strikeout game almost equaled the amount he accumulated in his first five starts of the year (12).

Chase de Jong RHP (Dodgers) - Chase threw his second seven inning shutout game in three starts, this time giving up two hits. In his other seven inning shutout Chase only allowed one hit.

Brad Keller RHP (Diamondbacks) - The 2016 season has been a bit of a struggle for Brad. He came into the game with a 4.19 ERA but after 7.2 shutout innings that dropped to 3.55. His strikeout numbers for the month of May (20) have eclipsed what he produced in April (9) in the same amount of innings (25), giving the team hope his success will continue as the season progresses.

Hot Prospects for May 17

May 20th, 2016

Not a lot of big names on this list.

Josh Naylor 1B (Marlins) - He may not be as tall as Giancarlo Stanton but he hits the ball as hard and as far. He walloped his fourth homerun of the year on Tuesday to drive in five runs. His contact rate is improving in the month of May with a 6/7 walk to whiff ratio in 15 games. One of the down sides for Josh his inability to make contact. The other is a large frame (6′0″, 225) that limits his speed to playing the outfield.

Hunter Renfroe OF (Padres) - Hunter extended his five game multiple hit streak and a homer streak that sits at three games. During that streak he is 12 for 27 with three homeruns and eight RBIs. Hunter is batting .318 but until the Padres can trade Matt Kemp he will have to continue to bide his time in AAA.

Jose Azocar CF (Tigers) - The Venezuelan had a perfect 4 for 4 day to raise his average to .310. Power is absent from his game so his 5/36 walk to whiff ratio needs to improve for him to occupy the lead off spot and take advantage of his speed. This is his first season in a full season league so there is plenty of time to improve the hit tool.

Matt Chapman SS/3B (Athletics) - Matt has been playing mostly third, but Tuesday he was at short. He raked on a 4 for 8 day, his other four at bats resulting in strikeouts. The 2014 first round pick has yet to play in more than 100 games in his first two seasons. Last year wrist surgery limited him to 80 games but he still smoked 23 homeruns. This year he has nine.

Pitchers

Adam Plutko RHP (Indians), Sandy Baez RHP (Tigers), Nick Pivetta RHP (Phillies) and Nick Traveiso RHP (Reds) - All four pitchers tossed seven innings of shutout ball. Plutko was a Bruin star. His five hitter was his second straight outing without allowing a run covering 13 innings. Traveiso had the gem with a one hitter ending a streak of three starts where he gave up three or more runs in less than six innings. Pivetta and Baez each gave up two hits.

Jordan Kipper RHP (Angels) - The Angels need some good news regarding their starting pitching. Jordan gave them some good news with a nine inning no hitter in AA. He faced the minimum 27 batters but walked one, striking out eight. Two of his last three starts he was banged around for 10 hits so this no hitter was a bit unexpected.

LG Sponsors National Team in India

May 19th, 2016

LG Electronics in Korea owns a baseball team named the LG Twins. A subsidiary of theirs, LG Electronics India will help sponsor baseball in India by supporting India’s national baseball team in preparation for the Women’s Baseball World Cup which will be played in Gijang, Korea this September. The women’s national baseball team from India is ranked around 47 just behind China. The men’s national baseball team is rated number 59.

LG has been named the title sponsor for the Women’s World Cup. The number of teams for the world Cup has been expanded from eight to twelve.

Hot Prospects for May 16

May 18th, 2016

The hot prospects from Monday, May 16.

Alex Bregman 3B/SS (Astros) - The Astros continue to struggle and one of their holes is third base where they have been getting minimal production. Alex has been seeing more time at third base at AA. A 3 for 4 day raised his average to .330. He issues out extra base hits like soccer moms hand out cupcakes, with two doubles and a homerun to drive in four runs to add to his 16 extra base hit totals for the season, 8 doubles and 8 homeruns. Luis Valbuena has 10 extra base hits and is hitting .205. There is a big jump from AA to the major leagues, but if the Astros keep losing they will have to make changes somewhere.

Travis Demeritte 2B and Josh Morgan 3B (Rangers) - It has been awhile since we talked about Travis, but his homerun production has fallen off. He hit two solo bombs on Monday to lead High Desert to a 4-3 win over Visalia. The two homeruns give him 12 for the year, which is one less than the minor league leader Christin Stewart. Teammate Josh Morgan went a quiet 4 for 4, lacking any runs scored or RBIs. But his 2 for 4 the next day upped his hitting streak to four with three of those days involving multiple hits. The 10 for 15 run has elevated his average to .270.

Jackson Reetz C (Nationals) - Jackson had back to back three hit games to raise his average over the Mendoza line (.222). The 6 for 6 run included three doubles and a homerun with three walks. That is nine consecutive times on base. That streak ended with an 0 for 4 Tuesday.

Alex Dickerson LF (Padres) - Alex is looking for another taste of major league pitching. After getting promoted to the big club and hitting only .200 the Padres returned him to AAA. He has been raking since his demotion, going 4 for 4 Monday with two homeruns and a double then following that up with a 3 for 4 Tuesday with another homerun. He has scored six runs and driven in six in his last two games and is 8 for 9 in his three games to up his average to .413.

Jamie Ritchie C (Astros) - Jamie had a career day going 4 for 5 with a grand slam homerun, giving him six RBIs for the day. Lancaster jumped out to a 19-0 lead after four innings then coasted the rest of the way to win by the same score. The grand slam was hit in the 11 run fourth inning.

Pitching

Trey Ball LHP (Red Sox), Tyler alexander LHP (Tigers), Vicente Campos RHP (Yankees) - A trio of seven inning shutouts. For Ball and Alexander their ERA was reduced to 1.96. The six whiffs by Ball were a high for the year and lefthanded hitters are hitting him at a .083 clip, the only hit a homerun. For Tyler it was his fourth straight start in which he has not given up an earned run, but two of those starts he has given up five unearned runs. Vicente was the throwin pitcher acquired in the Jesus Montero trade. He has battled injuries and inconsistency with the seven shutout innings thrown on Monday lowering his ERA to 4.11.

Chad Kuhl RHP (Pirates) - Get him while he is hot. He threw some more shutout ball, seven innings of one hit ball to lower his ERA to 0.91. In four of his seven starts Chad has thrown shutout ball. His last two starts covering 13 innings he has not given up a run.

Josh Hader LHP (Brewers) - The Orioles and Astros will ultimately regret trading Josh. The Orioles got Bud Norris in their deal for a 2014 playoff run and the Astros acquired the disappointing Carlos Gomez and pitcher Mike Fiers by dealing Josh and a number of other prospects for their 2015 playoff run. Josh threw six innings of shutout ball and has yet to give up more than two runs in eight of his appearances to keep his ERA down at 0.89. He has a 13/54 walk to whiff ratio in his 40.2 innings.

Kohl Stewart RHP (Twins) - Jose Berrios failed in his audition with the Twins. Kohl is still a year away, toiling in High A, but he is due for a promotion after tossing six innings of shutout ball to lower his ERA to 1.77. His walk to whiff ratio for May (7/11) needs to resemble more of April (6/26) before the Twins can be convinced of a promotion.

Top Ten Venezuelan Prospects in the National League

May 17th, 2016

Despite the talented group from the 2015 list only Rule V selection Odubel Herrera and reliever Jairo Diaz made a significant impact in the major leagues. They were the 9th and 10th best prospects in the National League. Orlando Arcia jumped from number two to one this year while last year’s number one dropped to two. There is some concern Venezuelans with talented baseball tools will be shutout of a major league opportunity because of the turmoil that exists in Venezuela. The summer league has been disbanded and any prospects now go to the Dominican Republic to play in their summer league.

Orlando Arcia SS (Brewers) - Jean Segura has been traded so the shortstop position is vacant in Milwaukee, with Jonathan Villar taking it over while Orlando plays in the minors to save his service time. He will be the National League version of Francisco Lindor when he is called up, though his defense may not be quite up to the Lindor standards. He does appear to show a better bat than Lindor did in the minor leagues, with a bit more pop to hit the gaps. His speed should make him a consistent 30 stolen base player. The Brewers are not going anywhere this year so expect Arcia to toil in AAA until September when he is called up.

Wilson Contreras C (Cubs) - One of the better catchers in the game. He has a mixture of solid defensive tools for a catcher with the bat to juice 20 plus homeruns. Last year he clubbed 8 with a .333 batting average. The injury and lack of defensive chops with Kyle Schwarber leaves Wilson as the catcher of the future for the Cubs. That future will begin next year, though it will probably start in September. The Cubs are in a playoff run so if at any time they feel that Wilson provides a better alternative behind the plate than what they have got Wilson will be promoted. This year Wilson continues to hit for average (.333) with an impressive 17/14 walk to whiff ratio.

Gleybar Torres SS (Cubs) - The Cubs find themselves a little crowded in the infield. Gleyber still has a few years to ascend the minor league ladder before they have to make a decision on him. The tools are there for him to stick at shortstop, but if Addison Russell continues to produce that position will not open up for him. The bat is restricted to gap hits, but this year his four homeruns is one more than he hit all of last year. His batting average (.244) needs some improvement. That may come with better discipline at the plate, cutting down on the strikeouts (34 in 34 games)

Jose Peraza 2B (Reds) - Two teams (Braves and Dodgers) have already traded him. At the lower levels he slashed hits like a player competing for a batting title hitting .339 at High A. The hits have not been as prevalent as he has faced more advanced pitchers. His power is non-existent and his stolen base totals have also dropped as he has faced pitchers with more deceptive moves in the stretch. It doesn’t mean he will not be a talented player in the major leagues, but he will not be the super prospect everyone thought he would be after the 2014 season. This year he is 6 for 11 in stolen base success at AAA, a number he needs to improve on if the Reds want to trust him stealing bases.

Jose Rondon SS (Padres) - The acquisition of Javier Guerra will make it more difficult for Jose to fill the shortstop job for the Padres. He has the tools to play the position, but there is nothing flashy about him. A move to second base is in his future, though this year at AA he has played every game at shortstop. His bat lacks power with even gap hits a difficult process. The speed is not there to steal bases so in order to make an impact Jose needs to get on base with an average between .270-.300. This year he is hitting .261. The Padres minor league system appears to be riddled with prospects but Jose is ahead of them as far as the level he is playing.

Carlos Tocci OF (Phillies) - Tocci is not a burner and lacks the power to move to a corner outfield spot. A fourth outfielder type could be his destiny. Last year he was only 3 for 12 in his success rate for stealing bases at High A. This year he is already 6 for 8. He will turn 21 in August so a promotion to AA could he his by mid-season. To date with his .262 average and one homerun he does not have the numbers to be promoted to AA.

Ricardo Sanchez LHP (Braves) - Ricardo throws his fastball in the mid-90s. The Braves acquired him from the Angels for Kyle Kubitza and pitcher Nate Hyatt. At 5′11 he is not a big guy, but his legs help him drive his pitch and could help him with his durability. Small lefthanders also have more success in the major leagues than small righthanders. His curveball has a sharp break and it has the potential to be a strikeout pitch. He struggled last year at Low A (1-6, 5.45) so the Braves are having him repeat at that level this year. His numbers are better but he still needs to get better separation with his walk to whiff numbers (15/26). He is still a teenager at 19 so the Braves will be patient with him.

Antonio Senzatela RHP (Rockies) - Antonio had a nice breakout season last year, especially in the strikeouts, going from 89 in 2014 to 143 in 2015. Moving from a curve to a slider helped the swing and miss rate, but his fastball also sits in the mid-90s, hitting the high 90s. An injury has created a delay to his pitching progress, putting him on the disabled list after his second start at 14. He only lasted two innings in that start. The Rockies have a number of hard throwers ahead of him on the depth chart, but the high altitude spits out pitchers with great regularity. If his injury is not too serious he should be available to be called up in September.

Eias Diaz C (Pirates) - The Pirates have extended the contract of Francisco Cervelli another couple years. If not for an elbow injury Diaz would be ready to run a major league pitching staff in 2016. His bat has always been a bit of a question mark, but last year in AAA he hit .271. The power is restricted to the gaps, with a career .364 slugging average keeping him lower in the order. If Elias remains on the disabled list for an extended period of time 2013 first round draft pick Reese McGuire could pass him on the depth chart. One of these catchers could be used as a trade chip, but first Diaz needs to show his elbow is healthy.

Yorman Rodriguez OF (Reds) - Yorman is out of options so the Reds put him on the disabled list to keep from losing him. When he is healed the Reds will use the full amount of rehab time before they decide to promote him to the major league roster. In 2014 he made his major league debut, hitting .222 in 11 games. Last year, despite their struggles the Reds had no room to call him up. Back in 2008 Yorman was the king of the 2008 international prospect class, signing for $2.5 million. The development in his tools has not been so great that he is a sure thing in the Reds outfield.

Taiwan Not to Host WBC Games

May 17th, 2016

Taiwan will not play host to the World Baseball Classic games. They submitted an application to major league baseball to host a playoff round in Kaohsiung back in November, and since they had not yet heard from major league baseball have decided to abandon their hopes of hosting.

Because of a lack of communication by major league baseball there was no opportunity for the city to prepare for the games. Taiwan was a first round host for the 2013 games so major league baseball may be considering another country in Asia to play host (Korea?). Korea recently opened a new stadium in Seoul that would be conducive for a WBC game. The WBC is expected to announce the hosts in the next couple weeks.

Otani Extends Homer Streak; Aids in Ending Winning Streak

May 17th, 2016

The previous night Shohei Otani was throwing 100 mile per hour fastballs in a start he lost to the Seibu Lions 6-3. He gave up five runs in the outing, striking out 11 in his six innings of work. The big blow was the three run homer hit by Takeya Nakamura in the seventh after a walk and an error put two runners on. The loss raised his ERA to 3.34 and dropped his record to 1-4. The strikeouts are there, but containing the big inning has been his down fall. A lack of run support has also been a problem in getting victories.

The next day against the defending champion Softbank Hawks Otani was put in the DH spot. The starting pitching for the Hawks was Rick Vandenhurk, who had a streak of 13 wins in a row since arriving from the KBO. Otani greeted Vandenhurk with a two run homer in the first inning to extend his streak of hitting homers to five consecutive games. The homerun was also his eighth of the season.

Vandenhurk also gave up a two run homer to leadoff hitter Dai-Kan Yoh in the third inning to fall behind 4-0. The Hawks would never recover as they fell to the Nippon Ham Fighters 7-2.

The last player to hit five consecutive homers in a game in the NPB was Tony Blanco back in 2013. Ironic that Tony Blanco hit his first homerun yesterday in a season plagued by injuries. The overall professional record for consecutive homeruns is nine held by now Seattle Mariner Dae-Ho Lee, who had his streak in the KBO. Don Mattingly and Ken Griffey Jr. hold the major league record with 8. I believe Sadaharu Oh holds the Japanese record with 7.

In other NPB news, the Cuban pitcher Hector Mendoza has been called up to pitch for the Yomiuri Giants. Hector is one of the players the Cuban government has loaned out to the NPB. He was the closer for the Cuban National team. The early appearances have been a struggle. Yesterday in his third appearance he got banged around for two runs in his one inning of work. Ex-Giant Jose Lopez tagged him for a two run homer, his second homer of the game. The ERA for Hector rose to 11.25.