Mexican Winter Wonders to Watch in 2017

December 1st, 2016

The stash of prospects in the Mexican League is not as great as in the other winter leagues. This could be the result of the veteran players that dot the rosters there, making it more difficult for a younger player to find playing time. Most of the prospects playing in the Mexican League are over 21 years of age.

Randy Arozarena (Cardinals/Navojoa) OF - The 21 year old Cuban is raking against Mexican League pitching, hitting .342, which puts him fourth in the league. He is also showing some speed with 15 stolen bases, tops in the league, though he has been caught stealing 8 times. During his last season in the Cuban League he hit .291. He shows speed but appears to lack power with only 9 of his 51 hits going for extra bases, none of them travelling out of the park.

Joey Wendle (Athletics/Obregon) 2B - The Athletics traded a lot of production in Brandon Morrow to acquire Wendle. It is time for them to see what he can accomplish on the field. Not blessed with a lot of tools, but he should give you a .270 bat at the second base position. For Obregon he is hitting .307 with 11 doubles that has increased his slugging percentage to .511. He won’t win any gold gloves with his defense and his speed falls at the highest point in the Bell Curve of major league players (denoting average) but he stole 14 bases in 18 attempts last year and is 5 for 6 in the Mexican League this year, so he takes advantage of his opportunities.

David Washington (Orioles/Hermosillo) 1B - There is a lot of swing and miss in his at bats, but when he makes contact there is thunder. Last year he hit 30 homeruns between AA and AAA. The Cardinals did not put him on the 40 man roster and he left as a six year minor league free agent. In the Mexican League he is still swinging and missing with 42 whiffs in 27 games for a .173 average. On the upside he is second in the league in homeruns with 8. David has at least struck out once in his last eight games.

Art Charles (Jalisco/Reds) 1B - Baseball America voted him the Independent League player of the year in 2016. Like Washington the swings and misses come easy, but there is some pop in his bat. He has four homeruns in the Mexican League but only a .204 average with 37 whiffs in 27 games. His biggest power year was his last in the minors in 2015 when he hit 19 homeruns. In his six year minor league career he never hit better than .251 and always had more than one strikeout per game. In Independent Ball he raked hitting .352 with 29 homeruns.

Luis Heredia (Pirates/Mazatl├ín) RHP - The Pirates spent a lot of money signing the 6′5″ Mexican righthander. There was a lot of promise five years ago but that stock has dropped. The Pirates moved him to the bullpen last year and that is where he is pitching for Mazatl├ín. Two bad relief outings taint his 4.76 ERA. The opposition batting average of .263 won’t bring a lot of confidence in his future success, but he has struck out 24 hitters in 26 innings. His walks to innings pitched is still below 2 to 1, which does not bode well for a career in the major leagues.

Draft Rosters for the Show Me Teams

December 1st, 2016

The Missouri teams of Kansas City and Saint Louis are reviewed below. Kansas City is empty at short and catcher based on draft picks since 2005. Early on the Royals had some big hits with their number one picks. This has not been the case since 2008, though pennant races have motivated them to trade many of their top prospects. The Cardinals have done a good job of providing their roster with strong depth using the domestic draft. Their only weak position appears to be shortstop. They have done an especially good job of finding some diamonds in the rough in the middle portions of the draft.

Kansas City Royals

2005 - Alex Gordon (1) LF
2006 - Luke Hochevar (1) RHP, Everett Teaford (12) LHP, Brad Boxberger (20 - DNS) RHP, Jarrod Dyson (50) OF
2007 - Mike Moustakas (1) 3B, Danny Duffy (3) LHP, Greg Holland (10) RHP, David Lough (11) OF, Clint Robinson (25) 1B
2008 - Eric Hosmer (1) 1B, Mike Montgomery (1) LHP, Johnny Giavotella (2) 2B, John Lamb (5) LHP, Blaine Hardy (22) LHP
2009 - Wil Myers (3) OF/1B, Louis Coleman (5) RHP, Buddy Baumann (7) LHP, Mike Morin (40 - DNS) RHP
2010 - Christian Colon (1) 3B, Brett Eibner (2) OF, Kevin Chapman (4) RHP, Michael Mariot (8) RHP, Jon Gray (13 - DNS) RHP
2011 - Aaron Brooks (9) RHP, Terrence Gore (20) OF, Spencer Patton (24) RHP
2012 - Daniel Stumpf (9) LHP
2013 - Sean Manea (1) LHP, Cody Reed (2) LHP
2014 - Brandon Finnegan (1) LHP, Scott Blewett (2) RHP, Eric Skoglund (3) LHP
2015 - Josh Staumont (2) RHP

Roster

C - None
1B - Eric Hosmer, Clint Robinson
2B - Johnny Giavotella
3B - Mike Moustakas, Christian Colon
SS - None
OF - Alex Gordon, Wil Myers, Jarrod Dyson, David Lough, Brett Eibner, Terrence Gore
SP - Luke Hochevar, John Lamb, Jon Gray, Sean Manea, Cody Reed, Brandon Finnegan
RP - Greg Holland, Mike Montgomery, Brad Boxberger, Louis Coleman, Everett Teaford, Danny Duffy, Blaine Hardy, Buddy Baumann, Mike Morin, Kevin Chapman, Michael Mariot, Aaron Brooks, Spencer Patton, Daniel Stumpf, Scott Blewett, Eric Skoglund, Josh Staumont

St. Louis Cardinals

2005 - Colby Rasmus (1) OF, Bryan Anderson (4) C, Daniel McCutchen (12 - DNS, Jaime Garcia (22) LHP
2006 - Adam Ottovino (1) RHP, Jon Jay (2) OF, Shane Robinson (5) OF, Allan Craig (8) 3B/1B, David Carpenter (12) C, Jon Edwards (14) OF, Tommy Pham (16) OF, Luke Gregerson (28) RHP
2007 - Pete Kozma (1) SS, Daniel Descalso (3) UTL, Sam Freeman (24 - DNS) LHP, Tony Cruz (26) C, Michael Blazek (35) RHP
2008 - Brett Wallace (1) 3B/1B, Lance Lynn (1) RHP, Shane Peterson (2) OF, Mitch Harris (13) RHP, Xavier Scruggs (19) 1B
2009 - Shelby Miller (1) RHP, Joe Kelly (3) RHP, Matt Carpenter (13) 2B, Trevor Rosenthal (21) RHP, Matt Adams (23) 1B
2010 - Greg Garcia (7) UTL, Tyler Lyons (9) LHP
2011 - Kolton Wong (1) 2B, Charlie Tilson (2) OF, Seth Maness (11) RHP
2012 - Michael Wacha (1) RHP, Stephen Piscotty (1) OF/1B, Tim Cooney (3) LHP, Kyle Barraclough (7) RHP
2013 - Marco Gonzalez (1) LHP, Rob Kaminsky (1) LHP
2014 - Luke Weaver (1) RHP, Jack Flaherty (1) RHP

Roster

C - Bryan Anderson, Tony Cruz, David Carpenter (Yadier Molina was a 4th round pick in 2000)
1B - Allan Craig, Brett Wallace, Xavier Scruggs, Matt Adams (Albert Pujols a 13th round pick in 1999)
2B - Kolton Wong, Daniel Descalso, Greg Garcia
3B - Matt Carpenter
SS - Pete Kozma
OF - Colby Rasmus, Jon Jay, Shane Robinson, Tommy Pham, Shane Peterson, Charlie Tilson, Stephen Piscoty, Jon Eswards
SP - Lance Lynn, Michael Wacha, Jaime Garcia, Shelby Miller, Luke Weaver, Marco Gonzalez
RP - Trevor Rosenthal, Luke Gregorson, Daniel McCutchen, Adam Ottovino, Sam Freeman, Michael Blazek, Mitch Harris, Kevin Siegrist, Joe Kelly, Tyler Lyons, Seth Maness, TimConney, Kyle Barraclough, Rob Kaminsky, Jack Flaherty

Dominican Winter Wonders to Watch in 2017

November 30th, 2016

Below are some of the players to watch in the Dominican Republic winter leagues. They are either highly considered prospects or veterans having a good winter that they hope will bring some attention to them when they enter spring training in 2017.

Rafael Bautista (Nationals/Escojido) CF - He will not hit for a lot of power but if he can hit for average with his speed and defense he could win the starting job in centerfield for the Nationals, moving Trea Turner to second or shortstop. With Leones he is hitting .314 with eight stolen bases in ten attempts. That could get him some playing time for the Nationals.

Manuel Margot (Padres/Toros) CF - Margot has some pop to go with his speed. A good winter could give the Padres a tough choice between him and Travis Jankowski for the centerfield starting job. In the Dominican he is hitting .263 with two homeruns and eight stolen bases in 9 attempts. He could fit in the three hole if he shows double digit pop or the leadoff spot if he can improve his patience at the plate. In a brief major league callup he did not walk once in his 37 at bats.

Dylan Cozens (Phillies/Aguilas) RF - Last year Cozens hit 40 homeruns to lead the Eastern League. It is not easy hitting homeruns in the Dominican, but his four lead the Dominican league. Unfortunately, the more experienced pitchers are finding the holes in his swing resulting in 32 strikeouts in 85 at bats for a .165 average. They are passionate about their game in the Dominican and Dylan will have to be more consistent if he hopes to stay on the roster. He is 0 for his last 13 but appears to have gone home for the winter, his last game on the 21st.

Rhys Hoskins (Phillies/Gigantes) 1B - They are playing for different teams in the Dominican but Rhys and Dylan hope to both be playing for the Phillies by September 2017. Rhys is tied with Dylan for the Dominican homerun lead. Last year his 38 homeruns were second in the Eastern League to his teammate Dylan. He is making better contact than Dylan with just 14 whiffs in 76 at bats but his .224 average is still disappointing. He is 0 for his last 14 and may be home for the winter, his last game on the 22nd.

Willy Adames (Rays/Licey) SS - Willy has struggled early this season with a .167 average. Of his five hits none have gone for extra bases. He has the tools to play shortstop and showed a potent bat in AA last year. The 30 at bats are a small sample size but they could be indicators that he needs another year in the minor leagues before he takes over the Rays shortstop job.

Alec Asher (Phillies/Gigantes) RHP - He made a nice end of the season debut with the Phillies with a 2.28 ERA in five starts. He is achieving the same amount of success with a 2.14 ERA in eight starts for the Gigantes. Right handed hitters are batting only .145 against him. Myworld expects his last start was on the 27th, his worst start of the winter when he coughed up three runs in four innings.

Brewers Sign KBO MVP Eric Thames

November 29th, 2016

Eric Thames is getting another opportunity with major league baseball. He had a brief two year career playing for Seattle and Toronto. He showed some pop in those two years with 21 homeruns. In 2013 he spent all his time in the minor leagues. The Mariners traded him to the Orioles and after being put on waivers in September he was claimed by the Astros. The Astros released him in December so he could pursue his career in Korea with the NC Dinos.

In the KBO Thames hit 124 homeruns and drove in 379 runs, numbers good enough to win him the MVP award in 2015. Those kind of numbers were also good enough for the Brewers to release Chris Carter and to sign Eric Thames to play first base for them next year.

The contract is interesting in that Eric has the right to decline an option to the minors, similar to what the Orioles had to go through with Syun Woo Kim. The contract is worth $16 million guaranteed over three years with another $7.5 million he can earn on a team option in 2020. He gets $4 million in 2017 with $1 million salary increases each of the next two years. If the team does not exercise the $7.5 million option they must pay him $1 million.

Last year Carter hit 41 homeruns with the Brewers. His batting average is low while his strikeout numbers are high. Defensively Carter was a bit challenged in the outfield and at first base. The Brewers may get the same kind of player in Thames but with less power and a better average and contact rate. This production will also come at a lower price than the $8 million plus Carter was expected to get in arbitration this year.

North Downs South in Mexican League All Star Game

November 28th, 2016

With the score tied 3-3 singles by C.J. Retherford and Jose Amador put runners on first and third with no outs in the bottom of the ninth. A shallow fly to right failed to score Retherford from third. Olmo Rosario grounded to second, the South tried to turn two but Rosario beat the throw to first, Retherford scoring the game winning run to give the North the 4-3 win.

Most of the action occurred in the second inning. In the top half Sebastian Elizalde hit a two run homer to give the South an early 2-0 lead. The North came back in the bottom half after a Jose Amador single and a Olmo Rosario double put runners on second and third. A wild pitch scored the first run and a Yunesky Betancourt blast over the left field fence gave the North a 3-2 lead.

The South tied the game in the top of the eighth after an error and back to back singles scored one run. Jose Guadalupe Chavez stroked the single to tie the game. With runners on first and second and no one out the South failed to score another run.

Pitching stars for the game were Manuel Valdez for the North who after giving up a leadoff single struck out the side in the fifth. For the South Julio Felix and Roberto Espinosa each retired the side in the fifth and sixth innings, striking out two each. Jake Sanchez got the win for the North by getting the last out in the eighth and retiring the side in order in the top of the ninth.

Barreda Completes No Hitter in Mexican League

November 27th, 2016

Manny Barreda pitched a nine inning no hitter for the Caneros de los Mochis in their 2-0 win over the Naranjeros de Hermosillo. The Naranjeros sent up three pinch hitters in the ninth inning to try to break up the no hitter but Barreda struck out all of them. He issued a two out walk to Jorge Flores in the third and a two out error in the ninth inning prevented him from pitching a perfect game. There were nine Narenjeros punched out by Barreda before the game was done.

Manny threw 138 pitches in the game, which tells you he has no affiliation with a major league team. Last year he pitched 25 games in relief in the Mexican League finishing with a 3.50 ERA. He is starting in the winter league where he has gotten eight starts. His longest outing prior to his no hitter was a seven inning outing. To date opponents are only hitting .191 off him. Perhaps he has found another pitch to make him more effective on the mound.

He turned 28 in October. He last pitched for the Braves in the minor leagues in 2015. The New York Yankees drafted Manny in the 12th round of the 2007 draft out of Sahuarita High School in Arizona. Most of his minor league appearances have been in relief.

Bay Area Rosters Based on the Draft

November 26th, 2016

Below would be the rosters for the two Bay area teams, the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics if both teams relied solely on the domestic draft to stock their players. Oakland and their money ball philosophy has not born a lot of major league ball players and the Giants attempt to continue to draft solid starting pitching through the draft has seemed to dry up after the selection of Madison Bumgarner in 2007.

San Francisco Giants

2005 - Johnny Monell (27 - DNS) C, Sergio Romo (38) RHP
2006 - Tim Lincecum (1) RHP, Emmanuel Burriss (1) SS
2007 - Madison Bumgarner (1) LHP, Nick Noonan (1) UTL, Charlie Culberson (1) UTL, Johnny Monell (30) C, Paul Clemens (36 - DNS) RHP
2008 - Buster Posey (1) C, Conor Gillespie (1) 3B, Brandon Crawford (4) SS, Eric Surkamp (6) LHP
2009 - Zack Wheeler (1) RHP, Tommy Joseph (2) 1B, Brandon Belt (5) 1B, Chris Heston (12) RHP
2010 - Jarrett Parker (2) OF, Adam Duvall (11) OF, Alec Asher (23 - DNS) RHP
2011 - Joe Panik (1) 2B, Andrew Susac (2) C, Josh Osich (6) LHP, Ray Black (7) RHP, Derek Law (9) RHP, Kelby Tomlinson (12) 2B, Clayton Balckburn (16) RHP, Cody Hall (19) RHP
2012 - Chris Stratton (1) RHP, Mac Williamson (3) OF, Trevor Brown (10) C, Matt Duffy (18) 3B
2013 - Christian Arroyo (1) 3B

Roster

C - Buster Posey, Trevor Brown, Johnny Monelll, Andrew Susac
1B - Brandon Belt, Tommy Joseph
2B - Joe Panik, Emmanuel Burriss, Kelby Tomlinson, Nick Noonan
3B - Conor Gillespie, Matt Duffy, Christian Arroyo
SS - Brandon Crawford, Charlie Culberson
OF - Adam Duvall, Jarrett Parker, Mac Williamson
SP - Madison Bumgarner, Zack Wheeler, Tim Lincecum, Paul Clemens, Chris Stratton
RP - Sergio Romo, Eric Surkamp, Chris Heston, Alec Asher, Josh Osich, Ray Black, Derek Law and Cody Hall

Oakland Athletics

2005 - Cliff Pennington (1) SS, Vin Mazzaro (3) RHP, Justin Smoak (16 - DNS) 1B, Anthony Recker (18) C
2006 - Trevor Cahill (2) RHP, Andrew Bailey (6) RHP, Mike Leake (7 - DNS) RHP
2007 - Sean Doolittle (1) RHP, Collin Cowgill (29 - DNS) OF
2008 - Jemile Weeks (1) 2B, Tyson Ross (2) RHP, Preston Guillmet (22 - DNS) RHP, Chris Rusin (23 - DNS) RHP, J.R. Graham (46 - DNS) RHP
2009 - Grant Green (1) UTL, Max Stassi (4) C, Ian Krol (7) LHP, Sam Dyson (10 - DNS) RHP, Dan Strailey (24) RHP, Mike Zunino (29 - DNS) C, Mike Bolsinger (33 - DNS) RHP
2010 - Michael Choice (1) OF, A.J. Griffin (13) RHP, Aaron Judge (31 - DNS) OF, Andrew Knapp (41 - DNS) C
2011 - Sonny Gray (1) RHP, Blake Treinen (7) RHP
2012 - Addison Russell (1) SS, Matt Muncy (5) 3B/OF
2013 - Dillon Overton (2) LHP, Ryan Healy (3) 3B

Roster

C - Anthony Recker, Max Stassi, Mike Zunino, Andrew Knapp
1B - Justin Smoak
2B - Cliff Pennington, Jemile Weeks
3B - Matt Muncy, Ryan Healy
SS - Addison Russell, Grant Green
OF - Collin Cowgill, Michael Choice, Aaron Judge
SP - Sonny Gray, Mike Leake, Trevor Cahill, Tyson Ross, Chris Rusin
RP - Vin Mazzaro, Andrew Bailey, Sean Doolittle, Preston Guilmet, J.R. Graham, Ian Krol, San Dyson, Dan Strailey, Mike Bolsinger, A.J. Griffin, Balke Treinen, Dillon Overton

The Top Nine in Japan NPB

November 26th, 2016

This is kind of like a post season All Star voting. The top nine at each position from each of the conferences is selected. Shohei Otani was voted as the top pitcher and the top designated hitter in the Pacific League. Below are the selections:

Central League

Pitcher - Yusuke Nomura (Hiroshima Carp)
Catcher - Yoshiyuki Ishihara (Hiroshima Carp)
First base - Takahiro Arai (Hiroshima Carp)
Second Base - Tetsuto Yamada (Yakult Swallows)
Third Base - Shuichi Murata (Yomiuri Giants)
Shortstop - Hayato Sakamoto (Yomiuri Giants)
Outfield - Seiya Suzuki (Hiroshima Carp), Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (Yokohama Bay Stars), Yoshihiro Maru (Hiroshima Carp)

Pacific League

Pitcher - Shohei Otani (Nippon Ham Fighters)
Catcher -Tatsuhiro Tamura (Lotte Marines)
First Base - Sho Nakata (Nippon Ham Fighters)
Second base - Hideto Asamura (Seibu Lions)
Third Base - Brandon Laird (Nippon Ham Fighters)
Shortstop - Daichi Suzuki (Lotte Marines)
Outfielders - Katsuya Kakunaka (Lotte Marines), Yoshio Itoi (Orix Buffaloes), Haruki Nishikawa (Nippon Ham Fighters)
Designated Hitter - Shohei Otani

Japan Extends Number One Ranking in International Baseball

November 26th, 2016

Japan has extended their lead over the United States by 741 points in the World Baseball and Softball Confederation end of the year polling. A tournament win in the Under 23 tournaments helped cement their lead atop the poll. Two other events helped vault Japan farther past the United States in the poll. Japan was second to Cuba in the Under 15 tournament while the United States finished in third. Japan also won a best of five exhibition match with the United States three games to two in a game of college All Stars.

Korea moved closer to the United States and is in third place in the rankings. A win over the United States last November in the Premier 12 moved them closer to second place. The United States brought a team of AAA players who were not on major league 40 man rosters while the Korean team was composed of KBO All Stars. Korea routed the United States 8-0 in the championship game showing a squad of AAA minor leaguers was no match for the KBO All Stars. Japan took third place in the Premier 12.

Below is the top ten and the number of points accumulated. You can see all the 100 or so rankings at the World Baseball Softball Confederation website.

1. Japan - 5669 points
2. United States - 4928 points
3. Korea - 4823 points
4. Taiwan - 4239 points
5. Cuba - 3857 points
6. Venezuela - 2684 points
7. Mexico - 3081 points
8. Canada - 2200 points
9. Netherlands - 2071 points
10. Italy - 2008 points

Australia moved into the top 12 as a result of their second place finish in the Under 23 tournament. Being ranked in the Top 12 qualifies you for the Premier 12, which distributes the second most points after the World Baseball Classic, which will be held in March.

Choi Signs Record KBO Contract

November 25th, 2016

Take the KBO batting leader Hyoung-Woo Choi off the free agent market. He signed with the Kia Tigers for approximately $2.12 million a year over four years, leaving the Samsung Lions. There was talk that some major league teams were interested in signing the 32 year old who won the KBO batting title with a .376 average and drove in the most runs with 144 RBIs. The leftfielder slugged 31 homeruns, the third straight season he has hit 30 or more homeruns, but it fell far short of the 40 homeruns hit by the league leaders Eric Thames and Choi Jeong to miss the triple crown. It is doubtful a major league team would match the $2 million plus the Tigers were willing to shell out for Choi.