Kuroda Wins First for Carp

March 29th, 2015

Hiroki Kuroda won his opening day start pitching seven innings of shutout ball in the Hiroshima Carp’s 2-1 win over the Yakult Swallows. He struck out five and walked one, allowing just five hits. Jesus Guzman scored a run in the fifth after drawing a two out walk and drove in a run in the seventh with a double. Deunte Heath pitched the ninth to get the save despite adding some gray hair on his manager by giving up two hits.

Two teams have started the season 3-0. The Hanshin Tigers won their first game without a walk off hit beating the Chunichi Dragons 10-8. The Seibu Lions won their third game in a row with a 5-4 win over the Orix Buffaloes. The Dragons and Buffaloes have started the season 0-3.

Pirates a Win Away from Finals

March 29th, 2015

Last year Matanzas was upset and did not make it to the finals. Isla de la Juventud is one win away from dealing Matanzas another upset playoff series loss to advance to the Cuban finals. They scored three runs in the eighth, the go ahead run scoring on a passed ball to give the Pirates a 6-5 lead. Danier Galvez drove in an insurance run with a single and defensive replacement Leonardo Urguelles smoked a triple to drive in the final run for the 8-5 win. Danny Aguilera worked his second inning of relief to notch the victory, improving his record to 12-0.

It was a sloppy game with seven errors, four by the Crocodiles to allow the first four runs scored by the Pirates to be unearned. The boxscore for the game can be found below:

boxscore

Top Ten Puerto Rican Prospects

March 28th, 2015

Javier Baez is one of two players from the list last year who made the major leagues and no longer qualifies for the list this year. Javier had trouble making contact and may see himself back in the minor leagues in 2015. Christian Vazquez took over the catching job for the Red Sox but he may ultimately be a back up once Blake Swihart is ready for the major leagues. Most of the other players from the list last year again appear on the list this year. There are a few newcomers as others disappoint.

1. Carlos Correa SS (Astros) - Carlos is doing his best not to impress myworld, going 1 for 10 when we have watched him. Carlos became the first Puerto Rican selected first overall in the major league draft, selected by the Astros in 2012. At 6′4″ he is large for a shortstop, but he seems to be able to play the position now. There is some concern that as he gets older he will get bigger, becoming too slow to play the position a couple years from now. Carlos shows the ability to hit for average and power so a move to third base should not be a problem. Last year his season was cut short by a broken right fibula limiting him to just 62 games. His OBA the last two seasons has been over .400. Expect him to start the season in AA with a possible promotion to the Astros in September. Only Jed Lowrie or Luis Valbuena stand in his way for a major league job.

2. Francisco Lindor SS (Indians) - Francisco was a first round pick of the Indians in 2011, selected just ahead of Javier Baez. There is no question with the defense of Francisco. The big concern is whether he can hit. The Indians have been patient with him, moving him up a level at a time, with a half season played at two different levels. As he has risen up the ranks he has shown an ability to hit, with a .278 minor league career average, numbers the Indians would accept with the defense he provides. His power broke out a little last year with 11 homeruns. Francisco will be sent down for half a season in AAA but should be called up by mid-season, taking over the shortstop position from Jose Ramirez. A lot will depend on the Indians status in the playoff race and the performance of Jose Ramirez.

3. Jose Berrios RHP (Twins) - Puerto Rico has developed a number of hitters but Jose will be one of the first stand out pitchers. He was the highest drafted pitcher out of Puerto Rico, selected in the first round of the supplemental draft in 2012. Jose pitched for the 2013 World Baseball Classic team as a teenager. His fastball sits at 92-94, reaching up to 98. Last year Jose rose three levels, making one ineffective start in AAA. Jose will begin the season in AAA with an injury or ineffectiveness away from getting a callup to the Twins. Alex Meyer and Trevor May may get the first opportunity, but Berrios could achieve the greater results because of better command.

4. Steven Moya OF (Tigers) - Moya was born in Puerto Rico but grew up in the Dominican Republic where he was signed by the Tigers in 2008. At 6′6″ he has a large strike zone, which resulted in 161 whiffs in 133 games. It also provides him with a lot of power when he makes contact with 35 homeruns last year. A poor spring and the acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes will have him begin his 2015 season in AAA. Prior to last season he had difficulty staying healthy. If he can continue to get his at bats and improve his patience he could hit 30 plus homeruns with a .250 average with the Tigers.

5. Eddie Rosario OF/2B (Twins) - Eddie has been bounced around between the infield and outfield. The Twins selected him in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. Despite his recent demotion to the minors he should make an impact for the Twins before the season is over. Second base appears to be blocked by Brian Dozier and center field appears to be the future of Byron Buxton. That leaves left field for Eddie. Whether he can show the power for the position is questionable. His ultimate role may be as a super utility player. He had a .300 career minor league average until his struggles in AA last year when he hit just .237. The Twins may start him in AA to see him achieve success there. He can still be promoted to the major leagues if he does well in AA.

6. Jesmuel Valentin 2B (Phillies) - The Dodgers drafted Jesmuel in the first round of the 2012 draft. The Dodgers traded him to the Phillies in the Roberto Hernandez trade. He is the son of ex-major league shortstop Jose. The future for Jesmuel appears to be on the other side of the bag because of a short arm. He’s got some speed, swiping 25 bases last year and his power took seven balls out of the park with a .430 slugging in Low A. A promotion to the Florida State League saw a bit of a struggle with a .205 average and .250 slugging. This will be where he starts the 2015 season. With J.P. Crawford the future shortstop for the Phillies, Freddy Galvis could be his biggest competition for second base after the Chase Utley ride ends.

7. Edwin Diaz RHP (Mariners) - Edwin was drafted in the third round of the 2012 draft. His fastball sits in the low 90s but has hit 97. As he adds muscle to his 6′2″ frame you could see him add some giddy up in the fastball. He also needs improvement on his secondary pitches (slider and change). Last year he got 24 starts he low A limiting the opposition to a .226 average and striking out just under a hitter per inning. The 2014 season should see him move to High A.

8. Jose Deleon RHP (Dodgers) - Jose had a break out year in 2014, putting him in the spot light. No team drafted him out of high school and the Dodgers waited until the 24th round to select him out of college. He got rid of the dough boy look, saw his fastball rise to the mid-90s and when given the opportunity to pitch in July at the rookie level he shined, striking out 12.8 hitters per nine innings and limiting the opposition to a .217 average. This led to a promotion to Low A where he was unhittable in four starts (.171 average and 16.7 whiffs per nine innings), with a 2/42 walk to whiff ratio. Don’t be surprised to see the Dodgers jump him to High A to give him a challenge.

9. Yadiel Rivera SS/2B (Brewers) - Yadiel was a ninth round pick in the 2010 draft. He has the tools to play short but has Orlando Arcia in his rear view mirror and Jean Segura at the major league level to block his path. If Yadiel can show he can hit his defense will get him a job. He lacks stolen base speed and his minor league average sits at only .241 with a .288 OBA. The Brewers would like to see a little more offense than that. If he fails to hit he can always make the team as a utility player because of his defense. Last year he played at AA, hitting .262 in 183 at bats after hitting .255 in 231 at bats in High A. The Twins will start his 2015 season in AA.

10. Alex Claudio LHP (Rangers) - Another sleeper because of his left handed arm. He doesn’t throw hard with a fastball failing to see 90. With a side arm delivery he could be restricted to a lefthanded situational relief role, something always needed in the major leagues. He made his major league debut last year, limiting lefthanded hitters to a .190 average. Unfortunately, righthanders hit him at a .345 clip. This same pattern was repeated in AAA. Alex is having a solid spring and should see the Rangers bullpen in 2015. He needs to continue to retire lefthanded hitters to stick.

To see the list from last year you can go to the link below:

2014 top ten Puerto Rican prospects

Korea Opens KBO Season

March 28th, 2015

A day after Japan started their season Korea begins theirs. A little more offense and less 1-0 games were witnessed in the Korean games, with four of the five games sellouts. The restrictions on food purchases and alcohol consumption have yet to have an impact on attendance. Below are the summaries of the 2015 Korean openers.

Nexen Heroes 5 Hanwha Eagles 4

The MVP of the league last year, Keon-chang Seo, got his team off to a good start with a walkoff homerun in the bottom of the 12th to give them a win over the annual last place team the Eagles. Despite spending most of his practices in the minor leagues because of discipline issues, Nyjer Morgan went 4 for 5 in a losing cause. The Heroes bullpen shut out the Eagles for six innings after starter Andy Van Hekken had given up four runs in the first six innings. The Eagles bullpen was not as proficient, giving up four runs after Mitch Talbot gave up one run in his first six innings.

Lotte Giants 12 KT Wiz 9

The Giants overcame an 8-2 deficit against the expansion Wiz with a seven run fifth. Jong-Yoon Park spanked a three run homer to fuel the fifth. Jun-Seok Choi hit a two run homer for the Giants. The Wiz got a big game from Sang-Hyun Kim, who went deep twice with a 2-run and 3-run bomb to deliver five RBIs in a losing cause. He finished the game with four hits in five at bats. Jim Adduci banged out three hits from the leadoff spot, scoring three times. Phil Irwin for the Wiz and Brooks Raley for the Giants both had poor starts each giving up seven or more runs in less than five innings of work.

Kia Tigers 3 LG Twins 1

Bum-Ho Lee homered to lead off the seventh to break a scoreless tie and the Tigers added two more runs in the inning to get the win. Hyun-Jong Yang pitched six shutout innings but Joon-Seop Im got the win by holding the Twins scoreless in the seventh. Ex-Oriole Suk-Min Yoon picked up the save, but it was not without some excitement as he gave up two hits and a run in the eighth inning, but retired the side in the ninth to earn the save. Henry Sosa took the loss for the Twins going six plus innings in his start before giving up the bomb to Lee.

Doosan Bears 9 NC Dinos 4

Myworld is expecting big things from the NC Dinos, but it didn’t start too well in the opener. Charlie Shirek did not last five innings giving up four runs, but only one of those was earned. Yunesky Maya survived six innings to get the win, giving up all four runs. Jae-Ho Kim had three hits from the bottom of the order and Hyun-Soo Kim and Jae-Hwan Kim each hit solo shots for the Bears.

Samsung Lions 6 SK Wyverns 1

The four time defending champion Lions got off to a good start. Alfred Figaro tossed six shutout innings to get the win. The Lions got to Travis Banwart early, racking him for four runs in four innings.

Tartabull Leads Pirates to Win

March 27th, 2015

Jorge Tartabull rapped a walk off single to give the Pirates a 7-6 win over the Matanzas Crocodiles. With a runner on third and one out the Crocodiles chose to walk intentionally the next two hitters to load the bases to set up the double play. Yaniel Blanco came on to strike out Jose Velasquez for the second out, but Tartabull got the hit to give the Pirates a two game to one lead.

The Pirates sent the game into extra innings in the ninth after a double by Michel Enriquez and a sacrifice fly from Jorge Barcelan. For Barcelan it was his third RBI of the game. Enriquez finished the game with three hits and three runs scored.

Luis Yander La O was the offensive hero for the Crocodiles with three hits, a homerun and two RBIs. Both starters failed to last more than one inning, Darien Nunez failing to get an out in the second inning for the Pirates and Cionel Perez only get two outs in the first inning for the Crocodiles, both pitchers charged with three runs.

Box score for the game can be found at the below link:

boxscore

NPB Opens Season

March 27th, 2015

The Japanese opened their season today, with all the teams active. Below are the scores from the games and a few highlights.

Chibba Lotte Marines 3 Softbank Hawks 1

The Marines are waiting for Alfredo Despaigne to join the team to give them a bat. Hideaki Wakui threw six innings of shutout ball to lead the Marines in their opening day win to void the need for the bat. Tadahito Iguchi hit a solo shot among his two hits to give the Marines an insurance run.

Nippon Ham Fighters 5 Rakuten Golden Eagles 2

Brandon Laird stitched together three hits to lead the Fighters to a win. Shohei Otani got the start working five plus innings to get the win, giving up one run. Zelous Wheeler hit a solo homerun in a losing cause.

Seibu Lions 1 Orix Buffaloes 0

Ernesto Mejia drove in the only run with a single and Kazuhisa Makita threw seven innings of shutout ball to give the Lions the win. Brandon Dickson pitched seven innings for the Buffaloes and gave up one run to take the loss.

Yakult Swallows 4 Hiroshima Carp 2

Lastings Milledge banged a two run triple in the 11th inning to give the Swallows an opening day win. Tony Barnette pitched two innings of relief to pick up the win. Kenta Maeda got the start for the Carp and coughed up two runs in seven innings. He avoided the loss when the Carp tied the game in the bottom of the eighth when Ryuhei Matsuyama roped a two run double.

Hanshin Tigers 5 Chunichi Dragons 4

Matt Murton banged out a walk off single to give the Tigers the win. It was his first hit in five at bats. The Tigers had rallied for three runs in the eighth on an RBI single by Tsuyoshi Nishioka and a two run double by Mauro Gomez.

Yomiuri Giants 3 Yokahama Bay Stars 2

The Gourriel brothers are ignoring the Bay Stars inquiries about their availability for the season. The Bay Stars are threatening to cut off their pay for missed games. Not a good start for a Cuban contract. The Bay Stars did get two solo homeruns from Yoshitomo Tsutsugo and Taiki Sekine but it was not enough to hold down the Giants. The Giants got a two run homerun from Yoshiyuki Kamei to put them on a top. The Giants had a record crowd of 45,524 attend the game.

MLB Top Ten Franchises

March 27th, 2015

The New York Yankees are tied with the Dallas Cowboys as the top valued sports franchise in the United States valued at $3.2 billion according to Forbes. The top franchise in the world is the Spanish soccer club Real Madrid, valued at $3.44 billion. The total value for all major league baseball franchises is $36 million. The average revenue per team was estimated at $262 million, most of it due to increased television revenue.

1. New York Yankees $3.2 billion
2. Los Angeles Dodgers $2.4 billion
3. Boston Red Sox $2.1 billion
4. San Francisco Giants $2 billion
5. Chicago Cubs $1.8 billion
6. St. Louis Cardinals $1.4 billion
7. New York Mets $1.35 billion
8. Los Angeles Angels $1.3 billion
9. Washington Nationals $1.28 billion
10. Philadelphia Phillies $1.25 billion

The team who is last on the list is the Tampa Bay Rays at $625 million. For the complete list see the link below:

Forbes top ten franchises

Ciego de Avila Stuns Granma

March 27th, 2015

In the opener the Stallions took it to the Tigers 9-2. Ciego raised the ante bashing four homeruns and 25 hits to beat Granma 16-5 to even their series. Osvaldo Vazquez sent two deep to drive in three runs and Raul Gonzalez and Yeniet Perez also powered homeruns. Gonzalez drove in four runs with his three hits. The big hit man was Ariel Borrero with five.

The Stallions were never in the game with Ciego bolting to a 8-0 lead after the first three innings, scoring in every inning but the fourth. Dariel Gongora got the start for the Stallions and could not survive the first inning. Yander Guevara worked six innings to get the win for Ciego.

The box score for the game can be found below:

boxscore

Victor with the Victory

March 27th, 2015

Victor Martinez hit his first homerun of the spring, a two run shot that gave the Tigers a 6-4 win over the Orioles. Joakim Soria pitched the last inning and retired the side in order to get the save. For the Tigers this was a good sign with the struggles of Joe Nathan this spring and the lack of a lock down closers in the bullpen.

Rajai Davis led the Tigers to their first two runs, walking in the opening frame and scoring on a sacrifice fly by Miguel Cabrera. In the third he laced a gapper into left center and legged it into a triple, scoring on a single by Miguel Cabrera. Both runs were scored against Chris Tillman, who worked five innings, retiring the last seven hitters he faced after giving up the Cabrera hit.

David Price retired the first 10 hitters he faced. He ran into trouble after that, giving up back to back singles to Dario Alvarez and Jimmy Paredes. Delmon Young ripped a ball into right centerfield and showed off his legs, racing to third to complete the triple. Nolan Reimold hit a ball deep enough into center field to score Young to give the Orioles a 3-2 lead. Price returned to his dominant pitching by retiring the last 10 hitters he faced.

The Tigers used their power to recapture the lead off reliever Tommie Hunter. First Miguel Cabrera drove a line drive that barely cleared the left field fence in the sixth inning on the first pitch thrown by Hunter to tie the game. Yoenis Cespedes powered a ball into left centerfield on the first pitch thrown by Tommy Hunter in the seventh inning to give the Tigers a one run lead.

The Orioles got an unlikely hero in the eighth when Jayson Nix sent a pitch from Joe Nathan far over the left field wall to tie the game. Nix was the first hitter faced by Nathan, who retired the next two hitters to keep the game tied.

In the bottom of the eighth Kevin Gausman came on in relief. He retired the first two hitters before giving up a single to Hernan Perez. Victor Martinez clocked an 88 mile per hour non breaking ball over the right field wall to give the Tigers a 6-4 lead. Joakin Soria retired the Orioles in order to give the Tigers the victory.

Game Notes: David Price worked two outs into the seventh inning, retiring the hitters in order except for a three hitter span when the Orioles scored their three runs…Yoenis Cespedes made two acrobatic catches to rob Christian Walker and Dario Alveraz of doubles…Kevin Gausman was used in relief because that may be his role with the Orioles in 2015 season to limit his innings. The Orioles also have a surplus of starting pitching with Ubaldo Jimenez pitching well of late. Gausman hit 100 on the radar gun pitching in relief…Chris Parmelee tried to lay down a bunt in the eighth to beat the shift. Jefry Marte was able to throw him out at first. This is the second time myworld has seen a hitter lay down a bunt on the third base side to beat the shift…The Tigers have an impressive lineup with Kinsler, Cabrera, Martinez (2), and Cespedes in the middle of the lineup to provide power. The lack of speed will limit them to a one base at a time advance and they will ground into a lot of double plays…J.D. Martinez blooped a ball into right field and watched it from home plate, perhaps losing site of the ball. Once he realized it was going to fall in fair territory he broke to first. When he came back to the dugout after being thrown out at home by Delmon Young on a Nick Castellanos single for the last out of the second inning, Brad Ausmus had a talk with him, telling him he should have been on second base if he had run out the bloop hit, which would have allowed him to score from third on the single instead of being thrown out from second base…Tommie Hunter struck out the side after giving up his second homerun of the game. He throws the ball hard but it flies to straight.

Pirates Even Series; Stallions Win in Cuban Playoffs

March 26th, 2015

Rigoberto Gomez drove in three of the four runs for Isla de La Juventud, one on a ground out in the ninth inning to tie the game and the last on a two run single in the 11th inning to give the Pirates a 4-2 win. Hector Manuel retired Matanzas in order in the bottom frame to preserve the victory. Danny Aguilera worked two plus innings for the Pirates and got the win. During the regular season Danny won ten games in relief against zero losses. The series is now even at one game apiece.

Jonder Martinez got the start for Matanzas and pitched seven shutout innings before giving up his first run in the eighth inning.

The Granma Stallions had an easy time over Ciego de Avila 9-2. Yordanis Samon banged out three hits, two doubles and a homerun to drive in three runs to lead the offense. Alfredo Despaigne and Lazaro Alfredo each drove in two runs. Lazaro Blanco worked six innings to get the win and Juan Ramon Olivera closed out the last three innings to pick up the save. Ismel Jimenez got the start for Ciego de Avila and did not finish the fifth, giving up six hits and three runs.