Nats Blow Up Reds with TnT Demolition

June 25th, 2017

The Nationals brought out the TnT with Trea Turner stringing together five hits and a walk in a five for five day and Michael Turner going deep twice in a 4 for 5 afternoon, resulting in a 18-3 slaughter of the Cincinnati Reds. Joe Ross did his magic again. For the sixth time in his 10 starts the Nationals have scored 10 or more runs. Unfortunately for Joe he has only won three of the six starts when the Nats have scored more than 10 runs.

Homer Bailey got his first start of the year, trying to come back from bone spur surgery. It was not a promising start with the Nationals bats tagging him for eight runs before he could get the third out in the second inning. Ryan Zimmerman drove in the first two runs with a line drive double into the right field corner in the first inning. Daniel Murphy emptied the bases in the second inning with a three run double with the Nationals scoring six in the inning. Bailey had walked the two previous batters to load the bases for Murphy.

The Reds showed a little sloppiness in the fourth. Ryan Zimmerman had struck out for what appeared to be the second out but the pitch went to the back stop allowing Ryan to reach first. After two were out Lisalverto Bonilla walked Anthony Rendon. Matt Wieters singled to right field scoring Zimmerman. Right fielder Scott Schebler threw to third but the ball skipped past Suarez and into the dugout to allow Murphy to score the second run of the inning. It was the third error of the game for the Reds. Michael Taylor followed with his first of two homeruns.

Patrick Kivlehan came in to pinch hit for Joey Votto to lead off the sixth with the score 13-0. He drove a ball into the left field bleachers to put the Reds on the score board. Joe Blanton would give up the other two Red runs. He came on to pitch in the eighth entering the game with a 9.19 ERA. He gave up hits to the first three hitters he faced and left the game with a 9.72 ERA.

Both Turner and Taylor scored four runs. Daniel Murphy drove in four.

Game Notes: Brian Goodwin and Bryce Harper were heroes in the game the day before. Goodwin hit two homeruns and Bryce had the walkoff single. In this game Goodwin walked twice but also struck out twice. He got his only hit in the eighth inning. Bryce struck out his first three times up, getting his only hit in his fourth at bat. Ryan Raburn batted for him in the sixth. This offense can provide different heroes every night…Adam Duvall showed a strong arm in left field…Joe Blanton lacked command and velocity in the one inning he pitched…For Michael Taylor it was the first four hit game of his career.

LSU and Florida to Play in Finals

June 25th, 2017

Florida 3 TCU 0

The first round pick of the Detroit Tigers Alex Faedo shut down the TCU bats for 7.1 innings, striking out 11 to advance Florida to the finals of the College World Series. It was the second time in this College World Series he struck out 11 Horned Frogs, having done it earlier in the playoffs when they opened the series against each other. Florida will battle LSU for the championship, a team they are no stranger to having shared a Southeastern Conference title with this year. Christian Hicks was the offensive star for the Gators. He had an RBI double in the fifth and he scored a run in the seventh after hitting his first triple of the year.

LSU 6 Oregon State 1

The Tigers beat the Beavers for the second time to earn their way into the championship against their Southeastern Conference foe Florida. Oregon State had come into the College World Series as the number one team in the country but two losses to LSU eliminate them from any championship run. Caleb Gilbert restricted Oregon State to just two hits in 7.1 innings before turning it over to Zack Hess to get the last five outs after Michael Gretler tagged Gilbert for a solo shot. LSU got three homeruns of their own with Michael Papierski getting credit for two of them and Beau Jordan hitting the other. Papierski hit a three run tater in the third and added a solo shot in the fifth.

LSU last won a title in 2009. The have won six College World Series. Florida has yet to win a championship, though they have played in the finals twice, the last being in 2011.

Shooting Da Bull in Durham

June 24th, 2017

Myworld was in Durham for a four game series with the Norfolk Tides. It has been a couple years since we’ve been in Durham. For this trip we noticed some real development and construction happening in the city. Even with the textile and tobacco industry decimated Durham is able to survive. The stadium is probably the best in baseball with its blue wall reminding me of Fenway. No one hit the bull that stands next to the left field foul pole promising steaks to those players who hit the bull and salads to players who strike the grass below the bull. When a Durham player hits a homerun or after a Bull win the bulls eyes turn red and smoke billows from its nose. It is a beautiful ball park worth visiting.

The Norfolk Tides and Durham Bulls split the series. The Tides won the first and last games in routs when the Bull starting pitching faltered. The Bulls won the second and third games. Some of my thoughts on the series:

There was a little bit of rain that fell for all four games. The first game was delayed five minutes while they put on the tarp, only to be removed shortly afterward when the rain stopped after the tarp was put on the field. There was a five minute delay as they rolled the tarp back off the field. There is a covering in the upper decks where fans can go to escape to watch the games, provided there are seats available. In Durham it can get hot and humid so fans are on the ceiling ready to spin to keep you cool.

Brent Honeywell was not effective in his one start. He hit 94 on the radar but he did not last past the third inning giving up six runs.

Willy Adames is a smooth fielding shortstop. He made a number of quantity defensive plays. His one error was on a throw. His bat did not impress in the four games we watched.

Wilson Ramos started all four games, one of them at DH. He went deep once in the last game, the only Bull homerun in the four game series. He may be one of the slowest runners in major league baseball. Expect him to be with the Rays soon.

Johnny Field is another defensive specialist. He makes the diving catch look routine. The big question for him is whether he will have enough bat to play. His legs do not have stolen base speed so his bat needs to hit .270 or plus to be a starter. Myworld did not see a lot of power, but he does have six homeruns. Fields reminded me of Kevin Kiermaier. With the improvements of defensive analytics his glove will play.

Jesus Montero is a big boy that needs to watch his weight. He does not do a lot of running in pregame warmups, but does talk a lot. He is battling to stay over .100. The Braves released him and his bat is not producing with the Orioles. In his two games with the Tides he was 0 for 8 though one of those hits was a diving catch by Johnny Field. If his bat does not play there is not a lot he can offer a major league team.

Chance Sisco is about the only Tide prospect with a chance to make a major impact with the Orioles. The Orioles like to have a bunch of optionable relievers on their AAA staff that they can bring up and down to give the major league team a 10 man bullpen, but none of the arms impressed myworld. What we saw were a bevy of back end or middle relievers.

Ryan Yarbrough pitched well. His fastball doesn’t get past 92 but for a lefty he gets a lot of swings and misses. The Rays acquired him in the Drew Smyly trade from the Mariners. At 6′5″ he does provide a big plane when coming down on the hitters.

Mike Yastrzemski forgot the number of outs after one catch, pausing to run into the dugout as if he had made the third out and allowing a runner to tag and advance to third. His grandfather Carl never would have done that. His lack of tools will make him a fourth outfielder at best in the major leagues.

Blake Snell looked sharp in his outing hitting 95 on the gun and getting lots of swings and misses, especially with his breaking pitch. In his six innings of work the only run he allowed was a solo homerun by Francisco Pena in the sixth.

Brad Boxberger did not look sharp in a rehab relief appearance. He walked four batters in one inning retiring only two hitters.

TCU and LSU Stay Alive

June 24th, 2017

Neither of the teams, Florida or Oregon State could eliminate their opponents in the play in game. They now have to play both in elimination games to see who makes the best of three finals.

LSU 3 Oregon State 1

The Beaver bats were quieted to two hits by Alex Lange in his 7.1 innings of work. After getting the first out in the eighth Lange yielded to super reliever Zack Hess, who struck out four of the five hitters he faced. It was his third save of the College World Series. Zach Watson went a perfect 3 for 3 but it was Josh Smith who provided the big hits for LSU. His RBI single in the second and solo shot in the seventh proved to be the difference in the game. Jake Thompson got the start for Oregon State, giving up three runs in 6.2 innings. The loss ended a 23 game winning streak by Oregon State. Lange was a first round pick of the Cubs, the last player taken in the first round of the MLB draft.

TCU 9 Florida 2

The big bat of Evan Skoug drove in three runs to give him 71 RBIs for the year to help TCU pounce on Florida. A two run triple from Josh Watson in the fourth was the big hit, breaking a 2-2 tie. Charles King tossed 3.1 innings of shutout relief to get the win, striking out five of the 13 hitters he faced. TCU broke the game open with four in the sixth, three of the runs driven in by Skoug with his bases clearing double.

2017 Top Cuban Prospects - American League

June 24th, 2017

Not included in his list are any players signed after April, which include players like Luis Robert, who may have topped this list and Hector Mendoza. They will qualify for the 2018 list. Last year myworld put together a top 20 list. Seven of our top 10 were not on a major league roster. All of those players have signed now with Yulieski Gurriel the only player on a major league roster. Aledmys Diaz is the only other player on this top 20 from last year that played in the major leagues. He was rated number 16 in this top 20 list and had a nice rookie season.

1. Yoan Moncada 2B (White Sox) - Last year he was the number one rated prospect on our top 20 list. He has all the tools. Speed, power and the ability to hit for average. With all those tools it is interesting he plays second base and not shortstop. The Red Sox paid $62 million to sign him, $31.5 million bonus and a $31.5 million penalty for going over there salary cap. They traded him a year later to the White Sox as one of the players for Chris Sale. He has had some major league opportunities but struggled, striking out 12 times in 19 at bats with a .211 average. This year he is hitting .282 showing a little bit of power (.432 slugging). Don’t be surprised if the White Sox promote him after the All Star break. Only Yolmer (ex-Carlos) Sanchez stands in his way.

2. Lourdes Gurriel LF/3B (Blue Jays) - He was the number two rated prospect last year but had yet to sign with a team. He waited until he turned 23 to sign with the Blue Jays, maximizing his financial opportunities. His seven year $22 million contract appears to be a bargain when compared to Moncada. Lourdes doesn’t really have a position. Myworld thinks he will fit best in the outfield. As a shortstop and third baseman in the Cuban League he made numerous errors. His older brother Yulieski was considered an excellent fielding third baseman but is now playing first for the Astros. Lourdes started hitting in his last season in the Cuban League. Once he develops he could be a .300 hitter with 20 plus homerun pop. The Blue Jays began his career in the Florida State League but he got injured after his first game and was placed on the disabled list. He only was activated a couple days ago and in four games is hitting .267. Only one of his four hits has gone for extra bases. Lourdes could advance quickly and be ready for the major leagues by mid 2018 once he finds a position. So far Lourdes has played four games at shortstop committing seven errors for a .611 fielding percentage. That is not going to cut it.

3. Lazaro Armentares OF (Athletics) - He created a little hype with his brash personality trying to achieve a Yoan Moncada sized contract. The Athletics signed him for a relatively modest $3 million. At 17 years of age he has a lot of development in his future. In the United States he would still be playing high school. The reports are that he will hit for power and steal bases. His speed should translate to centerfield capability. Playing in the 15 and under World Cup he dominated with a .462 average. The Athletics have started him in the Dominican Summer League. He has only played in six games there but is struggling with a .167 average and 9 whiffs in 18 at bats. He has not played since June 12 so he may be back at extended spring training or injured.

4. Yandy Diaz OF/3B (Indians) - Myworld did not have him rated in our top 20 list last year and then he went out and hit .325 in AAA with a .461 slugging, winning the International League batting title. At 26 years of age he is already pretty well developed. There will be a lot of contact in his game but his power will be soft if he doesn’t learn to elevate his hits more. His defense is excellent at third but he can also play second base and the outfield, making a utility role an ideal fit for him. This year at Columbus he is hitting .318 with 28 walks to his 22 whiffs. The power is still soft (.439 slugging). The Indians gave him a major league callup and he was a bit overmatched (.203 average and .219 slugging). His main positions this year are third base and left field.

5. Andy Ibanez 2B (Rangers) - Ibanez signed for $1.6 million in 2015. Last year he was number 15 on our list. He could end up like Carlos Baerga, with a thick lower half eliminating his range at second base, meaning his bat will have to justify his staying at the position. The power is not really there to play the hot corner. Last year he did hit 13 homeruns skipping High A to move to AA. It will be tough with his skill set to usurp Rougned Odor from the second base position. This year he missed a month in the season because of injury but now healthy he is hitting .261 with a .405 slugging. Most of his game has been at second base. The tools could be there if he could master a utility role but myworld thinks he is a bit short to make it as a starter.

6. Yanio Perez OF (Rangers) - The Rangers signed him in 2016 for $1.1 million. He played for the 18 and under World Cup team in 2015, sharing the outfield with Luis Robert. There is power in his bat but his foot speed appears to destine him for a corner spot. His minor league debut in A ball this year has seemed to justify the bonus payment. He hit nine homeruns in just 49 games at Low A resulting in a promotion to High A. In nine games in the Carolina League he has yet to get an extra base hit.

7. Yordan Alvarez LF/1B (Astros) - Yordan will turn 20 in a couple days. He is another new comer, not appearing on our Top 20 list last year. The Dodgers initially signed Yordan for $2 million then traded him to the Astros for Josh Fields before even playing a game in a Dodgers minor league uniform. The Astros had him play in the Dominican Summer League where he hit .341. Yordan will hit for average. As a 17 year old he hit .351 in the Cuban Nacional Series. His big challenge is to develop the power expected for the first base position. His lack of speed makes a move to the outfield a poor alternative. He dominated at Low A hitting .357 with 10 homeruns (.670 slugging) which led to a promotion to High A yesterday. With his 33 RBIs in 32 games he has shown he can be a run producer. The Astros have been using him mostly in left field this year.

8. Guillermo Heredia OF (Mariners) - With his success in the major leagues myworld should move him up on this list on general principal. He is a plus defender with the ability to cover a lot of ground in centerfield. The big concern for my world was his bat. There is no power there. To be effective he needs to hit for a higher average. During his 45 game major league debut last year he hit .250. This year he has won the starting centerfield job for the Mariners, hitting .279 and showing enough pop for five homeruns. The power will still be short but if he can keep his average above .270 he should be effective for his defensive ability. Despite pretty decent speed he is not a stolen base threat.

9. Yulieski Gurriel 1B (Astros) - The Astros went out on a limb to sign him to a five year $47.5 million contract despite his age of 33. When he was younger scouts considered him the best player in Cuba. His main position then were third and second base. The Astros have moved him to first where his power may be a bit short. The bat will provide a lot of doubles power and his international experience should provide some leadership qualities to a young team. With A.J. Reed ready to take over the position next year Yulieski could move to a utility role, a spot currently filled by Marwin Gonzalez.

10. Norge Ruiz RHP (Athletics) - The Athletics signed Norge for $2 million in 2016. Interesting he is the only pitcher to make this list, though there will be a couple to make the National League list. Norge is not overpowering, with a fastball that sits in the high 80s to low 90s. At 5′10″ he is also not a tall pitcher making his lack of velocity an impediment for a starting role. He does throw a lot of junk with a change and slider being his best pitches. He gets hitters to hit the ball on the ground resulting in a number of double play grounders. Pitching at the lower level it is not surprising that he is dominating hitters with his breaking pitches. In four starts he has only allowed one run for a 0.47 ERA, a .141 opposition average and 14 whiffs in 19 innings.

TCU Eliminates Louisville

June 23rd, 2017

TCU made a four run second inning stand out for a 4-3 win. Ryan Merrill had the big hit with a two run single. Sean Rymer pitched the last 4.1 innings without allowing a run to get the win. In the eighth Louisville had a runner on first with one out and Brendan McKay up. They stole Ryan Summers and he was called out by the umpire. Replays showed he was clearly safe and the manager was tossed for arguing the call. College baseball does not have replays. McKay later struck out. Rymer was able to finish the ninth despite giving up a two out single to put TCU in the final four.

The final four teams in the World Series are Oregon State, LSU, Florida and TCU. LSU and TCU will have to win twice to make it to the finals.

LSU Advances in NCAA College World Series

June 22nd, 2017

LSU 7 Florida State 4

With Florida State knocked out you won’t have a Florida versus Florida State final. Jake Slaughter finished off a five run second inning with a three run blast to carry LSU. Jared Poche went into the ninth inning before tiring giving up back to back homeruns to Quincy Nieporte and Cal Raleigh to turn a 7-2 game 7-4. Zack Hess got the last three outs on whiffs to preserve the victory. LSU advances to the winner’s bracket to face Oregon State. They must beat the Beavers twice to advance to the finals. Oregon State beat LSU 13-1 to knock them into the loser’s bracket.

The win for Poche was his 39th as a Tiger making him the all time career win leader for LSU.

Gators Advance to Winner’s Bracket

June 21st, 2017

Florida 5 Louisville 1

The Gators got seven strong innings from Brady Singer to advance to the winner’s bracket. Austin Langworthy gave him the lead with a solo shot in the third and Deacon Liput added three more with a shot in the fourth to give Singer an early 4-0 lead. Singer struck out nine and as a sophomore will be eligible for the draft next year.

TCU 4 Texas A&M 1

The Horned Frogs eliminated their Texas counterparts, Brian Howard striking out 12 in his seven innings of work. Connor Wanhanen drove in the first run with a single in the second. Ryan Merrill added a second run with a solo shot the following inning. It was all Howard and Sean Wymer needed, with Wymer retiring all six hitters he faced to earn the save.

Oregon State Walks Past LSU

June 19th, 2017

Oregon State 13 LSU 1

Not much of a game. The Tigers used eight pitchers and a variety of them walked 12 hitters in a 13-1 win by Oregon State. A grand slam homerun by KJ Harrison put the game out of reach. Nick Madrigal and Cadyn Grenier each contributed three RBIs in the rout. Bryce Fehmel pitched eight innings allowing just two hits. One of them was a solo shot by Zach Watson in the seventh inning to ruin his shutout. Oregon State now gets to wait in the winner’s bracket for the winner of the Florida State/LSU game, with the winner of that game needing to beat Oregon State twice to advance to the finals.

Florida State 6 Cal State Fullerton 4

Florida State eliminated the Titans from the College World Series. Down 4-3 into the seventh the Seminoles loaded the bases after an intentional walk and scored two runs on non intentional walks to take a 5-4 lead. An infield single by Matt Anderson drove in an insurance run. The bullpen shut down the Titans on one hit for the last 3.1 innings. Florida State will now play LSU with the winner facing Oregon State.

Louisville and Florida Picks up Wins in NCAA

June 18th, 2017

Louisville 8 Texas A&M 4

Louisville scored five runs in the second inning and made it stand. Colby Fitch stroked a two run single in the inning for two of his four RBIs on the day. He walked in the sixth to drive in a run and hit a double in the eighth for his fourth RBI of the game. Brendan McKay gave up four runs in his five innings of work. The bullpen worked a perfect four innings, Lincoln Henzman pitching the sixth and Sam Bordner working the last three innings to earn the save.

Florida 3 TCU 0

Alex Faedo was on his game for the Gators. He allowed just two hits in his seven innings of work, whiffing 11 of the 24 hitters he faced. Florida scored single digits in the first, fourth and fifth to give the Gators enough runs to win the game. TCU was able to bring the tying run to the plate in the eighth inning but Michael Byrne got the strikeout to preserve the shutout.