Heroes Advance with Wild Card Win

October 7th, 2015

The Heroes only had to win one game to advance in the fourth versus fifth place wild card game. The SK Wyverns took the lead in the top of the 11th after a strikeout and passed ball allowed the go ahead run to score to give them a 4-3 lead. The Heroes came back in the bottom frame when Min-Sung Kim and Brad Snyder led off the inning with back to back doubles to tie the game. An intentional walk and a second walk loaded the bases with two out when a routine popup by the pitcher’s mound was dropped by the shortstop to allow the winning run to score.

The Heroes took advantage of walks in the opener off Wyverns ace Kwang-Hyun Kim after three walks and a sacrifice fly scored the first run of the game in the opening frame. The Wyverns tied it in the fifth after a solo homerun by Andrew Brown. Two more runs were scored after an RBI triple by Joo-Hwan Na, who scampered home after the throw to third hit him.

The Heroes tied it in the seventh getting their own RBI triple by Jong-Wook Ko. Ko later scored after a ground out to first.

Korea Roster for Pemier 12

October 7th, 2015

The major leagues will not allow players on 40 man roster from playing in the Premier 12. Korea has no problems with having players on their KBO teams from participating. Byung Ho Park, the homerun leader in the KBO will be participating. Pitcher Kwang-Hyu Kim, who could not find a major league team to express interest in him at his asking price will also be participating. The Hanshin Tigers Seung-Hwan Oh who is tied for first in the Central League in saves with 41 is unable to play because of a thigh injury.

Pitchers: Sung-Hwan Yoon (Lions), Dae-Eun Rhee (Marines -NPB), Tae-Yang Lee (Dinos), Kyu-Min Woo (Twins), Woo-Chan Cha (Lions), Kwang-Hyun Kim (Wyverns), Ji-Man Ahn (Lions), Sang-Woo Choo (Heroes), Moo-Keun Jo (Wizards), Chang-Yong Lim (Lions), Tae-Hyon Chong (Giants), Woo-Ram Jung (Wyverns), Hyun-Seong Lee (Bears)

Catchers - Eui-Ji Yang (Bears), Min-Ho Kang (Giants)

Infielders - Byung-Ho Park (Heroes), Dae-Ho Lee (Hawks - NPB), Keun-Woo Jung (Eagles), Jae-Wan Oh (Bears), Suk-Min Park (Lions), Jae-Gyun Hwang (Giants), Sang-Soo Kim (Lions), Jae-Ho Kim (Bears)

Outfielders - Byung-Heon Min (Bears), Sung-Bum Na (Bears), Hyun-Soo Kim (Bears), Ah-Seop Son (Giants), Yong-Kyu Lee (Eagles)

2016 Baseball World Cups

October 7th, 2015

It appears that different cities in Taiwan, Japan and Mexico host the baseball World Cups. In 2016 the under 15 will be held in Fukushima, Japan from July 29 to August 7. The under 21 will be held in Sinaloa, Mexico at the 20,000 seated stadium of the Culiacan Tomateros from June 17-26.

The women’s World Cup will be held in Gijang City, South Korea from September 3-11. The tournament will be expanded from eight teams to 12.

Heidenheim German Baseball Champion

October 5th, 2015

The Heidenheim Heidekoepfe won game 5 of the German baseball championships 8-7 over the Buchbinder Legionaere Regensburg. The game was played in front of 2,500, a sell out for the Armin Wolf Arena.

The score was only 1-0 after six innings. The pitcher’s duel became a slugfest in the last three innings with Aaron Dunsmore slapping the game winning hit in a three run top of the ninth to give Heidenheim the win. Luke Sommer, who flew over from the United States to pitch in game five retired Buchbinder in the bottom of the ninth to close out the victory.

Buchbinder had made a comeback of their own after trailing 4-0. Philipp Howard slugged a three run homerun in a five run bottom of the seventh to give Buchbinder the lead 5-4. After Heidenheim tied it in the top of the eighth on a solo homerun from Simon Guehring Buchbinder rallied for two runs in the bottom of the eighth to make it 7-5. Guehring and last year’s top hitter Sascha Lutz had RBI singles to tie the game 7-7 before the Dunsmore single to win it.

Guehring was named the MVP of the series. Peter Sikaras won best pitcher after pitching six shutout innings in the final. He tired in the seventh and coughed up five runs. Ludwig Glaser was voted the best hitter.

Buchbinder had won four years in a row from 2010 to 2013. Last year Heidenheim lost to the Solingen Alligators in the final. This year they won the championship, their second championship in team history, their first occurring in 2009.

Giants Sign Cuban Outfielder Eddy Julio Martinez

October 5th, 2015

Last year the Giants signed a Cuban outfielder Daniel Carbonell to a major league contract for $1.4 million. The 6′3″ outfielder could run well but there were questions about his bat. In the short season rookie leagues Carbonell hit well batting over .300 at three different levels, including a brief stint in the California League. The 2015 season was not so friendly. Carbonell struggled at AA hitting only .146 with a 4/53 walk to whiff ratio. That improved a bit when he was demoted to High A where he hit .279, but the Giants ultimately designated him from the 40-man roster and no team was fond enough of his skills to claim him.

If at first you do not succeed try, try and try again. The Giants signed another Cuban outfielder, this time to a minor league contract for $2.5 million. Eddy Julio Martinez is three years younger than Carbonell, doesn’t run as well, but has a better bat. There is some question whether this bat will just hit the gaps, or provide enough power to carry over the fences. If the ball can’t leave the park Martinez could end up at best a fourth outfielder. He lacks the ideal speed to play in the middle of the diamond, so he needs to show the pop to play the corners. Myworld does not see a lot of return on him.

Korean Playoff Participants Decided

October 4th, 2015

The KBO has established their playoff participants. The wild card match between the fourth and fifth place teams will be between the SK Wyverns and Nexen Heroes in a best two out of three. All the games will be played at the Heroes park, with the Heroes leading the series before a games are played 1-0.

The winner of the best two out of three will play the third place team Doosan Bears in a best of five series. The winner of that series will play the second place team the NC Dinos in a best of five. The winner of that series will finally play the Samsung Lions in a best of seven.

The Lions have won five consecutive KBO titles, a feat not accomplished by any other team in KBO history. They have shown waiting for their opponent is not a hindrance as they have also won four consecutive championships. They will have to wait a little longer this year as the wild card battle between the fourth and fifth place teams is a new addition.

MLB Expansion into Mexico

October 4th, 2015

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred was in Mexico to meet with baseball officials there. He buttered them up with talk of expansion to Mexico. The expansion will not happen immediately. The market will be tested with spring training games to gauge attendance and then may move to spotting regular season games there. The WBC also has a qualifier scheduled for Mexicali, Mexico.

Major league baseball will open an office in Mexico City next year. They would like to get more players from Mexico into the major leagues to increase the popularity of the Latin market.

If MLB expands to Mexico they would have to find another city for expansion. Montreal has been vying for a team after they lost the Washington Nationals. With 32 teams the league would then be broken out into eight four team divisions, which would make scheduling for a 162 game season much easier.

Marines Win Second Wild Card Spot in Pacific

October 4th, 2015

The Chibba Lotte Marines won the second wild card spot in the NPB and will play a best of three against the Nippon Ham Fighters. All the games will be at the Sapporo Dome, which is the home field of the Ham Fighters.

To clinch the second wild card spot to get into the climax series the Marines had to beat the Nippon Ham Fighters 5-3. The big hit for the Marines was the two run single by Saburo Omura in the third inning to give the Marines a 4-3 lead.

The winner of this two out of three will play the Softbank Hawks. The Nippon Ham Fighters lead the season series over the Chiba Lotte Marines 13-11.

The Yakult Swallows won the Central Division, their first title since 2001. Last year the Swallows finished last in their division and become the fifth team since 1950 to go from last to first according to Yakubaka. They beat out their in city rivals the Yomiuri Giants who finished second in the Central League. The Giants are waiting to see who their opponent is for the wild card battle between the Hiroshima Carp and Hanshin Tigers.

The Carp beat the Hanshin Tigers yesterday 6-0, led by the 8.1 innings of shutout ball from ex-Yankee hurler Hiroki Kuroda. For Kuroda he is now 11-8 with a 2.55 ERA. Shota Nakazaki retired the final two hitters to pick up his 29th save. The Tigers relied on their youngster Shintaro Fujinami but he was battered for four runs in five innings. There is almost a twenty year age gap between the two pitchers. The game yesterday showed experience and guile can overcome youth and velocity. Tomorrow could tell another story.

The Tigers and Carp are now in a dead heat for the second wild card in the Central Division. The Tigers are 70-71-2, .496 while the Carp are 69-70-3, .496. The Tigers have one more game to play and the Carp two.

Centerfield Prospects

October 2nd, 2015

Other than shortstops these players may be the most athletic players on the field. They need to have speed to cover the ground necessary in the center of the diamond to keep balls from finding grass and a strong bat to make them attractive to a lineup. Speed can also equal stolen bases if a good bat exists to get on base. The challenge is finding speed players who have a solid bat, or solid bats who can cover the massive amount of ground coveted by managers. Myworld could not find too many top prospect centerfielder candidates with the graduation of Byron Buxton to the major leagues to fit those categories so we had to compromise.

1) Manuel Margot (Red Sox) - The Red Sox have a young and crowded outfield, but Margot has only seen half a year in AA. Mookie Betts seems to have centerfield covered and Jackie Bradley is a good alternative. Margot has all the tools to fit the ideal centerfield candidate, with the speed to be a very effective leadoff hitter, but his OBA dropped from .362 to .324 this year. He covers a lot of ground in centerfield and stole 39 bases. A lack of power and a weak arm could move him to left field, which would not be a good fit for him. If Jackie Bradley struggles Margot could move Betts to left field. In a couple years someone will have to be traded to accommodate Margot.

2) Lewis Brinson (Rangers) - If Brinson can improve his ability to make contact he could be a special player. In 2013 he was a 20/20 player for homeruns and stolen bases. He also struck out 191 times that year. Leg injuries limited him to 89 games in 2014. This year he fell two stolen bases short of achieving another 20/20 season. The big bright spot is he reduced his strikeout numbers to 98 which resulted in almost a 100 point increase in batting average (.332). Leg injuries bothered him again, restricting his game out put to an even 100. If he can stay healthy he could become a 30/30 player who covers a lot of ground in centerfield.

3) Bradley Zimmer (Indians) - Zimmer was a first round pick of the Indians in 2014. His older brother Kyle was also a first round pick, a pitcher for the Royals drafted in 2012. While Bradley Zimmer also has an arm like his brother than can throw 90 plus fastballs he chose to play the outfield. The Indians are playing him in centerfield where he lacks the blazing speed to cover lots of real estate. His arm is strong enough to fit in right and his 16 homeruns gives him enough bat to fill the position. Last year he slugged .446 but a propensity to strike out (131 in 127 games) may prevent his average from rising above .300. At 6′4″ the lefthanded bat should develop more power as he matures. That could result in reduced speed and a move to a corner.

4) Brett Phillips (Brewers) - Brett was one of the prospects traded by the Astros to the Brewers for Carlos Gomez. He was a sixth round pick of the Astros in 2012 but blossomed in 2014 with a .310 average with a slugging average over .500 between Low and High A. Last year was a deja vu season for him with a .309 average and a slugging average over .500. His OPS was north of .900. His arm is more suited for right but he has the speed to cover ground in centerfield. That speed does not translate into big stolen base numbers. The Brewers see the same kind of tools in Phillips that they found in Gomez. They just hope it does not take as long for Phillips to find those tools as it did Gomez.

5) Clint Frazier (Indians) - Clint was a first round pick of the Indians in 2013. His tools for playing the position are average across the board. The one big up side for Clint is his power bat. Last year a pulled hamstring at the start of the season put a kink in his season, giving him a slow start. This year he hit 16 homeruns with a .285 average. The reduction in strikeouts (166 to 125) despite more frequent at bats in 2015 led to a 20 point increase in batting average. Clint is a step below Bradley in the minor league system so he may have to settle for a corner outfield if Bradley claims the centerfield position. Neither one has the blazing speed to cover the massive amounts of real estate managers like to see from their centerfielder.

6) David Dahl (Rockies) - Myworld would be more confident in Dahl if he had a spleen. The spleen was removed after a collision in the outfield and it was determined he would be better off without it. The 2012 first round pick got off to a bad start during his second season after missing a flight and making his own reservation. He was held back in extended spring training as punishment but when he returned he injured a hamstring that ended his season after 10 games. He bounced back in 2014 to show off the tools that made him a first round pick slugging 14 homeruns and hitting .305. The outfield collision was another setback that limited his season to just 79 games. His power numbers dropped but his defensive capability in centerfield will be a strength to his game.

7) Demi Orimoloye (Brewers) - We think Demi can be a special player. The Canadian was not drafted until the fourth round of the 2014 draft. He has all the tools to hit for power, steal bases and play a gold glove centerfield. His major weakness is a frequency to swing and miss. In his first minor league season Demi hit .292 with a .837 OPS. He also stole 19 bases in 25 attempts and slugged six balls out of the park in 33 games. A 3/39 walk to whiff ratio has to be improved as he rises up the minor league system. He left the Arizona rookie league to play for Canada in an 18 and under tournament. At 6′4″ he has the ability to scare pitchers as he steps to the plate.

8) Victor Robles (Nationals) - Victor had a bit of a breakout season last year hitting .352 at two levels. He has the speed to play center with the gift to get good jumps off the ball and an arm to fit in right if Michael Taylor should get in his way when he is ready to play in the major leagues. Bryce Harper could be another issue, but by then the Nationals will either have signed Bryce to a long term extension or he will be a Dodger. What is impressive about Robles bat is the 18/33 walk to whiff ratio in 61 games. He makes good hard barrel of the bat contact with the ball. His speed also gave him 24 stolen bases.

9) Andrew Benintendi (Red Sox) - Andrew was a first round pick in 2015. He is a little more developed than Demi, drafted out of college and three years older. He was voted college player of the year after taking Arkansas to Omaha in 2015. His bat has the potential to produce 20 homerun power. He also carries above average speed with good jumps on the ball to make an excellent centerfielder. The speed falls just short of Margot. What was most impressive about Benintendi was the 35/24 walk to whiff ratio. Those type of players generally hit for a high average as evidenced by his .313 average at two levels. His 11 homeruns and .556 slugging average is just icing on the cake. In a couple years the Red Sox will have problems trying to find at bats for five players deserving of them.

10) Anthony Alford (Blue Jays) - If Dalton Pompey continues his struggles with the bat Alford is prepared to take over the centerfield slot that will become vacant when he is ready for the major leagues. Alford is a tremendous athlete with blazing speed. A strong arm makes a move to right field a possibility if Pompey establishes himself at center with the Blue Jays. Last year Alford hit .298 with a .398 OBA. He has the patience to take walks but that also creates a high number of whiffs (109). He only hit four homeruns in 2015 and slugged .421 but the Blue Jays expect those numbers to go up as he gets more experience.

Thames Becomes First 40/40 Player in KBO; Park Establishes RBI Record

October 2nd, 2015

For Eric Thames getting to 40 homeruns was not a problem. He reached that by early September and now has 47. When you watch the 6′0″ 210 pound DH/firstbaseman run you don’t think of stolen bases. In their 9-2 win against the SK Wyverns yesterday Thames hit his 47th homerun, but he also stole his 40th base of the year in the third inning. He had been stuck on 37 for awhile but two stolen bases in two days makes him the first player ever in the KBO to hit 40 homeruns and steal 40 bases.

Prior to that the KBO had no reason to recognize 40/40. The major leagues have had four players reach that club. Eric Thames becomes the first to reach it in the KBO. Six players in the KBO have reached 30/30.

On the same day Thames became a 40/40 man Byung-ho Park slugged a three run homer to give him 146 RBIs for the season. The KBO record for most RBIs in the season was held by Seung-Yeop Lee with 144 hit in 2003. The homerun was his career best 53rd, which puts him three behind Lee, who hit 56 in 2003 for the KBO record for most homeruns in a season. The 146 RBIs gives Park the record for most RBIs in a KBO season. Next year he may be playing in the major leagues.

Lee hit his 56 homeruns and drove in his 144 runs in a 131 game season. Park established his 146 RBIs in a 144 game season. It is unclear if any of the six 30/30 players could have achieved a 40/40 season if they had played in a 144 game season instead of 131.