Cuba Eliminates Dominican Republic

February 6th, 2016

It was an embarrassing showing for the Dominican Republic, usually the favorites to win the Series del Caribe. They lost their third straight extra inning game the last one to Cuba 4-2 to be eliminated from the playoffs. Mexico remained undefeated with their 8-4 win over Puerto Rico. In the first round of the playoffs Mexico will battle Cuba while Puerto Rico tangles with Venezuela in the two semi final matches. Last year Cuba beat Mexico in the finals after winning only one game in the round robin, eliminating the host team Puerto Rico to squeak into the playoffs. They will try to repeat that history in this playoff but they have no Frederich Cepeda to get hot. He is in Nicaragua playing in their winter league.

An error by pitcher Fernando Rodney and a walk put the first two runners on in the ninth, ensuring there would be no bow and arrow display by Rodney in this game. After a bunt advanced the runners to second and third Rodney was able to strike out the next two batters. Rafael Soriano came on to pitch to Jose Adolis Garcia (brother of Adonis) and he grounded a ball up the middle into centerfield to score both runners and give Cuba a 4-2 lead.

The Dominican Republic put their first two runners on in the bottom frame on a walk and hit by pitch. After both events the Cuban manager replaced the Cuban pitchers Miguel Lahera and Yunier Cano. Jose Angel Garcia gave up a bunt that advanced the runners to second and third. Lew Ford pinch hit for Pedro Lopez and struck out. Leury Garcia grounded out to end the game and end the Dominican Republic’s hope for a Series del Caribe championship on their home turf. For the second year in a row the host club was eliminated from the playoffs.

Cuba had scored their first run in the second inning on an error by third baseman Diory Hernandez put the leadoff batter Alfredo Despaigne on base. A two out double into left field by Yeniet Perez scored Despaigne to make it 1-0 Cuba.

The Dominican Republic came back in the bottom frame, scoring their only runs of the game. Diory Hernandez and Alex Valdez got on base via singles setting up the two out two run double from Wilkin Castillo.

Both teams missed on opportunities to score in the fourth. Cuba had runners on second and third with just one out but Yoelvis Fiss struck out and Yeniet Perez flied out. The Dominican Republic loaded the bases without getting the ball out of the infield on two walks and an infield single but Zoilo Almonte stranded the three runners with a ground out.

Cuba tied the game in the eighth on a triple by Stayler Hernandez and a sacrifice fly from Yulieski Gourriel. Cuba got two runners on in the ninth but Lourdes Gourriel lined into a double play, Yeniet Perez wandering too far off first. Perez injured his ankle on the play sliding back to first and had to be removed from the game.

Miguel Lahera pitched four and two thirds innings of shutout relief for Cuba to get the win.

In a game to determine number one seeding Mexico prevented the officials from having to do a tie breaker by exploding for six runs in the eighth to break a 2-2 tie. Cyle Hankerd smashed a pinch hit two run double to break the tie. Ramon Urias followed with a two run double to extend the lead. Jeremias Pineda and Justin Greene continued the two base barrage with RBI doubles to make it four doubles in a row for the inning.

Pineda, Greene and Jorge Vazquez led the 16 hit attack for Mexico with three hits each. Mexico was sloppy in their fielding, their four errors giving Puerto Rico three of their four runs.

Top Ten Dominican Prospects - American League

February 6th, 2016

Normally myworld starts out with the top ten prospects of Europe and then by June we get to the Dominican Republic, struggling to find the time to put together the lists as the baseball season is in full swing. This year we thought we would start with the Dominican Republic since the Series del Caribe is being played there this year. This is an informal list since we don’t see all the players, but those players who we do see who make an impression get rated highly. So below is the list of top prospects from the Dominican Republic who still have rookie eligibility if they should make a major league roster.

1) Raul Mondesi Jr SS (Royals) - The only player in major league history to make his debut in a World Series game. His father is the slugger of the same name who played outfield for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Raul is more a defense/speed type of player relying more on hitting the gaps than launching balls over the fence. His defense is gold glove but his bat is tough to measure since he hits against pitchers four years older than him. Last year he hit just .243 in AA as a 20 year old. His career walk to whiff rate has been poor, averaging about four whiffs per walk. His OBP was only .279. Alcides Escobar plays ahead of him in Kansas City. He plays a solid defense, hitting .257 with a .293 OBP, but Mondesi is expected to have more power. If Mondesi wants a major league role he will need to learn to take more walks to up the average and OBP, otherwise the Royals will stay with what they have.

2) Jorge Mateo SS (Yankees) - Mondesi has good speed. Mateo has game breaking speed, stealing 82 bases last year between Low A and High A. Stolen base numbers tend to drop as players reach the higher levels and catchers get better with throwing out runners and pitchers are more proficient at keeping runners close to the base. His defense will not be stellar but he has the range and arm to play the position. The bat is expected to develop some power, though last year he only carried two balls over the fence. With Didi Gregorius at shortstop for the next couple years the Yankees can be patient with him, giving him a full year in AA. If his bat shows he is ready for the major leagues now they can also move him to second base. Jorge is one month older than Mondesi.

3) Nomar Mazara OF (Rangers) - Another 1995 birther the Rangers shelled out $4.95 million to sign him. That first year there were some concerns with his bat. Those fears have been erased after last year when he hit .296 between AA and AAA while slugging 14 homeruns. He is not a fast runner so his defense in the outfield is a bit suspect. His arm is strong enough to play right field. Nomar needs to exhibit power to justify the Rangers putting his subpar defense in the outfield. Expect to see him in the outfield with the Rangers next year with no superstars blocking his path.

4). Rafael Devers 3B (Red Sox) -Devers is a hitting machine who appears to have the tools to play the hot corner. If he slows down he could move to first, though his offensive game will not make him as attractive as a first baseman. Last year his average dipped below .300 at Low A for the first time in his career. He did show gap power with 38 doubles and 11 homeruns. Rafael will still be a teenager as he debuts in High A next year so he should only get stronger. Some of his 38 doubles may climb over the fence.

5) Gary Sanchez C (Yankees) - The good news is he is better than Jesus Montero at the catcher position. A strong arm should keep him at catcher. His other tools such as calling a game and framing a pitch are not as strong. The Yankees signed Brian McCann as a free agent so Sanchez could use McCann as a mentor in a valuable role as a back up. A move to first base would lesson his bat potential. Gary made his major league debut last year achieving two at bats and failing to get a hit. His bat should be good for 20 plus pops per year and his arm can neutralize a running game. Expect a few more major league at bats and he gains experience in the minor leagues. Sanchez was signed the same year as Miguel Sano, who was considered a better prospect but Sano appears to have passed Sanchez having played the major leagues and almost winning the rookie of the year award.

6) Willy Adames SS (Rays) - Willy was the targeted player the Rays received for trading David Price. He was a bit young for his league last year, playing High A at 18 years of age, when most players will be first exposed to the minors in a short season league. The arm is there to play shortstop and there is no player blocking him at the position. Realistically, he will make his debut sometime late in 2017. Currently his game is mainly gap power (24 doubles). Speed is not his game and he swings and misses too much with 123 whiffs in less than 400 at bats. His walk rate is high putting his OBA at .342. Next year Willy will begin the season in AA. Whether he gets promoted to AAA or the majors will be dependent on how far his bat advances.

7) Francis Marte RHP (Astros) - Francis was acquired from the Marlins in the Jarred Cosart trade. His fastball has hit the triple digits but generally sits around the mid-90s. His curve is major league quality, but he lacks a third or fourth pitch. He still has time to find a third pitch to stay in the rotation. Last year he rose from Low A to AA, averaging over 9 whiffs per nine innings. His walk rate is low but AA hitters did hit him at a .311 clip. That will be where he starts in 2016. At 6′1″ 225 he will need to watch his weight.

8) Michael Feliz RHP (Astros) - A lack of a secondary pitch may relegate Feliz to the bullpen. His fastball can hit the high 90s, but in a starting role he sits in the mid-90s. A slider/change combination are his other pitches. Last year he made his major league debut with a 7.88 ERA in five bullpen appearances. He seems to bounce around between a starting and a relief role. The major leagues is a tough place to learn a second pitch so expect him to start the season in AAA.

9) Adrian Rodon SS (Rays) - The Rays normally do not break the bank signing international prospects. They did for Adrian, signing him for a $2.95 million bonus. Last year he made his professional debut but as a 17 year old he only hit .166, striking out in more than a third of his at bats. He has all the defensive tools to play short with a strong arm and soft hands. The one concern is his lack of speed which could relegate him to second base. It would not hurt for Adrian to repeat the Gulf Coast League to achieve some success.

10. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. OF (Jays) - Myworld started it with the son of an ex major leaguer and we will end it with the son of an ex-major leaguer. The father will be eligible for the Hall of Fame this year. The son is just getting his career started, signing last year for a bonus of $3.9 million. At 6′1″ and 200 pounds he is more solidly built than his father but whether that will translate to a better bat only time will tell. He did not play in the minor leagues last year and will probably begin his season in a short season league. He lacks the arm of his father so he could be relegated to left field. The Jays have indicated a move to third base, interesting for a player with a below average arm.

Dominican Republic and Cuba to Battle to Avoid Elimination

February 5th, 2016

Last year Cuba beat host Puerto Rico to eliminate them from the playoffs. That win turned the momentum around for Cuba, motivating them to win the Series del Caribe after looking awful in the round robin. Their pitching was better yesterday, but they dropped to 0-3, losing to Venezuela 3-1. Puerto Rico shocked the Dominican Republic with a walk off homerun in the bottom of the 14th to win 2-1, the third straight one run loss for the Dominican Republic and the second in a row in extra innings as a result of a walk off hit. Cuba will again play the host team to avoid elimination and at the same time knock the host team from the playoffs. Only time will tell if history repeats itself.

Neftali Soto gave Puerto Rico their second win and an appearance in the playoffs with a walk off homerun in the bottom of the 14th, defeating the host Dominican Republic 2-1. The Dominican Republic had just brought in Wirfin Obispo to pitch. His first pitch was a ball. His second pitch was deposited over the left centerfield wall.

For the Dominican Republic the homerun ruined an excellent pitching performance by starter Cesar Valdes. He pitched the first seven innings and limited Puerto Rico to just three hits, walking none and striking out six. He was pulled after throwing just 76 pitches, 58 of which were strikes.

The only run scored in the game through the first eight innings was on a Jimmy Paredes solo shot in the fifth. Rafael Soriano came on to pitch the ninth to give the Dominican Republic the win. He retired the first two hitters before giving up a double to Juan Silva. The walk off hero Neftali Soto then touched him off for a triple to tie the game. The Dominican Republic chose to walk Kennys Vargas intentionally and Soriano retired pinch hitter Jesmuel Valentin on a fly out to take it to extra innings.

The Dominican Republic got an additional four innings of shutout relief from Ramon Garcia. He was replaced by Obispo to start the 14th inning where Soto made his second pitch a game winner. Fernando Cruz pitched two innings of relief for Puerto Rico to get the win. Soto finished the day a double short of the cycle.

It was a day when the Cuban starter got to the third inning before Vladimir Banos was pulled for ineffectiveness. Livan Moinello pitched better than the one out he recorded yesterday, going four shutout innings in relief to keep Cuba in the game. The offense could only generate one run and Venezuela made the three early runs pay off in their 3-1 win. It was a game that saw Adonis Garcia a Cuban defector playing for Venezuela face off against his brother Jose Adolis Garcia.

Venezuela used seven different pitchers, none of them lasting more than two innings to quiet the Cuban bats. A third error in the series by Yulieski Gourriel set up the first run, this error made while he was playing third while his first two errors were at second base. It allowed Dariel Alvarez to reach second. That error was followed by an error by first baseman Ariel Borrero but it paid off for them when Alvarez was thrown out at home on the play. A single by Hernan Perez moved Jose Martinez to third where he scored on a fly ball hit by Sandy Leon.

In the third Venezuela got a lead off single from Juniel Querecuto. Alex Romero lined a double to left field to score Querecuto with the second run. Jose Martinez drove in the second run of the inning grounding a single to left and ending the day for Banos. Venezuela had jumped to an early 3-0 lead.

Cuba scored their only run in the seventh when Jose Garcia led off the inning with a triple. He scored on a ground out when Venezuela chose to retire the runner going to first than getting the out at home.

Cuba was restricted to six hits. Yulieski Gourriel and Jose Garcia each had two hits. Cuba did put runners on first and third with one out in the ninth after a single and error, the fourth error by Venezuela in the game. Yorbis Borroto struck out and Yulieski Gourriel grounded out to end the inning and the game.

Puerto Rico will play Mexico today. A win by Puerto Rico will put them in a three way tie with Mexico and Venezuela for first place in the round robin. Cuba and the Dominican Republic will do battle to determine the team eliminated from the playoffs.

Baseball Fans Flock to Peoria to See Superstar

February 5th, 2016

Those baseball fans who only follow major league baseball may not be familiar with the name Shohei Ohtani. But Japanese fans know who he is and there is no player in major league baseball quite like him. He is a 21 year old player who throws fastballs in the high 90s, occasionally hitting triple digits. Nothing special about that. Many major leaguer pitchers can meet those numbers. But that is not all Ohtani can do. He can also hit fastballs over 400 feet with a sweet lefthanded swing not seen since Ken Griffey Jr. (embellished for effect since many left handed swings look sweet from the good hitters, regardless of who they are).

Shohei pitches and plays outfield for the Nippon Ham Fighters. The last player in the major leagues to hit double digits in homeruns and record double digits in wins as a pitcher in the same year was a player by the name of Babe Ruth. Shohei Otani accomplished that feat in 2014. The Japanese do not have to look in their history books to see their Babe Ruth. He plays in Japan right now for the Nippon Ham Fighters.

The Nippon Ham Fighters are training for the first two weeks in February in Peoria, Arizona. Curious fans can come out to the Padres/Mariners spring training park to watch him pitch. Or hit. For a point of reference, Yu Darvish pitched for the Nippon Ham Fighters before departing for the major leagues. The Nippon Ham Fighters gave Otani the number 11 uniform number of Yu Darvish. Shohei at this point is a better pitcher than Darvish. Throws harder too. Some may argue he has the potential to be a pretty good hitter too.

At some point the Nippon ham Fighters may post Ohtani for the maximum $20 million posting fee. For that amount there may be 30 major league teams who will bid for him. Currently, Ohtani is worth more than the $20 million posting fee in the revenue he brings in to the Nippon Ham Fighters with ticket and uniform sales. A major league team lucky enough to acquire him would earn more than the $20 million they posted for him and the $25 million per year they would probably have to pay him to have him sign a contract. If the Cuban 16 year old Yoan Moncada can get a $31 million bonus from the Red Sox, Ohtani could easily ask for $50 million. It would be the reality of the market.

For now, Ohtani will pitch in Japan. The major leagues will be deprived of having the opportunity to have one of the top five pitchers in baseball pitch for their team. They will get to watch him in the World Baseball Classic as he mows down major league hitters and dream what it would be like to have him on their roster.

A word of warning to any major league team that wants to fork out the $50 million it will take to sign him. Shohei Ohtani is not satisfied with just pitching. He wants to also play the outfield. You give him both and the $25 to $30 million per year it will take to sign him and you will have your Babe Ruth. Only like many of the Japanese players who come to the major leagues to play, his best years will have been played in Japan.

Matt Murton Signs Minor League Contract with Cubs

February 4th, 2016

Many fans will not be familiar with the name Matt Murton if they do not follow Japanese baseball. Matt has not appeared in a major league game since 2009. He has played seven seasons in the Japanese professional league (NPB) playing for the Hanshin Tigers and pulling the equivalent of an Ichiro Suzuki by breaking the Japanese record for hits in one season (214 hits in 2010 when he hit .349 in his rookie season held by Ichiro Suzuki). His career average while playing seven seasons in Japan was .310.

At 34 years of age he may not be an impact player with the Cubs. There is a chance he could make the team as a fourth or fifth outfielder, or do well enough in the minors that the Cubs would consider him as a option for depth in case of injury. The Hanshin Tigers chose to release him after the 2015 season rather than sign him for another year, even though Matt expressed an interest in extending his career in Japan.

Matt was a first round draft pick of the Red Sox in 2003, traded to the Cubs along with Nomar Garciaparra.

Mexico Takes Lead in Round Robin; Cuba Thumped by Puerto Rico

February 4th, 2016

Mexico defeated Venezuela 6-4 to remain the only undefeated team in the round robin and ensure themselves of a playoff round. Cuba got thumped by Puerto Rico, their starting pitching failing for the second game in a row to reach the third inning. They may end up battling the Dominican Republic on the last day of round robin to stay in the playoff round.

Venezuela struck first against Mexico with a single run in the third, Adonis Garcia lacing a two out RBI single to centerfield. Today Venezuela will be playing Cuba and the brother of Adonis will be wearing a Cuban uniform. Adonis defected about four years ago and finally got his major league opportunity last year at 30 years of age. Myworld got our first look at him in the Series del Caribe in the Dominican Republic four years ago after he first defected and played centerfield for Venezuela.

Mexico took control of the game after that with a three spot in the fourth off Venezuelan starter Omar Bencomo. Alex Liddi, trying to resurrect his career in an Oriole uniform this year year started the inning with a triple. After a fly out by Cyle Hankerd not deep enough to score Liddi, Jorge Vazquez was hit by a pitch. Yuniesky Betancourt drove in both runners with a double to left field to give Mexico the lead. Erick Rodriguez drove in Betancourt with a single to left field.

Venezuela mounted a two out rally with three consecutive singles in the sixth, the first a two out single from Dariel Alvarez driving starter Alejandro Soto from the game. Sergio Valenzuela gave up hits to both batters he faced, the last to Hernan Perez to drive in the second run for Venezuela. Hector Galvan snuffed out the rally coaxing Oscar Salazar to pop out to second.

Mexico ended any hopes of a Venezuela comeback with two in the bottom frame. Esteban Quiroz hit a two out double to left field to score Cyle Hankerd with the first run. The second run scored on a throwing error by third baseman Adonis Garcia.

Venezuela tried to mount another two out rally loading the bases on two singles and a walk in the seventh. Esmailin Caridad came in to pitch and got Dariel Alvarez to punch a grounder to him at the pitcher’s mound to end the threat. Cyle Hankerd drove in the sixth run for Mexico with an RBI single to up their ante to 6-2.

Venezuela rallied again in the eighth, putting together four singles to score two runs. With the tying run on first and only one out Arturo Barradas got Alex Romero to ground one back up the box for a 1-6-3 double play.

Steve Hensley came on to pitch the ninth, put two runners on via a walk and a single but salvaged the victory by retiring the last two hitters.

Last year Cuba eliminated Puerto Rico from the playoffs with their only win of the round robin, then went on to win the Series del Caribe in the playoff round. This year Puerto Rico made sure that didn’t happen with a 12-1 pasting of Cuba. One of the bright Cuban pitchers in the Series del Caribe from last year was trashed for five runs in only one third of an inning when he came on in relief for the ineffective starter Wilber Perez in the third.

Cuba was being humiliated 7-0 after three innings. Normally, Cubans end the game after a team gets ahead by ten runs after five innings. Puerto Rico did not get ahead by ten runs until the ninth when they score two runs to make it 12-1.

Henry Ramos scored four runs on two hits and two walks. Rene Garcia drove in four runs on only one hit. His sacrifice fly in the second inning drove in the second run, two of the runs he drove in were in the seventh on a single and he drove in the last run of the game on a ground out in the ninth.

Kennys Vargas drove in three runs with his three run homer in the third. Cuban pitchers walked four batters in that nightmare of an inning.

Cuba got their sole run in the fifth on a Yorelvis Charles RBI single scoring Yoelvis Fiss, but that made it 7-1. They were like zombies after the fifth, collecting only one hit in the final four innings. Yulieski Gourriel got two of the four Cuban hits, but also made his second error of the tournament playing second base. Alfredo Despaigne played DH, was retired both times he batted before being pinch hit for in the seventh.

Dae-Ho Lee to Sign with Mariners

February 3rd, 2016

The Korean Times and Yonhap are reporting that Dae-Ho Lee has agreed to a one year contract with the Seattle Mariners. The deal is pending a physical but with incentives could reach $4 million. Lee is a big player (6′4″, 280) who probably best suits at DH. That opportunity will not present itself with the Mariners unless Nelson Cruz goes out to right field. He could platoon with Adam Lind at first base, but that would be against lefthanded pitchers, which could limit his at bats. Injuries could increase his role.

Lee was the MVP of the Japan Series, leading the Softbank Hawks to the Japan Series championship. He is one of the big power hitters in Japan, but even there plays a lot of DH because of his defensive limitations. Last year he had a career high 31 homeruns with 98 RBIs. In his two stints in Korea and Japan Lee has hit 323 homeruns. A formal announcement on his signing could be made tomorrow.

Mexico and Venezuela Truimph Again

February 3rd, 2016

Mexico destroyed Cuba 9-3 and Venezuela rallied to defeat the host Dominican Republic in ten innings 8-7 to jump start their way into the Series del Caribe playoffs with two straight wins. Even though the Dominican Republic is 0-2 to start the round robin all is not lost. Cuba last year won only one game in the round robin but still qualified for the playoffs as the fourth team, then won the Series del Caribe by beating Mexico in the finals.

Vladimir Garcia got the start for Cuba against Mexico but he did not last past the second inning. Cuba has a habit of pulling pitchers early when they are not effective and Garcia was gone one out into the second inning after giving up three runs. Yoanni Yera and Miguel Lahera, two Cuban aces who followed him were also ineffective. It could be a long series for Cuba without any pitching, but this happened to them last year in the round robin.

For Mexico it was the bottom of the lineup that did most of the damage. Sebastian Valle drove in the first three runs for Mexico with a double. That double sent Garcia to the showers. Valle finished off the scoring with a two run double in the seventh to finish the day with five RBIs. Yuniesky Betancourt, facing his Cuban teammates and Esteban Quiroz each scored three runs collecting two hits and two walks on perfect 2 for 2 days.

Cuba actually outhit Mexico 11 to 9 but the only time they could cross the plate is when they rallied for three runs in the sixth to close the game to 5-3. Lourdes Gourriel had a two run single to finish the scoring. Eddie Gamboa had shut Cuba out until the sixth inning, getting credit for the victory.

Cyle Hankerd hit a solo shot for Mexico in the third. Last year Mexico beat Cuba in the round robin but lost to them in the finals.

Down 7-5 Venezuela rallied to score single runs in the last three innings to send the host Dominicans into a 0-2 hole in the round robin. Hernan Perez hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth after an errant throw on a pick off attempt on Dariel Alvarez sent him to third. Dariel Alvarez drove in the game tying run on a single in the ninth, the third hit of the inning. After a double to lead off the bottom of the tenth by Hernan Perez, the walk off two out single was provided by Juniel Querecuto, a name not known by many outside of Venezuela, but he is a light hitting shortstop in the Rays organization who hit .352 during the regular winter league season.

Dariel Alvarez, another Cuban player participating in this event for another country, was the hitting star for Venezuela with three RBIs on three hits and two runs scored. Felix Perez and Hernan Perez each drove in two runs for Venezuela. Ronald Belisario pitched the final two innings to get the win, limiting the Dominican bats to two hits.

Fernando Rodney blew the save in the ninth, giving up the game tying run. Jose Veras coughed up the last run to take the loss. Leury Garcia continued his struggles at second, dropping a thrown ball on a force play for an error. The last three hitters in the Dominican lineup provided all the offense with Junior Lake, Carlos Paulino and Pedro Lopez each driving in two runs. Lake and Paulino each had three hits with Lake blasting a solo shot in the sixth.

The Dominican Republic will get a welcome break as Puerto Rico does battle with Cuba and the two undefeated teams Mexico and Venezuela tangle for supremacy of the round robin.

Foreign Players in the KBO

February 3rd, 2016 has provided a list of foreign players who will be playing in the KBO for the 2016 season. Many of the foreign players last year returned to the United States and signed minor league contracts with major league teams so the KBO was scrambling for foreign players. KBO teams are allowed to have three foreign players, two pitchers and one position player, except the expansion team KT Wiz who can have four players. The LG Twins and the Hanwha Eagles are the only team with room on their roster for a foreign player, both teams looking for pitchers.

Samsung Lions - Allen Webster, Collin Balester (Pitchers), Aarom Baldiris (infielder)
Nexen Heroes - Ryan Feirabend, Robert Coello (Pitchers), Danny Dorn (1B/Outfielder)
NC Dinos - Zach Stewart, Eric Hacker (Pitchers), Eric Thames (Infielder)
LG Twins - Henry Sosa (Pitcher), Luis Jimenez (Infielder)
SK Wyverns - Merrill Kelly, Chris Seddon (Pitchers), Hector Gomez (Infielder)
Doosan Bears - Dustin Nippert, Michael Bowden (pitchers), Nick Evans (1B/Outfelder)
Lotte Giants - Josh Lindblom, Brooks Raley (Pitchers), Jim Adducci (Outfielder)
Kia Tigers - Hector Noesi, Zeke Spruill (Pitchers), Brett Pill (Infielder)
Hanwha Eagles - Esmil Rogers (Pitcher), Wilin Rosario (Infielder/Catcher)
KT Wizards - Yohan Pino, Travis Banwart, Sugar Ray Marimon (Pitchers), Andy Marte (Infielder)

The highest paid foreign player in the KBO is Esmil Rogers at $1.9 million.

Venezuela and Mexico are the Opening Day Winners in Series del Caribe 2016

February 2nd, 2016

Freddy Garcia pitched six strong innings and Jose Martinez tripled in the only two runs for Venezuela to give them a 2-1 win over Puerto Rico in the opener of the Series del Caribe. Jose Martinez is a sleeper to win a corner outfield job with the Royals after hitting .382 last year in the minor leagues. The Royals put him on the 40 man roster, unusual for a player turning 27 so he hopes his major league career is just getting started. Freddy Garcia has had a long major league career but has indicated he will retire after pitching in the Series del Caribe. He would like to retire giving Venezuela a championship that they haven’t seen since 2009, the last time Aragua represented Venezuela in the Series del Caribe.

Ruben Sosa opened the game for Puerto Rico with a triple and scored on a Neftali Soto one out single. Those would be the only runs Garcia would allow in his six innings of work. Ruben Sosa added another double in the third and T.J. Rivera doubled in the fourth, but Garcia got the final two outs in both those innings to preserve the lead.

Venezuela got all the runs they needed in the second inning after a walk to Felix Perez and an infield single by Dariel Alvarez. Jose Martinez rifled a ball over the head of the right fielder for a triple. He was stranded on third after a shallow fly out, a strike out and another fly out could not bring him home.

After Garcia departed the bullpen allowed only a lead off single in the top of the ninth to Neftali Soto. Alexis Candelario had worked two innings without allowing a baserunner until the leadoff single by Soto. He yielded to Jose Mijares who retired his man and gave the ball to Renee Cortez who induced the double play grounder to end the game.

Adalberto Flores got the start for Puerto Rico and took the loss, going five innings and giving up two runs.

The runs also came early in the nightcap with Mexico defeating the hosts Dominican Republic 3-2. The Dominicans inability to turn three double plays led to all three runs scoring for Mexico.

Mexico was aided in the second inning by a Dominican error to score their first run. A single by Cyle Hankerd and walk to Yuniesky Betancourt put the first two runners on base. A ground out put runners on first and third. On a ground ball back to the pitcher Greg Reynolds he made a throwing error in an attempt to get two allowing Hankerd to score and the runner to reach second. Mexico could do no further damage after a groundout and line out to center ended the inning.

Mexico scored again in the third inning when the Dominicans again could not turn the double play. They loaded the bases with one out and on a ground ball to third, Pedro Ciracio threw to second to retire the first runner but Leury Garcia could not turn the double play to get the runner at first. Justin Greene scored the first of his two runs after the failed double play attempt to give Mexico a 2-0 lead.

The Dominicans rallied for two runs in the bottom of the third, Leury Garcia hitting an inside the park two run homerun to right centerfield that eluded Justin Greene. His head first slide beat the throw home and tied the game at 2-2.

Mexico scored the game winning run in the fifth inning after back to back singles by Justin Greene and Chris Roberson put runners on first and second with no out. Cyle Hankerd failed to advance the runners with his fly out. Yuniesky Betancourt hit a grounder to Pedro Lopez at short, who flipped to Leury Garcia at second who threw the ball away to allow Justin Greene to scamper home with what proved to be the game winning run.

In the fifth inning the Dominicans were able to get runners to second and third with one out after a dropped fly by rightfielder Jeremias Pineda. Junior Lake struck out and Lew Ford grounded out to strand the runners. The Dominicans got a runner to third with two outs in the ninth inning after a leadoff walk, a sacrifice and ground out moved Moises Sierra to third. Steve Hensley was able to retire pinch hitter Jimmie Paredes on a ground out for the final out and his first save of the Series del Caribe.