Ohno Tosses Sixth Shutout

October 22nd, 2020

Even though the Yomiuri Giants Tomoyuki Sugano is 13-1 with a 2.02 ERA, the favorite to win the Sawamura award is the Chunichi Dragons Yudai Ohno. He is having an incredible year, tossing his sixth shutout of the year and tenth complete game in a 1-0 win over the DeNA Bay Stars. Ohno leads the Central League in ERA at 1.79. After a slow start he is 10-5 on a far inferior team.

The NPB may want to consider lowering the innings pitched requirement for the ERA race. In the Central League only five pitchers qualify. To qualify you have to meet the minimum innings of the number of games your team plays. Two pitchers with the Carp barely qualify with 105 innings pitched, while the Carp have played 105 game. After tomorrow, if neither of those pitchers pitch they will be removed from the ERA title race until they can take the mound again.

In the Pacific League they have nine pitchers who still qualify for the ERA title.

Lotte Giants Go Back to Back to Back to Back but Still Lose Game - Singles Win

October 22nd, 2020

The Lotte Giants hit four consecutive homeruns in their game against the SK Wyverns but still lost the game 9-8. In fact, the Giants hit six homeruns to the Wyverns one, but lost in the final inning when the Wyverns rallied for three runs in the final inning, stringing together four consecutive singles. Lee Jae-Won got the final single that scored the tying and go ahead runs with one out.

In the sixth inning with the Giants trailing 5-1 they hit their four consecutive homeruns to tie the game. The first to start the party was veteran Lee Dae-ho, who jacked one into the left field bleachers. He was followed by Lee Byung-kyu, who worked his to centerfield. After An Chi-hong went deep the Giants replaced reliever Kim Jung-bin. He could only retire one batter (the first) in his sixth inning relief work. Park Min-ho replaced Kim and gave up a tater to Han Dong-hee to tie the game.

The Giants then got solo shots from Son Ah-Seop in the seventh and then Jung Hoon in the eighth. That is six homeruns that account for only six runs.

Neither team is in the playoff race.

Heidenheim Wins German Baseball Championships

October 19th, 2020

Heidenheim Heidekoepfe won the German Baseball Bundesliga championships, sweeping a best of five series against the Bonn Capitals. It is the second consecutive championship for Heidenheim and their fifth title, the first being in 2009. It was also the fourth consecutive championship series between Bonn and Heidenheim, with Bonn winning it in 2018 and Heidenheim the victors in the other years, starting in 2017.

Mexican Winter League Begins Season

October 19th, 2020

The winter league has started with each of the with each of the ten teams playing a four game series. Obregon is the only team to come away from the weekend undefeated, sweeping Mexicali. Los Mochis, Hermosillo and Monterrey came out with three victories. Guasave and Culiacan split their series.

Fans up to 30 to 50 percent capacity were allowed in the states of Sinaloa, Baja California and Sonora. That meant Obregon, Los Mochis, Novajoa and Culiacan were allowed to have spectators. Teams in Jalisco and Nuevo Leon have not been cleared to have spectators. This meant only cardboard cutouts for Monterrey.

Fans must wear face masks at the game and have their temperature checked. Spectators will not be allowed to move from their assigned seat. Any food and beverages will be delivered in closed containers.

Tests were conducted on the teams players and officials. There were 92 positive tests. Tests will be administered every two weeks.

Foreign Pitchers Dominate KBO Leaderboards

October 17th, 2020

If you look at the rosters of the KBO teams they are filled with Korean pitchers whose age range from 19 to 23 years of age. Many of them are starting for these KBO teams. That spells promise for the KBO if these native pitchers pan out. In the mean time, the best pitchers filling the leader boards in the KBO are foreign pitchers.

Most Wins

1) Drew Rucinski 18-4 (NC Dinos), 2) Raul Alcantara 17-2 (Doosan Bears), 3) David Buchanan 15-7 (Samsung Lions), 4) Odrisamer Despaigne 15-8 (KT Wiz), 5) Casey Kelly 14-7 (LG Twins), 6) Dan Straily 13-4 (Lotte Giants), 7) Eric Jokisch 12-5 (Kiwoom Heroes), 8) Aaron Brooks 11-4 (Kia Tigers), 9)So Hyeong-jun 11-6 (KT Wiz), 10) Mike Wright 11-8 (NC Dinos) 11) Park Jong-hoon 11-11 (SK Wyverns)

The top 7 pitchers in wins are all foreign born. It is when you get to the eighth spot that you have a four way tie, with two of those pitchers Korean born. There are ten teams in the KBO. Eight of those teams made decent investments with foreign pitchers who are in the top ten. The two teams at the bottom, the Hanwah Eagles and SK Wyverns are missing foreign born pitchers, though the Wyverns had a Korean pitcher make the top ten. The NC Dinos had two foreign born pitchers in the top ten.

ERA

1) Eric Jokisch 2.02 (Heroes), 2) Aaron Brooks 2.50 (Tigers), 3) Dan Straily 2.61 (Giants), 4) Raul Alcantara 2.67 (Bears), 5) Drew Rucinski 3.00 (Dinos), 6) Casey Kelly 3.23 (Twins), 7) David Buchanan 3.45 (Lions) 8) Moon Seung-won 3.65 (Wyverns), 9) Lim Chan-gyu 4.00 (Twins) 10) William Cuevas 4.10 (Wiz)

You have to jump to the eighth spot to get to a Korean pitcher. A different Wyverns pitcher made the list. The ninth spot also belongs to a Korean pitcher.

The top save leaders are all Korean pitchers, but that is because all the foreign pitchers are starters. Teams are allowed three foreign players on the roster with a maximum of only two foreign pitchers. If you look at strikeouts it is the usual suspects, expect that possible major league free agent Yang Hyun-jong of the Kia Tigers appears fifth on the list. He is having a down year ERA wise (4.56), but was one of the top pitchers in 2019.

One of the best Korean pitchers last year, Kim Kwang-hyun bolted for the major leagues. He turned into one of the top starting pitchers for the Cardinals after they began his season pitching in the bullpen. A Korean pitcher who would have fit at the top of the three major leader boards, the NC Dinos Koo Chang-mo was shut down with elbow issues after the first half of the season. He was 9-0 with a 1.55 ERA after 13 starts.

Netherlands Ends Season Prematurely

October 15th, 2020

The corona virus was the cause for the late start of the 2020 Dutch Hoofdklasse season. The corona virus is also responsible for the early end to the season. While a number of European leagues were able to finish their seasons by crowning a champion, the Dutch came up just short.

All team sports, except for professional soccer were told to end their seasons because of the uptick in corona virus. The Dutch League was in the middle of their championship, a best of seven series, with the Amsterdam Pirates leading the Curacao Neptunus two games to none. The league could declare co-champions or just award the championship to Amsterdam for winning the best two out of three tourney.

Just when you think everything is getting better the corona virus comes back to taunt. It is like a guest at a party that just won’t go home.

Sugano Loses First Game

October 14th, 2020

After winning 13 straight games to begin the season, the Yomiuri Giants Tomoyuki Sugano lost his first game of the year. The Hiroshima Carp jumped on Sugano for three runs in the fourth to take an early 4-0 lead. Yoshihiro Maru and Zealous Wheeler tried to take the game back by hitting hit back to back homeruns off Carp closer Geronimo Franzua to close the gap to 4-3, but it was too little too late. Aren Kuri was the winning pitcher for the Carp, tossing eight innings and only giving up one run. He improved his record to 6-5. Sugano dropped to 13-1 with his ERA climbing to 2.02, the first time it has risen into the twos.

The Giants have virtually clinched an appearance in the Japan Series with a 12.5 game lead over second place Hanshin Tigers. Only the winner of the Central Division will appear in the Japan Series this year. The Central will probably see a four game playoff between the Softbank Hawks and the Chibba Lotte Marines. The Hawks have a two game lead over the Marines with the top two teams playing in a four game playoff. The winner of the Division gets a 1-0 lead to begin the series. The Rakuten Golden Eagles and Seibu Lions find themselves 6 games behind the Marines for the second and last playoff spot this year.

KBO Posting Period Pushed Back

October 13th, 2020

The KBO season has been extended this year and with that they have pushed back the posting period when players can be posted for the major leagues. The original posting period dates were November 1 through December 4. That has been pushed back to begin November 10 and end December 14.

For players to be eligible for posting they must play eight years in the KBO. The two top players in the KBO who have met that requirement are Ha-Seong Kim of the Kiwoom Heroes and myworld’s favorite player, the NC Dinos Sung-Bum Na.

Of those two players Kim will probably make the most impact because of his position and age. He plays shortstop but could move to third or second. He is also only 25 years old. He was the replacement for Jung-Ho Kang when he left for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Kim does not show the power numbers of Kang but he may be the better overall player. He has been a starter with the Kiwoom Heroes since he was 19 years old.

Na has more power than Kim but plays right field, which is where power is expected. Whether that power can translate in the major leagues is a fair question to ask. Hyun-Soo Kim did not have as much power as Na but showed moderate power in the KBO. That moderate power disappeared in the major leagues and he became a singles hitting corner outfielder who played moderate defense. Na also had a severe knee injury last year which required surgery, causing him to miss most of the 2019 season. He has played a lot of designated hitter and first base in 2020, but has also played some right field. Also at 31 years of age his window of opportunity is closing.

Another possibility is Kia Tigers pitcher Hyeon-jong Yang who is a left handed pitcher. He may not be as talented as Kwang-hyun Kim, but with the success of Kim this year in the major leagues, Yang could be a hot commodity. In 2019 he was the best Korean pitcher in the KBO with a 16-8, 2.29 ERA. This year, at age 32, has not been as kind to him (9-8, 4.66). In 2019, his last year in the KBO Kim was 17-9, 2.51 ERA, similar numbers to Yang that year.

Austin Slugging His Way in NPB

October 12th, 2020

The Yokohama DeNA Bay Stars Tyler Austin is have a pretty good year for his first year in the NPB. Injuries early in the year disabled him for an extended time. Now that he is healthy he has been stinging the ball. While the league leader in homers in the Central League is a battle between Yusuke Ohyama of the Hanshin Tigers and Kazuma Okamoto of the Yomiuri Giants with 25 each, Austin could be in that race without the early season injuries.

Both Okamoto and Ohyama have played over 90 games. Injuries have restricted Austin to just 45 games. Yet in those 45 games he has 17 homeruns. Project that to a 90 game season and he would be blowing away the Central League with 34 homeruns. His 45 RBIs are the equivalent of one RBI per game, which if projected to 90 games would lead the Central League in RBIs.

Tyler Austin was not much of a homerun hitter when he played in the major or minor leagues. His high in the major leagues was in 2018 when he hit 17, splitting the season between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins. Those 17 homeruns were hit in only 69 games. His minor league best was also 17 when he played in the lower levels of the minor leagues in 2012.

The Bay Stars are virtually out of the playoff race in 2020. They may want to sign Austin to a contract for the 2021 season to see what numbers Austin can produce in a full season in the NPB. Or perhaps a call from a major league team would be too tempting for the now 29 year old, whose opportunities for major league time are limited.

Dinos Yang Named Player of the Month for September

October 12th, 2020

Dinos catcher Yang Eui-ji was named player of the month for September. Aaron Brooks of the Kia Tigers won the fan voting but came in second in the overall point totals.

Yang hit .367 with a .422 OBA and .673 slugging for the month of September. He had a league leading 32 RBIs driven in for the month. For the year Yang is hitting .318 with 25 homeruns and 105 RBIs. The homeruns and RBIs are a career high. He is third in the KBO in RBIs behind the LG Twins Kim Hyun-soo (113) and the KT Wiz Mel Rojas Jr. (125).

Brooks only gave up three runs in his four starts covering 28.3 innings for a 0.95 ERA in the month of September. He walked only 2 and struck out 28. For the year Brooks is 11-4 with a 2.50 ERA in 23 starts playing in his first year in the KBO. His 2.50 ERA puts him second in the KBO behind the Kiwoom Heroes Erik Jokisch.

The first place winner receives about $1,750 in prize money and a gold bar worth around $500.