The best pitching prospect in Cuba has left the country to play major league baseball. At 21 years old he is going to be subject to the spending limits. Myworld saw him pitch at the Series del Caribe. He is a small pitcher that is not overpowering. He reminds me a bit of Yunesky Maya, who did not have a lot of success with the Nationals. Righthanders who stand less than six foot do not have a lot of success in the major leagues as starters, but sometimes have success in the bullpen. There are always exceptions. Ruiz got hit pretty good at the Series del Caribe, but still wiggled out of a lot of jams.
The Orioles signed Cuban lefty Ariel Miranda to a contract. He was not a big name in the National Series. At 25 he is fairly young but still old enough not to be subject to the international salary cap. Not that the Orioles ever break that. He also throws lefthanded. He could be bullpen fodder, perhaps a second tier lefty to face other lefties. Buck likes his match ups.
Myworld is at the East Coast volleyball championships in Pittsburgh. Our pool play finished early so myworld decided to walk over to PNC Park to see the Mets play the Pirates. Brian Harvey was pitching for the Mets. It was Josh Harrison bobble head day as well. There were only standing room only tickets available for the game, at $27 per pop. Plenty of other people decided to catch the game in sunny mid 70s degree weather. Over 102 percent capacity.
The Pirates were not too kind to Matt Harvey. Andrew McCutcheon took Harvey deep into the pitchers bullpen in centerfield with a runner on first in the opening frame to give the Pirates a quick 2-0 lead. Pedro Alvarez drove the first pitch from Harvey into the upper deck of the bleachers in right field in the second inning.
Harvey got blasted for four runs in the fourth, walking two and giving up three hits. Alvarez hit a double down the right field line to score one. A couple walks loaded the bases where the final three runs were scored on a sacrifice fly from A.J. Burnett and a two run single from Josh Harrison. Harvey was pinch hit for in the top of the fifth ending his day at four innings. It was his shortest outing of his career.
A.J. Burnett was dealing for the Pirates. He allowed a runner to reach second base in the second inning and gave up his only run in the fourth. Three singles scored a run and put runners at first and second with one out. Eric Cambell grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. The Pirates went on to win the game 8-2.
The Pirates scored a run in the seventh on back to back doubles from Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte. Ruben Tejeda hit a solo shot in the eighth to finish the scoring.
Game Notes: Myworld had the pierogies at Mrs. T in the ballpark. Lots of sour cream and only $5 for five or six small dumplings of pierogies…There was a big contingent of Mets fans there to watch Matt Harvey. They all carried their thunder sticks, getting there tickets from “the7line.com.” They call themselves the Number 7 army when they go into another stadium…There was a play in which Duda struck out on a check swing strike, but the ball bounded back to the backstop. With a runner on first the batter could not advance but the runner went to second. The team that got the strikeout (Pirates) appealed the play. They won. Because the check swing had hit the batter in the leg it is still a strikeout but the ball is dead and the runner must return to first. Daniel Murphy hit a single down the right field line that would have scored the run if he had not returned to first…Matt Harvey was hitting 95-97 but he was mostly 88-92, pitching too many of his breaking pitches. The Mets were not being fooled, striking out four times. He also claimed not to have any command of his pitches…A.J. Burnett struck out 10 hitters.
The game went 13 innings before Trenton won 1-0, but the first five innings pitched by Luis Severino was one batter short of perfect. Luis had been on the disabled list the last ten days and in his first game back worked five innings, allowing no hits or walks and striking out five. The only hitter to reach base was on a catcher’s interference call. For that Luis wins our May 22 minor league player of the day.
The Mets Casey Meisner has been dominating Low A ball. He worked seven shutout innings, allowing just one hit and striking out 10. Earlier in the year the third round 2013 pick who stands 6′7″ had struck out nine in a game. The 6′7″ righthander has a 1.93 ERA in seven starts.
The Angels prospect Sean Newcomb threw five plus innings of one hit ball. This was the second start for Sean since his promotion to High A. In seven starts in Low A he finished with an ERA of 1.83. In two starts in High A he has only allowed one run in 10 plus innings.
Two Astros swung a hot bat. Brett Phillips went 3 for 5 to raise his average to .325. He slapped two triples to drive in three runs and cross the plate four times. After having a hot April (.341/634 batting average and slugging average) May has gotten a bit cold (.308/.462). A.J. Reed was 3 for 6 and a triple short of the cycle. His single, double and 11th homeruns gave him four RBIs for the game.
Rowdy Tellez continues to carry a rowdy bat, piecing together a perfect 3 for 3 day with two doubles and three runs scored with three RBIs. Rowdy broke out of a 1 for 10 slump in his last three games.
Mike Zagunis had a quiet 4 for 4 day. Three of his four hits were singles and he roped one double to drive in just one run on the day.
There were a number of balls traveling over the fence in the NPB yesterday. It appears they have gone to a more livelier ball because the runs are coming in bunches.
Hawks 10 Buffaloes 6
The Orix Buffaloes swatted four homeruns, Masahiro Nishino, Francisco Caraballo, Hiroyuki Nakajima and Takuya Hara doing the damage. The Hawks though had a two homerun day from Nobuhiro Matsuda and one homerun each from Dae Ho Lee and Yuki Yanagiti to match them.
Marines 10 Lions 6
Alfredo Despaigne and Luis Cruz each had two homerun days to slug the Marines to victory. For Despaigne the two homeruns were part of a five hit day. Shogo Nakamura also went deep for the Marines. Fumikazu Kimura hit the Lions only homerun in his only at bat.
Fighters 9 Eagles 5
Brandon Laird hit a homerun for the Fighters while Masayoshi Fukuda hit the lone homerun for the Eagles. The two teams did combine for 28 hits. The Fighters Takuya Nakashima bullied five hits into the grass to be the second five hit player of the day.
The bats were a little more sedate in the Central League
Swallows 4 Bay Stars 3
The only homerun in the game was hit by the Bay Stars Yoshitomo Tsutugo, but the teams did combine for 23 hits. Lastings Milledge has returned from injury for the Swallows and contributed two of their 14 hits. Slugger Wladimir Balentien is still injured. To compensate for these non-contributing foreign players the Swallows recently signed Mitch Dening to a contract. Dening is an Australian player who only saw minor league time in his games in the United States.
Tigers 2 Giants 1
Koshien did not yield a homerun.
Sometimes the grass is not always greener on the other side of the ocean. Cuba’s Erisbel Arruebarrena is learning that. The Dodgers have suspended Arruebarrena for the rest of the season for disciplinary reasons. That will cost him about $3 million.
Earlier in the year Arruebarrena had been removed from the 40 man roster. Alex Guerrero, another Cuban infielder had a clause in his contract that required him to remain on the major league team or else become a free agent. The Dodgers have also signed Cuban second baseman Hector Olivera. There is only so much room in an infield of Cuban defectors. Perhaps Erisbel is upset Guerrero is playing with the Dodgers and he is not and Olivera will take over the position he had hoped would be his. For whatever reason Erisbel has yet to play in a minor league game this season.
With the one year suspension he will not be playing in a game this year. He did play in eight spring training games going 2 for 14. You can read about the disciplinary suspension here:
The ex-Bruin now Lynchburg Hillcat Adam Plutko threw seven innings of one hit ball, striking out 10 hitters in the shutout. The lone hit was given up in the fifth inning. Adam also walked two hitters and picked up his fourth win against two losses. The 11th round 2013 pick of the Indians has not allowed more than two runs in any of his eight outings, ranking third in the Carolina League with a 1.27 ERA. His 47 strikeouts put him second. For the outing yesterday he wins the minor league player of the day for May 20.
A couple other good mound outings. Grant Holmes was almost unhittable, giving up just one hit in his six innings of work. He struck out nine. The one less inning and the one less strikeout was all that separated him from Plutko. The Dodgers first round 2014 pick has not been as consistent as Plutko, but in his last two appearances and in three of his last four outings covering at least six innings he has not given up a run. Grant currently has a 12 inning shutout streak going with 16 whiffs in those 12 innings. His ERA now stands at 3.03.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro was reportedly in the stands during the shutout outing of the Phillies number one pick in 2014 Aaron Nola. Pitching in AA, Aaron tossed seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits and striking out seven. That is his second straight shutout outing covering 13 innings for Nola. The ERA for the month of May in four start for Aaron is 0.64, lowering his overall ERA to 1.54. Expect a promotion to AAA but a major league promotion would be optimistic with the way the Phillies season is tumbling.
On the hitting front everyone was looking forward to the debut of Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada. The twenty year old Cuban showed some rust in the first game going hitless. He was limited to one hit in his second game. As a DH he broke out in his third game going 3 for 4. The Red Sox played him at second base in his first two games. Yoan is still looking for his first extra base hit but he is hitting a robust .333.
The Diamondbacks have a surplus at third base with Yasmany Thomas and Jake Lamb occupying the position there. Add Brandon Drury to that list. He drove in five runs in a 2 for 5 day, hitting two doubles to give him 12 for the year. His homerun output has been slow to develop and he has yet to walk in the month of May against 14 whiffs but he is opening some eyes.
Another Diamondback Daniel Palka spanked his fourth consecutive three hit game to raise his average to .312. While listed as a first baseman, the 6′2″ 220 pounder has played most of his games in the outfield. He has shown some speed stealing 11 bases in 13 attempts and is a perfect 6 for 6 in May. Daniel has also shown some pop with 17 doubles and 7 homeruns for a .567 slugging average. Daniel was a third round pick of the Diamondbacks in 2013.
June is almost upon us and that is when Trea Turner will say goodbye to the San Diego Padres and hello to the Washington Nationals. After a 3 for 4 performance to raise his average to .336 the Nationals are drooling with anticipation. Trea clobbered his fifth homer in the game as well as his tenth double. The Padres 2014 number one pick is hitting .391 in May and has a seven game hitting streak.
The Cardinals Dominican shortstop Juan Herrera went a perfect 4 for 4 in High A to raise his average to .274. Juan does not pack a lot of punch (.310 slugging) with only four extra base hits on the year, all of them doubles. He is a perfect 5 for 5 in stolen bases.
Rays prospect Justin Williams had a perfect 3 for 3 day, driving in three runs. The Diamondbacks had drafted Williams in the second round of the 2013 draft then traded him to the Rays for Jeremy Hellickson. Williams still needs to improve on his 5/33 walk to whiff ratio as he rises above Low A.
Japan promises to have a competitive team. The United States team is unknown at this time. The tournament does not start until November 8-21. The major league playoffs will be over by then. Most major leaguers will have burn out, except those from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. They will play for country if their major league teams allow them to play. Below are the groupings for the Premier 12:
Grouping A - Cuba (3), co-host Taiwan (4), Netherlands (5), Canada (7), Puerto Rico (9) and Italy (11)
Grouping B - co-host Japan (1), United States (2), Dominican Republic (6), South Korea (8), Venezuela (10) and Mexico (12)
The top four will advance to a single elimination format. The semi-finals and championship game will be played in Tokyo.
Jim Thome 13
Babe Ruth 12
Jimmy Fox 12
Mickey Mantle 12
Stan Musial 12
Frank Robinson 12
David Ortiz 11
Albert Pujols 11
Tony Perez 11
Ryan Zimmerman 10
Eight Others with 10 - Barry Bonds, Adam Dunn, Sammy Sosa, Mike Schmidt, Jason Giambi, Dick Allen, Harold Baines and Reggie Jackson
A pretty elite list. The player with the least amount of career homeruns is Ryan Zimmerman at 189.
It is another busy day of catchup for myworld.
Blake Snell continues to do what he does best. Pitch shutouts. On Monday he tossed another six innings of shutout ball, allowing just two hits. The six shutout innings by the Rays lefthander extends the shutout streak by Snell to 46 innings in his six starts and eight appearances this year. He also improved his record to 3-0, allowing just 18 hits in his 46 innings. If he continues to toss shutouts myworld will continue to give him minor league player of the day awards until the shutout streak ends.
Down a level below and hibernating in the same dugout as Snell a month ago is Buddy Borden. Buddy had been in the bullpen but with the departure of Snell Charlotte needed a pitcher for their rotation. Buddy threw seven innings of no hit ball in his first start. He didn’t quite top that in his second start, but he threw an additional five shutout innings, giving up three hits while striking out five. Buddy still has a long way to go before reaching the heights of Snell with shutout innings. His 12 shutout innings falls 34 innings short of Snell.
The Reds Tyler Mahle threw seven innings of 4-hit shutout ball. A lot of balls missed bats with his nine whiffs. After struggling a bit in Low A Tyler has only allowed one run to cross the plate in his last 15 innings, showing excellent control with just one walk.
On the hitting side the four hit games were rare. D.J. Davis went 4 for 4. It was a quiet 4 for 4 without any RBIs for the Blue Jays first round pick in 2012. The outfielder raised his average to .265 to extend his hitting streak to seven games.
Franklin Barreto pounded two homeruns to drive in five runs in a 3 for 4 day. He is another shortstop the Athletics can trade, acquiring Barreto from the Blue Jays in the Josh Donaldson trade. Barreto is struggling, the three hits raising his average to .233
The minor league player of May 19 goes to Joey Gallo for his two homeruns and six RBIs. Gallo got a late start to the season and did not hit his first homerun until May 6. The two homeruns yesterday give him six for the season. He also added a double to his 3 for 5 day increasing his slugging percentage for the year to .679. An 18/23 walk to whiff ratio in 17 May games has given him a .455 OBA. Expect him to be promoted soon from AA to AAA. Last year he struggled in AA hitting .232 with a .334 OBA and a .524 slugging. Gallo is 100 points better in each of those categories.
It has been awhile since Pete O’Brien went deep. In April seven balls carried over the fence. May only saw one and after a nine day absence he hit another, his ninth of the year. Pete finished the day 2 for 5 with four RBIs, including his third triple of the year. Perhaps the cause of his homerun drought and drop in batting average is the result of his playing a number of games at catcher. He is 8 for 27 with two homeruns in his seven games at catcher.
Another Diamondback, Daniel Palka, playing at the high A level has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball. A 3 for 5 day gives him three consecutive games in which he has collected three hits. Two of those three hits went out of the park to give him seven for the year. The third round 2013 pick is 9 for 14 in those three games with five RBIs and seven runs scored. Daniel has extra base hits in four consecutive games.
Jomar Reyes had a perfect 4 for 4 day, driving in five runs with two doubles and a triple. The perfect day raised his average to .311. A five game hitting streak has seen him go 11 for 22 with nine RBIs during that span. The Dominican teenager turned 18 February of this year and is already playing at Low A for the Orioles.
The Rockies 2014 supplemental first round pick Forrest Wall slugged two homeruns in three at bats to double his homerun output for the year. The two taters gave him four RBIs for the game and seven RBIs in his last three games. Forest is known better for his bat than his glove.
One of the better hitters out of the college South Carolina was Joey Pankake, drafted in the seventh round of the 2014 draft by the Tigers. His .232 April batting average was a disappointment but a 4 for 5 day put his May average at .305 and raised his overall average to .266. Two of his four hits were doubles.
One of myworld’s top Austrailian prospects was Zac Shepherd. Zac is making myworld look good with a 4 for 5 day, giving him a four game hitting streak with three doubles and a triple. Zac is a Tiger teammate of Pankake.
Domingo Santana hit two homeruns yesterday to give him 10 for the year. The 47 whiffs in just 39 games is a testament to his ability to swing and miss. His .320 average is the result of a 15 game hitting streak in which he has gone 22 for 56 for a .393 average. He has hit five homeruns each month, but his batting average is higher in May (.357) rather than April (.276).
The one solid pitching performance myworld could find was performed by Brian Gonzalez of the Orioles Low A farm team. Two back to back poor starts in May (11 runs given up in less than 8 innings) has kept his ERA high (4.08). He threw six plus innings of one hit ball, striking out four to improve his record to 3-1. A less than impressive 22 to 32 walk to whiff ratio should keep the third round 2014 pick in Low A for the full year.