Tetsuto Yamada - Another Japanese Player to Watch

June 30th, 2015

He will turn 23 this July. Teams could use a mixture of his power and speed. Last year Tetsuto Yamada hit .324 with 29 homeruns for the Yakult Swallows. He drove in 89 runs and stole 15 bases in twenty attempts. This year he is hitting .303 with 14 homeruns, 12 stolen bases and 38 RBIs.

The Swallows made Yamada a first round pick in the 2010 draft. In 2012 he made his NPB debut with 11 hits in 49 at bats. In his second year he played 93 games but fell just short of 400 plate appearances, hitting just .283 with three homeruns.

The last two years he has broken out. Last year he hit six homeruns leading off a game. This year he has hit four. He is now the second youngest player in NPB history to hit ten leadoff homeruns. Only a player by the name of Hayato Sakamoto was younger when he blasted his ten leadoff homeruns. Sakamoto currently plays for the Giants.

Yamada is a long way away from becoming an international free agent. It would be a surprise the Swallows would post him for the $20 million fee. They would probably wait until he was a year away from becoming a free agent. In 144 game season it is difficult to be a 30/30 player but Yamada is on course to fall just short of those numbers. One hot streak could change all that.

United States Pan Am Roster

June 30th, 2015

It is a roster of prospects not yet on major league teams 40 man rosters and a few veterans still playing but also absent from the 40 man. This would be the kind of team the United States would field during an Olympic competition, if baseball should return to the Olympics. Not the best major league baseball could offer, but a roster of professionals.

RHP - Jake Barrett (Diamondbacks), Aaron Blair (Diamondbacks), Casey Coleman (Royals), Zach Eflin (Phillies), Brian Ellington (Marlins), Ryan Kelly (Braves), Scott McGregor (Nationals), Jake Thompson (Rangers)

LHP - Buddy Baumann (Royals), Josh Hader (Astros), David Huff (Dodgers), Nate Smith (Angels)

Catchers - Eric Fryer (Twins), Tommy Murphy (Rockies)

Infield - Dusty Coleman (Royals), Casey Kotchman (Royals), Andy Parrino (Athletics), Tyler Pastornicky (Rangers), Dan Vogelbach (Cubs), Jacob Wilson (Cardinals)

Outfield - Albert Almora Jr. (Cubs), Brian Bogusevic (Phillies), Travis Jankowski (Padres), Patrick Kivlehan (Mariners)

Coaches - Jim Tracy (Manager), Marcel Lachemann (Pitching), Ernie Young (Hitting), Jim Lett (Assistant), Roly de Armas (Assistant)

This roster could change if a major league team decides to promote one of the players on the roster. They promote based on need and they won’t take into consideration a player was selected to be on the roster of the United States for the Pan Am games.

The Pan Am games will be played in Toronto, Canada from July 10-19. Canada is the defending champs.

Mobile - City of Homeruns

June 30th, 2015

Mobile, Alabama is the city with the most prolific homerun hitters in baseball, one of the top defensive shortstops and one of the best pitchers in the history of baseball. It must be the water.

Hank Aaron was born in Mobile, Alabama. So was his brother Tommie. No brother combination has hit more homeruns than the Aarons, though Hank accounts for 755 of them. Henry began his career playing in the Negro Leagues.

Willie McCovey was a Giants first baseman born in Mobile, Alabama. He slugged 521 homeruns. McCovey was four years younger than Aaron and had the opportunity to play high school ball with Mobile Central High School. When Aaron went to high school they had no baseball.

Another Hall of Famer Billy Williams was born in Whistler, Alabama, which is a suburb of Mobile. Williams slugged 426 homeruns. That is 1702 homeruns among three players.

Add in Ozzie Smith who was born in Mobile. No shortstop has ever played the position better on the defensive side of the field. He moved to Los Angeles when he was six, playing in Watts.

Cleon Jones, Amos Otis and Juan Pierre are three other major league players born in Mobile.

The pitcher who was born in Mobile? Satchel Paige.

Ijames Leads Baybears

June 30th, 2015

Myworld was in Mobile, Alabama where the Baybears defeated the Tennessee Smokies 3-2. Stewart Ijames hit a pinch hit two run homer to give the Baybears the victory. For Ijames it was his 15th homerun of the year.

Both starters pitched well. The Smokies Ryan Williams allowed just one run in the second inning in his six innings of work. Gabriel Guerrero, the nephew of Vladimir and a recent acquisition from Seattle lined a single to right field. Rudy Flores drove him in with a double past the flopping Dan Vogelbach down the first base line.

John Omahen gave up two runs in the fourth in his seven innings of work. Dan Vogelbach started the rally with a bloop single to left. Billy McKinney singled and Taylor Davis lined a single into right field to tie the score. Stephen Bruno lifted one to shallow right. McKinney tagged to go home. The throw home by Guerrero was too far to the third base side of the plate and crashed into the brick backstop. It would have been interesting seeing a throw on the money.

Silvino Bracho gave up a leadoff single to Wilson Contreras and then retired the last three hitters, the last two on strikeouts to pick up the save. Pinch hitter Anthony Giansiti swung and missed at three straight pitches for the final out.

Game Notes: The Baybears play at Hank Aaron stadium, where his home and museum sit next door. The team was voted minor league team of the year in 1998 and 2011. The mascot is Bay B. Bear. The most expensive ticket is field level which is $17. You can sit in the first three sections of the raised level for $13. Above that is $10, though they have general admission farther along the first and third base lines. The regular scoreboard was not working so they had to use the video board to visualize the innings, runs, hits and errors. This prevented any info on the players, which was a disappointment. They have retired box seats from Wrigley Field, Fulton County Stadium and another stadium along the concessions area…The manager for the Baybears, ex-catcher Robby Hammock warmed up the pitcher if the regular catcher was not ready because he was putting on his equipment…Dan Vogelbach is a big boy. Not a lot of height smacked into that mass. He watched three strikes against the lefthander…This was the second time myworld has seen Elliot Soto play shortstop and we are impressed by his defense. Since he is not a big guy his ability to generate any kind of offense is cause of concern.

USA College National Team Recovers Against Taiwan

June 28th, 2015

After losing the first two games, the United States College National Team recovered and won the next three games against Taiwan. The offense only scored three runs in the first two games against Taiwan. In the next three games they scored at least three runs.

In their first win, 3-2, Ryan Howard drove in the go ahead run with an RBI single in the fifth inning of a seven inning game to break a 2-2 tie. Taiwan scored both their runs in the fourth inning on a two run homer from Kai-Wen Cheng.

The United States evened the series with a 5-2 win in the next game. Buddy Reed drove in two with a single and Stephen Nogasek tossed three plus innings of shutout relief work, striking out 6 of the 11 hitters he faced. He gave up just one hit.

They went up three games to two with a 6-4 win in the fifth game, scoring six runs in the first two innings. Buddy Reed again drove in two runs and Logan Shore threw four innings of shutout relief. Taiwan got five innings of shutout relief from Wei-Chih Lin and almost pulled out the game. Taiwan scored a run in the ninth and had runners on second and third with just one out. Ryan Hendrix came on in relief and struck out the two hitters he faced to pick up the save.

The United States has two more games with Taiwan. They will then have a five game series with a team from Cuba.

Japanese Pitcher Murata to Start for Indians

June 28th, 2015

Toru Murata was a first round pick of the Yomiuri Giants in 2007. He played for three years in the Giants minor league system before they released him (2-10 with an ERA of about 4.54). That gave him an opportunity to be a free agent and he signed with the Cleveland Indians in December of 2010 for the miniscule price of $30,000.

He has lived in the minor leagues since then, pitching also in the Panama and Venezuelan winter leagues. The numbers have not been pretty with a AAA ERA of 4.32, but this year he is 5-3, 2.79 in 14 games. Perhaps he has figured it out at age 30. Toru will be pitching as the 26th man in a double header and will probably be sent back down after that start. But he will now say he made his major league debut after the NPB gave up on him.

He throws strikes, does not have a blazing fastball, but throws a multitude of pitches (cutter, curve, change and fork). The down side is he gives up a lot of fly balls so it may be difficult for him to keep it in the park. But he gets his opportunity and if he achieves success another opportunity will arise.

Three Day Minor League Report

June 28th, 2015

Myworld has some down time and we have three days of catching up to do to see who is hot in the minor leagues.

June 24

Teoscar Hernandez had a perfect day going 3 for 3 with two walks. He was a triple short of the cycle. The three hits put his average at .209. With his seventh homerun and two stolen bases to give him 19 for the year Hernandez makes an intriguing power/speed combination. He just has to improve on his 14/64 walk to whiff ratio, which puts his OBA at .262, unacceptable for a leadoff hitter.

Corey Seager bashed two homeruns to give him six at AAA and 11 for the year. The two homeruns broke an 0 for 7 slump raising his average to .291, quite a bit below the .375 he hit in AA.

The Athletics may still not regret the trade of Brandon Moss for Joey Wendle. Joey went 4 for 5 with two doubles to raise his average to .271. His power is doubles oriented. In 18 less games he has already reached his double total from last year. The Indians would like to see some improvement on his 12/53 walk to whiff ratio.

Trea Turner is enjoying being a National. He went 3 for 4 to raise his average to .359, hitting his first triple in the AA Eastern League. With his .359 average the Nationals promoted him to AAA where he went 0 for 4.

Adam Conley allowed just one hit in his six innings of work. He picked up his seventh win against two losses. Adam made a major league relief appearance in June, working one inning and getting all three hitters to ground out.

Another Marlin, Gabe Castellanos had one of the better pitching lines of the year, not allowing a hit or walk in seven innings, striking out 12. He faced the minimum 21 batters, with only 9 hitters putting the ball in play.

June 25th

Yorman Rodriguez is in a zone that he hopes to carry into the Future’s Game. The last two days (25th and 26th) he has been 6 for 9 with a homerun and 9 RBIs. Yorman has a rather shallow 16/69 walk to whiff ratio.

Domingo Leyba had a perfect 4 for 4 day, falling a homerun short of the cycle. The four hits brought his average up to .237. The 4 for 4 day is right in the middle of a six game hitting streak in which Domingo is 11 for 27.

His High Desert teammate Mitch Haniger also got four hits to raise his average to .667. He stroked a double and drove in three runs in his second game at High A.

The Diamondbacks catcher, Stryker Trahan, the first round pick in the 2012 draft only got two hits in a 2 for 5 day, but one hit carried over the fence and the other split the gap for five RBIs on the day. The Dodgers 2012 first round pick is having a little trouble since his promotion to High A, hitting just .191. Between the two levels he has 15 homeruns on the year.

Tyler Collins went 3 for 5 with two homeruns and five RBIs to raise his average to .264. After hitting a respectable .292 as a fourth outfielder fo the Tigers they demoted him to AAA.

The jewell of the Angels pitching prospects may not be Jake Jewell, but he is making the Angels take notice with his five innings of one hit shutout ball. Last year Jake had an ERA north of 8.00. This year he has kept it under 4.00. In his last two outings he has thrown five shutout innings to extend his shutout streak to 10.

June 26th

Down in the short season league Kevin Padlo was the big RBI man with six. He went 3 for 5 with his first homerun in the Northwest League. Kevin is hitting in eight games after hitting just .145 in Low A. Padlo has four consecutive games in which he has driven in a run, giving him 10 RBIs during that stretch. The Rockies drafted Kevin in the fifth round of the 2014 draft.

Reds prospect Taylor Sparks went 4 for 4 with two doubles and three RBIs. The Reds second round 2014 pick has a walk to whiff ratio of 9/90, which would explain his low .248 average.

The Mets may soon have to make room for their 2013 first round pick. For Dominic Smith, the 4 for 5 day was his second four hit day for the month of June. The four hits put his June average at .376 while his overall average is .305.

Kendry Flores threw seven innings of two hit shutout ball to pick up his first AAA win this year. Kendry spent almost all of April in Japan playing in the NPB. Kendry has made two relief appearances for the Marlins. He is back to starting in AAA with three starts and a 2.65 ERA.

Luis Severino threw seven innings of shutout ball, allowing just three hits. He walked two and struck out six. Since being promoted to AAA Luis has not allowed more than two runs in any of his five starts to put his ERA at 1.44. Luis has not allowed an earned run in his last 14 plus innings of work in AAA.

Chris Bassitt would like to get another opportunity with the Athletics. After getting slapped around for 11 runs in 18 innings Chris threw five innings of shutout two hit ball. He struck out eight during the outing to lower his ERA to 3.71.

The Phillies Dominican prospect Franklyn Kilome threw six innings of shutout two hit ball in his second start of 2015. Franklyn has only allowed one run in two starts to put his ERA at 0.77.

Future Team’s Roster

June 27th, 2015

A game is held right before the All Star game between the best prospects from the United States and the best prospects from the world. The United States has been winning the last couple Future games, but then there are more players to choose from. Last year Joey Gallo made a name for himself with his batting practice shots. He is now playing for the Texas Rangers. Who will be the bright spots this year?

United States

Pitchers - Mark Appel (Astros), Tyler Beede (Giants), Zach Davies (Orioles), Carl Edwards (Cubs), Amir Garrett (Reds), Lucas Giolito (Nationals), Sean Newcomb (Angels), Aaron Nola (Phillies), Colin Rea (Padres), Blake Snell (Rays)

Catchers - Kyle Farmer (Dodgers), Kyle Schwarber (Cubs)

Infielders - Josh Bell (Pirates), J.P. Crawford (Phillies), Tony Kemp (Astros), Matt Olson (Athletics), Richie Shaffer (Rays), Trevor Story (Rockies) Trea Turner (Nationals)

Outfielders - Michael Conforto (Mets), Aaron Judge (Yankees), Brandon Nimmo (Mets), Kyle Waldrop (Reds), Nick Williams (Rangers), Bradley Zimmer (Indians)

The United States has three lefthanders in Snell, Garrett and Newcomb. Snell had a shutout streak earlier in the season of 40 plus innings. Lucas Giolito may be the hardest thrower but Aaron Nola may end up being the best over all pitcher.

On the power front Aaron Judge will be the batting practice player to watch. Matt Olson and Richie Shaffer are other power sources. The best hitter on this roster may be Kyle Schwarber.

The most popular name on this roster is Kyle with three players on the United States roster named Kyle. California had the most players from a birth perspective with five. Texas came in second with four. Four other states had two each (Massachusetts, Washington, Georgia and Florida). I’m guessing Wyoming has their first representative in Nimmo.

International Roster

Pitchers - Jose Berrios (Twins), Edwin Diaz (Mariners), Jarlin Garcia (Marlins), Juan Gonzalez (Dodgers), Wei-Chieh Huang (Diamondbacks), Joe Jimenez (Tigers), Jairo Labourt (Blue Jays), Keury Mella (Giants), Frankie Montas (White Sox), Alex Reyes (Cardinals)

Catchers - Elias Diaz (Pirates), Gary Sanchez (Yankees)

Infielders - Ozhaino Albies (Braves), Orlando Arcia (Brewers), Cheslor Cuthbert (Royals), Rafael Devers (Red Sox), Max Kepler (Twins), Raul Mondesi (Royals), Renato Nunez (Athletics)

Outfielders - Socrates Brito (Diamondbacks), Manuel Margot (Red Sox), Nomar Mazaro (Rangers), Yorman Rodriguez (Reds), Raimel Tapia (Rockies)

The only lefties on the international roster are Garcia and Labourt. Compared to the United States team that has seven pitchers standing 6′4″ or greater, the tallest international pitcher is 6′4″ Labourt. The hardest throwers are probably Montas and Reyes, though there are a couple pitchers myworld is not familiar with.

Not a lot of power here. Renato Nunez and Nomar Mazaro may provide the most entertainment as far as batting practice power. Orlando Arcia is a smooth fielding shortstop and may be one of the more complete players in this game from both an offensive and defensive perspective. The best hitter may be Devers.

Max Kepler is the first German player ever to play in the Futures game. The Dominican Republic is the most represented country on the international squad with 12. Venezuela follows with five and then Puerto Rico with four. Four other countries have one player each (Curacao, Germany, Nicaragua and Taiwan). Canada is not represented this year, but they have some up and coming players that should squeeze into future rosters. Cuba is surprisingly not represented, with most of their better players hitting the major leagues fairly quickly after leaving Cuba.

Express Pound Zephyrs

June 26th, 2015

Myworld is here in New Orleans for the national volleyball championships so posts will be a bit sporadic. Yesterday was the only day the New Orleans Zephyrs were in town and myworld went out to the park. There were not any big time prospects to watch but Mike Morse for the Zephyrs and Josh Hamilton for the Round Rock Express were there for rehab. Nefteli Feliz also pitched a couple innings.

Round Rock got a leadoff homerun over the left field fence from Ryan Strausborger to lead off the game on their way to a 5-1 win. Strausborger also laid down a sacrifice bunt in the third inning that was followed by a Josh Hamilton opposite field slow roller to third that scored Tyler Pastornicky for the second run. Tyler had led off the inning with a blast over the head of the right fielder.

Tyler started the fifth inning with a single and Strausborger moved him to second with a single. In his last rehab at bat Josh picked up his second RBI with a bloop single over the head of the second baseman, Tyler scoring his second run of the game.

Jerad Eickoff went six innings with pedestrian stuff. The only run he gave up was a Kila Ka’aihue solo shot in the fourth that went into the Gator’s den in right field. He threw his fastball 88-90 with passable breaking stuff. The Zephyrs had an opportunity to get to him in the first inning when they got their first two hitters on. Cole Gillespie lined hard to the first baseman and Reid Brignac strayed too far from the bag and was doubled off. They also had runners on first and third with one out and Reid hit nothing but air on a two strike pitch. Cole Gillespie flied to left to end the inning.

Jared Hoying tattered one over the Gator’s den in right field for a two run homerun to make it 5-1. The two run blast was hit off Aussie Travis Blackley. Travis leaves that fastball at 88-89 and lacks a real effective breaking pitch. He did go three innings striking out four, relying a lot on location. He is not the mid-90s thrower he once was but he is lefthanded.

Neftali Feliz also no longer throws in the mid-90s. He pitched just over one inning, hitting 88-92 with his fastball. He retired four of the five hitters he faced, striking out one. Miguel Rojas was hit by a pitch in the seventh.

Game Notes: Zephyrs field is located in Metaire, a parrish outside of New Orleans. There is nothing atypical about the stadium. They play baseball but there is no skyline and anything unusual about the field. It does have two levels. You go there to watch baseball. Parking is $5. Mike Morse was very accommodating to the Little Leaguers that were there to run out to the field with the players. The kids all flocked to Mike when he finished his warmups in right field just before game time…There is a fenced in berm where fans can sit on the grass and kids can wait for a homerun out in the right field area. There is also supposed to be a swimming pool, but myworld could not tell if it was active…Tommy Field showed a nice glove at second base, a reason the Rangers probably gave him an opportunity in the majors. He doesn’t show anything special with the bat…Juan Diaz made some nice defensive plays at third base for the Zephyrs…Ticket prices for the lower level seats were quite reasonable, $11-12, so a cheap entertainment option if you don’t want to lose all your money in New Orleans at the casinos.

Banuelos and Story with Big Days in Minor League Report

June 25th, 2015

Myworld has arrived in New Orleans and it’s time to catch up on the minor league review. Many of the leagues are in their All Star break so the number of games have been limited.

June 22

At one point Yorman Rodriguez held the record for highest bonus signing. The Reds outfielder is now in AAA where he went 3 for 3 with a walk to raise his average to .267. He has the speed to play centerfield and the arm for right. A poor walk to whiff ratio (16/68) make people question his bat. The power has also not developed as the Reds had projected. This year he has hit seven homeruns with a .422 slugging. In 2013 he hit his high of 13 homeruns. Yorman made his major league debut last year hitting .222 with no extra base hits in 27 at bats.

Coming from the Bahamas, but playing at a high school in Florida, Afernee Seymour was a seventh round pick of the Marlins in the 2014 draft. Anfernee had a 3 for 5 day with four runs scored in the fourth game of the short season New York Penn League to raise his average to .389. He also showed his speed stealing two bases to give him four for the year. The shortstop has minimal power, with just one double to account for his extra base hit totals for his seven hits.

The Braves have acquired a number of pitching prospects to build up their franchise. Manny Banuelos is one of those prospects. Manny pitched a complete game two hit shutout in his 14th start to set himself up for consideration of a spot in the Braves revolving rotation. After a rough April (4.43 ERA) Manny has come on strong with a dominating May (1.11 ERA) and June (1.33 ERA).

June 23

Trevor Story is showing some pretty good pop for a shortstop. The Rockies supplemental first round pick in 2011 went 4 for 6 with three doubles to raise his average to .290 and put his slugging average at .535. The four hit game broke an 0 for 12 slump. Story has 19 doubles, six triples and 10 homeruns but only 39 RBIs for all that production.

The Pirates sent Harold Ramirez down to extended spring because he reported out of shape to spring training after gorging on all that Colombian food at home. He reported to the Florida State League in May and is raking hitting .529 in May for 5 games and .375 in June. On this day he was a homerun short of the cycle going 3 for 5 with four RBIs. He also stole his ninth base in twelve attempts.

Kohl Stewart, the Twins first round pick of 2013 tossed six innings of five hit shutout ball. He walked three and struck out five to lower his ERA to 3.62. It was his first 2015 start in which he did not allow a run. His performances have not been dominating with a 21/30 walk to whiff ratio in 59.2 innings.

The Mariners Brazilian fireballer Luiz Gohara has not allowed an earned run in three 2015 starts in the short season leagues. He worked six innings and gave up one unearned run on this day, striking out eight. His last start he also allowed an unearned run while striking out 9. These kind of performances will give him a quick promotion to Low A.