Dominican Winter League Update

October 25th, 2014

A look at some of the hitters who need to get some more at bats and pitchers who need extra work doing it down in the Dominican. The two teams from the capital find themselves battling for the basement, but as the season progresses that should change.

Cibao Gigantes (5-1)

First base is blocked for Xavier Scruggs by Matt Adams so he is getting a look out in left field. He leads the team in RBIs with 6 while hitting .316. Moises Sierra was recently grabbed off waivers by the White Sox. With the Gigantes he is hitting .286 with five runs driven in. Adrian Nieto leads the team in homeruns with two and total bases with 13 but has a 0/7 walk to whiff ratio.

Jose de Paula has won his first two starts and given up just one run in ten innings of work (0.90). He has a 1/10 walk to whiff ratio. Sandy Rosario has yet to give up a hit or a walk in his three appearances covering three innings of work.

Orientes Estrellas (4-2)

Gustavo Nunez has gone deep twice and leads the team in RBIs with eight. He is hitting .333 with a .988 OPS. Matt Fields has trouble making contact with his 9 K’s but he has hit three doubles, one triple and one homerun of his six hits. The volatile Jordany Valdespin has two homeruns with a 1.035 OPS.

Radhames Liz appears healthy with two starts (1-0, 4.32). He has walked four in his eight plus innings of work.

Cibaenas Aguilas (3-2)

Andy Marte has been one of the hottest hitter in the league (.368, 1, 8) . The once top prospect now journeyman has a 1.191 OPS. Dan Black has walked six times without a whiff. He is hitting .286 with a .500 OBA. Manny Ramirez (.222, 1, 5) is trying to show major league general managers that he can still play.

Toros del Este (3-3)

Tyler Moore has two homeruns and a 6/9 walk to whiff ratio in just six games. He is only hitting .250 but has a .407 OBA. Alen Hanson has had issues with two of his minor league managers. He is hitting .267 with one homerun in his four games playing shortstop. Yasmani Grandal (.316, 2, 5) seems to be finding his bat with Toros. He has a 6/3 walk to whiff ratio. Cameron Maybin (.250) and Teoscar Hernandez (.273, 1, 2) are two other players to watch.

Escogido Leones (2-5)

Buck Britton (.273, 2, 6) has cleared the fences twice. He is the only Leones to go deep. Joc Pederson (.261) is having trouble making contact with his 10 whiffs in just 25 at bats. Pedro Florimon (.375) loves to hit in the Dominican Republic, but all his hits are singles.

Andre Rienzo (0-1, 1.80) needs to show he can start. The Brazilian had a decent first start.

Licey Tigres (1-5)

Darin Ruf (.143) and Domingo Santana (.167) are off to slow starts. Ruf has one of the two Tigre homeruns and Santana has struck out nine times. Rymer Liriano (.222) has four hits, all of them singles. The best Licey hitter has been Nomar Mazara (.364).

Randal Delgado gave up only one run in his five inning start, striking out seven. John Lannan (6.75) is showcasing his talents to 30 teams but his first start was a forgettable one. Lannan is the only starter of the four with a WHIP over 1.00.

Twins Advance to Next Round in KBO

October 25th, 2014

The LG Twins eliminated the NC Dinos with an 11-3 thrashing to win the best of five series three games to one. Byung-gyu Lee was the big bat with four hits to produce three RBIs. Jae-Kuk Ryu worked five innings to pick up the victory. The Twins blew the game open with a six run seventh turning a 5-3 game into a blow out.

Lee drove in the first runs of the game with a two run triple in the third inning. The Twins had squandered a bases loaded no outs scoring opportunity in the bottom of the second. Lee drove in the fourth run with an RBI single.

Another Lee for the Dinos, Ho-Jun Lee drove in all three runs on three hits. Sung-Bum Na, one of the big bats for the Dinos had two hits, but stranded five runners in his first two at bats.

The Twins next opponent is the Nexen Heroes, who finished in second place in the KBO. The second series will also be a best of five series.

The box score for the game can be found here:

boxscore

Despaigne Returns to Cuba

October 25th, 2014

When the Cuban teams loaned their players out to the Japanese League, they may not have anticipated it would be 25 games into the season before these players would return. Alfredo Despaigne has returned to a Granma Stallion team that is a surprise 12-9 record and fourth place in the standings. His return was not the medicine the Stallions needed as they lost 5-0 to Ciefuegos despite two doubles for Despaigne.

Yulieski Gourriel has yet to return to Industriales. His younger brother Lourdes is carrying the day hitting with a .364 average, four homeruns and a team and leAgue leading 18 RBIs. With that kind of effort the Industriales find themselves in second place at 15-9, a game and a half behind Matanzas.

Frederich Cepeda has yet to return to Sancti Spiritus but at 10-14 they find themselves in the bottom five of the standings. The loss of the Gourriel’s to Industriales gutted the team of three talented players. There two top hitters are Livan Monteagudo (.288, 4, 10) and Eriel Sanchez.

Finnegan and the Pen Again Silences Giant Bats

October 25th, 2014

With his appearance in the third game of the World Series Brandon Finnegan became the first player to pitch in both the College World Series and the major league world series in the same year. He also became the first player promoted to the major leagues from the array of 2014 drafted players. The Kansas City Royals asked him to get the final two outs in the seventh inninng and he complied to lead them to a 3-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants and a 2-1 lead in the World Series. The win now guarantees a trip to Kansas City if the Royals do not win the next two games.

At 39 years old Tim Hudson was appearing in his first World Series game. Only Jamie Moyer had won more regular season games before appearing in his first World Series. Hudson gave up an early run in the opening frame when Alcides Escobar hit the ball off the wall in right field for a lead off double. Two ground outs later and the Royals scored their first run.

The Royals struck again in the sixth. Hudson had retired the last 12 hitters he faced, including Jeremy Guthrie who grounded out to lead off the sixth. Escobar became his worst nightmare banging a single. Alex Gordon drove him in with a double over the head of Hunter Pence. After a Lorenzo Cain ground out Javier Lopez came in to pitch to the lefty hitting Eric Hosmer. Hosmer spoiled the strategy by bringing Gordon home with a single to give the Royals a 3-0 lead.

For Jeremy Guthrie it was his first World Series appearance. He shut the Giants down through the first six. The Royals were hoping he could give them one more. The only inning in which he had allowed men to reach base was the second inning. A leadoff single by Brandon Crawford and an RBI double from Mike Morse to begin the inning ended the day for Guthrie. The Royals went with Kelvin Herrera to finish off the inning. He walked the first hitter he faced, but retired the next three on ground outs, the second ground out scoring the second run.

The Giants could not mount a rally after that. A leadoff walk by Kelvin Herrera in the seventh would be their last baserunner. Brandon Finnegan, Wade Davis and Greg Holland retired the last 8 hitters.

Ryan Vogelsong is scheduled to start for the Giants in the fourth game against the Royals Jason Vargas.

Foreign Bats Lead Tigers to Opening Win

October 25th, 2014

Mauro Gomez drove in three runs and Matt Murton two to lead the Hanshin Tigers to a 6-2 win over the Softbank Hawks in the first game of the Japan or Nippon Series. Randy Messenger also outdueled Jason Stanridge in the first Nippon Series to see two foreign pitchers start game one.

Both pitchers had one hitters after three innings. It was Stanridge to break first giving up a leadoff single to Hiroki Uemoto to begin the fourth. Mauro Gomez drove him in with a double.

In the fifth Stanridge imploded. A single and two walks loaded the bases. It was Mauro Gomez striking again driving in two runs with a single. Matt Murton followed with a two run double to end the day for Stanridge. Kosuke Fukudome continued the bleeding with a double to drive in the fifth and final run of the inning.

Down 6-0 the Hawks showed they had some fight left in them. A collection of three singles and a sacrifice fly by Dae-Ho Lee drove in a run in the sixth. They scored another run in the seventh on an RBI single from Yuki Yanagita. The day was done for Randy Messenger after he retired the last batter of the seventh inning.

Seung-Hwan Oh pitched the final inning for the Tigers, retiring all three batters he faced to give the Hanshin Tigers an opening day win over the Softbank Hawks. This stopped a six game Nippon Series losing streak for the Tigers that dated all the way back to October 2005 for their last win.

The box score for the game can be found here:

boxscore

Minor League All Stars AL Central

October 24th, 2014

Kansas City Royals

Francisco Pena C (AAA) - Pena only hit .240 but he slugged 27 homeruns. With gold glover Salvador Perez behind the plate for the royals he will need to find another position or team to get an opportunity with the Royals. In his previous seven years he had not hit in double digits in homeruns.

Lane Adams OF (AA) - He relies on his speed to play defense in center and to steal 38 bases. Not a lot of power (11, .427) and doesn’t hit for average (.269). He made his major league debut getting three at bats without any hits.

Andy Ferguson SP (AA) - A nice season at 11-9 with a 2.93 ERA. At 26 he may be better off in the KBO.

Glenn Sparkman SP (High A) - After relieving last year in his first season he put himself on the prospect map with an impressive season in the starting rotation (8-3, 1.56). Shows good command (25/117 walk to whiff ratio) and limited the opposition to a .213 average.

Mark Peterson Relief (High A) - He’s a fixture in the Royals minor league bullpen (1-2, 1.31) picking up 24 saves for a promotion to AA where he earned another three saves.

Chicago White Sox

Josh Phegley C (AAA) - At 26 he is getting a bit old to be considered the future catcher of the White Sox, but he did hit 23 homeruns. Needs to reduce his 14 passed balls but a 44 percent success rate on stolen bases shows a good arm.

Andy Wilkins 1B (AAA) - He showed some power for first with 30 homeruns and drove in 85 but with Jose Abreu at first his playing time will be limited.

Rangel Ravelo 1B (AA) - He did not show quite the power of Wilkins but is four years younger at 22. Rangel did hit 37 doubles with a .309 average, but only 11 homeruns and a .473 slugging. Good about making contact with a 66/77 walk to whiff ratio.

Jason Coats OF (High A) - A .291, 15, 75 season with a 35 doubles and a .487 slugging percentage should put him on the prospect map. Struggled to hit for power when promoted to AA and as a corner outfielder needs to show that pop to get an opportunity.

Courtney Hawkins OF Utl (High A) - A first round 2012 pick repeated High A. He improved his average from .178 to .240 and decreased his whiffs from 160 to 147 with more at bats.

Detroit Tigers

Ezequiel Carrera OF (AAA) - He stole 43 bases and hit .307 but at 27 he is probably more a fourth outfielder. He can play centerfield.

Mike Hessman DH (AAA) - The minor league homerun leader with 417 among active players. At 36 he is contemplating retirement but he hit 28 homeruns at AAA. At that pace he would reach 500 in three years.

Devan Travis 2B (AA) - Last year he hit .351 at two levels. He wasn’t going to repeat that pace this year but a .298 average with 10 homeruns earned him an All Star spot. Last year he was the Tigers number 2 rated prospect but that position should drop a bit this year.

Steven Moya OF (AA) - An injury free year gave the 6′6″ Moya 515 at bats where he hit .276, 35 with 105 RBIs. A 23/161 walk to whiff ratio is a red flag as he hits at higher levels.

Angel Nesbitt Relief (High A) - In his sixth year he finally got his first full year in a full season league rising all the way to AA. He was 14 for 14 in saves with a 0.79 ERA. He struggled a bit in AA saving just 6 of 11 games. Between the two levels the opposition only hit him at a .183 clip.

Wynton Bernard OF (Low A) - He stole a career high 45 stolen bases, able to get on base frequently with a .323 average and a .394 OBA.

Buck Framer RH (Low A) - The fifth round 2013 draft pick went from low A to the major leagues. In Low A he was 12-6, 3.07 in 18 starts. In the major leagues he got two starts and two relief appearances where he was 11.57 ERA.

Kevin Ziomek LH (Low A) - The second round 2013 draft pick went 10-6, 2.27. The lefthander does not overpower with stuff but was able to impress with 152 whiffs in 123 innings of work.

Minnesota Twins

Reynaldo Rodriguez DH (AA) - The rightfielder from Colombia hit 21 homeruns in AA. He struggled a bit when promoted to AAA (.156) but hit one more homerun to surpass his career high of 21 homeruns from last year.

Adam Brett Walker DH (High A) - A third round 2012 pick mauled Florida State League pitching for 25 homeruns, pretty impressive for a pitcher’s park. A .246 average and 156 whiffs are a cause of concern. His double numbers decreased leading to almost a 100 point drop in slugging.

Jose Berrios SP (High A) - The Puerto Rican 2012 first round pick with the mid-90s fastball went 9-3, 1.96 in the Florida State League. His strikeout numbers dropped after a promotion to AA.

Mitch Garver C (Low A) - Mitch slugged 16 homeruns with a 61/65 walk to whiff ratio, good contact rate for a power hitter. The catcher had a 32 percent stolen base success rate in gunning down base stealers.

Nick Gordon utl (Rookie) - The first round 2014 pick and son of Tom Gordon hit .294 in his debut. With his speed he should be better than his 11/18 stolen base rate.

Max Murphy OF (Rookie) - Hit .378 with 10 homeruns for a 1.206 OPS. Those numbers decreased substantially when promoted to Low A (.242/709) in a similar number of at bats.

Felix Jorge RHP (Rookie) - Another player who put up good numbers in rookie ball (4-2, 2.59) in 12 starts but struggled after a promotion (2-5, 9.00) is 12 appearances, eight of them starts.

Cleveland Indians

James Ramsey OF (AA) - A Cardinal at the beginning of the season where he hit .300 with 13 homers in AA. The first round 2012 pick played in AAA for the Indians hitting .284. He will have more opportunities to fit in the outfield with the Indians.

Ryan Merritt SP (High A) - The smallish lefthander may not be able to repeat his 13-3, 2.58 at the higher levels.

Monkeys Win Taiwan Series

October 24th, 2014

The Lamiga Monkeys won game five 8-3 in the best of seven series to win the Taiwan Series four games to one. It is the second time in three years they have won the series. Shortstop Teh-Lung Yu was voted the MVP of the series.

A narrative for the game can be found here:

Taiwan series

Dinos Hang on for Win in KBO Playoffs

October 24th, 2014

Designated hitter Ho-Jun Lee broke a 2-2 tie with a solo shot in the sixth and the NC Dinos hung on for a 4-3 win over the LG Twins in their third playoff game in this five game series. Jin-Sung Kim worked the last inning to pick up the save. The Dino closer had saved 25 games during the regular season. The Twins still lead the best of five series two games to one.

The win was their first playoff win in the history of the Dino franchise, entering its second season in the KBO. An Erik Thames single in the opening frame and two poor throws allowed the Dinos to open the scoring in the top of the first inning. Ho-Jun Lee then drove in the first of his two runs with a double.

The Twins were able to pull even with single runs in the third and fourth. Byung-Kyu Lee drove in the run in the third on a sacrifice fly and Joo-In Son evened things in the fourth with a sacrifice fly. The Twins tried to score a third run on a sacrifice fly in the fifth but Sung-Bum Na rifled a throw home to retire the runner.

The Dinos started Charlie Shirek. He got the win working five innings and allowing only two runs, one of them earned. Cory Riordan took the loss giving up three runs, two of them earned in his six innings of work.

Boxscore for the game can be found here:

boxscore

Italy Roster for 21 and Under World Cup

October 24th, 2014

Italy has provided their roster for the 21 and under World Cup to be held in Taiwan in November. No familiar minor league names on this roster, but there could be some diamonds in the rough here. The roster was provided by Mister Baseball.

Pitcher: Gabriele Quattrini, Yomel Rivera, Jacopo Piccini, Simone Bazzarini, Matteo Bocchi, Filippo Crepaldi, Enrico Varin, Davide Anselmi, Andrea Pizziconi, Milvio Andreozzi, Paolo Taschini, Valerio Simone.

Catcher: Mario Trinci, Alberto Mineo.

Infielder: Matteo Pizzolini, Mirco Caradonna, Davide Benetti, Luca Pulzetti, Leonardo Colagrossi, Mattia Mercuri, Freddy Miguel Noguera, Giovanni Garbella.

Outfielder: Sebastiano Poma, Federico Celli, Federico Giordani, Alessandro Grimaudo.

Japanese Draft Results

October 24th, 2014

The NPB held their draft for newer players. Most teams only select five to seven players in the draft. The NPB does not have the extensive minor league system equivalent to the major leagues so drafting quantity is not a priority. High school, independent and college players have to register in order to be eligible for the draft.

For the first round the NPB has a unique system of a sealed selection where every team selects their top pick. If you select the most popular player in the draft you run the risk of falling down in the draft because a lottery will determine a winner when more than one team chooses a player. A team that chooses a player not picked by any other team is rewarded that player. Once the lottery is conducted for those multiple teams who chose the same player those teams losing the lottery get to select another player for their first round pick.

Below is the list of picks:

Pacific League

Central League