Otani Repeats Double Digit Feat

September 29th, 2016

The only other player to win in the double digits as a pitcher and hit double digits in homeruns as a hitter in the same year was Babe Ruth. He only did it in one year. Shohei Otani won his 10th game and he has 22 homers on the year. In 2014 he won 11 games and hit 10 homeruns. His starts this year have been limited by blister problems. With enough starts on the mound he could become the first 20/20 player with 20 wins as a pitcher and 20 homeruns as a hitter.

Last night Otani pitched a shutout to clinch first place for the Nippon Ham Fighters in their 1-0 win over the Seibu Lions. Otani gave up his lone hit in the fifth inning and struck out 15 in a dominating performance, walking only one batter in the ninth inning. In the fifth inning through the eighth inning he struck out 10 of the 13 hitters he faced, showing he can close out a game.

Otani regularly hits 100 miles per hour with his fastball as a starter. He holds the record in Japan for the highest velocity fastball thrown in a game at 102 miles per hour. Major league fans who watch the World Baseball Classic will get an opportunity to see him pitch since he will probably be the ace on the team or the closer, depending on how many innings they want to see the 22 year old pitch.

Centerfield Prospect Review

September 27th, 2016

Other than shortstop these are the darlings of major league baseball. Everyone is looking for the next Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle or Michael Trout. Below are the top ten players named by Baseball America as the best centerfielders in the minor leagues before the start of the 2016 season. Myworld will take a look at their season to see how their prospect status has progressed or regressed.

1. Byron Buxton (Twins) - The Twins are waiting for him to put his tools together. Former number one picks Denard Span and Aaron Hicks were slow learners. This is the second major league season for Buxton and the second year he has struggled. A September hot streak gives the Twins some hope that perhaps he is starting to figure things out. If he can make a little more contact he has the potential to be a five tool player. There is nothing more he can prove in the minor leagues.

2. Andrew Benintendi (Red Sox) - The Red Sox are loaded in centerfield. Andrew is not going to supplant Mookie Betts or even Jackie Bradley from the position. But he has the bat to fit in left field. Scouts expect him to hit over .300 with 20 plus homeruns. A late season callup has seen him take over the troubled Red Sox left field slot. Average speed prevents him from being a five tool player.

3. Lewis Brinson (Rangers) - If the Rangers do not resign Ian Desmond there will be no tears shed by management. Lewis appears to be ready to take over the position. Ideally the Rangers would like him to play half a season in AAA after only hitting .237 in AA with just 11 homeruns. He lacks big time stolen base speed, but his instincts and routes make him an excellent centerfielder. There is enough power in his bat to hit in the double digits in homeruns.

4. Anthony Alford (Blue Jays) - A quiet year for Alford. His body is built for football, but his swing does not incorporate over the fence power. He should fit in centerfield. Alford hit just .236 in High A with 9 homeruns. He needs to do better to reach his potential.

5. Bradley Zimmer (Indians) - Myworld was not impressed with what we saw of him in centerfield. With the trade of Clint Frazier to the Yankees in the Andrew Miller trade Zimmer appears to have won the centerfield job. He strikes out a lit (over 150) but carries some pop in his bat. Myworld is convinced the corner outfield position is best for him, with the arm to play right field. With vanilla AAA offensive numbers he will probably see at least half a season in AAA.

6. Victor Robles (Nationals) - Michael Taylor’s inability to make contact set the stage for Victor Robles to be the Nationals centerfielder of the future. That was until Trea Turner took over the position. The resume for Victor is tremendous speed to cover ground in centerfield and steal bases, but the power is lacking to fit in a corner. Victor Robles played half a season in High A so he is still a couple years away from forcing the Nationals to make a decision of who to commit to for centerfield.

7. David Dahl (Rockies) - His .300 plus batting average in a late season callup has already sealed his position for next year. The Rockies may have to trade Carlos Gonzalez or Charlie Blackmon to make room for him. The outfielder who lacks a spleen should hit for double digits in homeruns, compete for batting titles in the thin Rocky Mountain air and play enough defense to fit in centerfield. His biggest challenge will be to avoid injuries that have forced him to miss almost two complete seasons.

8. Trent Clark (Brewers) - The 2015 first round pick of the Brewers slumped with the bat this year playing in a full season league. His average dropped more than 70 points and his slugging was absent (.344) in 2016. There is enough speed in his legs to cover the ground necessary to play in centerfield. If his power does not pick up that will be the position he will fit best at.

9. Manuel Margot (Padres) - One of the players the Padres acquired for Craig Kimbrel to juice up their farm system. The potential four tool player has earned a September callup for the Padres after his success in AAA. The one tool he is lacking is power, though that may develop as he matures. Expect him to win the centerfield job for the Padres next year, if not at the start of the season, then by mid-season.

10. Brett Phillips (Brewers) - One of the players the Brewers stole from the Astros for Carlos Gomez. While he can play centerfield his average speed makes a corner outfield position his best bet. The Brewers minor league outfield depth is growing and Brett will need to hit better than .229 to get one of those major league opportunities. An inability to make contact (154 K’s) has been the big reason for his low average.

Venezuelan Showcase to be Held in Panama

September 27th, 2016

It is a sad state of affairs for Venezuela when major league baseball decides to have a showcase for Venezuelan prospects in Panama. Major league baseball considers Venezuela too dangerous a place to risk having their scouts travel there to look at young Venezuelan prospects. Now it is incumbent upon the Venezuelan prospects to travel to Panama to be seen by major league scouts.

Don’t know who is responsible for paying the expenses for traveling to Panama, but I’m sure the Venezuelan combines will have their best players attend and charge any expenses against the players bonus payment. This will leave out any diamonds in the rough from travelling to Panama since the combine will have to be convinced that any prospect travelling to Panama will at least command a bonus that is equivalent to his travel expenses, plus any profit to the combine.

Expect Cuba to surpass Venezuela in a couple years for major league prospects if Venezuela does not get its act together as far as a country. I know myworld will not risk travelling to Venezuela to watch baseball. Mexico is still on this list as well.

Israel Pounds Great Britain to be Last WBC Qualifier

September 25th, 2016

Israel 9 Great Britain 1

The game was scoreless until the fifth. A Scott Burcham single drove Brit starter Spencer Kreisberg from the game. Al Knowles got behind Blake Gailen in the count and he drove a 3-1 pitch over the right field fence to give the Israelis a 2-0 lead. After a walk and a new pitcher Ryan Lavarnway drove a ball over the left field fence on the second pitch from Rei Martinez to give the Israelis a 4-0 lead.

Zach Borenstein would drive in a run for Israel in the sixth with a triple. Cody Decker rocked a solo blast in the seventh to up the score to 6-0. Israel would finish off the scoring with a three spot in the eighth after Great Britain had scored their only run in the top of the inning.

Lavarnway added an RBI single in the eighth to give himself three RBIs in the game. Jason Marquis threw four no hit innings, striking out five in his start to perplex the British hitters. Josh Zeid continued the no hitter through the seventh inning. Great Britain finally got their first two hits in the eighth inning when they scored their lone run.

Israel will now go to Seoul to compete against South Korea, Netherlands and Taiwan in Pool B

Great Britain Nicks Brazil to Face Israel in Finals of WBC Qualifier

September 25th, 2016

Great Britain 4 Brazil 3

Chris Reed threw 4.2 innings of relief and was one out short from finishing the game. Reed was a first round of the Dodgers in the 2011 draft. Daniel Cooper did not retire a hitter, but still got the save by getting the last out. Juan Carlos Muniz, who had hit a two out double to drive Chris Reed from the game tried to steal third but was thrown out to end the game. Don’t know what he was thinking about to make the third out at third.

Great Britain pounded ex-major league pitcher Andre Rienzo for three runs in the third to never look back in the game. With two outs and the bases loaded Todd Isaacs is hit by a pitch to force in a run. He was the second hit batter in the inning. An error by shortstop Leonardo Reginatto allowed two more runs to score to give Great Britain a 3-2 lead.

A Kyle Simmons RBI single in the seventh upped the Brits lead to 4-2. Brazil scored a run in the top of the eighth courtesy of a Brit error and had the bases loaded with two out when Bo Bichette struck out to end the inning.

A Great Britain win and appearance in the World Baseball Classic in 2017 would help major league baseball promote their major league game they hope to schedule for Great Britain sometime in 2018.

Shortstop Prospect Review

September 24th, 2016

Shortstop was a very talented position this year so myworld will take a look at the top 20 prospects at the position as rated by Baseball America to see how their 2016 season went.

1. Corey Seager (Dodgers) - Not much needs to be said here. Corey is on his way to winning the NL rookie of the year award, leading the Dodgers to the NL West Division crown. He’s hit for power and average and kept his miscues on the field to a minimum.

2. J.P. Crawford (Phillies) - Still the Phillies shortstop of the future despite his struggles at AAA (.244). He hit well at AA but with only seven homeruns and 12 stolen bases at the two levels his offensive production falls short of what is expected. He finished the season with a .688 OPS. While his defense will get him to the major leagues the Phillies would like to see a little more offense. Freddy Galvis is all that stands in his way in the major leagues.

3. Orlando Arcia (Brewers) - Compared to his 2015 season his offensive production in AAA was a bit of a disappointment this year. Like Crawford defense is his calling card and a late season major league callup has seen his offensive struggles continue. The Brewers could always move Jonathan Villar back to short if they feel Arcia is not yet ready for the major leagues to begin the 2017 season. It is only a matter of time before he takes over the position.

4. Trea Turner (Nationals) - With an earlier callup and more at bats he would be giving Seager a run for the rookie of the year honors. Turner has moved to centerfield and has filled the leadoff roll for the Nationals, hitting .340. What has been a surprise to his season is the power he has shown in his bat.

5. Dansby Swanson (Braves) - A trade the Diamondbacks will ultimately regret and could lead to massive changes in the administration. Swanson has been rotating with Ozzie Albies for the Braves shortstop job, but Swanson appears to have the upper hand at the position. Swanson got the head start with the first September callup. He should provide an offensive bat with power for the position.

6. Jorge Mateo (Yankees) - His ultimate position may be at second base after the season for Didi Gregorious this year and the late season acquisition of Gleyber Torres. Mateo has shown a little pop but speed is his big tool. A mid-season suspension because of his impatience about not being promoted to AA is the only taint to the 2016 season, though his offensive numbers have fallen short of what he produced last year. His stolen base production especially dropped in half from 82 to 36.

7. Raul Mondesi (Royals) - The only player to appear in a World Series game before he ever appeared in a regular season game. Offense will be the big question mark for the son of Raul Mondesi Sr. He lacks the power of his father but has a smooth glove to play the position. A mid season major league callup has resulted in an offensive struggle to hit major league pitching (.181). The Royals would like to see better than a .484 OPS at the position.

8. Brendan Rodgers (Rockies) - The Rockies 2015 number one pick may have to find another position after the explosion from Trevor Story, who was rated 19th on this list. Story was a first round supplemental pick in 2011 and got the first opportunity. Rodgers is expected to have the bat and the power to play third base, but Nolan Arenado sits there. Fortunately, the Rockies have a couple more minor league seasons to figure out what they want to do with Rodgers, but his potent bat will get him in the lineup.

9. Gleyber Torres (Cubs) - The Yankees acquired Torres from the Cubs in the Aroldis Chapman trade. The Yankees will have to find a position for him. He did hit 11 homeruns and slugged .421 and at age 19 it is expected his power will continue to develop, so third base could be an option. The Yankees currently have a hole there, with Chase Headley the current alternative. Miguel Andujar is a possible suitor for Torres in the minor leagues.

10. Tim Anderson (White Sox) - Last year with the Dodgers Jimmy Rollins lost his shortstop job to Corey Seager. This year he lost the position to Tim Anderson. Tim lacks the offensive numbers of Seager but his glove is better. It has been a disappointing season for the White Sox but Anderson gives them a building block at shortstop.

11. Willy Adames (Rays) - The Rays picked up Adames from the Tigers in the David Price trade. The Rays are still unsettled at short but Adames had a solid season to punch his ticket in for the position in 2017. He had a solid season at AA so expect him to take over the position at the mid season mark.

12. Javier Guerra (Padres) - He was the big piece the Padres acquired from the Red Sox in the Craig Kimbrel trade. The 2016 season was a big disappointment with a .199 average and 141 whiffs. The Padres hope the 2016 season is an anomaly and will hope for a bounce back in 2017.

13. Nick Gordon (Twins) - Another son for Tom Gordon from a different mother than Dee Gordon. Nick shows good speed but lacks power. His defense will get him to the major leagues, but his lack of offense may make a utility role his best option.

14. Amed Rosario (Mets) - The Mets have been hunting for a shortstop for a long time. What they have had at the position for the last couple years have been good bats who lacked range to cover the position. Amed should solve all that. His bat should be good enough to create some havoc, after hitting .341 in a mid-season callup to AA. Power is not there but his defense is something the Mets have not seen at the position in a long time.

15. Christian Arroyo (Giants) - He will not supplant Brandon Crawford at the position. He could be one of those in between players who lacks the range to play short and is a little short of power to play third. Second base could be his ultimate destination. He does not have a lot of speed and his power is absent so he is a bit vanilla in the talent department. A utility role could be his best hope for a major league job.

16. Ozzie Albies (Braves) - The Braves traded Jose Peraza to the Reds last year after seeing what they have in Albies. With the acquisition of Swanson the ultimate position for Albies may be second base. Fortunately for Albies the Braves have no player at the position with the talent to block him. Speed is his best tool, power his worst.

17. Jorge Polanco (Twins) - Polanco may get an opportunity to play short before Nick Gordon. His defense is not as flashy but he shows a better bat. He has held his own in the major leagues with a .283 average, playing second, third and short. A utility role may be his ultimate position.

18. Deven Marrero (Red Sox) - Deven is blocked at short by Xander Boegarts. His glove is smooth but his bat comes up short. A utility role or trade to another team is all he can hope for, but even after a trade his .198 average in AAA falls far short for what teams want to see in a bat at the position.

19. Trevor Story (Rockies) - A Jose Reyes domestic assault charge gave Story an opportunity at short and he ran with it, slugging 27 homeruns in 97 games before an injury ended his season early. He will get consideration for rookie of the year but failed to get the at bats to win the award. The big question with Trevor is his ability to play defense to stay at the position.

20. Gilbert Lara (Brewers) - Arcia will have to fail at the shortstop position if Lara hopes to get the job. Lara is still in rookie ball as an 18 year old so the Brewers have plenty of time to see if Arcia can earn the position. Lara has shown a quiet bat, but he is still young and developing. Defense is his calling card.

Israel Advances to Winner’s Bracket with Shutout

September 24th, 2016

Israel 1 Brazil 0

Runs were scarce in the winner’s bracket match. Corey Baker pitched five innings of shutout ball, allowing just one hit and three walks to set the stage for Israel in their shutout win over Brazil. Four other pitchers extended the shutout with Brad Goldberg retiring the side in order in the ninth to rack up the save.

Bo Takahashi threw the first four innings for Brazil and allowed the only run of the game. Murilo Gouvea relieved Takahashi and silenced the Israeli bats for three innings.

Nate Freiman delivered a lead off double in the fourth inning that led to the only run. An error by first baseman Dante Bichette moved Freiman to third where he scored on a sacrifice fly by Cody Decker.

Brazil rallied in the 8th with back to back two out singles but came up short. Ryan Sherriff came on in relief of Jeremy Bleich to retire the last hitter of the inning.

Great Britain 14 Pakistan 0

Not much of a game here with a six run fifth putting the game out of reach. Champ Stuart drove in three runs and Albert Cartwright crossed the plate three times, hitting two triples to lead the Brit offense. Pakistan could not overcome 14 hits and 8 walks.

Brazil and Israel Win WBC Qualifier Openers in Brooklyn

September 23rd, 2016

The last qualifier country is being determined in Brooklyn this weekend. Brazil and Israel got off to good starts.

Brazil 10 Pakistan 0

Pakistan is the only country of the four who have no players in the minor leagues in the United States. They are coming here to compete and learn to get better. Brazil trounced them in the opener 10-0 in a game shortened to seven innings because of the slaughter rule. Jean Tome pitched 5.1 innings of three hit ball to quiet the Pakistan bats. Juan Carlos Muniz smashed a two run homerun in the fifth inning to extend the lead for Brazil from 4-0 to 6-0. Pakistan got a good lesson in the game today.

Israel 5 Great Britain 2

Michael Roth pitched a great game for Great Britain, working six innings of one run ball and departing with a 2-1 lead. When the Brits went to their bullpen the Israeli bats came alive.

The first two hitters Rhett Wiseman (single) and Scott Burcham (double) ripped hits off reliever Vaughn Harris. Mike Meyers hit a fly ball out deep enough to left field to score Wiseman and tie the game up. Zach Borenstein lined a single to right field to give Israel a 3-2 lead. Israel scored two more insurance runs when Ike Davis singled and Cody Decker hit a sacrifice fly to up the lead to 5-2.

Great Britain had just taken the lead in the top of the seventh after a Champ Stuart double with a wild pitch advancing him to third. Todd Isaacs drove him in with a sacrifice fly.

Brad Goldberg came on in the ninth to close out the game. He walked the leadoff hitter and then coughed up a double to Isaacs to put runners on second and third with no out. After a visit to the mound Goldberg ended the game with a popup and two strikeouts.

Great Britain will play Pakistan in a losers bracket game while Brazil faces off against Israel in the winners bracket contest. The winner of the losers bracket game will play the loser of the winners bracket contest.

Doosan Bears Clinch Pennant in KBO

September 22nd, 2016

The defending KBO champion Doosan Bears have clinched the pennant for the 2016 season, running away with the first place trophy. They now will receive a long bye as the 5th place team will do battle with the fourth place team. The winner of that match will face the third place team and the winner of that match will face the second place team. The Doosan Bears are guaranteed a game in a best of seven of the championship match.

Last year the Doosan Bears did not win the pennant, finishing third but won the championship by beating the Samsung Lions in the championship best of seven series. This year the Lions may not even make the playoffs.

The Bears are two wins away from breaking the KBO win record, made easier by an extended 144 game schedule. They lead the KBO in hitting and pitching, scoring 889 runs while no other KBO team has reached 800.

Rangers Sign Cuban Yanio Perez

September 22nd, 2016

With so many unsigned Cuban players out there myworld may change our policy about reporting every signing. Third baseman Yanio Perez was signed by Rangers for a bonus of $1.1 million. At 21 years of age Perez hits against the Rangers international salary cap but they have yet to reach that.

Perez saw minimal Nacional Series action so we are not that familiar with him. He is listed at 6′2 and 205 pounds. He did not show a lot of offensive promise in his brief Cuban professional season, but he was still a teenager when playing. Reports indicate he has some speed and potential power. He will get a chance to show those skills in the minor leagues next year at a level that will be determined by his spring training progress.