Five Hanshin Tigers Players Test Positive for Corona Virus

September 26th, 2020

Five Hanshin Tigers players tested positive for the Corona Virus, four from the top team and one from the minor league team. The four from the top team are infielders Kento Itohara and Naomasa Yokawa and pitchers Yuta Iwasada and Kosuke Baba. The minor league player was pitcher Masumi Hamachi, who had a brief callup in September with the major league club.

The minor league game between the Tigers and Dragons was cancelled. Players testing positive for the corona virus for the top team were removed from the roster for the weekend series with the Yakult Swallows. Forty players and staff from the minor league organization were tested and found to be negative. The Japan Times did not mention any testing procedures for the Hanshin Tigers team.

Earlier this season a couple Tiger players tested positive for the corona virus resulting in the delay of the start of the NPB season.

Wang Signs 5 Year Contract with Dragons

September 23rd, 2020

Ex-Major League and KBO pitcher Wang Wei-Ching signed a five year $2.08 million contract with the Wei Chaun Dragons of the China Professional Baseball League (CPBL). Though he has not had success as a major league or KBO pitcher it still did not stop the Dragons from making him their top pick in the CPBL draft.

Wang pitched for the 2004 Taiwan Little League World Series team. Instead of playing in the CPBL he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011 and then was a Rule V pick up by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2013. He made his major league debut with the Brewers in 2014.

He did not have a lot of success in the major leagues, finishing with a 6.52 career ERA. After being released by the Brewers in early 2018 he tried his luck in the KBO with the NC Dinos. That did not turn out as well either with a 7-10 record and a 4.26 ERA in 25 starts. He tried to make his return to the major leagues in 2019, pitching first for the Oakland Athletics and next for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates released him at the end of the 2019 season.

Wang expressed an interest in returning to Taiwan to play baseball and the Dragons selected him as the first pick in the 2020 draft. Scott Boras was his negotiating agent. The $2.08 million is one of the largest contracts in CPBL history. Leave it to Boras to accomplish that. It also has an escape clause that allows the Dragons to release Wang from the contract after three years if he has an opportunity to pitch for an overseas team using the CPBL posting system.

Ex-O Kim in RBI surge

September 23rd, 2020

Ex-Orioles Hyun-Soo Kim of the LG Twins is in an RBI surge. In his last seven games he has driven in 20 runs, with just one homerun. This has put him tied for first with KT Wiz Mel Rojas for RBIs with 106.

Kim and Roberto Ramos have been a formidable one-two punch in the Twins offense. Ramos has been the big homerun bat with 35 homeruns, second to Rojas in the KBO. Kim does not send as many balls over the fence, with only 21 homeruns but he has been an RBI machine. In the last seven games he has driven in 6, 5, 3 and 4 runs in four of those games, hitting only one homerun. He is also hitting .351, which is second to Doosan Bears Jose Miguel Fernandez, who is hitting .358 for the KBO lead.

One of the problems myworld had with Kim when he was with the Orioles was his inability to hit for power. At the major league level he was not a strong defensive outfielder, restricting him to a corner outfield spot. This is a position teams look for players with power. But if you are driving in runs like Kim is currently doing with the Twins, the power is secondary.

The Twins are in third place in the KBO, a certain lock to make the playoffs. They find themselves two games behind the Kiwoom Heroes and 4.5 games behind the DC Dinos.

Draci Brno Wins Czech Championships

September 23rd, 2020

Draci Brno won the Czech Baseball Championships, defeating last year’s champions the Arrows Ostrava in a best of five series 3-1. Draci Brno won the first two games 6-1 and 6-4. Arrows prevented the sweep by winning the third game 3-1. Draci won the fourth game 4-1 to take the series, Premek Chroust and Petr Cech going deep to fuel the victory.

Draci Brno won the regular season with a 13-2 record. The Arrows finished in third at 7-8. Draci swept the fourth place Eagles Prague to get into the championship in a best of three series. The third place Arrows upset the second place Kotalrka Prague 2 games to one to get into the finals to defend their championship.

For Draci Brno it was their 22nd championship, but after a three year absence this one must have tasted sweet. The Arrows had won the last two championships.

The Australian born Peter Moylan, the ex-Braves pitcher, pitched for Draci Brno in 2019. He became an Atlanta Braves analyst for the 2020 season.

Chen Returns to Japan

September 21st, 2020

Chen Wei-Yen appears to be returning to Japan. According to cpblstats.com he has signed a contract with the Chiba Lotte Marines. The Marines are still battling for the second playoff spot in the Pacific Division. The contract is for $290,000 for the last two months of the NPB season.

Chen originally pitched for the Chunichi Dragons from 2004 to 2011. In 2012 he became eligible for free agency and jumped to the Baltimore Orioles where he had a number of successful seasons with them. In his first season he finished fourth in the rookie of the year balloting. After becoming a free agent after the 2015 season he signed a large contract (5 years $80 million) with the Miami (Florida) Marlins and bombed after that. Despite owing him $22 million this year the Marlins released him after the 2019 season.

The Mariners signed him to a minor league contract for the 2020 season but he was ultimately released. It will be interesting to see if he has anything left in the tank to get the Marines into the playoffs. Chen has never had a lot of juice in his fastball, but relies on command to locate his pitches. That command has disappeared over time.

Therwil Flyers the Swiss Baseball Champions

September 21st, 2020

The Therwil Flyers swept the Bern Cardinals in a best of five series to become the baseball champions of Switzerland. Only the third game was competitive, with the Flyers winning the first two 16-8 and 16-3.

The third game the Flyers rallied for four runs in the eighth to turn a 5-2 deficit into a 6-5 lead. Michael Kratz got the big hit with a two run double. Takanobu Oshima got the win with 2.1 innings of scoreless relief.

These two teams had tied for first place during the regular season with 15-5 records.

Dane Dunning Has Choices for WBC

September 18th, 2020

Dane Dunning was recently called up by the White Sox to fit in their rotation. He was drafted by the Nationals but traded to the White Sox along with Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito for Adam Eaton. That trade accounts for 60 percent of the playoff bound White Sox rotation. Last year the Nationals won the World Series with Eaton. This year it appears to be the White Sox turn to make a run with Dunning, Lopez and Giolito.

With the World Baseball Classic (WBC) on the horizon Dunning could play for the United States team. If that doesn’t work out he could also play for South Korea. His mother was born in Korea making him eligible. According to a Yonhap News Agency article Dunning would love to play for South Korea, even though he has yet to visit the country. At some point he would embrace experiencing the culture there.

Traditionally, Korea has not looked to the United States to fill their WBC teams. They generally pick their teams from players in the KBO. Dunning though is a talent that could fill a rotation spot, along with current major leaguers Kim, Ryu and young pitching sensation Koo that would prove quite formidable.

Panama to Play Season in a Bubble

September 16th, 2020

Panama will begin their season on October 9 with eight teams. All eight teams opened their training camps this past Monday, September 14. Players were tested and there were no positive results. During the season it is anticipated there will be another 1,400 tests.

The eight teams have been broken out into two groups. Group A will be composed of Cocle, Metro, Herrera and Colon. Group B will be Bocas del Toro, Chiriqui, Panama Oeste and Los Santos. Each team will play a round robin match against teams in their group three times and against teams from the other group once. The top four teams will advance to a best of seven semi-final series.

Though it was not stated in the WBSC article myworld assumes the winner will advance to the Series del Caribe, provided there is one and Panama is invited to participate. Panama won the first Series del Caribe they played in two years ago but did not do so well in the event last year.

Cuban Baseball Openers

September 14th, 2020

Over the weekend the Cuban Nacional Series opened up their season. Saturday was the opening day. Below are the results:

Camaguey 15 Matanzas 8

The semi finalist from last year beat the defending champion in the opener. Big days were had by Alexander Ayala and Leonel Moa, who each hit a homerun and drove in four runs. With his four hits Moa was a triple short of the cycle, scoring three runs.

Jefferson Delgado and Yasiel Santoya each went deep and drove in three runs for Matanzas. Matanzas ace Yoanni Yera was not effective coughing up eight runs in his five innings of work.

Mayabeque 9 Las Tunas 5

The game went 10 but Mayabeque outscored Las Tunas 5 to 1 in the final frame. Orlandro Lavandera went deep with a three run homerun in the tenth to win it and Dennis Laza used his three hits to drive in three.

Holquin 7 Pinar Del Rio 1

Carlos Alberto worked a solid seven innings, giving up just one run on five hits. He was helped on offense by Jorge Luis Pena with his homerun and two RBIs. Holquin scattered 11 hits.

Artemisa 3 Granma 2

In one of the closer matches Artemisa rallied for two runs in the ninth inning to pull out the victory. Lazaro Blanco had pitched 8 strong innings, allowing just one early run before turning the ball over to Carlos Rene Santana in the ninth. He failed to protect the lead. Ronny Proenza and Gabriel Garbey got the final two run scoring singles. Jose Garcia pitched the ninth to get the save, despite walking two and giving up a hit.

Santiago de Cuba 7 Isla de la Juventud 6

Santiago rallied for three in the eighth to take a 6-4 lead but Juventud scored two in the top of the ninth to tie it. The third hit by Ariel Enrique proved to be the walk off to lead Santiago to victory. Osday Silva hit a key two run homer for Santiago in the eighth while Leonardo Urgelles and Aquimo Jimenez had two run bombs for Juventud. Aquimo hit his two run homer in the ninth to allow Junentud to tie.

Industriales 10 Guantanamo 4

Yoandry Ugelles drove in three with his pinch hit homerun and Industriales rallied for 9 runs in the last three innings to pull out the victory. Frank Navarro had allowed just one run in the first six innings but tired in the seventh, giving up a three spot.

Cuban National Series to be Televised by WBSC

September 11th, 2020

The Cuban National Series will begin tomorrow with a game between the defending champions Matanzas against the second place team Camaguey. If you are interested in watching any of the games the World Baseball and Softball Confederation has obtained exclusive rights to televise National Series games. To watch them you can go to GameTime.Sport.

The 75 game regular season will end on December 27. The top eight teams will play from January 9 to 14. The final four teams will play with expanded rosters from January 17-25. The championship round will then be January 28 to February 5.