Archive for the 'Italy' Category

MLB World Select Team

Friday, September 28th, 2018

The World Select Team will be competing in the Arizona Fall Classic that will be held from October 10-14. There are 61 different teams competing in this event, including teams from Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Below are the names of the players from MLB World Select Team and the country they represent. A player from Uganda is participating.

Pitchers

Dennis Achidri (Uganda), Jiorgeny Casimiri (Netherlands), Daniele Di Monte (Italy), Liam Evans (Australia), Mathias Gonzalez (Ecuador), Jake Green (Australia), Lukas Hlouch (Czech Republic), Ky Jackson (Australia), Will Kortekaas (Australia), Luke Krkovski (Australia), Sebastian Munoz (Ecuador), Daniel Padysak (Czech Republic), Sue Sun (China), Angelo Wicklert (Netherlands)

Catchers

Ricardo Bertossi (Italy), Chris Burke (Australia), Fabian Kovacs (France)

Infielders

Travis Bazzana (Australia), Finn Bergmann (Germany), Denzel Bryson (Netherlands), Liam MacDonald (Australia), Luke November (South Africa), Delano Seiassa (Netherlands), Sunny Yang (China)

Outfielders

Jarrod Belbin (Australia), Paolo Brossier (France), Correze Nepia (New Zealand), Jaylin Rae (Australia), Brock Wells (Australia), Tyson Zamora (Australia), Ruendrick Piternella (Netherlands)

These players range in age from 16 to 20. Not only will they be performing before major league scouts, but also college scouts.

Italian National Team to Train in Arizona

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

The Italian national team will train in Arizona from September 29 to October 13. During that time they will play games against players from the major league instructional teams. Recognizable names from the Italian national team include ex-major league Chris Colabello, minor league and NPB pitcher Allesandro Maestri and minor league catcher Alberto Mineo.

Japan Qualifies for Honkball Finals

Saturday, July 21st, 2018

The rain has postponed the Nationals/Braves game giving myworld a chance to catch up. Japan has made it to the finals of the Honkball tournament in Haarlem, Netherlands with a convincing 8-1 win over Taiwan. This is the same Japanese team that played five exhibition games against the United States collegiate national team and won two of five games. Japan erupted for seven runs in the fifth inning to erase a 1-0 Taiwan lead, cruising to the victory after the outburst.

One team that will be absent in the championship match will be Cuba. They did win their first game, collecting 14 hits in their 7-1 win over Germany. They did need to score six runs in the ninth inning to pull out the victory.

The Dutch get a chance to play Taiwan in the semifinal match with a 2-1 win over Italy. Yurendell de Caster drove in both runs for Netherlands, but his walk off single in the ninth was the big hit. Allessandro Maestri, who pitched for a number of years in the minor leagues and then took his craft to Japan, quieted the Dutch bats to one run in seven innings.

The Netherlands will play Taiwan with the winner advancing to play the undefeated Japanese in the championship match. The Netherlands were the winners of the last Honkball tournament, beating Australia in the finals, a game myworld actually witnessed.

Honkball Week Review

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

It is raining in D.C. The weather reports call for the rain to stop prior to the All Star game being played. This gives myworld an opportunity to provide an update on the Honkball tournament in Haarlam, Netherlands, which myworld may have tried to attend if not for the All Star weekend here in D.C.

Taiwan 3 Netherlands 2

A mild upset with the Taiwan kids upsetting the veteran Netherlands team that won this event two years ago. Taiwan used a group of four pitchers to limit the Netherlands bats to two runs. Cheng Hao Wang pitched the last three innings to secure the victory. Dudley Lenora drove in both runs for the Netherlands with a solo shot in the fifth and a sacrifice fly in the third. Netherlands also had runners thrown out at home and third to ruin scoring opportunities.

Japan 7 Cuba 1

Don’t know if Cuba still has the same entourage that followed them around when they played in tournaments before all of their top players left for the United States. They lost their second game of the tournament, Japan using six different pitchers to limit Cuba to one run. That run was unearned. Japanese pitchers combined to strike out 11 Cubans. Takashi Umino was the big bat for Japan with an RBI single in the fourth and a two run blast in the eighth. Hitting behind him in the order Ryosuke Kodame was 2 for 2 with two walks. Japan assaulted the Cuban pitching staff for 14 hits.

Italy 7 Cuba 3

Italy stunned the Cubans, eliminating them from any hope of playing in the championship match. Italy threw minor league player and NPB pitcher Allesandro Maestri for six innings and he allowed just one unearned run to the anemic Cuban bats. Alex Bassani pitched the last three innings, giving up two ninth inning runs but surviving to secure the win. Ex major leaguer Chris Colabello returned to the Italian team after playing with them in the World Baseball Classic and was a perfect 1 for 1 with three walks, driving in the first two runs with a double in the first.

Japan 6 Germany 1

Japan remained undefeated with their win over Germany. Masato Morishita worked six innings and tamed the German bats to just one run. Sascha Koch kept the game close, limiting Japan to two runs in his six innings. Japan erupted for four runs in the eighth to put the game out of reach, Ryosuke Kodame getting the clutch two run single to account for the late run support. Toshiya Sato banged out three hits including two doubles to drive in two. Ryosuke Tatsumi also collected three hits.

Germany Stuns Cuba in HonKball Competetion

Sunday, July 15th, 2018

This has to be a first for German baseball, to beat Cuba. It is also a reflection on how far down the Cuban talent level has gone. Most of their top players are in the United States.

Cuba started Leandro Martinez but it was not his fault Germany scored four runs off him. Three Cuban errors allowed three unearned runs to score. Germany committed six errors but they were able to dodge the bullet a bit better than Cuba allowing only two unearned runs.

A dropped fly ball by leftfielder Jorge Jhonson on what should have been the third out allowed Germany to score the first run in the opening frame. Errors by Anibal Medina and Jorge Aloma brought in two more unearned runs in the third to give Germany a 3-1 lead.

Cuba erupted for three runs in the fourth, assisted by two German errors, though only one of the runs was considered unearned. Orlando Acebey and Eduardo Blanco contributing RBI singles to give Cuba a 4-3 lead.

In the fifth Eric Brenk slashed his third single of the game. He scored his third run of the game, the tying run after Simon Guhring drove one deep enough to right field to score Eric on a sacrifice fly. A Max Boldt double, his third hit of the day set up the go ahead run in the seventh. After an intentional walk to load the bases Cuba failed to turn two on a ground ball and Germany scored the winning run.

Cuba did load the bases in the top of the ninth. After retiring the first two hitters in his third inning of work, Cuban born Enorbel Marquez loaded the bases on a single, walk and the sixth error by Germany. He ran the count full to Jorge Jhonson before getting him to fly out to center to end the game.

Japan 1 Taiwan 0

Japan won a second consecutive 1-0 game. They were able to string together 10 hits but two caught stealings and a ground out double play erased three rallies. They scored their only run in the fourth after a Toshiya Sato double and a Yuma Tongu single drove him in for the only run of the game. Matsumoto Wataru pitched seven scoreless innings allowing just four hits and striking out nine. Hiroshi Kaino was almost unhittable in his two innings of work, striking out five of the six hitters he faced. Taiwan only saw one runner settle on second base and that was in the fifth inning. C.W. Huang was picked off after he had doubled with two out in the fifth so he was not on second base long.

Netherlands 7 Italy 0

Netherlands made it two shutouts in a row over their two European counterparts. After blanking Germany 6-0 in their opener they went out and zipped their European rivals Italy 7-0. Ageless Rob Cordemans did the honors on the mound going six innings and allowing just two hits. He struck out nine and walked two. Nick Urbanus, Gilmer Lampe and Yurendell deCaster each drove in two runs for Netherlands.

Two Shutouts Start Honkball Week

Saturday, July 14th, 2018

One of these days myworld will return to Haarlem to watch Honkball. It is a fun tournament with a day game, a long break and then a night game - all for one price. I just wish there were more restaurants in the area where the ball parks are located. It is always good to eat something other than ballpark food.

The opening of Honkball saw two shutouts. The first was Japan nipping Italy 1-0, scoring a run in the bottom of the 10th to get the win. Masato Morishita, who started two games in the United States college exhibition series the previous week threw seven innings of two hit shutout ball against Italy. Luis Lugo matched him for five shutout innings, also only allowing two hits. Despite having the bases loaded with no outs Italy could not score in their extra inning. Japan laid down a successful sacrifice and then got a walk off bunt single from Takashi Umino in his first at bat to pull out the victory. Hiromi Ito got the win for Japan, striking out six of the nine hitters he faced.

The defending champ Netherlands dominated Germany 6-0. Orlando Yntema pitched seven innings of one hit ball, giving up a lead off double and then retiring 21 of the next 22 hitters he faced. Netherlands got three hits and a homerun from Dwayne Kemp to lead the offense.

Colabello to play in Italy

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

Chris Colabello played for Italy in two World Baseball Classics in 2013 and 2017. Now he will be playing in the Italian League for T&A San Marino. Last year he played in the minor leagues after being a surprise pickup from the Independent League to play in the major leagues from 2013 to 2016. Colabello’s father played in Italy for seven years, even pitching for Italy in the 1984 Olympics.

Colabello played seven seasons in the Can-Am League before signing with the Twins in 2012 and playing in their minor league system. He got a surprise promotion to the Twins in the 2013 season but after hitting .352 in the AAA minor leagues struggled with the Twins for a .192 average. This did not prevent a team from the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) attempt to sign him.

His 2014 season was not much better as he hit just .229 for the year, but did break the club record for most RBIs in April with 26. The Blue Jays picked him up on waivers for the 2015 season where he raked for a .321 average and 15 homeruns. The 2016 season saw his fairy tale career come crashing to a close when he was suspended 80 games for the use of performance enhancing drugs. He was only hitting .069 at the time and never returned to major league baseball.

Cubans Playing in Italy

Friday, March 23rd, 2018

A number of Cubans who have played on the Cuban National team are playing for baseball teams in Italy. A couple years ago the Cuban Baseball Federation publicly advertised their players were for loan. Only Japan has taken advantage of that process, though some players have played in the Can Am League. The following Cuban players are playing in Italy for the summer:

Parma Baseball

Ulfrido Garcia LHP
Erlys Casanova RHP
Frank Camillo Morejon, catcher

Polisportiva Padule

Vladimir Banos RHP
Yordany Alarcon, infielder

Cagliary Baseball

Eddy Abel Garcia RHP

Bologna Athletics

Frank Montieh RHP

Beisbol Sala Balanza

Jose P. Cuesta RHP

Unipol Bologna

Jorge Martinez RHP

This should add some competitive juices to the IBL. Information for the above obtained from baseballde cuba and mister baseball.

Top European Prospects

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

The pickings are a bit thin. Prospects from Curacao are included in this list since they are considered a part of the Netherlands. Even players from Curacao have dropped in talent. From the list last year Ozzie Albies and Dovydas Neverauskas saw major league time, with Ozzie getting enough playing time at second base to lose his rookie eligibility. Myworld is generous in our classification of European. If they are eligible to play on a World Baseball Classic team they will be included on this list. The only exception we made was for Israel since religion and not birth of a sibling or residence determine origin. For the most part it is the same cast of characters from last year.

1. J.B. Bukauskas RHP (Lithuania/Astros) - This could be a stretch. His Wikipedia page identifies him as having a Lithuanian background. There is an article detailing that background linked but it is in Lithuanian. He was actually born in Ashburn, Virginia but if Lithuania ever got a WBC team they would find a way for J.B. to play on it. After dominating at the high school and college level he was a first round 2017 pick of the Houston Astros. He is not a tall pitcher at 6′0″ but he carries a fastball that sits in the low 90s but can hit the mid-90s. The slider is his swing and miss pitch and what will bring him success in the major leagues. Last year he only pitched 10 innings of minor league ball after a heavy college workload. As a college pitcher he will start the season in a Low A full season league.

2. Carter Kieboom SS (Netherlands/Nationals) - Another player born in the States whose dad played baseball as a youngster in Netherlands only to leave for college in the United States. Kieboom was the Nationals first round pick in 2016. With Trea Turner ahead of him and no exceptional tools to stay at short could force a move to second. Last year he played all his games at short. The bat will get him to the major leagues with decent power (.497) and hit tools (.296) at Low A Hagerstown. The 2018 season should see him play at High A. For the short term the Nationals see no need to move him from short.

3. Dovydas Neverauskas RHP (Lithuania/Pirates) - Dovydas made headlines for being the first Lithuanian to pitch in the major leagues. There has been some discussion that Joe Zapustas, who debuted in 1933 lived in the area that would be considered Lithuanian but was considered Russia during that time. He played two games in the outfield. So without a doubt Dovydas is the first pitcher from Lithuania. He has pitched his whole career in the bullpen, carrying a fastball that hits the high 90s. The absence of quality secondary pitches prevents him from pitching in the rotation. Last year he made his major league debut (3.91 ERA) earning the right to continue his roller coaster ride up and down the transaction ladder when bullpen help is needed. A good spring will see him in the major league bullpen but myworld suspects he will begin the season in AAA.

4. Ray-Patrick Didder OF/SS (Netherlands/Braves) - The Curacao native is one of the better athletes in the Braves minor league system and one of their fastest players. His ability to fly had the Braves move him from short to center where he can cover maximum acreage. The bat needs to be more dangerous for him to be considered for a major league job. There is little pop in his bat and last year he hit .230 in High A. There are also too many swings and misses (123 whiffs) with his bat. The speed and defense could allow him to be a fourth outfielder type. At 23 years of age he needs to be promoted to AA to have relevance.

5. Tom de Blok RHP (Netherlands/Tigers) - A strong performance in the World Baseball Classic with the Netherlands got him a contract with the Tigers. He had originally signed with the Mariners as a 17 year old but was not ready for baseball. He made his debut a couple years later with the Tigers pitching in Low A. At 6′4″ he has good height for a pitcher. It is possible that with more work in his delivery his low 90s fastball could gain velocity. He pitched in both the bullpen and as a starter but myworld suspects he will settle in the bullpen. The 2018 season should see him begin at High A.

6. Sven Schuller RHP (Germany/Dodgers) - Sven has good height at 6′3″ allowing him to put up some good numbers in Low A (1.49 ERA) but struggled a bit when promoted to High A (5.25 ERA). All his appearances were in relief. His command abandoned him in High A with lefthanded hitters battering him at a .310 clip. Up until last year he had pitched his first three years in rookie ball. A repeat of High A is expect for the 2018 season.

7. Ademar Rifaela OF (Netherlands/Orioles) - The Curacao native had a breakout year last year slugging 24 homeruns at High A Frederick. A lack of speed prevents him from being a defensive asset in the outfield but if his bat continues to produce the Orioles will find a place for him. His lefthanded bat seemed to have good success against left handed pitching (.265) so that could prevent a platoon role for him. The big test is whether he can replicate his numbers when promoted to AA where he will face better pitching.

8. Marten Gasparini OF (Italy/Royals) - He surpassed Max Kepler with his $1.3 million bonus being the highest paid for a European player. The Royals signed him as a shortstop but his fielding was very erratic resulting in the Royals shifting him to center field last year. His speed will allow him to be an adequate defender once he learns his routes. The bat is the big question mark. He just has not shown he can hit. A repeat of Low A saw his average rise from .196 to .227. Poor plate discipline are the big cause of his troubles, not being able to recognize pitches as they come to the plate. This will get tougher as he rises up the minor league ladder. Myworld suspects the Royals will promote him to High A for the 2018 season, but spring training could have an impact on that.

9. Martin Cervenka C (Czech Republic/Orioles) - Martin signed with the Orioles as a six year minor league free agent. Myworld liked the way he handled himself when he watched him in Taiwan a couple years ago. An Oriole scout was sitting with me during one of the games myworld was watching him play. Don’t know if this had any influence in his signing with the Orioles. Last year he replicated his 2016 break out season with a .278 average and a .418 slugging percentage. He also threw out 40 percent of those runners who tried to steal against him. Myworld should see more of him if he is assigned to Bowie for the 2018 season.

10. Spencer Kieboom C (Netherlands/Nationals) - The older brother of Carter. His best bet to make it is as a backup catcher in the major leagues. In 2016 he did appear in one game when he replaced the injured Wilson Ramos. His bat is not strong enough to produce a lot of offense and his defense does not justify putting his soft bat in the lineup. In the last two years he has only thrown out baserunners at less than a 25% clip. An injury to the Nationals catching corp could give him an opportunity to fill a back up role, but that would require him to be added to the 40 man roster. He will bide his time in AAA for the 2018 season, possibly reuniting with his brother at some point.

Cuba and Japan Complete Honkball Itinerary

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

The six teams have been selected for Honkball. It will be played July 13-22 at Pim Mulier Stadium in Haarlem. Haarlem is one of those quiet, pleasant cities that have more bikes on the roads than automobiles. It also has canals, windmills, a town square and a baseball stadium. The stadium is just a couple miles from the town square. Myworld could not pick a better spot to relax in a tranquil setting and then spend your time at the ballpark.

The six teams participating in the tournament are:

Netherlands, Curacao, Italy, Taiwan, Cuba and Japan

After the last Honkball tournament there was some discussion to end the tournament. The crowds are loyal with fans waiting two hours inside the stadium waiting for the second game to be played. When you buy a ticket it is for the day, with the first game scheduled for 2 PM and the evening affair for 7 PM. There is a tented area and a stage for a band, so if the crowd is large enough a band could be made available to entertain those who wait the couple hours inside the stadium for the second game to start.

Despite the decent crowds the organizers were not able to collect enough revenue to continue the tournament. Lack of advertisers and sponsors are the large revenue generators for most tournaments. Another group has stepped in to hold the tournament. Hopefully they will be more successful in continuing the tournament every two years.