Archive for the 'Italy' Category

Liddi to Play in Taiwan

Monday, April 1st, 2019

In Taiwan the foreign players are usually pitchers. Chinatrust manager Scott Budner preferred to have a position player and two pitchers for his foreign composition. The Brothers signed Eric Wood to cover third base and add power to the offense.

Two games into the 2019 season the Brothers released Wood. It was not because he failed to get a hit in his first nine at bats. According to CBLstats the manager claimed Wood was not a team player. The agent for Wood denied the allegation that Wood was not a team player but accepted the release.

The Brothers have now signed the Italian Alex Liddi to play third base. He had been playing in Mexico, recently switching teams. He will be the first Italian player to play in Taiwan, after becoming the first Italian bred player to play in the major leagues.

Top European Prospects

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

It is a down year for European prospects. Most of them are still toiling in the Rookie Leagues or had poor years (Tom de Bok and Sven Schuller). Even the Bahamas seem to churn out more prospects than Curacao. Most of the prospects from this list have parents who are of European ancestry. Spencer Kieboom the tenth rated prospect graduated last year as did Dovydas Neverauskas the number three rated prospect from Lithuania. Both struggled in the their time in the major leagues, Kieboom hitting .232 and Dovydas finishing with an ERA at 8.00. He gave up 9 homeruns in just 27 innings. Kieboom will reach his ceiling as a backup catcher while Dovydas could see another opportunity at the back end of the Pirates bullpen.

Below are the top prospects from Europe and apologies if it does not look too European.

1. Carter Kieboom SS/2B (Netherlands/Nationals) - The younger brother of Spencer took all the baseball tools, plus he plays a more glitzy position. His father played baseball in the Netherlands and they moved to the States when they were young allowing Spencer and Carter to play baseball in the States during their youth. This spring Carter hit two homeruns off Justin Verlander. He is starting to show an impressive hit tool. Last year between Low A and AA he slugged 16 homeruns. With Trea Turner occupying short he may have to move to second base. Look for Carter to start the season in AA with a full time job with the Nationals in 2020.

2. J.B. Bukauskas RHP (Lithuania/Astros) - His Wikipedia page says he is of Lithuanian origin so we will include him on this list as we did last year. He dropped from number 1 to number 2. At 6′0″ he is a bit on the small side for a righthander. His fastball can ride towards the plate in the mid-90s and he complements it with an excellent slider. A car accident in spring training led to back issues, limiting him to 14 starts last year. He got one AA start where he pitched six one hit shutout innings. With the five High A starts J.B. finished with a 1.61 ERA with the opposition hitting him at a .138 clip. If healthy he should start the 2019 season in AA where he will work on harnessing his command. If he does not make it in the rotation he could be an impact pitcher in the bullpen.

3, Dean Kremer RHP (Israel/Orioles) - His parents have Israeli citizenship though Kremer was born in California. He was one of the players the Dodgers traded for Manny Machado. Not an overpowering fastball, sitting in the low 90s, he may best be used out of the bullpen. The Orioles used him in the starting rotation where he limited the opposition to a .228 average. His 178 strikeouts led the minor leagues last year so his curve ball gets a lot of swings and misses. Drafted in the 14th round in 2016 he averages 11.4 whiffs per nine innings. Dean could see some time with the rebuilding Orioles in their rotation late in the year but myworld suspects the bullpen will be his best home.

4. Shervyen Newton SS (Curacao/Mets) - The Mets appear to be overloaded at the shortstop position with Ahmed Rosario in the major leagues, Andres Gimenez ready to make an impact in 2019 and Ronny Mauricio and Luis Guillorme also playing the position. Newton signed in 2015 for $50,000 but did not appear in the States until last year. He played in the Dominican Summer League his previous two years. Newton showed a good bat at the Rookie level, hitting .280 with a .408 OBA. At 6′4″ he may outgrow shortstop, especially with his lack of speed. The power could be there to move to third. Next year he will be 20. A full season league will be open for him to break out into the spot light.

5. Hendrik Clementin C (Curacao/Reds) - Hendrik had a break out season last year with his 18 homeruns at Low A. Whether he can continue to hit for that power will be answered in 2019 when he applies his craft at High A. The Dodgers signed him in 2013 and traded him to the Reds for Tony Cingrani. At 6′0″ and 250 pounds he needs to watch his weight. The defensive tools are there to be an average catcher, but if the bat plays that could turn him into a starter.

6. Ray-Patrick Didder Utl (Aruba/Braves) - Like Curacao, Aruba is a possession of the Netherlands. Didder was signed in 2013. While playing in the minor leagues he has played at every position but catcher and pitcher. He is athletic enough to play the middle infield and centerfield. If the Braves can turn him into a Marwin Gonzalez clone that could be a plus. The speed is there for him to steal bases and cover ground in centerfield. The bat lacks power and will keep him limited to hitting .250. The 2019 season will see him in AA. If his bat can play he could be up with the Braves some time this year.

7. Martin Cervenka C (Czech Republic/Orioles) - The first true European. He was signed by the Indians and labored as a back up for his first couple years in the minor leagues. Last year he showed some pop in his bat with 15 homeruns. Myworld thought the Orioles would call him up but perhaps the 2019 season will be his major league debut. Martin will be turning 27 this year so his time as a prospect is getting short. Catchers take more time to develop their craft. At best Cervenka will not be more than a backup in the major leagues, which he could see sometime in 2019.

8. Marcus Solbach RHP (Germany/Dodgers) - Marcus was originally signed by the Twins and pitched in their minor league system way back in 2011. The last two years he has been pitching Independent ball in the Canadian American Association. Last year he was named pitcher of the year in the Australia Baseball League, finishing with a 0.43 ERA in six starts. That convinced the Dodgers to sign him. At 27 and at 6′5″ he could be used out of the bullpen.

9. Marten Gasparini OF (Italy/Royals) - Marten signed with the Royals back in 2013 for $1.3 million. He was originally a shortstop but his inconsistency in the field forced the Royals to put him in centerfield. His one big tool is his speed, but it does not work well when stealing bases (82 out of 122). The bat is soft with a career .222 average and .315 slugging. The 2019 season could be his last in the minor leagues where he will become a six year minor league free agent. If his bat does not show some production it will be hard to convince another team to sign him.

10. Alberto Mineo C (Italy/Blue Jays) - Albert was originally signed by the Cubs but now plays for the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays acquired him in the minor league portion of the Rule V draft. He bats lefthanded and hit .462 in AAA last year, but that was in only 13 at bats. His career average is .256 with very little power. The defensive tools are there for him to possibly make it as a back up in the major leagues but the bat will need to play more. In High A he hit .294 so that is an improvement from his Cubs years. His three homeruns were also a career high. Next year he should be playing at AA where at 24 he still has some time to develop as a major leaguer.

Teams Announced for 12 and Under World Cup

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) 12 and under World Cup will be played in Tainan City from July 26 to August 4. Tainan City will be hosting the 12 and under until 2027, holding the next five events. They will be the Williamsburg of the WBSC. Fiji is the one interesting new player in this tournament. Taiwan won this event in 2011, the first year it was played, but the United States did not participate in that tournament. The last three events the United States has won the championship. Below are the groupings for the tournament.

Group A

Taiwan, Japan, Czech Republic, South Africa, Cuba and Fiji

Group B

United States, Mexico, Korea, Australia, Venezuela and Italy

Italian National Team to Train in Mesa

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

The Italian National team will train in Mesa, Arizona between March 16-30th. They have scheduled games with the Oakland Athletics for March 20-23, two college teams on March 25 and 27 and two games against a team from Mexico March 28-29. Chris Colabello, who played for the Twins and Allesandro Maestri, who played in the Reds minor league system before heading to Japan to play in the NPB are two players listed on the roster.

Italy fell short of qualifying for the Premier 12, finishing as the number 16 ranked country in baseball.

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.