Archive for the 'Dominican Republic' Category

World Baseball Classic Officially Announces Qualifiers

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020

The World Baseball Classic has officially announced their qualifiers, both to be played in Tucson in March. The games will be played at the Kino Sports Complex.

Pool 1 (March 12-17) - Brazil, France, Germany, Nicaragua, Pakistan and South Africa

Pool II (March 20-25) - Czech Republic, Great Britain, New Zealand, Panama, Philippines and Spain.

The top two teams from each pool will qualify for the World Baseball Classic that will be held March 2021. All 16 teams who participated in the 2017 World Baseball Classic have qualified for the 2021 event. Those countries include the defending champion United States, Australia, Canada, Cuba, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Taiwan and Venezuela

Caribbean Leagues in their Finals

Sunday, January 26th, 2020

One league is finished with first place finisher Santurce winning in five over Mayaguez. Satnturce rallied in the opener coming back from a 3-2 deficit. They score one in the eighth and got a walk off single from Ryan Casteel to win 4-3. Jan Hernandez opened the inning with a double and was balked to third to set up the single.

Mayaguez won game two, their only win in the series. They bashed out 16 hits in the 9-2 win. Henry Ramos went deep with a three run homer and Emmanuel Rivera rocketed a two run shot, one of his four hits in the game. Giovanni Soto tied up the Mayaguez bats to just three hits in his eight innings of work to give Santurce a 3-0 win. Santurce won their next two games 4-3 to take the series.

The other three Caribbean Series are ongoing. Licey destroyed the league champion Toros in the opener 17-2. 16 of their runs were scored after the fifth inning. Socrates Brito led the charge with four RBIs. Toros won the next two games, winning 6-3 in extra innings in game number two. Jeimer Candelario blasted a two run homer in the 11th to break the tie. Jorge Mateo hit a solo shot in the third inning, the first of his three hits in the game.

Mateo homered again in the third inning of game three, a two runs shot and league homerun leader Peter Obrien hit a solo shot in the sixth to break a 2-2 tie. Christian Bethancourt added a two run shot in the sixth to pad the lead.

Licey evened the series at two games apiece, Lisalverto Bonilla tossing five shutout innings. Licey jumped out to an early 6-0 lead and Toros scored two in the eighth to break the shutout. Licey wins 6-2.

The bats of Jorge Mateo and Jeimer Candelario combined to go 4 for 5 to give Toros a 3-1 game five win. Licey evened the series with a 5-1 game six win in a best of nine series.

Down Mexico way Culiacan struck first blood with their 6-2 win. The Tomateros sent four balls out of the park, Ramiro Pena, Joey Meneses, and Efren Navorro hitting solo shots while Dariel Alvarez hit a two run blast. Meneses hit another solo shot in game two with Culiacan winning 4-3 to go up in the series 2-0. Culiacan used 9 pitchers to pull out the victory.

Juan Pablo Orames shut down the Tomateros for seven innings in Mazatl├ín’s 7-0 win. Ricky Alvarez hit a two run homer and drove in four to lead the offense.

In the finals in troubled Venezuela the Caribes are up three games to two in their series against Lara. In the opener, Lara scored four runs in the eighth inning to win 6-2. Yordanys Linares drove in the last of his three runs to break the tie and Luis Jimenez closed off the scoring with a two run single.

The Caribes got six solid innings from Wilfredo Ledezma to win game 5-1. Another 5-1 victory in game three with seven innings from Felix Doubront. Lara evened the series with their 5-1 win, Nextor Molina going six innings of two hit ball.

Caribes jumped on top with their 3-2 win in a controversy filled game. In the top of the ninth the Caribes manager was ejected after Lara scored a run to tie the game 2-2. Caribes stormed right, Williams Astudillo hitting the walk off single to give Caribes a 3-2 win. More excitement in the ninth with the ejection of Cardenales catcher Yojhan Quevedo.

Lara took it to a game seven with their 6-5 walk off win in the 10th. Yonathan Mendoza getting the big hit to end the game.

Japan is Number one in Both Men’s and Women’s Baseball

Thursday, January 16th, 2020

Japan has achieved the top rating in both men’s and women’s baseball. The United States is second in men and fifth in women. For men the United States team bypasses a number of tournaments such as the World Cup Under 23, and play amateurs in the Premier 12, which prevents them from accumulating the points that Japan earns. The United States women are hampered by the culture of forcing talented players to pursue softball, where it is a high school recognized sport, abandoning baseball. This eliminates talented female baseball players from continuing with the sport.

Below is the Top 12 Ranking for each gender.

Men’s Top 12

1. Japan (6,127 points)
2. United States (4,676)
3. Korea (4,622)
4. Taiwan (4,352)
5. Mexico (3,375)
6. Australia (3,249)
7. Netherlands (2,690)
8. Cuba (2,641)
9. Venezuela (2,624)
10. Dominican Republic (2,512)
11. Puerto Rico (2,013)
12. Canada (1,873)

The top 12 is significant since a team qualifies for the Premier 12 by being ranked in the top 12 for baseball.

The women’s top 12.

1. Japan (2,505 points)
2. Canada (1,947)
3. Taiwan (1,852)
4. Venezuela (1,736)
5. United States (1,524)
6. Australia (1,182)
7. Korea (955)
8. Cuba (947)
9. Dominican Republic (717)
10. Hong Kong (520)
11. Netherlands (500)
12. Puerto Rico (371)

In women’s softball the United States is ranked number one with Japan at number two. For the men in softball Japan is ranked number one. The United States is sixth, behind Argentina, New Zealand, Canada and Australia.

Under 23 World Cup Qualifying Round

Thursday, January 16th, 2020

The Under 23 Baseball World Cup qualifying round will be held in Nicaragua and Honduras. Competing in the Nicaragua competition will be Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and the hosts Nicaragua. In Honduras, other than the hosts the competition will be Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala and Panama. Absent from the competition are the United States and Canada. Even Puerto Rico is absent in the tournament.

The Under 23 World Cup will be held October 2-11 in Mexico. Mexico are the defending champions having defeated Japan in 2018 when it was played in Colombia. Other countries who have qualified to play are Germany and Czech Republic (European qualifier), New Zealand (Oceania - Australia dropped out), Taiwan, Japan and China (Asia Qualifier), Korea (wild card selection) and Mexico as the host.

Honduras is an interesting country to choose to be a host for a baseball qualifier since baseball is not a big sport in that country. If you want to grow the game you have to expose the countries not usually exposed to baseball. Not sure why the United States and Canada chose not to participate but the major and minor league pipeline availability probably has something to do with that.

Top Prospects from the Dominican Republic in the American League

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020

This is the first of our top prospect lists from each country or continent. The Dominican Republic has the most prospects in baseball so it is pretty easy creating a top ten list, so we break it off into the American League and National League. Other countries or continents require a deep dive into the minor leagues just to find players. Some countries may have less than ten players and if they are not included in a continent rating they will probably not be mentioned.

There were two successes among the Dominicans from last years list in the American League. The top prospect Vladimir Guerrero did not make the big splash as many expected, but he still earned the starting third base job for the Blue Jays. He had a decent year but may have been upstaged by rookie teammate Bo Bichette. Eloy Jimenez, the fourth rated prospect hit 31 homeruns and made an impact for the White Sox. One player who made the American League list (Jesus Sanchez) was traded to the National League. Wander Javier, Albert Abreu and Seuly Matias did not perform to expectations and were surpassed by newer prospects.

1. Wander Franco SS (Tampa Bay) - Like Guerrero on the list last year, Wander appears on many publications as the top prospect in baseball. Others who have appeared on the list include players like Jurickson Profar, Yoan Moncada and Bryan Harper. Franco plays a solid shortstop and can hit for average (.327) and power (.487). Even if he fills out and loses the range to play short his bat will play at third base. He has yet to play AA so the Rays have another year to decide what to do with him. They still have a couple cheap years of Willy Adames as their current shortstop, but once he reaches the age of arbitration they may look to trade him to make room for the cheaper and more productive Franco. Franco has hit over .300 at every level he has played and is expected to make his debut with the Rays sometime in 2021, depending on how Adames is taking to the shortstop position.

2. Julio Rodriguez OF (Seattle) - Last year Rodriguez was rated eighth. That was based on his 59 game debut in the Rookie League in 2018 where he hit .315 with a .526 slugging. The Mariners had forked over $1.75 million to sign him. He only elevated his stock after his 2019 season when he hit .326 with a .540 slugging, reaching High A as a 19 year old. His lack of speed will limit him to a corner, but he has the arm to play right. He could become the Mariners version of Juan Soto. If he takes the same path as Soto he will reach the Mariners next season, but expect him more in 2021.

3. Jasson Dominguez OF (New York) - Jasson is a mystery since he did not play last year. The Yankees signed him for $5.1 million. At 16 he still has a ways to go to reach Yankee Stadium. In the States he would still be eligible to play for the Junior Varsity baseball team in high school. Jasson carries all five tools, with the speed to play center and the power to bat in the middle of the order. If he should fill out the arm is strong enough for right field. Yankee fans will have to wait until 2023 before they will see him in the major leagues, but he could rise quickly.

4. Vidal Brujan 2B (Tampa Bay) - Vidal is more a speed guy. In the last two years he has stolen over 100 bases. Coming into the 2019 season he carried a .300 career average, but last year he hit .277. There is not a lot of power in his bat and it would be better if he could fit at short. With Adames and Franco playing there and a fairly average arm his best fit may be second base. Franco would bat in the middle of the lineup while Brujan would bat leadoff. Since he played 55 games in AA he could be ready to make his Rays debut sometime late in the 2020 season.

5. Noelvi Marti SS (Seattle) - Marte has not yet played state side. The Mariners signed him in 2018 for $1.55 million. Last year he played in the Dominican Summer League and hit .309 with 9 homeruns and a .511 slugging percentage. He also has the speed to steal bases, pilfering 17 last year. His arm is strong enough to fit at short but a lot will depend on how is body fills out. The power is there where a move to third would fit. Noelvi is still probably four to five years away from playing in the major leagues, so Mariners brass will have plenty of time to evaluate him to determine his ultimate position.

6. Deivi Garcia RHP (New York) - One Yankee pitcher dropped from the list (Albert Abreu) and two rise from the lower levels of the minor leagues to replace him. Garcia has a lights out arm that can throw a fastball in the mid-90s. He also has the finesse to buckle knees with his curve ball. What he lacks is the height (5′9″) that many like to see in a righthander. Last year he rose three levels, finishing with six starts in AAA while striking out 165 hitters in just 111 innings and limiting the opposition to a .231 average. He was hit a little harder in AAA (.262) and that could be a problem as he reaches the major leagues. If the Yankees have the need for bullpen or starting pitching help in 2020 expect Garcia to be one of the first pitchers to be considered for a promotion.

7. Luis Gil RHP (New York) - His 6′3″ height is more what scouts look for in a starting pitcher. Gil was not signed by the Yankees but acquired from the Twins in 2018 for Jake Cave. The Twins only paid $90,000 to sign him. Since signing in 2014 Gil had yet to pitch in the full season leagues, missing all of the 2016 season after shoulder surgery. Last year he jumped to the Florida State League, dominating at the Low A level (2.39 ERA with 112 whiffs in 83 innings). His fastball can hit triple digits, but it sits in the mid-90s range. Throwing strikes can be a bit of an issue for Gil. He also needs to find a third pitch to stay in the rotation. Luis will start the season in the Florida State League and if he does well he could see the Yankee bullpen in 2022.

8. Leody Taveras OF (Texas) - He is a stellar defensive player who is normally one of the youngest players at the level he has played. If he can carry a decent bat he could win gold gloves in centerfield. He came into the 2019 season with a .253 minor league career average but last year broke out to hit .279 average, good enough to get a promotion to AA. Last year he also elevated his stolen base game, stealing a career high 32 bases. There will not be a lot of power in the bat so he will need to rely on his glove and legs to win a major league job. If that happens he should see the Rangers as a September callup in 2020.

9. Jorge Mateo SS/OF (Oakland) - Myworld cannot give up on his potential. He shows some sneaky power, good enough to hit 19 homeruns last year and his legs can cover a lot of ground if the Athletics decide to move him to centerfield. He no longer appears to be the 50 stolen base threat he was early in his career, but he can still get over 20. Last year he was one homerun shy of being 20/20. Making contact can still be a challenge and a 29/145 walk to whiff ratio may lead to a number of extended slumps. The Yankees made him part of the Sonny Gray trade in 2017. Next year he could make the Athletics as a utility player, fitting in centerfield and the middle infield positions. The recent acquisition of Tony Kemp seems to have hurt his cause in the short run, but he has too many tools not to be given the opportunity.

10. Jose Soriano RHP (Los Angeles) - He only signed for $70,000 in 2016, at 18 fairly old for a Dominican. He sprouted to 6′3″ and last year sprayed his fastball to the plate into the high 90s, a significant increase from last year. He got more swings and misses, finishing with more than a strikeout per inning for the first time in his career. In Low A he limited the opposition to a .197 average. The big area of concern is his inability to find the strike zone. He normally goes above 4.5 walks per nine innings. Until he finds more consistency finding the strike zone his major league debut could be delayed, but expect it to happen sometime in 2021.

Winter League Dominican Update

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020

The Dominican League is now down to the four team round robin format to determine the Series del Caribe representative. Toros del Este finished the season with a 12 game winning streak to blow away their competitors. The other three teams playing in the round robin are the Licey Tigers, Aguilas Eagles and the Escogido Lions. Below are the names of the players who were impact players for their respective teams.

Toros del Este (34-16)

Peter O’Brien - He leads the Dominican League in homeruns with 9 and RBIs with 35. A .243 batting average will prevent him from winning the Triple Crown. His 36 walks and 58 strikeouts are also tops in the Dominican League. He will be turning 30 in 2020 so perhaps a foreign league will show some interest in the slugger, though most of the teams have signed their quota of players.

Jordany Valdespin - His five homeruns put him third in the league but his .340 average is second. He has more walks than whiffs (20/18) but at 33 his playing days in the minor leagues may be done.

Yamaico Navarro - He is tied with Jordany for third in homeruns with 5 giving the Toros three of the top four power hitters in the Dominican. Last year the 33 year old spent his summers playing baseball in the Mexican summer league.

Jorge Mateo - He is at least a prospect but he is struggling with a .197 average, but still getting regular playing time. The right handed hitter is hitting only .138 against lefthanded pitching.

Carlos Hernandez - At 6-1, his six wins are tops in the league. He is also second in ERA with a 1.94 in nine starts. He is also a veteran pitcher in the Mexican League.

Raul Valdes - When you play on a winning team you get a lot of wins as a starting pitcher. Raul is second in the league in wins with 5 against two losses and his 2.51 ERA is fifth in the league. The Cuban is also a veteran of the Mexican Summer Leagues. Two of his last four starts have been seven inning shutouts.

Ramon Ramirez - With all those wins someone has to pick up some saves. Ramon is their top closer with 10 saves, putting him second in the League. He is 2-1, 2.20 and at 39 last saw time pitching in the summer in the United States was 2016.

Tigres del Licey (27-23)

Socrates Brito - He is making waves this winter, enough for the Pirates to sign him. His 30 runs scored is just second to Peter O’Brien and he is hitting .296. His ten doubles are second in the league and his four triples are first. The 28 year old may still have some juice left in him. A propensity for injury early in his career closed a window on his prospect status.

Jorge Bonafacio - He is the big RBI bat for Licey with 23. He has also slugged four homeruns and is batting .330. His .938 OPS would be tops in the Dominican League if he had enough at bats. Jorge will try to get an opportunity in the Detroit outfield next year. His 13 doubles are tops in the Dominican.

Cesar Valdes - His 1.11 ERA is the league leader. He shows some excellent command with a 4/40 walk to whiff rate. Four of his last six starts he did not allow an earned run, including a 9 inning five hit shutout. Cesar pitches in the Mexican League and at 35 in March may be too old to garner any major league interest.

Jairo Asencio - His 11 saves are tops in the Dominican League. He is 1-2 with a 3.12, but has not given up an earned run in his last six appearances, picking up three saves. Jairo pitches in the Mexican Summer League.

Aguilas Cibaenas (24-26)

John Nogowski - He has been their most consistent hitter with his .316 average, four homeruns and 22 RBIs. The slugger hasn’t played with the team since November 23rd so they may have to play the round robin without their best hitter.

Robel Garcia - The Dominican came via the Italian National team where the Cubs signed him. He is only hitting .219 but has been their RBI source with four homeruns and 19 RBIs. He has walked 30 times but struck out 46 in 46 games. The Cubs will hope his power bat will add some explosiveness to the team.

Edmundo Sosa - Sosa stirs the drink with his 27 runs scored, second in the league. A 7/41 walk to whiff ratio is cause for concern.

Yuniesky Maya - We thought he would be a star in the major leagues, but he has had his struggles in the KBO and the major leagues. Pitching in the Dominican Winter League he is 1-3, 3.46 and is second in the league in strikeouts with 46. He last pitched in the United States during the summer in 2016.

Leones del Escogido (24-26)

Ivan Castillo - Not a lot of big bats on this team. Ivan leads the team in RBIs with 18. He also has 7 stolen bases in 8 attempts and his 26 runs scored is tops on the team. His two homeruns is tied for the team lead with many.

Melky Mesa - He used to be a big time outfield prospect with the Yankees. Now he is hitting .272 with two homeruns for Escogido. His .306 batting average against lefties makes him a possible platoon fit.

David Kubiak - His 52 whiffs in just 51.1 innings leads the Dominican League. His 12 starts are the second most, where he has put together a 4-3 record with a 2.81 ERA. Kubiak has only given up one run in his last three starts. David also pitches in the Mexican Summer League.

WBSC America’s Qualifier Pool

Friday, January 3rd, 2020

The United States failed to qualify for the Olympics in the Premier 12. Their Southern neighbor Mexico qualified, as well as Korea. This leaves four of six countries qualified for the Olympics, Japan (host), Israel (European/Africa qualifier), Korea and Mexico (both from Premier 12). The Americas qualifier is the next to last opportunity countries have to qualify for the Olympics. The second and third place finishers become eligible for the final qualifier in Taiwan, to be held in April..

Below are the pools:

Pool A

United States, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Nicaragua

Pool B

Cuba, Venezuela, Canada and Colombia

The United States has been fielding a team of minor league prospects. While these players have been competitive they have yet to qualify the United States team for the Olympics. The same prospect heave team is expected for the Americas qualifying round to be held from March 22-26.

The final qualifier will be held in Taiwan from April 1-5.

Puerto Rico Site of 2020 Series del Caribe

Monday, November 25th, 2019

Puerto Rico will be the site of the 2020 Series del Caribe. The last time it was held in Puerto Rico was in 2015. Myworld was there to witness Cuba’s first participation in the event. They ended up Series del Caribe champions that year. Hiram Bithorn stadium will again host the event. The dates are from February 1-7, with the first five days being pool play and the last two days playoffs. Three games will be played each day with the first game starting at 10 AM and the last starting at 8 PM. Usually when you buy one ticket it will allow you to attend all three games that day.

Panama returns after winning the event last year in their first ever participation. There was some thought of Nicaragua and Colombia also participating but that is expected to happen in 2021. The teams participating in the event are Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. Each of those countries has their winter league season and the winning team from those winter leagues advances to the Series del Caribe.

Baseball America’s Qualifier

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

The America’s is another opportunity for the United States to qualify for the Olympics in Japan in 2020. The next to last qualifier will be played in Arizona from March 22 -26. The last qualifier will be played in Taiwan. The second and third place teams from the America’s qualifying round will be eligible to participate in Taiwan. Below are the pools from that group.

Group A

United States, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Nicaragua

Group B

Cuba, Venezuela, Canada and Colombia

The United States would be the favored team in this group.

United States Prevails Over Dominican Republic to Advance to Super Round

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

It appears the secret to success for this United States team is to out slug their opponents. They hit four homeruns yesterday to defeat the Dominican Republic 10-8 and advance to the Super Round in Tokyo. Leadoff batter Mark Payton started the game off with a homerun and Alec Bohm bombed a three run homer in the third to lead the offense.

Charlie Valerio hit a three run homer for the Dominican Republic in the bottom of the fifth to close the gap to 9-7. The United States turned to its bullpen to shut out the Dominicans for the next three innings. In the 9th Brandon Dickerson retired the first two hitters, but two singles put the tying run Carlos Peguero at the plate. Dickerson was able to strike him out to secure the save.

Erik Kratz had a solo homerun and three hits in the game. He batted .625 for the tournament with two homeruns. Alec Bohm also had three hits in the game. Robert Dalbec drove in a run for the third consecutive game and tied for the lead in RBIs with six. Charlie Valerio was a perfect 3 for 3, falling a triple short of the cycle. Edwin Espinal drove in three runs for the Dominicans with his two singles and finished the tournament with 6 RBIs.

On the pitching front Wyatt Mills was a savior with his two shutout innings. Noah Song struck out three hitters in the eighth, giving up a single.