Archive for the 'Venezuela' Category

Nicaragua to Host U-23 WBSC Championship; Panama Under 15

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

Nicaragua will host the Under 23 WBSC championship in 2018, playing the games at the newly constructed 15,000 seat Dennis Martinez stadium at a date yet to be determined. Despite all the points awarded for this event the No 2 United States and No 5 Cuba will not be playing in the tournament. The United States did not play in the qualifying round, while Cuba did not qualify. Below are the teams who have qualified for the games:

Africa (1) - to be determined
Americas (4) - No. 9 Venezuela, No. 6 Mexico, No. 11 Puerto Rico, No. 16 Dominican Republic
Asia (3) - No1. Japan, No.4 Taiwan and No. 3 South Korea
Europe (2) - No. 8 Netherlands, No. 14 Czech Republic
Oceania (1) - to be determined
Wildcard (1) - No 13 Nicaragua

The Under 15 Hosts will be Panama. The teams competing in that tournament are:

Africa (1) - to be determined
Americas (5) - No. 2 United States, No. 16 Dominican Republic, No. 5 Cuba, No. 15 Panama, No. 18 Brazil
Asia (2) - No. 1 Japan and No. 4 Taiwan
Europe (2) - No. 20 Germany and No. 8 Netherlands
Oceania (1) - to be determined

Winter League Pitchers Making Waves

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

Most of the top prospects do not usually pitch in the winter leagues because of the number of innings pitching coaches want to save for their arms. The top prospects may have a couple starts, but that is only for those pitchers who were injured for most of the major league season and the need to get some work. The winter league is filled with pitchers who had opportunities but failed and now are trying to attract any team from the NPB, KBO, CPBL or the major leagues. Below are the pitchers who are doing well, but keep in mind the hitters they are facing are mostly at the AA level.

Radhames Liz (Estrellas) - Liz did not have success in the major leagues, but he pitched well in the bullpen in the NPB. His fastball used to reach the mid-90s but tended to be too straight. He will be 34 entering the 2018 season and myworld does not know what he has left in his 95 mile per hour fastball. He started the Dominican season pitching over 30 innings of ball without allowing an earned run. In his last outing he finally gave up two earned runs to raise his ERA to 0.50 after seven starts. The opposition is hitting him at a .153 pace and he has a 8/31 walk to whiff ratio in 35.2 innings.

Yunesky Maya (Aguilas) - Perhaps he is more comfortable pitching in an environment where they have a Latin culture. He struggled in his starts in the major leagues and the KBO, though he did pitch a no hitter in the KBO. In 8 starts in the Dominican Winter League he is 2-1, 1.72, with the opposition hitting just .214 off him. Not overpowering and at 6′0″ he needs his command to have success against professional hitters. A 7/28 walk to whiff ratio in 36.2 innings is evidence to some command, but not a lot of swings and misses with his pitches.

Jorge Lopez (Aguilas) - The second pitcher on this impressive Aguilas staff and the one best identified as a prospect. At 25 years of age next season he has a good opportunity to fit into the Brewers starting rotation with a good spring. In the minors last year he only pitched 103 innings bouncing between starting and the bullpen. With Aguilas he has started 10 games with a 2.29 ERA and a .221 opposition average. A two start stretch where he gave up 8 runs in 10 innings put a bad spin to his ERA. A 12/40 walk to whiff ratio in 55 innings.

Roenis Elias (Aguilas) - The second Cuban and the third Aguilas pitcher on this list, Roenis is still gunning for a starting spot in the Red Sox rotation. He has had some success in the majors but last year was a struggle (6.96 ERA) pitching at four different minor league levels. Rib and lat injuries limited his innings last year. The Cuban has made three starts in the Dominican League with a 1.89 ERA. He has limited the opposition to a .191 average, but his command has been a bit off with a 7/19 walk to whiff ratio in 19 innings.

Mitch Lively (Mazatlán) - Mitch has pitched in the Mexican summer league the last couple years. In his last appearance he pitched a nine hit complete game shutout, allowing just one hit. That hit was given up in the first inning and he retired the last 22 hitters he faced. His last two outings Mitch has given up just four hits in 17 innings without allowing a run. He has pitched six or more innings in his last six starts, stringing together a 7-1 record with a 2.45 ERA in nine starts. There was one horrific start where he gave up 8 runs in just under five innings to taint his ERA. The opposition is hitting .217 against him and he has a 8/42 walk to whiff ration in 52 innings.

Anthony Vasquez (Culiacan) - Last year he pitched for the Tigers AA and AAA teams. At 32 years of age he has yet to pitch in the major leagues. In eight starts in the Mexican Winter League he is 5-1 with a 2.00 ERA. The opposition is ripping him at a .276 clip with a 11/46 walk to whiff ratio in 54 innings. Even in the minor leagues hitters had an easy time barreling his pitches for hits.

Guillermo Moscoso (Aragua) - The last time Guillermo pitched in the major leagues was in 2013. Last year he came out of a four year retirement to pitch in the Mexican summer league. He has added the Venezuelan winter league to his schedule and his innings have been dominant. In nine starts he has a 1.81 ERA, though the .243 opposition average is evidence that his pitches are not overpowering. He has yet to give up more than two runs in his 9 starts covering 49.2 innings.

Reinier Roibal (Zulia) - The third Cuban on this list two years ago pitched for the Phillies AA and AAA team. At 29 years of age he could still have some life in his arm. In nine starts Roibal has a 2.59 ERA with a .250 opposition average and a 10/40 walk to whiff ratio in 40.2 innings. Righthanders are hitting just .192 against him but lefthanders are stinging him at a .351 clip.

Venezuela Winter League All Star Game Won by Occidente

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

A couple two run homeruns powered the West over the East in the Venezuela All Star game. Jairo Perez slugged a two run homerun in the second inning to give the West an early 2-1 lead. Luis Villegas extended that lead to 4-1 with a two run homer in the seventh.

Freddy Garcia got the start and the win for the West working just the first inning. The East took an early 1-0 lead in the first, fueled by an RBI double from Jose Castillo. Ariel Hechavarria accounted for the only other run for the East with a solo shot in the eighth.

Ronald Belisario picked up the save with his inning of work in the ninth.

Venezuela Downs Mexico to Win Americas Under 23 Championship

Monday, December 4th, 2017

Venezuela used a collection of minor league ball players to defeat Mexico and their roster of Mexican League summer players 3-1 to win the Under 23 Americas championship. Joscar Alvarez drove in all three runs for Venezuela with his three run homer in the bottom of the fourth. Julian Ornelas accounted for the only Mexican run with his solo shot in the second inning.

In the bronze medal game the Yadier Molina led Puerto Ricans shredded the Dominican Republic 17-1. Yariel Gonzalez went deep twice and drove in seven runs, one of his homeruns a grand slam that ended the game after six innings because of the 15 run rule.

All four teams qualified for the Under 23 tournament that will be played in 2018.

Mexico and Venezuela to Play in under 23 America’s championship

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

When Mexico lost their opener to Panama in the under 23 America’s championship it was a shock to most of the players and managers. This was one of the more talented teams that was put together. Mexico seems to have recovered. They will be playing Venezuela for the championship. Both teams have qualified for the world event along with Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic that will be played in 2018.

Venezuela eliminated the host Panama from the tournament and a hoped for qualification for the World Cup with a 5-3 win, especially hurtful after Panama had an opening day win over a talented team from Mexico. Mexico eliminated Cuba from any World Cup consideration with a 6-3 win. Mexico and the Dominican Republic finished tied for second in the super round but Mexico advanced to the championship because of their victory over them earlier. Venezuela had beaten Mexico 14-3 earlier in pool play.

The Dominican Republic will play Puerto Rico for the bronze. The Dominican Republic had beaten Puerto Rico earlier in pool play 10-5. Puerto Rico was tied with Panama for fourth place with identical 2-3 records but Puerto Rico advanced to the bronze medal game and World Cup qualification because of their win over Panama in head to head play to win the tie breaker.

Final standings:

Venezuela 5-0, Mexico 3-2, Dominican Republic 3-2, Puerto Rico 2-3, Panama 2-3, Cuba 0-5

The winless super round result of Cuba has to be a surprise and a testament to their drop in baseball talent. The above information was obtained from the website of the world baseball softball confederation website (wbsc.org).

Panama Upsets Mexico in Under -23 America’s Qualifier

Saturday, November 25th, 2017

Mexico came into the Under - 23 Americas Qualifier with a lot of confidence. They had a roster filled with talented players from their Mexican Summer League. Some were even bold enough to declare the championship was theirs to lose.

In the opener against Panama they lost 6-3 against a talented Panama team sprinkled with minor league players from the major leagues. It is only pool play but Mexico will have to regroup.

Yadier Molina made his managerial debut a good one leading Puerto Rico to a 10-0 win over Colombia, who a couple days ago had beaten Panama 6-4 to win the championship in the Bolivian games over four other South American teams. In other games:

Costa Rica 14 Peru 0
Cuba 16 Argentina 1
Dominican Republic 16 Honduras 0
Venezuela 5 Brazil 1

Venezuela Winter League Update

Monday, November 13th, 2017

Not a lot of big time prospects in Venezuela with the perceived safety issues. If there are any prospects they are Venezuelan natives playing in their home town.

Aragua Tigres (17-9)

Jose Vargas (.244, 9, 24) got off to a fast homerun start but has cooled off. Strikeouts (26) have plagued the veteran. He is still the big bat on the Tigres, leading the team in homeruns and RBIs. Alberto Callaspo (.378, 0, 15) has been the top dog on the team with his 8 doubles. He also has a 17/7 walk to whiff ratio.

Pitching has been superb with a trio of starters in Guillermo Moscoso (2-1, 1.44), Robert Zarate (1-1, 1.85) and Freddy Garcia (2-0, 2.18). The three pitchers have combined for 10 walks in 15 starts.

Caracas Leones (17-12)

No big homerun bats on this team. Wilfredo Tovar (.381, 0, 17) is spraying the gaps with six doubles and four triples. Alexander Palma (.328, 0, 13) leads the team in doubles with 8 and runs scored with 23. The Leones are waiting for the bat of Jesus Guzman (.262, 2, 14) to get hot. He leads the team in strikeouts (24) but also walks (17).

No real dominating performances by any of their pitchers.

Zulia Aguilas (15-12)

Their two big bats are coming from Puerto Rican David Vidal (.274, 6, 17) and journeyman minor leaguer Zach Houchins (.265, 4, 19). David leads the team in homeruns and Zach in RBIs.

Cuban Reiner Roibal (2-1, 1.61) is turning into their ace. The opposition is hitting just .205 against him and he has a 3/25 walk to whiff ratio in 22 innings. He has only given up one run in his last two starts, covering 11 innings and striking out 16. Elieser Hernandez (2-1, 2.11) has five solid starts limiting the opposition to a .162 average against him.

Magallanes Navegantes (16-13)

Adonis Garcia (.406, 0, 5) has recently arrived with a hot bat, stringing together a seven game hitting streak. Veteran Mexican Leaguer Jesus Valdez (.358, 10, 35) leads the league in homeruns and RBIs. Luis Torrens (.277, 1, 14) was a Rule V pick from the Yankees by the Padres but is getting much needed at bats this winter. Ronny Cedeno (.347, 1, 13) and Andres Blanco (.345, 3, 9) are two more productive bats.

Hassan Pena (1-0, 0.63, 8 saves) has already picked up 8 saves, which includes half of Navegantes wins.

Anzoátegui Caribes (13-16)

Balbino Fuenmayor (.413, 3, 18) is one of my favorite players down there. His homerun bat is coming alive with three in his last 5 games. He also has split the gaps with four doubles in those five games. Rene Reyes (.404, 2, 10) gives the Caribes two hitters who have played 10 or more games who are hitting over .400. The veteran slugger Luis Jimeniz (.254, 2, 9) is dragging just a little.

No pitchers to note.

Lara Cardenales (12-15)

Henry Urrutia (.352, 2, 18) has hit two homeruns in his last two games. He needs to hit because he provides no defense in the outfield. Rangel Ravelo (.432, 2, 5) has recently arrived to assault Venezuelan pitchers. Jesus Montero (.305, 5, 15) has cooled off since his fast start. The former top prospect of the Yankees was released by two teams last year.

Ryan Kelly (0-1, 1.69, 7 saves) has been lights out in his closer role, limiting the opposition to a .140 average.

La Guairá Tiburones (11-16)

With Ozzie Guillen managing they are sitting near the bottom of the standings. Recent arrival Jose Martinez (.452, 1, 8) is a hitting machine. He has 8 RBIs and 9 runs scored in 8 games.

Seth Rosin (2 saves) has yet to give up a run in 11 appearances.

Margarita Bravos

As a team they only have two homeruns. All other teams have at least one player on their roster with two or more homeruns. Cade Gotta (.362, 0, 11) is splitting the gaps with 10 doubles and has scored 22 runs.

Manny Corpas (0-2, 1.86, 2 saves) has been doing some closer work.

Montero and Lake Searching for Relevance

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

Jesus Montero and Steve Lake were once top prospects for their organizations. Both had good days to earn Winter of the League player of the day awards.

For Jesus Montero, he hit his fifth homerun of the winter season to help seal the Lara Cardenales 4-3 win over the Magallanes Navegantes. The two run homer came in the fourth inning to give the Cardenales an early 2-0 lead. The large bodied Montero now has five homeruns in the Venezuelan Winter league

Montero played briefly for the Orioles last year before they released him after hitting just .143 with no homeruns in 49 at bats. He was one of the players traded by the Yankees to Seattle for Michael Pineda. Montero did not work out but Pineda started to have some success on the mound until Tommy John surgery put him on the disabled list. At 27 years of age the clock is ticking on Jesus.

Junior Lake also had a brief opportunity to play for Pawtucket last year, playing in 19 games and hitting .246 before he was released to play in the Mexican Summer League. He is playing in the Dominican Winter League where he is hoping to impress some scouts. A 4 for 5 day with four runs scored and a homerun on two RBIs led the Estrellas Orientales to a 7-6 win. Junior last played in the major leagues in 2016.

The 4 for 5 day improved Junior’s Dominican average to .300 with three homeruns.

Japan Still Number One in Baseball Despite United States Dominance

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

The United States has finished higher than Japan in most of the tournaments the two play in. The main reason Japan is rated higher is they have played in more tournament, two November World Cup age tournaments that the United States chose not to participate in. The voting system tends to favor quantity of tournaments played rather than quality.

Below are the top ten countries in baseball. You can see the complete list at WBSC.org.

1) Japan - 5598
2) United States - 5414
3) Korea - 4908
4) Taiwan - 3747
5) Cuba - 3637
6) Mexico - 2957
7) Australia - 2634
8) Netherlands - 2374
9) Venezuela - 2286
10) Canada - 2142

Caribbean Winter Baseball Update

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

The Cuban Naccional Series has begun the first half of their season with Pinar del Rio roaring to the top of the standings with 18 wins in their first 22 games. At the bottom of the pack is poor Guantanamo, who has won only five of 24 games. The first half of the season is 45 games with the top six teams advancing for the second half. There is a draft in which the best players from the teams that did not advance are added to the six teams playing in the second half.

It was supposed to be Venezuela to hold the Caribbean World Series next year, but because of the turmoil there it was decided to have Mexico host it. The games will begin February 2 and end February 8. The city of Zapopan in Jalisco, Mexico will host the Series. The games will be played at Estadio Charros, which hosted the second round of play of the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Seating will be expanded from 12,000 to 16,000. The stadium is the home park of the Jalisco Charros.

Cuba will again be invited to participate. The format will be the same as in previous years with the five teams from Venezuela, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Puerto Rico competing in a four game round robin schedule. The top four teams will advance to a single elimination four team tournament.

Venezuela will begin their winter league on October 10. The country has given the league $10 million from its foreign exchange reserves to buy equipment and pay for foreign players to fill out the rosters. It will be tough for Venezuela to attract name players for the regular season games but they might be able to add some players for the Series del Caribe.

The Cuban League started August 5. See above for details on their season. Many of their teams have been diluted by players leaving the island in their attempt to play in the major leagues.

Puerto Rico begins November 9. They have always had money issues trying to sustain the league. To decrease costs they will resort to more double headers. The league is also beginning one month later than the other winter leagues. One of their top franchises Santurce is under new ownership.

Dominican Republic starts their season October 13. They were embarrassed last year by their representative being eliminated early from the finals. The Dominican Republic is one of the stronger leagues and always a favorite to win the Series del Caribe.

The Mexican League begins October 10. This is also one of the stronger leagues, but they will be impacted by the Mexican summer league splitting their season in two with a summer and fall schedule. As a result the Mexican summer league will go into November. Many of the winter league players also play in the summer league. To alleviate the impact the Mexican winter league has expanded their foreign player roster to eight.