Archive for the 'Venezuela' Category

Top Foreign Countries for Major League Players

Wednesday, July 8th, 2020

Baseball America provided an article that identified all the countries that played major league baseball. Below is the list of those countries, separated by hitters and pitchers.

Top Offensive Players

1) United States, 2) Dominican Republic, 3) Venezuela, 4) Cuba, 5) Puerto Rico, 6) Curacao, 7) Canada, 8) Colombia, 9) South Korea 10) Aruba

Even when you add Aruba, Curacao and Netherlands together it still does not get them into the top five.

Top Pitchers

1) United States, 2) Dominican Republic, 3) Venezuela, 4) Japan, 5) Mexico, 6) Canada, 7) Puerto Rico, 8) Colombia, 9) Cuba, 10) Panama

South Korea, Taiwan and Australia just missed making the top ten. The ranking was measured by plate appearances and innings pitched.

Under 15 World Cup Scheduled for Tijuana in October

Friday, June 5th, 2020

Tijuana, Mexico is becoming a hot spot for baseball. First it was announced that the Women’s World Cup of Baseball would be played there November 12-21. Now the WBSC has made it a double header by announcing that the Under 15 World Cup will be played in Tijuana on October 30 to November 8. That is back to back World Cup events held in one city.

In the last World Cup held in 2018 the United States defeated Panama, while Taiwan finished third. The teams that will be competing in this 15 and under World Cup are:

Africa: South Africa
Americas: Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, United States and Venezuela
Asia: Taiwan and Japan
Europe: Germany and Italy
Oceania: Guam

Women’s Baseball World Cup Scheduled for November

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020

It was originally scheduled for September 11-20 but had to be cancelled because of the corona virus. It has now been scheduled for November 12-21 in Tijuana, Mexico. Twelve teams will be competing in this event. They are:

Americas: United States, Canada, Mexico and Venezuela
Asia: Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines
Europe: France
Oceania: Australia
Wild Card: Cuba, Dominican Republic and Netherlands

Japan is the defending champion and has won the last six events. They have not lost a game in their last 30 contests. Taiwan lost in the finals to Japan. Canada defeated the United States for the bronze medal. The 2018 games were played in Vierra, Florida.

Venezuela Dream Team

Monday, May 11th, 2020

Myworld is identifying dream teams from a number of countries, states or areas. In order to qualify for being on the roster of the dream team, you have to be born in that country, state or area (Asia or Europe) and have played in the major leagues. Today myworld takes a look at Venezuela. Looking at the roster it falls short of Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and California. Too many average players to fill the bench. We were forced to include a few younger players who really don’t have the years to put up the numbers to show they belong, but they were better than the vanilla that was left. We’ll take our chances. Below is the roster for the Venezuelan Dream team.

Starting Lineup

Jose Altuve 2B
Carlos Gonzalez CF
Miguel Cabrera 1B
Andres Gallarraga DH
Magglio Ordonez LF
Gleyber Torres 3B
Bobby Abreu RF
Victor Martinez C
Luis Aparacio SS

Bench

Salvador Perez (C), Omar Vizquel (Utl), Dave Concepcion (Utl), Eugenio Suarez (3B), Ronald Acuna Jr (OF), Tony Armas (OF)

Starting Pitching

Felix Hernandez, Freddy Garcia, Johan Santana, Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Carrasco

Bullpen

Francisco Rodriguez, Ugueth Urbina, Hector Rendon, Rafael Betancourt, Luis Avilan, Jose Mijares

This team is filled with infielders who are not known for their offensive prowess. That would be okay if the pitching was stellar, but it is not. No real Hall of Fame ace, though Felix could make it. The bullpen is very vanilla. We added Aviles and Mijares becasue they are lefthanders and the remaining righthanders just did not impress me. I could have inserted Felipe Vazquez, but I can’t reward someone for being on trial for having sex with minors. Perhaps if he is determined to be innocent he can join the roster, but it is only a dream team. Torres and Acuna Jr. are on the young side and don’t have the career numbers that I am used to seeing, but I’ll take a chance on them. After all, it is only a dream team, and I’ll be playing these games in my sleep.

Top Venezuelan Prospects - National League

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020

While the American League Venezuelan prospects were dominated by shortstops the National League is filled with catchers. No player from the list last year graduated. Five players from the list last year dropped out, including Anderson Espinosa, a pitcher who has not been on the mound in two years because of arm injuries. Francisco Morales dropped from the list when Brusdar Graterol was traded to the National League. His addition gave the Dodgers four players on this list.

1. Keibert Ruiz C (Dodgers) - The Dodgers seem to be loaded at this position with rookie Will Smith winning the catching job last year. The Dodgers also have Diego Cartaya rising up the ranks. Keibert was signed back in 2014 for $140,000. A finger injury limited his season to 85 games, but he did see nine games in AAA. He does not show as much power as Smith, but his hitting tool and ability to make contact could be better. Last year he had a 30/22 walk to hit ratio with a .261 average. His defensive tools may be a tick above that of Smith, but it will be a tough decision for the Dodgers to make once Ruiz is ready. The 2020 season will see him play in AAA and called up if a long term injury should happen to Smith. It would hurt his development time if he stayed on the major league roster long term as a back up.

2. Brusdar Graterol RHP (Dodgers) - The Red Sox may not have wanted him because his arm did not allow him to be a starter, but the Dodgers were happy with his triple digit velocity to groom him as a closer. He did miss a year in 2016 because of Tommy John surgery. He also needs to work on his conditioning, standing at just 6′1″ but weighing in at 261 pounds. The bullpen was probably his ultimate destination since he only had two quality pitches (fastball and slider) when the trade was made. He did have a nice year at AA last year (6-0, 1.71 ERA) but his strikeout numbers were a little disappointing (50 in 52 innings) for a pitcher with his velocity. The Twins used him in the bullpen late in the season but he got hit for a .278 average. He should squeeze into the Dodgers bullpen at some point in 2020. The Twins got a bargain when they signed him, only paying him $150,000 in 2015.

3. Francisco Alvarez C (Mets) - The Mets spent $2.7 million to sign Francisco in 2018. Last year he made his debut stateside as a 17 year old catcher in the Rookie League. He held his own, hitting .312 with seven homeruns and a .510 slugging average. Further polishing of his defensive tools is needed, but he has a good tool set to work with. His arm is strong and he moves well behind the plate. He might need to watch his weight to make sure it does not go further north of his 220 pounds. His bat is impressive and should carry some power, making him a potential two way player that can hit for average and power while playing good defense. He could see a full season league in 2020 but at 18 years of age the Mets could have him start in the Rookie League.

4. Andres Gimenez SS (Mets) - Andres is currently blocked by Amed Rosario. His glove is top notch, highly superior to Rosario. The Mets were so impressed they signed him for $1.2 million in 2015. The bat could be a question mark. Last year he reached AA and hit just .250 with a .309 OBA. He did hit a career high 9 homeruns but a 24/102 walk to whiff ratio are cause for concern. The speed is there for him to steal 20 plus bases per year. With his speed and quality defense he should eventually make it as a utility infielder, or be used as trade bait for the Mets to acquire a veteran to use in a playoff run. Eventually, the Mets could decide to move Rosario to centerfield. In the meantime, Gimenez will bide his 2020 season at AAA being used at both middle infield positions.

5. Luis Matos OF (Giants) - No relation to the Luis Matos from Puerto Rico who played for the Orioles. The Giants found this Matos in Venezuela and signed him for $2.6 million in 2018. He has average to above average tools in all categories. Power may be his weakest area, but he did slug .566 sharing time at the Dominican Summer League and the Arizona Rookie League. The speed is there for him to fit in center and the arm is strong enough for him to slide over to right. He does have a couple cousins who play the game (Luis Basabe and Osleivis Basabe) so his baseball IQ is sharp. At 18 years of age, the Giants will start him in rookie ball if there is a 2020 season.

6. Diego Cartaya C (Dodgers) - Another talented Dodger catcher who they signed for a $2.5 million bonus in 2018. He played for a number of Venezuelan junior national teams in international tournaments. His bat carries some pretty good power and in his 36 game trial in the rookie league he hit .296. The arm is strong and the tools appear to be there to be a quality catcher. He will play the entire 2020 season as a teenager so the Dodgers have plenty of time to develop him. Another year in Rookie ball with a possible promotion to Low A is a possibility for 2020.

7. William Contreras C (Braves) - William is the younger brother of Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras. At one point he was considered the Braves catcher of the future, but then Shea Langeliers was drafted in the first round in 2019 and Contreras has some competition. Like his older brother Contreras has average to above average tools in all areas but speed. His foot speed is below average. His defense falls short of Langeliers but offensively he could carry more pop. Last year he hit only six homeruns and slugged less than .400 so it was a disappointment for him on the power side. In 2018 he bashed 11 homeruns in Low A and had a slugging percentage of .463. Numbers wise he will probably fall short of his older brother but he has a chance to be a starting catcher. Even though he played 60 games last year at AA, he may have to repeat that level to start the 2020 season.

8. Gabriel Arias SS (Padres) - The Padres whipped out a $1.9 million bonus to sign Gabriel in 2016. He is probably a smoother fielder than Fernando Tatis Jr. but he may never fill his position, unless Tatis moves to third. Arias has a strong arm and smooth fielding actions that garner Gold Glove accolades. His speed is not great, but his actions are quick and smooth. Last year the bat was pretty impressive. He hit .302 with 17 homeruns playing at a hitters park at High A (Lake Elsinore). He has trouble recognizing breaking balls and in 2018 only hit .240 in a pitcher’s park. In 2019 he cut down his whiff rate, which allowed him to hit for a better average. He still had a poor 25/128 walk to whiff ratio. The 2020 season will see him start at AA.

9. Luis Rodriguez OF (Dodgers) - Not much is known about Luis other than the Dodgers spent $2.7 million to sign him in 2019. He did not play last year. His bat is impressive, with the ability to hit the ball to all fields, finding the elevation to carry balls over the fence. The speed is there for him to play centerfield and he has the arm where he could slide easily to right and be an above average fielder there. He will turn 18 in September so there is plenty of growth ahead. The Dodgers may start him in the Dominican Summer League and move him to the rookie leagues once the short season starts.

10. Andy Lara RHP (Nationals) - The Nationals signed Lara for $1.2 million in 2019. He stands 6′4″ so he has a good frame for a pitcher. He will start the 2020 season as a 17 year old. He has yet to play in the minor leagues. At 16, when most are going through their sophomore year in high school Andy was throwing his fastball in the low to mid 90s. His curveball is already a quality pitch and his change shows potential. He could start the 2020 season in the Dominican Summer League before hitting the Rookie Leagues stateside. It will be awhile before Lara steps on the bump at Nationals stadium.

Top Venezuelan Prospects - American League

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020

Venezuela has not kept up with the Dominican Republic in the last couple years with the number of premium prospects coming out of the country. Cuba was at the point of surpassing them, but the United States placing further restrictions on travel from Cuba made it more difficult for Cuban ball players to emigrate. With the perceived dangers out of Venezuela the scouting has been reduced and teams move their Venezuelan prospects to Dominican facilities to work out.

In the American League some prospects from last year’s list have dropped. Luis Rengifo and Luis Arraez are two players who graduated to the major leagues. Rengifo, the number seven prospect last year will probably end up in a utility role while Arraez, who fell a spot behind him will have a couple years as a starter. His lack of power will require him to continue to hit for average if he hopes to keep his starting role. One player was traded to the National League.

Below are the top ten prospects out of Venezuela from the American League. No real superstars from this bunch, but some solid major league possibilities. A bucket load of shortstops on this list, many of whom will have to turn to third or second base.

1. Aaron Bracho 2B (Indians) - The Indians spent $1.5 million to sign him in 2017. Aaron does not have one outstanding tool, but also has no weak points to his game. He missed the 2018 season because of an arm injury so he didn’t even make the top ten list last year. Now he is number one in what is not an illuminating group. Last year he hit .281 with a .570 slugging percentage. His 28/29 walk to whiff ratio for a .402 OBA was impressive. The tools are there for him to be an average shortstop but the Indians had him playing second base last year to get his bat in the lineup. Currently his power is more oriented towards the gap but as he matures he should consistently hit in the double digit homerun area. If the season ever starts he could begin it in Low A, but at 19 years old he has plenty of time to develop.

2. Brayan Rocchio SS (Indians) - Another 2017 signing, but at $125,000 the Indians may have gotten a better bargain. His defensive tools for playing shortstop are better than Bracho, with the arm a little above average and his legs carrying faster speed, which results in better range. What Brayan lacks is power. Last year was his second season in short season ball after having success in the Dominican Summer League and the Arizona Rookie League in 2018, hitting .335 at the two levels. Last year was not as strong in the New York Penn League, with his average dropping to .250 and his slugging at .373. He is noted for his high baseball IQ which has given him the nickname professor. He is a little ahead of Bracho on the depth chart, but they should be the infield combo at Low A next year.

3. Maximo Acosta SS (Rangers) - Maximo is the third new player on this list. The Rangers signed him in 2019 for $1.65 million. He has yet to play in the minor leagues, but his tools are strong enough to carry a lot of buzz. The defensive tools, including strong arm and decent range are there for him to play shortstop. The bat is also strong and should hit for a high average and develop some easy double digit homerun power. The 2020 season will be an indication of whether all of that is true. Kevin Maitan also had all those accolades and as his tools failed to progress he dropped off the list. The 2020 season will be a critical one. He could start it in the Dominican League or stateside in the Rookie League. He will be 17 years of age, young to be playing stateside.

4. Darwinzon Hernandez LHP (Red Sox) - Back in 2013 the Red Sox signed Darwinzon for just $7,500. Six years later he made his Red Sox debut, pitching mainly in the bullpen with 28 relief appearances and one start. His fastball sits in the mid 90s and has a little more zip to it when in the bullpen. He was a starter in the minor leagues, but a lack of command and inconsistent secondary pitches make the bullpen the best fit for him. He gets a lot of whiffs, averaging 16.9 strikeouts per 9 innings in his 29 major league appearances, but he also walked 26 batters in just 30 innings. The inability to throw strikes will lead to greater pitch counts and shorter innings, so the bullpen will be best. He should start the 2020 season in the Red Sox bullpen but that will depend on his second spring whenever the baseball season starts again. Last year Darwinzon was sixth on this list. He becomes the first player from last year to make this year’s list, though the number one player Brusdar Graterol was traded to the National League.

5. Oswaldo Peraza SS (Yankees) - The fourth middle infielder to make this list and the third shorstop. Oswaldo was signed by the Yankees for $175,000 in 2016 when they were restricted to signing players for $300,000 or less. The tool set is there for him to be an above average defensive shortstop with a strong arm and good range. He makes solid contact with the bat, though his ability to hit for power is below average. Last year he hit .263 with a .340 slugging, but he did make his debut in Low A, hitting .273 with a 16/28 walk to whiff ratio. Oswaldo has the speed to steal bases, swiping 23 last year, 18 of them in Low A. He is still a teenager and won’t turn 20 until June. Expect him to have another go at Low A with an early promotion to High A if he does well.

6. Franklin Perez RHP (Tigers) - Franklin was number two on this list last year. The Astros signed him for $1 million back in 2014 and he worked his way up to being their top prospect. They traded him to Detroit as the key player in the Justin Verlander trade in 2017. Injuries have only allowed Franklin to work 27 innings in nine starts the last couple years. It may be best to see how he handles the bullpen. When healthy Franklin can get his fastball into the mid-90s, but shoulder issues have put those velocities in question. His secondary pitches also had the potential to be above average pitches, with his changeup being his top pitch. Last year he only had two starts in High A. The 2020 season will be key. At 22 years of age his prospect clock is ticking. The Tigers have to hope to get him some AA time before the season ends so he can be ready for his major league debut sometime in 2021.

7. Luisangel Acuna SS (Rangers) - Luisangel is the brother of Ronald. Those are some big shoes to fill. He would like to have bigger shoes as he stands only 5′8″ to 5′9″. His brother can tell Luisangel the story of how a team told him to go home because he was too small to play baseball. Ronald grew to a nice 6′0″. Luisangel signed for a bigger bonus that his brother, his $425,000 more than $300,000 greater than his older brother. He also plays a different position, though he has the speed and the arm to play centerfield. He lacks the power of his brother, but at 17 he could still grow. Last year in the Dominican Summer League he raked for a .342 average, stealing 17 bases and producing an impressive 34/26 walk to whiff ratio. The 2020 season should see him in the short season leagues where the pitching will be much better.

8. Gabriel Rodriguez SS (Indians) - This is the third Indian middle infielder on this list. The Indians rolled out $2.1 million for Gabriel in 2018. He made his debut last year in the Dominican Summer League and was later promoted to the Rookie League for 18 games, where he only hit .218. He doesn’t carry any one outstanding tool, but tends to be above average in all phases. At 6′2″ the power could develop as he matures. This could slow him down defensively and force a move to third. The 2020 season should see another year in Rookie ball with a promotion to Low A towards the end of the year.

9. Arol Vera SS (Angels) - The seventh middle infielder among this group. A lot of unknowns about him since he signed in 2019 and didn’t play any minor league ball. Since the Angels paid $2 million to sign him the skills have got to be there. Currently he is an average runner, which could get worse as he matures, so a move to third base is probable. The power is there for him to make the move. The Angels like his intangibles. Arol could start the season in Rookie ball in 2020.

10. Everson Pereira OF (Yankees) - The tenth spot is what he occupied last year. A disappointing season (.171) and injuries (hamstring and ankle) limited him to 18 games. He was not on this list until Brusdar Graterol got traded from the American League to the National. The Yankees opened up their pocketbook to pay Everson $1.5 million in 2017. The tools are all there, with power, speed, arm and the ability to hit for average. He will still be a teenager for the entire 2020 season so another start in Rookie ball with a promotion to Low A before the season ends would be good for him.

Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela Qualify for U-23 Baseball World Cup

Monday, March 2nd, 2020

The host Nicaragua did not lose a game in the Americas qualifier and will be going to Mexico in October for the WBSC U-23 Baseball World Cup. They defeated Cuba 1-0 in the championship match. Cuba also qualified by finishing in second place.

Venezuela defeated Colombia 9-0 to finish in third place and become the third qualifier for the U-23 World Cup. The United States did not participate in the event.

The teams that have qualified for the U-23 Baseball World Cup to be played in Mexico in October are:

Africa - South Africa
Americas - Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua
Asia - Japan, Taiwan and China
Europe - Czech Republic and Germany
Oceania - New Zealand
Wild Card - Korea

Dominicans Series del Caribe Champions - End Seven Year Itch

Saturday, February 8th, 2020

The Dominicans dominated this game, scoring in five of the eight innings they batted in their 9-3 rout of Venezuela. Abraham Almonte led the charge driving in three runs. He ended the night with three hits, with an RBI double in the fourth and a two run double in the three run eighth that closed out the scoring.

Gorkys Hernandez drove in two runs for Venezuela with his RBI double in the fourth inning to score Venezuela’s first run and his single in the seventh to drive in the second run. Will Ledezma could not get an out in the fourth inning, giving up three runs to take the loss for Venezuela.

For the Dominicans Paolo Espino lasted five innings to earn the win. It has been 2012, a seven year drought since the Dominicans last won the Series del Caribe. They pride themselves on being the best the Caribbean has to offer in baseball, but those seven years were starting to be an anchor on their claim. Since the Series del Caribe was rejuvenated in 1970 the Dominicans have not seen a longer drought. Now their thirst is quenched and they can again lay claim to being the best in the Caribbean.

Panama, Mexico (three times), Puerto Rico (twice) and Cuba had all won Series del Caribe championships since 2012. Cuba had to drove out this year because of their inability to obtain visas to travel to Puerto Rico.

Dominicans and Venezuela to Play in Series del Caribe Finals

Friday, February 7th, 2020

Both games were decided by one run, just as many of the round robin matches were decided. The Dominican Republic and Venezuela came out with victories and will face each other in the finals.

Dominican Republic 4 Puerto Rico 3

The hosts fell short. They scored two runs in the second to get an early 2-0 lead on a Roberto Pena bunt single and a Henry Ramos single. On the Ramos single Jan Hernandez was thrown out at the plate to end the inning. Yuniesky Maya walked two batters in the inning to set up the two runs. He went on to pitch five innings.

The Dominicans cut the lead in half in the third inning on a Pete O’Brien double. But Ramos got the run back with a ground out RBI in the fifth to give Puerto Rico a 3-1 lead.

The Puerto Rican offense ran cold after the fifth, getting only one more hit. The Dominicans pulled to within a run with an RBI single by Wilkin Castillo in the sixth. They could have tied it in the sixth but Abraham Almonte was thrown out at the plate trying to tag up on a fly ball. They tied the game in the eighth after a Fernando Cruz wild pitch scored one run. That also advanced a runner to third where Abraham Almonte got a little revenge, reversing the results of the sixth inning by hitting the sacrifice fly to score the go ahead run. The big hit in the inning was a Pete O’Brien double that put runners on second and third.

Fernando Abad retired the side in order in the ninth to pick up the win, punching out the last batter. He had come on in the eighth to retire the last batter.

Venezuela 1 Mexico 0

Zach Dodson held Venezuela to just two hits in his six innings of work, but a Wellington Dotel double scored the only run in the third inning to give Venezuela the win. A leadoff walk in the inning, the only walk issued by Dldson put the go ahead run on base.

Mexico scattered nine hits and had opportunities to score. They had the tying run thrown out at the plate in the fifth inning on a ground out with runners on second and third and one out. They had the leadoff batter on in the sixth through ninth innings but failed to take advantage, sacrificing twice to move the runner to second. The other two times they did not bunt they grounded into double plays.

Logan Darnell scattered seven hits in his six innings of work to get the win for Venezuela. Pedro Rodriguez came on to work the ninth to complete the win, despite giving up a leadoff single.

Big Four in Final Four in Series del Caribe

Thursday, February 6th, 2020

The big four of Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Mexico have made it to the final four. Not that Panama and Colombia were not competitive. Most of the games were close, with just one clutch hit turning a loss into a victory. Perhaps next year if they get Cuba back they can add Nicaragua and make it an eight game series. This could make scheduling difficult, needing two venues to play the double headers. Perhaps two four team brackets with the top two advancing to the playoffs. Mexico will play Venezuela in the afternoon and the Dominican Republic will play the host Puerto Rico in the night cap in the single elimination matchup.

Mexico 4 Colombia 0

Edgar Torres tossed 7.2 innings of one hit baseball. That one hit came in the first inning. After that first inning Colombia could only get one more runner on base, a base on balls in the fifth inning. Ramiro Pena hit a pinch hit two run homer in the seventh inning. Mexico also added two runs in the fifth inning. Juan Gamboa scored in both the fifth and seventh innings for Mexico.

Venezuela 2 Panama 0

Panama lashed out nine hits and Venezuela committed four errors but Pananam could not get a runner to cross the plate. Venezuela could only get five hits but seven walks gave them lots of opportunities. Venezuela scored quickly in the first when Ali Castillo led the game off with a triple and scored on a Gorkys Hernandez single. They made it bookends by scoring a run in the ninth, taking advantage of a couple walks with Ali Castillo driving in the insurance run with a single. David Martinez pitched six innings of shutout ball, scattering eight hits to get the win.

Dominican Republic 5 Puerto Rico 4

Jordany Valdespin drove in all five runs for the Dominicans, smashing a three run homer in the third and giving the Dominicans the lead for good with a two run double in the fifth to make it 5-4.