Archive for the 'Panama' Category

Panama to Play Season in a Bubble

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

Panama will begin their season on October 9 with eight teams. All eight teams opened their training camps this past Monday, September 14. Players were tested and there were no positive results. During the season it is anticipated there will be another 1,400 tests.

The eight teams have been broken out into two groups. Group A will be composed of Cocle, Metro, Herrera and Colon. Group B will be Bocas del Toro, Chiriqui, Panama Oeste and Los Santos. Each team will play a round robin match against teams in their group three times and against teams from the other group once. The top four teams will advance to a best of seven semi-final series.

Though it was not stated in the WBSC article myworld assumes the winner will advance to the Series del Caribe, provided there is one and Panama is invited to participate. Panama won the first Series del Caribe they played in two years ago but did not do so well in the event last year.

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

Top Prospects from Panama

Friday, March 20th, 2020

The last time myworld did a top ten prospect list from Panama was in 2016. Interesting that three of the players on this year’s list (Miguel Amaya, Edmundo Sosa and Javy Guerra) made the 2020 list. Since then we have done an All Carribean list team, the last of which appears to have been in 2018. There were three Panamanian players to make that list. Jamie Barria pitched in relief for the Angels in 2018 and 2019 and has graduated from prospect status. Another, Jonathan Arauz, did not make this list, while Leonardo Jimenez earned an appearance at the back end of the 2020 Panama list.

The growth of baseball in Panama appears to be greater now than Nicaragua, which used to be the hot bed of baseball in the Central American countries. They won the Series del Caribe back in 2019 when they were first allowed to participate. Last year they missed making the playoffs but they were competitive against the beasts of the Caribbean. So the quality of players signing out of there is improving, allowing myworld to put together a top ten list. The top three from this list are quality while the players that fall below that are still too raw to make an true assessment of what their major league potential may be.

1. Miguel Amaya C (Cubs) - He was number two on the 2016 list but was beaten out by a number of players from the Bahamas for the Caribbean list. The Cubs paid $1 million to sign him in 2015, unusual for a prospect coming out of Panama. For Panama he earns a position on top of this list for his ability to hit as well as play defense. His defense may be a little more ahead of his offensive game at this point, but in the last two years he has hit 23 homeruns. Last year he only hit .235 but he showed excellent plate discipline with a 54/69 walk to whiff ratio, resulting in a .351 OBA. His arm was strong enough to throw out 35 percent of baserunners who tried to steal against him, but he still needs to work on some of the other tools to become a polished defensive catcher. He is still a couple years away from making the Cubs and will open in AA next year when the season starts. The Cubs have been talking about trading Wilson Contreras and Miguel is the heir apparent, but it would be best to wait until 2021 to give him the catching positon.

2. Ivan Herrera C (Cardinals) - Ivan was signed a year after Miguel. The Cardinals gave him a $200,000 bonus. Ivan is also known for his solid defense, though his arm is not as strong as Miguel. He also does not carry the power of Miguel though there is some hope the power will develop once he matures. At this point he does have the ability to hit for a better average than Miguel, coming into the 2020 season with a career .309 average. The strikeouts are few and he has the ability to take a walk, owning a career .397 OBA. Last year he appeared in 18 High A games. That is where he should begin the 2020 season, receiving a promotion to AA once he has had success at High A.

3. Daniel Espino RHP (Indians) - Daniel was born in Panama but moved to the United States while a sophomore in high school. He went from throwing in the mid-80s to being the hardest thrower in high school baseball, earning himself a first round selection of the Indians in the 2019 draft. They paid him a $2.5 million bonus, something he would have never gotten if he had stayed in Panama. Espino throws in the mid-90s and has hit the triple digits with his fastball. He also has three developing secondary pitches that should allow him to stay in the starting rotation. Next year, he should start the season in full season, but do not expect him to be wearing an Indians uniform for at least another three years.

4. Reggie Preciado SS (Padres) - Reggie led Panama to the silver medal in the U15 World Cup, one of three players from that team selected to the All tournament team. He hit .393 and drove in 9 runs during the tournament, motivating the Padres to shell out $1.3 million to sign him in 2019. He did not play in 2019 but should make his debut in the rookie league or the Dominican summer league in 2020. A 6′4″ switch hitter, he should carry a lot of power in his bat. If he continues to grow he could be forced to move from short, but the power will play in the outfield or at third base. Plus, Fernando Tatis appears to have the position locked up for a few years at short. His father played two years in the Yankee farm system so he has a mentor who can tell him how to succeed to the major leagues.

5. Edmundo Sosa SS (Cardinals) - Edmundo appeared on the 2016 Panama list as the number three prospect, just behind Amaya. Edmundo was signed in 2012 for $450,000. He has been playing long enough that a lot is already known about him. His power is rather limited, though last year with the juiced up major league ball he hit a career high 17 homeruns, He also hit a career high .291. Patience at the plate is lacking as evidence by his 17/96 walk to whiff ratio. With better pitching the batting average could dwarf more towards the .250s. Defensively, he does nothing spectacular, but the tools are there to play shortstop. This would seem to make him an ideal candidate for a utility role. He has gotten brief callups the last two years with the Cardinals. Expect at some point he fills the utility role.

6. Benyamin Bailey OF (White Sox) - Bailey signed in 2019 for just $35,000. What puts him on this list is his impressive season in the Dominican Summer League where he hit .324, with a .931 OPS and a 52/40 walk to whiff ratio. Those numbers will be difficult to repeat once he goes stateside. He stands 6′5″ and is fast afoot with the ability to hit for power. Those are two impressive tools, especially for a patient hitter who appears to make good contact. His speed is not good enough to play center, but he could play either corner, though a below average arm could destine him for left. In 2020, after some time in extended spring training he should debut in one of the short season leagues. It will be interesting if his walk to whiff ratio remains as impressive as a 18 year old.

7. Humberto Mejia RHP (Marlins) - Humberto signed for just $50,000 in 2013. Despite that early start he still has not played beyond High A. The entire 2017 season was missed because of shoulder issues and last year was his first season in full season ball experience. He stands 6′3″ and can touch the mid-90s with his fastball, but it sits mostly in the low 90s. His breaking pitches (slider and curve) are his swing and miss offerings. His control of the strike zone limited the opposition to just a .177 average. He could start next season in High A before getting promoted to AA, but the higher he goes the better able those hitters are for hitting breaking pitches. Humberto seems to have the command to locate his pitches to create a challenge. His biggest test will be staying healthy and getting to the 100 inning level for the first time in his career.

8. Sadrac Franco RHP (Angels) - Sadrac was signed in 2017 for $50,000. He still has not gotten past the short season ball, though injuries have limited his ability to pitch. Last year was the first time he got an opportunity to start, getting in eight games. Despite just standing 6′0″ he can hum the fastball across the plate in the high 90s, but it generally sits in the upper edges of the low 90s. His secondary pitches still need a significant amount of work to stay in the rotation. Finding the plate a bit more would also improve his chances of staying in the rotation. The 2020 season should see Sadrac rise to full season ball.

9. Leonardo Jimenez SS (Blue Jays) - The Jays spit out $850,000 to sign Jimenez in 2017. In two years he has yet to hit a homeruns and his career slugging is .360, so if there is power in the bat it has not arrived yet. His bat does spray the gaps giving him a career .278 minor league average. The defensive tools are there to play shortstop, though his slow foot speed could require a move to second. Leonardo will turn 19 in May. He needs to gain some bulk to put more juice on the ball if he hopes to remain a starter. He has the defensive tools to make it as a utility player. The 2020 season should see him start the season in Low A.

10. Javy Guerra RHP (Padres) - The Padres acquired Javy from the Red Sox for Craig Kimbrel. He appeared to have all the tools to be the Padres shortstop of the future, especially with an extremely strong arm that could throw rockets. Unfortunately, he struggled to hit, failing to recognize breaking pitches and striking out way too much to get his average above .220. With the arm the Padres converted Javy to a pitcher in 2019. His fastball zipped across the plate in the high 90s and his slider is a very effective pitch. He even made his major league debut last year with eight bullpen appearances. A lack of a third pitch and struggles finding the strike zone will keep him in relief. Getting a better handle on that command could put him in a closer role.

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.

Big Four Appear Playoff Bound in Series del Caribe

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020

Only one more day left of round robin pool play and the big four of Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Puerto Rico are ahead in the final four playoff run, with newcomers Colombia and Panama possibly left out of the picture. Colombia has been eliminated from playing in the final four. All three games yesterday were decided by one run. It even appears that Puerto Rico has clinched the fourth spot based on the tie breaker rules. So the final day is just fluff.

Mexico 7 Venezuela 6

Mexico sent Venezuela to their first defeat and improved their record to 3-1. They jumped out to an early 7-0 lead and then hung on to snag the victory. Both teams have clinched a spot in the four team playoffs.

Rico Noel scored three runs and drove in two while Joey Meneses drove in four to lead the offense. Meneses RBI single in the first inning drove in Noel for the first run. In the third inning his ground out scored Noel for the second run. In the five run fourth Noel drove in the first two runs with a double, then he stole third and scored on the catcher’s overthrow to third. Meneses drives in the last two runs of the inning with a two run homerun.

Venezuela showed no quit. In the sixth Carlos Rivera touched off on Anthony Vazquez for a three run homer. That ruined his shutout. Venezuela rallied in the ninth with Ali Castillo contributing an RBI single and Cesar Valera pulling Venezuela to within one with a two out two run double. The big bat for Venezuela, Alexi Amarista struck out to end the game. Alberto Baldonado got the whiff for his second save.

Dominican Republic 4 Panama 3

The Dominicans overcame a 3-0 deficit to rally for four in the seventh to down Panama. They have now clinched a spot in the playoffs. Wilkin Castillo had the big three run homerun to prove the game winner.

Isaias Velasquez delivered three hits for Panama and drove in two runs. Carlos Quiroz contributed two hits and scored both times on Velasquez singles. Andy Otero pitched six solid innings of two hit shutout baseball before tiring in the seventh.

Puerto Rico 3 Colombia 2

Puerto Rico eliminated Colombia from the playoff round. Ozzie Martinez drove in the tying run for Puerto Rico in the sixth with an RBI single. It was his second RBI of the game. Jonathan Morales was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth to score the go ahead run.

Andy Vasquez hit a solo homerun for Colombia in the fifth inning.

Venezuela continues to roll in Series del Caribe

Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

Venezuela remained the only undefeated team in the Series del Caribe, downing Puerto Rico 3-2 in 10 innings. There was also a triple play by the Dominicans in their win against Colombia.

Venezuela 3 Puerto Rico 2

Angelo Palumbo pitched five innings of four hit shutout ball for Venezuela. Adalberto Flores countered with 6.2 innings of one run ball for Puerto Rico. A Henry Ramos RBI double in the eighth inning brought the game to extra innings.

In the top of the inning Puerto Rico scored first on a two out RBI single from Jack Lopez. Things got a little crazy in the bottom of the inning. Adonis Garcia singled and advanced to second on a throwing error, with the placed runner on second holding at third. Puerto Rico walked Fernando Cruz intentionally to load the bases. Puerto Rico appeared to get what they wanted on a ground ball to third. They got the run out at home but the throw to first was a little behind the runner and got by the first baseman. The tying run scored and Puerto Rico tried to throw to third to get that advancing runner. That throw went into the crowd allowing the go ahead run to score to give Venezuela the 3-2 win.

Mexico 6 Panama 1

Mexico got ahead early with three runs in the second. Dariel Alvarez drove in the first run with a single and Jose Chavez drove in two with a double.

Panama did not get their first hit until the fourth inning, but he was wiped out on a double play. Mexico scored two more runs in the fifth on a Joey Meneses singly and a Alvarez sacrifice fly. Panama finally scored in the sixth but could never get their bats going to overcome a five run deficit.

Yoanys Quiala pitched seven innings to get the win for Mexico. He gave up just three hits, striking out four and walking none.

Dominican Republic 4 Colombia 0

Paolo Espino pitched six innings of three hit shutout ball for the Dominicans. Randy Consuegra was just as effective for Colombia going 5.2 innings. The Dominicans assaulted the Colombian bullpen while the Colombian bats could do nothing against the Dominican pen.

The leading homerun hitter in the Dominican League Peter O’Brien finally unloaded on a pitch for a two run shot in the seventh inning to break the scoreless tie. In the 8th the Dominicans added to the carnage scoring a run on a wild pitch, and the last run on a ground out.

Colombia did put their first two runners on in the eighth inning, but a bunt attempt was popped up, resulting in a triple play to end the inning.

Venezuela Remains Undefeated in Series del Caribe

Monday, February 3rd, 2020

Venezuela remains the only undefeated team in the Series del Caribe after two days. The top four teams after the five day round robin qualify for a single elimination playoff.

Venezuela 3 Dominican Republic 2

Both these teams came into the day undefeated. Venezuela came through jumping out to an early 3-0 lead and then hanging on for the win. Juan Apodaca got the scoring started for Venezuela with an early two run double in the second inning. Rene Reyes sacrifice fly in the third inning put Venezuela up 3-0. Venezuela scored all three runs against Jorge Martinez.

Will Ledezma pitched five shutout innings for Venezuela. A single and a walk to start the sixth ended his day. After one out Abraham Almonte singled in a run, but Venezuela was able to snuff the rally after Alen Hanson grounded into a double play.

In the bottom of the ninth a two out Wilkens Castillo ground rule double scored one run and put runners on second and third with two out. Perhaps if the ball had not bounced over the fence the Dominican Republic would have tied the game. Jorge Mateo came up with the opportunity to hit a walk off single. He flied out to end the game.

Mexico 4 Puerto Rico 2

Mexico prevented the host team Puerto Rico from entering the land of the undefeated. Jan Hernandez hit the first homerun of the Series del Caribe with a solo shot in the second inning to give Puerto Rico an early 1-0 lead. But Sebastian Elizalde hit the loudest homerun with a three run bomb in the fifth to give Mexico a 4-1 lead.

Puerto Rico scored a run in the sixth to close the game to 4-2. They had runners at second and third with no outs in the seventh but failed to score. Pitcher Derrick Loop picked off Alexis Pantoja for the second out. Two walks put two runners on in the eighth but they failed to score. Alberto Baldonado put an end to the game in the ninth, retiring the side in order, striking out the last two hitters to pick up the save. Manny Barreda worked five innings to pick up the win.

Panama 1 Colombia 0

Davis Romero limited Colombia to just one hit in 7.2 innings of work. Diego Moreno retired the last four hitters to close out the game. The only run of the game came in the fourth inning, after a two out error by Colombia put a runner on second. Rodrigo Vigil was able to drive him in with a clutch single.

Colombia did not put a runner on until the fourth inning when Romero issued a two out walk. Their first hit came in the sixth. It came after a fielding error, giving Colombia two baserunners with one out. A fly out and ground out ended that threat. After that Colombia could not get a runner past first base.

Puerto Rico Wins in Walk off in Series del Caribe Openers

Sunday, February 2nd, 2020

The Series del Caribe had their opening day matches yesterday and if the results from those games are any indication, it will be competitive series. Many of the players may be unknown, but the games will be contested.

Puerto Rico 4 Panama 3 (10 innings)

In the extra innings Panama failed to score after a runner was placed on second. Puerto Rico moved the runner to third on a bunt and then drove him home on a Jonathan Morales sacrifice fly to give Puerto Rico the walk off win without benefit of a hit. The execution of fundamentals can be a difference maker in this modern day of baseball when you are allowed to put runners on base. Panama could not advance the runner to third in the tenth and they go down 0-1.

Panama had taken a 3-1 lead scoring three runs in the sixth. Two fielding errors by Panama allowed unearned runs to score in the sixth and seventh innings. A Henry Ramos walk in the bottom of the seventh tied the game. With the bases loaded and no out Puerto Rico had the opportunity to run away with the game but a line out and ground out double play left the game tied.

Jack Lopez was the big bat for Puerto Rico with three hits, including an RBI single in the sixth that made the score 3-2. Hector Santiago pitched five shutout innings for Puerto Rico before turning it over to his bullpen in the sixth to give up three runs.

Dominican Republic 2 Mexico 1

It was not a walk off but the Dominicans escaped with a victory. They scored both their runs in the third on Abraham Almonte and Diego Noris RBI singles to take a 2-0 lead. That held until the ninth, when Joey Meneses led the ninth off with a double. Juan Carlos Gamboa hits a two out RBI single to pull Mexico to within one. Anthony Giansanti could have put Mexico on top but his pop out to first ended the game.

Yuniesky Maya got the start for the Dominicans and pitched five innings of two hit shutout ball.

Venezuela 6 Colombia 4

The Series del Caribe debut for Colombia started out promising with an early 3-0 lead after six. Five innings of one hit shut out ball by Edgar De La Rosa gave the Colombians a lot to cheer for. The disaster that was the seventh inning turned their jubilation into despair.

Two walks sandwiched by a Rene Reyes single loaded the bases with no out. Gorkys Hernandez drove in two with a single. The Colombians were able to retire the next two hitters to give fans some hope the rally could be contained, but winter ball veteran Alexi Amarista drove in two with his clutch single to give Venezuela the lead. Osman Marvel roped a two run double to provide two valuable insurance runs.

A Jordan Diaz double in the top of the ninth scored one for Colombia to make it 6-4 with just one out and the tying run at the plate. Arvicent Perez, who had driven in a run earlier with a single, lined to Amarista for a game ending double play.

After the first day of play no balls have left the Hiram Bithorn park in Puerto Rico.

Colombia in and Cuba Out in Series Del Caribe

Friday, January 31st, 2020

Cuba was unable to obtain visas in time to compete in the Series del Caribe 2020 so Colombia was invited to play in their stead come Saturday in Puerto Rico. On the first day Colombia will play Venezuela, Mexico will battle the Dominican Republic and Panama will duke it out against Puerto Rico. The last time the Series del Caribe was played in Puerto Rico myworld was there. Not this year.

Cuba hopes to be able to participate in the next Series del Caribe when it is played in Mexico next year. Colombia hopes to repeat what Panama accomplished last year, winning the Series del Caribe in their first appearance. As the series struggles with name players choosing not to play in the event, the event has expanded to include other countries. First it was Cuba, then Panama and now Colombia, two countries that have been asking to play in the tournament for years. Nicaragua is another country interested in participating.

It will be interesting to gauge attendance to see what kind of participation Panama and Colombia brings to the group. In year’s past countries brought delegations to the games and it was a party atmosphere. As the name players have dropped out the attendance has sagged. Back in 1955 Puerto Rico had an outfield of Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente and Bob Thurman, with Don Zimmer as their shortstop. That would have been fun to watch. Now Jorge Mateo will be playing shortstop for the Dominican Republic with Felix Pie, Junior Lake and Jordany Valdespino manning the outfield.