Archive for the 'Mexico' Category

Adrian Gonzalez to Play in Mexican Summer League to Prepare for the Olympics

Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

Adrian Gonzalez has not played competitively since 2018. Last year Mexico surprised the world, upsetting the United States in a third place game to qualify for what should have been the 2020 Olympics but is now the 2021 Olympics. Put the two together and you know what is in store here. Adrian Gonzalez hopes to get in playing shape so he can represent Mexico in the Olympics in 2021.

Gonzalez, like Shin-soo Choo, is 38 years old. He has represented Mexico a number of times in the World Baseball Classic. He now wants to represent Mexico in the Olympics. He has not announced the team he will play for in the summer league. The Mexican summer league has delayed the opening of their season until May 20.

Another pretty cool path being taken by a veteran player.

Yang and Yamaguchi Blast From the Past

Monday, February 15th, 2021

Lefthanded pitcher Hyeon-jong Yang recently signed a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers. Shun Yamaguchi was recently released by the Toronto Blue Jays. Yang was the starter for Korea in the Premier 12 finals between Japan and Korea. Yamaguchi was the starter for Japan.

While the game was to determine the qualifications for the Olympics scheduled for 2020 and now postponed to 2021, Japan had already qualified by hosting the games. Korea had also qualified by appearing in the championship. So the game was played mostly for pride and prize money. Yamaguchi was knocked out in the first inning, giving up two homeruns. Japan ultimately won the game 5-3. Interesting how the two pitchers have now entered upon different paths to their major league careers.

The big game was when Mexico defeated the United States 3-2 to qualify for the Olympics. Those pitchers were Cody Ponce and Arturo Reyes. Ponce pitched well tossing five shutout innings. He also made his major league debut in 2020 with the Pirates. Reyes also pitched five shutout innings but has never appeared in a major league game. He has spent a lot of time in the minor leagues. Last year he pitched in Taiwan in the China Professional Baseball League, getting only four starts for the China Trust Brothers.

Mexican Summer League to Shorten Season

Monday, February 15th, 2021

Mexico has a Winter League and a Summer League. Myworld tends to spend more time writing about the winter league, since the winner of that league plays in the Series del Caribe. It also is played during the time when some of the more traditional leagues such as the major leagues and the Asian Leagues are playing during the summer.

The summer league has delayed the start of their season because of the corona virus to May 20. They have also made the decision to shorten their schedule to 66 games. The regular season will end on August 5. The 12 teams with the best winning percentage will qualify for the playoffs with the finals being played on September 6.

The good news is they have also expanded the league to 18 teams by adding two more teams to the league. They will now be broken out into two divisions. One of the expansion teams, the Guadalajara Mariachis will play in the Norther Division. The other expansion team the Vera Cruz Aguilas will play in the Southern Division. As noted above, the twelve teams with the best winning percentages will qualify for the playoffs.

Teams will be allowed to carry seven foreigners on their roster, with three foreigners being allowed on the reserve team. The reserve list will be expanded from 38 players to 60 to allow for the corona virus.

Information from this article was provided by BaseballMexico, which is one of the links provided in the lower right.

Dominicans Series del Caribe Champions

Sunday, February 7th, 2021

The Dominicans downed the defending champion Puerto Rico 4-1 for the Series del Caribe 2021 championship. After a lead off double by Ramon Torres Puerto Rican pitcher Hector Hernandez retired the next 14 hitters, including striking out the side in the fourth to up his strike out numbers to seven. With two out in the fifth Johan Camargo slugged a solo homerun to tie the ball game 1-1.

Anthony Maldanado replaced Hernandez in the sixth and the Dominicans answered with two more runs. Juan Lagares, who just signed a minor league contract, continued his hot hitting with an RBI double. Ronald Guzman delivered a clutch two out single to drive in the second run of the inning and raise the Dominican lead to 3-1. Guzman would strike again with a solo shot in the eighth.

Jumbo Diaz came on in the ninth to retire the side and pick up the save.

The 2021 Caribbean All Star team is below:

Catcher - Yadier Molina (Puerto Rico)
First Base - Ronald Guzman (Dominican Republic)
Second Base - Robinson Cano (Dominican Republic)
Third Base - Jordan Diaz (Colombia)
Shortstop - Jonathan Arauz (Panama)
Outfield - Juan Lagares (Dominican Republic), Melky Cabrera (Dominican Republic) and Jarren Duran (Puerto Rico)
Designated Hitter - Jessie Castillo (Mexico)
Starting Pitcher - Carlos Martinez (Dominican Republic)
Relief Pitcher - Jumbo Diaz (Dominican Republic)
Manager - Felix Fermin (Dominican Republic)

Top Prospects from Mexico

Saturday, February 6th, 2021

With the Series del Caribe being played in Mexico it is time for myworld to take a look at the top prospects from there hoping to sniff the major leagues. Mexico has not had a smooth working relationship with major league baseball as far as the signing of their players. The big disagreement is the percentage of the bonus money that major league teams pay to the prospect that goes to the Mexican team that holds the right to that player. It would be equivalent to a Dominican buscone taking a 50 to 75 percent cut of the prospects bonus. That may be why the top prospect list is not brimming with multi tooled athletes.

Those players who made the list last year that got a major league opportunity include Alejandro Kirk, Jose Urquidy and Isaac Paredes, the second, third and fourth top prospects from the list. The top prospect Andres Munoz missed all of 2020 because of an injury. Victor Gonzalez and Ramon Urias also made their professional debuts, though with the shortened season. The shortened season allowed many to keep their rookie status and reappear on this list.

Below are our top ten prospects from Mexico.

1. Andres Munoz RHP (Mariners) - The only change for Munoz is he went from the Padres to the Mariners. The Padres had paid a $700,000 bonus in 2015 to sign Munoz. They then included him in a trade with the Mariners for Austin Nola. Unlike many Mexican pitches who rely on guile and breaking pitchers to get hitters out, Munoz has a mean fastball that can touch triple digits. Unfortunately, his 2020 season was eliminated because of Tommy John surgery. He is being groomed to be a closer so his fastball/slider combination is all he needs to generate swings and misses. The Mariners would like to see him master getting the ball over the plate a little more. It would take some rehab in the minors before Munoz is ready, sometime by the middle of the season. Besides his lack of control, his injury history has fated his career to the bullpen. Staying healthy and finding the plate more will determine his path to major league success.

2. Isaac Paredes 2B/3B (Tigers) - The Cubs signed Paredes for $500,000 in 2015. He was one of the prospects the Tigers got for trading Justin Wilson and Alex Avilla to the Cubs. His career started out as a shortstop, but a pudgy build meant a lack of range, forcing a move to third base. Because he does not have the big time power that teams look for in third baseman and the Tigers want to leave room for Jeimer Candelario, they may shift him over to second base. Isaac makes good contact and shows enough patience to take a walk. Hitting around .280 to .290 with double digit homers that will fall shy of 20 are numbers you can expect from him. That would make him a decent offensive second baseman that could fall just short of being a solid defensive player. He could make the Tigers starting lineup in 2021 as their second baseman next year.

3. Victor Gonzalez LHP (Dodgers) - The Dodgers signed Victor when they went to Mexico City in 2012 to look at Yasiel Puig. They signed Puig but also a number of other players from Mexico, including Julio Urias. Victor is a 6′0″ lefthander that throws hard, with his fastball reaching the upper 90s on the radar gun. Tommy John surgery virtually eliminated his 2017 and 2018 seasons. He finally made his major league debut in 2020 and pitched so effectively the Dodgers included him on their playoff roster. He got into 15 games during the regular season, finishing with a 1.33 ERA with a 2/23 walk to whiff ratio in 20 innings. For the playoffs he got into 8 games and limited the opposition to just two runs for a 2.70 ERA. Victor has a fastball/slider combination and can use a change as an offspeed pitch, but it is fringe average at this point. He should be in the Dodgers bullpen in 2021.

4. Alejandro Kirk C (Blue Jays) - Kirk was signed in 2016. He is a bit on the pudgy side, listed at 5′8″ and 265 pounds. When he is running the bases his body bounces like jello. The one thing Kirk can do is hit. He has a two year minor league career average of .315 with a .418 OBA. Staying healthy has proved to be a challenge, limiting him to 52 and 98 games the last two years. That will continue if he fails to get his body in shape. Last year he made his major league debut and came out strong in his 9 games, hitting .375 with one homerun. In the minors he has walked more than he has struck out (89/60). On defense he has a good arm, but needs to work on some of the other aspects of the game before he can be called a solid major league catcher. Other than possibly first base, which at 5′8″ is not ideal, Kirk will have to make the majors as either a DH or catcher. Based on his success, he should get another opportunity to play for the Rangers in 2021.

5. Tirso Orenelas OF (Padres) - The Padres shelled out $1.5 million in 2017 to sign Tirso. At 6′3″ he has the build that would predict power to be in his future. A lack of speed will limit him to a corner outfield. The arm is strong enough he could play right. The power has not shown itself in games in the minor leagues. In 2019 he had a particularly horrendous year, slugging just .279 with a .213 batting average. In his previous two seasons he had gotten his slugging average close to .400. The absence of a 2020 minor league season is not something Tirso wanted for his development. He may have to return to A ball to get back that confidence that he can hit. Tirso could still be a couple years away from seeing the Padres.

6. Luis Gonzalez OF (White Sox) - It is at this point that my knowledge of the players gets a little more spotty. Luis was drafted by the White Sox in the third round of the 2017 draft, but he was born in Mexico. He attended high school in Arizona and played college ball at New Mexico. He doesn’t carry an array of great tools, but he does have some skills that could get him to the major leagues as a fourth outfielder. The power is lacking but the arm is strong enough for him to shine in right field. He has enough speed where he could play centerfield in a pinch. His career minor league average is .269. It was enough for the White Sox to give him three games in the major leagues where he got one official at bat. He struck out. Luis lacks the tools to be a starting outfielder on a playoff caliber team, but he can still fill a useful role as a fourth outfielder. He hopes to get a few more at bats in 2021 to amend for his one strikeout performance in the major leagues last year.

7. Gerrado Carrillo RHP (Dodgers) - Carrillo was signed by the Dodgers in 2016 for $75,000. The righthander is listed at 5′10 and 150 pounds. Even with that skinny frame his fastball sits in the mid-90s and even touches the three digits. If he can pack on more pounds that could provide another level of improvement to the fastball. He has two breaking pitches (slider and curve) that are good enough to put him in a rotation once he enhances his change. The Dodgers have used him in the rotation, but his best fit may be in the bullpen. The 2019 season was a disappointing year when he got hit at a .263 clip for a 5.44 ERA. The previous year opponents could only hit him at a .192 clip, putting his ERA at 1.50. Gerrado will probably start the season in A ball and depending on his development will reach the Dodgers sometime towards the end of the 2022 season.

8. Efrain Contreras RHP (Padres) - Efrain is another 5′10″ righthander, but he weighs 210 pounds. The Padres signed him in 2017 for $50,000. He sits in the mid-90s with his fastball but despite the meatier build his fastball peaks at 97/98. There is not a lot of projection for more velocity in the fastball. The curveball is his best pitch. That leads to a high number of strikeouts at the lower levels (121 in 109 innings). As he rises up the minor league ladder those hitters who can’t hit breaking pitches are often weeded out from the minor leagues and it becomes harder to fool hitters with curve balls alone. If Efrain can spot his pitches well he could end up in the back of a rotation or as a set up reliever. Expect him to be with the Padres sometime late in the 2022 season.

9. Luis Verdugo SS/3B (Cubs) - The Cubs paid the Mexico City Red Devils $1.2 million for Luis. He is expected to outgrow shortstop and move to third base. The bat could be his best tool. In 2019 in rookie ball he hit .305 with a .447 slugging percentage. More will be known about him as he rises to the full season levels in 2021. His body should develop more muscle to increase his power, but he also needs to adapt to better pitching. The power is expected to develop for him to start at third. He could also play in a utility role. He is still a long ways away from making a contribution in the major leagues. Expect that to happen sometime in 2023.

10. Manuel Rodriguez RHP (Cubs) - Manny made our list last year. Like many pitchers out of Mexico he lacks the ideal height that major league teams are looking for from their righthanders. He stands at 5′11″. He was signed for $400,000 in 2016. His fastball can hit the lower levels of the high 90s, but normally sits in the mid-90s. His curve has enough downward break that it can get its share of swings and misses. The Cubs are high enough on him that they added him to the 40 man roster in 2020. When the Cubs signed him he was a closer for Yucatan. They have used him strictly in the bullpen, but normally not as their closer. He needs to improve on his command, averaging near 5 walks per year in his minor league career. Last year he got the mark down to 3.2, so that is a level of improvement. Manuel should pitch in AA next year and if he pitches well could see the Cubs by the end of the year.

Series del Caribe - Semi-Final Cliffhangers

Saturday, February 6th, 2021

The wins did not come easy in the semi-final victories by the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. These two teams had the best record in the round robin play, but both had to fight for victories in the semi-final games. The two will play in the finals today.

Dominican Republic 4 Panama 3

The starters were in control for the start of the game. Manuel Campos for Puerto Rico threw 5.2 shutout innings. Carlos Martinez mesmerized the Puerto Rican bats also for 5.2 innings, allowing just one hit.

The Dominican Republic broke through first in the sixth. Juan Lagares started things off with a one out single. Robinson Cano followed with a single. Ronald Guzman drove in both runners with a double to centerfield. That led to the exit of Campos from the game.

Panama had loaded the bases in the sixth after Carlos Martinez issued three walks. They failed to score. Panama scored two runs in the seventh on a single by Rodrigo Orozco. Two errors helped the two runners cross the plate. A Robinson Cano error on a missed catch allowed a runner to advance an extra base on a fielder’s choice and a Melky Cabrera throwing error on the Orozco single provided the opportunity for the baserunners to score.

Orozco provided the damage for Panama again in the ninth with an RBI single. The Dominicans responded with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Melky Cabrera had singled and pinch runner Yefri Perez stole second. With two outs Puerto Rico chose to walk Johan Camargo to put the winning run on first. An infield single by Junior Lake loaded the bases. Carlos Paulino became the hero when he grounded a single up the middle off Walter Silva for the walk off hit.

Robinson Cano committed three errors in the game. He has committed five errors in the Series del Caribe. His defensive play has been a detriment in winter league ball. The bat can still rake as evidenced by his .467 average.

Puerto Rico 2 Mexico 1

All the runs were scored in the fourth. Joey Meneses delivered an RBI single to plate the only run for Mexico. Reymond Fuentes mashed a two run homer in the home half to score the only runs for Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico had an opportunity to break the game open in the bottom of the sixth when they loaded the bases with no outs. They failed to score. Mexico never could mount a rally after the fourth.

Luis Medina, the top pitcher in Puerto Rico survived five innings, giving up just two hits. Rayan Gonzalez worked the last two innings to earn the save. Jarren Duran continues to be the table setter for Puerto Rico, lashing out two singles and drawing one walk in four at bats. He is hitting .391 for the series.

Series del Caribe - Final Four Determined

Friday, February 5th, 2021

The round robin has identified the final four to play for the Series del Caribe championship. They will compete in a single elimination tournament. Colombia and Venezuela have been eliminated. The number one seed and undefeated Dominican Republic will go against the number four seed Panama. Puerto Rico will play against Mexico.

Puerto Rico 9 Panama 8

Panama came out charging scoring five runs in the top of the first off Jason Garcia, who could only retire two batters. He gave up five hits and walked two. Jarren Duran opened the bottom of the first with a homerun and the Puerto Ricans came climbing back. Henry Ramos and Vimael Machin each drove in two runs. Panama starter Harold Arauz could not get past the third. By the time he left the showers the Puerto Ricans had tied the score 5-5. They jumped out to a 9-6 lead going into the ninth. Panama strung together four hits and two runs off Joshua Torres. Puerto Rico had to call on Fernando Cruz to retire the final two hitters to survive the win. Panama had the tying run on third and the go ahead run on first with one out but a pop up and strike out failed to bring the runner home.

Dominican Republic 3 Colombia 2

Colombia has yet to win a Series del Caribe game in their two years of play. They almost pulled off a surprise by beating the undefeated Dominican Republic. Granted, the Dominicans had nothing to play for, already clinching their first seed ranking.

Colombia was up 2-0 for five innings. Edison Frias had shut out the Dominican bats for those first five innings. The Colombians decided to go to their bullpen and that is when the bats started making noise. Johan Camargo had an RBI single in the sixth. Melky Cabrera doubled in the seventh to tie the game. The ninth inning saw a lead off walk eventually score on a walk off single by Rangel Ravelo to keep the Dominicans undefeated.

Yunesky Maya did not get the win but went six innings for the Dominicans. He gave up two runs. Lisalverto Bonilla pitched the last three innings to earn the win. He walked one and kept Panama hitless.

Mexico 4 Venezuela 3

A loss by Mexico would have created a three way tie for the last two spots, resulting in a tie breaker. After going down 3-0 early Mexico came back to win the game 4-3. It took a three run eighth inning rally to tie the game, Sebastion Elizalde driving in one run with a double and Joey Meneses following with a two run double.

In the ninth inning Isaac Paredes led the inning off with a triple but failed to score. In the bottom of the tenth they loaded the bases with no one out and the next two batters were retired without bringing the runners home. With two outs Carlos Gamboa came up. The Venezuelans had decided to intentionally walk him after the Paredes lead off triple in the ninth. There was no place to put him for this at bat. He drove a 1-1 count into centerfield for a walk off single to put Mexico in the playoffs.

For Venezuela it was again going to the bullpen that lost the game. Logan Darnell had pitched seven shutout innings. The Venezuelan bullpen then squandered the lead, something myworld noticed far too often in this Series del Caribe.

Series del Caribe - Dominicans Remain Undefeated

Thursday, February 4th, 2021

The offensive woes of Venezuela continue as they get shut out by the Dominicans, who remain undefeated with just one more game to go in pool play. Puerto Rico won their third game and appear to have clinched a playoff spot. Sometimes just getting to the dance is all you need. Mexico kept their hopes alive by beating Panama to leave both at 2-2.

Dominican Republic 2 Venezuela 0

The recently released Robel Garcia, who went from the Italian League to the Cubs last year got the big hit that scored all the runs. His two run double in the seventh inning, his second double of the game, gave the Dominicans the victory. It came too late for Andy Otero, who pitched 5.1 brilliant innings while scattering five hits. Dario Alvarez, who faced the fewest batters in the game (two) got credit for the win. Fernando Abad worked the ninth inning to earn the save.

Williams Perez pitched a better game for Venezuela, limiting the Dominicans to just two hits in his six innings. After he departed the Dominican bats came alive for two runs. The Venezuelans out hit the Dominicans 6 to 4, but it is the runs that matter.

Puerto Rico 2 Colombia 1

In the ninth inning Johneshwy Fargas lashed a one out double off Cody Mincey. The Colombians chose to intentionally walk Vimael Machin to set up the double play. Fargas steals third base. Now the Colombians decide to intentionally walk Reymond Fuentes to load the bases. Cody Mincey, who has now thrown eight straight balls faces Jonathan Morales and still cannot find the plate, running the count full before walking him to force in a run, a walk off walk.

Harold Ramirez drove in the only run for Colombia. Yadier Molina drove in the first run for Puerto Rico. Tommy Romero for Puerto Rico and Reiver Sanmartin for Colombia each worked at least five innings, both allowing just one run. Sanmartin struck out 8 while Romero struck out five. Each allowed just three hits. Fernando Cruz got the win by retiring Colombia in order in the top of the ninth.

This is the second year for Colombia in the Series del Caribe. While they have been competitive, they have yet to win a game.

Mexico 6 Panama 3

Julian Leon slugged a grand slam homerun in the third inning and it proved to be the difference in the game. The grand slam gave Mexico a 4-1 lead and Panama was never able to recover. Anthony Vazquez shut down the Panamanian bats for seven innings, giving up just two runs on four hits. Alberto Baldonado got the last out of the eighth and finished the ninth to pick up the save. Panama had the tying run at the plate in the eighth inning when Alberto got David Rodriguez to ground out.

Series del Caribe Day 3 - Dominicans Down Panama

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021

The big game between the two undefeateds saw the Dominicans victorious. The two winless teams battled it out and Venezuela saved themselves from embarrassment. Puerto Rico disappointed Mexico fans between the two .500 teams.

Dominican Republic 11 Panama 6

The game was not as close as the score indicated. Panama rallied for five runs in the bottom of the ninth to make the game appear close. Prior to that it was Dominican domination. Or Panama mistakes. Their pitchers walked 10 and their fielders committed four errors. Five of the eleven runs the Dominicans scored were unearned. You add in the walks and it could have been even more.

Joe Van Meter shut down the Panama bats for six innings, giving up just three hits. He gave up one unearned run. The Dominican fielding was a bit sloppy as well with three errors. Michael Tonkin came on to pitch the ninth and only retired two hitters, giving up five runs on five hits and a walk. Fortunately, the Dominicans had an 11-1 lead entering the inning.

Melky Cabrera and Francisco Pena were the big bats for the Dominicans. Each drove in three runs.

Venezuela 1 Colombia 0

This game was lacking in offense. The two teams combined for fewer hits than the walks by the Dominicans. The Venezuelans could only carve out one hit in the win. That was a Herlis Rodriguez RBI double in the third inning. A leadoff walk to Luis Sardinas set up the run. For the Venezuelans their bats have been impotent for the series.

Fortunately, they had Guillermo Moscoso who pitched five shutout innings, giving up just three hits. They also used four pitchers out of the bullpen to pitch one inning each, giving up just two total hits. Silvino Bracho pitched the final inning to earn the save.

The Colombians relied mainly on their bullpen to shut down the Venezuelan bats. Randy Consuegra worked the first three, giving up the lone run. Ronald Ramirez and Jhon Romero each worked two hitless innings. Cody Mincey worked a hitless eighth.

Puerto Rico 6 Mexico 4

Edwin Diaz slugged a two run homer in the second inning to put up the first runs for Puerto Rico. After Mexico tied it in the bottom frame a three run fifth proved to be the difference. Edwin Diaz had struck out to lead off the inning, but the ball got by the catcher allowing Diaz to reach. Jarren Duran drove him in with a triple to break a 2-2 tie. Vimael Machin added in a run with his single and a Reymond Fuentes sacrifice fly drove in the third run of the inning.

After Mexico scored two runs in the seventh to close the score to 6-4 the Puerto Rican bullpen shut down any further offense from Mexico. Anthony Maldonado retired the last out of the seventh inning. Rayan Gonzalez and Fernando Cruz each pitched a perfect inning to close out the game.

Series del Caribe Mexico Highlights

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021

It appears the games played by Mexico are started so late that they do not get reported. Below are a summary of the games played by Mexico.

Mexico 10 Colombia 2

A nice easy opener for Mexico. A six run fifth erased an early 2-1 Colombia lead and put the fans at ease. Jessie Castillo drove in four runs, three of them on a homerun in the ninth inning that closed out the scoring for Mexico. Manuel Barreda went six innings for Mexico to get the win. Joey Meneses drove in the first two runs in the six run fifth to give Mexico a 3-2 lead. Colombia gifted Mexico the runs with five walks, including four in a row that forced in two runs and a hit by pitch. For the game Colombia pitchers walked 10 batters.

Dominican Republic 4 Mexico 2

Mexico went from facing the easiest opponent to the favored. They came out on the losing end this time. Juan Lagares continued his hot hitting, going deep for the second time in the series with a solo shot in the seventh to lead the Dominicans. Cesar Valdez threw six innings of two hit shut out ball for the Dominicans. Mexico rallied for two in the ninth off Fernando Abad, the runs being unearned courtesy of an error by Robinson Cano. With the go ahead run at the plate Jhan Marinez came on to get the last out to pick up the save.