Archive for the 'Mexico' Category

Little League World Series Participants

Monday, August 6th, 2018

The United States and Canada still need to sort out their participants, but the other international teams for the Little League World Series have been decided. The Little League World Series will be in Williamsport, PA August 16-26.

Asia Pacific Regional

The two powers South Korea and Taiwan came out of their pools as the top teams. When the finals were played South Korea (Seoul) were the victors 6-1. Hong Kong did well, finishing second in their pool to Taiwan and defeating Guam 6-5 to take the consolation game.

Australian Regional

Australia will be represented by Gold Coast Baseball Assoc. in Queensland. They beat Adelaide 11-0 in the championship match.

Caribbean Regonal

The World Baseball Classic success has created a resurgence in baseball in Puerto Rico. There Little League team dominated their regional finishing 8-0. The closest team to them was Curacao at 5-3. A second Puerto Rican team did not do so well, going winless at 0-6. Puerto Rico played Curacao in the championship match and beat them 5-2.

Europe/Africa Regional

Just as last year there were no African teams represented in this region. So a better effort needs to be made to get African representation or just drop the name from the title. It takes a lot of coin to participate in a tournament in Europe. Spain (Catalunya) was the big surprise beating the Netherlands 19-0 in the finals. This is the first time that a true team from Spain will play in the Little League World Series. There previous four appearances had rosters filled with American players living in Spain.

Japan Regional

Kawaguchi Little League in Tokyo will represent Japan. They pasted Nagasaki Minami 23-2 in the championship game. They seemed to get better as the tournament wore on, winning their opener 2-1, taking the second game 7-2 and winning the semifinal match 13-2 before waltzing in the playoffs.

Latin America Regionals

Panama (Vacamonte) only loss in pool play was to their brethren Panama (Aguadulce Cabezera) in the last game of pool play 8-0. They opened against them in the first round of the playoffs and avenged that loss with a 2-0 win. In the championship match they went up against Nicaragua and won 6-3.

Mexico Regionals

Matamoros Little League finished undefeated at 8-0 beating Trevino Kelly 5-3 in the championship game.

2018 Baseball World Cup to be Held in Barranquilla, Colombia

Monday, July 30th, 2018

Barranquilla, Colombia will be the hosts for the under 23 Baseball World Cup that will be played October 19-28, 2018. As the host they will get an automatic bid to participate in the tournament. It is also hoped that the tournament will help bring new stadiums to Repelon and Manati, which are part of an $8 million investment by the Colombia Atlantico Department, though it would be nice to have some of the funds from the games go to help finance the stadiums. Pending inspection by the WBSC the games will be played at the Santa Marte Baseball Stadium. Don’t know if the stadium will pass muster but the fact there are probably no other alternatives seems to indicate it will pass. The WBSC probably should have waited to inspect the stadium before making the announcement about hosting if they had alternatives.

The following teams have qualified for the tournament. The last event was played in 2016:

Africa: South Africa
Asia: Japan (defending champions), Taiwan, Korea (third place)
Europe: Netherlands and Czech Republic
Americas: Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic
Oceania: Australia (second place)
Host: Colombia

The United States is not eligible for the event because they did not participate in the qualifiers. Because of that they may lose their number one ranking to Japan this year. This tournament is the most important international event this year, distributing the largest amount of points given to teams who do well in this event. Cuba is another traditional baseball power absent from this event.

Futures Game

Saturday, July 7th, 2018

Myworld will be attending our first Futures game this year. Below are the rosters of the two teams:

World Team

Pitchers

Enyel de los Santos (Dominican Republic/Phillies), Jorge Guzman (Dom Rep/Marlins), Yoan Lopez (Cuba/Diamondbacks), Kieran Lovegrove (South Africa/Indians), Jesus Luzardo - LHP (Peru/Athletics), Bryan Mata (Venezuela/Red Sox), Lewis Thorpe - LHP (Australia/Twins), Jesus Tinoco (Venezuela/Rockies), Alex Wells - LHP (Australia/Orioles)

Catchers

Miguel Amaya (Panama/Cubs), Francisco Mejia (Dom Rep/Indians), Keibert Ruiz (Venezuela/Dodgers)

Infield

Yordan Alvarez (Cuba/Astros), Luis Garcia (Dom Rep/Nationals), Luis Urias (Mexico/Padres), Fernando Tatis Jr (Dom Rep/Padres), Andres Gimenez (Venezuela/Mets), Dawel Lugo (Dom Rep/Tigers)

Outfielders

Randy Arozarena (Cuba/Cardinals), Luis Basabe (Venezuela/White Sox), Yusniel Diaz (Cuba/Dodgers), Seuly Matias (Dom Rep/Royals), Heliot Ramos (Puerto Rico/Giants), Jesus Sanchez (Dom Rep/Rays), Leody Taveras (Dom Rep/Rangers)

United States team

Pitchers

Shaun Anderson (Giants), Dylan Cease (White Sox), Hunter Greene (Reds), Dakota Hudson (Cardinals), Mitch Keller (Pirates), Matt Manning (Tigers), C.D. Pelham - LHP (Rangers), Justus Sheffield - LHP (Yankees), Forrest Whitley (Astros), Kyle Wright (Braves)

Catchers

Danny Jansen (Blue Jays), Sean Murphy (Athletics)

Infielders

Peter Alonso (Mets), Nathaniel Lowe (Rays), Keston Hiura (Brewers), Brendan Rodgers (Rockies), Ke’Bryan Hayes (Pirates), Ryan Mountcastle (Orioles), Bo Bichette (Blue Jays), Carter Kieboom (Nationals)

Outfielders

Jo Adell (Angels), Alex Kirilloff (Twins), Kyle Lewis (Mariners), Buddy Reed (Padres), Taylor Trammell (Reds)

Foreign Signings Begin but not for Players from Mexico

Monday, July 2nd, 2018

July 2 begins the date when major league teams can sign international prospects that turn 16 years old. That is true for most international players except for those that have professional leagues in Asia, i.e. Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Now you can add Mexico to that list.

MLB has advised teams not to sign players from Mexico. The Mexican professional league signs players once they reach the age of 14, two years before major league teams can sign them. If a major league team wants to sign a 16 year old player from Mexico they have to go through his Mexican professional team. Once a contract is agreed the Mexican professional team gets on average 75 percent of the agreed bonus (part of the contract the 14 year old signs with the Mexican professional team).

Major league teams did not have a problem with this system since only the portion that was paid to the player counted against the salary cap. The parents of the player that signed took issue with the system since they did not get rewarded for their child’s skills. They could refuse to sign with a Mexican professional team, but since the league controls the games how do they get exposed to the major league scouts?

The major leagues and the Mexican professional leagues are currently attempting to negotiate a more equitable system. Until that happens, Mexican players in the major and minor leagues may start to get scarce. No more Julio Urias, Oliver Perez or Fernando Valenzuela’s until the two leagues can figure this out.

Top Prospects from Mexico

Saturday, March 17th, 2018

Victor Arano and Giovanny Gallegos are the two pitchers from the list last year that saw some brief major league time. Julio Urias and Daniel Castro made it from the 2016 list but a shoulder injury has sidelined Julio’s progress with the Dodgers and pedestrian talent has prevented Castro from continuing his major league stay. There was a repeat number one and five of the ten players on this list were repeats. Dropping off the list were Francisco Rios, Jose Cardona, Jose Luis Hernandez, Fernando Perez and Christian Villanueva. This is not a list filled with top prospects. Only Luis Urias has a significant shot at seeing full time major league time.

1. Luis Urias (Padres) 2B/SS - He started as a second baseman but the Padres have given him time at short. His future position may be second base but the arm is strong enough to play short and the range is there. It just would not be super elite for the position. The bat is the prize here, making contact and walking more than striking out, a trait not shared by many. He also peppers the gaps with line drives, with the capability of staying in the .300 neighborhood. There is very little power in his swing and not a lot of speed in his legs, but he would be a perfect two hole hitter. Luis could be ready to see major league time by mid-season, but the 2018 season will see him start in AAA. His career minor league average is .310.

2. Isaac Paredes (Tigers) SS/2B - Paredes was acquired from the Cubs in the Justin Wilson/Alex Avila trade. The Cubs signed Paredes out of Mexico in 2015. Isaac is another contact hitter who may lack the speed and build to stay at short. He does have a little power in his bat so a move to second or third could provide a team with an offensive second baseman or a defensive third baseman with decent power. He struggled a little bit in Low A (.217) after being traded by the Cubs. Still a teenager the Tigers could keep him at Low A to get his feet wet or challenge him with a promotion to High A where he would be considered one of the younger players in the league.

3. Jose Albertos (Cubs) RHP - Pitchers from Mexico usually are not hard throwers. The Cubs spent $1.5 million on Albertos because he can zing his fastball across the plate in the high 90s but generally sits on the higher side of the low 90s to the mid-90s. Like most pitchers from Mexico, they learn the change and Jose has a good one, making the fastball appear to have that much more velocity. A third pitch needs to be perfected for him to slide into the rotation, otherwise he may be best suited for the bullpen. Last year he pitched in the rookie leagues and did well. His career opposition batting average since signing is .176 and he strikes out 10.5 hitters per nine innings. Next year will be his big test when he starts a full season league.

4. Andres Munoz (Padres) RHP - The first new player on this list. The Padres paid out a $700,000 bonus in 2015 to sign Munoz away from the Mexico City team. Since his signing his fastball has increased from the low 90s to sitting in the high 90s to hitting triple digits. All of his work has been out of the bullpen where he does not need to hold back. Finding the plate has been a struggle walking just over six hitters per nine innings. Also, he pitches out of the bullpen because he only has a fastball/slider combination. Those limitations will keep him in the bullpen as he rises through the ranks. Last year he got three appearances at Low A. That is where he should start the 2018 season. If the Padres want to see him develop more pitches and improve his control they could move him into a starter’s role, but myworld does not see that happening this year.

5. Victor Arano (Phillies) RHP - Victor is one of two pitchers from the list last year who saw major league time. After 2015 all of his time has been spent in the bullpen where he can unleash his fastball in the mid-90s. His slider may be his best pitch, the one he uses to retire hitters. While his numbers at AA Reading were not awe inspiring (4.19 ERA) the Phillies still promoted him to their major league club. He did well, limiting the opposition to a .158 average and striking out 11 hitters per nine innings. With a good spring his strong major league performance could give him a shot to start the season with the major league club, or ride that roller coaster, bouncing back and forth between AAA and the Phillies.

6. Tirso Orneles (Padres) OF - The Padres have always talked about expanding their roster to include more players from Mexico, attracting fans from Tijuana to attend their games. Tirso is a player they signed for $1.5 million from the Mexico City club. Urias and Munoz are two other players the Padres have signed out of Mexico City. At 6′4″ Tirso has the ability to generate power in his bat, banging three homeruns last year in the Arizona Rookie League as a 17 year old. His lack of speed will keep him in the corner but his arm is a fit for right. The 2018 season should see him with another season in the Rookie League unless the Padres really want to challenge him.

7. Hector Velasquez (Red Sox) RHP - The Red Sox signed Hector after the 2016 season from Campeche after he won pitcher of the year honors for the second time. Like many pitchers from Mexico, his fastball is not overpowering. He relies more on his command of pitches and his secondary stuff to retire hitters. At 28 years of age the Red Sox started him at AAA where he limited the opposition to a .213 average. This led to a promotion to the Red Sox where he held his own with three starts and five relief appearances (2.92 ERA). With a good spring he could fill the back end of the rotation, but more likely he will start the season in AAA and will be called upon when needed, adding depth to the rotation.

8. Javier Assad (Cubs) RHP - The Cubs do a good job of signing players out of Mexico. Assad was signed in 2015 for $150,000. Assad has a large frame (200 pounds) so he needs to watch his weight. Not an overpowering pitcher he relies more on command and an assortment of pitches to throw at hitters to keep them off balance. A .275 opposition average is evidence that hitters can make hard contact against him if his command is off. The 2018 season will be his first in a full season league. His best bet is to fit in the back of a rotation or fill the middle of a bullpen.

9. Victor Ruiz (Reds) C - Victor was a third baseman for the Tijuana team but the Reds signed him in 2016 and moved him to catcher. His arm is strong for the position but last year he struggled throwing runners out with a 19 percent success rate. While there is some pop in his bat he failed to hit a homerun in his 78 at bats in the rookie league. He also needs to improve his patience at the plate with a 1/22 walk to whiff ratio leading to a .250 OBA. At 18 years old entering the 2018 season he will be a major work in progress. Expect him to stay in the Rookie League to continue to improve on his catching craft.

10. Giovanny Gallegos RHP (Yankees) - The Yankees signed Giovanny in 2011, a year after signing Manny Banuelos. His stuff is not as good as Manny but his arm has survived to allow him to continue his major league pursuit, while Manny has transformed into a journeyman. A mid-90s fastball limited AAA hitters to a .180 average and 14.33 whiffs per nine innings. This got him a promotion to the Yankees where the hitters feasted on his lack of quality secondary pitches to hit him at a .263 pace. The 2018 season could see him rotate back and forth between the Yankees and AAA, but carrying only a fastball will leave him at the back end of the bullpen, unless he can perfect a second pitch to complement his fastball.

United States New Number One

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

With their win in the World Baseball Classic the United States has ended the three year reign of Japan and taken over the number one spot in baseball, according to the World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC). With the top 12 teams qualifying for the Premier 12 in 2019 myworld will list the top 13 teams as ranked by the WBSC. Mexico sitting at number five has never been ranked higher.

1. United States (5025 points)
2. Japan (4609 points)
3. South Korea (4158 points)
4. Cuba (3152 points)
5. Mexico (2613 points)
6. Taiwan (2520 points)
7. Canada (2142 points)
8. Australia (2095 points)
9. Netherlands (2002 points)
10. Puerto Rico (1796 points)
11. Venezuela (1765 points)
12. Dominican Republic (1227 points)
13. Nicaragua (1155 points)

You can see the complete list at wbsc.org/rankings/

Cuba Win Pool Play in Series del Caribe

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

There were some meaningless games in the Series del Caribe. Mexico won their first game but it did not help them make the playoffs. Cuba also won to give them the best record in pool play, but that only gave them a date with the Dominican Republic in the first round of the playoffs. The Dominicans gave Cuba their only loss.

Cuba 6 Puerto Rico 3

Raul Gonzalez broke a 3-3 tie with an RBI double in the seventh inning to give Cuba the victory and the honor of winning pool play. Guillermo Aviles clinched it in the eighth with a two run single to up the spread by three. Leandro Martinez shut out the Puerto Rican bats for the last four innings to preserve the win.

All of Puerto Rico’s runs were scored on solo shots, the last one in the fifth inning by Cuban native Dayron Varona. Anthony Garcia hit his second homerun of the series in the first inning and Ruben Gotay slugged one in the fifth inning, the beginning of back to backs with Varona that tied the score at 3-3.

Frank Morejon hit a solo shot for Cuba in the third inning to score their first run. He also added an RBI double in the fifth and scored three of the six Cuban runs.

Mexico 8 Dominican Republic 1

Mexico got their first win but it did not help them advance in the playoffs since it was a foregone conclusion entering the game they were out of it. Mexico broke the game open in the sixth inning with four runs, two of them driven in on a homerun by Justin Greene. Japhet Amador added a solo shot in the seventh.

Sergio Mitre worked six innings to get the win for Mexico.

Cuba Starts Off Strong in Series del Caribe

Monday, February 5th, 2018

Myworld was in Greensboro, North Carolina over the weekend coaching in a volleyball tournament so we missed the first weekend of the Series del Caribe. Below is a summary of the first weekend of activities.

Cuba 6 Venezuela 4

The first day saw Cuba knock off Venezuela in the opener. Yurisbel Gracial drove in three runs, including an RBI double in the first inning to drive in the second run of the game. Roel Santos got the inning started with a single and advanced to third after centerfielder Rafael Ortega committed an error. Yordan Manduley drove him in with a single.

Venezuela tied it with a run in the third. Back to back singles by Luis Sardinas and Rafael Ortega put runners on first and third with no out. Cuba stunted the rally turning a double play but it allowed the first run to score. In the fourth Luis Jimenez went deep with a solo shot to tie the game.

Gracial got the lead back for Cuba in the bottom of the fifth with a sacrifice fly. He scored Raul Gonzalez, who had started the inning with a single. Santos bunted him to second and Manduley advanced him to third with a single.

Cuba extended the lead to 5-2 with a two out rally. Santos started the inning with a walk, then stole second. Manduley walked and Gracial drove in his third run of the game with a single. Alexander Ayala drove in the second run with a single, pinch hitting for batting title winner Jorge Yhonson who had replaced the injured Alfredo Despaigne in left field.

Trailing 6-4 in the top of the ninth Venezuela loaded the bases. Luis Jimenez came to the plate with reliever Raidel Martinez having no place to put him. Martinez struck out Jimenez to end the inning and give Cuba the victory. The win may prove costly as Alfredo Despaigne had to leave the game with a pulled calf muscle.

Puerto Rico 7 Mexico 4

Puerto Rico got off to a good start despite an abbreviated season with a 7-4 win over Mexico. Both teams were tied at 4-4 entering the 8th but Puerto Rico scored three in the inning to put the game away. Anthony Garcia led off the inning with a double and David Vidal scored the go ahead run with a double. A wild pitch scored the second run and Dayron Varona sent one to the fence in center field for an RBI triple to extend the lead to 7-4.

In the bottom frame Mexico put runners on second and third with two out but Walter Ibarra struck out to end the inning. Miguel Mejia replaced Robby Rowland on the mound for the ninth inning, giving up only a one out single to Rico Noel, but retiring the other three hitters to earn the save and give the victory to Puerto Rico.

Venezuela 15 Dominican Republic 4

Venezuela battered Dominican pitching for 20 hits to rout the Dominican Republic. Recent National signing Balbino Fuenmayor went 5 for 5 with two homeruns a double and two singles. He drove in five runs and scored three times. Balbino got the scoring started in the second inning with a solo shot. In the third inning he made it 3-0 with a two run blast. Fuenmayor hit a two run double in the fifth just after the Dominicans scored three in the top frame to trim the lead to 4-3.

In the sixth inning after the first two hitters were retired by the Dominicans Rafael Ortega hit a two run homer and Rene Reyes also hit a two run homer to give Venezuela a commanding 10-4 lead. They scored five more in the 8th, Willains Astudillo and Alexi Amarista each contributing two run doubles to fuel the inning.

Raul Valdes got the start for the Dominican Republic and gave up four runs in four innings of work. The bullpen let the game get away allowing 9 runs in the last three innings Venezuela hit. Freddy Garcia started for Venezuela but was one out shy of getting the victory, allowing three runs.

Cuba 5 Mexico 4

Cuba sent Mexico down to their second loss, while they moved to 2-0 on Saturday. Cuba rallied to score three runs in their last two at bats to pull out the win. Raul Gonzalez led off the bottom of the 7th with a solo homerun. Frederich Cepeda tied the game later in the inning when he hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded. In the 8th Raul Gonzalez hit a sacrifice fly to score Yoelqui Cespedes with the go ahead run.

Raidel Martinez came on to pitch the ninth and retired Mexico in order to send the Mexican faithful back home disappointed. Alain Sanchez went five innings in relief, allowing just one run to get the victory. He came on in relief of Cuban ace Yoennis Yera, who was not sharp, giving up seven hits and walking three to allow Mexico to score three of their runs.

Dominican Republic 6 Puerto Rico 3

The Dominicans scored five runs in the first two innings to bounce back from their Venezuelan loss in the opener. Edwin Espinal drove in the first two runs in the first inning with a two run single. Francisley Bueno pitched five innings of shutout ball to get the win.

The Dominican bullpen almost choked the game in the sixth with Samuel Deduno failing to retire any of the three hitters he faced. All of them scored to make the game close. Josh Judy was able to retire all three hitters he faced in the ninth to pull out the save for Dominican Republic for their first win.

Giovanni Soto gave up five of the six runs for Puerto Rico, failing to survive the second inning. He failed to retire the first three hitters he faced in the second inning and was pulled.

Venezuela 6 Mexico 4

The Venezuelan bats stayed hot, accumulating 14 hits in their second victory of the Series del Caribe. Willians Astudillo and Luis Domoromo led the charge with three hits apiece. Luis was a perfect 3 for 3 on the day with one walk. Rafael Ortega led the game off with a homerun, his second of the series for Venezuela. Astudillo hit a solo shot in the sixth to break a 2-2 tie giving Mexico a lead they would not relinquish.

Chris Roberson hit a pinch hit two run homer in the 9th to put Mexico within two runs of a victory. A Fernando Perez single brought up pinch hitter Japhet Amador to represent the tying run. Venezuela went to Victor Capellan on the mound. An error by third baseman Niuman Romero put runners on first and third with one out. Walter Ibarra came to the plate representing the go ahead run. Capellan coaxed him into grounding into a 6-4-3 double play.

After the first three days Cuba is the only undefeated team at 2-0. Mexico at 0-3 is close to being eliminated from the Series del Caribe they are hosting. They need a victory over the Dominican Republic in their final game of pool play just to survive. Venezuela is assured of advancing with their 2-1 record and Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico sit at 1-1, both needing one more win to clinch an advance.

Culiacan Wins Game Seven in Mexican Championship

Monday, January 29th, 2018

The Culiacan Tomateros will represent Mexico in the Series del Caribe after their exciting game seven 6-4 12 inning win over the Navojoa Mayos. Joey Meneses, who hit a two run homer earlier in the game, led off the 12th with a single to get the inning started. With the bases loaded and one out Alfredo Amezaga singled to score Meneses with the go ahead run. Jonathan Aceves added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly. Chad Gaudin came on to pitch the 12th and after giving up a leadoff hit struck out the last two hitters to earn the save and give Culiacan the championship.

Novojoa had a 4-3 lead going into the top of the ninth but Daniel Moskos could not close the game out. A lead off walk and Maxwell Leon double put runners on second and third with one out. An intentional walk loaded the bases to set up a double play but Sebastian Elizalde elevated the ball into the outfield to score Jose Chavez with the tying run.

Jesus Castillo was most of the offense for the Mayos. His solo shot in the bottom of the eighth had given the Mayos a 4-3 lead. He also added a two run homer in the bottom of the fifth.

Joey Meneses launched a two run homer for the Tomateros in the top of the fourth. Meneses finished the day with three hits, in addition to his two runs scored and two RBIs.

For Culiacan it is their first appearance in the Series del Caribe since 2015. Navojoa fans have not seen a champion since 2000 and they will have to wait another year to find one.

Japan Retains Number One Ranking in Baseball

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

The United States earned more points than any other country in 2017 but it was not enough to surpass Japan for the number one ranking. For the third year in a row Japan is the number one ranked country in baseball. They earned the second most points in baseball last year and now lead the United States by 244 points. The 2018 season will be difficult for the United States to surpass Japan since they are not participating in the Under 23 Baseball World Cup in Nicaragua in October, one of the two tournaments that hand out the most points for the 2018 season. In a couple weeks the rankings could shuffle as points from 2014 expire, but if the United States should surpass Japan because of subtracted points their reign will be short.

Below are the top 12 teams in baseball, plus number 13 waiting to crack into the top 12. The top 12 teams will qualify for the Premier 12, which is the third most prestigious baseball tournament after the Olympics and the World Baseball Classic.

1. Japan (5658 points)
2. United States (5414 points)
3. Korea (4950 points)
4. Taiwan (3808 points)
5. Cuba (3677 points)
6. Mexico (3012 points)
7. Australia (2634 points)
8. Netherlands (2377 points)
9. Venezuela (2363 points)
10. Canada (2142 points)
11. Puerto Rico (1827 points)
12. Italy (1686 points)

13. Nicaragua (1636 points)