Archive for the 'Mexico' Category

Top Prospects from Mexico

Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

The graduating class from last year’s list include Alex Verdugo, the number one prospect and Luis Urias, who was at number three. Four players were dropped from last year’s list (Florencio Serrano, Luis Verdugo, Jose Albertos and Reivaj Garcia). Serrano was ranked as the number two prospect last year based on the wild invalid signing issues by the Cubs allowing him to slip to the Rangers as an international signing prospect for $1.5 million. He then bombed in his first season in rookie ball with a 6.49 ERA. Myworld will wait another year before ranking him in our top ten. That leaves six new names to propagate this year’s list. Below are the 2020 top ten prospects from Mexico playing in the minor leagues.

1. Andres Munoz RHP (Padres) - He moved up from number six last year. The fastball is quite impressive, hitting triple digits pretty consistently. It got him 22 appearances with the Padres last year in the bullpen. He is expected to compete for their closer job this year. In AA he struck out 18.4 hitters per nine innings. In the major leagues it dropped to 11.7. While his fastball is impressive, his second pitch, the slider is just a show me pitch to keep hitters from sitting on the fastball. He also has issues finding the plate and staying healthy for a full season. So the bullpen is where he stays. In his minor league career he has given up 69 hits in 106 innings and walked 65.

2. Alejandro Kirk C (Blue Jays) - Last year Kirk did not appear on this list even after he hit .354 with 10 homeruns and a 1.001 OPS in rookie ball. For the 2019 season he split his time between Low A and High A where he combined for a .290 average with seven homeruns. At 5′9″ and 220 he doesn’t have the body to impress scouts, but he makes consistent contact with the ball, resulting in a 89/60 walk to whiff ratio. His power will probably be restricted more to the gaps and his lack of speed will prevent him from taking the extra base. So far, he has not shown a lot defensively and may have to move from the catcher spot, with DH and first base his only real alternatives. Kirk may lack the power to play first base. So the Blue Jays will keep him at catcher and hope his weight stays in check and his defensive skills progress as he rises up the minor league ranks.

3. Jose Urquidy RHP (Astros) - Jose also rose from the ranks of the non-existent. Myworld watched him pitch in a playoff game against the Nationals. His stuff is not impressive, but he gets hitters out. He stands only 6′0″ and his fastball sits in the low 90s, but he can tip the mid-90s with a little effort. His excellent changeup and the command he shows with his pitches is what gets hitters out. In the minor leagues opponents were able to hit .248 off him, but Jose limited the runners from scoring by limiting his walks and whiffing 9.8 hitters per nine innings. Next year he will fit at the back end of the Astros rotation. Whether major league hitters can figure him out in his second year will determine his staying power.

4. Isaac Paredes 2B/3B (Tigers) - Isaac was rated fourth last year and he remains in that position this year. He started as a shortstop, but like Kirk his 5′11, 225 pound frame makes it tough for him to stay at that position. His hit tool is impressive, with a .274 minor league average and his power could develop. Last year he hit 13 homeruns with a .416 slugging percentage. That will fall short if he wants to fit into a corner slot. His defense at second may remind people more of Carlos Baerga. It will be his bat that will put him in the lineup. His best bet may be to make it as a utility player, with the possibility to even add left field to his defensive repertoire.

5. Gerardo Carrillo RHP (Dodgers) - Gerardo moved up four spots from the ninth position he occupied last year. At 6′1″ Gerardo is not a big man on the mound, but his fastball can cross the plate in the mid-90s, with lots of movement. Last year he struck out a hitter per inning. Developing his secondary pitches and finding the plate are his next challenges. Last year he walked 51 hitters in 86 innings and plunked 17. That wildness alone can send a message. His cutter is his most developed secondary pitch. Last year he pitched in High A and his 5.44 ERA and .263 opponents average told the tale of a year of struggle.

6. Tirso Ornelas OF (Padres) - He was the 10th rated prospect last year and his 2019 season may have been worse. He struggled to hit for average (.217) and his slugging percentage was below .300. The Padres paid $1.5 million on the talent they saw in Tirso. At 6′3″ he has impressive height but his swing is slow, not allowing him to catch up on fastballs. There is the potential for good plate discipline and a tinge of power, but that won’t develop until he speeds up his swing. His speed is a little above average, not enough to play centerfield and his below average arm may be a better fit for left field. This will put more pressure on him to develop that power that won’t be seen unless he can quicken his swing.

7. Victor Gonzalez LHP (Dodgers) - The last six guys on this list are all borderline prospects. Victor makes it because he throws lefthanded and his fastball sits in the mid-90s. The secondary pitches sit average at best but need a lot of work if he does not want hitters sitting on his fastball. Last year he rose up three levels, finishing the season at AAA. At each level he rose he got easier to hit, going from a .174 opposition average at High A to a .286 at AAA. He does throw strikes but he needs to improve his secondary pitches if he hopes to have success against major leaguers.

8. Ramon Urias 2B (Orioles) - When myworld first started working on this list Ramon was a Cardinal. He was placed on waivers and the Orioles picked him up. He was originally signed by the Rangers in 2010 but he returned to the Mexican League to play there during the 2013 season. The Cardinals then picked him up in 2018. He has a decent hit tool with limited power that could get him into the double digits in homeruns. His defense will not overwhelm you, but as a hitter he could end up fitting as a utility player. Last year he reached AAA, hitting .263 with 9 homeruns and a .793 OPS.

9. Aldo Ramirez RHP (Red Sox) - Aldo throws a vanilla mix. His fastball sits in the low 90s but can travel in the mid-90s on occasion. His curve and change give him three average pitches. The Red Sox signed him in 2018 and last year he made his minor league debut, stitching together a 3.94 ERA in 13 starts and one relief appearance. Opponents hit him at a .245 clip but he did strike out more than a hitter an inning. He turns 19 in May so he has plenty of time to develop. At only 6′0 at best he will fit in the back of the rotation or be used in middle relief.

10. Manuel Rodriguez RHP (Cubs) - Manuel does not reach 6′0″ but his fastball sits in the mid-90s and he can reach the upper 90s. The Cubs signed him in 2016 for $400,000. All of his minor league appearances have been in the bullpen. His secondary pitches are average or below, which will keep him in the bullpen. Last year he improved his command, throwing more strikes and the opposition average went from .308 to .242. He won’t be anything more than a situational reliever that is used to get right handed hitters out.

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.

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.

Mexican Violence Continues with Murder of ex-Major Leaguer

Monday, February 3rd, 2020

It appears the violence in Mexico continues. Whatever policy the current administration has tried to implement has not curbed the violence. Now ex-major leaguer, KBO and NPB pitcher Narciso Elvira and his 20 year old son were shot to death near a town of Medellin de Bravo. Their car was ambushed on Tuesday and they were gunned down as they tried to flee from their car. No motive other than random criminals seem to be involved in this murder. This seems to follow a pattern of many other car ambushes and the need to travel in convoys when using the Mexican roads.

Elvira only had one September callup in the major leagues and four appearances with the Brewers as a pitcher back in 1990. He finished with a 5.40 ERA in five innings of work. A decade later he was signed by the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes where he threw the first no hitter by a Latin pitcher in Japan on June 20. He finished his two years there 7-8 with a 4.79 ERA. After his Japan years ended he signed to pitch two more years in Korea with the Samsung Lions. His first year (2003) he went 13-6 with a 2.50 ERA, but he only lasted six starts his second year going 1-1, 7.06 before returning to Mexico to end his career.

He retired from baseball after the 2009 season to become a rancher. He was kidnapped in 2015 and survived 23 days of captivity, eventually found chained to a tree. He stayed in Mexico where five years later he was murdered.

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.

Culiacan Mexican Winter League Champion

Friday, January 31st, 2020

Not much stress in winning a game seven, 11-0. After Mazatlan’s Juan Pablo Orames retired the first two hitters in the bottom of the first, Culiacan hit back to back to back doubles and Efren Navarro ended the scoring with a two run homer to give them an early 4-0 lead. With Anthony Vazquez tossing six innings of shut out ball the game was over after that.

Culiacan continued mashing the ball, with Ramiro Pena slugging two homeruns and driving in five of the next seven Culiacan runs. He hit a solo shot in the third, added an RBI single in the fourth and blasted a three run homer in the sixth. Up 10-0 after six the Tomateros went to their bullpen to work the final three innings.

Culiacan is the last team to qualify for the Series del Caribe.