Archive for the 'Mexico' Category

Top Prospects from Mexico

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Julio Urias finally made it to the major leagues. He had appeared as the top prospect from Mexico the last couple years. Daniel Castro was fourth on the 2016 list. He made it as a Braves utility player grabbing 130 at bats to lose his rookie eligibility. A .200 average gave Castro his free agency and now he is with the Rockies playing at AAA. Luis Cessa got some starts and bullpen appearances last year with the Yankees. He is back in AAA giving the Yankees some depth in the starting rotation.

The top ten of 2017 lacks star power with Julio Urias no longer eligible. Another Urias unrelated to Julio appears on this list. Myworld has finally given up on Manny Banuelos and Luis Heredia, eliminating them from the 2017 list. Banulos is pitching for the Angels. Heredia has spent what seems like a lifetime with the Pirates but has yet to leave A ball.

1. Luis Urias 2B/SS (Padres) - Luis does not have a lot of tools except a bat that rips the gaps. His speed is average or below and his power is absent. For his career he has been caught stealing more than he has had success. A utility role could be in his future. He lacks the range to play shortstop on a permanent basis but if his .317 minor league average continues in the majors he could always play second base. Back to back four hit games put his average at .357. An 8 game hitting streak has kept that average up (.343). Last year he hit his first homeruns in his professional career, sending six over the fence. This year he has slugged two, so the power may be developing.

2. Jose Albertos RHP (Cubs) - The Cubs paid $1.5 million to the Mexican team who owned the rights to Albertos. He made his debut last year with one start. He will spend his time in extended spring training as an 18 year old waiting for the start of Arizona Rookie League. Reports have Joes hitting the mid-90s with his fastball with a good changeup. He has a long way to go before he makes an impact with the Cubs.

3. Francisco Rios RHP (Blue Jays) - Rios surprised in his first year of full season ball, dominating in six starts at Low A (1.20 ERA). He struck out 12.9 hitters per nine innings and limited the opposition to a .193 average. When promoted to High A his rather ordinary stuff was exposed and his success waned. His fastball sits at 91-92 with two breaking pitches (slider and curve) and a change. He does throw strikes but his lack of velocity makes it important he locate his pitches to prevent hard contact.

4. Victor Arano RHP (Phillies) - The Phillies acquired Arano from the Dodgers back in 2014 for Roberto Hernandez. The Dodgers had purchased him from the Mexico City Red Devils. Arano was moved to relief last year where he achieved some success. His fastball showed more velocity out of the pen, hitting the mid-90s which created more swings and misses. Last year he struck out 10.7 batters per nine innings compared to the previous year as a starter when he struck out just 5 hitters per nine. His slider is a good pitch and in the bullpen he does not need to rely on a third pitch. He started the 2017 season on the disabled list.

5. Jose Cardona OF (Rangers) - Jose was signed out of Mexico in 2011. In his first four seasons he hit only one homerun. It also took him awhile to escape the rookie league. In 2015 he cracked the full season league and burst out with 10 homeruns with 30 stolen bases. He did even better the following year in the hitter friendly California League hitting 14 homeruns with a .300 average. Starting this year in AA his power has yet to show with only three extra base hits. He plays a solid defense and could make it as a fourth outfielder.

6. Giovanny Gallegos RHP (Yankees) - The Yankees signed Giovanny a year after signing Manny Banuelos. The Yankees converted him to the bullpen in 2014 and he has not made a start since. The last couple years he has pitched in AAA with some success, limiting the opposition to a .178 average. The Yankees will use him as depth to their bullpen, adding him to their 40 man roster this year. His fastball hits the mid-90s but his other pitchers are dicey with a curveball and change. 106 whiffs in 78 innings last year and 14 whiffs in 8 innings this year makes him an attractive option, despite only having a fastball to get hitters out.

7. Isaac Paredes SS (Cubs) - In 2015 the Cubs paid the Mexico City Red Devils $800,000 for Isaac. He hit .305 as a teenager in the rookie league earning a promotion to full season ball. He has sure hands but lacks the range to play short. The power may not come to play third so expect his future to be at second. He played for the 15 and under Mexican national team.

8. Jose Luis Hernandez RHP (Astros) - Jose was signed out of Mexico by the Astros in 2015. He does not throw hard, hitting the radar guns in the high 80s to low 90s. At 6′0″ he also lacks height as a righthander. His secondary pitches with above average location will determine his fate. He starts the 2017 season on the disabled list.

9. Fernando Perez 1B (Padres) - Last year Fernando was limited to 44 games because of injuries. He plays the same position as Luis with a less impressive stick. He does show some pop with 18 homeruns and 95 RBIs in 2014. The Padres have moved him to first base where he needs to show power to stick at the position. This year he has slugged three homeruns with a .479 slugging.

10. Christian Villanueva 3B (Padres) - Christian did not play last year because of a fracture right fibula. He was declared a free agent and signed with the Padres. This season he has started on the disabled list. He plays third base. The Padres lack a player with the skills of Kris Bryant playing that position. The Padres hope he gets healthy and can show the power he did with the Cubs when he hit 20 homeruns in 2015.

Japan Retains Number One World Ranking

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Despite the United States first place finish in the World Baseball Classic tournament this month Japan has retained the number one ranking thanks to their third place finish. Over the course of the voting the United States has won four tournaments to one for Japan in tournaments both teams have competed in. Where Japan jumps ahead of the United States is their two championships that the United States chose not to enter.

Below is the top 12 teams and their points accumulated in parenthesis.

1. Japan (5699)
2. United States (5378)
3. South Korea (4789)
4. Taiwan (3901)
5. Cuba (3737)
6. Mexico (2961)
7. Venezuela (2804)
8. Australia (2433)
9. Netherlands (2071)
10. Canada (2020)
11. Puerto Rico (1759)
12. Italy 1708

You can see the complete list by going to World rankings

Mexico Tie Breaker Error Explained

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

The WBC made a calculation error prior to Mexico playing Venezuela saying that Mexico needed to only win by two to be one of the two teams playing for the second spot to advance to the second round playoff spot. They beat Venezuela by two and were quite upset when they were informed they did not advance. The tie breaker rule is defensive runs per inning and it appeared a miscalculation was made when they first put the numbers together.

The pitching staff for Mexico was supposed to be their strong suit. It failed them in the WBC, especially the bullpen in the game against Italy. When the initial calculations were made for that game Mexico got credit for that ninth inning when Italy scored five runs and the Mexican bullpen failed to get an out. Since an out was not recorded in that ninth inning Mexico could only get credit for eight innings, not the nine innings they were given credit for before the game was played. Mexico lost the tie breaker to Venezuela 1.12 to 1.11.

Adrian Gonzalez was not happy. He says he will not play in another WBC game. That may be a moot point since he will be 38 years old when the next WBC tournament is scheduled. The bottom line is that if the pitching staff for Mexico, especially the vaunted bullpen, had done their job they would have advanced to the second round. Losing a four run lead in the bottom of the ninth without retiring a hitter eliminated them from the WBC. Those facts can not be changed. Giving them an inning when they did not get an out to deserve that inning can be changed. It is just too bad the error had to occur.

Netherlands Pounds Israel in WBC; Venezuela and Italy to Meet in Playoffs

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Israel can’t pitch Jason Marquis every night. Yesterday they went with Corey Baker and he failed to get an out in the third, giving up four runs on three hits and two walks in his outing. Netherlands went with Jair Jurrgens. A Nate Freiman homerun in the fourth was the only run he gave up in his six innings of work. For Freiman it was his second homerun of the WBC. The Netherlands scored the first 10 runs in four innings and went on to win 12-2 in a game shortened to eight innings by the ten run rule.

Didi Gregorius blasted a three run homerun in the fourth inning off Danny Burawa. He finished the game with five RBIs and three runs scored. Andrelton Simmons, Wladimir Balentien and Yurendell DeCaster each lashed out three hits. Balentein scored three times to tie with Didi for the most runs scored in the game. Nate Freiman leads all players in runs scored with 7 while Didi and Wladimir are tied for second with many other players at 5.

The Netherlands needs to beat Cuba to advance to the final four. Israel must still face Japan needing a win to have any hopes of advancing to the final four.

Mexico 11 Venezuela 9

Mexico won the ball game but it did not help them advance to the tie breaker, giving up too many runs in the later innings. The tiebreaker to advance to the second round will be a game between Venezuela and Italy. Mexico jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, Esteban Quiroz slugging a three run homer to end the scoring. Brandon Laird also hit a three run homer in the fifth inning to up the Mexican lead to 8-1. If the Mexicans would have held the Venezuelans scoreless they would have advanced to the tie breaker. They did not.

Venezuela battled back for eight runs in three innings to pull to within two. A walk to Ender Inciarte in the ninth put the tying run on first for Venezuela and led to the ejection of Mexican manager Edgar Gonzalez. Robinson Chirinos struck out and Jose Altuve flied out but Venezuela got the playoff date based on a better runs allowed per defensive inning. If Mexico had held Venezuela to a couple less runs they may have advanced to the playoff game.

The last time Italy and Venezuela met Venezuela won in 10 11-10.

Israel Rolls Past Cuba; Venezuela Wins Wild Game

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

Israel proved they are a team to contend with after their 4-1 win over Cuba, keeping them undefeated in WBC play. Jason Marquis went 5.2 innings, allowing just one run in taming the Cuban bats with his assortment of breaking pitches. Cuba scored their only run off him when Alfredo Despaigne lined one of his pitches over the centerfield wall in the second inning to give Cuba an early 1-0 lead.

Israel tied the game in the fourth when Ryan Lavarnway doubled into left field. Despaigne took long enough getting to the ball to allow Ike Davis to score from first. Noelvis Entenza would retire the next hitter, but the Lavarnway double was the first hit he had given up in the game. He left after the fourth inning with three walks, the third one costing him a run.

Israel scored two more in the sixth. Walks again hurt the Cubans. A Ty Kelly single and Nate Freiman walk set the stage for Zach Borenstein, who broke the tie with a single to right field, scoring Kelly. Blake Gailen doubled to increase the score to 3-1. The Israelis managed to load the bases but Livan Moinelo got Scott Burcham to fly out to end the inning.

A lead off walk in the eighth led to the fourth Israeli run. Zach Borenstein advanced to third on a Ryan Lavarnway single. Blake Gailen laid down a bunt to score Borenstein.

Cuba did not really mount much of an offensive threat until the eighth inning. They loaded the bases on a single and two walks, Despaigne walking to load the bases. Josh Zeid came on to pitch and retired William Saavedra on a ground out to end the threat. The Cubans were retired in order in the ninth, Josh Zeid picking up the save.

Venezuela 11 Italy 10

It took 10 innings but Venezuela made up for their disaster of a game against the Puerto Ricans. Jose Altuve stroked a one out single in the tenth and Martin Prado drove him in with a double. For Prado it was his fifth hit of the game. Jose Castillo retired the Italians in order in the tenth to cap the win.

It was not easy. The Venezuelans thought they had the game won after scoring two in the ninth to take a 10-8 lead. Salvador Perez hit a two run homer for what appeared to be a victory.

The pesky Italians who scored five runs in the ninth the previous night to beat Mexico again proved formidable. Rob Segedin reached second on a throwing error by Alcides Escobar. He scored after two ground outs but still Venezuela had a one run lead. An Alex Liddi single and walk to Drew Butera put two runners on. Gavin Cecchini singled to score pinch runner Drew Maggi. Butera was not pinch run for and he tried to score on the hit but was thrown out at home. Myworld wonders where the pinch runner was for Butera. The game went to extra innings.

Italy had taken an early 5-0 lead after four innings. Daniel Descalso had driven in three runs with his two hits. Alex Liddo and Brandon Nimmo blasted solo homeruns in the fourth.

Venezuela stormed back, led by the 5 for 5 night from Martin Prado. He drove in three runs. The Venezuelans tacked on eight runs in the fifth through seventh innings. Italy scored one in the seventh and two in the eighth to send it into the ninth tied 8-8. There were 12,187 in attendance enjoying the slugfest.

Colombia 4 Canada 1

Julio Teheran pitched five innings of two hit ball to lead the Colombians to an upset win over the Canadians. Now all they have to do is beat the Dominicans for an opportunity to advance to the second round, or a Canadian win over the United States team. Canada has shown you can’t use the success of a 2011 roster to fill your 2017 roster if those players have taken off a couple years from playing.

The game did not start out well for Teheran. In the first inning a walk and two singles, the last by Freddie Freeman gave the Canadians an early run. Freedie Freeman was then caught stealing second as Tyler O’Neil struck out on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning. Teheran settled down after that, allowing just one hit over the next four innings.

Colombia scored their first run in the third when Donavan Solano drove in his brother Jhonatan with a single. Donavan was thrown out at second trying to advance a base on the throw home. For the Colombians it was the Solano show on offense.

Colombia added another run in the fifth to take the lead. Tito Polo slapped a two out single to center, stole second and scored on another Donavan Solano single. The Solano brothers struck again in the sixth with Jhonatan taking a walk with the bases loaded to drive in the third run. Jhonatan ended his day in the ninth with a leadoff double. Oscar Mercado pinch ran for him and scored on a Tito Polo bunt single after Scott Mathieson threw the ball away.

Canada could not mount any kind of offense against the under rated Colombian pitching staff. Yohan Pino came in to replace Teheran and tossed three innings of one hit shutout relief. Dayan Diaz gave up two back to back singles after striking out the first two hitters, but ended the inning and the game with a strikeout to secure the victory.

Puerto Rico 9 Mexico 4

In two games Mexico has now given up 9 runs in the ninth inning. Puerto Rico scored four in the top of the ninth to turn a close 5-4 game into a 9-4 rout. Javier Baez had the big hit with a three run homer. Francisco Lindor hit two homeruns for Puerto Rico, a two run homer in the first and a solo shot in the seventh that gave Puerto Rico a 5-1 lead. Mexico bounced back scoring three runs in the bottom half to make the game close.

Jorge Lopez got the start and the win for Puerto Rico allowing just one run on two hits in his 4.1 innings of work. A crowd of over 15,000 showed up to watch Mexico get almost eliminated from any shot of advancing to the second round. They have to beat Venezuela and hope Puerto Rico is fired up enough to beat the Italians to create a three way tie for second. Puerto Rico guaranteed themselves an opportunity to advance, but they must still beat Italy to advance as the first seed.

Major leaguers by Country

Saturday, March 11th, 2017

Baseball America broke out the top countries who have players in the major leagues. The top ten is listed below.

1. United States - 5,043 (67.34%)
2. Dominican Republic - 1,117 (14.92%)
3. Venezuela - 628 (8.39%)
4. Puerto Rico - 163 (2.18%)
5. Canada - 92 (1.23%)
6. Mexico - 91 (1.22%)
7. Cuba - 82 (1.09%)
8. Panama - 52 (0.69%)
9. Colombia - 38 (0.51%)
10. Australia - 29 (0.39%)

If you combined Curacao and Aruba, both colonies of the Netherlands and included them with the players from the Netherlands that count would also be 38, putting the Netherlands in tenth place.

You can go to the International section of Baseball America to see the complete list.

Cuba Advances to Second Round with Win Over Australia; Italy with Wild Win Over Mexico

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Despite their watered down roster Cuba was able to beat Australia 4-3 to advance to the second round of the WBC. Alfredo Despaigne hit a grand slam homerun in the fifth to provide all the scoring for Cuba. It was his second homerun of the WBC.

Australia got a solo homerun from Trent Oeltjen in the seventh to cut the lead to 4-2. They scored another run in the eighth on a two out Luke Hughes double and an RBI single in the eighth. Tim Kennelly singled to put runners on first and second for Oeltjen to play hero but he struck out. Australia was retired in order in the ninth by Migual Lahera, the last two by strikeouts.

The Aussies did have some trouble making contact with runners in scoring position. In the third inning with the bases loaded and two out Logan Wade struck out to foil a rally. In the fourth inning with two runners on Luke Hughes struck out. After they had scored a run in the fifth Brad Harman struck out to end the inning, stranding an additional two runners. With runners on first and third and no out in the sixth Luke Hughes struck out and Mitchell Denning grounded into a double play. So the opportunities were there for Australia to win the game, ultimately stranding 15 runners on base.

Australia also had two outs in the fifth with no one on when Cuba began their rally with two singles and a walk to load the bases. Lachlan Wells stayed on to face Alfredo Despaigne and Despaigne deposited a ball into the left centerfield bleachers.

Warwick Saupold pitched four innings of shutout ball for Australia in his start. Australian pitchers combined to strike out 10 Cubans while Cuban pitchers combined to strike out 11 Aussies. The attendance was listed at over 38,000 but most of those fans were not there, waiting to attend the night game with Japan playing China.

Italy 10 Mexico 9

Italy stunned Mexico with five runs in the bottom of the ninth. Roberto Osuna and Oliver Perez could not retire a batter as Brandon Nimmo singled to pull Italy within one and John Andreoli hit the walk off single, scoring two.

Mexico was in charge for most of the game. Esteban Quiroz led the game off with a homerun. Italy bounced back with a homerun by John Andreoli, their number two hitter in the game.

Quiroz doubled in the third inning to give Mexico a 2-1 lead. In the fourth a Japhet Amador solo shot and a Sebastian Elizalde single upped the lead to 4-1.

Italy came back and tied the game in the bottom half of the fourth. Rob Segedin launched a two run homerun and Chris Colabello hit a solo shot.

Mexico took what appeared to be in control of the game with three runs in the fifth. Efren Navarro walked to force in a run and Luis Alfonso Cruz doubled to drive in two. Drew Butera homered for Italy to close the lead to 7-5.

Mexico scored two in the seventh on a two run single by Sebastian Elizalde. With the score now 9-5 the game looked done. Italy went down meekly in the seventh and eighth. Roberto Osuna came on to start the ninth. The home crowd was celebrating their victory.

The bats came to life for Italy with back to back to back doubles by Francisco Cervelli, Chris Colabello and Alex Liddi to make the score 9-7 and get the fans a little bit nervous. An error on a ground ball to shortstop Luis Alfonso Cruz put runners on first and third with no outs. Drew Maggi walked to load the bases. Roberto Osuna left the game and Oliver Perez came on to replace him with the tying run on second. Brandon Nimmo lined a single to right field to pull Italy to within one and John Andreoli grounded a single to second baseman Luis Urias where two runs scored to give Italy the win.

There were 14,296 crushed Mexican fans who left the park.

Japan 7 China 1

Japan had already clinched first in the first round. China scored their first run of the WBC but still lost 7-1. After finishing last in this round China will have to qualify for the next WBC.

Japan scored early getting two run homeruns from Seiji Kobayashi in the second and Sho Nakata in the third to jump out to an early lead. For Nakata it was his second homerun of the WBC.

China scored their lone run in the third on a Ray Chang single. They had runners on first and third with one out but Chuang Na grounded out to end the inning. They had no real scoring opportunities after that. Japanese pitchers struck out 12 Chinese hitters.

Baseball World Cup Under 18 Pools Determined

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

The Baseball World Cup Under 18 tournament will be held in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada from September 1-10. Nine of the top ten ranked countries will be participating in the event, with only Venezuela the lone top ten country not participating.

There will be two groups of six, who will play a round robin. The top three finishers will then advance to the second round, where each of the three teams will carry their record with them to the new pool and play the three teams advancing from the other pool. The two teams with the best record will play for the gold medal while the third and fourth best record will battle for the bronze.

Group A

Canada (9), South Korea (3), Taiwan (4), Australia (10), Italy (11), Nicaragua (16)

Group B

United States (2), Japan (1), Cuba (5), Mexico (6), Netherlands (9), South Africa (28)

The United States has won this event the last three years. The All tournament team from the last Under 18 tournament included first round draft pick Josh Naylor from Canada and the recently defected potential superstar from Cuba Luis Robert. Blake Retherford, the first round pick of the Yankees made the team as an outfielder. There was a Cuban player named Jose Garcia who made it as a second baseman, but do not know if that was Jose Adolis Garcia, the brother of Adonis who recently defected.

Luis Robert hit .406 with two homeruns and 11 RBIs with three doubles, three triples and four stolen bases at the event.

Mexico - 2017 WBC Review

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

Overview - Mexico has its own professional league. The longer league plays in the summer but they also have a winter league that competes in February in the Series del Caribe with four other countries. Mexico has been one of the better countries in the tournament winning three of the last four Series del Caribes until last year when Puerto Rico won.

Major league teams must pay Mexican teams for the right to use players from Mexico. Mexican teams draft locals young so the opportunities do not exist for major league teams to scour Mexico for young talent. This payment of players is part of an informal agreement that was put in place when a Mexican team owner bought a number of major league players who were in contract disputes. Fearing a rise in salary the major leagues agreed not to raid Mexican League teams for players and the Mexican League in turn would not raid the major league teams for players. Most of the bonus paid to a Mexican League team for a player like Julio Urias goes to the team. Very little of that bonus money is ever pocketed by the player.

When the baseball world cup was being played Mexico did not field a lot of competitive teams. Most of their players were committed to playing in their summer leagues so the rosters have always been watered down. The last medals Mexico won was in 1961 and 1965 when they won silver medals. They also won silver medals in 1943 and 1944 and a bronze in 1941.

Mexico also had difficulty overcoming the United States and Cuba in the Pan Am games, which was a vehicle for teams to qualify for the Olympics. They won bronze medals in 1951, 1963, 2003 and 2007 but they have never been able to finish higher than third. While they have never been to an Olympic event they have been able to upset the United States in an America’s Cup game to eliminate them from appearing in the 2004 Olympics, four years after the United States won gold in the 2000 Olympics.

Mexico has competed in all three World Baseball Classics. In 2006 they were able to advance to the second round after finishing in a three way tie for first with the United States and Canada at 2-1. The United States and Mexico advanced based on the tie breaking formulae in place leaving Canadian fans fuming. They did not advance past the second round, winning only one game, but that game brought them satisfaction. The 2-1 win over the United States was the second time in two years they had eliminated the United States from a major event. With the loss to Mexico the United States did not advance to the final four.

In the 2009 WBC Mexico was able to advance to the second round. After being spanked by Australia 17-7 in the opening game they played them again in a losers bracket game with the loser going home. This time Mexico did the spanking with a 16-1 win. In the final game against Cuba they got spanked again 16-4. The lack of pitching did not bode well for them in the second round and they lost both games, first to South Korea (8-2) and then to Cuba (7-4).

In the most recent 2013 WBC Mexico was able to beat the United States again, but they lost to Canada and Italy to fail to advance for the first time in the three WBCs. The bright spot was the victory over the United States but because of their last place finish in the pool they had to qualify for the 2017 WBC. They did that with wins over Czech Republic and Nicaragua, getting an opportunity to host a tournament.

Because Mexico was ranked as one of the top 12 teams in baseball they qualified for the Premier 12 in 2015. A fourth place finish in their pool allowed them to advance to a single elimination playoff round. They were able to beat Canada 4-3 in the first game but this time the United States got revenge by eliminating Mexico 6-1.

Mexico hopes to advance to the second round in this WBC tournament, but the pool they are in will not make it easy.

Current ranking - Mexico is currently ranked sixth in the World Baseball Rankings, their highest ranking ever. There is a lot at stake for them to advance to the second round. They are the highest ranked team in their pool with Venezuela just below them at seventh and Italy at number 11. Puerto Rico, which finished second in this tournament in 2013 is ranked 12th but they may have a better roster than they had in 2013.

Roster

Pitchers - Jorge de la Rosa, Yovani Gallardo, Giovanny Gallegos, Jaime Garcia, Miguel Gonzalez, Luis Mendoza (DPP), Vidal Nuno, Roberto Osuna (DPP), Oliver Perez, Sergio Romo, Fernando Salas, Jake Sanchez, Joakim Soria, Carlos Torres

Designated Pitchers Pool - Miguel Aguilar, Andres Avila, Marco Estrada, Carlos Fisher, Rafael Martin, Mario Meza, Ivan Salas, Julio Urias

Catchers - Xorge Carrillo, Sebastian Valle

Infielders - Japhet Amador, Daniel Castro, Luis Alfonso Cruz, Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon Laird, Esteban Quiroz, Jose Manuel Rodriguez

Outfielders - Jose Aguilar, Khris Davis, Efren Navarro, Chris Roberson, Alex Verdugo

Strengths - The bullpen should be strong with Roberto Osuna, Sergio Romo, Oliver Perez and Joakim Soria all capable of shutting down opponents after the sixth inning. The starting pitching may not be as strong in the first round as the second with Yovani Gallardo, Jaime Garcia and Jorge de La Rosa all solid starters. If they can get past the first round Julio Urias and Marco Estrada can be added to the rotation from the designated pitchers pool. If Adrian Gonzalez is healthy the Mexican team is set at first base with he and Japhet Amador providing the power. Amador failed in his major league opportunity and is now playing in Japan but his bat can carry the ball a long way. Brandon Laird can provide additional pop at third base. He is one of the top power hitters in Japan and was a top prospect with the Yankees before heading to Japan.

Weakness - They have no major leaguer behind the plate. Sebastian Valle was once a top prospect but now he is a journeyman. The outfield has been hit by the loss of Khris Davis. If he is unable to play this outfield becomes weak. Alex Verdugo is a top 100 prospect and Chris Roberson is a star in the Mexican league, but neither are a strength. Up the middle is where teams win games and Mexico is weak there. Shortstop, second base, centerfield and catching all lack any player with major league quality, though Daniel Castro is a solid utility player.

Prospects to Watch - Alex Verdugo is a top 100 prospect on most lists. He is a Dodger outfielder who carries all five tools, though none of them at a high level. He is the only prospect myworld would be interested in.

Expected Finish - Mexico will battle but will fall short advancing to the second round if they can’t upset either Venezuela or Puerto Rico. Myworld just likes the roster of Venezuela and Puerto Rico better. If Julio Urias was in the starting rotation in the first round Mexico would have a better shot at pulling an upset.

Puerto Rico Series del Caribe Champions

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

The last time Puerto Rico won the Series del Caribe it was in 2000, the beginning of the century. Every other country except Puerto Rico has won a title since then, including Cuba who only returned to the Series del Caribe a couple years ago. The tournament did not start well for Puerto Rico with three losses in their first three games. They played the Dominican Republic in the final game of their pool with the loser being eliminated from the playoffs. They beat the Dominican Republic, eliminating them from the Series del Caribe and won every game after that to earn the crown Series del Caribe champions.

The final was played on the home turf of the winner of four of the last six Series del Caribes. But that did not deter Puerto Rico from defeating Mexico 1-0. It took ten innings of play and six innings of solid shutout pitching from Puerto Rican starter Adalberto Flores to get them the win. Flores only allowed one hit, hit two batters and walked one in getting Mexico to make weak contact. When he left the game he had pitched to the minimum 18 hitters. Only a hand injury prevented him from pitching more innings. Andres Santaigo followed for two innings and Miguel Mejia got the win pitching the last two innings of shutout ball.

In the tenth inning Yadiel Rivera led off with a double off Mexican closer Jake Sanchez, who had just come in to replace Oliver Perez. A Jesmuel Valentin bunt moved him to third and a Jonathan Morales fly ball scored him. Mejia retired Mexico in order in the tenth.

There was not a lot of opportunities to score in the game for both teams. Puerto Rico put runners on second and third with one out in the opening frame on a Ivan Dejesus Jr single and a David Vidal double. They were stranded when Rusney Castillo grounded out to first and Ruben Gotay popped out. Puerto Rico was not able to advance a runner to third until the tenth inning.

Mexico put two runners on via hit by pitches in the second and third innings but both were erased via double plays. A walk in the fourth was erased by a caught stealing. A single in the sixth was erased by a third double play. Flores left the game after six innings with an injured hand but did not allow a runner to reach second and faced the minimum 18 hitters.

In the seventh and eighth innings Mexico was able to get runners to second, bunting them over after leadoff singles. An inability to make contact stunted both innings with three of the four hitters striking out.

There were 20,454 in attendance to watch the championship match.