Archive for the 'Australia' Category

Australian Baseball League to Have Korean Team

Friday, May 18th, 2018

The Australian Baseball League (ABL) is considering expanding to eight teams. They are in the process of getting ownership licenses for the six current teams, Sydney Blue Sox, Canberra Cavalry, Melbourne Aces, Perth Heat, Brisbane Bandits and Adelaide Bite. Currently only the Blue Sox and Cavalry have announced a licensed ownership. The deadline for getting the license is May 31.

Another team expected to join the ABL is an all Korean team. The Korean team will be based in Geelong, which is near Melbourne. Happy Rising will handle the marketing and promotions of the Korean team in Australia. According to Yonhap News ABL CEO Cam Vale will attend a ceremony in Seoul next Monday to announce the new addition. This will not be a team of prospects from the KBO future league. Players will have to try out for the team. The team can be composed of players who have been released or retired from the KBO.

It is rumored that the eighth team may be from New Zealand, though other international interest has surfaced from the NPB and the CPBL. Major league baseball sends a number of prospects down to Australia to play in the ABL and they could be an eighth team, though myworld has not seen any discussion of that.

Top Australian Prospects

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

It has become more difficult to find Aussie prospects in the minor leagues. The distance and the influx of a wave of Cubans makes the cost/benefit of scouting there and then signing players unattractive. Plus for the Aussie, to play baseball in the United States for minimal salary and the difficulty in achieving major league success is not a career enhancer. The only Aussie major leaguers are pitchers, Peter Moylan, Warwick Saupold and Liam Hendrick. Myworld identified Saupold as a prospect to watch before the Tigers signed him when we saw him pitch in Tawian for the Perth Heat team a number of years ago. He is one player who has graduated from the list last year. So below are the top ten Australian prospects in the minor leagues. From what we could find there are not much more than ten Aussie players in the minor leagues.

1. Aaron Whitefield OF (Twins) - He’s an athlete. Defensively he may already be ready for the major leagues. Like Saupold he is a late starter to baseball, having spent most of his youth playing softball. His hitting is a bit raw, but does show some power with 11 homeruns last year. Pitch recognition is an issue with 118 whiffs in 116 games. Even when he makes contact it isn’t barrel of the bat on ball contact. Improved recognition of pitches will result in increased production. The speed is there to play center but the arm is best suited for left. He will begin the 2018 season in High A.

2. Lewis Thorpe LHP (Twins) - Tommy John surgery forced him to miss two seasons (2015 and 2016) after signing in 2012. He made a nice comeback last year finishing with a 2.69 ERA in High A, striking out 84 in 77 innings and limiting the opposition to a .225 average. For an Aussie he throws a hard fastball that creaked into the high 90s prior to his surgery but now sits in the low 90s. If he can get that velocity back he has a greater shot of seeing the major leagues. His secondary pitches are average and should allow him to stay in the rotation. He will begin the 2018 season in AA. If his fastball returns to pre surgery velocity he could see some time with the Twins by mid-season, though the Twins will still be mindful of his pitch count.

3. Alex Wells LHP (Orioles) - Not many pitchers had a string of success like Wells. In July Wells went five starts covering 31 innings in which he did not allow a run. He finished the season with a 2.38 ERA with the opposition hitting just .222 off him. His stuff will not overwhelm you with a fastball that is lucky to break 90. Command of his pitches and throwing them to the corners of the plate is what retires hitters. Last year Alex only walked 10 hitters in 140 innings. Whether that success will continue as he rises through the minor leagues is open to question. The first test will be in High A where his first two starts his ERA sits at 1.74 and the opposition hit him at a .150 rate.

4. Lachlan Wells LHP (Twins) - The Twin brother of Alex. His stuff is just as underwhelming as Alex, but he did not have the same success. He walks a few more hitters and gives up a few more hits, but he also pitched one level higher than Alex at High A. Where Alex won 11 games Lachlan lost 10. His opposition batting average was .243. He began the season on the disabled list, but when he is healthy he could start the season in AA.

5. Robbie Perkins C (Rockies) - The bat is a little light with a .201 career minor league average and a .313 slugging. His arm is what keeps him percolating in the minor leagues. Last year he threw out 19 of the 36 baserunners who attempted to steal against him. Unless his bat improves his best hope for him is to make it as a back up. Last year he did hit .271 in a 22 game stretch in the California League.

6. Todd Van Steensel RHP (Twins) - At 27 years of age he has advanced beyond what is normally considered a prospect. This is his seventh year in the minor leagues. Except for the first two years, they have all been spent in the bullpen. Last year his 1.38 ERA in AA gave the Twins motivation to sign him. He has returned to AA this year and if he can replicate his 2017 season he could see a callup to the big leagues.

7. Jon Kennedy LHP (Braves) - Jon has got height (6′5″) with a lefthanded arm that can throw in the low 90s. Of his 62 appearances only one has appeared as a starter. It would be better if he could get lefthanded hitters out, but his opposition average against lefties (.263) was about the same as righties (.261). He also pitches in the Braves organization, which has a surplus of quality starting pitchers. Many of them will have to settle for bullpen duty if they don’t make the rotation, squeezing out less qualified bullpen pitchers like Kennedy. The 2018 season has seen Jon start it in High A where he has yet to give up a run in four appearances.

8. Daniel McGrath LHP (Red Sxo) - His fastball lacks velocity and he was tagged last year for a .295 opposition average. He also struggles to find the plate with 51 walks in just 85 innings. The Red Sox have moved him to the bullpen where the hope is that shorter spurts will lead to greater success.

9. Zac Shepherd 3B (Tigers) - Myworld was once high on his power. Lack of pitch recognition has resulted in lots of swings and misses (171 whiffs in 2017) and low batting averages. His power is also reduced (.318 slugging) because of lack of barrel on the ball contact. This is his fifth season in minor league baseball where his .219 average has not allowed him to surpass A ball.

10. Sam Street RHP (Pirates) - Lots of Sams in Australian baseball. While he was born in Australia, he went to college in the United States, resulting in the Pirates drafting him in the 16th round of the 2014 draft. Of his 111 appearances only one has been a start. His fastball lacks velocity but his career .233 opposition average shows he can still retire hitters. He starts the 2018 season in AA.

Countries Established for Women’s Baseball World Cup

Friday, March 30th, 2018

The Women’s Baseball World Cup will be held at Space Coast Stadium in Vierra, Florida from August 22 -31. The following teams have qualified to compete in this tournament. Japan is the class of the group (rankings in parenthesis).

Asia - Japan (1), Taiwan (6), South Korea (7), Hong Kong (10)

Americas - Canada (2), United States (3), Venezuela (5), Cuba (9), Dominican Republic (NR), Puerto Rico (NR)

Europe - Netherlands (8)

Oceania - Australia (4)

Japan Sweeps Australia

Sunday, March 4th, 2018

Japan started off strong with an opening 2-0 win over Australia. Japan starter Kodai Senga struck out all six hitters he faced and Yuki Yanagita ended a 0-0 tie with an RBI single in the sixth. Yoshitomo Tsutsugo drove in Yanagita with a double for the second run in the sixth inning. Both Yuki and Yoshitomo would be quality offensive players in the major leagues.

Travis Blackley pitched well for Australia tossing five scoreless innings and striking out six. Travis pitched briefly for the Rakuten Golden Eagles in 2014. Steve Kent gave up the two runs, retiring only one of the four hitters he faced, that on a sacrifice bunt. Five Japanese pitchers struck out 16 Australian hitters before the day was done. A little over 33,000 came to watch the game.

Japan again showed superior pitching in the second game shutting out Australia 6-0 in front of a crowd that was close to 28,000. Takahiro Norimoto, the top strikeout pitcher in Japan over the last couple years got the start and struck out five in his two innings of work. Go Matsumoto was the big hitter for Japan driving in three runs. Trent D’Antonio tried to end the shutout streak in the ninth inning but his long fly ball hit the right centerfield wall.

The rosters for Japan and Australia:

Japan

PITCHERS (13): Yuki Matsui, Takahiro Norimoto, Yuhei Takanashi (Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles), Shinji Tajima (Chunichi Dragons), Nao Higashihama, Sho Iwasaki, Kohdai Senga (Fukuoka Softbank Hawks), Yasuaki Yamasaki, Shota Imanaga, Haruhiro Hamaguchi (Yokohama DeNa Baystars), Tsuyoshi Ishizaki (Hanshin Tigers), Mizuki Hori (Hokkaido Nippom Ham Fighters), Kazuto Taguchi (Yomiuri Giants)

CATCHERS (3): Seiji Kobayashi (Yomiuri Giants), Tatsuhiro Tamura (Chiba Lotte Marines), Takuya Kai (Fukuoka Softbank Hawks)

INFIELDERS (7): Kosuke Tanaka, Ryosuke Kikuchi, Ryoma Nishikawa (Hiroshima Toyo Carp), Hideto Asamura, Shuta Tonosaki (Saitama Seibu Lions), Kenta Imamiya (Fukuoka Softbank Hawks), Yusuke Ohyama (Hanshin Tigers)

OUTFIELDERS (5): Go Matsumoto (Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters), Yuki Yanagita, Seiji Uebayashi (Fukuoka Softbank Hawks), Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh (Yokohama DeNa Baystars), Shogo Akiyama (Saitama Seibu Lions)

Australia

PITCHERS (12): Tim Atherton, Travis Blackley, Sam Holland, Ryan Searle, Matt Timms (Brisbane Bandits), Steve Kent (Canberra Cavalry), Cameron Lamb (Perth Heat), Greg Mosel, Matt Williams (Adelaide Bite), Sam Street, Josh Tols (Melbourne Aces): Todd Van Steensel (Sydney Blue Sox)

CATCHERS (3): Allan de San Miguel (Melbourne Aces), Alex Hall (Perth Heat), Kyle Perkins (Canberra Cavalry)

INFIELDERS (9): Trent D’Antonio (Sydney Blue Sox), Darryl George (Melbourne Aces), Robbie Glendinning, Luke Hughes (Perth Heat), Boss Moanaroa (Canberra Cavalry), Mitch Nilsson, Davi Sutherland, Logan Wade (Brisbane Bandits), Zac Shepherd, Yacob Younis (Sydney Blue Sox)

OUTFIELDERS (3): Andrew Campbell (Brisbane Bandits), David Kandilas (Canberra Cavalry), Tim Kennelly (Perth Heat)

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/

Brisbane Bandits Win Third Straight Australian Title

Monday, February 12th, 2018

The Bandits have completed a trifecta. After winning their first of three straight championships, beating the Adelaide Bite in 2015/2016, they followed that up by beating the Melbourne Aces. This year they defeated the Canberra Cavalry in a best of three series. Next on their agenda to beat in the finals would be the Perth Heat and/or the Sydney Blue Sox. That would give them five in a row against each ABL team. The Blue Sox may be tough since they are the only ABL team not to appear in the finals since the new format was started back in 2010.

Canberra won the opener 5-1 led by the 6.2 shutout innings from Brian Grening. He got offensive support from Robbie Perkins and David Kandilas, who each hit two run homers. The only run scored by Brisbane was in the ninth on a solo shot by T.J. Bennett. Little did Canberra know this would be the beginning of a trend in the second game.

Game two was not very competitive with Brisbane rolling over Canberra 12-2. Canberra scored both their runs on solo shots by Travis Witherspoon and Boss Moanaroa. Brisbane out muscled them with seven homeruns, Andrew Campbell and Chih-Shih Leng each hitting two homeruns, and Donald Lutz, Mitch Nilsson and David Sutherland each going deep. That is homeruns hit by players from four different countries, United States, Australia, Taiwan and Germany.

Tim Atherton pitched seven innings, allowing just one run on three hits while striking out 11 to get the win. Lake Bachar had a rough outing for Canberra. He lasted just two outs into the fourth inning, but five of the seven hits he gave up carried over the fence.

The final game was a bit more competitive. Brisbane scored three early runs on a three run shot from Adam Weisenburger in the second inning to take an early 3-0 lead. They made it 4-0 on a solo shot by Mitch Nilsson in the sixth. The fireworks would begin after that.

The veteran Travis Blackley pitched six innings of one hit ball for Brisbane. When he was removed in the seventh the Cavalry charged. As did the benches, with two bench clearing incidents happening in the sixth. Manager Dave Nilsson and his coach were removed after a caught stealing at second base led to a second benches clearing brawl. The first bench clearing occurred after a hit by pitch immediately following the Nilsson homer in the top of the sixth. The umpire ejecting them was Takahito Matsuda.

Sam Holland only faced one hitter before he was removed, giving up a single to Jay Baum. Ryan Bollinger got Boss Moanaroa to ground out to second. Baum was allowed to advance to second and scored on a throwing error by first baseman David Sutherland when he broke for third. That gave the Cavalry their first run.

In the eighth Kyle Perkins led off the inning with a homerun. Travis Witherspoon added a one out double but he was left stranded at third.

Steven Kent kept Canberra in the game by striking out all six hitters he faced. He also got credit for an out in the bottom of the sixth on a caught stealing attempt that led to the two ejections.

After going through four pitchers to get four outs Brisbane turned to Ryan Searle to finish the game. He retired five of the last six hitters he faced, giving up a two out single in the ninth to Robbie Perkins, but retiring the last hitter (Cameron Warner) to secure the Brisbane Bandits third straight championship.

CPBL Baseball Commissioner Chin-Yang Wu threw out the first pitch in the second game of the ABL championship. The CPBL is looking to expand and there are discussions of putting a team of Australian players in the CPBL as a fifth team.

Australian Playoff Teams Set

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

The battle for the Claxton Shield begins this weekend in Australia. The Brisbane Bandits will host the Melbourne Aces in a best of three affair. The Canberra Cavalry will travel to Perth to play a best of three match. The two semifinal games will begin Friday night. The winners of the semifinal games will play the finals the next weekend with the top seed being the host.

Australia Qualifies for Under 15 Tournament

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Australia won the Under 15 Oceania baseball championship, sweeping past New Zealand in a best of three final. New Zealand battled in the second game, sending it into extra innings. If a New Zealand runner had not been thrown out at home in the bottom of the ninth the finals could have gone to a third game. Australia scored six in the extra inning and went on to win 11-6.

Australia will join Japan and Taiwan from Asia, Dominican Republic, United States, Cuba, Panama and Brazil from the Americas, and Germany and Netherlands from Europe. An Africa representative has not been determine yet, as well as a wild card team.

The under 15 will be played in Panama sometime between July and August. Hopefully they won’t get a lot of rain.

Fraley Breaks Australian Stolen Base Record

Friday, January 19th, 2018

Jake Fraley is having a heck of a season in Australia. Yesterday he stole two bases to bring his season total up to 33 breaking the record of 32 by Jon Berti, who had tallied that number for the Canberra Cavalry in the 2014/2015 season. Fraley also blasted his 11th homerun of the season in the ninth inning to extend the blowout by the Pert Heat to a 15-5 win over the Brisbane Bandits. From the lead off spot Fraley has 33 RBIs in his first 34 games.

Fraley was the Rays second round pick in the 2016 draft. Last year he was limited to 30 games due to injury, hitting just .211. In his first half season with the Rays in 2016 he could only hit .238. He did show his stolen base speed with 33 stolen bases in 42 attempts. Last year he was only 4 for 8.

It appears he has found his stolen base speed in Australia, but has now added a little power to his game. Whether that power can continue in the United States is open to question. Coming into this year it was felt his lack of power would limit him to a fourth outfielder role. Now that prediction is open to interpretation as he enters his 2018 season with possibly one of the best offensive seasons in Australian baseball history.

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)