Archive for the 'Cuba' Category

Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela Qualify for U-23 Baseball World Cup

Monday, March 2nd, 2020

The host Nicaragua did not lose a game in the Americas qualifier and will be going to Mexico in October for the WBSC U-23 Baseball World Cup. They defeated Cuba 1-0 in the championship match. Cuba also qualified by finishing in second place.

Venezuela defeated Colombia 9-0 to finish in third place and become the third qualifier for the U-23 World Cup. The United States did not participate in the event.

The teams that have qualified for the U-23 Baseball World Cup to be played in Mexico in October are:

Africa - South Africa
Americas - Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua
Asia - Japan, Taiwan and China
Europe - Czech Republic and Germany
Oceania - New Zealand
Wild Card - Korea

Honkball Announces Five Teams

Thursday, February 6th, 2020

Haarlem is a pretty cool city to watch baseball. You have the downtown area with a number of nice eating establishments and a little out in the suburbs you have the ball park where the Honkball tournament is held. It is also held in late June/early July where the sun stays out until 10 PM, or so it seemed. Loved the fact that bicycles seemed to outnumber automobiles as the mode of transportation.

Honkball has announced five of their teams for their tournament for June 26 to July 5 at the Pim Mulier Stadium in Haarlem. Netherlands, Cuba, Germany, Japan and Taiwan are the teams that have been added to the tournament. They are looking at adding a sixth team from the United States, but Curacao is an easy alternative if they cannot attract a team from the United States.

The Netherlands is normally their national team. You may recognize some ex-major or minor leaguers from their rosters. Roger Bernadina is a name some may recognize. Japan and Taiwan are teams whose rosters are filled with players from industrial leagues or colleges. Japan is the defending champions and Taiwan has won the tournament in the past. Cuba will probably be a mixture of veterans and youngsters depending on where Cuba wants to go. Germany will probably be a team composed of their national team players that could include Donald Lutz.

So enjoy the tulips, windmills and baseball in Haarlem. It will be a week difficult to beat for a vacation.

World Baseball Classic Officially Announces Qualifiers

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020

The World Baseball Classic has officially announced their qualifiers, both to be played in Tucson in March. The games will be played at the Kino Sports Complex.

Pool 1 (March 12-17) - Brazil, France, Germany, Nicaragua, Pakistan and South Africa

Pool II (March 20-25) - Czech Republic, Great Britain, New Zealand, Panama, Philippines and Spain.

The top two teams from each pool will qualify for the World Baseball Classic that will be held March 2021. All 16 teams who participated in the 2017 World Baseball Classic have qualified for the 2021 event. Those countries include the defending champion United States, Australia, Canada, Cuba, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Taiwan and Venezuela

Matanzas Wins First National Championship

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020

One thing the defections have done to Cuban baseball is turn the league around. The last shall be first and the first shall be last. In 2017 and 2018 Granma won their first Cuban titles Last year it was Las Tunas. This year the Matanzas Crocodiles downed Camaguey Bulls in six, winning the sixth game 11-2. For Camaguey they had not won a championship so no matter the result it would have been the fourth consecutive year a first time champion would be crowned in Cuba.

A six run sixth broke the game wide open. Noelvis Entenza ensured the victory by throwing six shutout innings. He gave up two in the seventh inning, turned the ball over to Jonder Martinez and Jonder closed out the game.

Cesar Prieto and Erisbel Arruebaruena each hit solo homeruns for Matanzas. Erisbel was one of those players who defected, but could not make it with the Dodgers and returned to Cuba.

Japan is Number one in Both Men’s and Women’s Baseball

Thursday, January 16th, 2020

Japan has achieved the top rating in both men’s and women’s baseball. The United States is second in men and fifth in women. For men the United States team bypasses a number of tournaments such as the World Cup Under 23, and play amateurs in the Premier 12, which prevents them from accumulating the points that Japan earns. The United States women are hampered by the culture of forcing talented players to pursue softball, where it is a high school recognized sport, abandoning baseball. This eliminates talented female baseball players from continuing with the sport.

Below is the Top 12 Ranking for each gender.

Men’s Top 12

1. Japan (6,127 points)
2. United States (4,676)
3. Korea (4,622)
4. Taiwan (4,352)
5. Mexico (3,375)
6. Australia (3,249)
7. Netherlands (2,690)
8. Cuba (2,641)
9. Venezuela (2,624)
10. Dominican Republic (2,512)
11. Puerto Rico (2,013)
12. Canada (1,873)

The top 12 is significant since a team qualifies for the Premier 12 by being ranked in the top 12 for baseball.

The women’s top 12.

1. Japan (2,505 points)
2. Canada (1,947)
3. Taiwan (1,852)
4. Venezuela (1,736)
5. United States (1,524)
6. Australia (1,182)
7. Korea (955)
8. Cuba (947)
9. Dominican Republic (717)
10. Hong Kong (520)
11. Netherlands (500)
12. Puerto Rico (371)

In women’s softball the United States is ranked number one with Japan at number two. For the men in softball Japan is ranked number one. The United States is sixth, behind Argentina, New Zealand, Canada and Australia.

Cuban Playoff Update

Wednesday, January 15th, 2020

They have gotten to the championship round in the Cuban playoffs. Camaguey swept Industriales in a best three of five while Matanzas allowed Las Tunas to win the opener before taking the next three to advance to the finals.

Leslie Anderson was the hero in game one with his homerun and four RBIs on a 4 for 4 day in the Camaguey opening day 9-8 win over Industriales. In game two Yosamar Cousin threw six shutout innings to win 7-5. The Camaguey bullpen almost let the lead get away, giving up five runs in the last two innings. Yariel Rodriguez quieted the Industriales bats for eight innings, giving up just two runs in their 3-2 win. Lazaro Blanco pitched the ninth inning to close out the victory.

Las Tunas won the opener 5-4 tallying a run in the bottom of the ninth to take the game. Matanzas took the next three to win the series. Freddy Alvarez pitched six strong innings to give Matanzas a 4-2 win and even the series. Yurisbel Gracial drove in two runs in the fifth with a single to give Matanzas a 3-2 lead. Tamichel Perez pitched three innings of shutout relief to close out the victory. Matanzas completed the sweep with a 11-6 win, scoring 10 runs in the first three innings. Again Gracial was the hitting star with four RBIs.

In the championship Matanzas has jumped out to an early 3-1 lead in the best of seven series. Matanzas won the opener over Camaguey 5-3, with Javier Camero driving in all five runs with two homeruns to secure the victory. His grand slam in the seventh inning put Matanzas up for good.

Camaguey got eight innings of shutout ball from Yosimar Cousin to win 8-0 and even the series. Matanzas fought right back and got six innings of shutout ball from Yoanni Yera to win game three 6-1. Yasiel Santoya drove in two runs and scored twice to lead the offense. Matanzas won game four 5-3 to take a 3-1 series lead over Matanzas.

Cuban Colas Leaves Japan Seeking Major League Opportunity

Friday, January 3rd, 2020

Cuban prospect Oscar Colas has left Japan to seek a contract with a major league baseball team. Most news sources are saying he hit .302 with 11 homeruns, but this was all in the minor leagues. He played for the Softbank Hawks and they had two other Cuban veterans ahead of him in Yursibel Gracial and Alfredo Despaigne playing for the big club. Colas was not going to see a lot of playing time with the Hawks with their foreign player quota restriction.

There are reports that the outfielder has been clocked at 95 miles per hour and he is lefthanded. At 21 years of age he still may be young enough to develop.

Colas did get 18 at bats with the NPB Hawks and hit .278 with one homerun. He also struck out six times, a high strikeout rate. He was also hit by pitch twice, which is high for only 18 at bats. In the minors he had a 19/61 walk to whiff ratio in 252 at bats. That lack of contact and patience is a cause of concern. He was only hit by pitch once in those 252 at bats.

WBSC America’s Qualifier Pool

Friday, January 3rd, 2020

The United States failed to qualify for the Olympics in the Premier 12. Their Southern neighbor Mexico qualified, as well as Korea. This leaves four of six countries qualified for the Olympics, Japan (host), Israel (European/Africa qualifier), Korea and Mexico (both from Premier 12). The Americas qualifier is the next to last opportunity countries have to qualify for the Olympics. The second and third place finishers become eligible for the final qualifier in Taiwan, to be held in April..

Below are the pools:

Pool A

United States, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Nicaragua

Pool B

Cuba, Venezuela, Canada and Colombia

The United States has been fielding a team of minor league prospects. While these players have been competitive they have yet to qualify the United States team for the Olympics. The same prospect heave team is expected for the Americas qualifying round to be held from March 22-26.

The final qualifier will be held in Taiwan from April 1-5.

Winter Roundup - Cuba

Saturday, December 28th, 2019

The Cuban League (Nacional Series 59) has been playing for awhile. The final six teams qualifying for the round robin were Camaguay, Las Tunas, Matanzas, Industriales, Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos. The first four teams have clinched spots in the final four. The winner of the final four will advance to the Series del Caribe, with additional reinforcements added to the roster.

Myworld has not been following Cuban baseball as faithfully as we should. Most of the stars have departed for the major leagues. You have some veterans who still have skills but are too old now for major league consideration and younger players, who if they didn’t leave by age 16 are still trying to make an impact. When Fidel Castro first set up the league it was supposed to be a pure egalitarian league with each player representing the province they were born in. They were to play for the people and since money was not an issue keep their amateur status. That did not turn out so well once they learned about the multi-million dollar contracts that were being offered further north.

Some of the hitting stars:

Jorge Aloma (Las Tunas) - .387 batting average leads the league with 14 homeruns and 66 RBIs.

Maikel Caceres (Holquin) - A career year for him with .380 average and 14 homeruns with 53 RBIs.

Stayler Hernandez (Industriales) - He leads the league with 19 homeruns and is second in RBIs with 79. Has a .348 average. In previous years he has never hit more than 12 homeruns.

Yurien Vizcaino (Villa Clara) - Leads the league in RBIs with 88. That is more than twice his career high. He also has a career high 12 homeruns and is hitting .302. This is his first year hitting over .300.

Yordanis Samon (Industriales) - Hitting .377 with 12 homeruns and 50 RBIs.

Carlos Benitez (Granma/Villa Clara) - Hitting .373 with 9 homeruns and 61 RBIs.

Yuniesky Larduet (Las Tunas) - Leads the league in stolen bases with 30 and runs scored with 88. Also hitting .328.

Frederich Cepeda (Sancti Spiritus) - He has played more than twenty years and continues to hit with 15 homeruns and a .340 average

The pitching stars:

Frank Medina (Industriales) - Leads in ERA with a 2.76 and a 9-7 record. The number of wins are a career high and his ERA is a career low.

Yariel Rodriguez (Camaguay) - The strikeout leader with 118 in 133 innings. His ERA sits at 3.38 and he is 8-6. The strikeout numbers and innings pitched are big jumps for him.

Dariel Gongora (Las Tunas) - He is 12-5 with a 3.44 ERA. His 12 wins lead the league as are his 6 complete games. His previous career high in wins was six and he has more than doubled that.

Yadian Martinez (Las Tunas) - He leads the league in innings pitched (135) but with his 10-3 record and 3.06 ERA why not keep him out there. He has four complete games.

Alain Sanchez (Villa Clara) - The veteran is 9-3 with a 2.79 ERA.

All stats were collected from baseballdecuba. Myworld finds a lot of variance in the Cuban stats with the various websties.

Puerto Rico Site of 2020 Series del Caribe

Monday, November 25th, 2019

Puerto Rico will be the site of the 2020 Series del Caribe. The last time it was held in Puerto Rico was in 2015. Myworld was there to witness Cuba’s first participation in the event. They ended up Series del Caribe champions that year. Hiram Bithorn stadium will again host the event. The dates are from February 1-7, with the first five days being pool play and the last two days playoffs. Three games will be played each day with the first game starting at 10 AM and the last starting at 8 PM. Usually when you buy one ticket it will allow you to attend all three games that day.

Panama returns after winning the event last year in their first ever participation. There was some thought of Nicaragua and Colombia also participating but that is expected to happen in 2021. The teams participating in the event are Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. Each of those countries has their winter league season and the winning team from those winter leagues advances to the Series del Caribe.