Archive for the 'Cuba' Category

Nicaragua to Host U-23 WBSC Championship; Panama Under 15

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

Nicaragua will host the Under 23 WBSC championship in 2018, playing the games at the newly constructed 15,000 seat Dennis Martinez stadium at a date yet to be determined. Despite all the points awarded for this event the No 2 United States and No 5 Cuba will not be playing in the tournament. The United States did not play in the qualifying round, while Cuba did not qualify. Below are the teams who have qualified for the games:

Africa (1) - to be determined
Americas (4) - No. 9 Venezuela, No. 6 Mexico, No. 11 Puerto Rico, No. 16 Dominican Republic
Asia (3) - No1. Japan, No.4 Taiwan and No. 3 South Korea
Europe (2) - No. 8 Netherlands, No. 14 Czech Republic
Oceania (1) - to be determined
Wildcard (1) - No 13 Nicaragua

The Under 15 Hosts will be Panama. The teams competing in that tournament are:

Africa (1) - to be determined
Americas (5) - No. 2 United States, No. 16 Dominican Republic, No. 5 Cuba, No. 15 Panama, No. 18 Brazil
Asia (2) - No. 1 Japan and No. 4 Taiwan
Europe (2) - No. 20 Germany and No. 8 Netherlands
Oceania (1) - to be determined

Chunichi Dragons Fail to Resign Alex Guerrero

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

An interesting free agent for major league baseball teams may be Alex Guerrero. He caused some headaches for the Los Angeles Dodgers when he played for them a couple years ago but seemed to be quite tamed while playing for the Chunichi Dragons. The Dragons made an attempt to resign him but could not get it done.

Guerrero showed some amazing power for the Dragons. He led all Japanese players with 35 homeruns, hitting .279. At one point during the season he hit homeruns in six consecutive games, falling one short of tying the NPB record for consecutive games with a homerun. While he may not be able to duplicate those numbers in the major leagues, they are still good enough that some major league team will be motivated to give him another major league opportunity.

Guerrero is the player who bit a portion of the ear off of Miguel Olivo in a dugout scuffle in 2014. He will be 31 next year so you would expect his maturity level has increased.

Mexico and Venezuela to Play in under 23 America’s championship

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

When Mexico lost their opener to Panama in the under 23 America’s championship it was a shock to most of the players and managers. This was one of the more talented teams that was put together. Mexico seems to have recovered. They will be playing Venezuela for the championship. Both teams have qualified for the world event along with Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic that will be played in 2018.

Venezuela eliminated the host Panama from the tournament and a hoped for qualification for the World Cup with a 5-3 win, especially hurtful after Panama had an opening day win over a talented team from Mexico. Mexico eliminated Cuba from any World Cup consideration with a 6-3 win. Mexico and the Dominican Republic finished tied for second in the super round but Mexico advanced to the championship because of their victory over them earlier. Venezuela had beaten Mexico 14-3 earlier in pool play.

The Dominican Republic will play Puerto Rico for the bronze. The Dominican Republic had beaten Puerto Rico earlier in pool play 10-5. Puerto Rico was tied with Panama for fourth place with identical 2-3 records but Puerto Rico advanced to the bronze medal game and World Cup qualification because of their win over Panama in head to head play to win the tie breaker.

Final standings:

Venezuela 5-0, Mexico 3-2, Dominican Republic 3-2, Puerto Rico 2-3, Panama 2-3, Cuba 0-5

The winless super round result of Cuba has to be a surprise and a testament to their drop in baseball talent. The above information was obtained from the website of the world baseball softball confederation website (wbsc.org).

Panama Upsets Mexico in Under -23 America’s Qualifier

Saturday, November 25th, 2017

Mexico came into the Under - 23 Americas Qualifier with a lot of confidence. They had a roster filled with talented players from their Mexican Summer League. Some were even bold enough to declare the championship was theirs to lose.

In the opener against Panama they lost 6-3 against a talented Panama team sprinkled with minor league players from the major leagues. It is only pool play but Mexico will have to regroup.

Yadier Molina made his managerial debut a good one leading Puerto Rico to a 10-0 win over Colombia, who a couple days ago had beaten Panama 6-4 to win the championship in the Bolivian games over four other South American teams. In other games:

Costa Rica 14 Peru 0
Cuba 16 Argentina 1
Dominican Republic 16 Honduras 0
Venezuela 5 Brazil 1

Cuban League Update

Saturday, November 25th, 2017

Myworld has been remiss in our reporting of the Cuban Nacional Series. They have already completed the first half of the season and are now in the round robin portion. With the many defections the power structure of the league has changed. Myworld was not able to get numbers on relievers because many of the websites we normally relied on for stats either have an innings limit for their pitchers or their stats are incomplete or only provide second half numbers. So we did the best with what we could piece together. Below are the standings of the league to date:

Las Tunas Lenadores (44-20)

Jorge Yhonson is second in the league in hitting (.425) but lacks power (3 homeruns). He is second on the team in runs scored with 48, though all of his runs scored have been with Las Tunas. His bat has gotten particularly hot in the second round with a .580 average. Rafael Vinales (.363, 11, 55) has been the power bat, though his bat has cooled during the second round (.269, 1, 9). At 25 years of age he is a player to keep an eye on. Junior Paumier (.344, 7, 49) has been another productive bat for Las Tunas leading the team with his 49 runs scored, though 33 of those runs were scored when he was playing for Holquin in the first round. He also splits the gaps with 22 doubles, tops in the league. Yosvany Alarcon (.314, 11, 41) is another veteran bat that provides power in the lineup and leads the pitching staff from behind the plate. At 41 years of age Daniel Castro (.350, 8. 42) still knows how to hit.

Yoalkis Cruz may not have an impressive ERA (3.98) but he leads the league in wins (12-3) which is all that counts in this game. He and Yudiel Rodriguez (9-4, 3.10) have combined for 21 wins, the most for a twosome in the league. A third pitcher Yariel Rodriguez (8-3, 2.99) gives them an impressive threesome. Yariel was picked up from Camaguey for the second round playoff run.

Matanzas Cocodrilos (42-23)

Osvaldo Vazquez (.242, 11, 44) drives in the runs for Matanzas though his average is disappointing. Eduardo Blanco (.323) leads the league in stolen bases with 18 but his rare 17/41 walk to whiff ratio shows his lack of patience. Most players in the Cuban League walk more than they strikeout. Yasiel Santoya (.334, 5, 42) and Jefferson Delgado (.330, 4, 36) are two other bats to note.

Matanzas has the top two pitchers in ERA in Roy Hernandez (2.14) and Yoaanni Yera (2.16). At 22 Cruz is a rookie and his innings (67) and wins (4-4) have been limited. Even though Yera is a veteran he is still only 28 and is second in the league in wins with 11 (11-2). His 113 whiffs leads the league by more than 40. Jonder Martinez (5-4, 3.18) is still their steady veteran ace at 39. Dachel Duquesne (8-5, 3.59) was grabbed from Ciego de Avila to provide consistent starts. He is a work horse who leads the league in innings pitched (115).

Industriales Leones (38-26)

The 36 year old veteran Yordanis Samon (.317, 9, 48) leads this team in RBIs, but his second round production (.223) has been disappointing. Another veteran Alexander Malleta (.300, 11, 40) is still sending balls over the fence even at 40 years of age. Juan Torriente is hitting .387 but the power is lacking with only three homeruns. He is a contact hitter with only four whiffs in close to 200 at bats.

Freddy Alvarez (2-8, 3.82) was another pitcher drafted from Ciego de Avilla. He used to be one of the premier pitchers in the league but is struggling to find wins. His second half performance (0-3, 5.29) has not been of much help. Yunior Gamboa (6-6, 3.53) was a starter for Isla dela Juventud but the Industriales have been using him in relief. Jose Rodriguez (4-4, 2.46) was picked up from Camaguey and has not liked his new surroundings (0-1, 9.00).

Granma Alazanes (38-26)

At 24 years of age Guillermo Aviles is still attractive to major league scouts. He is hitting .369 with 12 homeruns though the park is small. Guillermo has slumped a bit in the second round (.314) but his 57 RBIs and 59 runs scored are among the league leaders. Carlos Benitez is the other big bat (.366) with his 11 homeruns second on the team and his 62 RBIs leading the league. Lazaro Cedeno has taken advantage of the small park with his league leading 16 homeruns and his 60 RBIs is just two short of Benitez. With all those big power hitters someone has to be scoring runs ahead of them. That is the job of Raico Santos (.315, 3, 23) a 23 year old who leads the league in runs scored with 61. Alfredo Despaigne is probably their best bat but he plays in Japan and saves himself for playoff time.

They have a solid three starters to rely on. Ulfrido Garcia (9-4, 3.17) is turning into their ace at 22. He made his debut in 2012 as a 17 year old for Santiago de Cuba and has now turned into the ace of the Granma staff after being drafted for the second round. Alain Sanchez (7-5, 3.09) was picked up from Villa Clara and has struggled with Granma (2-2, 4.54). They need him to get back to form to stay in the race. Leeandro Martinez (8-4, 4.75) is the main stay of their staff who has been banged around (1-3, 8.56) in the second round. At 22 Yanier Gonzalez (6-5, 3.75) is another youngster they are now relying on for their rotation. His 30/24 walk to whiff ratio is not very impressive.

Pinar del Rio Vegueros (34-32)

The veteran Frederich Cepeda leads the league in hitting (.437) at 37 years of age. Myworld thought he was on the down side of his career but with many of the stars leaving he is able to compete. Cepeda does run well but 11 balls have carried over the fence to drive in 38 runs. Pitchers still fear him walking him 74 times. The veteran was drafted from Sancti Spiritus to energize an impotent offense. Raul Gonzalez (.325, 7, 33) was a second player drafted (Ciego de Avila) but his production has been lacking (.163, 0, 6). The 36 year old William Saavedra (.312, 7, 30) has been the original bat on the team, though all of his homeruns came in the first round.

Erly Casanova (8-4, 2.46) is the ace of their staff. He has had some second half struggles with the opposition improving their hitting against him to .282 from .202. This has raised his ERA from a league leading 1.94 to 2.46, though he has allowed 12 unearned runs. Yosvany Torres (7-6, 3.53) has been a consistent member of the rotation.

Artemisa Cazadores (34-33)

Yunier Mendoza was picked up from Sancti Spiritus. While he is hitting .395 his bat has slowed down for Artemisa (.277). He has gone from a 1.050 OPS for Sancti Spiritus to a .718 for the Cazadores. Lazaro Hernandez (.324) is their big homerun bat with 11 but at 24 needs to develop more patience (19/43 walk to whiff). Dennis Laza (.335, 10, 39) was a second round pickup but with the improved pitching his bat has gotten cold (.241).

At 24 Misael Villa (7-3, 3.21) has been giving Artemisa some solid starts. They drafted Vladimir Garcia (6-4, 3.66) from Ciego de Avilla to be their ace but his second half performance has been disappointing (0-2, 7.10).

Cuban Julio Pablo Martinez Defects

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

21 year old Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez left Cuba in search of a major league contract. He will be one of the first Cuban stars subject to the new international rules. He would be eligible to sign this period once he finds a foreign country to list as his place of residence and is approved. Or he could wait until the next July 2 signing period when teams have more money at their disposal.

The problem with this signing period is most teams have already reached their international bonus caps. Those that have not are waiting for the posting of Shohei Otani. Perhaps the loser of that posting will then be able to use that money to sign Martinez.

Martinez hit .333 with a .498 slugging percentage in the Nacional Series last year. Currently, most of his power is to the gaps with six leaving the fence. He has the speed to play centerfield

Japan Still Number One in Baseball Despite United States Dominance

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

The United States has finished higher than Japan in most of the tournaments the two play in. The main reason Japan is rated higher is they have played in more tournament, two November World Cup age tournaments that the United States chose not to participate in. The voting system tends to favor quantity of tournaments played rather than quality.

Below are the top ten countries in baseball. You can see the complete list at WBSC.org.

1) Japan - 5598
2) United States - 5414
3) Korea - 4908
4) Taiwan - 3747
5) Cuba - 3637
6) Mexico - 2957
7) Australia - 2634
8) Netherlands - 2374
9) Venezuela - 2286
10) Canada - 2142

Under 18 World Cup All Tournament Team

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Below is the Under 18 World Cup all tournament team. Myworld will include other players who were deserving of consideration based on their statistical performance.

Catcher - Dae-Hyun Cho (Korea) - .278, 1 HR, 11 runs scored, 8 RBIs with a .935 OPS

First Base - Leonardo Seminati (Italy) - .423, 2 HR, 7 RBI with 1.185 OPS

Second Base - Cesar Prieto (Cuba) - .581 ave with a 1.251 OPS

Third Base - Noah Naylor (Canada) - .313 average with .856 OPS

Shortstop - Brice Turang (United States) - .364, 7 runs scored with a .932 OPS

Outfield - Jin-Won Ye (Korea) - .355, 1 HR, 10 runs scored, 6 RBIs with a .992 OPS
Outfield - Alek Thomas (United States) - .361, 8 RBIs and six runs scored with 5 stolen bases
Outfield - Michael Siani (United States) - .333, 12 runs scored and 6 RBIs with 7 stolen bases and a .896 OPS

Starting Pitcher - Ethan Hankins (United States) - 1-0, 0.75 ERA, 27 K’s in 12 innings

Relief Pitcher - Fuminaru Taura (Japan) - 1-1, 1.32 ERA with 29 K’s in 13.2 innings

Others to Consider

United States

Triston Casas - .250, 3 homeruns and 13 RBIs with .993 OPS. Voted MVP of the tournament
Matthew Liberatore - 2-0, 0.00 ERA in 12 innings
Ryan Weathers - 2-0, 0.00 ERA in 9.2 innings
Brandon Dieter - 1-0, 0.00 ERA in 10 innings

Korea

Jun-Hwan Jang - .381, 2 HRs, 9 RBIs with 7 runs scored and a 1.234 OPS. 8 walks
Baek-Ho Kang - .375, 1 HR, 8 RBIs, 6 runs scored, 4 2Bs with a 1.100 OPS. Also 4 K’s in 2 innings. The Shohei Otani of Korea.
In-Hyok Yi - .300, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 6 runs scored with a .967 OPS
Been Gwak - 1-1, 2.51 with 18 K’s in 14.1 innings
Min Kim - 1-0, 0.77 in 11.2 innings

Japan

Kaito Kozono - .378 average
Hisanori Yasuda - .324 average, 4 2Bs with a .918 OPS
Ginji Miura - 2-0, 0.00 ERA with 19 K’s in 12 innings
Kento Kawabata - 0-2, 2.51 ERA with 25 K’s in 14.1 innings

Canada

Jason Willow - .333, 1 HR, 10 RBIs, 7 runs scored with a .928 OPS
Archer Brookman - .219, 2HR, 11 RBIs, 9 runs scored with a .866 OPS

Australia

Jack O’Loughlin - 2-0, 0.69 ERA with 15 K’s in 13 IP

Cuba

Roidal Martinez - .429 ave with a 1.026 OPS
Victor Mesa - .320 ave.

Taiwan

Han-Yu Tseng - .393 with .964 OPS
Tien-Hsin Kuo - .364 with .860 OPS

Netherlands

Dylan Koster - .364 with .845 OPS
Donny Breek - 1-1, 1.08 ERA, 18 K’s 16.2 innings, 151 opponent average

Italy

Michele Vassalotti - 1-0, 1.64 ERA with 15 K’s in 11 innings
Chih-Jung Liu - 1-1, 1.98 with 13 K’s in 13.2 IP
Yi-Sheng Chu - 1.29 ERA with 12 K’s in 7 IP

Nicaragua

Wandley Lagos - .424 ave, 4 stlen bases with a .899 OPS
Jeyner Flores - .393 ave, 2 HRs, 7 RBIs with 1.219 OPS

Mexico

Saul Martinez - .423 with a 1.041 OPS
Jose Gaona - .400 with a 1.070 OPS
Jorge Valdez - 1-0, 1.17 ERA with 10 K’s in 7.2 innings

South Africa

None

18 and Under World Cup - Korea Versus United States for Championship

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

Korea got into the finals of the 18 and under World Cup championship relegating Japan to a bronze medal match. Korea will get a rematch with the United States, who they lost to earlier 2-0 in super round play. Japan will play Canada for the bronze medal match.

United States 9 Australia 0

The loss eliminated Australia from any medal competition but making the top six was an accomplishment. The United States had already clinched a gold medal appearance and had nothing to play for. Brandon Dieter pitched eight innings of three hit shut out ball for the United States to get the win. A five run third inning put this game away early. Five players in the United States lineup contributed two hits each with Nolan Gorman leading that bunch with two RBIs. Alek Thomas also drove in two runs with his one hit.

Korea 6 Japan 4

Korea knocked Japan down to the bronze medal game with their second win over the samurai team. Korea lit up Japanese ace Fumimaru Taura for five runs in the first two innings. Errors plagued both teams with three each, the sloppy play allowing three unearned runs to score for each team. Taura made a throwing error on a bunt in the first inning that ignited a three run rally for Korea.

Japan bounces back for three in the top of the second, aided by a Korean error. Taura, who came into the game striking out 27 hitters in just 12 innings gives up a single and two walks to load the bases in the second inning. After a strikeout he walks in a run and his day is done.

The bullpens do a good job after the early explosions. Kento Kawabata limits the Korean offense to just one run in his 6.2 innings of work. After giving up three in the second Min Kim survives until the sixth, when a single, two walks and a sacrifice fly ends the day for Kim. Jun-Young Ha bails Kim out of the sixth and strikes out seven of the nine hitters he faces. Young-Lun Kim pitches the final inning to earn the save.

Jun-Hwan Jang led the offense for Korea starting the game off with a single off Taura, igniting the three run first. He finished the game with two runs scored on two walks and a single in four at bats. Baek-Ho Kang drove in two runs for Korea. Shuto Sakurai collected three of the five Japanese hits.

Canada 4 Cuba 2

Cuba did not have anything to play for in this game, finishing the super round winless. Considering previous Cuban teams this was a major disappointment. Canada rallied for three runs in the sixth to break a 1-1 tie. Victor Cerny drove in two runs with a double. Jason Willow also had an RBI double in the inning.

Michael Stovman works eight innings for Canada to get the win. Jack Decooman works the ninth to earn the save. Victor Mesa, the rising Cuban star went 4 for 4 in the first game of the tournament, but then could only string together four hits in the final seven games. He did not draw a walk in the tournament.

Caribbean Winter Baseball Update

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

The Cuban Naccional Series has begun the first half of their season with Pinar del Rio roaring to the top of the standings with 18 wins in their first 22 games. At the bottom of the pack is poor Guantanamo, who has won only five of 24 games. The first half of the season is 45 games with the top six teams advancing for the second half. There is a draft in which the best players from the teams that did not advance are added to the six teams playing in the second half.

It was supposed to be Venezuela to hold the Caribbean World Series next year, but because of the turmoil there it was decided to have Mexico host it. The games will begin February 2 and end February 8. The city of Zapopan in Jalisco, Mexico will host the Series. The games will be played at Estadio Charros, which hosted the second round of play of the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Seating will be expanded from 12,000 to 16,000. The stadium is the home park of the Jalisco Charros.

Cuba will again be invited to participate. The format will be the same as in previous years with the five teams from Venezuela, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Puerto Rico competing in a four game round robin schedule. The top four teams will advance to a single elimination four team tournament.

Venezuela will begin their winter league on October 10. The country has given the league $10 million from its foreign exchange reserves to buy equipment and pay for foreign players to fill out the rosters. It will be tough for Venezuela to attract name players for the regular season games but they might be able to add some players for the Series del Caribe.

The Cuban League started August 5. See above for details on their season. Many of their teams have been diluted by players leaving the island in their attempt to play in the major leagues.

Puerto Rico begins November 9. They have always had money issues trying to sustain the league. To decrease costs they will resort to more double headers. The league is also beginning one month later than the other winter leagues. One of their top franchises Santurce is under new ownership.

Dominican Republic starts their season October 13. They were embarrassed last year by their representative being eliminated early from the finals. The Dominican Republic is one of the stronger leagues and always a favorite to win the Series del Caribe.

The Mexican League begins October 10. This is also one of the stronger leagues, but they will be impacted by the Mexican summer league splitting their season in two with a summer and fall schedule. As a result the Mexican summer league will go into November. Many of the winter league players also play in the summer league. To alleviate the impact the Mexican winter league has expanded their foreign player roster to eight.