Archive for the 'Cuba' Category

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.

Baseball America’s Qualifier

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

The America’s is another opportunity for the United States to qualify for the Olympics in Japan in 2020. The next to last qualifier will be played in Arizona from March 22 -26. The last qualifier will be played in Taiwan. The second and third place teams from the America’s qualifying round will be eligible to participate in Taiwan. Below are the pools from that group.

Group A

United States, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Nicaragua

Group B

Cuba, Venezuela, Canada and Colombia

The United States would be the favored team in this group.

Australia Reaches Super Round

Saturday, November 9th, 2019

In a bit of an upset, Australia advanced to the Super Round by beating Canada 3-1 to advance to the Super Round. A Korean win over Cuba left a three way tie for second between Australia, Canada and Cuba. Australia wins the tie breaker. Logan Wade got the game winning hit with a two run triple off Scott Mathieson in the bottom of the eighth to break a 1-1 tie.

Five different pitchers got in the game for Australia. Steven Kent did the brunt of the work with 4.1 innings of shutout ball. Ryan Searle got the last out with a fly out to centerfield to earn the save.

Brock Dykxhoorn made his return to Korea a successful one allowing just two hits in six innings of work. He gave up a run in the first inning after a lead off double by Timothy Kennelly and an eventual sacrifice fly by Robert Glendinning that plated Kennelly. After that he held Australia hitless until the sixth inning when he gave up a two out single to Glendinning.

Canada came back to tie the game in the second off Australia starter Timothy Atherton. Tristan Pompey started the inning with a double and Rene Tosoni drove him in with a double.

It stayed scoreless until the eighth. A lead off walk by Mathieson to pinch hitter Luke Hughes hurt Canada in the eighth. Mathieson also walked Glendinning with two outs to set the stage for the game winning triple by Wade.

In order for Australia to advance they needed Korea to beat Cuba. They did handily 7-0 with six different Korean pitchers combining for the shutout. Despaigne and Gracial continued their struggles with the bat, going 1 for 8 in this game and finishing the three games a combined 2 for 24.

Korea got all the runs they needed after a two run single in the second by Ha Seong Kim. Korea added four more in the fifth inning to put the game away.

Cuba could score only three runs in the tournament in their win over Australia. They were shutout by Canada and Korea in the first and third games. Canada could only score five runs in the three games they played. Australia was also limited to five runs, but advanced to the Super Round as a result of the tie breaker. The tie breaker was the Total Quality Balance between the three teams, a comparison of the runs scored and innings played and the runs given up and innings played.

The standings for the final six in the Super Round (with the top two teams qualifying for the Olympics):

Japan, Korea and Mexico are 1-0. The United States, Australia and Taiwan are 0-1.

Korea Advances to Tokyo; Cuba Still in Hunt

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

Cuba stayed alive for the Super Round with a 3-2 10 inning win over Australia. Korea advanced to the Super Round with their 3-1 win over Canada. Cuba must now beat Korea to have any hope of advancing to Tokyo and hope Australia beats Canada to advance on a tie breaker.

Korea relied on their starting pitching again, getting six innings of one hit shutout ball from Kwang-hyun Kim to lead them to victory. Canada responded with five innings of shutout ball from Robert Zastryzny. Both pitchers were sharp in the early going but Korea was able to get to Zastryzny in the sixth.

The rally started with a one out single from Byung-hun Kim, only the third hit off Zastryzny. A walk to Ha-Seong Kim finished the day for Zastryzny and brought in Chris Leroux. He retired the first hitter he faced for the second out, but then loaded the bases walking slugger Byung-ho Park. Jae-hwan Kim then stroked a clutch two out single into right field to score two and break the tie.

Korea went to their bullpen in the seventh. In the eighth they broke through the Korean barrier by scoring the first run off the Korean pitching staff. Dalton Pompey sliced a one out single into left field. Wesley Darvill drilled a double into right field to score Pompey and Canada had pulled to within one.

Korea replaced Deok-ju Ham with Sang-woo Cho. Cho struck out the next two hitters to finish the eighth and retired the side in order in the ninth to secure the victory for Korea and the hometown crowd. It did not matter that Korea scored an insurance run for him in the ninth on a Min-Woo Park single. Korea advances to Tokyo. Canada must beat Australia to advance.

Australia loaded the bases with no out in the first inning but failed to score. A strikeout and fly out throw out at home ended the rally and could have ended any hope for Australia advancing.

Cuba could not get a man on base in the first four innings off Australian pitcher Joshua Guyer. An Alfredo Despaigne single and walk to Frederich Cepeda ended the day for Guyer and brought on the veteran Peter Moylan. He could not put out the fire, giving up an RBI single to Yordanis Samon and the second run scoring when Australia could not turn the double play.

Australia was able to come back in the top of the sixth to tie it. Timothy Kennelly led off the inning with a homerun. A Logan Wade single drove in the second run.

Cuba had an opportunity to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth when they put runners on first and third with one out. Yurisbel Gracial failed to drive him in, striking out and Alfredo Despaigne grounded out to strand the runners. Australia put runners on second and third with one out in the top of the ninth but Allan de san Miguel struck out and Timothy Kennelly flied out.

It went to the tenth where the tie breaking rules put runners on first and second. Canada eschewed the bunt and a popout to short bit them. They failed to score. Cuba was successful with their bunt advancing the runners to second and third. Yurisbel Gracial this time did not fail Cuba by hitting one deep enough to centerfield to score the winning run on a sacrifice fly.

Cuban sluggers Gracial and Despaigne are now 1 for 16. Cuba needs their bats if they hope to advance to Tokyo.

Canada and Korea Get Opening Day Win

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

Two shutouts to begin pool play in Korea. The hosts blanked Australia 5-0 and Canada did the same to the punchless Cuban offense 3-0.

Hyeon-Jeong Yang was masterful for 6 innings, giving up just one hit and striking out 10. Three different relievers completed the one hit shutout. The Korean pitchers did not walk one hitter. Robert Glendinning got the lone hit for Australia, chopping an infield hit to the shortstop in the fourth.

The Korean bats lashed out seven hits and elicited eight base on balls. Jung-Hoo Lee, Kyoung-min Hur and Hyun-soo Kim each contributed two hits and one RBI to lead the offense.

Phillipe Aumont completed eight innings of two hit shutout ball to lead Canada over Cuba 3-0. Scott Mathieson finished the shutout by striking out the side in the ninth. The Cuban sluggers Alfredo Despaigne and Yurisbel Gracial, who play for the champion Hawks in the NPB, combined to go 0 for 8 and 6 strikeouts.

Eric Wood scored twice on two hits to lead the offense. The game inched along at 1-0 through seven. Cuba brought in their ace reliever Livan Moinelo for the 8th. He hit the leadoff batter, gave up a single to Wood and after a sacrifice, intentionally walked Charles LeBlanc. Moinelo got the second out on a popup to short left, but then back to back walks forced in a couple to increase the score to 3-0.

The best Cuba could do is get a runner to second. Not once did the Cubans get a runner to visit their third base coach.