Archive for the 'Colombia' Category

Top Prospects from Colombia

Sunday, March 29th, 2020

Myworld was going to do the top prospects from the Bahamas but they haven’t changed much from last year. You can go to the 2019 list to find the players. Some of the rankings may have changed, but we are not too excited about regurgitating the same information on the players.

So we’ll take a look at Colombia. Three players have graduated from last year’s list, Meibys Viloria, Oscar Mercado and Harold Ramirez, who were rated 4-6 in the rankings. Viloria will probably always be a backup catcher, Mercado had a good year but has the tools of a fourth outfielder and Ramirez had a surprising year but he will probably also end up as a fourth outfielder. The top two prospects from this year’s list have switched places, but they may be the only two who have a major league impact. Below are the top ten prospects from Colombia.

1. Luis Patino RHP (Padres) - The big fear with Patino is his small frame. He stands only 6′0″ but he touches the high 90s with his fastball. Last year he was number 2 on the list. He signed with the Padres in 2016, as many players on this list. He had a dominating year last year in High A, limiting the opposition to a .192 average with 11.7 whiffs per nine innings. The only pitcher better than him in the Padres minor league system is MacKenzie Gore. The pitch that gets most of the swings and misses for Luis is his slider. He still needs to improve his change if he wants to remain in the starting rotation. His year got him two starts in AA where he was a little more hittable (.258) but his ERA was excellent (1.17) and he still struck out 11.7 hitters per nine innings. Next year he should start at AA and could be in the Padres rotation in 2021.

2. Ronaldo Hernandez C (Rays) - Colombia has been starting to develop catchers, though Jorge Alfaro appears to be the only starter. Ronaldo could join Alfaro in that starting capacity. Ronaldo signed in 2014. He has good power potential hitting 21 homers in 2018 in Low A. That number dropped to nine last year in the Florida State League. He also seemed to have lost his patience at the plate with his walk to whiff ratio going from 31/69 to 17/65. This also resulted in a 20 point drop in average. The arm is strong to slow down a running game, but his defensive skills need to improve otherwise he becomes a Francisco Mejia. Next year Hernandez should start in AA. The Rays really have no one in their system to prevent him from becoming their starting catcher in 2021, unless they trade for one. Mike Zunino will not hold him back.

3. Jhon Torres OF (Cardinals) - The Cardinals are crowded in the outfield. Ironic that Torres was traded to the Cardinals from the Indians for another Colombian outfielder Oscar Mercado, probably the first trade in major league history that involved two Colombian outfielders getting traded for each other. Torres was signed in 2016. The 2019 season was his first season in full season ball but he struggled at Low A, hitting just .167. His bat came alive when he was demoted to Rookie ball, with 6 homeruns and a .527 slugging average. He turns 20 this year so the Cardinals still have some time to develop him, but he needs to have success in Low A and perhaps get promoted to High A before the season ends, depending on what kind of season the minor leagues has, in order to stay a prospect. At 6′4″ Jhon has the look of a rightfielder who can hit the ball a long ways, but he has to show more patience at the plate. As he rises up the minors higher level pitchers will get him out with their pitches.

4. Jordan Diaz 3B (Athletics) - Diaz will still be a teenager if the baseball season starts this year. He signed in 2016 and was playing in Rookie ball as a 16 year old. The 2020 season should be his first year in full season ball. Last year Jordan showed some power in his bat, slugging 9 homeruns, eight more than he hit his first two years. Jordan hits the ball hard and should develop power once he shows improved patience at the plate. Last year he had an 18/46 walk to whiff ratio. He showed enough with the bat that he should start the season next year in Low A. His glove is solid for third base. Matt Chapman should be ready for free agency once Jordan shows the skills needed to play third base in the major leagues. The Athletics don’t mind waiting, getting as much production from Chapman while Diaz matriculates in the minor leagues.

5. Santiago Florez RHP (Pirates) - Santiago is the fourth 2016 signing from this list. Florez stands 6′5″ with a fastball that sits in the mid-90s. His big issue is finding the plate. Despite the heat he has yet to strike out more than a hitter per inning in his three rookie league seasons, but he is still a teenager. His secondary pitches also need a lot of work if he wants to remain in the starting rotation. Last year was his best season ERA wise (3.46) and strikeouts per nine innings (7.8). The full season league awaits him for the 2020 season.

6. Brayan Buelvas OF (Athletics) - A second Athletic on this list, Brayan was a recent signing (2019). At 17 years of age he made his debut in the Rookie Leagues hitting .282 with three homeruns. Right now speed appears to be his best tool as evidenced by his eight triples and 16 stolen bases. This should allow him to stay in centerfield, where his lack of power makes him more valuable. His arm is average so if he fails to make it as a centerfielder left field may be a better option for him, a position teams normally look for a power hitter to man. At 155 pounds the Athletics hope he will bulk up to hit for a little more power. Next year he should see his first playing time in the full season leagues with a major league time estimated at least 2023.

7. Fabian Pertuz SS (Cubs) - Considering the kind of impact Edgar Renteria had for Colombians it is a surprise Fabian is the first shortstop on this list. The Cubs signed him in 2017. He has shown mainly gap power exercising the strength of his speed to take the extra base. In his first year he legged out six triples and stole 36 bases. Last year those speed numbers dropped to one triple and 9 stolen bases. He lacks burner speed which could limit his range at short. In 2018 he accumulated more walks than whiffs (38/32). The 2019 saw him walk 9 times with 46 whiffs. His average did go from .298 in the Dominican Summer League to .340 in the Arizona Rookie League. Next year he should make his full season debut. He is still a long way from making a major league contribution.

8. Luis Escobar RHP (Pirates) - Luis signed in 2013, originally signing as a third baseman. The Pirates moved him to the mound where he progressed to third on this list last year. He throws his fastball in the mid-90s but sometimes has trouble throwing it for strikes. Last year he walked 32 hitters in his 55 innings. The Pirates pitching staff was poor enough last year that they did promote him for four minor league games in the bullpen, but it was a nightmarish debut. He surrendered 10 hits in 5.2 innings and walked four, leaving him with a 7.94 ERA. He has a curve and change, but his future lies in the pen where his average stuff will work as a bridge to the setup man and then the closer. He should start the season in AAA and may see more appearances in the major leagues depending on his success.

9. Reiver San Martin LHP (Reds) - Reiver was originally signed by the Rangers in 2015. The Reds acquired him from the Yankees in the Sonny Gray trade. The fastball will not impress anyone. His definition is the crafty lefthander, with the change his best pitch. Without a dominating pitch he needs to locate his pitches to be effective and he has trouble accomplishing that. His pitches do keep the ball on the ground, but last year he gave up a career high 11 homeruns. While a starter in the minors his future may be as a reliever who comes in to face two of three lefty hitters in the lineup. He had some success in 12 starts last year in AA so it would not surprise me to see him start the 2020 season in AAA with possibly a major league callup before the year is out.

10. Ezequil Zabaleta RHP (Mets) - Ezequil put up good numbers in Low A last year (1.69 ERA) with a 2/22 walk to whiff ratio in 21 innings. He gave up more homeruns (3) than walks. The Mets signed him in 2015. The last two years he has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen. He is listed on the Colombian World Baseball Classic roster and the Colombian national team. That is about all myworld knows about him, but we had to find a tenth.

Big Four in Final Four in Series del Caribe

Thursday, February 6th, 2020

The big four of Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Mexico have made it to the final four. Not that Panama and Colombia were not competitive. Most of the games were close, with just one clutch hit turning a loss into a victory. Perhaps next year if they get Cuba back they can add Nicaragua and make it an eight game series. This could make scheduling difficult, needing two venues to play the double headers. Perhaps two four team brackets with the top two advancing to the playoffs. Mexico will play Venezuela in the afternoon and the Dominican Republic will play the host Puerto Rico in the night cap in the single elimination matchup.

Mexico 4 Colombia 0

Edgar Torres tossed 7.2 innings of one hit baseball. That one hit came in the first inning. After that first inning Colombia could only get one more runner on base, a base on balls in the fifth inning. Ramiro Pena hit a pinch hit two run homer in the seventh inning. Mexico also added two runs in the fifth inning. Juan Gamboa scored in both the fifth and seventh innings for Mexico.

Venezuela 2 Panama 0

Panama lashed out nine hits and Venezuela committed four errors but Pananam could not get a runner to cross the plate. Venezuela could only get five hits but seven walks gave them lots of opportunities. Venezuela scored quickly in the first when Ali Castillo led the game off with a triple and scored on a Gorkys Hernandez single. They made it bookends by scoring a run in the ninth, taking advantage of a couple walks with Ali Castillo driving in the insurance run with a single. David Martinez pitched six innings of shutout ball, scattering eight hits to get the win.

Dominican Republic 5 Puerto Rico 4

Jordany Valdespin drove in all five runs for the Dominicans, smashing a three run homer in the third and giving the Dominicans the lead for good with a two run double in the fifth to make it 5-4.

Big Four Appear Playoff Bound in Series del Caribe

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020

Only one more day left of round robin pool play and the big four of Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Puerto Rico are ahead in the final four playoff run, with newcomers Colombia and Panama possibly left out of the picture. Colombia has been eliminated from playing in the final four. All three games yesterday were decided by one run. It even appears that Puerto Rico has clinched the fourth spot based on the tie breaker rules. So the final day is just fluff.

Mexico 7 Venezuela 6

Mexico sent Venezuela to their first defeat and improved their record to 3-1. They jumped out to an early 7-0 lead and then hung on to snag the victory. Both teams have clinched a spot in the four team playoffs.

Rico Noel scored three runs and drove in two while Joey Meneses drove in four to lead the offense. Meneses RBI single in the first inning drove in Noel for the first run. In the third inning his ground out scored Noel for the second run. In the five run fourth Noel drove in the first two runs with a double, then he stole third and scored on the catcher’s overthrow to third. Meneses drives in the last two runs of the inning with a two run homerun.

Venezuela showed no quit. In the sixth Carlos Rivera touched off on Anthony Vazquez for a three run homer. That ruined his shutout. Venezuela rallied in the ninth with Ali Castillo contributing an RBI single and Cesar Valera pulling Venezuela to within one with a two out two run double. The big bat for Venezuela, Alexi Amarista struck out to end the game. Alberto Baldonado got the whiff for his second save.

Dominican Republic 4 Panama 3

The Dominicans overcame a 3-0 deficit to rally for four in the seventh to down Panama. They have now clinched a spot in the playoffs. Wilkin Castillo had the big three run homerun to prove the game winner.

Isaias Velasquez delivered three hits for Panama and drove in two runs. Carlos Quiroz contributed two hits and scored both times on Velasquez singles. Andy Otero pitched six solid innings of two hit shutout baseball before tiring in the seventh.

Puerto Rico 3 Colombia 2

Puerto Rico eliminated Colombia from the playoff round. Ozzie Martinez drove in the tying run for Puerto Rico in the sixth with an RBI single. It was his second RBI of the game. Jonathan Morales was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth to score the go ahead run.

Andy Vasquez hit a solo homerun for Colombia in the fifth inning.

Venezuela continues to roll in Series del Caribe

Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

Venezuela remained the only undefeated team in the Series del Caribe, downing Puerto Rico 3-2 in 10 innings. There was also a triple play by the Dominicans in their win against Colombia.

Venezuela 3 Puerto Rico 2

Angelo Palumbo pitched five innings of four hit shutout ball for Venezuela. Adalberto Flores countered with 6.2 innings of one run ball for Puerto Rico. A Henry Ramos RBI double in the eighth inning brought the game to extra innings.

In the top of the inning Puerto Rico scored first on a two out RBI single from Jack Lopez. Things got a little crazy in the bottom of the inning. Adonis Garcia singled and advanced to second on a throwing error, with the placed runner on second holding at third. Puerto Rico walked Fernando Cruz intentionally to load the bases. Puerto Rico appeared to get what they wanted on a ground ball to third. They got the run out at home but the throw to first was a little behind the runner and got by the first baseman. The tying run scored and Puerto Rico tried to throw to third to get that advancing runner. That throw went into the crowd allowing the go ahead run to score to give Venezuela the 3-2 win.

Mexico 6 Panama 1

Mexico got ahead early with three runs in the second. Dariel Alvarez drove in the first run with a single and Jose Chavez drove in two with a double.

Panama did not get their first hit until the fourth inning, but he was wiped out on a double play. Mexico scored two more runs in the fifth on a Joey Meneses singly and a Alvarez sacrifice fly. Panama finally scored in the sixth but could never get their bats going to overcome a five run deficit.

Yoanys Quiala pitched seven innings to get the win for Mexico. He gave up just three hits, striking out four and walking none.

Dominican Republic 4 Colombia 0

Paolo Espino pitched six innings of three hit shutout ball for the Dominicans. Randy Consuegra was just as effective for Colombia going 5.2 innings. The Dominicans assaulted the Colombian bullpen while the Colombian bats could do nothing against the Dominican pen.

The leading homerun hitter in the Dominican League Peter O’Brien finally unloaded on a pitch for a two run shot in the seventh inning to break the scoreless tie. In the 8th the Dominicans added to the carnage scoring a run on a wild pitch, and the last run on a ground out.

Colombia did put their first two runners on in the eighth inning, but a bunt attempt was popped up, resulting in a triple play to end the inning.

Venezuela Remains Undefeated in Series del Caribe

Monday, February 3rd, 2020

Venezuela remains the only undefeated team in the Series del Caribe after two days. The top four teams after the five day round robin qualify for a single elimination playoff.

Venezuela 3 Dominican Republic 2

Both these teams came into the day undefeated. Venezuela came through jumping out to an early 3-0 lead and then hanging on for the win. Juan Apodaca got the scoring started for Venezuela with an early two run double in the second inning. Rene Reyes sacrifice fly in the third inning put Venezuela up 3-0. Venezuela scored all three runs against Jorge Martinez.

Will Ledezma pitched five shutout innings for Venezuela. A single and a walk to start the sixth ended his day. After one out Abraham Almonte singled in a run, but Venezuela was able to snuff the rally after Alen Hanson grounded into a double play.

In the bottom of the ninth a two out Wilkens Castillo ground rule double scored one run and put runners on second and third with two out. Perhaps if the ball had not bounced over the fence the Dominican Republic would have tied the game. Jorge Mateo came up with the opportunity to hit a walk off single. He flied out to end the game.

Mexico 4 Puerto Rico 2

Mexico prevented the host team Puerto Rico from entering the land of the undefeated. Jan Hernandez hit the first homerun of the Series del Caribe with a solo shot in the second inning to give Puerto Rico an early 1-0 lead. But Sebastian Elizalde hit the loudest homerun with a three run bomb in the fifth to give Mexico a 4-1 lead.

Puerto Rico scored a run in the sixth to close the game to 4-2. They had runners at second and third with no outs in the seventh but failed to score. Pitcher Derrick Loop picked off Alexis Pantoja for the second out. Two walks put two runners on in the eighth but they failed to score. Alberto Baldonado put an end to the game in the ninth, retiring the side in order, striking out the last two hitters to pick up the save. Manny Barreda worked five innings to pick up the win.

Panama 1 Colombia 0

Davis Romero limited Colombia to just one hit in 7.2 innings of work. Diego Moreno retired the last four hitters to close out the game. The only run of the game came in the fourth inning, after a two out error by Colombia put a runner on second. Rodrigo Vigil was able to drive him in with a clutch single.

Colombia did not put a runner on until the fourth inning when Romero issued a two out walk. Their first hit came in the sixth. It came after a fielding error, giving Colombia two baserunners with one out. A fly out and ground out ended that threat. After that Colombia could not get a runner past first base.

Puerto Rico Wins in Walk off in Series del Caribe Openers

Sunday, February 2nd, 2020

The Series del Caribe had their opening day matches yesterday and if the results from those games are any indication, it will be competitive series. Many of the players may be unknown, but the games will be contested.

Puerto Rico 4 Panama 3 (10 innings)

In the extra innings Panama failed to score after a runner was placed on second. Puerto Rico moved the runner to third on a bunt and then drove him home on a Jonathan Morales sacrifice fly to give Puerto Rico the walk off win without benefit of a hit. The execution of fundamentals can be a difference maker in this modern day of baseball when you are allowed to put runners on base. Panama could not advance the runner to third in the tenth and they go down 0-1.

Panama had taken a 3-1 lead scoring three runs in the sixth. Two fielding errors by Panama allowed unearned runs to score in the sixth and seventh innings. A Henry Ramos walk in the bottom of the seventh tied the game. With the bases loaded and no out Puerto Rico had the opportunity to run away with the game but a line out and ground out double play left the game tied.

Jack Lopez was the big bat for Puerto Rico with three hits, including an RBI single in the sixth that made the score 3-2. Hector Santiago pitched five shutout innings for Puerto Rico before turning it over to his bullpen in the sixth to give up three runs.

Dominican Republic 2 Mexico 1

It was not a walk off but the Dominicans escaped with a victory. They scored both their runs in the third on Abraham Almonte and Diego Noris RBI singles to take a 2-0 lead. That held until the ninth, when Joey Meneses led the ninth off with a double. Juan Carlos Gamboa hits a two out RBI single to pull Mexico to within one. Anthony Giansanti could have put Mexico on top but his pop out to first ended the game.

Yuniesky Maya got the start for the Dominicans and pitched five innings of two hit shutout ball.

Venezuela 6 Colombia 4

The Series del Caribe debut for Colombia started out promising with an early 3-0 lead after six. Five innings of one hit shut out ball by Edgar De La Rosa gave the Colombians a lot to cheer for. The disaster that was the seventh inning turned their jubilation into despair.

Two walks sandwiched by a Rene Reyes single loaded the bases with no out. Gorkys Hernandez drove in two with a single. The Colombians were able to retire the next two hitters to give fans some hope the rally could be contained, but winter ball veteran Alexi Amarista drove in two with his clutch single to give Venezuela the lead. Osman Marvel roped a two run double to provide two valuable insurance runs.

A Jordan Diaz double in the top of the ninth scored one for Colombia to make it 6-4 with just one out and the tying run at the plate. Arvicent Perez, who had driven in a run earlier with a single, lined to Amarista for a game ending double play.

After the first day of play no balls have left the Hiram Bithorn park in Puerto Rico.

Colombia in and Cuba Out in Series Del Caribe

Friday, January 31st, 2020

Cuba was unable to obtain visas in time to compete in the Series del Caribe 2020 so Colombia was invited to play in their stead come Saturday in Puerto Rico. On the first day Colombia will play Venezuela, Mexico will battle the Dominican Republic and Panama will duke it out against Puerto Rico. The last time the Series del Caribe was played in Puerto Rico myworld was there. Not this year.

Cuba hopes to be able to participate in the next Series del Caribe when it is played in Mexico next year. Colombia hopes to repeat what Panama accomplished last year, winning the Series del Caribe in their first appearance. As the series struggles with name players choosing not to play in the event, the event has expanded to include other countries. First it was Cuba, then Panama and now Colombia, two countries that have been asking to play in the tournament for years. Nicaragua is another country interested in participating.

It will be interesting to gauge attendance to see what kind of participation Panama and Colombia brings to the group. In year’s past countries brought delegations to the games and it was a party atmosphere. As the name players have dropped out the attendance has sagged. Back in 1955 Puerto Rico had an outfield of Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente and Bob Thurman, with Don Zimmer as their shortstop. That would have been fun to watch. Now Jorge Mateo will be playing shortstop for the Dominican Republic with Felix Pie, Junior Lake and Jordany Valdespino manning the outfield.

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

Under 23 World Cup Qualifying Round

Thursday, January 16th, 2020

The Under 23 Baseball World Cup qualifying round will be held in Nicaragua and Honduras. Competing in the Nicaragua competition will be Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and the hosts Nicaragua. In Honduras, other than the hosts the competition will be Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala and Panama. Absent from the competition are the United States and Canada. Even Puerto Rico is absent in the tournament.

The Under 23 World Cup will be held October 2-11 in Mexico. Mexico are the defending champions having defeated Japan in 2018 when it was played in Colombia. Other countries who have qualified to play are Germany and Czech Republic (European qualifier), New Zealand (Oceania - Australia dropped out), Taiwan, Japan and China (Asia Qualifier), Korea (wild card selection) and Mexico as the host.

Honduras is an interesting country to choose to be a host for a baseball qualifier since baseball is not a big sport in that country. If you want to grow the game you have to expose the countries not usually exposed to baseball. Not sure why the United States and Canada chose not to participate but the major and minor league pipeline availability probably has something to do with that.

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.