Archive for the 'New Zealand' Category

15 and Under Results in Japan

Friday, July 29th, 2016

The World Cup for 15 and under opened yesterday in Japan. Not a lot of upsets or competitive games.

United States 18 Taiwan 3

This was surprising in how easily the United States dominated Taiwan in a game that only went five innings. The United States scored crooked numbers in all five of the innings that were played while Taiwan scratched together three runs after the United States had built a 16-0 lead. Taiwan pitchers could not find the plate walking 10 batters and throwing three wild pitches.

Anthony Volpe strung together four hits in four at bats to drive in three runs for the United States. He also scored three runs and stole a base. Carter Young collected three hits in four at bats and also drove in three runs. As a team the United States stole seven bases, with lead off batter Jasiah Dixon leading the way with two stolen bases on three hits scoring three times.

Taiwan had a couple hitting stars going 5 for 5, accounting for five of their seven hits. Yao-Tsung Weng slashed three hits from the leadoff spot, driving in one run and Chin-Wei Lin Wu put together two hits in the number eight spot after coming off the bench.

Japan 13 Australia 0

Japan continued to show off their superior pitching, shutting out Australia on four hits in a game going seven innings. Australia committed six errors to allow 11 unearned runs to cross the plate in the game. Japan used four different pitchers to shut out Australia, Kanta Okada getting the start and going three innings without allowing a hit. He was pulled after Japan had jumped out to an 11-0 lead.

Kenji Ino was the big bat for Japan, collecting three hits including a triple to drive in two runs and score three.

Cuba 5 Colombia 0

In the only game to go nine Cuba shut out Colombia on three hits. Osiel Rodriguez went seven plus innings to get the win, striking out nine and allowing only two hits. Yaniel Nunez was the big Cuban bat with four hits in five at bats, including a double, the only extra base hit on the Cuban team.

Korea 14 Czech Republic 4

Korea jumped on the Czechs early with nine runs in the first three innings and spanked the lone European team in a game that went seven innings. Number nine hitter Min-Sung Cho hit the only homerun of the first day in his perfect 2 for 2 day before he was pinch hit for in his last at bat. Jun-Woo Shin powered two doubles among his three hits to drive in two. Man-Soo Kim drove in three with a perfect 1 for 1 day with a single, walk and sacrifice fly.

Panama 16 New Zealand 1

Panama trampled all over New Zealand in a game that went six innings. They scored 12 of their 16 runs in the last two innings, assisted by six errors from New Zealand. Leonardo Jimenez drove in four runs with his two hits including a double and sacrifice fly. Adrian Montero had two at bats that included a walk and a triple that drove in three runs as a late inning replacement.

Venezuela 11 Mexico 1

This game was close until the latter innings when Venezuela erupted for eight runs in the last two innings to end the game in seven innings. Mexican pitchers issued 12 walks to aid in the Venezuelan scoring. Sergio Gutierrez drove in four runs and Jesus Orecchia added three to lead the Venezuelan efforts.

Under 15 Baseball World Cup

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

The under 15 World Cup will be played in Iwahi, Japan on July 29 to August 7. There will be 12 teams participating in this event. The World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC) recently announced the teams.

Australia (a WBC qualifying winner), Colombia (fresh off their WBC qualifying win), Cuba, Czech Republic, Japan (Number 1 team in the world), Korea (Premier 12 champion), Mexico (another WBC qualifying winner), New Zealand, Panama, Taiwan, United States (Number 2 team in the world), Venezuela

Top Ten European Prospects

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

There are only about three or four European players on this top ten list who will make it to the major leagues. For some of these players it may only be for a cup of coffee or a September of fun. Too many of the true European prospects are raw and it takes them awhile to get acclimated to the United States game. After the sixth rated player it is like throwing darts at a board and letting it find a name for you. That is my level of confidence on these ratings after the sixth pick.

Aaron Altherr was the only player from the list last year to lose rookie eligibility. Donald Lutz made the list last year, played very little because of injury, was released by the Reds and resigned, but he actually lost his rookie eligibility in 2014. Max Kepler had a break out year. He became the first player born and raised in Germany to play in the major leagues when he got a September call up. Donald Lutz also played in Germany, but he was born in New York and his mother moved him back to Germany when he was an infant. One of the more talented European prospects the last couple years Lars Hujer decided to return to Europe to play in the Dutch League, ending his major league career ambitions for one closer to home when the European professional league will make its debut.

You can see the list from last year at the link below.

1. Ozzie Albies SS (Braves/Curacao) - The Braves traded Jose Peraza because they felt Ozzie was the better middle infield prospect. Then they traded Andrelton Simmons, their gold glove fielding shortstop also from Curacao. The only player standing in the shortstop path for Ozzie is Eric Aybar, who will become a free agent after next year. It may be expecting a lot from Ozzie to find him playing shortstop for the Braves in 2017. Last year was his first in full season where he hit .310 in Low A. Like Jose Peraza he lacks power, but his arm strength makes him a better fit for short. He may not steal as many bases as Jose, but he has the patience to take walks and get on base, duties valued when looking for a lead off hitter. The best the Braves can hope for is a September callup in 2017, when he will be a 20 year old youngster with a starting position available to him in 2018. The Braves hope he can maintain his .328 minor league career average as he rises up the minor league ladder and faces more talented pitchers.

2. Max Kepler OF/1B (Twins/German) - Myworld rated him a bit low last year, but he was a first baseman/corner outfielder with little power. He had a breakout season this year, hitting .322 at AAA with a .947 OPS. That resulted in a September callup where he hit only .143, but still getting a baseball for achieving his first major league hit. Max was able to bunch together 56 extra base hits, nine of them going over the fence, so his power is really more to the gaps. In the outfield he lacks the speed to play center and lacks the power to really be a solid corner outfielder. A gig as a fourth or fifth outfielder in the major leagues is not a bad job. Currently the Twins have some talented outfielders and a crowd at first base so it could be difficult for Max to find major league time next year. If he continues to hit the Twins will have to find room for him, or trade him to a team that has an outfield need.

3. Marten Gasparini SS/2B (Royals/Italy) - Marten signed for $1.3 million in 2013, breaking the European signing bonus record previously held by Max Kepler. There are some questions whether Marten will have the bat to find himself wearing a major league uniform. His legs can churn out speed and his arm is strong but his 37 errors in 52 games is a cause for concern. A move to second may be required if he can not correct his fielding flaws. Last year he stole 26 bases in 54 games and of his 16 extra base hits, ten of them were for triples. Recognizing breaking pitches has been his biggest challenge resulting in 80 whiffs in 54 games. The 2016 season should see his first season in a full season league, a true test of his abilities over a long season.

4. Spencer Kieboom C (Nationals/Netherlands) - His father was born in the Netherlands but he moved to the United States when he was 17. That allows him to be eligible to play for Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. In 2013 he was supposed to be one of their catchers but Tommy John surgery forced him to miss much of the 2013 season. The Nationals have a number of talented catchers ahead of him, forcing him to toil in High A as a 24 year old. Defense is his forte. His bat tends to fall a little short (.248, 2, 6) but he did have an impressive 36/30 walk to whiff ratio. The Royals have shown how important it is to have someone who can make contact with the ball and Spencer is a good barrel of the bat on ball kind of hitter.

5. Carlton Daal SS/2B (Reds/Netherlands) - A Didi Gregorius protégé, he has 2014 first round pick Alex Blandino ahead of him in the Reds minor league system. While he may be a better defensive shortstop than Alex, with more speed, his bat falls quite a bit short. Power is the big tool he lacks with a .308 minor league career slugging average and just one homerun in his three year minor league career. While his defense will be good enough to start at a middle infield position, his bat may restrict him to a utility role. He did get named as the shortstop on the All Premier 12 team.

6. Marek Minarik RHP (Pirates/Czech Republic) - At 6′7″ he has the height to intimidate hitters. The fact he has trouble throwing the ball over the plate makes him a bigger pitcher to fear. Originally signed by the Phillies they gave up on him ever mastering the strike zone and released him. The Pirates signed him last year and hope to put him into their rotation. Last year with the Phillies he could only master a 6.32 ERA with 21 walks in 52.2 innings, but worse yet, 11 jacks and 13 hit batsman. His fastball has good velocity, sitting in the low 90s but his secondary stuff is a bit iffy. At only 22 years of age Marek still has plenty of time to master his game.

7. Matz Schutte RHP (Twins/Netherlands) - He is still a young kid at 19 years old. At 6′3″ and 185 he has a good pitcher’s body. Last year was his first season in the minor leagues after spending some time in Australia. In the rookie league he finished with a 3.07 ERA, showing good control with a 4/18 walk to whiff ratio in 29.1 innings. He played for the European team that went to Taiwan to play winter league ball there. It would not be a surprise if he spends another season in the short season leagues.

8. Markus Solbach RHP (Diamondbacks/Germany) - Another pitcher with a large frame (6′5″) who was released by the Twins. He put up some good numbers in A ball (2.88 ERA) even though his whiff numbers (58) per innings pitched (121) were not awe inspiring. At least he did not walk a lot of hitters (30). He struggled a bit when promoted to the California League (5.58 ERA), but that tends to be a hitters league. At 25 years of age in the 2016 season it would be nice if he hit AA. Like most European pitchers his fastball is not overpowering, sitting at 88-91 so location is critical for continued success.

9. Alberto Mineo C (Cubs/Italy) - Not much of an offensive player, failing to hit over in his four seasons of minor league ball. He replaces Martin Cervenka who will turn 24 and has yet to reach High A. Albert has shown little power (.287 slugging) but makes good contact. He needs to make it as a catcher where his stolen base success rate is 26 percent. He’s been mainly a backup for the minor league teams he has played for as he rises up the system, but at 21 he is still young enough to make an impact. Next year should be his first complete year in High A ball.

10. Loek Van Mil RHP (Twins/Netherlands) - Loek has been around for awhile. He has played in Australia, Japan and Netherlands. He was supposed to be the Dutch closer in the Olympics but an arm injury ended that hope. At 7′1″ if he puts on a major league uniform he will break the record for tallest pitcher ever to throw a pitch in the major leagues. His fastball generally sits in the low 90s, but with his height the arm appears to come right down at you. At 31 years of age he is a bit old to be considered a prospect, but with any kind of success in the minors the Twins may end up putting him in the bullpen. Command has been a problem with his large, lanky frame and all the elongated body parts flying all over the place trying to find consistency in his windup. In Japan last year he appeared in seven games in relief for Rakuten, walked 7 and struck out 7 in 8.2 innings of relief, finishing with a 4.15 ERA.

European Top Ten Prospects 2015

South Africa Eliminates New Zealand

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

It might help the World Baseball Classic if some of the games were closer. The closest game was the three run difference between South Africa and Australia. These two teams will battle again after South Africa proved their superiority over New Zealand with a 9-2 romp, the second time they have squashed New Zealand.

Keegan Swanepoel was the hitting star for South Africa with four hits, driving in both his runs in the four run fourth inning that blew the game wide open. Anthony Phillips drew four walks allowing him to score three runs and Kyle Botha drove in three runs to lead the offense. Gift Ngoepe finally got his first hit of the qualifier, a bat South Africa will need to be competitive against Australia.

The third inning was evidence of the struggles for the New Zealand pitching staff. Three walks, one of them intentionally resulted in South Africa exploding for four runs. In total, New Zealand pitchers walked 10 batters, not the kind of performance you want to get from a pitching staff to win games.

In the sixth inning after a Gift Ngoepe single, two more walks loaded the bases to set up a bases clearing double by Botha.

New Zealand scored both their runs in the fourth inning, Moko Moanaroa, brother of Boss and also an ex-Red Sox minor leaguer, doubled in both runs after two walks put runners on base. South Africa was less generous with the walks, but they will have to do better than the seven walks they issued against New Zealand. The 17 walks issued in the ball game makes for a long night of baseball.

Australia Rides Good Pitching to Finals

Friday, February 12th, 2016

Good teams are defined by the quality of their pitching staff. When compared to the three other teams competing in the Australia World Baseball Classic qualifier Australia has the superior pitching. That was again on display with four pitchers limiting South Africa to one run on six hits in their 4-1 win to get them to the finals.

Warwick Saupold got the start and worked the first three innings. He gave up the lone run to South Africa in the third inning after a Kyle Botha RBI single. Ryan Rowland Smith followed him with three shutout innings of two hit ball. Todd Van Steensel was called on for two shutout innings and Ryan Searle struck out three of the four hitters he faced in the ninth.

Australia erupted for three runs in the opening frame off South African starter Carl Michaels. James Beresford and Logan Wade started the game with back to back double with Stefan Welch following with an RBI single. Fans were still not settled in their seats and Australia was already up 2-0. A sacrifice fly by Trent Oeltjen upped the lead to 3-0.

What looked to be a rout after the first inning settled into a pitcher’s duel. Australia would not score their next run until the sixth inning after a wild pitch moved runners to second and third and David Kandilas scored on a James Beresford ground out.

The earlier match showed New Zealand pound the Philippines 17-7 in a game that lacked good pitching. The Philippines had actually taken a 7-4 lead with three runs in the top of the sixth. New Zealand hammered the Philippine bullpen with six in the bottom half of the sixth, another five in the seventh and two more in the eighth to end the game as a result of the slaughter rule.

Ex-Red Sox prospect Boss Moanaroa drove in seven runs with his four hits. His RBI onslaught started with an RBI double in the fifth, it went into overdrive with a 3-run homer in the sixth and was completed after a two run single in the seventh. If Boss was a little faster with the feet he could have extended one of his two doubles for a triple to hit for the cycle.

Eric Farris collected four hits for the Philippines from the leadoff spot and Brady Conlan bashed a two run homer in the fourth to tie the game at 3-3 but the production went for naught for lack of a bullpen. The Philippine hurlers did not help their cause by walking 10 batters. By contrast New Zealand issued only one walk.

The Philippines now go back home while New Zealand does battle with South Africa to see who will attempt to knock Australia from the top of the hill.

South Africa and Australia Open with WBC Qualifier Victories

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

South Africa used two big innings to rout New Zealand 7-1 in a World Baseball Classic Qualifier. Dylan Unsworth pitched eight shutout innings to quiet the bats of New Zealand. Brett Willemburg provided all the offense South Africa needed with two hits while driving in two runs. New Zealand pitchers walked seven and their defense committed three errors, two of them in a three run third that led to the first three runs scoring for South Africa. A wild pitch and a throwing error by catcher Connar O’Gorman was responsible for two South African runs.

New Zealand scored their only run in the bottom of the ninth on a walk to Boss Moanaroa that forced in a run. Jared Elario came on to face the final batter, forcing him to ground into a double play to end the game.

Australia scored seven in the seventh to rout the Philippines 11-1 in a game shortened by seven innings because of the ten run rule. James Beresford slammed four hits and drove in three runs to lead the Aussie offense. Beresford drove in two runs in the seven run seventh on a single. Stefan Welch also drove in three runs, including two in the seventh on a double and the first run for Australia in the first inning with a single.

Steven Kent worked six innings allowing only one run to get the win. That run came in the opening frame when the Philippines jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after two singles and a walk. Eric Farriss got things going with a single and Brady Conlan drove him in with a single.

In the double elimination tournament Australia will play South Africa while New Zealand will battle the Philippines to survive another day. You can view the boxscores of the game at the link below:

World Baseball Classic boxscores

WBC Australian Qualifier - New Zealand Roster

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Below is the roster for New Zealand as provided by Baseball America.

Catcher - Beau Bishop, Dewald de Klerk, Connar O’Gorman
Infield - Tyron Bartorillo, Scott Campbell, Jason Matthews, Boss Moanaroa, Alan Schoenberger
Outfield - Tim Auty, Daniel Bradley, Max Brown, Daniel Lamb-Hunt, Moko Moanaroa,
Left handed Pitching - Scott Cone, Jacob Curry, Nick Maronde
Right handed Pitching - Jimmy Boyce, Joe Boyce, Ben Cone, Kyle Glogoski, Benjamin Hughlon, Blair Johnstone, John Lee, Andrew Marck, Riki Paewai, Ben Thompson, Janie Wilson, Randy Yard

Lincoln Holdzkom starred in the 2012 qualifier when New Zealand lost in the finals to Taiwan. They went 2-2 in their first qualifier. His brother John Holdzkom is a top pitcher for the Pirates. Nick Maronde last appeared in the major leagues in 2014. Boss Moanaroa and his brother Moko played in the Red Sox minor league system. Boss still has major league ambitions and is one of the top sluggers in the Australian Baseball League.

New Zealand never participated in a World Cup competition so their entry into international baseball is fairly recent. They are rated 26th in the world but myworld thinks they have the best opportunity to upset Australia to advance to the World Baseball Classic.

WBC Qualifying Cities Determined

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

The World Baseball Classic and World Baseball and Softball Confederation have agreed to continue their working relationship to put on display the World Baseball Classic to determine the top baseball country. Japan won the first two events but the Dominican Republic won the last event. These two associations have decided the location and countries who will compete in the qualifiers for the final four spots for the World Baseball Classic. Twelve teams have qualified.

The qualifying locations are:

February 11-14 in Sydney, Australia

1) Australia, 2) New Zealand, 3) Philippines and 4) South Africa

March 17-20 in Mexicali, Mexico

1) Mexico, 2) Czech Republic, 3) Germany and 4) Nicaragua

March 17-20 in Panama City, Panama

1) Colombia, 2) France, 3) Panama and 4) Spain

September 22-25, in Brooklyn, New York, United States

1)Brazil, 2) Great Britain, 3) Israel and 4) Pakistan

The 12 teams who have qualified are:

1) Canada, 2) China, 3) Cuba, 4) Dominican Republic, 5) Italy, 6) Japan, 7) Netherlands, 8) Puerto Rico, 9) South Korea, 10) Taiwan, 11) United States and 12) Venezuela

The World Baseball Classic will be held on March 2017, provided the major league players association and the major leagues agree to a collective bargaining agreement prior to the end of the 2016 season. If no agreement can be reached it will be interesting to see if the event is still held.

Oh and Aaron Head the Children’s Fair in Japan

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

The two have combined for 1,623 homeruns. Sadaharu Oh (868 homeruns) is the chairman and Hank Aaron (755 homeruns) is the co-founder of the World Baseball Children’s Foundation. The 300 kids from 16 different countries will learn the game of baseball for six days from 10 different international coaches. The kids can also learn a thing or two from listening to Oh and Aaron.

The countries represented in this event are Burma (Myanmar), Canada, China, Denmark, Fiji, Germany, Hong Kong, Korea, Malta, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United States and the host Japan. The ten different coaches represent six different countries though the two Italian coaches and the one Australian coach appear to have no children representing their country. Ex-major leaguer Eugene Kingsale is representing the Netherlands as a coach and lacks any kids from his country.

The event began in Los Angeles in 1990 and since that time over 5,000 kids aged 10 to 11 years old have represented 93 different countries trying to expand their knowledge of baseball. It would be interesting to know if any professional players from the United States, Japan or another country attended this event in the early years.

Australia 18 and Under Qualifes for World Cup

Monday, January 26th, 2015

The Australia 18 and under team qualified for the World Cup that will be played in Japan in September of this year. They went undefeated through the championships, beating Guam in the final match 10-0. Four different pitchers limited the Guamanians to just to two hits in the six innings.

The game was scoreless after two innings, but the Aussies pulled away with crooked numbers in the next four innings. Australia finished the tournament undefeated, scoring in double figures in all six games they played except one, when they were limited to 8 in one of their wins over New Zealand.

There were only three teams in the tournament. New Zealand came in second at 3-3, losing all three of their games against Australia and Guam ended the tournament winless at 0-6. The most competitive game was the opener when New Zealand just nipped Guam 1-0. After that game the rest of the matches were decided by at least five runs or more.

You can review the results of the matches here: