Archive for the 'Puerto Rico' 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

Venezuela Downs Mexico to Win Americas Under 23 Championship

Monday, December 4th, 2017

Venezuela used a collection of minor league ball players to defeat Mexico and their roster of Mexican League summer players 3-1 to win the Under 23 Americas championship. Joscar Alvarez drove in all three runs for Venezuela with his three run homer in the bottom of the fourth. Julian Ornelas accounted for the only Mexican run with his solo shot in the second inning.

In the bronze medal game the Yadier Molina led Puerto Ricans shredded the Dominican Republic 17-1. Yariel Gonzalez went deep twice and drove in seven runs, one of his homeruns a grand slam that ended the game after six innings because of the 15 run rule.

All four teams qualified for the Under 23 tournament that will be played in 2018.

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).

Puerto Rico to Play Shortened Schedule

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

Because all of the five ballparks have been damaged by Hurricane Maria and the priority is to fix the infrastructure and not the ball parks the Puerto Rican season has been delayed. Power is still a prized commodity so playing day games may be the preferred route when the season begins. When the power in the area is not capable to operate traffic lights on the street it would be difficult for that power to light up a ballpark for night play.

The Roberto Clemente Baseball League is hoping to play an abbreviated 21 game schedule running from January 6 -21. By playing baseball again it would be establish normalcy to Puerto Rico, a condition that many would like to see come to pass. Some in the island have not seen power since Hurricane Irma smashed through the island in September.

The four teams that plan to participate in this abbreviated season are the Santurce Crabbers, Caguas Creoles, Carolina Giants and the Mayaguez Indians. Financial restraints have forced the Aguadilla Sharks to merge with the team from Mayaguez.

Play will occur at two ballparks, Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan and the Isidoro “Cholo” Garcia Stadium in Mayaguez. Games will be played from Thursday to Sunday at 1 or 1:30 PM with doubleheaders involved. Admission to the games will be free.

When the 21 game regular season is over the top three teams will advance to the playoffs. The top team will get a bye while the second and third place team battle in a one game playoff. The winner will then play the first place team in a five game playoff. The winner of that playoff game will go to Mexico to represent Puerto Rico in the Caribbean World Series. Puerto Rico and the Caguas Creoles are the defending champions.

Because of salary restrictions no imported players will be allowed to play. It will be an all Puerto Rican league, though many of their players have already scattered to the other winter leagues in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

Information for this piece was acquired from lavidabaseball.com.

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

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.

Puerto Rico, Mexico and London Possible for Major League Games

Friday, July 28th, 2017

The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) was made public and it appears major league baseball will be very aggressive in playing games internationally to expand their brand.

For this year it appears they have a post season for Mexico or Asia. These would usually be exhibition games after the regular season has ended. Korea may be an interesting choice with their new ballpark and the increased number of players moving to the major leagues. The fact nothing has been announced makes me think this will not happen.

In 2018 a game is already planned for the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians to play in Puerto Rico in a two game series in April. Also on the schedule are spring training games to be played in Mexico and an opening day for Asia. Mexico is also scheduled to have regular season games in May. At the end of the season a post season series is scheduled for Japan. Dominican Republic is listed for regular season games with Puerto Rico but myworld suspects that will be saved for 2019.

The 2019 season could see exhibition games in Mexico, Puerto Rico and/or the Dominican Republic. They also have an opening day for Japan. A couple years ago this consisted of exhibition games between the Japanese teams and the major league teams followed by a two game major league series. Shohei Otani could make his return to Japan if he signs with a major league club in 2018. Mexico and the United Kingdom are scheduled for major league games, but myworld suspects the London series will be in 2020. A post season series lists Mexico or Asia.

The 2020 season lists Mexico for an exhibition match with Asia schedule for an opening series. Major league baseball has always wanted to expose their game to China and this could be the opportunity. The real challenge would be to find a stadium large enough to have the series. The Olympic venue has been torn down for a shopping mall. Mexico, Puerto Rico, United Kingdom and Dominican Republic are listed for major league games. Japan has another post season exhibition series scheduled.

The 2021 season only shows regular season games for Mexico.

The fact these games are listed does not mean they will be played. If the Collective Bargaining Agreement did not list the games then major league baseball would have to negotiate outside the CBA with the players union to get these games played, an arduous process. It will be interesting to see what games they try to put into place.

Myworld would like to see Netherlands selected as a place to play a major league series. Unfortunately, the major leagues is a bit greedy and are always looking for large market places to brand their product. The Netherlands is not a large market.

Future Games Rosters Selected

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

The futures game is played before the All Star team and features the best prospects outside of the United States against the best prospects inside the United States. The game is scheduled for July 9. Below are the rosters of the two teams.

World Team

Pitchers

Domingo Acevedo (Dom Rep/Yankees), Yadier Alvarez (Cuba/Dodgers), Jaime Barria (Panama/Angels), Luis Escobar (Colombia/Pirates), Tayron Guerrero (Colombia/Marlins), Jonathan Hernandez (Dominican Republic/Rangers), Jairo Labourt (Dom Rep/Tigers), Cal Quantrill (Canada/Padres), Mike Soroka (Canada/Braves), Thyago Vieira (Brazil/Mariners)

Catchers

Tomas Nido (Puerto Rico/Mets), Francisco Mejia (Dom Rep/Indians)

Infielders

Yordan Alvarez (Cuba/Astros), Josh Naylor (Canada/Padres), Yoan Moncada (Cuba/White Sox), Mauricio Dubon (Honduras/Brewers), Lucius Fox (Bahamas/Rays), Ahmed Rosario (Dom Rep/Mets), Rafael Devers (Dom Rep/Red Sox), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Dom Rep/Blue Jays)

Outfielders

Ronald Acuna (Venezuela/Braves), Estevan Florial (Haiti/Yankees), Eloy Jimenez (Dom Rep/Cubs), Victor Robles (Dom Rep/Nationals), Alex Verdugo (Mexico/Dodgers)

United States team

Beau Burrows (Tigers), Jon Duplantier (Diamondbacks), Jack Flaherty (Cardinals), Foster Griffen (Royals), Jimmy Hegert (Reds), Brent Honeywell (Rays), Michael Kopech (White Sox), Triston McKenzie (Indians), A.J. Puk (Athletics), Tanner Scott (Orioles)

Catcher

Zack Collins (White Sox), Chance Sisco (Orioles)

Infielders

Rhys Hoskins (Phillies), Ryan McMahon (2B/3B) Rockies, Scott Kingery (Phillies), Bo Bichette (Blue Jays/Brazil), Nick Gordon (Twins), Brendan Rodgers (Rockies), Brian Anderson (Marlins), Nick Senzel (Reds)

Outfielders

Lewis Brinson (Twins), Derek Fisher (Astros), Corey Ray (Brewers), Bryan Reynolds (Giants), Kyle Tucker (Astros)

Top Puerto Rican Prospects

Monday, May 1st, 2017

Last year’s top ten found four players make the major leagues, playing enough games to make them ineligible for the 2017 list. The top prospect on the list Jose Berrios saw a season of struggles for his 14 major league starts. Steven Moya, who was born in Puerto Rico but grew up in the Dominican Republic saw significant time with the Tigers last year but was removed from the 40 man roster after running out of options and failing to make the major league team out of spring training. Edwin Diaz got inserted as the closer for the Mariners. He was number seven on the list. Yadiel Rivera was the number 10 player and played in a utility role for the Brewers, hitting just .200. With four players no longer eligible for the top ten some new players have come along to replace them.

1. Jose Deleon RHP (Rays) - Another Jose sits atop the top ten. The Dodgers originally drafted him in the 24th round of the 2013 draft but traded him to the Rays this year for Logan Forsythe. Not a lot was thought of Deleon when he was drafted but his fastball ticked up to the low 90s with lots of movement and his change is superb. The swings and misses come in bunches in the minor leagues at 12.1 whiffs per nine innings. When promoted to the Dodgers for four starts the whiffs were not as prevalent (7.9). Deleon had a rough spring, complained of arm discomfort and was placed on the disabled list to start the season. He should pitch soon and if he finds success will not see a lot of time in the minor leagues before reaching the Rays rotation.

2. Delvin Perez SS (Cardinals) - A 2016 first round pick of the Cardinals, he was supposed to go higher in the draft but a performance enhancing drug finding dropped him in the draft. Many compare him to Carlos Correa but with a little less power but more speed. Last year he showed some inconsistency as shortstop with 17 errors in 40 games. The bat was solid with a .294 average and he was 12 for 13 in stolen bases. Delvin will start the season in extended spring training and may get an opportunity to play in Low A before the rookie season starts.

3. Isan Diaz SS (Brewers) - Many feel Isan will eventually move to second base once he shows he lacks the range to play shortstop at the higher levels. He has played a little of both to begin the 2017 season. His bat will get him to the major leagues. The 2015 season was his breakout season when his OPS was an astounding 1.076 in the Rookie league. Last year he slugged 34 doubles with 20 homeruns for a .469 slugging average. Speed and defense are not his game. His bat will get him to the major leagues.

4. Joe Jimenez RHP (Tigers) - The Tigers are looking for a closer and have promoted Joe a couple times to fill a relief role. He is a bit too green to give him the closer job and his success has been spotty (12.46 ERA). On the bright side he has yet to give up a run in five Triple A appearances, striking out 10 hitters in five innings. His fastball is not the overpowering pitch many like to see in a closer and his slider is a bit inconsistent. His career with the Tigers has been in the bullpen so he has not had a need to develop a third pitch. When pitching in the minor leagues he has not given up more than two homers in a season. In his two call ups this year with the Tigers he has coughed up two homeruns in less than five innings.

5. Jorge Lopez RHP (Brewers) - Jorge struggled last year in AAA (6.81 ERA) which got him a demotion to AA. If he had seen some success he would have seen some time with the Brewers and not have been eligible for this list. A good winter in the Puerto Rican Winter League brings high hopes he has his stuff back. He was a second round pick in 2011. His fastball is not overpowering but his curveball is his swing and miss pitch. Last year in Colorado Springs he could not find command in the pitch walking 55 in 79 innings. A Demotion to AA reduced the walks. The Brewers have started his 2017 season at AA where in five starts he has a 1.73 ERA with a .189 opposition average. The Brewers may just keep him there before a promotion to their major league team rather than promote him to Colorado Springs where his curveball struggles to find its break.

6. Tomas Nido C (Mets) - He will not have Puerto Ricans forget Yadier Molina, but he could get backup opportunities at the major league level. His defense is solid but it was his bat that broke out last year to put him on the prospect map, hitting .320 with a .459 slugging average. The Mets have promoted him to AA and his hitting has struggled early in the season (.196). He has also only thrown out two of the 15 runners who have attempted to steal off him. Last year Nido had a 42 percent success rate. His best hope for a major league career is as a back up catcher.

7. Rio Ruiz 3B (Braves) - Rio was a fourth round pick in the 2012 draft but the Astros paid him a big bonus. They traded him to the Braves in 2015 for Evan Gattis. Expectations have lowered for Rio as his power has struggled to emerge. Last year he slugged .400 which was an improvement over the .324 slugging average in 2015. His defense is above average but the power needs to show if he wants to make it with the Braves. Last year he got a September call up for 7 at bats. He repeats AAA and could be the first player the Braves call on if they need a third baseman.

8. Jose Miranda 2B/SS (Twins) - Jose was taken in the second round supplemental of the 2016 draft. He doesn’t have the arm or the range to play shortstop and a move to second is expected. The Twins hope his bat will play which would open up a move to third. Last year he only hit .227 with a .292 slugging in his debut professional season at rookie ball. This year he starts the season in extended spring training waiting for the rookie season to begin so he can show the Twins his bat is alive.

9. Roy Morales C (Marlins) - Puerto Rico has a habit of developing catchers and from the defensive side Roy has all the tools. His arm is strong and he blocks pitches well. The Marlins drafted him in the 12th round of the 2014 draft. His bat is a bit soft and his speed is non-existent. He does make good contact with a 46/45 walk to whiff ratio. The Marlins have considered moving him to the mound if his bat does not come to life. In nine games this year Roy has hit .379 with a 5/2 walk to whiff ratio. Only one of his 11 hits has gone for extra bases.

10. Victor Caratini C/1B (Cubs) - It will be tough for Victor to find time behind the plate with Wilson Contreras the starter there. Victor was originally drafted by the Braves in the second round of the 2013 draft. They traded him to the Cubs for Emilio Bonafacio. The tools are lacking to make it as a catcher, with a below average arm his biggest weakness to overcome. He does have some pop in the bat but that has yet to show in games. The early AAA season has seen him bounce around between first base and catcher. He has started the season with a .312 average with 16 RBIs in 20 games but only seven of his 24 hits have gone for extra bases.

2016 top ten Puerto Rican Prospects

Japan Retains Number One World Ranking

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Despite the United States first place finish in the World Baseball Classic tournament this month Japan has retained the number one ranking thanks to their third place finish. Over the course of the voting the United States has won four tournaments to one for Japan in tournaments both teams have competed in. Where Japan jumps ahead of the United States is their two championships that the United States chose not to enter.

Below is the top 12 teams and their points accumulated in parenthesis.

1. Japan (5699)
2. United States (5378)
3. South Korea (4789)
4. Taiwan (3901)
5. Cuba (3737)
6. Mexico (2961)
7. Venezuela (2804)
8. Australia (2433)
9. Netherlands (2071)
10. Canada (2020)
11. Puerto Rico (1759)
12. Italy 1708

You can see the complete list by going to World rankings