Archive for the 'Puerto Rico' Category

Top Prospects from Puerto Rico

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

A couple years ago Puerto Rico was flush with prospects like Javier Baez, Francisco Lindor, Eddie Rosario, Jose Berrios and the list goes on. The discussion about the major league draft stunting the development of Puerto Rican players from being drafted seemed to have disappeared (high school baseball does not exist in Puerto Rico so they rely on academies for players between 14-18). Finding prospects the last couple years has been difficult. Even having Puerto Ricans drafted higher than the second round is rare. Below are the top rated prospects that myworld was able to link to Puerto Rico.

Isan Diaz (# 2 prospect) and Tomas Nido (#3) were the only players to graduate from last year’s list. Four players dropped off. That left room for six new players to appear on the list, one of those who has appeared in previous lists when he was a Dodger.

1. Heliot Ramos OF (Giants) - The only true top rated prospect on this list, he was the number one Puerto Rican prospect last year and he will probably be number one next year. Heliot was a first round pick of the Giants in 2017, the last first round pick from Puerto Rico. The tools are average or above in all areas of his game. The speed is there to play centerfield, but he may fit better in right. Last year he hit .306 with 13 homeruns in High A but slumped to .242 in AA. The power is there but so is the ability to swing and miss. With his arrival, along with Hunter Bishop, to the major league club it would end the drought the Giants have had of developing outfielders. It will be 2021 before he wears a Giant uniform, unless he tears it up in the minor leagues.

2. Mario Feliciano C (Brewers) - The island nation has been a breeding ground for developing catchers with Ivan Rodriguez, the Molina brothers, etc. as exemplary examples. Mario hopes to add his name to that list. The Brewers drafted him in the second round (supplemental) draft in 2016. He was eighth on this list last year but his season was limited to 42 games because of injuries and he hit only .205. His strong defense and arm got him placed on this list. This year his bat showed up with a .273 average and 19 homeruns in High A for a .477 slugging. A 29/139 walk to whiff ratio is cause for concern, but the underlying factor is Mario plays a solid defense, and if that power shows up enough it will be good enough to get him in the starting lineup. He is still a year away from the Brewers.

3. Willi Castro SS (Tigers) - Myworld just assumed Willi was from the Dominican Republic, but he was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in the Dominican. The Indians signed him in 2013 then shipped him off to the Tigers in the Leonys Martin trade. While Martin now spends his time in Japan, Castro made his major league debut with the Tigers last year. There are not any tools that wow you with Castro. He is a decent fielder, could hit for double digit homerun power and last year in AAA slapped the ball around for a .301 average. That will probably translate to a .250 average in the major leagues, especially if he does not improve on his 6/34 walk to whiff ratio in his major league debut. While the Tigers rebuild he could fill the shortstop position, then move to a utility role once they find a better alternative.

4. Edwin Rios 1B (Dodgers) - The Dodgers drafted Rios in the sixth round of the 2015 draft. Last year the souped up baseball in AAA allowed Edwin to slug 31 homeruns. He hit another four when making his major league debut with the Dodgers. Defensively there is not a lot there to make you want to play him, so the bat needs to stay alive to keep him in the lineup. The Dodgers seem to be loaded with power bats they can put at first base and at 26 the time for Rios to be playing is now. His best bet for a starting role may be a trade or movement to the KBO.

5. Matthew Lugo SS (Red Sox) - Lugo was the highest Puerto Rican selected in the 2019 draft, the last pick of the second round regular phase. He is the nephew of Carlos Beltran and trained in his facility. The bat has the potential for power, even though it failed to show last year with his .326 slugging percentage in 46 rookie league games. His lower half could be a bit thick to stay at short so a move to second is in his future. Expect him to play full season ball next year. Any discussion of the major leagues is a few years away.

6. Yan Contreras SS (Reds) - Another Puerto Rican middle infielder drafted in 2019, but Yan lasted until the 12th round. He was signed mostly for his defense but he will need to hit better than .145 for the Reds to continue to throw him out there. The bright spot was that he drew 14 walks in 20 games, so his ability to get on base (.298 OBA) was not bad. He also runs well, hitting two triples and stealing four bases. He will probably see another year in rookie ball before the Reds expose him to full season ball pitching. He is a few years away from the major leagues, and if his bat does not produce may never climb higher than A ball.

7. Victor Torres C (White Sox) - Victor was an 11th round pick in 2019. He was expected to go higher in the draft. Defense is his calling card with the arm and quickness to control a running game. He also has the ability to call a game and run a pitching staff. Last year he hit only .219, with just two of his 21 hits going for extra bases (both doubles). The Sox thnk he has the ability to hit, but he will probably need one more year in short season ball to prove that. If he can play defense making it as a backup is a possibility, but the bat will have to show up to be an impact catcher in the majors.

8. Erik Rivera OF/LHP (Angels) - Rivera was a fourth round pick in 2019. The Angels are looking at him as a two way player to take advantage of the new roster rules. The big hitting tool for Rivera will be his power, but his inability to make contact will inhibit his ability to get to that power. Last year he failed to go deep in 72 at bats, hitting just .208. His arm is strong enough to play right field, where when pitching his fastball sits in the low 90s. He needs to work on a third pitch if he wants to work as a starter.

9. Delvin Perez SS (Cardinals) - Delvin was a first round pick of the Cardinals in 2016, despite rumors that he had failed a drug test prior to the draft. Perez dominated in the Puerto Rican leagues. Once arriving in the major leagues his bat has grown silent, with just two homeruns in four years. Myworld kept him on the list because he did make the All Star team in Low A last year and the tools are there for him to play short. He needs to raise that .317 slugging percentage and lower his 24 errors to have a chance at the major leagues.

10. Jose DeLeon RHP (Reds) - Jose was drafted in the 24th round of the 2013 draft. While with the Dodgers he was considered a top prospect. The Dodgers traded him to the Rays in 2017 for Logan Forsythe and then the injuries happened. Despite being major league ready injuries limited DeLeon to one major league appearance in 2017. Tommy John surgery in 2018 kept him out of action that year. He rebounded in 2019 with 15 starts and three major league appearances. He struck out 73 in 51 AAA innings. After the year ended the Rays traded him to the Reds where he hopes to squeeze himself onto the major league roster. At 27 years of age he doesn’t have that much more time to make prospect lists.

Dominicans and Venezuela to Play in Series del Caribe Finals

Friday, February 7th, 2020

Both games were decided by one run, just as many of the round robin matches were decided. The Dominican Republic and Venezuela came out with victories and will face each other in the finals.

Dominican Republic 4 Puerto Rico 3

The hosts fell short. They scored two runs in the second to get an early 2-0 lead on a Roberto Pena bunt single and a Henry Ramos single. On the Ramos single Jan Hernandez was thrown out at the plate to end the inning. Yuniesky Maya walked two batters in the inning to set up the two runs. He went on to pitch five innings.

The Dominicans cut the lead in half in the third inning on a Pete O’Brien double. But Ramos got the run back with a ground out RBI in the fifth to give Puerto Rico a 3-1 lead.

The Puerto Rican offense ran cold after the fifth, getting only one more hit. The Dominicans pulled to within a run with an RBI single by Wilkin Castillo in the sixth. They could have tied it in the sixth but Abraham Almonte was thrown out at the plate trying to tag up on a fly ball. They tied the game in the eighth after a Fernando Cruz wild pitch scored one run. That also advanced a runner to third where Abraham Almonte got a little revenge, reversing the results of the sixth inning by hitting the sacrifice fly to score the go ahead run. The big hit in the inning was a Pete O’Brien double that put runners on second and third.

Fernando Abad retired the side in order in the ninth to pick up the win, punching out the last batter. He had come on in the eighth to retire the last batter.

Venezuela 1 Mexico 0

Zach Dodson held Venezuela to just two hits in his six innings of work, but a Wellington Dotel double scored the only run in the third inning to give Venezuela the win. A leadoff walk in the inning, the only walk issued by Dldson put the go ahead run on base.

Mexico scattered nine hits and had opportunities to score. They had the tying run thrown out at the plate in the fifth inning on a ground out with runners on second and third and one out. They had the leadoff batter on in the sixth through ninth innings but failed to take advantage, sacrificing twice to move the runner to second. The other two times they did not bunt they grounded into double plays.

Logan Darnell scattered seven hits in his six innings of work to get the win for Venezuela. Pedro Rodriguez came on to work the ninth to complete the win, despite giving up a leadoff single.

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

Caribbean Leagues in their Finals

Sunday, January 26th, 2020

One league is finished with first place finisher Santurce winning in five over Mayaguez. Satnturce rallied in the opener coming back from a 3-2 deficit. They score one in the eighth and got a walk off single from Ryan Casteel to win 4-3. Jan Hernandez opened the inning with a double and was balked to third to set up the single.

Mayaguez won game two, their only win in the series. They bashed out 16 hits in the 9-2 win. Henry Ramos went deep with a three run homer and Emmanuel Rivera rocketed a two run shot, one of his four hits in the game. Giovanni Soto tied up the Mayaguez bats to just three hits in his eight innings of work to give Santurce a 3-0 win. Santurce won their next two games 4-3 to take the series.

The other three Caribbean Series are ongoing. Licey destroyed the league champion Toros in the opener 17-2. 16 of their runs were scored after the fifth inning. Socrates Brito led the charge with four RBIs. Toros won the next two games, winning 6-3 in extra innings in game number two. Jeimer Candelario blasted a two run homer in the 11th to break the tie. Jorge Mateo hit a solo shot in the third inning, the first of his three hits in the game.

Mateo homered again in the third inning of game three, a two runs shot and league homerun leader Peter Obrien hit a solo shot in the sixth to break a 2-2 tie. Christian Bethancourt added a two run shot in the sixth to pad the lead.

Licey evened the series at two games apiece, Lisalverto Bonilla tossing five shutout innings. Licey jumped out to an early 6-0 lead and Toros scored two in the eighth to break the shutout. Licey wins 6-2.

The bats of Jorge Mateo and Jeimer Candelario combined to go 4 for 5 to give Toros a 3-1 game five win. Licey evened the series with a 5-1 game six win in a best of nine series.

Down Mexico way Culiacan struck first blood with their 6-2 win. The Tomateros sent four balls out of the park, Ramiro Pena, Joey Meneses, and Efren Navorro hitting solo shots while Dariel Alvarez hit a two run blast. Meneses hit another solo shot in game two with Culiacan winning 4-3 to go up in the series 2-0. Culiacan used 9 pitchers to pull out the victory.

Juan Pablo Orames shut down the Tomateros for seven innings in Mazatl├ín’s 7-0 win. Ricky Alvarez hit a two run homer and drove in four to lead the offense.

In the finals in troubled Venezuela the Caribes are up three games to two in their series against Lara. In the opener, Lara scored four runs in the eighth inning to win 6-2. Yordanys Linares drove in the last of his three runs to break the tie and Luis Jimenez closed off the scoring with a two run single.

The Caribes got six solid innings from Wilfredo Ledezma to win game 5-1. Another 5-1 victory in game three with seven innings from Felix Doubront. Lara evened the series with their 5-1 win, Nextor Molina going six innings of two hit ball.

Caribes jumped on top with their 3-2 win in a controversy filled game. In the top of the ninth the Caribes manager was ejected after Lara scored a run to tie the game 2-2. Caribes stormed right, Williams Astudillo hitting the walk off single to give Caribes a 3-2 win. More excitement in the ninth with the ejection of Cardenales catcher Yojhan Quevedo.

Lara took it to a game seven with their 6-5 walk off win in the 10th. Yonathan Mendoza getting the big hit to end the game.