Archive for the 'Puerto Rico' Category

Little League World Series Participants

Monday, August 6th, 2018

The United States and Canada still need to sort out their participants, but the other international teams for the Little League World Series have been decided. The Little League World Series will be in Williamsport, PA August 16-26.

Asia Pacific Regional

The two powers South Korea and Taiwan came out of their pools as the top teams. When the finals were played South Korea (Seoul) were the victors 6-1. Hong Kong did well, finishing second in their pool to Taiwan and defeating Guam 6-5 to take the consolation game.

Australian Regional

Australia will be represented by Gold Coast Baseball Assoc. in Queensland. They beat Adelaide 11-0 in the championship match.

Caribbean Regonal

The World Baseball Classic success has created a resurgence in baseball in Puerto Rico. There Little League team dominated their regional finishing 8-0. The closest team to them was Curacao at 5-3. A second Puerto Rican team did not do so well, going winless at 0-6. Puerto Rico played Curacao in the championship match and beat them 5-2.

Europe/Africa Regional

Just as last year there were no African teams represented in this region. So a better effort needs to be made to get African representation or just drop the name from the title. It takes a lot of coin to participate in a tournament in Europe. Spain (Catalunya) was the big surprise beating the Netherlands 19-0 in the finals. This is the first time that a true team from Spain will play in the Little League World Series. There previous four appearances had rosters filled with American players living in Spain.

Japan Regional

Kawaguchi Little League in Tokyo will represent Japan. They pasted Nagasaki Minami 23-2 in the championship game. They seemed to get better as the tournament wore on, winning their opener 2-1, taking the second game 7-2 and winning the semifinal match 13-2 before waltzing in the playoffs.

Latin America Regionals

Panama (Vacamonte) only loss in pool play was to their brethren Panama (Aguadulce Cabezera) in the last game of pool play 8-0. They opened against them in the first round of the playoffs and avenged that loss with a 2-0 win. In the championship match they went up against Nicaragua and won 6-3.

Mexico Regionals

Matamoros Little League finished undefeated at 8-0 beating Trevino Kelly 5-3 in the championship game.

2018 Baseball World Cup to be Held in Barranquilla, Colombia

Monday, July 30th, 2018

Barranquilla, Colombia will be the hosts for the under 23 Baseball World Cup that will be played October 19-28, 2018. As the host they will get an automatic bid to participate in the tournament. It is also hoped that the tournament will help bring new stadiums to Repelon and Manati, which are part of an $8 million investment by the Colombia Atlantico Department, though it would be nice to have some of the funds from the games go to help finance the stadiums. Pending inspection by the WBSC the games will be played at the Santa Marte Baseball Stadium. Don’t know if the stadium will pass muster but the fact there are probably no other alternatives seems to indicate it will pass. The WBSC probably should have waited to inspect the stadium before making the announcement about hosting if they had alternatives.

The following teams have qualified for the tournament. The last event was played in 2016:

Africa: South Africa
Asia: Japan (defending champions), Taiwan, Korea (third place)
Europe: Netherlands and Czech Republic
Americas: Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic
Oceania: Australia (second place)
Host: Colombia

The United States is not eligible for the event because they did not participate in the qualifiers. Because of that they may lose their number one ranking to Japan this year. This tournament is the most important international event this year, distributing the largest amount of points given to teams who do well in this event. Cuba is another traditional baseball power absent from this event.

Flashback to 2014 Puerto Rico Prospects

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

Puerto Rico had six representatives on the All Star teams in 2018. They were Yadier Molina, Javier Baez, Francisco Lindor, Jose Berrios, Edwin Diaz and Joe Jimenez. If Carlos Correa was healthy they may have had seven players. Back in 2014 mywold listed the top ten prospects from Puerto Rico. Four of them played in the 2018 All Star Game. Below is the top ten list.

1) Carlos Correa SS (Astros) - An injury prevented him from playing in the All Star game. He is considered one of the top shortstops in the game.

2) Javier Baez 2B/SS (Cubs) - His defense makes him special but his bat is coming alive. Participated in the homerun derby.

3) Francisco Lindor SS (Indians) - Developed power when called up to the Indians. He has surpassed Correa and Baez and is considered one of the top shortstops in baseball.

4) Eddie Rosario LF (Twins) - Solid hitting left fielder. He played second early in his career but has now settled in the outfield. This year has been a banner year for him offensively.

5) Victor Caratini C/1B (Cubs) - Journeyman player whose best bet is as a backup catcher for Wilson Contreras.

6) Edwin Diaz RHP (Mariners) - One of the best closers in the game. Could not close out the All Star game.

7) Jose Berrios RHP (Twins) - With Ervin Santana injured the Twins are riding him as the ace of their rotation.

8) Jesmuel Valentin 3B (Phillies) - Has been taking playing time away from Maikel Franco. Will be nothing more than a utility player.

9) Christian Vazquez C (Red Sox) - Starting catcher for the Red Sox.

10) Jon Garcia OF - Has not played since 2015

Players and the Countries they Represented at the All Star Game

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

There were a lot of players born outside the United States who participated in the All Star game. Myworld counts 18 players born outside the United States (not including Puerto Rico) who participated in the game. Surprisingly, Venezuela had the most All Stars with seven but Puerto Rico was well represented with six while the Dominican Republic sat at third with only four. Normally the Dominican Republic is the hot bed. Below are the countries and the players from that country.

Venezuela (7)

Gleyber Torres, Salvador Perez, Jose Altuve, Wilson Ramos, Wilson Contreras, Felipe Vazquez, Jesus Aguilar, Eugenio Suarez

Puerto Rico (6)

Yadier Molina, Javier Baez, Francisco Lindor, Jose Berrios, Edwin Diaz, Joe Jimenez

Dominican Republic (4)

Luis Severino, Jean Segura, Jose Ramirez, Nelson Cruz

Cuba (2)

Jose Abreu, Aroldis Chapman

Curacao /Netherlands (2)

Ozzie Albies, Kenley Jensen

Canada (1)

Joey Votto

Brazil (1)

Yan Gomes

South Korea (1)

Shin-Soo Choo

Futures Game

Saturday, July 7th, 2018

Myworld will be attending our first Futures game this year. Below are the rosters of the two teams:

World Team

Pitchers

Enyel de los Santos (Dominican Republic/Phillies), Jorge Guzman (Dom Rep/Marlins), Yoan Lopez (Cuba/Diamondbacks), Kieran Lovegrove (South Africa/Indians), Jesus Luzardo - LHP (Peru/Athletics), Bryan Mata (Venezuela/Red Sox), Lewis Thorpe - LHP (Australia/Twins), Jesus Tinoco (Venezuela/Rockies), Alex Wells - LHP (Australia/Orioles)

Catchers

Miguel Amaya (Panama/Cubs), Francisco Mejia (Dom Rep/Indians), Keibert Ruiz (Venezuela/Dodgers)

Infield

Yordan Alvarez (Cuba/Astros), Luis Garcia (Dom Rep/Nationals), Luis Urias (Mexico/Padres), Fernando Tatis Jr (Dom Rep/Padres), Andres Gimenez (Venezuela/Mets), Dawel Lugo (Dom Rep/Tigers)

Outfielders

Randy Arozarena (Cuba/Cardinals), Luis Basabe (Venezuela/White Sox), Yusniel Diaz (Cuba/Dodgers), Seuly Matias (Dom Rep/Royals), Heliot Ramos (Puerto Rico/Giants), Jesus Sanchez (Dom Rep/Rays), Leody Taveras (Dom Rep/Rangers)

United States team

Pitchers

Shaun Anderson (Giants), Dylan Cease (White Sox), Hunter Greene (Reds), Dakota Hudson (Cardinals), Mitch Keller (Pirates), Matt Manning (Tigers), C.D. Pelham - LHP (Rangers), Justus Sheffield - LHP (Yankees), Forrest Whitley (Astros), Kyle Wright (Braves)

Catchers

Danny Jansen (Blue Jays), Sean Murphy (Athletics)

Infielders

Peter Alonso (Mets), Nathaniel Lowe (Rays), Keston Hiura (Brewers), Brendan Rodgers (Rockies), Ke’Bryan Hayes (Pirates), Ryan Mountcastle (Orioles), Bo Bichette (Blue Jays), Carter Kieboom (Nationals)

Outfielders

Jo Adell (Angels), Alex Kirilloff (Twins), Kyle Lewis (Mariners), Buddy Reed (Padres), Taylor Trammell (Reds)

Top Puerto Rican Prospects

Monday, April 23rd, 2018

Compared to previous lists, last year’s Puerto Rican prospect list only graduated one player because of major league service time. Rio Ruiz got 150 at bats with the Braves, but a .193 batting average did not guarantee a return. Five players saw some major league time but not enough to lose their rookie status. Jorge Lopez got one major league appearance with the Brewers while Joe Jimenez pitched in 24 games for the Tigers, rewarding them with a 12.32 ERA. Jose Deleon got one appearance for the Rays. Tomas Nido saw a few games behind the plate for the Mets as did Victor Caratini see some plate action with the Cubs. That is six major leaguers from the top ten, but none of them with the potential impact of Carlos Correa, Joes Berrios, Francisco Lindor or Javier Baez, players who had appeared in previous lists. Below are the top ten prospects from Puerto Rico in the minor leagues.

1. Heliot Ramos OF (Giants) - Heliot has the tools to be a difference maker, something not seen from the list last year. He was a first round pick of the Giants in 2017. His power and speed, with a plus arm make him a potential five tool player. One cause for concern was his lack of patience in the Arizona Rookie League where he had a 10/48 walk to whiff ratio in 35 games. Those whiffs did not prevent him from hitting .348 with six homeruns and a 1.049 OPS. The Giants started his 2018 season in Low A where the cold weather in Salem has quieted his bat (.259 average, .397 slugging). When the weather warms up the bat should start producing.

2. Delvin Perez SS (Cardinals) - Perhaps the comparisons to Carlos Correa were unfair. A failed drug test also dropped his draft status. The Cardinals still made him a first round pick in 2016 but at the back end of the first round. It’s been two years and he has yet to clear the fence. He struggled last year in rookie ball hitting just above .200. A hit by pitch broke a bone in his hand and mercifully ended his season early. His defense is above average but if his bat doesn’t produce a utility role may be his best bet. Delvin could see a third year in the rookie leagues. He has yet to appear in a game in 2018.

3. Joe Jimenez RHP (Tigers) - With his mid-90s fastball Jimenez was being groomed to be the closer for the Tigers. A 12.32 ERA in 24 appearances with the opposition hitting him at a .356 pace tempered those expectations. Command has been a problem and major leaguers will take advantage. Joe made the Tigers roster to begin the 2018 season with promising results. He has yet to give up an earned run in 10 appearances, with the opposition hitting him at a .171 clip. That is quite a bit of improvement from his numbers last year. At this rate he should stick in the Tigers bullpen and graduate from this list.

4. Victor Caratini C (Cubs) - Caratini can hit, but Wilson Contreras is ahead of him behind the plate. A move to first is a possibility but the Cubs have Anthony Rizzo there. So Caratini will take his bats where he can get them, filling a utility role. His bat is much better than his glove. Last year at Iowa he hit .342 with 10 homeruns and a .558 slugging percentage. To start the season he will play as the back up to Contreras and Rizzo. The at bats will not be plentiful but it should be enough to lose his rookie status. Expect him to be a role player for his career.

5. Isan Diaz 2B/SS (Brewers) - Isan has not been able to replicate his .360 average from his rookie league season in 2015. Last year he struggled with a .222 average. The power is there with double digit homeruns all three seasons. His defense is not stellar so he needs to hit to get in the lineup. The Brewers have been playing him at short, but his best position is second base. Last year he committed 21 errors at the two positions in just 102 games, 14 of them at second base. The Brewers have started him at AA to begin the 2018 season and his .198 average would be a further decline of his batting average. His prospect status is fading.

6. Jorge Lopez RHP (Brewers) - The Brewers appear to be moving Lopez to the bullpen. A 6.81 ERA at AAA Colorado Springs in 2016 dropped his prospect status. His fastball may be better suited for the bullpen, with his curveball a quality second pitch. The key is being able to find the plate. His move to the bullpen last year saw him lower his ERA. This year he has returned to AAA where he has picked up two saves. At 25 years of age the Brewers may put him on the roller coaster, calling him up from AAA when they need an arm for the bullpen.

7. Jose Deleon RHP (Rays) - Drafted by the Dodgers they traded him to the Rays for Logan Forsyth. The Rays were hoping to use him in their rotation last year but injuries limited him to eight minor league starts. His mid-90s fastball from previous years had trouble reaching 90 last year which made has change less effective. He also had some issues finding the plate. The Rays were hoping to get some starts from him in 2018 but Tommy John surgery will end his season. The Rays will have to hope that his fastball will return when he is healthy for the 2019 season.

8. Tomas Nido C (Mets) - Nido is an above average defensive player with a strong arm good enough to gun down 45 percent of those runners attempting to steal against him in AA last year. There is some power in his bat when he connects but there is still too much lack of barrel of bat on ball contact. Last year he hit just .232 at Binghamton. The Mets have had some injuries behind the plate, with Travis d’Arnaud out for the year, giving Nido an opportunity to show what he can do. Currently he is hitting only .182 but his ability to play defense will give him more opportunities.

9. Edwin Rios 1B/3B (Dodgers) - At 6′3″ and 220 pounds Edwin has big time power that is not seen often in Puerto Rico. Last year he hit 24 homeruns between AA and AAA but with Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner ahead of him at first and third his opportunity for playing time with the Dodgers may be limited. He is much better defensively at first base, with below average skills at third base. Left field is a possibility but his speed is limited there. An injury to Justin Turner this year seemed like an opportunity for Rios, but he has started the season dinged up and has yet to appear in a game. The injuries were said to be minor but he has yet to appear in a game this year.

10. Nelson Velasquez OF (Cubs) - Nelson was a fifth round pick in 2017 by the Cubs, but he was the first position player they drafted. He showed some plus power in the rookie leagues with eight homeruns with the speed to steal five bases. His poor routes may prevent a centerfield option but the arm is powerful enough to fit in right. He still is quite raw as a player but shows great potential. The 2018 season has been spent in extended spring where he may need to wait for the rookie leagues to begin play in July.

2017 top Puerto Rican Prospects

Countries Established for Women’s Baseball World Cup

Friday, March 30th, 2018

The Women’s Baseball World Cup will be held at Space Coast Stadium in Vierra, Florida from August 22 -31. The following teams have qualified to compete in this tournament. Japan is the class of the group (rankings in parenthesis).

Asia - Japan (1), Taiwan (6), South Korea (7), Hong Kong (10)

Americas - Canada (2), United States (3), Venezuela (5), Cuba (9), Dominican Republic (NR), Puerto Rico (NR)

Europe - Netherlands (8)

Oceania - Australia (4)

United States New Number One

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

With their win in the World Baseball Classic the United States has ended the three year reign of Japan and taken over the number one spot in baseball, according to the World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC). With the top 12 teams qualifying for the Premier 12 in 2019 myworld will list the top 13 teams as ranked by the WBSC. Mexico sitting at number five has never been ranked higher.

1. United States (5025 points)
2. Japan (4609 points)
3. South Korea (4158 points)
4. Cuba (3152 points)
5. Mexico (2613 points)
6. Taiwan (2520 points)
7. Canada (2142 points)
8. Australia (2095 points)
9. Netherlands (2002 points)
10. Puerto Rico (1796 points)
11. Venezuela (1765 points)
12. Dominican Republic (1227 points)
13. Nicaragua (1155 points)

You can see the complete list at wbsc.org/rankings/

Puerto Rico Repeats as Series del Caribe Champs

Friday, February 9th, 2018

Puerto Rico rallied for eight runs in their last two innings to blow past the Dominican Republic 9-4 to win the Series del Caribe championship for the second straight season. Jonathan Morales hit a big three run homer in the seventh to put Puerto Rico on top to stay 6-4.

Raul Valdes was pitching well for the first six innings, giving up only one run on a solo shot from Rusney Castillo in the third inning. His two walks in the seventh inning were his first of the game and led to his removal. The bullpen could not protect the lead for him, a problem the Dominicans have had in this series and series in the past.

The Dominicans got off to a quick start in the first inning, taking advantage of two walks in the first inning. Juan Perez made it hurt, driving in both runners with a double to right field. In the third another walk, the second to Gustavo Nunez led to a run when Junior Lake drove in Nunez with a double to give the Dominicans a 3-0 lead. A fourth walk and two fielding errors led to the fourth run for the Dominicans in the fifth inning.

With Raul Valdes cruising going into the seventh the atmosphere did not look rosy for Puerto Rico. Walks to Anthony Garcia and David Vidal put two runners on, stringing a jolt of electricity to the Puerto Rican fans in the stadium. Ramon Ramirez came on to replace Valdes. A wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third where Ruben Gotay drove them both in with a single. Dayron Varona singled to end the day for Ramirez without retiring a batter, Wirfin Obisbo coming on to face Morales. He served a pitch that Morales drove over the left center field fence for a 6-4 lead, the first lead in the game for the Puerto Ricans.

The Dominicans tried to rally in the top of the eighth with singles from their first two hitters Edwin Espinal and Juan Perez off reliever Robby Rowland. Robby settled down and retired the next three hitters to strand the two runners on first and second.

Puerto Rico matched the Dominicans with two singles to lead off the bottom frame of the inning from Jesmuel Valentin and Anthony Garcia. The Dominicans went with juan Grulon to get out of the mess. Johnny Monell blasted a pitch into left field for a two run double resulting in another failure for the Dominican relievers. Monell scored on a Ruben Gotay single and that was the end of the day for Grulon.

It was the second consecutive Series del Caribe championship for the Caguas Criollos. Countries may have repeated Series del Caribe championships but the last team to win back to back championships was the Aguilas Cibaenas in 1997 and 1998 for the Dominicans. Mexico repeated in 2013 and 2014 but it was by two teams Obregon and Hermosillo.

Next year the series is scheduled to be held in Venezuela, but that is tentative. This year it was supposed to be held in Venezuela but for safety concerns and hyper inflation it was moved to Mexico. During the championship game it was reported Pirates catcher Elias Diaz’s mother was kidnapped in Venezuela. That is not a good start for Venezuela to hold the games.

Puerto Rico and Dominicans to Battle in Series del Caribe Final

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Puerto Rico had a shortened season as they recovered from their hurricane damage, but it was enough to get them to the finals of the Series del Caribe. They will be facing the Dominican Republic.

Puerto Rico 6 Venezuela 5

Anthony Garcia hit his third homerun of the Series del Caribe, a grand slam in the sixth inning to tie the game 4-4. Venezuela would recapture the lead in the seventh on a Tomas Telis RBI single. Puerto Rico took the lead in the eighth, Irving Falu getting the inning started with a single. A ground ball out advanced him to second and a Telis passed ball moved him to third. Jesmuel Valentin singled to tie the game a second time.

With the score tied Valentin stole second. Rather than face Garcia Venezuela chose to intentionally walk him. Cesar Jimenez came on to replace Mayckol Guaipe. Cesar threw a pitch in the dirt, Telis attempted to throw out Valentin going to third, throwing the ball away to allow Valentin to score the go ahead run. Garcia was thrown out trying to advance to third.

Miguel Mejia came on to pitch for Puerto Rico and retired the last six Venezuelans to secure the win.

Coming into the sixth inning David Thompson had retired 15 of the first 16 hitters he faced, giving up only a two out single to Garcia in the fourth inning. In the sixth Falu, Rusney Castillo and Valentin hit consecutive singles to load the bases with one out. Venezuela went with Nestor Molina to face Garcia, who blasted the ball over the left centerfield wall for the grand slam.

Venezuela had the opportunity to put the game away in the fifth when they opened the inning with three singles and a double to score three runs. But they could only get a walk to load the bases and a Tomas Telis pop up failed to drive in a run.

Dominican Republic 7 Cuba 4

Cuba scored early off their Cuban ace of the past Yunesky Maya to take an early 3-0 lead. Lazaro Blanco shut out the Dominicans for the first five innings. The Dominicans finally got to him in the sixth, Junior Lake leading off the inning with a triple. Two outs later it appeared Lake would be stranded at third, but Ronny Rodriguez gave the Dominicans a boost with a two run shot into left center field. A Carlos Paulino walk finished the day for Blanco.

Miguel Lahera was able to get out of the sixth inning without any further damage. In the seventh he coughed up a leadoff single to Yefri Perez and then walked Abiatal Avelino. Raidel Martinez came on to replace Lahera to protect the Cubans 3-2 lead. Gustavo Nunez laid down a bunt but Martinez threw the ball away to allow the tying run to score. An intentional walk to Junior Lake loaded the bases but Edwin Espinal singled to drive in Avelino and Nunez to give the Dominicans a 5-3 lead. Alain Sanchez came on to pitch with the bases loaded and no outs and was able to escape the inning without giving up a run.

The Dominicans were able to pounce again for two in the eighth. A Yefri Perez walk and a steal of second got him to third on a ground out. Gustavo Nunez drove him in with a single. Nunez got into scoring position by stealing second and scored on a Junior Lake single to up the Dominican lead to 7-3.

Frederich Cepeda was the big bat for Cuba. He hit a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the eighth to narrow the score to 7-4. He also hit a two run triple in the second and made it a Little League homerun by scoring on a wild throw by Dominican right fielder Ronny Rodriguez. After the Cepeda homer in the eighth the Cubans did not have enough life in their bats to mount a three run comeback. Despaigne made the final out to finish off an 0 for 4 performance. He failed to get a hit in the series.

With Maya sent to the showers early in the second the Dominicans had to rely on their bullpen to protect the lead. Other than the Cepeda homer in the eighth they shut out the Cubans on six hits for the last 7.2 innings.