Archive for December, 2011

Top Shortstop Prospects

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Again, these are players that myworld likes to eventually be major league shortstops.  They may not be the best shortstops in the minor leagues, but they are certainly major league quality, at least in my opinion.  It seems like many of your Caribbean players start out as shortstops, get too big and then have to find another position.  It is hard to believe that Miguel Cabrera was first listed as a shortstop when he was signed out of the Dominican Republic.  Myworld has done our best to only select those players who we think will stay at this position.  They are listed in alphabetical order.  There is no rating in this list.

Zack Cozart (Reds) United States - It was a small sample size, but in a short major league opportunity he showed that he had the skills to play the position, hitting .324 in 37 at bats.  It was supposed to be a more extended debut but he hurt his nonthrowing elbow while making a tag ending his season.  The Reds have tried many players at this position, but they either could not hit or lacked the range or arm to play the position on an extended basis.  Cozart will not be a superstar shortstop with the offensive production of a Manny Machado, but he will get the job done.  While he hit .300 in both AAA and the majors last year his career minor league average entering the 2011 season was only .262.  He has also had some poor walk to whiff ratios some years so expect more a shortstop that is solid defensively that will hit .260 with lower double digit figures in homeruns.  The one concern myworld has is a smoother defensive shortstop Didi Gregorius lurks at the lower levels.  Didi has less offensive tools than Zack but superior defensive tools so it all depends on what the Reds want out of their shortstop.

Nick Franklin (Mariners) United States - Of all the shortstops listed here he is probably the best suited for a move to either third or second base.  What may prevent a move from happening is the lack of viable shortstops in the Mariners system that can take over the position.  They have second round pick Marcus Littlewood and Dominican bonus baby Esteilon Peguero, but both those players are expected to move from their position as they mature.  Carlos Triunfel is listed as a shortstop at the higher levels, but he is more of a third baseman.  Nick does not have outstanding defensive tools, but he could end up in the mold of Cal Ripken, a solid offensive shortstop who hits for power and plays a consistent defense.  His 2011 season was plagued by nagging injuries that prevented him from getting into any kind of rhythm with the bat.  He only hit seven homeruns last year after hitting 23 in 2010.  He did play in the Arizona Fall League and hit .258 with two homeruns in 24 games.  Expect an average that hovers around the .250 area with 20 plus homeruns, unless he sacrifices power for average in which case he could get up to .280.

Didi Gregorius (Reds) Netherlands Antilles - Myworld was quite impressed with his smooth actions at shortstop during the baseball world cup in Panama.  The balls bounced true into his glove and he covered a lot of ground.  The only concern is whether he will have enough bat to play the position.  He didn’t offer me anything in Panama that showed me he could hit, though we waited in hopeful anticipation for him to let loose with the bat.  Didi did combine for a .289 average with seven homeruns at High A/AA.  He runs the bases well but his 11 for 21 success rate in stolen bases shows he has a lot to learn in reading the pitcher.  That has been consistent throughout his minor league career.  He has a baseball playing family, with a father who played in the Netherlands professional league as a pitcher and a brother who has also pitched for the Netherlands Antilles national team with his father.  The key will be how Didi handles pitchers as he rises up the system, especially lefthanders, who cause him great difficulty.

Adeiny Hechevarria (Blue Jays) Cuba - Adeiny signed a nice $10 million contract with the Blue Jays after he defected in 2009 from the junior national team during a tournament in Mexico.  He has yet to reach the major leagues but he will only turn 22 in 2012.  There was some concern his first year in the Florida State League when he only hit .193 but the Blue Jays promoted him to AA anyway and he rebounded to hit .273.  He did the same thing this year, struggling in AA at .235 until being promoted to AAA where he ripped through the league with a .389 average in just over 100 at bats.  Perhaps he has a rough time getting motivated until August.  If so, that attitude will have to change if he ever hopes to play in the major leagues.  He did hit .250 in 72 AFL at bats, legging four triples.  His stolen base proficiency needs a lot of work with a 20 for 35 success rate.  He has all the tools to play the postion defensively in the major leagues now.  Adeiny just needs to get more consistency with the stick, and that starts with improving his patience at the plate (33/99 walk to whiff ratio in 2011).

Jose Iglesias (Red Sox) Cuba - Another junior national shortstop that defected in 2008 at a tournament in Canada.  The Red Sox set the bar for Adeiny by signing Jose to an $8.25 million four year contract that included a $6.25 million bonus.  He has the same slick defensive tools as Adeiny but there are still questions about the bat.  Jose only hit .235 last year at AAA Pawtucket with an OBA under .300.  Even with Gold Glove level defense the Red Sox fans will not tolerate that kind of offense.  Jose also seems to lack any kind of power, slugging just .269.  He has hit just one homerun in his two years in the United States.  Jose will only turn 22 in 2012 so a fullyear in AAA will hopefully show some improvement in the stick.  He did get a brief callup last year and hit .333 in just six at bats, but his main purpose was to be used as a defensive replacement.

Hak-Ju Lee (Rays) South Korea - Another gifted defensive shortstop with deer like speed.  He is one of the rewards of the Cubs efforts in South Korea, though they traded him to the Rays as one of the several players for Matt Garza.  Lee missed his first year because of Tommy John surgery, but he got everyone to take notice when he hit .330 with 25 stolen bases in his debut at a short season league.  Some advertised him as a five tool player with the eventual ability to hit for power as he fills out, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.  The Rays should be happy with his four outstanding tools.  He did struggle a bit when he was promoted to AA, hitting only .190 in his 100 at bats there.  He also dipped below 70 percent in his stolen base success rate, something he needs to improve on if managers feel comfortable giving him the green light.

Manny Machado (Orioles) United States - At 6′3″ he may get too big for shortstop, especially if his body fills out.  He won’t have the flashy range as the Cuban shortstops nor the smooth actions of Didi, but he will be more like Nick Franklin, steady enough to make all the plays.  Manny will also contribute offensively, something the flashier shortstops lack.  Many have compared him to Alex Rodriguez because of his height, Dominican heritage and Miami upbringing.  Manny was the third overall pick in 2010, but signed late resulting in minimum playing time.  This year he played, but nagging injuries limited him to 101 games and may have dragged his average down to .251.  It will be interesting to see what he can do in a healthy year.  The power did not show up in 2011, but he was still a teenager playing in High A.  Give him time and many of his drives will carry over the fence.

Jurickson Profar (Rangers) Curacao - It will be interesting in 2013 who will be playing shortstop for the Netherlands in the WBC.  Didi played for them in the World Cup but my bet is that Profar will be their shortstop in the WBC.  Some even think that eventually he will move Elvis Andrus from shortstop to second just like Elvis moved Michael Young to third base.  He is probably the best combination of offense and defense on this list.  In 2011 he hit .286 with 12 homeruns, but more improtantly 37 doubles.  He also stole 23 bases in 32 attempts, but don’t expect that to continue as he rises to the higher levels.  As the youngest player in the South Atlantic League his performance won him the MVP vote, leading his team Hickory to the best regular season record.  MLB.com also voted him as the Class A best hitter.  With Elvis at shortstop, the Rangers can be patient with his development.

Jean Segura (Angels) Dominican Republic - Normally shortstops are moved to second base after they don’t show enough range or arm for the shortstop position.  It is rare when you see a second baseman shift to short.  Mariano Duncan is the last one I can remember.  Jean has the arm and range to play the position defensively.  The reason they moved him is they have another player to play second in Alex Amarista and if Alex doesn’t pan out it would be easy to move Jean back to second if he can’t supplant Erick Aybar at short.  Jean also had issues with injuries that limited him to just 52 games last year.  When he played though he hit well, with a .293 average, four homeruns and 26 RBIs.  It will be interesting to see if the Angles decide to promote him to AA next year after only playing 44 games at high A.  He did get a seven game trial in AAA in 2009, but that was as a second baseman.

Andrelton Simmons (Braves) Curacao - Another player the Netherlands can slide into the shortstop position for the WBC.  He has an interesting background in that major league scouts were not impressed enough with him to sign him off the island.  So he went to the States to play at Western Oklahoma State junior college where he abused pitchers for a .472 average, seven homeruns and 40 RBIs in just 38 games played.  He also stole 15 bases and hit 98 miles per hour on the speed gun.  That was enough to make him a second round pick in 2010.  He won the Carolina League batting title in 2011 with his .311 average, though his power only displayed one homerun.  He did hit 35 doubles and was voted by the league as the best defensive shortstop.  Those are some pretty impressive credentials to win a batting title and be voted the top defensive player at your position.  His only real downside was that he was only successful in 26 of his 44 stolen base attempts.

Sleeper Pick

Trevor Story (Rockies) United States - Number one draft picks are generally not put in the category of sleeper, but he does play for the Rockies and his odds of moving Troy Tulowitski from the position are pretty limited.  He has to hope that he gets traded if he wants to continue to play shortstop.  The problem with Trevor is that he has such a good bat that the Rockies will probably move him to second base before they consider trading him.  As a 2011 number one pick, he signed early enough to play a bit in the minor leagues where he hit .268 with six homeruns and a .463 slugging percentage.  Trevor split his time between third and short in 2011, but his middle infield awareness might suit him best at second if he can’t supplant Troy at short.

German Baseball Schedule

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

If anyone is planning on going to Germany for the spring or summer of 2012 and want to catch a baseball game or two while you are down there, the attached link is the website that shows the current baseball schedule: http://www.baseball-softball.de/

It appears the games start on March 31 and in Europe for the most part the games are played on weekends because most of the ball players there still have to support themselves with day jobs.

Top 100 Most Influential Canadians in Baseball

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Some interesting choices and influential names that I never really thought were Canadian.  Do not expect to see a lot of players on this list.  The first player does not appear on the top 100 list until you get to John Axford at number 7.  There are a lot of scouts, writers and statisitcal analysts.  MLB Trade rumors gets 2,300,605 page views per day and a couple of their writers are Canadian.  Myworld has a ways to go before we hit that category, but one can always set goals.

The top Canadian for 2011 is Greg Hamilton.  Most of us in the United States are probably not familair with that name.  Greg Hamilton is the man responsible for putting together the men’s national teams for their games in the Baseball World Cup and the Pan Am games.  He did a pretty good job, achieving better results than the United States team in 2011, finishing with a 18-6 record with a third place finish in the World Cup and a gold medal finish in the Pan Am games.  The gold medal was the first by a Canadian baseball team since 1991, when a junior team won the honors.  The United States team did not fare as well, finishing tied for third in the World Cup, but going home without medals because of the tiebreaker and losing to the Canadians in the finals of the Pan Am.

Others on the list that could surprise you include Doug Melvin (2), general manager of the Milwaukee Brewers and Pat Gillick (5), Hall of Famer.  I never pictured these gentleman as Canadians, though I suppose I may have read it somewhere and it just never fully registered.  Their Canadian heritage may have been recognized at one point but became buried in a sea of winter league players and minor league prospects that myworld tries to keep track of.  It is easy for Tyler Green to become Taylor Green and vice versa.

Claude Delorme comes in at number 11.  The Ontario native appears to have left the cold of Canada to oversee the new stadium of the Miami Marlins. He was the point man in all the negotiations and is vice president of stadium operations.

You also have some Canadians that have part ownership in some of the major league baseball teams not named the Toronto Blue Jays. Jeffrey Roger from Toronto owns 30 percent of the Arizona Diamondbacks while Jeff Mallett a British Colombia native is part owner of the San Francisco Giants. They rank 21st and 22nd on the list.

There are many other surprises in there that I had no idea were Canadaian such as Hazel Mae (79) from the MLB network and Ted Giannoulas (84) who will always be remembered as the San Diego Chicken. Myworld doesn’t see too much of the San Diego Chicken anymore, at least not since we moved to the east coast.  You can see the complete list at http://www.torontosun.com/2011/12/30/most-influential-canadian-in-baseball-is

Aragua Sweeps Zulia: Lara Eliminated

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Caribes took 12 innings, but they finally overcame Lara to win 5-4 on a steal of home by Luis Ugueto.  Luis too advantage right after a pitching change by Lara.  The loss knocked Lara out of the second round.  That is a tough way to be eliminated.

Lara had rallied in the top of the ninth from a 4-3 deficit after none of the Caribes pitchers could get the ball over the plate.  Four different pitchers worked the ninth for Caribes, walking three and finally hitting Mario Yepez to bring in the tying run.  Pedro Rodriguez was able to contain the damage, working the last three innings for Caribes, allowing only one walk and no hits to pick up the victory.

Luis Valbuena had hit a 2-run pinch hit homer in the seventh for Lara to tie the game at 3-3 but Eliezer Alfonso gave Caribes the lead again with a solo homerun.

Araguas was able to advance to the second round by sweeping Zulia 4-1 and 3-0.  This made a third game unnecesary.  Myworld can’t imagine how subdued the celebration must have been after the death of Rosman Garcia on Thursday.

The five teams to make it to the second round are La Guaira (who finished at the bottom last year), Caribes, Magallanes (also did not qualify last year), Aragua and Zulia.  Caribes won the Venezuelan winter league last year.  Aragua had won five of six Venezuelan titles from the 2003/2004 season to the 2008/2009 season.  Magallanes won it in 2009/2010.

Youman Leads Aguilas

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Aguilas (3-1) 6 Licey (1-3) 0

Shane Youman spent the summer of 2011 pitching for the Lamigo Monkees in Taiwan.  He finished 3-7, 5.13, not the kind of numbers that warrant an encore.  Perhaps his winter season will give the Monkees some pause for thought.  Shane finished the first round of the Dominican Winter League 5-1 with a 0.88 ERA in seven starts.  He didn’t allow more than one run in all of his seven starts.  Make that eight now.  Shane tossed six shutout innings to lead Aguilas to a 6-0 whitewash of Licey, their second victory over them in two games.  Miguel Tejeda made an appearance at DH and ripped two doubles to drive in two runs.  Audy Ciriaco got the scoring started for Aguilas with a 2-run single in the opening frame.

Joaquin Arias was pinch run for after being hit by a pitch in the second inning.

The game between Escogido and Gigantes was postponed.

Surfin Safari - Padres

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Every couple years the Padres surprise with a playoff run, can’t sustain it the next year then start all over again.  They run their team like a super market, making sure that the older items go out first.  Of course, a super market doesn’t have the older items leave the store at a higher price.  The Padres are on another rebuilding stage, even trading relatively fresh Matt Latos, who hadn’t even reached his “sell by” date.  Next on the shelf is last year’s number two prospect Anthony Rizzo.  He’s now expendable because a fresher product has reached the shelves.

General Overview: The Padres have gotten rid of two general managers in a couple of years.  One was fired and the other left for the Red Sox when he read the writing on the wall that his contract was not going to be renewed because Josh Byrnes, his assistant general manager, was a favorite of John Moores.  He did trade Matt Latos a week or so after the Padres claimed they would not be trading Matt Latos, but they got a pretty good haul of the Reds seconds in return.

Why They Will Win: The pitching staff is usually overrated because of the park they play in.  That could help Edinson Volquez appear to have a comeback year.  The park he left is very unforgiving to pitchers who lack command and Edinson does have problems getting it over the plate.  Cameron Maybin, Will Venable and Yonder Alonso are all ready to have break out years.  They find a position for Jesus Guzman and he continues to rake in the RBIs, leading the team in runs batted in.

Why They Won’t Win:  The reasons are many.  They traded their ace and now have a very thin rotation filled with back end of the rotation starters.  They lost their closer to free agency and acquired Huston Street.  It is curious why the Rockies gave him away so cheaply.  He didn’t have that bad a year with 29 saves, but perhaps the Rockies felt his price did not justify his contribution.  Two of the outfield positions could be manned by Kyle Blanks and Will Venable, players that have shown nothing but inconsistent output.  There time is running out.  Jason Bartlett and Orlando Hudson are both over 30, something you don’t normally see on a rebuilding roster.  If they get traded the Padres do not have a lot of alternatives.  The bullpen has to replace the loss of two of their better pitchers, Mike Adams and Heath Bell.  Ernesto Frieri and Luke Gregerson are good alternatives, but they still have a short resume.

Prospects to Make the Roster: Yonder Alonso is a given at first base.  He has already proven he can hit major league pitching with his .330 average and .545 slugging in less than 100 at bats.  Expect Anthony Rizzo to be traded to the Cubs before spring training if the Cubs have what the Padres want.  If not, there could be a three way.  The trade of Latos could open up a rotation spot for Simon Castro if Edinson Volquez is not ready.  He struggled in AAA last year so he may need a couple months of success there before he is promoted.  That could open a spot to Ranger acquisitions Joe Wieland or Robbie ErlinBrad Boxberger is poised to take over the role of Mike Adams.  If Huston Street falters he could fit in as the closer.  Brad Bach is ready for a bullpen role.  You may look at his 5.14 ERA and 7 walks in seven innings, but four of those were intentional, and he struck out eleven.  They added a number of rookie lefthanders to their 40 man roster.  One of Jose de Paula, Pedro Hernandez or Juan Oramas should make the roster if they have a good spring.

Long Range Prospects: They still have Chase Headley at third, but he seems to have one foot out the door.  One of three third base prospects could get a mid-season call up if Headley is traded. James Darnell and Logan Forsythe are on the 40-man while the better prospect Jedd Gyorko would need to be added. Casey Kelly will be given an opportunity to succeed in AAA, but expect a mid-season call up for him.  Jaff Dacker is a hitting machine, but a September callup or a period of interleague play where he could be the DH are his best opportunities.

Significant Transactions:  They had one of the biggest with Matt Latos going to the Reds for a couple of their extras, Yonder AlonsoYasmani Grandal, Brad Boxberger and Edinson Volquez.  All the players except for Boxberger had a better player at a position ahead of the traded player.  The Padres are thankful for their bounty of rejects.  They also acquired their potential closer Huston Street from the Rockies, who mysteriously gave him away for 26 year old minor league Nick Schmidt.  All the other transactions were insignificant, such as the trade of Wade LeBlanc to obtain back up catcher John Baker or their acquistion of Cory Brown from the Indians for Aaron Cunningham.

Expected Finish:  The Padres only hope not to finishe last is if the Dodgers traded Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw in a back to basics rebuilding year.  Otherwise, the Padres have his spot all sewn up.

Tim Kennelly with Four Dinger Day Down Aussie Way

Friday, December 30th, 2011

It is not every day that a player slugs four homeruns in one day.  The fact that it occurred in a double header should not discount the accomplishment.  It’s difficult enough hitting two homeruns in one game, but to do it in back to back games is certainly rare.  Especially when one of the games was only a seven inning affair.

Tim Kennelly hit two solo shots in the first game that the Perth Heat defeated the Adelaide Bite 5-4.  The second homerun turned into a walkoff with one out off of Derek Miramontes.  The second game had a gluttony of homeruns making me wonder if they switched to a little leage park or the wind was blowing out.  Perth had seven homeruns including two each by Tim Kennelly and Luke HughesMatt Kennelly, Tim’s brother also joined in the fun with a homerun.  The Bite could only lift three out of the park.  The Heat won the game 10-9 by scoring three in the ninth, none with the benefit of a homerun.  Tim Kennelly rapped a 2-run single after the Bite pitchers loaded the bases on walks and a hit batsman.  Luke Hughes drove in the game winning run with a single.

The first seven runs scored by the Heat were on solo shots.  In fact, James McOwen started the game off with a homerun and Tim Kennelly followed him off in the order with a homerun to make it back to back to start the game.  In the second inning they repeated the back to back with Kennelly and Hughes doing the honors.  Mychal Givens added a third solo shot later on in the inning.  Paul Mildren would end up delivering six of the 7 Heat homeruns.  Luke Hughes hit the final blast off Mildren in the fourth.  Matt Kennelly joined his brother in the homer barrage with a solo shot off Indian pitcher Rinku Singh.

The Bite had a grand slam homerun from Chin-Ling Hu and a 3-run homerun from Stefan Welch, equaling the number of runs driven in with the seven homeruns by the Heat.  Denny Almonte whacked a solo shot, his tenth homerun in just 27 games in the fourth to give them eight runs driven in with their three homeruns.

With the sweep the Bite dropped down to third place.  Syndey surpassed them with a 15-5 pasting of Melbourne.  In a follow-up that can be titled “back to the drawing board” in my Australian update myworld talked about a pitcher Takayuki Nakano that was discovered in a local Australian league, asked to try out and made the team.  He got to pitch yesterday and could only retire two of the seven hitters he faced to find himself with a 54.00 ERA after his first appearance had ended.  On the bright side he was the only pitcher of five that did not give up a homerun.  The Blue Sox bashed five homeruns to make this a laugher.  Brad Thomas also got the start for the Blue Sox, so cancel that comment where myworld said they would move him into the closer role.  He only pitched four innings so he was denied of the win that was instead give to Todd Grattan, who also went four innings.

Venezuela Update - four teams battle for three spots

Friday, December 30th, 2011

The Venezuelan League is down to deciding the final five for the second round of action.  The only two teams to clinch a spot in the second round are La Guaira and Magallanes.  The two teams that have been eliminated are the Margarita Bravos and the Caracas Leones.  That leaves four teams for the final three spots.

The Aragua Tigres are a team on the brink of elimination.  First, they had to put up with the publicity of the Wilson Ramos kidnapping.  Now, ex-major leaguer Rosman Garcia was killed in a traffic accident on Thursday.  You can read about the accident here: http://texas.rangers.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20111229&content_id=26243716&vkey=news_tex&c_id=tex

Rosman was 1-0, 3.55, pitching in 16 games, four of them starts.  He had not pitched since before Christmas and had last appeared in the United States with the Bowie Bay Sox in 2007.  He last pitched in the major leagues in 2004.  The double header between Aragua and Zulia yesterday was postponed because of his death.  They will play a doubleheader today.

The Lara Cardenales are the other outlier, tied with Aragua in a battle for the final spot.  They beat Caribes 5-1, and now Caribes only has a game lead over Lara and Aragua.  Lara was led by the long ball with a 2-run homer from Johan Limonta and solo shots from Alcides Escobar and Guillermo QuirozAdalberto Mendez pitched four plus innings of no hit relief to pick up the victory.  He struck out six and walked one.

Magallanes clinched a spot with a 10-0 spanking of the eliminated Caracas team.  Caracas had just had their catcher Yorvit Torrealba suspended for the remainder of the season and probably for his career, so after being eliminated and having their catcher suspended, they were probably in no mood to play yesterday.  Magallanes scored eight in the third to put a fork in the game.  Eric Junge pitched six innings, giving up only three hits to the unmotivated bats of Caracas.

Both Aragua and Zulia need to play three games, while Caribes and Lara will play one.  Magallanes season is done, but they should be in since Lara has 31 losses to their 30 and that saves them from elimination.  If second place Zulia, who are ahead of Magallanes loses their last three games and Lara wins their game against Caribes today that would leave three teams with 31 losses.  They may need to play a couple more games to eliminate a team.

Yulieski Erupts Again for Roosters

Friday, December 30th, 2011

It wasn’t as loud as his two homerun, nine RBI game in early December, but Yulieski Gourriel banged two homeruns and drove in seven in the Sancti Spiritus Roosters 11-10 win over Guantanamo, outdueling an equally proficient Yoenni Southeran.  That is four homeruns and 16 RBIs in two games.  For 24 games Yulieski is hitting .326 with 8 homeruns and 33 RBIs.  The closest one to him in the RBI race is now Alexander Malleta of the Industriales with 25.  He is tied with Hector Olivera of Santiago in the homerun race.

Despite his heroics Yulieski did not drive in what proved to be the game winner and was saved by his teammate from being a goat.  But at least he got them to the extra innings.  In the third inning Gourriel’s 2-run single pulled the Roosters to within 4-2.  He had a sacrifice fly in the fifth to make the score 6-3.  A solo homerun in the seventh tied the game at 6-6 and then in the eighth after Yoenni Southeran had launched a 3-run homer to give the Indians a 9-6 lead Gourriel countered that blast in the bottom of the eighth with his own 3-run shot.

Southeran appeared to have the upper hand again when in the top of the tenth inning he drove in a run with a single.  For Yoenni it was his fifth RBI of the game.  Yulieski could have been the ultimate hero, coming up with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the tenth, trailing 10-9 but Dalier Hinojosa struck him out.  That made it two outs, but since Yulieski was bailing out the Roosters for most of the day, catcher Yenier Bello bailed out Yulieski with a 2-run single to give the Roosters the 11-10 victory.

Yulieski was not the only player who had a good game yesterday.  Rusney Castillo also launched two homeruns and drove in seven runs to give the Ciego de Avila Tigers a 13-6 thrashing of the Granma Stallions.  Castillo blasted a 3-run homerun in the third, a solo shot in the fifth and finished off the RBI production with RBI singles in the sixth and eighth and a sacrifice fly in the ninth.  He finished off the day with four hits and is now hitting .299 with seven homeruns and 20 RBIs.  The Granma Stallions have now lost eight games in a row, dropping them to near the basement in the Western Division.  Ciego has moved into a tie for third.

On the pitching front, no one expected a lot from Wilbur Perez coming into his game against the Metropolitanos Warriors.  He came into the game with an 0-4 record and a 9.45 ERA.  When the game was done Perez had led his team, the Isla de la Juventud Pine Cutters, who had the highest ERA in the Cuban League at 7.56 to a 1-0 win.  He gave up four hits, walked one and struck out 11.  It was only the Metropolitanos, who are traditionally the worst team in Cuba, but perhaps it will give Wilbur some confidence moving forward.  It was also only the fourth win in 21 games for the Pine Cutters.

Last year Duniel Ibarra of the Cienfuegos Elephants broke the Cuban save record with 27 in one season.  He picked up his ninth save yesterday, going two plus innings in the Elephants 2-1 win over the Pinar del Rio Tobacco Growers.  Duniel gave up one hit, walked one and struck out four.  He is not an intimidating closer, only standing 5′7″, but he gets the job done. Back in the 2000/2001 season, when he was just 20 years old Duiniel broke the record for most appearances by a pitcher with 45.  That record has since been broken   

Eastern Teams

Won

lost

Matanzas Crocodiles

13

7

Cienfuegos Elephants

12

9

Sancti Spiritus Roosters

13

11

Industriales Leones

12

11

Pinar del Rio Tobacco Growers

12

13

Artemisa Hunters

10

14

Metropolitanos Warriors 

8

13

Mayabeque Hurricanes

7

14

Isla de la Juventud Pine Cutters

 4

17

Western Teams

Won

Lost

Villa Clara Orangemen

14

6

Holquin Dogs

16

8

Santiago de Cuba Wasps

14

8

Ciego de Avila Tigers

14

8

Las Tunas Woodcutters

12

8

Guantanamo Indians

10

14

Granma Stallions

10

14

Camaguey Potters

 9

15

For those who want to follow the Cuban League there are a number of good sites listed below.  Unfortunately, they are all in Spanish but you can always visit this site and myworld will continue to provide updates.  The more you comment, the more we will update.

http://www.beisbolcubano.cu/basic/default.asp

http://www.beisbolencuba.com/

http://www.baseballdecuba.com/newsite/index.html

 

 

Escogido Remains Undefeated

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Escogido Leones (3-0) 4 Gigantes (0-3) 1

Nelson Figeroa tossed seven innings of one run ball to keep the Leones undefeated and the Gigantes without a win.  Julio Lugo raked out three hits, scoring a run and driving in a run, while Andy Dirks scored twice in the 4-1 win.  John Halama got the start for the Gigantes but was touched for eight hits and three runs in his five innings of work.  Nelson Payano struck out two of the three hitters he faced to pick up the save.

Aguilas (2-1) 4 Licey (1-2) 1

Aguilas beat their bitter rival Licey by the identical 4-1 score.  Raul Valdes went six innings, giving up four hits and a run.  He didn’t get the decision because the score was 1-0 going into the bottom of the sixth.  Francisley Bueno had tossed five innings of shutout ball for Licey but was replaced by Cristhian Martinez to pitch the sixth.  Cristhian gave up a homerun to Wilin Rosario to tie the game at 1-1.  In the next inning he gave up a bunt single to Pedro Ciriaco.  He was gone after a single by Joaquin Arias put runners on first and third, but took the loss after Atahualpa Severino hit Brandon Moss with a pitch while the bases were filled with Eagles to bring in the go ahead run.  Aguilas pulled away in the eighth with Pedro Ciriaco leading the charge again with a 2-out triple.  Elian Herrera drove him in with a double, advancing to third on an error and scored on a wild pitch.  That left it to Miguel Batista to retire the side in order in the top of the ninth to pick up the save.  New Yankee Rule V pick up Cesar Cabral got the win by striking out the only hitter he faced in the top of the seventh.