Archive for January, 2012

Australia Dominates Oceania Youth Tournament

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

You can follow the results of their tournament at the official website here: http://www.baseballoceania.com/ or at the IBAF site here: http://www.ibaf.org/en/news/2012/01/29/results-18u-oceania-championship-january-29/38008d3c-2df1-41f7-b0d2-7219dc84a399

Both New Zealand and Australia won their first two games, so the match between the two undefeateds would test how competetive this tournament could be.  New Zealand had beaten Northern Marianas Islands 14-3 and Guam 10-0 while Australia dispatched of the same opponents by the exact 10-0 scores.  New Zealand was held hitless while Australia scored 19 runs to show that New Zealand still has a ways to go to catch up to Australia in the baseball area.

With two undefeated teams playing on the same day Guam played Northern Mariannas Island to see who would be the first to get a victory.  Guam proved superior in this first match with an 8-2 win.

The tournament was originally scheduled for five countries, but Palau had to pull out.  The teams will now play each other a second time.  New Zealand and Australia will probably play in the playoffs, while Australia will again be too much for New Zealand to handle.

Blue Sox and Heat Win Series

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

The Sidney Blue Sox eliminated the Adelaide Bite from the playoffs, sweeping a doubleheader yesterday while the Perth Heat Knocked the Melbourne Aces to a semifinal matchup against the Blue Sox.

Perth 3 Melbourne 1

It was a pitchers duel for seven innings between Nic Ungs for Melbourne and Geoff Brown for the Heat.  Through the first six innings the only run that had scored was on a Justin Huber RBI single in the third.  The Aces replaced Brown in the bottom of the seventh after a single by Tim Kennelly.  The Heat bats then found the Aces bullpen more amenable.  James McOwen drove in Kennelly with a single and the Heat broke out in the eighth thanks to two walks and a hit by pitch that loaded the bases.  Brendan Webb thought he should have had a walk but was ejected from the game when he got a little too vocal about a called third strike.  With the bases loaded and two out Mitchell Graham came up clutch with a single up the middle that scored two.  Cameron Lamb came out for his second inning of work and retired the side in order to preserve the win.  The Heat now get to watch the Aces do battle against the Blue Sox to see who they will play in a best of three final.

Sydney 10-1 Adelaide 4-0

The Blue Sox blew out the Bite in the opener 10-4, getting 3-run homers from Boss Moanaroa in the seventh inning and Michael Lysaught in the ninth inning.  This cancelled out the three solo homeruns from the Bite, two by Denny Almonte and one by Carlton TanabeAidan Francis went eight innings to get the win.  Adelaide did a poor job in support of Pat Ahearne, committing five errors that allowed four unearned runs to score, one of the errors committed by Ahearne himself.

The second game was a tight pitcher’s duel between Vaughan Harris and Reed Brown.  The only run that scored came in the fourth inning after David Kandilas led off with a double, advanced to third on a fly ball and then raced home ahead of the throw on a ground ball to shortstop.  Korean veteran reliever Dae-Sung Koo wiggled out of the ninth inning, putting two runners on but getting Mathew Smith to pop out to short to end the game.

The Blue Sox will play the Aces in a best of five series.

Aragua One Win from Series Del Caribe

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Aragua (3-2) 7 La Guaira (2-3) 1

It has been a tough year for the Aragua franchise with the kidnapping of catcher Wilson Ramos and the death of Rosman Garcia in a traffic accidnet.  Their 7-1 win over the Tiburones left them one game away from winning the Venezuelan League championship.  Yusmeiro Petit got credit for his fourth win against zero losses, working five innings of one run ball to lead Aragua to the victory.  Hector Gimenez had an RBI single in the first and a 3-run double in the 4-run seventh that broke the game open.  Edgardo Alfonso also had an RBI single in the opening frame and a solo homerun in the third.

The Tiger at bats combined for 16 hits, with Jose Martinez leading the charge with four.  Adonis Garcia had three hits to raise his playoff average to .364.

Escogido Breaks Skid; One Victory from Series del Caribe

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Escogido (4-3) 5 Aguilas (3-4) 2

The day did not start well for Escogido as an error by Andy Dirks and a balk allowed Aguilas to score two quick unearned runs.  The Leones took advantage of a couple fielding errors by Aguilas to score single runs in the second and third to tie it.  Julio Lugo got the RBI single that drove in the go ahead run in the fifth, and Fernando Tatis got his second RBI ground out of the day to give Escogido a 2-run lead.  Tatis also tripled in the eighth to later score on a Pedro Florimon sacrifice fly.  Four different pitchers came out of the Leones pen to hold Aguilas in check the rest of the game.  Fernando Rodney pitched the last inning, striking out three to pick up the save, his fifth of the playoffs.

Hot Lanta - Braves

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

Braves and Red Sox fans can commisserate with each other during spring training this year over who had the biggest collapse of the 2011 season.  The Braves have not done much to improve their lineup and appear to be relying on youth to get them back in the playoffs in 2012.  Shortstop and starting pitching should see rookies.  The Braves have already traded Derek Lowe and are now talking about trading Jair Jurrjens or Tommy Hanson, two of their better young pitchers to make room for even younger versions.  That is normally not the talk of a team looking to make the playoffs, but their young pitchers are certainly talented.

General Overview - The veteran starting pitchers are question marks with Tim Hudson’s back, the knees of Jair Jurrjens and the shoulder of Tommy Hanson.  If those pitchers do not bounce back from their injuries then there will be a lot of reliance on young arms to get them through the 2012 season.  They also allowed Alex Gonzalez to leave via free agency and appear willing to turn the shortstop job over to rookie Tyler Pastornicky, who has yet to play a major league game.  That worked for Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman for their rookie seasons, but they had more hope and prospect status than Tyler.

Why They Will Win: Jason Heyward has too much talent not to bounce back from his poor second year performance.  Perhaps the first year came too easy for him and he got complacent for his sophmore season.  They had a hole in centerfield for most of the year last year, but the 2012 season should see Michael Bourne patrol the pasture for the full year in 2012.  He provides stellar defense and a leadoff bat that they missed most of last year.  Freddie Freeman and Dan Uggla will launch balls out of the park with great regularity.  Brian McCann is still one of the best catchers in the National League.  They may also gain by subtraction with the departure of Derek Lowe.  It is possible they may have made the playoffs in 2011 if they didn’t rely so much on Lowe to bounce back from his already poor season and instead should have turned the rotation spot over to one of their younger pitchers.  Craig Kimbrel is one of the best closers in baseball.  They also have some dynamite setup men in Johnny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty.  It will be hard for Eric to repeat his 0.98 ERA.

Why They Won’t Win: A combination of youth and injuries will prevent them from reaching their peak.  The young pitching is some of the best prospects in the minor leagues, but as we have seen from the Orioles and other teams, sometimes it takes time for young pitchers to get acclimated to the major leagues.  Chipper Jones is not the third baseman he once was.  The Braves will be fortunate to get 100 starts out of him.  The Braves might be better off platooning Jose Constanza and Matt Diaz out in left field and putting Martin Prado at third.  Prado is not a very good fit in left field.  There is not a lot of talented position depth if injuries should fell a starter for significant time.

Prospects to Make Roster: The Braves picked up Jack Wilson as insurance if Tyler Pastornicky struggles during spring and shows that he needs another year of seasoning before being given a major league rotation spot.  Brandon Hicks was the heir apparent as shortstop for the 2011 season but he hit only .048 in limited major league at bats.  Tyler can only hope to do better than that.  Arodys Vizcaino is one of the pitchers competing for the fifth spot in the rotation.  He should make the team in the bullpen, where he was used the end of last year, so the battle will be between Mike Minor, Randall Delgado or Julio Teheran.

Long Range Prospects: Most of their top prospects are in High A or below.  Other than the pitchers and shortstop, there should not be a lot of youth in the lineup, but those are two of the more critical positions in the lineup.  Christian Bethancourt could see some time if injuries play havoc on the Braves catching corp and he does well in the minor leagues, rising up two levels.

Significant Transactions: They didn’t get a lot when they traded Derek Lowe to the Indians.  They acquired lefthanded pitcher Chris Jones, a fringe minor league prospect.  They also signed shortstop insurance in Jack Wilson if Tyler Pastornicky does not do well.  Otherwise they have been pretty silent in the transcation columns.

Expected Finish:Unless baseball expands the wild card to two spots, the Braves will fall short this year.  They will finish third, just ahead of the Marlins.

Milledge Reputation Arrives with him in Japan

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

If Lastings Milledge ever wonders why he was never able to sustain any kind of success as a major leaguer all he has to do is look in the mirror.  The Yakult Swallows are learning that Milledge appears to have issues making it to the ball park on time.  He arrived a day late to Japan and the stories differ as to whether he 1)overslept, 2) got stuck in traffic or 3) read the itinerary wrong.  The reality is that he missed his flight.

Lastings got on a flight the next day and arrived in Japan.  Unfortunately his first practice with the Swallows was limited to 40 minutes because he arrived two hours late.  The team only had the facilities until 4 PM.  He blamed his tardiness on problems getting his mobile phone.

It will be interesting to see how long he lasts in Japan.  He is not the kind of player who would seem to fit there, but stranger things have happened.  Myworld predicts that he will be gone before the season reaches it halfway point.  If not, perhaps the Japanese lifestyle will teach him some discipline and responsibility.

It is already baseball season in Japan as most teams have packed up and flown to Okinawa for spring training where most teams have their facilities.  You can read all the Japanese spring training notes and the Milledge antics at http://yakyubaka.com/

Orioles Sign Player from Guatemala

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

The closest Guatemala has come to having a major league baseball player is Ryan Spilborghs, whose mother is from Guatemala.  The article also talks about Troy Tulowitski and his mom being from Guatemala but myworld could not confirm that.  Since the two were teammates with the Rockies for a number of years maybe an article mixed up their mothers.  Troy does not look like he has a lot of Spanish blood in him.

The Orioles hope to develop a 100 percent Guatemalan major leaguer in 18 year old outfielder Andres Aguilar.  They hope to start his career in the Gulf Coast League, but if there is no room there he will begin in the Dominican Summer League.  The Orioles have recently hired scouts in Guatemala and Costa Rica, two places my world questioned as far as places to focus resources.  Guatemala appears to be paying off with this signing.

According to Fred Ferreira the kid has a strong arm, is a good hitter with power and can play centerfield.  This is an example of Dan Duquette playing foreign currency ball.

You can read the article here: http://www.masnsports.com/school_of_roch/2012/01/orioles-sign-18-year-old-outfielder-from-guatemala.html

Israel Gets Sponsor for World Baseball Classic

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

It appears that Triangle Finanacial Services, which owns the Maccabi Haifa basketball team will also sponsor the Israel baseball team as they compete in the qualifying round for the World Baseball Classic.  They also hope to build sometime in the near future the first minor league style ballpark in Israel.

A couple years ago Isreal tried to organize a professional baseball league, but their eyes were bigger than their head.  The league folded after only one season.  Sponsoring one team is probably less costly than supporting six teams, but building a stadium could be another matter.

You can read the article here: http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/anglo-file/baseball-world-baseball-classic-team-israel-lands-florida-sponsor-1.409431

Heat One Win Away

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

The Heat won their second straight game against the Aces, winning 9-4.  Mychal Givens led off the bottom of the first inning with a triple, eventually scoring on a wild pitch to get the offense started for the Heat.  Perth strung together three singles, a double and a walk to score three aditional runs to jump out to an early 4-1 lead after one inning.  The Heat extended the lead to 7-1 with three runs in the fourth.  Virgil Vazquez was one out short of completing eight innings, giving up four runs.  Benn Grice picked up the save, getting the last out in the eighth after hitting a batter and giving up a single to load the bases.  He retired the side in order in the ninth to pick up the save.

The other playoff game between Sydney and Adelaide was postponed because of thunderstorms.  That series is even at a game apiece.

Boer Repeats as Nicaraguan Champions

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

Vincent Padilla started for the Tigers and he went up against Francisco Cruceta.  Both pitchers left leaving zeros on the board, but the Boer bullpen was able to contine the goose egg mastery while the Tiger bullpen gave up a 4-run explosion in the eighth to allow Boer to repeat as champions with a 4-0 win.  Jose Campusano and Jilton Calderon were the offensive heros for Boer.  Diego Sandino was voted the MVP of the series for his two victories.

You can read about the final here: http://lnbp.com.ni/