Archive for September, 2012

NL East Post Season All Stars

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Myworld has completed the American League teams.  Now we try to get through the National League teams before the regular season ends.  The first National League Division we review is the NL East.

Atlanta Braves

The years of John Smoltz, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine are done and it will be hard to repreat that troika.  The Braves have tapered down their salary structure and focused their resources on the minor league system.  It is starting to pay dividends with a number of young pitchers percolating through their system.  Whether they will ever achieve the success of the above three will be difficult.

Ernesto Meija 1B AAA - He was voted rookie of the year but he is already 26 years old.  He’s been playing since 2003 but this is his first year in AAA.  He hit .296 with 24 homeruns and 92 RBIs.  That has yet to translate into a major league opportunity.

Todd Cunningham OF AA - Todd was drafted in the second round in 2010.  Still noted more for his defense than offense.  He did hit over .300 for the first time this year, hitting .309, but there is not a lot of power in the bat (.403 slugging with three homeruns).

Sean Gilmartin SP AA - Sean was a 2011 first round pick.  He finished 5-8, 3.54 ERA, not stellar numbers for an All star.  He was voted to have the best control in the Southern League.

Braeden Schlehuber C Hi A - Other than his first year in 2008 he had a tough time getting his average over .250.  A nice breakout year for him where he hit .270 with eight homeruns.

Nick Ahmed Utl Hi A - Voted the best defensive shortstop and fastest baserunner in the Carolina League.  He hit .269 in the Carolina League in his second year of minor league ball.  He stole 40 bases in 50 attempts.

Gus Schlosser SP Hi A - Voted top pitcher of the Carolina League as a result of his 13-7, 3.38.  Shows good command by walking less than two batters per nine innings pitched.

Miami Marlins

Fans wonder if the management has a clue of any long term plan.  They spend a lot on salary and based on disappointing years, and a disappointing season by the Marlins, they trade many of these players for prospects.  Are they contenders or rebuilders?  Nobody knows for sure.  The owner has yet to find a manager he likes.

Marcell Ozuna OF Hi A - He has got more power than Pablo hitting over twenty homeruns for the third season in a row.  He hit 24 this year equaling last year’s .266 average.  He was voted the best power prospect and the best outfield arm in the Florida State League.

Christian Yelich OF Hi A - Christian was the Marlins first round pick in 2010 and is the outfield mate of Ozuna.  He hit .330 with 12 homeruns.  He was voted the most exciting player of the Florida State League.  He has the range to play centerfield.

Danny Black utl Hi A - He doesn’t show a lot of power, but he did hit .314, resulting in a promotion to AA for an eight game trial.  With the Marlins he played shortstop.

Austin Barnes C Low A - He showed a bit more power in is second year, mashing 12 homeruns while hitting .318.  Austin also had a pretty impressive 59/61 walk to whiff ratio.

Brent Keys OF Low A - After hitting .340 in the New York Penn League last year he struggled with his promotion to Low A (.208).  He made amends for that struggle hitting .335 this year.  He also had more walks (34) than whiffs (30).

Kolby Copeland OF rookie - The supplemental 2012 third round pick hit .286 in his professional debut.

New York Mets

The Mets have gotten cheap with their salary as their ownership group got caught up in the Bernie Madoff scandal.  It appears the purse strings will not be freed up even after some of that pressure has been removed.  They like saving millions of dollars in salary.  Their boredom keeps them off the back pages of the New York press.  With only one player selected as a post season All Star they still have a good contigent of foreign players ready to crack the roster.

Adam Kolarek RP Hi A - He had 18 saves and a 2.37 ERA in the Florida State League.  When he was promoted to the Eastern League that ERA rose to 5.68.

Philadelphia Phillies

Tyler Cloud RHP AAA - Tyler had an impressive 15-1 season at two levels.  At Lehigh Valley he was 12-1, 2.35 resulting in a promotion to the major leagues.  In five major league starts he is 2-1, 3.86.  He is not a hard thrower but has superb command, voted the pitcher with the best control in the International League.

Tommy Joseph C AA - Acquired from the Giants in the Hunter Pence trade.  He will be competing with Sebastian Valle for the catching job of the future after Carlos Ruiz hangs it up.  He hit 11 homeruns for two AA Eastern League teams, hitting .257.  He is considered the better defensive player at this point.

Darin Ruf 1B AA - Darin was the MVP of the Eastern League slugging 38 homeruns and 32 doubles with a .317 average.  He drove in 104 runs between the two levels.  The Phillies called him up to the major leagues where they have stuck him out in left field.

Cesar Hernandez 2B AA - He hit .304 with Reading with 26 doubles and 11 triples.  It led to a promotion to AAA where he only hit .248.

Cameron Rupp C Hi A - The third round 2010 pick has thrown his hat into the catchers ring.  He hit .269 with 10 homeruns for Clearwater.

Adam Morgan SP Hi A - A third round 2011 pick, Adam was voted the best changeup in the Florida State League.  His record was not good (4-10) but his ERA was solid (3.29).  He also struck out more than a hitter an inning with a 27/133 walk to whiff ratio.  His low 90s fastball is pretty good for a lefty.

Austin Wright SP Hi A - The lefties won/loss record was better (11-5) and ERA about the same (3.45).  He struck out more than one batter an inning last year but thise year he fell short.  His 60/133 walk to whiff ratio is not as good as Morgan but he also has a low 90s fastball.

Andrew Pullin OF rookie - The fifth round 2012 pick had a good debut with his .321, 2, 13 season with an OBA of .403.

Washington Nationals

They had the best farm team in baseball until they traded a bevy of prospects for Gio Gonzalez.  Those prospects are contributing to the Athletics wild card run (Derek Norris and Tom Millone) but the Nationals would not be on top of the NL East without the contribution of Gio Gonzalez.

Carlos Rivero 3B AAA - While rated the best defensive third baseman in the International League, he is a middle infielder playing a corner infield position.  He will never usurp Ryan Zimmerman.  Carlos has shown more power with double digit homeruns his last two years.  In 2012 he hit .303 with 10 homeruns.

Corey Brown OF AAA - Another Athletic acquistion, one of the players acquired for Josh Willingham.  He slugged 25 homeruns at AAA with a .285 average.  He has been bounced back and forth from the AAA to the major league roster, hitting .208 with his first homerun in the major leagues.  Strikeouts are a problem with 139 in 126 games.

Matt Skole 3B Low A - The Nationals player of the year, slugged 27 homeruns at Hagerstown.  He combined for 104 RBIs, 92 of them at Hagerstown.  An impressive 94/116 walk to whiff ratio and 10 for 10 success rate in stolen bases.  That got him voted for the best strike zone discipline in the South Atlantic League.

Matt Foat 2B rookie - He hit .333 with a 14/18 walk to whiff ratio giving him a .404 OBA.  That is higher than his .401 slugging percentage.

Lamiga Monkeys Clinch Second Half of CPBL

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

One of my favorite team names, the Lamiga Monkeys have clinched the second half of the CPBL to qualify for the championship.  They will play the Uni-President Lions, who won the first half.  These two teams faced off last year with the Lions beating the Monkeys in a best of seven, four games to one.

You can read more about the game here: http://www.ibaf.org/en/news/2012/09/26/cpbl-lamigo-monkeys-clinch-2nd-half-title-with-8-6/03c9b49d-0981-4694-a2e9-38ffea3e4bd4

Taiwan WBC Qualifying Roster

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

The IBAF has announced the 28 man roster for the World Baseball Classic Taiwan qualifying team.  They will be playing in a qualifying tournament with the Philippines, Thailand and New Zealand.  If they don’t win the qualifier it will be a huge upset.  Since they host one of the first round matches in the WBC tournament in March organizers are counting on them to win.

Most of the players are from the CPBL, five are playing in the NPB and one is playing in the minor leagues in the United States.  One of Taiwan’s most successful pitchers Wei-Yin Chen will not be pitching because of the number of major league innings he has pitched for the Orioles.  Chien Ming Wang of the Nationals also does not appear to be participating.

Of course, Taiwan was also supposed to have easily defeated China in the 2009 WBC, but they lost.  Many fans were so shocked by the loss to China they felt the only reason they could have lost was if the roster was littered with players on the take.  China got an automatic qualification to the WBC.  Taiwan now has to earn their qualification.

Chinese Taipei 28-man roster for WBC Qualifer:

Pitchers (14) - Wang Chin-Ming, Fu Yu-Kang (Uni-President Lions); Lin Chia-Wei (Lamigo Monkeys). Kuan Ta-Yuan, Lin Yu-Ching, Tseng Song-Wei (Brother Elephants); Lin Yen-Feng (Sinon Bulls) ; Wang Yao-Ling (Chicago Cubs farm system), Wang Yi-Chen (NPB Yokohama Baystars), Lin Yi-Hao (NPB Yomiuri Giants), Yang Yao-Hsun (NPB Softbank Hawks), Cheng Kai-Wen (NPB Hanshin Tigers), Kuo Chun-Ling (Fubon amateur club), Chen Hong-Wen (national reserve squad)

Catchers (3) - Cheng Ta-Hong (Sinon Bulls); Lin Hong-Yu (Lamigo Monkeys); Kao Chih-Kang (Uni-President Lions)

Infielders (6) - Lin Yi-Chuan (Sinon Bulls); Lin Chih-Sheng, Kuo Yen-Wen (Lamigo Monkeys); Peng Cheng-Min, Chen Chiang-Ho (Brother Elephants); Chen Yung-Chih (Uni-President Lions)

Outfielders (5) - Yang Tai-Kang (NPB Nippon Ham Fighters); Chang Chien-Ming (Sinon Bulls); Pan Wu-Hsiung (Uni-President Lions); Chou Hsi-Chih, Chang Chen-Wei (Brother Elephants)

WBC Venues and Format

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

The WBC announced the venues and format for the WBC games in 2013.  The first round will be a round robin play while the second round will be double elimination.  The first round of games will be played at the following venues with those teams participating:

Fukuoka, Japan (home of the defending NPB champion Softbank Dae Hawks) - March 2-6, 2013

Japan, China, Cuba and to be determined (Japan would be the favorite since they seem to always have Cuba’s number but Cuba will be the second team out)

Taichung, Taiwan (a great place to see a ball game and home of the Sinon Bulls) - March 2-5, 2013

Korea, Netherlands, Australia and to be determined (but all hope Taiwan prevails in their qualifier.  Myworld will pick Korea as the favorite, though Netherlands is the defending World Cup champion.  They will be playing a much better Korean team than showed up in Panama.  Netherlands should be the second team out.)

San Juan, Puerto Rico (currently without a winter league team but the home of the San Juan Senadores). - March 7-10, 2013

Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and to be determined (myworld will pick the Venezuelans to win this pool but the Dominicans will be the second team out, but if the Canadians are placed here it will be a battle.  More than likely the winner of qualifier three will be here.)

Phoenix, Arizona (home of the Arizona Diamondbacks) - March 7-10, 2013

United States, Mexico, Italy and to be determined (United States would be the favored team but they always disappoint.  Mexico should be the second team out unless Canada is placed here, then they would be the second team out).

The second round will be played in:

Tokyo, Japan (the home of the Yomiuri, Giants) - March 7-10, 2013

Miami, Florida (the home of the Miami Marlins.  This will be a little different ballpark for fans to discover) - March 12-16, 2013

The championship round will be played in San Francisco, California home of the San Francisco Giants - March 17-19, 2013.

The 28 man rosters are due in December.

AAAA Blue Jays Blank Orioles

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

The Blue Jays had Yunel Escobar hitting cleanup and Yan Gomes batting fifth.  They had a starting pitcher Aaron Laffey, whose fastball couldn’t hit 85.  It was still enough to beat the Orioles 4-0 last night.

With their punch and judy lineup they bunched together 12 singles and one double to allow four runners to cross the plate.  They had four singles in the first inning to score their first run.  Yan Gomes drove in the run with his single.  Rajai Davis single should have been a ground ball out, but because it hit Gomes it was ruled a single and the runner was called out to end the inning.

Adeiny Hechavarria had the only extra base hit for the Blue Jays.  His double in the fourth inning scored Rajai Davis from first base.  The Blue Jays finished their scoring in the seventh on three singles and a botched fielding play by Manny Machado on an attempted sacrifice bunt by Anthony GoseColby Rasmus was thrown out at third by Chris Davis on a Edwin Encarnacion RBI single, but it was not enough to prevent the second run from scoring.

Joe Saunders got the start for the Orioles.  He gave up 11 hits in six plus innings, allowing all four runs.  Aaron Laffey only lasted five plus innings with his low 80s fastball.  He didn’t get any strikeouts, but he did get the Orioles to hit the ball on the ground.  As soon as he gave up some healthy fly ball outs he was taken out of the game.  The Blue Jays used five different pitchers to finish the game, Ryan Flaherty swinging at the first pitch and flying out to center with the bases loaded to end the game.

Dylan Bundy made his Camden Yards debut in the ninth inning.  He was a bit wild, walking one and running a three ball count to three of the four hitters he faced.  He got a break when Colby Rasmus swung at a 3-0 pitch and grounding into a double play.

Game Notes: The Orioles had their minor league day today.  There were over 30,000 in attendance.  All the mascots from the various minor league organizations were in attendance.  D.C. native L.J. Hoes was named player of the year and Dylan Bundy was named pitcher of the year.  Both made an appearance in yesterday’s game, Hoes as a pinch runner for Jim Thome in the ninth and Bundy pitching a full inning of relief in the ninth…Bundy was only hitting 93-95 on the radar.  It is possible the radar gun at Camden was a bit slow.  Aaron Laffey would like to think so…Rajai Davis hit a ball just to the foul side of the foul pole in the first inning.  If he had straightened it out the score would have been 4-0 after one…Colby Rasmus appears to be having a disappointing season, hitting .220 with an OBA less than .300.  Anthony Gose may have his job soon if he can show he can hit.

Nats Bury Brewers

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Yesterday the Nationals lost a couple fly balls and the Brewers took advantage to take the victory.  Today Carlos Gomez lost a fly ball and it resulted in a 6-run fourth inning resulting in the Nationals 12-2 stomping of the Brewers.  The win reduced the Nationals magic number for clinching their division to five.

Bryce Harper stole the first run in the opening frame after hitting a slow roller along the third base line.  A walk to Ryan Zimmerman advanced him to second and a delayed steal by Harper may have surprised catcher Jonathan Lucroy.  His throw to third saild over the head of Aramis Ramirez allowing Bryce to continue his quest for home without breaking his stride.  This gave the Nationals an early 1-0 lead.

A lead off homerun by Corey Hart in the second tied the game.  It was the third of six hard fly ball shots hit off Jordan Zimmermann.  Bryce Harper crashed into the wall to catch a ball hit by Aramis Ramirez in the first.  Jean Segura popped a ball against the scoreboard in the second for a triple.  Jordan struck out Marco Estrada to end the second inning and strand Segura at third.  He settled down after that, retiring 14 of the next 17 hitters, never allowing a runner to reach second before being removed with two outs in the seventh inning.

Adam LaRoche swung at two 3-0 pitches and popped the ball up with runners in scoring position in the first and third inning.  In the fourth the Nationals finally broke the game open.

Jordan Zimmermann helped himself in the fourth with an RBI single to put the Nationals up 2-1.  With two outs, Jayson Werth popped a routine ball to centerfield.  Carlos Gomez lost the ball in the sun.  By the time he found it he made a diving attempt to reach the ball but it glanced off his wrist.  Two runs scored on the hit and Werth stopped at second with a gift double.  After a Bryce Harper walk, Werth and Bryce pulled off a double steal.  It was not necessary as Ryan Zimmerman drove the next pitch into the right centerfield bleachers to give the Nationals a 7-1 lead.

In the fifth Kurt Suzuki pulled a ball down the third base line to drive in two runs.  Aramis Ramirez hit a double in the eighth to give the Brewers a second run.  The significance of the double is it was his fiftieth, the first player to hit fifty doubles since 2009.

Ryan Zimmerman got credit for another RBI in the Nationals 3-run eighth.  It gives him 93 for the year.  He needs another four RBI game to get a chance for 100 RBIs.  Adam LaRoche did not drive in a run and remained at 98.

Game Notes: Bryce Harper scored two runs to give him 91 for the season.  Considering he was a late season callup scoring 90 plus is quite an accomplishment…Ian Desmond had a stolen base, giving him 20 for the season.  He is the first player to reach 20 homeruns and 20 stolen bases since Alfonso Soriano with his 40/40 year…Aramis Ramirez hit double number 50 to become the first player to reach 50 doubles since Brian Roberts and Alex Gordon accomplished that feat in 2009…Roger Bernadina could not drive the ball to the outfield with a runner on third and less than two outs.  His two ground outs resulted in both runners being gunned down at home…Norichika Aoki seems overmatched when swinging at 95 mile per hour plus fastballs.  Jordan Zimmermann struck him out twice and he had some pretty ugly swings in those at bats.

Contract (cont - 12) - end

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Moose called Larvell to tell him he had spoken with Kevin and everything is a go. He knew Larvell would be up past midnight. He had been a little worried about calling Kevin so late, but Larvell wouldn’t want him to wait. “He comes in tomorrow for a physical.”

Moose told him about the pregnancy that would rule out winter ball but Kevin thought he could be available for the instructional league in January and seemed to have no objection playing at the lower levels. “If I had been paid eight hundred thou I would have been willing to extend my playing career a couple more years.”

“I’m just glad we have ourselves a catcher and interpreter for Jason. How about doing a little background check on this guy. I want to make sure he is of the right character. Based on what you have told me so far he seems very conscientious. Heck, a lot of players would just let their wives fend for themselves and just be glad they can get away from changing poopy diapers.”

“I’ve already got somebody on it.”

When Larvell clicked off his phone he turned to look down at the Dominican brown eyed beauty lying naked in his bed. He had bought a lot of beers and left some hefty tips to convince her to come to his room. “It looks like we got ourselves a catcher.”

She gave him a quizzical look. It was a look she gave him anytime he tried to speak English to her. The fact she didn’t speak English didn’t matter. It was probably best. He had a free day tomorrow and he was going to make the most of his free time. After tomorrow he would be leaving and the odds are they would never see each other again. He pulled back the sheets and climbed in beside her, grabbing the condom with his free hand.

End of Chapter 5

Canada Cruises by Germany to Earn WBC Spot

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Jimmy Van Ostrand clubbed his fourth homerun and scored four times to lead Canada to an easy 11-1 win over Germany.  Canada scored in double figures in all three games they played in the WBC qualifying round.  Chris Robinson and Adam Loewen also went deep for Canada.  Loewen finished the game with a team leading three RBIs.  Andrew Albers went six innings to get the win, but gave up only two hits, one of them a solo shot to Aaron Altherr in the fifth, his second dinger of the tournament.  The German team got behind early 7-0 after two and could never recover.

Spains Cuban Presence

Monday, September 24th, 2012

There were people who thought it unfair Israel could recruit ballplayers based on the fact they were Jewish.  Ex-major leaguers Gabe Kaplar and Shawn Green were touted as eligible for the roster.  Kaplar did not make the final roster but Shawn Green did, playing two of the three games but not making much of an impact.

Spain will have a secret weapon come March to enhance their rosters - Cuban players no longer associated with the Cuban Leagues because of their defection.  In the championship game against Israel, Spain had six Cuban players appear in the game.  When the WBC begins in March of next year Spain may be able to recruit major league Cuban players.  What would this lineup look like?

Catcher - Yasmani Grandal, Brayan Pena

First Base - Yonder Alonso, Kendry Morales, Juan Miranda, Barbaro Canizares

Second Base - Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechvarria, Yuniskey Betancourt

Shortstop - Alexei Ramirez, Jose Iglesias

Third Base - Dayan Viciedo

Outfield - Yoennis Cespedes, Leonys Martin, Henry Urrutia, Jorge Soler, Yasiel Puig, Onelki Garcia, Adonis Garcia

Pitchers - Noel Arguelles, Livan Hernandez, Aroldis Chapman, Omar Luis, Gerald Sanchez, Armando Rivero, Jose Fernandez, Raul Valdes, Yunesky Maya

There are 28 players on this roster with only nine pitchers.  So the offensive players would need to be reduced while the pitchers would have to be supplemented with other players.  Still, a pretty good team with some players with pop.

Spain with the Upset; Germany in the Finals

Monday, September 24th, 2012

There will be a third European team joining the Netherlands and Italy in the World Baseball Classic.  That will be Spain.  They pulled a big upset with their 9-7 10 inning win over favored Israel.  Ranger prospect Engel Beltre got the tenth inning rally started with a walk.  The Israeli catcher disagreed with the call and was ejected from the game.  Paco Figuroa was hit by pitch so the first two hitters now stood at first and second, something the international rules would have already accomplished without the excitement.  Rafael Alvarez laid down a bunt to put the two runners in scoring position.  After a Barbaro Canizares ground out Yunesky Sanchez slipped a single up the middle to score two runs.

Israel still had a chance in the bottom frame with Nate Freiman leading off the tenth inning.  He grounded out.  A walk to Rob Widlansky put the tying run at the plate.  Ivan Granados was able to retire the last two hitters to preserve the save.  The bedlam in Jupiter began.

Cuban born Yunesky Sanchez whacked four hits for Spain, driving in three runs and scoring twice.  Spain had four players in their starting lineup born in Cuba (Barbaro Canizares, Yunesky Sanchez, Adrian Nieto and Yasser Gomez).  They also had two of their relief pitchers born in Cuba (Remigio Leal and Eduardo Morlan).

Israel slugger Nate Freiman could only muster one hit in five at bats, two of them walks.  The last time Israel played Spain Freiman mashed two 2-run homers to beat Spain 4-2.

There were 4,400 that attended the game, which is a good turnout for a Florida State League game.

In the qualifier in Germany the hosts mashed Great Britain for the second time 16-1.  The first two hitters in the German lineup Eric Suttle and Matthew Vance scored five times without benefit of a hit.  Top Phillies prospect Aaron Altherr hit a 2-run homerun in the fifth inning and Matt Weaver a 3-run homer in the seventh.  For Matt it was his second homerun of the tournament.  Another Cuban, Enorbel Marquez threw a 2-hitter for Germany, giving up only an unearned run in seven innings of work.

Baseball American shows Altherr born in Landstuhl, Germany, while the mlb sight shows him born in Arizona.  It appears he was born in Germany to a military family.  Only 1,400 fans attended the semi-final game.