Archive for March, 2013

The Resurrection

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Chapter 21

The Resurrection

April 30 - President O’Shea said the United States would not be pressured to set conditions for their meeting with China prior to the September visit. The government of China has requested the United States limit the number of people allowed to protest in front of the embassy. It has been very difficult for their employees to report to work without being harassed by protesters. This could also create security issues for the September visit of Premier Li Jiabao if the protests continue into September. A China embassy spokesman said this will have an influence on their decision whether to continue with the visit of Premier Li Jiabao. Extra security has been put in place at the embassy and the protesters must clear a path to allow embassy employees to report to work. President O’Shea reminded China the United States is a free country which allows its citizens to protest where they choose as long as they do not impede another person’s right of freedom.

Kevin finally received an email message from Jason saying he was returning to the United States. That brought a smile to his face. Based on the tone of the message he got the impression Jason felt the team would not want him back after he had abandoned them to go back to China. “It was something I need to do,” his email read. “If personal issues not take care of I not be able to focus on baseball. I sorry for not tell u sooner of my leaving but knew u would stop me. Hope u not get in trouble. If team still want me back I ready to come back.”

John was in a care center where Jason felt he was getting the proper treatment for his cancer. There was not much he could do now but hope for the best. They may not be able to eliminate the cancer entirely, but at least they could extend his life a few more years to allow him to live those years in comfort. There was nothing more for Jason to do in China. “I tell you more next time I see you. All that happen to much to put in one email.”

Kevin emailed him back, assuring him the team would be glad to have him back. “As far as I know I did not get in trouble for allowing you to sneak off. I just wish you had contacted me sooner. It would have been nice if you had responded to my earlier email to say you were doing well. I would have felt better knowing you were okay. All’s well that ends well I guess. It’s kind of boring here without you. It will be good to have you back to bring some excitement to the games.”

Kevin tried to call Moose to let him know he had heard from Jason and that he was interested in coming back. Moose did not pick up the phone. All Kevin could do was leave a voice mail message. By the time Moose called him back he had already received the news of Jason’s return.

“I’ve already spoken to Larvell. We are making arrangements to bring him back. I’ll be picking him up at the airport in a couple days. He still has to work on getting a flight and we’re making sure his visa is still valid.”

“Are you going to have him pitch in Delmarva?” Kevin asked.

“That has not been discussed yet. We’re just glad to have him back. Besides, the way you guys are kicking butt down there you don’t need any help. I’ll let you know once we’ve made a decision on where Jason will play.”

Delmarva was in first place in the South Atlantic League by five games with a 19-5 record. Kevin had cooled off, with his average dipping just below .300, but the rest of the team was still hitting, including Alexis, who was leading the league in homeruns with 10 and RBIs with 28. He also found himself second in batting average at .390. Wreckit had slugged 8 homeruns, including one in each of the last three games. Overall, the team was leading the league in hitting at .298. They just needed some help with their pitching staff. Troy was the best at getting hitters out, but he was very inconsistent at that.

While Kevin did not like the back and forth drive between Delmarva and his house, which was about a two hour commute, he did like his ability to see Shu and Jasmine each morning before taking the long ride. They were usually asleep by the time he returned home from a night game. The road games to North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Southern Virginia and even Georgia still required the use of his laptop to communicate with them each night.

Now that Jason was returning this could complicate his arrangement of commuting from home. The team was paying him to ease Jason’s transition to the United States. This would require him to be with Jason night and day. While Jason was a nice roomie, Shu was his wife. Given the choices, he would prefer to stay with his wife.

“Why not he stay here?” Shu volunteered.

Kevin had thought of that, but he had concerns with the press and how invasive they would be with their home environment. They were pretty aggressive at spring training, constantly going beyond the established barriers to take pictures of Jason. Kevin could just picture some of them peering into the windows of his house trying to take pictures of Jason. He did not want to have that kind of living environment surrounding Jasmine. He preferred she live a normal, quiet life, not influenced by the flash of cameras.

There was also his admission of hearing voices. Only crazy people heard voices talking to them inside their head. News accounts were filled with stories of people committing atroicities because voices inside their head had commanded them to commit some randomly violent act. Kevin did not want that to happen in his house, even though for all practical purposes Jason acted pretty normal.

“Where would he stay?” Kevin protested. They had three bedrooms. Jasmine stayed in one, the mother-in-law the other and he and Shu shared the master bedroom. He didn’t like the idea of moving the baby to stay with them in the master bedroom. He also didn’t want to ask his mother in law to put up with a baby in her room. Besides, Shu had done a good job of outfitting the baby room with lots of baby stuff, flying monkeys, unicorns, giraffes and elephants hanging from the ceiling down to her crib. The wallpaper also showed a number of smiling, furry, cute animals. It was a jungle like environment inside Jasmine’s bedroom. Her eyes enjoyed following all the animals, laughing at their movements as they flew above her crib, just out of reach of her stubby little hands. It was not a room meant for a grown man to sleep in.

The bedroom was also set up with speakers so they could hear the baby’s every movement, the giggling as the animals bounced from the sky, the crying when her diapers got a little too crowded with poop. They also had speakers in their bedroom, as well as the kitchen and the living room so they could hear her no matter what room separated them from her cries. With Shu’s mom around she was rarely left alone except for when she was put in her room to sleep.

“There woom in basement where you keep weights. He can stay there. You not do much with weights during season. We just move weights to ga-wage.”

Myworld’s Top 100 Prospects - 20 - 11

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Whittling our way slowly to number one.

20. Javier Baez SS (Chicago Cubs) 7.74 - Another potential future Puerto Rican shortstop, Javier was the ninth pick in the 2011 draft, just behind fellow Puerto Rican Francisco Lindor.  Javier moved to Florida when he was 12 and played high school ball in Jacksonville.  He doesn’t have one outstanding tool, but he is above average in all.  He will be an offensive minded shortstop, but the biggest impediment for him is Starlin Castro.  Starlin is currently the Cubs shortstop and is expected to man the position for many years.  This may force a move to third or second for Javier to get his bat in the lineup.  The Cubs will keep him at shortstop because he is probably a couple of years away from the major leagues.  He should see High A this year where he only hit .188 in 23 games last year.

19. Mike Olt 3B (Texas Rangers) 8.08 - Like George Springer, Mike is a first round pick out of Connecticut, drafted a year before Springer in 2010.  He has a power bat that should manufacture runs.  The question for the Rangers is where he plays.  They have a pretty good third baseman already in Adrian Beltre, so this year he could find first base or a corner outfield in his future.  He plays under the shadows of Rangers super prospect Jurickson Profar.  While he doesn’t have the speed or defensive swag of Jurickson, he has more power and will be a cleanup hitter for some team needing his bat in the lineup.

18. Nick Castellanos 3B/OF (Detroit Tigers) 8.14 - Nick was a first round supplemental pick in 2010.  He hit over .300 his first couple years then created a lot of press by hitting .405 in 215 at bats at Lakeland.  He finally fell back to earth with a .264 average after 322 at bats in AA as a 20 year old.  With Miguel Cabrera at third the Tigers have moved him to the outfield.  He lacks the speed to cover a lot of ground in the outfield but has the bat you want to get in the lineup.  As he gains strength he should begin to see more balls carry over the fence.  At 6′4″, 210 pounds he still has some room to put some more meat on his bones.

17. Christian Yelich OF (Miami Marlins) 8.36 - Yelich was the Marlins first round pick in 2010.  He is another 6′4″ player who should begin to see more balls carry over the fence as he gains strength.  He has a career .322 average in his first three years in the minor leagues, hitting 27 homeruns his last two seasons.  He has the speed to cover ground in center but may lack the arm to be used in right.  With the recent acquisition of Jake Marisnick he may need to fit in left field to pursue his major league career.

16. Travis d’Arnaud C (New York Mets) 8.54 - Travis is considered one of the best catching prospects in the minor leagues because of his combination of bat and defense.  He has already been used as bait by other teams to acquire two Cy Young award pitchers, Roy Halladay and R.A. Dickey.  Travis was originally drafted by the Phillies as a first round supplemental pick in 2007.  The big concern is the knee injury he suffered last year that limited him to just 67 games after he slugged 16 homeruns.  Catchers do a lot of bending so early wear and tear on the knees is not a good thing.  He could develop the power to play first but like Joe Mauer he would be more valuable behind the plate.

15. Miguel Sano 3B (Minnesota Twins) 8.58 - Considered the top Dominican prospect in 2009 he has already had a movie (Pelotero) made about him.  Questions about his age delayed his signing, but the Twins paid over $3 million in bonus money to snag him.  At 6′3″, 232 pounds he is a big boy with plenty of wallop in his bat.  He could be the best power prospect coming up in the minor leagues.  As he balloons in size he may need to move from third base to first.  He drove in 100 runs last year, bashing 28 homeruns at Low A.  The Twins hope he is ready for their lineup in 2015.

14. Jose Fernandez RHP (Miami Marlins) 8.6 - Jose left Cuba as a 15 year old and pitched in high school in Tampa where he was a first round pick in 2011 by the Marlins.  He has a fastball they miss in Cuba, hitting the mid-90s and his curveball is the best in the Marlins system.  He also throws a decent change and slider to give him a huge arsenal to use against hitters.  Last year he was 14-1 at two levels, finishing with an ERA under 2.00 at both the Low A and High A.  He should begin this year in AA and a mid-season or September call-up is possible.  The Marlins may need a prospect to generate some buzz in the stadium and Fernandez could be that man.

13. Zack Wheeler RHP (New York Mets) 8.62 - Zack was a 2009 first round pick of the Giants and traded to the Mets for Carlos Beltran.  The Mets like his mid-90s fastball and like Fernandez his curveball is also the best in the Mets system.  He still needs to improve on his command.  His slider has the potential to be an effective weapon and his change is a work in progress.  He had success in AAA, but could use more seasoning there to prepare him for a mid season callup to join Matt Harvey.

12. Billy Hamilton CF (Cinncinnati Reds) 8.64 - Billy was a second round 2009 pick but has developed into a burner with his record breaking 155 stolen bases last year.  The big improvement for him in 2012 was his ability to get on base.  The more he is on base the more opportunities he has to steal a base.  He had an onbase average of over .400 between High A and AA with a batting average of .311.  The Reds have moved him from shortstop to centerfield where they have an immediate need.  He could see a mid-season callup if their centerfield situation does not work out.  Since this will be his first year learning the position he will need to show an ability to track fly balls before he even thinks about a promotion to the major leagues.

11. Tyler Skaggs LHP (Arizona Diamondbacks) 8.76 - Tyler was a supplemental first round pick of the Angels in 2009, traded to the Diamondbacks for Dan Haren.  The lefthander does not have a power fastball, sitting in the low 90s, but relies on a complete repertoire and mix of pitches for his success.  After having success in AA and AAA last year he got six starts for the Diamondbacks and showed he needed more work, weaving together a 5.83 ERA but with only a 13/21 walk to whiff ratio in 29 innings.  His strikeout to innings pitched numbers have seen substantial decreases as he rises each level so that could be a concern.

Lions and Tigers and Bears - Oh My

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Not a Wizard of Oz review, but the potential favoirtes to win the KBO this year, either the defending champion Samsung Lions, the Kia Tigers or the Poosan Bears.  After their disappointing performance in the WBC using players who many felt were past their prime and with no future five tool players or three digit fastball pitchers on the horizon, the KBO has concerns about their ability to continue to draw fans if there are no players attractive enough to watch.  You can read the article here: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/sports/2013/04/136_133048.html

It was opening day in the KBO.  The Doosan Bears hit two grandslams, one each by Hyun-Soo Kim and Jae-Won Oh to beat the defending champion Samsung Lions 9-4.  The LG Twins beat the SK Wyverns 7-4, the difference being the grand slam hit by Sung-hoon Jung.  Radhames Liz struck out nine in the start.

The Kia Tigers and and Lotte Giants each put together one run victories in their openers, the Tigers outslugging the Nexen Heros 10-9 and the Giants defeating the Hanwha Eagles 5-4.

You can follow the progress of the KBO here: http://www.mykbo.net/KBO_news

Myworld’s 2013 Major League Predictions

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

No great surprises here.  Everyone picks winners based on what they see on paper.  Injuries, slumps and breakout years define seasons for many teams.  Mid-season acquisitions can also change the fate of a team.  With those thoughts in mind, here are myworld’s predictions for the 2013 season.

AL East

1. Toronto Blue Jays - If offseason acquisitions guaranteed championships the 2012 World Series would have featured the Angels playing the Marlins.  Good power with Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion and a solid four in the rotation with Brandon Morrow slated for the fourth spot.  Sergio Santos coming back from injury should help the bullpen.

2. Tampa Bay Rays - They’ve traded a number of starters to improve their hitting, but at some point it has got to hurt.  Not a lot of experience after David Price.  They will have to wait until at least mid-May to have Wil Myers bat join Evan Longoria.  That will cost them the wild card.  Fernando Rodney is questionable to repeat last year’s numbers.

3. Baltimore Orioles - The question will be whether they can do it with smoke and mirrors again, but this should be a better team than the 2013 season with less victories to show for it.  Brian Roberts will fill the hole at second and Manny Machado at third.  Wei-Yin Chen could be the big disappointment as hitters adjust to his pitching style.  Foreign pitchers have success the first year, but seem to struggle in subsequent years.

4. Boston Red Sox - The signings of Johnny Gomes, Shane Victorino and Stephen Drew seemed to be roster fillers rather than playoff signings.  Drew will follow in his brother’s footsteps by appearing on the disabled list opening day, joined possibly by David Ortiz.  Jackie Bradley took advantage of the weak Red Sox outfield to make the opening day roster.  Jacoby Ellsbury will continue to play centerfield, but Bradley is probably the better centerfielder.

5. New York Yankees - They are going to start the month of April without Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira.  Derek Jeter and Phil Hughes are also hobbled while outfield replacement Adonis Garcia couldn’t take advantage of injury opportunities by getting injured himself.  They also lost a slew of homeruns with the departures of Russell Martin, Nick Swisher and Raul Ibanez.

AL East MVP - Jose Bautista (Blue Jays)

AL East Cy Young - David Price (Rays)

AL Rookie of the Year - Jackie Bradley (Red Sox)

Wild Card Teams - None

AL Central

1. Detroit Tigers - Their big achilles heal will be their defense. It will give up a lot of runs. With a 3-4-5 of Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez they should score a lot of runs. Justin Verlander will lead the pitching staff. They will need to get a consistent six from their starters because t

he bullpen is a mess.

2. Kansas City Royals - A nice acquisition of some veteran pitchers in James Shields, Wade Davis and Ervin Santana and resigning Jeremy Guthrie gives them a solid four. They already have the young bats to score some runs and they should see some improvement there.

3. Cleveland Indians - They sacrificed their future to sign Nick Swisher and Michael Bourne. They do need Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez and Carlos Carrasco to pitch to expectations and Trevor Bauer to surprise. The low key style of Terry Francona should help.

4. Chicago White Sox - They battled all last year with the Tigers for the division but they didn’t do a whole lot to improve themselves. They need the aged bats of Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn to keep on bopping and the young arms of Chris Sale and Addison Reed to pick up wins and saves.

5. Minnesota Twins - They traded their centerfielders to upgrade their young pitching. Starting pitching was a shambles last year and it will be a shambles this year. Aaron Hicks will be key to set up RBI opportunities for Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham.

AL Central MVP - Miguel Cabrera (Tigers)

AL Central Cy Young - Justin Verlander (Tigers)

AL Central Rookie of the Year - Aaron Hicks (Twins)

AL Central Wild Card - Kansas City Royals

AL West

1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - Their biggest move was subtracting Josh Hamilton from the Rangers and adding him to their lineup. With Mike Trout and Albert Pujols they have three potential MVPs in their lineup. The big key will be how effective C.J. Wilson is in their starting rotation. They can’t afford another disappointing season from him. The closer situation is unsettled until Ryan Madson can show he can do the job.

2. Texas Rangers - They still have a solid lineup even without Josh Hamilton. Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz will strive for 30 plus homerun years and A.J. Pierzynski will try to provide some of that offense that was subtracted with the departure of Hamilton. Now that Yu Darvish has acclimated to the 162 game season he should be a better pitcher. The closer situation still is dependent on brittle arms in Joaquin Soria, Joe Nathan or the forgotten Neftali Feliz.

3. Oakland Athletics - They will see some settling from the starting pitchers who did so well for them last year. Yoenis Cespedes is preparing himself for a big spring. Whether they can get repeat seasons from Josh Reddick and Brandon Moss is open to question. The bullpen is not settled and an ace must emerge from the young rotation. Look for that to be Jarrod Parker.

4. Seattle Mariners - They are improving. They added some sticks in Raul Ibanez, Kendry Morales, Michael Morse and Jason Bay. They all leave something to be desired from the defensive end. Felix Hernandez is their ace but little is behind him and Carter Capps and Stephen Pryor throw hard to be better closer options in the future.

5. Houston Astros - They lack an ace and a real power threat. Their best player is Jose Altuve who stands 5′5′ at best. It will be a long season for the Astros, who still are spending their focus on building the team through the development of the farm system.

AL West MVP - Albert Pujols (Angels)

AL West Cy Young - Felix Hernandez (Mariners)

AL West Rookie of the Year - Leonys Martin (Rangers)

AL West Wild Card - Rangers

National League East

1. Washington Nationals - No team has a starting four better than Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler. The depth is not there if injuries shelve some of the starters and Dan Haren appears to be a down grade from Edwin Jackson. They have three closers in their bullpen in Rafael Soriano, Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard. The lineup is solid with a break out year from Bryce Harper expected.

2. Julio Teheran - The Upton brothers B.J. and Justin have to fulfill their potential. The Braves hope they will feed off each other. Freddie Freeman is ready for a breakout year and Andrelton Simmons was showing some gold glove defense. Craig Kimbrel was having some spring trouble and Johnny Venters was having his elbow checked out so that could speel trouble. Their starting rotation falls far short of the Nationals.

3. Philadelphia Phillies - The health of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard will be key. Howard did not look good moving quickly in spring and the drag of a 162 game season may require a stint on the DL. A Roy Halladay slump will make this rotation drop to vanilla with Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels their only aces. Dominic Brown appears ready to contribute.

4. New York Mets - They have David Wright but no one to surround him.  Lucas Duda carries a lot of bulk but his hitting has been inconsistent and Ike Davis slugged 32 homeruns but hit .227. They lost two aces when they traded R.A. Dickey and lost Johann Santana to injury for the year. It will be a long season with no hot start like last year to disguise a poor season.

5. Miami Marlins - Like the Mets they have Giancarlo Stanton in their lineup, but no one to protect him. They will battle the Astros for the worst record in baseball. All they can hope for is the fans get excited as they sprinkle in their prospects like Adeiny Hechavarria, Rob Brantley and JakeMarisnick into their lineup.

NL East MVP - Bryce Harper (Nationals)

NL East Cy Young - Stephen Strasburg (Nationals)

NL East Rookie of the Year - Julio Teheran (Braves)

NL East Wild Card - Atlanta Braves

NL Central

1. Cincinnati Reds - They have some quality starters whose numbers will not look good because of the hitters park they pitch in. Johnny Cueto is turning into an ace, Matt Latos was acquired from the Padres to be their ace and Homer Bailey has the potential to be an ace. Joey Votto will be healthy but the lack of a true centerfielder could become problematic. It may force them to call up Billy Hamilton by mid-year or sooner. Aroldis Chapan as the closer is a better fit for this team than in the starting rotation.

2. St. Louis Cardinals - Another team with a quality starting rotation led by ace Adam Wainwright. The big blow was the injury to Chris Carpenter and the departure of Kyle Lohse as a free agent, but they have young arms in Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal and Micael Wacha who can more than make up the slack. Their lineup has some good bats but lacks a true power hitter and myworld is not sold on Jason Motte being the closer.

3. Milwaukee Brewers - The signing of Kyle Lohse strenghtens a rotation that already had Yovani Gallardo. John Axford has to show more consistency as their closer and their bats need to show more offense. Ryan Braun is the one consistent. Rickie Weeks needs to have a bounce back year to ignite the offense from the leadoff spot. Finding a bat to replace Cory Hart early in the season is critical.

4. Pittsburgh Pirates - Andrew McCutchen continues to improve and could be the best player in this division. The Pirates have to decide whether to bat him in the one or three hole. Pedro Alvarez has to shake off a disappointing start to his career and show some consistent offense. They traded their closer over the offseason and their starter rotation will not pop your eyes out. A.J. Burnett has to replicat last season.

5. Chicago Cubs - It is still a rebuilding year for the Cubs. Anthony Rizzo shows good promise with the bat. The Cubs will have to decide on the disappointing Carlos Marmol as their closer or use the more successful Japanese import Kyuji Fujikawa. Myworld will be surprised if Alfonso Soriano survives the whole year with this team. Starting rotation will take its lumps.

NL Central MVP - Joey Votto (Reds)

NL Central Cy Young - Johnny Cueto (Reds)

NL Rookie of the Year - Shelby Miller (Cardinals)

NL West Wild Card Team - None

NL West

1. Los Angeles Dodgers - On paper this team should win it for Don Mattingly’s sake. Combining Zack Greinke with Clsyton Kershaw will give the Dodgers two aces. They have plenty of offense to score runs with Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.  Carl Crawfords needs to show he is not in the downward trend of his career.  Josh Beckett will make a tough number three in the rotation if he pitches the was he did after the trade from the Red Sox.

2. San Francisco Giants - They still have Matt Cain to head the rotation and Madison Bumgarner is an up and comer.  Myworld does not have a lot of faith in their closer by committe Santiago Casilla or Sergio Romo.  The lineup needs the bats of Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence to drive in more runs.  Buster Posey can not do it all on his own.

3. Arizona Diamondbacks - The Astros traded some of who they perceived as malcontents for gritty ball players, saying good bye to Juston Upton and Trevor Bauer and saying hello to Martin Prado, Cody Ross and Eric Hinske.  They hope to have a new centerfielder with a better OBA in Adam Eaton, but losing some slugging average to Chris Young.  They need for Wade Miley to avoid any sophmore slumps and Ian Kennedy and Trevor Cahill to rise to the top of the rotation.

4. San Diego Padres - The starting pitching will be their Achilles heel.  No ace after the trade of Matt Latos last year.  Andrew Cashner is their closest possibility, but he will have to settle for the bullpen when the year starts.  With the fences moved in the bats of Yonder Alonso, Carlos Quentin and Will Venable to take more balls out of the park.  Cashner may eventually take over the closing role for Huston Street.

5. Colorado Rockies - Troy Tulowitski and Carlos Gonzalez make a good 3-4 sticke, but both have missed a number of games because of injury.  The starting pitching is non-existent.  Chirs Volstad making the roster in the bullpen should tell you enough about their quality pitching.

NL West MVP - Matt Kemp (Dodgers)

NL West Cy Young - Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)

NL West Rookie of the year - Hyun-Jim Ryu (Dodgers)

NL West Wid Card Team - San Francisco Giants

Japan Opening Day

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

The Nippon Professional Baseball League had their opening day.  Of note were the two hits by rookie Shohei Otani, the Japanese high school pitcher who had declared his intent to play in the major leagues directly out of high school only to change his mind after the Nippon Ham Fighters successfully courted him.  Otani was the Ham Fighters starting right fielder and not their pitcher.  The Ham Fighters won their game against the Seibu Lions 5-3.

Yuichi Honda slugged a grand slam homerun in the seventh to give the Softbank Hawks a 7-1 win over the Rakuten Eagles.  Tadashi Settsu worked six innings of three hit ball to get the win.  Toro Hosokawa slugged a 2-run homer in the third to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead.

Orix scored a run in the 12th but the Chiba Lotte Marines rallied for two in the bottom frame to win 3-2.  A bases loaded walk tied the game and a sacrifice fly plated the game winner.  Shunichi Nemoto drove in two runs without the benefit of a hit to give the Marines the win.

The Yokahama Bay Stars hope to end their losing ways, knocking off the Chunichi Dragons 4-3.  Ex-Dragon Tony Blanco had a 2-run single in the eighth to break a 2-2.  He also had an RBI single in the first inning.  Alex Ramirez stroked two hits and now needs just five more to reach 2,000.

The Hanshin Tigers strafed the Yakult Swallows pitching staff for 17 hits in their 9-3 win.  Yamato Maeda led the charge with four hits.  Brooks Conrad stroked two doubles in his Japanese debut.

The defending champion Yomiuri Giants down the Hiroshima Carp 4-3.  Ryota Wakiya got the big hit, a 2-run single in the seventh to give the Giants a 4-3 lead.  Jose Lopez and Shuichi Murata each hit solo homeruns for the Giants two other runs.

391 Pitches in Two Games and Four Days

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

The Koshien spring high school tournament is in full swing and it appears Tomohiro Anraku a sophmore at Saibi High is the high school pitching sensation this year.  In his first game he threw 232 pitchers in Saibi High’s 4-3 13 inning victory over Koryo High.  The opposing pitcher for Koryo High also threw all 13 innings tossing 219 pitches.  Anraku had a shutout and 3-0 lead until the ninth when he gave up a 2-run triple to Kojiro Kawase.  The box score for the game can be found here: http://yakyubaka.com/2013/03/26/85th-spring-koshien-day-5/

After a three day rest Anraku was again the starting pitcher for Saibi against Seiseiko and threw 159 pitches in a complete game 4-1 win.  Again, his counterpart Kotaro Otake worked all nine innings in the loss, throwing 135 pitches.  Saibi rallied for three runs in the eighth to pull out the victory.  Anraku did not give up a hit after the fifth inning, retiring 13 of the last 14 hitters he faced.  Otake had thrown a 2-0 105 pitch complete game shutout his previous game.  You can read the box score for that game here: http://yakyubaka.com/2013/03/30/85th-spring-koshien-day-9/

Anraku is worth note because as a sophmore he can get his fastball at 94 miles per hour.  That is excellent velocity for a sophmore in high school.  You can read an article about his exploits from Baseball America here: http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/after-232-pitch-outing-16-year-old-tomohiro-anraku-allows-one-run-in-complete-game/

The next game for Saibi is a quarterfinal game for Monday.  Anraku is the expected starter after a day of resting up the arm.  They will be playing Kenritsu, who has used Ryoji Fujita in both their games, 275 pitches, seven runs and two complete games.

Havana Sugar Kings

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

A nice article on two ex-players of the Havana Sugar Kings, Asdrubal Baro and Luis Zayas, who chose to stay in Cuba when the Sugar Kings dissolved as a AAA franchise of the Cincinnati Reds after Fidel Castro took control of the country.  Another player, Cookie Rojas chose to leave for the United States to pursue his major league career.

The Sugar Kings played a seven game AAA championship in Cuba in 1959 against the Minneapolis Millers and won in seven games in front of Fidel Castro.  There was some talk that like Toronto and Montreal, who also hosted AAA minor league teams, Havana would also have been ripe for a major league franchise, drawing 30,000 for their games.

You can read the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/24/sports/baseball/remembering-cubas-minor-league-team.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0

Myworld on Travel Friday

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Myworld will be on travel tomorrow, driving from Florida back home to Virginia.  We don’t anticipate any posts for Friday.  Once home we will finish off the Top 100 prospect list, provide the top ten Dominicans and Venezuelans in the American and Natonal League and the Top ten prospects from the United States in the American and National League.  Myworld will also try to ramp up our college coverage.

Happy Easter.

Ramirez Slaps Two Hits in Taiwan Debut

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Manny Ramirez made his Taiwan debut with two singles in six at bats, but it did not help his team the EDA Rhinos defeat the Brother Elephants.  The Elephants won in 12 innings 9-8.

A capacity crowd of 20,000 watched the opening day game with Ramirez as the star.  The Rhinos are paying Ramirez $25,000 a month to play in Taiwan, the highest any team in the league has paid to a foreign player.  Judging from the opening day crowd the salary appears worth it.  The other three teams should help the Rhinos with his salary when they see their games sold out as people show up early to watch Manny play.  Whether they will continue to show as the season progresses depends on how well Manny hits and puts on a show.

You can read about his performance here: http://www.chinapost.com.tw/sports/baseball/2013/03/28/374426/Ramirez-goes.htm

Singleton Blows Lead Astros Over Tigers

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Jonathan Singleton will spend the first 50 days in extended spring training as he serves out his 50 day suspension for testing positive for a drug of abuse.  He may have been the Astros starting firstbaseman this year, but he will have to wait until the All Star break to make an impact.  Today he blasted two homeruns to lead the Astros over the Tigers 11-4.

Anibal Sanchez gave up a solo homerun to Singleton in his first at bat in the second inning, a shot tagged over the right centerfield fence.  Anibal struggled in the third, giving up four straight hits, including a 2-run double to Rick Ankiel down the first base line.  After retiring the next two hitters Anibal had to face Singleton again and Jonathan roped a line drive over the right field fence for a 2-run shot, just inside the foul pole to give the Astros a 6-0 lead.

Phillip Humber pitched will for the Astros for the first four innings.  The Tigers got to him for four runs in the fifth, all the result of the Astros defense, specifically Ronny Cedeno giving the Tigers five outs.  Ronny made a high toss to the dimunitive Jose Altuve at second for the error.  Chris Carter and Cedeno allowed a shallow fly ball to left to drop between them to give the Tigers a second extra out.  Prince Fielder made them pay roping a shot that hit the scoreboard in right centerfield.

The Astros pulled away from the Tigers again with a 2-run homer from Jason Castro in the fifth.  Rick Ankiel added a solo shot in the sixth to give the Astros an 11-4 win.

Game Notes: Ronny Cedeno defensively does not look like the answer at short for the Astros.  He booted a ball and made a bad throw for two errors and allowed a popup to fall between him and Chris Carter.  Myworld was not clear whether Carter called for the ball, but if I’m Cedeno I don’t assume Carter catches anything…In the first three at bats myworld witnessed Jonathan Singleton hit a triple and two homeruns.  He walked and popped to third in his last two at bats…Carlos Correa played short and shows a good arm.  He grounded to third in his only at bat, barely beating the throw to first to prevent a double play.  Carlos does not show a lot of speed, at least from the burst out of the batter’s box in his one at bat….If anything will prevent the Tigers from winning their division it will be their poor defense and their slim bullpen…Matt Tuasosopo was referred to as Mr. T…The Astros showed their future in the last two innings hitting Domingo Santana, Correa and Delino Deshields.  Deshields was the only one of the three to get a hit.