Archive for May, 2013

Final 64 Bracketed Out

Monday, May 27th, 2013

You can see the Final 64 brackets for the college baseball championships here: http://www.ncaa.com/interactive-bracket/baseball/d1.  The winners of each of these four team regionals advance to a super regional where they play a best two out of three with another winner of a regional.  The eight super regional winners advance to Omaha for the College World Series.

A number of colleges are making their first appearance in the final 64.  Those schools are Bryant (40-15-1), Canisius (39-15), Central Arkansas (34-19), Savannah State (33-21) and South Dakota State (31-21).  The college with the most regional appearances is Florida State with 51.  Miami of Florida is second at 42.  Miami has the most victories at 176 while Florida State is one short of that.

The Southeastern Conference is showing they just don’t play football at their schools.  The conference leads in the number of schools participating in the regionals with Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.  The Atlantic Coast has the second most teams represented with eight.  They are Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami (Fla), North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia and Virginia Tech.  North Carolina played North Carolina State in a marathon 18 inning game in which North Carolina won 2-1.

Myworld is hoping to be in Charlottsville where that regional will have Virginia hosting Army, Elon and UNC Wilmington.

Aztecs Upset Lobos to Qualify for Final 64

Monday, May 27th, 2013

The San Diego State Aztecs beat the New Mexico Lobos twice in the Mountain West tournament to get an automatic bid to the final 64.  Bracket assignments will be done today.  The location of the regionals have already been determined.  You can find those locations here: http://www.ncaa.com/news/baseball/article/2013-05-26/sixteen-hosts-division-i-regionals-announced-2013-tournament

After losing their second game of the tournament to UNLV 6-3 the Aztecs had to crawl up through the losers bracket to beat New Mexico twice.  They beat them 8-7 in the first game with Tyler France getting three hits including a homerun and Matt Munoz collecting four hits including a homerun.  Mike Robards threw five plus innings of relief.  After walking in a run in the ninth to pull New Mexico to within one and leaving the bases loaded with one out he got leadoff batter Chase Harris to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to preserve the victory.

The Aztecs sweated through the championship game beating New Mexico 9-4.  The game was closer than the score would indicate.  The Aztecs threw the tying run out at the plate in eighth inning and then rallied to score four in the ninth to pull away.  France was the batting hero again, recording four hits to lead the Aztec offense, including another homerun, a solo shot in the ninth to allow the Aztecs to pull away from the Lobos.  The freshman was selected as the MVP of the tournament for his .762 average that included 16 hits.

Munenori Kawasaki Walk Off Hit Interview

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Myworld thought Seattle would be happy with Kawasaki when they signed him.  He didn’t hit and Seattle did not renew his contract last year.  Toronto signed him as an afterthought this year.  They are now happier with him than Seattle.  He is also hitting better than Brendan Ryan.

After the injury to Jose Reyes he has been given the starting shortstop position.  Yesterday he had a walk off hit.  He seems to be enjoying his second year in the major leagues as he enjoyed his first with Seattle.  Toronto seems to be enjoying him too.

Here is a link to a video of his post game interview after his walk off hit.  It may have reminded him of a hero interview they do in Japan after each game, which is why he may have prepared some English text.

Click here for the interview: http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/05/26/munenori-kawasakis-incredible-post-game-interview/

Julio Arias Makes Professional Debut

Monday, May 27th, 2013

The Dodgers signed him from the Mexico City Diablos 11 days after he turned 16 last August.  In a league filled with 22 year olds the 16 year old Julio Arias pitched three shutout innings striking out six, giving up only two hits.  He struck out the side to open the game.  The Dayton Dragons were still able to beat the Great Lake Loons in 12 innings 2-1.

You can see a box score of the game here: http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?gid=2013_05_26_dayafx_swmafx_1&t=g_box&sid=milb

Cuban Final Four Begins

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

The Villa Clara Orangemen split their first two games with the Cienfuegos Elefantes, the Orangmen winning the opener 1-0 and the Elefantes evening the series with a 4-2 win in game number two.

Freddy Alvarez was one out away from a complete game two hit shutout in the opening victory but Jonder Martinez had to get the final out to preserve the 1-0 victory after Freddy issued a two out walk.  Yeniet Perez drove in the only run in the fifth inning with an RBI single after Dairon Varona led off the inning with a double.  Noelvis Gonzalez pitched seven innings in the loss for Cienfuegos.

Pavel Quesada broke a 2-2 tie in game number two with a 2-run double in the eighth to even the series for the Elefantes at a game each.  Daniel Castro committed an error to start the inning and Jose Abreu doubled to put runners in scoring position.  Diosdani Castillo took the loss in relief.

The Sancti Spiritus Roosters won their opener over the Matanzas Crocodiles 5-4.  Yunier Paumier broke a 2-2 tie with a 3-run homer in the fifth inning.  Ismel Jimenez pitched six innings to pick up his 14th win.  He gave up four runs, three of them earned on six hits.  Omar Guardarrama pitched the ninth inning to pick up his 17th save of the year.

Top Ten After Ten - Diamondbacks

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

Myworld continues to look at the top ten prospects for each team in 2003 to determine how they fared.  The top ten list was put together by Baseball America.  The Diamondback list has a distinctly Asian flare to it.

1. Scott Hairston (OF) - He was supposed to be the power hitter his brother Jerry was not.  That power did not show up consistently resulting in him being more of a fourth outfielder than a starter.  Currently with the Cubs and gets most of his at bats against left handed pitchers.

2. Mike Gosling (LHP) - Gosling never completed a full year in the majors.  He stayed on that AAA to major league shuttle for a number of teams, finally retiring in 2010.

3. Lyle Overbay (1B) - currently a starting first baseman for the New York Yankees until Mark Teixeira returns from his injury.  He never showed the power to play first base on a consistent basis and has always been a one year fill-in until a minor league prospect was ready or a veteran overcame an injury.

4. John Patterson (RHP) - As with many pitchers John had some early success but arm injuries prevented that success from having staying power.  He retired in 2009 with an 18-25 career record.

5. Brandon Webb (RHP) - His sinker was lights out in 2006 when he won the Cy Young award.  A series of shoulder surgeries sidelined him from 2009 to 2012.  He finally retired in 2013 with a 87-62 won/loss record.

6. Edgar Gonzalez (LHP) - Born in Mexico he has survived as a bullpen pitcher only because of his lefthanded delivery.  He is currently pitching for the Houston Astros but in 2010 he pitched in Korea for the LG Twins.

7. Sergio Santos (SS) - He eventually saved his career by turning himself into a relief pitcher with a three digit fastball.  He never could generate any consistent offense despite his 6′3″ frame.  The last couple years he has been plagued by arm problems which could jeopardize his career.

8. Chad Tracy (1B) - Currently a pinch hitter for the Nationals, but prior to that he had a couple of good early years with the Diamondbacks, hitting 47 of his 83 homeruns in 2005 and 2006.  His career started to go on a decline after that.  In 2011 he played for the Hiroshima Carp, playing one year in Japan before returning to play a part time role with the Nationals.

9. Brian Bruney (RHP) - Bruney had some brief success as the Diamondbacks closer in 2005 when he saved 12 games but a 7.43 ERA did not allow him to keep the job that long.  He bounced around the bullpen of a number of teams to put up a 19-12 record and is currently waiting for a team to sign him this year.

10. Luis Terrero (OF) - He had a better Mexican Winter League career than major league career.  After winning the MVP in the Mexican League in 2011 the Rakuten Eagles of the Japanese NPB signed him to a contract.  He could not find .200 in Japan and only lasted half a season.  He continues to be a winter league staple but any more major league appearances appear slim.

Other prospects who made significant contributions in the major leagues.

12. Chris Snyder (C) - Currently the back up catcher for the Baltimore Orioles.  He has made a career as a back up catcher with an occasional starting opportunity.

16. Jose Valverde (RHP) - He has had a lot of success as the Tigers closer.  Papa Grande was traded to the Houston Astros prior to the 2008 season before becoming a free agent and signing with the Tigers in 2010.

2003 draft selections who made it to the major leagues:

Conor Jackson and Carlos Quintin were their two number one picks who didn’t make much of a contribution to the Diamondbacks.  Quintin has had the better career of the two, currently the starting outfielder for the San Diego Padres when healthy.  Jackson recently retired after failing to make the Orioles roster.

sixth round pick Orlando Mercado out of Puerto Rico got some back up opportunities.  Chris Coghlan was an 18th round pick who never signed.  He went on to have a good rookie year for the Marlins, but after that rookie season has struggled to stay in the major leagues.

Strasburg Shines; Phillies Fumble

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

It was a classic pitcher’s duel between the Nationals Stephen Strasburg and the Phillies Cole Hamels.  There was the feeling the first team to remove their starting pitching would be the loser.  Both had worked six innings without allowing a run.  Both had given up three hits, half of them to their counterparts.  Strasburg had slapped two hits for the Nationals, twice as many as his eight hitters in the lineup.  Hamels had managed one of the Phillies three hits off Strasburg.

In the seventh inning Strasburg struck out the side, the second time he had done so in the game.  It upped his strikeout total to nine.  Ryan Zimmerman started the seventh with a slow roller to second base.  Freddy Galvis tried to make a flip of the ball with his glove.  While it was a better toss than what Steve Lombardozzi did the previous day the Z-man still beat it out.  Adam LaRoche followed with a single to right.

With runners on first and second and no one out Ian Desmond laid down the bunt to move the runners up.  That brought up two hitters with a combined average of less than .130 with the task of driving in the go ahead runner at third.  Charlie Manuel chose to face Jhonatan Solano rather than Tyler Moore.  Tyler saw three bad pitches from Hamels before they walked him intentionally on the fourth.  Solano got behind in the count 1-2 before hitting a broken bat roller to Michael Young at third base.  Young fielded the ball cleanly, fired it home before the arrival of Zimmerman, but it appeared the throw was low and as Zimmerman slid he kicked the ball out of Quintero’s glove.  As the ball bounded away Adam LaRoche raced home with the second run.

Steve Lombardozzi laced a pitch from Hamels into the right field corner, about the same spot Delmon Young had hit the ball the day before for the go ahead run.  Young took forever to get to the ball.  It appeared Solano had stopped at third then turned on the afterburners when he saw how far Young was to the ball.  Young attempted to pick the ball up, dropped it and Solano was able to trot home with the fourth run of the inning.  Young picked up an error as Lombardozzi advanced to third.  Denard Span drove in Lombo with a double down the left field line.

Strasburg lost his shutout in the eighth when he gave up back to back singles to Ben Revere and Humberto QuinteroRyan Howard pinch hit for the pitcher hoping to make up for his 4 K day of yesterday.  A 3-run homer would put them within two.  He did even worse today, grounding into a 4-6-3 double play.  With Jimmie Rollins hitting Strasburg stepped off the mound incorrectly and the pervasive balk with a runner on third was called to end the shutout.

Tyler Moore ripped a single in the bottom of the eighth to make it 6-1.  Tyler Clippard retired the side in order in the ninth to give the Nationals the rubber game of the series.

Game Notes: A nice crowd of 39,000 were in attendance for today’s game on a picture perfect day.  It has been awhile since myworld saw a perfectly blue sky…Bryce Harper fouled a ball off his knee.  It appeared to be bothering him as he ran when he grounded into a double play in the sixth.  With a 5-0 lead after a walk in the seventh Davey Johnson had Roger Bernadina pinch run for him…Kevin Fransden was ejected by the home plate umpire after he threw his bat to the ground in disgust after a check swing was ruled strike three.  Laynce Nix replaced Fransden at first rather than Ryan Howard…Interesting Howard sat out today despite the righthander Stephen Strasburg pitching…In the first inning both Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche swung and missed for strike three, stranding Bryce Harper at third…Strasburg grounded a ball down the first base line in the third inning.  He seemed happy with a single, but when Young took so long tracking the ball Strasburg advanced to second for a double…In the fourth Ryan Zimmerman swung at a 3-0 pitch and popped to first.  I like the aggression but I wish he would do it more on first pitch strikes…Kevin Fransden was hit in the chest after squaring up to bunt at a pitch.  The fans thought it should be ruled a strike but the umpire gave him first base…Panes of glass in the 300 section seemed to have been broken.  According to the ushers it wasn’t because of any foul balls.  Perhaps it was because of a suicidal pigeon.

Storen Struggles Continue

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

Drew Storen has struggled since giving up four runs in playoff game five against the St. Louis Cardinals to eliminate the Nationals from the playoffs last year.  The Nationals did not show a lot of confidence in him when they went out and acquired Rafael Soriano to be their closer this year.  Storen came out to pitch the eighth in a set up role in a 3-3 game.  His struggles continued.

He issued a one out walk to Michael Young.  With two out Delmon Young slipped a ground ball past the first base bag, rolling to the ball girl.  By the time Bryce got to the ball Michael Young was halfway between second and third.  Harper struggled to pick the ball up and Young raced home.  Young did not have the speed to get to second on the hit, being outhustled by a 36 year old.  The Phillies sent in a pinch runner Michael Martinez for Young and he was able to race home when Dominic Brown lined Storen’s next pitch into the right centerfield gap.  With the impotency of the Nationals offense a 5-3 deficit was too difficult to overcome.

For Storen his ERA has risen to 5.21.  In his last seven outings he has given up runs in every other outing, picking up two blown saves and now a loss along the way.

Dan Haren was brilliant for much of the game.  It was the rare instances when he was not brilliant that hurt him.  In the second inning he gave up a homerun to Dominic Brown on the first pitch he threw to him.  This was after he had struck out four Phillies in a row.  After a Delmon Young strikeout Brown deposited Haren’s next pitch into the right field bleachers.  Haren’s first pitch to Eric Kratz was deposited into the centerfield bleachers for a 2-0 Phillies lead.

The Nationals whittled at the lead, unable to generate enough offense to put up the crooked numbers.  In the third inning singles by Denard Span, Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche scored one run.  With the bases loaded and two outs Kurt Suzuki tried to check his swing and grounded a ball weakly to first to prevent the appearance of crooked numbers appearing on the scoreboard.

The Nationals tied it in the second, getting the benefit of an infield single by Steve Lombardozzi and a Jimmie Rollins throwing error to get him to second.  A wild pitch advanced Lombo to third where he scored on a Denard Span single.  Span stole second but Bryce Harper could not drive him in, lifting a fly ball to right to end the inning.

Dan Haren continued his brilliance after the two homer barrage, pushing his strike out numbers to eight.  He would end the day with ten strikeouts.  With two outs in the fifth his first pitch to Jonathan Pettibone was driven over a shallow Denard Span, resulting in a double.  Jimmie Rollins lined a 1-2 pitch just inside the right field line for another double to score Pettibone and give the Phillies a 3-2 lead.

In the bottom frame Adam LaRoche stroked a Pettibone pitch into the left field bullpen to tie the game at 3-3.  That is where it stayed until Storen gave up the two runs in the eighth.  The Nationals stranded two runners in the seventh when Charlie Manuel brought in Chad Durbin to replace Antonio Bastardo to face Ian Desmond.  Ian had a poor swing to lift a ball to shallow center to end the threat.  They also stranded runners on first and second in the eighth when Denard Span lined a ball to right.  John Mayberry was able to track a ball Delmon Young may have allowed roll to the wall for a 2-run double.

Game Notes: Davey Johnson has vowed not to shave until the Nationals offense breaks out.  There was some discussion as to whether yesterday’s five run outburst would be considered a breakout.  The Nationals must like his beard.  They have averaged just above three runs per game in the month of May and their 167 runs scored is only ahead of the Dodgers and Marlins in the National League.  The Dodgers had played two less games than the Nationals and are only six runs back of the Nationals so the Nationals only having bragging rights over the Marlins at this point…Ryan Howard barely made contact yesterday.  He struck out in all four of his at bats…Tyler Moore made a long run on a Freddy Galvis fly ball but eventually had it drop out of his glove for a two base error once he reached the ball.  He did get a single, but with his below average defense he needs to hit better than .139 to stay in the lineup.  Fortunately for him, his alternative Roger Bernadina is hitting .113…On another Freddy Galvis at bat, a beautiful drag bunt, Steve Lombardozzi tried to do a pick up and throw with his glove, but the ball barely left his glove, hit his knee and rolled to LaRoche at first before Galvis could reach the bag.  Myworld would like to see the replay on that…Delmon Young is not going to help the Phillies in the long run.  He may have got the game winning hit, but his weight should be a concern.  He has no range in the outfield and is a base clogger when on the bases.  You wonder what kind of scouting report the Phillies got on him before they signed him…Jeff Kobernus made his major league debut as a pinch runner.  He later played out in left field…Jimmie Rollins was hit in the face on a pick off attempt by Antonio Bastardo.  It appeared Bryce Harper got in front of the ball blocking the view of Rollins.  Fortunately, it was only a lob toss by Bastardo…Dominic Brown is turning into a solid player for the Phillies.  He and Galvis are two young players the Phillies can build around for their next playoff runs.  Once they fall out of contention this year they should trade all their veterans for prospects to re-build.  Trading two young pitchers for Ben Revere was a mistake.  Philly fans are now witnessing his left field arm out in center and his lack of power and on base acumen.

The Rap Song and Video Game (cont - 2)

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

Major league baseball was again pleased with the ratings for the telecast of the second game Jason pitched. As far as numbers, more televisions were tuned to this High A minor league game than the World Series last year. The fact most of those televisions were in China was not an issue. Money was still dripping in. That is what was important.

“How do they figure all that stuff out,” Larvell asked Rigo.

“Beats me. What is really strange is my mom asked me how our catcher is doing. She’s in India. They don’t usually watch baseball in India. So I asked her how she heard about it and she said she was watching the game. She doesn’t even like baseball. She kept asking me who is going to replace him. I didn’t want to explain to her that he only plays for our lower level minor league franchise, so replacing him is not that important.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure about that,” Larvell corrected. He had already looked at his depth chart to see what catchers were in extended spring training or the lower levels but he didn’t like what he saw. None of them gave him any confidence they could do the job as well as Kevin. If Kevin was out for the year or even an extended period of time it would be tough to replace him. He also looked at all the available catchers that were still free agents. There was a reason no team had signed them by now. He could trade for a catcher but none of them had the intangibles Kevin possessed - ability to speak Mandarin, understood the game and was a leader of men. He never even thought about his ability to hit. Or not to hit.

“She also watched it because she wanted to hear the thunder.”

“This thunder crap is driving me up the wall. Yesterday I got a call from a university. The name escapes me but they wanted to conduct a study on what may cause the thunder after Jason is done pitching. They wanted to put monitors on his chest and wires in his head the next time he pitched. I told them to f*** off. I don’t have a problem with them monitoring him as long as they don’t go near Jason or put wires in his head. How is somebody supposed to pitch under those conditions? They objected to that restriction saying it would be difficult to determine the cause of the thunder if they could not monitor his pulse and brain waves. This is starting to become a distraction.”

“They still going to do it?”

“They said they would get back to me, but I have not heard from them yet.”

Jason was the buzz of the local community with the chat rooms, blogs and forums all talking about the starts of Jason Woo and the thunder to follow. Three games, clear skies in all three and three bursts of thunder. The only variable common in all three was Jason was pitching and Kevin was catching. There were many theories given on the cause. None of them made any sense. In fact, Jason as the cause of this thunder did not make any sense.

The regional network also took advantage of his popularity requesting some of the Oriole major league games be replaced with minor league games in which Jason Woo was scheduled to pitch. They asked for Larvell to provide them with a schedule for when he pitches.

The regional network requested some of the Oriole major league games be replaced with minor league games in which Jason Woo was scheduled to pitch. They asked for Larvell to provide them with a schedule for when he pitches.

“They can’t do that,” Rigo protested. “How are you supposed to know that? The decision over who starts is that of the manager.”

“They can do anything they want. Whatever is bringing in the money rules in this world. The sad part is much of that money filters down to us. Without it we could not operate, making it difficult to impossible to say no. Is it for the good of the game? Who knows? But I will venture to say more people who have never been exposed to baseball or had much of an interest in the game know about it now because of Jason Woo.”

“Will they stay? All they seem to care about is the thunder.”

“And his fastball. If you just get a handful of people interested that’s all that matters. My concern is how am I supposed to know when Jason pitches? We don’t even know how long he will be playing in the Carolina League. I never thought I would see the day when a minor league team becomes more popular than the major league team. I’ve asked Moose to contact Joe to get a tentative pitching schedule for Jason. We’ll try to help the networks out as much as possible. Without them we would have trouble paying our bills.”

“You’re sounding more and more like Ruben.”

“Bite your tongue.”

Top Ten at Ten - Angels

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

Myworld will take a look at the top ten prospects for each team ten years ago to see how they need.  These ratings were done by Baseball America.  The first look is at the Anaheim Angels, now named the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

1. Francisco Rodriguez (RHP) - They called him K-Rod and he earned the number one ranking by shining in the playoffs and World Series as the Angels closer.  He became the youngest pitcher in 32 years to pitch in the World Series.  Back in those days he threw his fastball in the mid 90s.  He has not seen those readings in awhile.

2. Casey Kotchman (1B) - Never lived up to his hype.  Casey made it to the majors as an excellent defensive first baseman and had some good years hitting for average, but lacked the pop some teams like to see from their first sacker.

3. Bobby Jenks (RHP) - The Angels didn’t need him because they had K-Rod and designated him for assignment.  The White Sox picked him up and Bobby became their closer, at the time hitting three digits with his fastball.  He led the White Sox to their World Series victory in 2005 after they picked him up on waivers.  His bulk got the best of him, whittling the velocity on his fastball, but he had some good years as the closer for the White Sox.

4. Jeff Mathis (C) - Like Casey, a good defensive player who could not do enough with his bat.  Still useful in the major leagues as a back up catcher.

5. Johan Santana (RHP) - Later changed his name to Ervin to not confuse him with the other Johan who won a Cy Young.  Ervin failed to win a Cy Young but he had some good years with the Angels until the gopher ball started driving up his ERA and increasing his loss totals.  The Angels finally gave him to the Royals last year to save on salary.

6. Dallas McPherson (3B) - Didn’t have much of a major league career and is still stumbling in the minor leagues and Independent ball.  Back problems sapped him of his power.

7. Joe Saunders (LHP) - Turned into a decent pitcher for a number of different teams.  Currently pitching for the Mariners and struggling.  Joe was a solid starter for the Orioles last year in their playoff run.

8. Rich Fischer (RHP) - Didn’t meet the hype.

9. Joe Torres (LHP) - He may have gotten a cup of coffee with a couple teams, but no big impact on the mound.

10. Chris Bootcheck (RHP) - Another pitcher who got lost in the hype.

Those not in the top ten who did pretty good.

21. Eric Aybar (SS) - Eric is currently the Angels starting shortstop.  His glove is good but a so-so bat will keep him from being mentioned as one of the greats at the position.

23. Alberto Callaspo (2B) - Made a pretty good career as a utility player for the Angels.  Settled in at third when Brandon Woods could not win the position.

28. Chone Figgins (2B) - The Mariners would like to forget him.  After a couple good years with the Angels as a leadoff hitter he was a bust when the Mariners signed him for a lot of money as a free agent to hit under .200.

The 2003 draft got them Brandon Wood, who turned out to be a bust as their first round pick and Sean Rodriguez in the third round, who they traded to the Rays for Scott Kazmir.  Those are the only major leaguers they drafted that year who they signed.

They did draft Brandon Morrow (40) and Jason Donald (20), two current major leaguers, but neither player signed.