Archive for June, 2013

Top Ten After Ten - Marlins

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

It is hard to believe the Marlins could have Giancarlo Stanton, Adrian Gonzalez and Miguel Cabrera batting three/four/five in their lineup if they had not traded two of those players.  They used the same spiel after trading Cabrera that they used after the Blue Jays trade.  Marlins fans have to hope their more current trade works out better than the Cabrera trade.

1. Miguel Cabrera 3B - Coming into the 2003 season he had yet to hit .300 or reach double digits in homeruns.  He was 19 years old playing in the Florida State League.  The Marlins received Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, Mike Rabelo, Eulogio delacruz, Dallas Trahern and Burke Badenhop when they traded Cabrera.  The Marlins were able to get rid of the Dontrelle Willis contract in the trade.

2. Jason Stokes 1B - A second round pick in 2000 he got to AAA but never saw the major leagues.

3. Adrian Gonzalez 1B - He was the first round pick in 2000.  The Marlins traded him before he could give them any major league at bats to the Texas Rangers for Ugueth Urbina to help their playoff run, a rare prospects for veterans trade.

4. Dontrell Willis LHP - He won the rookie of the year award in 2003 and was second in the Cy Young after going 22-10 in 2005.  After that season he never won any more than 12 in a year.

5. Jeremy Hermida OF - He had some decent seasons with the Marlins but never reached the potential expected of a player rated the number 4 prospect in baseball in 2006 by Baseball America.

6. Don Levinski RHP - Don never saw any major league time.  They eventually traded him to the Baltimore Orioles with Denny Bautista to get Jeff Conine back for a pennant run in 2003.

7. Justin Wayne RHP - He had three brief major league seasons, finishing with a career ERA of 6.13.

8. Blaine Neal RHP - He had a few more major league seasons, but all his appearances were in relief.  His best season was in 2002 when he had a 2.73 ERA after 32 appearances.  After that his ERA never got below 4.00.

9. Will Smith OF - He was part of the Adrian Gonzalez trade for Urbina but never saw the major leagues.

10. Josh Wilson SS - He had a lengthy career as a utility player, but only one of those years was with the Marlins.  He finished with a career average of .225.

Other prospects who made a contribution to the major leagues.

13. Denny Bautista RHP - He was compared to Pedro Martinez but never matched his major league career.  Currently with the Hanwha Eagles in Korea.

19. Robert Andino SS - Recently released by the Seattle Mariners.  Started a couple years at second base for the Baltimore Orioles after the Brian Roberts injury.

21. Josh Willingham 1B/3B/OF/C - Eventually settled into left field.  Slugged 35 homeruns last year for the Twins.  The Marlins traded him in a salary dump after a couple good years with them and got Emilio Bonifacio in return.

26. Josh Johnson RHP - Turned into the Marlins ace with two All Star seasons.  After his second All Star season arm problems limited his effectiveness.  Traded to the Blue Jays with a number of other veterans last year in a salary dump.

NR Jason Grilli - Now the closer for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but until then just a some time set up reliever.

Players selected in the 2003 draft who contributed to the major leagues.

Jeff Allison was the first round pick, but drug problems prevented him from reaching the major leagues.  The second round pick Logan Kensing has seen some major league time, but always at the back end of a rotation.  Nothing else to report.

Cuba and Netherlands Win in Port Tournament

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

The two favored teams Cuba and Netherlands got off to a strong start with victories in their opener at the World Port Tournament in Amsterdam.  Cuba beat Curacao 3-0 getting eight shutout innings from their ace Ismel Jimenez.  Jimenez struck out 10.  Rasiel Iglesias worked the final inning to pick up the save.

Jose Abreu drove in two runs despite the absence of any hits in his bat.  Yulieski Gourriel drove in the other run.  Andy Ibanez crossed the plate twice after leading the Cuban team with three hits.

Curacao got eight strong innings from Raydell Isabella.  A Curacao error allowed two unearned runs to score.  You can see the box score for the game here:

Netherlands came back from an early 2-0 deficit to dominate Taiwan 7-2.  Taiwan is the defending champion of the tournament.  Bryan Englehardt and Dwayne Kemp combined for two RBIs each.  Two of the three hits for Englehardt were doubles.  Diegomar Markwell worked seven innings to get the win.

Wang Wei Lin got three hits, driving in one of the two Taiwan runs.  Lin and Po Jung Wang hit back to back doubles to drive in both Taiwan runs.

You can see the play by play and box scores for the game here:

Future Game Roster

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

The roster for the Future Game roster can be found here:

The Dominicans have the most participants with 13.  Venezuela only has one player on the roster, outgunned by Puerto Rico, Cuba and Colombia who each have two.  Below are the future game participants and the teams and countries they represent (except for Dominican Republic):

C.C. Lee RHP (Taiwan), Cleveland Indians

Andre Rienzo RHP (Brazil), Chicago White Sox

Eduardo Rodriguez LHP (Venezuela), Baltimore Orioles

Jorge Alfaro 1B/C (Colombia), Texas Rangers - an injury will prevent him from playing

Dilson Herrera 2B (Colombia), Pittsburgh Pirates

Christian Bethancourt C (Panama), Atlanta Braves

A.J. Jimenez C (Puerto Rico), Toronto Blue Jays

Francisco Lindor SS (Puerto Rico), Cleveland Indians

Xander Boegarts SS (Aruba/Netherlands), Boston Red Sox

Jordan Lennerton 1B (Canada) Detroit Tigers

Jorge Soler OF (Cuba) Chicago Cubs - may have to be replaced because of injury

Henry Urrutia OF (Cuba) Baltimore Orioles

Some of the interesting Dominicans on the roster include Michael Ynoa, the pitcher the Athletics shelled out a $4 million plus bonus but injuries prevented him from pitching his first couple years.  Miguel Sano, a player who appeared in a movie Pelotro about the Dominican signing issues.  Miguel is the slugger for the Twins who was promoted to AA after dominating the Florida State League.  Gregory Polanco is the Pittsburgh Pirates break out star.

The Agent (cont -8) - End

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

Jasmine finally spoke her first word. Or her first utterance. It was not mommy or daddy as Kevin and Shu had hoped. It was a word they least expected.

At first they thought it was just a babbling baby talk word. Then she pointed at Jason, who was standing at the end of the crib to the left of Kevin and at the feet of Jasmine. She said the word again. “Woo.”

Jason smiled and responded, “Jasmine,” pointing his finger at her.

Jasmine smiled and returned a “Woo.” She continued to point her finger at Jason.

Kevin looked at Jason. “How do you do it? She isn’t even a year old and already she is chanting your name.”

Jason shrugged his shoulder. “Jazzy and I have bonded.”

End of Chapter 28

Isotopes Rally to Down Redbirds

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

Myworld is in Memphis on our way to Dallas to catch a game at Auto Zone Park.  The Isotopes rallied in the eighth on a passed ball strikeout to defeat the Memphis Redbirds 4-3.  Dee Gordon, who had been a thorn in the Birds side all evening swung at a pitch in the dirt for strike three, but it bounced off the chest protector of Rob Johnson and rolled along the third base foul line.  Dee Gordon’s legs beat the ball to first.  A Brian Barden single put the Isotopes within one and after an intentional walk to Matt Angle to load the bases Justin Sellers singled into the hole between short and third to drive in two.

The Isotopes scored first when Dee Gordon lined a triple into the right centerfield gap.  It was the first of his three hits.  He would also walk in the ninth.  Elian Herrera drove him in with a sacrifice fly on the first pitch after the triple.

Ryan Jackson evened the score in the bottom frame, hitting an infield single between short and third.  Dee Gordon bobbled the ball and then hurried his throw, firing it into the bleachers.  Jackson was credited with a hit and Gordon an error for allowing him to second.  Two fly balls scored Gordon, the last from Chad Huffman.  Starting pitcher Blake Johnson walked the next two hitters but got Tommy Pham to fly to right to end the threat.

Scott McGregor (who appears to be no relation to the Oriole pitcher from the 60s with the same name) pitched well with his pedestrian stuff.  He limited the Isotopes to the one run in his five innings of work but stayed under 90 the whole evening.  A leadoff walk to Chili Bass in the sixth ended his day.  In the fifth McGregor walked to start another Redbird rally.  Two hitbatsmen latter and a ground out later gave the Redbirds a 2-1 lead.  Brock Peterson, who hit a tenth inning walkoff homerun yesterday, struck out with a runner on third and one out and Greg Garcia grounded to second to strand the runner on third.

The Redbirds scored another run in the seventh when defensive replacement Jermaine Curtis led off the inning with a single.  A wild pitch advanced him to second where he scored on a clutch two out single from Chad Huffman into right center field that appeared to be catchable by Matt Angle.  Matt hesitated while he and the right fielder Chili Bass tried to decide who was going to catch the ball.  The ball did not hesitate and landed between the two before they could make a decision.

Victor Marte was brought on in relief in the eighth.  He struck out the first two hitters, but the leadoff batter Dee Gordon got to first on a passed ball.  Chili Bass was hit in the foot by a pitch and Brian Barden was jammed by a Marte fastball but still muscled it over the shortstop for an RBI single.  An inadvisable throw by Tommy Pham to third allowed Barden to advance to second.  That forced the Birds to make the decision to walk Matt Angle intentionally.  Justin Sellers singled between short and third to drive in two, the throw from leftfielder Chad Huffman too weak to get Barden crossing the plate.  The throw was cutoff.  Matt Angle had rounded too far past second base and was tagged out in a rundown.

Josh Hall worked the last two innings for the Isotopes to pick up the save.  He issued two out walks in both those innings but was still able to get the third out without any difficulty.

Game Notes: Jamie Romak did not start but got in the game late in a double switch.  He swing at and missed on three ordinary fastballs from Josh Hall, none of them breaking 90 in his only at bat…Kolton Wong appeared to square up to bunt with two strikes but the ball hit him in the foot.  The home plate umpire checked with the third base umpire to see if he had offered at the pitch, the third base umpire said no and Kolton was awarded first to load the bases…Auto Zone Park has two retired numbers in their outfield.  Number 6 is for Stan Musial and number 10 is for one of the better hustlers in baseball number 10 Stubby Clapp, who willed all the talent out of his body to get some major league appearances.  Not a big guy but he played with a lot of heart…The stadium itself has a picnic area in right field, a massive scoreboard in right centerfield, some green and brown pine trees out in centerfield (trees that do not appear native to the area) and a raised cement wall in left.  A grassy bluff sits above the left field fence where fans can purchase cheap seats to sit in the grass.  No lawn chairs are allowed.  Apartments overlook the outfield but the pine trees appear to obstruct the balcony view for most of the residents.  The corner houses had a nice view and three residents were sitting on their balcony enjoying the game.  The stadium also has a large carnival like playground along the first base side where the kids can entertain themselves with the typical carnival games if they get too bored with the baseball…Bob Dylan will be playing with Wilco at the stadium on July 2.  Myworld is not really a Bob Dyaln fan but he is a legend and depending on ticket costs it would be a good concert to see…Myworld got a seat just to the right of the Redbird dugout.  We had a perfect view of the players inside the dugout.  On the downside we had a close and unprotected seat that would have been difficult to dodge any foul ball.  The ticket cost for that seat was $19 day of the game but just $16 if I bought it before the day of the game…Ballpark food was the typical fare.  Myworld was surprised not to see any barbecue stands.  They did have a barbecue bacon hot dog, but it has to be tough selling food with all the good restaurants outside the stadium…In between innings the Redbirds staged a fun event with a bubbles race between two members of the stadium staff.  They each got inside a plastic bubble and like hamsters rolled themselves by pushing this bubble forward from centerfield to left field…Went to Beale Street after the game and security to get onto the street was tight.  It was equivalent to the security for getting on an airplane.  You had to show identification to get in the area and once inside you were patted down for weapons.  It is an example of how violent a city Memphis is.  As the people next to me stated “Don’t stay out too late.”

Memphis Musings

Friday, June 28th, 2013

It took us 16 hours to drive to Memphis.  Google maps said it should have taken 12 hours.  Lots or rain, lots of traffic and cruise control set to 60 probably kept me from reaching Memphis in 12 hours.  Myworld pulled into the Marriott with the hour past midnight.  Fortunately, they kept my reservations.

The morning walk was to Auto Zone park where we bought the ticket to the game for tonight.  The park fits the city.  It has an old fashioned flair to it.  We will have a better idea of the park after tonight.

There are some big name musicians that have grown up in Memphis and played along Beale street.  The most notable are Elvis Presley and B.B. King.  The man described as King of the Blues W.C. Handy also grew up here.  Historical markers, instead of the places themselves now mark the clubs and bars where they used to play.

W.C. Handy wrote “Beale Street Blues” on a cigar counter at a place called Pee Wee Saloon.  It has now been replaced by a Hard Rock Café.  There was also the Palace Theatre where B.B. King and Bobby “Blue” Bland got their starts.  Now a Coyote Ugly and next to it a New Daisy rock and roll club stand in its place.  At least New Daisy still promotes music.

Fed Ex Forum, where the professional basketball team plays does not really fit in the neighborhood, right behind Beale Street.  It looks like of monster of modern life gobbling up the antique look of the city.  That look died a number of years ago with the civil rights movement.

Beale Street was a place blacks went to make a living, party and just live because they were not allowed to hang out in most places of white society.  After the civil rights movement the world opened up to them and Beale Street like the Negro Leagues became forgotten.  There are still nightclubs there and Memphis style barbecue restaurants, but they have established themselves under a different set of circumstances and cater to a new set of customers.

Ida B. Wells worked as an editor of the Memphis Free Speech located on Beale Street.  When she wrote about the lynching of three black businessmen her newspaper office was destroyed and her life threatened.  She moved to New York where she co-founded the NAACP.  It appears those men should not have messed with Ida B. Wells.

The sidewalks along Beale Street is littered with musical notes embedded in the cement with the names of such musical luminaries as Elvis Presley, Blues Brothers, Carl Perkins, the Staple Singers and B.B. King.  Even Justin Timberlake has a name here, though it was partially covered by one of the stands in front of a restaurant located there.

Elvis Presley has a statue of himself located along Beale street, but outside the blocked off area where all the clubs and bars are located.  It is almost as if they have identified him as an outsider with where they have erected his statue, in front of a giant building housing the Memphis Light, Gas and Water.  W.C. Handy has a statue of himself located in the middle of Beale Street, where all the action is.  He belongs in the center of Beale Street, Elvis does not.

Myworld will go to the game tonight.  We will also take a stroll down Beale Street to see the activity there.  We expect it to be hopping, but not with the same crowd that filled up Beale Street in the 1930s.  If time permits, we will report after the game, otherwise it may have to await until our arrival in Dallas.

Top 30 International Prospects

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Baseball America has listed their top 30 international prospects eligible for signing on July 2.  Normally, most of these prospects are from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.  This time, a player from Italy holds the number 12 spot on the list.  Marten Gasparaini played for the 15 and under Italian team and hit .419 with a slugging average of .710.  He stole six bases.  His performance a few days later on the 18 and under team, against older players was not as impressive (2 for 17), but major league scouts like him.

They feel he has better tools than Max Kepler from Germany.  Marten has more speed than Kepler but less power.  This should allow him to play a more valuable position in centerfield.  If Kepler fails to establish his power a corner outfield position may be difficult to win.  Gasparini already has his speed, though as players fill out and muscle up they may lose that speed.

Marten stands 6 foot and weighs 175.  You can see the list of prospects here:

Other players on that list not from Venezuela or the Dominican Repuplic include:

13. Erick Julio (RHP) - Colombia

14. Jesus Lopez (SS) - Nicaragua

16. Erling Moreno (RHP) - Colombia

23. Jen-ho Tseng (RHP) - Taiwan

Honkball Week Established for 2014

Friday, June 28th, 2013

The dates have been set for the Honkball tournament in Haarlem, Netherlands.  The tournament will be from July 11, 2014 to July 20, 2014.  Teams have yet to be determined.

Myworld will put those dates on the schedule and has all the intentions to attend.  This would be my first experience of baseball in Europe if I don’t attend a game before then.  Myworld has played in a softball tournament in Stockholm, Sweden a couple years ago hitting one round tripper.  Playing softball and watching baseball are two different experiences.

Yamai Gets a No Hitter for Dragons

Friday, June 28th, 2013

No hitters are rare in Japan.  They seem to occur more frequently in the major leagues.  A couple days ago the Marines Takuya Furuya was one out away from throwing a no hitter.  Yesterday the Dragons Daisuke Yamai completed his.  He walked four batters, two in the fourth inning so it was not a perfect game.

It was also a lopsided game with the Dragons erupting for seven runs in the first inning to beat the Yokahama Bay Stars 9-0.  Hector Luna and Kazuhiro Wada each lashed out three hits.  The first six hitters got on base against the Bay Stars Shoichi Ino.  He still worked six innings before his departure.

The NPB now has seventy seven no hitters.  You can read the box score and the play by play here:

The Agent (cont - 7)

Friday, June 28th, 2013

After he got off the phone with Jeremy he got his call from Lindsey Graham. Lindsey was just the opposite of Jeremy. He spoke with the smoothness of melted butter, his words rattling off like a Gatling gun. He could probably charm the clothes off a nun. He tried to start the conversation off with small chitchat, giving his condolences for the poor season the Orioles were having. “I’m sure you will have them heading in the right direction soon,” he said with his mouth rolling out marbles of false enthusiasm.

“I’m assuming you are calling about the status of Jason Woo and his ability to pitch in September?” Larvell was in no mood to wax sorrowful tales about the Orioles with Lindsey. They were losing, end of discussion. Everyone had an opinion about whether they were improving.

“That would be an affirmative.”

The more he listened to Lindsey the less he liked talking to him. “Everything is going well so far with his progress. I don’t see a stumbling block yet. His arm is still healthy. He looks good to go for September.”

“You still have him in Frederick. Shouldn’t he be at a higher level if he is going to be pitching in the major leagues in a couple months?”

“He will be promoted to Bowie soon. Once a player is in AA and does well it is an easy jump to the major leagues. Challenging, but a lot of players from AA get promoted to the major leagues after they have shown some success there. A kid does not have to be in AAA before he gets to the majors.” While Larvell told him this he knew he would like to see Jason pitch at least a month in AAA. It would expose him to more experienced hitters. “We still have plenty of time left for him to accomplish his goals.”

“Sounds like all systems are go?”

“All systems are go. Have you talked to the Commissioner’s office about the waiver of the service time?”

“That has been done and they are okay with waiving the service time.”

The way he said it was hesitant. Not as smooth as his other sentences. A little speed bump in the flow of the words. “Am I going to get something in writing telling me that? Something I can hang my hat on? I’d even take a verbal promise if it came directly from the Commissioner.” Now Larvell sounded more like Jeremy talking about the bobbleheads. Jeremy sounded so untrusting toward Larvell when he asked him to order more bobbleheads. Larvell wondered if he gave that same impression to Lindsey.

“I’ll follow up on that.”

“Appreciate it. That will certainly make things easier on us. Have you established a firm date when you want us to have Jason pitch?” He needed to get that on the calendar so they could prepare for the distribution of his bobbleheads.

“We’re still working on that. I may not know the exact date until late July or early August. By then the Secret Service will need to know so they can make a security sweep of the area and plan for the amount of resources they need available at the stadium for that day. So you should get plenty of notice. If you have not heard from me by August then follow up with a phone call. Sometimes it gets hectic here and I may forget.”

Larvell felt insulted. As if it never got hectic as a general manager of a ball club. If Lindsay had to be reminded of an obligation he was not a partner to be trusted.

Once he hung up with Lindsey he began to realize the risks he had already taken with the promotion of Jason. By ordering 50,000 additional bobbleheads, creating a Jason Woo bobblehead day for a September date yet to be determined, and producing two jerseys with the “Woo” and “Warrior”names on the back of those jerseys he was obligating even himself to the promotion of Jason Woo for September regardless of whether the China premier attended a ball game or not. It didn’t seem to matter whether Jason Woo was ready for the promotion.