Archive for October, 2013

Minor League All Stars - AL West

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Seattle Mariners

Tyler Pike P (Low A) - He was 7-4, 2.37 and opponents only hit .194 against him.  The downside is his 57 walks in 110 innings pitched and 12 runs crossing the plate that were unearned.  Not a lot of dominating stuff and only 6′0″ but he throws lefthanded. 

Tyler Smith SS (rookie) - He was voted the MVP of the Appalachian League hitting .320 with 12 stolen bases and playing a critical position well. 

Ian Miller utl (rookie) - Ian didn’t show a lot of power but he hit .297, stole 14 bases and covered a lot of ground in centerfield.  After getting promoted to the Northwest League he hit .333 but all his 14 hits were singles.

Edwin Diaz p (rookie) - he was voted pitcher of the year in the Appalachian League giving the Mariners a sweep in the MVP and pitcher’s award.  Edwin was 5-2, 1.43 in 13 starts with 79 whiffs in 69 innings, limiting the opposition to a .191 average.  The Puerto Rican third rounder throws a fastball in the 92-94 mile per hour range but could fill out to throw it harder.

Emilio Pagan relief (rookie) - Emilio did not give up a run in his 15 Appalachian League appearances, striking out 27 in 20 innings.  Opponents only hit .127 off him.  He did not have as much success when promoted to the Northwest League allowing hitters to hit him at a .320 clip in five appearances.

Houston Astros

Max Stassi C (AA) - Max was traded by the Athletics to the Astros with a number of other players for Jed Lowrie.  Max made his major league debut with the Astros after hitting .277, 17, 60 at AA Corpus Christie.  He will go as far as his average defense will allow him. 

George Springer OF (AA) - He was voted the MVP of the Texas League after hitting .297, 19, 55 but produced better numbers when promoted to AAA with .311, 18, 53.  He still strikes out a ton (161) which could impact his average, but a power/speed combination matched by few. 

Mike Foltynewitz p (AA) - Mike generates a fastball that hits triple digits making him difficult to hit.  He went 5-3, 2.87 limiting the opposition to a .207 average.  He needs to cut down on his walks (52 walks in 103 innings pitched). 

David Martinez P (AA) - He was voted pitcher of the year in the Texas League after going 14-2, 2.02.  The Venezuelan made his major league debut (7.15) but lacks a swing and miss pitch and turned 26 in AA. 

Matt Duffy 3B (A) - He raked in the California League (.323, 19, 84), but after leaving the hitter’s parks there was not as successful in the Texas League (.247, 5, 10).  He had a poor 3/22 walk to whiff ratio.

Andrew Aplin OF (A) - Andrew only hit nine homeruns, but it was good enough to drive in 107 runs.  He also had an 83/63 walk to whiff ratio.  His average tools may destine him for a fourth outfielder role.

M.P. Cokinos utl (A) - Another player who walked more (47) than he struck out (41).  The slugging first baseman hit .313 with 13 homeruns to drive in 94.  For a 31 st pick in 2012 he has hit .320 and .313 in his first two years.

Carlos Correa SS (Low A) - Many feel he will eventually switch to third, but Carlos is determined to stay at short.  He could be voted one of the top five prospects in baseball next year.  In his first full season Carlos hit .320 while showing some pop with 9 homeruns.  In 111 at bats he hit .432 against lefthanders. 

Yonathan Mejia DH (rookie) - He didn’t hit for a lot of power but his .324 average was his third year in the Gulf Coast League.

Texas Rangers

Brett Nicholas DH (AA) - The slugger hit .289 with 21 homeruns and 91 RBIs.  The Rangers were impressed enough to give him an invite to the Arizona Fall League.

Neil Ramirez P (AA) - Selected as a Ranger but currently a Cub, one of the prospects the Rangers traded to get Matt Garza.  He was 9-3, 3.84 ERA but his best hopes will be as a back end of the rotation starter. 

Trever Adams 1B (A) - He didn’t hit much for average (.257) but he was a good run producer with 82 RBIs.  His slugging average was only .385.

Roughned Odor 2B (A) - Odor is being groomed as the Rangers second baseman of the future if Jurickson Profar doesn’t fit in the outfield.  He hit .305 in the Carolina League and .306 in the Texas League in 200 less at bats.  He stole 32 bases at the two levels with 41 doubles.

Joey Gallo 3B (Low A) - One of the top sluggers in baseball with a lot of swing and miss capability.  He hit only .245 with 165 whiffs in 106 games but his 40 homeruns led all minor leaguers.  He was also a surprising 15 of 16 in stolen bases.

Nick Williams OF (Low A) - The second round 2012 pick had a nice triple double year, hitting .293 with 19 doubles, 12 triples and 17 homeruns.  The one red flag is his 15/110 walk to whiff ratio.

Ryan Rua DH (low A) - Coming into this year the 17th round 2011 pick had not hit double digits in homeruns.  He hit 32 in 2013, driving in 91 runs. 

Oakland Athletics

Stephen Vogt C (AAA) - A veteran backstop made the Athletics post season roster.  He had a heck of a year in AAA hitting .324, 13, 58.  He could make a good back up for a number of teams.

Michael Choice OF (AAA) - The Athletics 2010 number one pick has always had trouble making contact, but when he does the ball goes a long ways.  He hit a career high .302 with 14 homeruns which earned him his major league debut this year. 

Anthony Aliotti 1B (AA) - Anthony terrorized Southern League pitchers for a .350 average with 12 homeruns and 51 RBIs. 

Carlos Hernandez p (AA) - Carlos pitched well in the Texas League (7-7, 2.18), earning a promotion to AAA.  At 26 his time may be a little late.

Addison Russell SS (A) - The future shortstop of the Athletics and their number one pick of 2012 hit .275 with 10 homeruns with 21 stolen bases.  He also plays stellar defense, collecting 29 doubles and 10 triples for a triple double. 

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Efren Navarro 1B (AAA) - A 50th round pick is currently playing in Mexico.  He hit .326 in AAA with only seven homeruns but 39 doubles to drive in 81.  The Angels have a crowded group around the first base bag.

Taylor Lindsey 2B (AA) - Taylor is a first round pick in 2010 that provides some pop at second base.  He hit .274 with 17 homeruns.  Expect him to make his major league debut next year.

Brandon Hynick P (AA) - The 28 year old went 12-5, 2.80 in AA.  He has won a lot of minor league awards but has yet to make his major league debut.

Mike Snyder 1B (A) - Another slugging first baseman for the Angels hit .280, 25, 92.  At 6′4″ 230 he may be too big to survive in the outfield.

Alex Yarbrough 2B (A) - The fourth round 2012 pick had a good offensive year, hitting for a triple double.  He hit .313 with 32 doubles, 10 triples and 11 homeruns.  Those are good offensive numbers for a second baseman.  a 27/106 walk to whiff ratio is of some concern. 

Zach Borenstein DH (A) - His .337, 28, 95 year got him an invite to the Arizona League.  He is a left fielder/first baseman type with a .631 slugging percentage.

Mark Sappington P (A) - He’s 6′5″ with a mid-90s fastball that put up 12-5, 3.45 numbers in 27 starts.  The Angels are looking for starters.

Ben Carlson P (Low A) - 4-0, 1.73 ERA in 21 relief appearances but his other numbers were not impressive.

Cal Towey 3B (rookie) - His .317 average with a .543 slugging percentage with a 67/59 walk to whiff ratio will get some people to take note.  He only hit .261 with a .304 slugging against lefthanders.

Jose Rondon SS (rookie) - The Venezuelan hit .293, driving in 50 runs in 68 games despite just one homerun.  He smoked 22 doubles. 

Jonathan Van Eaton p (rookie) - Not impressive numbers, 3.79 ERA but 10 saves. 

Ismael Dianicio 2B (rookie) - He raked Arizona League pitching for a .354 average.  The third baseman has yet to hit a homerun in his five minor league seasons.

Bears One Win Away From KBO Championship

Monday, October 28th, 2013

The Doosan Bears defeated the Samsung Lions 2-1 to move within one game of the KBO championship.  No team in the history of the KBO has won the championship after finishing fourth during the regular season.

The Bears struck quickly, scoring two in the first inning on a Young-soo Bae RBI double and a sacrifice fly from Eui-Ji YangJae-Woo Lee threw five shutout innings, giving up only two hits to allow the early lead to stand up.  He turned it over to the bullpen to close out the last four innings.

The bullpen, especially Derek Hankins who pitched two plus innings of shutout relief, did well until the ninth inning when they loaded the bases with just one out.  Rookie shortstop Jeong Hyeon hit a sacrifice fly to end the shutout.  With the winning run on second Jae-hun Chung was able to get a ground out to end the game.

Woo-Chan Cha kept the Lions in the game, working six plus innings of shutout relief while only allowing three hits.

You can read more about the game here:

Gomes Evens Series for the Red Sox

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Johnny Gomes had not had a hit yet in the World Series.  In nine World Series at bats he was 0 for 9.  He made his one hit count in the sixth inning of a 1-1 tie when he hit a 3-run homerun.  The Red Sox went on to win the game 4-2 and have now evened the series at two games apiece.

Both starting pitchers did not last long in this game.  The Cardinals scored first in the third when Carlos Beltran stroked an RBI single.  He is 10 for 12 with 12 RBIs in the post season with runners in scoring position.

The Red Sox tied it in the top of the fifth on a Stephen Drew sacrifice fly that barely scored a sliding David Ortiz.  Needing another run in that inning with two runners on base John Farrell chose to pinch hit for Clay BuchholzMike Carp grounded out to end the threat.

Lance Lynn lasted until the sixth when he walked David Ortiz to put two runners on.  Seth Maness came in to pitch to Gomes who hit a shot into left field bullpen for a 3-run homerun.  No jumping Red Sox cops stationed in this bullpen.

The Red Sox bullpen struggled a bit in the seventh, giving up one run after Shane Robinson hit a two out double off Felix Doubront.  Up until that time Doubront had retired eight consecutive hitters.  Craig Breslow came in to face Matt Carpenter and Matt drove in Robinson with a single to right.  A walk to Beltran brough in Junichi Tazawa, who got Matt Holiday to ground to second to end the threat.

John Lackey came on to pitch the eighth inning for the Red Sox.  A two base throwing error by a beardless Xander Boegarts and a wild pitch put Yadier Molina on third with one out.  Lackey got out of the inning, getting John Jay to pop to short and David Freese to ground to short.

Koji Uehara came on in the ninth.  Though he gave up a single that one hopped the fence to the hobbled Allen Craig he was able to pick off pinch runner Kolton Wong to end the game.  No obstruction call could save the Cardinals bacon on that play.

No Surprise - Tanaka Wins the Sawamura Award

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Masahiro Tanaka was unanimously selected for the Sawamura award.  That is the equivalent to the Cy Young award, though the Sawamura Award is eight years older than the Cy Young.  In order to qualify for the award you have to meet seven different criteria.  Tanaka fell short in one of the criteria which state you need ten complete games to be eligible.  Tanaka only had eight complete games.  Only one Japanese pitcher qualified to meet all the criteria.  This is the second time Tanaka has won the award.  He won it in 2011.

Hideo Nomo (1990), Koji Uehara (1999, 2002)), Daisuke Matsuzaka (2001), Yu Darvish (2007) and Hisashi Iwakuma (2008) are all some of the Japanese pitchers who won the Sawamura Award that later pitched in the major leagues.

Camden Debut (cont - 9)

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Larvell watched Linda Murphy go through her narrative on the television monitor from the owner’s box, the words flowing out through her lips fast and smooth. He was always wary of what the national news reported, so he had a habit of keeping one eye on the field and the other on the television monitor mounted in the corner of the room to hear what was being said. He didn’t like surprises, inching closer to the television monitor to hear the volume, trying to weed out the high resonance of noise in the owner’s box from all the chatter. He wanted to turn up the volume to hear the television better but that would be rude.

“This will be an interesting matchup. The Orioles have yet to beat the Yankees this year losing all 14 times they have faced them. However, this could be a little different matchup today. Jason Woo has started 24 games for the various minor league clubs in the Orioles farm system and his team has won all 24 of those starts. The catcher for the Orioles today is Kevin Beamer, who has caught Jason in 23 of those 24 minor league games. The fans affectionately refer to him as the Warrior because of his gritty type of personality. He hates to lose. While his minor league teams have won all 24 games Jason has started he has only been credited with 15 of those wins because of restrictions the team had placed on his pitch count earlier in the season. Another interesting stat to note is Jason has also not given up a run in his last 60 innings of work. That is the equivalent of six plus games. No one in the history of the minor or major leagues has had a shutout streak extend that far. One of those streaks has to end, either the Oriole losing streak against the Yankees or the winning and shutout streak for Jason Woo. We will find out which streak is broken in a couple hour’s time, after this game is complete. It should be an exciting matchup and you can feel the electricity from the crowd. They are eager for this game to begin. Back to you Phil.”

The network was really milking this game for all it was worth. It looked like a mismatch on paper. The Yankees were in first place, 50 games ahead of the Orioles. The Yankees were on top in all the team accomplishments, while the Orioles were at the bottom. Instead of focusing on the team accomplishments they were trying to make it a New York Yankees versus Jason Woo/Kevin Beamer rumble to build up the excitement and lesson the disparity of the two teams. The old breed versus the new. It was like a World Series atmosphere inside the stadium. Larvell only hoped they would be competitive and it would not fall flat after a first inning Yankee rout.

Larvell had noticed all the Woo and Warrior jerseys inside the stadium. The jerseys were selling like gold. According to Jeremy, the “Warrior” jerseys were all sold out and the “Woo” jerseys were down to their last couple thousand. There would be no winter sale for these jerseys.

Premier Li Jiabao began his walk to the pitcher’s mound. He waved as polite cheers rang out with a mixture of boos. He awkwardly stood alone on the mound, continuing to wave to the crowd, ready to throw out the first pitch. He had his Oriole jersey on with the number 18 and “Woo” on the back. The Orioles honored him with throwing out the first pitch and he requested it would be an honor if the Warrior could catch the first pitch. That did not seem to be a problem if Kevin was not in the game. Now with Li Jiabao on the mound Kevin was warming up Jason Woo in the centerfield bullpen area. There was a bit of a delay as he waited on the mound for a catcher to appear behind the plate. Larvell received a call from Moose.

“He expected to throw his first pitch to Kevin Beamer. That didn’t seem to be a problem until you put Kevin in the starting lineup. Now Kevin’s out in the bullpen area warming up Jason.”

“Bring him in from the bullpen area. All he has to do is catch one pitch and run back to the bullpen. Let someone else catch Jason for a while.”

“Baseball players can be superstitious. They like to fall into a routine. Break that routine and you break that comfort level. Jason may not want to warm up with another catcher.”

“Jason’s a big boy. He’ll warm up with another catcher to allow Kevin to receive the first pitch from his leader. We don’t want to create an international incident here.”

Moose swallowed. It was not a swallow of agreement but of acceptance.

Larvell shut his phone in anger. He watched the bullpen area. He could almost hear the bullpen phone ring from beyond the centerfield gate. The bullpen coach walked over to the phone. Larvell could see the bullpen coach holler something over to Kevin. Kevin stood up and looked over at the pitcher’s mound. The bullpen gates opened up. As Kevin began his jog out of the gate the stadium broke into a huge cheer. It was a cheer that brought tears to Larvell’s eyes as he watched this career minor leaguer trot over to the home plate area. Chants of “Warrior. Warrior. Warrior…” began ringing through the stadium, all the fans with their right arm raised and three fingers sticking out from their hand in the form of a “W”. It was the first time today his anger had been displaced by joy. He glanced over at Rigo. Rigo had his right arm raised with three fingers sticking out to form the “W”.

The announcer fanned the crowd’s enthusiasm by blasting out from the microphone “Catching the first pitch for Premier Li Jiabao is the catcher for the Baltimore Orioles”, and his voice got louder as the crowds cheer swarmed the stadium “the Warrior, Kevin Beamer.”

The din of the crowd’s roar could match the engines at the races of the Indianapolis 500. The stadium was not full yet but the roar of the crowd inside was still deafening to the ears, the cheer sticks pounding. It seemed like everyone at the stadium was chanting “Warrior. Warrior. Warrior….” Somewhere in the stadium, despite all the security there were musical instruments playing in the background. Drums were pounding. Horns were blaring. Larvell felt like he was at a stadium in the Caribbean with all the excitement generated inside. It was a long time since Larvell had seen this much enthusiasm at Camden Yards.

He took a glance around the room to find the Asian woman he thought to be Kevin’s wife. He found her, wiping tears from her eyes as she watched the fans fill the stadium with their adoration of her husband. Larvell could only imagine the feelings pulsing inside her.

After a couple awkward minutes with Premier Li Jiabao standing alone on the mound waving to the crowd he heard the roar too. He turned around to spy Kevin jogging in from the bullpen area fully adorned in his catcher’s armor. Kevin certainly looked like a warrior as he reached the pitcher’s mound. The Premier made a slight bow towards Kevin. Kevin stopped his jog and bowed back.

The announcer’s voice rang out “Throwing out the first pitch to the Warrior”, he paused in expectation of the crowd applause. There was none. “Is the Premier of China Li Jiabao.” Some polite cheers for the Premier sprinkled through the stadium, far short of the applause for the Warrior. The cheers were mixed with a smattering of boos. Larvell thought it was in poor taste to be booing a foreign dignitary, but even the President gets booed at public events so Li Jiabao is probably used to it.

Kevin finished his jog to the home plate area, took his crouch behind the dish. Li Jiabao peered in at his catcher, nodding his head in agreement at a signal Kevin did not give. Not even the Premier of China would shake off a sign from the Warrior. The Premier went into a windup, kicked up his knee high in the air with his arms raised high in a mimic of Jason’s wind up and threw the ball to the home plate area.

There were a mixture of boos and cheers as his throw bounced three times before it reached the plate. Kevin had to fall to his knees, blocking the ball from going to the back stop with his chest protector. The Premiere laughed and shook his head in embarrassment. Kevin retrieved the ball, jogged over to the mound and handed it to the Premier.

Photographers were crowding the mound and the two paused, their hands grasped tightly together as they posed frozen for the photos, the giant orange and black Oriole bird mascot standing behind them as the myriad of photos were taken. The Premier gave Kevin a pen and he signed the ball. The two bowed again and Kevin jogged back toward the bullpen area. The Premiere walked back to the first base dugout politely waving to the crowd, who jostled about behind the first base dugout area in their attempts to take pictures of the China leader. They may boo him but this did not prevent them from attempting to capture his photo inside their phone.


Lions Win Game Two

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

The Uni President Lions defeated the EDA Rhinos 4-2 to take a two games to none lead in the playoffs.  A wild pitch by Ming-Chin Tsai brought in the go ahead run, breaking a 2-2 tie and a bases loaded walk scored the fourth run.

Ching-Lung Luo pitched through the seventh, giving up two runs and winning the MVP Award for the game.  To read more about the game you can go here:     

Lions Win First Game

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

South Korean President Geun-Hye Park threw out the first pitch and the Samsung Lions rode the arm of Won-Sam Jang who pitched six plus innings giving up two runs in the Lions 3-2 win.  The Bears still lead the series two games to one.

The Lions called on Seung-Hwan Oh to pitch the ninth despite throwing four innings plus 50 pitches in the Lions loss in the second game.  He retired the Bears to pick up the save.

The Lions were the first to strike in the fourth courtesy of an error and a sacrifice fly to take a 2-0 lead.  The third run was scored on a wild pitch in he seventh.

Jang finally tired in the seventh, giving up a homerun to Sung-heon Hong.  He was pulled after a double by Jae-Wan Oh.  A single by Si-Heon Son off reliever Ji-Man Ahn pulled the Bears to within one. 

You can read more about the game here:

Tanaka Leads Eagles Over Giants to Even Series

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

Masahiro Tanaka kept his winning streak alive, even in the Japan Series pitching a complete game 2-1 win over the Yomiuri Giants.  He struck out 12, walking three and giving up three hits.  The only run he gave up was on a Takayuki Terauchi homerun in the eighth that made the score 2-1.

Giants rookie pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano pitched well but took the loss, giving up his only run in the sixth on a Ginji Akaminai single.  The Eagles added an insurance run in the seventh on three straight singles, the last by Kazuya Fujita to drive in the second run.

The Giants did load the bases against Tanaka in the sixth but he struck out Jose Lopez to end the inning.  The box score for the game can be found here:

Yakyubaka also brought out some stats from Sponichi that pointed out opponents hit .322 off Tanaka when swinging at the first pitch, .345 with no strikes, .246 with one strike and .144 with two strikes.

In other Japanese news one of the two Japanese organizations looking at scheduling another major league game for Japan in 2016 is looking at the Texas Rangers.  It will give the Japanese another opportunity to look at Yu Darvish.  Australia will be the site for an opening day for the major leagues in 2014 with Arizona and the Dodgers while the Netherlands has some hope that 2015 will be a spot for their new stadium. 

Cardinals Win on Obstruction Call

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

On the same play the Cardinals had two runners thrown out at home.  The second runner was called safe because the third base umpire determined he had been obstructed by the third baseman Will Middlebrooks in his path to score.  That runner was the hobbled Allen Craig, who was bothered by a sprained foot preventing him from playing in the Division Series.  The Cardinals went on to win 5-4 on the walk off obstruction call.

The excitement was created after Yadier Molina hit a one out single in the bottom of the ninth.  Allen Craig pinch hit for Trevor Rosenthal and lined the first pitch from Koji Uehara into left field for a double.  The Red Sox chose to pitch John Jay despite first base being open.  The infield played in as Jay smashed one to a diving Dustin Pedroia.  He made a spectacular play on the ball, fired home to get Molina at the plate.  Allen Craig broke for third, the throw from Jarrod Saltalamacchia was off the base.  Will Middlebrooks dove for the ball as Craig slid into third.  The ball went past Middlebrooks, Craig bounced back on his feet and attempted to go home, tripping over the raised legs of Middlebrooks.  The throw from Daniel Nava clearly beat Craig before he reached the plate but the home plate umpire ruled him safe because of the obstruction call.

Prior to the chaos the Cardinals looked like they were going to take charge of the game in the first inning.  They scored two quick runs off Jacob Peavy, Matt Holiday and Yadier Molina ripping RBI singles as the Cardinals battered Peavy for four hits.

In the fourth inning the Cardinals loaded the bases with no out on two singles and a walk.  Peavy got out of the inning by striking out Pete Kozma, getting pitcher Joe Kelly and Matt Carpenter to pop out. 

The Red Sox seemed to gain some momentum after the inning.  Joe Kelly was throwing 95 plus smoke but Xander Bogaerts laid into one, leading off the fifth inning with a triple, becoming the third youngest player to triple in a post season game.  Only Mickey Mantle and Ty Cobb were younger when they hit triples.  It was also only the second hit off Kelly.  Mike Carp pinch hit for Peavy and drove in Boegarts with a ground out to make the score 2-1.

Boston tied it in the sixth on an RBI single from Daniel Nava.  With runners on first and second and one out Bogaerts grounded into a double play to end the inning.     

The Cardinals took back the two run lead in the seventh on a 2-run double by Matt Holiday to give him three RBIs for the day.  Carlos Beltran, who had a sacrifice bunt in the first inning to advance a runner to second was hit by a pitch in this inning to advance the runners to keep his playoff contributions alive. 

Boston came right back in the top of the eighth, loading the bases with one out off pitcher Carlos Martinez.  With runners on second and third and one out the Cardinals chose to walk David Ortiz intentionally.  The usually reliable Trevor Rosenthal came in to pitch and a ground out scored one run.  Bogaerts then bounced a single up the middle that glanced off the glove of Pete Kozma to tie the game at 4-4.

That set the stage for the wild ninth inning where the usually lights out Koji Uehara could not save the Red Sox.  Allen Craig stroked his first pitch for a double and the excitement was about to begin.

Lions Beat Rhinos in Game One of Taiwan Series

Saturday, October 26th, 2013