Archive for March, 2014

Eight Way Tie in KBO

Monday, March 31st, 2014

In the only game action yesterday in the KBO, the Lotte Giants vanquished the Hanwha Eagles 11-2.  Catcher Min-Ho Kang slugged two homeruns in the win.  The Eagles held a 2-0 lead until the sixth inning when the Giants powered in six runs.  They added another four in the seventh to run away with the game.  The Eagles bullpen crashed and burned, giving up ten of the eleven runs.

With the Giants victory the KBO now sees eight teams tied with one win and one loss after two games of play.  Talk about balance.  The NC Dinos are the only team yet to play.  They open their season today with a series against the Kia Tigers.

Baseball Returns to Montreal for Two Game Exhibition Series

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

Attendance was good in the two game exhibition series between the Mets and Blue Jays.  There were 46,121 to enjoy the opener, supporting Canada’s only team.  They enjoyed it so much 50,229 fans showed up for the second game.

They honored Gary Carter, who got his start with the Montreal Expos, became a playoff hero with the Mets and finished his playing career as an Expo.  They also honored the 1994 team, which may have won the World Series if not for the baseball strike.  If no baseball strike Montreal may have made the playoffs, they would still be drawing a crowd and the discussion may have been who between Tampa Bay and Oakland would be moving to D.C.

They played in Olympic Stadium.  After all these years the ballpark still looked good, kind of like Christie Brinkley still looking good in a bathing suit after all the years that have passed since she was the cover girl of Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.  There is a group that hopes to get baseball back in Montreal.  The only thing they lack is some big pockets to invest in a team.  If the Washington, D.C. area could not support a team for all the poor years they had that created the sparse attendance but were still able to get a third franchise, the Montreal Expos should deserve another opportunity.

Matanzas One Game From Sweep

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

It was a repeat of the opening day starters, Yoanni Yera for Matanzas and Ismel Jimenez for Villa Clara.  Yera lasted a bit longer than the opener, going five innings but a 3-run homerun from Leandro Turino in the fourth ruined his day.

The Crocodiles took the lead with a 2-run homerun from Jose Fernandez in the top of the first.  Yorbis Borroto responded with a solo shot in the bottom frame.

An RBI single by Ariel Sanchez in the top of the third gave the Crocodiles a 3-1 lead.  Turino appeared to turn the series around for Villa Clara with his 3-run homer in the bottom of the fourth to give Villa Clara a 4-3 lead.

Yadiel Hernandez, who homered twice in the opener kept his bat hot.  His RBI single in the fifth tied the game at 4-4.  In the seventh he hit the RBI single to give the Crocodiles a 5-4 win.

Felix Fuentes came on with one out and two runners on in the ninth, the eighth pitcher to come into the game for Matanzas.  He got the last four outs in the opener to pick up the save and threw three plus innings in game two to get the win.  Felix retired the two hitters he faced to pick up his second save of the playoff.

The box score for the game can be found here:  http://www.baseballdecuba.com/newsite/BOXSCORES/53SN-Boxscores/53SN-Juego533-VCL-MTZ-03-30-2014-GAME3-POFF.pdf

Surprise - Your Great Uncle Brought Baseball to Japan

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

A fun story about a family who received Japanese visitors who told them their great-great-great uncle Horace Wilson is revered in Japan because he had brought baseball to that country.  At the time, this family did not really know Horace Wilson had done anything of note.  Now they have a fun story to tell their friends.  The Japanese visitors invited them to Japan where they helped throw out the first pitch at the high school championship game played in Koshien in 2001.  They have a little more appreciation of their great-great-great uncle now.  You can read the story about their experience here:  http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2014/03/28/291421915/japanese-baseball-began-on-my-familys-farm-in-maine

I like to tell the story of my uncle, who invented a product used by most people.  I can remember my grandmother, who had a lifetime supply of the stuff stacked in cartons in her garage, with many of the cans rupturing inside with the liquid bleeding into the cartons.  The product my uncle invented is WD-40.  He never got rich or famous as a result of this invention.  Just $20,000 because he knew he could invent something better.  He also was responsible for the recovery of the vessel the ‘Vasa” which my brother and I marveled at when we were in Stockholm, Sweden for a volleyball tournament.  While we were there we had no idea he was instrumental in its recovery.  We just thought it was a pretty cool boat.

KBO Openers

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

The KBO also opened its season with the Bears, Tigers and Heroes taking the victories.  You can view the box scores here:  http://stats.mykbo.net/

Jorge Cantu hit a big 3-run homer in the Bears 5-4 win.  Luke Scott homered in a losing cause for the Wyverns.

Myworld is getting sleepy and is calling it a night.

Gourriel/Malletta Leads Industriales to First Win

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

Yulieski Gourriel slugged two solo shots and Alexander Malletta also hit two homeruns but drove in seven runs to lead the Industriales Leones to an easy 13 -2 win over Pinar.  The series is now tied at a game apiece.  Malleta finished the game with five hits and was a triple short of the cycle.  Lisban Correa put together four hits, two of them doubles to score four times.  Frank Monthiet improved his record to 6-0, working six innings of the seven inning game.

Eriel Sanchez, who homered yesterday for Matanzas got a walk off homer in the bottom of the tenth to give the Matanzas Crocodiles a 2-1 win over the Villa Clara Orangemen.  The Crocodiles now have a two games to none lead over Villa Clara.  The homerun was hit off Alain Sanchez.  Felix Fuentes pitched the last three plus innings to get the win for the Crocodiles.  Yeniet Perez homered in the fourth for the only run for the Orangemen.

NPB Openers

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

Myworld drove home from Florida spring training and just walked in the door, popped open the lap top and started typing.  We’ve been gone since February 2, so it is good to be home again.  We’ll be brief in our descriptions of the home openers.  You can see the box scores here:  http://bis.npb.or.jp/eng/2014/games/gm20140328.html and here: http://yakyubaka.com/page/3/

Yomiuri Giants 12 Hanshin Tigers 4

The defending Central League champion Giants got off to a good start, lighting up Tigers opening day starter Atsushi Nomi for ten runs in less than five innings.  The Tigers jumped out to a 4-0 lead scoring four unearned runs off Giant starter Tomoyuki Sugano.  The Giants battled back with runs in the third through sixth innings, a 6-run fifth inning the real back breaker.  The Giants hit four homeruns, Hayato Sakamoto a solo shot, Yasuyuki Kataoka a 3-run shot and Jose Lopez and Leslie Anderson back to back solo shots.   Lopez finished the game with three hits and four RBIs.

Yakult Swallows 9 Yokahama Bay Stars 1

The Swallows made up for a poor spring training with a win over the Bay Stars, scoring seven in the opening frame and two in the second inning.  Kazuki Mishima gave up all nine runs, lasting just two innings.  Naomichi Nishiura socked a 3-run homer in the first inning to close out the scoring, becoming the first rookie in Central League history to hit a homerun in his first at bat.  Kazuhiro Hatakeyama also had three RBIs, clearing the bases with a 3-run double in the opening frame.  Wladimir Balentien went hitless in four at bats.  The Bay Stars highlight was collecting four straight hits in the second inning to score their only run.  Yasuhiro Ogawa worked six innings to get the win for the Swallows.

Hiroshima Carp 3 Chunichi Dragons 2

Ryosuke Kikuchi hit a double in the top of the tenth to give the Carp a 3-2 lead and eventually the win against the Dragons.  Kam Mickolio came on in the tenth to finish off the Dragons and pick up the save.  Kila Ka’aihue hit a 2-run homer in the sixth for the Carps only runs until the tenth.  The Dragons scored on a solo homer from Kazuhiro Wada in the second and an RBI single from Ryosuke Hirata in the first.

Rakuten Eagles 2 Seibu Lions 1

Takahiro Norimoto got the opening day nod for the NPB champion Eagles and pulled a Tanaka start from out of his hat, pitching a complete game victory.  He struck out 10.  Kaz Matsui got him all the runs he needed with a 2-run blast in the second after an Andrew Jones lead off double.  Tanaka who?

Nippon Ham Fighters 6 Orix Buffaloes 5

Eichi Koyana hit the walk off single in the bottom of the 12th to give the Fighters the win.  The bases were loaded with one out when he got the hit.  Hirotoshi Masui pitched the last two innings without allowing a run to get the win.  The Buffaloes scored a run in the top of the ninth to tie it and both teams tallied a run in the tenth to keep the game extended.  Wily Mo Pena hit a solo homerun for the Buffaloes in the tenth.

Softbank Hawks 11 Chiba Lotte Marines 5

The Hawk bats stayed hot after the ending of spring.  Seiichi Uchikawa was the hottest popping four hits, including a 3-run homer to give him four RBIs for the day to be the offensive star.  Yuki Yanagita also homered and collected three hits.  New acquisition slugger Dae-Ho Lee did not disappoint, singling twice and driving in one run.  Tadahito Iguchi (2) and Daichi Suzuki (3) drove in all five runs for the Marines.

Top Prospects 2014 - 10 - 1

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Myworld has put together the top 100 prospect lists from MLB.com, scouting book, baseball haven and baseball america, averaged them out and come up with our own top 100 list.  Below is the top prospects between 10 to the number 1 pick.  If you want to take a look at previous top 100 lists for myworld you can go to http://www.myworldofbaseball.com/id13.html.

10. Jameson Taillon RHP (Pirates) - Jameson was the second pick of the 2010 draft right after Bryce Harper.  The Pirates have stated that even if they had the first pick they would have selected Jameson over Bryce.  The 2014 season should be his major league debut.  Last year he got to pitch for Canada in the World Baseball Classic because his parents were born there.  He has a mid-90s fastball and a hard breaking curve.  To get major league hitters out he needs to develop confidence in his changeup.  For a pitcher with his stuff he got hit pretty good in AA (.257).  Those numbers improved in AAA (.223), but his walk numbers went up.

9. Francisco Lindor SS (Indians) - He is the best defensive shortstop on this list.  The first round pick of the 2011 draft out of Puerto Rico also had a pretty good offensive year (.306 in AA).  Lindor will probably never hit for power, but he could end up a solid number nine hitter, with speed to steal bases and act as the second lead off man.  If Orlando Cabrera has another poor year the Indians could choose to trade him for prospects and give the shortstop job to Lindor.  Francisco makes contact (49 walks, 46 K’s) and should begin his 2014 season in AA.

8. Archie Bradley RHP (Diamondbacks) - Bradley was the Diamondbacks first round pick in the 2011 draft.  He just missed making the team as the number five starter.  Last year in High A he struck out 13.5 hitters per nine innings in five starts with a 1.27 ERA.  When promoted to AA in 21 starts he still put together a 1.97 ERA.  He throws a fastball in the mid-90s with a good curveball.  The one big issue for him is throwing strikes.  When the Diamondbacks roster falters he will be the first player to be called up for the starting rotation.

7. Javier Baez SS (Cubs) - Baez is the second Puerto Rican drafted in the first round of the 2011 draft on this top ten list.  Last year he hit 37 homeruns, tied for second with George Springer for the most in the minor leagues.  Only Joey Gallo had more.  The downside is he made 44 errors.  Most figure Javier will move Starlin Castro to second if he can cut down on his errors.  If he can’t hack it at short he could move to third or second base.  Javier continued bashing homeruns in the spring, but because of his defensive troubles he will probably begin the season in AA.  Whether he gets promoted will depend on his consistency in the field.

6. Carlos Correa SS (Astros) - Carlos may be the best shortstop prospect in baseball, if he can stick at the position.  He was the first selection of the Astros in the 2012 draft.  This makes him the third Puerto Rican shortstop in this top ten list.  The one concern with Carlos is that at 6′4″ he may outgrow the position.  His one downside is he lacks speed, which may force a move to third base as his lower body gets thicker.  His power will develop as he matures.  Expect Carlos to start the season in Low A and move up quickly if he can handle that level.  Last year his .320 average was padded by his .432 average against lefthanded pitchers.

5. Taijuan Walker RHP (Mariners) - If healthy Taijuan may have made the Mariners starting rotation to begin the 2014 season.  Walker was a first round supplemental pick of the Mariners in 2010.  His fastball sits in the mid-90s and he has a slider that could be his best pitch.  He made his major league debut last year with three starts (3.60 ERA).  Major league hitters were limited to a .204 average against him.  He still needs to work on his command, walking over four batters per nine innings in AAA.

4. Migeul Sano 3B (Twins) - Miguel is the big bat for the Twins.  They signed him for $3.15 million out of the Dominican Republic in 2009.  Only Gary Sanchez, the Yankees minor league catcher was considered a better international prospect.  Unfortunately, the Twins will have to wait until the 2015 season to watch him play again.  Tommy John surgery will force him to miss all of the 2014 season.  Last year he slugged 16 homeruns in just 56 Florida State League games before being promoted to AA.  He hit 19 at AA to put his overall total at 35.  Miguel struggled a bit for average in AA (.236) after hitting .330 in High A.  Some think he will get too big to stay at the hot corner (6′3″, 230 pounds) and may have to move to first base or right field.

3. Xander Bogaerts SS (Red Sox) - The Aruba native signed for only $410,000 in 2009.  He made his major league debut last year playing third base.  In the playoffs he started a number of rallies by drawing critical walks.  In 2014 the Red Sox will make him their shortstop.  At 6′3″, 200 pounds many think he will be too big for the position.  His average speed will limit his range, but his power will make a slide over to third base an asset.  For a power hitter he makes good contact.  Last year Xander played third base for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic (Andrelton Simmons was the shortstop).  He also played for them in the World Cup in Panama when the Netherlands won the gold medal, but saw limited time playing right field when he got into the game.

2. Oscar Tavares OF (Cardinals) - Last year he was the seventh rated prospect on this list.  The six players rated ahead of him all played in the major leagues last year.  Two of them (Dylan Bundy and Trevor Bauer) are still considered prospects and dropped below Tavares.  Injuries prevented Tavares from making his major league debut last year.  The ankle injury prevented him from competing for the Cardinals major league right field job this year.  It is expected when he gets healthy Tavares will hit over .300 with over 20 homeruns.  He was signed out of the Dominican Republic for only $145,000, but because he played in Montreal while a youth he qualified to play for Canada in the World Baseball Classic.  He played for neither team, focusing on trying to win a job out of spring training for the Cardinals.

1. Bryan Buxton OF (Twins) - Bryan will begin the year on the disabled list.  He was the first round pick of the Twins in 2012, the second player selected in the draft after Carlos Correa.  Baseball America voted him the minor league player of the year after he hit .334 at two minor league levels, hitting 12 homeruns with 55 stolen bases.  The power is expected to increase as he matures.  His defense in centerfield is gold glove caliber.  Bryan is a perfect five tool player who should begin the 2014 season in AA once he gets healthy.  The Mike Trout comparisons should follow him in the major leagues.

Korean Baseball for 2014

Friday, March 28th, 2014

An interesting article on what to look for in the Korean season for 2014.  You can find it here:  http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/culturesports/2014/03/28/3/0702000000AEN20140328003100315F.html

A summary of the discussion:

The Samsung Lions will have a difficult time making it four in a row after losing Seong-Hwan Oh to Japan.  They were talking about putting last year’s set up man Ji-Man Ahn as the closer, but he lacks the experience.  The recent signing of Chang-Yong Lim may address the closer position.  The Lions also lost leadoff hitter Young-Seob Bae to mandatory military service.  The club will miss his 83 steals from 2011 to 2013.  They hope the recent foreign addition Yamaico Navarro will make up for this loss of offense.

The Doosan Bears had a 3-1 lead last year in the best of seven championship series, but lost the next three games.  They have also lost a number of players to the free agent market.  Centerfielder Jong-Wook Lee and shortstop Si-Heon Son will now play for the NC Dinos.  Championships are won and lost by the defense up the middle and those are two huge losses.  Jun-Seok Choi was another player lost to free agency as he left for the Lotte Giants.

The LG Twins lost perhaps the best pitcher in the KBO, or at least the pitcher with the greatest velocity.  Radhames Liz left for the major leagues, but because of injury will not be available until mid-season.  The Twins are the only team who have yet to reach their foreign roster quota, signing only Josh Bell and Cory Riordan.  They promise a big announcement within the next 15 days.

The Nexen heroes lost a 2-0 lead in a best of five playoff series to the Doosan Bears.  They have the most prolific offense in the KBO with Byung-Ho Park winning the MVP award last year with a .318 batting average, 37 homeruns and 117 RBIs.

The Lotte Giants may have the best pitching in the KBO, led by Shane Youman, Chris Oxspring and Seung-Jun Song, who combined for 38 wins last year.  Coming back to the team from military service is lefthander Won-Jun Jang, who won 52 games from 2008-2011.  Pitching wins games and they have the deepest starting rotation.

The SK Wyverns had been in the playoffs six consecutive seasons.  That streak was broken when they missed the playoffs last year.  They added the big bat of Luke Scott to ignite their offense.  They are also hoping left handed pitcher Kwang-Hyun Kim is healthy and pitches to his former MVP self.  Ross Wolf and Jo-Jo Reyes are two foreign pitchers to solidify the starting rotation.

The expansion NC Dinos did not finish in last place last year, finishing ahead of the Kia Tigers and Hanwha Eagles.  Righthander Jae-Hak Lee hopes to improve on his rookie of the year performance last year.  Charlie Shirek joins him in the starting rotation.  Last year the two were one/two in ERA.  Thad Weber was added to enhance the starting rotation and Eric Thames is hoped to improve the offense.

The Kia Tigers were the KBO’s biggest disappointment.  They have now lost their ace Suk-Min Yoon to the Orioles.  They will need lefthander Hyun-Jong Yang to get healthy and replace the numbers lost with the departure of Yoon.

The Hanwha Eagles have finished last in four of the past five years.  They are the Yokahama Bay Stars of the NPB.  They even had Hyun-Jin Ryu in their rotation, considered the top pitcher in the KBO and still finished in last place.  They used the posting money from the Ryu loss to sign free agent second baseman Keun-Woo Jeong away from the Wyverns and outfielder Yong-Kyu Lee from the Tigers.  They also signed Felix Pie to patrol the outfield.  The Eagles finished last in offense last year and with these three new players they hope to energize the bats.  The pitching could be another problem.

You can also follow the boxscores for the KBO games here:  http://www.mykbo.net/KBO_news

Pinar Clubs the Industrials

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Pinar opened the series with Yosvani Torres, who came into the game with a 15-3 record.  The bats gave him plenty of offense as Pinar easily raced past the Industriales 10-2.  William Saavedra slugged two homeruns and drove in four runs and Giorvis Duvergil bashed a solo shot to lead the offense.  Donal Duarte drove in three runs without benefit of a hit, two driven in with sacrifice flies.

Alexander Malleta smashed a solo homerun for the Industriales, but starter Vicyohandri Odelin did not survive past the fourth inning, giving up three runs.  You can see the box score for the game here:  http://www.baseballdecuba.com/newsite/BOXSCORES/53SN-Boxscores/53SN-Juego530-IND-PRI-03-28-2014-GAME1-POFF.pdf