Archive for March, 2014

Crocodiles Take First Game Over Orangemen

Friday, March 28th, 2014

The Matanzas Crocodiles took the opener in the best of seven playoff against the defending champion Villa Clara Orangemen 5-2.  The Orangemen had taken an early 2-0 lead, knocking starter Yoanni Yera out of the game.  Lazaro Blanco allowed the Crocodiles to come back by shutting down the Orangemen’s offense for five plus innings.

Yadiel Hernandez got things started for the Crocodiles with the first of his two homeruns, a solo shot in the fourth.  He plugged his second homerun of the game in the sixth, a two run blast to give the Crocodiles a 3-2 lead.  Eriel Sanchez added to the misery for the Orangemen with a 2-run homer of his own to extend the lead to 5-2.  Orangemen starter Robelio Carrillo gave up the two shots to Hernandez.  Alain Tamayo gave up the bomb to Sanchez.  Hernandez hit 10 homeruns during the regular season while Sanchez blasted 11.

The Crocodiles called on Felix Fuentes to get the last four outs to pick up the save.  The box score for the game can be found here: http://www.baseballdecuba.com/newsite/BOXSCORES/53SN-Boxscores/53SN-Juego529-VCL-MTZ-03-26-2014-GAME1-POFF.pdf

Blue Jays Shut Out Phillies

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

A couple days ago myworld watched the Blue Jays give up 22 runs and 29 hits against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  They were a different team today with Drew Hutchison blanking the Phillies for five plus innings and limiting their bats to just one hit.  Four relievers followed and preserved the shutout as the Blue Jays blanked the Phillies 3-0.  The Phillies made more errors (2) than they got hits (1).

Hutchison walked three and struck out three.  The most trouble he got into was when he walked the first two hitters in the second inning.  Carlos Ruiz grounded into a double play and Cody Asche grounded to first to end the threat.  The Phillies would not get another man to third until the ninth inning.

A.J. Burnett started for the Phillies.  He pitched five strong innings, striking out six and only giving up three hits.  Two of those hits came in the fourth inning when he gave up his only run.  Jose Bautista started the inning with a single.  Emilio Guerrero pinch ran for him, broke for second and Carlos Ruiz threw the ball into centerfield, allowing Guerrero to advance to third.  Dioner Navarro drove him in with a sacrifice fly to center field.  Brett Lawrie followed with a single but was stranded at first.

It remained 1-0 until the eighth inning.  Mario Hollands came on in relief for the Phillies.  He walked Josh Thole and gave up a single to Emilio GuerreroJonathan Diaz bunted them over.  Justin DeFratus came on to relieve for Hollands.  He gave up a single to Gabe Jacobo to the leftfielder Leandro Castro.  Thole scored, but Guerrero looked to be meat after the third base coach sent him.  The throw from Castro was closer to the third base dugout than home plate, allowing Guerrero to score the gift run.  The Blue Jays could have scored more with runners on third and second and one out, but Munenori Kawasaki and Jonathan Jones both struck out.

The Blue Jay bullpen almost gave the game to the Phillies.  Side armer Will Browning had some difficulty facing lefthanders.  He hit Reid Brignac and walked both Edgar Duran and Clete Thomas to load the bases.  He also struck out Leandro Castro and Steve SussdorfKoyie Hill, recently released by the Nationals came up with an opportunity to hit a grand slam walk off homerun.  He struck out on three pitches, taking the last pitch for a called third strike.

Game Notes: Not a lot of people showed up at the last spring training home game for the Phillies.  Only 6,228 came to the park on an overcast day…Melky Cabrera got three at bats and struck out all three times.  He was also slow getting to a blooper into left field.  Looking at his build Melky would have difficulty playing centerfield as he did with the Yankees during his early years…Jonathan Papelbon came into the game wearing the number 51 with the name Ruiz on the back of his uniform.  That will confuse the scorekeepers…Colby Rasmus made a nice diving catch in the fifth inning.  Brett Lawrie clapped for him from his position at third base…Dioner Navarro made a slow throw to second base in an attempt to catch Jimmie Rollins stealing.  He will not catch a lot of runners with that arm.

Foreign Players in the CPBL - Taiwan

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

The number of foreign players allowed on the roster is four, but only three are eligible to be listed on the playing roster.  Because the monthly salary for a foreign player is between $5-12 thousand per month they will not attract major league quality players.  Manny Ramirez played in the league last year for the EDA Rhinos and Nelson Figueroa is listed as a coach as well as a player.

Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions - Nelson Figueroa (RHP)

Brothers Elephants - Hiroki Sanada (RHP), Mike Ballard (LHP), Brad Thomas (LHP)

La Migo Monkeys - Mike Loree (RHP), Rommie Lewis (LHP), Sandy Madera (1B)

EDA Rhinos - Nicholas Alvin Green (RHP), Matt Torra (RHP), Juan Bautista Morillo (RHP)

There appear to be a number of openings for foreign players.  Myworld is surprised the CPBL is not taking advantage of the excitement the additional foreign signings has created in the Korean League, or the excitement Manny Ramirez brought to the league after his signing last year.

Lim Cut by Cubs Signs with Lions

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Chang-Yong Lim was a dominant closer in Japan.  Arm problems ended his career in Japan and he had surgery in 2012 to heal a torn ligament.  The 37 year old tried to shift his focus to the major leagues.  The Cubs signed him to a contract last year, put him through rehab where he finally made his major league debut in September of 2013.  His numbers were not impressive in those appearances, walking seven in five innings and being designated after the season.  The Cubs resigned him to a minor league contract for 2014 but he didn’t impress in his spring training appearances.

Lim is returning to Korea to play for the Samsung Lions.  He pitched for the Lions between 1999-2007 where he won over 100 games as a starter and picked up 168 saves as a closer.  With the Tokyo Yakult Swallows he was their closer between 2008-2012 saving 128 games.  At one point he was known as the fastest sidearm thrower in baseball, hitting in the high 90s.  The surgery and time may have put a dent in that velocity, with reports showing it has dropped to the low 90s.

The Samsung Lions have won the KBO championship the last three years, but they have lost their closer Seung-Hwan Oh to the Hanshin Tigers of the NPB.  The Lions are hoping Lim can replace him as their closer, but he may first need to spend a couple weeks in the minor leagues of Korea to get used to the new mound and the ball used by the KBO.

The one year deal he signed is worth $465,000, just under major league minimum.  There may be other incentives that the team or Lim would not disclose.  To read more go here:  http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/full/2014/03/26/51/1200000000AEN20140326002752315F.html

Astros Maul Met Pen

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Dillon Gee no hit the Astros for six innings.  He walked Jonathan Villar in the third inning, facing one over the minimum and threw 61 pitches.  The Astros scored seven runs in the seventh off three different Met pitchers who threw 59 pitches to win the game 9-6 ending their six game home losing streak.

Scott Feldman got the start for the Astros.  He too only faced one over the minimum number of batters for the first four innings, giving up a single to Juan Lagares in the second inning.  Andrew Brown led off the fifth inning with a single.  With two out and Brown standing on third, Anthony Recker sent the first pitch from Feldman deep over the left field fence to give the Mets a 3-0 lead.

The Mets added another run in the sixth.  Daniel Murphy started the inning with a double down the left field line.  Juan Lagares drove him in with a single to right.  After a Matt Dominguez error put runners on second and third and one out there appeared to be some communication problems.  Carlos Corporan stuck out his arm to signal an intentional walk to Andrew Brown.  After Feldman threw the first wide one Bo Porter either changed his mind or told Carlos that he wanted to pitch to Brown.  Brown struck out on the next three pitches.  Porter brought in Brad Peacock to face Josh Satin and he got Satin to ground to short to end the threat allowing only one run.

John Lannan came out to start the seventh to face the two lefties.  Terry Collins yanked Lannan after he walked Robbie Grossman and pinch hitter Jesus GuzmanGonzalez Germen came in, giving up a walk and a single to the three hitters he faced, but running the count to 3-2 to all three batters, making it five batters in a row with a 3-2 count.  Carlos Torres came in and gave up back to back doubles to L.J. Hoes and Matt Dominguez to begin the rout.  The Astros batted 11 hitters in the inning and eight ran the count to 3-2.

The Mets came back to make the score 7-6 with three runs off Kevin Chapman in the eighth.  Juan Lagares started the inning with a triple after a futile diving attempt by L.J. Hoes in right field allowed the ball to roll to the fence.  The Mets collected four singles in the inning to tack on the three runs.

The Astros came back with two more runs off Jose Valverde.  An error by Mets leftfielder Travis Taijeron and a passed ball assisted the Astros in scoring the runs.  Anthony Bass retired the last four hitters to pick up the save, giving up two hits and striking out four.

Game Notes: The Astros pulled a shift for Ike DavisJuan Lagares stole second with Villar arriving to second too late.  In another shift for Davis, Matt Dominguez played the area normally reserved for the shortstop.  Some teams have kept their shortstop there and moved the third baseman to the right side.  Dominguez got a double play grounder hit at him and booted it…Anthony Recker showed good speed for a catcher.  He stole a base in the eighth inning…Marc Appel pitched an inning to make his spring debut.  He gave up just one hit and struck out two…John Lannan continues to nibble.  One of the most frustrating parts about watching the Lannan outings was having to sit through his 3-2 counts.  Myworld can’t imagine being an infielder behind him.

Red Sox - 2014

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Overall - Myworld last year predicted the Red Sox would finish in last place in the competitive American League East.  They had traded some of their big name, high contract players the previous year for prospects.  The free agents they signed for the 2013 season appeared to be players to cover positions for prospects that were not yet ready to play.  The names Shane Victorino, Johnny Gomes, Stephen Drew, Ryan Dempster, Koji Uehara and David Ross are not names to put fear in a general managers heart.  Most of them were rejects from other clubs, considered too old to make a contribution.  They also stole the Blue Jays manager John Farrell to run the club.  Surprise.  Surprise.  The result was the best record in the American League last year.  They were helped by a pitching staff that pulled off some surprises, with Koji Uehara winning the closer job after the All Star break and proving to be one of the more unhittable pitchers in baseball.  Clay Buchholtz and John Lackey contributed to a season they were absent from in 2012.  The newly revised offense scored more runs than any team in the major leagues, with no player hitting more than 30 homeruns.  They still finished first in slugging, bashing 363 doubles, 50 more than any other team.  This year they lost a big contributor to their playoff season in Jacoby Ellsbury, a major contributor who ignited the offense.  They have two players who are competing to replace him (Grady Sizemore and Jackie Bradley). The centerfield hole will be a big one to fill if they want to repeat.  Shortstop is another hole which the Red Sox hope rookie Xander Bogaerts can fill.  Those shoes will be easier to fill.

Key Additions - The Red Sox released Jarrod Saltalamacchia after they signed A.J. Pierzynski.  Pierzynski adds more experience to the catching position but Jarrod put up the better offense numbers.  Neither player is a strong defensive catcher.  They also signed Edward Mujica to work in a set up role.  He had 65 appearances last year for their World Series opponent Cardinals, saving 37 games.  He had lost the closer role to Trevor Rosenthal and is insurance in case Koji Uehara is injured.  Burke Badenhop was acquired from the Brewers to strengthen the back of the bullpen.  An interesting minor league free agent signing is Grady Sizemore.  Injuries have prevented him from playing the last couple years, but prior to his injuries he was considered one of the better centerfielders in the game.  Jonathan Herrera was acquired from the Rockies to fill a utility role.

Key Subtractions - They lost both Jacoby Ellsbury and Stephen Drew to free agency.  Two rookies may take over their positions, critical middle defensive positions for a team trying to make a playoff run.  Another middle defensive position will be taken over by a new player with the loss of Jarrod Saltalamacchia to free agency.  The only returning middle defensive player is Dustin Pedroia.  They will not have either closer Andrew Bailey or Joel Hanrahan but they have found alternatives to all their positions.

Catcher - A.J. Pierzynski will be taking over the catching duties.  It is interesting the Red Sox would go with a player with more experience handling pitchers.  Jarrod Salalamacchia had better offensive numbers (.804 OPS versus .722 OPS) and is younger.  Neither player is considered a strong defensive player.  David Ross was the backup last year and will fill the same role this year.  He doesn’t have much of a bat but he is a solid defensive player.  Ryan Lavarnway will bide his time in AAA.  He may have missed his opportunity to become the starting catcher of the future for the Red Sox.  Pierzynski signed a one year contract and when that ends Blake Swihart could be ready to take over the position.  Swihart is a better defensive catcher than Ryan and could provide the offensive numbers equal to Ryan.  Another catcher Ryan will have to contend with is Christian Vazquez, but he needs to lesson his passed balls (23) before he is considered major league ready.

First Base - Mike Napoli was signed to a multi year contract by the Red Sox last year.  After a physical condition (hip ailment) was found the contract was pared down to one year.  Napoli hit 23 homeruns and slugged .482 in that one year so the Red Sox resigned him.  They also have David Ortiz who can play this position in a pinch, especially when they need to get his bat in the game against National League teams when he can’t DH.  The two most likely replacements for him would be Mike Carp and Daniel Nava, both outfielders who can play first base.  Carp hit .296 and slugged .523 in a part time role.  The Red Sox need to get that kind of production in the lineup.  Myworld liked what we saw of Travis Shaw in the Arizona Fall League.  He only hit .221 in AA but he hit 16 homeruns.  We think his offensive potential is closer to the .305 average he hit in High A in 2012.

Second Base - Dustin Pedroia has not won an MVP award in awhile, but he is the heart and soul of the Red Sox, something that seems common among players who occupy second base.  Last year Pedroia hit .301 playing in 160 games.  His defense is superb and he will never finish a game with a clean uniform.  The Red Sox acquired Jonathan Herrera from the Rockies to fill the utility role.  He hit .292 last year serving the same role for the Rockies.  Pedroia is only 31 so a future second baseman is not of any immediate need.  If they look into the future they would find Mookie Betts.  He assaulted High A pitchers for a .341 average in 51 games.  Combining the two levels he hit 15 homeruns and stole 38 bases in 42 attempts.  He is a player Red Sox fans should watch.

Third Base - Wil Middlebrooks will play here as long as the Red Sox do not sign a more experienced shortstop.  Last year during the playoffs Xander Bogaerts starred at the position.  The Red Sox traded Kevin Youkilis in the middle of the 2012 season when Wil appeared to be ready for the major leagues.  2013 proved to be a challenge with Middlebrooks hitting only .227.  He did hit 17 homeruns but to stay here full time he will need to hit better than .206 against righthanders.  Jonathan Herrera can play here but is not a permanent solution.  If Middlebrooks continues to struggle the Red Sox will have to either find a third baseman or rush Garin Cecchini to play the position.  Cecchini led all minor leaguers with a .443 OBA.  The concern with Garin is his ability to hit for power for this position.

Shortstop - The Red Sox are loaded with shortstops.  For the 2014 season they will hand the position over to rookie Xander Bogaerts, who did not look like a rookie last year playing third base in the playoffs.  He is considered one of the top five prospects in baseball.  At 6′3″ many think he is too big to play shortstop.  Shortstop is the natural position for Jonathan Herrera.  He will play here in a utility role.  If the Red Sox do not acquire a more experienced shortstop and feel a need to move Bogaerts to third they have Deven Marrero to play here.  He was the Red Sox number one 2012 pick.  Deven lacks the bat of Xander but is a quality defensive player.  Mookie Betts does not have the arm for the position but he has the range.  Another player to watch is Tzu-Wei Lin, who was signed out of Taiwan in 2012.  He still needs to play in a full season league and like Deven has not shown a strong bat.

Left Field - This will be a platoon of Daniel Nava and Johnny Gomes.  Nava hit .322 against righthanders while Gomes slugged for power against lefthanders.  Gomes strikes out a lot and does not hit for average regardless of the pitcher he is facing.  Nava is the more consistent hitter with a .385 OBA.  This could also be a position the Red Sox may want to squeeze in the bat of Mike Carp.  Carp is not strong defensively, but he has a power lefthanded bat.  A wild card is Grady Sizemore.  He could play anywhere if he doesn’t win the centerfield job.  With his injury history a corner outfield position may be best for him, but that all depends on the confidence the Red Sox have in giving Jackie Bradley the centerfield job.  He won it last year in spring training and then failed.  Bryce Brentz has the power bat to be the future at this position.  His biggest challenge is to stay away from guns after shooting himself, delaying the start of his 2013 season.  Bryce was a first round supplemental pick of the Red Sox in 2010 but is not a strong defensive player.

Centerfield - Last year Jackie Bradley won the centerfield job but bombed when the regular season started and was sent back to the minors.  The Red Sox would like to give him the position to begin the 2014 season.  He is in a battle with Grady Sizemore for the centerfield job.  Look for one of those two to start.  Myworld would put my money on Bradley with Sizemore acting as a fourth outfielder to begin the season, or start in the minors to get more at bats.  Bradley offers more of the speed the Red Sox lost with the departure of Ellsbury, but he does not steal bases.  His OBA was an impressive .374 in AAA.  With Bradley the Red Sox do not need a centerfielder for the future, but if he fails they could move Mookie Betts to this position.  A long time option could be Manuel Margot, who covers a lot of ground in centerfield.  He could develop into a five tool player but still needs a couple years of minor league seasoning before he is ready.

Right Field - Shane Victorino will be the favorite to begin the position here.  As a former centerfielder he provides the Red Sox with solid defense.  He also provided a consistent offense with a .802 OPS.  At 33 he will need a rest every now and then so this could be an opportunity for the Red Sox to get the power bat of Mike Carp in the lineup, or play both Daniel Nava and Johnny Gomes.  Grady Sizemore has been having an excellent spring and he may need a place to play.  For the future the Red Sox are not strong at the corners.  If left field is not open Bryce Brentz can play here, but he is better suited for left.

Designated Hitter - This position belongs to the power bat of David Ortiz.  There is no one better at this position.  At some point in his career his bat will slow down.  To keep it fresh the Red Sox can bring in Mike Carp.  A more likely bat to rest Ortiz would be the right handed bat of Johnny Gomes.  Gomes defense in the outfield makes his best position DH, but not with Ortiz in the lineup.

Starting Pitching - The Red Sox starting pitching improved last year, allowing them to improve on their last place finish.  It was only 14th in the major leagues in ERA, but with their offense that is good enough to win games.  Jon Lester will be the ace.  Many think he can be better than his 15-8, 3.75 ERA season.  Clay Buchholtz pitched like an ace last year (12-1, 1.74) but neck, stomach, back and shoulder issues have restricted him from pitching 200 innings or starting 30 games in a season.  He missed much of the middle of the 2013 season with neck issues.  Jacob Peavey used to be an ace with the Padres, but is probably better as a number three starter.  Ryan Dempster is another veteran they can put at the back end of the rotation.  Felix Doubront should win the number five spot.  The Red Sox have been waiting for him to put it together.  He will be challenged in spring from the promise of Allen Webster.  Allen struggled in his major league debut last year (8.60 ERA) so it may be best for his development to start the season in AAA.  The Red Sox do not lack depth in the minor leagues with Henry Owens, Webster, Mat Barnes and Anthony Ranaudo all ready to step into the rotation in 2014 should one of their veteran starters fail.  They also have their number one pick of last year Trey Ball and their 2012 number one pick Brian Johnson to follow them on the depth chart.

Relief Pitching - The Red Sox started the season with Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan as their closers, but injuries ended their seasons early.  Koji Uehara ended the season as the closer and did so well he will begin the 2014 season as the closer.  Edward Mujica started last year as the closer for the Cardinals and he will be the setup man for the Red Sox.  If Uehara should stumble or fall to injury Mujica could be inserted as the closer.  Junichi Tazawa, signed out of Japan a couple years ago, appeared in 71 games and made a solid contribution to the bullpen.  From the left side Craig Breslow and Andrew Miller will get the call, though last year they both were better against right handed hitters.  Longmen will be Chris Capuano and Brandon Workman.  The Red Sox have a nice balance of lefty and righty relievers to give Farrell good matchups.

Potential Rookie Candidates - Xander Bogaerts is the favorite to win rookie of the year honors.  He will be playing either short or third base for the Red Sox depending on their season needs.  Jackie Bradley will compete with him if he wins the starting centerfield job.  Allen Webster will get the first call to get in the rotation if injury or ineffectiveness requires a fifth starter.  The Red Sox could also go with Henry Owens, Matt Barnes or Anthony Ranaudo, whoever is hot in the minor leagues.  The Red Sox would prefer to just have one rookie in their rotation or it will be a challenging season.  A long shot to make the club will be Garin Cecchini and only if Middlebrooks struggles.  Brandon Workman could be the quiet rookie out of the pen or working as a spot starter.

2008 Draft - The Red Sox have had some pretty good drafts, getting better results from the later rounds as they signed the high risk players with over the slot bonuses.  The 2008 draft was not one of those great drafts they would put on their resume.  Casey Kelley was their first round pick who they traded to the Padres for Adrian Gonzalez.  Injuries have prevented Casey from reaching his potential.  Ryan Westmoreland was a fifth round pick whose career was ended by a brain injury.  The sixth and seventh round picks gave them catchers Ryan Lavarnway and Timothy Federowicz.  Lavarnway is still the Red Sox catcher of the future as he waits the one year season of Pierzynski.  Federowicz was traded to the Dodgers for Eric Bedard in a three team trade.  He currently is the backup catcher for the Dodgers.  Travis Shaw was picked in the 32nd round but did not sign and was again drafted in the 9th round of the 2011 draft out of Kent State.  Yan Gomes was a 39th pick who did not sign.  Of all those players Yan is the only regular.

Expected Finish - Myworld is still not a believer in their overall talent, but these players have the character to play above that talent.  Expect them to make the playoffs as one of the wild card teams but. we would be surprised to see back to back World Series.

Cuban Top Four Determined

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

The defending champion Villa Clara Orangemen were the last team to qualify for the final playoff round in Cuba.  They beat the Holquin Dogs 8-2 yesterday to clinch a spot in the last round of the playoffs.  The final eight teams played a round robin to whittle it down to four.

The other three teams are the Matanzas Crocodiles, who won the round robin by five games.  They will be joined by the Pinar del Rio Tobacco Growers, who won the Cuban championship in 2011, and the Industriales Leones, who stole the Gourriel brothers from the Sancti Spiritus Roosters.  The Industriales last won a championship in 2010.  Matanzas is the only team in the final four to have not won a championship in the last five years.  Matanzas has yet to win a championship in the Nacional Series.

The opening series will pit Matanzas against Villa Clara in a best of seven playoff.  Industriales will start their battle against Pinar del Rio the next day.  Myworld will do our best to follow the playoffs and report on them here.  If we fail in that quest you can go to http://www.baseballdecuba.com/newsite/index.html for updates.

Blue Jays Lose Ugly 22-5

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

J.A. Happ was just awful and Esmil Rogers was no better.  The two combined to give up 17 runs and 21 hits in less than six innings.  The wind was blowing out towards right field, but the Pirate pitchers left the ball in the park except for Matt Tuiasosopo.  Happ and Rogers were batting practice, giving up more hits than outs in the Pirates 22-5 win over the Blue Jays.

The Pirates chose to have the pitcher hit while the Blue Jays used the DH.  Wandy Rodriguez did not embarrass himself swinging the stick.  On a full count in the second inning he slugged a ball into the right field bullpen to give the Pirates a 4-0 lead.  He also slapped a single inside the first base line to drive in a second run.  Edwin Encarnacion did not make an out for the Blue Jays as a DH, going 1 for 1 with two walks.  He did make a baserunning blunder forgetting the number of outs.

There were Pirate offensive stars throughout the lineup.  Starling Marte collected five hits in six at bats and drove in four runs.  Jose Tabata went 4 for 4 and was just a triple short of the cycle.  He was removed from the game in the fifth inning.  Travis Snyder came into right field for Tabata and went 3 for 3, giving the right field spot 7 hits in 7 at bats.

The only inning the Pirates did not score was the first inning, but a caught stealing prevented that.  They still bashed two hits off Happ.  His ERA coming into this game was 20.25 and he gave up seven runs in just three innings.  He gave up more hits today than he had given up in his previous three just awful starts.

The only player on the Pirates who did not look good was Pedro Alvarez.  He swung and missed on a curveball and high fastball in his first two at bats for strikeouts.  He was the only player in the starting lineup not to get a hit.

Game Notes: The Blue Jays were given an extra run in the third inning.  Melky Cabrera was on third and Edwin Encarnacion on second.  Both players must have forgotten how many outs there were because they both ran on a flyout to center with just one out.  McCutchen threw the ball to second to double up Encarnacion, but they counted the Cabrera run because he had crossed the plate.  To eliminate that run the Pirates would have had to appeal Cabrera leaving early at third…Josh Bell made a pinch hit appearance and swung at the first pitch, grounding out to short so we didn’t see a lot of his swing.  He made a catch in right field with a runner on third and appeared confused where to throw the ball, throwing the ball to no particular base.  With the Blue Jays losing 22-3 there was no need to risk taking the extra base, so they did not take advantage of the gaffe…Esmil Rogers had trouble throwing the ball 60 feet.  His balls were only going 58 feet, resulting in four wild pitches and a plethora of one hop scoops for the catcher…Walker Gourley cleared the bases with a 3-run double to get the Pirates to 20 runs.  It was the first game myworld has ever attended in which one team has scored 20.  Gourley made a nice bare hand defensive play to end the game, showing some defensive chops for third base.

Foreign Players in the NPB Pacific League

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Myworld took a look at the rosters to identify some of the foreign players in the Pacific League.  Japan can have four foreign players on their rosters, but no more than three can be position players or pitchers.  Some teams carry more than four foreign players, but the extras are carried on their nigun rosters, which is equivalent to the minor leagues.

Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles - Travis Blackley (LHP), Brian Falkenborg (RHP), Loek Van Mil (RHP), Andrew Jones (OF)

Saitama Seibu Lions - Michael Bowden (RHP), Greg Reynolds (RHP), Randy Williams (LHP), Cody Ransom (Utl)

Chiba Lotte Marines - Seth Greisinger (RHP), Carlos Rosa (RHP), Craig Brazell (1B), Luis Cruz (2B/SS), Chad Huffman (OF)

Fukuoka Softbank Hawks - Edison Barrios (RHP), Mu-Young Kim (RHP), Paul Oseguera (LHP), Dennis Sarfarte (RHP), Jason Stanridge (RHP), Brian Wolfe (RHP), Barbaro Canizares (1B/DH), Dae-Ho Lee (1B/DH), Tu-Hsuan Lee (Infielder)

Orix Buffaloes - Brandon Dickson (RHP), Alessandro Maestri (RHP), Yuniesky Betancourt (Utl), Esteban German (3B), Wily Mo Pena (OF/DH)

Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters - Michael Crotta (RHP), Luis Mendoza (RHP), Michel Abreu (1B/DH), Juan Miranda (1B/DH), Dai-Kang Yang (OF)

Top Prospects 2014 - 20-11

Tuesday, March 25th, 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 20 and 11 as we work our way down to number 1.  If you want to take a look at previous top 100 lists for myworld you can go to http://www.myworldofbaseball.com/id13.html.

20. George Springer OF (Astros) - George was a first round pick of the Astros in 2011 out of Connecticut.  Because he was drafted out of college he is older than most prospects (24).  Last year he hit 37 homeruns and stole 45 bases.  The Astros wanted to negotiate a contract extension with him that would go into his first year of free agency.  If he had agreed to that extension odds are he would be the Astros starting right fielder this year.  He did not agree to the extension and the Astros sent him to the minor leagues the next day.  The timing may have been bad, but Springer and his agent are considering filing a grievance.  It is hard to argue L.J. Hoes is a better right fielder than George Springer.  The only thing George needs to work on is his ability to make contact.  That may prevent him from hitting for a high average in the major leagues.  His defense is good enough to play centerfield and he has the potential for 30 plus power.  This spring he seemed to be working on his patience, taking a lot of pitches.

19. Billy Hamilton OF (Reds) - Billy was a second round pick of the Reds in 2009.  He was somewhat of an unknown until he stole 103 bases in 2011.  He topped that in 2012 stealing 155 bases.  That translates to more than one stolen base per game.  The Reds moved him from shortstop to centerfield where his speed is more of an asset.  With the departure of Shin-Soo Choo the Reds have an opening in centerfield.  Billy needs to get on base in order to steal bases and create havoc from the leadoff position.  His stolen base totals for 2013 dropped to 75 when his OBA dropped 100 points.  Billy has no power to hit homeruns so he needs to keep the ball on the ground or on a line to be successful.

18. Travis d’Arnaud C (Mets) - Travis was a first round supplemental pick of the Phillies in 2007.  The Phillies sent him to the Blue Jays for Cy Young award winner Roy Halladay and the Blue Jays traded him to the Mets for Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey.  Injuries have prevented him from making a major league impact.  Last year he made his major league debut, hitting only .202, but he has played less than 100 games in three of his last four seasons.  Travis has a power bat that can hit for average.  He also has the defensive tools to make him an average catcher.  With the offense he is expected to contribute the Mets will take that, but they have to find a way to get him in the lineup.

17. Jonathan Gray RHP (Rockies) - Gray was the second overall pick in the 2013 draft.  The Rockies gave him nine starts, five of them as high as High A.  In High A he finished with a 0.75 ERA and a .128 opposition average.  He also struck out 36 hitters in 24 innings.  Gray was hitting triple digits with his fastball, sitting comfortably in the mid-90s.  At 6′4″ 250 pounds he should be an innings eater.  Gray throws a good slider and has the potential for a decent changeup.  He should rise up the Rockies system quickly, starting the 2014 season in AA with a good spring.  The biggest challenge for him is to achieve success in the Rocky Mountain High.

16. Gregory Polanco OF (Pirates) - Polanco starred in the winter league last year.  The Pirates signed him for $150,000 but wanted him to move from the mound to the outfield.  He struggled his first three seasons but had a break out year in 2012 when he hit .325 with 16 homeruns.  To prove that the 2012 season was no fluke he hit .312 in High A last year, but found AA a bit more challenging.  Polanco has the potential to be a five tool player.  He has centerfield speed, with a right field arm and the ability to make contact to hit for average and the strength to hit for power.  With a good spring there is a chance of him making the Pirate roster as their starting right fielder.  Only Jose Tabata and Travis Snider stand in his way.

15. Addison Russell SS (Athletics) - Addison was a first round pick of the Athletics in 2012.  What was surprising about the pick is he was a high school player, something the Athletics try to stay away from.  He has done nothing but hit, showing the ability to hit for power and average.  The only tool falling short in his game is an average arm.  This could force a move to second, but the Athletics will keep him at short to allow him to prove he doesn’t belong.  Expect him to make his debut in 2014, at the latest as a September callup.  It will all depend on the effectiveness of Jed Lowrie at shortstop.

14. Kevin Gausmann RHP (Orioles) - Kevin was a first round pick of the Orioles in 2012.  With the Dylan Bundy arm surgery he has a better shot of making it in the Orioles rotation this year.  His fastball sits in the mid 90s, but arrives at the plate pretty straight.  His above average change makes the fastball velocity that much more impressive.  Once he can improve the consistency of his breaking pitch (slider) he could become a number one starter.  Major leaguers sat on his fastball last year, resulting in a 5.66 ERA and a .276 opposition average.  He used to have a tradition of eating miniature donuts in between innings for each of his starts, but he has learned to break away from that tradition.  It is better for his teeth and his weight.

13. Nick Castellanos 3B (Tigers) - Nick was a first round supplemental pick of the Tigers in 2010.  When the Tigers moved Miguel Cabrera to third the Tigers moved Nick to the outfield.  Now that Miguel is moving back to first, the Tigers have stated Nick will be their starting third baseman this year.  His hands seem a little stiff defensively, but he has not played this position in the last couple years.  He does have a bat with the potential to hit for a lot of power.  His biggest challenge for the 2014 season is not trying to replace the lost production of Prince Fielder.  In 2014 he just needs to be better than Miguel Cabrera at the position last year.

12. Noah Syndergaard RHP (Mets) - Noah was a first round supplemental pick of the Blue Jays in 2010.  The Blue Jays included him and Travis d’Arnaud in a trade with the Mets to acquire R.A. Dickey.  He throws his fastball in the mid-90s, resulting in a 11.5 strike outs per 9 innings in AA.  He still must gain consistency with his secondary pitches before joining Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler in the Mets rotation.  This could give the Mets three potential aces.

11. Dylan Bundy RHP (Orioles) - Dylan was the fourth overall pick of the Orioles in 2011.  Drafted out of high school, he moved through the system quickly, making his major league debut in 2012.  It all may have been too quick for him.  He missed the 2013 season because of Tommy John surgery.  Prior to the surgery Dylan threw in the mid-90s.  When myworld saw him pitching in September during the Orioles playoff race he was sitting in the low 90s.  Dylan also has the best curveball in the Orioles system.  He will start the 2014 season in AA.  Only a battle for a playoff spot will give the Orioles the temptation of calling him up in 2014.