Archive for May, 2014

Rangers 2014 Domestic Draft Team

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Myworld is taking a look at all the major league teams to see what kind of 25-man roster they could field if they only relied on the players selected from the domestic draft and nothing else to stock their team. Only current major leaguers are considered for the 25 man roster. Realistically, some players would extend their career because without foreign players a job could still be available and others who never were called up could fill the empty positions. The Rangers are one of the better focused teams for international talent so you would think any domestic roster would be light.  That is not necessarily the case, except in the case of shortstop.  They would have a difficult time putting a competitive player here to make their major league roster.  They have a lot of succuss in mid round picks, but much of the most recent talent has been traded away for playoff pieces.

Catcher - A couple backup catchers would share this job in Mike Nickeas (2004 - 5th round) and Taylor Teagarden (2005 - 3rd).

First Base - They would have some big boppers here, with a couple spots to fill the DH spot.  Last year’s homerun leader Chris Davis (2006 - 5th round) would start.  Mark Teixeira (2001 - 1st round) would have trouble finding playing time because of injury and lack of production, but his glove is better here.  Mitch Moreland (2007 - 17th round) could find some time at the DH spot.  Justin Smoak (2008 - 1st round) would be the last guy in the pecking order.

Second Base - Ian Kinsler (2003 - 17th round) was a nice late round pick but would have to play a full season here.

Shortstop - They have zero here, focusing on international talent to fill this position.

Third Base - Edwin Encarnacion (2000 - 9th round) would probably fit best at DH or first base, but the position is slim.  You could go for better defense with Mike Olt (2010 - 1st round) but the offense might suffer.

Outfield - This position is filled with a number of fourth outfielder types, the best among them being John Mayberry (2005 - 1st round).  Craig Gentry (2006 - 10th round) would patrol centerfield while Justin Maxwell (2004 - 10th round) would try to fulfill his potential in right field.  Since Justin did not sign with the Rangers other options would be Laynce Nix (2000 - 4th round) and Jason Bourgeois (2000 - 2nd round).

Starting Pitching - No real aces here but a lot of depth.  R.A. Dickey (1996 - 1st round) with his knuckleball would be an ace, though since his Cy Young season his ace stuff has disappeared.  Colby Lewis (1999 - 1st round) is trying to overcome injuries and Aaron Harang (1999 - 6th round) who is having a surprising season are two more veterans to fill the rotation.  Ryan Dempster (1995 - 3rd round) and Barry Zito (1998 - 3rd round) are two veterans still looking for a team, though Barry didn’t sign with the Rangers when drafted.  Two more veterans are Scott Feldman (2003 - 30th round) and C.J. Wilson (2001 - 5th round).  To sprinkle in some youth the Rangers would look at Derek Holland (2006 - 25th round), John Danks (2003 - first round), Blake Beavan (2007 - first round), Drew Pomeranz (2007 - 12th round, not signed), Tanner Roark (2008 - 25th round) and Nick Tepesch (2010 - 14th round).  Roark was given away for Christian Guzman.

Relief Pitchers - The Rangers would have the luxury of using a number of the starting pitchers who did not make the rotation and convert them to bullpen arms.  Dennis Sarfate (1999 - 15th round) is a closer for his Japan team, but he was not signed by the Rangers.  Kameron Loe (2002 - 20th round), Cory Luebke (2006 - 32nd round, not signed), Robbie Ross (2008 - second round), Joe weiland (2008 - second round) and Robbie Erlin (2009 3rd round) would fill the pen.  Ross, Luebke and Erlin would throw from the left side.  Other possible closers would be Tommy Hunter (2007 - 1st round), who failed in his role as an Oriole and Tanner Scheppers (2009 - 1st round), who was considered for that role in 2014.  Evan Reed (2007 - third round) is another arm with velocity who could close.

Hagerstown Hosts 2014 Mid-Atlantic Baseball Classic

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Myworld spent my first time in Hagerstown.  The field is historic, but badly in need of restoration.  It is one of the three oldest minor league stadiums, but that may not be a good thing.  Willie Mays played his first professional game in Hagerstown with the Trenton Giants on June 24, 1950.  Two more Hall of Famers, Lefty Grove and Hack Wilson played for Hagerstown.  Hack has some huge shoulders and a wide face.  One look at his physique and the first thought would be what kind of steroids is he taking, except they did not have steroids in his era.

The first game was the Diamond All Star Game, won by the American League over the National League 11-6.  Myworld did not find any players in that game we got excited about.  A couple players seemed to be taking on the Dan Vogelbach physique for playing the game.  The MVP was given to Tim Kitchen

In the second game with the elite players, won by the American again 7-3, myworld was intrigued by Isaiah Pasteur.  He played two innings at short, one inning on the mound and two innings in right field.  He gunned a guy out at third in the first inning, showing off an impressive arm in right field, then led the game off with a single into right field.  He would not impress at short, though during infield practice he had smooth actions at the position.  During the game, he failed to field all three balls hit at him, being charged with one error.  In his one inning on the mound, he struck out two, but committed another error on a pick off attempt, overthrowing the first baseman.  He still did not allow a runner to score.  In his second at bat he lined a single up the middle to drive in one run.  Pasteur has committed to the University of Indiana.

Despite all that the MVP award for the game was given to Garrett Blank.  He stole three bases and scored twice, going one for one with a walk.

The best breaking pitch was thrown by Chris Schleuss, who threw the first shutout inning for the National League.  Later Heath Shultz, another lefthander with a decent breaking pitch would strike out the side and throw the second shutout inning for the National League.

Other notable events included Derek Nadeau fouling off at least six two strike pitches before delivering a single.  He chokes up a little with the bat, something unheard of in this day and age of grip it and rip it.  They have a limited number of balls to play with and they try to use the same ball for a couple innings.  Nadeau had them searching for extra balls with his bat fouling six or so out of play.

Jamal Wade seemed to have the best bat when he doubled into right center in his first at bat.  His next at bat he faced a pitcher with a decent curve ball and swung at and missed on three breaking pitches.

You can go to their website here:  http://www.leaguelineup.com/welcome.asp?url=mabc for more news.

Another Four Homer Day and Other Minor League Accomplishments

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Mike Ford, a non-drafted free agent pick up by the Yankees in 2013 slugged four homeruns in the Charleston River Dogs 17-10 win over Hickory.  Ford went to school in Princeton, normally not a hot bed for ballplayers.  He did not hit his first homerun until his third at bat, taking a walk and striking out in his first two at bats.  Ford hit a two run homer in his third at bat and then followed with three solo shots.  Prior to the four homeruns he had gone 16 games without a dinger.

Eddie Butler, a first round pick of the Rockies in 2012 out of Radford pitched seven shutout innings on Sunday.  In his previous two outings he had not given up an earned run in 12 plus innings.  He did give up one unearned run.  The 22 plus shutout innings lowered his 2014 ERA to 2.39 in 10 starts.  While he is preventing runners from crossing the plate, the hitters are not having trouble making contact off Butler, whiffing only 36 times in 64 innings.

The Marlins 2013 10th round pick Carlos Lopez had back to back big days for the Greensboro Grasshoppers.  First he had a six RBI game collecting two hits in three at bats.  He followed that with a six hit game, driving in three runs and walking once.  He only managed one extra base hit in the spree, a double.  Lopez is now on an eight game hitting streak that has raised his average to .319.

Steven Moya was born in Puerto Rico but grew up playing baseball in the Dominican Republic.  At 6′7″ he has a pretty long strike zone.  He started the season out slow, but his bat has been heating up.  A couple days ago he went 4 for 4 with two homeruns, including a walk off homerun.  He has followed that with two games of 5 for 9 with a double, triple, homerun and two singles.  It has raised his average for the season to .272.  The big strike zone has given him a 6/51 walk to whiff ratio in 46 games.  Those are numbers good pitchers can exploit.

2014 Field of 64 Determined

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Myworld has been a bit complacent about reporting on the progress of college baseball, but the real excitement of the season does not begin until the regionals start.  Now that the regionals have been determined and the teams assigned it is time to pay attention.  Below are the list of regionals:

Corvallis

Oregon State (1), North Dakota State, Las Vegas

Stillwater

Oklahoma State, Binghamton, Cal State Fullerton, Nebraska

Houston

Rice, George Mason, Texas A&M, Texas

Baton Rouge

Louisiana State (8), SE Louisiana, Bryant, Houston (not playing in Houston)

Tallahassee

Florida State (5) (37th straight appearance), Georgia Southern, Kennesaw State (first time participant), Alabama

Louisville

Louisville, Kent State, Kansas, Kentucky

Nashville

Vanderbilt, Xavier, Clemson, Oregon

Bloomington

Indiana (4), Youngstown State, Stanford, Indiana State

Gainesville

Florida (2), College of Charleston, North Carolina, Long Beach State

Coral Gables

Miami (42nd straight appearance), Bethune-Cookman, Columbia, Texas Tech

San Luis Obispo

Cal Poly, Sacramento State (first time participant), Pepperdine, Arizona State

Fort Worth

Texas Christian (7), Siena, Sam Houston State, Dallas Baptist

Lafayette

Louisiana-Lafayette (6), Jackson State, San Diego State, Mississippi State

Oxford

Mississippi, Jacksonville State, Georgia Tech, Washington

Columbia

South Carolina, Campbell, Old Dominion, Maryland

Charlottesville

Virginia (3), Bucknell, Liberty, Arkansas

Some pretty cool places to play and some colleges you would never see in a football bowl game or even in the basketball field of 64.  Start your engines.  Games begin Friday.

O’s Cruz to Victory Over Indians

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

Nelson Cruz hit his league leading sixteenth homerun and the Orioles overcame an early 2-0 deficit to defeat the Cleveland Indians 4-2.  The victory gave the O’s a split of the four game series.

It was a shaky start for Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez.  He gave up a single, walk and single to the first three batters he faced.  Two sacrifice flies later and he was down 2-0.  He was fortunate he was not down 4-0 as Jason Giambi lifted a deep fly ball to the right field warning track, caught by Nick Markakis just a few feet from being a homerun.

The Orioles scored their first run in the second inning.  Steve Pearce, playing for Chris Davis, who was on paternity leave, led off the inning with a single.  He stole second and then raced home when Jonathan Schoop blooped a single over first.  Nick Swisher gathered the ball in and appeared to have a play on Pearce at the plate, but chose to hold the ball.

Nelson Cruz got a rally started for the Orioles in the third with a two out double that struck the right centerfield wall.  Steve Pearce singled into left field and Cruz just beat the throw home from Michael Brantley to tie the score.

In the fifth the Orioles went ahead for good.  The slumbering Manny Machado drove one just over the right field scoreboard to give the Orioles the lead.  The Orioles hope the hit wakes up his bat and his .270 slugging average.  One out later Nelson Cruz drove a ball into the center field bullpen for a 4-2 lead.

The Indians failed to get a runner past second after the second inning.  Zach Britton retired the side in order to get the save, humming his fastball at 94-97 miles per hour from the left side.  He appears to be ready to take over the closer job from Tommy Hunter, putting Tommy back in a set up role.

Game Notes:  The Lacrosse national championships were being played at Ravens stadium, so the parking was limited and expensive.  Myworld parked in Federal Hills for free and walked a couple miles to the stadium…Good to see Caleb Joseph get a major league opportunity after spending seven plus years with AA Bowie.  He is only hitting .050, but he did throw a runner out at second during a critical point in the game.  The acquisition of Nick Hundley will send him back to the minors…Adam Jones swung at and missed a couple times on Trevor Bauer 94-95 mile per hour fastballs.  Bauer had a number of O’s swinging and missing at his high fastball, which is a good indication it had some movement, striking out 8 in less than five innings of work…Nick Markakis had a rough day going 0 for 5 with three whiffs.  He took three called strikes in his third at bat with a runner on third…The O’s could have tagged on more runs in the fifth with runners on first and third and one out.  Jonathan Schoop could not make contact and David Lough followed suit with a whiff.  The O’s were hoping Lough would take over the production of Nate McLouth from last year, and not follow the anemic offense McLouth is hitting this year.  Both are averaging near .150.

Rays 2014 Domestic Draft Team

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

Myworld is taking a look at all the major league teams to see what kind of 25-man roster they could field if they only relied on the players selected from the domestic draft and nothing else to stock their team. Only current major leaguers are considered for the 25 man roster. Realistically, some players would extend their career because without foreign players a job could still be available and others who never were called up could fill the empty positions. The Rays have a pretty impressive roster, but most of that can be attributed to their lower finishes and high number one draft picks they were awarded for poor seasons.  Now that they have had success and are finishing higher in the standings their draft picks have not been that great.  After the 2007 draft they have only produced three major leaguers, one of whom is out for the year with an injury (Tim Beckham) and two of whom are playing for different teams (Derek Dietrich and Zac Rosscup).

Catcher - John Jaso (2003 - 12th round) would give them a solid catcher, but they would lack a backup.  Joey Terdoslavich (2007 - 35th round) was drafted as a catcher but not signed.

1B - Luke Scott (2000 - 45th round) and Ike Davis (2005 - 19th round) are two players who could alternate between DH and first base.  Neither player was signed by the Rays.  Delmon Young (2003 - first round) is best at DH but could play first base and the Rays signed him.

2B - Derek Dietrich (2010 - second round) is a recent draft who could play this position.  He is now playing with the Marlins.  Mike Fontenot (1999 - 21st round) may still be hanging around, but the Rays did not sign him.  Tim Beckham (2008 - first round) would probably be the starter here once he got healthy.  If they had no concern for defense Ryan Raburn (1999 - 18th round) could play here in spurts, but he is another player the Rays did not sign.

Shortstop - Not a lot of options here.  Reid Brignac (2004 - second round) showed promise but then fizzled.  We liked his bat this spring and the Phillies have called him up.  Beckham could be the option by default if they wanted to fill second with Dietrich.

Third Base - They are set for life here with Evan Longoria (2006 - first round)

Outfield - The Rays are loaded here.  In addition to Young and Raburn, they would have Carl Crawford (1999 - second round), Josh Hamilton (1999 - first round) and Desmond Jennings (2006 - 10th round) as starters.  B.J. Upton (2002 - first round) and Johnny Gomes (2001 - 18th)  would make pretty good fourth outfielders and with Hamilton always on the DL you would need those.  You also have Jacoby Ellsbury (2002 - 23rd round) who was drafted by them but never signed.

Starting Pitchers - The Rays would still be strong in pitching.  Of those signed David Price (2007 - first round), Alex Cobb (2006 - 4th round), James Shields (2000 - 16th round), Jason Hammel (2002 - 10th round) and Wade Davis (2004 - third round) would fill a top five.  Injuries would prevent Matt Moore (2007 - 8th round), Jeremy Hellickson (2005 - 4th round) and Josh Johnson (2007 - 16th) from making a contribution.  Jason Stanridge (1997 - first round) is still pitching in Japan.  Chris Seddon (2001 - 5th round) pitched in Korea and is now in Japan.  Kris Medlen (2003 - 37th round), Mike Minor (2006 - 13th round) and Wade Miley (2005 - 20th round) are an impressive trio that were not signed but could make the starting five even more loaded.

Relief Pitching - In addition to some of the starters that would not make the rotation you could add Tommy Hunter (2005 - 18th round) as the closer, though the Rays did not sign him.  Heath Bell (1997 - 69th round) is another draft pick that was not signed.  Add to the unsigned list would be Mike Pelfrey (2002 - 15th round), Jared Hughes (2003 - 16th round) and Wade LeBlanc (2003 - 36th round).  Of those players the Rays drafted and signed Seth McClung (1999 - 5th round), Chad Gaudin (2001 34th round), Jake McGee (2004 - 5th round) and Zac Rosscup (2009 - 28th round) would fill the bullpen, but it would be an unimpressive list.

Oh Hits for Cycle in Korea

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

Jae-Wan Oh became the 16th player in the KBO to hit for the cycle in the Doosan Bears 11-5 win over the Hanwha Eagles.  Oh drove in five of the 11 runs for the Bears with five hits.  He hit two singles, a double, triple and a 2-run homer.  His homerun came in the third inning off former major leaguer Matt Albers.  Oh is hitting .393 for the Bears with 16 stolen bases in 17 attempts.  He has three homeruns and three triples.

The Samsung Lions are on a 10 game winning streak pulling away from the pack with Seung-Yeop Lee and Hyung-Woo Choi leading the charge.  The veteran Lee hit three homeruns in a two game period a couple days ago, giving him seven for the year.  Choi hit three homeruns in his last two games.  He also has seven homeruns on the year.   The Lions now have a four game lead over the Doosan Bears and NC Dinos.

Elbow Surgeries Less Prevalent in Japan

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

As much criticism as the major leagues gives Japan for their over use of their young pitchers, the prevalence of elbow surgeries does not seem as frequent in Japan as it appears in the major leagues.  The arguement could be that Japanese pitchers do not throw as hard, or perhaps do not make that choice and prefer rehabilitation rather than surgery.  They also have a six man rotation in Japan, a 144 game season and higher pitch counts per game, but the number of pitches per game is dropping.

The following are Japanese pitchers in the NBP who have undergone elbow surgery for the 2014 season that myworld could identify courtesy of yakyubaka:

Toshiharu Moriuchi (Nippon Ham Fighters), Shohei Tateyama (Yakult Swallows), Toshihiro Sugiura (Yakult Swallows) and Tomoyuki Kubota (Hanshin Tigers)

Myworld counts four pitchers among the above list.  In the major leagues the list of 2014 elbow surgeries is more rampant.  Perhaps it is becuase the pitchers throw harder.  Or perhaps the Japanese technique of building arm strength through throwing is better.

Jose Fernandez (Miami Marlins), A.J. Griffin (Oakland Athletics), Patrick Corbin (Arizona Diamondbacks), Matt Moore (Tampa Bay Rays), Josh Johnson (San Diego Padres), Bobby Parnell (New York Mets), Kris Medlen (Atlanta Braves), Brandon Beachy (Atlanta Braves), Cory Gearrin (Atlanta Braves), Jarrod Parker (Oakland Athletics), Jose Cisnero (Houston Astros), David Hernandez (Arizona Diamondbacks), Cory Luebke (San Diego Padres), Joseph Weiland (San Diego Padres), Pedro Figueroa (Texas Rangers), Martin Perez (Texas Rangers), Jeremy Hellickson (Tampa Bay Rays), Luke Hochevar (Kansas City Royals), Bruce Rondon (Detroit Tigers), Ivan Nova (New York Yankees).

That is 20 elbow surgeries to 4. It is possible that myworld does not have access to all the elbow injuries and surgeries in the NPB, but we read the narratives dailey and the number of pitchers being placed on the disabled list for elbow injuries is easily not as great as in the major leagues.

Interesting to note that when Japanese pitchers come to the major leagues they seem to undergo more elbow surgeries than if they had stayed in Japan.   Kyuji Fujikawa, Tsuyoshi Wada and Koji Uehara are three pitchers who come to mind off the top of my head. It could be that in the United States it is more inclined to prescribe surgery than rehabilitation to cure elbow injuries.

Astros to Build Presence in Japan

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and pro scouting director Kevin Goldstein visited Japan in an effort to enhance their presence there.  They made a bid last year on Masahiro Tanaka but fell short of the Yankees.  With Yu Darvish, Hisashi Iwakuma and Masahiro Tanaka making up three of the top pitchers in the major leagues it appears to be a ripe spot to find pitching success.

Kenta Maeda is the next possible pitcher to jump to the major leagues next year and Shohei Otani and Shintaro Fujinami are two of the top young pitchers that would make an impact on a major league team in five to seven years.

Four Homer Day for Griffin

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Jon Griffin is swinging a hot bat.  He’s hit six homeruns in his last three games, four in one game in the Mobile Bay Bears 17-7 win over the Tennessee Smokies.  At 25 Griffin is not considered much of a prospect, but any player standing 6′6″, 220, who can hit four homeruns in one game will get a look.

Griffin began his homer onslaught in the fifth inning where his solo shot extended the Bay Bears lead.  He added another solo shot in the sixth, and in the seventh blasted his third homer to put the game out of reach for the Smokies.  His fourth homer of the day came off position player Anthony Giansanti in the ninth inning with a man on.  He finished the game 5 for 6 with seven RBIs.

Griffin hit a solo homerun today.  It was his tenth homerun of the season.  Last year Griffin hit a total of ten homeruns.  The Diamondbacks drafted him in the 21st round of the 2011 draft out of Central Florida.