Archive for June, 2014

Cuban Players Recruited by Japan

Monday, June 30th, 2014

The  http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=104575 has reported that the Yomiuri Giants and another Japanese team have been in Cuba looking for additional Cuban players for their NPB teams, especially pitchers.  The following are some of the players the Havana Times has noted have been looked at by these two Japanese teams:

Pitchers - Hector Mendoza (Isla de la Juventud), Vladimir Garcia (Ciego de Avila), Yoanni Yera (Matanzas), Julio Alfredo Martinez (Pinar del Rio), Ariel Diaz (Ciego de Avila), Norge Luis Ruiz (Camaguay), Vladimir Gutierrez (Pinar del Rio), Ismel Jimenez (Sancti Spiritus).

A few position players:

Michel Enriquez (Isla de la Juventud), Yadiel Hernandez (Matanzas), Roel Santos (Granma), Alfredo Despaigne (Granma), Alexei Bell (Santiago de Cuba), Yordanis Linares (Villa Clara)

Yulieski Gourriel and Frederich Cepeda are already playing in Japan.  The deadline for Japanese teams signing foreign players to play in the 2014 season is July 1, so if anything is going to be done for this season it has to be resolved today.

The Cuban government and baseball federation get a share of the money paid to the players, while the players supplement their baseball income with some income from playing in Japan.  Unfortunately, the amount of this income is a small sliver of a pie when compared to the money the major league teams would pay for many of these player’s services.

College USA National Roster Announced

Monday, June 30th, 2014

The United States finalized it’s college national team roster today.  You can view it here:  http://www.baseballamerica.com/college/usa-baseball-finalizes-college-national-team-roster/

The United States is about to host two exhibition series against Taiwan and Japan at various locations in the United States.  You can view the schedule for the games here: http://web.usabaseball.com/schedules.jsp?type=t2491.

After hosting two series they travel to Netherlands to play in the Honkball tournament and then go to Cuba to continue their annual series against the Cuban national team.  They just completed a number of exhibition games against a number of opponents from the Carolina Coastal League, where they were undefeated until the last game.  Peninsula beat them 7-5, but they played an extra inning where Peninsula scored another run.  It was a game the United States jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but lost it quickly in the middle innings.

Last year the United States was swept by Japan in Japan but swept the Cubans when they came to the United States.  They hope they can play a little better against the Japanese on their home soil and battle the Cubans at their parks.  The series against Taiwan begins tomorrow in Cary, North Carolina.

Yamaico on Homerun Tear for Lions

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Yamaico Navarro is still the leadoff hitter for the Samsung Lions.  After his first 52 games he had hit 8 homeruns, a pretty nice pace for a leadoff hitter.  In his next 11 games Navarro went deep nine times, giving himself 17 for the season.  In a five game span Navarro had three two homer games.

The Samsung Lions slaughtered the Hanwha Eagles 15-4 and in that game Yamaico Navarro hit his 17th homerun.  He is hitting .335 with a .594 slugging percentage and a 1.041 OPS.  That is the kind of production you expect from a number three hitter and not your leadoff hitter.

On the other side of the ball, Andrew Albers had another rough outing for the Eagles.  He only lasted two innings giving up six hits and five runs.  For the year his ERA stays at an ugly 7.12 with a 2-8 record in 14 starts.  He might be wishing that he stayed in Minnesota.

Not surprising the Samsung Lions are five games in first place while the Hanwha Eagles are going in the opposite direction in last place two games behind the LG Twins.

Iglesias Signs with Reds

Friday, June 27th, 2014

By this time next year the Reds could have a bullpen of Cubans, with Raciel Iglesias and Aroldis Chapman.  Iglesias signed a 7 year $30 million contract with the Cincinnati Reds.  That is probably more than any Cuban will be making playing in the professional Japanese leagues and sharing his salary with the Cuban government.

Myworld saw Iglesias pitch in their series against the U.S. college team last year.  He had a 95 mile per hour fastball and a nice hard breaking ball.  He was getting lots of swings and misses from the college bats, usually an indication his stuff is moving.

He was the closer for Isla de la Juventud, but reports are the Reds may want to stretch him out as a starter.  This may delay his appearance in the major leagues as he stretches his arm out and build up innings.  It also may knock his fastball to the low 90s since he will have to temper the pitch to last at least 6 innings.  He is also listed at under six foot (5′11) and a slight 160 pounds.  That will scream out durability concerns.

Cuban pitchers do throw from various arm slots to add deception to their pitches so that could make up for the loss in velocity of his fastball if he is asked to pitch multiple inning outings.

Mets 2014 Domestic Draft Team

Thursday, June 26th, 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 Mets had a good major league haul in 2010 but have not had a major leaguer in subsequent drafts, though it is still early to make a judgment.  No real power house here.

Catcher - Josh Thole (2005, 13th round) was a great contact hitter but he lacked power and played poor defense.  He still would win the nod over their only other option Juan Centeno (2007 - 32nd round) who has seen very little major league action.

First Base - They have drafted a lot of first basemen but achieved very little success with those selections.  Lucas Duda (2007 - 7th round) would still be the starter and could see some outfield play to get Ike Davis (2008 - 1st round) in the lineup.  Craig Brazell (1998 - 5th round) had a lot of promising pop in his bat, but it is now displayed sparingly in Japan.  Mike Carp (2004 - 9th round) would split the time between outfield and first base.

Second Base - Daniel Murphy (2006 - 13th round) and his brick glove would still be good enough to start with this domestic team.  Josh Satin (2008 - 6th round) was drafted as a second baseman, but he is best utilized at a corner position.

Third Base - David Wright (2001 - 1st round) and his declining power in a pitcher’s park would still be the franchise player.  Satin could play here and Zach Lutz (2007 - 5th round) is another back up option, another player taking his skills to Japan.  Eric Campbell (2008 - 8th round) was drafted as a third baseman, but he fits better at first.

Shortstop - No one.

Left Field - Lots of first baseman to play here.  David Dejesus (1997 - 43rd round) is a defensive option, but he never signed with the Mets.

Centerfield - Matt den Dekker (2010 - 5th round) covers a lot of ground and has some pop in his bat, but his inability to make contact keeps his average low.  Lastings Milledge (2003 - 1st round) could provide more pop but his defense was always rather suspect in center.  He also took his career to Japan.  Angel Pagan (1999 - 4th) has an arm better suited for left, but he can cover the ground for center.

Rightfield - Milledge.

Starting Pitcher - Lots of options starting with A.J. Burnett (1995 - 8th round).  Scott Kazmir (2002 - 1st round) has resurrected his season.  The Mets traded him too soon because they felt he was not durable.  Collin McHugh (2008 - 18th round) is having a coming out of nowhere type of year.  Matt Harvey (2010 - 1st round) would be their ace but Tommy John forces him to sit out this year.  Jacob deGrom (2010 - 9th round) is the new kid on the block in this rotation.  Dillon Gee (2007 - 21st round) has been a nice late sign.  For a first round pick Mike Pelfrey (2005 - first round) has been a big disappointment.  Jeremy Guthrie (1997 - 15th round) was never signed but has had some good seasons.  Phillip Humber (2004 - 1st round) has pitched a perfect game but has had trouble sticking to a rotation.

Relief Pitcher - Some of those starters would slide into the bullpen.  Bobby Parnell (2005 9th round) was their closer but is another pitcher to go down to elbow surgery.  Victor Black (2006 - 41st round) was never signed but the Mets still reacquired him in a trade.  Evan MacLane (2003 - 25th round) and Josh Edgin (2010 - 30th round) would be the two lefties in the pen.  Pedro Beato (2005 - 17th round) would round out the pen.

Vandy Earns the Dogpile

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

There were only two homeruns in the 15 previous College World Series games before the championship game between Vanderbilt and Virginia.  Ironic that it was a homerun from a player, John Norwood, who had only hit two homeruns all year that won it for Vanderbilt 3-2.  It was the first homerun hit by Vanderbilt in more than a month (May 16) and it is the first championship for Vanderbilt in a men’s sport.  Their only other championship was in 2007 for women’s bowling.

Vanderbilt started the game building up a 2-0 lead with a run in the first inning and another in the sixth.  The way Carson Fulmer was pitching it looked like that would be enough.  Then the sixth inning arrived and Carson had trouble finding the plate.  A Dan Pinero single drove in one run.  Hayden Stone came on in relief and hit the first batter he faced to load the bases.  A line drive to the shortstop Vincent Conde should have ended the inning but he dropped the ball and the game was tied 2-2.

Artie Lewicki came on in relief in the second inning after Josh Sborz had his troubles finding the plate.  Artie limited the Commodores to one unearned run in the six innings he pitched.  Nick Howard came in to pitch in the eighth with his 95 plus mile per hour fastball.  He served a high pitch to John Norwood that appeared to be out of the strike zone.  Norwood took a hack at it and drove it over the fence to give the Commodores a 3-2 lead.

Adam Ravenelle pitched the last two innings to get the save.  He struck out Dan Pinero to earn the bottom of the dogpile award.

With the paucity of homeruns the last two years in the new stadium, the NCAA needs to find away to put more pop in the bats and light up the scoreboards a little more.  Otherwise the games become like soccer without all the running around the field.  They will be changing balls next year, which tests have shown will add a few feet to the distance of a batted ball.  They also need to move the fences in to bring more excitement to the College World Series.  Myworld saw too many empty seats in the championship game and you can’t tell me those were people discarding their seats to visit the concessions.

Cuban Roster for July Series

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

http://www.baseballdecuba.com/newsite/newsContainer.asp?id=3601 provides a preliminary Cuban roster for their series against the United States.  Last year Cuba was swept by the United States college national team.  They do not want to be swept in front of their home fans.

Catchers: Frank Camilo Morejón (HAB), Luis Abel Castro (IJV), Lorenzo Quintana (PRI) and Rudelis García (CAV).

Infielders: Yasiel Santoya (MTZ), Ramón Lunar (VCL), William Saavedra (PRI), José Miguel Fernández (MTZ), Andy Sarduy (VCL), Dayán García (ART), Andy Ibáñez (IJV), David Castillo (PRI), Lourdes Gourriel (HAB), Raúl González (CAV), Luis Yander La O (SCU), Michel Enríquez (IJV), Yordan Manduley (HOL), Luis Alberto Valdés (PRI), Ángel Miguel Fernández (IJV) and Alexander Ayala (CMG).

Outfielders: Yadiel Hernández (MTZ), Maikel Cáceres (HOL), Osniel Madera (PRI), Guillermo Heredia (MTZ), Guillermo Avilés (GRA), Yordanis Linares (VCL), Roel Santos (GRA) and Víctor V. Mesa (MTZ).

Pitchers: Yoanni Yera (MTZ), Julio Alfredo Martínez (PRI), Yusmel Velázquez (HOL), Norge Luis Ruiz (CMG), David Mena (HAB), Cionel Pérez (MTZ), Yaisel Sierra (HOL), Yosvani Torres (PRI), Pedro Durán (HAB), Yunieski García (ART), Vladimir Gutiérrez (PRI), Alaín Tamayo (GRA), Félix Fuentes (MTZ), José Ángel García (ART), Carlos Juan Viera (LTU) and Héctor Manuel Mendoza (IJV).

Virginia Evens Series

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Tyler Beede was pitching well for the first five innings, allowing only one run.  Vanderbilt had built up a 2-1 lead.  Mike Papi got the sixth inning started for Virginia with a single and Brandon Downes drove in the third and last run of the inning with a triple and the Cavaliers could not be caught, winning the game 7-2.  Kenny Towns put the finishing touches on the win with his two run single in the seventh.

Brandon Waddell threw a complete game victory for Virginia.  He gave up two early runs, one in the second and another in the fourth, but after that settled down, retiring 12 in a row.

Regardless of who wins tonight there will be a college who wins their first NCAA championship.

Shirek Tosses No Hitter in Korea

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Charlie Shirek tossed a no hitter for his NC Dinos as they defeated the LG Twins 6-0.  It was the first no hitter thrown in 14 years in the KBO and the first thrown by a foreign pitcher.  The last pitcher to throw a no hitter was Jin-Woo Song, who played for the Hanwha Eagles.

Shirek walked three batters to prevent him from accomplishing the perfect game.  For the season Shirek improved to 6-3 with a 2.99 ERA.  He has not given up a run in his last two outings.

You can read about the no hitter here: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/culturesports/2014/06/24/18/0702000000AEN20140624008600315F.html

and see the box score here:  http://stats.mykbo.net/games/476

Future Game Rosters

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Baseball America has announced the Future Game rosters, which is played just before the All Star break.  This pits some of the best prospects in the World versus some of the best prospects in the United States.  Unfortunately it will be played July 13, about two weeks after myworld leaves Minnesota.  The United States has dominated the world the last four games and has won nine of the 15 games the two teams have played.  The world team has a bit of a disadvantage since players are selected for a roster to include the country, even though he may not be the best prospect.  If they just went to choosing the best international prospects it would be a game of Dominican Republic prospects, with a few other countries sprinkled in versus the United States.

You can see the rosters for the games here:  http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/futures-game-rosters/  There are nine Dominicans on the roster, followed by seven Puerto Ricans, which tells you of a minor resurgence of baseball in Puerto Rico to surpass Venezuela.

Javier Baez is on the team based on last year’s numbers, but he may be a replacement for Carlos Correa, who recently was injured and will see some significant time off.  The United States team is loaded with power, Kris Bryant, Peter O’Brien and Joey Gallo filling the middle of the United States roster.

United States pitcher Marco Gonzalez was recently called up by the Cardinals, so if he stays up he may have to be replaced on the roster.

Christian Betancourt represents Panama, Dariel Alvarez (Cuba), Jorge Alfaro and Tayron Guerrero (Colombia), Julio Urias (Mexico), Dalton Pompey (Canada). All three shortstops are from Puerto Rico, but I’ll have you figure out the rest.