Archive for March, 2015

Vazquez Leads Ciego de Avila to One Win from Finals

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Ciego scored nine runs in their last two innings to maul the Granma Stallions 9-4. For the Tigers it is their third win in a row over the Stallions after losing the opener. The Stallions charged to a 4-0 lead, powering three homeruns in the fifth inning. Adrian Moreno hit a solo shot and Alfredo Despaigne rocked a two run blast. Yordanis Alarcon finished the scoring with a solo job. All three homeruns were off Vladimir Garcia, who had shut down the Stallions for the first four innings.

Lazaro Blanco shut down the Tigers for the first six innings. Osvaldo Vazquez hit a two run shot off Blanco in the seventh, his fourth homerun in the three game winning streak for the Tigers to half the lead (he had hit only three homeruns to begin this series). The Stallions went to their bullpen in the eighth and it was disaster. The Tigers struck for seven runs, Humberto Morales driving in the first two with a single to tie the game at 4-4. Yeniet Perez stroked the go ahead single to make it 5-4 and two run doubles from Andy Zamora and Jose Garcia put the game away.

Dachel Duquesne got credit for the win with three innings of one hit shutout ball.

Colabello Leads Blue Jays Over Astros

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

The balls were flying out of Osceola Stadium. Chris Colabello hit a solo homerun in the first and added two singles to lead the Blue Jays over the Astros 7-4. Colabello made an out on a ball that appeared to be travelling over the right field fence for what would have been his second homerun in two at bats but George Springer leaped and caught the ball just before it travelled over the fence.

The Blue Jays also had a two run homerun hit by Danny Valencia over the 410 marker in centerfield off starter Brett Oberholtzer. One out later Colabello followed with a homerun pulled over the left field fence.

Jose Altuve got one run back for the Astros, leading off the bottom of the first with a walk. He stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. Evan Gattis drove him in with a high hopper to third that he beat out for an infield single, scoring Altuve.

Justin Smoak led off the second inning with a homerun. Jason Castro responded back in the bottom frame leading off with a homerun. The Astros scored a second run when Jake Marisnick doubled and was driven in on a single by Jose Altuve. Altuve was thrown out at second when the ball thrown home was cut off at third and the throw made to second to nail Altuve.

In the top of the third George Springer robbed Chris Colabello of a homerun. George led off the bottom frame and drove a 2-0 pitch from Daniel Norris over the right field fence in almost the same spot he had robbed Colabello earlier.

The Blue Jays broke the 4-4 tie in the top of the fourth on an RBI triple hit by Jon Berti that bounced off the top of the left field wall. The hit scored Munenori Kawasaki, who had singled to start off the inning. They added two more insurance runs in the eighth on an RBI double from Ryan Goins and a ground out by Sean Owchinko.

Blake McFarland retired the side in order in the ninth, striking out two of the last three hitters he faced to pick up the save.

Game Notes: Daniel Norris struggled early, but he finished strong, striking out five of the last six hitters he faced…Jake Marisnick has trouble making contact on any pitch that appears to have a bend in it…Brett Oberholtzer had very little break to his curveball tonight. The ball was just spinning and he was getting tattooed. He gave up three homeruns in his first two innings and failed to get past the fourth.

Crocs Stay Alive

Monday, March 30th, 2015

The Matanzas Crocodiles stayed alive in the semi-final series with a 13-0 slaughter of Isla de la Juventud. The game lasted seven innings because of the slaughter rule, Yoanni Yera going the first six innings and allowing just three hits. He struck out six. Yurisbel Gracial was the offensive star with his three hits, including a homerun and five RBIs. Yadiel Hernandez also collected three hits and crossed the plate three times. Nine of the 17 hits off the Pirate pitchers went for extra bases. Isla de la Juventud still leads the series three games to two.

In the other series Ismel Jimenez threw a nine inning shutout against the Granma Stallions in the 6-0 win by Ciego de Avilla to give them a two games to one series lead. Ismel struck out seven and allowed only three hits in the game. Three homeruns in the fifth ignited the Tiger offense, Ariel Borrero providing the big blow with a two run bomb followed by a Yoelvis Fiss solo shot to make it back to back. Osvaldo Vazquez later hit a solo shot in the inning. Osvaldo drove in the second run in the fourth with a single. Borrero added an RBI single in the opening frame.

Box scores for the games can be found below:

Cuban playoff results

Eovaldi and Yankees Shutout Astros

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Nathan Eovaldi had his curveball working. Everyone knows about his mid-90s fastball but he had a number of hitters swinging and missing at his breaking ball. He also showed command, not issuing any walks in his four plus innings of work, though he did run three ball counts to three of the four hitters he faced in the second inning. Nathan allowed just three hits and struck out five in the Yankees 7-0 win.

Chase Headley got the scoring started with a solo shot off Scott Feldman in the third inning. The Astros just moved all four infielders to the right side of the infield after throwing out Brendan Ryan trying to steal. Chase beat the shift powering a 3-1 pitch over the right field wall. That is one way of beating a shift.

They added two more runs in the fourth. Alex Rodriguez started the inning with a single, poking it down the right field line. A single by Slade Heathcott drove in a jogging A-Rod, who was later removed from the game (not aware if one led to the other). If the Astros realized how slow A-Rod was running towards home they may have had a play on him, but perhaps A-Rod was trying to bait them. A wild pitch scored Rob Refsnyder with the second run of the inning.

The Yankees put the game away in the sixth scoring four runs. Brad Peacock started the inning and struggled. Back to back doubles by Stephen Drew and Rob Refsnyder scored one run. Chase Headley drove in two with a single. An error by Luis Valbuena allowed the fourth run to score.

The Yankees shut down the Astros. The only threats from their offense was putting runners on second and third in the fourth and ninth innings, but they failed to score in either inning.

Game Notes: Aaron Judge is a big boy with a power bat. Myworld does not see a lot of jump in his bat, putting him short of Giancarlo Stanton power. He stands at the batter’s box straight up and down, which gives him a large strike zone…George Springer had a rough day with three whiffs in three at bats. His replacement in the order Alex Presley also struck out…Alex Rodriguez made his debut at first base, making all the plays there. He was removed after only playing three innings worth of defense. Interesting that in the top of the inning he failed to hustle home on a single to right, but there was no throw on him…Jonathan Galvez dropped a ball in four territory playing left field. He is obviously more comfortable playing the infield…Robert Refsnyder continues to show a good bat with two doubles and a walk. He still needs a lot of work on his defense. Myworld has been impressed by the prospects the Yankees are putting on the field…Chase Headley finished a triple short of the cycle, adding a walk and a whiff to his five at bats…Eddie Rodriguez got a bat at the DH spot. He was born in Villa Clara, Cuba but went to school in Miami. He left Cuba with his family when he was eight years old, travelling by boat. He was drafted by the Reds in the 20th round of the 2006 draft…Michael O’Neil got a pinch hit at bat and struck out. He is the nephew of Paul.

Ranking the Top Major League Farm Teams - 2015

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

This is an informal ranking of the top major league teams with the best prospects being developed in the minor leagues. You can see the previous rankings at the link below. The top farm team of 2011 was the Kansas City Royals, who appeared in the 2014 World Series. In 2012 it was the Seattle Mariners, who are expected to find themselves in the playoffs this year. The Chicago Cubs were selected as the best farm system in 2014 and have repeated this year. Expect them in the World Series next year, or the Saint Louis Cardinals, who were voted the best farm system in 2013.

Of course the opposite is true. The Giants won the World Series last year, but since 2011 their best rating has been 23. In 2009 and 2010 they were rated in the top five so perhaps that has had an influence. The Baseball America ranking is in parenthesis.

1. Chicago Cubs (1) 43.1 - Kris Bryant and Addison Russell are the big superstars. Billy McKinney and Pierce Johnson are at the lower level. A number of prospects are found in between.

2. Minnesota Twins (2) 42.45 - Like the Cubs they have two big time prospects in Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano. Lesser named prospects such as Eddie Rosario and Nick Bundi give the minor league system depth.

3. Pittsburgh Pirates (7) 30.02 - They have two of the top pitching prospects in Tyler Glasnow and Jameson Taillon.

4. Los Angeles Dodgers (3) 28.22 - Corey Seager, Joc Pederson and Julio Urias give them a powerful threesome.

5. Boston Red Sox (5) 28.01 - This list was put together before the signing of Yoan Moncada, which would bump them up to number three. They do have Blake Swihart and Henry Owens as top level prospects and Rusney Castillo was their top Cuban until the Moncada signing.

6. Colorado Rockies ((8) 27.79 - Jon Gray and David Dahl are high level prospects.

7. Texas Rangers (11) 25.51 - Joey Gallo is a big time prospect with big time power. Nomar Mazara could replace his shoes next year.

8. New York Mets (4) 25.02 - The top prospect is Noah Syndegaard. Mid-level prospects Kevin Plawecki and Brandon Nimmo show promise.

9. Arizona Diamondbacks (6) 22.62 - Archie Bradley has mixed reviews as a top prospect. Braden Shipley could surpass him. Yoan Lopez and Touki Toussaint are two pitchers to watch. Yasmany Thomas and Jake Lamb are the top position prospects.

10. Houston Astros (10) 21.69 - Who they selected as the first round pick hurt, but they still have Carlos Correa and Mark Appell. Next year they hope to make up for that.

11. Washington Nationals (12) 20.4 - Lucas Giolito was a nice gamble pick that could pay off like Anthony rendon. Trea Turner was counted as a National even though he is currently a Padre.

12. Toronto Blue Jays (9) 20.11 - They traded a number of top pitching prospects to make a playoff run but kept Daniel Norris and Aaron Sanchez, who are ready to make a contribution now. Dalton Pompey is expected to start in center.

13.Kansas City Royals (13) 17.27 - Brandon Finnegan, who made a World Series contribution is not even their top prospect. Raul Aldaberto Mondesi, Kyle Zimmer and Sean Manaea are rated above him.

14. Atlanta Braves (14) 16.97 - No top level prospects, but Jose Pereza and Mike Foltynewicz could provide immediate help.

15. Philadelphia Philles (22) 16.65 - A trade of Cole Hamels could put them higher on this list next year, but J.P. Crawford and Aaron Nola are two good prospects to begin their rebuilding process. Maikel Franco can provide immediate help.

16. Cincinnati Reds (16) 16.14 - Robert Stephenson is considered one of the better pitching prospects. Jesse Winker is a possible power source.

17. Baltimore Orioles (28) 14.98 - Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey give them two top level pitching prospects. After them it gets slim.

18. San Diego Padres (14) 13.19 - They traded a number of top level prospects for immediate help in 2015. Matthew Wisler, Austin Hedges and Hunter Renfroe remain with high risk status.

19. Cleveland Indians (23) 12.98 - Francisco Lindor is considered a top level prospect. Clint Frazier has the potential to reach the same level next year.

20. Chicago White Sox (20) 11.81 - Carlos Rodon is ready to join Chris Sale to be starter 1a. Tim Anderson is down a couple notches.

21. Seattle Mariners (24) 10.07 - Alex Jackson and D.J. Peterson will provide some big bats. Pitching is a concern.

22. New York Yankees (18) 9.65 - Luis Severino is their top level pitcher and Aaron Judge is ready to provide power, but after watching some of their players in spring training we’d have them rated higher if we wanted to make this list more subjective.

23. Los Angeles Angels (27) 8.62 - Andrew Heaney has been struggling this spring. Sean Newcomb falls a couple levels below. Not a lot of help in the farm system.

24. St. Louis Cardinals (15) 8.43 - Farm system is always under rated but drafting conservative college level players provide vanilla prospects like Stephen Piscotty and Marco Gonzales who will make a contribution but not with super star numbers.

25. Miami Marlins (25) 5.45 - Tyler Kolek was their top pick last year. After him the names are less impressive.

26. Tampa Bay Rays (17) 4.64 - Drafting lower in the order gives them less talented picks. Steven Sousa and Daniel Robertson are their top prospects and they were acquired via trade. Justin O’Connor is their top drafted prospect.

27. San Francisco Giants (26) 4.29 - Who needs prospects after you win a World Series? Andrew Susac can provide immediate help as a backup catcher. Kyle Crick could add to their rotation.

28. Milwaukee Brewers (21) 1.36 - Jimmy Nelson has a rotation spot. Orlando Arcia is ready for shortstop next year.

29. Oakland Athletics (19) 1.07 - They trade prospects for immediate help. Franklin Borreto was a rare prospect they acquired this year.

30. Detroit Tigers (30) 0.86 - Derek Hill and Steven Moya are the only players worth talking about, but they may be traded for immediate help before the season is out.

2014 top farm teams

Kuroda Wins First for Carp

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Hiroki Kuroda won his opening day start pitching seven innings of shutout ball in the Hiroshima Carp’s 2-1 win over the Yakult Swallows. He struck out five and walked one, allowing just five hits. Jesus Guzman scored a run in the fifth after drawing a two out walk and drove in a run in the seventh with a double. Deunte Heath pitched the ninth to get the save despite adding some gray hair on his manager by giving up two hits.

Two teams have started the season 3-0. The Hanshin Tigers won their first game without a walk off hit beating the Chunichi Dragons 10-8. The Seibu Lions won their third game in a row with a 5-4 win over the Orix Buffaloes. The Dragons and Buffaloes have started the season 0-3.

Pirates a Win Away from Finals

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Last year Matanzas was upset and did not make it to the finals. Isla de la Juventud is one win away from dealing Matanzas another upset playoff series loss to advance to the Cuban finals. They scored three runs in the eighth, the go ahead run scoring on a passed ball to give the Pirates a 6-5 lead. Danier Galvez drove in an insurance run with a single and defensive replacement Leonardo Urguelles smoked a triple to drive in the final run for the 8-5 win. Danny Aguilera worked his second inning of relief to notch the victory, improving his record to 12-0.

It was a sloppy game with seven errors, four by the Crocodiles to allow the first four runs scored by the Pirates to be unearned. The boxscore for the game can be found below:

boxscore

Top Ten Puerto Rican Prospects

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

Javier Baez is one of two players from the list last year who made the major leagues and no longer qualifies for the list this year. Javier had trouble making contact and may see himself back in the minor leagues in 2015. Christian Vazquez took over the catching job for the Red Sox but he may ultimately be a back up once Blake Swihart is ready for the major leagues. Most of the other players from the list last year again appear on the list this year. There are a few newcomers as others disappoint.

1. Carlos Correa SS (Astros) - Carlos is doing his best not to impress myworld, going 1 for 10 when we have watched him. Carlos became the first Puerto Rican selected first overall in the major league draft, selected by the Astros in 2012. At 6′4″ he is large for a shortstop, but he seems to be able to play the position now. There is some concern that as he gets older he will get bigger, becoming too slow to play the position a couple years from now. Carlos shows the ability to hit for average and power so a move to third base should not be a problem. Last year his season was cut short by a broken right fibula limiting him to just 62 games. His OBA the last two seasons has been over .400. Expect him to start the season in AA with a possible promotion to the Astros in September. Only Jed Lowrie or Luis Valbuena stand in his way for a major league job.

2. Francisco Lindor SS (Indians) - Francisco was a first round pick of the Indians in 2011, selected just ahead of Javier Baez. There is no question with the defense of Francisco. The big concern is whether he can hit. The Indians have been patient with him, moving him up a level at a time, with a half season played at two different levels. As he has risen up the ranks he has shown an ability to hit, with a .278 minor league career average, numbers the Indians would accept with the defense he provides. His power broke out a little last year with 11 homeruns. Francisco will be sent down for half a season in AAA but should be called up by mid-season, taking over the shortstop position from Jose Ramirez. A lot will depend on the Indians status in the playoff race and the performance of Jose Ramirez.

3. Jose Berrios RHP (Twins) - Puerto Rico has developed a number of hitters but Jose will be one of the first stand out pitchers. He was the highest drafted pitcher out of Puerto Rico, selected in the first round of the supplemental draft in 2012. Jose pitched for the 2013 World Baseball Classic team as a teenager. His fastball sits at 92-94, reaching up to 98. Last year Jose rose three levels, making one ineffective start in AAA. Jose will begin the season in AAA with an injury or ineffectiveness away from getting a callup to the Twins. Alex Meyer and Trevor May may get the first opportunity, but Berrios could achieve the greater results because of better command.

4. Steven Moya OF (Tigers) - Moya was born in Puerto Rico but grew up in the Dominican Republic where he was signed by the Tigers in 2008. At 6′6″ he has a large strike zone, which resulted in 161 whiffs in 133 games. It also provides him with a lot of power when he makes contact with 35 homeruns last year. A poor spring and the acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes will have him begin his 2015 season in AAA. Prior to last season he had difficulty staying healthy. If he can continue to get his at bats and improve his patience he could hit 30 plus homeruns with a .250 average with the Tigers.

5. Eddie Rosario OF/2B (Twins) - Eddie has been bounced around between the infield and outfield. The Twins selected him in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. Despite his recent demotion to the minors he should make an impact for the Twins before the season is over. Second base appears to be blocked by Brian Dozier and center field appears to be the future of Byron Buxton. That leaves left field for Eddie. Whether he can show the power for the position is questionable. His ultimate role may be as a super utility player. He had a .300 career minor league average until his struggles in AA last year when he hit just .237. The Twins may start him in AA to see him achieve success there. He can still be promoted to the major leagues if he does well in AA.

6. Jesmuel Valentin 2B (Phillies) - The Dodgers drafted Jesmuel in the first round of the 2012 draft. The Dodgers traded him to the Phillies in the Roberto Hernandez trade. He is the son of ex-major league shortstop Jose. The future for Jesmuel appears to be on the other side of the bag because of a short arm. He’s got some speed, swiping 25 bases last year and his power took seven balls out of the park with a .430 slugging in Low A. A promotion to the Florida State League saw a bit of a struggle with a .205 average and .250 slugging. This will be where he starts the 2015 season. With J.P. Crawford the future shortstop for the Phillies, Freddy Galvis could be his biggest competition for second base after the Chase Utley ride ends.

7. Edwin Diaz RHP (Mariners) - Edwin was drafted in the third round of the 2012 draft. His fastball sits in the low 90s but has hit 97. As he adds muscle to his 6′2″ frame you could see him add some giddy up in the fastball. He also needs improvement on his secondary pitches (slider and change). Last year he got 24 starts he low A limiting the opposition to a .226 average and striking out just under a hitter per inning. The 2014 season should see him move to High A.

8. Jose Deleon RHP (Dodgers) - Jose had a break out year in 2014, putting him in the spot light. No team drafted him out of high school and the Dodgers waited until the 24th round to select him out of college. He got rid of the dough boy look, saw his fastball rise to the mid-90s and when given the opportunity to pitch in July at the rookie level he shined, striking out 12.8 hitters per nine innings and limiting the opposition to a .217 average. This led to a promotion to Low A where he was unhittable in four starts (.171 average and 16.7 whiffs per nine innings), with a 2/42 walk to whiff ratio. Don’t be surprised to see the Dodgers jump him to High A to give him a challenge.

9. Yadiel Rivera SS/2B (Brewers) - Yadiel was a ninth round pick in the 2010 draft. He has the tools to play short but has Orlando Arcia in his rear view mirror and Jean Segura at the major league level to block his path. If Yadiel can show he can hit his defense will get him a job. He lacks stolen base speed and his minor league average sits at only .241 with a .288 OBA. The Brewers would like to see a little more offense than that. If he fails to hit he can always make the team as a utility player because of his defense. Last year he played at AA, hitting .262 in 183 at bats after hitting .255 in 231 at bats in High A. The Twins will start his 2015 season in AA.

10. Alex Claudio LHP (Rangers) - Another sleeper because of his left handed arm. He doesn’t throw hard with a fastball failing to see 90. With a side arm delivery he could be restricted to a lefthanded situational relief role, something always needed in the major leagues. He made his major league debut last year, limiting lefthanded hitters to a .190 average. Unfortunately, righthanders hit him at a .345 clip. This same pattern was repeated in AAA. Alex is having a solid spring and should see the Rangers bullpen in 2015. He needs to continue to retire lefthanded hitters to stick.

To see the list from last year you can go to the link below:

2014 top ten Puerto Rican prospects

Korea Opens KBO Season

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

A day after Japan started their season Korea begins theirs. A little more offense and less 1-0 games were witnessed in the Korean games, with four of the five games sellouts. The restrictions on food purchases and alcohol consumption have yet to have an impact on attendance. Below are the summaries of the 2015 Korean openers.

Nexen Heroes 5 Hanwha Eagles 4

The MVP of the league last year, Keon-chang Seo, got his team off to a good start with a walkoff homerun in the bottom of the 12th to give them a win over the annual last place team the Eagles. Despite spending most of his practices in the minor leagues because of discipline issues, Nyjer Morgan went 4 for 5 in a losing cause. The Heroes bullpen shut out the Eagles for six innings after starter Andy Van Hekken had given up four runs in the first six innings. The Eagles bullpen was not as proficient, giving up four runs after Mitch Talbot gave up one run in his first six innings.

Lotte Giants 12 KT Wiz 9

The Giants overcame an 8-2 deficit against the expansion Wiz with a seven run fifth. Jong-Yoon Park spanked a three run homer to fuel the fifth. Jun-Seok Choi hit a two run homer for the Giants. The Wiz got a big game from Sang-Hyun Kim, who went deep twice with a 2-run and 3-run bomb to deliver five RBIs in a losing cause. He finished the game with four hits in five at bats. Jim Adduci banged out three hits from the leadoff spot, scoring three times. Phil Irwin for the Wiz and Brooks Raley for the Giants both had poor starts each giving up seven or more runs in less than five innings of work.

Kia Tigers 3 LG Twins 1

Bum-Ho Lee homered to lead off the seventh to break a scoreless tie and the Tigers added two more runs in the inning to get the win. Hyun-Jong Yang pitched six shutout innings but Joon-Seop Im got the win by holding the Twins scoreless in the seventh. Ex-Oriole Suk-Min Yoon picked up the save, but it was not without some excitement as he gave up two hits and a run in the eighth inning, but retired the side in the ninth to earn the save. Henry Sosa took the loss for the Twins going six plus innings in his start before giving up the bomb to Lee.

Doosan Bears 9 NC Dinos 4

Myworld is expecting big things from the NC Dinos, but it didn’t start too well in the opener. Charlie Shirek did not last five innings giving up four runs, but only one of those was earned. Yunesky Maya survived six innings to get the win, giving up all four runs. Jae-Ho Kim had three hits from the bottom of the order and Hyun-Soo Kim and Jae-Hwan Kim each hit solo shots for the Bears.

Samsung Lions 6 SK Wyverns 1

The four time defending champion Lions got off to a good start. Alfred Figaro tossed six shutout innings to get the win. The Lions got to Travis Banwart early, racking him for four runs in four innings.

Tartabull Leads Pirates to Win

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Jorge Tartabull rapped a walk off single to give the Pirates a 7-6 win over the Matanzas Crocodiles. With a runner on third and one out the Crocodiles chose to walk intentionally the next two hitters to load the bases to set up the double play. Yaniel Blanco came on to strike out Jose Velasquez for the second out, but Tartabull got the hit to give the Pirates a two game to one lead.

The Pirates sent the game into extra innings in the ninth after a double by Michel Enriquez and a sacrifice fly from Jorge Barcelan. For Barcelan it was his third RBI of the game. Enriquez finished the game with three hits and three runs scored.

Luis Yander La O was the offensive hero for the Crocodiles with three hits, a homerun and two RBIs. Both starters failed to last more than one inning, Darien Nunez failing to get an out in the second inning for the Pirates and Cionel Perez only get two outs in the first inning for the Crocodiles, both pitchers charged with three runs.

Box score for the game can be found at the below link:

boxscore