Archive for June, 2015

Brice is Nice and Sano is Hot in Minor League Roundup

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Myworld is now in Pensacola, the city of my birth. Tonight is a catch up day since the Wahoos do not play until tomorrow. There were thunder clouds in the air and a tornado warning for Mobile. The wind was blowing hard so we got our fingers crossed the game will be played.

June 28

At the end of April Miguel Sano was hitting just .159. He picked up his game in May hitting .303 and a 3 for 5 day put his June average at .316. He was just a triple short of the cycle and the three runs batted in give him 16 for the month. That is still six short of his May figure. Miguel saw the promotion of Byron Buxton, which has to act as motivation. The Twins are competing for a playoff spot and they will promote any player they feel will help them achieve that spot.

No one can get Max Kepler out with a .359 May and a .352 June to put his overall average at .341. He went 3 for 3 with two walks to give him five games in June when he had three or more hits.

Rowdy Tellez is living up to his name for the Blue Jays. After hitting .296 with seven homeruns in Low A the Blue Jays promoted him to the pitcher friendly Florida State league. In his first five games that environment has not phased him with a .429 average and three homeruns, fueled by a 3 for 5 day in which he hit his third homerun. The four RBI game gives him eight for his five Florida State League games, with at least one run driven in for each five games. Not bad for a 30th round draft pick.

After struggling to hit just .159 in AA, Justin Bohn was demoted to High A. He continued to struggle at that level, until a 4 for 5 day raised his average to .265. An eight game hitting streak in which he has gone 13 for 37 has raised his average from .214 to .270. The shortstop has shown minimal power with a slugging average at .308.

Jose Berrios earned himself a promotion to AAA with a seven inning two hit performance in which he allowed just one run, walking one and striking out six. His stuff is more electric than Tom Millone and all it takes is one bad start from a pitcher with pedestrian stuff for the Twins to turn the reigns over to Jose.

One of the hardest throwers for the Reds is Amir Garrett. He sizzled with five shutout innings, allowing only three hits while striking out eight. The 6′5″ lefthander has not allowed more than two runs in his last four starts. An eight run five inning start keeps his ERA at a high 3.00. Amir still has a tendency to walk too many hitters, sitting at just below four per nine innings.

The Dodgers 2014 number one pick Grant Holmes dealt six innings of one hit shutout ball. He walked two and struck out seven to earn his fourth victory against zero defeats in 13 starts. The Dodgers have been limiting his pitch count, giving him six starts in which he did not reach five innings.

The Brewers Hobbs Johnson sounds like a name you would find in a fantasy tale. Yesterday he threw five innings of three hit shutout ball, striking out seven to improve his record to 5-4. His previous outing he was assaulted for five runs in just over three innings, but prior to that he threw seven shutout innings.

In his second relief appearance Francis Martes picked up his second four inning save. Back in May he faced the minimum 12 batters. This day he gave up a hit, but again faced the minimum 12 batters to pick up his second save. His ERA dropped to 1.03, but it is 0.00 as a reliever with the opposition hitting him at a .042 clip.

June 29

The Marlins Austin Brice had one of the better pitched games this year, allowing just one hit in eight innings and striking out 13 hitters. Only one hitter reached base via a walk. Entering June Brice had an ERA of 7.71, but in five June starts with an ERA of 2.60 Brice has lowered his ERA to 5.61. The 13 strikeouts put him over the one strikeout per inning performance.

The Indians Mike Clevinger pitched seven plus innings of shutout ball, allowing just two hits and striking out nine. His shutout streak has now extended to over 12 innings. Mike has not allowed more than two runs in his five June starts, putting his ERA for the year at 2.60. The nine strikeouts was his high for the year.

The Padres Alex Dickerson swatted two homeruns and a double in a 4 for 5 day, driving in four runs. A .343 June has put his average at .320.

Down in rookie ball, the Diamondbacks second round supplemental 2014 pick Marcus Wilson went 4 for 7 with his first professional homerun. He now has a four game hitting streak that has raised his average to .324.

Tetsuto Yamada - Another Japanese Player to Watch

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

He will turn 23 this July. Teams could use a mixture of his power and speed. Last year Tetsuto Yamada hit .324 with 29 homeruns for the Yakult Swallows. He drove in 89 runs and stole 15 bases in twenty attempts. This year he is hitting .303 with 14 homeruns, 12 stolen bases and 38 RBIs.

The Swallows made Yamada a first round pick in the 2010 draft. In 2012 he made his NPB debut with 11 hits in 49 at bats. In his second year he played 93 games but fell just short of 400 plate appearances, hitting just .283 with three homeruns.

The last two years he has broken out. Last year he hit six homeruns leading off a game. This year he has hit four. He is now the second youngest player in NPB history to hit ten leadoff homeruns. Only a player by the name of Hayato Sakamoto was younger when he blasted his ten leadoff homeruns. Sakamoto currently plays for the Giants.

Yamada is a long way away from becoming an international free agent. It would be a surprise the Swallows would post him for the $20 million fee. They would probably wait until he was a year away from becoming a free agent. In 144 game season it is difficult to be a 30/30 player but Yamada is on course to fall just short of those numbers. One hot streak could change all that.

United States Pan Am Roster

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

It is a roster of prospects not yet on major league teams 40 man rosters and a few veterans still playing but also absent from the 40 man. This would be the kind of team the United States would field during an Olympic competition, if baseball should return to the Olympics. Not the best major league baseball could offer, but a roster of professionals.

RHP - Jake Barrett (Diamondbacks), Aaron Blair (Diamondbacks), Casey Coleman (Royals), Zach Eflin (Phillies), Brian Ellington (Marlins), Ryan Kelly (Braves), Scott McGregor (Nationals), Jake Thompson (Rangers)

LHP - Buddy Baumann (Royals), Josh Hader (Astros), David Huff (Dodgers), Nate Smith (Angels)

Catchers - Eric Fryer (Twins), Tommy Murphy (Rockies)

Infield - Dusty Coleman (Royals), Casey Kotchman (Royals), Andy Parrino (Athletics), Tyler Pastornicky (Rangers), Dan Vogelbach (Cubs), Jacob Wilson (Cardinals)

Outfield - Albert Almora Jr. (Cubs), Brian Bogusevic (Phillies), Travis Jankowski (Padres), Patrick Kivlehan (Mariners)

Coaches - Jim Tracy (Manager), Marcel Lachemann (Pitching), Ernie Young (Hitting), Jim Lett (Assistant), Roly de Armas (Assistant)

This roster could change if a major league team decides to promote one of the players on the roster. They promote based on need and they won’t take into consideration a player was selected to be on the roster of the United States for the Pan Am games.

The Pan Am games will be played in Toronto, Canada from July 10-19. Canada is the defending champs.

Mobile - City of Homeruns

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Mobile, Alabama is the city with the most prolific homerun hitters in baseball, one of the top defensive shortstops and one of the best pitchers in the history of baseball. It must be the water.

Hank Aaron was born in Mobile, Alabama. So was his brother Tommie. No brother combination has hit more homeruns than the Aarons, though Hank accounts for 755 of them. Henry began his career playing in the Negro Leagues.

Willie McCovey was a Giants first baseman born in Mobile, Alabama. He slugged 521 homeruns. McCovey was four years younger than Aaron and had the opportunity to play high school ball with Mobile Central High School. When Aaron went to high school they had no baseball.

Another Hall of Famer Billy Williams was born in Whistler, Alabama, which is a suburb of Mobile. Williams slugged 426 homeruns. That is 1702 homeruns among three players.

Add in Ozzie Smith who was born in Mobile. No shortstop has ever played the position better on the defensive side of the field. He moved to Los Angeles when he was six, playing in Watts.

Cleon Jones, Amos Otis and Juan Pierre are three other major league players born in Mobile.

The pitcher who was born in Mobile? Satchel Paige.

Ijames Leads Baybears

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Myworld was in Mobile, Alabama where the Baybears defeated the Tennessee Smokies 3-2. Stewart Ijames hit a pinch hit two run homer to give the Baybears the victory. For Ijames it was his 15th homerun of the year.

Both starters pitched well. The Smokies Ryan Williams allowed just one run in the second inning in his six innings of work. Gabriel Guerrero, the nephew of Vladimir and a recent acquisition from Seattle lined a single to right field. Rudy Flores drove him in with a double past the flopping Dan Vogelbach down the first base line.

John Omahen gave up two runs in the fourth in his seven innings of work. Dan Vogelbach started the rally with a bloop single to left. Billy McKinney singled and Taylor Davis lined a single into right field to tie the score. Stephen Bruno lifted one to shallow right. McKinney tagged to go home. The throw home by Guerrero was too far to the third base side of the plate and crashed into the brick backstop. It would have been interesting seeing a throw on the money.

Silvino Bracho gave up a leadoff single to Wilson Contreras and then retired the last three hitters, the last two on strikeouts to pick up the save. Pinch hitter Anthony Giansiti swung and missed at three straight pitches for the final out.

Game Notes: The Baybears play at Hank Aaron stadium, where his home and museum sit next door. The team was voted minor league team of the year in 1998 and 2011. The mascot is Bay B. Bear. The most expensive ticket is field level which is $17. You can sit in the first three sections of the raised level for $13. Above that is $10, though they have general admission farther along the first and third base lines. The regular scoreboard was not working so they had to use the video board to visualize the innings, runs, hits and errors. This prevented any info on the players, which was a disappointment. They have retired box seats from Wrigley Field, Fulton County Stadium and another stadium along the concessions area…The manager for the Baybears, ex-catcher Robby Hammock warmed up the pitcher if the regular catcher was not ready because he was putting on his equipment…Dan Vogelbach is a big boy. Not a lot of height smacked into that mass. He watched three strikes against the lefthander…This was the second time myworld has seen Elliot Soto play shortstop and we are impressed by his defense. Since he is not a big guy his ability to generate any kind of offense is cause of concern.

USA College National Team Recovers Against Taiwan

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

After losing the first two games, the United States College National Team recovered and won the next three games against Taiwan. The offense only scored three runs in the first two games against Taiwan. In the next three games they scored at least three runs.

In their first win, 3-2, Ryan Howard drove in the go ahead run with an RBI single in the fifth inning of a seven inning game to break a 2-2 tie. Taiwan scored both their runs in the fourth inning on a two run homer from Kai-Wen Cheng.

The United States evened the series with a 5-2 win in the next game. Buddy Reed drove in two with a single and Stephen Nogasek tossed three plus innings of shutout relief work, striking out 6 of the 11 hitters he faced. He gave up just one hit.

They went up three games to two with a 6-4 win in the fifth game, scoring six runs in the first two innings. Buddy Reed again drove in two runs and Logan Shore threw four innings of shutout relief. Taiwan got five innings of shutout relief from Wei-Chih Lin and almost pulled out the game. Taiwan scored a run in the ninth and had runners on second and third with just one out. Ryan Hendrix came on in relief and struck out the two hitters he faced to pick up the save.

The United States has two more games with Taiwan. They will then have a five game series with a team from Cuba.

Japanese Pitcher Murata to Start for Indians

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

Toru Murata was a first round pick of the Yomiuri Giants in 2007. He played for three years in the Giants minor league system before they released him (2-10 with an ERA of about 4.54). That gave him an opportunity to be a free agent and he signed with the Cleveland Indians in December of 2010 for the miniscule price of $30,000.

He has lived in the minor leagues since then, pitching also in the Panama and Venezuelan winter leagues. The numbers have not been pretty with a AAA ERA of 4.32, but this year he is 5-3, 2.79 in 14 games. Perhaps he has figured it out at age 30. Toru will be pitching as the 26th man in a double header and will probably be sent back down after that start. But he will now say he made his major league debut after the NPB gave up on him.

He throws strikes, does not have a blazing fastball, but throws a multitude of pitches (cutter, curve, change and fork). The down side is he gives up a lot of fly balls so it may be difficult for him to keep it in the park. But he gets his opportunity and if he achieves success another opportunity will arise.

Three Day Minor League Report

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

Myworld has some down time and we have three days of catching up to do to see who is hot in the minor leagues.

June 24

Teoscar Hernandez had a perfect day going 3 for 3 with two walks. He was a triple short of the cycle. The three hits put his average at .209. With his seventh homerun and two stolen bases to give him 19 for the year Hernandez makes an intriguing power/speed combination. He just has to improve on his 14/64 walk to whiff ratio, which puts his OBA at .262, unacceptable for a leadoff hitter.

Corey Seager bashed two homeruns to give him six at AAA and 11 for the year. The two homeruns broke an 0 for 7 slump raising his average to .291, quite a bit below the .375 he hit in AA.

The Athletics may still not regret the trade of Brandon Moss for Joey Wendle. Joey went 4 for 5 with two doubles to raise his average to .271. His power is doubles oriented. In 18 less games he has already reached his double total from last year. The Indians would like to see some improvement on his 12/53 walk to whiff ratio.

Trea Turner is enjoying being a National. He went 3 for 4 to raise his average to .359, hitting his first triple in the AA Eastern League. With his .359 average the Nationals promoted him to AAA where he went 0 for 4.

Adam Conley allowed just one hit in his six innings of work. He picked up his seventh win against two losses. Adam made a major league relief appearance in June, working one inning and getting all three hitters to ground out.

Another Marlin, Gabe Castellanos had one of the better pitching lines of the year, not allowing a hit or walk in seven innings, striking out 12. He faced the minimum 21 batters, with only 9 hitters putting the ball in play.

June 25th

Yorman Rodriguez is in a zone that he hopes to carry into the Future’s Game. The last two days (25th and 26th) he has been 6 for 9 with a homerun and 9 RBIs. Yorman has a rather shallow 16/69 walk to whiff ratio.

Domingo Leyba had a perfect 4 for 4 day, falling a homerun short of the cycle. The four hits brought his average up to .237. The 4 for 4 day is right in the middle of a six game hitting streak in which Domingo is 11 for 27.

His High Desert teammate Mitch Haniger also got four hits to raise his average to .667. He stroked a double and drove in three runs in his second game at High A.

The Diamondbacks catcher, Stryker Trahan, the first round pick in the 2012 draft only got two hits in a 2 for 5 day, but one hit carried over the fence and the other split the gap for five RBIs on the day. The Dodgers 2012 first round pick is having a little trouble since his promotion to High A, hitting just .191. Between the two levels he has 15 homeruns on the year.

Tyler Collins went 3 for 5 with two homeruns and five RBIs to raise his average to .264. After hitting a respectable .292 as a fourth outfielder fo the Tigers they demoted him to AAA.

The jewell of the Angels pitching prospects may not be Jake Jewell, but he is making the Angels take notice with his five innings of one hit shutout ball. Last year Jake had an ERA north of 8.00. This year he has kept it under 4.00. In his last two outings he has thrown five shutout innings to extend his shutout streak to 10.

June 26th

Down in the short season league Kevin Padlo was the big RBI man with six. He went 3 for 5 with his first homerun in the Northwest League. Kevin is hitting in eight games after hitting just .145 in Low A. Padlo has four consecutive games in which he has driven in a run, giving him 10 RBIs during that stretch. The Rockies drafted Kevin in the fifth round of the 2014 draft.

Reds prospect Taylor Sparks went 4 for 4 with two doubles and three RBIs. The Reds second round 2014 pick has a walk to whiff ratio of 9/90, which would explain his low .248 average.

The Mets may soon have to make room for their 2013 first round pick. For Dominic Smith, the 4 for 5 day was his second four hit day for the month of June. The four hits put his June average at .376 while his overall average is .305.

Kendry Flores threw seven innings of two hit shutout ball to pick up his first AAA win this year. Kendry spent almost all of April in Japan playing in the NPB. Kendry has made two relief appearances for the Marlins. He is back to starting in AAA with three starts and a 2.65 ERA.

Luis Severino threw seven innings of shutout ball, allowing just three hits. He walked two and struck out six. Since being promoted to AAA Luis has not allowed more than two runs in any of his five starts to put his ERA at 1.44. Luis has not allowed an earned run in his last 14 plus innings of work in AAA.

Chris Bassitt would like to get another opportunity with the Athletics. After getting slapped around for 11 runs in 18 innings Chris threw five innings of shutout two hit ball. He struck out eight during the outing to lower his ERA to 3.71.

The Phillies Dominican prospect Franklyn Kilome threw six innings of shutout two hit ball in his second start of 2015. Franklyn has only allowed one run in two starts to put his ERA at 0.77.

Future Team’s Roster

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

A game is held right before the All Star game between the best prospects from the United States and the best prospects from the world. The United States has been winning the last couple Future games, but then there are more players to choose from. Last year Joey Gallo made a name for himself with his batting practice shots. He is now playing for the Texas Rangers. Who will be the bright spots this year?

United States

Pitchers - Mark Appel (Astros), Tyler Beede (Giants), Zach Davies (Orioles), Carl Edwards (Cubs), Amir Garrett (Reds), Lucas Giolito (Nationals), Sean Newcomb (Angels), Aaron Nola (Phillies), Colin Rea (Padres), Blake Snell (Rays)

Catchers - Kyle Farmer (Dodgers), Kyle Schwarber (Cubs)

Infielders - Josh Bell (Pirates), J.P. Crawford (Phillies), Tony Kemp (Astros), Matt Olson (Athletics), Richie Shaffer (Rays), Trevor Story (Rockies) Trea Turner (Nationals)

Outfielders - Michael Conforto (Mets), Aaron Judge (Yankees), Brandon Nimmo (Mets), Kyle Waldrop (Reds), Nick Williams (Rangers), Bradley Zimmer (Indians)

The United States has three lefthanders in Snell, Garrett and Newcomb. Snell had a shutout streak earlier in the season of 40 plus innings. Lucas Giolito may be the hardest thrower but Aaron Nola may end up being the best over all pitcher.

On the power front Aaron Judge will be the batting practice player to watch. Matt Olson and Richie Shaffer are other power sources. The best hitter on this roster may be Kyle Schwarber.

The most popular name on this roster is Kyle with three players on the United States roster named Kyle. California had the most players from a birth perspective with five. Texas came in second with four. Four other states had two each (Massachusetts, Washington, Georgia and Florida). I’m guessing Wyoming has their first representative in Nimmo.

International Roster

Pitchers - Jose Berrios (Twins), Edwin Diaz (Mariners), Jarlin Garcia (Marlins), Juan Gonzalez (Dodgers), Wei-Chieh Huang (Diamondbacks), Joe Jimenez (Tigers), Jairo Labourt (Blue Jays), Keury Mella (Giants), Frankie Montas (White Sox), Alex Reyes (Cardinals)

Catchers - Elias Diaz (Pirates), Gary Sanchez (Yankees)

Infielders - Ozhaino Albies (Braves), Orlando Arcia (Brewers), Cheslor Cuthbert (Royals), Rafael Devers (Red Sox), Max Kepler (Twins), Raul Mondesi (Royals), Renato Nunez (Athletics)

Outfielders - Socrates Brito (Diamondbacks), Manuel Margot (Red Sox), Nomar Mazaro (Rangers), Yorman Rodriguez (Reds), Raimel Tapia (Rockies)

The only lefties on the international roster are Garcia and Labourt. Compared to the United States team that has seven pitchers standing 6′4″ or greater, the tallest international pitcher is 6′4″ Labourt. The hardest throwers are probably Montas and Reyes, though there are a couple pitchers myworld is not familiar with.

Not a lot of power here. Renato Nunez and Nomar Mazaro may provide the most entertainment as far as batting practice power. Orlando Arcia is a smooth fielding shortstop and may be one of the more complete players in this game from both an offensive and defensive perspective. The best hitter may be Devers.

Max Kepler is the first German player ever to play in the Futures game. The Dominican Republic is the most represented country on the international squad with 12. Venezuela follows with five and then Puerto Rico with four. Four other countries have one player each (Curacao, Germany, Nicaragua and Taiwan). Canada is not represented this year, but they have some up and coming players that should squeeze into future rosters. Cuba is surprisingly not represented, with most of their better players hitting the major leagues fairly quickly after leaving Cuba.

Express Pound Zephyrs

Friday, June 26th, 2015

Myworld is here in New Orleans for the national volleyball championships so posts will be a bit sporadic. Yesterday was the only day the New Orleans Zephyrs were in town and myworld went out to the park. There were not any big time prospects to watch but Mike Morse for the Zephyrs and Josh Hamilton for the Round Rock Express were there for rehab. Nefteli Feliz also pitched a couple innings.

Round Rock got a leadoff homerun over the left field fence from Ryan Strausborger to lead off the game on their way to a 5-1 win. Strausborger also laid down a sacrifice bunt in the third inning that was followed by a Josh Hamilton opposite field slow roller to third that scored Tyler Pastornicky for the second run. Tyler had led off the inning with a blast over the head of the right fielder.

Tyler started the fifth inning with a single and Strausborger moved him to second with a single. In his last rehab at bat Josh picked up his second RBI with a bloop single over the head of the second baseman, Tyler scoring his second run of the game.

Jerad Eickoff went six innings with pedestrian stuff. The only run he gave up was a Kila Ka’aihue solo shot in the fourth that went into the Gator’s den in right field. He threw his fastball 88-90 with passable breaking stuff. The Zephyrs had an opportunity to get to him in the first inning when they got their first two hitters on. Cole Gillespie lined hard to the first baseman and Reid Brignac strayed too far from the bag and was doubled off. They also had runners on first and third with one out and Reid hit nothing but air on a two strike pitch. Cole Gillespie flied to left to end the inning.

Jared Hoying tattered one over the Gator’s den in right field for a two run homerun to make it 5-1. The two run blast was hit off Aussie Travis Blackley. Travis leaves that fastball at 88-89 and lacks a real effective breaking pitch. He did go three innings striking out four, relying a lot on location. He is not the mid-90s thrower he once was but he is lefthanded.

Neftali Feliz also no longer throws in the mid-90s. He pitched just over one inning, hitting 88-92 with his fastball. He retired four of the five hitters he faced, striking out one. Miguel Rojas was hit by a pitch in the seventh.

Game Notes: Zephyrs field is located in Metaire, a parrish outside of New Orleans. There is nothing atypical about the stadium. They play baseball but there is no skyline and anything unusual about the field. It does have two levels. You go there to watch baseball. Parking is $5. Mike Morse was very accommodating to the Little Leaguers that were there to run out to the field with the players. The kids all flocked to Mike when he finished his warmups in right field just before game time…There is a fenced in berm where fans can sit on the grass and kids can wait for a homerun out in the right field area. There is also supposed to be a swimming pool, but myworld could not tell if it was active…Tommy Field showed a nice glove at second base, a reason the Rangers probably gave him an opportunity in the majors. He doesn’t show anything special with the bat…Juan Diaz made some nice defensive plays at third base for the Zephyrs…Ticket prices for the lower level seats were quite reasonable, $11-12, so a cheap entertainment option if you don’t want to lose all your money in New Orleans at the casinos.