Archive for June, 2015

Banuelos and Story with Big Days in Minor League Report

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Myworld has arrived in New Orleans and it’s time to catch up on the minor league review. Many of the leagues are in their All Star break so the number of games have been limited.

June 22

At one point Yorman Rodriguez held the record for highest bonus signing. The Reds outfielder is now in AAA where he went 3 for 3 with a walk to raise his average to .267. He has the speed to play centerfield and the arm for right. A poor walk to whiff ratio (16/68) make people question his bat. The power has also not developed as the Reds had projected. This year he has hit seven homeruns with a .422 slugging. In 2013 he hit his high of 13 homeruns. Yorman made his major league debut last year hitting .222 with no extra base hits in 27 at bats.

Coming from the Bahamas, but playing at a high school in Florida, Afernee Seymour was a seventh round pick of the Marlins in the 2014 draft. Anfernee had a 3 for 5 day with four runs scored in the fourth game of the short season New York Penn League to raise his average to .389. He also showed his speed stealing two bases to give him four for the year. The shortstop has minimal power, with just one double to account for his extra base hit totals for his seven hits.

The Braves have acquired a number of pitching prospects to build up their franchise. Manny Banuelos is one of those prospects. Manny pitched a complete game two hit shutout in his 14th start to set himself up for consideration of a spot in the Braves revolving rotation. After a rough April (4.43 ERA) Manny has come on strong with a dominating May (1.11 ERA) and June (1.33 ERA).

June 23

Trevor Story is showing some pretty good pop for a shortstop. The Rockies supplemental first round pick in 2011 went 4 for 6 with three doubles to raise his average to .290 and put his slugging average at .535. The four hit game broke an 0 for 12 slump. Story has 19 doubles, six triples and 10 homeruns but only 39 RBIs for all that production.

The Pirates sent Harold Ramirez down to extended spring because he reported out of shape to spring training after gorging on all that Colombian food at home. He reported to the Florida State League in May and is raking hitting .529 in May for 5 games and .375 in June. On this day he was a homerun short of the cycle going 3 for 5 with four RBIs. He also stole his ninth base in twelve attempts.

Kohl Stewart, the Twins first round pick of 2013 tossed six innings of five hit shutout ball. He walked three and struck out five to lower his ERA to 3.62. It was his first 2015 start in which he did not allow a run. His performances have not been dominating with a 21/30 walk to whiff ratio in 59.2 innings.

The Mariners Brazilian fireballer Luiz Gohara has not allowed an earned run in three 2015 starts in the short season leagues. He worked six innings and gave up one unearned run on this day, striking out eight. His last start he also allowed an unearned run while striking out 9. These kind of performances will give him a quick promotion to Low A.

Cavaliers Get the Dogpile Opportunity

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Last year Virginia had to watch Vanderbilt do the dogpile. This year the tide turned with Vanderbilt watching Virginia do the dogpile. It took some time for the dogpile to get started, because no one wants to be the first to fall on the ground to begin the pile on. It was the first NCAA championship for Virginia in any of the major sports. It was also the first NCAA baseball championship by the ACC since 1955 when Wake Forest won the championship.

Virginia 3 Vanderbilt 0

After losing the opener the Cavaliers evened the series at a game apiece, getting five shutout innings from Adam Hasely and finished off by Josh Sborz, who extended his streak of not allowing an earned run to 27 innings. Sborz also got his third win of the College World Series. All three runs by Virginia were scored in the sixth, Ernie Clement and Thomas Woodruff each banging out three hits, Clement driving in one and Woodruff two.

Virginia 4 Vanderbilt 2

Brandon Waddell gave up two runs in the first inning, but then shut down the Commodore bats for the next six. The Cavaliers called on Nathan Kirby to reprise his closer role and close out the last two innings to pick up the win. Pavin Smith provided the offensive heroics with a two run homer in the fourth to tie the game, then contributing an RBI single in the sixth to put the Cavaliers in front. Kenny Towns drove in an insurance run in the seventh with an RBI single.

Virginia did it with a roster filled with freshman. Expect to see them in Omaha next year. Maryland will hope to avoid them in the super regionals.

Taiwan Defeats United States College National Team

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Sloppy play by the United States college national team led to their 5-1 loss to Taiwan. An errant pick off throw in the second led to Taiwan’s first run. A boot by the third baseman with a runner on third led to the go ahead run to score. A wild pitch and sacrifice fly after the first two hitters walked resulted in two runs in the eighth. In the ninth Taiwan scored on the fourth United States fielding error to score their fifth run.

TP Huang pitched five innings for Taiwan, allowing just one unearned run. Shih-Ying Ping struck out five of the 11 hitters he faced in his three innings of shutout relief work, giving up just two hits. Leadoff hitter Yu-Ning Tsao scored twice from the leadoff spot to lead the offense.

Boxscore for the game can be found below:

boxscore

First Rounders Shine in Vandy Win

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Vanderbilt 5 Virginia 1

Two first rounders, Carson Fulmer and Dansby Swanson led Vanderbilt to the win in the first game of a best of three final. Carson pitched two outs into the eighth inning allowing only two hits and struck out eight to shut down the Virginia offense. He was finally pulled after issuing a two out double and walk to put two runners on. Ben Bowden got the last out to keep the shutout intact. Virginia scored a run in the final frame. Dansby Swanson had an RBI double in the seventh to drive in one run. Will Toffey had the big hit with a two run double in the sixth to score the Commodores first two runs.

Virginia needs to win this game tonight to extend the series to a third game, otherwise they lose their second championship series in a row to Vanderbilt.

Will First MLB Female Player Come from France

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Could it be that the first professional major league female player be from France? Melissa Mayeux, a shortstop on the French 18 and under team was added to MLB’s international prospect registration list. If nothing else she is getting a lot of buzz for that. She doesn’t seem to be interested in the buzz. She just wants to play baseball. So if a major league team does not sign her she will try to continue to play in the French League.

Only players who might be signed are placed on this registration list. The likelihood to see her signed is slim, but just like the two pitchers from India a signing of a French woman could be a wave of publicity for a major league team.

Davidson Goes Deep Twice

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Myworld will be in New Orleans for a few days this week. After New Orleans we will shoot over to Mobile to see the Baybears, Pensacola and then travel north to Durham to watch the Cuban team play the USA national college team.

Matt Davidson hopes the White Sox still have room for him at third base. The one time prospect now suspect went 4 for 5 with two homeruns to give him 13 for the year. He has now homered three times in the last two games, but is still hitting just .232. That is better than his .199 average from last year. Matt still strikes out too much, whiffing 93 times in 68 games.

Another White Sox Micah Johnson is tearing up AAA, but then we saw Carlos Sanchez do the same thing only to hit .150 when called up to play for the White Sox. Micah brought out his power bat with two homeruns in a 3 for 4 day, driving in three runs. While Micah is hitting .310 in AAA the White Sox wanted to see some improvement in his defense before they promoted him.

The Diamondbacks have to hope the two homeruns hit by Gabby Guerrero will wake up his season. He went 3 for 5, hitting his third and fourth homeruns with 3 RBIs. That was his second three hit game in the Pensacola series, sandwiched between two 0 fer games. Gabby is still hitting at a dismal .216.

The Orioles may have to find room for Cuban Dariel Alvarez in their outfield. He is starting to show a power stroke with 4 homeruns in seven games, giving him 11 for the season. His 2 for 5 day extended his hitting streak to five games, four of them being multiple hit games. He is 9 for 24 with three homeruns and seven RBIs during this five game streak.

Gavin LaValley was a triple short of the cycle in a 4 for 6 day. He hit two doubles, a single and a homerun to cross the plate three times. In his last two games Gavin has gone 7 for 11 with five runs scored. This has been his second four hit game for the month of June leading to a .463 June average.

Tommy Pham is probably going to be no better than a fourth outfielder in the major leagues. He got a late June start to the season but a 4 for 4 day juiced his average to .436 in 12 games. He also stole two bases in the game upping his total to three. He is 10 for 15 in his last four games.

Sean Newcomb dominated Low A (1.83 ERA) to earn a promotion to High A. The Angels first round 2014 pick tossed his second shutout in High A ball, working five innings while giving up three hits and striking out eight. In his last two starts covering 11 innings he has allowed only one run while striking out 15.

The Yankees starting rotation is only one injury away from giving Luis Severino an opportunity to squeeze into their rotation. He worked 7.2 innings, allowing just four hits and two unearned runs while striking out seven in his fourth AAA start to lower his ERA to 1.85. This was his best AAA whiff performance after only striking out eight in his first three starts. Luis has also only walked two hitters in his last three starts.

It is still a challenge for Jesse Biddle to throw strikes as evidenced by his five walks in five innings of shutout work yesterday. He did not allow a runner to cross the plate, allowed only three hits and improved his record to 7-1 so those were the good things. His walk rate has improved from an average of about five walks per game last year to just under four this year. While throwing strikes is good, he is giving up too many hits, with the opposition hitting him at a .270 plus clip.

Ranking the Teams - Catching

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

Using Fangraphs we have used their WAR (Wins Above Replacement) to rank the catching position, also adding the OPS. The teams with the higher OPS but a low WAR rating are probably weak with the defensive measurements.

1. Athletics (3.7) (.910) - Stephen Vogt is not noted for his defense behind the plate, but his bat has been a surprise. Josh Phegley is a better defensive catcher but does not provide the productive offense.

2. Blue Jays (2.5) (.781) - Russell Martin may be one of the best catchers in the league from an offensive and defensive tools perspective. Dioner Navarro was the starter last year and is now relegated to back up duty.

3. Pirates (2.4) (.767) - Yankees did not have room for Francisco Cervelli with the acquisition of Brian McCann and the Pirates are thankful. Tony Sanchez was supposed to be the catcher of the future but that future has stalled.

4. Giants (2.1) (.771) - You can’t get much better than Buster Posey. The backup has been a problem. Young prospect Andrew Susac has done better than Hector Sanchez.

5. Yankees (1.9) (.766) - Brian McCann would like to find his power stroke back that has disappeared since his arrival in New York. J.R. Murphy is a capable backup.

6. Astros (1.6) (.710) - Now that the Astros are in a pennant race trade talk for Jason Castro has stopped. Hank Conger was a starter for the Angels. Max Stassi has good tools as a prospect.

7. Dodgers (1.5) (.739) - Yasmani Grandal provides some power in the offense. A.J. Ellis was the starter but has seen a drop in his offense.

8. Padres (1.5) (.689) - Austin Hedges may be one of the better defensive catchers in the league but he has to hit better than .100. Derek Norris provides the offense but falls far behind Hedges in the defensive front.

9. Cubs (1.4) (.716) - Miguel Montero and David Ross provide a stable veteran presence. Montero is the offensive stud and Ross the defensive man. Kyle Schwarber has been called up but the Cubs are only asking him to DH for now.

10. Rockies (1.2) (.787) - A pretty high rating for two backups in Nick Hundley and Michael McKenry seeing most of the time. The high OPS has got to be helped by the Rocky Mountain Air.

11. Royals (1.0) (.713) - Salvador Perez is one of the best catchers in the league, but he can’t play 162 games. Drew Butera provides negligible numbers as the backup.

12. Cardinals (1.0) (.670) - Yadier Molina is short of the player he once was. Tony Cruz should be nothing more than a backup.

13. Tigers (1.0) (.676) - Rookie James McCann is sharing the catching duties with one time starter now backup Alex Avila.

14. Nationals (0.9) (.686) - Wilson Ramos has stayed healthy but his offense has been inconsistent. Jose Lobaton is a drop defensively.

15. Orioles (0.9) (.722) - Matt Wieters is back so if he can stay healthy this ranking should rise. Caleb Joseph has been a pleasant surprise as the starter during Wieters absence.

16. Reds (0.8) (.670) - Brayan Pena and Tucker Barnhart are two backups doing better than expected.

17. Rangers (0.7) (.652) - Robinson Chirinos and Carlos Corporan are just keeping the seat warm for Jorge Alfaro.

18. Indians (0.7) (.617) - With Yan Gomes healthy this ranking should rise. Roberto Perez is a good defensive catcher but provides little offense.

19. Mets (0.7) (.649) - Travis d’Arnaud has had trouble staying healthy so the Mets have had to rely on rookie Kevin Plawecki.

20. Twins (0.4) (.616) - Kurt Suzuki took over the starting role last year, but is not performing as well this year. Josmil Pinto has fallen short of his rookie performance and has had trouble staying healthy.

21. Braves (0.4) (.645) - Christian Betancourt was not the answer so now the Braves will rely on the veteran A.J. Pierzynski, whose defense is poor.

22. Red Sox (0.3) (.574) - Blake Swihart is finding the major leagues a little more of a challenge. Ryan Hanigan and Sandy Leon are better in backup roles.

23. White Sox (0.2) (.646) - Tyler Flowers has struggled offensively. Geovany Soto has lost his offense.

24. Angels (0.2) (.566) - Chris Iannetta and Carlos Perez are not putting up the numbers.

25. Phillies (0.1) (.590) - Like most of the older Phillies Carlos Ruiz is a shell of his past self. Cameron Rupp is the catcher of the future but his bat has been a disappointment.

26. Diamondbacks (0.0) (.606) - Tuffy Gosewich is out for the year so the twice released Jarod Saltalmachia is now the starter. It is a wonder they are not at the bottom with their prospects at the start of the season.

27. Marlins (-0.5) (.555) - J.T. Realmuto is still learning the craft. Jeff Mathis has always been solid defensively but his bat is invisible.

28. Brewers (-0.7) (.524) - Jonathan Lucroy has had a solid bat so surprised they are rated this low. Martin Maldanado is best used as a backup.

29. Rays (-0.8) (.468) - Ruben Rivera is better as a backup despite some surprising years offensively. Curt Casila has provided early juice in a recent callup. Justin O’Connor is the future.

30. Mariners (-0.9) (.474) - At some point Mike Zunino has to provide some offense to meet his expectations or the Mariners will have to go to Plan B. Jesus Sucre is not a plan B.

McKinney Ends On Base Streak

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

Billy McKinney got on base in 10 consecutive at bats. In a 3 for 4 day that streak ended with his last at bat. He did hit his second homerun and drove in three runs in the game, his average rising to .303. In the three game streak he went 3 for 3 with a walk, 2 for 2 with a walk and three hits in his first three at bats yesterday.

Yankees shortstop prospect Jorge Mateo does not hit for a lot of power, but every time he gets on base it’s a double. He had a 4 for 5 day hitting his eighth legitimate double, but stealing three bases to up his total to 46 stolen bases on the year. The four hits raised his average to .273 with a .319 OBA, numbers he will have to improve upon if he wants to create havoc in the major leagues. He has a 17/59 walk to whiff ratio in 61 games, too much lack of contact for a leadoff hitter.

Brandon Nimmo also had a 4 for 5 day, strafing four singles. He does not quite have the speed of Mateo so his singles normally stay singles. The four hits raise his AA average to .316. He has a 10 game AA hitting streak going 17 for 44 during that streak. The Mets would like to see more than two homeruns from his bat.

The Astros A.J. Reed launched homerun number 18 in a 3 for 5 day. He drove in three runs. The 2014 second round pick now has three homeruns in his last five games, driving in eight runs. He also has an 8 game hitting streak going 18 for 30.

The Phillies Dominican shortstop Jose Pujols put together a 4 for 4 game to raise his average to .750. They have only played two games in short season Williamsport, but at 6′3″ Jose appears to have a bat. He has two doubles and a triple in his first two games with a 2.000 OPS.

Padres outfielder Michael Gettys had a 4 for 5 day to raise a disappointing average to .235. The Padres were hoping for a little more from their 2014 second round pick. He has smacked 17 doubles but is only 9 for 15 in stolen base success rate. Making contact and plate discipline has also been a problem for Gettys with an amazing abysmal 6/85 walk to whiff ratio in 58 games.

The Rangers Ronald Guzman drove in five runs in a 2 for 5 game. He has the same plate discipline issues with a 14/58 walk to whiff ratio in 62 games at two levels, an explanation for his struggling .233 average in High A. He did hit .309 in Low A but he made better contact (6/15 walk to whiff ratio in 24 games).

The Astros Francis Martes struck out nine and allowed only two hits, but he allowed two runs and his offense did not give him any support, setting him up for his second loss against one win. Martes had thrown seven shutout innings in his last outing. He has yet to give up more than two runs in any of his starts for a 1.16 ERA in Low A.

The Royals Pedro Fernandez was missing bats in Low A, throwing just three innings but striking out six. He retired all nine hitters he faced. Pedro also threw four plus shutout innings in his last appearance. His ERA now sits at 3.04. In his 12 appearances Pedro has made 7 starts.

Hawks Yanagita Japanese Player to Watch

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

Yuki Yanagita turns 27 years old in October. He is an outfielder for the Softbank Hawks. Last year he played in the full 144 games, hitting .317 with 15 homeruns and 70 RBIs. He also showed some speed stealing 33 bases.

This year Yuki has been on fire. He is hitting .374 with 14 homeruns and 44 RBIs. His OPS is an amazing 1.080. His slugging average at .614 is 162 points higher than his slugging average from last year. A lot of major league teams could use production like that from their outfield. Those numbers could qualify him for the Triple Crown, but Shogo Akiyama leads the Pacific League in batting average at .375 and teammate Dae Ho Lee has 17 homeruns. Sho Nakata leads the Pacific League with 20. Takeya Nakamura is at a blistering 61 RBI pace. This is not the same NPB anymore with ex-major leaguers atop the leaderboard.

Yes, the closest major league player in the Pacific League homerun race is Luis Cruz at 13 with four Japanese players and one Korean player ahead of him. They are growing up more to be bashers in Japan. In the Central League Kazuhiro Hatakeyama leads the league with 18 homeruns. Jose Lopez is the closest ex-major leaguer with 13.

Yuki gives credit to Ivan Rodriguez for some tips he gave him on his swing and his front leg kick while he played in the Puerto Rican League in 2011. Since that advice he has gotten better every year. In the exhibition series against major league pitching last November he tore them apart, a major reason for the major league drubbing. Now he is tearing apart Japanese pitching. Unfortunately, he is still three or four years away from being an international free agent. It would be surprising if the Hawks allow Yanagita to leave for a paltry $20 million posting price. That would almost be equivalent to allowing Bryce Harper to leave the Nationals for the Yankees for $20 million.

But Yanagita is a player to keep an eye on. Just in case he decides to pursue a major league career. In three or four years. After Japan has seen his best years.

Cavaliers Get Rematch Against Vandy

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

Virginia 5 Florida 4

Josh Sborz shut out the Gators for the last four innings to get the win and Kenny Towns third RBI of the game, a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning broke a 4-4 tie to give Virginia a 5-4 win over the Florida Gators. Towns had given the Cavaliers a 4-3 lead with his two run double in the fifth.

Matt Thaiss hit a solo homerun for Virginia in the first inning. The Gators, who were shutout by Brandon Waddell in his previous start against them, got homeruns from Peter Alonso, a two run shot in the second and Harrison Bader who hit a solo shot in the fifth. Bader finished the game with four hits, but except for his solo shot they were all for naught.

Vandy now plays a best two out of three against Virginia, a rematch of the championship game from last season.