Archive for September, 2015

Czech National Team to Train in North Carolina

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Based on information from Mister Baseball, The Czech National Team will be going to North Carolina to prepare for their WBC qualifier competition. They will be playing in Mexicali, Mexico against Germany, Mexico and Nicaragua. Trot Nixon will be one of their coaches.

From 10/2 - 10/11 they will be in exhibition games against universities in the area. You can view the schedule at the link below.

The catcher on the team Martin Cervenka made the top ten myworld European prospect list. They also have a tall pitcher Marek Minarik who could show some potential if he could find the plate more often. The roster for the teams playing in North Carolina consists of:

Pitchers

Blažek Jan, Bokaj Boris, Chroust Radim, Duffek, Tomáš, Minařík Marek, Minařík Petr, Mráz Daniel, Novák Jan, Sobotka Michal, Sogard Alex, Tomek Jan, Zouzalík Mike

Catchers

Čech Petr, Červenka Martin, Vavruša Daniel

Infielders

Chroust Přemek, Hajtmar Adam, Hajtmar Jakub, Juněc Tomáš, Sládek Jakub, Zýma Petr

Outfielders

Dubový Arnost, Hejma Mat+j, Malík Jakub, Ondráček Michal, Sila Petr

Czech National Team Training Camp

Premier 12 Taiwan Roster

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Taiwan will have a number of players on their roster who play in their professional league (CPBL) as well as players from the Japanese professional league (NPB) and players from the United States minor leagues not on a major league 40 man roster. Fu-Te Ni pitched for the Detroit Tigers in the major leagues before returning to Taiwan. A major attraction from the CPBL is Kuo-Hui Hao who broke the record this year for most homeruns in a season. It is a young team with a quarter of the players aged 25 or younger. With the pool play being held in Taiwan and the crowd behind them, they should be a team to watch for advancement to the semi-finals and finals in Japan.

Pitching

Wei-Lun Pan (CPBL Uni-President), Chun-Lin Kuo (NPB Seibu), Kuan-Yu Chen (NPB Chiba), Kou-Hua Lo (Minnesota Twins), Yu-Hsun Chen (CPBL Lamigo), Po-Yu Lin (CPBL Lamigo), Ching-Ming Wang (CPBL Uni-President), Hung-Wen Chen (CPBL Chinatrust), Chia-Jen Lo (CPBL EDA), Fu-Te Ni (CPBL EDA), Tzu-Wei Lin (CPBL Uni-President), Yen-Ching Lu (National Taiwan Physical Education and Sport University) and Chia-Hao Sung.

Catchers

Chih-Kang Kao (CPBL Uni-President), Hung-Yu Lin (CPBL Lamigo) and Chin-Teh Chang (Pittsburgh Pirates).

Infield

Yen-Wen Kuo (CPBL Lamigo), Chun-Hsiu Chen, (CPBL Lamigo), Chih-Sheng Lin (CPBL Lamigo), Yi-Chuan Lin (CPBL EDA), Yung-Chih Chen (CPBL Uni-President), Chih-Hsiang Lin (CPBL Uni-President) and Chih-Hsien Chiang (CPBL Chinatrust).

Outfield

Yoh Dai-Kang (NPB Hokkaido), Kuo-Hui Kao (CPBL EDA), Chien-Ming Chang (CPBL EDA), Chih-Hao Chang (CPBL Chinatrust), Po-Jung Wang (CPBL Lamigo).

Manager - Tai-Yuan Kuo

Rouen Huskies French Champions

Monday, September 28th, 2015

The Rouen Huskies had won nine straight championships until last year when the Senart Templiers ended their streak. The Huskies regained the championship winning a best of five series three games to one against the Montpellier Barracudas. After splitting the first two games the Huskies won the championship with a pair of 6-4 wins.

Bastien Dagneau was named MVP for the tournament. He drove in three runs in each of the 6-4 wins.

Montpellier eliminated the defending champion Templiers 3-1 in the semi-finals of the best of five championship. The Huskies swept UC Paris in three games in the semi-final.

Kao Breaks CPBL Homerun Record

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

The EDA Rhinos Kuo-Hui Kai broke the CPBL homerun record of 33 held by the Lions Tilson Brito in 2007. Kao hit another homerun last night to put his total at 35. With 11 games to play Kao hopes to be the first player in the CPBL to hit 40 homeruns in a season.

Brito had a two year major league career where he hit only three homeruns in 92 games between 1996 to 1997. He had a six year career in the KBO where he played for four different teams averaging about 19 homeruns per season. In 2006 he moved to the CPBL where he established a three year career hitting 33 homeruns in his second year and 24 in the third year.

Kao played in the Mariners minor league system from 2006 to 2012, never playing higher than the AA level before returning to the CPBL in 2013. He is the nephew of Chin-Hui Tsao.

Top Left Field Prospects

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Prospects who play left field in the minor leagues usually lack the arm to play right and miss the foot speed to play center. To justify them playing with that large expansion of grass surrounding them they must show an ability to hit. And hit with power.

1) Austin Meadows (Pirates) - The Pirates have a young outfield and it is full. That makes for plenty of time for Meadows to develop. He was a first round pick of the Pirates in 2013 and will always be linked with his Georgia rival Clint Frazier, both players drafted in the first round in 2013. The 2014 season was a nightmare year for Austin where hamstring issues limited him to 45 games. When he did play he hit .322 with a .874 OPS. The bat should produce more power as he matures but a below average arm and Andrew McCutchen will restrict him to left field. He does have the foot speed to play center. This year he has stayed healthy to play 127 games. The bat has produced another above .300 average (.310) but the power has yet to appear (7 homeruns and .420 slugging).

2) Billy McKinney (Cubs) - Billy was drafted by the Athletics in the first round of the 2013 draft but the Cubs were able to steal him last year for Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija. A weak arm and average speed will limit him to left. The Cubs hope his power develops to have him fill the position. Right now Kyle Schwarber is filling the position and McKinney does not come close to that kind of power potential, but his defense will be better. McKinney did have a nice .544 slugging average in High A, but when promoted to AA it dropped to .420. Only seven balls flew over the fence, a paltry sum when compared to Schwarber.

3) Nick Williams (Phillies) - The Rangers drafted Nick in the second round of the 2012 draft. He was one of the prospects the Rangers sent to the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade. It is his bat that will provide a combination of power and average that will get him to the major leagues. While he has played mostly left field in the minors his arm is strong enough to play right, though it lacks the cannon like quality you expect from right fielders. Last year at High A he had a 19/117 walk to whiff ratio, which is a cause for concern. This year he has improved that to 35/97 with two different AA teams. The Phillies are rebuilding and lack options in the outfield. With a good start in the minor leagues Nick could see himself in the Phillies outfield by mid-season 2016.

4) Jessie Winker (Reds) - Jesse was a first round pick of the Reds in 2012. His speed is probably geared more towards first base than the outfield and his arm is suited for left. With Joey Votto at first base the Reds are using him in left field. What is attractive about him is his left handed power bat. Last year he slugged .580 with 13 homeruns in what is traditionally a hitter’s league. He made a return to AA this year after slugging only .351 there last year in minimal at bats. The Reds are hoping for better but he did mash 13 homeruns with a slugging average of .433. He will need to do more if he hopes to win a full time job in left field. Jessie did show good patience at the plate with a .390 OBA as a result of a 74/83 walk to whiff ratio.

5) Brandon Nimmo (Mets) - Nimmo will be forever known as the first player from Wyoming drafted in the first round, selected by the Mets in 2011. Since his high school did not have a baseball team he earned his swag from playing on travel teams. His best attribute at this point is his patience at the plate which results in high OBAs (.387 career). His arm and speed are average. The Mets are hoping with a little more maturity his power will develop. At this stage of his career his minor league high for homeruns is 10 (2014) with a career .397 slugging average entering this season. He didn’t improve on those power numbers this year with a .372 slugging average at three different levels, ending at AAA. If Nimmo wants to be more than a fourth outfielder in the major leagues the power will have to come.

6) Scott Schebler (Dodgers) - Despite the surplus of outfielders the Dodgers still found some room to put Scott in 15 games. His defense will not win any gold gloves and is probably better suited for first base or designated hitter. The Dodgers drafted him in the 26th round in 2010 so to get any kind of production from him is a bonus. Last year he sent 28 balls over the fence and legged his way to 14 triples. It would seem he would be a prime candidate for a trade to an American League team where he could rotate between first base, left field and designated hitter. The 2016 season saw his slugging average drop more than 140 points so he needs to get the bat on track to reestablish his value for 2016.

7) Teoscar Hernandez (Astros) - The Astros are going to have difficulty fitting all their minor league talent on their major league club. The nice thing about Teoscar is he only cost the Astros a $20,000 bonus out of the Dominican in 2011. Last year he made that look like a bargain with 21 homeruns. When promoted to AA he showed very little patience with a 2/36 walk to whiff ratio. That continued this year with a 33/126 ratio resulting in a .216 average. His power continued to show with 17 homeruns and his speed gave him a second consecutive year with 33 stolen bases. He still has the speed for centerfield and his arm is strong enough for right, but that position will belong to George Springer so if he hopes to make it with the Astros he may have to settle for left.

8) Kyle Waldrop (Reds) - With Winker and Waldrop the Reds have two players whose best outfield skill is left field. One of them will have to be traded. Last year Waldrop combined for a .339 average between High A and AA. No one expected him to repeat those numbers in 2015 but in AA he hit .277. A promotion to AAA saw him struggle with a .185 average and a 7/54 walk to whiff ratio. His weak arm will relegate him to left field or first base and he lacks the speed to play centerfield. If he wants to fit in the Reds outfield he will need to return to the bat that hit .339 in 2014.

9) Max Kepler (Twins) - The Twins signed Kepler out of Germany back in 2009. They have been playing him mostly at first base because their outfield is crowded with young outfielders (Aaron Hicks, Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario). After hitting .322 in AA with a 67/63 walk to whiff ratio the Twins may have to find room for him. His lack of power does not make him a good fit for first base, but at 6′4″ the Twins hope the power will develop. He did split the gaps for 32 doubles and showed off the speed to leg out 13 triples and steal 18 bases. Next year will be key for Max to show that he can replicate the numbers he put up in 2015

10) Steven Moya (Tigers) - At 6′6″ Moya has a large strike zone. Born in Puerto Rico but raised in the Dominican the outfielder hit 35 homeruns and drove in 105 runs last year in AA, earning him the MVP of the Eastern League. There still is too much swing and miss in his swing (23/161 in 2014 and 28/175 in 2015) so a low batting average is to be expected. Pitchers were able to exploit that last year to sink his average from .275 to .243. His arm has plenty of carry for right field and that has been the position he has played in the minors but when myworld watches him play we keep thinking left fielder. Steven has had two September callups with the Tigers. The 2016 season may be a key year with the Tigers rebuilding and looking like they may need help in the outfield next year.

European Baseball Schedule Established

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

It is a bit tentative but the link below is the opening day schedule for the first European Professional League that will have their inaugural season in 2016. The teams will still not play between the dates of May 31 - June 5 (CEB European Cup Tournament) and September 9 -18 (European Championship Tournament). Ten teams are set to open this European professional league: 1) Rouen Huskies, 2) Templiers Senart, 3) Buchbinder Legionairre Regensburg, 4) Curacao Neptunus Rotterdam, 5) L&D Amsterdam, 6) T&A San Marino, 7) Unipol Bologna, 8) Bonn Capitals, 9) Haar Disciples and 10) Draci Brno.

http://www.euroleaguebaseball.com/?page_id=507

European Professional Baseball 2016 schedule

Trio of Puerto Rican Pitchers Flying High

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

In past World Baseball Classics Puerto Rico has done a credible job scattering their lineup with position players that are major league caliber. In 2014 they surprised the world by taking second place in the WBC despite having a starting staff of Nelson Figueroa, Orlando Roman, Mario Santiago and Giancarlo Alvarado. Nelson has won some big games in Taiwan and the Caribbean and Alvarado pitched for one year in the NPB but their major league careers have been less than impressive. This may change as this current trio of starters develops.

Baseball America announced their minor league all star team. Three pitchers from Puerto Rico made either the first or second team. Myworld ranked two of the three pitchers in our top ten prospects from Puerto Rico for 2014. We thought about Jorge Lopez but selected Alex Claudio instead, our eyes tainted by the good spring he was having. We did have Jorge mentioned in the future roster for the 2017 Puerto Rican WBC team and that may come to fruition.

The ace of the staff will be Jose Berrios who was selected to the first team after going 14-5 with a 2.87 ERA. Twins fans were a bit critical Berrios was not called up to help the Twins reach a playoff spot this year. After throwing 166 innings this year, twenty more than he threw last year Twins brass decided to shut him down. Jose has the distinction of being the highest drafted pitcher ever out of Puerto Rico, drafted in the supplemental first round in 2012. He has a mid-90s fastball that was enhanced with an improved changeup resulting in his leading all minor league baseball in whiffs with 175. Expect 2016 for him to make his major league debut, perhaps sliding into the rotation breaking out of spring camp.

Jorge Lopez from the Brewers is another player to make the first team. He finished 12-5 with a 2.26 ERA. Opponents hit only .205 against him. The fastball does not have the same velocity as Berrios but his breaking pitch (curve) is superior. It was so good the pitch was voted the best breaking pitch in the Southern League. The second round pick in the 2011 draft is still about a year away from pitching in the major leagues. At best expect a mid-season callup in 2016 if he continues to dominant in the minor leagues as he did this year.

Jose Deleon of the Dodgers made the second team, but he had the best strikeouts per nine innings of the trio (12.8) and his .208 opponent average was three points higher than Lopez. He finished 6-7, 2.99 between High A and AA. Not a lot was expected from the pudgy righthander drafted in the 24th round of the 2013 draft, but he has slimmed down and his fastball has rocketed to the mid-90s. It may take longer for Deleon to see the Dodgers rotation with Julio Urias ahead of him but don’t be surprised to see a 2016 September callup.

Puerto Rico will have a wide variety of catchers to select from for the 2017 WBC to nurture these young pitchers to compete against major leaguers. Yadier Molina would be the ideal candidate but Rene Rivera or Geovany Soto would be other options. The defense should be solid with Francisco Lindor at short, Carlos Correa at third and Javier Baez at second. The outfield could use one more glove with Eddie Rosario and Alex Rios two solid players patrolling the corners. Repeating second place may be a lofty ambition, but with an improved pitching staff perhaps a 2017 WBC world championship is not out of the question. A lot will depend on their major league teams making them available to pitch.

Outstanding Players in Asian Series

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

They gave out the awards for some of the outstanding players in the 27th Asian Series and some of the names were a bit of a surprise. Perhaps the voters were trying to be all inclusive with the countries. Some of the winners:

Most Stolen Bases - Cui Xiao from China (5)

Outstanding Defensive Player - Jawad Ali from Pakistan with 42 putouts and two assists.

Most Valuable Player - Ju-Suk Ha from Korea

Leading Hitter - Woo-Sung Lee from Korea (.692)

Top Pitcher - Myeong-Sin Kim (0.00 ERA with one win)

Most Runs Batted in - Chih-Chieh Su from Taiwan (8)

Most Home Runs - Kimio Watanabe from Japan (1)

Park Hits 50th Homerun; Na and Kim Players to Watch in KBO

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Major league scouts have been watching the burly 6′0″ 235 pound first baseman after the success of Jung-Ho Kang with the Pirates this season. Kang was the teammate of Park last year for the Nexen Heroes. While Kang hit 40 homeruns Park slugged 52. This year Park again hit more than 50 with his blast yesterday against the N.C. Dinos in their 4-1 win. The Nexon Heroes are in third place in the KBO but five games back of the Dinos. The top five teams make the playoffs in the KBO.

Park becomes the first player in KBO history to hit 50 or more homeruns in back to back seasons. Only Seung-Yeop Lee, who almost signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers has had two seasons of 50 or more homeruns but he did not hit them in consecutive years. He eventually played in Japan before returning to Korea and the Samsung Lions the last couple years. Park could finish with the most homeruns for the fourth consecutive season, also a first in the KBO.

Lee still has the record for most homeruns in a season with 56. Park still needs to hit seven homeruns in a little over ten games to break the record.

With Kang gone the Heroes have replaced him at shortstop with a young 19 year old rookie Ha-Seong Kim. After hitting .188 in a part time role last year as the backup for Kang, Kim is hitting .292 with 18 homeruns this year. Those numbers fall short of Kang, but at 19 years old Kim still has some developing to do. Watch out for him to become an impact player if he continues to progress.

One of my favorite players in the KBO is the 25 year old outfielder for the NC Dinos Sung-Bum Na. He seems to have improved on last year’s numbers when he hit .329 with 30 homeruns and 101 RBIs. This year he is hitting .335 with 28 homeruns and 124 RBIs. His walk to whiff ratio (30/111) is a cause for concern, but he is another player major league teams should be keeping an eye on. He hit in front of Eric Thames earlier in the season, but with the year Thames is having and teams hesitant to pitch to him the Dinos have moved Na to fifth in the order to give teams reason to pitch to Thames.

In a later post myworld will name some pitchers in the KBO that should be watched.

Kotlarka Wins Czech Championship

Monday, September 21st, 2015

The champions from the Czech Republic baseball league have been from Brno for the last 19 years. Kotlarka Prague changed all that winning the fifth game against defensing champion Draci Brno 3-1. Draci Brno had won the regular season.

Jan Novak got the win with a complete game victory, striking out eight. Mitchell Nilsson provided all the support he needed with a two run homerun in the three run second inning.

You can read more about the championship at the link below:

Czech finals