Archive for September, 2015

Korea Captures 27th Asian Championships

Monday, September 21st, 2015

They had won the event with their 2-1 walkoff win the night before against Japan. They made it official after defeating Indonesia 15-0 in their final game. Taiwan took second place in the tournament with their 3-1 win over Japan. They had lost earlier to Korea 8-2.

Yen-Ching Lu threw six innings of shutout ball but failed to get the win after Japan tied the game with a run in the top of the seventh. Chih-Chieh Su broke the tie with a solo homerun in the bottom of the seventh. Kuo-Hua Lo closed out the victory with two innings of shutout relief. It was the first victory for Taiwan over Japan in an Asian championship since 2001.

Korea with Walkoff to Down Japan in Asian Series Game

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

Ju-Suk Ha hit a pinch hit two run walk off homer to give Korea a 2-1 win over Japan in the 27th Asian championships. The homerun was off Japanese closer Hitoshi Kondo with two outs. It was a pitcher’s duel up until that point with the only run scored in the game on a second inning solo shot by Toshiyuki Hayashi. The Japanese had opportunities, stranding two runners on base in four of the last five innings.

The win virtually gives Korea the championship in the 27th Asian games. The one pool game they have left is against Indonesia who have lost all four of their games, scoring just three runs. The host Taiwan will play Japan for second place.

Top Third Base Prospects

Friday, September 18th, 2015

Third base is where older shortstops go to pasture. They no longer have the range to cover the ground between second and third, but they still have the bat to stay in the lineup. Also, teams develop a number of shortstops in their system. Only one can play on the major league team. That is usually the player who can play the best defense. Manny Machado was a shortstop for most of his minor league season. J.J. Hardy moved him to third. Yunel Escobar had to move from short to third after his trade to the Nationals because Ian Desmond is the Nationals shortstop. Below are ten players myworld likes who play third base, but may eventually have to move if they want to play that position in the major leagues.

1. Joey Gallo (Rangers) - Joey has tremendous power. He also has a lot of swing and miss action. That usually results in a lot of homeruns but a low batting average. Last year Joey hit .323 in 58 games at High A. When promoted to AA he only hit .232. There were 179 strikeouts between the two levels. This year he has struggled to maintain his average, hitting just .195 in AAA but .314 at AA. Joey has seen significant time on the Rangers roster because of injuries to Adrian Beltre but his .200 average with just six homeruns in just over 100 at bats has not earned him a permanent spot in the lineup, whether that is in the outfield or at third base to rest Beltre. His consecutive streak of hitting 40 or more homeruns will end at two with only 29 this year with less than 20 games to play. At 6′5″ with slow foot speed his best position may be in left field or at first base.

2. Rafael Devers (Red Sox) - Devers is a hit machine, piecing together a .322 batting average last year at rookie ball. This year he has hit .288 with 38 doubles. At 6′0″ and 200 pounds his girth may eventually force him to move to first base. There is some pop in his swing, though that has yet to translate into over the fence power yet. Last year he hit seven homeruns in rookie ball with a .506 slugging. This year he hit 11 homeruns, but his slugging has dropped to .443. The Red Sox still have a couple seasons in the minor leagues to determine what they want to do with Devers but he has he bat to be an impact player.

3. Ryan McMahon (Rockies) - Ryan has shown a power bat with 29 homeruns his last two years. He also likes to swing and miss with 143 strikeouts last year in just 126 games. This year the swings and misses have proliferated with 153 in 132 games. The average is still good with an average above .300 and his slugging average continues to hover around .500 (.520). There are defensive tools to his game, with good hands and a strong arm. Unfortunately, Nolan Arenado has similar tools, plus 39 homeruns in the National League so his best opportunity to play may be with a move to first base or a corner outfield position.

4. Renato Nunez (Athletics) - The Venezuelan slugged 29 homeruns last year with minimal strikeout activity (113 in 124 games), combining with team mate Matt Olson to hit 66 homeruns, the most by any duo in the minor leagues. This year he has played a full season in AA with a slight drop in power numbers. With a .480 slugging average he is about 40 points below the numbers he put up last year. On defense his foot speed is slow but his arm is good. His teammate of last year Matt Olson seems to have the first base position occupied for the future so it is unclear where that will leave Nunez if his defense is lacking for the position. Outfield would be a challenge.

5. J.D. Davis (Astros) - J.D. Davis was a third round pick in the 2014 draft. His offense got him promoted to Low A where he slugged 13 homeruns in 73 games. The arm exists to play the position. In college he was the closer for his Cal State Fullerton team with a mid-90s fastball. A lack of speed will keep him from moving to the outfield, with a possible move to first, but A.J. Reed stands in his way there. This year in the California League he slugged 26 homeruns with 101 RBIs. The Astros need to find a spot for his power bat.

6. Eric Jagielo (Yankees) - The Yankees made Jagielo a first round pick in 2013. A lack of athleticism makes playing third a challenge. A lack of foot speed will make a move to the outfield challenging, so first base looks to be his best position if he proves third base is too much of a challenge. Last year he showed off his power with 16 homeruns in the Florida State League. The power has continued this year, though an injury to his knee has limited his season to 58 games this year. A propensity to swing and miss could mean a low batting average.

7. Richie Shaffer (Rays) - Shaffer was drafted in the first round of the 2012 draft as a player with big time power. That power was slow to develop with 19 homeruns last year his career high. Another hitter who has problems making contact resulted in a low batting average last year at AA (.222). This year his power broke out with 26 homeruns in just 108 games in AA and AAA. With an injury to Evan Longoria he got an opportunity to show off his power bat in the major leagues, slugging three homeruns but hitting only .191. With Longoria signed to a lifetime contract with the Rays third base does not seem a position he is destined to play in the Rays organization. His defense is average so a move to first base would not be a surprise. It would be a requirement if he wants to play for the Rays.

8. Hunter Dozier (Royals) - The Royals drafted Hunter in the first round of the 2013 draft but their real target was Sean Manaea who they drafted later and paid a higher bonus. Sean has been traded but Hunter is still with the Royals. A shortstop while in college he has moved to third base where his tools will make him an adequate third baseman. His power finally showed up this year where he hit 12 homeruns in AA. Prior to that his high in homeruns for a season was eight. His 151 whiffs in just 121 games is a cause for concern.

9. Colin Moran (Marlins) - Colin was an RBI machine in college leading all Division I players in RBIs. The Marlins drafted him in the first round of the 2013 draft, became disappointed in his power and traded him to the Astros for Jarred Cosart. His power has improved to a career high .459 slugging average but the over the fence power is still absent (9). A steady diet of doubles (25) has given him a career high 67 RBIs. He has the arm to play third but lacks the foot speed to cover a lot of ground. He will field what gets hit to him.

10. Brandon Drury (Diamondbacks) - Despite having Jake Lamb at third base the Diamondbacks promoted Drury. It is expected next year he may see most of his time at second base. Last year he had a break out year with 23 homeruns and 95 runs driven in. This year the power numbers have been down, but his average (.331) has been there. If he moves to second base it will be as an offensive oriented second sacker. His slow foot speed will inhibit his range. Drury has had minimal time in the major leagues. With the Diamondbacks committed to Lamb for third base expect an ultimate move to second or a trade to another team for a player to fill a need.

MLB Changes Registration Policy for Cuban Players

Friday, September 18th, 2015

Baseball America reports that the registration policy required by major league baseball before an international player can sign a major league contract has been changed for Cuban players. Previously players from Cuba were not allowed to register for the international signing period that begins July 2 because it is not legal in Cuba for players to play overseas without the permission of the Cuban government. In order to play major league baseball, Cuban players have to defect, establish residency, and then register for the international signing period prior to May 15 of that year. If they do not register early enough it delays their start with major league baseball for one year.

Major league baseball has ruled in a couple players cases that it is not their fault that they are unable to register in a timely manner. With this ruling they have exempted these players from having to register prior to May 15 for the July 2 international signing time frame. This will allow major league teams to negotiate with them prior to July 2, 2016 rather than have to wait for them to register and then sign them sometime after July 2, 2016.

A number of major league teams have already exceeded their international signing allotments and will not be able to sign players after July 2, 2016 for more than $300,000. This would eliminate them from signing the premium Cuban players. With this ruling those teams can sign a Cuban player for a salary greater than $300,000 provided they sign him before July 2. They would be subject to financial penalties equaling a dollar for each dollar they exceed their international bonus allotment, i.e., the Red Sox signed Yoan Moncada for a $31 million bonus and paid a $31 million penalty for exceeding their international bonus allotment.

The Cubs, Giants, Dodgers and Royals are four teams that have exceeded their international bonus allotment for this year. They will now be able to sign Cuban players who were not able to register prior to the July 2, 2015 international signing period. According to Baseball America, Jorge Ona, Jonaton Machado and Omar Estevez are three players who would benefit from this ruling as they were born after September 1, 1995. Players born prior to September 1, 1995 do not have to meet this registration requirement.

27th Asian Championships

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Pakistan was selected to participate in the World Baseball Classic Qualifier. They were able to defeat Indonesia 7-1 in their opener in the Asian championships to justify that selection. Their second match did not go so well, with a 15-0 whipping by Japan. The game against Japan lasted just six innings and Pakistan was unable to squander a hit.

South Korea sent the hosts home on a bad note with an 8-2 over Taiwan. Korea went out and beat China the next day 12-2. Taiwan was able to recover from their opening day loss with a 21-0 slaughter of Indonesia.

European 2016 Championships to be Held in Hoofddorp, Netherlands

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

in 2014 the Netherlands built a park in Hoffddorp that would meet major league specifications. The hope was that major league baseball would agree to play an exhibition game there. March can be a bit cold in the Netherlands and the facility is not domed. So they will have to be rewarded with the European championships in 2016.

The stadium currently holds 600, but with temporary stands it could be expanded to 30,000. The last time the Netherlands hosted a European championship was in 2012. The Netherlands won the 2014 European championships that were held in Czech Republic. The countries that will compete for the 2016 world championships are:

1) Belgium, 2) Croatia 3) Czech Republic, 4) France, 5) Germany, 6) Great Britain, 7) Greece, 8) Italy, 9) Netherlands, 10) Russia, 11) Spain and Sweden

WBC Qualifying Cities Determined

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

The World Baseball Classic and World Baseball and Softball Confederation have agreed to continue their working relationship to put on display the World Baseball Classic to determine the top baseball country. Japan won the first two events but the Dominican Republic won the last event. These two associations have decided the location and countries who will compete in the qualifiers for the final four spots for the World Baseball Classic. Twelve teams have qualified.

The qualifying locations are:

February 11-14 in Sydney, Australia

1) Australia, 2) New Zealand, 3) Philippines and 4) South Africa

March 17-20 in Mexicali, Mexico

1) Mexico, 2) Czech Republic, 3) Germany and 4) Nicaragua

March 17-20 in Panama City, Panama

1) Colombia, 2) France, 3) Panama and 4) Spain

September 22-25, in Brooklyn, New York, United States

1)Brazil, 2) Great Britain, 3) Israel and 4) Pakistan

The 12 teams who have qualified are:

1) Canada, 2) China, 3) Cuba, 4) Dominican Republic, 5) Italy, 6) Japan, 7) Netherlands, 8) Puerto Rico, 9) South Korea, 10) Taiwan, 11) United States and 12) Venezuela

The World Baseball Classic will be held on March 2017, provided the major league players association and the major leagues agree to a collective bargaining agreement prior to the end of the 2016 season. If no agreement can be reached it will be interesting to see if the event is still held.

27th Asia Championship Results

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

The opening game of the 27th Asian championships was played today. Below are the results.

Japan 12 China 0

Taisuke Yamaoka tossed five innings of two hit ball and the offense supported him with a big seven spot in the fourth to take a commanding 9-0 lead in a game they would win in seven innings. Mikio Watanabe hit a two run homer in the fourth to get the inning started. Takuya Kinoshita drove in four runs on three singles.

Results for the games can be found at the link below:

27th Asian championships

Yuki Yanigati Becomes Second NPB 30/30 Player; Fujinami 200 Plus K’s

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

The Softbank Hawks lost 6-1 but they had clinched their division by July. The important accomplishment in the game was a Yuki Yanagita stolen base, giving him 30 for the year. He becomes the second Japanese player this year to steal at least 30 bases and hit 30 or more homeruns. Yuki is hitting .369 with 32 homeruns and 30 stolen bases.

The first player to become a 30/30 player this year was the Yakult Swallows Tetsuto Yamada. He is hitting .327 with 34 homeruns and 30 stolen bases.

A pitcher who is dominating in the NPB is the Hanshin Tigers Shintaro Fujinami. He came out of high school the same time as Shoei Otani but does not get as much publicity even though Shintaro was considered the ace of the Japanese 18 and under team. At 6′6″ he has more of a pitcher’s build than Otani. He may not throw as hard, i.e. 91-95 versus 93-96 but he still gets a lot of swings and misses. His 9 whiffs yesterday brings his strikeout total for the year to 201 in 179 innings pitched. He is the first pitcher in his third year out of high school to strikeout 200 or more hitters in a season. The last two pitchers who accomplished that feat were Daisuke Matsuzaka and Yu Darvish, two pitchers who had pretty good success in the major leagues.

Rosters for Asian Championships

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

No professional players for the Asian championships but the link below provide the rosters. Teams from Taiwan, Korea, Japan, China, Pakistan and Indonesia are participating in the tournament.

Asian Series Rosters