Archive for October, 2015

Bears End Lions Streak to Win KBO Championship

Saturday, October 31st, 2015

The Lions went out with a whimper, the Doosan Bears pounding them 13-2 to deny the Lions their fifth consecutive championship. The Bears win the Korean Series four games to one. Samsung had lost three of their pitchers for this series due to overseas gambling issues.

The Bears banged out 17 hits with the win, but post season hit king Kyoung-Min Hur was the only starter who failed to get a hit in the game. Hur finished the post season with a KBO record 23 hits.

Eui-Ji Yang drove in the first runs with a two run double in the first inning. The Lions Won-Sam Jang could not survive the third inning, giving up seven runs on eight hits. Soo-bin Jung put the game out of reach with a three run homerun in the seventh. Jung finished the game with four runs driven in. He was also voted the MVP of the series after going 8-14 with five RBIs.

Hui-Kwan Yu was the beneficiary of this run onslaught, working six innings and allowing only two runs to cross the plate. Post season hero Dustin Nippert pitched two plus innings. The last two outs were recorded by closer Hyun-Seung Lee via the strikeout.

For the Bears it is their fourth KBO championship, but their first in 14 years. Tae-Hyung Kim became the first person to win the KBO Series as both a player and manager.

Venezuela Winter League Update

Friday, October 30th, 2015

It must be tough being a Bravo fan. Every year they seem to be the leagues whipping boy. No exception for this year as they are just one of two teams with a losing record. Below is an update of the Venezuelan Winter League.

Leones del Caracas (12-7)

Dixon Machado has always been known for his glove. In Venezuela he has been showing a power bat with four homeruns, a .377 average and an even more impressive 1.134 OPS. His 13 RBIs is tops on the team and a 13/7 walk to whiff ratio gives him a .482 OPS. Henry Urrutia may have the weakest arm in baseball with his lack of power hindering any left field playing time in the major leagues. He is one of three Leones players with three homeruns, with a .300 average, a .833 OPS and 12 RBIs. The Orioles may be needing outfielders next year.

The top two starters have been Joe Gardner (2-0, 2.21) and Luis Diaz (1-0, 1.83). Both have had four starts. Gardner does not get a lot of swings and misses with a 6/5 walk to whiff ratio for his 20.1 innings pitched. The best bullpen alternative has been Loiger Padron, who has yet to give up a run in his 9 innings of work, allowing just two hits and picking up two saves. He has been a better alternative than Mark Montgomery (9.45 ERA, 4 saves) who has had trouble throwing strikes.

Tiburones de la Guair√° (11-8)

The 43 year old slugger Alex Cabrera is still knocking the balls over the fence with five homeruns and a .281 average. His son is major league catcher Ramon Cabrera, a 5′8″ catcher with the Pirates. Brian Burgamy (.338, 3, 12) leads the team in RBIs.

Jaron Long (3-0, 1.90) has been a solid starter despite the lack of strikeouts (11 whiffs in 23.2 innings). Alexis Candelario (2-0, 0.44) has a complete game shutout to his season. The only run he has given up in his three starts has been on a solo shot.

Cardenales de Lara (10-8)

Rangel Ravelo was hurt most of last year. He is making up for lost time with a .457 average, 4 homeruns and a league leading 19 RBIs. The Cuban born slugger that went to high school in Florida has an 18/8 walk to whiff ratio. Another RBI machine has been Jairo Perez (.296, 3, 15). He has only struck out three times in his 60 plus at bats. One of these days Carlos Rivero (.326, 3, 11) is going to get a major league opportunity. The Mariners and Red Sox did not see any room for him.

James Hoyt (1.08) has picked up five saves in his eight relief appearances. He has an impressive 1/12 walk to whiff ratio.

Tigres de Aragua (10-8)

Alex Nunez (.357, 0, 12) is the only Tigre with double digit RBI totals. With Dominic Brown released Carlos Tocci (.333, 0, 4) hopes to earn some playing time with the Phillies by having a good winter.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx (2-1, 1.57) has been their most consistent starter. Robert Zarate (1-0, 2.35) has one complete game to his credit in his three starts. Vidal Nuno (2-0, 0.00) has yet to give up an earned run in his two starts covering 12 innings. He has only given up six hits. Freddy Garcia (1-2, 5.14) has struggled in his three starts.

Caribes de Anzo√°tegui (9-8)

Not a lot of bats, but Gorkys Hernandez (.294, 0, 3) is a veteran major league bat more noted for his defense.

Patrick Johnson (1-0, 0.00) has yet to give up a run in his three starts. He has averaged five innings per start, giving up just eight hits in his 15 innings. Joe Testa (2-1, 2.35) has two wins and four holds out of the bullpen, tied for the team lead in wins.

Navegantes de Magallanes (9-9)

Ronny Cedeno (.308, 3, 11) leads the team in homeruns and batting average. Despite only one homerun Mike Freeman (.276, 1, 12) leads the team in RBIs. His 12 runs scored also leads the team.

Hassan Pena (1-1, 3.27, 7 saves) has been in the ball game for eight of the team’s nine wins. Yohander Mendez has gotten three starts and has yet to give up a run. He has averaged just over three innings per start, not enough innings pitched to collect wins. Jesus Sanchez (2-0, 1.50) has ugly numbers but two wins under his belt.

Aguilas del Zuila (8-10)

David Adams (.339, 4, 9) has been showing some pop in his bat. He has a 1.035 OPS and a 10/8 walk to whiff ratio. Jose Pirela (.458, 1, 4) has a higher average and OPS (1.177) but he has 40 fewer at bats to match his production. Franklin Barreto (.158) is showing some struggles on offense and defense (5 errors).

Stephen Fife (0-1, 2.25) has four consistent starts.

Bravos de Margarita (4-15)

Jose Osuna (.361, 2, 8) is their big bat, leading the team in RBIs.

Sergio Perez (1.56) has yet to get a victory despite four solid starts.

Bears One Win Away from KBO Championship

Friday, October 30th, 2015

The Doosan Bears are one win away from ending the Samsung Lions hope of extending their championship streak to five straight after their 4-3 win put them up three games to one. Kyung-Eun Noh pitched 5.2 shutout innings to give the Bears the victory. The Lions exploded for three runs in the second inning to take a 3-2 lead, chasing Hyun-Ho Lee from the game early.

The Bears tagged Alfred Figaro for four runs in less than five innings. The big hit was the double by Byung-Hun Min that drove in the fourth run. Kyoung-Min Hur ripped a single to extend the inning. For Hur it was his 23rd hit of the post season breaking the KBO record of 21. He broke the record in the first inning with a single and later scored when the Bears jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. Hur is 9 for 15 in the Korean Series, 23 for 50 in the post season.

Hyun-Seung Lee got the last five outs to get the save. He relieved Noh after Yamaico Navarro blasted a ball over the fence foul. The Lions asked for a review and the call of foul was confirmed. Lee gave up three hits in the ninth inning and had the bases loaded with one out but wiggled out of it with a grounder to third that forced an out at home and a grounder to short to end the game.

Samsung had a habit of hitting ground balls at the worst possible times. They grounded into two double plays in the first and sixth innings with two runners on base.

Right Handed Pitching Prospects

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

The Mets have certainly shown what good young righthanded pitchers can do to a franchise, leading them to a World Series with Harvey, DeGrom, Syndegaard and Matz. Other teams will try to replicate that foundation. It used to be pitchers who hit 95 but threw in the low 90s had good velocity on their fastball. Now to make this list pitchers have to hit 97 with fastballs that sit at 93-95. If they lack secondary pitches these pitchers usually end up in the bullpen.

1. Lucas Giolito (Nationals) - The Nationals took a risk on Giolito when he was hurt during his high school season. There was also a commitment to Stanford that could have been a road black to his signing. The Nationals won out but Tommy John surgery delayed his season. After he returned from surgery his talent level rose to the top and he is now considered the best pitching prospect in baseball. His fastball hits three digits thrown from a 6′6″ frame that leaves hitters flailing. He struck out 131 hitters in 117 innings pitched though his .253 opponent average at two levels seems a little high for a pitcher with his stuff. The curve ball is a plus pitch that complements the fast ball. The Nationals will be losing two starting pitchers to free agency so Giolito could make his major league debut next season.

2. Tyler Glasnow (Pirates) - At 6′8″ he has a taller frame than Lucas with a fastball that crosses the plate in the high 90s. His strikeout rate is equivalent to Giolito (136 K’s to 109 innings pitch) but opponents are only hitting .195 against him. Because of his height he does have trouble repeating his delivery, which has resulted in command issues (43 walks in 109 innings). After eight starts in AAA a good spring could put Glasnow in the Pirates starting rotation as they try to follow the Mets blueprint. With Cole already in the rotation the Pirates hope to add Glasnow, followed by Taillon.

3. Alex Reyes (Cardinals) - The Cardinals have a good track record of discovering the hard throwers. Reyes hits triple digits with his fastball, but sits between 93-97. He could be one of the hardest throwers in the minor leagues. Alex grew up in New Jersey but moved back to his native Dominican Republic as a teen where the Cardinals signed him for a $950,000 bonus. A bulky frame could lead to weight issues if he doesn’t watch his conditioning. His biggest weakness other than his borderline overweight frame is his inconsistency in finding the strike zone. Considering the high strikeout numbers he records he also issues a high number of walks.

4. Jose Berrios (Twins) - Jose is noteworthy for being the highest Puerto Rican pitcher selected in the draft (32nd overall). Despite being in a playoff race the Twins chose not to call him up in September to limit his innings. Despite his smaller 6′0″ frame he unleashes a fastball that lights up the radar guns in the mid 90s. Jose should compete for a spot in the Twins rotation for next year. Because of his slight frame he is often compared to Pedro Martinez.

5. Robert Stephensen (Reds) - Injuries and trades gave the Reds a rotation consisting of all rookie pitchers. Stephensen was not one of those despite a fastball that hits the upper 90s. A pretty good curveball gives him two good pitches. Command is a big problem which is evidence by his high ERA (3.83) at AA and AAA. His two to one walk to whiff ratio is good (70/140) but the 70 walks translates to close to five walks per game. Expect a 2016 debut, with spring training a telling factor to determine whether he breaks out of camp on the major league roster.

6. Carson Fulmer (White Sox) - Carson was the eighth pick in the 2015 draft out of Villanova. His fastball sits in the mid-90s with a good curveball. A closer in his sophomore year in college he could always move to the bullpen if the rotation proves too difficult. The development of his change will determine his status. At 6′1″ some question if he will have the stamina for the rotation. Carson got nine starts last year, averaging less than three innings per start with an ERA 1.96. Eight of those starts were at High A. His rise would be faster in the bullpen, but the White Sox drool at the opportunity to fit him behind Chris Sale and Carlos Rodon in the rotation.

7. Jose Deleon (Dodgers) - The Puerto Rican was not drafted until the 24th round in the 2013 draft. After losing some weight his fastball increased in velocity, hitting the mid-90s this year. Jose also throws a hard slider with a solid change. He dominated in the hitter friendly California League (1.96 ERA), limiting the opposition to a .193 average. Promoted to AA his ERA rose by two runs (3.64) but he had a propensity to watch balls sail out of the park (11 in 77 innings). His strikeout to innings pitched (163 whiffs in 114 innings) tell a tale of how difficult it is to make contact off him. Expect a repeat of AA in 2016, but by mid season he could be pitching for the Dodgers. A lot will depend on the health of Ryu and the signing of Greinke.

8. Jameson Taillon (Pirates) - This could be another tale of a Pirates top draft pick succumbing to injury. The Pirates made him the second pick in the 2010 draft, right after the Nationals selected Bryce Harper. They even had the audacity to state Taillon would still be there choice even if they had the first pick in the draft. Tommy John surgery in April prevented him from pitching in 2014. The Pirates had expected him to make their rotation in 2014. As Jameson rehabbed to prepare for the 2015 season a hernia surgery forced him to miss the 2015 season. It will be interesting to see if Jameson can keep his mid-90s fastball upon his return to the mound in the 2016 season after missing two years. A top notch curveball and change give him three good pitches. The 2016 season will probably see Taillon pitch in the minor leagues, starting at the lower levels and rising as he achieves success.

9. Jeff Hoffman (Rockies) - He was considered one of the top pitchers in the 2014 draft, but Tommy John surgery dropped him down to the Blue Jays for the ninth pick. The Blue Jays included his name in the Troy Tulowitski trade. The 2015 season saw a return to the mound with a mid 90s fastball that rose to the high 90s on occasion. His curveball matched his fastball in quality. He rose to AA, but despite his dominating stuff he only struck out 75 hitters in 104 innings. The good news is he made the rise to AA. Pitching in Colorado is always a challenge. Expect to see his debut during the 2016 season.

10. Brent Honeywell (Rays) - Honeywell is not one of those pitchers who will impress you with his velocity, though he can hit 97 when he rears back. He is also not one of those pitchers scouts drooled over out of high school, going undrafted after the 2013 season. What he does have is an unusual pitch he can throw to get hitters out. That pitch is the screwball. When mixed with his fastball it was successful in getting hitters out as he rose to the Florida State League striking out a hitter an inning. A changeup and curveball give him a wide variety of pitches to choose from. How he uses them as he rises up the minor league system will determine his fate. Expect a 2017 debut.

11. Francelis Montas (Astros) - The Dominican has a large build which allows him to throw his fastball in the mid-90s, touching the high 90s. He needs to watch that this large build does not transform into a portly build. His 6′1″ frame does not need to carry more than his 225 pound weight. Francis pitched well at the lower levels, striking out almost an inning per batter and limiting the opposition to an average just above .200. A promotion to AA was a little bit more of a challenge, with the opposition hitting him at a .311 clip. With a fastball and good curveball, he needs to develop an effective third pitch (change) to stay in the rotation. His fastball has enough sizzle to give him a shot at the closer position in the bullpen.

12. Michael Feliz (Astros) - Michael got five relief appearances in the major leagues. The Astros have used him both as a starter and a reliever in the minor leagues. A fastball/slider combination gives him enough for the bullpen, with his fastball sitting in the mid-90s with the capability of hitting the high 90s. A solid change and good command gives him an option to also work in the starting rotation. The Astros may need a shut down closer next year and Feliz could compete for that job next spring. He still needs to beat out Luke Gregorson, but Luke has only held the position for one year and closer spots are very transitory.

13. Jharel Cotton (Dodgers) - Standing only 5′11″ will make it tough for him but myworld likes the numbers he put up last year (2.45 ERA, .223 opposition average). His height and lack of a third pitch may relegate him to the bullpen. Last year his velocity jumped from the high 80s to the low to mid 90s. When mixed with his change he can be an effective pitcher at the lower levels. When trying to get hitters out at the higher levels without an effective third pitch will be the real challenge. The Virgin Island native was tossed around a bit in AAA (.321 opposition average) in his five relief appearances there.

14. Dillon Tate (Rangers) - Dillon was a first round pick of the Rangers in 2015. He has been used as a starter and reliever while in college and with the United States national team. A high velocity fastball that hits the mid-90s but can reach higher and a tough slider give him two premier pitchers to get hitters out. The change is a third pitch that needs some enhancements. For the 2015 season he only got six starts, working just nine innings so he never went through the lineup twice. Durability could be a concern as a starter unless he puts some more meat on his 165 pound frame. Expect him to begin the 2016 season with a full season team.

15. Touki Toussaint (Braves) - The Diamondbacks drafted him in the first round of the 2013 draft. New general manager Dave Stewart was not that impressed with what he saw, trading him to the Braves to rid themselves of the Bronson Arroyo contract. There are long arms to his 6′3″ frame that allows him to whip the fastball across the plate in the low to mid-90s with lots of movement. Command is his biggest issue. Last year he walked close to five hitters per nine innings. His strikeout rate was also a nonimpressive 67 whiffs in 87.2 innings pitched. Toussaint is a work in progress. Once he makes it he would be the rare player to be born in Haiti and play in the major leagues.

Bears Take Series Lead in KBO

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

The Samsung Lions scored early off Doosan Bears starting pitcher Won-Jun Jang, but Jang shutdown the Lions offense for the next seven innings to pitch the Bears to a 5-1 win. Tyler Cloyd got the start for the Lions and shut down the Bears bats for three innings. Two walks to lead off the fourth proved to be his undoing, with Kun-Woo Park driving them both in with a single to give the Bears a 2-1 lead. Cloyd walked five hitters in his abbreviated start.

Two walks and a bunt hit in the sixth inning also led to two more runs to give the Bears an insurmountable 5-1 lead. Yamaico Navorro, who drove in the only Lion run in the first with a single, threw the ball away trying to turn a double play to allow two runs to score. Hyun-Seong Lee retired the last four hitters to close out the win, even though he loaded the bases in the ninth, giving up two hits and a hit batsman. The Bears now lead the series two games to one.

Hawks NPB Champions

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

The Softbank Hawks have become the first NPB team to repeat as champions since the Seibu Lions won three in a row from 1990-1992. Jason Stanridge shut down the Yakult Swallows offense for six innings in their 5-0 win. The Hawks win the series four games to one.

Stanridge gave up four hits and two walks. He wiggled out of trouble in the second and third innings when the Swallows put two runners on base in each inning. In the second inning he got a ground out to end the Swallow threat. The third inning was more of a challenge with a strikeout of slugger Tetsuto Yamada, who had hit three homeruns in the third game and coaxing cleanup hitter Kazuhiro Hatakeyama to pop up to short to end that rally.

Dae-Ho Lee was again the big slugger for the Hawks, driving in the first two runs with a blast over the left field wall. The Hawks put the game away in the fifth inning with two more runs. Hawk slugger Yuki Yanagita was relatively quiet in this series hitting just .158. He did drive in two runs in this game, one with a ground out in the fifth and the second with a single in the ninth.

Dennis Sarfate got the last three outs to be on the field for the final celebration. Dae-Ho Lee was voted the MVP of the Series. It was the first time a foreign player has been voted MVP of the Japan Series since Troy Neel won it in 1996. The Hawks have now won the Japan Series three of the last five years (2011, 2014 and 2015).

Heroes to Post Park

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

The Nexon Heroes will be posting Korean slugging firstbaseman Byung-Ho Park, who was the teammate last year of now Pirates shortstop/thirdbaseman Jung-Ho Kang. Park has hit 50 plus homeruns his last two seasons in the KBO and could be a surprise like Jose Abreu with a 30 plus homerun season in the major leagues. There are always doubters among scouts about a player’s ability to adjust to major league pitching. Many felt Abreu’s power would not translate in the major leagues after pitchers learned to jam him inside or Kang would not have the bat to start for the Pirates. Both those players proved their critics wrong.

The KBO tends to be a more offensively oriented league so Park will not hit 50 plus homeruns or have an OPS of 1.000 plus, which he has accomplished in his last three years in the KBO. Park tends to strike out a lot as most power hitters do and his glove at first will not win any gold gloves, but it should not be too great a liability.

The posting for Park will begin Monday November 2, so teams who did not scout Park when he played in Korea will be at a disadvantage. Teams have until November 6 to finalize their bid. This is not like a Cuban free agent where teams can invite a player to their facilities for tryouts. You either know him or you stay out of the posting process.

With the success Kang had in the major leagues myworld expects the posting for Park to exceed the $5 million post for Kang. Teams who don’t want to pay out $150 million over six years in a first baseman free agent like Chris Davis will find Park more attractive. With the struggles of Alvarez at first base, the Pirates may be the favorites to win Park reuniting what many fans referred to as the “Ho-Ho club” when they played for the Heroes in Korea.

Premier 12 Prize Money

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

The IBAF has listed the prize money to be handed out to the top 12 finishers in the Premier 12. The promise is that 50 percent of that prize money will go to the players. For a 28 man roster that wins the first place prize of $1 million would have $500,000 distributed to the 28 players. Myworld will let you do the math to calculate what each player is expected to receive for winning the event, but it would be less than $20,000 for each player.

First Place - $1 million

Second Place - $600,000

Third Place - $400,000

Fourth Place - $300,000

Fifth through Eighth Place - $225,000 each

Ninth through 12th Place - $150,00- each

Lee Puts Hawks One Win Away

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Dae-Ho Lee is supposed to play for the Premier 12 Korean team scheduled for mid-November. The sooner the Japan Series comes to a close the sooner he can join his Korean teammates to prepare for the Premier 12. He did his part to end the series sooner, driving in four runs in the Hawks 6-4 win over the Yakult Swallows. They now lead the series three games to one.

Lee got the scoring started with an RBI single in the first inning. Swallows pitcher Shohei Tateyama walked two of the first three hitters he faced to set up the RBI single by Lee.

The Hawks erupted in the third for four more runs. Tateyama again walked two hitters to load the bases for Lee. Lee made the charitable contributions pay with a bases clearing three run double to give the Hawks a 4-0 lead. A double by Toru Hosokawa scored the last run of the inning and extended the lead to 5-0. Hosokawa would hit a solo shot in the sixth inning to drive in the last Hawk run.

The Swallows inched back against Hawk starter Tadashi Settsu. In the fourth the Swallows scored their first run after Wladimir Balentien and Takahiro Imanami began the inning with singles. Balentien scored on a ground out, Settsu limiting the damage to one run.

Down 6-1 the Swallows loaded the bases in the sixth with no outs, scrapping together two singles and a walk to end the day for Settsu. Tsuyoshi Ueda drove in two runs with a double and a third scored on a ground out to pull the Swallows to within two, 6-4.

The Hawks turned to Kodai Senga to retire six batters in a row in the seventh and eighth innings. Closer Dennis Sarfate was called on to deliver the save in the ninth. Despite putting the tying run on base he was able to close out the victory striking out Yuhei Takai to pick up the save.

The two teams have one more game at Jingo Stadium before returning to Yafuoku Dome. The Hawks would not mind winning the series at home, but ending it at Jingo Stadium would be the preferred path. The three homerun hero yesterday Tetsuto Yamada finished the game 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and a walk.

Bears Even Series as Nippert Stars

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Dustin Nippert has yet to give up a run in 24.1 innings of playoff work, a KBO record for the post season. He pitched seven innings of three hit ball to allow the Doosan Bears to beat the Samsung Lions 6-1 to even their series at one game apiece. In 30 post season innings Nippert has an ERA of 0.60, giving up only two runs in his first start of the post season.

The Bears exploded for four runs in the fifth inning to put the game away. Jae-Ho Kim drove in the first run with an RBI single. Byung-Hun Min drove in two of his three runs with a bases loaded single. Hyun-Soo Kim finished the scoring with an RBI single, the sixth hit in the inning. Prior to the fifth inning Lions pitcher Won-Sam Jang had allowed only one hit, a single in the third inning.