Archive for March, 2016

Under 23 World Cup Dates and Location Announced

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

It used to be the under 21 tournament with five players allowed who were between 21 and 23. Myworld was at the event back in 2014 to see Taiwan win the championship. This year it will be in Monterrey, Mexico from October 28 to November 6. The minor league seasons will be over for the Korean (KBO), Japanese (NPB) and the United States (Major leagues) so the World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC) is looking for some of the better younger players in baseball to compete in this event. Teams have yet to be determined.

Under 15 Baseball World Cup

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

The under 15 World Cup will be played in Iwahi, Japan on July 29 to August 7. There will be 12 teams participating in this event. The World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC) recently announced the teams.

Australia (a WBC qualifying winner), Colombia (fresh off their WBC qualifying win), Cuba, Czech Republic, Japan (Number 1 team in the world), Korea (Premier 12 champion), Mexico (another WBC qualifying winner), New Zealand, Panama, Taiwan, United States (Number 2 team in the world), Venezuela

Rays Down Cuba in Historic Game

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

Cuba outhit the Rays 9 to 5 but the Rays won the game 4-1. The big blow was the James Loney two run homerun in the fourth inning. Loney also drove in the first run with a single in the second inning, following a Kevin Kiermaier double.

The game began with a lead off at bat from Cuban defector Dayron Varona, who was making his return to Cuba after defecting a couple years ago with 55,000 Cuban fans in Latino American stadium giving him a welcome back cheer. Dayron popped out to begin the game knowing his bat would be going to the Hall of Fame.

The Rays pitchers bent but did not break. Matt Moore, trying to recover from a poor season last year after coming back from Tommy John surgery pitched the first six innings and prevented the Cubans from crossing the plate. He gave up six hits and walked one. Ryan Webb and Xavier Cedeno each threw a shutout inning. It was Alex Colome who gave up the first run with a solo shot to Rudy Reyes in he ninth.

The Rays scored their last run in the seventh after a walk to Mikie Mahtook, a stolen base and a single by Steve Pearce. Pearce had replaced Loney at first base, giving the position all four RBIs in the game.

President Obama was greeted by Yankee great Derek Jeter as he arrived at the game. He only stayed for three innings, with the whole Cuban bench coming to the home plate area to tip their cap to him prior to his departure.

The box score for the game can be found at the link below:

boxscore

Cuban Versus Tampa Bay Lineup

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

President Obama is only the second President to have stepped foot on Cuban soil. The first was Calvin Coolidge in 1928 to give a speech at the 6th Pan American Conference. It is ironic that Cuba was the only country Coolidge visited in his six years as President. There were three Presidents who visited Guantanamo Bay (William Taft in 1911, Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 and 1940, and Harry Truman) but that is still a territory of the United States, an issue that still rankles many native Cubans. Myworld wonders if the President will spend the 75 or so cents it takes to enter the ball park or if the Cubans will let him watch free as a dignitary. It is the first time a major league team has played in Cuba since 1999 when the Orioles came to visit. Let’s hope these players put more effort into the game than Albert Belle.

Below is the projected lineup for the game:

Tampa Bay Rays (2015 numbers)

Dayron Varona RF - (.267, 10, 50 in AA) the only Cuban born player on the Rays team.
Brad Miller SS - (.258, 11, 46)
Evan Longoria 3B - (.270, 21, 73)
Corey Dickerson DH - (.304, 10, 31)
Logan Forsythe 2B - (.281, 17, 68)
Kevin Kiermaier CF - (.263, 10, 40)
Desmond Jennings LF - (.268, 1, 7)
James Loney 1B - (.280, 4, 32)
Rene Rivera C - .178, 5, 26)
Matt Moore P - (3-4, 5.43)

Cuba (2015-2016 numbers, 55 Nacional Series)

Roel Santos RF - (.286, 4, 31)
Yordan Manduley SS - (.337, 5, 23)
Yosvani Alarcon DH - (.370, 17, 60)
William Saavedra 1B - (.333, 13, 63)
Jose Adolis Garcia CF - (.314, 14, 71) brother of Adonis Garcia
Yurisbel Gracial 3B - (.326, 15, 64)
Yunior Paumier 2B - (.320, 9, 43)
Frank Camilo Morejon C - (.304, 3, 17)
Dennis Laza LF - (.305, 5, 39)
Yosvani Torres P - (6-8, 2.70)
Freddy alvarez P (9-2, 1.48)

Top 100 Prospects - 40-31

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

40. Brett Phillips OF (Brewers) - Brett was a sixth round pick of the Astros in 2012. The Astros traded him to the Brewers last year as part of the Carlos Gomez trade. For a sixth round pick Brett has developed some impressive tools. His power is good enough to hit 20 plus homeruns and his career minor league average is .295. The speed is there to play center and the arm exists for right. Major league projections could have him hit 20 plus homeruns with steals in the teens. All the tools are above average to produce a player that is just below all star caliber but high enough to make it as a starter. He will need to cut back on his whiffs (120) if he hopes to maintain a high average in the major leagues. Last year he finished with 54 games in AA, hitting only one homerun. Don’t be surprised to see him repeat at that level to show he has more power and then getting quickly promoted to AAA. A September callup is a certainty if he has a good year.

39. Josh Bell 1B/OF (Pirates) - Josh was one of those athletic picks drafted in the second round but paid a lot of money ($3 million plus) to abandon his football dream to play baseball. When myworld saw him we were impressed with his speed while running the bases, making playing the outfield still a possibility. The arm exists for right field. The Pirate outfield is crowded and Bell is a big dude whose speed will slow as he matures so first base is his current position. The power has yet to appear in his bat, with his homerun numbers dropping each of the last three years from 13 to 9 to 7, but the Pirates expect it to show itself at some point. Last year he hit .317 between AA and AAA, his .347 average in AAA in 121 at bats showing he is major league ready. Pedro Alvarez left as a free agent so the first base spot is open for Bell to take. Expect him to be the Pirates first baseman before the All Star break arrives if he has continued success in AAA.

38. Ozhaino Albies SS (Braves) - Ozzie is a little guy who runs fast around the bases, similar to another player, Jose Peraza who they traded to the Dodgers. The Braves signed him out of Curacao. His arm is stronger than Peraza which makes sticking at short a possibility now that Andrelton Simmons has been traded. There is no power in his bat so he will spray hits all over the outfield, using his speed to stretch singles into doubles. The Braves used him a lot at short this spring and he handled himself well, though his move for the 2016 season will be to High A. With Erick Aybar a free agent after this year, the Braves may want to rush him quickly to AA to see what they have. A September call up is a strong possibility since the Braves are in rebuilding mode and can give him the playing time.

37. Nick Williams OF (Phillies) - One of the prize prospects the Phillies received for Cole Hamels. Nick was a second round pick of the Rangers in the 2012 draft. His game has progressed since then transforming him into a five tool player. The power is there to hit 20 plus homeruns, the speed exists to play center and the arm is there for right. The one hole in his game is the inconsistency in his ability to make contact, which could impact his average. Last year his strikeout numbers dropped to 97. With more contact his homerun output should increase. The Phillies are in rebuilding mode so there is no incentive for them to promote Nick to the majors to eat up his service time. Expect to see him in AAA until September when the Phillies will want to see what they have.

36. Gleyber Torres SS (Cubs) - The Cubs seem to be swimming in shortstops. With Addison Russell playing so well at the position there appears to be no room for the young Venezuelan the Cubs signed in 2013 for $1.7 million. Torres has the tools to play short and the bat to move to second or third but their is also a crowded situation at those positions. He may ultimately be trade bait. The power has still not developed to make him a viable option at third, but some say it will come as he matures. The Cubs can be patient with him since he did not leave his teenage years until December of this year. He also struggled a bit in High A, hitting just .174 in minimal at bats. The Cubs will probably start him in High A to begin the 2016 season to see him have success there.

35. Jose Deleon RHP (Dodgers) - Jose was not a highly thought of player out of Puerto Rico when the Dodgers drafted him in the 24th round in 2013. His stock went up when the velocity on his fastball increased, hitting the mid-90s but sitting more in the low 90s with the ability to slice the corners of the plate. He complements his fastball with an above average change, keeping the hitters off balance. The opposition has trouble making contact off him averaging about 12 plus strikeouts per nine innings. Jose limits the hitters to averages that fall below .220. Jose did not achieve a lot of success in AA with a 3.64 ERA. Much of that was created with his 11 homeruns given up in just 77 innings. The Dodgers may have openings in the back end of the rotation but Jose will probably begin the season in AAA unless he has a lights out spring to change some minds.

34. David Dahl OF (Rockies) - Dahl has seen his share of injuries, a torn hamstring in 2013 that allowed him to play in only 10 games and an outfield collision last year that resulted in a removed spleen and only 79 games. The Rockies would like to see more appearances from their 2012 first round pick. He has a potent bat that should consistently hit for .300 or better with power that should deliver 20 plus homeruns. His speed should give him 20 plus stolen bases and allow him to roam the centerfield pastures of Minute Maid park. The one concern with Dahl is his 11/81 walk to whiff ratio last year, the worst of his career, leading to a subpar .278 batting average and .417 slugging average in AA. He will need to improve on that if he hopes to consistently hit over .300 in the major leagues. Since his season was cut short he may begin the 2016 season in AA, but with a good spring the Rockies may want to jump him to AAA. Expect him to make his major league debut this year.

33. Tim Anderson SS (White Sox) - Tim was the White Sox first round pick in 2013. The only tool lacking in his tool box is the power, but that could develop as he matures into double digit homerun numbers. His hitting tools allow him to spray the ball to all fields and there is enough power to split the gaps. The one concern with him is his 24/144 walk to whiff ratio which he needs to improve if he hopes to hit .300 in the majors. His arm and range are above average for a shortstop. What he needs to improve on is his consistency in fielding the ball. Last year he made 25 errors in AA, a figure that will have to be improved if he expects to man the position in the major leagues. If he can improve his contact ratio the speed is there to hit leadoff. Last year he stole 49 bases in 62 attempts, legging out 12 triples. To capture that leadoff spot he needs to increase his walks and lesson those whiffs. With Alexei Ramirez departing for free agency the White Sox did not sign any long term options for the position. Tim should start the year in AAA and by mid-year be up with the big club.

32. Aaron Judge OF (Yankees) - At 6′7″ 275 pounds the first round pick of the Yankees in 2013 has massive power. What limits the massive power from becoming 40 homerun power is the frequency of his strikeouts (144 in 124 games) and the inability to make consistent solid contact with the ball. Power hitters are known for their swings and misses, but Judge needs to get more barrel of the bat on ball contact to take advantage of his massive frame. For a large guy he moves well around the outfield with an arm suited for right field. Last year his power showed in AA with a .284 average, .516 slugging percentage and 12 homeruns in 63 games. When promoted to AAA those numbers reduced to .224 average, .373 slugging and 8 homeruns in 61 games. The holes in his swing became more prevalent as he became exposed to more experienced pitchers. The 2016 season should see him begin the season in AAA. He is only a Carlos Beltran injury away from making the major league roster.

31. Andrew Benintendi OF (Red Sox) - The 2015 first round pick of the Red Sox is the antithesis of Judge. At 5′10 he lacks a large frame, but he carries a quick bat that consistently makes solid contact. He won the Golden Spikes award for being the best college player in baseball last year. The Red Sox challenged him by quickly promoting him to Low A where he hit .351 with a .581 slugging percentage. At the two levels his walk to whiff ratio was an impressive 35/24. If he can maintain that ratio batting titles are in his future. Power is not absent in his swing with 11 homeruns in just 54 games. It will be interesting to see what he can accomplish in a full season league. A lack of blazing speed will limit him to the corners. As a college hitter expect the Red Sox to challenge him with a promotion to High A to begin the season.

Mexico Crushes Nicaragua to Return to Classic

Monday, March 21st, 2016

Mexico proved its superiority over Nicaragua. After shutting them out 11-0 in the finals of the winner’s bracket it was another 11 run beat down with a 12-1 victory in the championship game. Esteban Quiroz drove in four runs and Augustin Murillo three to lead the offense.

The complexion of the game swung after the second inning. Nicaragua loaded the bases with a single and two walks and could have gained momentum with a clutch hit. Instead, Dwight Britton struck out and Omar Obregon grounded out to leave their run tally at zero.

Mexico was not so generous in the bottom half, exploding for six runs, all starting after an error by shortstop Obregon opened the door. A walk and hit batsman loaded the bases with two outs and nary a runner crossing the plate. Yet. Esteban Quiroz changed all that with a clutch two run single to center. Adrian Gonzalez continued to be forced into being a spectator at the game when Nicaragua chose to intentionally walk him to load the bases. That strategy did not pay off after Fidencio Flores walked Jesus Castillo to force in a run, the third of the inning. Carlos Teller replaced Flores and coughed up a three run double to Augustin Murrillo to close out the six spot.

The game was over by then. Leo Heras put an exclamation point to the slaughter with a two run homer in the fifth. Quiroz added a two run homer in the inning after Sebastian Elizalde plated one run with a single. Mexico had matched the first game score 11-0 after five innings.

When Mexico tacked on another run in the sixth Nicaragua had to score at least three runs in the top of the seventh to keep the game going. They could only score one.

Adrian Gonzalez was walked six times in 12 at bats in the qualifier for a .667 OBA. The walks limited his RBI output to one, but he scored four times. The 16,521 in attendance would have preferred to see Gonzalez hit rather than stand at the plate with his bat on the shoulder. In the long run what was important for the crowd is they got another appearance in the World Baseball Classic.

Colombia Qualifies for Classic

Monday, March 21st, 2016

For the first time in their history Colombia qualified for the World Baseball Classic with a 2-1 win over Panama. Both teams had a hard time scoring runs with both managers using their bullpens. No pitcher pitched more than four innings. Dilson Herrera was the hero when he powered a 3-1 offering from Manny Corpas in the eighth inning over the left field fence for a 2-1 lead. Dilson could be the starting second baseman for the Mets in 2017 after Neil Walker becomes a free agent.

Colombian starter Nabil Crismatt pitched the longest going one out past the third inning. In the second inning with runners on first and third with one out he got a critical strikeout against Isaias Velasquez to prevent a run from scoring. He was pulled in the fourth inning after giving up a run. Carlos Ruiz started the rally with a one out double to left. An intentional walk to Javier Guerra backfired after a single by Carlos Quiroz plated Ruiz. Guerra advanced to third. Yesid Salazar replaced Crismatt retiring Velasquez, who again failed to score the runner from third when he bunted to the pitcher but Guerra stayed anchored to third. Anthony Amaya grounded out to limit the damage for Colombia to one run.

Colombia got the run back in the sixth when two hit batsmen put two runners on. Humberto Meija hit Reynaldo Rodriguez to put the first runner on. With two outs Alberto Acosta hit Mauricio Ramos to put two runners on. Adrian Sanchez lined a clutch two out single to center to score Rodriguez to tie the game at 1-1.

After the Herrera homer in the eighth Carlos Diaz came on to pitch for Colombia to start the ninth, retiring Padres top prospect Javier Guerra on a ground out. Horacio Acosta came on to retire the final two hitters on ground outs to allow Colombia the opportunity to appear in their first World Baseball Classic.

There were 6,204 in attendance for the game, half of what showed up for the opener. Myworld bets the opener included a lot of musicians and singers that attracted a crowd for the music and not so much for the baseball. It is what we saw happen in the World Cup back in 2011 when the opener was sold out but the other games were not as well attended. If you want to get the crowds to show up in Central or Latin America you have to provide the entertainment. Baseball by itself is just not enough.

Top Ten Baseball World Rankings

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

The World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC) has come out with their baseball rankings. Below myworld has listed the top ten in these rankings. Korea moved up as a result of their winning the Premier 12. Cuba has dropped with many of their players leaving for the United States and hopes for major league success.

The rankings take into account results of many of the youth tournaments organized by the WBSC. You can take a look at the full rankings at the link below. The 2014 ranking is listed within the parenthesis.

1. Japan (1) - 5154 points
2. United States (2) - 5091
3. Taiwan (4) - 4702
4. Korea (8) - 4641
5. Cuba (3) - 3727
6. Venezuela (10) - 2833
7. Mexico (12) - 2792
8. Canada (7) - 2659
9. Italy (11) - 2297
10. Netherlands (5) - 2096

Baseball rankings

Cuban Roster Versus Rays

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

President Barack Obama has arrived. He is to be at the game when the Tampa Bay Rays become the first major league team to play in Cuba since the Baltimore Orioles did so in 1999. Well, the Cubans are ready to party like its 1999 again with a game against the Tampa Bay rays on March 22. Below is the list of 30 Cuban players eligible to play against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Pitchers: Freddy A. Álvarez (VCL), Yosvani Torres (PRI), Jonder Martínez (MTZ), Miguel Lahera (ART), Yoanni Yera (MTZ), Danny Betancourt (SCU), Vladimir Baños (PRI), Liván Moinelo (PRI), José Ángel García (ART), Alexander Rodríguez (MTZ), Yennier Cano (CAV).

Catchers: Yosvani Alarcón (LTU), Frank C. Morejón (HAB), Osvaldo Vázquez (CAV)

Infielders: Alexander Malleta (HAB-1B), William Saavedra (PRI-1B), Yordanis Samón (GRA-1B), Andy Sarduy (VCL-2B), Juan C. Torriente (HAB-2B), Yunior Paumier (HOL-3B), Yurisbel Gracial (MTZ-3B), Rudy Reyes (HAB-3B), Yorbis Borroto (CAV-SS), Yordan Manduley (HOL-SS).

Outfielders: José Adolis García (CAV), Guillermo Avilés (GRA), Stayler Hernández (HAB), Roel Santos (GRA), Yohandry Urgellés (HAB), Denis Laza (MAY)

European Teams Bounced out of Qualifiers

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

The four European teams playing for a World Baseball Classic bid in qualifiers in Panama and Mexico were eliminated. Germany and Spain were the first to go. The Czech Republic and France were eliminated yesterday after eliminating their brethren the day before. That leaves four South and Central American teams left to duel it out in the finals. Four teams, Brazil, Pakistan, Israel and Great Britain will battle it out in Brooklyn in November giving Europe one more chance to have a country other than Netherlands and Italy represent them in the World Baseball Classic.

Nicaragua hung on to beat the Czech Republic 7-6, taking 11 innings to do it. With the international tie breaking rules in effect runners were placed on first and second. In a predictable fashion the Nicaraguans pulled off a successful sacrifice bunt to move the runners up one base, except Janier Montas reached first to load the bases. Renato Morales drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly to center. A single by Omar Obregon scored two to give Nicaragua a 7-4 lead.

In the bottom of the 11th down by three the Czech Republic ignored the bunt and Martin Cervenka lined a single to center to load the bases. A walk scored one run and with the bases loaded and no outs Jose Saenz replaced Jonathan Loaisiga on the mound. A ground out to short retired the first hitter, but failed to turn two allowing the second run to score and pull the Czechs to within one. Loaisiga struck out Tomas Junec and Petr Sila to end the game.

The Czech Republic got off to a quick lead when Jacob Malik blasted a three run homer over the centerfield fence in the first inning to give the Czechs an early 3-0 lead. Their next run in regulation time would not come until the fifth. The Nicaraguans helped them out with the run with two walks and a wild pitch. Mike Cervenak drove in the run with a ground out that extended the Czech lead to 4-2.

The Czech pitcher Daniel Mraz had shut out Nicaragua for the first four innings. The fifth inning would see the walls of zeroes come crashing down. Elmer Reyes started the inning with a single but he was quickly picked off first by Mraz. Two walks by Mraz and a wild pitch put runners on first and third with one out. A ground out to Mraz scored the first Nicaraguan run and advance a runner to second. A throwing error by third baseman Premek Chroust scored the second run. Alex Sogard replaced Mraz and struck out Dwight Britton to end the inning.

Dwight Britton made up for the whiff in the eighth with a two out double. Another throwing error by the Czechs, this one by shortstop Petr Zyma allowed Britton to score to pull Nicaragua to within one. Renato Morales slashed an infield single to short with another throwing error, this one by firstbaseman Mike Cervenak to tie the game. The Czechs were able to end the inning after an infield single by Omar Obregon, but this time Cervenak threw out Morales when he tried to score from second.

The Czechs had an opportunity to go ahead in the bottom frame after a Jakub Malik double put runners on second and third with one out. Nicaragua chose to pitch to Martin Cervenka and Carlos Gonzalez struck him out. Tomas Polansky was walked intentionally to load the bases. Pete Zyma flew out to end the threat.

With Mexico waiting in the winner’s bracket only 6,558 showed up to watch their potential opponent in the final. That opponent will be a rematch against Nicaragua.

While down in Panama only 2,016 showed up to see their team beat France 7-4 to make it to the finals against Colombia. A bases loaded walk in the seventh inning broke a 4-4 tie.

The day started out well for France. A Felix Brown single and a Frederic Hanvi double in the first inning gave the French a quick 1-0 lead. An Andy Paz sacrifice fly scored the second run in the opening frame.

France scored their third run in the fourth on a bases loaded balk to extend their lead to 3-0. Two walks and an infield single loaded the bases. One of the walks was intentional after a ground out had advance the runners to second and third.

That lead was quickly evaporated in the fifth. A one out infield single by Jorge Bishop got the rally started for Panama. Bishop stole second where he scored on a Isaias Velasquez single. A single by Edmundo Sosa and a walk to Anthony Amaya loaded the bases with one out. The French replaced Yoann Vaugelade with Antoine Villard. A ground out to first scored the second run when France could not turn two. Antoine Villard was intentionally walked to load the bases again. Panama got a break when second baseman Frederic Walter dropped a foul popup for an error. Javier Guerra walked to tie the game and Luis Castillo walked to put Panama up front 4-3.

France tied the game in the bottom frame with a one out homerun from Rene Leveret. That would end all the scoring for France. They could only scratch out singles in the seventh and eighth innings, but could get nobody past first in the final four innings.

Panama broke the tie in the seventh courtesy of three walks, one intentionally to break the tie and give Panama the lead. It appears in international ball the managers overthink the situation and have a greater number of intentional walks than in the major leagues. A one out double from Jonathan Saavedra led to an intentional walk to Carlos Ruiz. After Javier Guerra popped out this appeared to be a good move but Luis Castillo walked to load the bases and Carlos Quiroz walked to force in the go ahead run.

Panama got a couple insurance runs in the eighth. A walk to Isaias Velasquez and a stolen base led to another intentional walk, this one to Anthony Amaya. It didn’t work. Jonathan Saavedra singled to load the bases bringing up Carlos Ruiz with no place to put him. They walked him to force in a run. A ground out when France again failed to turn two allowed the seventh run to score to make it 7-4.

Panama will advance to face Colombia to seek revenge for an earlier loss. Hopefully more than 2,016 show up to watch this game.