Archive for March, 2016

Mexico Thrashes Nicaragua

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

Not much of a game in Mexico. It only lasted seven innings with Mexico beating Nicaragua 11-0, despite only getting five hits. Five different Mexican pitchers limited the Nicaraguan bats to five hits.

In the bottom of the first Nicaraguan starter Carlos Teller walked the first three hitters he faced. An error by Willians Vazquez allowed the first run to score. Augustin Murrillio drove in the second run with the first hit for Mexico, an RBI single. Jose Amador was thrown out at home to limit the damage.

Carlos Teller was done after issuing a leadoff walk to Alex Mejia. Another walk and a single loaded the bases again for Mexico in the second inning. A ground out and wild pitch scored two more runs.

For the third time in four innings Mexico loaded the bases in the fourth inning on an error, single and hit batsman. A passed ball scored the first run and with first base open Nicaragua chose to walk Adrian Gonzalez intentionally. A hit by pitch scored the second run, a ground out and an error scored runs three and four.

12,715 came to see the hosts win to put themselves in the winner’s bracket, despite the Nicaraguan pitchers walking Adrian Gonzalez two more times for five walks in his first two game. Nicaragua will play the Czech Republic for the right to play Mexico in the final.

Colombia Advances to Winner’s Bracket Against Panama

Saturday, March 19th, 2016

Colombia has proven themselves the favorite in the World Baseball Classic Qualifying tournament with a 6-3 win over host Panama. Ex-Diamondback Karl Triana pitched six innings of no hit ball, allowing just one unearned run in the win. Colombia scored all the runs they needed with a four run explosion in the third inning.

Carlos Vidal started the third inning with a double. Back to back single by Harold Ramirez and Dilson Herrera drove in the first run. Renaldo Rodriguez drove in the second run of the inning with a ground out and a single by Jesus Valdes upped the Colombian lead to 3-0. The final run was driven in on an RBI single by Mauricio Ramos.

Panama was able to dent the Colombian armor with a run in the third. A walk by Triana and a two base throwing error by Dilson Herrera put a runner in scoring position who scored on a ground out.

Reynaldo Rodriguez opened the seventh inning with a homerun, his second RBI of the game. Colombia added a second run in the inning on a Mauricio Ramos double, his second RBI of the game. Panama could only counter with one run in the bottom of the seventh. Javier Guerra took advantage of a change in pitchers getting the first hit of the game by driving a pitch over the right field fence against Carlos Diaz. For Guerra it was his second homerun of the tournament.

Carlos Ruiz drove in the final run for Panama in the ninth inning with an RBI single, only the third hit off Colombian pitchers. There were 12,559 filling Rod Carew Stadium to witness the hosts take the loss. Panama will play France to determine who will advance to the finals to play Colombia.

KBO and Major Leagues Propose Cap on Posting

Saturday, March 19th, 2016

Major league baseball has proposed to the KBO a cap on the amount major league teams can post for their players. The proposed salary cap is $8 million. The salary cap for players posted in the NPB is $20 million.

KBO players who have completed seven full seasons in the KBO can be posted. Two of the three players exceeded the $8 million cap. Hyun-Jin Ryu had a $25.73 million posting, Byung-Ho Park $12.75 and Jung-Ho Kang $5 million. Obviously, major league baseball will have to show the KBO the advantage of taking a lesser posting fee for their players. Myworld does not feel Korea will buy the argument that it would give more major league teams an opportunity to negotiate with that player, improving his overall financial standing.

France Eliminates Spain in WBC

Saturday, March 19th, 2016

Ernesto Martinez drove in three runs leading France to a 5-3 win over Spain. Ernesto drove in two runs in the first with a single and a third run in the third with a single. Andy Paz also drove in a run in the first and scored a run in the third. Pierrick Le Mestre retired Spain in order in the ninth to pick up the save. His biggest out came in the eighth when he struck out Jesus Ustariz with the tying run on second.

In 2012 Spain shocked the baseball community by advancing to the WBC. This year they were eliminated in two games.

Czech Republic with the German Rout

Friday, March 18th, 2016

The Czech Republic scored eight runs in the eighth inning to end the game one inning early with a 15-3 rout over Germany. The Cervenka brothers combined for 9 RBIs and 6 hits in the game. Myworld voted Marten Cervenka as one of the top ten Europeans in the minor leagues in 2015. He is currently playing in the Cleveland Indians organization. A third brother Marek Cervenka started the game yesterday against Mexico.

Mike Cervenka went 4 for 5 with two doubles, but it was his two run single in a four run third that gave the Czech Republic a 4-1 lead. Martin Cervenka drove in two runs with a single in the seventh inning then added four RBIs with a grand slam homerun. Mike added a double in the eighth to drive in his third run. John Straka pitched the first five innings to get the win, allowing just one runner to cross the plate.

The Czech Republic will play the loser of the Nicaragua/Mexico game.

Mexico Nips Czech Republic

Friday, March 18th, 2016

The Czech Republic just needed a little more offense and they could have pulled off an upset. Mexico scored two runs in the first inning and were shutout the rest of the game, but held on for a 2-1 win. Alejandro Soto pitched three brilliant innings striking out seven of the ten hitters he faced to get the win.

Mexico got all their offense in the first inning. Walks to Esteban Quiroz and Adrian Gonzalez set the stage for a Jesus Castillo RBI single. Agustin Murillo drove in the second run with a sacrifice fly. It appeared Mexico would take charge but that was all the runs they could muster.

The Czech Republic scored their only run in the eighth inning on a solo blast from Matej Hejma. He got two of the four Czech hits in the game. The Czechs relied on the pitching of Marek Cervenka, Jan Novak and Alex Sogard to quiet the Mexican bats after the first inning. Novak was especially perplexing in the sixth inning when he struck out the side for his only strikeouts of the game.

Adrian Gonzalez played but he walked in three of his four at bats, scoring one run. He flew out in his third at bat. Oliver Perez pitched the last inning and retired the side in order to pick up the save. Mark Serrano pitched three shutout innings for Mexico, following the starter Soto. There were over 14,000 in attendance to cheer Mexico on.

Mexico will face Nicaragua in the winner’s bracket while the losers bracket will again see two European teams Germany and Czech Republic.

Panama Crushes France in WBC Qualifier on Two Homeruns from Ruiz

Friday, March 18th, 2016

Panama got two homeruns and a sacrifice fly from Carlos Ruiz and another two run homer from top Padres prospect Javier Guerra to crush France 9-2. Panama veteran Paolo Espino pitched three perfect innings to get the win, striking out four to set the stage for the offense.

Ruiz drove in the first run for Panama in the first inning on a sacrifice fly. Edgar Munoz and Anthony Amaya had started the game off with singles. A ground out moved Munoz to third where he scored on the Ruiz fly ball.

The scoring continued in the second when France committed two fielding errors to put the first two baserunners on. A bunt advanced them to second and third where Eduardo Thomas drove in both runners with a single. Ruiz connected in the third inning for a solo blast to give Panama a 4-0 lead.

France scored their first run in the fifth when Andy Paz singled. Paz is the only player on the French team affiliated with a major league team (Athletics). He comes to France via Cuba. Paz stole second then scored on a two out double by Frederic Hanvi.

Carlos Ruiz answered back in the bottom of the fifth. Jonathan Saavedra kept the inning alive with a two run double. With first base open the French team and manager Eric Gagne chose to pitch to Ruiz and he blasted one over the left centerfield fence. Panama scored two more after Carlos Quiroz doubled and Javier Guerra blasted one over the right field fence. That gave Panama a 8-1 advantage.

Panama would score their last run in the sixth after a fielding error by the left fielder, the third French error in the game. France scored their last run in the ninth inning on a single by Jorge Hereaud.

Panama now plays Colombia in the winner’s bracket. France will play Spain with the winner surviving another day. There were over 11,000 in attendance for the game yesterday and after the win by Panama the beer had to be flying from the cups.

Blandino with the Walkoff for Nicaragua

Friday, March 18th, 2016

Alex Blandino smacked a clutch one out two run double in the bottom of the tenth to close out the game and give Nicaragua a 5-4 win over Germany in the opening round qualifier in Mexico. Blandino had also driven in the first run for Nicaragua in the second inning with a double.

Nicaragua got five shutout innings from Gustavo Martinez and with a 2-0 lead decided to open with Samuel Estrada to start the sixth. A couple one out walks put Estrada in trouble. After a conference with the pitching coach he grooved a 1-2 pitch to Bruce Maxwell for a three run homerun and a 3-2 German lead.

Marcus Solbach had a solid six innings of work for Germany, allowing only the two runs in the second inning. The bullpen held the Nicaraguans in check until the ninth. A walk and a single by Janior Montes put two runners on. With two outs and Germany on the verge of an upset Elmer Reyes came through with a ground ball single to left field to score the tying run. Reyes was thrown out trying to advance to second.

Germany still took the lead in the top of the tenth, Donald Lutz starting the inning off with a walk. Ludwig Glaser drove him in with a double to right field to give Germany a 4-3 lead. Another walk put two runners on, but Germany could do no more, two strikeouts and a fly out ending the inning.

Alex Blandino was the big bat for Nicaragua with his two hits, both doubles that drove in three runs. Jairo Beras collected three hits, scoring twice. Germany got three hits from Bruce Maxwell, the big one the three run homer in the sixth. Marcus Solbach pitched six solid innings for Germany. Gustavo Martinez threw five innings of four hit shut out ball for Nicaragua. Carlos Gonzalez got the win when he retired the last three hitters for Germany to restrict them to the one run and give Blandino his opportunity for the walk off double in the bottom frame.

Nicaragua will play the winner of the Mexico/Czech Republic game. A little less than 4,000 attended the opener.

Colombia Clubs Spain

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

In the opening round of the Panama World Baseball Classic qualifying round Colombia had an easy time over Spain, defeating them 9-2. Going into the game many felt Colombia was the favorite to win in Panama because of the number of major league affiliated players they had on the team. Spain had a roster filled with Cubans with Spanish ancestry and were the surprise winners during the last qualifier in 2012 when it was played in Jupiter, Florida, but the Colombians were clearly the better team here.

Spain did not help their cause with their pitchers walking 12 batters, a two out walk in the first inning beginning the rout. After Sergio Perez retired the two toughest hitters in the Colombian lineup, Harold Ramirez and Dilson Herrera to start the game he walked Reynaldo Rodriguez. This led to the first run after back to back singles from Jesus Valdez and Adrian Sanchez scored Rodriguez.

In the third inning a throwing error by third baseman Jesus Merchan allowed Harold Ramirez to reach second. A wild pitch advanced him to third where he scored on a sacrifice fly by Dilson Herrera. Colombia was up 2-0.

Colombia broke the game open in the fifth. Reynaldo Rodriguez buried a one out triple into centerfield to end the day for Sergio Perez. Richard Castillo came in to pitch and intentionally walked Jesus Valdez. The ploy seemed to work after Adrian Sanchez popped out. Mauricio Ramos came through hitting an infield single to score the first run, Steve Brown grounded a single up the middle to score the second run and back to back walks scored the third run. Colombia was clearly in charge 5-0.

Colombia got four innings of one hit pitching from William Cuevas. He was able to bail Colombia out in the first and second innings after errors put runners on in each inning. Kendy Batista went in to replace Cuevas in the fifth inning. Spain was able to score their first two runs off Batista in the sixth after he walked the first two hitters in the inning. That brought in Angel Vilchez to replace Bautista. He gave up a single to Jesus Utariz to load the bases. A double play ground out scored the first run and a Jesus Golindano single scored the second run. Spain had some glimmer showing in their eyes, cutting the lead to 5-2.

That all ended in the eighth when Colombia rallied for four runs to put the game out of reach. With the bases loaded and no one out Reynaldo Rodriguez hit a routine fly ball to left which appeared to be a sacrifice fly to score one. Left fielder Daniel Martinez could not catch it and all three runners scored on the error, Reynaldo advancing to third where he eventually scored on a ground out.

Reynaldo Rodriguez was the big bat for Colombia with a walk, two big hits and a sacrifice fly that resulted in three runs scoring. He also scored three times. Dilson Herrera, Carlos Vidal and Luis Martinez each walked three times. Spain got three hits from Jesus Golindano.

Colombia will play the winner of the Panama/France night cap.

Top Ten Puerto Rican Prospects

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

The top two players in the rookie of the year balloting in the American League, Francisco Lindor and Carlos Correa were also rated as the top two Puerto Rican prospects last year. Javier Baez graduated from this list a couple years ago. Eddie Rosario, the number five prospect on this list was the starting left fielder on the Twins last year. The number ten prospect Alex Claudio was used out of the bullpen by the Rangers enough times to disqualify him from this list. Despite these graduations myworld is not hurting for putting together another top ten list of Puerto Rican prospects in the minor leagues. To qualify for this list you must still be eligible for rookie of the year status in the major leagues.

1. Jose Berrios RHP (Twins) - When myworld first saw him pitch last year we wore our Puerto Rico jersey. It was a game in Chattanooga. We had no idea Berrios was pitching but wore the jersey anyway. We caught a glimpse of him looking at me in this jersey thinking to himself “That guy does not look Puerto Rican.” He would be right, I am not, but it was a pretty cool event. The Twins probably could have used a pitcher of his talent for the playoffs, but they chose to save his arm for the future rather than throw him too many innings. Or perhaps it was the service time they did not want to devour for the playoff race. Jose pitched a career high 167 innings last year, striking out over a batter per inning. The fastball sits in the mid-90s or just below with a good change and curve. The major concern with him is his 6 foot height, which could cause durability concerns and a less intimidating presence when hitters have to face his fastball. Pedro Martinez survived pretty well with his height. Expect Jose to do the same, starting the season briefly in AAA with a quick callup to the Twins once the team is satisfied the super two service time limits have been reached.

2. Jorge Lopez RHP (Brewers) - The Brewers are becoming the Puerto Rican landing spot with Jorge one of three islanders on this top ten list. Jorge was drafted a year before Jose in the second round. The velocity to his fastball hits a tick below that of Jose but his 6′4″ frame makes it a more intimidating pitch. His big strikeout pitch is the curveball, which was voted the best in the system. Finding the plate can be his biggest challenge with a little over three walks per game. That did not prevent him from putting together a superb 2.26 ERA with a .205 opposition average and a promotion to the major leagues last year. There he made two forgettable starts (5.40 ERA and a .350 opposition average). With a good spring and the Brewers in rebuilding mode Jorge could make the major league roster in 2016 but the money would be on him starting the season in AAA.

3. Jose Deleon RHP (Dodgers) - An afterthought in the 2013 drafted when the Dodgers selected him in the 24th round. The velocity on his fastball ticked up to the low 90s and it carves all sides of the plate. His change keeps hitters off balance and his curve is a better than show me pitch. His career minor league strikeout rate is 12.3 per nine innings and in the last two years the opposition is lucky to hit .200 against him. His last 16 starts were made in AA where he gave up 11 homeruns to raise that ERA to a 3.64. The 2016 season could see him open in AAA just an injury away from making his major league debut. The Dodgers have a lot of choices for their rotation so he needs a good year to be the pitcher selected once a need arises.

4. Isan Diaz 2B/SS (Brewers) - The Brewers traded for Isan Diaz, who was a second round supplemental pick of the Diamondbacks in 2014. In his first professional season Isan struggled with a .187 average. The next year he tore through the Pioneer League hitting .360 with a 1.076 OPS, supported by 13 homeruns in just 68 games. He played most of his games at shortstop but the book on him is that he lacks the quickness and range to play the position. His arm is also better suited for second base. The 2016 season should see him start in a full season year where he can show the 2015 season was more indicative of his abilities than the 2014 season. Expect the Brewers to give him more opportunities at second base.

5. Joe Jimenez RHP (Tigers) - Joe was signed by the Tigers as a non-drafted free agent, all teams passing on the right handed pitcher from the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy. His fastball has picked up to the mid-90s since the Tigers signed him in 2013. The slider is his second pitch. Since being signed Joe has pitched all in relief. Last year he saved 17 games at Low A, limiting the opposition to a .153 average and striking out 12.8 hitters per nine innings. High A in Lakeland will be his next destination with a quick move to AA if he can achieve the same amount of success.

6. Steven Moya OF (Tigers) - Born in Puerto Rico but signed out of the Dominican Republic Moya is a powerfully built 6′7″ beast. When he extends his arms and makes contact with the ball it will go a long ways. With that extension comes the ability of pitchers to jam him inside and get swings and misses or weak contact. Last year was a bit of a struggle with just 20 homeruns and a .420 slugging average. The previous year in AA he hit 35 homeruns with a .555 slugging average to win MVP of the league. The whiffs were at 160 for both seasons. The good news for Moya is he cut down on his strikeouts in the winter league and myworld watched him make solid contact this spring, sending two balls over the fence. Currently the Tigers corner outfield is filled with Justin Upton and J.D. Martinez, so expect him to ply his craft in AAA until an injury gives the Tigers reason to promote him. If the Tigers are in the playoffs they could trade him for other needs on their major league roster.

7. Edwin Diaz RHP (Mariners) - Diaz was a third round pick of the Mariners in 2012. The 6′3″ Puerto Rican now hits the mid-90s with his fastball, elevating to 98. He also throws a slider and a change, but needs to improve the latter if he doesn’t want to end up in the bullpen. Last year he dominated in the usual hitter friendly California League, posting an ERA of 1.70 and an opposition batting average of .167 in seven starts. A promotion to AA saw more of a struggle where his ERA rose to 4.57 with a .259 opposition average. Despite the struggles in AA he did have one outing where he struck out seven consecutive batters. It might be best for the Mariners to return him to AA to enhance his secondary pitches before promoting him to AAA. Any kind of success could see a September call up opportunity.

8. Anthony Garcia OF (Cardinals) - Garcia does not have a whole lot of tools to brag about. That comes with a player drafted in the 18th round of the 2009 draft. What tools he does have he has made the most of. His lack of foot speed makes his defensive work in the outfield a struggle, but a strong arm from starting his career as a catcher gives him an opportunity to play right. His bat has shown double digit homerun power and that may improve as his contact rate increases. In 2013 Garcia had a walk to strikeout rate of 26/95. The next year that improved to 38/64. Last year it was 51/65 leading to a .283 batting average, something he has not hit since rookie ball. With just a little more increase in his power numbers he could vault above the fourth outfielder projection. Expect that journey to start in AAA in 2016 with a possible promotion to the major leagues to make his debut sometime during the season.

9. Jose Espada RHP (Blue Jays) - The 2015 draft was not a highlight for Puerto Rico. Jose was the highest drafted Puerto Rican last year, and the Blue Jays did not call his name until the fifth round. He lacks the velocity of other Puerto Rican pitchers on this list who were drafted much earlier. What he lacks in velocity he makes up for in command with an 8/31 walk to whiff ratio in 34 innings last year. At 6′1″ there is not much more heat that will come from his high 80s to low 90s fastball. That will require him to make more use of his slider, change and curve. At 19 years of age don’t be surprised if the Blue Jays may start him in extended spring training to begin the 2016 season and then assign him to a rookie league when July rolls around. it is also possible a good spring could get him elevated to Low A.

10. Yadiel Rivera SS/2B (Brewers) - It will be difficult for Yadiel to overtake Orlando Arcia for the Brewers shortstop position. His best opportunity if he wants to stay with the Brewers is to move to second base or make the team as a utility player. The ninth round pick of the 2010 draft has the tools to play short. His bat is not as gifted as Arcia. His power is absent and his hit tool is suspect. Last year he received a September callup and only hit .071 in 14 at bats. In AAA Colorado Springs it was just .238. Jonathan Villar may be the shortstop for the Brewers in 2016 so this could be an opportunity for Yadiel to take a utility role, leaving Arcia to enhance his skills in AAA and not eat up service time in a rebuilding year. By mid-year or in 2017, when Arcia is the Brewers shortstop the utility role will be a choice between the faster Villar or the more steady Rivera.