Archive for September, 2016

Nats Sign Yadiel Hernandez

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

At 29 years of age and lacking power there were not a lot of suitors for Yadiel Hernandez. Despite putting up decent numbers in Cuba the tools were lacking. The Nationals were able to sign him for $200,000. He will start next season in AAA and try to fit in an outfield depth chart deep in outfielders, especially with Trea Turner moving to centerfield.

Below average speed and a vanilla arm will restrict him to left field. That position is usually reserved for power hitters, which Yadiel is not. It will be interesting what the Nationals do with him next year.

Third Base Prospects Review

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Myworld has already taken a look at the first and second base prospects as ranked by Baseball America. Now we take a look at the third base prospects who were rated in the top ten before the season and analyze what kind of season they had in 2016 and where will that take them in 2017.

1. Joey Gallo (Rangers) - You would have expected a permanent position in the major leagues this year after back to back 40 homerun seasons in 2013 and 2014. His primary position is taken by Adrian Beltre, who signed an extension to play a couple more years at third base. With Prince Fielder retired the DH spot is open and he has seen some time in the outfield. Better contact at the major league level would help his cause as 68 whiffs in 125 at bats is just not going to cut it. Spring training next year will determine whether he plays first base, left field, third base or DH. Nomar Mazara was able to have success when promoted to the Rangers to play right field. Gallo has to show success too if he wants to stick.

2. Rafael Devers (Red Sox) - Just what the Red Sox need, another player with primo hit tools. Fortunately for other major league teams he played all of this year in High A so he has a couple years before he sees the major leagues. Fielding issues could be a problem forcing a move to first base. The power has yet to show but he won’t turn 20 until October of this year. This year he hit .284 with 11 homeruns. There is no one to block his path at third base and Hanley Ramirez could be ready for DH if Devers needs to move to first.

3. Ryan McMahon (Rockies) - The Rockies already have a third baseman in Nolan Arenado. That has not forced the Rockies to move Ryan from third base. Like Gallo he strikes out too much (161) which leads to low averages (.240). His homerun numbers (12) also took a dip. His lack of speed makes a move to the outfield a problem so if Arenado stays a Rockie the only alternative for McMahon is first base. For that position he needs to show more power.

4. Ke’Bryan Hayes (Pirates) - The Pirates drafted the son of Charlie in the first round of the 2015 draft. There is still a lot of minor league ball in his career, with just 250 at bats in Low A. His bat is supposed to show power but last year in 180 at bats he did not hit a homerun. This year he sent 6 over the fence. Hayes has the defensive chops to play the position but at 210 pounds he needs to keep his body toned to stay there. Hayes still has a couple more years in the minors before his future is determined.

5. Matt Chapman (Athletics) - The Athletics have a number of corner infielders in their minor league system. Chapman last year slugged 36 homeruns to put him on the radar for either first or third base. Like many power hitters he also strikes out a lot (173) so those will have to be reduced if he wants to hit for a decent average. A .197 average in 76 at bats in the AAA Pacific Coast League is a little disappointing, but he played in Nashville, not considered one of the Pacific Coast League hitter’s parks.

6. Austin Riley (Braves) - Riley was a supplemental first round pick for the Braves in 2015. Ahead of him in AAA is Rio Ruiz, a second round pick of the Astros who the Braves acquired in their 2016 franchise sale of all their veterans. Riley has some pop (20 homeruns) but at 230 pounds he may need to move from the hot corner. Freddie Freeman will have first base for awhile and Riley lacks the speed to move to the outfield. His power should win him the third base job over Ruiz if he can show he can defend the position.

7. Colin Moran (Astros) - The Marlins made him a first round pick in 2013 after he led all college players in RBIs. The Marlins later traded him to the Astros. With the Astros there is just no room for him at third base with Yulieski Gurriel and Alex Bregman already sharing the position. Colin has not shown the power to star at the position but at 24 and playing in AAA he is ready for the major leagues. His best opportunity to make the major leagues is if the Astros trade him for a veteran player to help them navigate a playoff race. Myworld does not see a lot of major league opportunity for him.

8. Jomar Reyes (Orioles) - At 6′4″ Jomar may be a little too big to settle at third base. A move to first base is a strong possibility. He needs to show a better hit tool to be considered for a major league position. His walks to strikeouts is poor (25/102) leading to a poor average (.228). He is still down in High A so the Orioles can still show a lot of patience with him.

9. Miguel Andujar (Yankees) - He seemed to tap into his power this season, rising to AA where he combined for 12 homeruns. His average sits in the .270s despite a propensity to strike out. Miguel has all the tools to play the position and no one on the depth chart to impede his path to the major league roster. He still needs to play another year or two in the minors before the Yankees consider promoting him.

10. Jeimer Candelario (Cubs) - He may move Kris Bryant permanently to the outfield. His power falls way short of Bryant but his defense at third base is much better. He also makes better contact (70/99) with the ability to draw walks. The Cubs gave him his major league debut this year but a .091 average with five whiffs in 11 at bats shows he needs more seasoning.

Some Japanese Notes

Monday, September 19th, 2016

The Hiroshima Carp have won the Central Division in the NPB. The two other playoff teams are the Yomiuri Giants and Yokohama Bay Stars. For Yokohama this will be their first ever climax series. The last time they qualified for the playoffs there were no wild card teams so they went immediately to the Japan Series. The Bay Stars may qualify for the climax series with a record below .500.

The Nippon Ham Fighters still have a shot to overtake the Softbank Hawks for first place, but both teams have qualified for the playoffs. The Chiba Lotte Marines will play in the climax series against which ever team does not win the division.

Tetsuto Yamada became just the third player to have two 100 RBI seasons before they turned 24. The other two players to accomplish that feat are Sadaharu Oh and Hideki Matsui. That is like being compared to Babe Ruth and Willie Mays.

The above notes are courtesy of yakyudb.

Netherlands Downs Spain for European Championship

Monday, September 19th, 2016

The Netherlands was missing Kalian Sams, one of their top hitters when the game started because his wife was giving birth. He did arrive in the fourth inning and was put in the game in the 8th inning as a defensive replacement. That was the only inning in which Spain scored both their runs.

The Netherlands took an early 2-0 lead on a Nick Urbanus two run single in the second inning. With runners on first and third with one out Netherlands had the chance to score more but a fielder’s choice at home and a Yurendell de Caster strikeout with the bases loaded killed any remaining threat. Yurendell would make up for his failure in the 10th inning.

Antonio Noguera came on to pitch the third against the Netherlands and quieted their bats for the next five innings. He allowed just two hits and struck out seven. The Netherlands went with Rob Cordemans for the first four innings and Lars Huijer for the next three to keep Spain off the scoreboard. They finally put together a rally in the 8th off Shairon Martis, whose biggest claim to fame is pitching a no hitter in the first World Baseball Classic against South Africa.

Martis gave up a hit to the first batter he faced Oscar Angulo. The second hitter Engel Beltre also singled. The Dutch were fortunate to pick off Angulo at second for the first out. With two outs Jesus Martinez mashed a ball into right field for a two run homer to tie the game at 2-2.

The Netherlands blew an opportunity to take the lead in the bottom frame. With runners at first and second and one out Kalian Sams singled to left field. Yurendell de Caster, who had doubled to start the inning stopped at third, but Gianison Boekhoudt, who had been walked intentionally was caught advancing too far off second and was thrown out by the catcher. Randolph Oduber struck out to leave de Caster stranded at third.

Spain could not score in the top of the 10th with runners on second and third with one out. Oscar Angulo and Engel Beltre both struck out against Netherlands closer Loek Van Mil. The Netherlands had their opportunity to put runners on first and second. Andres Perez, facing his first batter in the tenth Christopher Garia hit him to load the bases with no one out. Yurendell de Caster ended the game with a walk off single up the middle, making amends for his failure to drive in a run in the second inning.

The Netherlands Van Der Meer Stijn won the MVP award for the tournament. It was his second MVP award in the last three months after being awarded the MVP of the Honkball tournament in July. Stijn was a 34th round pick by the Astros in the 2016 draft out of Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. He played in 21 rookie league games hitting .329. He plays shortstop for the Netherlands but for the Astros he bounced around between shortstop and second base, with some action at third.

For the Netherlands it was their second consecutive championship. Italy had won the previous two after the Netherlands had put together five straight championships. For Spain they had finished in third place for five out of the last six championships. The second place finish was their highest result since the championships began, when they finished in second for the first European championships in 1954 and won the second European championships in 1955. After those first two they have never been able to finish better than third.

Under 23 World Cup Pools

Monday, September 19th, 2016

The under 23 World Cup will be held in Monterrey, Mexico from October 28 to November 6. Noticeably absent from this group is the United States and Cuba. Since this event awards the third most points of all the tournaments based on performance, the United States and Cuba will suffer in the next rankings. Only the Premier 12 and the World Baseball Classic distribute the most points. If the major baseball powers are not attracted to participate in any event, it calls into question the significance of the event, i.e. dates or location not attractive. The United States national team office seems to shut down after the summer with international events.

The absence of some of the big time powers provides opportunities for newer countries to compete such as Argentina and Austria. South Africa is another country listed low in the rankings that will have an opportunity to bring out their baseball skills.

The teams for this event are (with their world rankings in parenthesis):

Pool A

Mexico (8), Korea (3), Venezuela (7), Czech Republic (14), Panama (15) and South Africa (35)

Pool B

Japan (1), Taiwan (4), Australia (13), Nicaragua (18), Argentina (27), Austria (33)

Trumbo with Another Jumbo Leads O’s Wild Card Hunt

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

The Orioles continue to win their games with homeruns and solid bullpen work. If not for two dingers today and five innings of relief from their bullpen they would not have beaten the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1. It was not because of solid starting pitching that limited the Rays offense. Wade Miley left after four innings due to a back injury. The Oriole bullpen went the final five. Homeruns and solid bullpen work has been how the O’s have been winning all year.

Wade Miley pitched four shutout innings. In the fourth he seemed to shake his leg after the pitch trying to work out a leg injury. He was able to complete the inning, came out for the fifth, but during his warm up was removed from the game. Miley had retired the first 9 hitters before getting in a little trouble in the fourth. Darren O’Day came on to pitch the fifth and on his first offering Corey Dickerson deposited it into the left field bleachers.

In the sixth the Rays loaded the bases with just one out off Donnie Hart. Corey Dickerson came to the plate and turned from hero to goat, grounding into a 4-6-3 double play.

Jake Odorizzi had silenced the O’s bats for the first five innings. In the sixth Manny Machado led off the inning with a line drive into the right centerfield bleachers. Kevin Kiermaier tried to scale the wall to prevent the ball from reaching the bleachers but he fell far short.

The Rays went to their bullpen in the seventh. The O’s put runners on second and third with one out. Dan Farquhar struck out Adam Jones for the second out and Dana Eveland struck out pinch hitter Drew Stubbs to prevent the Orioles from scoring.

In the 8th the Rays brought in Ryan Garton. He retired the first hitter but Mark Trumbo took one of his pitches for a ride, a 450 foot homerun into centerfield. That gave the O’s a 2-1 lead and an opportunity for Zach Britton to pick up his 45th save. He did, stranding a runner on second.

Game Notes: Richie Shaffer booted a ball at first and struck out in two of his three at bats. The Rays would like to have his power in the lineup, but he needs to show he can play the position. He will not dislodge Evan Longoria from third base. His inability to make contact will limit his batting average into the low .200s…Chris Davis stranded two runners in both the first and third innings with fly balls into left field…The win gives the O’s a one game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays for the first wild card spot…The injury for Miley was stated to be a muscle strain in his back

European Championship Recap

Friday, September 16th, 2016

The two top European teams slugged it out and Netherlands found themselves on top. For Italy it was their second loss which puts them in a tie for third place, meaning they may not be playing in the championship game.

Netherlands 6 Italy 5

Kalian Sams hit a two out infield single in the bottom of the ninth to drive in the tying run to send the game into extra innings. Italy took advantage of a Dutch error to score two in the top of the tenth. The Netherlands tied the game on a Stijn Van Der Meer RBI single and won the game on a Christopher Garia walk off single. Tiago Da Silva pitched five innings of shutout relief for Italy but after he was removed Netherlands rallied for five of their six runs.

Spain 9 Czech Republic 3

Spain got back into second place with a win over the Czechs. With the loss the Czechs were eliminated from any championship game. Daniel Martinez drove in three runs and Blake Ochoa bashed a solo shot in the fifth to lead the Spanish 17 hit attack.

Germany 14 Belgium 2

Christopher Howard and Maurice Wilhelm went deep for Germany, but lead off hitter Eric Brenk drove in five runs with a double and triple to lead the German offense. The German win put them in a tie for third place with Italy.

Spain needs to beat Germany to take second place. The Netherlands even with a loss in their last game against Belgium has clinched an appearance in the championship game. A loss by Spain to Germany would complicate things especially if Italy wins their game to create a three way tie for second place.

Lee Slugs Homerun Number 600

Friday, September 16th, 2016

None of them were of the major league variety, though he had a desire to play in the major leagues. He accumulated those 600 homeruns in Japan and Korea, 441 one of them in Korea. Those 441 homeruns are the most for any player hit in the KBO and may stay unbroken for a long time if major league teams sign away the Korean sluggers. Byung-Ho Park had 210 KBO homers before signing with the Twins last season.

Lee was originally drafted as a pitcher but switched to first base, hitting 13 homers his rookie season. He won the MVP in his third season, the first of four with a 32 homerun season. At 40 years of age Lee has indicated he will retire after the 2017 season.

European Championships - Second Round Games

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

The top six teams have been identified and they will play each other to determine the European champions. All the games except one were close.

Czech Republic 4 Belgium 3

Petr Zyma drove in the tying run in the bottom of the ninth with an RBI single to send the game into extra innings. Belgium scored a run in the top of the tenth but the Czechs rallied for two in the bottom frame, Matej Heijma driving in both runs with a two run walk off double.

Netherlands 1 Spain 0

The battle of the undefeateds saw a pitcher’s duel. Shairon Martis went seven innings for the Netherlands and Ricardo Hernandez only allowed one run in just over four innings. Christopher Garia hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth to drive in the only run. Tom De Blok and Loek Van Mil each threw a perfect inning to close out the win. For Spain it was their first loss of the tournament.

Italy 12 Germany 0

Orlando Oberto threw a complete game nine inning shutout and the Italian bats banged out 14 hits to give Italy the win. A six run ninth inning made the game appear more lopsided than it was.

Nationals Pound Mets

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

It is a September game. Both teams needed their bullpen to survive the night. One team because their starter was not effective, the other because their starter was injured. The Nationals got two homeruns in the second inning, one from pitcher Mat Latos and a three run shot from Anthony Rendon and the Nationals cruised to victory 8-1.

The Mets got the offense started in the top of the first off Mat Latos. Jose Reyes got the game started with a double down the right field line. In his younger days he would have stretched the hit to a triple. A ground out and sacrifice fly scored Reyes to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. It was all they could score this night.

The Nationals took advantage of the wildness of Rafael Montero. A Trea Turner infield single, stolen base and walk put two runners on. Daniel Murphy lined one into left field for a single to load the bases with no outs. A walk to Bryce Harper scored one and another walk to Wilson Ramos scored the second run to make it 2-1 Nationals.

The Nationals knocked Rafael Montero out of the game in the second inning. Mat Latos stunned the crowd, swinging at a 3-2 pitch and lining it over the left field bullpen to extend the Nationals lead to 3-1. A Daniel Murphy double resulted in an intentional walk to Bryce Harper to face Anthony Rendon with two outs and two on. Anthony blasted a ball into the left field bleachers for a 3-run homerun and a 6-1 lead.

In the fourth Wilson Ramos drove in one run with a hit and run single into right field. Ryan Zimmerman drove in the second run with a single past the third base hole to make it 8-1 Nationals.

Reynaldo Lopez shutout the Mets in the last three innings to pick up the save.

Game Notes: Bryce Harper steps into the bucket with his right foot on slow breaking pitches. I know my little league coach hated it when I stepped into the bucket on my swing…Jose Reyes is an awkward fielder at third base. He doesn’t appear to be comfortable there defensively…Daniel Murphy continues to kill the Mets with his bat. He had three hits, two doubles and a single…Asdrubal Cabrera has dyed his hair platinum blonde…Anthony Rendon made a nice diving stop on a grounder in the ninth inning of a 8-1 game. Nice to see a player not let up despite the score.