Archive for April, 2017

Hot Prospects to Watch

Saturday, April 29th, 2017

Raimel Tapia CF (Rockies) - The Rockies outfield situation is a little crowded, especially with the return of Ian Desmond who may see some outfield time once he gets back from the disabled list. That has not deterred Raimel, who is in the middle of a six game hitting streak, with the last three games being multiple hit games. He has driven in seven runs during the streak and raised his average to .382. Raimel has yet to have a season in the minors where his average has fallen below .300.

Samir Duenez 1B (Royals) - If the Royals decide to rebuild and trade their veterans Samir could be called up to play first base. In a recent three game spin he drove in 8 runs, blasting his third homerun of the year. Samir has driven in 23 runs in 19 games, which leads the Texas AA League by five.

Rhys Hoskins 1B (Phillies) - Rhys has left the hitter friendly Reading park but the homeruns keep on coming. He had a two game homerun streak to up his total for the year to six. He is also showing a bit more diversity with a .343 average and only 14 whiffs in 21 games. That will get him a callup before the year is out with Tommy Joseph struggling to get past the Mendoza line.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr 3B (Blue Jays) - Vladimir has an 11 game hitting streak to prop his average up to .348. He has driven in seven runs in his last five games and had a streak in which he scored at least one run in five consecutive games. He has an impressive 14/11 walk to whiff ratio proving he is better at taking pitches than his father.

Braxton Davidson OF (Braves) - The Braves 2014 first round pick has been scuffling early in the season. A 4 for 4 game in which he also drew two walks brought that average back up to .200. He also socked his first homerun of the year in this game, driving in three runs. Last year Braxton struck out 184 times in 128 games. This inability to make contact continues with 33 whiffs in just 21 games to start the season.

Francisco Mejia C (Indians) - Francisco also hit his first homerun of the year, but his bat has still been hot with a .333 average. He has been filling the gaps with seven doubles.

Daz Cameron OF (Astros) - The son of Mike had a big seven RBI game with a triple and double driving in most of the runs. The 3 for 5 day brought his average to .208. Despite the low average Daz has been productive with 17 runs driven in and 16 runs scored in just 20 games.

Josh Naylor 1B (Padres) - Josh is starting to show the Padres his power. He has homered in two consecutive games, with multiple hits in five consecutive games. His hitting streak is now at 7 raising his average to .305. He is 15 for 31 during his hitting streak with three dingers and nine runs batted in. Josh has also shown some speed with four stolen bases in four attempts.

Max Pentecost C (Blue Jays) - Max was a first round pick of the Blue Jays in 2014. Injuries have prevented him from playing in more than 74 games. He is hoping this year will be different. A 14 game hitting streak has his average up to .328. The only game he has failed to get a hit was his first game. In his last eight games he has powered five of his six homeruns. That has given him 13 of his 16 RBIs for the year.

Tyler Mahle RHP (Reds) - Tyler followed his perfect game with six shutout innings, giving up just four hits. After five starts the opposition is just hitting .104 against him. Last year he started 14 games in AA and spun together an ERA of 4.92. This year he sits at 0.55. As putrid as the Reds starting pitching has been he could be called up as a solution to the rotation woes.

Jeff Hoffman RHP (Rockies) - It is just a matter of time before Jeff is called up. Last year the Rockies gave him six starts and he struggled with a 4.88 ERA. He threw seven innings of one hit shutout ball in his latest start to lower his AAA ERA to 3.86.

Jorge Lopez RHP (Brewers) - Last year Jorge was destined for the Brewers rotation. A 6.81 ERA in 16 starts got him a trip to AA Biloxi instead. That is where he is starting the 2017 season. After a 10 strikeout, six inning two hitter AAA is calling him. Last year he struggled to throw strikes. In five starts this year he has a 4/30 walk to whiff ratio in 26 innings.

Adalberto Mejia LHP (Twins) - Adalberto pitched well enough in spring to earn a spot in the Twins starting rotation to begin the season. He had trouble finding the plate, walking 8 in just over nine innings in his first three starts. That led to a demotion to AAA. In his first AAA minor league start Mejia didn’t walk a batter, striking out six in a seven inning two hit shutout outing. He needs to have a couple more outings like this to show the Twins that this was no fluke.

Conforto Powers Mets Over Nats

Saturday, April 29th, 2017

Michael Conforto mashed two homeruns in the Mets 5-3 win over the Nationals. The Nationals had just completed a 9-1 road trip and the Mets were floundering at 8-13 with a six game losing streak entering this series, but it is the Mets who look like the better team after the first two games resulted in wins. The Nationals had the opportunity to bury the Mets, but now it is the Mets who have shown some life.

The Nationals were playing without Adam Eaton and will probably have to do so for the rest of the year, a torn ACL on Friday leaving him done for the season. That leaves a big hole in centerfield if Michael Taylor does not hit. Taylor started the game off with a bang by doubling over the head of Curtis Granderson in the first inning. Granderson broke late for the ball looking like a deer staring at the headlights of a car coming right at him. After a Bryce Harper whiff on a slow curve ball Ryan Zimmerman salvaged the inning with a line drive single into left center to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead.

The way Strasburg was pitching the one run appeared enough to win the game. Michael Conforto and Zack Wheeler were the only Mets to get hits in the first four innings. The fifth inning Jose Reyes started with a broken bat single into right field. T.J. Rivera powered a ball into the left centerfield gap for a double, Reyes stopping at third. Daniel Murphy made a heads up play on a Travis d’Arnaud grounder. He threw to third to get T.J. Rivera out, but Reyes scored to tie the game. A bunt by Wheeler advanced d’Arnaud to second. Michael Conforto got ahead of Strasburg 3-1 then blasted a meat ball pitch into the right field bleachers to break the tie and give the Mets a 3-1 lead.

Wheeler could not survive the fifth, denying himself the victory. A Jose Reyes error at third put a runner on and Michael Taylor got his third hit of the game by squeezing a pitch past the glove of Reyes to put two runners on. Bryce grounded into a 1-6-3 double play, but Zimmerman again saved the day by beating out a slow roller to short to score Trea Turner. If myworld had a stop watch we could swear Zimmerman went down the first base line faster than Harper did when he grounded into a double play.

Michael Conforto got his first hit against a lefthander in the game. Enny Romero and his 99 mile per hour fastball was the victim with Conforto blasting it at 101 into the Mets bullpen, the ball caught by Addison Reed who was warming up.

The Nationals got a run back in their half of the inning with Ryan Zimmerman crushing a ball over the left field bullpen. Jayson Werth hit a two out double. Matt Wieters pinch hit for Jose Lobaton and skied a ball into right field for the third out.

Jose Reyes gave the Mets an insurance run. His fielding has been ugly and he came into the game batting under .150. His second hit of the game came off Shawn Kelley, a two out blast into the right field bleachers, almost in the same spot Conforto hit his first homerun. That about broke the spirit of the Nationals who were retired in order by Jeurys Familia for his first save of the year.

Game Notes: Michael Taylor started out strong with hits in his first three at bats. His last two at bats were filled with swings and misses as he struck out twice. The three hits got his average above .200 but the two whiffs brought it back down to .192…Rafael Bautista was brought up to replace Adam Eaton. He may see some playing time in centerfield if Taylor struggles to provide any offense. The Nationals need a closer and now with Eaton out for the year they may also need a centerfielder…Bryce Harper had a rough day with three whiffs and a ground into double play. Two of the whiffs were swings and misses at 72 mile per hour curveballs. The other whiff was taking a 94 mile per hour fastball. Yesterday he also had a three whiff game and a bases loaded game ending double play ground out…Enny Romero hit 100 twice with his pitches….Jayson Werth made a poor decision after stealing second. When the ball skipped past second and rolled into centerfield he tried to advance to third thinking he had gotten it on a obstruction call. He was easily thrown out at third and at the discretion of the second base umpire he was not entitled to third.

Team Salaries and $20 Million Players

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Below are the major league team salaries not including released players or traded players in which a team is still paying part of the contract. It appears that all teams have fallen under the $200 million threshold. Some teams like the Dodgers are still committed to a $200 million salary structure because of payments to released players like Carl Crawford or Alex Rodriguez. Below each team are there $20 million players. There are now 36 players who are making more than $20 million per year.

Interesting to note the San Diego Padres team salary is only $1.4 million more than what the Dodgers are paying Clayton Kershaw.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers ($188 million)

Clayton Kershaw ($33 million)
Adrian Gonzalez ($22.4 million)

2. Detroit Tigers ($180 million)

Justin Verlander ($28 million)
Miguel Cabrera ($28 million)
Justin Upton ($22.1 million)

3. Texas Rangers ($178 million)

Prince Fielder ($24 Million) insurance paying half
Cole Hamels ($22.5 million)
Shin-Soo Choo ($20 million)

4. San Francisco Giants ($177 million)

Johnny Cueto ($23.5 million)
Buster Posey ($22.2 million)
Matt Cain ($20.8 million)

5. New York Mets ($176 million)

Yoenis Cespedes ($22.5 million)
Jose Reyes ($22 million

6. Boston Red Sox ($174 million)

David Price ($30 million)
Hanley Ramirez ($22.7 million)
Rick Porcello ($20.1 million)

7. New York Yankees ($170 million)

C.C. Sabathia ($25 million)
Masahiro Tanaka ($22 million)
Jacoby Ellsbury ($21.1 million)

8. Chicago Cubs ($170 million)

Jason Heyward ($26 million)
Jon Lester ($25 million)

9. Washington Nationals ($163 million)

Max Scherzer ($22.1 million)
Jayson Werth ($21.5 million)

10. Toronto Blue Jays ($162 million)

Russell Martin ($20 million)
Troy Tulowitski ($20 million)

11. Baltimore Orioles ($162 million)

Chris Davis ($21.2 million)

12. Seattle Mariners ($155 million)

Felix Hernandez ($25.9 million)
Robinson Cano ($24 million)

13. St. Louis Cardinals ($147 million)
14. Los Angeles Angels ($144 million)

Albert Pujols ($26 million)
Mike Trout ($20 million)

15. Atlanta Braves ($137 million)

Matt Kemp ($21.5 million)
Freddie Freeman ($20.9 million)

16. Kansas City Royals ($132 million)
17. Houston Astros ($127 million)
18. Cleveland Indians ($116 million)
19. Miami Marlins ($115 million)
20. Chicago White Sox ($110 million)

James Shields ($21 million)

21. Colorado Rockies ($102 million)

Carlos Gonzalez ($20.4 million)

22. Minnesota Twins ($101 million)

Joe Mauer ($23 million)

23. Pittsburgh Pirates ($95 million)
24. Arizona Diamondbacks ($91 million)
25. Philadelphia Phillies ($87 million)
26. Cincinnati Reds ($82 million)

Joey Votto ($22 million)

27. Oakland Athletics ($71 million)
28. Tampa Bay Rays ($70 million)
29. Milwaukee Brewers ($61 million)
30. San Diego Padres ($35 million)

The Natural Revisted in Korea

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Korea Joongang Daily writes an interesting piece on LG Twins Hyung-Jong Lee who was a star pitcher in high school. After a loss in the high school championship game he was drafted by the LG Twins. That high school loss ate at him and he could never find success as a pitcher. Fortunately for Lee he did not have to get shot to change his career to a hitter, but a few failures along the way careened into his path.

The Twins drafted him in 2008 and paid him a huge six figure bonus ($383,000) to sign as a pitcher. He won his first game as a Twin in 2010 but an elbow injury shortened his career on the mound. While he was rehabilitating Lee was involved in an insubordination incident for a post he made on social media. He announced his retirement and pursued a career as a professional golfer. That career did not last long and he returned to the Twins, this time as a hitter.

In 2016 he hit his first professional KBO homerun. Memories are long in the KBO. Despite the homerun he was sent back down to the equivalent of the minor leagues in Korea. Lee was eventually brought back up but he only got 147 at bats for the year.

Lee is now the leading hitting for the resurging Twins to begin the 2017 season, a Twins team who find themselves in third place in the KBO. At 27 years of age Lee has reinvented himself as a hitter with a .417 batting average and three homeruns. He has also stolen five bases with three homeruns.

Major league fans thought it was a great accomplishment for Rick Ankiel to resurrect his career from pitcher to hitter. Lee has done the same, but early in the 2017 season his .413 batting average trails only Dae-Ho Lee for second in the KBO. Dae-Ho is another player who has returned to Korea after playing a number of years in Japan and the United States.

Another Perfect Game and Other Prospect Notes

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Domenic Mazza LHP (Giants) - Not really considered a prospect. Players drafted in the 22nd round as Domenic was in 2015 fall far from that criteria, unless large bonuses are associated with their name to get them to sign. Mazza did make some press by throwing the second perfect game of the year and the first nine inning perfect game in South Atlantic League history. For Domenic that is a welcome start after lasting under three innings and giving up seven runs in his first start of the season. During that game he gave up Tim Tebow’s first professional career homerun, publicity he would just as soon avoid. The lefty needed only 85 pitches to toss his perfecto.

Dane Dunning RHP (Nationals) - It was pay back time for the ex-National as he threw six innings of two hit ball against Low A Hagerstown, a Nationals farm team. For Dunning that was his third consecutive shutout outing to lower his ERA to 0.35. He has only given up two runs in four starts with only one of them earned. He has a 2/33 walk to whiff ratio in 26 innings and the opposition is hitting him at a .143 clip. He was traded to the Nationals along with Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito for Adam Eaton. Dane is making the Nationals begin to regret that deal.

Nik Turley LHP (Twins) - In his fourth appearance and second start Nik Turley gave up his first run. He also struck out 14 in the seven inning outing, at one point striking out eight hitters in a row. In 20.1 innings he has now struck out 36 hitters with a 0.44 ERA and a .076 opposition average. At age 27 his prospect status is sagging but the Twins starting rotation could use some help.

Michael Kopech RHP (White Sox) - Michael was throwing bb’s in his six inning one hit shutout. The 2014 first round pick of the Red Sox struck out eight in his outing. The opposition is only hitting .145 against him but 14 walks in just 18 innings have plagued him. During his one hitter he walked four. The Red Sox traded him to the White Sox as part of the Chris Sale trade.

Dinelson Lamet RHP (Padres) - Myworld remembers writing about Dinelson a lot last year. After a 13 K performance in his third start he came back with a 9 K performance, throwing seven innings of shutout ball. Like Kopech, Lamet does not give up a lot of hits (.171 opposition average) but his walks could be tapered down (9 in 20 innings). After four starts the Dominican has seen his ERA lowered to 0.45.

Ronald Acuna OF (Braves) - After dominating in Australia Acuna is wreaking his wrath on Florida State League pitchers. The Venezuelan banged out three hits, including his second homerun of the year and five RBIs. Acuna was a double short of the cycle. Strikeouts have been a bit of a problem with 25 in 17 games, but his last two games in which he went 5 for 9 have come without a whiff. He has 10 stolen bases in 11 attempts.

Alex Jackson C (Braves) - Another Fire Frog, Jackson has seen his bat come alive now that he is no longer a Mariner. In the same game Acuna banged out three hits Alex collected three hits including a homerun and two RBIs. Alex was a double short of the cycle. The three hits raised his average to .338. While with the Mariners he struggled to get his average above the .250 neighborhood. The Braves have returned Alex back to his high school position as a catcher.

Willie Calhoun 2B (Dodgers) - The homerun drought has ended for Willie with his first yesterday. Last year the 5′8″ slugger bashed 27 over the fence. Despite the paucity of homeruns Willie has been hitting with his average at .333.

Jorge Alfaro C (Phillies) - The Phillies don’t have room for Jorge behind the plate for their major league team. So they will show patience with him as he assaults AAA pitching. Back to back three hit games in which he hit a homerun in each game raised his average to .377. The Phillies would like to see some improvement on his 1/17 walk to whiff ratio (22/105 in 2016).

Edward Olivares OF (Blue Jays) - With the two perfect games comes the first cycle that myworld has become aware of in the minor leagues. Edward singled, doubled, tripled and homered in a four RBI event a couple days ago. His batting average needed the outburst as it was sitting at .172 before the game. Edward now has a four game hitting streak to raise his average to .231. He has driven in 8 of his 14 runs during that streak.

Jason Vosler 3B (Cubs) - Jason is not considered one of the more touted Cub prospects. Last year he hit three homeruns. In a game last night Vosler equaled his 2015 homerun out put with three dingers to give him four for the year. The third baseman drove in six runs to double his RBI output for the year.

Top Prospects from Mexico

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Julio Urias finally made it to the major leagues. He had appeared as the top prospect from Mexico the last couple years. Daniel Castro was fourth on the 2016 list. He made it as a Braves utility player grabbing 130 at bats to lose his rookie eligibility. A .200 average gave Castro his free agency and now he is with the Rockies playing at AAA. Luis Cessa got some starts and bullpen appearances last year with the Yankees. He is back in AAA giving the Yankees some depth in the starting rotation.

The top ten of 2017 lacks star power with Julio Urias no longer eligible. Another Urias unrelated to Julio appears on this list. Myworld has finally given up on Manny Banuelos and Luis Heredia, eliminating them from the 2017 list. Banulos is pitching for the Angels. Heredia has spent what seems like a lifetime with the Pirates but has yet to leave A ball.

1. Luis Urias 2B/SS (Padres) - Luis does not have a lot of tools except a bat that rips the gaps. His speed is average or below and his power is absent. For his career he has been caught stealing more than he has had success. A utility role could be in his future. He lacks the range to play shortstop on a permanent basis but if his .317 minor league average continues in the majors he could always play second base. Back to back four hit games put his average at .357. An 8 game hitting streak has kept that average up (.343). Last year he hit his first homeruns in his professional career, sending six over the fence. This year he has slugged two, so the power may be developing.

2. Jose Albertos RHP (Cubs) - The Cubs paid $1.5 million to the Mexican team who owned the rights to Albertos. He made his debut last year with one start. He will spend his time in extended spring training as an 18 year old waiting for the start of Arizona Rookie League. Reports have Joes hitting the mid-90s with his fastball with a good changeup. He has a long way to go before he makes an impact with the Cubs.

3. Francisco Rios RHP (Blue Jays) - Rios surprised in his first year of full season ball, dominating in six starts at Low A (1.20 ERA). He struck out 12.9 hitters per nine innings and limited the opposition to a .193 average. When promoted to High A his rather ordinary stuff was exposed and his success waned. His fastball sits at 91-92 with two breaking pitches (slider and curve) and a change. He does throw strikes but his lack of velocity makes it important he locate his pitches to prevent hard contact.

4. Victor Arano RHP (Phillies) - The Phillies acquired Arano from the Dodgers back in 2014 for Roberto Hernandez. The Dodgers had purchased him from the Mexico City Red Devils. Arano was moved to relief last year where he achieved some success. His fastball showed more velocity out of the pen, hitting the mid-90s which created more swings and misses. Last year he struck out 10.7 batters per nine innings compared to the previous year as a starter when he struck out just 5 hitters per nine. His slider is a good pitch and in the bullpen he does not need to rely on a third pitch. He started the 2017 season on the disabled list.

5. Jose Cardona OF (Rangers) - Jose was signed out of Mexico in 2011. In his first four seasons he hit only one homerun. It also took him awhile to escape the rookie league. In 2015 he cracked the full season league and burst out with 10 homeruns with 30 stolen bases. He did even better the following year in the hitter friendly California League hitting 14 homeruns with a .300 average. Starting this year in AA his power has yet to show with only three extra base hits. He plays a solid defense and could make it as a fourth outfielder.

6. Giovanny Gallegos RHP (Yankees) - The Yankees signed Giovanny a year after signing Manny Banuelos. The Yankees converted him to the bullpen in 2014 and he has not made a start since. The last couple years he has pitched in AAA with some success, limiting the opposition to a .178 average. The Yankees will use him as depth to their bullpen, adding him to their 40 man roster this year. His fastball hits the mid-90s but his other pitchers are dicey with a curveball and change. 106 whiffs in 78 innings last year and 14 whiffs in 8 innings this year makes him an attractive option, despite only having a fastball to get hitters out.

7. Isaac Paredes SS (Cubs) - In 2015 the Cubs paid the Mexico City Red Devils $800,000 for Isaac. He hit .305 as a teenager in the rookie league earning a promotion to full season ball. He has sure hands but lacks the range to play short. The power may not come to play third so expect his future to be at second. He played for the 15 and under Mexican national team.

8. Jose Luis Hernandez RHP (Astros) - Jose was signed out of Mexico by the Astros in 2015. He does not throw hard, hitting the radar guns in the high 80s to low 90s. At 6′0″ he also lacks height as a righthander. His secondary pitches with above average location will determine his fate. He starts the 2017 season on the disabled list.

9. Fernando Perez 1B (Padres) - Last year Fernando was limited to 44 games because of injuries. He plays the same position as Luis with a less impressive stick. He does show some pop with 18 homeruns and 95 RBIs in 2014. The Padres have moved him to first base where he needs to show power to stick at the position. This year he has slugged three homeruns with a .479 slugging.

10. Christian Villanueva 3B (Padres) - Christian did not play last year because of a fracture right fibula. He was declared a free agent and signed with the Padres. This season he has started on the disabled list. He plays third base. The Padres lack a player with the skills of Kris Bryant playing that position. The Padres hope he gets healthy and can show the power he did with the Cubs when he hit 20 homeruns in 2015.

Pirates Promote First African Born Player

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Just a day after promoting the first Lithuanian born player to the major leagues the Pittsburgh Pirates promoted the first African born player. Gift Ngoepe was promoted by the Pirates as depth to the infield after the injury to David Freese. Gift was born in South Africa and lived in a clubhouse of a semi-professional baseball team because his mother worked as their cook and clubhouse person. The team gave her free room and board and Gift got plenty of exposure to baseball.

Gift is a solid defensive shortstop who is not gifted with the bat. The Pirates have Kevin Newman as their shortstop of the future with Jody Mercer their shortstop of the present. The best bet for Gift for an extended stay in the major leagues would be as a utility player.

Hot Prospects for April 24

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

A couple players identified as hot prospects, Christian Arroyo and Cody Bellinger were recently promoted to their major league team. They will not be the last.

Raimel Tapia CF (Rockies) - Tapia hits .300 no matter where he plays. The one concern is his lack of power. While he has speed his defensive tools are not ideal for center and his absence of power makes a corner position suspect. A rocket of an arm makes right field his best fit. Tapia slapped three hits yesterday to increase his average to .356. The Rockies outfield could get crowded with the improved health of David Dahl and Ian Desmond so expect Raimel to get most of his time in AAA. He did play two major league games early this season finishing 0 for 7.

Andrew Pullin LF (Phillies) - Reading is a hitter’s ballpark. Last year Pullin hit 10 homeruns in 46 games there. Yesterday he slugged two to put him at five for the year. That is halfway towards his production of last year. One of those homeruns was a grand slam to give him a big 5 RBI night. Pullin has gone 11 for 19 in his last four games to raise his average to .381. Last year in his 46 games at Reading Andrew hit .346.

Joe Rizzo 3B (Mariners) - Rizzo made a late debut to the season going 4 for 5 in his second game to raise his average to .625. A 2 for 4 day the next day dropped his average to .583. Rizzo was a second round pick of the Mariners in 2016. The one big criticism with Rizzo is how much power can he pack in his 5′9″ frame.

Jon Duplantier RHP (Diamondbacks) - More shutout innings for Duplantier. In four appearances, three starts he has gone 20.1 innings without allowing an earned run. Yesterday he threw five innings, allowing just three hits, striking out 8 without walking anyone. Opponents are hitting .121 against him. Jon was a third round pick last year appearing in only one inning. He did not allow a run in that inning.

Gregory Soto LHP (Tigers) - In his third start Soto tossed six shutout innings. That increases his 2017 shutout streak to 17. Gregory struck out eight and walked two. His fastball can touch the mid-90s but sits more comfortably in the low 90s. Expect him to get promoted soon to High A.

Grayson Long RHP (Angels) - Grayson got a quick promotion to AA where he threw six shutout innings in his first start. He only allowed one hit, a leadoff single to start the game but did not allow a hit after that.

MLB All Stars to Visit Korea and Taiwan

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

Major league baseball is in discussions to have an All Star team visit Korea for offseason exhibition games according to Yonhap News Agency. It could be held sometime in November along with a stop in Taiwan. Major league baseball has not played a game in Korea since an exhibition game with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1958. It is expected the teams would play in the domed stadium Gocheok Sky Dome, which is where the WBC games were played in Korea.

Major league baseball played exhibition games in Taiwan in 2011. The last exhibition trip to Asia was Japan in 2014 for games against the NPB All Stars.

Passing of Wayne Graczyk

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

One of the nicest men in the world passed away. Wayne Graczyk died of a heart attack at 68. He is the man who published the Japan Baseball Fan Handbook and Media Guide. If you wanted to know about Japanese baseball that was a good start to your education. When I watch baseball I like to keep score and having that handbook with the English names of the Japanese players and their uniform numbers was critical.

Wayne also wrote articles for Baseball America when they needed something on Japan. He also was a writer for the Japan Times English paper. Any foreigner who played baseball in Japan knew Wayne, not because he was a reporter who wrote for the Japan Times but because he was a nice guy who was willing to help a player in a strange environment. He made you feel comfortable.

I’ve been to Japan four or five times to watch baseball. Each time Wayne was there to guide me through the intricacies of the game in Japan. There was one conversation we had where I wondered why no Japanese pitcher threw hard. Every pitcher I saw had a radar reading of high 80s to low 90s. He proceeded to name the pitchers who could throw mid-90s. My perception of baseball was limited when compared to Wayne. He always expanded that horizon after just one day of conversation.

He will be missed. For a nice article on him go to this link:

Wayne Graczyk