Archive for July, 2017

Rain Postpones Most of 12 and Under World Cup - Day 4

Monday, July 31st, 2017

They only got one game in for the 12 and under World Cup, the rest postponed by the weather. Taiwan blasted the Czech Republic 20-0 in that lone game. Chen-An Pai put on a slugging clinic with two homeruns, a double and seven RBIs in a 4 for 4 performance. Shu-Wei Kuo and Yi-Lei Sun also went deep for Taiwan. The top three hitters in their order, Yi-Cheng Yang, Yu-En Chien and Shuo-Heng Han combined for 10 runs scored. The three also contributed two RBIs each. Taiwan used four different pitchers to work one inning each, limiting the Czech bats to just one hit.

The postponed games are scheduled to be played August 2.

Marquez Muzzles Nats Bats

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

A game after the Nationals hit eight homeruns, including five in one inning, German Marquez had them swinging and missing at his 97-99 mile per hour fastball and his diving breaking pitches. The Nationals were retired in order in eight of the nine innings in the 4-2 loss. Marquez struck out a career high 10 in his seven innings of work.

Tanner Roark was undone by his wildness. He walked four but his inability to find the plate put his pitch count at 108 after five innings. In the second inning he walked Carlos Gonzalez on four pitches. Trevor Story followed by taking a 2-2 pitch into the right centerfield bleachers for a 2-0 lead.

Roark walked D.J. LeMahieu in the fifth. That also haunted him when Gerado Parra lined one over the glove of the lumbering Adam Lind in left field. By the time Lind tracked the ball LaMahieu had scored and Parra cruised into second. Mark Reynolds followed with a double that hit the bottom of the fence to give the Rockies a 4-0 lead.

Marquez had a perfect game through the first five innings. Matt Wieters ended that by lining a single into left field with one out in the sixth. Pinch hitter Howie Kendrick got his first at bat as a Nat and lined a pitch over the head of the left fielder for a double. With two outs Wilmer Difo dumped a single down the left field line to score two runs.

The Nationals would not get another baserunner after the sixth. The Nationals bullpen also retired the final 12 hitters they faced, with Matt Albers giving up the only baserunner on a Gerado Parra single, but he was erased on a double play. Oliver Perez struck out the side in the ninth, including getting pinch hitter Pat Valaika to swing and miss at a 96 mile per hour fastball.

Game Notes: Sammy Solis returned with his 14.73 ERA. He looked good with his fastball hitting 95. He retired the side in order on a strikeout and two weak ground ball outs to the pitcher…Mark Reynolds stole third base in the fifth inning, taking advantage of the Nationals playing the shift, with Rendon playing closer to short. He also took a lead halfway down the third base line with Rendon still playing near short. Carlos Gonzalez struck out to end the threat…The Nationals hit two balls that cleared the fence in right field, but both went foul. Daniel Murphy pulled one up into the third deck in the fifth and Adam Lind hit one just to the right of the foul pole in the ninth…Bryce Harper ended the sixth by swinging and missing at a high 98 mile per hour fastball by Marquez. His 19 game hitting streak ended with an 0 for 4 day…Pat Neshek, acquired from the Phillies on Wednesday made his Rockie debut and retired the Nats in order in the eighth.

12 and Under World Cup - Day 3

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

The big game, Taiwan versus Japan was postponed by rain. Taiwan has yet to give up a hit in the two games they have played. Japan was stung with a loss to Mexico. The mild upset of the day was Nicaragua bouncing back from their loss against the United States to beat their neighbors Panama, who were undefeated until that loss.

Nicaragua 10 Panama 2

Three of the first four runs Nicaragua scored in the third inning were on a strikeout wild pitch. balk and wild pitch. Jeral Bravo hit a two run homer in the fifth to give Nicaragua an overwhelming 6-1 lead. Bryant Machado had three hits, including a double, two runs scored and an RBI. Jarold Montealto pitched five innings and only allowed a Adnan Sanchez solo blast for his only run given up. Adnan is the offensive weapon for Panama getting three of their five hits including his second homerun of the tournament. In the first game he homered in the sixth in a 1-0 Panama win.

Australia 9 Germany 1

Australia got their first win and scored their first runs of the tournament. Germany remained winless. Six of the ten Aussie hits were doubles with Oscar Hyde contributing two doubles on his 2 for 3 day with two runs scored and two RBIs. Hyde also threw five shutout innings in the start. William Baker went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs scored as well for the Aussies.

Brazil 10 Russia 0

It appears Brazil was the victor but the boxscore for this game is from the United States win over Nicaragua.

Mexico 18 Czech Republic 3

Mexico continues to roll. A 13 run fourth ended the game in four innings. Cesar Monjaras hit a two run homer in the first, his second of the tournament and Antonis Macias blasted a three run tater to begin the 13 run fourth, also his second of the tournament. Macias finished with five RBIs on a 3 for 3 day with three runs scored and Monjaras went 3 for 4 with three runs scored and four RBIs. Mexico battered the Czech pitching staff with 22 hits, seven of them for extra bases. Two Mexican pitchers did not allow the Czechs a hit. They scored all three runs in the second inning on three walks, two balks and a wild pitch. Macias is hitting .778, Monjaras .600 and Juan Tirado .889 after the first three games. Tirado finished the day 3 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs scored, making his first out of the tournament. He leads all players in RBIs with 10 after three games.

United States 27 Korea 6

The score was 0-0 after one inning. A 10 and 12 run innings by the United States finished Korea early. Kai Caranto was the big RBI man with five, his only hit being a triple. Joshua Atomanczyk went deep for the second game in a row. Brad Burnes drove in four runs and scored four, going deep once, adding a double and stealing two bases. Daniel Arambula also hit a homerun for the Yanks. Ten different players in the United States lineup contributed an RBI. The United States remains the only undefeated team in their pool.

Under 12 World Cup - Day 2 Mexico Upsets Japan

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

For day two of the World Cup the scores were a bit more palatable. The biggest upset was Mexico defeating Japan. In milder surprises Panama continued their strong play with a win over Germany while the Czech Republic achieved the first European win with a victory over Brazil.

Mexico 6 Japan 5

Japan committed three errors which allowed three unearned runs to score. The big hit was a Juan Tirado three run homer in the third inning that gave Mexico a 3-0 lead. It was his second homerun in two days. He was hit by a pitch in his other two at bats. Japan came right back in the bottom frame with three in the third. Mexico took the lead again with three runs in the fifth. A walk and two hit by pitches loaded the bases. In the third inning two walks had preceded the homerun by Tirado. Cesar Monjaras singled to score two and a Alan Nava single scored one. Japan again came back in the bottom frame but could only score two. In the sixth and final frame Juan Hernandez retired the Japanese in order to secure the victory. Mexico only collected three hits in the win but five of the six runs that scored were put on base by either a walk or a hit by pitch.

Panama 12 Germany 1

Six German errors and an eight run second with seven of the runs unearned proved to be the undoing for Germany. Pedro Catuy was the offensive star for Panama with two doubles and three RBIs in two at bats. Brian Villarreal went 3 for 3 with a double and two RBIs. Emanuel Villarreal worked four innings, giving up just two hits and one run to get the win. Omar Gonzalez came on to pitch the last inning and struck out all three hitters he faced.

Korea 8 Australia 0

Korea got on the winning track after their opening loss to Panama while Australia still finds themselves with zero runs scored in the two games they have played. Three different Korean pitchers combined for two shutout innings each, giving up just one hit. Seong-Mu Jang was the big bat for Korea driving in three runs with two doubles in two at bats.

Czech Republic 8 Brazil 2

The Czechs erupted for five runs in the final frame to break out a close game. Jakub Winkler finished the game 2 for 4 with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs. Lukas Hurta came on in relief and threw five innings of shutout ball, striking out 10 to claim the victory.

United States 10 Nicaragua 0

A seven run first put this game out of reach early. Staked to a big lead three different United States pitchers limited the Nicaraguans to two hits. The United States was limited to six hits, but eight walks ignited two innings. Joshua Atomanczyk slugged a solo shot to drive in the only run that was needed. Kai Caranto stole four bases while walking twice. For the game the United States team stole 10 bases. For Nicaragua this was their first loss after walloping Germany.

Taiwan 18 Russia 0

The hosts remain undefeated while Russia has given up 43 runs in their two games and have yet to score. Three different Taiwan pitchers combined for a no hitter, their second no hitter in the two games. Chia-Cheng Chao got the start and struck out all six hitters he faced. The game ended after four innings because of the slaughter rule. Sheng-Wei Yang slugged a solo shot and scored four times. In addition to his six whiffs Chao also went deep with a solo shot. Ruei-Fong Chen drove in four runs, stole two bases and scored twice despite collecting only one hit, a double. The Taiwan team stole 16 bases. In two games the two starting pitchers for Taiwan have pitched four perfect innings and struck out 11 of the 12 hitters they have faced.

Myworld’s Top Southern League Prospects

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

Last week myworld took a look at the Pacific Coast League and had trouble finding pitchers we liked. This week we took a look at the Southern League and found plenty of pitchers to include in our top ten. Again, the prospects are selected based on the numbers they have put up this year. If they do not have good numbers they do not appear on this list.

1. Michael Kopech RHP (White Sox) - The first round pick of the Red Sox in 2014 is one of the hardest throwers in baseball. He was one of the headline players the Red Sox shipped to the White Sox for Chris Sale. As a starting pitcher his fastball can hit triple digits, but it will sit in the 95-97 range. His slider and change need to be enhanced to achieve success in the major leagues, but if not his velocity will allow him to survive in the bullpen as a closer. There were off field incidents last year that make some question his character but he appears to be pretty behaved this year. Command has been a problem with more than one walk every two innings. A .191 opposition average and 126 whiffs in just 98 innings of work make him an ace in process, if he can avoid injury, improve his secondary pitches and find the strike zone a little bit more.

2. Ronald Acuna OF (Braves) - The Braves have been aggressive with the promotions of the Venezuelan native. Every level he has played at he has found success. Ronald was signed out of Venezuela in 2014 for just $100,000 and his speed and power mix now finds him knocking on the major league door at AAA. Many compare him to Andrew Jones. Ronald started his year in the High A Florida State League and is currently playing in AAA. During that time he has combined for a .305 average with 15 homeruns and 35 stolen bases. His OPS has never fallen below .814 at all three levels. Expect a September promotion before the season is done.

3. Mike Soroka RHP (Braves) - The Braves drafted the Canadian in the first round of the 2015 draft. He is not the kind of pitcher who will light your eyes up with his velocity. He works around the plate with a low 90s fastball, curveball and changeup to achieve soft barrel on the ball contact. Last year he pitched at Low A. The Braves decided to skip him past High A and put him in AA. In 19 starts he has a 2.32 ERA, a .224 opposition average and 97 whiffs in 112 innings. His walk to whiff ratio is greater than 4 to 1. At 19 years of age he is one of the younger pitchers in AA. Expect his major league debut to be some time next year.

4. Luis Castillo RHP (Reds) - Castillo was originally signed by the Marlins in 2011. For some reason they were very intent on trading him, first dealing him to the Padres until an injury to one of the players (Colin Rea) the Marlins acquired brought Castillo back to the Marlins. The Marlins then found a taker in the Reds to acquire Dan Straily. Castillo, with his triple digit fastball that sits in the high 90s has the potential to be a much better pitcher than Straily. But the Marlins thought they were playing for now. Castillo also has a slider and change for his secondary pitches. Castillo had a nice 14 starts (2.58 ERA) though you would expect more whiffs (81 K’s in 80 innings) based on his fastball. The success has resulted in a promotion to the Reds. There he has held his own (4.05 ERA) but giving up too many long balls in the small park (7).

5. Kolby Allard LHP (Braves) - Kolby was the Braves first round pick in 2015 who dropped in the draft because of a back injury that limited his high school season. Last year he was able to start 16 games, rising to Low A for 11 starts. His fastball sits in the low 90s, plenty of heat for a left handed pitcher with an excellent curveball. His change is a third pitch. Like Mike Soroka the Braves skipped him past A ball and put him in AA where at 19 he is nine days younger than Soroka. In twenty starts he has not had as much success with a 3.75 ERA, a .268 opposition average and 86 whiffs in 105 innings. Expect the Braves to be patient with him and keep him at AA.

6. Brian Anderson 3B (Marlins) - A third round pick in 2014 myworld was impressed with what we saw of him in the spring. He had power to the gaps, played solid defense and carried a couple balls over the fence. Drafted out of college the Marlins can be aggressive with his promotion. With Martin Prado missing the remainder of the season this may be a good opportunity for Anderson to make his major league debut. In AA he slugged 14 homeruns with a .251 average leading to a promotion to AAA. In 12 games at AAA Brian is hitting .349 with three homeruns. Between the two levels his OPS is .816.

7. Tyler Mahle RHP (Reds) - Players drafted in the seventh round, as Tyler was drafted in 2013, are not considered the best prospects. Tyler had height (6′4″) and a skinny frame to fill. Once he matured his fastball went from low 90s to mid 90s. Tyler threw a no hitter last year and a complete game no hitter this year. In the Southern League he dominated the hitters with a 1.59 ERA and a .190 opposition average. A promotion to AAA has not led to the same success (2.88 ERA) but enough so that he should see a September callup this year if not sooner.

8. Nick Gordon SS (Twins) - The half brother of Dee Gordon was drafted in the first round in 2014. Unlike his half brother he may have the tools to stick at short. The power is a little short but the speed is there for him to be an impact player on the bases. Like Dee he would move to second if the Twins felt shortstop was a bit too much of a challenge for him. Nick is hitting .292 but showing a little more pop with a career high seven homeruns. He does not steal as frequently as his brother and the strikeout numbers need to be reduced, but a .362 OBA is good enough to fill the lead off role. The Twins have played Nick a little bit at second this year, but they have a bigger need at short. Expect him to make his debut there next year.

9. Luis Ortiz RHP (Brewers) - Luis was a first round pick of the Rangers in 2014. The Rangers traded him to the Brewers in the Jonathan Lucroy trade. His claim to fame was winning the MVP award at the 18 and under World Cup in 2014. As he has gotten older the weight has gotten greater and he will have to watch that. His fastball sits in the mid-90s with a slider and change as his secondary pitches. He still needs a lot of work on the change to make it an effective third pitch. He is repeating AA where he has limited the opposition to a .207 average. Injuries have been the biggest impediment to his advancement to date.

10. Luiz Gohara RHP (Braves) - The Mariners originally signed Luiz out of Brazil in 2012. Just before spring training this year they traded him to the Braves in the Mallex Smith deal. At 6′3″, 210 Luiz is a big boy with triple digit velocity to his fastball. The challenge has always been finding the plate. His secondary pitches (slider and change) were also below average so it appeared he would be destined for the bullpen. The Braves kept him in the rotation and he won a promotion to AA from High A and just recently his success at AA has led to a promotion to AAA. His combined opposition average at the two levels is .228 with 99 whiffs in 88 innings. He may still end up in the bullpen with the surplus of starters the Braves have, but with the success he is having the Braves will keep him in the rotation.

Other Prospects to Like

Mauricio Dubon SS (Brewers) - Originally signed by the Red Sox after drafting the Honduran born Dubon in the 26th round of the 2013 draft. He was made part of the Travis Shaw trade to acquire Tyler Thornburg, which could turn into a disaster if Dubon pans out. Dubon lacks power and is probably a bit short on the tools to play shortstop full time. But he appears to have the ability to hit for average and steal bases. Coming into this season he has a .306 minor league average. He hit .276 at AA with 31 stolen bases to earn a promotion to AAA where he is hitting .300 with six stolen bases. The Brewers have been rotating him between second and short. He could end up being a solid utility player.

Jen-Ho Tseng RHP (Cubs) - The Cubs signed Tseng out of Taiwan for $1.6 million in 2013. With a fastball in the low 90s he is not overpowering and at 6′1″ he will not intimidate hitters. His numbers up until this year have not been good. In 15 starts at AA this year he finished with a 2.99 ERA with more whiffs per innings pitched than in previous years (83 whiffs in 90 innings). His opposition average is at .232 when last year at AA it was .308. This success earned him a promotion to AAA where his success has continued with a 1.42 ERA and a .204 opposition average.

Fernando Romero RHP (Twins) - Romero was signed out of the Dominican Republic way back in 2011. He missed the 2015 season because of Tommy John surgery. Despite his 6′0″ height he still gets the ball to the plate in the mid-90s. In his first season at AA Fernando has been good with a 2.64 ERA in 19 starts and 112 whiffs in 105 innings. He has held the opposition to a .231 average. At 105 innings pitched he has reached his career high so expect him to stay in AA with the Twins watching his work load, especially after the Tommy John surgery. If he continues to see success expect him to make his major league debut next year, though the Twins could promote him for the bullpen this year if they want to limit his innings.

Stephen Gonsalves LHP (Twins) - The fourth round 2013 pick is not overpowering, but he can hit the mid-90s, but generally sits in the low 90s. A plus change is what leads to his success. In 13 starts he has a 2.47 ERA with a .206 opposition average. Despite his lack of heat he still strikes out more than a hitter an inning, the changeup making that heater look that much better. An injury resulted in a late start to the season but after his success in AA last year Gonsalves earns at least a promotion to AAA.

Puerto Rico, Mexico and London Possible for Major League Games

Friday, July 28th, 2017

The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) was made public and it appears major league baseball will be very aggressive in playing games internationally to expand their brand.

For this year it appears they have a post season for Mexico or Asia. These would usually be exhibition games after the regular season has ended. Korea may be an interesting choice with their new ballpark and the increased number of players moving to the major leagues. The fact nothing has been announced makes me think this will not happen.

In 2018 a game is already planned for the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians to play in Puerto Rico in a two game series in April. Also on the schedule are spring training games to be played in Mexico and an opening day for Asia. Mexico is also scheduled to have regular season games in May. At the end of the season a post season series is scheduled for Japan. Dominican Republic is listed for regular season games with Puerto Rico but myworld suspects that will be saved for 2019.

The 2019 season could see exhibition games in Mexico, Puerto Rico and/or the Dominican Republic. They also have an opening day for Japan. A couple years ago this consisted of exhibition games between the Japanese teams and the major league teams followed by a two game major league series. Shohei Otani could make his return to Japan if he signs with a major league club in 2018. Mexico and the United Kingdom are scheduled for major league games, but myworld suspects the London series will be in 2020. A post season series lists Mexico or Asia.

The 2020 season lists Mexico for an exhibition match with Asia schedule for an opening series. Major league baseball has always wanted to expose their game to China and this could be the opportunity. The real challenge would be to find a stadium large enough to have the series. The Olympic venue has been torn down for a shopping mall. Mexico, Puerto Rico, United Kingdom and Dominican Republic are listed for major league games. Japan has another post season exhibition series scheduled.

The 2021 season only shows regular season games for Mexico.

The fact these games are listed does not mean they will be played. If the Collective Bargaining Agreement did not list the games then major league baseball would have to negotiate outside the CBA with the players union to get these games played, an arduous process. It will be interesting to see what games they try to put into place.

Myworld would like to see Netherlands selected as a place to play a major league series. Unfortunately, the major leagues is a bit greedy and are always looking for large market places to brand their product. The Netherlands is not a large market.

12 and Under World Cup - Day One

Friday, July 28th, 2017

The difference between the 12 and under baseball World Cup and the Little League World Series is the World Cup is composed of the best 12 year olds in the country while the Little League World Series is made up of the best teams in a specific area. The scores can get a little lopsided when the best in the world play against countries who still view baseball as a third or fourth sport. Below are the results from the first day.

Panama 1 Korea 0

The closest of the contests. Two Panama pitches combined to no hit Korea. Andres Jaen threw the first two innings walking three while Adan Sanchez threw the last four walking one. Jaen also hit two batters in his two innings of work. Panama scored the lone run in the sixth inning when pitcher Adan Sanchez hit a solo shot to give Panama the lead. Sanchez also contributed a double in a previous at bat.

Mexico 25 Russia 0

Mexico only batted three times to score their 25 runs when the game was ended early after Russia failed to score in the top of the fourth. Mexico blasted six homeruns, Sergio Gastelum contributing two for four RBIs. Juan Tirado drove in five runs and hit one of the six homeruns in a 4 for 4 day that also included a double. Other dingers were contributed by Antonis Macias, Cesar Monjaras and Juan Saldana. Antonis Macias also had a 4 for 4 day. Mexico used three different pitchers to cover the four innings, allowing two hits.

Japan 13 Czech Republic 0

Japan took five innings to dispose of the Czechs. Reiji Toi was the big bat with a homeruns and five runs driven in on a 3 for 3 day. The homerun for Toi in the third was a grand slam to put the game out of reach. Kohei Okada stole four bases getting on base three times with two singles and a walk. He scored twice. Overall the Japanese had 9 stolen bases in the game. Three different pitchers worked the five innings with Shuya Yamada working a perfect three innings with four whiffs.

United States 16 Australia 0

The United States ended this game in four. The Aussies could not get a hit off Bryce Rainier, who worked three innings and Ashton Larson who finished the game retiring all three hitters he faced. Benjamin Reiland, Brad Burnes, Gavin Grahovac and Errick Barnes each went deep for the United States. Burnes and Grahovac were the big RBI guys with four each. Grahovac drove in all four of his runs with a grand slam in a 9 run second inning.

Nicaragua 17 Germany 2

Nicaragua used an 11 run second inning to end this game in four innings. Germany scored two in the fourth, but needed one more run to extend the game. Derick Reyes struck out five of the six hitters he faced in his two innings of work. Carlos Torrentes and Nelson Sevilla each went 3 for 3 scoring three times and driving in two.

Taiwan 10 Brazil 0

Four different Taiwan pitchers went the five innings to throw the third no hitter of the day. Shuo-Heng Han got the start and struck out five of six in his two innings of work. Yi-Cheng Yang and Yu-En Chien each drove in three runs from the top two spots in the order, both going deep for Taiwan.

Nats Barrage of Homers Buries Brewers

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

Poor Michael Blazek. It was his first start this year. You begin to feel sorry for a pitcher when he gives up back to back to back to back homeruns, two of them by hitters on the first pitches they saw. He gave up six of the eight National homers for the day in their 15-2 thrashing of the helpless Brewers and became the first pitcher in major league history to give up five homeruns in one inning. The one bright spot of the day is Hernan Perez pitched the last inning for the Brewers without giving up a run to save the pitching staff.

The day did not start out well for Blazek. Brian Goodwin lined a pitch over the head of Hernan Perez to lead off the first inning. Myworld was not impressed with speed of Perez as he chased after the ball. Difo bunted him to third. The last time Bryce Harper had a runner on third with one out he struck out and was thrown out of the game. In this at bat he did not wait for a strike call to get him upset, driving the first pitch from Blazek into the right field bleachers.

It got a little better for Blazek after that. He struck out the next four hitters and got Lobaton to fly to center. It turned bad in the third inning when he walked Max Scherzer to begin the inning. Brian Goodwin took a ball to run the count to 1-0 then drove the next pitch from Blazek into the same general area as Harper into the right field bleachers. The fans were just finishing their second chorus of “N.A.T.S Nats, Nats, Nats, Wooo.” when Wilmer Difo turned on the first pitch from Blazek and sent the ball flying at 103 mph into the right centerfield bleachers for back to back shots. Harper was a little more patient in his second at bat, running the count to 3-2 before he blasted a line drive into the centerfield Brewhouse. Ryan Zimmerman didn’t waste any time lining the first pitch 111 mph into the left field bullpen.

At this time you have to feel bad for Blazek. He retired Daniel Murphy on a fly to center. The crowd playfully issued a chorus of playful boos. After a sigh of relief Anthony Rendon turned on an 0-1 pitch and socked it over the left field bullpen for the fifth homerun of the inning. That was it for Blazek. The forgotten Willy Peralta came in to pitch and the Nationals were not too kind to him. Adam Lind lined a single and then stole second when the Brewers chose to play the first baseman back. That could not have pleased the Brewer players. Lobaton lined one into right centerfield for a double to score Lind. Scherzer then beat out a slow roller to short. With runners on first and third with one out in an inning you thought would never end Goodwin lined into a double play, the third baseman Travis Shaw catching the ball and finding Scherzer advancing too far past first.

Max Scherzer felt like Joe Ross. Someone has to take the mantle of getting tremendous run support now that Ross is out for the year. Max struck out six in the first three innings. In the fourth, with a 9-1 lead Travis Shaw sent one into the third deck over the right field bullpen. It was the longest homerun of the day but small consolation when going against back to back to back to back.

The Nationals did not make it easy for Willy Peralta. Difo lined a single into left and Harper scored him with a lined double into the left field corner. Ryan Zimmerman smacked the third straight opposite field hit into the right field bleachers for his second homerun of the day. A walk to Murphy and a double by Rendon set up another run after a Adam Lind ground out. Lobaton then buried a Peralta pitch over the right field bullpen to finish off the scoring in the six run fourth.

The Nationals finished the day with eight homeruns, tying their franchise record. The Brewer bullpen shut them out for the last four innings, even with Hernan Perez pitching a scoreless eighth. Enny Romero did give up a Lewis Brinson solo shot over the left field bullpen in the seventh inning but this game was over after four.

Game notes: There was a pigeon that parked itself behind the home plate circle in the first inning. It stayed there until the end of the game. In the fifth a pitch that got by the catcher scared the pigeon to fly next to the pitcher’s mound, but after two or three pitches it flew back to his spot behind home plate. A couple players and the bat boy tried to shoo the pigeon away, but it must have liked the feeding in that area. It took a few steps away but returned to the same general area…Adam Lind showed better range than Hernan Perez in left field, going back on a ball to the warning track and making a nice catch…Willy Peralta seems to have gained some weight since the last time myworld saw him pitch. He is taking on the Bartolo Colon look…Andrew Stevenson got his first major league hit in the game. It came in the eighth inning off position player Hernan Perez. Don’t know how many hitters got their first major league hits off position players but that could be another first…Blazek became the first pitcher in major league history to give up five homeruns in one inning. Ironic that of the five teams who have hit five homeruns in one inning, the last team to do it was Milwaukee in 2006…Ryan Zimmerman tied Frank Howard for most franchise homeruns with his two today to give him 237.

Mancini Leads O’s Over Astros; Britton Breaks AL Save Record

Monday, July 24th, 2017

Myworld could only stay for the first five innings of the Orioles 9-7 win over the Astros. A volleyball camp caused our early departure. The Orioles were ahead 6-3 when we left, Trey Mancini getting two clutch two out hits to drive in runs. The Astros did roar back to take the lead in the sixth but the Orioles scored two in the eighth for the win. Zach Britton came on in the ninth to get his first save since April but his 55th consecutive save to break an AL record.

Neither Lance MuCullers or Dylan Bundy pitched well in the game. McCullers was wild with his 96 mile per hour fastball zipping away from the plate. In the first inning he was bailed out of a big inning by a ground out double play, one of four for the Orioles. In the second inning Chris Davis pushed a single into left field, past where the third baseman should have been, but with the shift Bregman was at the shortstop position. McCullers hit Mancini, walked Caleb Joseph and then hit Hyun-Soo Kim to force in a run. Reben Tejeda grounded into the first of his two double plays allowing the second run to score. Adam Jones slapped the second of his four hits to the right side to score the third run.

Bundy couldn’t hold the lead. Nori Aoki hit a ball over the head of Mark Trumbo that bounced into the bleachers. It was a ball a good right fielder may have caught. Jake Marisnick bunted a ball down the third base line. Machado tried to make the bare hand pick up but it slipped out of his hand. Jose Altuve tied the game by taking the first pitch from Bundy into the left field bleachers.

In the third Trey Mancini got the first of his two clutch hits. Jonathan Schoop started the inning with a double. Two ground ball outs moved him to third. Mancini lined a single into right center to give the O’s a 4-3 lead.

They extended the lead in the fifth. Jonathan Schoop hit another single down the left field line, but another fine defensive play by Aoki prevented the hit from being a double. Trumbo lined a ball down the left field line that even Aoki could not cut off and it rolled into the corner for a double. Chris Davis drove a pitch deep to center but Marisnick made the catch despite crashing into the fence. Schoop tagged up and scored, with Trumbo advancing to third. Trey Mancini lined a double over the head of Reddick to give the O’s a 6-3 lead.

After myworld departed the Astros exploded for four runs to take a 7-6 lead. Aoki hit a three run homer to tie it and later in the inning Reddick hit a sacrifice fly to give the Astros the lead. Bundy was tagged for all seven runs, continuing the struggles of the Orioles starting pitching.

The Orioles tied it in the seventh on a Mark Trumbo solo shot. They took the lead for good in the eighth by scoring two. Tejeda made amends for spoiling rallies by grounding into two double plays by hitting a one out double. Jones fourth hit of the game advanced him to third where he scored on a sacrifice fly by Machado. Schoop drove in Jones with a single.

Zack Britton came on in the ninth to get the save, his first since April but his 55th consecutive save to break the AL record. Tom Gordon had the AL mark. Eric Gagne has the overall mark with 84, still a long trek for Britton to go.

Game Notes: Nori Aoki showed why he is a solid defensive outfielder, racing down the left field line to prevent Schoop from getting two doubles. He also carried some thunder in his bat, hitting his second homerun and also contributing a ground rule double and single. That will keep Derek Fisher stabilized in the minor leagues until September…Last time myworld watched Machado hit he seemed off balance with his swing. Even though he went 0 for 3 today he seemed more balanced. Expect a hot streak from him soon…Davis beat the shift in the second by pushing a single down the third base line. The shift beat him in the third when he lined a pitch into short right field, with Altuve taking it on one hop and throwing him out at first…Marwin Gonzalez looks very smooth at shortstop. If not for Correa he could fill the starting shortstop position. Over the long haul maybe he shows his defensive weaknesses, but myworld saw some good hands…Trumbo made two poor defensive plays in centerfield, turning two potential outs into doubles. Only one of those runs scored. Ruben Tejeda threw Altuve out at home as he broke on contact on a ground ball with one out to prevent one of the misplays from scoring…A disappointing attendance of 21,533 to watch the best team in the American League play. Perhaps Oriole fans have given up on this season.

Myworld’s Top Pacific League Prospects

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

This appears to be a more offensive oriented league. Myworld was not too impressed with the collection of pitchers, but this may be a result of the offensive conditions many of the parks offer their hitters. The assessment is based on numbers. Potential does not arrive until you put up the numbers to prove you can produce.

1. Amed Rosario SS (Mets) - The Mets signed Amed out of the Dominican Republic for $1.75 million in 2012. Myworld was impressed with his defense this spring. Now he is putting up some impressive offensive numbers in Las Vegas, a hitter friendly park where he is hitting .330. His seven homeruns are a career high. The Mets need a shortstop. Don’t know what their reluctance is in not promoting Amed. Perhaps they are saving some service time. Expect a September promotion. The Mets have a lot of depth at this position percolating up through their minor league systems, with some of them moving to second base but Amed is ready to make an impact now.

2. Luke Weaver RHP (Cardinals) - Luke was a first round pick of the Cardinals in 2014. The Cardinals gave him his major league debut last year but he struggled in 8 starts (5.79). This year he has appeared in two games in relief. He has been the most dominant pitcher in the Pacific Coast League this year (9-1, 1.91 ERA). With more innings he would be leading the league in ERA by close to two runs. His command is good with a fastball that sits in the low 90s made faster with an excellent changeup. The Cardinals have found themselves struggling this year. If they fall out of the pennant race they may give Weaver some more opportunity to pitch to major league hitters. Expect a September callup if not sooner if the Cardinals fall out of the race.

3. Derek Fisher OF (Astros) - Derek was a 2014 number one pick of the Astros. He got a brief callup to the major league club where he did well, slugging two homeruns. At AAA his 21 homeruns is tied for third in the league. He also has the ability to steal bases with 16 in 26 attempts. At this point he has to be a better offensive alternative than Nori Aoki, though the Astros like to use Marwin Gonzalez out there as well. His defense is below average but the offensive numbers he can put up are excellent. Of course, at this point the Astros have plenty of offense, even with the injury to Carlos Correa.

4. Ryan McMahon 2B (Rockies) - He made our Eastern League list. The Rockies made him their second round pick in 2013. Last year his bat was very quiet, only hitting .242 with 12 homeruns. That kind of production is not going to usurp Nolan Arenado from his third base job. This year his bat has been explosive. After tearing up AA pitching for a .326 average with six homeruns in 49 games the Rockies promoted him to AAA. He has been even better there with a .379 average and 9 homeruns in 41 games. They have also been playing him at second base where he has the potential to be an offensive oriented player at that position. And he does not have to worry about Nolan.

5. Alex Verdugo OF (Dodgers) - Another second round pick, this one by the Dodgers in 2014. Alex is a line drive swinger with battle title possibilities. His balls filter the gaps rather than travel over the fence. Because his lack of speed makes centerfield difficult on the defensive side of the equatione, he needs to play corner where many teams look for power. A plus arm allows him to play right field. If Tony Gwynn can survive as a rightfielder winning batting titles without hitting homeruns Verdugo can find a spot there as well.

6. Lewis Brinson OF (Brewers) - Brinson was originally a first round pick of the Rangers in 2012. He was part of the Jonathan Lucroy trade that saw him go to the Brewers. He is assaulting AAA pitchers, which led to a brief promotion to the Brewers where he struggled for a .097 average. Back in AAA he is hitting .346 while showing some power with his 10 homeruns. There is some pop in his bat and there is speed in his legs to cover a lot of ground in centerfield. Expect the Brewers to give him another opportunity in September.

7. Willie Calhoun 2B (Dodgers) - Listed at 5′8″ the 14th round pick in 2014 snuck up on a lot of people with his 27 homeruns last year. He did show some power in junior college hitting 31 homeruns in 61 games. After a slow start to the season this year the power has returned. Willie has slugged 20 homeruns that has come with a .302 average. His defense at second base is a bit spotty which could create a move to left field. The Dodgers have used him in 11 games this year but most of his time has been spent at second base.

8. Dinelson Lamet RHP (Padres) - Dinelson was a bargain, signing for just $100,000 out of the Dominican Republic. He only got eight starts in the Pacific League before being promoted by the Padres. His 3.23 ERA would have been second to Weaver in the Pacific League ERA race. At 6′4″ he has a little more meat than Weaver with a fastball hitting the mid-90s, to go along with a slider/change combination. While his ERA is higher in the major leagues (6.40) his opposition average is equal (.222 in AAA versus .229). What has been a challenge for Lamet is keeping the ball in the park. He has given up 11 dingers in his 45 major league innings.

9. Carson Kelly C (Cardinals) - The Cardinals second round pick in 2012 is expected to be the successor to Yadier Molina behind the plate. The Cardinals recently called him up to the major league club. This after he hit .283 with 10 homeruns. Last year he made his major league debut and only hit .154. There is power in the bat with gold glove caliber defense, tools that should get him to the major leagues. All he has to do is hit .250 to be an impact player. Carson began his career as a third baseman but the Cardinals moved him behind the plate after they drafted him.

10. Colin Moran 3B (Astros) - Colin was a first round pick of the Marlins in 2013 after he led the NCAA in RBIs. The big question with Colin was his lack of power at what is a power position. The Marlins traded him to the Astros for Jarred Cosart in 2014 when the power numbers did not show. Last year he hit a career high 10 homeruns, but still not what you want to see from a third baseman who does not have stellar defensive tools for third base. At 6′4″ you would expect the power to come. This year it arrived with 18 homeruns in 79 games with a .308 average. It was enough to get him a promotion to the major leagues after the injury to Carlos Correa. Last year in his major league debut he hit .130. In his first game this year he hit a triple and homerun. Times may be looking good for Moran.

Others to Mention

Dominic Smith 1B (Mets) - Another player criticized for his lack of a power bat. The Mets drafted him in the first round in 2013. What myworld saw of him in spring was a lackadaisical way of playing defense where he committed two errors on bone head plays in a span of three innings. With missing power defense was supposed to be his road to the major leagues. Last year the power began to show with 14 homeruns. This year it has crashed the minor league party with 13 homeruns, a .336 average and a career high .515 slugging. If the Mets trade Lucas Duda expect Dominic to see some major league time.

Tony Kemp 2B (Astros) - Not one of those toolsy players who will make prospect lists. The fifth round pick in 2013 also plays the same position as Jose Altuve. But his .333 average could see him as a utility player in the major leagues. Right now Marwin Gonzalez has the patent on that and the defensive capabilities for Kemp are not strong. Kemp though is playing some outfield but is limited to left field by a weak arm. He mostly finds himself at second base, where his defense is considered fringe. At 25 his time is now so myworld expects the Astros to use him as a trade piece with no role for him on their current roster.

Harrison Bader OF (Cardinals) - The outfield is crowded for the third round 2015 pick. His defense is more suited for the corner but there was some concern for his lack of power for a corner spot. Last year he slugged 19 homeruns. This year in 94 games he has already hit 19 homeruns, to go along with a .302 average. Harrison has been playing centerfield. With the recent acquisition of Tyler O’Neil it might be best he stay there, even though his range is just average for a centerfielder.

Brett Phillips OF (Brewers) - Brett was a sixth round pick of the Astros in 2012. The Astros traded him to the Brewers in mid 2015 for Carlos Gomez. With the Astros his batting average never dropped below .300. With the Brewers he had trouble staying healthy and the average last year dived to .229. Scouts began pegging him as more of a fourth outfielder. This year he has found his lost swing breaking out with a .293 average and 17 homeruns. His .582 slugging was just short of his career high. The Brewers have now promoted him to the major leagues where he is hitting .227 with two homeruns in 12 games. He does show a tendency to swing and miss so expect a lot of streaks in his season.

Renato Nunez 3B/1B (Athletics) - The best position for the Venezuelan who signed for $2.2 million in 2010 is probably DH. The positions he is listed for are first base and third base. The Athletics are crowded at those positions. Currently he leads the Pacific League in homeruns with 25. A .254 average, a propensity for strikeouts and poor defense are big downsides for Renato, but you have to like the power. A lack of speed makes moving him to the outfield a concern, but he has seen some time there.

A.J. Reed 1B (Astros) - Reed was a second round pick for the Astros in 2014. The Astros were so impressed with his power possibilities he competed for a major league job right out of spring training in 2015. He continues to show a power bat with 20 homeruns this year but a low average (.248) and sub par defense makes his wait continue. Last year he struggled with major league pitching (.164). Yuli Gurriel does not show as much power but he is more consistent with the bat and plays better defense. A.J. will just have to wait. He could still be used as a trade chip in the Astros playoff run.

Wilmer Font RHP (Dodgers) - At 27 years of age the prospect winds have probably passed him by. But he leads the Pacific Coast League in whiffs with 138 in only 101 innings. The opposition is hitting him at only a .225 clip and he shows good command of his pitches. The Dodgers have some depth in their starting rotation but if Wilmer keeps putting up the numbers it will be tough to keep him down. Look what happened to Brandon Morrow.