Archive for September, 2017

KBO Postseason Teams Finalized

Saturday, September 30th, 2017

The five teams to make the KBO playoffs have been determined. The SK Wyverns have snuck into the playoffs as the fifth place team. They will play either the Lotte Giants or the NC Dinos, who are locked in a tie for third. The Doosan Bears and the Kia Tigers are separated by just 1.5 games in a battle for the top spot in the KBO. The four remaining teams battling for the final playoff position are down to three or less games to play in the season.

The team that wins the regular season is automatically guaranteed a spot in the championship series while the fourth and fifth place teams battle for the wild card spot. The fifth place team must beat the fourth place team twice to advance while the fourth place team needs to win only once. The winner of that game will play the third place team in a best of five series. The winner of that series will play the second place team in another five game series. Finally, the winner of that series will play the first place team in a best of seven series.

Twins Sign Two Foreign Pitchers

Friday, September 29th, 2017

The Minnesota Twins have become the first baseball team to go from a 100 loss season the previous year to making the playoffs the following year. They do this by signing players from not so traditional places. The Twins recently signed two pitchers, one from Taiwan and the other from the Netherlands that they hope will help them continue their playoff appearances.

From Taiwan the Twins signed Deng Kai Wei for a $580,000 bonus. The Twins have been active in Taiwan but of their four previous signings from Taiwan only one has made it to the major leagues, and he did that in a Tampa Bay Rays uniform. Chih-Wei Hu was signed in 2012 and was a success. Wang-Wei Lin (2006), Hung-Yi Chen (2010) and Kua-Hua Lo (2011) have failed to reach the major leagues.

The Twins also discovered in Canada at the 18 year old World Cup tournament Dutch pitcher Donny Breek. This has not been the first time the Twins have signed a pitcher out of the Netherlands. Loek Van Mil, Alexander Smit and Tom Stuifbergen were all signed out of the Netherlands but did not see any major league time. Donny Breek did not make the all tournament team but myworld identified him as a player to watch after his 1-1, 1.08 ERA in 16.2 innings where he limited the opposition to a .151 average.

Curacao Neptunus and L&D Amsterdam battling it out for Dutch Championship

Friday, September 29th, 2017

Both pitchers went with their aces for game one. Diegomar Markell was not sharp for Curacao, lasting only 4.1 innings. He coughed up three runs on 9 hits. L&D Amsterdam went with veteran Rob Cordemans. He lasted 7.2 innings.

Loek Van Mil went 2.2 innings in relief for Curacao to keep the game close. It will be interesting to see his availability for future matches and how effective he is for those games if he pitches. Curacao needed him to stop the bleeding because in a wild bottom of the ninth saw Curacao rally for three runs to pull the game out 5-4. Jochem Koedijk got the clutch two run single to tie the game and a wild pitch brought the winning run home. Jochem finished the game with three hits and one run scored.

Fighters Leave 19 Men on Base; Otani Returns to Lineup

Friday, September 29th, 2017

The Nippon Ham Fighters lost a game to the Rakuten Eagles. During the game they collected 9 hits, walked 12 times and had three batters hit by pitch. You would have suspected they would have lost this game in a slug fest. They actually lost the game 3-0, stranding 19 runners on base, breaking a Pacific League record for stranding runners and tying an NPB record. The Yokohama Bay Stars had stranded 19 runners in a game in 2014.

Shohei Otani was a perfect 2 for 2, hitting a single and double with a hit by pitch and a walk. The Fighters loaded the bases in the first, third, fifth, seventh and eighth innings. In the first, third and eighth there was only one out. A line drive and strikeout ended the first and a popup and strikeout ended the third. In the eighth they grounded into a double play.

It was good to see Otani back in the lineup after he was removed from an earlier game because of calf tightness. His fragility has myworld concerned whether he can survive as a two way player in the major leagues. This year he has encountered a number of injuries while playing the field that has limited his ability to pitch.

AL West Minor League All Stars

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Baseball America came out with their minor league classification All Stars. Below are the players who made the list from the AL West. They may not be the best prospects, but they had the best seasons for 2017.

Houston Astros

Derek Fisher OF (AAA) - Derek would have had a third consecutive 20/20 season if not for an early callup to the Astros. His production made Nori Aoki obsolete in Houston. He has a combination of power and speed with a left handed bat that will make him popular in the lineup. A weak arm will restrict him to left field.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

None

Oakland Athletics

Jorge Mateo SS (AA) - The Yankees included him in a trade to acquire Sonny Gray. It extended his stint at short, but do not be surprised to see an eventual move to the outfield. His main attribute is his speed, stealing 52 bases last year. Jorge also has some emerging power with a career high 12 homeruns. That speed and power mix also produced 18 triples.

Greg Deichmann OF (short season) - Greg does not have any overwhelming tools. Power and a strong arm will have him fit best in right field. At 22 years of age he was one of the older players in short season.

Parker Dunshee SP (short season) - He pitched 38 innings and did not allow a run, limiting the opposition to a .119 average. When the playoffs started he was tattooed for seven runs in less than three innings. The seventh round pick out of Wake Forest does not have dazzling stuff and at 22 years of age he was a bit older than his competetion, so what he does as he rises up a level will be key.

Seattle Mariners

Nick Neidert SP (High A) - The second round 2015 pick is not overpowering, with a fastball in the low 90s. His best pitch at this point is his change up and his ability to command his pitches. He did get knocked around when promoted to AA, the opposition hitting him at a .324 clip.

Joseph Rosa 2B (short season) - Does not seem to possess any top of the scale tools. He did hit a career high 6 homeruns for a .531 slugging average. This is his third season in short season ball so he needs to prove himself at the higher classifications.

Juan Then SP (Dominican) - Pitched well in the Dominican League but that is all we can say about him. Juan struck out 8.2 hitters per 9 innings and limited the opposition to a .220 average.

Texas Rangers

Willie Calhoun DH (AAA) - The Dodgers traded him to the Rangers as part of the Yu Darvish deal. With the Dodgers Calhoun played second base but his defense is lacking there. A move to left field would be ideal to accommodate his suspect glove. What he does possess is a bat that carries homerun power with 31 last year and 27 the previous year.

Cole Ragens SP (short season) - A first round pick in the 2016 draft, the lefty throws a decent fastball in the low 90s but complements it with a solid curveball and change. Cole had a quite impressive 13.7 whiffs per 9 innings, but needs to find the plate more with 35 walks in 57 innings.

Hans Crouse SP (rookie) - The second round 2017 pick has a plus fastball that sits in the mid-90s and can reach the high 90s. That overpowering stuff resulted in a walk to whiff ratio of 13.5 whiffs per nine and a .109 opposition average. At 6′4″ he has good height for a starting pitcher.

Red Sox Sign First Player from Tibet

Sunday, September 24th, 2017

The Red Sox signed Justin Qiang, a 16 year old catcher to a $10,000 bonus. He will play for the instructional league team in Fort Myers in October.

Qiang played for China in international showcase events and participated in in the MLB academy in Nanjing, according to the WBSC website.

Hardy Leads O’s to Win in Last Home Game

Sunday, September 24th, 2017

J.J. Hardy may have played his last game in an Orioles uniform at Camden Yards. He made it count. A two run homer in the fourth broke a 4-4 tie. In the sixth his single preceded a two run homer by Chance Sisco. The sparse crowd at the stadium were enthusiastic and gave him a standing ovation, for his first at bat in the first inning, after his homerun in the fourth, and what was expected to be his last at bat in an Orioles uniform at Camden Yards in the 8th inning.

Both pitchers were gone by the fifth inning. Chris Tillman gave up a homerun on his first pitch of the game to Kevin Kiermaier. After the Orioles took a 4-1 lead Tillman lost the lead in the second, giving up three runs. Adeiny Hechavarria roped a double off him into right center field. Brad Miller drove him in with a single up the middle and Jesus Sucre tied the game with a two run bomb deep into the left field bleachers. Tillman was relieved after four innings of work. He left the game with a 7.71 ERA.

Chris Archer was not effective as well. The Orioles slung arrows into right field, collecting four straight singles by Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Adam Jones and Chris Davis. Pedro Alvarez ripped the fifth hit into right field to score Davis, after Chris stole second base off Archer, to up the score to 4-1. Archer saw his ERA rise to 4.22.

J.J. Hardy gave the Orioles the lead for good with a two run homer off Archer in the fourth. A two base error by Logan Morrison had put Pedro Alvarez on second. A Manny Machado two out single ended the day for Archer.

Chance Sisco hit his second major league homerun in the sixth to give the Orioles a 8-4 lead. In the seventh Jonathan Schoop lined a double into the left field corner. He scored from third on a Chris Davis ground out to first.

The Orioles bullpen was excellent to finish the game. After Donnie Hart coughed up back to back two out singles in the fifth, Mychal Givens got the last out to snuff out the rally. The Rays failed to mount an extensive rally after the inning.

Game Notes: Jonathan Schoop was voted the Orioles most valuable player prior to the game…Adam Jones was taken out of the game in the fourth inning. In the third inning he did not show his typical hustle on a deep fly by Logan Morrison that hit the base of the wall for a double…Chris Archer was hitting 95 to 98 with his fastball, but in his four innings only two Orioles struck out…The Orioles had been eliminated from the playoffs the previous night. The loss by the Rays makes it tough to qualify for the wild card. They are six games back with just six to play.

AL Central Minor League All Stars

Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

Below are the Minor League post season All Stars for the AL Central. This does not mean you have prospect status, but it is reflective of a player having a good 2017 season. It could enhance his prospect status for 2018.

Chicago White Sox

Yoan Moncada 2B (AAA) - He started the season the number one prospect in baseball. The Cuban has a nice mixture of speed and power with 12 homeruns and 17 stolen bases in 80 AAA games. His tools are still plagued by a propensity to strikeout, which has resulted in a low average (.237) in the major leagues.

Michael Kopech SP (AA) - Many consider him the hardest thrower in baseball. Both he and Moncada were included in the Chris Sale trade. He still needs to find the plate more often but with a high 90s fastball that often hits triple digits he is a big time ace in potential.

Eloy Jimenez OF (High A) - At 6′4″ with big time power he intimidates pitchers at the plate. Speed restricts him to the corners but a strong arm could see him settle in right field. He seemed to find his groove when included in the Jose Quintana trade, sending Eloy from the Cubs to the White Sox.

Cleveland Indians

Francisco Mejia C (AA) - He had the longest hitting streak in the minors last year. His numbers dropped a little this year, but a .297 average with 14 homeruns is not too shabby. Adequate defensively, he will be an offensive force behind the plate. And to think the Indians almost traded him for Jonathan Lucroy.

Triston McKenzie SP (High A) - One of the more impressive pitchers myworld has witnessed since Clayton Kershaw. He is all arms and legs as he accumulates whiffs with his mid-90s fastball. The opposition hit only .203 against him and he struck out 186 hitters in just 143 innings.

Nolan Jones SS (Short Season) - The second round 2016 pick made the team as a shortstop but all his games in 2017 were at third base. He has the power to play third, putting together a .912 OPS.

Detroit Tigers

Matt Hall SP (High A) - The only Tiger to be an All Star selection, the lefthander relies on a curveball to retire hitters. His fastball is not overpowering, but with his curve he was able to whiff more than one hitter per inning.

Kansas City Royals

Sal Biasi SP (Rookie) - The Royals have to go to the lower minor leagues to find an All Star. Drafted in the 11th round of the 2017 draft he limited the opposition to a .190 average. At just 6′0″ he may have problems retiring hitters as a starter.

Delvin Capellan SP (Dominican) - His 0.48 ERA in the Dominican Summer League should put him on the mainland next year. Myworld has to admit we don’t know too much about him.

Angel Zerpa SP (Dominican) - Angel is another mystery with a less than impressive whiff to innings pitched ratio (64 IP with 39 whiffs).

Minnesota Twins

Mitch Garver C (AAA) - His offense got him promoted to the major leagues (.291 with 17 homeruns). Defense is still a question with an arm that can be run on.

Gabriel Moya RP (AA) - Vulture has a lot of wins (6-1) with a microscopic ERA (0.77). The opposition hit .150 off him which led to a promotion to the major league club.

Akil Baddoo OF (Rookie) - You have to like the name. Akil walked more than he struck out (36 to 32) and showed some power with a .537 slugging average.

Jovani Moran RP (Rookie) - Another reliever from the Twins, but despite striking out 16.4 hitters per nine innings Jovani is too far down in the minors to see the major league club this year. The opposition only hit .145 against him.

Estamy Urena 2B (Dominican) - He hit for average (.306) but does not appear to have big time power (.434).

Monkeys Break CPBL Win Record

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

With their 3-2 win over the Fubon Guardians the La Miga Monkeys broke a CPBL record for most wins in a season with 72. The previous record for a 120 game season was held by the Uni President Lions with 71 wins in 2012. With 12 games left in the season the Monkeys can continue to add on to the win record.

If the Monkeys can win both halves of the CPBL season they will clinch appearing in the championship series against the winner of the second and third place team. They will enter the series with a 1-0 lead in the series

AL East Minor League All Stars

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

The minor league seasons are done and the All Star teams have been announced. Baseball America broke them out into AAA, AA, High A, Low A, short season, rookie and Dominican Summer League. Myworld identifies those All stars from the AL East first.

Baltimore Orioles

Austin Hayes OF (AA) - A third round pick who has above average tools in all the five categories scouts measure. His 32 homeruns from High A to AA were the second most in the minors in 2017. The success got him a September promotion to the big league club at 21 years of age.

D.J. Stewart OF (AA) - A first round pick of the Orioles, he lacks the tools of Hayes. His arm and defensive limitations will restrict him to left field and his bat may not show enough power to make that an attractive alternative for the Orioles. Myworld does not expect him to be an impact player but he could work himself into a role player.

Ryan Mountcastle DH (High A) - He played shortstop at Frederick. When promoted to Bowie they stuck him at third. Third may be his best position. He dominated at High A, but struggled in his first exposure to AA. Defensive limitations will force a move from short and the O’s think he has the bat to play third.

Alex Wells SP (Low A) - The Aussie does not have the most overpowering fastball but he gets hitters out. In 25 starts at Delmarva he restricted hitters to a .222 average. The true test will be his effectiveness as he faces more advanced hitters with that less than overwhelming stuff.

Ben Breazeale DH (short season) - A seventh round draft pick who got more games at DH than catcher. He finished the season with a .323 average and a .433 OBA. If he lacks the tools to catch the O’s could find another spot for him.

Zac Lowther SP (short season) - A 2017 second round pick is a lefthander who relies more on his stuff than his power. He had a 1.79 ERA with 11.8 whiffs per nine innings. Like Wells, his success will be defined if he can continue that dominance as he faces more advanced hitters.

Boston Red Sox

Rafael Devers 3B (AA) - A hitting machine who may compete for batting titles and hit 20 plus homeruns per year. He was called up in August and has performed well enough to address the Red Sox black hole at the hot corner.

Michael Chavis 3B (High A) - Lacks the consistent bat of Devers. Expect the Red Sox to either use him as trade bait or move him to second base when Pedroia’s time should be up. The bat shows 20 plus home run pop and a plus .300 average potential.

Denyi Reyes RP (short season) - The Dominican has some nice height (6′4′) and was a vulture in the bullpen (9-0) taking advantage of the starters abbreviated pitch counts to win games. His whiffs per nine (7.7) were not inspiring so we’ll see where he goes.

New York Yankees

Chance Adams SP (AAA) - A good mid 90s fastball dominated hitters in AA (1.03 ERA in six starts) and led to an early promotion to AAA. A .197 opposition average will see Chance compete for a spot in the Yankees rotation next year. A reliever until last year, his height (6′1″) could make the bullpen his best role.

Estevan Florial OF (Low A) - The Haitian born outfielder got his exposure playing in the Dominican Republic. Last year was a breakout year for him. He has right field arm strength, the potential to build to his power tools and the speed to play center. The Yankees would like to see him reduce his 148 whiffs in 110 games.

Jorge Guzman SP (short season) - The Dominican was acquired from the Astros in the Brian McCann trade. He can hit triple digits with his fastball but needs to develop his secondary pitches.

Tampa Bay Rays

Yonny Chirinos SP (AAA) - Myworld did not see him pitch when we spent our week in Durham. Not overpowering, he relies more on his command to get hitters out.

Justin Williams OF (AA) - The Rays acquired him from the D-backs in the Jeremy Hellickson trade. A lack of speed will restrict him to the corners but his bat seems to be developing with decent power and average to fit as a corner outfielder.

Brandon Lowe 2B (High A) - Defense is not in the cards but his bat will produce. He hit .311 for Charlotte. A lack of speed will prevent him from stealing bases so he could end up a one trick pony, where the bat needs to develop for him to see the Rays.

Jesus Sanchez DH (Low A) - The outfielder has all the tools to be an impact player. The speed exists for him to play center and his arm is plenty good for right.

Austin Franklin SP (short season) - He has the build to be an innings eater (6′3″, 215). His fastball hits the mid-90s but sits in the low 90s with the potential to increase as he matures. For Hudson Valley he struck out over one hitter per inning.

Toronto Blue Jays

Bo Bichette 2B (Low A) - The son of Dante toyed with .400 at Low A (.384). The Jays used him a bit at short but his best position may be second or third. His bat shows enough power for the corner.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr 3B (Low A) - The son of Vladimir, he may not have the arm or power of his father, but he exercises more patience with the bat, taking more walks and not swinging at everything near the plate. More power should come as he matures.

Ryan Noda 1b (Rookie) - The 15th round pick in 2017 showed some power with a .575 slugging and exhibited great patience at the plate with a .507 OBA.

Maverik Buffo SP (Rookie) - The 34th round pick showed excellent numbers pitching out of the bullpen and in the rotation, finishing the season with a 0.53 ERA. He showed excellent control with a 2/36 walk to whiff ratio in 34 innings.